The best bone conduction headphones in 2023

Bone conduction headphones transmit sound through the bones of the skull instead of the eardrums. Its use is very specific, but its technology has advanced a lot recently. Check out the best bone conduction headphones here.

Shokz OpenMove // ​​Source: Shokz

Bone conduction headphones (also called bone conduction headphones) are primarily designed for athletes. The technology itself is quite old. The principle is not to send the sound directly to the eardrum (as in conventional headphones), but to the jawbone through vibration. These vibrations are then carried from the chin to the inner ear and are therefore perceived by the user. Therefore, the bone conduction earphone is not placed in the pavilion of the ear, but just in front of it.

The philosophy behind bone conduction headphones is the opposite of noise canceling headphones. Your ears are left free: suddenly you are not isolated from the rest of the world. Therefore, this type of helmet is used especially by athletes. This allows a runner or cyclist to exercise while listening to music while remaining aware of what’s going on around them. In addition to sports and other outdoor activities, this type of helmet can be used in a professional environment, such as a open field accessible while listening to his music. Some hard of hearing people can also greatly benefit from this eardrum technology.

The sound quality provided by bone conduction headphones is definitely worse than regular headphones. The thing is, you’re buying this product to stay awake, not to listen to and immerse yourself in top quality music. This is an add-on device and not intended to replace headphones or earphones.

Very few manufacturers are interested in this technology. It is the current best manufacturer of bone conduction headphones Shock (formerly called AfterShokz, until 2021). There are other brands like Tayogo and Vidonn. However, we have chosen to focus here on the best models that we believe are produced by Shokz.

Whether you’re an athlete and want to work out with music, or you’re just curious, here we explain the manufacturer’s range and the best bone conduction headphones available.

Do you exercise often? Discover our guides to tech products for athletes:

OpenRun Pro: the ultimate in bone conduction

L’Open Run Pro It is the newest and most premium helmet from Shokz. This model is clearly designed for lovers of running and other outdoor sports. It replaces the Aeropex model.

Like the other models, this helmet is made of titanium, which makes it particularly strong even in the event of a fall. It is completely covered with a soft and pleasant silicone against the skin.

The helmet is IP55 certified to effectively resist sweat. The brand has also worked on the sound quality delivered, especially the much improved bass transmission. The autonomy has also been improved, a good performance to reach 10 hours. Fast charging is also required: 5 minutes for 1 hour and 30 minutes of use, and one hour for a full charge. The headset comes with a magnetic (and custom) charging cable. However, you need to provide an additional power supply – and this applies to all Shokz models.

The headset works via Bluetooth 5.1 and benefits from multi-point. It is equipped with dual noise-canceling microphones for making and receiving calls, which is particularly effective even in noisy environments.

Several colors are often available with Shokz: pink, blue, black and white.

Why choose Shokz OpenRun Pro?

  • The latest in bone conduction technology
  • Noise canceling microphone
  • Good autonomy

OpenSwim: for swimmers and water enthusiasts

Like a waterproof helmetOpenSwim It has IP68 certification from Shokz. First it’s dustproof, but above all it’s fully submersible up to 2 meters for 1 hour. This is simply the highest standard of protection. Of course, being designed for swimming, you can wear a swimming cap, earplugs or swimming goggles without worry.

Shokz OpenSwim

If OpenSwim has great qualities, especially the comfort of the object and its reliability in the water, it also has a big flaw: it does not work on Bluetooth. You have to upload your music to it like an old MP3 player, at which point it seems too far away. It has a small memory capacity of 4 GB with about 1200 songs. It supports MP3, WAV, WMA, AAC and FLAC formats. We’re forgetting about fast charging here, which is reserved for the top of the line OpenRun Pro and OpenComm. The declared autonomy is about 8 hours.

It’s a shame that Shokz didn’t offer two uses, i.e. definitely uploading music to the helmet as well as connecting to Bluetooth with your phone. Any swimmer might actually want to use their bone conduction helmet in an environment other than the water, such as running: in that case, they won’t be able to connect their smartphone to OpenSwim, which is a bummer. It also doesn’t come with a microphone, so you can say goodbye to hands-free calls. As you can see, Shokz designed this helmet only and exclusively for swimming and other water sports.

A little extra, it comes with earplugs suitable for swimming, which will be very useful to hear your music better in between the splashes and children’s screams. It should be noted that it can be used at sea without any problems.

Why choose Shokz OpenSwim?

  • If you are a swimmer or an avid swimmer
  • Comfortable to wear under a swimming cap
  • Perfect waterproof

OpenMove: a low-cost headset

If you do not want to spend a lot of money on a sports helmet or only use it occasionally, then you can choose the model. OpenMoveOne of the best selling references by Shokz.

The OpenMove is Shokz’s entry-level helmet. So, there’s no fast charging or extended battery life here. You still get the benefit of the Shokz’s unique bone conduction technology. A dual noise-canceling microphone is also included.

It benefits from IP55 certification and is therefore sweat-resistant. So it’s designed not just for sports, but for sports. It actually has two EQ modes: one for outdoor use and another for boosting vocals, making the headphones perfect for podcasts, audiobooks or radio. Good surprise, its Bluetooth is also very spot on. Like other models, it incorporates control buttons (volume, headphone on/off, etc.) on the branches.

On the battery side, we have at least 6 hours of autonomy and USB-C charging.

If you want to try out this technology and see if it works for you, this is a great option. We recommend it for people who ride bikes around town and need to hear what’s going on around them for safety reasons.

Why choose Shokz OpenMove?

  • More affordable price
  • Good microphone
  • IP55 approval

OpenComm: the ideal headset for work

L’OpenComm If you spend your days on the phone, it could be a seriously interesting option. This headset is specially designed for phone calls and long time use.

At a time when telecommuting, so phone calls and video meetings are becoming commonplace, this headset makes perfect sense. Perfect for those who can’t stand spending the day with on-ear headphones or headphones that keep you warm.

It benefits from the same fast charging as the OpenRun Pro, with a good 16 hours of talk time. This is a single microphone headset with DSP noise reduction that works very well. However, we regret that this microphone, which is also made of titanium, is not removable. Small specificity, the helmet can be connected to a smartphone very quickly by NFC.

Small black point, the price is 160 euros, a bit high for the product.

Why choose Shokz OpenComm?

  • A particularly effective noise canceling microphone
  • Comfortable and very light
  • Pairing with NFC

Cheap alternative: Vidonn F1

Don’t want to spend a lot of money on a bone conduction test? There are many other manufacturers in this field that are lesser known than Shokz, such as Vidonn, a Chinese brand. The latter produces cheap helmets clearly aimed at the entry level. models like Vidon F1 (as well as other Chinese brands) has decent value if you want to stay around 40 – 50 euros.

The Vidom F1 looks very similar to the Shokz helmets in terms of shape. However, it is a little heavier and hardly fits small heads. It benefits from the microphone as well as IP55 certification (anti-sweat) just like the OpenMove from Shokz.

Why should you choose this model over the above? Only for the price.

You will find many inexpensive models of bone conduction headphones available on e-commerce sites. In our opinion, to get the most out of this technology, it’s better to go directly to better quality brands like Shokz. Of course it depends on your budget…

About bone conduction headphones

How exactly do bone conduction headphones work?

To understand exactly how bone conduction headphones work, you need to understand the principles of acoustics, sound is a wave that propagates differently depending on the environment in which it is placed. In traditional headphones, sound travels through the air; in the case of bone conduction, the sound is transmitted from the bones, more precisely, through the zygomatic arch of the temporal bone, which is located under the temple. It is on this bone that the transmitter of the helmet is placed. Thus, the sound is delivered directly to the inner ear without passing through the eardrum. Therefore, they are very relevant for people with eardrum deficiency.

Who is Shokz?

Shokz, which will be called AfterShokz until the end of 2021, is an American company founded in 2004. Their first bone conduction headphones were released in 2012, so the brand has been perfecting their technology and filing patents for patents for a decade. Recently, Shokz is the official supplier of the French Athletics Federation.

Will people around me hear what I’m listening to?

Yes, it is possible, but of course it depends on both the volume and the environment you are in. If you’re in a quiet indoor space like an office, your co-workers can hear the vibrations.

Can I wear glasses with bone conduction headphones?

There is no problem wearing glasses, vision or sunglasses with bone conduction headphones. They are designed not to interfere with the transition of branches. On the other hand, if you have long hair, we recommend that you tie it almost systematically, because the hair can quickly get caught in the arch and the experience becomes quite painful.

Is it possible to have a bone conduction helmet while cycling?

The question appears repeatedly in specialized forums. Indeed, many believe that this device that does not cover the ears can be used even on an electric bicycle. The reality is quite different since the decree of the State Council of February 7, 2017 prohibits the use of bone conduction headphones, as this device distracts users.

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