Table of Contents
- Bone Conduction VS Air Conduction
- Bone Conduction Through History
- 12 Best Bone Conduction Headphones – Comparison Table
- Who Needs Bone Conduction Headphones?
- The Best Bone Conduction Headphones on the Market 2020
- 1. AfterShokz Aeropex Open-Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones with Sport Belt
- 2. AfterShokz Air AS650MB Open Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones
- 3. AfterShokz Titanium AS600OB Open Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones
- 4. Vidonn F1 Bone Conduction Headphones Bluetooth V5.0
- 5. WGP Open Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones
- 6. AfterShokz Bluez 2S Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones
- 7. COMPLEX Open Ear Bone Conduction Headphones by Pyle USA
- 8. Tayogo Bone Conduction Headphones with Microphone Bluetooth 5.0
- 9. AfterShokz Sportz Titanium AS401LR Wired Bone Conduction Headphones
- 10. Sandoo Bone Conduction Headphones Bluetooth 5.0
- 11. AfterShokz Xtrainerz Open-Ear MP3 Bone Conduction Wireless Sport Headphones
- 12. AKASO Bone Conduction Headphones Open Ear Wireless Headphones with Bluetooth 5.0
If you are familiar with the concept of bone conduction and you just want to find the right pair of bone conduction headphones, you can immediately jump to our list of 12 best bone conduction headphones in 2020. You will find some great options here.
In the end, we are going to discuss all the important features that you should take into consideration when buying bone conduction headphones and warn you about some common issues you might experience while using this type of headphones.
Bone Conduction VS Air Conduction
There are two different ways of sound conduction – one traditional and ‘’more logical’’ called air conduction and the other, ‘unusual’’ way called bone conduction. When a sound wave is conducted through the air, that wave has to travel from the sound source, through the air, to your outer ear, and then through middle and inner ear, all the way to cochlea. The sound wave is then being transformed into an electrical signal and sent to your brain. The path is much shorter when the sound is being conducted through bones but the source of sound needs to be in contact with your head (it usually rests on your temporal bones) in order for the sound vibrations to travel through these bones, directly into your inner ear. That way, outer and middle ear are being bypassed. This fact gives you a hint on who is going to be very happy with bone conduction headphones. All the people suffering from different types of outer and middle ear damage will find these headphones very helpful.
Long story short, the most important differences between air conduction and bone conduction are:
Bone Conduction Through History
Bone conduction technology is almost 2 centuries-old technology. There’s a story about Beethoven, famous German composer. As you probably know, he was deaf. In order to hear the music, he used a wooden stick. The stick was attached to the piano, and he was holding a stick with his teeth while playing the piano. That way, all the sound vibrations went from piano, through the stick, and then through his jaw bones, to his inner ear and he was able to hear it. That was probably the first recorded application of bone conduction technology (of course, Beethoven didn’t call it bone conduction).
After military application, bone conduction technology was then applied in medicine. In 1977, a hearing aid device called BAHA was implanted for the first time into a human skull. BAHA device uses bone conduction technology and allows people with all kinds of hearing damage related to middle ear, ear canal, eardrum, and outer ear to hear again. Up until today, this is the most useful application of bone conduction technology.
12 Best Bone Conduction Headphones – Comparison Table
|Bone Conduction Headphones||Rating||Price||Review|
|AfterShokz Aeropex||4.5||Check Amazon|
|AfterShokz Air AS650MB||4.4||Check Amazon|
|AfterShokz Titanium AS600OB||4.1||Check Amazon|
|Vidonn F1||4.2||Check Amazon|
|WGP||4.0||Check Amazon||Read Review|
|AfterShokz Bluez 2S||4.1||Check Amazon|
|Pyle PSWBT550||4.0||Check Amazon|
|Tayogo||3.9||Check Amazon||Read Review|
|AfterShokz AS401LR||4.0||Check Amazon||Read Review|
|Sandoo||4.0||Check Amazon||Read Review|
|AfterShokz Xtrainerz||4.2||Check Amazon|
|Akaso||4.5||Check Amazon||Read Review|
Who Needs Bone Conduction Headphones?
This section is a natural sequel to the previous one. All the advantages of bone conduction headphones come from their design (that’s the most important thing for people with normal hearing) and from their working principle and type of sound conduction (and this is the most important thing for people with different types of hearing damage).
So, if you have normal hearing, and you are looking for a pair of headphones for cycling, running, or for any other outdoor, or even indoor activity (like office jobs) and you need something that would allow you to stay aware of your surroundings, you might be happy with bone conduction headphones. Your ears will be open, you will hear everything around you, but you will also hear the music (or rather feel the vibrations). The sound quality won’t be perfect and you won’t be immersed in music, but if staying aware is your priority, you won’t be disappointed.
The Best Bone Conduction Headphones on the Market 2020
1. AfterShokz Aeropex Open-Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones with Sport Belt
AfterShokz Aeropex is the latest and most advanced AfterShokz’s product. Compared to the predecessors, Air and Titanium, Aeropex headphones are lighter, more durable (IP67 certified), and have upgraded battery, Bluetooth, and transducers. So, it’s fair to say that they are currently the best bone conduction headphones on the market. However, just like all the other AfterShokz headphones, Aeropex headphones have all the common flaws. The sound quality is not amazing and the mic can’t handle loud environment.
What’s in the box?
The box contains your headphones, a very nice silicone case, two magnetic charging cables, a pair of earplugs, manual, and a warranty card. All the AfterShokz headphones come with a 2-year warranty.
Things we like
In terms of design, Aeropex headphones are fairly similar to Trekz Titanium and Air. The biggest difference, design-wise, is the difference in the earpieces. They are not squarish anymore, and they look a bit more sophisticated. The manufacturer also eliminated those venting ports on the earpieces (the idea was to reduce the leakage). The Aeropex headphones are also lighter than any previous model (less than 1oz).
The build quality was also upgraded. The manufacturer used the same materials that were previously used for Air and Titanium headphones (titanium and silicone) but decided to replace the micro USB port with a magnetic charging port. Because of this small upgrade, the headphones are now fully dustproof and waterproof (IP67 rating). The headphones also have a moisture detection sensor. So, if the charging port is wet, the LED indicator on the right neckband arm will flash red and blue, and the headphones will vibrate. In this case, you are supposed to remove the cable and dry the headphones.
Comfort is, along with improved awareness, one of the best things about Aeropex headphones. The headphones are supper-light, they don’t put any pressure on your skull, and don’t cause any fatigue.
The controls are intuitive and easy to use. There’s the multifunctional (MFB) button on the left earpiece and two volume buttons on the right neckband arm. The MFB button is used to play and pause the playback, play the next song, and answer/end calls.
The volume buttons are also multifunctional. You can use the ‘volume up’ button to turn on the headphones and initiate pairing. By pressing both buttons for 2sec while the music is playing, you can choose one of two available EQ settings (open-ear and closed-ear preset). By pressing both buttons for 2sec while the music is paused, you can check the battery status.
The built-in rechargeable battery is not large but it’s still better than the battery on any other AfterShokz model. It will deliver 8h of playtime per charge (at moderate volumes). The recharge takes less than 2h. For charging, you have to use the included proprietary magnetic induction cable. Replacing the micro USB charging port with a magnetic port enhanced the durability but also created a new problem (read about it in the next section).
The headphones feature Bluetooth 5.0 which doesn’t bring amazing improvements when it comes to range. You will get a reliable performance within the standard 33ft range. The Bluetooth module supports A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, and HSP profiles. When it comes to supported Bluetooth audio codecs, there’s only SBC (no aptX or aptX HD). Bluetooth chip supports multipoint pairing – you can pair two phones simultaneously with the headphones.
The headphones feature 2 noise-canceling mics (one on each earpiece). The mics deliver satisfying performance, especially in quiet and moderately loud environments.
According to the specs, Aeropex headphones have redesigned bone conduction transducers with so-called PremiumPitch 2.0 Technology. These improvements are supposed to bring louder volume, better bass, and better overall sound reproduction. Compared to other bone conduction models, especially those cheap generic models, Aeropex headphones sound much better. The difference between Aeropex and Air or Titanium isn’t huge but it’s noticeable. There are two EQ settings – one designed for the situations when your ears are left open and the other for closed-ear listening (when using the earplugs).
Things we don’t like
Even though they sound better than cheap bone conduction headphones, Aeropex headphones are not a hi-fi device and don’t have an impeccable frequency response. You can get a better-sounding pair of regular headphones for the same price. On the other hand, over-ear and in-ear headphones are not going to increase your awareness.
The proprietary charging cable is never a great thing. Losing a proprietary cable could give you a serious headache, especially when you have to order it from the manufacturer (this specific cable is only made by the AfterShokz and you won’t find it in a local audio store). The AfterShokz includes two cables in the package (just in case you lose one), which makes things better but doesn’t change the fact that the cable is proprietary.
The microphone can’t completely isolate loud noises and wind but it does a better job than the microphones on the AfterShokz Air and Titanium.
2. AfterShokz Air AS650MB Open Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones
You will see this brand popping up over and over again. And it’s not the problem with our list. Look at any other list, there are always at least two pairs of AfterShokz headphones and that’s inevitable. AfterShokz is, at the moment, the best brand when it comes to bone conduction headphones.
AfterShokz is a Chinese company. During the 1990s and 2000s, AfterShokz made bone conduction headphones for Chinese Armed Forces. In 2012, AfterShokz introduced the first pair of bone conduction headphones made for civilians. These were named AfterShokz Bluez.
We have decided to start from the latest and most expensive AfterShokz model called Trekz Air. These are definitely one of the best pairs of bone conduction headphones you can find but even they are not perfect and you might experience some issues while wearing them (and you won’t be perfectly happy with the sound quality).
What’s in the box?
AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones come in a premium box (it would be a surprise if it wasn’t premium considering the price). The whole presentation looks really nice. Inside the box, there is one pair of Trekz Air headphones, soft carrying pouch made of some rubbery material, one pair of earplugs (you can use them to plug your ears and hear the music better, which sounds a bit strange but it’s the truth), charging cable, instruction manual, and 2-year warranty card.
Things we like
Trekz Air look stylish and sporty at the same time. Two earpieces are connected with really thin, but still, very strong neckband. Three versions are available – forest green, slate grey, and midnight blue.
The manufacturer says that these headphones are made of titanium and then covered with a protective layer of silicone. We haven’t checked about the titanium but we can say that they look and feel pretty durable – you can twist the neckband as much as you want and it won’t break. The earpieces are kind of plasticky, but even they feel sturdy. In addition, these feature IP55 rating, which means they are water resistant. So, you can wear them while running or working out and they won’t break – heavy sweating is not a problem. IP55 does not mean they are completely waterproof and you can’t swim while wearing them.
Aftershokz Trekz Air excel in the comfort department. They have all the characteristics of comfortable headphones. They are light (1.06 ounces), they don’t put too much pressure on your skull, they go over your ears and don’t hurt the ears. They are also wireless and you won’t have to deal with cables. There is not one bad thing that we could possibly say about the comfort.
Controls are simple and easy to use. On the left earpiece, there is one multifunction button. You can use it to play/pause the playback or answer/end phone calls. On the right neckband arm, just behind the earpiece, there are two volume buttons (+ and -; + is also used as power and pairing button) and a small rubber flap covering micro USB charging port. The good thing about these headphones is that volume controls on the headphones are synced with volume controls on your phone (if you change the volume on the headphones it will be changed on your phone, too). Predecessors of these headphones (Trekz Titanium) had independent volume controls. On the right earpiece, you will find a small built-in mic.
Trekz Air headphones feature Bluetooth V4.2 and offer 33 ft range. The connection is pretty stable, there was no signal loss during our testing (maximum distance – approx. 30ft). They can be paired with two (or maybe more) different Bluetooth-enabled devices at the same time. Pairing is simple – you have to hold the + plus for about 5 seconds (you will see blue and red lights blinking) and then find Aftershokz Trekz Air among available Bluetooth devices and pair them. There is no NFC and we’ve expected it considering the price, but this is not such a big issue (it’s not an issue at all if you have iPhone).
Battery offers up to 6 hours of listening (at 60-70% volume) or it can be in standby mode for up to 20 days. Recharge takes about 2 hours.
The sound is not perfect. It’s kind of bright. Mids are clean and articulate, but far from being detailed, highs are there, you can definitely distinct them, but there’s a lot of room for improvement. We could compare the sound with some relatively quiet music playing in the background. They are not loud and they don’t isolate anything since your ears are open.
Built-in mic works fine in a quiet environment but becomes almost useless in a noisy environment.
Note: Have in mind that these reviews are written by a person with normal hearing. People with different types of hearing impairment would probably have a much better appreciation of these headphones.
Things we don’t like
The sound is not the best feature but we can tolerate mids and highs, but the bass is really weak. Maybe it has something to do with their tightness. If you press them just a little bit tighter to your skull, you will get significant improvement. They should be a little bit tighter. You would lose a little bit in comfort department but you would get much more in the sound quality department.
We’ve mentioned that they are not too loud but they still manage to leak a certain amount of sound. If you raise the volume above 80%, the people around you will be able to hear what you are listening to.
Wind and noisy environment are problematic for all bone conduction headphones. When there is a strong wind or when you are cycling fast, the roar of the wind can overpower the sound. The same goes for any noisy environment. The fact that your ears are open leaves them susceptible to all the external influences and background noises and they can affect your listening experience.
3. AfterShokz Titanium AS600OB Open Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones
You already know what is AfteShokz, so we won’t repeat that. Trekz Titanium headphones are predecessors of the first pair of headphones on this list (Trekz Air). They are similar to Trekz Air with a couple of noticeable flaws but also with one important advantage. They are slightly less comfortable but they sound a little bit better (they are, in fact, our favorite among bone conduction headphones).
What’s in the box?
Trekz Titanium, unlike Trekz Air, don’t come in a premium box, which is a surprise since they are not much cheaper than Trekz Air. The box is simple, there is a transparent plastic cover on the front side and all the important features are listed at the back. The box contains one pair of Trekz Titanium headphones, one charging micro USB cable, earplugs, soft carrying pouch made of faux leather, instruction manual, and 2-year warranty.
Things we like
There is nothing new about the design, they are very similar to Trekz Air (sporty and stylish), with just a little bit thicker neckband. There are 5 different models available – green, pink, ocean blue, red, and slate grey.
This is the first wireless model by AfterShokz that was made of titanium. The neckband is coated with silicone. These headphones definitely look a bit sturdier and more massive than Trekz Air, but to be honest, the difference is not huge. This is definitely a pair of headphones that could withstand heavy use during long periods of time without any issue. The neckband is also bendable and you can twist it as much as you want.
Comfort is not an issue – you can wear them for hours. They weigh only 1.27 ounces (only 20% heavier than Trekz Air) and you won’t even notice them. The headband, as well as those parts that go over your ears, are covered with that soft and sleek silicone that feels natural and pleasant.
Controls are absolutely the same as those on Trekz Air. AfterShokz didn’t make any change regarding control buttons – there is one multifunction button on the left earpiece (play/pause/answer/end calls) and two volume buttons on the right arm of the neckband (these are also multifunction buttons: + button is also a power button; to initiate the pairing process, you have to press and hold + and – buttons simultaneously for three seconds).
The battery is slightly weaker than the one used on Trekz Air. You will probably get 5 to 6 hours at moderate volume. Recharge takes 1.5 to 2 hours.
The only difference regarding connectivity between the previous and this model is that Trekz Titanium feature Bluetooth 4.1. All the other features are pretty much the same. The pairing process is quick and relatively simple (it doesn’t start immediately when you turn on the headphones, but you have to press + and – buttons for three seconds). The signal is stable, without any interference and signal loss (even if you move quickly which means that they are great for running or any other outdoor activity). They can be paired with multiple devices simultaneously, just like Trekz Air.
Sound quality is the point where these headphones really have no rival (among bone conduction headphones). They offer better and deeper bass than Trekz Air, probably because of the tighter fit. Still, you will get much better sound quality if you buy some average traditional headphones. Trekz Titanium headphones are a great choice for podcasts because all the voices sound clear. Highs are articulate but not detailed enough.
Things we don’t like
It’s our obligation to say that we are not impressed by the sound quality and that you can get much better sound quality for the same price if you buy traditional headphones (this applies to people with normal hearing). Bass still lacks punchiness and mids and highs are far from perfect.
Just like Trekz Air, Trekz Titanium don’t isolate any background noise (your ears are open) and they also leak a certain amount of sound but they are still better than any other pair of bone conduction headphones.
4. Vidonn F1 Bone Conduction Headphones Bluetooth V5.0
Vidonn F1 is just another generic brand. This exact model is also available under the names Borofone, Oannao, etc. It’s priced under $50 and, for the price, it doesn’t offer much worse performance than the AfterShokz headphones.
What’s in the box?
The box contains your Vidonn F1 headphones, micro USB charging cable, a pair of earplugs, manual, and 1-year warranty.
Things we like
Like all the bone conduction headphones, Vidonn F1 headphones feature a recognizable around-the-neck design with controls on the right arm and two small earpieces with bone conduction transducers.
The neckband is a little bit thicker than on the AfterShokz headphones. It’s also made of titanium and wrapped in silicone. The headphones are IP55 certified and feel very solid, which makes them perfect for workouts and other physical activities.
The comfort is above-average. They are just slightly heavier than the AfterShokz headphones but they are equally comfy. The neckband arms don’t interfere with helmets and glasses, which is a huge plus. The headphones are perfect for cycling.
The control scheme is fairly simple. All the buttons and charging port are on the right arm. On the bottom of the arm, there are LED indicator, a micro USB charging port (protected with a flap), and two volume buttons. The volume up button doubles as the power/pairing button. On the right earpiece, there’s one multifunction button used to control the playback and answer/end calls.
The built battery offers decent performance, on par with some AfterShokz headphones. You will get up to 6 hours of continuous playback per single charge. The recharge takes less than 2h.
Vidonn F1 features Bluetooth 5.0 and offers above-average reliability and slightly extended range (approx. 40ft). It only supports SBC and AAC audio codecs (no aptX or aptX HD).
The microphone offers decent (but not flawless) performance. Depending on the environment, the clarity of your voice will be different. It’s perfect for office use and other quiet environments.
For a pair of bone conduction headphones, the sound quality is satisfying, even more than that. The mids are clear, the highs are consistent but not incredibly detailed. Listening to these headphones is more like listening to some quiet background music.
Things we don’t like
As always, the sound quality is the biggest issue, especially the bass. It’s weak and it lacks punchiness. Also, the leakage is above-average and becomes noticeable at higher volumes (above 70%).
The mic performance is not great in loud environments and it can’t handle the wind noise.
The Bluetooth doesn’t support multipoint pairing.
5. WGP Open Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones
WGP is another bone conduction headphone model with a familiar neckband design and tiny earpieces with built-in bone conduction transducers. In terms of performance, it’s pretty much on par with other generic models. WGP are inexpensive headphones (priced under $40) and offer decent sonic performance and battery life.
What’s in the box?
Inside the box, you will find your WGP headphones, micro USB charging cable, a pair of earplugs, black carrying pouch, manual, and 1-year warranty.
Things we like
Aside from the WGP logo on the left neckband arm, there’s nothing special or distinctive about these headphones. They are pretty much the same as any other generic headphone model. There may be some differences in the earpiece size but nothing interesting. It’s the same-old neckband/open-ear design.
Just like Vidonn F1 and AfterShokz wireless headphones, WGP headphones are solidly made. The frame is made of titanium and wrapped in protective silicone. The headphones are IP56 certified, which makes them great for all kinds of physical activities (except for swimming).
The comfort is more than satisfying. They are a little bit heavier than the AfterShokz headphones but light enough to provide great comfort. The earpieces lay nicely against your skull and provide a stable fit. They don’t cause any fatigue or pain. Also, the neckband doesn’t interfere with helmets, which makes them perfect for cycling.
The controls are simple and intuitive. It’s basically the same kind of button layout you can find on other bone conduction headphones. You have two volume buttons on the right neckband arm and one multifunction button for playback control and call answering on the right earpiece. The volume up button is also used for turning on/off and for pairing. On the right arm, you will also find the micro USB charging port and one LED indicator.
WGP headphones feature Bluetooth 5.0 with an extended 45ft range and reliable connection without signal loss within that range. The pairing is fast and simple.
The battery is not the most amazing feature but, for the price, it offers decent performance. You will get 7h of phone calls and 5h of continuous music playback. It takes less than 2 hours to fully recharge the battery. WGP headphones support fast charging – 10mins of charge will give you 1 additional hour of playback.
The microphone offers mediocre performance. For the price, it’s more than enough but it’s nothing spectacular. Your voice will be just a little bit muffled on the other end, but still intelligible.
Compared to other bone conduction headphones, the sound is decent. There’s no bass, but the mids are sweet and the vocals are clear. It’s like listening to nice background music.
Things we don’t like
You can easily find better-sounding over-ear or in-ear headphones, especially if you prefer bass-heavy sound. One thing all bone conduction headphones have in common is the lack of bass and WGP headphones are not an exception. Sound leakage is the second common issue. Anything above 70% volume will cause a serious leakage.
The microphone can’t handle loud noises and wind noise.
WGP headphones don’t support multipoint pairing.
6. AfterShokz Bluez 2S Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones
We have warned you that there will be a lot of AfterShokz models on this list. Bluez 2S is the first wireless model of AfterShokz headphones. It’s not perfect and it’s definitely not as good as previously mentioned Trekz Air and Trekz Titanium but they can still compete with all the other bone conduction headphones on the market (and on this list). They are also much cheaper than those two models, so if you want to try this interesting technology and want something decent but don’t want to pay more than $100, Bluez 2S might be perfect for you.
What’s in the box?
AfterShokz paid attention to the presentation. These come in a really nice box. Along with them, you will get a carrying pouch made of some kind of cloth (sturdy case will cost you $13), micro USB charging cable, elastic strap (you can use it to adjust the size and make the headphones more stable if you don’t want the neckband to move up and down), there are also two stickers that you can stick to the neckband (they are reflective and they should make you safer on the road if you are cycling or running), user manual, and 2-year warranty.
Things we like
Some things never change when it comes to bone conduction headphones. The design is familiar – there is a plastic neckband and two earpieces. They are similar to the JUHALL headphones we’ve talked about in the previous review. The first two AfterShokz models look much better than this one and that has to be mentioned. There are 4 available models – neon, red, olive green and black.
These headphones are not as durable as the previous two AfterShokz models. Bluez 2S headphones are made of plastic and you can’t compare that with models made of titanium. They are maybe more durable than JUHALL and Oannao because the plastic is a little bit thicker, but they still look very fragile. On the positive side, Bluez 2S are water and dust resistant and IP55 rating proves that.
Compared to Trekz Air and Trekz Titanium these are far less comfortable. There is only plastic and no coating of any kind which makes the parts that go over your ear really uncomfortable. This is our only complaint regarding comfort. They are lightweight and don’t put too much pressure on your skull. An elastic strap makes them really stable. If you have a big head, you might not be able to find the right fit (and this is really important for bone conduction headphones because the sound quality depends on the position of the earpieces).
Controls are very simple and easy to use. On the left earpiece, there’s one play/pause/track skipping button and on the right arm of the neckband right behind your ear, there are three buttons – power/pairing button, and two volume buttons. There is also one LED indicator and micro USB charging port. Charging port is covered with a rubber flap.
The headphones feature Bluetooth 4.0. The signal is strong and stable. Bluetooth range is approximately 30ft (without obstacles). We haven’t experienced connectivity issues or sudden signal loss.
Battery life is pretty much standard. You will get up to 6 hours of listening/talking. It will last for up to 10 days in standby mode. Recharge takes 2 hours.
Bluez 2S headphones don’t offer perfect listening experience but, as you already know, you can’t expect perfection from bone conduction headphones. For a pair of bone conduction headphones, they are very good. They are still slightly worse than Trekz Air and Titanium. Mids and highs are satisfactory – there’s a decent amount of details there but the bass remains an issue.
Built-in mic performs well indoors but if you try to use it outdoors, especially if there is some loud background noise, you will experience some issues.
Things we don’t like
You can probably guess what’s going to be our first complaint. Yes, it’s bass. There is simply not enough punchiness in it. The vibrations are there, you can feel those membranes tickling your skull, but that doesn’t change your listening experience and doesn’t make the bass stronger.
Noise isolation is nonexistent but that’s not something you should expect from bone conduction headphones.
Loud environment and strong wind make the sound muffled and less understandable. In some cases, the sound will be completely drowned by these loud background noises.
7. COMPLEX Open Ear Bone Conduction Headphones by Pyle USA
Pyle is the first and probably the only world-known audio equipment manufacturer on this list. Pyle became famous for manufacturing woofers and speakers but since the year of 2000, Pyle expanded its business. Today, Pyle manufactures all kinds of home, car, and professional audio equipment, instruments, health and fitness equipment, cameras, drones, etc. Pyle also decided to enter the bone conduction headphones market. COMPLEX headphones are their first and only model of bone conduction headphones and they are comparable to those expensive AfterShokz models (Trekz Air and Titanium). If you need some cheaper alternative (have in mind that these are not budget headphones and that they cost about $80), COMPLEX by Pyle is one of the best choices.
What’s in the box?
The headphones come in a premium box. The box is black and very elegant. COMPLEX headphones are on the top, and when you take them out, you will see the rest of the equipment – pair of earplugs, magnetic charging cable (this is proprietary cable, which means that you can’t use just any micro USB cable but you have to use only this one – if it breaks or stops working, you will have to buy a new one), instruction manual, and 1-year warranty.
Things we like
The shape of COMPLEX headphones is pretty much the same as the shape of all the other bone conduction headphones but they somehow look more sporty than stylish (if we would have to split all the bone conduction into two groups, Trekz Air, Trekz Titanium, COMPLEX, Trekz Sportz, and Longee would be sport headphones, and all the other plastic models would be stylish or elegant headphones). There is only one version available – black with silver details.
The headphones are made of hard plastic and they certainly do not feel as fragile as some other plastic headphones. Thick rubbery coating covers all the plastic parts and makes them waterproof with IPX6 rating (they are suitable for sports and can withstand heavy sweating). In terms of durability, they are not better than Trekz Air and Titanium. The neckband is strong but not nearly as strong as the neckbands on those Aftershokz headphones. COMPLEX headphones are definitely better choice than other models made of plastic but don’t expect incredible construction quality and endurance.
COMPLEX headphones are quite comfortable. Rubbery coating definitely feels better than plastic. They weigh only 1.44 ounces (heavier than AfterShokz headphones but still very lightweight). Pads are also rubberized and don’t put too much pressure on your skull. They can’t be adjusted to your head size – if you have the opportunity, you should try them before making the purchase
The headphones have only three control buttons and they are all located on the left side. There is one multifunction button on the outer side of the left earpiece (power and pairing/play/pause/answer/end/reject calls). Volume control buttons (they are also track-management buttons) are located on the outer side of the left arm of the headband and on the inner side, there is a magnetic charging port. The headphones also feature built-in mic (also located on the left earpiece).
COMPLEX bone conduction headphones use Bluetooth V4.1. Pairing is simple but it takes too long – you have to hold the multifunction button for 9 seconds to initiate pairing which is simply too long. The good thing is that the headphones are automatically paired with the last paired device every time you turn them on. We haven’t experienced other connectivity issues – the range is about 33ft, and the signal is strong and stable.
The battery is slightly better than on those more expensive models. Battery capacity is 200mAh, and you will get up to 6 hours of listening/talking. Recharge takes slightly more than 2 hours (up to 2.5h).
In terms of sound quality, these are not better than Aftershokz Trekz Air and Titanium. It probably has something to do with the design of the earpieces. Aftershokz decided to make a couple of openings on the earpieces and improve the sound quality (especially the reproduction of low frequencies) while COMPLEX headphones are completely sealed. The sound coming from the COMPLEX headphones is even duller than the sound coming from AfterShokz models. You can use them to listen to podcasts (voices are clear) but you will not be amazed by the music (and it doesn’t even have to be some bass-heavy music).
The built-in mic is not completely useless. You will be able to use it indoors, but if there is too much noise, you won’t be able to hear the other person (earplugs might improve the situation a little bit).
Things we don’t like
Bass is really weak on these. Advertised frequency response is 100Hz-15kHZm which is far from good. Highs are also not clear enough.
Noise isolation doesn’t exist since your ears are open. If you want to concentrate more on music, you can use earplugs that come with the headphones.
If there is too much noise or wind, the sound gets weaker and quieter.
8. Tayogo Bone Conduction Headphones with Microphone Bluetooth 5.0
Tayogo is, just like Vidonn, WGP, Oannao, etc., unknown generic brand. The difference between these headphones and other generic models is in the shape of the earpieces and thickness of the neckband. The headphones are affordable (priced under $40) and the feature set is pretty much standard – open-ear design, durable construction, simple controls, comfortable fit, 6h battery life, Bluetooth 5.0, and mediocre sound quality.
What’s in the box?
The packaging contains your Tayogo headphones, USB charging cable, earplugs, manual, and 1-year warranty.
Things we like
In terms of design, you have the same old open-ear design with a neckband connecting two earpieces. These specific earpieces, more than others, look like two swan necks connected with a rubberized neckband.
The build quality is pretty much standard – you have titanium frame, plastic earpieces, and rubberized construction. Like all the other models, these are meant for sports and active lifestyle but, unfortunately, don’t feature IPX rating. However, a few drops of sweat won’t cause any damage.
Just like in all the other cases, comfort is not a problem. They are just slightly heavier than the AfterShokz headphones but still very light and comfy. The clamping force is barely noticeable. They don’t cause any pain or fatigue.
Compared to the majority of bone conduction headphones, the controls are slightly modified. Instead of two volume buttons on the right neckband arm, you have three buttons – two volume buttons and a dedicated power/pairing button. On the right earpiece, you have the MFB button for controlling the playback and answering calls.
Tayogo headphones feature Bluetooth 5.0 with a standard 30-40ft range. The pairing is fast. The headphones are compatible with both Android and iOS. The connection is perfectly reliable within the 30ft range.
The battery is not impressive. You will get 5-6h of playtime per one charge. The recharge takes less than 2h. Fast charge is not supported.
The microphone is mediocre. It’s perfectly usable indoors (office, home) and it’s ok for moderately loud environments. Strong wind and loud noise make communication much harder.
The sonic performance is satisfying, at least when compared with other bone conduction headphones. The mids are fairly detailed, the vocals are clear, and the treble is consistent.
Things we don’t like
The bass is almost nonexistent, which is pretty much expected for this type of headphones but it’s still annoying. They leak less sound than other bone conduction headphones but the leakage is still noticeable at higher volumes.
Tayogo headphones don’t support multipoint pairing.
9. AfterShokz Sportz Titanium AS401LR Wired Bone Conduction Headphones
Wired Sportz Titanium are the last Aftershokz headphones on this list. They are also the only wired model on and the cheapest pair of headphones on this list (the only pair under $50). They are definitely not the worse pair of bone conduction headphones in terms of performance (they cost less only because they are not wireless). The biggest issue, besides the cable, is very noticeable sound leakage.
What’s in the box?
The headphones come in a nicely designed box. It’s nothing premium but it looks quite appealing. The packaging is not that rich – you will find there your wired bone conduction headphones with battery pack, micro USB charging cable, black carrying pouch (this one doesn’t look safe enough but you can buy a sturdy case for $13), user manual, and 2-year warranty.
Things we like
Wired Sportz Titanium look basically the same as Trekz Titanium. The biggest difference between these two (besides the obvious – Trekz Titanium are wireless and these are not), is the thickness of the neckband. Sportz Titanium wired headphones have thinner and lighter neckband (because they don’t have battery attached to the neckband). Three models are available – blue, black, and red.
Sportz Titanium are very strong and durable. The frame is made of titanium and then reinforced with silicone. The cable is probably the weakest part and it’s really thin.
Just like all the other AfterShokz models with a silicone coating, Sportz Titanium are very comfortable. They are lighter than any other pair of AfterShokz headphones – you won’t even notice that they are on your head. Unfortunately, the cable is there to remind you of that. The cable is, again, the only thing that ruins the impression. It’s not that distracting, but it is there and it’s annoying.
The headphones have battery pack located right next to 3.5mm jack. If you don’t understand why there is battery when they are wired, here is an explanation – these headphones have to vibrate hard to enable bone conduction and the battery is necessary to amplify those vibrations. There are no control buttons on the battery pack nor on the headphones (except the power button on the battery pack) and you will need to use your phone if you want to increase/decrease the volume, change track, play/pause, etc.
Battery offers up to 12 hours of continuous playback and recharge takes 2 hours. This is one of the best features of these headphones.
Compared to other bone conduction headphones, wired Sportz Titanium headphones offer satisfying sound quality. Mids and highs are pretty clear and articulate. Voices sound really good – these are great for listening to podcasts. They can also get really loud.
Things we don’t like
The obvious thing first – these have cable. It’s not too distracting, but it’s still there. The position of the battery pack is not great and it’s too near to the end of the cable and you will have to put it in your pocket if you don’t want it to dangle around.
These headphones don’t have a built-in mic and you will have to take out the phone, unplug the headphones, and answer the call every time the phone starts ringing.
As you already know, bone conduction headphones have poor bass and these are not an exception. Bass lacks punchiness and it gets quite distorted at high volumes.
We have already said that Sportz Titanium headphones can get really loud but with that kind of loudness, sound leakage is inevitable. These headphones leak great amount of sound even at 50% volume.
When there is too much background noise or wind, the sound gets much quieter and, in some cases (really strong wind or noisy street), it gets completely drowned out by the noise.
10. Sandoo Bone Conduction Headphones Bluetooth 5.0
Sandoo is just another no-name brand and their headphones offer pretty much the same listening experience as other affordable models. Aside from all the common flaws (lack of bass, noise leakage), there’s one additional downside of Sandoo headphones – it’s their fit and stability.
What’s in the box?
Inside the box, you will find your Sandoo headphones, charging cable, manual, and a warranty card (1-year warranty).
Things we like
Sandoo headphones have the same basic shape as others – there’s a rubberized neckband connecting two earpieces. However, the neckband on these headphones is a little bit flimsier and more flexible and the earpieces are squarish.
The build quality is satisfying. The earpieces are made of plastic and the neckband feels durable enough. The headphones are IPX5 certified so sweating won’t cause any damage. The neckband is more flexible than on other models, which is good if you have a large head. However, it won’t provide the kind of fit and stability that’s necessary for sports activities.
Comfort is not a problem. The headphones are light, the earpieces don’t block your ears and don’t put any pressure on your skull.
Unlike others, Sandoo headphones have all the controls located on the left earpiece. Even the battery is built inside the earpiece. There are no control buttons on the cable/neckband. On the faceplate of the left earpiece, there’s one play/pause/call button. On the front, there are two tiny volume buttons and a built-in mic. The volume up button doubles as the power/pairing button. The buttons are easily reachable and responsive but are too small.
Sandoo headphones feature Bluetooth 5.0. The pairing is fast, the range is 30ft, and the connection is fairly stable within that range. We didn’t have any issues with the Bluetooth connection.
The battery delivers average performance, on par with other similarly priced models. You will get 6 hours of playback per one charge. The recharge takes less than 2 hours.
The microphone delivers mediocre performance, which is pretty much expected at this price point. It’s good enough for office use (and indoor use in general) and for moderately loud environments.
The sound quality is satisfying. The mids and vocals are clear and articulate. The treble is fairly detailed, too.
Things we don’t like
Sandoo headphones are not as stable and don’t provide as good fit as other headphones on the list. Their neckband is a little bit flimsier and it doesn’t seem good enough for sports.
Sando headphones have a pretty weak bass reproduction, which is a common thing when it comes to bone conduction headphones. Sound leakage at high volumes is another common issue.
11. AfterShokz Xtrainerz Open-Ear MP3 Bone Conduction Wireless Sport Headphones
AfterShokz Xtrainerz headphones are supposed to be the most durable bone conduction headphones so far. Not only the most durable AfterShokz headphones, but the most durable bone conduction headphones ever. They are IP68-certified which means they are fully dustproof and waterproof, but that’s not the only special thing about them.
The only thing you couldn’t do with the previous AfterShokz headphone models was swimming. All the previous models, including the most expensive ones (Trekz Air and Trekz Titanium), were IP55- certified. They were not completely waterproof but that wasn’t the only thing that prevented you from using the headphones when swimming. The other problem was the Bluetooth connection – the water tends to interfere with the Bluetooth signal and hinders Bluetooth streaming. The AfterShokz’s team came up with a simple solution, but there’s a chance that you won’t like it. They ditched the Bluetooth connection and built a small 4GB storage into the headphones. These bone conduction headphones are, at the same time, a portable player.
In terms of design, Xtrainerz headphones are very similar to the previously mentioned Trekz Air and Trekz Titanium. The shape is basically the same – there are two earpieces connected with a short neckband. Xtrainerz feature slightly shorter neckband and provide tighter fit, but they are still very light and comfortable.
When it comes to build quality and durability, Xtrainerz are better than any previous AfterShokz headphones. They are made of titanium and reinforced with silicone. The shape and the design of the earpieces are slightly changed – they removed the apertures and changed the charging method. The earpieces are completely sealed and, instead of the standard micro USB charging port, there’s a clip-on proprietary charger. Because of these two changes, Xtrainerz headphones are IP68-certified. They are fully dustproof and can withstand full immersion in water (up to 6ft depth). The manufacturer also claims that they won’t be damaged by the sea water.
If you have used any of the previous Aftershokz headphones, using the control buttons on the Xtrainerz won’t be an issue. There are 4 control buttons on the right neckband arm – 2 volume buttons, one multifunction button between them, and a small mode button on the back side of the sidebar on the right neckband arm.
The headphones are completely wireless. A small built-in battery can provide up to 6 hours of music playback per one charge. The charging takes 1.5 hours and there’s also a fast charging feature which enables you to use the headphones for up to 2 hours after 15 min of charging.
When it comes to potential downsides and deal breakers, AfterShokz Xtrainerz headphones do not feature Bluetooth which means that you can’t use your phone to stream music. The good thing is that you can store up to 1000 songs on the internal storage. Since there is no Bluetooth, you cannot use these headphones to answer/make calls. These headphones are primarily made for swimming, but you can use them whenever you don’t want to bring your phone with you. Another inconvenient thing is the proprietary charging cable. You won’t be able to use just any USB to micro USB charging cable.
12. AKASO Bone Conduction Headphones Open Ear Wireless Headphones with Bluetooth 5.0
AKASO is, again, a no-name brand. The AKASO headphones are basically a modification of the previously reviewed Tayogo headphones. The biggest difference between the two models is in the control-button layout. AKASO headphones are also a few bucks pricier.
What’s in the box?
Inside a simple cardboard box, you will find your AKASO headphones, earplugs, charging cable, user manual, and 12-month warranty.
Things we like
AKASO headphones have the same around-the-neck design as all the other models. You have two circular earpieces made of plastic, connected with a rubberized neckband with a titanium frame. The build quality is more than satisfying for the price. The headphones are IP55 certified which makes them good for sports and other physical activities (cycling, hiking, etc.).
Like all the other headphones on this list, AKASO headphones offer above-average comfort. They provide a perfectly stable fit and won’t fall off your head if you make a sudden move. The headphones don’t interfere with helmets and glasses.
The control button layout is somewhat tricky. Instead of separate volume controls, you only have two touch-sensitive buttons, one on each earpiece, and you have to use them to control the playback, turn the headphones on/off, initiate pairing, answer calls, and adjust the volume. For example, if you want to raise the volume, you will have to press the right button twice. To decrease the volume, you have to click the left button twice. The controls are not complicated but adjusting to this button layout will take some time.
AKASO headphones feature Bluetooth 5.0 with a standard range and satisfying connection quality. Pairing is simple and fast. The headphones are compatible with Android and iOS.
The built-in battery provides up to 6 hours of playtime and recharge takes 2.5h. The charging port is located on the right neckband arm and it’s protected with a simple rubber flap.
The built-in mic delivers satisfying performance. It’s nothing spectacular and it will muffle your voice, but it’s good enough for indoor use.
The sound quality is on par with other similarly priced models. So, clear mids, articulate vocals, relatively consistent highs, but no bass.
Things we don’t like
The downsides are pretty much standard – the lack of bass is quite noticeable. The leakage is below-average for this kind of headphones but it’s still there.
The controls are not that complicated but you will need some time to get used to.
Q: Are bone conduction headphones any good?
A: When it comes to sound quality, bone conduction headphones are not and probably will never be as good as regular on-ear, over-ear, and in-ear headphones. They simply have a completely different working principle and different kind of transducers. These transducers are designed to transfer sound through the bones and have certain limitations when it comes to sound reproduction, especially when it comes to bass reproduction.
Q: Can deaf people hear through bone conduction headphones?
A: People suffering from certain types of hearing impairment can benefit from bone conduction headphones, especially the people with different forms of conductive hearing loss. Bone conduction headphones are designed to bypass all the ear parts from the outer ear to the middle ear and transfer the sound directly to the inner ear. So, if you have some kind of ear canal infection or eardrum damage, you will be able to hear through bone conduction headphones.
Q: Are bone conduction headphones better for your ears?
A: Yes. They are better and safer than regular in-ear and over-ear headphones. Not only for your ears but for your whole wellbeing. They don’t cover your ears, which allows you to hear what’s going on around you and makes you more aware of the traffic and people. Furthermore, the open-ear design enables better air circulation, which means no sweaty ears and reduced risk of developing an ear infection. In the end, bone conduction headphones are not as loud as regular headphones, so the risk of noise-induced hearing loss is lower.
Q: What are the best bone conduction headphones in 2020?
A: The only brand with a reputation on the bone conduction headphone market is AfterShokz. All the other headphones come from unknown generic brands. If you are looking for the most reliable performance and most durable headphones, AfterShokz is your go-to brand.
Q: Can you swim with AfterShokz headphones?
A: There’s only one wireless model made by AfterShokz that’s good for swimming and it’s called AfterShokz XTRAINERZ. This is a wireless headphone model, but it’s not Bluetooth. It’s fully waterproof (IP68), it has a built-in battery and a built-in 4GB MP3 storage. You can’t use Bluetooth headphones for swimming, even if they are fully waterproof. The reason is simple – the water interferes with the Bluetooth signal and makes the performance less reliable.
Hello, my name is James Longman.
I’m a writer and editor at AudioReputation. I disassembled my first portable AM/FM radio when I was only 8. At the age of 11, I burned the circuit board on my old boombox cassette player. I’m not going to explain how but it was reckless and stupid.
Since then, I have become much more careful around radios, boomboxes, and other audio devices (at least, I like to think so) but I have never lost the passion for audio equipment. Throughout 20 years of my professional career, I’ve been working for various audio equipment manufacturers and even started building speakers on my own in my little workshop.
I love the work we do here at AudioReputation. Testing, comparing, and evaluating all kinds of audio devices (speakers, soundbars, headphones, home theater systems, etc.) is something I truly enjoy. I try to be unbiased and give you my honest opinion on every piece of equipment I test. Still, you should take my reviews with a pinch of salt and always be just a little bit skeptical. The fact that I liked some speaker or soundbar doesn’t mean that you are going to love it. If you have the opportunity, you should test it/hear it before buying it.