February 11, 2021
Though the entire process might sound a bit too outlandish to be a reality, the technology for bone conduction headphones has actually been around for decades. Bone conduction headphones are fantastic for performing certain sports such as running, cycling and even swimming. They are also great for those of us that work from home. The headphones work by moving the vibration of the sound into the cheekbones rather than the eardrum. As a result, your ears are open and able to hear what’s going on around you. Allowing you to add a soundtrack to your daily activities without sacrificing awareness.
We took the time to compile a list of the best bone conduction headphones, along with spec highlights to help you decide which pair is the right for you.
1. Overall Best Bone Conduction Headphones: Aftershokz Aeropex
AfterShokz consistently produces some of the best bone-conduction headphones on the market. Our favourite overall pick from the bunch is the AfterShokz Aeropex. Loaded with PremiumPitch 2+ technology, it delivers a higher quality bass when compared to competitor models. This is paired with a new angle on the transducers, allowing for louder volume with less vibration on the user. This is a massive improvement considering the biggest complaint of bone conduction headphones being vibration. At increased volume, users can sometimes experience an uncomfortable tingling. We're happy to see this issue resolved on the Aeropex.
The AfterShokz Aeropex has a waterproof rating of IP67, making it perfect for working out in any condition. It's ultra-lightweight weighing in at just 26g, and it has an impressive 8-hour battery life. These headphones are sweat proof and waterproof, but they’re not meant for swimming. If you’re looking for a fully submersible option, you might want to take a look at the AfterShokz Xtrainerz
Battery: 8 Hours of Playback, 10 Days Standby
Water Resistance Rating: IP67
Pros: Lightweight, Decreased Vibration, Quality Bass
Cons: Not For Swimming
2. Runner-Up Overall Best: AfterShokz Air
The Air is AfterShokz’s more affordable option that still delivers premium audio in a lightweight body. The Air boasts many of the same pros as the Aeropex. It features a titanium frame that ensures security around the back of the head, therefore ensuring the unit will stay on even during a rigorous workout. There's even a microphone for easy access to phone calls.
The Air weighs just over an ounce (30g) and uses PremiumPitch+ technology to send clear audio through the cheekbones. Although this model is not fully waterproof, it is IP155 certified to repel sweat, dust, and moisture. This model will last for up to 6 hours while running and up to 20 days on standby. Its LeakSlayer technology helps reduce the amount of natural sound leakage, and the noise-canceling microphone minimizes background noise during calls.
All in all, the AfterShokz Air is a great buy if you don't want to shell out, but still enjoy premium features.
Battery: 6 hours running, 20 days of standby
Water Resistance Rating: IP55
Pros: Lightweight, Secure Headband, Water-resistant
Cons: Some Vibrations at Higher Volumes
3. Best Bone Conduction Headphones For Swimmers: Aftershokz Xtrainerz
These wireless bone conduction headphones allow for complete comfort even while swimming, fitting completely under a swim cap. With the AfterShokz Xtrainerz you can also enjoy up to 4 GB of playback. The combination of MP3/wireless headphone set removes the limits of Bluetooth ranges by storing your music directly to the headphones.
The Xtrainerz have an 8-hour battery life. And with a waterproof rating of IP68, the Xtrainerz will have you coming up for air long before being submerged at 6ft (2m) for up to 2 hours. The tight titanium band around the head ensures a snug fit, so you won’t be diving to the bottom of the deep end to retrieve this pair.
We suggest pairing these with earplugs if you're looking for crisp audio, as they remove the sound of water rushing through the ears.
Battery: 8 Hours Playback,
Water Resistance Rating: IP68
Pros: Virtually Waterproof, Highly Durable
Cons: Only Internal Storage, No IMP4 Support
4. Best Value: Aftershokz Titanium
The AfterShokz Titanium brings many of the same benefits and features that both the Aeropex and Air do, but it does so at a slightly lower price. The Titanium still utilizes both LeakSlayer and PremiumPitch technology to optimize the sound with low natural sound leakage levels.
They are also IP55 rated for sweat and dustproof use, making them great for workouts. The Bluetooth V4.1 technology ensures quick pairing without the hassle of connecting every time you put them on. It weighs in at 36 g, and the battery will run for 6 hours at a time.
The Titanium comes in both a slim and normal fit for different head shapes and sizes. The titanium band is secure, durable, and comfortable to wear, but it’s a good idea to try these on before purchase. The different sizes can either make them form perfectly to your head or make them an uncomfortable nuisance to wear.
The main difference between this model and the higher-priced AfterShokz is a decreased sound quality and increased weight. If you don’t mind a few extra grams, the Titanium is a great buy.
Battery: 6 Hours Playback
Water Resistance Rating: IP55
Pros: Lower Price tag, Dustproof, Water Resistant
Cons: Limited Sound Quality
5. Best Bone Conduction Headphones For Productivity: Aftershokz OpenComm
The OpenComm headset is waterproof to IP55 standard and weighs just 33g. It’s constructed from titanium that’s coated in some silicone-type material. It’s tough enough to withstand being be sat on or twisted and then simply snaps back into shape. The headset uses the latest, seventh-generation, bone-conduction technology and feels like magic when you first use it. The Bluetooth headset will pair with smartphones, tablets or computers to be used in just the same way as a regular headset.
Wearing the OpenComm headset involves slipping the frame over the top of the user’s ears so that the bone-conducting plates sit just forward of the ear on the hard and bony cheekbone area. It can even be worn over PPE.
Battery: 16 Hours Playback, Audio Codec Support
Water Resistance Rating: IP55
Pros: Great for Productivity, Long Battery Life, Compatible with PPE
Cons: Susceptible to Water Damage