(Last Updated On: November 25, 2020)

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 (or bonephones) 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.

Best Bone Conduction Headphones
ModelIPXWeight (g)Battery Life (hrs)Inline ControlsPrice
AfterShokz Aeropex Editor's Pick 🏆IP67268Y BUY
Aftershokz OpenMove Runner-Up 💪IP55296Y BUY
MilanSo Bone Conduction Headphones Budget Pick #1 💰IP56336Y BUY
Tayogo S2 Budget Pick #2 💰IP55306Y BUY
Oaxis myFirst Headphone BC Best for Kids 👶N/A47N/AY BUY
KppeX BH528 Most Durable 👌IP56285Y BUY
AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Mini Best for Small Heads 🙆‍♂️IP55366Y BUY
Vidonn F1 TitaniumIP55386Y BUY
Pyle PSWBT550IPX6406Y BUY
Zulu ExeroIPX5286Y BUY

Table Of Content

How Do Bone Conduction Headphones Work?

Most people are familiar with standard headphones and know extraordinarily little about bone conduction 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

Example of sound transmit via air
From khanacademy

Sound can reach your inner ear via different channels. The most commonly known channel is 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

Example of Bone Conduction Headphones transmitting sound

As you have seen from the previous section, as long as sound can reach your cochlea, you can technically hear it.

Exploits of the bone conduction headphones

Bone conduction headphones exploit this theory by transmitting sound through a different path to the ear. It sends vibrations through the bones in your face to the temporal bone. This temporal bone is the bone surrounding the cochlea.

The vibration of the temporal bone causes the cochlear fluid to move, which in turn sends signals down to the auditory cortex where the sound is heard.

Bone conduction headphones: A lifesaver

Bone conduction technology is a lifesaver for people who are unable to get cochlear implants due to outer ear damage. For people who need bone conduction to hear, they wouldn’t exactly wear headphones all the time. That would be too cumbersome.

Instead, they can choose the route of surgically implanted aids such as the Bone Anchored Hearing Aids (BAHA). WIth BAHA, a magnet is embedded just underneath the skin. An external microphone will receive sound and transmit it to the magnet. The magnet will then send vibrations through the skull, reaching the inner ear.

Is Bone Conduction Headphone Safer Than Conventional Headphone?

No, bone conduction headphones are not safer than conventional headphones. That does not imply that they are any more dangerous too. There is a lot of false advertising by consumers headphones brands out there. They claim that since bone conduction headphones do not affect the eardrum to transmit sound, users can listen to music without ear damage. This is simply untrue.

An eardrum cannot be damaged/perforated from listening to earphones or headphones. It just doesn’t have the required capability to do it. It is not the eardrum that we should worry about, it is the cochlear that we are concerned with.

Both bone conduction headphones and conventional headphones can damage hearing if they are overused at an unnecessarily loud volume.

5 Important Things to Look For

(Click on the title to expand)

1. Design and Comfort

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

Bone conduction headphones need to sit on the temporal bone
Bone conduction headphones need to sit on the temporal bone

However, even though they all look similar, they do not necessarily fit the same. Ideally, this bone conduction headphone should fit comfortably on your face without feeling loose or too tight.

Silicone designs also tend to be more comfortable than those manufactured out of plastic.

2. Durability

Construction quality matters a great deal if you are purchasing the bone 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. But if you are looking for water-proof bone conduction headphones, we have some of those in the “Best Waterproof Headphones” guide.

3. Wireless or Wired

Wires are often a big hassle during sports. They get in the way and become wrapped around things. If you want to purchase wireless bone conduction 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.

4. Sound Quality

A bone conduction headphone is never going to sound the same as a pair of traditional over-ear and in-ear headphones. One of the challenges for bone conduction is that they have to replicate the full frequency range (20 Hz to 20000Hz) that a human can hear. Accomplishing this range via vibration is not an easy task and not many companies have done it. Aftershokz is one of those companies.

So does Aftershokz’s bone conduction headphones sound amazing? Not really.

I will sum up their sound quality as good enough. Good enough for you to appreciate music or podcast while keeping your ear free. Audiophile quality it is not, but it ain’t so terrible for people to trash it completely. Don’t expect thumping bass and bright treble. Expect forward mids to be its sound signature.

Long story short, if you are looking for pure music headphones, look away from bone conduction headphones.

[speech]There are subjective studies that are done to show that bone conduction headphones provide the same amount of entertainment values as conventional headphones.[/speech]

5. Sound Leakage

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

The fact is that the bone conduction headphones do leak sound. It is not as bad as a pair of open-back headphones though. This tends to happen when the volume gets loud. If someone is standing near you, they can definitely hear some sound leakages. However, it is not to an extent where they hear the music clearly.


10 Best Bone Conduction Headphones

Bone conduction headphones vertical poster

Aftershokz Aeropex

AfterShokz Aeropex
AfterShokz Aeropex

Key features:

  • Only weighs 26g
  • Comfortable and snug fit
  • 8 hrs of continuous playback
  • Bluetooth V5.0
  • IP67 – Sweat and dust-proof

Out of all the AfterShokz models, the AfterShokz Aeropex has the best technical specs among the bone conduction headphones.

Lightest bone conduction headphones

At 26g, it is the lightest wireless bone conduction headphones you see on this list. In fact, it is 2g (~8%) lighter than the next lightest headphones – KppeX BH528 and Zulu Exero.

Impressive battery life

Aside from being the lightest, Aftershokz Aeropex also has the longest battery life on the list. This bone conduction headphones’ battery life lasts an impressive 8 hours of continuous playback time. It has 2 more hours worth of playback time than the average bone conduction headphones.

Great waterproof rating

The Aeropex also has the best water and dust proof rating on this list with an IP Code of IP67. Together with its comfortable fit and stable wireless connection, the Aeropex is fantastic for workout.

Runner wearing AfterShokz Aeropex
A runner wearing AfterShokz Aeropex.

Drawbacks

Despite having great technical specs, the Aeropex still suffers from the problems of open-ear headphones. Exercising in a noisy area can be distracting and strong vibration during loud songs can make your ears slightly itchy.

The AfterShokz Aeropex is also the most expensive bone conduction headphones on the list. But if you are looking for the top-of-the-line bone conduction headphones, the price is worth considering.

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Pros:

  • »Ultra-lightweight design
  • »Long battery life
  • »Great water and dust-proof rating
  • »Comfortable fit
  • »Stable wireless connection

Cons:

  • »Distracting vibrations on high volumes
  • »The most expensive pair on the list

Aftershokz OpenMove

Close look at Aftershokz OpenMove (From: Amazon)
Close look at Aftershokz OpenMove (From: Amazon)

Key features:

  • Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity
  • IP55 dust and water-resistant
  • 3 EQ Settings: Standard, Vocal Booster, & Earplug Mode
  • Only weighs 29g
  • 6 hours of continuous playtime
  • Signal range of up to 33ft.
Aftershokz OpenMove has the same sound quality as the industry-leading Aeropex, but for a more affordable price. So for everyone looking at Aeropex but doesn’t want to spend too much, this one is for you!

However, because of the price differences between Aeropex and OpenMove, you may have to compensate for a few things.

Experience great sound for a lower price

Despite the relatively lower price range compared to other Aftershokz headphones, Aftershokz OpenMove still stands side-by-side with Aeropex when it comes to sound quality. Both are equipped with an improved PremiumPitch™ 2.0, which ensures a richer and more detailed audio quality even in noisy environments.

OpenMove also enables users to customize their listening experience with 3 EQ Settings. These are:

  • Standard Modefor regular listening
  • Vocal Booster Mode – for podcasts and audiobooks
  • Earplug Mode– for when you’re using the free foam earplugs.

Great for athletes and people on the go

The Aftershokz Openmove has IP55 dust and waterproof rating. This means that this can stand against harsh weather conditions and can last through athletes’ intense training sessions.

Another thing that makes this pair stand out is its great sound leak prevention. This helps users to keep their music to themselves on busy commutes.

Connect easily to multiple devices

Equipped with Bluetooth 5.0, Aftershokz OpenMove offers faster pairing with audio devices and a more stable connection. This can also provide a reliable connection for up to 33ft distance from the audio source.

Aside from that, the OpenMove also allows multipoint pairing. This lets you simultaneously pair with two different audio devices as well as get notified for incoming calls and automatically connect to the right device to answer them.

Woman wearing Aftershokz OpenMove (From: Amazon)
Woman wearing Aftershokz OpenMove (From: Amazon)

Drawbacks

Due to the cheaper price point, it is understandable that Aftershokz has to make some sacrifices on the build quality and comfort level.

Unlike other Aftershokz bone conduction headphones, the OpenMove is made from harder materials with fewer curves. This build may prevent the OpenMove from sitting snugly depending on the ear and head shapes or sizes, causing discomfort after a few hours of straight listening.

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Pros:

  • »Great sound quality
  • »Customizable listening experience
  • »Fast and stable long-range connection
  • »Can simultaneously pair to multiple devices
  • »Relatively affordable

Cons:

  • »May become uncomfortable to some users after a few hours

MilanSo Bone Conduction Headphones

Close look at MilanSo Bone Conduction Headphones (From: Amazon)
Close look at MilanSo Bone Conduction Headphones (From: Amazon)

Key features:

  • Bluetooth 5.0 Connectivity
  • IP56 waterproof
  • 33 feet signal transmission
  • 6 hours of playback and 10 days of standby time
MilanSo Bone Conduction Headphones are suitable for outdoor use, thanks to its IP56 waterproof rating. Its advanced Bluetooth 5.0 technology ensures a fast and reliable wireless connection no matter what audio device you are using.

Enjoy clear audio even in noisy environments

Because of its open-ear design, most bone conduction headphones struggle on producing good sound quality, especially when in noisy environments. However, this is where MilanSo Bone Conduction Headphones shine.

This pair produces relatively loud volume which provides high sound quality against the noise better than other bone conduction headphones at this price point.

The bass is also surprisingly good – a quality that’s somewhat rare for bone conduction headphones.

Suitable for active lifestyles

These headphones are made to support active lifestyles with their IP56 waterproof rating and a non-slip design. The IP56 rating means that it’s protected against harmful dust and powerful water splashes from all directions.

Additionally, with its Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, users can also enjoy more freedom as it allows up to 33 feet of distance from the audio source.

Longer listening hours

The MilanSo Bone Conduction Headphones are equipped with a 200mAh lithium battery that can power through an intensive training session or almost a whole workday. This offers a continuous 6-hour playback with only needing 2 hours to fully charge. The 10-day standby time is also something worth taking note of.

Woman wearing Milanso bone conduction headphones (From: Amazon)
Woman wearing Milanso bone conduction headphones (From: Amazon)

Drawbacks

While they’re an excellent choice for users who enjoy listening to music, this isn’t recommended for listening to audiobooks and podcasts. This is because of its limited treble range and boosted bass, which tends to make vocals sound muddy.

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Pros:

  • »Long signal range
  • »Non-slip design
  • »Great for listening to music even in noisy environments
  • »Boosted Bass
  • »Dustproof and waterproof
  • »Above-average battery life and standby time

Cons:

  • »Not for podcasts and audiobooks

Tayogo S2

Close look at Tayogo S2 (From: Amazon)
Close look at Tayogo S2 (From: Amazon)

Key features:

  • IP55 waterproof rating
  • Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity
  • Flexible design
  • Up to 6 hours of playback
  • Compatible with Android and iOS

The Tayogo S2 is one of your best options if you are looking for good bone conduction headphones that won’t break your bank. It’s great for people who are curious about this type of headphones and simply want to try one at an affordable price without compromising quality.

Stable long-distance connection

Similar to other bone conduction headphones that cost significantly higher, the Tayogo S2’s connection is stable for up to 30 feet of range.

Also, Tayogo’s bone conduction headphones support the latest Bluetooth 5.0. This guarantees faster pairing and a more reliable connection across different devices. You can quickly pair it not just with smartphones, but also with tablets, laptops, or even wearables like smartwatches.

Hours of comfortable listening

Tayogo S2 lets you forget about discomfort and focus on your music for up to 6 hours of straight use on a single charge.

The full wrap-around design of these open-ear bone conduction headphones also hugs the head just right. The soft rubber pads sit snugly on your cheekbones without getting in the way of the vibration transmission. These design factors prevent the Tayogo S2 from slipping off even during intense workouts and rough rides.

Great value for money

Because bone conduction headphones work with different technology than other types of headphones, they usually come at a relatively higher price. However, this pair begs to differ.

Despite being the most affordable pair on the list, the Tayogo S2 can still compete with higher-priced bone conduction headphones in terms of quality and functionality. So if you’re curious about bone conduction technology and want to try one without burning a hole in your pocket, this could be on top of your list.

Man wearing Tayogo S2 (From: Amazon)
Man wearing Tayogo S2 (From: Amazon)

Drawbacks

Hearing your music clearly may be a problem when using Tayogo S2, especially when used in a loud environment. You could push for a higher volume on your paired device but you’ll surely notice the tingling on your cheekbones as the vibrations get more intense. The good thing, though, is that it comes with a pair of earplugs to help minimize ambient noise.

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Pros:

  • »Good battery life that lasts for up to 6 hours
  • »Comfortable fit, perfect for casual use or with sports and exercise
  • »Reliable Bluetooth v 5.0 connectivity
  • »Long signal range
  • »Affordable price

Cons:

  • »Not that loud, even at a high volume, when worn in loud traffic areas

Oaxis myFirst Headphone BC

Close look at Oaxis myFirst Headphones (From: Amazon)
Close look at Oaxis myFirst Headphones (From: Amazon)

Key features:

  • Wired connection
  • Volume-limit at 85dB
  • Customizable magnetic decoration
  • Suitable for age 4+

Bone conduction headphones aren’t just for us, adults! With its open-ear technology, Oaxis saw how much it’ll benefit kids and took charge with myFirst Headphone BC. This pair of bone conduction is a deviant on our list with it being the only wired option and the only one made for a very specific market.

Protect your child’s hearing

Children’s ears are more sensitive and have higher chances of getting permanent damage when exposed to high volumes for a long time. And that’s exactly why Oaxis designed this myFirst Headphone BC.

Because of its open-ear design that ensures users to be aware of their surroundings, Bone conduction headphones are already a safer alternative than earbuds and other headphone types. But Oaxis took it to the next level by including a volume-limiting feature so kids will only be exposed to a maximum safe level of 85dB, as prescribed by the World Health Organization.

This pair of bone conduction headphones are also made with kids-safe materials so your children can enjoy listening without any kind of irritation.

Choose from a variety of kid-friendly designs

Oaxis knows that aesthetics is one of the biggest factors to consider for kids’ headphones. No matter how good the quality is, if the kids don’t like how it looks, it could be hard to force them into wearing one.

That’s why the myFirst Headphone BC comes in 3 colors to choose from:

  • Blue
  • Pink
  • White.

But aside from that, it also comes with detachable magnetic accessories so your kids can choose the headphones’ design, depending on their mood. Its magnetic design also makes it easy to apply and detach, so the kids won’t have to bother you whenever they wish to change the accessories.

Comfortable listening anytime, anywhere

The soft-rubber points and the flexible band of myFirst Headphones BC ensure great comfort for kids ages 4 and above.

Its wired connection also relieves you and your kid the frustration of dealing with low batteries and charging schedules. It has a universally standard 3.5mm audio plug that works with virtually any phone, tablet, or PC. Simply plug these headphones into the audio device of your choice and enjoy listening all day long.

Child wearing white Oaxis myFirst Headphones (From: Amazon))
Child wearing white Oaxis myFirst Headphones (From: Amazon))

Drawbacks

While it is made to keep the users’ hearing safe, the volume-limiting function may be too restricting or too low, especially in noisy environments.

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Pros:

  • »Designed for safe listening
  • »Customizable design
  • »Flexible and comfortable
  • »Wired connection means no more charging
  • »Standard 3.5mm audio plug

Cons:

  • »Not for noisy environments

KppeX BH528

Close look at KppeX BH528 (From: Amazon)
Close look at KppeX BH528 (From: Amazon)

Key features:

  • Ergonomic design
  • IP56 waterproof rating
  • Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity
  • Smart 360-degree bending titanium alloy skeleton
  • 3-year warranty

Kppex may not be one of the more known brands but the KppeX BH528 proves that it’s worth a try, especially for bone conduction headphones. This is for everyone who prioritizes durability and value for money, above everything else.

Ideal for outdoor use

With an IP56 rating, using the KppeX BH528 relieves you from worrying over light rains or water sprays and harmful dust particles. This makes it a good companion even for extensive workout sessions or long-distance cycling as it withstands a good deal of sweat.

Can last for years

The KppeX BH528 is built to last even in the more unsparing situations. Thanks to the ABS + titanium alloy and silicone sleeve, this is built with a 360° bending support that can withstand violent twists.

As if to showcase KppeX’s confidence on this product, the KppeX BH528 comes with a 3-year warranty, to make sure you enjoy these headphones for an extended time.

Great travel companion

Want something you can comfortably wear anywhere you go? This pair is ergonomically designed to give you the best comfort in travels while keeping you aware of your surroundings.

With only 28g weight, the KppeX BH528 is one of the lightest bone conduction headphones on the list.
Man wearing KppeX BH528 (From: Amazon)
Man wearing KppeX BH528 (From: Amazon)

Drawbacks

Although these headphones have good overall sound quality and durability, using the KppeX BH528 for calls may be a challenge. Their microphone volume is a little too low to make high-quality phone calls. This is especially true for users with high cheekbones, making the microphones farther from the user’s mouth than Kppex may have meant it to be.

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Pros:

  • »Lightweight and ergonomic
  • »Dustproof and Waterproof
  • »360° bending support
  • »Good warranty coverage

Cons:

  • »Subpar call quality

AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Mini

Close look at Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Mini (From: Amazon)
Close look at Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Mini (From: Amazon)

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 as the Trekz Titanium and share all the goodness that the latter has. But with one difference. As the name implies, 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 makes it suitable for tweens, teens, or adults with smaller heads.

Woman wearing Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Mini
Woman wearing Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Mini (From: Amazon)

Drawbacks

At this price point, we expect high quality at least when it comes to the necessities and, unfortunately, Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Mini falls short on one thing — the Bluetooth version. Compared to some headphones on this list, the Trekz Titanium Mini is only equipped with Bluetooth 4.1, instead of the more latest and standard 5.0. This may result in connection difficulties, audio dropouts, and a lesser signal range.

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Pros:

  • »Lightweight and flexible design
  • »Great sound quality for music and podcasts
  • »Supports multi-point pairing
  • »Above-average playtime and long standby time
  • »Sweat and dust-proof
  • »Great for people with small heads

Cons:

  • »Uses Bluetooth 4.1 instead of 5.0

Vidonn F1 Titanium

Vidonn F1 Titanium
Close look at Vidonn F1 Titanium (From: Amazon)

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 bone conduction 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 sound crisp and clear for your listening enjoyment.

Sound Quality and Clarity

These wireless 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.

Cyclist weating Vidonn F1 (From: Amazon)
Cyclist weating Vidonn F1 (From: Amazon)

Drawbacks

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.

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Pros:

  • »Supports Bluetooth 5.0
  • »Noise-canceling microphone
  • »Non-slip design
  • »Above-average battery life
  • »Clear sound quality

Cons:

  • »May not fit comfortably on some head shapes

Pyle PSWBT550

Pyle PSWBT550
Close look at Pyle PSWBT550 (From: Amazon)

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.

Pyle PSWBT550 when worn
Pyle PSWBT550 when worn (From: Amazon)

Drawback

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

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Pros:

  • »Easy touch controls
  • »LED light indicator for pairing and battery life
  • »Waterproof and weather-resistant
  • »Lightweight, non-slip design

Cons:

  • »Can’t adjust to various head sizes

Zulu Exero

Close look at Zulu Exero (From: Amazon)
Close look at Zulu Exero (From: Amazon)

Key features:

  • Bluetooth 5.0 Connectivity
  • Built-in microphone for calls and voice assistance
  • IPX5 water resistance rating
  • Weighs at only 28 grams
  • Voice assistant access
  • 6-hour battery life

Zulu Audio is a manufacturer that specializes in creating out-of-ear audio devices that ensure high-quality safe listening, especially for outdoor activities. And Zulu Exero is one of the best bone conduction headphones they currently offer.

Hear your music loud and clear

Unlike some bone conduction headphones that rest right on the middle of the cheekbone, Zulu Exero rests on the upper part of the user’s cheekbones. This makes it significantly closer to the ear so you hear the sound better while still clearly hearing your surroundings.

A point of concern in most bone conduction headphones is that the volume tends to be lower, or when turned up, the vibration on the cheek gets uncomfortable. Zulu Exero’s design addresses that problem as even at its lowest volume, you’ll still hear your music loud and clear.

Access multiple functions in a single click

These headphones are also equipped with intuitive in-line control to do virtually anything you want. You can play/pause, increase volume, mute the microphone, or even answer calls and access your favorite voice assistant with just a simple click of a button.

Clearer calls anywhere you go

Aside from being able to easily answer phone calls via the in-line buttons, this pair also lets you have high-quality conversations with their built-in microphone. Zulu Exero also sports Bluetooth v5.0 which ensures minimal to no sound delays and faster audio transmission for music and calls. This enables you to hear and be heard clearly by the people on the other side of the call.

Plus, you can take them hiking, running, or biking without worrying about downtime because of its 6-hour battery life.

Woman wearing Zulu Exero (From: Amazon)
Woman wearing Zulu Exero (From: Amazon)

Drawbacks

Because of its different structure and positioning, its one-size-fits-all design may not go well with people with smaller heads. There’s a tendency for these to stick out at the back and cause discomfort. This can also affect the sound quality since they won’t lay as flat as they should on your cheek and ear bones, causing you to not feel the vibrations enough.

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Pros:

  • »Smart positioning
  • »Loud volume
  • »Intuitive controls
  • »Can access voice assistants
  • »Reliable connectivity
  • »Enables clear phone calls
  • »Above-average battery life

Cons:

  • »May not fit well on smaller heads

Notable Mentions

Click on the title to see full reviews.

AfterShokz Trekz Air

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 consumer brand in bone conduction technology. 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 ear 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

This wireless headphone is 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 expectations lower. It is nothing compared to open-back or closed-back headphones. But relatively speaking, Aftershokz does have one of the best sound quality in the bone conduction headphone 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 multi-point pairing.

You can pair it with multiple devices at the same time. You could be playing songs from the 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 headphone. With an IP Code of IP55, it is proven to be able to protect itself from sweat and moisture, it is also designed to be dustproof.

Drawback

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

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Genso’s Bone Conduction Headphone

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 and 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 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 is around 10 hours.

Rugged Design

These headphones are made for outdoor or indoor sports use. The IP55 waterproof rating makes the bone conduction 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 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.

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AfterShokz Trekz Titanium

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 who have complained that the headphones do not fit their heads tightly enough and slip off.

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Bone Conduction Headphones vs Traditional Headphones

The 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 punchier 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.

Unsuitable for driving

Due to the vibration sensation of bone conduction headphones, it is said to be more distracting for drivers compared to conventional earphones. However, research has shown that there are no significant differences in distraction for bone conduction headphones. And in fact, since the ears are kept open, they are more recommended for drivers.

The case for Bone Conduction Headphones

Maintain Spatial Awareness

However, unlike traditional headphones which are over-ear, bone 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.

Studies have shown that bone conduction headphones increase the amount of spatial awareness compared to conventional headphones.

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

Old man with hearing aird

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 headphones has positively altered the lives of many hearing-impaired individuals. The headphones enable them to experience music and sound again.

For Sports

Swimmer with bone conduction headphones

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.

Military

Hearing loss and tinnitus are common in the military even though hearing protection is compulsory. This could be due to negligence. Such hearing disabilities naturally degrade speech intelligibility. A study was done to test the effectiveness of bone conduction headphones and conventional headphones on speech recognition.

It is shown that bone conduction headphones resulted in better speech recognition performance regardless of the hearing profile.

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 Aeropex as the top pick due to its top-of-the-line features. But if you want the same sound quality as Aeropex at a much cheaper price, go for this lists’ runner-up, Aftershockz Openmove.

Lastly, the MilanSo Bone Conduction Headphones and Tayogo S2 are our budget-friendly picks. At only around $40, you get great Bluetooth connection quality, at least IP55 sweatproof sealing and the latest Bluetooth version 5.0.

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 comment section.