Bluetooth Helmet vs. Headphones: What Works Better?

Bluetooth has become a staple in our everyday lives, and there are numerous devices from which to choose, from wireless earbuds to mounting systems to Bluetooth helmets and headphones. The last two have become quite popular with riders, and there are advantages and disadvantages to both products depending on your needs. 

When actively riding, a Bluetooth helmet works better. Bluetooth helmets allow riders to stream music with ease, communicate with friends, and use GPS and mapping for directions. While Bluetooth helmets are more expensive than headphones, they provide riders with unmatched protection and quality.

There are advantages and disadvantages to Bluetooth helmets versus standard Bluetooth headphones. Read on to find out which device may be right for your everyday needs. There are numerous reasons to purchase Bluetooth gear, but having a Bluetooth helmet does have fewer uses than purchasing Bluetooth headphones for everyday use. 

Why Should I Purchase Bluetooth Gear for Riding?

two motorcycle riders in the city
Photo by MORAN on Unsplash

Bluetooth technology is not new. It has actually been a fundamental mechanism for listening to music and using GPS for more than a decade. It is most commonly used in shorter ranges, such as having your phone in your pocket and then connecting it to earbuds or headphones. This makes Bluetooth in a helmet or headphones ideal. 

There are numerous advantages to purchasing Bluetooth gear, whether it is a Bluetooth helmet or headphones. Once you have an understanding of the benefits of riding with Bluetooth, you can then decide whether you would rather have it built into your helmet to use for riding only or have a separate headset that can be used on and off the bike: 

  • Communicate with other riders
  • Listen to music on long or short rides
  • Take phone calls while on the rode
  • GPS is easy to use with Bluetooth
  • Everything is hands-free 

The question remains on whether you should purchase a Bluetooth helmet or headphones. It all depends on the amount of money you want to spend and what you will be using the Bluetooth for both on and off your bike. Once you make those determinations, you can decide which product is right for you. 

The Advantages of Bluetooth Helmets

Man in black jacket on a motorcycle wearing a black Shoei helmet
Photo by Gijs Coolen on Unsplash

Bluetooth helmets have Bluetooth technology integrated into the helmet itself. They are easy to use and control, as you simply connect your helmet to your music device and then put the helmet on to listen to music while riding. You can also use Bluetooth helmets to seamlessly communicate with other riders who have similar technology. 

Helmets are more comfortable to wear as the Bluetooth is totally integrated, and they impact rider safety since they are a helmet and music built into one mechanism. The rider does not need to meddle with controls because Bluetooth helmets are completely hands-free. Some headphones need to be tapped to stop the music from playing.   

Another advantage of using a Bluetooth helmet is the ability to sync your helmet to your passenger’s playlist if you are riding together. This not only means you can listen to the same music—syncing with your partner’s Bluetooth device is a major advantage in that you can also communicate clearly with one another over the sound of the bike. 

That being said, all of these capabilities you can get with a high-quality Bluetooth helmet also come with a high price tag. You get what you pay for, so you will have to spend more money on a helmet that has an effective range for music, GPS, and communication. They are more expensive than headphones with similar functions.

Are Bluetooth Helmets Worth the Price?

Although Bluetooth helmets may be more expensive than headphones, a rider is really purchasing a two-for-one. You need a helmet anyway to ride, so spending a bit more on a Bluetooth helmet is well worth the price. Bluetooth helmets can run from $100 through $400, with some as high as $1,000, depending on the quality of the helmet itself. 

These prices are not much higher than a regular helmet, making them a pretty solid investment. However, with any form of technology, you do pay more for higher quality, and this principle holds true for Bluetooth helmets. Cheaper Bluetooth helmets may have connectivity issues when it comes to GPS or communicating with other riders. 

In addition, if you want to use your Bluetooth helmet to communicate with your partner or another rider, they will also need a Bluetooth helmet in which to do so. You can coordinate a purchase so that everyone riding together has Bluetooth helmets. 

Ensure you only spend the money on a helmet for this purpose if you are sure your riding partners will do the same unless you have the budget to purchase more than one. If your passengers or riders are using Bluetooth headphones, you will not be able to use your Bluetooth helmet to its fullest advantage for the money you will spend.

Why Bluetooth Helmets Win Out

The advantages definitely outweigh the disadvantages of Bluetooth helmets. While Bluetooth headphones can offer some of these same features, they cannot offer them all. Doubling down with a Bluetooth helmet will protect your head while also giving you the added Bluetooth benefits.

  • Music
  • GPS
  • Communication
  • Protection
  • Comfort

Bluetooth helmets are an easy way to listen to music while riding. Connect your smartphone to the helmet and listen to your favorite songs while riding. The better helmets will ensure that your audio will not hinder important external noises like car horns. Riding with a helmet is the main way to avoid life-threatening accidents.

Additionally, wearing one music device is much more comfortable than having to wear two. If you are going to wear a helmet anyway, why not use one with Bluetooth instead of wearing a helmet and Bluetooth headphones? 

A quality Bluetooth helmet will double as a quality navigation system so that you do not need to keep looking at your phone to figure out where you are located. Also, as long as you are riding with someone who also has a Bluetooth helmet, you can communicate with ease. This is much safer than using a phone since you can communicate hands-free.

What Should I Bear in Mind With a Bluetooth Helmet?

Because one of the main benefits of having a Bluetooth helmet is the ability to communicate with others, you need to bear in mind that it will require more than one Bluetooth helmet. Yours will not do much good with communicating if you are the only rider with one, but there are several advantages to Bluetooth communication: 

  • Passengers and single riders who are new to riding may feel more confident, self-assured, and relaxed being able to communicate while riding.
  • If you are riding with a passenger, you can easily instruct him or her to shift weight to the right or left, to grip on during a curve, or lean forward or back during the ride.
  • Did you get lost from your group? Not a problem with Bluetooth helmet communication. Riders in the same group can communicate with one another to determine where you may be, where to turn off, and other navigation issues. 

You should also consider the fact that many Bluetooth helmets do not come with a facial visor. The safest helmets, in general, are ones with a full visor, and these will come with an added cost attached. It may be cheaper to purchase a helmet with a full visor and then Bluetooth headphones if safety and budget are both an issue. 

Speaking of safety, you should try to purchase a Bluetooth helmet that is certified by the Department of Transportation (DOT). You can easily find out if your Bluetooth helmet is DOT-certified so that you can wear it securely and it meets DOT safety certifications while also listening to music and communicating with friends. 

Because Bluetooth helmets may fit differently, you should try on the helmets in person. This is a disadvantage to Bluetooth headphones, which could probably be purchased online with ease. It may also inhibit the number of choices available for Bluetooth helmets versus Bluetooth headphones since you have many more choices online. 

The Advantages of Bluetooth Headphones

Bluetooth headphones in nature
Photo by Ankit Sharma on Unsplash

There are also advantages to purchasing Bluetooth headphones that can fit with your helmet. The main advantage over a Bluetooth helmet is the price. You can get a quality set of Bluetooth riding headphones for under $100. There are inexpensive Bluetooth headphones that have received very positive reviews from riders. 

Bluetooth headphones are compatible with listening to music and take phone calls while riding. They are usually both sweatproof and waterproof and have the ability to fit nicely with your riding helmet. This means purchasing online may not be an option, as you may need to try them on with your helmet to make sure they fit comfortably when riding. 

That connects to the price issue. If you already have a riding helmet, then spending around $100 for Bluetooth headphones is probably no big deal. However, if you need to purchase a helmet and headphones, you may end up paying more money for both than for just purchasing a quality Bluetooth helmet. Overall, the advantages are as follows: 

  • Bluetooth headsets are probably less expensive
  • They are user friendly when connecting to your smartphone
  • They offer hands-free mobile use
  • Bluetooth headsets are made to fit comfortably in a riding helmet
  • They can be used when you are not riding!

The last benefit above is probably one of the most advantageous ones. Yes, you can use your Bluetooth headphones anytime you would like. Therefore, if you want Bluetooth headphones to ride and not to ride, they are the way to go. You are not going to sit in your house listening to music with a helmet on, but headphones are just fine. 

So, Which One is Best for Me—Bluetooth Helmet or Headphones?

Motorcycle riders at sunset
Image by Rene Rauschenberger from Pixabay

Making a side-by-side comparison may help decide whether you should spend the money on a quality Bluetooth helmet or spend a little less on a quality set of Bluetooth headphones. Remember that the headphones can be used on and off the bike, unlike a Bluetooth helmet. You also get what you pay for with Bluetooth helmets today: 

Bluetooth HelmetBluetooth Headphones
Integrated into the helmet, but can only be used as a helmet.Will need to purchase a helmet, but can be used on or off the bike.
You can sync to your passenger’s playlist and communicate with ease.May not have the same communication abilities depending on the brand.
Plays music, answers calls, has GPS.Plays music, answers calls, may have GPS.
More expensive.Less expensive.
Comfortable as a helmet.Could be bulky under the helmet.

Are you still not sure which device is right for you? The best way to make a final decision is to read reviews of Bluetooth helmets and headphones. User reviews sometimes tell more about what you should purchase than anything else when it comes to technology. User reviews may tell you things the company may not want you to know! 

Disadvantages of Bluetooth Devices in General

A main disadvantage with using a Bluetooth device is actually part of its advantages in other cases, which is its noise-canceling capabilities. Customers usually love the fact that their Bluetooth device will filter out noises such as wind and cars, but this can also be a disadvantage because you also cannot hear other riders’ voices or directions. 

This is where the Bluetooth helmet is the clear winner. Bluetooth helmets exceed headphones when it comes to communicating with other riders. If you find you want to communicate with other riders more often, the Bluetooth helmet is the right choice over headphones. They are more clear and reliable than standard Bluetooth headphones. 

Another disadvantage of listening to Bluetooth devices is that they are a distraction. If you turn up the music too loud in the helmet or using headphones, you may miss environmental signs that will warn you of danger. What if you cannot hear a car honking or a deer running towards you? This will happen with any loud music device. 

Bluetooth is Convenient But Not Perfect

Bluetooth technology has many advantages, including a low power consumption compared to other devices, a pretty solid range, inexpensive cost, and the hands-free options that are particularly important when riding a bike. However, there are a few disadvantages to using Bluetooth, whether it is in a helmet or on headphones: 

  • Bluetooth can be considered a distraction.
  • Lower quality Bluetooth devices are not as functional.
  • Connectivity is dependent on proximity.
  • Bluetooth can drain battery life.
  • Bluetooth devices can be hacked.

For both Bluetooth helmets and headphones, you should make a note of how to use Bluetooth correctly and safely. Then, you can weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each, compare the prices, and finally read the user reviews of others who have actually purchased the products. These alone can help save you time and money. 

Distraction

Bluetooth technology may be considered a distraction and unsafe, especially if it filters out a noise that is imperative to hear, like road noise. 

This is especially true for Bluetooth headphones since you typically need to touch the headphones to start and end music and begin and end calls.

Price Equals Quality

Bluetooth devices are definitely in that “you get what you pay for” category.

Lower quality Bluetooth helmets and headphones will not function on the same level as more expensive devices, especially when it comes to the range in which they will work in the outdoors.

Connectivity 

Bluetooth connectivity is dependent on closeness to the source.

This comes back to price—the more expensive the Bluetooth device, the more extensive your range will be for connecting to your devices and to other riders.

Battery Life

Bluetooth technology is a convenient way to use your phone to play music and use your device to communicate with others. It also enables you to do all of this hands-free without fiddling with your smartphone.

However, it does drain the battery life of your smartphone or devices, and this should be of note if you need your smart device for a long period of time.

Hacking

Bluetooth devices are susceptible to hackers since they are often synced to an unsecured wireless network.

Hackers have found ways to infiltrate Bluetooth devices and steal personal information and data, employ malware, and other harmful factors. 

Conclusion

There are numerous advantages to purchasing a Bluetooth helmet, but a quality Bluetooth helmet also may come with a high price. Bluetooth helmets, on the cheaper side, may cost as much as a regular helmet, but you also may not get the communication and connection quality without investing in a more expensive device. 

Bluetooth headphones are made today so that they can comfortably fit into your riding helmet with ease. They also have multiple uses, as you can wear your Bluetooth headphones around the house, out for a walk, at the gym, or on a bike. A Bluetooth helmet only has one use, or at least one use that does not look unusual – riding.

Sources:

https://www.cashify.in/bluetooth-headphones-vs-true-wireless-earbuds-which-one-to-choose
https://www.icicilombard.com/blog/two-wheeler-insurance/bike/five-reasons-to-wear-a-bluetooth-helmet
https://www.dairylandinsurance.com/motorcycle/on-the-road/gear/bluetooth-motorcycle-helmets
https://rideheelsdown.com/shop/bluetooth-riding-headphones/
https://ridersbikersupply.com/blog/10-benefits-of-using-motorcycle-communication-and-bluetooth-technology/
https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/what-is-bluetooth/

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