What could make riding a motorcycle more fun than it already is? Cranking up your favorite music while you ride! But how are going to fit a pair of headphones underneath a motorcycle helmet?
It’s easier than you might think. There are a wide variety of specially made motorcycle helmet headphones on the market, in a variety of styles and with a variety of extra features. We’ve scoured the market to find you a pair that will give you better sound on your motorcycle than any car stereo you’ve ever heard.
Top Motorcycle Helmet Headphones Chart[ws_table id=”19″]
Things to Consider
Motorcycle helmet headphones are similar to most personal headphones in a lot of ways. You want good sound, durability, and comfort. But the fact that they’re in your helmet raises a lot of other issues that you need to think about as well.
- How do they stay on your ears? Some helmet headphones, like the Skullcandy model we named as #4, are designed to slip into the ear pads of your helmet. Others attack directly to the inner wall of the helmet with adhesive. Some are attached to the helmet with a clamp. Still others have a thin headband intended to sit under the helmet.
- Do you need a microphone? Some of the models we have found are actually headsets, designed to let you take phone calls without taking off your helmet. If your music player of choice is also your phone, then this may be important to you.
- Do you wear gloves while riding? Many helmet headphones have volume controls and other buttons on the cord, so you can access them easily while riding. These controls are made to be easy to manipulate with a gloved hand on some models, but not on all of them. Some headphones have no such controls. At least one model we found has no cord at all, delivering its sound wirelessly.
- Full-face or half-face helmet? Certain headphone models are built specifically for one or the other. This is most relevant if there is a microphone present, but each style of helmet will also impact the audio differently, due to echo or the sound of wind.
Top 3 Motorcycle Helmet Headphones Reviews
1. Sena (SMH5-UNIV) Bluetooth HeadsetThis model scores our #1 rating mainly through the merit of its advanced tech. The speakers are very small and give fantastic sound for their size. The Bluetooth 3.0 technology allows it to connect wirelessly to not only your music player, but your phone or GPS as well. It also comes with an intercom function, so you and up to four other riders in your fleet can talk hands-free. Voice commands manage all of these functions, so there’s no worrying about taking your hands off the bars or your eyes off the road as you turn the music on and off, set your GPS, and talk to your fellow riders.
The wide range of functions, each one of which a boon to a motorcyclist on its own, and the commitment to the user’s safety while riding, earn the Sena SMH5-02 our #1 recommendation.
2. Outdoor Tech Chips 2.0 Bluetooth Helmet Audio + Walkie-Talkie (OT0052)This model doesn’t have as many additional functions as the Sena SMH5-02, but it has just as much audio tech in its wafer-thin speakers as any pair you’ll find outside of a sound engineer’s studio. The headphones themselves are as simple as it gets — two speakers connected by a thin wire and nothing else. You’ll need a helmet with ear pouches designed to accommodate audio drop-ins to wear them. There is no wire leading out of the helmet: the OT0052 receives the signal without it.
The speakers are as durable as they are simple. You may not look for durability from a pair of headphones designed to sit inside your helmet, but these are resistant to water and sweat (not waterproof though), and operate in temperatures far colder than you’d ever want to ride a motorcycle in. The built-in microphone means you can take calls on it, and the buttons are designed to be easy to operate from outside the helmet without taking your gloves off.
This could have been the #1 if it didn’t have the Sena SMH5-UNIV to compete with. The price point here is also a little higher than we would have liked, but if you can afford them, you’ll love them.
3. IASUS XSound 3If the SMH5-UNIV is designed for multifunctionality and the OT0052 is designed for ease of use, the XSound 3 is designed for maximum audio experience. IASUS crafts the speakers out of aluminum and the wires out of Kevlar to protect the integrity of the circuitry and the audio they produce. The bass notes are solid and smooth, and the treble is crisp. The speakers are thin but broad for a wider depth of audio reverberation. They’re designed to be slid into ear pouches, like the OT0052 , but the XSound 3 actually comes with a pair of ear pouches and the Velcro to attach them if your helmet lacks them.
The XSound 3 doesn’t rate higher because it actually seems over-engineered for its purpose. With a thrumming motor underneath you, audio this sharp is bound to be drowned out to some extent. Happy riding!