When it comes to personal helmet audio, the argument can be made that getting a completely wired set will provide you with the best quality audio around. That certainly may be true, but if you're more geared towards comfort, convenience, and having the best motorcycle helmet communication systems, then a wireless Bluetooth headset might be more to your liking.
Bluetooth allows for advanced riding capabilities like helmet to helmet communication, group chats on rides, and wireless streaming of your favorite tunes. It's also more comfortable since there's no need to run wires out of your helmet and through your jacket just to sync up with your phone. I'm a big fan of all kinds of hi-tech gear, so naturally, I wanted to round up some candidates and find out which is the best Bluetooth headset for motorcycle helmets.
SENA 20S -01
3.7” x 1” x 1.9”
2 - year warranty
ANSION Lightweight Bluetooth Headphones
4.6”x4.4” x 1.9”
30-day Amazon return
BUYEE Motorbike Helmet Bluetooth
7.5”x4.3” x 5.1”
30-day Amazon return
EXCELVAN BT Bluetooth Headset
7.4”x4.9” x 1.7”
30-day Amazon return
GBGS WEIKAN Bluetooth Headset
8.7”x5.6” x 1.2”
30-day Amazon return
Unless you've been calling a mountain cave your home for the past decade, you've at the least heard the term "Bluetooth" uttered. You might not know all the particulars, but you're kind of sure it has something to do with short-range wireless connections, which is true. When dealing with a Bluetooth system, you'll have to take into account many of the same factors you would when dealing with a wired system: sound quality, overall construction, and durability, how the speaker fits into the helmet, price, etc. There are, however, some additional factors that apply strictly to this kind of technology that will weigh into your decisions as well.
The first of those considerations is battery life. Bluetooth is marketed as low power, but it still uses power, and that power comes from a battery with a limited capacity. Many Bluetooth devices run off a lithium-ion battery, which is known for holding a lot of power in relation to their smaller size, and for being rechargeable (also for occasionally bursting into flames, but that's usually only when they are used improperly).
When deciding on which Bluetooth to purchase, you'll want to think about how heavy the battery is as this will affect how comfortable it will feel to wear. How hot the battery gets while in use will also affect comfort. How much of a charge the battery holds will determine how long you can use the headset before needing to recharge. The battery's recharge rate (lower recharge time means you can get back out on the road with your gadget quicker) is of course also a consideration.
As with any evolving technology, there are different versions of Bluetooth that are all being implemented at the same time. The connectivity, data transfer ability, speed, and other capabilities of your device are all partially influenced by what version of Bluetooth your device is running on. For the best motorcycle helmet Bluetooth kits, this means Bluetooth 4.0, 4.1, or 4.2. Some sets come equipped with one version but allow for the possibility of upgrading to another.
At a minimum, Bluetooth 4.0 supports a variety of reduced power consumption features that allow for these devices to remain paired and operate for longer periods of time – 5 to 10 times as long as older Bluetooth devices. Bluetooth 4.0 also cuts down on various connectivity and data transfer issues that used to be viewed as standard with versions 2.0 and 3.0.
You want to be able to stay in contact with your riding party when you're out and about, and that requires the ability to link up different devices on an intercom system. The best Bluetooth motorcycle helmet headset allows for helmet-to-helmet communication among multiple riders, group chat, instead of single rider to single rider interface. Also, the more range a system has, the better. Instead of having to stay close together at all times, you and your buddies will likely prefer having the option to split up a bit but remain in touch.
Furthermore, any system you'll be sinking your money into should have audio multitasking capabilities built in. In other words, instead of having to dedicate your Bluetooth to one activity at a time (chatting with a friend, listening to music, following the GPS), you can do them all at once.
This technology can do a lot, but that doesn't mean it has to be a pain to operate. The best Bluetooth systems are the ones that allow you to manage them with ease, have additional features built in to make their use more convenient, and promote a crisp and responsive user experience. Things like motion sensitive device pairing, which allows you to sync up devices with a simple wave. Voice commands, being able to switch effortlessly between music and communications, and intuitive smartphone integrated apps are additional perks that make Bluetooth operation less of a hassle and more of a joy.
The cherry (or cherries?) on top that distinguishes a good system from a great one. Additional features like Noise Control, which limits the amount of environmental noise that interrupts your communications and listening experience. Audio enhancements that improve sound; multiple speakers to balance sound throughout your helmet; quick release functions to quickly disengage or attach your preferred microphone; Multiple microphone options, so that you can choose between a boom mic or other microphone style. Perhaps even an FM radio so that you can catch some of your favorite shows on your morning or evening ride.
Sena is well known for providing quality audio products, and the 20S-01 is a feature packed communication and speaker system that has a lot to offer to just about any rider out there. For starters, a Bluetooth 4.1 universal intercom with a range of 1.2 miles, provides plenty of leeway for you and your riding party to link up.
The Sena 20S-01 can pair up with two mobile phones simultaneously, Bluetooth stereos, GPS devices, or (using an adapter) a two-way radio. The audio-multitasking features allow for the use of several input sources at once, all crystal clear thanks to the HD-quality audio upgrades and Sena's Advanced Noise Control utilities that block ambient noise.
The intercom system is quite capable. With a few simple presses of the jog dial button on the side of the unit, you can link up to 9 different 20S headsets together, and enjoy group communication even while riding through traffic. Using the Sena smartphone app, you can instantly create group intercom chats with your friends, and save your preferences for easy recall on future trips. Of all the features, I found this the most handy as it made linking up with my friends super easy.
The Sena 20S-01 supports a variety of voice commands for hands-free use, an FM radio for tuning into local stations, and can be utilized with a rider's choice of boom or wired microphone. The Sena even has ports for hooking up your favorite earbuds, if you prefer the high quality sound that you get from that wired connection.
For riders looking for something superbly simple, cost-effective, and lightweight, these Ansion headphones might just fit the bill. Though they lack the advanced intercom and linking abilities of many other Bluetooth systems, and only support the option of in-ear use, these headphones are fashionable, comfortable, and very easy to use.
Simply pair the headphones with your mobile device, and operate them from there. These headphones are Bluetooth 4.1, support APT-X technology, have built-in noise canceling, HD audio and microphone, and a 10-meter working range (not that you'll need it on your bike). There are limited voice commands (yes/no style) and the option to link to two devices at the same time.
This headset is lightweight, and you're able to install different earbud tips if the standard ones don't fit your ears. There are buttons for operating track selection and volume on the side, but unless you're wearing an open or half helmet, they aren't going to be of much use to you.
Of all the features on these headphones, the one that stands out the most is the superb battery life. After a relatively short charging period of 2 hours, these headphones offer about 8 hours of continuous use and 240 hours of standby time. If it's a long trip you have in mind, this Ansion headset certainly has the endurance to last the way.
A great package deal that comes with two Bluetooth headset intercoms with option of adding a boom mic or internal speakers to fasten inside your helmet. The Buyee headset can connect to 2 devices at once, meaning you can operate a GPS and a phone, two phones, a phone and an MP3 player, etc.
The sound and voice quality on this headset are good, and it features DSP noise reduction and echo canceling technology, along with high-speed processing for clear voice calls and helmet-to-helmet chat. Speaking of which, the Buyee is capable of voice commands for hands-free mobile phone use, and includes voice dialing, auto call reception and hang up, in addition to last number redial.
The intercom feature supports the linking of 3 headsets, which can then communicate simultaneously within a .6 mile range. Not the highest chat capacity, but good if you have just a couple of friends that you ride with, and you're looking for an affordable group communication option.
Buyee designed this headset to be durable, as it was engineered with all-weather water resistance, waterproof and sunproof buttons, and an all-around heavy duty construction. Battery life is robust, and on a full charge, this headset provides 6 hours of intercom chat, 10 hours of cell phone talktime, and 300 hours of standby time.
The Excelvan headset is a solid middle-of-the-road intercom system with Bluetooth capabilities that also allow users to link up to GPS, MP3s, and cell phones. This full duplex interphone offers a 10-meter connection range and intercom abilities for up to 3 riders at 0.3 miles. The headset automatically switches between cell phone, intercom and music depending on which is in use, and includes noise suppression, echo canceling, and voice enhancement technologies to ensure functionality even at high speeds.
This headset is easy to install in all popular motorcycle helmet types (open face, full face, half helmets) and comes packaged with headphones, a microphone, and all necessary mounting, connection, and adhesive accessories. Battery life on this headset is excellent, as it offers 300 hours standby time, and 7-10 hours of operational time, depending on how intensely you use it.
The unit is fairly simple in its operation, as it makes use of one centrally located multi-function button, a wheel control to manipulate audio volume, and another button to control connections and power. Hands-free voice commands allow you to keep your focus on the road, and the water-resistance is reliable enough to use the headset even during a downpour.
This headset offers excellent two-way Bluetooth features, including crystal clear helmet-to-helmet communication, and the unique ability to share music with your riding companion. This Bluetooth module is also highly compatible, being able to sync up with any devices that support Bluetooth functionality.
The intercom system's range is on the shorter end of the spectrum at 0.3 miles, but it does support up to six simultaneous riders for both communications and the music sharing feature. The standard package includes two headsets that come with all necessary microphones, clips, and cables. The talk time on these units is sufficient, at around 8 hours, but standby time is more limited than other models at only 150 hours.
The sound quality isn't the very top of the line, but it is still pretty audible, and aided by noise suppression and clear talk features. Just don't expect to get much in the way of booming bass out of these. The exterior unit has more than its fair share of buttons, which are tiny and can be difficult to operate while you're out on a ride. On the whole, however, the unit is lightweight, compact, and feels comfortable when installed.
There are certainly more affordable models on the market that do a perfectly adequate job of providing intercom and rider to rider communication features, but the Bluetooth headset that offers the most is the Sena 20S-01. It's Bluetooth 4.1, it has the best intercom range, supports the most simultaneous users, has excellent sound quality, and a ton of extra features (like the intuitive smartphone app) that make operation and installation a breeze. As long as you're willing to part with the extra money, the 20S-01 will be the headset that provides the most value to the widest range of riders.