Bone conduction headphones are really trending at the moment and for good reason too. There are several advantages to using bone conduction headphones over regular headphones.
With bone conduction, the sound vibrations are sent through the listener’s cheekbones and received directly by the ear’s cochlea, completely bypassing the eardrum. This open ear design means you don’t have to plug anything into your ears, or cover your ears.
This means that while you're listening to music (or podcasts or audiobooks) your ears are still free to pick up all the other sounds in your current environment, all the while getting high quality sound. They’re also completely wireless, so you can go about your business tangle free.
Many runners and joggers swear by them. If you’re working out outdoors in a town or city, it’s imperative that you hear the traffic noises for example. And they’re also popular with office workers too, they can be listening to music as they work, but when the phone rings, they hear it and can answer the call.
You can wear them with your hair up or with a hat or helmet on.
We’ve been checking out some of the best bone conduction headphones that are out on the market today, and we’ve handpicked our Top 5 for you to check out. That’s coming up shortly. And after that we also have a handy buying guide for you which runs through everything you might want to think about before you buy.
Top 5 Bone Conduction Headphones
OUR TOP PICK
These beauties from Aftershokz have been flying off the shelves at Amazon. After well over 5,800 individual customer ratings, the average Amazon customer rating comes in at a whopping 4 and a half stars out of 5, with more than half of the customers giving it 5 stars.
The AfterShokz brand is dominating the Bone Conduction Headphones market at the moment and has been almost around their start in 2012, and their technology and products have been improving ever since.
With these headphones you truly get a premium listening experience. Their Premium Pitch technology can deliver a wide dynamic range and a gorgeous rich bass. And there’s also technology built in to reduce sound leakage.
It’s bluetooth connectivity means you can pair it up with bluetooth devices across the board, whether they be an iPhone or iPad, or an Android phone or tablet, and of course PCs, laptops and Macs.
They’re designed with comfort in mind, and are super lightweight, coming in at a mere 1.27 ounces. And they have a little flexibility in them for taking them on and off.
Their battery life is fantastic, coming in at 6 hours on a full charge - that’s more than enough to last for both your morning and evening run, plus your commute besides.
And the other thing we love about them is that they are water resistant to the IP55 level. This means that not only can they handle your work out sweat, but you can also keep wearing them on your run when it starts to rain.
This is the only model of bone conduction headphones that has made the list of Amazon’s best sellers under the headphones category.
Flying off the shelves
Good, well established brand
Great listening experience
Pair it up with any bluetooth device
Comfortable to wear
Excellent battery life
Sweat resistant at IP55
Not a good fit for people with large heads
This is AfterShokz’s newer models in their line.
It has all the advantages of the previous models, but with it’s additional technology, it comes at a higher cost price, over $100.
In this model they’ve tried to better accommodate people with larger heads, but in doing so they’ve made them a little big for people with smaller heads.
The listening experience is very good though, with a wide dynamic range available at frequencies from 20 Hz to about 20,000 Hz. And the bass is nice and rich.
You can hook it up to any bluetooth enabled device you happen to have, so in conjunction with its built in dual noise cancelling microphone, you can use it for taking calls as well as listening to music, podcasts and audiobooks.
Like the previous models, there’s also a sweat proof rating of IP55, and it will run for 6 hours on a full charge. And this model is quick to charge up, taking a mere 2 hours.
Being a newer model hasn't seen as many sales as the previous ones, but there’s still well over 1000 via Amazon alone. And customer feedback has been pretty impressive, with over two thirds of it’s Amazon customers scoring it at 5 stars out of 5.
Newer model from the brand
Impressive customer feedback
Great listening experience
Good for those with larger heads
Built in microphone
Good battery life
Quick to charge up
You might find them sliding if you have a small head
This is AfterShokz most recent bone conduction headphone. And despite being twice the cost price of their Titanium model, it has seen a heck of a lot of sales, even though it’s only been made available from summer 2019.
It’s been positively flying off the shelves at Amazon, and the customers are more often than not providing really positive feedback. After well over 3,000 individual customer ratings, the about three quarters of customers rated it at 5 stars out of 5.
You get a similar listening experience as you would have with the previous models, but you also get to enjoy a louder volume (but not so loud you cannot hear other things around you). And you get 50% less sound leakage.
It also sports a significantly longer battery life. Coming in at a very long 8 hours, it’s long enough to listen to a whole audiobook in some cases. It takes just 2 hours to charge, and on standby mode it won’t run out for 10 whole days.
It’s also Aftershokz lightest bone conduction headphone to date, weighing less than an ounce (just 26 grams to be specific), so you barely feel them.
The other thing that makes them stand out against previous models is it’s even higher IP rating of IP67. Safe enough to wear in heavy rain, or at the poolside (but not in the pool unfortunately).
If money were no object, we would have made this baby our Number 1 pick.
Newest model from a top brand
Flying off the shelves
Really positive feedback
Great listening experience
50% less sound leakage
Really long battery life
Quick to charge up
Very high waterproof rating
Premium product at a premium price
These are some great bone conduction headphones from Qianxiang.
They don’t cost as much money as the top brand counterparts, but you still get plenty of bang for your buck.
And actually, it has some qualities that are lacking in the Aftershokz model earlier in our review.
It’s designed well, with a titanium alloy steel headband sleeved in silicone. This way it reduces sound leakage, and is super comfy to boot.
And there’s also a noise cancellation function when you’re using the built in microphone, which is missing in other products on the market.
We like that there are physical buttons to either switch on and off or turn the volume up or down. Nice feature.
It’s sweat and water resistant, with an IP rating of IP56, so it will stand up to a bit of light rain.
The battery life isn’t quite as good as the bigger brand counterparts, but is still pretty decent coming in at a generous 4 hours. But when on standby the battery lasts for over 2 weeks.
At the time of writing the product’s Amazon page had seen about 100 customer ratings, with the average customer rating coming in at an impressive 4 and a half stars out of a possible 5. Way more than half the customers scored it at 5 out of 5.
And to top it off, there’s a 3 year warranty available.
- Excellent price point
- reduces sound leakage
- super comfortable
- noise cancellation function
- Volume buttons
- IP rating of IP56
- Great customer feedback
- 3 year warranty
- Relatively short battery life
For those of our readers who have to be more budget conscious, these bone conduction headphones from Tayogo are a great choice. Coming in at under $40 dollars, it’s under half the asking price of our Number 1 pick from the top brand.
In addition, this model uses the latest bluetooth 5.0 technology and you can be up to a whopping 35 feet away from your compatible bluetooth device for them to work.
With regards to the listening experience, you get nice deep bass, a relatively loud (but not too loud) volume, and less vibration.
The headband is a durable titanium deal, and despite being so lightweight and flexible, they won’t drop down. It’s a secure, comfy and ergonomic fit.
It offers 8 long hours of battery life, so you could catch up on all the week’s podcasts in just one sitting.
It’s safe to wear in light or heavy rain, or if you’re getting a sweat on during your run, since it has an IP rating of IP65.
You might imagine that being from a lesser known brand, that the warranty won’t be as good. However that’s not the case with these babies. You get a full 12 month warranty, and their customer service is actually pretty good too.
- Excellent price point
- Great bluetooth connectivity
- Good comfy and secure fit
- Long battery life
- IP rating of IP65
- Mostly positive reviews
- 12 month warranty
- They could do with being a bit louder if you ask us
So, now that we’ve shown you our favorite bone conduction headphones that are out on the market today, let’s go over the ways that they differ. By the end of the buying guide, you should have a clearer picture of what exactly you want, and be well placed to decide which model would be the best for you.
The whole idea of bone conduction is that whatever you’re listening to with them, you should also be able to hear all the other noises around. It’s an excellent safety feature not to be overlooked. All of the headphones in our Top 5 work like this.
As for the main listening experience, that comes down to personal taste. Whilst all the products in our Top 5 offer excellent sound quality, some are louder than others. The quietest is our Number 5 pick, the Tayogo headphones, while the loudest is our Number 3 pick, the AfterShokz Aeropex.
If deep bass is your bag, you might like to check out any of the 3 AfterShokz models we’ve shown you earlier, or our Number 5 pick, the Tayogo headphones.
Comfort is an essential aspect of your headphones, especially if you want to wear them for several hours at a time. First off you will need the right size for your head.
If you have a large head, our Number 2 pick, the AfterShokz Air would be a good choice for you. Or if you have a relatively small head, our Number 1 pick, the AfterShokz Titanium would be a good pick.
Other than that, we believe that all of the Top 5 picks offer excellent comfort, and you can wear any of them with a baseball cap on or a cycle helmet, or with your hair in a nice updo.
Most bone conduction headphones have a decent battery life. But if you’re anything like me and you forget to pack all of your chargers when you go on a trip, then a good battery life can really come in handy.
All of the products in our Top 5 have at least 4 hours of battery life on a full charge, but a couple of them have a battery life of an impressive 8 hours. These are the Number 3 pick, the AfterShokz Aeropex, and the Number 5 pick, the Tayogo open-ear with bluetooth.
One of the things that makes bone conduction technology so popular, is that they can be worn by runners and joggers and cyclists who need to be able to hear any traffic noises around them as they work out.
This means that they need to be able to be both sweat resistant and water resistant, should the wearer run into any rain on their route.
Water resistance and water proofing is best judged by the IP rating, where higher numbers correspond to greater resistance. If you intend to use your headphones where it might rain, or during a sweaty workout, then we recommend that you go opt for a model with an IP rating of at least IP55.
Out of our Top 5 picks, the one with the best waterproofing is the Number 3 pick, the AfterShokz Aeropex which boasts an IP rating of IP67. You could even get away with wearing it at the poolside.
In our view the best brand for bone conduction is AfterShokz, which is why they make up two fifths of our Top 5 picks. They’re dominating the market for a reason, beating many other brands, like Sony and Panasonic for example. AfterShokz offer the best possible quality, and what we would argue is a reasonable price.
Which brings us nicely onto our next section.
The cheapest bone conduction headphones that are out on the market today start at about $30. But the more money you’re prepared to part with, the better quality and functionality you can expect. If you want to get a good pair from a reputable brand you can expect to pay $70 if not more.
If you’re particularly budget conscious, then the cheapest of our Top 5 picks is Number 5, the Tayogo open ear wireless. They’re available for under $35 and they’re eligible for free shipping!