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If you’ve found yourself here, you have a dream.
You’re riding your iron steed down winding country roads with the sweet sound of your favorite artist humming in your ears. You may as well be starring in your own movie.
Your reality probably looks like mine did a few years ago.
You’re hitting corners with your helmet speakers (or even motorcycle speakers!) at full volume. You’re not catching melodies or lyrics, just tinny screeches you grit your teeth against. Is this a playlist of dial up internet tones?
You merge on to the highway and pull up to 70 mph – all that’s left in your ears is the whistle of wind.
Can’t bear it any more? I’ve lived that life on a ride across the American South, and it was awful.
A good pair of helmet speakers is absolutely clutch. The difference between low-end, small speakers and professional, big woofers is night and day in any motorcycle helmet speaker system.
But spotting that difference from a checkout page? Next to impossible.
This list of the best motorcycle helmet speakers comes from many hours getting an earful of pain. I also asked six of my friends about their experiences testing enough sets to fill an Olympic swimming pool.
2023 Holiday Gifts for Riders Guide
Ever wondered what your favorite motorcycle rider actually wants? Here’s our guide, compiled by real riders to help you this holiday season. Let Keanu Reeves show you around the perfect garage…
We have for you five helmet speakers that deliver beautiful sound no matter your speed. That means vibing out on every ride. Plus, a few of them include mics – so you don’t need to pull over to pick up that call from your wife. And they’re even better than motorcycle speakers, both in cost and sound quality.
If you want to skip to the winner, here are the rankings:
|Name||Sound Quality||Driver Size||Loudness||Value||Notes||Best For|
|Cardo JBL 45mm Kit||5/5||45mm||5/5||5/5||Every Rider|
|Uclear Pulse Plus||4/5||40mm||6/5||5/5||Low Budget|
|iASUS XSound 2.1||3/5||40mm||3/5||4/5||Very Low Budget|
|iASUS XSound 3||4/5||45mm||4/5||4/5||Just Music|
|Syphon SoundPro||5/5||40mm||5/5||2/5||Extreme Sports|
The best motorcycle helmet speakers are the Cardo + JBL 45mm set. They are the best value on the market and sound better than speakers twice their price. Plus, you can use them with any motorcycle headset. I use them with the Cardo Spirit every day, and I’ve never looked back.
In fact since the Cardo units are waterproof, you could even a Cardo Spirit plus the 45mm JBL kit for extreme sports like skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling. However, the Syphon SoundPro are specially designed for those kinds of activities, since the speakers themselves are also waterproof, the cords are reinforced, and the unit is easy to slip in and out of different helmets. Choice is yours.
Read on for more!
- The Best Bluetooth Speakers for Motorcycle Helmet
- Alternatives to Drop-in Speakers for Your Motorcycle Helmet
- What are the best helmet speakers for music?
- Are the Syphon SoundPro Ultra Thin speakers any good?
- What are the loudest motorcycle helmet speakers?
- Are motorcycle helmet speakers legal?
- How do you connect speakers to a motorcycle helmet?
- What’s the best motorcycle helmet with bluetooth speakers?
- How can I improve my helmet speakers?
- Bose motorcycle helmet speakers – are they any good?
The Best Bluetooth Speakers for Motorcycle Helmet
Use any of these options below to bump tunes in your helmet from your phone, through a Bluetooth communicator like a Sena or Cardo unit.
JBL and Cardo 45mm Motorcycle Audio Kit
It’s time for my personal favorite. My daily driver. The one and only. The glorious love child of JBL and Cardo.
JBL is a big brand with a big reputation. Their portable speakers like the CHARGE 5 are the most contagious thing in gadgets these days.
You can’t walk through a park in America without spotting at least one JBL speaker punching out bass above its weight class.
Bluetooth motorcycle headset brand Cardo was smart enough to knock on JBL’s door for help with speakers. They teamed up to create a set of motorcycle helmet speakers that could keep you enjoying music and podcasts in any environment, and boy did they succeed.
The top spec unit they produce is the 45mm Audio Set.
It’s not much to look at: but the sound quality is like Avatar in Dolby audio at the IMAX theatre. You could be riding in a hurricane: this unit will deliver GPS directions, your kid’s voice on the phone, soft-spoken podcasts, other voices over intercom, and heavy metal clearly and reliably through wind noise and more whether you’re in a full face helmet or half.
I have personally run this set through:
- High winds on the I-70 interstate on a 114 ci Road Glide
- Bangkok city traffic on a straightpiped supermoto
- Torrential rain in Tennessee on a 103 ci Ultra Limited
- Running laps redlining a CBR650
I’ve tested everything from murder podcasts to Chicago hip hop to the voices of my buddies riding behind me. At medium volume, this unit created a recording studio around me.
Everything came through with brilliant highs, booming lows, and clear mids. I could enjoy the ride without picking the ‘right’ music, blasting the volume, or turning it off altogether. Perfect sound quality.
You might be wondering – can you hear anything else??
The simple answer is yes. I can still hear road noise around me and the sweet sound of my pipes. However, it’s in the background behind whatever else I’m listening to. Just enough that I can hear it, but it’s not overpowering.
If you’re disappointed with these, I really don’t know what to say. You’ll just never be happy!
Order these, close your laptop, and get back on your bike. All your problems are solved, until your bike needs servicing again.
TIP: This set has a short cord, so you’ll need a helmet Bluetooth communicator or an extension cord like this one to plug in to use it with your phone. To copy my setup, pick up Cardo’s tough and affordable Spirit.
Uclear Pulse Plus
The Uclear Pulse Plus are nearly the loudest motorcycle helmet speakers on our list.
With its 40mm drivers hitting an impressive max volume of 110 dB – equivalent to a jackhammer or power saw – it is incredibly loud in any helmet.
But did I say it’s the best? No!
For one, anything over 100 dB is causing more hearing damage than enjoyment, even at 120mph on the – uhh – track.
Second, in every other kind of quality aside from sound quality, Uclear is unfortunately lacking. Which is a shame considering they’ve had several years to perfect the listening experience.
I love the long extension cord so I can plug that 3.5mm jack right in to my phone without any Bluetooth fuss (you do need that tiny adapter for any newer iPhone, though). However, everyone I’ve ever talked to says the cord breaks every six months, like clockwork. And the 20mm thick speakers are twice as thick as most others – crushing many people’s ears in a full face helmet.
Sure, the Uclear Pulse Plus costs way less than the Cardo and JBL 45mm kit. And you can use the controls on the cord to skip songs instead of fumbling in your pocket at 85mph and flying off the interstate.
But don’t come crying to me when it’s impossible to listen to music due to a broken wire.
RyanF9 at Fortnine seems to love the Uclear set – maybe they made them differently in the old days.
Uclear seems to recognize the deficiencies in this set, so they’ve discontinued it. If you still want to pick one up, you can get them on Amazon below or Revzilla while supplies last. Otherwise, go with another set.
iASUS XSound 2.1
The iASUS XSound 2.1 might come from an unknown company, but it delivers big sound at a fair price. The 40mm speakers pump out strong bass and clear mids/highs according to the friends I spoke with and almost 1,000 Amazon reviews. The listening experience isn’t quiet what Cardo and JBL are putting out, but it’s decent sound quality.
The kit comes with an extension wire measuring a meter long, so you can pop these out of the box and get right on the road with your tunes. No Bluetooth setup or extra cord required, unless of course you want to intercom with other riders.
When you compare the XSound 2.1 to the Uclear speakers, you definitely get a better range across the bass, treble, and mids despite maxing out at 98 dB – similar to a car horn at 15 feet away.
However, you may require more oomph if you’re regularly riding on the highway or confronting high winds and wanting to listen to music with clear sound quality. For that, check out the iASUS XSound 3 coming up next.
The XSound 2.1 costs almost half what my favorite goes for, the JBL + Cardo 45mm set. So it’s worth picking up if you have a well-sealing helmet or aren’t riding in crazy loud conditions.
iASUS XSound 3
The XSound 3 is the Lexus to the XSound 2.1 Toyota. While the 2.1 is solid and affordable, the 3 is powerful and luxurious.
A maximum volume of 125dB AKA air horn will keep you hearing your music clearly in any conditions. For all different types of music and audio.
At 9.9mm thick, these incredibly thin 45mm speakers won’t rub against your ears. That means a less distracted ride and a more relaxing beer when you’re finished for the day.
But don’t just take it from me and my friends – here’s a great side-by-side test of the iASUS 2.1 and 3.
Upgrade the speakers in your existing Bluetooth unit or use the included extension cord to run these right to your phone.
With a Kevlar extension cord, you won’t have any wear issues like many experience with the Uclear set. Kevlar can stop bullets; so it can handle anyone’s riding.
Keep your music banging and your conversations clear with a set of iASUS XSound 3 helmet speakers.
Alternatives to Drop-in Speakers for Your Motorcycle Helmet
There’s always something to hate about anything you love.
So what do I HATE about my Cardo and JBL 45mm set?
They’re a pain to move from helmet to helmet!
What solves this?
A good set of earbuds will keep your music and podcasts with you everywhere, from rides to flights to drowning out your screaming kids.
The downsides? Fitting, falls, and no option to connect to a bluetooth headset.
Earbuds can be hard to fit inside a helmet, causing a lot of pain as they push on your ear canal. More pain, more PISSED, higher chance you do something stupid and land yourself in the hospital.
Earbuds are also prone to falling out of ears, never to be seen again. And they cost a pretty penny to replace!
If you can live with that risk, here are some of your options.
Say what you will about Apple, but the AirPods are nearly the perfect audio device.
- Clear sound without excessive volume
- No cords to snag on anything.
- Just put them in your ears and go – absolutely seamless connection to Apple products.
- Comfortable even in a tight helmet with their small size
All for around the price of a mid-range Bluetooth communicator and speakers. And you can use them off the bike, too.
Sign me up.
Now I burst your bubble. Aside from looking like a Pokemon, with AirPods in your helmet you’re at the mercy of your music’s shuffle. You can’t control your volume or skip songs.
Second, you might find your music cuts out mid-ride from a dead battery. These little beans only last about 4-6 hours, depending on how old they are.
4-6 hours is a lot less than the UNLIMITED hours you get from a wired set of speakers. Even a Bluetooth headset like the Cardo Packtalk Edge give closer to 13 hours of battery, and can be recharged in use. Plus, with a Bluetooth headset you have the ability to talk to your fellow riders over intercom.
However, if you don’t mind taking a break to pop these back in the charging case, they’ll last you for a day’s ride at least.
The sound quality really is in a league of its own versus helmet speakers. They’re a perfect audio option for most riders, and you can use them off the road too.
As much as I love AirPods, I never would have lost that left AirPod had I used my Beats Flex.
They solved the whole disappearing bean problem by wiring the two earbuds together, just like old times.
I love riding with these because they have a set of controls conveniently located on my neck. Hate that song? Skip it. Son calling? Pick it up.
What these buds lack in active noise-cancelling they make up for in bass. Beats has a reputation to live up to, after all.
The battery should last through a whole day of riding – the Sound Guys got over 10 hours of life out of them (11).
If cost is important for you, these are also significantly cheaper than AirPods with similar audio quality.
If you’re prone to losing earbuds or you can’t stand when that Taylor Swift album you (accidentally, I swear!) liked one time comes on shuffle, pick up the Beats.
What are the best helmet speakers for music?
The best helmet speakers for music are the Cardo 45 mm JBL kit. These speakers belt out impressive volume and their 45mm size gives them a whopping 27% more surface area than the leading 40mm speakers from other brands: meaning more dynamic range from deep bass to popping highs. Whether you’re listening to crooning blues ballads or screeching Katy Perry, you’ll hear it all loud and clear on the Cardo 45mm JBL kit. I use these speakers myself every day.
Some say the Syphon SoundPro Ultra Thin speakers beat the quality of these, but the price is so absurd it’s not even comparable in my mind. See below.
Are the Syphon SoundPro Ultra Thin speakers any good?
The Syphon SoundPro Ultra Thin speakers are great, but their price is bonkers. The pros?
These speakers are under 10mm thick (read: thinner than anything on our list) which means no pain from rubbing against your ears. The external wheel for music controls makes it simple to change songs and pick up calls without taking your mind off the road ahead.
A friend of mine in Idaho recently picked these up and says the audio quality is on par with the iASUS XSound 3 and Cardo 45mm kits he has. That means clear sound in any conditions, from a wheelie on the highway to high winds on a bridge.
Known mostly in the extreme sports world, Syphon has recently taken the motorcycling world by storm with the SoundPro.
So what’s not to love?
The PRICE. It’s way out of whack. At $200, it’s $30 more than buying a Cardo Spirit WITH JBL’s epic 45mm speaker kit, but Syphon’s kit won’t connect to other Bluetooth headsets for intercom or work with your phone’s voice assistant.
For ski and snowboard riders maybe the rugged Syphon SoundPro makes sense, but for motorcycle riders like us a Cardo unit is a much better investment.
What are the loudest motorcycle helmet speakers?
The Cardo 45 mm JBL speakers are the loudest motorcycle helmet speakers, reaching 120 dB similar to a loud rock concert. But decibels aren’t everything — clarity also matters, and this is where the JBL-designed speakers shine. The extra 5mm driver size over the Cardo Packtalk Edge’s 40 mm JBL speakers means a better range of frequency from deep bass to clear mid and highs. I use these speakers myself on the daily and absolutely love them.
Here’s an actual test with my 1 year old 45mm JBL speakers, hooked up to a PackTalk Custom and blasting some 90s country music at full volume. Still hitting 90+ decibels, which is plenty. I ride at about half volume, so add on wind and engine noise and I am probably at about 90 decibels during rides sans earplugs.
Check the chart as well – exposing your ears to 100+dB sound for prolonged periods is not good for your hearing! After a year of daily use these speakers are still pumping out sound as well as the day I opened the package.
Are motorcycle helmet speakers legal?
Motorcycle helmet speakers are generally legal. But it all depends on your state’s laws.
Using earbuds or headphones is more likely to be illegal in your area. A motorcycle helmet speaker system does not seal to the ear, so they skirt around those laws.
What if even helmet speakers are illegal in your area? Mount some speakers on your motorcycle. Boss Audio Systems can help.
How do you connect speakers to a motorcycle helmet?
Speakers connect to the inside of your helmet with velcro stickers. Every speaker set we’ve looked at comes with both sides of the velcro you need.
First, you’ll stick one side down to the insides of your helmet, in the recesses that sit over your ears. Then you’ll stick the other velcroto the back of each speaker.
Put the left speaker on the left side and right on right. Adjust accordingly so the speakers sit right over your ears with the helmet on.
You’re good to go. Enjoy the concert hall in your helmet!
What’s the best motorcycle helmet with bluetooth speakers?
The best motorcycle helmet with bluetooth speakers in 2023 is the Sena Stryker, hands down. The Sena Stryker is an all-in-one smart helmet bringing you the top-of-the-line Sena entertainment and mesh networking system in to your helmet, with no dangling wires or units hanging off the side. This helmet has Sena’s 40mm speakers integrated which were built by Harman Kardon, the legendary car audio system manufacturer. It also includes an integrated tail light and boasts a whopping 17+ hours of battery life.
Pro Tip: Reviews for this helmet are oddly low, I know: all the negative reviews are about fit (and wind noise, which is a result of fit). Be sure to read our fit guide when you’re buying and trying any helmet, and order from Revzilla below who will happily take your return if this helmet isn’t right for you.
How can I improve my helmet speakers?
Installation is easier than putting on pants in the morning: just unplug your old ones and plug in the new ones.
Just need a volume boost? Pick up the iASUS EAR3 Helmet Amplifier.
Bose motorcycle helmet speakers – are they any good?
Unfortunately Bose does not make helmet speakers for us to enjoy while we’re riding our freedom machines. However, the Cardo 45mm JBL kit comes about as close to a Bose home theater as you can get inside a motorcycle helmet.
In all seriousness, I’ve never encountered a Bose product that made sense to wear on a motorcycle. Bose shines when you’re sipping champagne in first class on your flight to Zurich listening to Mozart.