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Best bone-conduction headphones in 2023

Out of all the different form factors audio gear comes in, bone conduction headphones may be the most unique. You’ve seen plenty of earbuds and over-ear headphones, both wired and wireless, and they all have their purposes. So, why would you move on from the tried-and-true options that everyone already loves? Surely, the best wireless earbuds that are widely available are enough for use on an airplane or in the gym.

Well, there’s a case to be made for the best bone conduction headphones. These models, which don’t even go in or cover the ear, do something very interesting: they transmit sound through vibrations on your cheekbones. While the sound quality isn’t always as good as the more traditional options, this leaves your ears completely open, so they can breathe. These headphones are also significantly lightweight. Plus, they look pretty cool in a modern kind of way. And, as you’ll notice from some of the options here, they’re great for workouts, with a few even being the go-to for use while swimming.

Wissonly Hi Runner


I noticed Wissonly bone conduction headphones when they were first crowdfunded online. And later, I saw that some otologists were recommending them on online forums, so I bought them. This Hi Runner is their flagship product whose overall functionality is also the most perfect. The headphone use the latest research from the Wissonly lab. It increases the vibrating area of the vibrator by 35% and optimizes the direction of sound transmission to make the sound more concentrated, resulting in a wider range and more spatial of the music. The brand claims that its sound quality is HI-FI level, and I actually tested it myself. I thought that the sound quality was very close to HI-FI level, but it did not reach this level. Of course, the current sound quality is satisfactory enough.

Wissonly Hi Runner bone conduction headphones are also equipped with a new Bluetooth 5.0 chip that has stronger anti-interference ability, that can easily cope with various complex outdoor scenes, and ensures the good mood during exercise is not disturbed by disconnection. At the same time, the stable connection also brings low latency performance, and there is no problem in listening to songs, following dramas, and playing games. What's more, they have 32G of built-in memory that can store 5,000 songs. This helps you to enjoy music when you are exercising outdoors without your phone.

In terms of comfort, the Wissonly Hi Runner performs well, it is very light, only less than 30g, and it does not feel any weight to wear. The body is made of titanium alloy which makes it have a good fit, and you don't need to worry about their falling off during sports.

The waterproof of the Wissonly Hi Runner deserves special mention, and it is IPX8 grade. It means that you can carry it underwater for up to 20 meters and still use it normally, which is crazy!

YouthWhisper SuperQ3


The YouthWhisper SuperQ3 open-ear bone conduction wireless headphones let you keep an ear out on the surroundings while still enjoying quality audio. These wireless headphones connect via Bluetooth 5.1 and are flexible yet durable. The transducers produce pretty good quality sound and don’t rattle your skull with unnecessarily loud bass. The headphones are IP67-grade waterproof, so you can wear them in rain or shine. As a surprise extra for this price range, these headphones have ANC too!

Shokz OpenRun Pro Headphones


The Shokz OpenRun Pro bone conduction headphones are one of the best and healthiest headphones money can buy. These open-ear comfortable headphones transmit premium quality sound through your temporal bones, with rich details and thumping (but not damaging) bass. They connect via Bluetooth 5.1 to Android or Apple phones. The batteries last 10 hours on a full charge or 1.5 hours for a 5-minute charge. With IP55-grade water resistance, these wireless earphones can easily tackle sweat and light rain.

Kimwood HS1


Looking sleek and premium yet light in the pocket, the Kimwood HS1 bone conduction headphones are like good things that just work. The audio quality is not exactly legendary, but the batteries are good enough, giving you eight hours of playtime on a full charge or one hour on a 10-minute charge. Conveniently it charges through a USB-C port and connects to Android or Apple devices through Bluetooth 5. Also, the mics are especially good on these.

H2O Audio Tri Pro Multi-Sport with PLAYLIST+


This updated version of H2O Audio’s triathlon-geared headphones are an ideal option for any extended workouts. You get five hours of use, an IP68 rating to handle long periods underwater, and a secure fit so that you can take on any number of physical activities while listening to music. While they come with a built-in 8GB MP3 player — they also have H2O Audio’s unique Playlist+.

How do bone conduction headphones work, and why do you need them?

Instead of subjecting yourself to potential hearing damage by using earbuds and headphones that direct sound right into eardrums, consider bone conduction headphones instead. They don't put any pressure in your ear canals or plug them up either (take a look at whatever you've been using — they're probably kind of gross).

While traditional headphones send sound waves via tiny speakers, aka drivers, bone conduction headphones do exactly what their name suggests. They conduct audio via transducers through the bones that sit in front of your ears, essentially the back of your cheekbones. By sending audio directly into your head, your ears remain completely open to hear the surrounding environment, which is ideal when you're going for a job in a busy neighborhood.

Advantages of bone conduction headphones

There are several benefits of using a pair of bone conduction headphones. First, since they bypass the eardrum, they won't damage your ears, even at high volumes. Also, the transducers leave your ear canal open, so you can freely hear outside noises, but they do not mix with the audio. It works just like hearing your own voice, perfect for working out in public spaces, where you have to be aware of other people and traffic.

Finally, they are an absolute boon if you have ear damage. If you cannot use earphones or headphones, bone conduction headphones might be the alternative you're looking for. As a bonus, you don't have to worry about bothering anyone around you if you're blasting your tunes, no matter where you get your music.

Read more:We've tried the best workout earbuds to help boost your motivation