Best Bone Conduction Headphones

June 28, 2023
Amy Sarow, AuD, CCC-A
Written by
Amy Sarow, AuD, CCC-A
Amy Sarow, AuD, CCC-A

Dr. Amy Sarow is a practicing clinical audiologist and serves as Audiology Lead for Soundly. Her expertise and experience span topics including tinnitus, cochlear implants, hearing aid technology, and hearing testing. She holds a doctoral degree in audiology from the University of Iowa. During her residency at Mayo Clinic, Dr. Sarow was inspired by the three-tiered, patient-centered approach, incorporating clinical work, teaching and research.

Soundly Staff
Reviewed by
Soundly Staff
Soundly Staff

Soundly conducts in-depth research to guide prospective hearing aid wearers. Our work is funded through reader support. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.

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It's summer and that means more time well spent outdoors, gathering with friends, and enjoying nature. Which means, you may be taking more long walks or running outside.

So, you may be in need of a new pair of headphones to compliment those nature walks or your daily run. And, that’s where bone conduction headphones come in. 

There’s a lot of options on the market right now, with varying tech specs and functionality. How do you pick the best ones?

As an audiologist, I am often asked about different types of headphones and earbuds. Bone conduction can be a less intrusive way to experience audio while staying aware of your surroundings. 

And, just how do these devices work? Simply put, bone conduction headphones use vibrations to conduct sound to your inner ear through your cheekbones instead of traditional earbuds that use speakers in your ear canal. 

In this article, I'll shed light on the mechanics behind bone conduction headphones, what to look for when buying a pair, and my top picks for the best bone conduction headphones on the market so you can make an informed decision about which one should accompany all of your summer fun.

What are bone conduction headphones and how do they work?

Ever wonder how you can stay aware of the world while enjoying your favorite songs? That's a job for bone conduction headphones.

Bone conduction headphones use a technology that allows sound to be transmitted through vibrations that travel from your cheekbones to your inner ear.

Here’s how it works:

  • Instead of blocking outside noise, this technology enables you to hear both your music and the world around you. 
  • The headphones are placed on your cheekbone directly in front of each ear.
  • The vibrations then travel through your skull bones to the inner ear. 

Note: As with any headphone, it's still important to listen at safe levels regardless of type.

What To Look For In A Pair Of Bone Conduction Headphones

Getting the right device is vital, but what features should you be on the lookout for? 

First things first: Comfort is key. You want a set that sits securely and feels comfortable on your cheekbones. 

Sound quality is also crucial, but the audio experience differs from traditional headphones since bone conduction provides environmental awareness. You'll appreciate great sound quality, but don't expect a bass-heavy experience with the open-ear design. 

And here is when you’ll want to consider your lifestyle and preferences. For starters, look at these considerations:

  • Consider battery life: Do you enjoy streaming music for hours at a time? Engage in long-distance running? Most bone conduction headphones last four to eight hours, and some offer recharge capabilities that are lightning-fast. 
  • Think about protection: This includes device protection like warranties and waterproofing. Some models are water resistant or waterproof, the latter being ideal for swimming.
  • Charging and cables: Depending on the battery you want and functionality (i.e. waterproof), you might need speciality charging cables.

The Five Best Bone Conduction Headphones 👇

Shokz Open Run review
Shokz OpenRun
Best for Sound Quality

Shokz OpenRun

Shokz OpenRun

$129.95
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Category Leader
8 Hour Battery Life
IP67
Weighs 26g

Ready to take your outdoor runs to greater heights? Shokz OpenRun Bone Conduction Headphones may be just what you’re looking for.

This lightweight and water-resistant set is perfect for athletes, and offers strong sound quality with its PremiumPitch™ 2.0+ technology. Which means, you can enjoy your music while staying aware of your surrounding environment. 

Shokz is one of the most popular, best-performing options among bone conduction headphones. Their models tend to be lightweight and comfortable, to boot.

Soundly Scorecard
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Pros
  • Good sound quality 
  • Open-ear design allows environmental awareness
  • Flexible fit
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Volume is easy to adjust with your phone

Cons
  • No app or equalizer function
  • Fit accommodates most, but the two sizes won't work for all
  • Without a headband, sound quality can fluctuate with movement
  • Control buttons on the headphones take getting used to

See the latest Shokz Pricing
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Bose Frames Tempo
Best for Sunny Climates

Bose Frames Tempo

Bose Frames Tempo

$149.00
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Unique Design
8 Hour Battery Life
IPX4
Weighs 50g

Are you an athlete who wants both superior sound and eye-catching style? Then, consider the Bose Frames Tempo.

Wearing glasses and bone conduction headphones can be challenging, so that’s where this device is unique. With these one-of-a-kind audio sunglasses, you can easily hit the trails, run errands, or just lounge outdoors and simultaneously stream music and get UV ray protection.

Specially designed with Bose speakers in each temple with an aerodynamic nylon frame and soft silicone nose pads, so you can enjoy maximum performance regardless of terrain or lighting conditions. 

The headphones also come with multi-colored interchangeable lenses so you can customize shades to match your style.

Soundly Scorecard
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Pros
  • Minimal to no sound leakage, enjoy music without disturbing others
  • Lenses come in different color options
  • Microphone in the right arm for noise reduction
Cons
  • Battery life lasts only 3.5 hours
  • Proprietary magnetic charging cable
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Mojawa Mojo2
Best for Bass Aficionados

Mojawa Mojo2

Mojawa Mojo2

$129.99
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8 Hour Battery Life
Weighs 26g
IP67

These cutting-edge bone conduction headphones are athlete-friendly. The Mojo2 is designed to provide solid audio quality with a lightweight design in order to optimize a superior sound performance without sacrificing comfort.

The device offers high-quality audio that goes straight to your inner ear through your temporal bones, to provide an immersive listening experience. Mojawa is all in on bass sounds with faster bass response and intensity.

What else might make this product a good fit? The headphone employs touch-sensitive controls and a 150mAh lithium-ion battery that gives eight hours of usage. The battery charges rather fast—just five minutes of charging yields 50 minutes of wear time.

Soundly Scorecard
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Pros
  • A 5-minute quick charge gets 50 minutes of playtime
  • Good bass sound quality for bone conduction
  • Streamlined control buttons
  • 30-day return policy
Cons
  • Proprietary magnetic charging cable
  • Volume beeps and 'Power On' sound is very loud
See more Mojawa Mojo2 Pricing
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Philip Go review
Philips Go A6606
Best for Safety

Philips Go A6606

Philips Go A6606

$149.99
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9 Hour Battery Life
IP67
Weighs 28g

Do you enjoy life in the great outdoors? Take your sound with you—wherever and anywhere you go with Philips A6707 Bone Conduction Headphones. 

This pair is both water-resistant and sweat-proof, making them ideal for any fitness activity like hiking, running, or cycling.

Additionally, they feature an open-ear form factor which enables you to stay aware of your surroundings while streaming music or podcasts. With their comfy neckband design, these headphones are designed to wear and stay put. 

And as an extra safety measure, the neckband is equipped with a bright red LED light that can be controlled through the Philips Headphones app.

Soundly Scorecard
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Pros
  • Fairly comfortable fit
  • Sweat-resistant
  • Universal charging port
  • LED safety lights for added safety on the road
Cons
  • Audio quality is average
  • Push buttons are not intuitive
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YouthWhisper review
YouthWhisper SuperQ3
Best for Budget Conscious

YouthWhisper SuperQ3

YouthWhisper SuperQ3

$37.99
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6 Hour Battery Life
Weighs 30g
IP67

Distractions, be gone. These headphones make it easy to stay connected during any activities like sports or just some self-care.

With a titanium headband and soft silicone to ensure comfort, this lightweight design seamlessly moves from activity to activity without compromising sound quality, comfort, or situational awareness. And the dual microphone technology, volume control buttons, re-wind track capability with triple-click, connection ability to two devices at once.

When your SuperQ3 inevitably runs out of power after six hours of continuous play or eight hours of talk time, plug in the standard USB-C charging cable and wait until that red indicator light turns blue—then you're good to go.

Soundly Scorecard
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Pros
  • Best budget bone conduction headphones
  • Sweat and water resistant
  • Durable titanium headband with soft silicone for comfort on the head
  • Uses a universal charger (no proprietary charger), easy to replace
Cons
  • Bulky compared to others
  • Only 6 hours of battery life
  • Bluetooth can be spotty underwater
  • The charging port doesn't close well
  • Fair to average sound quality, with less desirable call quality
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Final Thoughts

Bone conduction headphones are the perfect tool to balance safety with music motivation. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Whether you're taking your run to a whole new level, upgrading your cycling ride, or just trying to stay safe while you exercise, these bone conduction headphones have top-notch features to immerse you in sound without being cut off from your surroundings. 
  • When selecting a pair, it's essential to consider factors such as comfort, battery life, and overall audio quality. 

With this in mind, you can make an informed decision and find the perfect pair of bone conduction headphones to suit your needs.

Frequently asked questions

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