Finding deep, high-quality sleep night after night is an ongoing journey for many. Whether it’s a new noisy neighbor or a catastrophic world event, it seems like there’s no end to the external factors trying to disrupt our sleep. Not to mention our ceaselessly chatty minds, which can keep us awake long after our bodies are ready to shut down.
That’s where sleep earbuds come in; they’re designed to be worn while snoozing without hurting your ears and stream whatever calming sound, podcast, or audiobook will lull you to sleep the fastest. I’ve never worn a pair, but I was curious when the opportunity to review Kokoon’s pricey Nightbuds came up.
I’ve never struggled with severe sleep problems beyond it taking longer than normal to doze off here and there. However, recently a new neighbor moved into the unit above mine who owns professional-grade subwoofer speakers and loves to test out new beats late into the night. I decided to throw out my cheap drugstore disposable earplugs and try something designed for sleep, and the Kokoon Nightbuds definitely surprised me with how comfortable they are to wear and fall asleep in.
You can find my full Kokoon Nightbuds review below, but if you’re a skimmer and prefer the TL;DR version: these earbuds are expensive, and I don’t think I would buy them on my own. However, they are very comfortable to wear and did the trick of drowning out my neighbor’s noise and seamlessly connecting to my phone night after night.
Kokoon Nightbuds Review: At a Glance
Here are some key features of the Kokoon Nightbuds:
- A snug, soft earbud design with comfortable silicone that’s perfect for side sleepers (me)
- Noise masking design to help drown out other noises
- Sleep sensors that adapt your audio to your sleep auto-fading it as you fall asleep
- Built-in sleep tracker and heart rate monitor
- 10+ hours of battery life
- Extremely comfortable to wear and sleep in
- Long battery life
- Wired design doesn’t get tangled, and earpieces stay in
- Okay audio quality
- Sleep, cozy gadget design
- Auto-fade audio feature works well
- Very expensive
- Somewhat difficult user controls
- Sleep tracking is only moderately useful
Kokoon Nightbuds Review Criteria
I should start this review by stating I haven’t reviewed earbuds designed for sleep before, so this experience was new to me. However, I was thoroughly impressed by some aspects of Kokoon’s design and plan on using them on particularly loud or sleepless nights in the future in place of my earplugs. Here are the criteria I used the judge them:
- Comfort and design
- Volume and sound quality
- Battery life
- Smart sensors and app
Kokoon Nightbuds: Surprisingly Comfortable
When I first unboxed the earbuds for my Kokoon Nightbuds review, I was a bit confused about how to put them on. They have a one-piece wired design that connects to either ear with a volume and on/off module in the back. You have to loop the wires around your ear, insert each earpiece into your ear and tuck the little rubber stabilizers into your outer ear canal. It will be puzzling the first time you do, but you’ll know when you’ve inserted them successfully. They’re very comfortable to wear, dare I say more comfortable than other earbuds I own.
I’m a side sleeper, so I’m always hesitant to sleep with anything in my ears because I so often wake up with pain. However, these earbuds don’t extend beyond my ear canal, meaning my ear stays flat on the pillow. They also stay in your ears surprisingly well. I was tossing and turning, and the wires tugged slightly with the movement but not enough to dislodge the earbuds, and the device on the back of your head wouldn’t be bothersome unless you slept on a very firm pillow.
I also have long hair and was slightly worried the wired design would get tangled and leave me ripping out hairs to detangle the device in the morning. Even when I slept with my hair down, this didn’t happen; a nice surprise.
The Nightbuds use a flashing light system to tell you whether the buds are on, off, fully charged, charging, and pairing with Bluetooth. The lights flash pretty quickly, which may make it difficult for some older or tech-averse users to use their earbuds successfully. I had trouble knowing whether they were charging or paired at first.
Audio Quality is Good Enough, and the Battery Lasts All Night
The audio quality with these buds isn’t amazing. The noise reduction is pretty minimal, and the sound quality is not as good as AirPods Pro, but better than cheap airplane earbuds you get for watching movies. However, since you’ll mostly be using them in a quiet bedroom, you don’t need to audio quality to be stellar, and since all they have to do is successfully play rainforest sounds, they’re good enough in my book.
Kokoon also touts them as a great earbud for day-to-day life outside of the bedroom at the office, on your commute, etc. The audio quality isn’t good enough for me to want to do that, up against my AirPods Pro and a few other go-to headphones I already have. However, the design is so unintrusive I actually forgot I was wearing them a few times while writing this review. If your No. 1 priority for earbuds is comfort, they’re a great option.
The battery life did last all night, but again, it’s impossible to tell whether they’re on or off just by looking at them, you need to press a button, so I frequently accidentally left them on all day without realizing it and drained the battery for the following night. A charging case would’ve been helpful for this problem.
Smart Audio and Sleep Sensors
A big selling point for the Kokoon Nightbuds is their audio fade-out feature that senses when you’re drifting off to sleep and lowers the volume on your audio accordingly. I really appreciated this feature because I don’t like falling asleep with music or a podcast playing because it inevitably wakes me up an hour later when it’s still on. I found that this feature more or less worked and largely solved the problem.
In terms of the sleep tracking tech the Kokoon comes with, along with a membership, I feel indifferent. It sort of worked, as well as a Fitbit does in that it’ll tell you how many hours you were out and your heart rate. But I didn’t find myself relying on it to tell me if I had a good night’s sleep or not. I don’t rely on tech for sleep health metrics in general, so perhaps I’m the wrong person to ask, but I didn’t feel like it added or took anything away from my experience of using the Nightbuds.
Price: How Badly Do You Need a Good Night’s Sleep?
The price for these buds is very high. They’re on sale at the moment for $224, and I still think that’s too much. I wouldn’t pay the regular price of $250, but I’m also not a serial sleep earbuds user. If you rely on earbuds to get yourself to sleep night after night and have tried numerous other brands with no success, or a loose pod at the bottom of your bed each night, these might be worthwhile for you.
Kokoon Nightbuds: Should You Buy Them?
Again, I think they’re about $50 too expensive, even with the discounted price. However, if you’re a sleep tech junkie and have yet to fall in love with a pair of loose earbuds, perhaps you should invest. There are definitely many pros to Kokoon’s design, and I think there are many legitimate reasons to buy this product.
Overall, my answer is no. I don’t think everyone should run out and buy a pair of these. These are a comfortable, solid option if you’ve got a lofty budget and want a go-to pair of sleep buds. If you’re unsure whether you need them or whether sleep earbuds will work for you in general, I’d try a less expensive pair first.