While the latest high-end headsets are a great fit for touring and adventure riders, there’s also a market for simpler motorcycle helmet speaker sets, more focused on light comms with a friend or pillion passenger.
Some people may also prefer to upgrade the speakers that come as standard with their Bluetooth unit.
We’ve made a list catering to these niches.
Best Motorcycle Helmet Speaker Reviews
Let’s dive into our top picks
JBL Cardo 45mm Audio Set
Most of us know JB as an audio company, primarily making consumer-grade activewear headphones and Bluetooth speakers.
This 45mm speaker set and matching firmware works with just about any comms system on the market by plugging into its 3.5mm jack. But with the Cardo’s Freecom and Packtalk series, these speakers make a noticeable improvement to audio quality.
The OEM Cardo packs ship with smaller (and arguably inferior-sounding) 40mm speakers. This option upgrades the sound quality by using a larger speaker for better bass-reflex and updated firmware for better overall clarity.
The tests on these speakers confirm that they’re more efficient, with most riders being able to turn their volume down by several points.
This could be because they’re larger and cover more surface area of the ear, thus blocking road/wind noise, or because the velcro risers and multiple pads help you dial in a good fit and eliminate some wind noise.
These are a relatively expensive item, considering they are just a speaker set and require a Bluetooth communications system to plug into. Still, they’re an excellent addition to any set and the Cardo series, especially.
- Sound great
- Easy to get a good, custom fit
EJEAS Bluetooth Headset
For an inexpensive speaker set, these have quite a positive reputation.
One thing to point out – this is not an intercom system; it just lets you connect hands-free to a phone (or two).
These are a no-frills solution, allowing users to pair to two mobile phones via Bluetooth, offering basic noise-reduction but winning no prizes for audio quality.
That’s not a knock against them. They’re perfectly good for phone calls, sat-nav, or listening to a podcast, but the speakers’ lack of low-end response means no bass and a screechy top-end at high volume.
Still, at this price, these are probably aimed at someone upgrading from nothing or putting a set in their back-up/partner’s helmet. And for that, and they are a great option.
Once paired with your phone, answering and dropping calls works OK with voice-prompt, but gloved hands don’t stand a chance with the touch controls – better off having everything set up before starting out.
Battery life is decent, giving you 12 hours of playback/talk time from a 2-hour charge.
We’ve heard of people pairing these sets to one phone for navigation and another for music playback – a bit weird but possible. Overall, not a bad set for the price.
- Fairly hassle-free connection to two devices
- Sound quality isn’t great
UCLEAR Digital Pulse Wired HD Helmet Speakers
People use these speakers for snowboard/ski/BMX and a variety of other action sports. But motorcycle-wise, they’re are aimed at someone with an existing comms solution who wants to upgrade their speakers for audio quality.
They can also plug straight into any phone or device with a 3.5mm input jack.
40mm drivers, gold-plated 3.5mm jack, and the proprietary Pulse drivers deliver satisfying bass that’s rare in-helmet speakers.
The rest of the frequency range is equally well-represented, mids and high-frequencies are crisp, ultimately meaning you can turn the volume down and still feel satisfied.
Bonus points for super-easy installation and compatibility with loads of other helmet types.
- Sound better than any OEM speakers
- Compatible with lots of helmet types
- Not the greatest noise-cancelling
YYTFY Motorcycle Bluetooth Headset
This is another budget option from a relatively unknown name, but it’s got enough positive reviews that we thought it worth a look.
Like with the other cheaper sets on our lists, the main drawback here is sound quality.
It won’t be a problem for calls, navigation, or podcasts, but these won’t delight any audiophiles and might even upset the sensibilities of regular music-listening folk.
Other than this caveat, they perform pretty well. We didn’t have any problems pairing them, installation was easy, and the noise cancelling is effective enough.
Their slim profile means these will fit just about any helmet that covers the ears and has speaker cutouts.
The stop/start button for audio playback is just about big enough to operate with gloved hands, though, like with most sets, you’re better off having everything set up before you start riding.
Battery life is impressive, and we like the option to use the unit as a power bank to charge your other devices on the fly.
A decent budget buy.
- Inexpensive and reliable
- Poor sound quality for music
Considerations and cost
Make Sure They Fit and are Comfortable
Check the depth of the cutouts in your helmet before ordering a new set of speakers.
It’s safe to say most speakers will work with most helmets, but it’s worth comparing the speaker’s thickness to the depth of this cutout.
If the speakers are too slim, you risk there being poor contact with your ears and introducing a lot of noise.
Too thick, and the speakers may press against your head uncomfortably.
Higher-end speakers will usually ship with various foam covers and some shim material to get a better fit. A speaker set that’s slightly too slim can be adjusted. Too thick, and there’s nothing you can do.
Control Unit Or Hands-Free?
All the sets on our list support at least basic voice command, in principle. Obviously, with this kind of tech, your mileage may vary.
Some units (like the YYTFY) have a stop/start button for audio playback.
If you’re just after audio playback and typically pull over to make and receive calls, hands-free, and voice-control aren’t worth spending much thought or money on.
Think about what you intend to use your speakers for. If music is a priority, you won’t enjoy using a cheaper set.
If you only intend to use it for navigation, calls, and occasional podcast/talk radio use – you don’t need to spend loads on sound quality.
Wired Or Bluetooth?
There are a few options here. For example, it’s possible to plug some speaker sets directly into a phone, making a wired connection.
But that same speaker set could be plugged into the 3.5mm jack on the control unit of your Bluetooth device and then connect via Bluetooth to your phone.
Not having a cable extending from your helmet down into their clothing is preferable for most people, so linking with Bluetooth makes more sense.
Volume And Noise-Cancelling
Noise-cancelling technology allows you to hear your speakers’ output at a lower volume by eliminating unwanted background noise.
In all the units we tested, the noise-cancelling feature made a marked improvement, allowing us to turn the volume down and still hear clearly.
To some extent, the effectiveness of noise-cancelling is related to how well the speakers fit and line up with your ears. If there’s room for air and sound to swirl around your ears from a poorly fitting helmet, no amount of noise-cancelling will help.
Some people will tell you that listening to music/the radio while riding is dangerous; others will tell you it’s no different from driving a car with the stereo on.
We’ve done our share of riding with headphones in but try to make sure we’re not blocking out all the ambient and emergency road noises that can help us avoid accidents.
Common sense is key here. Just like in a car, being able to hear what’s going on around you and the honk of other motorist’s horns can keep you safe.
A Motorcycle Headset For All Seasons
Hopefully, that’s given you a few lesser-known speaker sets to think about. But if you were after a full-on comms solution, check out our other articles below: