(Last Updated On: September 16, 2019)

Imagine being able to experience sound through the vibrations in the bones of your jaw and cheeks. The sound waves bypass both the outer and middle ear, but their stimulating effects go directly to your inner ear using your bones as a conductive current.

The entire process might sound a little bit too sci-fi to be a reality, but the technology has been around for over a decade. Bone conduction headphones are widely used by individuals suffering hearing loss, during scuba diving, as an essential form of military communications, and while performing certain sports such as running and cycling.

ModelIPCWeight (g)Battery Life (hrs)Inline Controls 
AfterShokz Trekz AirIP55306YBuy
Genso's Bone Conduction HeadphonesIP55355NBuy
Vidonn F1 TitaniumIP55386YBuy
Pyle PSWBT550 Budget PickIPX6406YBuy
SIUSUMFO Bluetooth Bone Conduction HeadphonesIP56354YBuy
AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Runner-upIP55366YBuy
AfterShokz Trekz Titanium MiniIP55366YBuy
Beker Waterproof MP3 PlayerIPX8358YBuy
AfterShokz Xtrainerz Editor's PickIP68308YBuy

How Bone Conduction Headphones Work

Most people are familiar with standard headphones and know extraordinarily little about bone induction headphones. The key to understanding bone conduction headphones is to familiarize yourself with how sound travel into our inner ear (cochlea).

Sound Travel via Air

From khanacademy

Most sounds are conducted through the air. The sound wave travels from the sound source through the air to your outer ear, down to your middle ear and finally to your cochlea. Once in the cochlea, the sound is processed into a signal that is sent to your brain.

Sound Travel via Facial Bones

With conduction headphones, the music is conducted on a much shorter path through the bones of your face and directly to the inner ear. However, to be effective, the source of the sound vibrations, such as the conduction headphones, must sit straight on your head to effectively transmit the waves to your bones. Individuals who have suffered damage to the outer and middle ear greatly benefit from conduction bone headphones.

5 Factors to Consider When Buying Conduction Headphones

(Click on the title to expand)

All brands of conduction headphones look remarkably similar with a neckband that goes across your neck and two earpieces that sit just in front of your ears on your temporal bones.

However, even though they all look similar, they do not all necessarily fit the same. Ideally, the headphones should fit comfortably on your face. Also, silicone designs tend to be more comfortable than those manufactured out of plastic.

Construction quality matters a great deal if you are purchasing the conduction headphones to wear during sports.

Also, you may want to consider buying a splash resistant pair with at least an IPX5 rating if you are wearing them for sports purposes.

Wires are often a big hassle during sports. They get in the way and become wrapped around things. If you want to purchase wireless headphones, then always consider battery life and connectivity.

You should pay attention to the connection range and the Bluetooth signal quality. Typically, most people are happy with a pair of headphones that offer at least four hours of listening power.

Bone conduction headphones are never going to render the sound quality of traditional headphones. Overall, the music will often lack clarity. However, conduction headphones are ideal for podcasts.

Also, individuals who suffer hearing impairments typically find conduction headphones to be ideal compared to people who have normal hearing and often feel disappointed with the quality.

Many people mistakenly assume that bone conduction headphones do not leak sound because they think that no sound is truly produced, only vibrations.

However, they leak as much sound like a pair of open-back headphones. If someone is standing right next to you, then they are going to be able to hear whatever you hear.


9 Best Bone Conduction Headphones

All bone conduction headphones picked on this list are wireless.

1. AfterShokz Trekz Air

Key Features

  • 20% lighter than previous AfterShokz models (30g)
  • Reasonably good sound quality with AfterShokz’s PremiumPitch Plus
  • 6 hours of continuous playback
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Able to pair with multiple devices
  • Compatible with PC, MAC, Android, iOS
  • IP55 – Sweat, dust and moisture proof

AfterShokz is a leading brand in bone conduction headphones. They were the first to work with the United States military to design behind-the-ear headsets for the military. The headsets allowed the soldiers to remain aware of all sounds around them while being able to transmit wirelessly. Their AfterShokz Trekz Air features an open design that allows you to easily hear what is going on around you without detracting from the sound quality produced by the headphones.

Lightweight and Comfortable Design

The headphones are 20 percent lighter than other AfterShokz headphone models (Trekz Titanium, Trekz Titanium Air) that you see on the list. They achieve that by using titanium as much as possible through the headphone.

The Trekz Air is also flexible to bend hence, it lets you easily wear this model all day. Also, the wrap-around design fits securely for optimum stability.

PremiumPitch Technology

When it comes to sound quality, you must set your expectation lower. It is nothing compared to open-back or closed-back headphones. But relatively speaking, Aftershokz do have one of the best sound quality in the bone conduction market.

This is due to their proprietary sound technology – PremiumPitch Plus. It has been designed by AfterShockz to create the best possible pitch for music. The range is suitable not only for music, but also for voice so you receive clear and more concise sound.

Bluetooth 4.2

Although it does not have the latest Bluetooth version (v5) like some of the other headphones in the list, do not be fooled. The Trekz Air holds great connection quality and the best part of it – it supports multipoint pairing.

You can pair it with multiple devices at the same time. You could be playing songs from iPhone and then switch the control over to your computer without needing to unpair devices. This is super convenient for people whose music listening habits spread across several devices.

It is compatible for use with your iOS and Android Bluetooth-ready smartphones or tablets or Mac and PC computers and laptops.

Extended Music Play

With the AfterShokz Trekz Air, you can listen to up to 6 hours of continuous music or make calls on a single charge. 20 days of standby time. The headphones charge in two hours and will hold a single charge for 20 days of standby time.

Sweat, Moisture and Dustproof

The Trekz Air is a perfect workout headphones. With a IP Code of IP55, it is proven to be able to protect itself from sweat and moisture, it is also designed to be dust proof.

Drawback

Despite having the total package for a bone conduction headphones, there is one drawback of the Trekz Air – the price point. It is the most expensive bone conduction headphones on the list. It is almost feature parity with the Trekz Titanium but you pay an additional $50 more to get a 20% lighter Trekz Air.

Buy AfterShokz Trekz Air on Amazon

2. Genso’s Bone Conduction Headphone

Key Features

  • IP55 (Waterproof and sweatproof)
  • Lightweight design
  • Ergonomic design creates a comfortable slip-proof fit
  • Modern Bluetooth V5.0 technology for fast pairing and file transfer

Nothing is more frustrating than taking a long jog or bike ride but halfway through the activity your music ceases to play because your battery has run out of juice. However, with the Genso’s Bone Conduction Headphones Bluetooth you don’t have to worry about the batteries failing. The headphones features a built-in 200mAh lithium battery that charges in as little as two hours. The standby time is 10 days and the play time around 10 hours.

Rugged Design

These headphones are made for outdoor or indoor sports use. The IP55 waterproof rating makes the headphones resistant to light rain and able to stand up to sweat. The headphones are lightweight but highly durable with a comfortable fit.

Bluetooth V5.0 Technology

Like other headphones, the Genso’s bone conduction headphones are truly wireless, so you don’t have to worry about hassling with the wires. The modern Bluetooth V5.0V technology provides a fast pairing, stable connections plus a 33-foot signal transmission, and extremely fast file transfer.

Drawback

One major drawback to Genso is that their microphone appears to lack quality sound during phone calls.

Buy Genso’s  on Amazon

3. Vidonn F1 Titanium

Key Features

  • Titanium wrap-around design holds the headphones firmly in place
  • Large 180mAh Lithium battery for extended battery life
  • CVC noise canceling for voice call

If you are hardcore sports and workout enthusiasts then you want your headphones to stay in place when doing squats, sit-ups, or hitting the elliptical machine.The Vidonn F1 Titanium Sports Headset has an ergonomic and anti-drop design for the true sports enthusiast. The titanium wraparound design fits comfortably and stands up to hard use.

Noise Canceling

The CVC noise canceling lets you easily hear the headphone’s sounds while still benefiting from having your ears open for safety. The audio and music sounds crisp and clear for your listening enjoyment.

Sound Quality and Clarity

These headphones have a CSR Bluetooth audio scheme that restores HiFi sound. The connectivity boasts great sound quality and clarity for up to 10 meters.

Long Battery Life

The 180mAh Lithium battery with 2 hours recharge lets you talk or listen to music continuously for up to six hours. This is an exceptional battery life.

Drawback

The design of the Vidonn F1 headphones is ideal for some head shapes but other individuals often report that the device simply does not conform comfortably to their heads. Also, there have been complaints about the bass not sounding robust.

Buy Vidonn F1 on Amazon

4. Pyle PSWBT550

Key Features

  • Waterproof rated and weather-resistant design with IP-X6 rating
  • Comfortable and lightweight design for sports enthusiasts
  • Side panel touch button controls

A premium fit is important with a pair of headphones because you don’t want them to slip or slide on your head. The comfortable wrap around, waterproof design makes the Pyle PSWBT550 ideal for sports enthusiasts. The design helps hold the headphones in place.

Side Panel Touch Button Controls for Ease of Operation

The convenient side panel touch button controls let you handle things while on the go such as sound quality, volume, and microphone control.

LED Lighting for Simple and Hassle Free Connectivity

You’ll enjoy hands free-talking ability with the Bluetooth features. The built-in microphone lets you easily answer calls on the go. The pairing work with all modern technology with features that are simple and hassle-free.The LED light lets you know when the pairing has successfully taken place.

Fast Charging Time

There is a built-in rechargeable battery with an LED indicator light. The battery takes approximately four hours to reach a full charge.

Drawback

The headphone’s design is waterproof and weather resistant. However, it does lack the ability to adjust for various headsizes.

Buy Pyle PSWBT550 on Amazon

5. SIUSUMFO Bluetooth Bone Conduction Headphones

Key Features

  • Lightweight at only 35g
  • Long battery life of up to 4 hours of continuous use
  • Hi-fi stereo sound
  • IPX56 waterproof design
  • Modern V5.0 Bluetooth for fast pairing and file transfer

Working out is messy business. You sweat excessively and if your headphones are not waterproof then they can suffer damage. The Bone Conduction Headphones by SIUSUMFO are both waterproof and sweatproof so you can easily take them on a run or use them while working out.

Long Battery Life

With a long battery life of up to four hours, you don’t have worry about running out of battery life halfway through your workout.

Bluetooth V5.0 for Fast Pairing and File Transfer

Offers the latest Bluetooth V5.0 and EDR chip for superb high fidelity sound. The headphones pair with smartphones and other Bluetooth devices. They also provide fast file transfer. You can use them to listen to music, movies, or to make calls. With a built-in microphone, listeners can hear your voice with crisp sound.

Drawback

Users have reported a lack of tech support when needed and the included manual is often hard to decipher.

Buy SIUSUMFO Bone Conduction Headphones on Amazon

6. AfterShokz Trekz Titanium

Key Features

  • Reasonably Good sound quality with AfterShokz’s PremiumPitch Plus
  • 6 hours of continuous playback
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Able to pair with multiple devices
  • Compatible with PC, MAC, Android, iOS
  • IP55 – Sweat, dust and moisture proof

Like mentioned before, the Trekz Titanium has almost the same feature set as the AfterShokz Trekz Air but with two differences

  1. The Trekz Air is lighter by 20%.
  2. Trekz Titanium’s Bluetooth version is v4.1 instead of v4.2

Even though the version is lagging behind by 0.1, the connection and sound quality doesn’t seem to differ much.

More Affordable than Trekz Air

But Trekz Titanium has one advantage over the Trekz Air, it is much more affordable at a sub $100 range. For a 20% weight difference, the $50 price difference can mean a lot to price-conscious consumers.

Drawback

Probably due to the added weight, there are some users whom have complained that the headphones do not fit their heads tightly enough and slip off.

Buy AfterShokz Trekz Titanium on Amazon

7. Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Mini

Key Features

  • Reasonably Good sound quality with AfterShokz’s PremiumPitch Plus
  • 6 hours of continuous playback
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Able to pair with multiple devices
  • Compatible with PC, MAC, Android, iOS
  • IP55 – Sweat, dust and moisture proof
  • Suitable for smaller heads due to short headband

The Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Mini is the exact same model of the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium and share all the goodness that the latter has. But with one difference. As the name imply, it is a “mini” version of it.

You might think it is lighter, but the surprising thing about it is that it is actually the same weight as the non-mini version (For a lighter version, you can check out the Trekz Air). So where does the “mini” comes from, you say?

The headband.

Shorter Headband

In fact, the headband is one inch shorter than the headband on Trekz Titanium. In case you didn’t notice, the headband of bone conduction headphones are unlike typical headphones. Instead of having the headband going over the top of the head, the headband goes behind the back of the head.

If the headband is too big, you will end up having some additional space between your head and the headband. This will cause the fit of the headphones to be less snug and comfortable.

Better Fit for Smaller Head

Trek Titanium Mini solves this problem by shortening the headband. This make it suitable for tweens, teens, or adults with smaller heads.

Buy Aftershokz Trekz Mini on Amazon

8. Beker Waterproof MP3 Player

Key Features

  • 100% waterproof
  • You can swim in it! – IPX8
  • 8 hrs playback time
  • Store up to 2000 songs

Technically, the Beker waterproof MP3 player should not be on the list as it is not a headphones but fundamentally, they are all projecting sound into the cochlea via bone conduction. Hence, we felt it will be a waste to leave this out.

Suitable for Swimming

Unlike other bone conduction headphones, only Beker can allow you to listen to music while staying underwater. It has the highest IP code in this list – a stunning IPX8!

So how do you wear the Beker?

Two ways:

  • Wear it underneath your swimming cap by slotting it at the back
  • To further keep the player in place, you can use your goggle’s strap to keep the Beker in place

8hrs of Playback Time

With a 300mAH lithium battery, the Beker can maintain around 8hrs of playback time.

8GB of Storage

As Beker is a music player, it comes with an internal storage of 8GB or roughly around 2000 songs. It can support MP3, WMA and WAV files format.

Drawback

The drawback for Beker is that the headphones are solely suitable for swimming. You can’t bring them for any other sports other than that.

Buy Beker on Amazon

AfterShokz announced that they will release a version of bone conduction headphones, AfterShokz Xtrainerz, this spring that is suitable for swimming.

9. AfterShokz Xtrainerz

AfterShokz Xtrainerz
AfterShokz Xtrainerz

Key Features

  • IP68 rating (You can swim with this!)
  • 4GB memory, 8 hours battery life
  • MP3 player/headphone combo
  • Only 30g

The third Aftershokz product you will see on this list is our Editor’s Pick – Aftershokz Xtrainerz. After the successful launch of their Trekz series, the latest product has upgraded their features in all departments especially their waterproofing.

Suitable for swimming

With an IPX rating of IP68, the Xtrainerz has an additional toughness that you don’t see from other models. You can dive up to 2 meters for 2 hours

Excellent Ergonomics

The Xtrainerz retains the wraparound titanium design, thus ensuring a comfortable yet taut fit on your head. Aftershokz, somehow, is able to reduce the weight of the Xtrainerz to only 30g while having a battery that can hold up to 8 hours of playback time.

This is one of the lightest bone conduction headphones on this list.

AfterShokz Xtrainerz Swimmer
Swimmer with the AfterShokz Xtrainerz

Proprietary charging cradle

With the additional waterproofing, there is a downside to the charging design. Instead of the usual micro-usb connectors, Aftershokz has to design their own charging cradle, which serves as a data link to transfer music as well. I don’t see any options to buy a replacement for this charging cradle right now.

Extra Features

The AfterShokz Xtrainerz has a voice-over function called AudreySays, that guides the user when switching from function to function. In line with this, the AfterShokz Xtrainerz also has several modes that can be accessed by using a combination of its four control buttons.

The Mode button on the AfterShokz Xtrainerz can be toggled for regular (dry) or underwater use. This alters the equalization of the audio, fitting the application you desire.

Buy AfterShokz Xtrainerz on Amazon

Pros:

  • »IPX68
  • »Simple, easy-to-use controls on the player
  • »Comfortable and secure fit
  • »8 hours of battery life
  • »Compatible with Apple file formats
  • »Handy voice-over function

Cons:

  • »Proprietary charger unit

Bone Conduction Headphones vs Traditional Headphones

Case against Bone Conduction Headphones

No High-Fidelity Sound

Bone conduction headphones do not produce the sound quality that you will find in traditional headphones. Even top-of-the-line bone conduction headphones do not compare to an average pair of conventional headphones. If you are seeking high-fidelity sound with lots of beats from bass, then you should stick to standard headphones to experience cleaner sound and the real punch of bass.

Sound Leakage

Like a pair of open-back headphones, bone conduction headphones are known to leak sound. It is not recommended to be used in quiet settings like a library or a workplace. Bone conduction headphones are popularly used for sports purposes as those places have no issues with sound leakages.

Case for Bone Conduction Headphones

Maintain Spatial Awareness

However, unlike traditional headphones which are over-ear, conduction headphones leave your ears open and uncovered. Many people cannot stand having their ears covered or anything inside of their ear canal. Such individuals will certainly benefit from bone conduction headphones.

During certain sports, such as cycling or jogging, it is imperative that you remain aware of your surroundings to maintain safety. Undoubtedly, bone conduction headphones allow you to listen to music or an audiobook while indulging in such sports without taking away your ability to hear what is happening around you.

Do You Need a Pair of Bone Conduction Headphones?

Here are a few circumstances where owning a pair of bone conduction headphones will prove beneficial (Click on the title to expand):

Hearing Loss

Undoubtedly, individuals with hearing damage or who wear hearing aids will benefit the most from a pair of bone conduction headphones. The invention of bone conduction has positively altered the lives of many hearing-impaired individuals. The headphones enable them to experience music and sound again.

For Sports

Even if you have normal hearing, but you enjoy cycling or running then you should consider purchasing a pair of bone conduction headphones so you can remain safely aware of your surroundings in case a car honks a warning, someone shouts at you, or to hear responder alarms.

For Work

Also, many people performing busy office jobs must stay alert to what is happening around them but would also enjoy listening to music. Undoubtedly, bone conduction headphones are an asset to such individuals.

Legal Necessity

Depending on where you live, many states have made it illegal to drive a vehicle, cycle, or even cross a street wearing traditional headphones. Currently, it is illegal to wear headphones while driving in the states of Colorado, Maryland, Louisiana, and Rhode Island. Please check your local laws for full details. In such locations, bone conduction headphones free up your ears, so you do not risk receiving a fine.

Conclusion

The above bone conduction reviews are all top-of-the-line. Some have features that stand out above the rest and might be more suitable for certain individuals. However, they are all quality headphones that are sure to please with their sound quality, comfort, durability, and other upscale features.

We picked AfterShokz Trekz Titanium as the top pick due to the combination of feature and price range. At a sub 100 price range, the features that Aftershokz provides make this a strong recommendation.

The runner-up will be AfterShokz Trekz Air. It has almost feature parity with the AfterShokz Trekz Titanium and is 20% lighter. But why is it not the top pick then? It is the price tag. But if you can afford to fork out an additional $50, you should definitely check out the Trekz Air.

Lastly, the Pyle PSWBT550 is our budget-friendly pick. At sub $70, you get great Bluetooth connection quality, IPX6 sweatproof sealing and lastly comes with inline controls for a hands-free experience.

We hope that this list of bone conduction headphones helps you make your choice. Each one of these top choices has something special to offer that might fit your lifestyle perfectly.

Did we miss any bone conduction headphones that should be on the list? Let us know in the comments.