It’s clear that true wireless earbuds are all the craze. They shutout the world with a great seal inside of your ears, and some even sport active noise cancellation to really drown out your surroundings. But for activities such as running or biking through the city, not being able to hear your surroundings can be rather dangerous. That’s where bone conduction headphones bridge the gap.
How Do Bone Conduction Headphones Work?
Instead of sealing off your ear to block out noise, bone conduction headphones wrap around your head while the speakers rest on the little protrusion of cartilage between the temple and ear called the tragus. Rather than audio entering your ear canal through your eardrum, the audio is transmitted through your cheekbones. And surprisingly, you’re able to hear your music like it’s in your ears, all while being able to hear what is happening around you.
This technology isn’t for audiophiles searching for incredibly detailed sound quality. But it can be a life-saver (literally) when you’re running or biking on the trails — being able to hear other bikers and riders around blind corners — or when you’re running, biking or commuting through the city and hearing traffic is essential to your safety. That’s why bone conduction headphones are often described as the best headphones for running.
So get out there and get that heart pumping on a long run or ride while listening to your favorite tunes, and stay safe while doing it with our recommendations for the best bone conduction headphones available.
1. AfterShokz Titanium Bone Conduction Headphones
These lightweight and slim AfterShokz are a good choice for those who want premium bone conduction headphones at a decent price. The headband is adjustable so you can get the right fit before your workouts. And you’ll be able to go hard for upwards of six hours before these need a recharge. And pay no mind if it starts to rain on you while you’re out and about since these are IP55 water-resistant. The one drawback is Bluetooth 4.1, which is an older Bluetooth standard, but that is hardly enough to shy away from a great deal on the best bone conduction headphones.
2. AfterShokz Aeropex Bone Conduction Headphones
Great for long runs, bike rides and commutes thanks to a lightweight design and lengthy battery life. Equipped with PremiumPitch 2.0+ technology for the best sound quality you can get, these bone conduction headphones are also up to date with Bluetooth 5.0 to keep a strong connection even when you’re in the middle of your most intense ride or run. And with eight hours of battery life, you’ll most likely quit before this headset does. But even if someone calls during your workout, they’ll hear you loud and clear through the dual noise-cancelling microphone.
3. Vidonn F1 Sports Open Ear Headset
BEST BUDGET PICK
These Vidonn bone conduction headphones have a lot of the same features you’d find in premium headsets but at a fraction of the cost. You can expect around six hours of battery life, and IP55 water resistance allows you to wear them even when it’s raining outside. And it only takes about two hours to charge. There are a handful of users on Amazon that have complained about the one-size-fits-all design, but overall, it is hard to beat the price considering all the technology you get.
4. Bose Frames Tempo
Instead of just bone conduction headphones, the Bose Frames Tempo are more like an entire outdoor workout kit. Built inside the frame are two specially designed speakers so you can hear you music without cancelling out your surroundings. The lenses on the sunglasses are interchangeable and can even hold your prescription. Even with all this technology packed in, the nylon frames remain durable, scratch-resistant and lightweight. The glasses are a little on the pricy side, but they are everything an outdoor runner or biker needs in one package.
5. AfterShokz Air
If the price tag for the Aeropex is a little too high for your budget, you can save a little coin opting for the AfterShokz Air. You aren’t compromising much — far from it. The Air is a little less waterproof, but still sweat and dust resistant for your long workouts. And the six hour battery life is still enough to finish a marathon before these headphones run out of juice. An added incentive is the bonus pack of reflective strips you can add to your headphones to let drivers know where you for when you’re running or biking at night.
6. Tayogo Bone Conduction Headphones
If you aren’t totally ready to commit to a $100 pair of bone conduction headphones, Tayogo headphones let you dip your toes in to see if the technology is right for you. For $30, you still get an impressive six hours of battery life and Bluetooth 5.0 for reliable connectivity. Of course, some of the trade-offs include volume that isn’t as loud or clear sounding as an AfterShokz product. That being said, if you don’t need to block out too much external noise, you can save a lot of money giving these headphones a shot.
7. AfterShokz OpenMove
Although these are available in both white and black, the OpenMove bone conduction headphones come with a sticker skin pack with five different skins to customize your headphones to fit your personal style. Beyond looking great, you’ll also enjoy six hours of battery life and an IP55 water-resistant design that can handle runs even in the middle of a rainstorm. And when these finally need to charge, the USB-C charging port helps get these headphones and you back to training without much downtime.
8. Pyle Bone Conduction Headphones
GREAT FOR RAIN
If you want an affordable pair of bone conduction headphones that can also withstand the elements while you’re out for a run, the Pyle bone conduction headphones are the pick for you. Because they’re IPX6 water resistant, hey can handle a torrential downpour without issue. But they still provide the same benefits as the other best bone conduction headphones. This includes Bluetooth 4.1, physical controls, 240 hours of battery standby life and the ability to make and receive voice calls.
9. AfterShokz Xtrainerz Bone Conduction Headphones
BEST FOR SWIMMING
The AfterShokz Xtrainerz are unique among the best bone conduction headphones in that they are IP68 dustproof and waterproof. And because you can upload your favorite MP3s directly to the onboard storage, you can use these in the pool while you’re swimming. Along with the ability to hold around 1200 songs, you also get 8 hours of battery life with these bone conduction headphones, which means you’ll never have to worry about these going dead in the middle of your swim session.