6 Best Motorcycle Helmet Speakers for Phones or Bluetooth

Like rocking out to metal as you cruise? Need some slow jams to chill you out in traffic? Whatever your reason for wanting music as you drive, motorcycle helmet speakers are a life-changer. 

Generally cheaper than Bluetooth headsets for helmets, a simple speaker setup in your helmet is all an audiophile might need. If the thought of a helmet intercom is invasive or taking calls takes away the joy of the road, you can avoid all the bells and whistles and just pump your music. That being said, investing in new speakers can also be a quick upgrade to your Bluetooth kit, too.

Man on motorcycle
Photo by prananta haroun on Unsplash

If you’re looking at adding speakers to your motorbike helmet, you want to know:

  • How loud the speakers get and what speed starts to kill the tune
  • How good the bass and treble is
  • Whether they offer noise-cancelling and how effective it is
  • Whether they include a microphone – just in case
  • The quality of connection to devices

So we’re going to look at 6 of the best motorcycle helmet speakers to check out and some alternatives. 

Top 4 Motorcycle Helmet Speakers

Uclear Pulse Plus

Uclear entered the in-helmet audio market later than Sena and Cardo so needed to make its product stand out. Sound quality is the differentiator they went with and the results are mixed. 

First, the facts: 

  • The speakers are 40mm or about 1.6 inches and should fit into any speaker cutouts your helmet already has. 
  • They connect with a 3.5mm audio jack.
Uclear pulse helmet speakers
Image Source: Uclear

Uclear gives us a sensitivity rating of 130 Db/Mw which means they have the potential to get pretty loud – average headphones tend to be 90-105 Db/Mw (1). It’s worth noting with sensitivity, there’s no standard unit to measure it; we’ve added it here to give you some perspective on volume. 

In the real world, one review noted that they could get up to 80 mph before the speakers started to lose out to road and wind noise (2). 

A big selling point of the Uclear Pulse is the bass it can generate. The majority of people who use them agree, but there are music lovers who reckon that the bass comes at the expense of the mids and trebles (3).

Some negatives to note include that there’s no attempt at noise cancellation with these speakers. You are going to hear what’s happening outside and they won’t even try to stop it. They also add a 20mm bulge over your ears – check how deep the recesses are in your helmet to see if they could get irritating.

Next, they connect with a 3.5mm jack. Grab your phone and see whether it’s got the connection – if your phone is post-2019, it’s unlikely (4). You can connect the speakers to an existing Bluetooth kit you have if you’re just looking for something better than the factory-issued speakers, though.

Image Source: Uclear

While we’re talking about the wire, you do get inline volume control and microphone so you don’t need to play with your phone to up the volume and you can take a call if you must. 

We’ve also found a few different reviews (2, 5) that had issues with the wiring being faulty or wearing out within a year or so of buying them. It seems to be a hit-and-miss issue, but worth being aware of. 

Blueear

Not got a headphone jack on your phone anymore and can’t be bothered buying an adapter? The Blueear BT-30 is a motorcycle helmet speaker rig that connects to your phone through Bluetooth. 

Blueear speakers drop in easily and include a mic
Image Source: Amazon

The price point is super affordable, but note that you’re not getting any intercom capabilities as you’d expect from Bluetooth headsets. Reviews about them are mixed, so here’s what the manufacturer says compared to reviews (8):

  • It has Bluetooth 5.0 that’s compatible with up to two devices, with no issues reported with connectivity.
  • The battery life is up to 50 hours talk time and 500 hours standby, which is borne out by multiple reviews such as, “Last for a week plus of riding every day,” and “I’ve had these for two months now and still have not had to charge them!”
  • No sensitivity stats are given but it claims to be loud, with reviewers saying you’ll be able to hear your tunes up to around 60 mph but others saying it’s pretty quiet no matter the speed. 
  • It claims to have noise-cancelling tech, yet some people say it doesn’t work at all while others say they found it worked great. Jury’s still out, it seems. 

What’s key here is to not get your hopes up. You’re buying at the budget end of motorcycle helmet speakers so don’t expect top-class quality. You’ll be able to hear your music at reasonable speeds but if you’re a true music buff, see the products above or below.

JBL and Cardo Motorcycle Audio Kit and Freecom +4 / Black

Anyone who knows much about audio knows JBL is a big brand with a big reputation. The company teamed up with the well-known Bluetooth headset brand Cardo to create motorcycle helmet speakers. 

JBL speakers from Cardo
Image Source: Cardo

Depending on the Bluetooth model you buy, you’ll get different speakers – we’ll check out your options in a moment – but the top-spec ones have:

  • 45mm diameter
  • 3.5mm jack, with a cable long enough to connect to a Bluetooth unit, not your phone

Cardo doesn’t publish anything about sensitivity, so we only have real-world experience when it comes to volume. Most people seem to agree that up to speeds around 60 mph, you won’t get distortion, “I found … the Cardo JBL speakers sounded surprisingly good at legal highway speeds” (9) is how one person puts it. 

There are two ways to buy these 45mm speakers: as an add-on to upgrade your existing Bluetooth headset, or as part of a Cardo headset like those mentioned below.  

It’s worth noting that if you buy the speakers as an add-on, you don’t get access to the Cardo app with the equalizer, which is where the big difference in sound quality can come from. 

If you want the 45mm speakers included with a headset, you need to invest in the Cardo Packtalk Black. With this, you also get an intercom with up to 15 riders no matter the headset brand they have, and a 13-hour talk time. 

Image Source: Cardo

The Packtalk Black is the top-tier headset from Cardo – if you want something at the cheaper end, the Cardo Freecom 4+ has JBL speakers, but they’re the 40mm version. One rider did their own testing on the two and said (9):

“I compared the 2 sets of speakers very closely and with an SPL meter and the new 45mm are actually worse [than the 40mm]. The sound profile of the 2 sets is very similar but the original speakers can play a good 5-7dB louder on the top end, and also at least 5db louder before the bass begins to distort.”

Image Source: Cardo

Seems that, if sound quality is what you’re looking for, the difference between the 40 and 45mm JBL speakers isn’t worth the difference in price. 

IASUS XSound 2.1 and 3

IASUS is an audio company that’s been making helmet speaker sets since 2003 (6). The company makes two kits with a big price difference – here’s how they measure up. 

The iASUS XSound 2.1 features:

  • A pair of 40mm speakers to mount inside your helmet
  • 3.5mm audio jack

Plus the wires are reasonably long to connect to your phone. There’s a 40cm left wire, 20cm right wire, and a 100cm extension wire – all Kevlar reinforced.

Image Source: iASUS

When you compare the XSound 2.1 to the Uclear speakers, you definitely get a better range across the bass, treble, and mids. 

While the sound quality is good, the complaints tend to be around comfort. One review said, “The headphones actually tear up my ears even through the helmet liner,” and another noted, “I had to remove the ear padding to make them fit and not constantly rub against my ears” (7). Definitely worth checking if your helmet has recesses to fit them in – they’re 10mm thick for reference. 

For the XSound 3, you still get the decent length and strong cables, the audio jack, and a sensitivity of 125dB. There aren’t a whole lot of differences: 

  • The speaker size has increased to 45mm
  • They’re ever so slightly thinner, at 9.9mm
  • The sound quality is marginally better, giving studio-quality sound

“To say I’m impressed with the 2.1’s is an understatement! Every bit as clear and nice sounding as my 3.0’s,” wrote one reviewer who uses both versions (7). 

Image Source: iASUS

Each of these can connect to any Bluetooth kit you’ve already got on your helmet, as long as it has a 3.5mm port. Overall, both these speaker sets offer high volumes and good value – just be careful how you fit them so they don’t irritate your ears. 

Pit the iASUS XSound 3 with the Cardo JBL 45mms that we looked at before and you’ll hear a difference in favor of iASUS. The iASUS comes out better for volume; the JBLs give a little more distortion, losing clarity at higher volumes. With the JBL helmet speakers, you can change a lot of settings in the Cardo app, but the hardware itself isn’t that impressive. 

Alternatives to Drop-in Speakers for Your Motorcycle Helmet

Dropping speakers into your motorcycle helmet makes great sense when you have one helmet and you find a set you like. Not everyone wants to mod their helmet and you might not even find speakers that do your tunes justice. 

In that case, you might consider some earbuds. They don’t have wires which makes them tidy but also makes them easier to lose. Imagine pulling off your helmet at the side of the road, a bud pops out and rolls down the mountainside never to be seen again… 

If you can live with that risk, here are some of your options. 

AirPods

Everyone knows about Apple AirPods. They connect to your iPhone seamlessly and the top-tier version, the AirPods Pro has active noise cancelling. 

Image Source: Apple

The battery life kinda lets AirPods down. Although a real-world test confirms that the third generation of AirPods – released in October 2021 – gets a little more than the six hours Apple claims (10) that’s still not going to see you through a whole day without having to reach for the case to recharge. 

To compare to Bluetooth headsets for helmets, the Cardo Packtalk Bold gives up to 13 hours of talk time and our favorite Bluetooth helmet – the Sena Momentum EVO (replaced by the Stryker in 2022) – gives you up to 17 hours. Lower budget Bluetooth sets like the Sena 5S have 7 hours of battery talk time.

That said, they do charge up quickly. Five minutes in the case should get you up to 30 percent which can give you about 90 minutes of listening time (13) – no need to hunt down a wall socket and wait hours to get fully charged on a weekend trip. On the plus side, these have some pretty high-end tech that automatically equalizes based on how they fit in your ears. 

Overall, AirPods are good earbuds but for a long day out on your bike, you probably want longer battery life from one charge. 

Beats Flex

To negate the risk of an earbud popping out never to be seen again, the Beats Flex is a simple solution – the pair of earbuds are wired together. You also get a few different-sized ear tips to choose from to work on the fit.

Image Source: Beats By Dre

There’s no noise-cancelling but they are optimized for bass, being Beats and all. It’s worth noting that the microphone ain’t great and it’ll probably sit somewhere around your shoulder, outside your lid. 

When the Sound Guys reviewed them (11), they got over ten hours of listening time, which should see you through a full day on the road. There are no bikers who’ve reviewed them, but considering they’re pretty cheap you could buy them and try before investing in something more expensive.

Earfun Air Pro

If you’d rather avoid the Apple ecosystem, the Earfun Air Pro earbuds are a good option. They don’t come with a neck wire but you do get:

  • Active noise cancelling so you get good quality sound
  • A transparency mode so you can still catch ambient noise  
  • An advertised battery life of up to seven hours, with mixed reviews on whether they do go for so long (12)
  • Calls and voice commands so you can use Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant
Image Source: Earfun

The price is reasonable for the features you get, but we haven’t had any feedback on whether they work specifically when you’ve got a motorcycle helmet on. Let us know if you give them a try. 

FAQs

Traffic laws vary by state, but generally, motorcycle helmet speakers are legal. To be sure, you should check with your local police department. Earbuds and headphones can carry more restrictions since they can block out more noise, so again check with local law enforcement before you make any purchases. 

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, so stick one side down to the inside of your helmet and the other side to the back of the speaker and push them together. 

How can I improve my helmet speakers?

You can upgrade your motorcycle helmet speakers by switching out the set that comes with your current Bluetooth headset with one of the sets we’ve looked at today. Each comes with the connector you need to place it into your current Bluetooth fitting. You can also invest in the iASUS EAR3 Helmet Amplifier which gives you a volume boost and can also feed in ambient sound to your speakers.