What’s the Best Headset for Half Helmets?

Do you prefer the feeling of the wind on your face, the cool breeze rushing past, and the barely-there feel of a motorcycle half helmet? Plenty of folks are into the light, small helmet but it can be tough to find a Bluetooth headset to go with it. 

That’s where we come in. If you want to keep the cool aesthetic of half helmets and still get the benefits of Bluetooth communication and mobile phone pairing, we’ve got the best options on the market for you. 

Whether you enjoy group rides with your buddies and want to be able to chat between yourselves or simply enjoy some music as you ride, you need to add some kit to your helmet. We’re going to check out:

  • The things you need to look for in a Bluetooth headset for half helmets
  • The best headsets to work with your half helmet
  • Other ways to get music and comms into your half helmet

So you can keep up with your pack without compromising on your look or your comfort. 

How to Choose a Headset for a Half Helmet

Adding a communicator to your half-head helmet is going to make your riding experience better. You can add some details to your hand signals – like confirming how many miles are left in the tank or whether it’s a branch or pothole up ahead. 

Not all headsets are made the same so you want to make sure that you get the features you need, such as:

  • A boom mic to counter some of the wind noise and distortion – it should capture your voice well
  • Cups that cover your ears and send the speaker volume into your ears rather than off down the highway
  • Connectivity with your other tech like your Harley Boom! and the kit your riding buddies use so you can intercom easily
  • FM radio so you can keep listening to music even if your phone dies and also get local traffic updates
  • A decent battery life so you can get a whole day riding without worrying about getting it charged

The choices for a Bluetooth headset for your half helmet are more limited than if you were using a three-quarter or full-face helmet, but you do have some options that we’ve pulled together here for you. 

Best Bluetooth Headsets for Half Helmets

Sena SPH10H-FM-01

Sena is one of the biggest names in the Bluetooth headset industry, so it’s no surprise they have a kit specifically for half helmets. 

Sena SPH headset in half helmet
Image Source: Sena

The SPH10H-FM-01 is an upgrade from the SPH10H-FM which had bulkier connectors and was a little less stylish. With this particular kit, you get:

  • Bluetooth communication with three other devices across 700 meters and connectivity to your mobile phone
  • A boom mic on an adjustable arm
  • Jog dial controls that are easy to use when you’re gloved up
  • Advanced noise control – each speaker’s volume can be controlled independently
  • Built in FM radio if you get tired of your music or want to get game results or local traffic updates
  • Pockets that clip between your shell and foam to place the speakers directly over your ears
  • Seven hours of battery life, which should do you a good day out riding

It’s a well-thought-out design that really deals with some of the common issues motorcyclists face when wearing half helmets. 

The thing we really appreciate about this Sena headset is the universal intercom for helmet-to-helmet communication across brands. It’s something that’s missing from newer Sena headsets but with this older piece of kit you can connect with people who use other brands. 

Sena SPH10 Ear Pads
Image Source: Sena

In terms of how wind noise will affect your sound quality – anything up to around 70mph you should be heard clearly by someone you’re speaking to. Somewhere around 70-80mph is where you’ll also start to get interference in the speaker quality (1).

Overall, this headset is a solid investment that should do the job you’re buying it for without issue. 

Harley Davidson Boom! Audio Expand 2.0 Bluetooth Half Helmet Headset

Whether you’re a Harley fan or not, you can’t deny they understand the needs of their customers and riders. From branded half helmets and full entertainment rigs for the bikes, Harley Davidson gives bikers what they want. 

Harley Boom headset
Image Source: Harley Davidson

Knowing that plenty of Harley Davidson riders wear half head helmets, the brand has put its name on a standalone headset as a simple solution. With the Boom! Audio Expand 2.0 Bluetooth Half Helmet Headset, you get:

  • Intercom between four devices total over a range of up to 900 meters and pairing with your mobile phone
  • A boom mic on an adjustable arm
  • Simple push-button controls
  • Volume Boost and Advanced Noise Control
  • Ear clips so it sits over your ears securely and won’t get picked up by the wind
  • Battery life of up to 10 hours, more than a full day’s ride

What’s missing here is built-in FM radio which is unfortunate. As a plus though, it’ll connect with headsets of different brands, just like the helmet kit we just looked at. 

Reviews on the Harley Davidson website are pretty negative, with the main issues being about how uncomfortable they are and the wind noise you get in them, with one reviewer saying, “ I thought the first one must have been defective because all we could hear was wind noise and when I talked my own voice echoed in my ear driving me insane, so we sent it back and ordered another…long story short, SAME PROBLEM!” (2).

Taking everything into account, these are a useful solution that’ll keep you on-brand if you’re into your Harley gear. Don’t have high expectations – your sound quality may not be great at highway speeds but the headset should be functional. 

Sena Cavalry

In the market for a new helmet as well as a Bluetooth headset?

The Sena Cavalry is our pick for the best half-head, integrated Bluetooth helmet. The helmet is DOT certified and is fully kitted out with a communication and music system – no fitting required. 

When you buy a Sena Cavalry, you get:

  • Intercom with a total of four headsets across 900 meters and pairing with your mobile phone
  • A wired mic that’s fully integrated and sits above your forehead – no boom mic in front of your face
  • Easy-to-use, push-button controls that are glove-friendly
  • Advanced Noise Control to reduce wind and other noises around you
  • Built-in FM radio when your own playlists get boring
  • Ear cups that send the speaker noise from inside the shell down to your ears
  • Up to 10 hours of talk-time, which is plenty to get you through a long ride

The intercom is once again universal so you don’t need to worry about the kit anyone else is packing. 

We do have some bad news for you – Sena ceased production of the Cavalry a while back. There does seem to be plenty of stock kicking around – you can still buy it in the usual places, but one day, it’ll be no more and you’ll kick yourself for not grabbing one. 

Reviews of the helmet are generally positive. The mic and sound quality review surprisingly well, even at highway speeds, especially considering the mic is integrated in the space above your brow. 

One recent buyer said, “It’s a well fitting helmet, the sound is clear and I can hear my music over my Screaming Eagle performance. The communication with other riders is clear and others can hear me clearly, even at 80mph” (3).

To avoid the fuss of fitting a helmet communication system in your current helmet, invest in a ready-built solution and go for the Cavalry… While you still can. 

JZAQ Bluetooth Headset

At the budget end of the solutions to add Bluetooth to your half helmet is the JZAQ headset.

Image Source: JZAQ

It’s probably not a brand you’ve heard of, but this piece of kit does offer you some nifty features, including:

  • Bluetooth 5.0 to connect the headset to your mobile phone
  • A boom mic on a flexible arm so you can position it where you want
  • Full voice control of the headset so you don’t need to take your hands off your bike
  • A DSP noise cancelation chip to give better noise control 
  • A set of clips that you stick the speakers to – clip them to your shell and the speakers will sit nicely over your ears
  • Battery life that should last you up to 60 hours, meaning you should barely need to recharge on a week-long trip

While it’s a useful piece of kit for what it does, this Bluetooth headset does have some limitations. There’s no intercom feature and no built-in FM radio. If you’re looking to listen to music, get GPS directions, and make and take phone calls, this will work for you but if you’re looking to chat with your pack, then look at our other options. 

One person who recently bought it and used it with a half helmet said, “For the price you can’t go wrong. They have great sound quality. If you use in a full or modular helmet you do not need them turned up too loud. On a half helmet you need to turn them up because the wind does overpower the sound coming from the headphone speakers” (4). 

This bluetooth headset might be missing FM radio and intercom, but for less than $30, it ticks enough boxes to be worth it for lots of riders. 

Make Any Bluetooth Headset Fit Your Half Helmet

Vega 93-2704 Men’s Universal Speaker Ready Ear Pads

Not a fan of any of these Bluetooth headsets? Already got a higher spec kit and want to drop it into your half helmet?

Image Source: Vega

The Vega 93-2704 Men’s Universal Speaker Ready Ear Pads are a simple and elegant solution to getting pretty much any Bluetooth headset to work with your current helmet. 

These little pads are super simple. You add them to your helmet by sticking them on to your foam with the velcro tabs that come in the box, then simply drop in your current system’s speakers. 

Most speakers will fit into the pouches easily and the holes in the side that sits next to your ear means you should have no issues hearing nearly like normal. 

Image Source: Vega

You do have the challenge of fitting the rest of your kit to your helmet, but anything you buy from Cardo or Sena should have a clip mounting option, making it easy to add to the rim of your half helmet. 

People who’ve bought these to use with speakers are generally happy with the effectiveness of the solution, with one person saying, “These installed easily on my half helmet and allowed me to put the speakers in the pockets. Now I don’t have to wear a full-face helmet in the hot summer weather just to talk to my wife” (5).

Bluetooth Headsets You Can Use with Vega Ear Pads

With the Vega ear pads, you can choose nearly any Bluetooth headset to add to your helmet – so which one should you buy? Here are two decent options depending on your budget and needs. 

Sena 10R

When you’re not ready to drop a load of dollars on a Bluetooth headset, the 10R should come with all the features you need without breaking the bank. 

Image Source: Sena

With it, you get:

  • Helmet-to-helmet communication between four headsets and pairing with your mobile phone for music, calls, and GPS
  • A boom mic that’s adjustable to the position you need
  • Easy-to-use push button controls
  • Advanced noise control to deal with wind and exhaust noise when you’re driving
  • Built-in FM radio, as you’d expect from a good quality Bluetooth headset
  • Up to 10 hours of talk time which should get you through a full day on the road

It’s got a slim profile as well, so it shouldn’t ruin your look having it attached to the side of your helmet. The Bluetooth comms is universal, so you can intercom with people no matter the brand they use. 

Cardo Packtalk Bold

With a higher budget, you can get a more advanced Bluetooth headset comms system with the Packtalk Bold that you can drop into your Vega ear pads. 

Cardo's top of the line offerings

This Bluetooth system includes:

  • Intercom and Mesh communication between riders, connecting up to 15 riders across up to 1,600 meters
  • A hybrid mic that’s wired and boom and a simple wired mic, both included in the box
  • Push button controls for easy use of Bluetooth pairing and other features
  • Automatic volume adjustment based on your surroundings, so the tunes aren’t blasting when you roll to a stop at lights
  • Built in FM radio
  • 13 hours of talk time from the battery, which should cover you for a weekend without needing a charge

The sound quality is pretty good, with the speakers being made by JBL. It’s also worth noting that the Bluetooth intercom is universal so you can still connect with Sena devices, even with modern Sena units that are not capable of universal Bluetooth connections. 

Alternatives to Bluetooth Headsets

If all else fails, there are some general options you can turn to and get Bluetooth capabilities like music, calls, and directions – but not intercom – as you drive. 

AirPods

You can just pop in your AirPods before you start riding and you’re good to go. 

Some motorcyclists aren’t fans of AirPods and other Bluetooth earbuds when they’re riding because their helmet squishes them into their ears. Obviously, as a half helmet wearer, this isn’t an issue. 

A fresh hazard with AirPods and other earbuds is the chance of losing them as you ride. Make sure they’re pushed in tight and take care when you take off your lid – you don’t want to see one go rolling down the storm drain!

The volume will be decent and there’s no wind interference, plus with the new third generation AirPods, you get spatial audio and adaptive EQ to counter external noise. 

Wired Headphones

An old and trusted option to get music and calls when you’re driving your motorcycle is to use some trusty wired headphones. 

You’re not relying on Bluetooth technology, you don’t need to spend money on fancy Bluetooth headsets or Bluetooth helmets – just plug in some headphones and you’re away. Couple of things to be aware of though:

  1. If you have a newer phone, you may not have an audio jack to plug headphones into, although if it has a USB-C charger, there are some headphones that can connect.
  2. You may still need to access your phone to answer calls, change your destination directions, skip tracks, etc – so it’s not the safest option available. 

If your phone can take it and you just want to listen to tunes on the go, this is a basic and effective solution – no Bluetooth pairing required. 

The Best Bluetooth Headset for Half Helmets

There is a pretty limited range of solutions for adding a Bluetooth headset to your half helmet. If you’ve already got your helmet and you’ve grown to love it, the Sena SPH10H-FM-01 is a great way to upgrade your kit. To take advantage of more modern Bluetooth and Mesh technology and get better noise control tech, add the Vega ear pads to your helmet. You can then drop in a top-of-the-line Bluetooth headset like the Packtalk Bold.