When most people think about getting a new pair of headphones, they may think of either a headset or a pair of earbuds. However, there is one more type that has been growing in popularity over the last couple of years - bone conduction headphones.
And while most people will chalk it up as either a gimmick or godsend, today we're here to help you explore these futuristic headphones and make sense of whether they're for you, and if so, the best possible options that you'll find on the market in 2020.
Keep reading to learn about the ins and outs of bone conduction headphones, get our top picks, and find answers to some of your burning questions about them.
Let's dive right in!
- In A Rush? Here's Our Top Pick - AfterShokz Aeropex
- Our Top Picks For The Best Bone Conduction Headphones This Year
- FAQs About Bone Conduction Headphones
- Closing Thoughts - Picking Out The Best Pair For Yourself
In A Rush? Here's Our Top Pick - AfterShokz Aeropex
If you're looking for the best of the best when it comes to bone conduction headphones, the Aeropex by AfterShokz is your absolute best bet!
After all, they are the top model from the company that practically kick-started the industry. And this particular pair has got all the feature offerings packed-in to boot other popular competitors off the podium.
Our Top Picks For The Best Bone Conduction Headphones This Year
The AfterShokz Aeropex - Best All-Around
- EXCLUSIVE SPORT PACK - Includes Aeropex bone conduction headphones and sport belt. Unlike...
- BEST SOUND YET - Re-engineered for optimal sound delivery, Aeropex have broken the mold of...
- LONGEST BATTERY LIFE - Enjoy 8 continuous hours of audio while you tackle your goals....
- IP67 RATED - Completely sweat and waterproof, Aeropex are designed for tough workouts and...
- LIGHTEST AFTERSHOKZ TO DATE - Weighing less than 1 ounce (26g), experience unrivaled...
If you've done any amount of research on bone conduction headphones - likely you're already well-familiar with AfterShokz. After all, they are more or less the industry leader, and across all of the models they've put out over the years, the Aeropex reigns absolute.
These headphones weigh in at just 26 grams, making them incredibly comfortable and practically unnoticeable while worn, which is especially nice if you're planning to use them while exercising.
In addition to this, the sturdy plastic build is surprisingly durable, even though they feel a little too bendy and flexible sometimes. This comes topped off with a solid IP67 waterproof rating that safeguards your brand new headphones from meeting a watery death, at least in shallow water (up to 1 meter in depth).
And when you consider the substantial 8 hours of battery life and the fact that these bone conduction headphones support Bluetooth 5.0 - they are definitely well worth your money.
The AfterShokz Air - Best For Comfort
- included components: Retail Packaging
Here we have the second AfterShokz model on our list, the Air. If you're willing to sacrifice a tiny portion of the features that come packed into the Aeropex in exchange for total comfort, the Air is a fantastic option for your consideration.
The main difference between the Air and Aeropex models lies in three areas.
Firstly, the Air uses Bluetooth 4.2 rather than Bluetooth 5, which means a difference in broadcasting speed and range. However, it's really not something that you'd notice easily, if at all.
Next up is the fact that AfterShokz has slimmed down these headphones to the max. And while they may look flimsy at first glance, they're fairly durable and will last quite a while. The upside to this design choice is that they weigh even less than the Aeropex's 26 grams and the super slim design makes them so much more comfortable to wear, especially if you like longer workouts.
Lastly, the one thing to watch out for is the fact that the Air is only rated as IP55. This means they are not really waterproof and you should be careful to not let them meet a watery end in some puddle or your bathroom sink on accident.
Besides these points, the differences are relatively minute, and in all honesty - both models produce a comparable quality of sound. This makes choosing between the two more focused around your comfort preferences. However, it's worth noting that the Aeropex does offer a bit more for the money you're paying.
Ultra-comfortable and flexible super slim design that ensures zero fatigue over extended periods of time
6 hours of battery life to keep your favorite playlist going uninterrupted
Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity allowing you to stream your favorite tunes from the device of your choice
They are not waterproof, so exercise some caution
The price is comparable to the Aeropex, despite fewer feature offerings
AfterShokz Xtrainerz - You Can Swim With Them On
- EXCLUSIVE PACK - Includes Xtrainerz bone conduction headphones and swim cap. Unlike...
- LEAVE YOUR DEVICE BEHIND - 4GB of built-in MP3 storage holds up to 1, 200 songs, so you...
- 8 HOURS OF PLAY - Enjoy 8 continuous hours of premium audio while you’re cross-training....
- IP68 RATED - Fully waterproof, Xtrainerz headphones perform in and out of the water so...
- COMFORTABLE + SECURE - The unique open-ear design of Xtrainerz enables bud-free, pain-free...
While the Xtrainers model from AfterShokz doesn't exactly bring anything technologically crazy to the table, we felt obligated to include them because you can actually swim while wearing these headphones. Yes, you read that right!
They are fully waterproof with an IP68 rating, which means you can now listen to your tunes at the pool or while taking a dip. Albeit, you will get some strange looks for sure.
The Xtrainerz pack 4 gigabytes of device memory to take your tunes with you and 8 hours of battery life to liven up even your longest swims.
However, the tradeoff here is the fact that they are relatively bulky compared to the two AfterShokz models that we've just covered. But that's not to say that they're cumbersome or uncomfortable.
The other important detail that you should keep in mind is that because this model comes with onboard storage, it doesn't actually support Bluetooth connectivity. This means you won't be able to use them to stream songs off of your phone or another music device. You'll have to transfer any music you want to listen to directly to the headphones.
Fully waterproof with an IP68 rating, meaning you can swim with these headphones on without any worries
8 hours of battery life and quick charging speeds
4 gigabytes of storage for all your favorite tunes
This model is more affordable than the Air or Aeropex
They come with a nifty AfterShokz branded swimming cap
They are somewhat bulkier than the Air or Aeropex
There is no ability to connect them via Bluetooth when you're not swimming and want to stream from your phone
Vidonn F1 - The Best Budget Option
- Bone Conduction Technology - Allowing ears to be opened to surrounding sound, suitable for...
- Latest Bluetooth V5.0 - Fast and stable connection to your device, 33ft signal in no...
- Comfortable and Stable Wearing - Ergonomic and anti-drop design, titanium wraparound...
- Large Battery - Build in 180mAh lithium battery, 2 hours full charged and play music...
- After-sales Service - Shipping a new headphones or refund will be accepted if any problem...
What if you wanted the technological innovation of the Aeropex or Air by AfterShokz, without the somewhat demanding price tag?
No problem, the Vidonn F1's are here to save your day!
First and foremost, they come with Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity built-in, which is pretty awesome given how affordable they are. And this does play into the surprisingly good quality of sound that is actually quite comparable with the Aeropex.
When it comes to battery life, they boast a nice and comfortable 6 hours, and they do seem to keep their charge pretty well over time just like the Air.
So, for roughly a third of the price of the Aeropex, you're getting quite the bang for your buck!
However, as with all good things, there are two caveats to speak of. Namely, both have to do with the build quality.
Overall, these are not built as solid as the AfterShokz models we've reviewed. And they're only sweat-proof, so definitely don't go dropping them into any sort of water, or anywhere for that matter. But, on the other hand, they're not quite flimsy either.
All in all, for the price you're paying, you're getting a pretty darn good introductory pair of bone conduction headphones. However, if you're willing to invest a little bit more and get true lasting quality, we'd still recommend the Aeropex or Air models from AfterShokz.
Very affordable compared to any of the models we've covered so far
Fantastic feature-value for the money you're shelling out
Bluetooth 5.0 connection built-in, meaning improved range and broadcasting speed
Solid 6 hours of battery life and quick charging speeds
The build quality isn't as solid as the models we've covered up until now, which reflects the lower pricetag
They're nothing close to waterproof, being only rated as "sweat-proof"
FAQs About Bone Conduction Headphones
Now that we've covered some of our favorite top-picks when it comes to the best bone conduction headphones available in today's day and age, let's answer some of the burning questions that people have when shopping around for a pair of their own.
Did you know that bones vibrate? While many people would simply get grossed out by the idea, it’s actually pretty cool. Your bones, like your jaw and cheekbones, can transmit vibrations.
And thanks to the technological innovations of the 21st century – this phenomenon is actively utilized in several essential pieces of technology. A fantastic example of this are bone conduction headphones and hearing aids!
In a nutshell, bone conduction removes your eardrums out of the equation when it comes to receiving and processing sound waves. The vibrations emitted by bone conduction devices such as headphones and hearing aids send converted sound waves to your cochlea, which then interprets this information and sends it over to the brain for processing.
When it comes to traditional earbuds or a headset – there are several downfalls that the headphone industry hasn’t paid any attention to for years on end. For example, if you’re jogging while wearing headphones, generally you won’t be able to hear ambient sounds like an approaching vehicle or the happenings around you.
However, with bone conduction headphones, you can stay in-tune with the world, while still getting the sound input from them. This is because they don’t cover your ears, but rather make use of your jaw or cheekbones to transmit sound.
This has several applications, from effective communications where you need to keep your situational awareness intact, all the way to something more recreational like jogging or just enjoying your favorite tune in a new way.
Closing Thoughts - Picking Out The Best Pair For Yourself
If you're looking into bone conduction headphones to help you retain your awareness while exercising or even to simply enjoy your favorite music in a new way - there are quite a few options available in today's day and age for you to choose from. However, picking out the very best from the pool of available options can be quite the challenge.
This is why today we've put together this article to help you learn about bone conduction headphones, whether they're for you and what you should look out for.
If you've kept up with us until this point in the article, you should now have all the knowledge you need to go out and shop confidently. And we hope that in addition to the insight we shared, we were able to give you a few new options for your shopping short-list.
With that, it's our turn to hear from you. What questions do you have about bone conduction headphones that we haven't answered in this article? Let us know in the comments below!