Bone conduction headphones, while around for quite some time, have just recently reached the consumer market.
With loads of various models available for purchase, picking out just the right pair isn’t that easy.
Luckily for you, we’ve come up with a simple and straightforward buying guide, aimed towards helping you to choose the best model for your needs!
Here is all the information summarized for those in a rush:
A Brief History Of Bone Conduction Headphones
Before this type of headphones reached mass production and you, the average consumer, this kind of technology was widely used for many different occasions.
Hearing aids using bone conduction have been around for about 40 years now. The way that these aids work makes hearing possible for people that have suffered damage to the middle ear.
Not only do the hearing aids utilize this kind of technology, but people that use these devices can use bone conduction headphones without any trouble.
Even Beethoven, who we all know had trouble with his hearing, used a similar “trick” in order to listen to the music he was making. He used to bite down a stick that was touching the piano and was able to hear the sounds to a certain degree.
Military application of bone conduction technology allowed soldiers to be fully aware of their surroundings while still being able to communicate with each other.
Athletes have utilized this type of headphones as well. Running, cycling, and other sports that include working out in urban areas where having a good sense of your surroundings is crucial benefit from bone conduction headphones.
Whether it’s being aware of the traffic around you, or simply the fact that you want to be able to easily communicate with people without having to take off your headphones, it was made possible with this kind of technology.
Even scuba divers have used them for around 20 years now, as they prove to be much more practical than regular headphones.
How Bone Conduction Headphones Work
In order to have a better understanding of how bone conduction headphones actually work, you first need to understand what sound is, and how we detect it.
Sound waves are captured by your earlobe. They are then channeled through the ear canal to the eardrum.
Different sounds are basically air pressure with varying pressure sensitivity and frequency.
Your eardrum vibrates at the same frequency and intensity as the sound you’re hearing and translates that vibration to the middle ear. Inside the middle ear, there are three small bones, that amplify the sound, or the vibrations.
The amplified vibrations are then sent to the inner ear, and the Cochlea, which is a fluid-filled hearing organ, translates that sensation to an electrical impulse, that is then sent to the brain.
Normal headphones stimulate your eardrums, and the sound is conveyed the way that we’ve just described.
Bone conduction headphones, however, bypass the eardrums. Vibrations are sent directly to the 3 small bones in your middle ear, via the temporal bones of your skull, and are picked up by your Cochlea.
So basically, this allows you to hear the audio you’re playing via the headphones, as well as the sounds you normally hear around you.
As most people with impaired hearing suffer from eardrum damage, bone conduction headphones come in as pretty handy as they simply bypass this part of their hearing apparatus.
Many people are surprised or even scared when they hear about bone conduction headphones. However, they are simply a sort of a shortcut that sound, or vibrations, take in their path from the outside to your brain. See the video below for a good demonstration.
Why You Need Them
Okay, all that sounds cool, but why should you get a pair of bone conduction headphones?
Improved Situational Awareness
With no actual speakers going into or over your ears, you will be able to hear everything that’s going on around you.
However, if you’re like me, and rarely go outside without a pair of earbuds securely inside your ears, it kind of defeats the purpose.
There’s nothing I hate more than having to listen to all those people talking on the bus.
Although being able to completely zone out can be pretty relaxing, it’s also very dangerous.
Some countries even make crossing the street while using your headphones illegal, and it can land you a ticket.
Improved situational awareness is at the end of the day, more important than not having to listen to chatter around you.
Whether you’re on a bike, walking down busy streets, or simply doing anything outside, bone conduction headphones allow you to stay safe and listen to your favorite tunes at the same time.
Say Goodbye To Sore and Itchy Ears
Using regular headphones and earbuds for prolonged periods of time can be pretty uncomfortable.
As bone conduction headphones gently rest somewhere around your ears, you will hardly even notice they are there.
You can easily wear them for the whole day without straining your ears. They are also the best headphones for people with tinnitus.
Give Your Everyday Life A Unique Soundtrack
I’ve always wondered how it would feel if I could have a soundtrack playing in the background each time I had a nice time with my friends, or simply walking through the woods.
Bone conduction headphones add a nice layer of music in the background, adding to already beautiful moments. It’s an experience you just have to try out.
Features To Look For In Bone Conduction Headphones
As with any pair of new headphones you’re looking to buy, your top priority should be sound quality.
However, as this type of headphones uses a different kind of technology than standard ones, you should note that you can’t expect the same audio quality.
The music is going to be noticeably quieter, and the fact that you are able to hear your surroundings greatly affects the experience.
A good, snug fit is important to keep the headphones on your head at all times.
Integrated controls and microphone may not be crucial, but can come in as pretty handy.
Battery life is probably one of the most important features to look for when buying any kind of wireless device, and bone conduction headphones are no exception.
Solid build quality makes the headphones last longer, especially if you plan on using them while working out.
Reviews Of My Favorite Bone Conduction Headphones
1. Bamett Bone Conduction Headphones
- Pretty cheap
- Great for people with hearing loss
- plus-circleSeparate channel volume controls
- plus-circleAux input for other devices
- Flimsy build
- minus-circleThe cables aren’t the same length
Starting out with what’s probably the cheapest option on the market, we have the Bamett bone conduction headphones.
These are primarily designed for people that have tinnitus or other types of hearing loss.
Unlike most other models on this list, the band actually goes over the top of your head instead of the back. The two pads feel pretty
comfortable, however, there is no real option for adjusting the pressure on your head, as there is only a simple metal band connecting the pads.
Goes over the top of your head instead of around the back!
On the end of the cables, there is a receiver unit, with a microphone that picks up surrounding noise. This is quite helpful for people that either can’t hear really well.
The two volume wheels control separate volume levels for the left and right channel, and there is an aux input for listening to music, the TV, laptop, or any other 3.5mm compliant device.
Bottom Line: Whether you need this kind of device in order to hear better or want to try out the general idea of bone conduction headphones, this model is an inexpensive way of doing so.
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2. Bamett Bone Conduction Headphones
- Good fit
- Sound could be better
- minus-circleThe control box positioning feels a bit awkward
At number 2, we have a great pair of headphones coming from a company called Smart for Life. For just under $50, this model offers a bunch of useful features, as well as a very sturdy build.
Rocking a pretty elastic material for the headband means that these headphones should fit nicely, no matter the size or shape of your head.
The actual sound that these provide is pretty average, but you can’t really expect much from a pair of bone conduction headphones at this price point. With around 6h of playback time, the battery should last you a day or two without any problems.
Only has 6 hours of battery life.
As they are marketed as sports headphones, they are also sweat-proof and can take quite a beating. There is even a handy reflective surface on the back, so you can easily be spotted if you go running at night.
A small wired control box is located on the left, which houses a microphone for taking calls, and volume/playback buttons. The box can be easily clipped on your shirt, so it doesn’t get in the way.
Bottom Line: Given the low price tag, this model is great for anyone that’s curious about this type of headphones and wants to give them a go.
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3. Oannao Bone Conduction Headphones
- Very comfortable, tight fit
- Noticeably better audio than the previous model
- plus-circleGood button positioning
- Only 5 hours of battery life
Stylish and pretty effective, the Oannao bone conduction headphones feature a well thought-out design and feel pretty comfortable as well.
The headband, or better put, the neckband, has an additional retractable band that makes for a good and tight fit ensuring that the headphones don’t fall off and that they are positioned correctly at all times.
Great fit and sound quality. Only downside is the 5-hours of battery life.
This model offers around 5 hours of playback time, a bit less than the previous one. However, the audio quality is noticeably better, with much more detail and fidelity.
The controls are located on the pads, with your standard playback and volume controls. A built-in mic allows you to answer calls, and pairing these headphones with your phone is pretty straightforward.
Bottom Line: The Oannao bone conduction headphones offer a very comfortable listening experience while allowing you to be aware of your surroundings.
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4. Oannao Bone Conduction Headphones
- Better sounding audio
- Good battery life
- plus-circleImproved Bluetooth connectivity
- May not always be loud enough
- minus-circleCheap feeling band, won’t fit everyone
At number 4, we have the HLQING bone conduction headphones.
Sporting a design similar to the models we’ve mentioned, these headphones also wrap around the back of your head. However, the plastic band feels kind of cheap and doesn’t provide as tight of a fit.
The good thing about this model is that it is rated as both sweat- and moisture- resistant, making it ideal for outdoor sports and workout sessions.
Just make sure to take good care of them, as they are fragile and the plastic band can break.
Potential fit issues.
While there definitely is more bass and treble present, the volume levels these can achieve aren’t always high enough. In circumstances when the surrounding noise is too loud, they can’t seem to overpower it.
Bluetooth connectivity and battery life are definitely better, with around 8 hours of playback time and a 30ft range.
The volume controls are integrated into the band, and the play/pause and call answering buttons are on the right and left bud.
Bottom Line: So, if you value audio quality and battery life over build quality and volume, definitely consider getting the HLQING bone conduction headphones.
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5. Vidonn F1 Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headset
- Attractive design
- Pretty comfortable to wear
- plus-circleGreat for runners and cyclists
- plus-circleAbove average audio
- Probably won’t fit everyone’s head size
While Vidonn may not be a well-known brand, their F1 bone conduction headphones are certainly worth trying out.
The sleek design of these headphones caters to the needs of runners and cyclists. The build quality is pretty good, considering the fact that the band utilizes a Titanium alloy, ensuring flexibility and durability while being lightweight at the same time.
Great for runners and cyclists.
Sound-wise, the F1s are noticeably better than most other bone conduction headphones in this price range. The whole frequency range sounds quite natural, with even the bass showing up to a certain extent.
With 2 hours of charging you get around 6 hours of playback time, which should be enough for most users.
As these headphones are IP55 water-resistant, you won’t have to worry about sweat or even rain while using them.
Bottom Line: If you like listening to music while you work out, but still want to be aware of your surroundings, the Vidonn bone conduction headphones are a great option you should definitely consider.
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6. Kissral Bone Conduction Headphones
- Convenient foldable design
- Integrated playback controls
- plus-circleMic for taking calls
- plus-circleSweat/water- resistant
- Audio quality is only average
- minus-circle4 hours of battery life
The Kissral bone conduction headphones are probably the most sleek-looking headphones in this category. Great for both exercising and casual listening, for just around $70, they’re practically a steal.
This model sports a similar design to the model we’ve mentioned at number 2. The slim elastic band wraps around the back of your head to ensure a good fit. What’s great about the Kissral headphones is that they can be folded up for easy transport.
The sound is well, mediocre, average at best. It seems that you have to spend a bit more than this in order to get good audio.
Great design, unfortunately only 4-hours of battery life.
The 110 mAh battery provides around 4 hours of playback time but can be charged fairly quickly. Tracking the battery level is made easier as it’s visible on your phone when it’s paired with the headphones.
This model is water- and sweat-resistant as well, although I wouldn’t recommend using it under heavy rain or similar circumstances.
Bottom Line: The Kissral bone conduction headphones while average- sounding, are pretty convenient and durable. Definitely consider this model as your next pair of workout headphones.
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7. longee Bone Conduction Headphones
- Noticeably more comfortable
- Above average audio quality
- plus-circleConnects to 2 devices simultaneously
- The buttons require too much pressure to be actually activated
Iongee bone conduction headphones combine an attractive design, above- average audio quality, and pretty durable build.
The elastic neckband not only makes the headphones feel comfortable on your head, but makes storing them pretty easy. It’s practically impossible to break.
The earpiece while definitely a bit bigger than expected, grabs onto the head with enough force to secure a good fit without feeling uncomfortable. The controls are placed on the part that’s right behind your earlobe, so pressing the right button does take getting used to.
A comfortable set of headphones with decent audio quality.
The larger earpiece noticeably contributes to the audio quality. There’s more detail and a wider frequency range, even in situations when the surrounding noise is loud.
Iongee bone conduction headphones support multipoint connection, meaning you can listen to music from one audio source, and still be able to take calls from your smartphone.
With the battery lasting around 4 hours, it probably won’t cater to the needs of power users, but should be able to last a whole day of casual music listening.
Bottom Line: All that being said, the Iongee bone conduction headphones are definitely worth the extra 20-ish bucks spent when compared to the previously mentioned models.
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8. Aftershokz Bluez 2S
- Solid build quality
- Above average audio quality
- plus-circleMuch more bass
- plus-circle6 hours of battery life
- plus-circleIPX5 certified
- Won’t fit everyone
The Bluez 2S are headphones coming from Aftershokz, a brand that specializes in making bone conduction headphones.
Unlike the models we’ve mentioned so far, you can expect much more in terms of both the sound and build quality from this model.
The plastic band feels much less fragile, but personally, I find that the elastic bands provide a much more secure fit. Nonetheless, the Bluez 2S tend to stay in place no matter how vigorously you might move your head.
You can immediately tell the audio quality is at a higher level. Aftershokz utilizes their unique PremiumPitch+ technology to deliver more bass and a more dynamic listening experience.
One of the top headphones in terms of build and audio quality.
Without actual sound isolation, achieving a good, deep, low end isn’t easy. When compared to most other bone conduction headphones in this price range, the Bluez 2S definitely sound the best.
This model is IP55 certified as well, meaning you can easily take it running without worrying about them getting wet, even in heavy rain conditions.
Bottom Line: The Bluez 2S by Aftershokz offer a much more enjoyable experience than most of the budget models we’ve mentioned so far. Definitely worth the extra money spent.
- Bone conduction technology uses vibrations to transmit sound waves directly to the cochlea. Connectivity Technology: Wireless
- Open Fit assures unmatched ambient sound awareness and extended comfort
9. Aftershokz Trekz Titanium
- Improved build quality
- Multipoint pairing support
- plus-circleStandard Aftershokz audio quality
- Won’t fit everyone
At number 9, we have another great model coming from Aftershokz. The Trekz Titanium offers some additional features meant to provide you with an even more comfortable and premium experience.
So, what are the main differences?
Well, first of all, the Trekz Titanium have a titanium band coated with silicone, making them much stronger, as well as a bit lighter. You can flex and bend them all day, and they won’t snap.
This model focuses more on the athletes and people who enjoy listening to music while working out.
Best build quality on the market.
Other differences include the fact that the Trekz feature multipoint pairing, so you can listen to music from one source, and take calls from your smartphone at the same time. This is achieved by utilizing Bluetooth 4.1, while the Bluez 2S use Bluetooth 3.1.
Sound-wise, the experience is pretty much the same. More bass, higher fidelity audio. If you had trouble with getting a good fit with the Bluez, the Trekz should feel more comfortable, and provide a better low end due to the tighter fit.
Bottom Line: If you’re all about working out and leading an active lifestyle, the Trekz by Aftershokz are definitely a good option you should consider.
- BONE CONDUCTION TECHNOLOGY - Our bone conduction technology and OpenFit design delivers music through your cheekbones, ensuring your ears remain completely open to ambient sounds for maximum situational awareness during long-term wear.
- BLUETOOTH CONNECTIVITY - Modern wireless headphones with Bluetooth v4.1 connectivity and convenient multipoint pairing compatible with your iOS and Android Bluetooth-ready smartphones or tablets and Mac and PC computers and laptops.
10. KSCAT Open-ear Bone Conduction Headphones
- Attractive design
- Good audio quality
- plus-circleDecent battery life
- Could be more comfortable
And finally, at number 10, we have a model coming from KSCAT. They have been known for making some of the best sounding budget wireless earbuds on the market.
How do their bone conduction headphones compare to the competition?
Starting with the design, these are probably the best-looking bone conduction headphones that we’ve covered in this review.
The band features an additional rubber strap that’s adjustable to different sizes. While it will ensure a good fit in most cases, it can be a bit uncomfortable, especially if you have short hair or are bald.
Great looking design.
As all of the controls are located in the back, reaching them definitely takes some getting used to. It would be much easier if at least the volume controls were located on one side.
While the audio quality isn’t as good as on the Aftershokz, it’s still pretty good. Definitely better than the Iongee ones.
Multipoint pairing is supported as well, and the battery is rated at just under 6 hours.
Bottom Line: All things considered, the KSCAT bone conduction headphones definitely offer better sound quality than most other models in this price range. If you don’t mind the positioning of the controls and the quirky headband, these are a great option.
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