Image credit: AfterShokz YouTube 

Bone conduction headphones are completely opposite to some of the best-selling modern headsets, including the Apple AirPods Pro, yet they are rising in popularity. It’s a completely different experience using bone conduction headphones as they do not insert in your ears like the way standard in-ear headsets do. Instead, they transmit audio through the cheekbones, leaving your ear openings free. 

So why use a product that is totally different from the mainstream consumer options? Before we move on to this question, here’s everything you should know about bone conduction headphones: 

How do bone conduction headphones work?

Bone conduction headphones work in an unconventional way. They convert a significant percentage of the audio you are playing into vibrations that travel through the cheekbones to the cochlea. This way, the eardrum is bypassed and therefore an in-ear-style design is not required. 

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To someone who is completely new to bone audio conduction, the way bone conduction headphones work can seem startling. However, this concept is not new and has been in use in the hearing aid industry for quite some time. Hearing aids, such as the Bonebridge hearing aid implant, use the working principle of bone conduction to help people with hearing impairment/disability. 

Hearing audio through bone conduction goes back as early as when German composer and pianist Beethoven used to hear his piano using a rod after his hearing impairment. 

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Why use bone conduction headphones?

While the open ear design of bone conduction headphones may seem unconventional, it is actually beneficial in many ways. Here are some of the reasons why bone conduction headphones can be the right option for you: 

1. You go for solo runs

If you prefer to go for solo runs as part of keeping up with your regular exercise routine, using a pair of headphones that offer the best awareness of the surroundings can help you be safer. The fact that bone conduction headphones do not use your ear passage makes them the best choice for solo runners. Also, some of the best bone conduction headphones have sweat and water-resistant designs and therefore are a perfect fit for sports and athletics. 

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2. You commute to work every day

To wear or not to wear a pair of headsets when traveling is the most common confusion everyday commuters face. If you want to enjoy your favorite audio content to make your work commutes enjoyable while being fully aware of the surrounding, you cannot go wrong with a pair of bone conduction headphones.

Whether it’s paying attention to important subway announcements or listening to the updates on the next train stop, you can make sure you don’t miss out on the world around you while still enjoying your favorite audio content with a pair of open ear bone conduction earphones.

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3. Relief from ear/hearing sensitivity

Using in-ear and over-ear headsets for long hours can be tiring or even painful, especially if you have hearing sensitivity. To steer clear from such issues, it’s best to switch to bone conduction headphones as they do not directly project audio to the eardrums. 

Listening to your favorite audio content at a safe volume using a pair of open ear bone conduction headphones can be a soothing and enjoyable experience. 

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4. You have hearing loss

ENTs often suggest people with hearing loss, especially noise-induced hearing loss, avoid using headphones or listening to music at loud volume levels. However, completely ditching headphones is a sacrifice not many can make.

You can still enjoy your favorite music and stay in a safe zone of protecting your hearing and prevent your hearing loss from worsening by choosing bone conduction headphones over standard headset models. 

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5. You live alone and work from home

When you are living alone and taking work from home it’s important to be aware of everything that’s going around your home/apartment. Apart from being aware of the outside surroundings, you may need to pay attention to important phone calls, home appliance timer beepers, and the doorbell. Working while wearing a pair of open ear bone conduction headphones will help you make sure that the surrounding noises aren’t completely isolated. 

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5 best bone conduction headphones under $100

Bone conduction headphones aren’t a highly niche category anymore as more brands launch new open ear models in the affordable pricing segment. This is good news for someone who is planning to try out a pair of bone conduction headphones on a budget. 

Here are five best bone conduction headphones under $100 that you cannot go wrong with: 

1. AfterShokz OpenMove – check it out here

AfterShokz is one of the first brands to bring open ear bone conduction headphones to the commercial market. As a pioneer in this headphone category, the brand has launched several models over the years, with AfterShokz OpenMove being one of the most affordable. This model comes as a perfect option if you want to get your hands on an affordable yet branded and reliable bone conduction headphone. 

AfterShokz OpenMove is great for everyday use. One main reason why this model earns the spot of one of the best bone conduction earphones in the affordable category is it combines Bluetooth 5.0 wireless connectivity with 7th generation bone conduction technology. Its IP55 water-resistant design, USB Type C charging port, and six hours of battery life make it a more valuable option. 

Pros:

  • 7th generation bone conduction technology used
  • 3 EQ settings
  • Sleek and lightweight design

Cons:

  • No touch or tap controls
  • Not the best audio performance

2. Eken E1 – check it out here

Eken E1 is another affordable yet well-performing skull vibration headphone that you cannot go wrong with if you’re planning to try and have the experience of bone conduction audio listening. This headset is similar to AfterShokz OpenMove in many ways, except it’s more affordable. 

Eken E1 uses stereo bone conduction sound and helps you achieve stable wireless connectivity with Bluetooth 5.0 that supports fast pairing. With additional features such as multi-point pairing, IP54 sweat-resistant design, and 6 hours of battery life, you aren’t missing out on anything at an affordable price tag. 

Pros:

  • Bluetooth 5.0 wireless connectivity up to 33 feet
  • IP54 sweat-resistant design
  • Multi-point pairing supported

Cons:

  • Not the best bone conduction audio performance
  • Not the most compact and lightweight form factor

3. Tayogo WB02 – check it out here

Tayogo WB02 is a one-of-a-kind open ear bone conduction headset. Apart from functioning as a standard wireless open ear bone conduction headset, this model also has a built-in MP3 player which you can use to listen to your favorite music without going through the hassle of shuffling tracks on your phone. 

This model also comes as one of the best wireless bone conduction headphones in the affordability category for sports as it has an IPX8 water-resistant design. Other additional features of this model include a built-in FM and a dedicated app. 

Pros:

  • Built-in music player and FM
  • IPX8 water-resistant design
  • A dedicated app supported

Cons:

  • Average-quality bone conduction audio performance
  • Not the most compact and lightweight form factor

4. Yamipho R10 – check it out here

Getting your hands on a compact and portable bone conduction headphone doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to spend a lot. Yamipho R10 is one of the most compact vibration headphones that are suitable for lifestyle as well as sports use. 

This bone conduction headphone delivers a relatively good audio performance at an entry-level price point. Also, it doesn’t fail to come on par with premium bone conduction headphones in terms of lightweight design and ease of use. The IPX5 rated sweatproof design of this model makes it a perfect fit for sports usage. 

Pros:

  • Compact and lightweight form factor
  • Bluetooth 5.0 wireless connectivity used
  • Up to 6 hours of battery life and 10 days of standby time

Cons:

  • No touch or tap controls included
  • Micro USB connector used

5. YouthWhisper Pro – check it out here

True wireless bone conduction earphones are not just reserved for music listening and sports usage as there are several models that are great for work and education. One such model in the affordability category is the YouthWhisper Pro. This headset includes a dedicated boom mic which makes it a great choice for work and education-related conferences.

This model delivers a great battery life performance with up to 6 hours of playtime, 8 hours of talk time, and 20 days of standby time. The overall lightweight and compact form factor of this headset help you steer clear of fatigue when you are working or studying for long hours. 

Pros:

  • Dedicated boom mic allows 130° adjustment
  • Up to 8 hours of talk time
  • Lightweight form factor

Cons:

  • Doesn’t have a waterproof design
  • No touch or tap controls included

5 best wireless bone conduction headphones under $200

Just as the way it is with standard wireless headsets, the more you pay, the better performance and features you get with bone conduction headphones. Mid-range and premium-priced bone conduction headphones are worth the buy as they don’t let you go short on any aspect, be it audio performance, additional features, or simply wear comfort. 

If you want to make your bone conduction headphones purchase worthwhile, you cannot go wrong with one of these five best models that cost under $200: 

1. AfterShokz Aeropex – check it out here

AfterShokz Aeropex is the best bone conduction headphone from AfterShokz as it is the brand’s flagship model. This model brings significant improvements in the audio performance department from its predecessors. This headset can perform similarly to standard headphones by delivering powerful bass at higher volume levels. 

AfterShokz Aeropex has garnered good feedback on several bone conduction headphones review for being versatile enough to meet various types of requirements, including everyday use, sports use, and recreational use. Its most important features include IP67 waterproof design, moisture detection, 8 hours of battery life, and a noise-canceling internal mic. 

Pros:

  • High-performance audio
  • IP67 waterproof design with moisture detection
  • Multi pairing function included


Cons:

  • No touch or tap controls included
  • Proprietary charging port used

2. Bose Sport Open Earbuds – check it out here 

Bose Sport Open Earbuds is in a league of its own. Bose has taken inspiration from bone conduction headphones and has made this model totally unique in its own right, both in terms of form and functionality. 

This headset uses Bose’s proprietary OpenAudio which is similar to the concept of bone conduction in the sense that the ear passages aren’t used. The OpenAudio technology makes it possible for this headset to deliver audio performance that is significantly better than that of many wireless bone conduction headphones. True wireless connectivity, sweat and water-resistant design, and tap controls make this model one of the most attractive options in the $200 price point. 

Pros:

  • OpenAudio technology delivers high-performance open ear audio
  • Tap and swipe control gestures supported
  • Premium build quality 


Cons:

  • Proprietary charging dock used

3. Naenka Runner Pro – check it out here

Naenka Runner Pro comes as one of the best bone conduction headphones for running with its combination of compact form factor, lightweight design, water-resistant build, and considerably good audio performance. One of the unique features of this model is it can perform as a standard bone conduction headphones as well as an MP3 player with its built-in music player that has an 8GB storage capacity.

Naenka Runner Pro works great for other sports as well as everyday lifestyle usage with its 6 hours of continuous playtime. With the model’s built-in MP3 player, you can load more than 1500 songs and not go through the hassle of choosing and playing music from your phone.

Pros: 

  • Built-in MP3 player with 8GB storage capacity
  • IPX8 waterproof design
  • Magnetic charging contacts used


Cons:

  • No touch or tab controls included
  • Battery life limited to 6 hours

4. AfterShokz Air – check it out here

AfterShokz Air has gained market dominance as one of the best wireless bone conduction headphones in the lightweight design category. This is totally justifiable considering the fact that it only weighs 30 g. What is interesting is it packs a ton of features in its lightweight form factor, including full-range audio performance, IP55 water-resistant design, and multiple EQ settings. 

AfterShokz Air uses Bluetooth 4.0 for wireless connectivity and supports multi pairing for up to 2 devices. The dual noise-canceling internal mic of this headset lets you take clear audio calls without any hassle. 

Pros:

  • Full-range audio performance in a lightweight form factor
  • IP55-rated waterproof design
  • Dual noise-canceling internal mic used


Cons:

  • Micro USB charging port used
  • Touch or tap controls not included

5. AfterShokz OpenComm – check it out here

Although AfterShokz is mostly focused on lifestyle and sports bone conduction headphones, the brand also caters to work and education-related requirements with OpenComm. This model is one of the few bone conduction headphones with a boom mic to deliver impressive audio performance in the mid-range pricing category. 

AfterShokz OpenComm helps you make the most out of your work and college-related audio calls with its DSP noise-canceling boom mic. This headset is equally good with other features, including quick charge, full-range audio performance, and battery life. 

Pros:

  • Noise-canceling boom mic improves audio call clarity
  • Up to 8 hours of playtime and 16 hours of talk time
  • NFC pairing supported


Cons:

  • Proprietary charging connector used
  • No touch or tap controls included
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