Bone Conduction Headphones
(Photo/Amazon)

The Best Bone Conduction Headphones of 2022

Rock out to your favorite playlist while staying aware of your surroundings. These are the best bone conduction headphones of 2022.

While bone conduction sounds both futuristic and a bit intimidating, it’s actually a realistic and comfortable alternative to earbuds or over-ear headphones.

By moving the vibration of the sound into the cheekbones, bone conduction headphones leave your ears open and able to hear what’s going on around you. Now you can add a soundtrack to your life without drowning it out.

Perfect not only for running but also cycling and other outdoor sports, this tech increases your awareness when you need it most. Bone conduction headphones can also be completely waterproof, meaning even the pool is fair game.

We’ve tested bone conduction headphones for a number of years, choosing the best the market has to offer and comparing them side-by-side to assemble the most worthy pairs available today. We’ve run, swam, and even lifted weights in ours, and we’re confident that our choices represent the best bone conduction headphones available. 

Scroll through to see all of our recommended buys or jump to the category you’re looking for:

For some solid advice on how to choose the right model, check out our buyer’s guide and comparison chart. We’ve also compiled a list of frequently asked questions that’ll help you get straight to the point when it comes to bone conduction headphones.

The Best Bone Conduction Headphones of 2022

Best Overall: Shokz OpenRun

Shokz OpenRun Bone Conducting Headphones

Shokz, formerly known as AfterShokz dominates the bone conduction headphone market, and it has come out on top with its newest model, the OpenRun ($130). The new PremiumPitch 2.0+ technology delivers a higher quality sound than other products. Paired with a new angle on the transducers, this creates the potential for louder volume with less vibration.

One of the biggest complaints about bone conduction headphones is the vibration. Louder volumes can produce an uncomfortable tingling on your cheekbones in other models. So, we were excited to see this addressed with the OpenRun.

The OpenRun weighs just 26 g, and it has an impressive 8-hour battery life and a fully waterproof design. It takes about 2 hours to reach a full charge. These headphones are sweatproof and waterproof, but they’re not meant for swimming. If you’re looking for a fully submersible option, read on.

While you’ll certainly pay for them, the overall combination of ergonomics and high-end technology made these our choice as the best bone conduction headphones available today.

Specs:
  • Battery: 8 hours running, 10 days of standby, 2 hours to full charge
  • Weight: 26 g.
  • Water resistance rating: IP67
  • Microphone: Yes (dual noise-canceling)
  • Connectivity type: Bluetooth 5.1
Pros:
  • Lightweight
  • Long battery life
  • Waterproof
Cons:
  • Expensive

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Best Budget: Tayogo Bone Conduction Headphones

Tayogo Bone Conduction Headphones

These affordable bone conduction headphones from Tayogo ($40) are significantly cheaper than any of the other options on this list. While not feature-packed or waterproof, they’re solid and reliable headphones at an approachable price.

Many of our testers appreciated how these headphones stay securely in place while running or exercising. The sound quality and balance are generally good, though they may generate a slight tickling sensation when used at high volume. On a full charge, these can last up to 6 hours, which is only a few hours less than far more expensive options.

While some bone conduction headphones don’t offer comfortable compatibility with glasses, these have been designed with glasses wearers in mind. The volume and power buttons are easy to access and simple to use.

While these couldn’t be called high-end, Tayogo has created a reliable pair of affordable headphones that offers the perks of bone conduction technology without the hefty price tag.

Specs:
  • Battery: 5-6 hours running
  • Weight: 3.2 oz.
  • Water resistance rating: IPX5
  • Microphone: Yes
  • Connectivity type: Bluetooth 5.0
Pros:
  • Affordable
  • Compatible with glasses
Cons:
  • Tickles the ear at high volume
  • Not waterproof

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Runner-Up Best Overall: Shokz Air

Shokz Air Bone Conduction Headphones

The Air is Shokz’s more affordable option that still delivers premium audio quality in a lightweight and secure headset. The Air ($135) boasts many of the same pros as the OpenRun. It has a titanium frame that ensures security around the back of the head, even during a rigorous workout, and a microphone for easy access to phone calls.

These headphones weigh just over an ounce (30 g) and use PremiumPitch+ technology to send clear audio through the cheekbones, keeping the ears open to ambient noise. Although this model is not fully waterproof, it is IP55-certified to repel sweat, dust, and moisture.

It takes 2 hours to reach a full charge, and the Air will last for up to 6 hours while running and up to 20 days on standby. LeakSlayer technology helps reduce the amount of natural sound leakage, and the noise-canceling microphone minimizes background noise during calls.

We have read complaints that after 6 months, this model tends to start failing, but we haven’t experienced any failure during a yearlong test. Compared to the best, we found the Air headphones to be dang-close in every metric, and a solid runner-up choice.

Specs:
  • Battery: 6 hours running, 20 days of standby, 2 hours to full charge
  • Weight: 30 g.
  • Water resistance rating: IP55
  • Microphone: Yes
  • Connectivity type: Bluetooth 4.2
Pros:
  • Lightweight
  • Secure headband
  • Water-resistant
Cons:
  • Still pricey
  • Vibrations at high volume
  • Durability concerns

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Best Value: Shokz OpenMove

Shokz OpenMove Bone Conducting Headphones

The Shokz OpenMove ($80) brings many of the same benefits and features that both the OpenRun and Air do, but it does so at a slightly lower price. The OpenMove 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 V5.1 technology ensures quick pairing without the hassle of connecting every time you put them on. They weigh in at 36 g, and the battery will run for 6 hours with each full charge.

The OpenMove 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 Shokz is decreased sound quality and increased weight. If you don’t mind a few extra grams and marginally lower audio quality, the OpenMove is a great value.

Specs:
  • Battery: 6 hours running
  • Weight: 36 g.
  • Water resistance rating: IP55
  • Microphone: Yes
  • Connectivity type: Bluetooth 5.1
Pros:
  • More reasonable price tag
  • Sweatproof
  • Quality
Cons:
  • Sizing issues
  • Lower quality sound

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Best Waterproof Headphones for Swimming: Shokz OpenSwim

Shokz OpenSwim Bone Conducting Headphones

These wireless bone conduction headphones allow for complete comfort while swimming. With the Shokz OpenSwim ($150), you can bring 4 GB (around 1,200 songs) of sound into the lap pool. This combination MP3/wireless headphone set removes the limits of Bluetooth ranges by storing your music directly.

They have an 8-hour battery life, and with a waterproof rating of IP68, the OpenSwim will have you coming up for air long before being submerged at 2 m for 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.

A set of three buttons on the underside of the band control the commands for the OpenSwim, allowing you to play, skip, pause, and rewind a track. You’ll have to be your own DJ before you hit the pool and set your own playlist, but once you’re in your lane it’s easy enough to manage.

We recommend pairing these with earplugs, which create  a clearer sound by removing the sound of water rushing through your ears. For swimmers, these are the best bone conduction headphones available today.

Specs:
  • Battery: 8 hours running
  • Weight: 13.3 oz.
  • Water resistance rating: IP68
  • Microphone: No
  • Connectivity type: None
Pros:
  • Virtually waterproof
  • Long battery life
  • Highly durable
Cons:
  • Heavy build
  • Only internal storage
  • Does not Bluetooth connect with phone or watch

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Best for the Rugged: Pyle Bone Conduction Headphones

Pyle Bone Conduction Headphones

Another pair of completely waterproof, IPX6-rated, bone conduction headphones, this set by Pyle clocks in at a reasonable price point. If you’re someone who doesn’t take well to brittle objects, then Pyle’s Bone Conduction Headphones ($70) may be the right fit for you.

This pair will play full volume for up to 3 hours and offer a long standby time of 240 hours. The 4.1 Bluetooth tech reaches up to 35 feet of separation and ensures easy pairing.

The rugged build helps keep them in place on your head and makes them less likely to snap if you drop them while biking or accidentally smash them in your gym bag. 

These Pyle headphones are the heaviest option listed here, and the sound quality doesn’t reach that of Shokz. But they are highly durable and come with a one-year warranty, meaning even those with heavy hands will be able to enjoy them long down the line.

Specs:
  • Battery: 2-3 hours running, 10 days standby, 4 hours to full charge
  • Weight: 39 g.
  • Water resistance rating: IPX6
  • Microphone: Yes
  • Connectivity type: Bluetooth 4.1
Pros:
  • Lower price
  • Durable but comfortable build
Cons:
  • Longer charge time
  • Lower quality sound

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Best of the Rest

Vidonn F1 Titanium

Vidonn F1 Titanium Bone Conduction Headphones

Just because we’ve mostly listed Shokz models doesn’t mean that brand is the only option. Vidonn is a Chinese company that’s been in business since 2013, and its F1 Titanium ($45) makes the list of the best bone conduction headphones available today.

The F1 headphones are on par with Shokz OpenMove durability and comfort level for all active sports. Sound quality, however, falls just short of the Shokz line and could be improved by a higher level of bass available.

The clear voice capture and noise-reduction technologies both live up to what more expensive brands have to offer. The F1 also has an IP55 sweatproof rating.

Overall, for bone conduction headphones under $50, the F1 Titanium has many of the same qualities as pairs over $100. What’s missing is an accompanying carrying case and crisp, clean, bass-filled sound. Additionally, Vidonn offers up to a one-year warranty, whereas Shokz provides a 2-year warranty.

Specs:
  • Battery: 6 hours running, 10 days standby, 2 hours to full charge
  • Weight: 36 g.
  • Water resistance rating: IP55
  • Microphone: Yes
  • Connectivity type: Bluetooth 5.0
Pros:
  • Price
  • Durability
  • Similar tech to other brands
Cons:
  • No carrying case
  • Short warranty

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Bone Conduction Headphone Comparison Chart

Bone Conduction Headphones Price Battery Weight Water Resistance Rating Connectivity Type
Shokz OpenRun $130 8 hours running, 10 days of standby, 2 hours to full charge 26 g. IP67 Bluetooth 5.1
Tayogo Bone Conduction Headphones $40 5-6 hours running 3.2 oz. IPX5 Bluetooth 5.0
Shokz Air $135 6 hours running, 20 days of standby, 2 hours to full charge 30 g. IP55 Bluetooth 4.2
Shokz OpenMove $80 6 hours running 36 g. IP55 Bluetooth 5.1
Shokz OpenSwim $150 8 hours running 13.3 oz. IP68 None
Pyle Bone Conduction Headphones $70 2-3 hours running, 10 days standby, 4 hours to full charge 39 g. IPX6 Bluetooth 4.1
Vidonn F1 Titanium $45 6 hours running, 10 days standby, 2 hours to full charge 36 g. IP55 Bluetooth 5.0

Why You Should Trust Us

While bone conduction headphones are still a minority share of the audio market, we believe that they can be extremely useful for those who prioritize awareness while enjoying music. This includes runners, cyclists, and generally most of the GearJunkie staff.

For every pair of bone conduction headphones we tested, we reviewed them in the field during a number of test runs and bike rides to ensure that they could handle the rigors of indoor and outdoor use, in all types of conditions. For this, we paid mind to the overall comfort of the headphones, as well as how well they provided audio during exercise.

We then ran a series of different audio files through them to gauge their audio quality. While bone conduction headphones aren’t known for their audiophile-pleasing quality, leaps and bounds have been made to better close the gap and improve overall tone. The PremiumPitch 2.0+ technology that Shokz integrates into a number of their headphones has improved bass quality in recent years.

In terms of additional features, we paid attention to integrated microphones, ease of button use, and the water resistance of each headphone when considering them. These features often can make a difference when comparing models against one another, and while many options are similar, some headphones are more premium than others.

Bone Conducting Headphones in Action
(Photo/Cory Smith)

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose Bone Conduction Headphones

Bone conduction headphones are less common than standard headphones, so most people don’t know much about them. However, the benefits of bone conduction are invaluable for all kinds of active use because they allow you to still hear your surroundings.

This article is focused solely on bone conduction headphones. If you’re looking for other styles, check out our Best Workout Headphones and Earbuds.

Runners, skiers, mountain bikers, swimmers, and many others appreciate that bone conduction headphones offer the ability to listen to music or podcasts without drowning out the surrounding world. For this reason, bone conduction headphones offer superior safety and general awareness.

Once you’ve decided to purchase a pair of bone conduction headphones, the next step is deciding which ones to buy. Fortunately, the market is relatively small, and selecting the right pair doesn’t have to feel like sorting through an overly crowded field. Shokz, formally known as AfterShokz, is largely considered the market leader. 

Still, not all of the best bone conduction headphones are created equal. In this handy how-to-choose guide, we thoroughly explain all of the features to consider when shopping for your next pair of headphones.

Bone Conduction Technology

While most sound is transmitted to the eardrum through the air, bone conduction technology transmits these vibrations through the bones of the jaw and into the cochlea. In this way, sound vibrations can bypass the ear canal and leave it open to ambient sound.

Using vibrations to conduct sound isn’t a new technology by any means. By the time he was by-in-large totally deaf, Ludwig van Beethoven would use his conductor’s wand to feel the notes from his piano by biting down on it. This is also the same technology that allows for Bone Anchored Hearing Aids (BAHA) to operate.

Today, bone conduction headphones use small transducers that are held just in front of the ear to transmit their sound, and are supported by a band that rests atop the ears and around the head.

Bone Conduction Technology
Bypassing the eardrum, bone conduction headphones leave the user open to ambient sound; (photo/Cory Smith)

Sound Quality

Generally, bone conduction headphones do not provide the same quality of sound that traditional headphones do. Audiophiles, DJs, and audio engineers who are seeking top-level fidelity should choose traditional headphones instead of bone conduction models.

Because bone conduction headphones do not transmit directly into your ear canal, they are not able to deliver the highest level of booming bass or clean sound.

With that said, the headphones we’ve selected on this list are made specifically with active use in mind. For that application, bone conduction headphones offer unparalleled benefits. The headphones with the best audio quality we’ve tested were the Shokz OpenRun.

Also, most users report that a high-quality pair of bone conduction headphones can still generate relatively impactful bass and clear audio. Ultimately, bone conduction headphones aren’t made to fit our sound exactly like traditional headphones. 

Many new users of bone conduction headphones tend to turn up the volume to extreme levels in order to try and recreate the sound-canceling experience of traditional headphones. Remember that because bone conduction headphones do not cover your ear canal, they will never fully cancel out sounding noises.

Be careful when turning up bone conduction headphones to a high volume, as this can result in injury or hearing loss.

Wireless, Bluetooth, and Charging 

For active users, wireless headphones are a common preference. When running, skiing, or biking, a cord may get in the way and become a nuisance. All of the bone conduction headphones on this list are wireless and feature a Bluetooth interface (except the fully waterproof Shokz OpenSwim which does not have Bluetooth connectivity because it uses internal storage). 

The type of Bluetooth connectivity is indicated by a version number. The higher the number the more current the technology is. For example version 5.3 was released in 2021, whereas 4.0 was released in 2010. Before purchasing a pair of bone conduction headphones check the device you plan to connect them with to ensure they are supported.

The downside of wireless headphones is that they need to be regularly charged. Most of the headphones on this list charge via a Type C USB cable, or a proprietary magnetic induction cable. Generally, the battery life of a fully charged pair of bone conduction headphones ranges from 4 to 10 hours.

Waterproof & Dustproof Ratings

The International Electronics Commission developed a universal rating system for all electronics to grade the effectiveness of resisting the intrusion of dust or liquid. Known as the ingress protection (IP) rating, each electronic is rated for protection against dust and liquids. 

The IP code is comprised of two numerals. The first number indicates protection against solid objects and is rated on a scale from 0 (no protection) to 6 (no ingress of dust). 

In contrast, the second number is protection against liquids and uses a scale from 0 (no protection) to 9 (high-pressure hot water from different angles). An “X” indicates no protection.

Design

Most bone conduction headphones have a few key design characters in common. All of the headphones on our list of recommendations are built with a curved frame that is designed to fit comfortably around the back of the neck. 

Some, such as our “Best Overall” winner the Shokz OpenRun will come in a standard and mini size to accommodate different size heads.  Because bone conduction headphones do not sit in the ear canal, they rely on the neckband for positioning and support.

Other important design traits to consider include the layout and location of buttons and weight. Control buttons will be located on the earbuds or the band that wraps around your head. 

We’ll add that it’s important to read the instructions on how to use the controls, as there were features like skipping songs that we would not have known how to do without reading the instructions. 

Comfort

Depending on your preferences, you may find that bone conduction headphones are more comfortable than traditional headphones. 

The lack of an ear pod or bud inside of your ear canal reduces the potential of in-ear soreness and aches. This boost in comfort is especially noticeable and appreciated during active use.

Durability

Bone conduction headphones that are geared toward active use should be reasonably durable. On this list, we have included various models that can handle the standard abuse of running, skiing, and biking in the outdoors.

In terms of impacts and drop-related durability, the Pyle Bone Conduction headphones are our top recommendation.

The general durability of bone conduction headphones can be directly tied to the IP rating. If you plan to use your headphones underwater or in wet environments, be sure to buy a fully waterproof pair. The Shokz OpenSwim are supremely waterproof and are great for laps in the pool.

Price

Bone conduction headphones range in price from around $30 to $200. While the cheaper pairs that we recommend on this list are high quality relative to their price, it is important to realize that there is a reliable relationship between price and overall quality.

If you are seeking long-lasting headphones with well-designed features and the ability to hold up to active use and the elements, we recommend investing in the best pair you can afford.

FAQ

How Do Bone Conduction Headphones Work?

Bone conduction headphones take advantage of the fact that sound is simply vibrations, directing them into the bones in your head.

These headphones use plates that sit against the cheekbones to deliver sound vibrations through the jaw and skull bone directly into the cochlea. They leave the ear canal open, which allows outside sound to still get in.

Unlike traditional headphones, bone conduction headphones allow the user to hear what’s happening in their surroundings. This makes this style of headphones a great choice for outside activities where hearing oncoming vehicles or bikes can save lives. They’re also a great option for underwater swimming or for people with in-ear hearing aids.

Basically, it’s like being in a room with music playing, but you’re able to choose the playlist.

Best Bone Conduction Headphones
(Photo/Aftershokz)

Can Bone Conduction Headphones Cause Hearing Loss?

Unfortunately, any type of headphones will lead to hearing loss if they are used at an irresponsible volume. Bone conduction headphones still vibrate the cochlea and can damage it just as much as traditional headphones can.

Are Bone Conduction Headphones Any Good?

Bone conduction headphones will not deliver the same quality audio as in-ear headphones. For the sharpest, loudest audio quality, headphones or earbuds are better.

But, bone conduction headphones are great for certain applications. They provide a lot of options to still listen to music without sacrificing your situational awareness. And this is extremely valuable while hiking, biking, or even working from home.

Can I Swim With Bone Conduction Headphones?

Some bone conduction headphones are fully waterproof. On this list, models such as the Shokz OpenSwim are designed to work in wet environments — and you can absolutely swim (or snorkel!) while wearing them.


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