Discover the best bone conduction headphones that will make you forget about regular headphones.
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AfterShokz Aeropex Best overall
AfterShokz Trekz Air Runner-up
16 hours (talk), 8h (music)
HTPCCC Waterproof Bone Conduction Headphones Best budget
Wireless bone conduction headphones are an exciting alternative to regular headphones.
They send vibrations through your temporal bones to your ears (leaving your ears open), offering a unique way to experience sound.
They’re an especially suitable replacement for workout headphones. And lately, they’ve gotten better than ever before (thanks to AfterShokz).
See the best bone conduction headphones below.
The Advantages & Disadvantages of Bone Conduction Headphones
There are a couple of things you have to know:
Perfect awareness with open-ear design
Because your ears stay open and earbuds don’t block your ear canal, you still hear your surroundings. This is especially useful for running in a city, cycling or anywhere else you want to hear.
Amazing fit and comfort
For the same reason, they feel amazingly comfortable. There are no earpads or eartips that would touch your skin. They lightly sit next to your ears which is much less bothersome.
The fit is also best-in-class. Usually, they come in a lightweight ear hook design. Once you put them on, they stay there.
Because they are not using regular drivers there is no air canal for sound waves. This makes them much easier to waterproof.
For that reason, most come with a certified high IP rating which means high dust and water protection.
The biggest caveat is their lack of bass. Due to different technology, the music transmission isn’t as clear. The details are a bit muffled and they lack the deep end rumble.
Though you can still enjoy listening to your music or audiobooks.
The Best Bone Conduction Headphones
1. AfterShokz Aeropex
The best in the bone conduction headphones market right now.
AfterShokz are a household name for this type of headphones. As they don’t cover your ear lobes, you can still hear what’s going on around you while listening to music.
- Stable fit for all types of sports
- Perfect environment awareness due to open-ear design
- Lightweight (almost 30% lighter than Air)
- Waterproof and dustproof (IP67)
- Good battery life (8 hours)
- Improved bass response from previous models
- Vibrating transducers might be annoying
- Sound quality is suffering (compared to regular earphones)
- Lack of bass
These bone conduction headphones with microphone have improved bass from the other AfterShokz models, but it isn’t completely Hi-Fi. These use PremiumPitch 2.0 to make the sound better, there are also multiple sound presets to choose from.
The Aeropex have quality, rubbery ear hooks and stay in place while you exercise. They’re designed for a full-on active lifestyle and offer plenty of stability thanks to the hooks.
Waterproof and dustproof design (IP67) protects them from water and small particles like sand and dust. So, you can confidently use them in harsh conditions like the best waterproof Bluetooth headphones.
The AfterShokz Aeropex are a better model than the brand’s previous version, the AfterShokz Air. Compared to these they have a longer rechargeable battery and are 30% lighter.
2. AfterShokz Trekz Air
AfterShokz Trekz Air are the previous flagship model that has been upgraded with the Aeropex but they’re still a great option.
- Open-air desing ensures better awareness
- Comfortable, stable fit
- Clean, balanced sound
- Lack of bass
- Poor battery life
Their sound signature is somewhat balanced with a slight lack of bass. Mids are more in front, so the vocals are crystal clear. But if you want to listen to heavy bass music, you might look elsewhere.
The sleek, over-ear design makes them suitable for all situations, from sports to office jobs. AfterShokz headphones are extremely lightweight. They’re extremly comfortable to wear for hours. You could probably wear them whole day.
On top of a comfortable fit, they are amazingly stable. You can use them for all types of sports, even for fast running. IP55 casing protects them from dust and water, so you’re safe in any weather.
Also, you get remote buttons to manage your tracks and a good-sounding built-in mic for when you answer calls. Long battery life can last up to six hours. Plus, you can simultaneously connect multiple devices via Bluetooth.
Looking for regular wireless headphones at a lower price? Best Bluetooth headphones under $100.
3. AfterShokz Trekz Titanium
Trekz Titanium are one of the best bone conduction headphones in terms of great value.
- Better awareness due to their design
- Balanced sound with a bit of bass
- No remote buttons
The sound signature is rather balanced, with some bass which is surprising for this type of headphones. Their overall audio quality is enjoyable with all music genres, while perfectly hearing your surroundings.
Their name comes from their design – the neckband is made out of titanium alloy. That’s why they are highly durable.
You can use bone-conducting headphones for outdoor exercise as they are stable for workouts.
Although this AfterShokz headset isn’t completely waterproof, it has an IP55 rating, which makes it sweat and water-resistant. This means you don’t have to worry about sweat damage and light rain, although be careful around water.
Also, six hours of battery life on a full charge makes them comparable with premium workout headphones.
Check best headphones for running.
There are no wired bone conduction headphones because they’re outdated.
4. Vidonn F3
Excellent choice for bone conduction headphones for runners with a slimmer body for smaller heads and many color options.
- Good sound quality
- Attractive design
- Improved call quality
- No remote volume controls
Of course, you can’t expect great sound quality out of any bone conduction headphones. However, paired with earplugs, you can make these sound reasonably good. They can be quite full, with good midrange clarity.
These are slightly smaller than their first-gen brother, giving an overall better fit for all head shapes. They’re still very lightweight and made from the same titanium frame, which ensures excellent durability.
With a very high IP65 rating, they can battle both sweat and dust. Sadly, you can’t use them in the pool since Bluetooth connectivity doesn’t work underwater.
Vidonn also improved on call quality, giving F3 Qualcomm’s chip for eliminating background noise.
You don’t have to reach for the charger frequently since these bone conduction headphones have better battery life than most. They last up to eight hours of continuous playback.
5. AfterShokz OpenMove
New best value affordable bone conduction headphones from AfterShokz with improved audio quality.
- Good sound quality
- Affordable price
- IP55 water and dust resistant
- Not the most comfortable
Considering they transmit sound through ear bones, they output good quality audio. It is more detailed than other models (like the Air one), especially if you use them with earplugs. Although that eliminates the benefits of bone-conducting headphones.
OpenMove are new affordable bone-conducting earphones from AfterShokz. They have a lightweight design and offer good fit with ear hooks, and use the same PremiumPitch technology and LeakSlayer technology (the latter reduces sound leakage).
They have also minimized that tickling sensation when you listen to music at high volumes. With an IP55 rating, they’re fully sweatproof and dust resistant.
Want other options around 100 bucks? See the best headphones under $100.
6. AfterShokz OpenComm
Bone conduction headphones with a dedicated microphone for office and videoconferencing.
- Great microphone
- Clean call quality
- Full ambiental awareness
- Good battery life
- Clear vocal rendition
- Not the best for music listening
- No passive noise isolation
- Proprietary charger
Most bone conduction headphones don’t offer the best audio quality. It’s the same with OpenComm.
Unlike other AfterShokz models, these primarily focus on vocals, rendering them with great clarity, even at high volume.
Having to wear headphones at work for more extended periods can start hurting, which is why OpenComm are a godsend.
They offer full awareness (ears-free usage) and don’t press against your ears. And the best thing: they have a dedicated noise-canceling microphone with clear audio.
AfterShokz OpenComm are a top pick if you want something more comfortable to wear at your work, and you have to answer lots of phone calls per day.
Check the best headphones with microphone.
7. Vidonn F1 Titanium
Comfortable pair of bone conduction headphones with flexible design.
- Decent sound
- Flexible aluminum alloy backbone
- aptX Bluetooth codec
- Quality control issues
The sound quality isn’t impressing anyone, but they do an excellent job for budget headphones. Clarity is decent, with a good bass presence. Use earplugs for a fuller listening experience.
The frame is ergonomically designed and very flexible, thanks to the aluminum alloy backbone. They provide great comfort, even during more intense moments.
F1 earphones boast an IP55 weather-resistant rating, protecting them from excessive sweating and dust.
With their 10 days of standby time and 6-hour battery life, they can last you for a full training session. Sadly, they still use a Micro-USB cable for charging.
A built-in microphone is clear enough for taking phone calls with good ambient noise reduction technology.
8. HTPCCC Waterproof Bone Conduction Headphones
The best bone conduction headphones on a budget if you want to listen to music and be aware of your surroundings.
- A dedicated MP3 player
- Fully waterproof
- Not the best audio quality
The sound quality isn’t the clearest, but at least you can listen to music when you go for a swim. The latter is what the HPTCCC bone-conducting headphones do best.
While you can also use them in Bluetooth mode, they have a built-in waterproof MP3 player.
Around 8GB of internal storage isn’t a lot, but considering they only play MP3 files, that’s more than enough for at least 2000 songs.
Since they’re for swimming, they sport an IP68 waterproof rating. Lithium batteries offer 7 hours of runtime and charge via proprietary magnetic induction cable.
They provide intuitive controls via a touch-sensitive button on the left side and 3 physical buttons on the right.
Pyle PSWBT550 – For a more affordable price tag, Pyle bone-conducting earphones come with a high IPX6 rating and an easy-to-operate side panel. (Check PSWBT550 price)
Tayogo Bone Conduction Headphones S2 – Great on a budget if you want to stream music and be aware of your surroundings. (Check S2 price)
Questions About Bone Conduction Headphones (FAQ)
How Do Bone Conduction Headphones Work?
Bone conducting headphones send the sound vibrations directly to the Cochlea through the temporal bone, bypassing the outer ear (pinna and ear canal). Once the internal ear receives the sound waves it creates a brain signal so you can hear it.
It’s a simple technology that uses bone-conducting to transmit sound to the inner ear. Both normal hearing and hearing-impaired people can use it effectively.
Did you know you hear your own voice deeper than it actually is because bone conducts lower frequencies better than air? That’s why your voice sounds different than you expect.
Who Invented Bone Conduction?
Ludwig van Beethoven—a famous composer and pianist—invented it by losing most of his hearing in his late 20s. He bit into a rod attached to a piano to hear music through bone.
Though, allegedly bone-conducting knowledge has been known before by physician Girolamo Cardano in the 16th century.
Can Bone Conduction Headphones Cause Hearing Loss?
Bone conduction headphones can’t cause hearing impairments through ear drum damage but can harm the inner ear (Cochlea) injury if abused.
You don’t have to worry about external and middle ear damage but if used for too long at louder volume, sound waves can damage your Cochlea.
Are Bone Conduction Headphones Safe?
Bone-conducting headphones are at least as safe as traditional headphones, if not more.
Because you bypass the eardrums and go straight to the internal ear, there are fewer “parts” to damage.
Also, because your outer ear is completely open to the air, you remain aware of your surroundings (no noise isolation). You hear all sounds just like if you didn’t wear anything.
It’s maximum protection for street runners or other outdoor activities where you need to listen to the world around you.
And, at the same time, you hear the music play in your head loud and clear.
Can a Deaf Person Hear with Bone Conduction?
Some deaf people can hear with bone conduction technology. If the eardrums are damaged and don’t send the sound vibrations to the inner ear (Cochlea), a person can use conduction to hear.
If a person is deaf because of the inner ear or neural problems, then it isn’t effective.
Basically, bone conducting replaces the external and middle ear and sends the sound wave directly to the Cochlea which then sends the signal to the brain.
Here’s a good explanation of hearing loss and how they test it.
Are Bone Conduction Headphones as Good as Regular Headphones?
In terms of build quality, comfort level, and fit the bone conduction headphones are the same as normal if not better.
But when it comes to sound quality, they’re not as good as traditional earphones.
You can find good-sounding workout headphones with bone conduction technology but won’t find any audiophile models with it.
The main issue is that they lack bass, especially if you listen to them in a loud environment. Open ear design with conduction isn’t best suited for that.
Who is Bone Conduction Best Suited for?
Open-ear bone conduction headphones are for people who can hear normally or have an eardrum-related hearing impairment (difficulties with detecting air conduction).
If you find regular earbuds uncomfortable, you might test these. The “earphones” don’t go into your ear canal or over your ear but just rest on the outer side of your skull.
Also, if you’re hearing-impaired and you know your inner ear works normally (conductive hearing loss), then bone-conduction headphones are a great choice for you because you’ll actually hear them.
Who Uses Bone Conduction Headphones?
The technology has been mostly developed for the military that uses it for communication on the battlefield where spatial awareness is crucial.
It’s also extensively used in hearing aids for people with conductive hearing damage.
Lately, you can now find them for swimming and as alternative workout headphones.