Bluetooth headsets are quickly becoming a permanent fixture in every motorcyclist’s journey on the road. Whether you’re making calls, listening to music, or talking to a pillion, the addition of these sleek gadgets can certainly make the entire biking experience more enjoyable.
There are hundreds of products on the market, but we’ve narrowed the list down to the best in each class and reviewed them below.
The Best Motorcycle Headsets Reviewed
We’ll discuss seven of our favorites.
Cardo PackTalk BOLD: Best bluetooth headset overall
The Cardo Packtalk Bold definitely falls in the crème-de-la-crème category of headsets. It not only supports the older Bluetooth communication method but with its cutting edge Dynamic Mesh Communication (DMC), it has been taken to another level.
Communicate with up to 15 riders in a group and seamlessly re-enter a conversation without having to pair again.
The IP67 waterproofing ensures that adventure seekers don’t need to pick and choose their commute timings based on weather conditions. The “hey Cardo” voice command also allows for smooth hands-free functionality.
Finally, people who make calls during the ride will find its noise cancellation pretty on-point.
- Glove-friendly roller control
- Excellent audio quality
- No “push-to-talk” buttons
- Easy setup with the Cardo Connect app
- Up to 13 hours talk time
- Automatically adjusts volume based on ambient noise
- Up to 1600 meters connectivity in perfect conditions
- Higher price
- The app can get counterintuitive
SENA 5S: Best budget pick
The SENA 5s is the successor to the SENA Smh5 with some cool new features like the LCD monitor, Bluetooth 5.0 intercom, and HD audio.
The Jog Dial provides a user interface that makes riding safer. You can also use the SENA Utility app to customize the headset to your liking. The new design features a comfortable taper and slips into the microphone pockets. The setup is simple, and the screen further guides you through it. Once connected, you can control the device hands-free using the voice command (eight languages available).
They can be used not only by riders sharing a motorcycle but also between different bikes. The wireless range is up to 700 m (on open ground) with the option of sharing music and FM radio.
- Easy pairing with SENA and non-Sena headsets
- Two-way intercom connection
- Advanced background noise cancellation
- FM radio
- Easy and comfortable to wear
- Audio prompts and multitasking
- No waterproofing
- Battery timing can be better
Cardo Freecom 2 Plus: Best headset for pairs
Cardo’s Freecom 2 Plus is a two-rider headset that’s been tried and tested. It’s a pretty basic headset but does have features such as an IP67 waterproof rating and noise reduction. The Bluetooth connection only supports two riders, so it’s a buddy pairing system and not for groups.
The Freecom 2 Plus can connect to FM stations and stream music through your smartphone. That being said, the controls can feel quite finicky and hard to locate, especially if you’re using gloves.
These headsets have Siri and Google support. You can talk to your assistants by pushing the rear and front buttons on the helmet unit simultaneously.
Lastly, you can enjoy up to 13 hours of talking to your partner with this bad boy. If the battery dies, a quick 15-minute charge will give you several hours of juice easily.
- Sleek design blends easily with helmets
- Assign a speed dial for emergencies
- FM radio (with RDS) and radio sharing feature
- Multilingual support for menu and voice announcements
- 40mm replaceable stereo speakers
- 500 meters of range with Bluetooth 4.1
- Range is quite small compared to other headsets at this range
- Controls are hard to feel with gloves
SENA 50S: Best group intercom
The SENA 50S is a premium headset with a set of features that has the potential to blow you away. It comes with the all-new and impressive Mesh 2.0 intercom.
Everything from the group communication, audio quality, connectivity speed, and message routing is taken to a whole new level. Mesh 2.0 also allows you to talk to six of your riding partners simultaneously, which is awesome when you need to discuss things like stop-over points with your group during the ride.
You can connect to an unlimited number of riders in the open mode, whereas in the group mode, the connection is restricted to 24 people. You can expect a fast intercom connection with a range of up to 2 km (1.2 miles).
The SENA 50S supports voice commands in eight different languages. This feature is a game-changer, but you will need some practice before you can use it seamlessly.
In terms of the battery timing, SENA claims that you can have 14 hours of Bluetooth talk time connection or 9 hours if you’re using the Mesh intercom. Combine this with some other functions like music playback, and you will get an average of 10 hours of usage with the 50S, which is pretty decent.
When you’re out of juice, a 20-minute USB-C charge will give you up to 6 hours of talk time. (Read more about the best motorcycle USB chargers.)
- Stable Bluetooth 5.0 connection
- Gloved hand usage
- HD audio speakers
- Install firmware updates through Wifi-adapter
- Ambient Mode
- FM radio
- Audio multitasking
- SENA App to connect with a Smartphone
- No IP waterproofing rating
- Difficult to pair with non-Sena headsets
- Connection limited to 4 riders in Bluetooth intercom mode
Cardo Freecom 4+: Best for beginners
The Freecom series from Cardo has taken off in the past few years and has become popular among the riding community for providing the best sound quality.
The Freecom 4+ is perfect for solo riders who love to go on long, cross-country rides. This headset has JBL speakers that provide a superior listening experience to rival models.
It also features intuitive controls that make it easy for beginners to answer calls and listen to music. Add to that its natural, hands-free voice control along with a group intercom that allows you to communicate with 4 other riders, and you have a headset that is durable, beginner-friendly and backed up with an unbeatable sound.
- Android and iOS compatible
- 13 hours talk time, one week standby battery life
- IP67 waterproofing
- Music sharing
- Intercom system can shutdown randomly
- Not compatible with open face helmets
SENA Spider ST1: Beginners mesh intercom
In a bid to give the most reliable intercom experience to riders, SENA has recently launched a pair of Mesh-only headsets in the form of SENA Spider ST1 and SENA Spider RT1. The SPIDER ST1 has the same features as the RT1, but the ST1 is equipped with SENA’s tried-and-tested jog dial control compared to the 3-button control of the RT1.
SENA claims that Mesh 2.0 Intercom used in the ST-1 can transfer up to 80% more data than other headsets in harsh environments. This means you can have crisp and clear conversations even in an urban setting.
With Bluetooth 5.1, riders can pair a smartphone with the SPIDER ST1 to stream music, listen to GPS directions, or even receive or make a phone call. One obvious downside is that you can’t pair with friends who use Bluetooth-only headsets. So before you take the leap of faith, do keep that in mind.
- 9 intercom channels
- Advanced noise control
- HD speakers
- Music sharing and audio multi-tasking
- Up to six riders can talk simultaneously
- 1.2 miles range between two headsets
- Customization through SENA App
- No advanced voice-commands
- Can’t connect with bluetooth headsets
- Only IP65 rated water resistance
SENA 20S-01: Best for music
If you’re one for riding out on pleasant evenings or mornings with some music playing along to add to the experience, the SENA 20S-01 might be the headset for you.
Its advanced noise control ensures that ambient noise doesn’t interfere with sound quality. And the multi-tasking functionality allows you to overlap two audio sources. This means that while you’re listening to music, you can also talk to another rider.
On that note, the SENA 20S lets you stay connected with up to eight of your riding partners in crystal-clear HD audio with a range of up to 1.2 miles in perfect conditions. And thanks to its universal intercom, you can pair up with non-SENA Bluetooth devices as well.
Overall, you can expect a pretty solid all-around performance from this intercom.
- Easy installation
- Maximum range of two kilometers
- High-quality sound system
- Fast pairing
- No waterproofing
- Higher price
- No Mesh technology
Selecting The Best Motorcycle Bluetooth Headsets: Key Considerations
Some motorcyclists may consider a Bluetooth headset an essential accessory for listening to music during a ride, while others see it as a great way to chat with their riding buddies.
No matter your reason for using these headsets, these are the general factors you must consider before reaching for your wallet.
When you’re riding past 40mph, all you’re listening to is the wind. Headsets with advanced noise control technology are the way to go if you want to avoid rushing wind or ambient noise.
Granted, you should always make yourself aware of the noise happening around you. Some riders prefer hearing the road and the traffic to keep themselves alert of accidents.
As a personal tip, I recommend trying out earbuds when you ride. It blocks out the noise of the wind and makes the speakers from the headset sound much clearer.
The option of talking to your headset is a convenience that’s worth the extra money. That said, voice support comes at different levels. Some headsets have a dedicated button and come with basic voice commands, like controlling songs or picking up a call. More advanced voice commands can give you direct access to Siri and Google.
It’s more common for headsets to have a dedicated voice command button than anything. Although if you want to keep both your hands on the handlebars, pricier options will actively pick up your voice for commands like “Hey Google” and “Hey Siri.”
You’ll also want to look out for headsets with temperamental or “moody” voice commands. Some headsets don’t pick up on your voice when you’re riding fast, and the wind is brushing against your microphone.
As you would expect, the pricier headsets offer the best quality in this area so, if voice control is important to you, look at the higher-end models.
Getting a call in the middle of a ride can be a huge hassle, especially if you want to keep both your hands on the bars. In terms of quality, most headsets here will do a great job.
Aside from that, it’s good practice to look for a headset that offers hands-free calling. You don’t have to press any buttons to pick up or decline a call. If you can’t find one that fits you with that feature, a standard button is your next best friend.
Some headsets only pair with smartphones, while others pair with multiple devices such as GPS systems and MP3 players. If you’re pairing with multiple gadgets, look for a Bluetooth headset that can pair with devices from different brands.
We’ve written tons of articles and reviews for motorcycle headsets, and we’ve mentioned their Bluetooth capability in-depth (in-depth reviews are linked above). Check those out to see if the headset model you’re looking for works well with other brands, older models, and so on.
Some headsets can link to older models, while others are entirely locked into their own ecosystem. It’s preferable to have one that pairs with other brands because you never know what headset your other buddies are using.
Another option is to look for an integrated Bluetooth helmet that comes with the unit already installed.
Price is another one of those make-or-break factors for a lot of people. Generally, anything below $100 is considered cheap and can consequently have a trade-off in terms of the quality that it offers. Based on my experience, it’s better to spend a bit more and buy from quality brands.
In the long run, cheaper headsets cost more and quickly become unreliable. Quality headsets will last for years and remain supported even when newer models come out.
If you frequently ride with passengers or in a group, look for a headset with a long battery life that will last for the entire duration of your trip. Most headsets last about 10 hours on average. Some will have a lower capacity battery but with a quicker charger time, so factor that in.
Evaluate the talk time, standby time, charging time, charging options, and if there’s a quick charge feature.
The standby time is especially useful for frequent riders. This mode signifies that even if you aren’t actively talking to the microphone, the headset is still connected to your devices on low power mode.
A waterproof rating is your headset’s best friend. Cardo models are guaranteed to be waterproof, and they come with a certified IP rating to prove this.
Other brands like SENA have models that aren’t IP certified but are advertised as weather resistant. While most high-quality headsets should be fine under a light drizzle, without a certification, you shouldn’t take your chances in heavy rain.
Ease of Use
One underrated but important factor in choosing a motorcycle headset is the ease of use. This can be as general the design to the specifics of how the headset works. A simple example of great design is the SENA headsets. Their volume adjustment is a large wheel that you can twist instead of the standard volume up and down buttons.
Take into account how much you’ll be using the GPS functionality too. For music lovers, find a headset that connects to your phone for media audio to listen to your tunes.
Another key factor to include is rider compatibility and support. How many riders are you going to be riding with? Bluetooth headsets can come in pairing, groups, and mesh Bluetooth connections, and each choice has a different price point.
Mesh systems are the best way to connect to large groups of riders. But if you’re just a couple of friends going out for a ride, group pairing is much more private and secure (not to mention cheaper!).
This one is particularly important for those who ride in groups. Generally, products offering 0.5 km are good for riders in a small group with an open-country setting. And for larger groups, it’s pretty straightforward. The higher the limit, the better.
Bluetooth 5.0 headsets are the way to go if you can afford them. 5.0 has 4x the range, sends over 2x more data, and allows for longer battery life in devices. It’s much more reliable for riding out on the road, especially if you’re looking for a long-range headset.
Mesh Intercom is another feature you’ll want to look out for if you want to ride in large groups. This feature allows you to come in and out of mesh groups without manually connecting.
Listening to your tunes while you’re on the road is an underrated experience. Of course, you should always practice safety first. But if you’re already cautious, then a headset that can connect to Spotify, Apple Music, and other music streaming platforms is a must-have.
Some headsets can even share songs, so your entire riding group will be listening to the same thing on the road.
Considering the price-point and all the premium features that come with the Cardo PackTalk Bold, we’d say it’s the top Bluetooth headset on the market right now.”
If you’re new to the Bluetooth headset arena and don’t need all the bells and whistles, starting with a solid basic unit like the Sena 5S would be our recommendation.
Also see our head to head test: Sena vs Cardo