10 Best Bone Conduction Headphones for Running (2021)

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Bone conduction headphones are very useful devices that can help you hear the music for the first time or stay aware of everything that’s happening around you while listening to music. But what is bone conduction? Why do you need bone conduction headphones? Are they any good? Are they safer than regular headphones? You will find all the answers and some nice suggestions in our article about 10 best bone conduction headphones.

How do Bone Conduction Headphones work?

Bone conduction is just an alternative way of sound conduction. Most of the sounds we hear every day is conducted through the air. Air conduction implies that the sound is transferred through the air (which acts as the medium) in the form of waves created by the sound source. These soundwaves are nothing but vibrating air particles moving back and forth. The waves received by our ears travel through our entire auditory system (outer ear, middle ear, inner ear, cochlea) all the way to the specific parts of our brain responsible for hearing. The brain processes the received information and allows us to hear the sound. 

If you’re suffering from some kind of middle ear or outer ear damage (or some kind of ear canal infection or eardrum damage), air conduction is not an option anymore because some parts of the usual path are not in function. That’s when bone conduction comes in handy. Bone conduction simply bypasses some parts of our ear (outer and middle ear, to be more specific) and sends the sound waves directly from the sound source, through the bones of your skull (the new medium), to your inner ear. The sound path becomes shorter but the sound source must be placed against your skull (usually next to your ear, against the temporal bone) so the vibrations can be transferred through the skull bones to the inner ear.

AfterShokz OpenMove Bone Conduction Headphones

AfterShokz OpenMove Bone Conduction Headphones

Bone conduction headphones use a special kind of vibrating bone conduction transducers. The vibrations sent from the transducers travel to your temporal bones and then into your inner ear. The rest of the sound path is the same for both types of conduction. 

Our Top Picks

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ProductPriceOverall RatingReview
AfterShokz TitaniumCheck Price on Amazon4.4Read Review
AfterShokz OpenMoveCheck Price on Amazon4.5Read Review
Vidonn F1Check Price on Amazon4.0Read Review
SOMORACheck Price on Amazon4.0Read Review
TayogoCheck Price on Amazon4.0Read Review
Pyle ComplexCheck Price on Amazon3.8Read Review
AfterShokz AirCheck Price on Amazon4.5Read Review
AfterShokz XtrainerzCheck Price on Amazon4.4Read Review
AfterShokz AeropexCheck Price on Amazon4.6Read Review
AfterShokz OpenCommCheck Price on Amazon4.5Read Review

Why Do You Need Bone Conduction Headphones?

Before the introduction of commercial bone conduction headphones, bone conduction technology was used for making hearing aids. In a way, today’s commercial bone conduction headphones can be considered a hearing aid. People suffering from different kinds of conductive hearing loss related to the outer ear, ear canal, eardrums, and middle ear will benefit from these headphones and will be able to hear the sound again. 

Even if your hearing is perfectly fine and you just need something that would allow you to be aware of everything that’s going on around you, bone conduction headphones are a perfect choice. They enable you to hear all your coworkers or traffic while enjoying some nice background music. Also, if you find all the in-ear and over-ear headphones uncomfortable, bone conduction headphones are a viable alternative. They leave your ears open and allow the air to circulate so you will never experience any fatigue or ear sweating or any other issue related to prolonged headphone use.

Now that you have all the basic info and know what to expect from bone conduction headphones, we can move onto our selection of 10 best bone conduction headphones. Since these headphones are not crazy expensive, our list is divided into just two sections – best under $100 and best under $200. Just set your budget limit and check out our suggestions.


BEST BONE CONDUCTION HEADPHONES UNDER $100

Most of the headphones in this price range are made by generic brands. Our top three recommendations are AfterShokz Titanium (older and cheaper model), AfterShokz Air (the upgraded version of Titanium headphones), and AfterShokz OpenMove (one of the latest models). 

Best Bone Conduction Headphones Under $80 – AfterShokz Titanium

AfterShokz Titanium

Editor’s Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

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Impressions

AfterShokz Titanium headphones come with a carrying pouch, charging cable (micro USB), a pair of earplugs, and a 2-year warranty card.

One thing all bone conduction headphones have in common is the looks. They all have neckbands and an open-ear design. But they don’t all have the same build quality and they are not all equally comfortable. AfterShokz Titanium headphones are one of the most durable in their class (titanium frame with silicone coating). Only the earpieces are made of plastic. The headphones are IP55-certified, which makes them resistant to water jets and dust. Thanks to their lightness (1.27oz) and nice coating, they are very comfy. But they are also perfectly stable on-head.

The controls are fairly intuitive. You can find the same control button layout on many AfterShokz headphones. The multifunction button is used for playing/pausing and for answering calls and it’s located on the left earpiece. The right neckband arm houses a nice-looking two-button control pad. These two buttons are used for volume control but also for pairing, while the plus button doubles as the power button.

Titanium headphones feature BT 4.1 with a standard 33ft Bluetooth range and reliable wireless performance. The battery will deliver up to 6h of playback at 50% volume, while the recharge takes 2h.

The sound reproduction is not the best. The emphasis is on the midrange. It’s quite detailed and well balanced. Most of the treble reproduction is also well-balanced and consistent. The bass is weak. Due to the open-ear design, they don’t isolate noise at all. Also, the sound leakage is noticeable at high volumes.

The headphones have a built-in mic so you can answer/make calls on the go. However, the mic performance is only good when the ambient noise level is low.

Advantages

  • Affordable
  • Comes in two sizes – standard and mini (for kids)
  • Great build quality – titanium frame, silicone coating, IP55-certified
  • Light and comfy
  • Intuitive controls
  • Secure fit
  • Bluetooth connectivity (BT 4.1) with multipoint pairing support
  • Battery-operated – 6h playtime at moderate volumes
  • Accurate and balanced midrange and treble reproduction
  • Built-in mic

Disadvantages

  • Poor bass reproduction
  • Noticeable sound leakage at high volumes
  • Poor noise isolation (due to open-ear design)

Best Bone Conduction Headphones Under $100 – AfterShokz OpenMove

AfterShokz OpenMove

Editor’s Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

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Impressions

OpenMove is one of the latest AfterShokz models. Compared to the older Titanium Bluetooth headphones, OpenMove have redesigned neckband and earpieces, upgraded Bluetooth version, upgraded charging cable, and 3 EQ presets. Like the Titanium headphones, they come with a carrying pouch, charging cable (this time, it’s a USB-C cable), a pair of earplugs, 5 sticker skins (in case you want to customize your headphones), manual, and a standard 2-year warranty.

OpenMove headphones are lighter than Titanium (1.02oz). The build quality is pretty much the same (titanium frame + silicone coating), but these headphones have a slightly thinner frame and feel just a little bit comfier. Like the previous headphones, OpenMove headphones are IP55-certified.

The controls are simple, intuitive, and easy to use. Like always, you have one MF button on the left piece and two +/- buttons on the right neckband arm. With these three buttons, you can turn on the headphones, initiate pairing, play/pause the music, skip tracks, answer/make calls, activate voice assistant, change the EQ preset, and control the volume. 

The headphones feature the latest Bluetooth version (V5.0) but don’t have extended range and don’t support any of the advanced codecs (only SBC). However, they deliver perfectly stable performance within the standard Bluetooth range (10m/33ft). 

The built-in rechargeable battery lasts for up to 6 hours at moderate volumes and the recharge is done in two hours.

The sound reproduction is accurate and balanced. The bass is present but weak. The mids and highs are clear. You can select one of three available presets – standard, human voice, and earplug mode. The noise isolation is poor and the sound leakage is noticeable at high volumes. 

Advantages

  • Affordable
  • Great build quality – titanium frame, silicone coating, IP55-certified
  • Audrey voice prompts
  • Light and comfy
  • Intuitive controls (one MF button + two volume/skip/power/pairing buttons)
  • Secure fit
  • Bluetooth connectivity (BT 5.0) with multipoint pairing support
  • Battery-operated – 6h playtime at moderate volumes
  • Accurate and balanced midrange and treble reproduction
  • 3 EQ presets – standard, human voice, and earplug mode
  • Built-in dual noise-canceling mic

Disadvantages

  • Poor bass reproduction
  • Noticeable sound leakage at high volumes
  • Poor noise isolation (due to the open-ear design)

Best Bone Conduction Headphones Under $50 – Vidonn F1

Vidonn F1

Editor’s Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

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Impressions

Looking for the cheaper alternative for AfterShokz? Vidonn F1 is one of the best options. In terms of features, F1 headphones are very much on par with AfterShokz Titanium. They are just not as comfy and slightly less stable. The headphones come with a carrying bag, micro USB charging cable, and a 1-year warranty (not a 2-year warranty like AfterShokz models).

F1 headphones feature the same basic neckband-style design with bone conduction earpieces. They are made of a combination of titanium alloy and ABS. The headphones are IP55-certified which makes them perfect for jogging and other sports activities. 

The headphones weigh only 1.3oz. They are fairly comfortable and don’t cause any fatigue. They are not very tight but still are stable enough for sports.

F1 headphones feature the latest Bluetooth 5.0 with a good connection range (up to 30ft) and a stable connection within that range. They support multipoint pairing (you can pair two phones at the same time).

To control the playback, volume, check the battery status, answer calls, you can use three buttons – one multifunction button on the right earpiece and two +/- buttons on the right neckband arm.

The battery provides up to 6 hours of continuous music playback at 50% volume and the recharge takes 2h.

The built-in mic provides a fairly satisfying performance when used in quiet places. If there’s too much background noise or wind, the mic won’t do a great job.

The sound reproduction is satisfying (although not on par with regular $50 headphones). The mids and highs are fairly clear. The bass output is poor. You can improve it by using earplugs but that ruins the purpose of bone conduction headphones.

Advantages

  • Affordable
  • Good build quality – titanium/ABS, IP55-certified
  • Light and fairly comfortable
  • Intuitive controls (one MF button + two volume/skip/power/pairing buttons)
  • Good fit and stability
  • Bluetooth connectivity (BT 5.0) with multipoint pairing support
  • Battery-operated – 6h playtime at moderate volumes
  • Accurate and balanced midrange and treble reproduction
  • Built-in mic 

Disadvantages

  • Severe lack of bass
  • Not as stable as AfterShokz headphones 
  • Poor noise isolation

SOMORA Bone Conduction Headphones

SOMORA Bone Conduction Headphones

Editor’s Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

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Impressions

SOMORA is another generic brand on this list. Somora bone conduction headphones come with a pair of earplugs, micro USB charging cable, manual, and a 1-year warranty (not two years like AfterShokz). A carrying pouch is not included.

The headphones have the same basic neckband-style design with slightly modified arms that look like swan necks. The frame is made of titanium alloy and ABS. It’s bendable and very durable. For better comfort, the frame is wrapped in food-grade silicone. The headphones are IP55-certified (sweatproof and water-resistant) and can be used for all kinds of sports activities. They are fairly stable and provide a secure fit.

The control scheme is super-simple. On the left earpiece, there’s a multifunction button (play/pause, skip songs, answer calls). On the right arm, right behind the earpiece, there’s a control pad with one LED battery/connection indicator, three buttons (on/off and two volume buttons), and a charging port (protected with a silicone flap). 

The headphones are wireless. They feature Bluetooth 5.0 with a standard 30ft range. The connection is reliable. The built-in 200mAh battery provides 5h of playtime and recharges in two hours.

The headphones can be used for hands-free calls. The mic performance is not the best but it’s usable in quiet places. However, it struggles when there’s too much wind or ambient noise.

Considering the price, the sound output is satisfying. The emphasis is on the midrange. The highs are also fairly consistent and clear. The bass is quite weak. It gets better when using earplugs and when the volume is high but then you have to deal with the sound leakage and with an odd tingling sensation caused by the bone conduction transducers.

Advantages

  • Affordable
  • Good build quality – titanium/ABS, food-grade silicone coating, IP55-certified
  • Light and comfy
  • Intuitive controls (one MF button + on/off button + two volume/skip buttons)
  • Good fit and stability
  • Bluetooth connectivity (BT 5.0) with multipoint pairing support
  • Battery-operated – 5h playtime at moderate volumes, 2h recharge
  • Accurate and balanced midrange and treble reproduction
  • Built-in mic for hands-free calls

Disadvantages

  • Underwhelming bass response
  • Poor noise isolation
  • Mediocre mic performance
  • Noticeable sound leakage at high volumes

Best Budget Bone Conduction Headphones – Tayogo Bone Conduction Headphones

Tayogo Bone Conduction Headphones

Editor’s Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

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Impressions

Tayogo headphones are practically the same as previously reviewed SOMORA headphones but are significantly cheaper. They are our top recommendation if you’re looking for budget-friendly headphones. Like the SOMORA headphones, they come with earplugs, micro USB charging cable, manual, and a 1-year warranty card. You won’t get a 2-year warranty like with AfterShokz headphones and you won’t get a carrying pouch.

The design is exactly the same as the design of SOMORA headphones – it’s the same neckband-style design with swan neck-like neckband arms. The frame is made of titanium alloy and ABS, and it’s coated with food-grade silicone. The headphones are IP55-rated, like all the previous models.

The controls are simple and intuitive. There’s a multifunction button on the left piece (play/pause/calls) and three buttons on the right arm (on/off + volume buttons). LED indicator and a charging port are also located on the right arm.

Tayogo headphones are, like all the previous models, wireless. They run on Bluetooth 5.0. The range is not extended (standard 30ft) but the connection is reliable and steady. The built-in battery provides approx. 5h of playtime at moderate volumes.

The headphones also have a built-in mic. The mic performance is satisfying but far from perfect. It works fine when the ambient noise level is low. 

The sound reproduction is fairly balanced but without any bass. The mids and highs are clear and accurate.

Advantages

  • Affordable
  • Good build quality – titanium/ABS, food-grade silicone coating, IP55-certified
  • Light and comfy
  • Intuitive controls (one MF button + on/off button + two volume/skip buttons)
  • Good fit and stability
  • Bluetooth connectivity (BT 5.0)
  • Battery-operated – 5h playtime at moderate volumes, 2h recharge
  • Accurate and balanced midrange and treble reproduction
  • Built-in mic for hands-free calls

Disadvantages

  • Underwhelming bass response
  • Poor noise isolation
  • Mediocre mic performance
  • Noticeable sound leakage at high volumes
  • Multipoint pairing is not supported

Pyle Complex

Pyle Complex

Editor’s Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

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Impressions

Pyle Complex headphones are a bit different from all the other models. They may have the same basic neckband-design but with a thicker, stiffer, and less bendable neckband. They are very lightweight (1.44oz) but don’t feel as comfy as some of the previous headphones.

Pyle Complex headphones are well-built and have a nice silicone coating but don’t feel as durable as the previous models. They are IPX6-certified (water-resistant) and can withstand heavy sweating, rain, and strong water jets.

The controls are simple, intuitive, and responsive. Everything is located on the left side of the neckband. The multifunction button and the LED battery/connection status indicator are on the left earpiece, while the volume controls are on the left neckband arm. 

Pyle Complex headphones feature Bluetooth 4.1 with a good range (up to 30ft) and a stable wireless connection. We haven’t experienced any problems in this department. 

The built-in battery has a 200mAh capacity (like many other bone conduction headphones) but doesn’t deliver the best performance.  The average playtime at moderate volumes is only 3-4 hours, and the recharge takes too long (up to 4h).

If you want to use them for hands-free calls, you will be happy to know that these also have a built-in mic. The mic performance is satisfying in quiet places but becomes much worse when the ambient noise level is too high or when there’s too much wind. 

Like all the previous headphones, Pyle Complex headphones have poor bass reproduction. The midrange/treble reproduction is satisfying for this kind of headphones and it’s on par with other models in this price range. They don’t leak as much as some other models, but the sound leakage is still noticeable at high volumes.

Advantages

  • Priced under $100
  • Magnetic charging cable
  • Good build quality – IPX6 water-resistant rating
  • Light and comfy
  • Intuitive controls (one MF button + on/off button + two volume/skip buttons)
  • Good fit and stability
  • Bluetooth connectivity (BT 4.1)
  • Battery-operated
  • Accurate and balanced midrange and treble reproduction
  • Built-in mic for hands-free calls

Disadvantages

  • Relatively short playtime (3-4h)
  • Too long recharge time (approx. 4h)
  • Stiffer and not as bendable as other bone conduction headphones
  • Poor noise isolation
  • Noticeable sound leakage at high volumes

Best Sports Headphones Under $100 – AfterShokz Air

AfterShokz Air

Editor’s Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

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Impressions

AfterShokz Air headphones are just an upgraded AfterShokz Titanium. They are lighter, comfier, have a newer Bluetooth version, and are supposed to deliver better sound quality. The headphones come with earplugs, silicone carrying case, micro USB charging cable, and a 2-year warranty. 

Compared to AfterShokz Titanium headphones, the design is just slightly modified but still fairly similar (the same neckband-style headphones with squarish earpieces). The frame is made of titanium and plastic, and the silicone coating is super-soft and pleasant. Air headphones are extremely light and very comfortable. Also, they are stable on-head and provide a secure fit. Like the Titanium headphones, these are IP55-certified.

The Bluetooth version is upgraded (V4.2 vs V4.1) but the performance is pretty much the same – it’s equally reliable and the range is still 30ft. The battery life is still around 6 hours and the recharge time is 2 hours.

The controls are intuitive, easily reachable, and responsive. The control scheme remained unchanged – one multifunction button on the left piece and two buttons (+/-) on the right arm. A small LED indicator and a charging port are also located on the right neckband arm. 

The built-in mic delivers satisfying performance if the noise level is low (quiet places). It’s much harder to use it if the noise level is high.  

The sound is clear and balanced. It’s midrange-oriented. The bass output is not great. 

Advantages

  • Affordable
  • Great build quality – titanium frame, silicone coating, IP55-certified
  • Silicone carrying case included in the package
  • Extremely light (1.06oz) and comfy
  • Intuitive and responsive controls
  • Secure fit
  • Bluetooth connectivity (BT 4.2) with multipoint pairing support
  • Battery-operated – 6h playtime at moderate volumes
  • Accurate and balanced midrange and treble reproduction
  • Built-in mic

Disadvantages

  • Poor noise isolation
  • Poor bass output
  • Noticeable sound leakage at high volumes

BEST BONE CONDUCTION HEADPHONES UNDER $200

It is not a surprise that all the bone conduction headphones in this section come from AfterShokz. After all, this is the only non-generic brand on the market. Xtrainerz are our top (and only) choice for swimming, Aeropex headphones are the best option for other sports, and AfterShokz OpenComm headphones are the best choice for hands-free calls.

Best Bone Conduction Headphones for Swimming – AfterShokz Xtrainerz

AfterShokz Xtrainerz

Editor’s Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

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Impressions

Unlike all the other bone conduction headphones on our list, these are not Bluetooth. The manufacturer wanted to make headphones that are suitable for swimming and, since Bluetooth signal can’t travel through water, they made bone conduction headphones with internal mp3 storage and without Bluetooth. The headphones come with a magnetic charger (induction charging cradle and a detachable cable), earplugs, and a 2-year warranty.

They have the same open-ear neckband-style design as all the other AfterShokz headphones. They are also super-light and incredibly comfortable. Also, they are perfectly stable and secure. The headphones are IP68-certified (fully dustproof and waterproof). They can withstand long-lasting immersion (up to 2 hours) in depths of up to 2m/6ft. 

The built-in storage has a capacity of 4GB, which allows you to store up to 1200 songs. The headphones can play the most common audio file formats (mp3, WMA, wav, AAC, and FLAC).

The built-in battery provides up to 8 hours of playback (moderate volumes) per one charge and the recharge takes 2 hours.

The sound is balanced, accurate, and very engaging. The bass is still not the best, but it’s present.

Advantages

  • Priced under $150
  • Great build quality – titanium frame, silicone coating, IP68-certified
  • Designed for swimming (fully waterproof)
  • Magnetic charger (charging cradle + detachable charging cable)
  • Extremely light and comfy
  • Secure fit
  • Intuitive and responsive controls
  • Battery-operated – 8h playtime at moderate volumes
  • Balanced and engaging sound reproduction (impressive for bone conduction headphones)
  • Low sound leakage (compared to other bone conduction headphones)

Disadvantages

  • No Bluetooth connectivity
  • No mic

Best Bone Conduction Headphones for Sports – AfterShokz Aeropex

AfterShokz Aeropex

Editor’s Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

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Impressions

AfterShokz Aeropex headphones are basically the Bluetooth version of AfterShokz Xtrainerz. They have the same design and have a bunch of identical features but, instead of internal storage, you have Bluetooth connectivity. The headphones come with two magnetic charging cables, silicone carrying case, earplugs, and a two-year warranty.

The headphones look exactly the same as Xtrainerz. They have the same shape and earpiece design. They are both made of titanium and have silicone coatings. Aeropex headphones are IP67-certified (fully waterproof and dustproof). They are the lightest bone conduction headphones on the market (0.9oz). They are super comfy and very stable.

The control scheme is similar to the Titanium, Air, and other AfterShokz Bluetooth headphones. There’s one multifunction button on the left earpiece and two buttons on the right neckband arm (they are primarily volume buttons but are also used for turning on, pairing, etc.). 

Aeropex headphones run on the latest Bluetooth 5.0 and are compatible with Android and iOS devices. The range is 30ft and the connection is perfectly reliable. The battery delivers above-average playtime. You will get 8h at moderate volumes and the recharge takes 2h.

The built-in microphone delivers above-average performance but still struggles with strong wind and loud noises. 

The sound quality is also above-average for bone conduction headphones. The sound leakage is not too high but it’s noticeable.

Advantages

  • Open-ear design
  • Great build quality – titanium frame, silicone coating, IP67-certified (fully waterproof)
  • Magnetic charging cable
  • Extremely light and comfy
  • Secure fit
  • Intuitive and responsive controls
  • Battery-operated – 8h playtime at moderate volumes
  • Balanced and engaging sound reproduction (impressive for bone conduction headphones)
  • Low sound leakage (compared to other bone conduction headphones)
  • Above-average mic performance

Disadvantages

  • Noticeable sound leakage at high volumes
  • The mic struggles with loud noises and strong wind

Best Bone Conduction Headphones for Hands-Free Calls – AfterShokz OpenComm

AfterShokz OpenComm

Editor’s Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

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Impressions

AfterShokz OpenComm headphones are a modified version of Aeropex headphones. Unlike other bone conduction headphones, these are primarily designed for hands-free calls and have an external noise-canceling boom mic (the mic is not detachable but it is adjustable). The headphones come with a magnetic charging cable, carrying case, and a 2-year warranty.

Like all the other AfterShokz headphones, OpenComm headphones have the same open-ear design. They are very durable (IP55-certified), incredibly light (1.2oz), comfortable, and provide a secure fit.

The headphones feature Bluetooth 5.0 with a standard range and reliable connection. NFC quick pairing is also supported. The built-in battery provides 16h of talk time or 8h of playtime. It takes 2h to fully charge the battery. The headphones also support quick charging (2h of playtime after 5mins of charging). 

These are the only bone conduction headphones with an external boom mic which makes them the best in their category when it comes to hands-free calls. The mic delivers great performance, even in loud environments.

The sound quality is also above-average for a pair of bone conduction headphones. The bass is still weak but you can feel it. Compared to other bone conduction headphones, the sound leakage is very low. 

Advantages

  • Open-ear design
  • Great build quality – titanium frame, silicone coating, IP55-certified
  • Magnetic charging cable
  • Extremely light and comfy
  • Secure fit
  • Intuitive and responsive controls
  • Battery-operated – 16h talk time/8h playtime
  • Quick-charge feature (5mins of charge gives you 2h of playtime)
  • Balanced and engaging sound reproduction (impressive for bone conduction headphones)
  • Low sound leakage (compared to other bone conduction headphones)
  • The best mic performance among bone conduction headphones

Disadvantages

  • The sound leakage is low but still noticeable at high volumes

This concludes our article about 10 best bone conduction headphones. Hopefully, you now have a much better understanding of bone conduction technology. In case you haven’t found anything interesting in our list and you want to do a little research on your own, here are some tips on what to pay attention to when looking for bone conduction headphones.


Buyer’s Guide – What to Look for and What to Expect When Buying Bone Conduction Headphones

Price

The good news first – bone conduction headphones are not crazy expensive. Even the most expensive ones are priced under $200. Most of them are priced under $100. The bad news is that most of them are made by generic no-name brands. The only name with a reputation in this field is AfterShokz. Their headphones have the best build quality, deliver the most reliable performance and the best sound. However, the majority of AfterShokz are priced over $100. 

Build quality (ruggedness, IPX rating)

The quality of construction is closely related to the price. Practically every single model over $100 has a very good build quality and is either water-resistant (IPX5/IPX6) or fully waterproof (IPX7/IPX8). Most of the models priced under $100 are also quite durable, they have silicone coatings and are water-resistant or waterproof. All these models are suitable for sports and for active people. However, there are also some cheap plastic models (usually priced under $50) that don’t really seem durable enough for active users or for sports.

Bluetooth connection quality

The majority of available bone conduction headphone models are wireless and feature Bluetooth connectivity. That’s why it’s crucial to know something about Bluetooth connection quality. Not all headphones are equally reliable so it would be smart to test them if you have the chance or to read about other users’ experiences. Generally speaking, you should be looking for one of the latest Bluetooth versions (V4.0 or V5.0) and for the longest possible range. 

Battery life

All the Bluetooth bone conduction models are, naturally, battery-operated so it’s very important to find the model that can deliver long enough playtime. Some people use these headphones for jogging or for workouts and don’t need the battery to last for more than 3 or 4 hours, while others need something that can get them through the whole working day (up to 8h). Have in mind that the advertised playtimes are not measured at full volume. The playtime is usually measured at 50% volume.

Sound Quality

As discussed in the introduction, bone conduction headphones are not going to deliver the same kind of listening experience as regular headphones. They are not as loud and don’t deliver the same kind of bass as regular headphones/earbuds. You will need some time to get used to the whole experience that bone conduction headphones deliver. Some customers have noticed that using earplugs can significantly improve the bass reproduction and the overall sound quality but that kind of ruins the idea of staying aware of your surroundings.

Are They Safer Than Regular Headphones?

In a way (or two), bone conduction headphones are safer than regular headphones and earbuds. All the benefits of bone conduction headphones come from their design and specific working principle. Since your ears are left open, the risk of ear infection is eliminated. Also, because your ears are not covered, you get to hear all the other sounds around you which can come in handy while cycling, or running, or working on a construction site, or even driving. So, yeah – we think they are both safer and healthier than regular headphones.

Are Bone Conduction Headphones as Good as Regular Headphones?

The short answer would be NO. Naturally, this answer applies only to people with normal hearing who can use regular headphones. If you are suffering from some kind of conductive hearing loss and can’t use regular headphones, then bone conduction headphones are way better.

So, if your hearing is fine, you will never get the same kind of performance from bone conduction headphones. Bone conduction headphones have a different working principle and use a different (and denser) medium (bone VS air), which results in quieter sound and much weaker bass reproduction. As described in the introduction, bone conduction headphones will deliver some nice background music and keep you aware of your surroundings. They can’t and will never be as loud or bassy as regular headphones. 

What Are the Best Bone Conduction Headphones Money Can Buy?

Since the introduction of commercial bone conduction headphones, only one brand managed to gain the trust of a large number of customers and that’s AfterShokz. Their current product line includes 5 bone conduction models (4 pairs of Bluetooth headphones and one non-Bluetooth model for swimming). For more suggestions, check out our list of 10 best bone conduction headphones.

Can I Use Bone Conduction Headphones for Swimming?

Using Bluetooth and wired bone conduction headphones for swimming is definitely not an option. The only bone conduction headphones that we know of that’s suitable (and designed) for swimming is the AfterShokz XTRAINERZ. 

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