Bone conduction headphones differ from traditional in or over-ear headphones in a pretty big way: They don’t actually sit in -or- on your ears. Yes, you heard that right, instead snuggly fitting within your ear, bone conduction headphones wrap around your head and deliver sound via vibrations. Providing a more open sound, far from active noise cancelling (ANC) capabilities of many wireless earbuds on the market, the ear canal remains free, with no obtruding speaker that could overwork your eardrums. This way of listening helps provide more situational awareness to the surrounding environment, which is especially great for outdoor activities like running and cycling so that you can still stream music without the risk of being run over.
But how would you know which bone conduction headphones work best for you? Whether you’re new to the open ear headphone game or looking to upgrade for a specific use, we’ve gathered our picks for the best bone conduction headphones, so you can make an informed choice.
The best bone conduction headphones: Our top picks
Shokz / Pocket-lint
1. Best bone conduction headphones overall
Lightweight and sound great
The SHOKZ OpenRun are the best bone condcution headphones on the market due to their well-rounded features.
- Quick charging
- Lightweight design
- Comes in standard and mini sizes
- Proprietary charging connector
- Controls take time getting used to
- Moderate battery life
The Shokz OpenRun headphones offer the overall best bone conduction headphones with its well-balanced features and considerate design. It’s built with the latest bone conduction technology with a lightweight ergonomic snug (yet strong) fit design on two sizes and includes a fast charging battery.
One of the top perks of the Shokz OpenRun headphones is thanks to the lightweight build, you may not even notice you’re wearing them. At just 26g, the slim minimal titanium construction is crafted to wrap and rest light around your head while it shields against sweat with its IP67 waterproof protection. Imprinted just behind the ear rest are physical buttons to handle volume and take calls with its dual-noise cancelling microphone. Two audio options like the Vocal Booster and Standard mode adjust for audio content whether you’re listening to books or podcasts or want a midrange and treble output for music. A full charge will take you 1.5 hours, but with just 10 minutes using its fast charging feature, you can get 1.5 hours of listening time.
Sometimes bone conduction headphones can have a bit of slack right behind your head with a bobbing wire when you run. Thankfully, the Shokz OpenRun comes in two different sizes: standard and mini. With a measuring tape, from behind your left ear to your right, if you measure under 23.5cm (9.25 inches) the mini size would be right for you. Anything beyond, you can go for a standard. The Shokz OpenRun come available in four different colours like grey, black, red, and blue.
Mojawa / Pocket-lint
Mojawa Run Plus Bone Conduction Headphones
2. Best bone conduction headphones for swimmers
Mojawa offers bone conduction headphones that fit the demands for swimmers with an IP68 waterproof rating.
- IP68: highest waterproof rating
- 32GB onboard memory
- 8 hour battery life
- May not be comfortable for all
- Sensitive controls
- Spotty voice assistant
The Mojawa Run Plus is made for swimmers, offering the best possible waterproof protection for bone conduction headphones with an IP68 waterproof rating. This rating means you can submerge yourself underwater up to two metres for two hours and still experience the same optimal performance as if they came right out of the box.
If you don’t want to keep your phone nearby in a splash zone when you’re out swimming, you might take advantage of an added bonus for the Mojawa with its onboard memory of 32 gigabytes doubling as an MP3 player. That’s about 8,000 songs you can upload and play from the device directly without ever pairing it to another device. If you do connect it, the Mojawa’s Bluetooth 5.2 technology offers a low latency to optimise battery life, giving you eight hours of uninterrupted music. There’s also a Quick Charge feature that gives you 80 minutes of battery life with a five-minute charge.
The Mojawa Run Plus Bone Conduction Headphones are endorsed by five Grammy-winning audio producers due to its audio quality. These bone conduction headphones are built with a wideband Maglev-Bass actuators and Dual Suspension Anchor System that delivers on pumping out richer audio quality to fill bass, mids, and trebles in a full range of sound.
Siniffo / Pocket-lint
Siniffo Bone Conduction Headphones
3. Best budget bone conduction headphones
Introductory, but capable
Siniffo offers introductory bone conduction headphones at a great affordable low price.
- Budget friendly
- Type-C charging cable
- Titanium frame
- Tinny sound
- Large band, looser fitting
Siniffo offers an entry level set of bone conduction headphones at an affordable price point. You’ll get all the basic essentials like an IP55 waterproof rating to battle sweat and rain, a long eight hour battery life, dual HD microphones for clear communication, and a strong titanium frame.
The sleek design of the Siniffo puts it at just 29 grams and is made of a durable titanium frame that can withstand both bending and morphing. Its Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity allows you to quickly stream music with low latency as well as communicate quickly with your connected devices.
While there might be proprietary charging cables for various bone conduction headphones, Siniffo is user-friendly and can be charged quickly with any USB-C cable. Battery life will range to around 8 hours after a full charge for 1.5 hours, but if you’re in a hurry, a 10-minute charge will give you 1.5 hours of usage.
Dastimasco / Pocket-lint
Dastimasco Open-Ear Bluetooth Bone Conduction Headphones
4. Best bone conduction headphones for runners
Provides some extra security
$46 $50 Save $4
Dastimasco makes the best bone conduction heads for runners with its extra safety features.
- Fast charging
- 20 hours of battery life
- Built-in RGB LED lights for safety
- Controls can take time to get used to
- Proprietary charging connector
The Dastimasco Open-Ear Bluetooth Bone Conduction Headphones offers runners a lightweight frame with 3-colour LED lights ensuring both comfort and safety within your immediate environment. Its IP67 waterproof rating means the headphones can withstand whatever sweat, rain, dust, and snow is thrown at it, so you can keep on training in any weather condition.
The 34g titanium framed Dastimasco bone conduction headphones are ergonomically balanced with weight distribution that keeps them in place with all the jostles and shakes you’ll find while running or hiking. In the back portion of the mould of the headphones are LEDs of red, green, or blue lights that emit bright behind your ears as you run at night, so you can be better seen.
The Damstimasco comes with a long-lasting 20-hour battery life for all day continuous usage. If you’re running late and short on time, you can quickly charge the headphones in 10 minutes to give you a full 2 hours of battery life. Comes in grey and black.
Shokz / Pocket-lint
5. Best bone conduction headphones for phone calls
Designed for clear conversation
SHOKZ OpenComm are bone conduction headphones for office work that demands the utmost in clear calls.
- Built-in boom microphone
- Battery life offers 16 hours of talk time
- Excellent noise cancellation
- Sensitive touch features
- Takes time to connect
- Sound output is not the best
For work and phone calls, the Shokz OpenComm features a built-in noise-cancelling boom mic for the best clear communications out of all the bone conduction headphones listed. These Shokz OpenComm headphones are made with a smooth frame that rests lightly around your skull and has a long-lasting 16-hour battery life, which easily lends itself to all-day use. And toting a 70 decibel range, these headphones promise clear call quality even when you’re working in a busier environment like a coffee shop or crowded office.
Multipoint connection allows for quick switches with the headphones for seamless connectivity points whether you’re speaking on your phone or through your computer. You’ll find underneath the headphones two conveniently placed plus and minus buttons, so you can make for quick access with volume control. Comes with a case including a built-in pouch backing and moulded area to fit your headphones in.
Oladance / Pocket-lint
Oladance OWS1 Open Ear Headphones
6. Best AirPod-like bone conduction headphones
If you want in-ear buds
$130 $150 Save $20
Oladance OWS1 break the mold of usual bone conduction headphone designs by acting as earbuds.
- Long 16 hour battery life
- High quality crystal clear sound
- Award winning comfort and design
- Sensitive controls
- Connectivity with multiple devices can take time
- No battery case
The Oladance OWS1 Open Ear Headphones are a pair of bone conduction headphones that offer the same level of comfort and ease as its more traditional contemporaries, except that they’re earbuds. If you’re used to earbuds like Apple’s AirPods, these will be the best choice for you as an introduction to bone conduction headphones.
The Oladance OWS1 rests gently and balanced solely on your ears, unlike more traditional bone conduction headphones that wrap around your skull. Its patent open-ear design engineering, safety, and comfort in its wearability has won it the Red Dot Award in 2022, showcasing just how natural the feeling is when wearing the headphones.
Built in the Oladance OWS1 are 16.5mm dynamic drivers, which are about three times the ordinary size of earbuds. These drivers produce a rich audio quality creating clear balanced acoustics, so you can hear everything from deep and low basses to high and sharp trebles. Comes in four colours like cloud white, interstellar blue, Martian orange, and space silver.
Bottom line: What are the best bone conduction headphones?
The selection of the best bone conduction headphones are chosen based off lifestyle. Overall, the right choice for you depends on how you plan to use your headphones. If you’re set on having important business calls where you only want the listener to hear your voice (all while you can hear the background noise) then there’s the Oladance OWS1 Open Ear Headphones. Swimmers could prefer a model like the Mojawa Run Plus and our night runners might find peace of mind with the LED lighted Dastimasco Open-Ear Bluetooth for increased safety.
Shokz / Pocket-lint
Our overall pick for the everyday user is the Shokz OpenRun based on its features, performance, and their two option sizing in standard and mini to best fit users. Other models might be better suited if you’re a runner, swimmer, or just want to get a taste of how bone conduction feels and sounds at a reasonable price point, but it’s hard to beat the SHOKZ OpenRun on overall design, comfortable fit and quality.
Why should you get bone conduction headphones?
Bone conduction headphones are designed for anyone with impaired hearing or want to better protect their hearing in the long run. They’re also great in making sure the sound emitted from them doesn’t block out hearing the environmental noise around you, allowing for increased awareness.
How do bone conduction headphones work?
Unlike traditional headphones or earbuds that seal your ear canal with a probed speaker, bone conduction headphones are open ear (quite literally, leaving your ear open), allowing you to hear more of the sounds that occur within your immediate environment.