For a time, true wireless earbuds are the go-to earpieces for many. And since they first made their appearance in the market, a lot of developments have already been done to the earpieces. This includes the integration of noise-canceling technology and more improvements to the sound quality they produce. So much is the hype, that not most of us know another kind of earpiece has been developed to rival the true wireless buds and address some of their issues. We are talking about bone conduction headphones.
Bone conduction headphones are earpieces that produce sounds and send the signals directly to the inner ear instead of passing through the ear canal and eardrums first. That’s the first and foremost difference between true wireless and bone conduction headphones. As a result, you would still be able to listen to music or take calls without drowning out the ambient sound around you.
Also read: Best True Wireless Earbuds (Buying Guide)
Best Bone Conduction Headphones
We have narrowed the choices available in the market for the best bone conduction headphones for you in this buying guide.
The AfterShokz Aeropex is a top-of-the-line AfterShokz bone conduction headphone unit, and buyers can’t get enough of this earpiece that has garnered high ratings online. This earpiece boasts upgrades not seen before in other AfterShokz units which, some people say, justify the price tag.
For one, the AfterShokz Aeropex boasts an IP67 water-resistance rating. This quotient makes this earpiece the top choice for outdoor activities even under a heavy downpour. In terms of battery life, AfterShokz did ramp up the active performance hours in the AfterShokz Aeropex. This piece can perform for up to eight hours. More importantly, the PremiumPitch 2.0+ technology under its hood delivers the best sound quality compared to other products.
Despite its relatively small build, the AfterShokz Aeropex still made room for physical volume controls. Considering how AfterShokz scaled the size of Aeropex, it did not go small in terms of improving bass performance, less vibration, and sound leakage.
The AfterShokz Air is a lightweight wraparound bone conduction headphone. Any Bluetooth device can be paired with this earpiece from a distance of up to 33 feet. On top of that, this earpiece supports connection with both iOS and Android devices.
Battery life is pretty much improved in comparison to the previous models that came out. The AfterShokz Air can last up to 20 days on standby mode. On active playtime, this earpiece can perform up to six hours.
These bone conduction headphones have improved microphones as well, which is an edge compared to the OpenMove units of AfterShokz. In terms of weight, it’s a little heavy compared to other AfterShokz units, weighing at 30g. And similar to other AfterShokz earpieces, the AfterShokz Air also boasts IP55 water-resistant rating.
Other than those mentioned features, the AfterShokz Air promises to have the same pros as the AfterShokz Aeropex. But it’s the PremiumPitch+ technology under its hood which makes this pair of bone conduction headphones one of our top choices.
Although they cost lower than the other best bone conduction headphones here, you get the most out of these headphones from Wanfei.
The Wanfei Bone Conduction Headphones have a seamless connection to Android and iOS gadgets thanks to Bluetooth 5.0. They’re also great for sports because they’re made of lightweight silicone and are IP55 water- and sweat-resistant. Additionally, the headphones can last seven hours per charge for music and calls.
The only downside is the headphones’ open-ear design, which means there are ambient sounds that get in, and what you’re listening to can be heard by other people nearby.
The AfterShokz OpenMove is also among the best bone conduction headphones for many users. This headphone is a customer favorite among the many online stores where this is sold.
This Bluetooth 5.0 earpiece can last up to six hours on continuous use and up to 10 days on standby. Considering its design, the device is considerably lightweight and has an IPX5 water-resistant rating. This earpiece contains an upgrade, in contrast to the pricier AfterShokz Air in terms of the Bluetooth technology under its hood.
The AfterShokz OpenMove is a decent choice and is a welcome entry point into the bone conduction headphones scene. However, we can’t help but feel a little drawback about two things: (1) the AfterShokz OpenMove tends to feel uncomfortable over time, especially where the hooks hinge on the ears, and (2) the device is powered by a lithium-polymer battery; a better option would have been using the efficient lithium-ion battery.
Nonetheless, with the price and upgrade on the Bluetooth technology that is compatible with any iOS and Android device, we share the same sentiments with the majority of buyers out there.
These aerodynamic bone conduction headphones are perfect for an athlete who constantly sweats or any Olympic swimmer in training who yearns to have a good time in the water. That is because this earpiece has an IPX8 water-resistant rating, which means the device can go as deep as one meter. Connection-wise, the Naenka Runner Pro boasts Bluetooth 5.0 under its hood.
Did we mention that this is a music player in itself? Yes, the Naenka Runner Pro has an 8 GB internal memory, which is capable of housing up to 1,500 songs. Plus, it comes with a mic so taking calls (outside the water) should be no problem.
Design-wise, the Naenka Runner Pro is lightweight due to the flexible titanium alloy material used to produce this earpiece. In terms of performance, this earpiece can last up to 15 days on standby mode. Additionally, it has up to six hours of active playtime.
This earpiece can easily compete with AfterShokz Aeropex in terms of features. To be specific, the Naenka Runner Pro has an edge when it comes to water resistance.
Want the best bone conduction headphones that have a flair? Check out this release from Krcong.
The Krcong bone conduction headphones look cool with “breathing” lights on their earpieces. They resemble gaming headsets with multicolor lights so if you’re a gamer, you might love these headphones too.
The said headphones aren’t only good appearance-wise. They have impressive features, too, such as Bluetooth 5.0 for smooth pairing with gadgets and an IPX7 rating for water resistance. Also, they function for calls and music for up to eight hours on a single charge.
These Tayogo headphones offer the best of both worlds because they can be used both on land and water. Much like its competition, this Bluetooth 5.0 device lasts for six hours.
The Tayogo earpieces are slightly bulkier considering there are physical buttons to adjust the volume and for track navigation. On top of that, it has a built-in mic for taking calls. If bulkier earpieces are no issue for you, this device delivers on the sound front.
Considering its build, this Tayogo earpiece fits fine. When doing heavy workouts while sitting down, they remain in place. That is beneficial if we factor in how snug earpieces are when choosing the best bone conduction headphones.
Also read: 15 Best Bluetooth Earphones for Indoor & Outdoor Workout
The AfterShokz OpenComm Wireless is the first bone conduction headphones we are featuring with a physical mic piece, in comparison to its competition whose mics are built-in. But the elephant in the room is that this earpiece is designed for the everyday corporate employee as opposed to an active sports user.
The boom mic in the AfterSgokz OpenComm can deliver up to 16 hours of talk time and has a noise-canceling feature for a better audio experience. This IP55-rated water-resistant device can last up to 14 days while on standby mode, boasts Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, and can be fully charged in just two hours’ time.
While not the best of the best, and definitely not replacement-worthy for the most conventional headphones, the AfterShokz OpenComm bone conduction headphones offer good range connectivity and frequency. The quality noise cancellation feature in this device is to be expected since AfterShokz units are known for this.
One common feature these bone conduction headphones have is being wireless. They are often connected by a neckband, which can be uncomfortable at times, although that still depends on the materials used to produce the band.
The MOING Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones are preferred by those who fancy a thinner and flexible wire neckband. The wire material, as opposed to plastic, is lightweight — making it comfortable for long use.
Moreover, this earpiece can last 8.5 hours per charge. On top of that, this boasts Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, a built-in microphone, and an IPX5 rating for sweat resistance.
While all these features are great and all, the headphones are a little off-putting in terms of bass quality and audio range, which you can get from the top options we have on this list.
Capping up our list of the best bone conduction headphones is the new AfterShokz Xtrainerz headphones in sapphire blue color. The Xtrainerz unit comes as an MP3 player itself and can be used underwater. That is because this one has an IP68 water-resistant rating. Furthermore, its slim and lightweight design means it is perfect for active sports — it fits fine and won’t be loose when in motion.
The device, essentially, has a 4 GB internal memory and can play music files in MP3, FLAC, and AAC file extensions. In terms of battery life, it can compete with the AfterShokz Aeropex for lasting an average of eight hours.
The only drawback is, of course, you can’t stream music or take calls while submerged underwater. Also, with almost the same features as the AfterShokz Aeropex, the hefty price tag seems a little off-putting. Nonetheless, the headphones are a great option.
How Do Bone Conduction Headphones Work?
Before buying any of the bone conduction headphones we listed, let’s go over some important details and questions.
First, bone conduction headphones possess a physics and biology feat that true wireless earphones don’t. Sounds are vibrations that pass through our ear canal and eardrums, before sending the vibrations in the middle ear where three bones amplify the sound before it travels down to another part of the ear called the cochlea.
Bone conduction earphones completely bypass the eardrum and send the sound directly to those three bones. In the process, we aren’t completely zoning out the noise we hear around us. Thus, we can still listen to our music or audiobooks while being able to respond to conversations around us.
Are Bone Conduction Headphones Safe?
Now, you might ask: are these best bone conduction headphones safe?
In general, bone conduction headphones are safe. However, it is worth mentioning that our ears can only take in sounds up to a certain extent. Sounds at or below 70 dBA are generally considered safe. While we can debate how low or high a volume should be to fall within that decibel metric, the safe thing to do is to ensure the volume of our earpieces is modulated to protect our inner ears from damages.
Pick the Bone Conduction Headphones for You
Choosing the best bone conduction headphones depends largely on your budget. There is no denying that many of the options can be perceived as pricey, but there should be one that’ll surely fit your budget like the Wanfei, Krcong, and Tayogo headphones.
If budget is not an issue at all and you are looking for a feature-filled option that will not compromise sound quality, we suggest going for the AfterShokz options like Aeropex and Air. Another consideration to look into is whether connecting the headphones to your mobile device is supported or not. Because let’s face it, some devices are not compatible.
We hope this article helps you out with your buying choice. Bookmark this article and share it with your friends! Let us know what you think.