Bone conduction headsets — are they worth your money?

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Bone conduction technology claims to offer great sound without blocking your ears. But does it really work? We decided to investigate and pick out the best bone conduction headsets currently available.

  • What is bone conduction technology? It’s a form of audio technology, where sound is delivered to your inner ear by passing vibrations through your skull.
  • Are bone conduction headphones uncomfortable? Not usually. The most discomfort you are likely to experience is a little tingling on the first try.
  • What does bone conduction sound like? It’s a little more muffled than regular air transmission, but the sound quality is pretty good.

Bone conduction technology has been riding the hype train for around two years now, and there’s no sign of a slowdown. But should you spend your hard-earned cash on bone conduction headphones? We decided to take a closer look.

Is bone conduction technology new?

While bone conduction headphones might seem new, the technology has actually been around for a long time. Previously, it was deployed in hearing aids. The first device of this kind actually appeared in 1923.

bone conduction technology - Bone conduction headsets — are they worth your money?

Bone conduction technology has been around for a while

Around 90 years later, some bright spark had the idea of translating bone conduction technology into the world of personal audio. It was a financially rewarding move — bone conduction headsets have sold surprisingly well over the past few years.

Are bone conduction headphones worth the money?

That depends entirely on your listening needs. Audiophiles are unlikely to be impressed by bone conduction headphones. The sound they produce is more muffled than that delivered by standard headphones. Stick your fingers in your ears and sing, for a rough idea.

bone conduction technology - Bone conduction headsets — are they worth your money?

Bone conduction headsets are good for joggers

However, bone conduction headphones do have their uses. Because they don’t cover your ears, they allow you to listen to music and be aware of your surroundings. This is important for people who work with machinery and cyclists who have to dodge traffic. They’re also good for making hands-free calls in these environments.

What are the best bone conduction headsets?

Want to invest? Here are some of the best bone conduction headphones you can buy right now:

BoneTalker Adder Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headphones

Utilizing Bluetooth 5.0, these brand new headphones offer a better range than most and they are easy to pair. The Adder headset is also rated at IP56, meaning it can shrug off dust and moisture.

Price: $99 USD

BoneTalker Adder Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headphones - Bone conduction headsets — are they worth your money?

BoneTalker Adder offers wireless sound

Ossii Sound Ultralight Bone Conduction Glasses

Folks who enjoy behind outdoors will love these sunglasses from Ossii. Along with visual protection, they have built-in bone conduction technology. This means you can listen to your tunes while looking cool.

Price: $149 USD

Mpow Cheetah Bone Conduction Headphones

Designed for runners, the Mpow Cheetah headphones are very light. However, they provide excellent sound and eight hours of battery life on a full charge.

Price: $22.99 USD

Mpow Cheetah Bone Conduction Headphones - Bone conduction headsets — are they worth your money?

Get sporty with Mpow Cheetah

Aftershokz Trekz Air Bone Conduction Headphones

As the name implies, the Trekz Air headphones barely tip the scales at 1.06 ounces. They also deliver crisp audio for six hours straight via Bluetooth 4.2, and the over-ear design looks really good.

Price: $149.95 USD

Vidonn F1 Titanium Bone Conduction Headphones

If you’re looking for something comfortable, look no further. The Vidonn F1 headphones are pretty light and the wraparound shape makes them comfortable to wear for long periods.

Price: $59 USD

Aftershokz Sportz Titanium Bone Conduction Headphones

If you’re willing to sacrifice wireless connectivity, the Sportz Titanium headphones offer 12 hours of playback on a full charge. In addition, the Aftershokz have a built-in mic for noise cancellation.

Price: $59.95 USD

Bone conduction headsets

Have you tried bone conduction technology? Give us your one-sentence review in the comments!

The Gadget Flow Daily Digest highlights and explores the latest in tech trends to keep you informed. Want it straight to your inbox? Subscribe now.

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Meet Mark Myerson

Mark is best known for writing about apps, but he also loves the tactile, hardware side of technology. Being a professional photographer, he's pretty handy with a camera, and he's a self-confessed tweetaholic.

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