A Bluetooth headset in your motorcycle helmet can change your riding experience for the better – letting you enjoy music or chat with your riding buddies – but some units cost more than most of the helmets you’ll mount them in. That’s why we scoured the market to find you the best budget motorcycle Bluetooth headset.
Not every communication system is created equal, so it’ll depend on your needs which headset fits into your motorcycle gear needs. Here we’re going to look at:
- The big brand Bluetooth headsets at affordable prices
- Quality Bluetooth headsets from lesser-known brands
- Motorcycle Bluetooth headsets available on a bigger budget
And see which are the best based on key features like battery life, talk time, sound quality, and how easy they are to fit to your motorcycle helmet, among other factors.
- Best Budget Bluetooth Headsets from Big Brands
- Budget Bluetooth Units You’ve Not Heard Of
- Pushing the Budget for a Motorcycle Headset
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Budget Bluetooth Headsets from Big Brands
When we’re talking about a budget motorcycle bluetooth headset, it’s not all about the absolute cheapest. You want something with decent sound quality, basic functionality, and a measure of reliability – you don’t want to replace a headset every six months.
Budget Bluetooth Headsets from Sena
Sena is one of the best-known Bluetooth motorcycle headset manufacturers – the company even manufactures brand-specific sets for companies like Arai, HJC, and Schuberth.
Sena 5S Bluetooth Headset
At the bottom-end of the price spectrum at Sena is the 5S. With this headset, you get:
- Bluetooth 5 technology, which is good for preserving battery life.
- Intercom with one other rider, no matter their headset brand, with a range of up to 700 meters.
- An LCD screen to help make set up much easier.
- HD speakers with Advanced Noise Control technology.
- Two mics – a wired one which is great for full face helmets and a boom one for modulars and open face ones.
- Up to 7 hours of talk time, according to the specs.
- USB-C charger point so it’s easy to get replacement charger cables.
How does the battery fare in real life? One reviewer notes, “plenty of battery life for an all day excursion on the bike”, with similar sentiments from others (1). Opinion on speaker sound quality seems to be split – some people say riding anything over 45mph – so not even high speed wind noise – kills the sound quality whilst others say it’s crystal clear.
It’s not the sleekest or best looking bluetooth headset for your motorcycle helmet – it’s chunky and looks dated. There’s also no waterproof rating, so you need to be sure it’s not going to be raining when you’ve got this on your helmet.
However, you can do the usual phone pairing, listen to music from built-in FM radio, and chat with a riding partner so it has all the basic helmet communication functions down.
Sena 10S Bluetooth Headset
A step up from the Sena 5S is the 10S, which gives you intercom between a group of four riders, a 1,600-meter range and a talk-time of up to 12 hours. Still no waterproof rating though.
It also looks nicer and more streamlined than the 5S. There is a big difference in price for the upgraded features so consider how important battery life and multi-rider intercom is to your riding plans.
Budget Cardo Bluetooth Headsets
After Sena, Cardo is probably the next biggest name in motorcycle Bluetooth headsets. Its range of Bluetooth motorcycle headsets is smaller, but there’s a kit for every need.
The cheapest Cardo offering is the Spirit, which comes in at a much lower price point and one-ups the Sena units with well-calibrated features.
- Bluetooth 5.2 technology, with dual connection for both your phone and GPS.
- Intercom across brands with one other Bluetooth headset, with 400 m / 0.25 mile range.
- Automatic volume control in the speakers so you don’t need to adjust when you come to a stop.
- Up to 10 hours of talk time with a 2 hour charge time, and fast charging giving you 2 hours of battery in just 20 minutes
- USB-C connection – robust and common
- Takes voice commands to answer calls and control music, GPS and more through Siri or Google Assistant.
- Fully waterproof.
The only shortcoming of this unit is the quality and volume of the 32mm speakers, which “become tainted with a ‘tin’ sound and the bass isn’t present at all” at high speeds (2). I can personally attest to this, finding the speakers on this system to be lackluster on a recent cross-country trip. However, the Spirit HD unit includes 40mm speakers which are a slight improvement, or you can go for the 45mm JBL speakers as an upgrade.
Overall, if you just want a kit to listen to music, take calls and talk to a passenger – without worrying what the weather is going to do – this is the best motorcycle Bluetooth for you. We recommend picking up the Cardo Spirit HD for a few more bucks, given the improved speaker quality in that set. You can grab the HD here, or the regular one at the link below.
Budget Bluetooth Units You’ve Not Heard Of
Sena and Cardo have the brand recognition for motorcycle Bluetooth, but they’re not the be all and end all on the market. We’ve looked at some of the best Bluetooth off-brand kits you can get on Amazon and put together our picks for you to check out.
Considering the price point is around a third of the Sena 5S, you get a very decent kit to add to your motorcycle helmet. The specs are:
- Bluetooth 4.0 with dual input so you can pair your phone and GPS at the same time.
- Three-way group intercom with a universal connection across brands over a range up to 800 meters.
- DSP echo cancellation noise cancelling and noise suppression technology gives you good volume and sound quality riding at high speed – up to 70-80mph – before wind noise starts to take over.
- A boom mic.
- Eight to nine hours of talk time, according to an expert reviewer (3).
- Waterproof, which is a nice touch for the price of it.
What we like about this kit is that you get two ways to fit it to your lid. You get a bolt-and-clamp set up as well as a sticky mount so you can do whichever works for you.
The look is very nice compared to the more expensive brands, too. It’s sleek and well thought-out with buttons arranged on a circle – maybe a little fiddly when you’ve got gloves on.
When you don’t want to invest big sums into a kit, we’d say this is the best Bluetooth headset for your motorcycle helmet.
Fodsports M1S Pro
Another brand that doesn’t have a lot of name recognition but works just fine is the Fodsports M1S Pro. In the box you get:
- Bluetooth 4.1 technology to connect to one device, plus an input to connect a phone or other device with an AUX cable.
- Bluetooth intercom to listen to up to eight helmets of any brand with a good riding range of up to 500 meters, although it should work up to 2,000 meters.
- Two mics – a boom for a half- or open-face helmet and a wired one to fit into your full-face helmet.
- Talk-time of up to 20 hours.
- Control with voice commands so you can use it fully hands free.
- A bespoke USB cable for charging, which is a bit of a pain if you forget to take it on a trip or plain lose it before a ride.
The clip mounting that it comes with is really easy to install. It’s also waterproof, which is again nice to have for the price when the two Sena devices that we’ve looked at so far aren’t.
To give you some perspective on the battery life, a recent review gives some handy numbers, “Battery life after 7 hr ride was over 50%” (4). A small gripe that was picked up on by a YouTuber is that the intercom has a habit of dropping out (5).
Overall, it’s a lot cheaper than the Bluetooth motorcycle headsets from the big names that have the same functionality. For a super cheap headset for a decent sized riding group, this one is a good choice.
Pushing the Budget for a Motorcycle Headset
The cheaper end of Bluetooth motorcycle headsets does have a reasonable range of functionality and there are quite a few to choose from. However, sometimes you want motorcycle gear with all the bells and whistles and you’ve got the budget to accommodate that.
At the top-end of Sena Bluetooth kits is the 50S. The features include:
- Bluetooth 5.0 with a range of 1.2 miles
- Connect with up to 24 other Sena Bluetooth kits for intercom when out riding, or connect with unlimited kits that are Mesh 2.0 enabled in an 8 kilometer range with at least six riders.
- A boom mic and a wired mic in the box, so it should work for any motorcycle helmet you have.
- Battery life for music of up to 14 hours or around nine hours if you’re using the Mesh 2.0 tech.
- HD speakers with good bass and volume to listen to music on a ride.
- Hands free use – you can use voice commands with Siri or Google Assistant
How good is the sound quality in those speakers in reality? “The sound clearance is amazing considering how loud our bikes are” is one review, whilst another is marginally less positive – “It’s what you should expect from a small form factor speaker. It’s good for what they are, but don’t expect Bose quality sound, that would be unrealistic” (6).
For riding with big groups of people who all use similar high-spec, high-quality technology, this is a great motorcycle Bluetooth headset, if you’ve got the cash to spend.
Cardo Packtalk Bold
The top end of the Cardo line of Bluetooth headsets is the Cardo Packtalk Bold. With this headset you get:
- Bluetooth 4.1 with a range of up to 1 mile or 1,600 meters with connectivity for up to 15 riders.
- Mesh 5.1 technology that should connect to any good brand of motorcycle comms kit.
- A wired and boom mic so it should work no matter your helmet style.
- Talk time of up to 13 hours.
- JBL speakers for great sound quality and audio output.
- Waterproof and dustproof.
While no reviewer puts a solid number on the battery life, everything written says it lasts a whole day of riding, which is positive (7).
A small gripe is the look of this set – you have an antenna that sticks up and makes it look what 1921 thought 2021 would look like.
Overall, you’re investing in this high-end headset for the audio quality. JBL is one of the top audio brands and you get good music and call quality with these speakers along for the ride.
UCLEAR Motion Infinity
While they don’t make anything that can fit in the budget end of the best Bluetooth headsets, UCLEAR do make good, top-end helmet communication products. The Motion Infinity comes with:
- Bluetooth 5.0 for phone connections and Mesh tech for intercom with unlimited connections between riders up to 1,200 meters.
- Dual-microphone set up so you don’t need a boom mic.
- A battery with up to 18 hours of talk time, depending how you use it.
- Motion sensors so you can make hand gestures to control the device – go hands free with no more fiddly buttons.
- USAFE crash detection to communicate to your fellow riders if you’ve gone down.
This kit really is top-of-the-line, with all features. The reviews are a bit patchy with issues in build quality – “2 of the buttons broke off within the first month” and “Had to make 2 warranty claims, one for the speakers being defective, the other for the top button tearing off” are just two worth noting (8)
If safety is your top priority, you might want to go with UCLEAR given its innovative crash-detection system.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the best budget bluetooth headset for a motorcycle?
The best budget bluetooth headset for a motorcycle depends on your needs. For the basic functions of calls, listening to music from your phone or through FM radio, getting GPS directions, and two-way Bluetooth intercom, the Sena 5S is best. The Fodsport MS1 Pro offers a longer battery life, more riders through intercom and a long battery life, but you don’t get the support of big-brand customer service.
What is motorcycle intercom?
Motorcycle intercom is technology that lets motorcycle riders communicate wirelessly. It usually works through Bluetooth or Mesh technology, allowing a rider to push a button on a kit installed on their helmet and talk to one or more riders as they drive.
Can I buy a helmet with Bluetooth integrated?
Yes, there are a range of motorcycle helmets with Bluetooth integrated. Our pick of the Bluetooth integrated helmets is the Sena Momentum EVO.
How do Bluetooth motorcycle helmets work?
Bluetooth motorcycle helmets work by connecting a device inside the helmet with a mobile phone, GPS device, or another Bluetooth helmet. Using this technology, music, phone calls, FM radio, and directions are sent to speakers inside the helmet and a mic inside the helmet picks up your voice to enable communication.
Think of it like a Bluetooth headset for taking calls or a pair of earbuds, but designed to fit snugly into your helmet.