Best Bone Conduction Headphones
Understand something important right away, bone conduction headphones are different. Some of you may have never even heard of them and due to the nature of their design, you can’t really compare them to traditional models. It all comes down to the technology behind bone conduction as this is the conduction of sound through the bones of the skull. When implemented into headphones, what you get are devices that are lightweight, convenient, and ideal for people with normal or impaired hearing to use. But, if you are looking for sound quality that rivals the best Bose headphones out there, you will simply be disappointed. Of course, with that being said, some models will naturally sound better than others (though that is just one of the factors in the buying process). And, this “buying process” is exactly why you are here today.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 2.75 hrs of research
The design is 20 percent lighter than its counterpart
They have been designed with athletes in mind
One of the better sounding models on the market
- AFTERSHOKZ TREKZ AIR
- AFTERSHOKZ BLUEZ 2S
- PHAISER BHS-530
- AFTERSHOKZ TREKZ TITANIUM
- PYLE OPEN
- VIDONN F1
- SWARK BLUETOOTH
- MPOW CHEETAH
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Frequently Asked Questions
OUR TOP PICKS FOR THE BEST BONE CONDUCTION HEADPHONES
1. AFTERSHOKZ TREKZ AIR
The design is 20 percent lighter than its counterpart
They have been designed with athletes in mind
One of the better sounding models on the market
The band is not adjustable
If you had a theoretical draft and all the bone conduction headphones on the market were eligible, the Trekz Air would be the consensus number one selection. They simply are the standard bearer for this technology.Read more
Look, for this technology, these are about as good as it is going to get for sound quality. This is thanks to the Premium Pitch technology that provides a premium audio experience.
Okay, the good news is that these are 20 percent lighter than its counterpart and you will barely feel them when you have them on. The bad news is the band is not adjustable, for some odd reason.
Without a doubt, the Trekz Air was designed with athletes in mind. After all, they are fully sweatproof so even during long and grueling runs, they will stay securely on your head.
Though these are equipped with buttons on the side that can change various audio settings, there was one user who felt that they were awkwardly placed.
Thanks to the wireless and Bluetooth design (these sport version 4.2, for the record), you can enjoy these without the hassle of a cord. Also, the integrated battery will charge in two hours and last for six (if you are listening to music non-stop).
For sure, this technology has a long way to go before it ever achieves the same level of sound quality as over-ear headphones but without question, these right here are the current measuring stick.
Supports both 90 and 180-degree rotation
Sports a built-in lithium battery
These are FCC, TELEC and CE listed
A few users have had longevity issues
Even though these do not quite reach the sound quality of the models designed by AfterShokz, you can argue that they are superiorly built. For certain, that is the main selling point here.Read more
It is noted by the seller that they believe their model is one of the best at preventing sound leakage. As for previous users, most feel the overall sound quality is merely okay.
These have been both ergonomically designed and also streamlined for comfort and balance. The result is a more pleasurable experience that is for sure.
Even though some previous buyers have had longevity issues, these are brilliantly designed with nano-material and superior sealing. So, you will never need to worry about sweat damaging the interior circuitry.
Right on the outside of the earbuds, there is a multi-function button that allows you to conveniently adjust specific settings.
A very impressive battery is integrated here (a 220mAh lithium battery) and it allows for 1000 hours of standby time and up to 11 hours of continuous playing time.
What you need to appreciate about this design are the physical characteristics. Sure, the sound quality could use improved but that is not necessarily something new.
3. AFTERSHOKZ BLUEZ 2S
Built with LeakSlayer technology
The sound quality is pretty impressive
Sports a 33-foot wireless communication range
Some sliding and sizing issues have been documented
Other users have had longevity concerns
If it was not evident before then it should be now that AfterShokz is the leader of this technology. Their Bluez 2S model sports their patented technology that minimizes sound leakage and enhances the audio overall.Read more
Once again, AfterShokz sets the standard for sound quality. While still not amazing, the Bluez 2s sports PremiumPitch technology and also LeakSlayer technology. The latter actually reduces the amount of natural sound leakage.
It seems to be the general consensus that the Bluez 2S headphones are small. Previous buyers have claimed they have been unable to achieve a comfortable fit because of it, unfortunately.
Due to the nanotechnology treatment that has been integrated, these are going to repel sweat when you exercise. Of course, in regard to the longevity of this model, some previous buyers have had issues.
As with most of the top-end models on the market, there are specific buttons integrated here that allow you to make changes on the go quickly and easily.
These sport the somewhat standard Bluetooth range of 33 feet. Additionally, the battery can charge in two short hours and last for 10 days on standby and six hours during continuous play.
In a way, you could consider this model a nice alternative option to the gold standard of this technology. After all, it is nearly just as good at a significantly lower price (and comes from the same designers).
4. PHAISER BHS-530
For the price, the sound quality is quite good
Different color options are available
Comes equipped with a water-resistant nanocoating
Longevity issues have been documented
Even though this type of sound technology is not as expensive as others, the BHS-530 is an astounding revelation of affordability and quality. Literally, thousands of users have raved about them and will back up that claim.Read more
When you look at the track record of this technology, it is actually surprising when you look at the sound quality of this model. Loud audio and decent bass can be achieved, which can be a rarity.
Not only does the flexible Memory-Wire adapt to the size of your head but the memory foam ear tips also enhance the comfort overall. Not a bad combination at all.
To better withstand sweat and rain, a nanocoating finish has been applied to these. In spite of this integration, longevity issues have been documented by previous buyers.
Though these are not overflowing with features, you can quickly and conveniently switch between music and phone calls with the simple push of a button.
Bluetooth 4.1 is the wireless protocol that is utilized here and as for the integrated battery, it can last for up to 11 hours of play time.
You will simply be hard-pressed to find a better affordable option on the market. In fact, you might as well stop looking because or the price, these are unbeatable.
5. AFTERSHOKZ TREKZ TITANIUM
It is both lightweight and flexible
The sound quality is crisp
LeakSlayer technology has been integrated
The included user manual is not well-written
One buyer heavily criticized the comfort
Back once again, this here is yet another option from AfterShokz. And, even though this model does not top the list, it can be argued that this right here is the most popular option from the juggernaut.Read more
All the classic technologies that AfterShokz implements in their bone conduction headphones are present here so what more is there to say?
Even though these are lightweight and flexible, there was a user who had strong negative feelings about the design of the battery and control compartments (claiming they dug into their ears).
In addition to the fact that these sports titanium, they are also water-resistant to IP55 standards. This means that they can handle sweat, dust, and moisture very well.
Now, there is an included manual that will walk you through the features of this model. Yet, this manual has been criticized for being too short and confusing.
The implemented Bluetooth 4.1 technology allows these to be connected to virtually all your smart devices and the battery can last for up to six hours of continuous use (with music playing).
These right here end the so-called “party” for AfterShokz models. Again, you can see why they are so popular as the quality truly speaks for itself.
6. PYLE OPEN
The rubber coating enhances the comfort
An optional adjustable strap is included
Equipped with side panel button controls
The battery capacity is quite small
Not the best sound quality
Admittedly, in terms of popularity, the drop off here is noticeable as many people have probably never even heard of these. What a shame that is because as you will see, they can compete with the very best on the market.Read more
Though the microphone quality on these is admirable, the bass and maximum volume simply are not. Do not get your hopes up very high for those, let’s just say that.
This is where these truly shine. In addition to the rubber coating and lightweight nature of these, an adjustable strap is also included (though you do not need to use it).
Being water-resistant to IPX6 standards, these can handle most of the sweat that drips down your forehead and also light rainfall.
Thanks to the buttons on the side panel of the band, you can adjust both the volume of these and also the current audio track that you are listening to.
Admittedly, the battery is pretty weak here. While it is not all that much of a downgrade from other models, you can expect around two to three hours of continuous use (with the volume maxed).
Overall, it is safe to say that you should give these a chance. They really are a low-risk high reward option and as long as you do not expect too much from the sound quality, you should enjoy them.
7. VIDONN F1
Resistant to both rain and sweat
There are built-in buttons
The microphone quality is very good
The maximum volume is still somewhat quiet
They are quite small
As with most of the other models on the market, the F1 Headphones are made of titanium and are lightweight and flexible as a result. Oh yeah, and they are also water-resistant to IP55 standards.Read more
Though the audio is not the loudest here, what is really nice is the built-in microphone will pick up your voice very well so the person on the other end can hear you clearly.
The ergonomic design and lightweight nature of these help the comfort. The real problem, though, lies in the fact that they are very small.
In addition to the titanium build of these headphones, they are also rated with an IP55 waterproof grade which makes them resistant to rain and sweat.
Vidonn designed their model in the same nature as so many others as they included buttons on the side panel. With these, again, you can quickly make modifications on the fly.
Thanks to the power of the 180mAh lithium battery, you can enjoy up to six hours of continuous music or up to 240 hours on standby mode.
Granted you do not sport a large cranium, these should be an optimal choice for you. The built-in microphone and fancy design features make this a compelling choice for sure.
8. SWARK BLUETOOTH
Quick-access buttons make sound adjustments easier
The titanium alloy band is very durable
You will barely feel them when they are on
Some users have complained that they can move around a lot
Not the best microphone quality
Yep, this right here is another option that utilizes Bluetooth technology for its wireless protocol and this will not be problematic for most of you. The titanium alloy band, among other features, is also worth mentioning, though.Read more
Though not too many users have raved about the sound quality of these, a few have complimented the quality of the built-in microphone.
On the one hand, it will not even feel like these are on they are so light in weight. On the flipside, they do tend to move around if you are partaking in rigorous exercises.
Do not think that just because these are light in weight that they are cheaply built. The titanium band can withstand at least 15000 times bending which is very impressive, to say the least.
With the use of just one simple button and two volume keys, you are able to quickly hang up on incoming calls, adjust the volume and switch between songs (among other things).
When you compare the battery of this model to others, it does well. In fact, with a two-hour charge time and six-hour runtime, it is about what you expect for this technology.
What more could really be said here? If you summarize these headphones, you would have to say that they perfectly epitomize the greatness and also the limitations of this technology.
Sports Bluetooth 5.0 technology
Designed with titanium-nickel memory alloy
These are sweatproof
Not ideal for smaller heads
The sound quality is just not very good
Probably one of the hottest topics of this next model is that it supports Bluetooth 5.0 technology. While this may sound trivial to some of you, this is actually one of the latest versions of the wireless protocol. Of course, this excels in other areas, as well.Read more
Let’s just say these do not sound like AfterShokz models. The sound quality is limited and not that great and that is simply the reality of the situation.
If you have a smaller head, you may struggle to keep these stable. They seem better optimized for users with larger craniums.
No, these are not going to break very easily and this is thanks to the titanium-nickel memory alloy material that was utilized. Also, these are sweatproof.
Now, there is only one button integrated but it does serve multiple purposes. While it is not exactly complex to learn and operate, you may experience user error from time to time.
As mentioned, these are outfitted with Bluetooth 5.0 technology. In the world of Bluetooth, this is about as good as it gets.
For some of you, the allure of Bluetooth 5.0 is not going to be enough and that is fair. But, these really are a solid pair of bone conduction headphones overall.
10. MPOW CHEETAH
Compatible with almost all Bluetooth-enabled devices
Includes a 45-day money-back guarantee
The Bluetooth range is superb
The comfort has been criticized
Not the best sound clarity
Without question, this is one of the most popular options on the entire market. Some of you may say it is simply due to the price and while that does play a role, the quality is also solid.Read more
Implemented into these is aptX technology and this enhances the audio. In spite of this, however, the sound quality is what you would expect from headphones at this price range.
All in all, the comfort has not exactly been raved by previous users. Some of which have even gone out of their way to criticize the provided comfort.
The strong adhesion and shape memory of these bodes well when you need to store them away as they can roll up in a fixed shape, which is really nice.
Much like the last model, these do sport buttons for easier adjusting. However, they also take some time to get accustomed to as they perform multiple actions.
In addition to the eight hours of talk and play time, the Bluetooth reception of these has been celebrated by various reviewers.
Look, when you are in the market for any type of headphones, the price will play a role. While there are clearly superior options out there, for this price, few will complain.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
At the end of the day, these are headphones which means their sound quality is a top priority.
It was mentioned earlier and it really does need to be reiterated, bone conduction headphones simply can’t compete with standard models when it comes to sound quality. For the record, standard models will use air conduction to transfer audio and while this is not necessarily superior to bone conduction, it comes down to the manner in which they are designed. You see, standard designs will typically either be over-ear or on-ear. However, that is not the case with this type of technology as you will see open-ear headphones and this is the main reason why the sound quality is not as great. These simply are not designed to go in your ear and due to this, you are not receiving a truly direct transmission of sound.
However, that does not mean that certain models out there will not sport superior sound quality. And, when you look at AfterShokz, that becomes apparent very quickly. You see, what separates a brand like this is the fact that they implement specific technologies that allow their models to stand out. Two that immediately come to mind are Premium Pitch and LeakSlayer. The latter is really the more noteworthy of the two as a common problem with this type of technology is sound leakage. Well, LeakSlayer technology solves this issue, to an extent.
Quick question, do you really want to wear a pair of headhpones that are uncomfortable?
Now, as opposed to the last section that showed how inferior this type of technology is to other headphones, this section shows why it holds an advantage. Generally speaking, bone conduction headphones will offer superior comfort and it comes down to the manner in which they are designed. As they are open-ear designs, they do not technically fit in or on your ear and are more comfortable, as a result. Of course, their lightweight nature also helps with this. It is not uncommon for you to forget that you even have them on and even though it sounds outlandish, many previous reviewers have shared their experiences of such.
However, much like with the sound quality, this does not mean that each and every model on the market will offer the same amount of comfort. Instead, while all models will have the same properties as listed above, certain options may have unique features such as adjustable bands and additional cushioning materials. Either way, you slice it, you need to ensure the model you get fits you properly and is comfortable to wear.
Outside of the main materials, you also need to pay attention to any coatings that are present.
So, what are these headphones made out of anyway? Speaking for the band (which is the section that connects the two earbuds together), you will oftentimes see them made out of titanium. You are probably aware that titanium is a metal but do you know why it is such a popular material? For starters, as opposed to its steel counterpart, it is much, much lighter (40 percent lighter, as a matter of fact). At the same time, though, this metal does not sacrifice in other areas such as its strength and corrosion resistance. Speaking for the latter, this is one of the most highly touted properties of the entire metal.
Of course, outside of the main material, you will also want to look out for coatings. In specific, what is known as a nanocoating as this is basically going to provide a surface that is going to repel various particles (such as dirt and water). Oh, and speaking of which, this is a good time to discuss the IP rating. Better known as the International Protection Rating, this is used to classify how well a certain object resists both solids and liquids. The first number represents solids and the second liquids. And, the higher the number the more resistant the object is. For the record, the highest number the system goes to (for liquids) is eight.
The main thing here is that most models on the market will sport button controls for easier adjustments.
To be honest, when compared to other headphones that are oftentimes loaded with design features, it is safe to say that bone conduction models are pretty simple designs. In spite of this, however, one of the most important features that they often integrate is the use of controls. As you know, you can control almost everything with your connected device. However, sometimes, it is more convenient to simply press a corresponding button on the headphones themselves. Indeed, this is what you want to look for here.
Yet, it is not as simple as it sounds. First off, the buttons need to be placed practically. And, secondly, some models will only include one button and it will then be up to you to memorize the different functions that the button can perform. After all, most of the time, with the use of these buttons, you will be able to adjust the volume, switch between music tracks, and answer or hang up on phone calls. Oh, and speaking of which, if you do want to make calls, the model you pick needs to have a high-quality microphone built-in.
Since most options on the market will be wireless, you need to pay close attention to the battery life and wireless protocol.
As you noticed from this list, many top-end models out there are wireless. What this means is two huge factors come to mind. The first of which is the battery life and while this is pretty self-explanatory, there are a few things to point out. For the most part, the battery lives of these types of audio devices will range anywhere from 4 to 11 hours. However, this is when used continuously. Sellers will also typically inform you of how long their model can run on standby (and this merely kicks in after the device has been idle for too long, much like a computer). Do not get the two mixed up.
The second factor is the wireless protocol. Nine times out of 10 (and probably 10 times out of 10), this will be Bluetooth. And, even though Bluetooth is backwards compatible and included on nearly all smart devices, you may want to look for the latest version (it does get updated quite frequently) as this can deliver performance enhancements.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Are you starting to get the point that these types of sound devices can’t hang with others when it comes to their sound quality? Instead of beating the dead horse some more, let’s point out that even though this is true, there are still options out there that will offer superior sound clarity and crispness. Even still, though, you really should just set your expectations low here and work from there.
First and foremost, the most notable aspect of any pair of bone conduction headphones is how light they are. Just about every single model on the market will be this way but that does not mean that they all will be comfortable. Although this is a major factor in the overall comfort, it is far from the only one. After all, proper fitting and stability will also play vital roles.
As these types of devices are not your prototypical designs, it also means that they will not be made from the same cliché materials. In fact, one you see quite common is titanium (instead of steel or aluminum). Past this, as these are also generally optimized for athletes, you will also commonly see engineers apply special coatings to their headphones to make them sweatproof and also highly resistant to water.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How exactly does this technology work?
When you really break down how these devices work, it is incredibly fascinating. You see, bone conduction itself is a natural part of the hearing process as sound travels through the bones and eardrums at the same time. When this technology is implemented into headphones, what happens is sound will be produced with mini vibrations and it will travel through your cheekbones. All in the meanwhile, these vibrations completely bypass your eardrums.
q: Can these be worn with hearing aids?
This was something that was briefly alluded to at the beginning of this guide but it is a question that gets brought up quite a lot on the internet so buyers must be pondering it. Here is what is fantastic because not only can people with hearing aids use this type of audio device but this is actually one of the major reasons why one would. Of course, it also depends on what type of hearing aid you currently use because it may conflict with the band when you go to put it on.
q: What about with helmets on?
Again, as these headphones are great for physical activity, this may be a question that you have. As with hearing aids, it is going to be a piece of cake to wear any pair of these with a helmet on. It comes back to the manner in which they are designed as they will merely be resting around your neck and not on the top of your head. Due to this, there should be no conflictions or restrictions if you want to use them with hats, helmets, or any other type of headwear.
q: In general, what is the correct way to wear them?
For over-ear or on-ear models, it will basically be common sense when it comes to putting them on. On the flipside, these are a little different. As they will be designed to go in front of your ears, you actually will not place the earbuds in your ears. Instead, the looped sections will go above your ears comfortably. From there, the band needs to be behind your head. Now, if the band is adjustable then you can mess around with where you need it to ensure you achieve the most optimal fit possible.
q: Is it legal to drive with them on?
Wow, is this ever a loaded question? First off, understand that all states and countries have different laws and regulations so you should always check with your jurisdiction beforehand. In the United States, the laws vary when it comes to driving with headphones. Now, in theory, these types of sound devices do not inhibit your awareness very much as you will still be able to hear background noise. With that said, it is not a guarantee that a police officer will not pull you over with a pair of these on.
q: Can people with hearing loss enjoy them?
If you recall back to how bone conduction works, in the first place, then it should not surprise you to know that the answer to this question is yes. Remember, the sound is going to bypass the eardrums and, thus, users with hearing loss will still be able to enjoy the emitted sound. And, truth be told, hearing aids will not even be required for some users.