Whether you are out on the open road on your motorcycle, or spending time on skis or a snowboard at your favorite winter resort, having a comfortable pair of bluetooth speakers can not only let you listen to your favorite music, but can also keep you in touch with loved ones in case of emergency.
Bluetooth helmet speakers can be used to listen to MP3 song files or an AM/FM radio. They can also be used to make calls, or act as long distance walkie-talkies with your friends. Additionally, you can receive detailed navigation information and directions using a hands-free function that many bluetooth helmet speakers include.
Regardless of whether you are looking for your first set of bluetooth helmet speakers, or are looking for an upgrade to the set you already have, you can find detailed reviews on five best bluetooth helmet speakers. We’ll also cover the features you might find between helmet speakers in the included buyers guide so you know what to look for in your next purchase.
Features to Consider in Helmet Speakers
While the general idea of helmet speakers is similar, the ultimate shape and construction is not. Each manufacturer has their own way of creating this unique little piece of gear, so there are a few unique features to consider when searching for the best helmet speakers for your uses.
There are three main ways a helmet speaker can connect to your audio device. The way a speaker connects depends on the style of speaker, the helmet it is made for, as well as the preferences of the manufacturer. The three connection options you may run into are:
Normally connected to your smartphone or other media device by a long cord and a 3.5mm audio jack. You can use this type of connection with MP3 players, most smartphones, iPhone, iPad, iPod and many other modern devices. Constant connection to the media device via the cord is required in order for the speakers to play your music.
Also called Bluetooth (see also bluetooth versions compared here), this connection requires no cords for your speakers to relay music or other audio from your media device. Sync it with your smartphone to make and receive calls, or to receive GPS and navigation information as needed. You won’t have to worry about getting tangled in a cord, or having that cord get damaged.
Some helmets have non-removable speakers built into the helmet itself. While this guide does not cover that style of helmet speaker, it may be something you run across during your search.
We also have an article here about wired vs. wireless vs. true wireless headphones that you might be interested in.
One of the most important things to consider is of course the comfort level of the speakers. They’ll be wedged inside your helmet and resting against your ears for potentially hours at a time, and the last thing you need is ear pain caused by a jagged corner of plastic or a poorly padded speaker frame.
Most helmet speakers are designed to be compact and to easily slide into the small pouch of audio-ready helmets, while others might be a bit more bulky and have some areas that cause pressure pain on or around your ears. Also keep in mind that the volume button is normally on the exterior of the speakers, which can be a burden to access or may accidentally get pressed by the helmet itself if the speaker is poorly designed.
Your helmet speakers will be subjected to a wide range of vibrations, bumps, ramps, potential accidents, and even different weather conditions. As such, you want to ensure they are durable and built to last through a bit of abuse here and there. The last thing you want is for your speakers to break apart after their first week of use.
Prices on helmet speakers will vary drastically between manufacturers and with different features. Some will be extremely affordable and great for individuals sticking to a budget, while others may be considered more of an investment piece of equipment and might be better suited for those who spend several hours a day on their motorcycle, snowmobile or other vehicle that requires a helmet.
Always keep in mind that a higher price does not always mean a better quality. In fact, some of the more budget friendly helmet speakers can deliver just as high a sound quality as a more pricey option. Don’t be afraid to shop around and compare prices across different manufacturers, as well as between different models from the same manufacturer until you find the one that suits your budget the best.
How to Select the Right Helmet Speakers
With so many options for helmet speakers on the market today, it may be difficult to decide on the one you want. There are a few different things to keep in mind when shopping for your next helmet speakers. Let’s take a deeper dive into those considerations below.
Consider your Helmet Size
Helmets come in all shapes and sizes, and will fit differently on your head depending on their use. Motorcycle helmets, snowboarding helmets, and extreme sport helmets are all very different so a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to your helmet speakers won’t work.
Be sure to consider the size of your helmet and how much room it leaves around your ears. If there is ample amounts of padding directly on or around your ears, it may be difficult to find a helmet speaker that fits comfortably. On the other hand, if you are using an audio-ready helmet, you may be able to select from a much wider range of helmet speakers to find one that fits perfectly.
Decide on a Speaker Size
Most helmet speakers are roughly the same size which is anywhere from 2 to 4 inches in diameter. Some may be slightly larger, but on average you’ll find they are generally the same. Internal driver size is commonly 40mm, though larger and smaller are possible as well and will depend on the brand. The driver size has a direct correlation to the sound quality, but will also require more room in your helmet.
Don’t forget to take into account the thickness of the speakers too. Since these will be between your ear and your helmet, a speaker that is too thick can cause ear fatigue and become uncomfortable after just a short time of wearing the helmet. Try to find a speaker that is compact and thin, or at least well padded with decent ventilation to help reduce fatigue and make your time wearing the helmet much more enjoyable.
Consider the Sound Quality
Obviously when it comes to speakers of any size, sound quality is important. It doesn’t matter if it’s a massive concert style speaker system or a small poker-chip sized helmet speaker. You want to be able to hear your music in the clarity it was meant to be enjoyed in. If you’re using your speakers to receive navigation and GPS information, you want to be sure there is no distortion and full clarity at all times.
Some of the best helmet speakers offer high fidelity audio that touches on a powerful bass, a perfectly balanced mid, and a clear and crisp high. You don’t want any of those areas to be too overpowering, and when you crank up the volume you don’t want to hear any distortion or static.
Additionally, while you want good sound, you need to take into account whether or not you want noise canceling capabilities. If you plan on using your helmet speakers while riding a motorcycle on public roadways, it may be illegal to limit your hearing of things around you. If, on the other hand, you only plan to use your helmet speakers while casually snowboarding or skiing, noise cancellation may be a great option.
Will You Need a Microphone?
Having a built-in microphone is useful if you plan on making or receiving calls, or using voice assistant programs such as Siri or Google Voice. Making use of these programs can add a new level to the hands-free convenience of your speakers and smartphone connection.
If you only plan on listening to music and nothing more, having a microphone is not important and can be ignored as one of the features you may need. Additionally, by not having a microphone you help reduce the weight of the helmet speakers slightly and can improve the overall comfort of the pair in your helmet.
Consider the Battery Life
If you plan on spending all day outdoors and want to have your favorite music available at all times, make sure you know how long the battery lifespan is on the helmet speakers you are considering. Many will last around 8 to 10 hours of continuous use on full volume, though some can reach 12 or 15 hours. Recharging usually takes 2-4 hours, and the standby time can be up to 500 hours on some models.