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The 9 best bone conduction headphones in 2022

Updated 2 months ago
Published Sep 28th, 2022 3:26PM EDT
Image: Digital Mammoth / Adobe

See some of the best bone conduction headphones for all kinds of budgets in our expert guide.

Bone conduction headphones are different from wireless headphones and other traditional headphones that you’ll see all around. These headphones do not send loud, audible sound signals through your ear drum. Instead, they leave your ears free to hear background/ambient noise.

Bone conduction headphones send vibrations along your head bones and jaws to your ears. This makes them different from traditional headphones that work by vibrating the air in front of your ears. So, these headphones work using bone conduction, while standard headphones work by air conduction.

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The best bone conduction headphones

The usage of bone conduction headphones has increased steadily over the last decade. The bone conduction headphones market has grown, and more varieties are now available for purchase.

We’ve taken the time to curate this list of the best bone conduction headphones for you. We’ll explain what makes them stand out and all their important features.

Regardless of your auditory needs or budget, you will find something here that tickles your fancy.

Best overall: Shokz OpenRun Pro

Shokz OpenRun Pro

Shokz OpenRun Pro bone conduction headphones
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Pros

  • Good sound with loud bass
  • Good microphone
  • Smartphone companion app
  • Quick charge

Cons

  • Expensive

Why we picked them

The Shokz OpenRun Pro is a pair of premium bone conduction headphones from Shokz. They produce high-quality sound that beats almost any other bone conduction headphones on the market. Bone conduction headphones used to be known for their mediocre sound quality. But the Shokz OpenRun Pro fixes this by delivering excellent audio quality with premium features.

The Shokz OpenRun Pro produces rich, clear sounds with good bass. Two additional bass enhancers improve the bass performance of the previous Shokz OpenRun. Those that love listening to bass-heavy music will love the Shokz OpenRun Pro. The bass reproduction is superior to other bone conduction headphones.

The Shokz OpenRun Pro features an improved design from the regular Shokz OpenRun. The power and volume buttons are now bigger and easier to press. The position of the charging port has been moved, so it’s easier to reach. These and other improvements make the Shokz OpenRun Pro better wireless headphones than the Shokz OpenRun.

The built-in microphone has a noise-canceling feature that limits background noise from disturbing your conversations. The Shokz OpenRun Pro has a special companion app from Shokz. You can use the app to tweak the sound settings, amongst other functions.

The headphones come with Bluetooth 5.1 and they support Bluetooth multipoint. This allows you to connect the bone conduction headphones to two Bluetooth devices at the same time. Audio switches from one device to another depending on the one outputting sound. There is also a 3.5mm jack if you want to use the device in a wired connection.

The Shokz OpenRun Pro are light and comfortable to wear, even during physical activities. They utilize a titanium frame for a light yet sturdy build. The headphones are rated IP55 for sweat resistance.

What to note about them

These headphones have 10 hours of battery life. The quick charge feature provides 1.5 hours of listening time from 5 minutes of charging. Included in the Shokz OpenRun Pro packaging are the headphones, induction charger, carrying case, and user guide.

This set is arguably the best bone conduction headphones set that you can purchase. It sets a standard for other headphones to follow. The Shokz OpenRun Pro tops our list for overall audio quality, battery life, and build.

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Still really great: Shokz OpenRun

Shokz OpenRun

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Pros

  • Good battery life
  • Good sound quality
  • Sweat-resistant and waterproof
  • Comfortable fit
  • Quick charge

Cons

  • Not as good as the Shokz OpenRun Pro

Why we picked them

Formerly known as the AfterShokz Aeropex, the Shokz OpenRun is a pair of quality wireless bone conduction headphones. The headphones are designed for running, working out, and other sporting activities.

The Shokz OpenRun bone conduction headphones are sweat-resistant and waterproof with an IP67 rating. So, these headphones stay working no matter how much you sweat. They also come with a moisture detection alert that notifies you whenever there is moisture around the charging port. The headphones also fit tightly and don’t fall off, no matter how hard you run.

The Shokz OpenRun sound great, thanks to Shokz 8th generation bone conduction technology. They have two noise-canceling microphones to improve call quality. The set comes with Bluetooth 5.1 and supports Bluetooth multipoint, so you can connect to multiple devices at the same time. Sound leakage is minimal if you keep the headphones’ volume at a moderate level.

The Shokz OpenRun offers 8 hours of battery life. It also has quick charge technology which provides 90 minutes of usage with 10 minutes of charging.

In the packaging, you get the headphones, a charging cable, a carrying case, a headband, and the user guide. You also get earplugs if you wish to shut down background noise and improve the sound quality.

What to note about them

You might have issues using the Shokz OpenRun controls if you have big fingers. This is because the buttons are too close to each other. Also, raising the volume may cause the headphones to start vibrating. But these cons do not detract from the overall quality of the Shokz OpenRun. The pair remains a top-notch bone conduction headphone regardless of its minor flaws.

The Shokz OpenRun is perfect for those who need bone conduction headphones for fitness and sporting activities. The impressive battery life, sweat resistance, tight fit, and good sound quality make them a great buy. They’re also good for those who don’t want to splurge on the Shokz OpenRun Pro but still want something outstanding.

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Best budget pick for swimmers: Shokz OpenSwim

Shokz OpenSwim

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Pros

  • Perfect headphones for swimmers
  • Completely waterproof
  • Good sound quality inside water
  • Lightweight, comfortable design
  • Good battery life
  • In-built music player

Cons

  • No Bluetooth connection
  • Sound quality outside water isn’t the same as underwater

Why we picked them

The Shokz OpenSwim is a pair of headphones specifically made for those that wear headphones when swimming. They are completely waterproof and work perfectly even during lengthy swimming sessions and pool diving. They have an IP68 waterproof rating meaning they can be submerged in 2m deep water for up to two hours.

Powered by Shokz 7th generation bone conduction technology, the Shokz OpenSwim sound great underwater. The Shokz OpenSwim have a titanium frame that remains snug no matter how long you swim. The battery lasts for 8 hours on a single charge, so you can swim laps for hours without worrying about the battery of your headphones dying. The headphones weigh about 1 ounce which is so light that they won’t disturb your swimming experience. The controls are easy to operate, and you won’t have problems pausing and skipping music when swimming.

The Shokz OpenSwim come with 4 GB of internal storage, allowing you to store your favorite songs on the headphones to play without connecting to your smartphone. The headphones support the most popular audio formats and will play them without issue.

What to note about them

The Shokz OpenSwim don’t have Bluetooth connectivity. Bluetooth signals don’t travel far in water, so Shokz used the internal storage alternative instead. The headphones also come with swimming earplugs for better sound quality and nose clips for a better fit. Unfortunately, you don’t get the same sound quality outside the water as you do inside the water.

The Shokz OpenSwim packaging comes with the headphones, a USB charging cradle, and a carrying case. Also included in the packaging are swimming earplugs and nose clips.

If you need moderately priced bone conduction headphones for swimming, the Shokz OpenSwim should be the first among your options. They are decently priced at $150 compared to the Zygo Solo, which costs $300. But if you can’t do without Bluetooth connectivity, the Shokz OpenSwim aren’t for you.

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Best for swimmers: Zygo Solo

Zygo Solo

Zygo Solo bone conducting headphones
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Pros

  • Fantastic headphones for swimmers
  • Completely waterproof
  • Great sound quality
  • Walkie-talkie transmitter
  • Firm, yet comfortable fit
  • Zygo Solo smartphone app is loaded with features for swimmers

Cons

  • Expensive
  • A paid monthly plan is required to use the smartphone app
  • Short battery life

Why we picked them

The Zygo Solo is a fantastic pair of bone conduction headphones that was designed specifically for swimmers. The completely waterproof Zygo Solo is the only bone conduction headphone featured here that can stream music underwater.

Unlike the Shokz OpenSwim, you do not need to store music on the Zygo Solo before using it. The Zygo Solo comes with a transmitter that you pair to your phone via Bluetooth. The headphones then connect to the transmitter using a radio frequency connection. The transmitter also serves as a walkie-talkie device that anyone above water can use to send instructions to you. So, you can stream music, podcasts, and any other content you desire from your phone.

The headphones’ FM transmitter connection is strong. You can dive up to 2m into water and remain connected to the transmitter. You get a stable connection as long as you are within 50m of the transmitter. This is good enough, as most swimming pools are less than 50m long.

The headphones sound good and have a nice bass profile. But you don’t get the same quality of sound outside water as when you are underwater. Also, the headphones don’t have a built-in microphone. The microphone is attached to the transmitter.

Zygo Solo headphones are very comfortable to wear. They can be worn over or under a swimming cap. They also offer a firm, secure fit, and won’t get loose no matter how many laps you swim or how rigorous your water sports activity is.

What to note about them

The Zygo Solo has a companion app that features swimming lessons and programs. The swimming programs are for all swimmers, from beginners to professionals. The all-in-one app even has swimming programs designed for swimming equipment like paddleboards, snorkels, fins, kickboards, and buoys. The app can also be used to create custom workouts paired with music playing on the Zygo Solo. The app is free for a two-week trial. Afterward, you have to pay $14.99 monthly or $119.99 yearly to use it. The only negative of the Zygo Solo is the battery life. The Zygo Solo headphones last for about 3 hours before you need to recharge them. That should be enough for several laps of swimming. The transmitter lasts for about 6 hours.

The Zygo Solo packaging includes the headset, the transmitter and stand, the charging case, earplugs, and a microfiber cloth. The charging case doubles as a carrying case. The charging case is splash-proof but not waterproof.

The Zygo Solo is the best product for swimmers in the bone conduction headphone market. The only thing to complain about is the hefty $300 price for the headphones. You must also pay a monthly subscription fee to use the app’s full features. But, the Zygo Solo is packed with features that justify its expensive pricing. If you can afford the Zygo Solo, go for it.

Zygo Solo Zygo Solo $299 Available on Amazon

Best value: AfterShokz Trekz Air

AfterShokz Trekz Air

AfterShokz Trekz Air bone conduction headphones
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Pros

  • Comfortable fit
  • Portable and light
  • Good audio quality
  • Good microphone
  • Quick charge

Cons

  • Battery life could be better

Why we picked them

The AfterShokz Trekz Air bone conduction headphones are a solid pair of headphones with 6 hours battery life. They have a strong titanium frame that is slightly flexible to accommodate various kinds of head sizes and shapes. They fit nicely around your head and can be worn comfortably for various kinds of exercise. The Aftershokz headphones are small and portable enough to fit into a pocket.

The AfterShokz Trekz Air sound quality is as good as expected of a product from Shokz. The built-in microphones have noise-canceling features for better call quality. You can use the quick charge feature if the battery dies. This gives you an hour of listening time from 15 minutes of charging. You have controls on both sides of the headphones, and the controls are smooth and easy to press.

The AfterShokz Trekz Air is rated IP55, and are sweatproof and dustproof. The packaging comes with the headphones, the silicon carrying case, the earplug, and a USB charging cable.

What to note about them

The AfterShokz Trekz Air is a satisfactory pair of headphones that work just right. Buy them if you need a pair of quality headphones that won’t cost as much as Shokz’s premium offerings.

AfterShokz Air Bone Conduction Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, Slate Grey AfterShokz Air Bone Conduction Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, Slate Grey $134.95 Available on Amazon

Most durable: Tayogo Bone Conduction Headphones S2

Tayogo Bone Conduction Headphones S2

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Pros

  • Strong, durable design
  • Flexible enough to enter pockets
  • Affordable pricing
  • Sweatproof and dustproof

Cons

  • Mediocre sound quality

Why we picked them

Costing a little over $40, the Tayogo Bone Conduction Headphones S2 are a pair of budget bone conduction headphones. The headphones are sweatproof and dustproof, even with their budget price.

The Tayogo S2 headphones are the best durability bone conduction headphones featured here. The headphones are very flexible and support 360-degree bending with no permanent deformation. Tayogo claims that they carried out over 10,000 bending tests on a pair of these headphones. So, the headphones will fit perfectly when you wear them and won’t fall off during physical activities.

The Tayogo S2 comes with a 120mAh lithium battery lasting 7 hours. The battery charges full within 2 hours. Tayogo recommends 5V/1A chargers for the headphones to prevent damage to the circuitry. The headphones come with Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity. You get a one-year warranty with the headphones. The headphone packaging comes with the headphones, a USB charging cable, earplugs, and a printed manual.

What to note about them

The headphones sound okay and the open-ear design allows ambient sounds to flow in without disrupting your music. The built-in microphone allows you to pick calls without issues. The physical control buttons are responsive and easy to use.

The Tayogo bone conduction headphones S2 is a recommendable pair of headphones. They offer a lot despite its budget price.

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Another affordable pick: Pyle PSWBT550

Pyle PSWBT550

Pyle PSWBT550 best conduction headphones
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Pros

  • Okay sound quality
  • Water-resistant
  • Fits nicely

Cons

  • Poor battery life
  • Slow charging speed

Why we picked them

The Pyle PSWBT550 bone conduction headphones are a pair of relatively affordable headphones from the Pyle audio company. The headphones are water-resistant with an IP-X6 rating. They have a wrap-around style for a comfortable fit.

The Pyle PSWBT550 200mAh battery offers a listening time of three hours with a standby time of 24 hours. The battery takes about four hours to recharge fully when exhausted. The headphones have a frequency response of 100Hz to 15kHz. They come with Bluetooth 4.1 with a wireless range of about 35 feet.

What to note about them

The Pyle PSWBT550 sounds okay with negligible bass. You can wear the included earplugs to improve the audio quality. But that will neutralize the open-ear design that lets you hear ambient sounds. The headphones have a built-in microphone for answering calls.

The packaging includes the headphones, a pair of earplugs, a USB cable for charging, and the printed user manual.

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Best cheap bone conduction headphones: Easycat BC900

Easycat BC900

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Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Tight fit
  • Sweat resistant design
  • Wired headphone so no need to worry about battery life

Cons

  • No Bluetooth
  • Headphones band may be small and tight for some people

Why we picked them

The Easycat BC900 is a pair of wired bone conduction headphones with a 3.5mm audio jack. The packaging also includes a 3.5mm type C cable. These affordable headphones cost less than $30. They are designed for those who need cheap bone conduction headphones without bothering about battery life.

The headphones also have a clip to keep the cable attached to your clothes. The clip helps to attach the microphone closer to your mouth for hands-free conversation. The headphones are sweat-resistant.

What to note about them

The Easycat BC900 utilizes a lightweight design with a headband that stays on tightly. A few people have complained that the headband is too tight. They also sound okay for their price point. Unfortunately, Apple smartphones do not have the 3.5 mm port anymore. So, you need to consider this before purchasing these bone conduction headphones. But if you are okay with the 3.5mm jack, the Easycat BC900 is good for a low price.

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Best for storing music: Naenka Runner Diver

Naenka Runner Diver

Naenka Runner Diver bone conducting headphones
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Pros

  • Excellent for swimmers and other kinds of athletes
  • Great battery life
  • Excellent audio quality
  • Impressive 16 GB storage space
  • Combines Bluetooth connectivity with internal storage space

Cons

  • Reduced battery life when playing music from internal storage

Why we picked them

The Naenka Runner Diver is the latest premium bone conduction headphone from Naenka. The headphone offers an astonishing 10 hours of battery life. The battery also provides 240 hours of standby time. It also comes with a massive 16 GB storage space. So, you can store loads of music to listen to when running or swimming.

The Naenka Runner Diver headphones have an IPX8 waterproof rating. You can wear them beneath or above your swim cap. They fit comfortably and can be used for various kinds of physical activities, from running to swimming.

The Naenka Runner Diver has Bluetooth 5.2 and can connect to multiple devices simultaneously. But the Bluetooth connectivity isn’t that strong in the water. It’s better to play music from the built-in storage when you are swimming. The built-in player can play MP3 and FLAC music formats. But the battery life when playing music from the storage is five hours compared to 10 hours for Bluetooth playback.

What to note about them

The Naenka Runner Diver headphones sound good. The audio quality out of water is great, but the audio quality in water sounds even better. The headphones use a 16mm dynamic vibrator speaker to deliver bass to your auditory nerves.

The Naenka Runner Diver is an excellent pair of bone conduction headphones for swimmers and non-swimmers. The $200 price tag is a fantastic deal for what these headphones have to offer.

Naenka Runner Diver Bone Conduction Swimming Headphones Naenka Runner Diver Bone Conduction Swimming Headphones $169.99 Available on Amazon

What do bone conduction headphones do?

Naenka
Bone conduction headphones from Naenka Image source: Naenka/Amazon

Bone conduction headphones bypass your eardrums and transmit sound waves directly to the cochlea in your inner ear. Your auditory nerves pick up the sound waves and transform them into an electric signal. Each sound wave is then transmitted to the brain to interpret them.

Normal headphones also send sound waves to the brain, albeit through another path. You enjoy bone-conducted music the same way you enjoy music from conventional headphones.

Do I need bone conduction headphones?

Bone conduction headphones have certain advantages over traditional headphones. Here are a few reasons why.

Open-ear design for environmental awareness

Bone conduction technology utilizes an open-ear design that lets you hear what is happening around you. A bone conduction headset keeps the ear canal open so you can hear sounds in your environment.

With conduction headphones, you can listen to music while remaining conscious of your environment. This makes them perfect for office environments and navigating crowded cities.

You’ll be able to hear moving cars, people calling your name, official announcements, and other alert sounds. And yet you can still enjoy your music at the same time.

Great for those with conductive hearing loss or impairment

Bone conduction headphones are also better for those that are hearing impaired. They bypass the outer ear and middle ear. They work by transmitting vibrations along the bones, unlike traditional headphones that focus on the ear canal.

Anyone with a loss of hearing in some areas can enjoy music once again with bone-conducting headphones. Also, the open-ear design of bone conduction headsets ensures that hearing aids can be worn along with the headphones.

Great for tinnitus sufferers

Bone conduction headphones also work great for those suffering from tinnitus. Tinnitus is the sensation of hearing ringing in the ears without an external sound.

Regular headphones block out external noise, thus making the tinnitus worse. Bone conduction headphones will let you hear the outside world while using them. This causes a form of distraction and relief for those with tinnitus.

Excellent waterproof capabilities

Many bone conduction headphones offer good waterproof capabilities. This makes them perfect for use when swimming or even in the rain. Some are also dustproof.

Perfect fit

Bone conduction headphones fit perfectly and rest snugly on the cheekbones. There is no risk of them falling off and disturbing your listening experience like wireless earbuds. You won’t need to adjust or take them off to have conversations. Bone conduction headphones also work well with various head shapes since they rest on the cheekbones.

They are more comfortable than traditional headphones which have ear cups that press against your ears for a long time.

No earwax buildup

The use of headphones increases the buildup of earwax in the ears. Sometimes this buildup of earwax gets stuck on standard headphones, making them dirty and attracting bacteria.

Reintroducing dirty headphones to your ear can cause ear infections and allergic reactions. Bone conduction headphones aren’t placed in the ears, so they do not cause any buildup of ear wax. They leave your ears clean and healthy.

Disadvantages of bone conduction headphones

Bone conduction headphones have some slight disadvantages. They are:

Mediocre sound quality

Bone conduction headphones do not sound as phenomenal as the best traditional headphones. The bass profiles of top-notch traditional headphones are miles ahead of these headphones. But this doesn’t stop you from enjoying music with bone conduction headphones.

Poor battery life

Most bone conduction headphones have poor battery life. Headphones like the Shokz OpenRun Pro and Naenka Runner Diver have 10-hour batteries but they are exceptions. Some traditional air conduction headphones have batteries that last as long as 40 hours.

FAQ

Do bone conduction headphones sound good?

Bone conduction headphones have decent sound quality. But their sound quality is not as good as that of regular headphones.

How to choose the best bone conduction headphones for you?

Consider factors like sound quality, battery life, durability, fit, waterproofing, and comfortability before purchasing bone conduction headphones.

Which bone conduction headphones have the best sound?

The Shokz OpenRun Pro headphones are the best-sounding bone conduction headphones on the market.

Is bone conduction better for your ears?

Yes, it is. The open-ear canal design of bone conduction headphones ensures that you can still hear background noise. Also, they do not cause earwax to build up in your ears like in-ear headphones.
But you still need to be careful when using them to play music. High-volume music on bone conduction headphones can cause hearing loss.

How much do these types of headphones cost?

The prices of bone conduction headphones range from about $30 to $300 for premium bone conduction headphones. So, you will find bone conduction headphones for yourself regardless of your budget.

Can you damage your hearing with bone conduction headphones?

Not really. But loud noises from bone conduction headphones aren’t good for your ears. The sound vibrations from the loud noise can cause some hearing loss if repeated for a long time. Loud noises cause intense vibrations that can affect the cochlea in the inner ear.

Are bone conduction headphones good for phone calls?

Yes, you can enjoy regular phone calls on bone conduction headphones. Some bone conduction headphones like the Shokz OpenRun Pro have noise-canceling microphones for better call quality.

Do bone conduction headphones work with glasses?

Yes, most bone conduction headphones work fine with glasses. Most bone conduction headphones are designed to accommodate glasses.

More headphones coverage: Check out our picks for the best wireless headphones.

Toby Grey - BGR Guides Contributor

Toby Grey contributes as a How To expert for BGR. Typing away like a keyboard super hero, he covers just about anything you can think of. If Toby isn't writing, he's probably reading a book or playing video games.