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Have you taken a look at the prices of Bluetooth headsets lately? They can cost a fortune! Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Sena and Cardo, the leading brands in the industry, seem to think that motorcyclists are made of money. Well, guess what? We’re not! But that doesn’t mean we have to settle for subpar headsets. I’ve done some research and spoken to penny-pinching friends to bring you the most affordable yet reliable Bluetooth headsets and intercoms out there. Let’s dive in and find the perfect headset for you!
Best Budget Bluetooth Headsets from Sena and Cardo
Let’s start with the big players in the game: Sena and Cardo. While the absolute cheapest headset is your own voice yelling into the void, these picks from Sena and Cardo are not too far off. And the best part? They’re actually reliable!
Budget Bluetooth Headset from Sena: The 5S
Sena’s high-end headsets can easily burn a hole in your pocket, but fear not! Their low-end 5S headset is a budget-friendly option that won’t disappoint. With a price of around $150, it’s a steal.
The Sena 5S may not have all the bells and whistles of its pricier counterparts, but it still packs a punch. You can have crystal-clear conversations with a rider or passenger up to 0.4 miles away. Not bad, right?
This little gadget features Bluetooth v5, which is usually reserved for high-end headsets. That means you get a solid 7 hours of battery life and the ability to connect to any other Bluetooth headset. And here’s the best part: you can charge it while you’re using it. No more worrying about running out of juice mid-ride. Plus, the charging port uses USB-C, so it’s super convenient.
One of the standout features of the 5S is its LCD screen. Setting up a motorcycle Bluetooth unit can be a pain without a screen. Thankfully, Sena knows this, and they’ve equipped the 5S with a user-friendly display. Say goodbye to fumbling around blindly for buttons!
But what really sets the 5S apart is its audio quality. Packed with 40mm speakers, it can hold its own against high-end kits from both Cardo and Sena. And with simple controls and voice commands, you’ll have no trouble navigating through your favorite tunes or making calls on the go.
If you frequently ride with just one person, whether it’s a passenger or another rider, the Sena 5S is a solid choice. It delivers great sound quality and a reliable intercom connection. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
Budget Cardo Bluetooth Headset: Cardo Spirit
Cardo may not be as well-known as Sena, but they certainly know how to cater to their customers. Take the Cardo Spirit, for example. It may be simpler and cheaper than the Sena 5S, but it’s packed with features you’ll love.
First and foremost, all Cardo units are fully waterproof, including the Cardo Spirit. No need to worry about those unexpected downpours ruining your headset. That’s peace of mind right there.
Now, let’s talk about the price. The Cardo Spirit is a whopping 78% cheaper than the Sena 5S, and yet it offers similar features. You get Bluetooth v5.2, quick syncing with your phone and other devices, and a range of up to 0.25 miles. As long as you stay within eyesight of the other rider, the intercom connection will never drop.
Just like the 5S, the Spirit allows you to connect to one other rider or passenger. But here’s the kicker: it offers an impressive battery life of up to 10 hours. That’s more than enough for a long day of riding. And yes, you can charge it while using it. The convenience of USB-C charging can’t be overstated.
While the speakers on the Spirit may not blow you away, they do the job just fine at city speeds. If you’re craving a bit more oomph, you can opt for the Spirit HD, which comes with 40mm speakers. And guess what? It’s still cheaper than the Sena 5S.
The Spirit is a staff pick at Revzilla, and for good reason. It’s reliable, affordable, and it gets the job done. So go ahead, check it out, and upgrade your riding experience without breaking the bank.
Lesser Known Budget Bluetooth Units That Don’t Suck
Sena and Cardo may be the top dogs of motorcycle intercoms, but not everyone has the budget to splurge on their high-end models. Luckily, I’ve found two lesser-known budget-friendly options that have stood the test of time.
The name might sound like a communicator for Wookies, but rest assured, you won’t sound like Chewbacca when using the THOKWOK BT-S3. Priced at around a third of the Sena 5S, it offers great value for your money.
With Bluetooth 4.0, this headset allows you to do everything you can with the Cardo Spirit and Sena 5S. You can pair it with your phone, GPS device, and chat with other riders. It even supports 3-way intercom with any brand of device, claiming a range of up to half a mile.
However, take the manufacturer’s range claims with a grain of salt. According to a buddy of mine, the intercom starts breaking up after about 0.25 miles. That being said, at city speeds, the sound quality is good. But keep in mind that the small speakers might distort sound at higher speeds and volumes.
One thing to note is that the small buttons on the BT-S3 may be hard to feel with gloved hands, so you might accidentally hit the wrong button from time to time. This is something the Sena 5S and Cardo Spirit don’t suffer from.
Battery life is decent, ranging from 8 to 9 hours. Plus, you get a low battery warning to ensure you’re not caught off guard. And in the box, you’ll find a boom mic, a screw-on mount, and a sticky mount for easy installation.
If you’re riding in the city or have a quiet helmet, the THOKWOK BT-S3 is a great choice. It won’t break the bank, and it’ll provide you with all the essential features you need for an enjoyable ride.
Fodsports M1-S Pro
If you ride with a big group but don’t want to spend a fortune on an intercom unit, the Fodsports M1-S Pro has got you covered. Its standout feature is its ability to support up to 8 riders over intercom, which is four times what the more expensive Cardo Spirit and Sena 5S can handle. Talk about value for money!
Equipped with 40mm speakers, the M1-S Pro delivers loud bass and clear sound at high volumes. While they may not match the quality of the Sena 5S or Cardo Spirit HD, they certainly outshine Cardo’s 32mm speakers in terms of volume and clarity.
The M1-S Pro can connect to all brands of Bluetooth headsets, allowing you to ride in harmony with your friends, no matter what device they’re using. And with a claimed range of 1.24 miles, you can stay connected even when you’re slightly further apart. Just keep in mind that in reality, the range may be closer to a quarter or half a mile across clear terrain.
With a battery life of around 10 to 12 hours, you won’t have to worry about running out of juice mid-ride. And although the charging cord is bespoke, meaning you’ll need to get a replacement from Fodsports if you lose it, the long-lasting battery more than makes up for this inconvenience.
In the box, you’ll find a wired mic, a boom mic, and a clamp mount. Plus, the unit is waterproof, perfect for those off-road adventures. Just be aware that build quality may not be as robust as the more expensive options.
If you’re riding in a big group and looking to save some cash, the Fodsports M1-S Pro is the way to go. It offers impressive functionality without breaking the bank.
Pushing the Budget for a Motorcycle Headset
While budget-friendly options exist, sometimes you want all the bells and whistles and have the budget to accommodate that. If that’s the case for you, consider these top-of-the-line options that spare no expense.
At the top-end of Sena’s Bluetooth kits is the 50S. This feature-packed headset is perfect for audiophiles or riders who frequently ride with big groups. If you’re willing to splurge, the Sena 50S won’t disappoint.
With Bluetooth 5.0 and a range of 1.2 miles, you can stay connected with up to 24 other Sena Bluetooth kits for intercom during your rides. And if you’re in a Mesh 2.0 enabled group, you can connect with unlimited kits in an 8-kilometer range with at least six riders. Talk about staying connected!
The 50S comes with a boom mic and a wired mic, making it compatible with any motorcycle helmet you have. Battery life is impressive too, offering up to 14 hours for music playback and around nine hours when using the Mesh 2.0 technology.
But here’s where it gets really exciting: Sena recently partnered with Harman Kardon to put premium speakers in the 50S. The sound quality is out of this world. It’ll feel like you have a home theater in your helmet. You can’t go wrong with this headset if you’re an audiophile or ride with a big group.
Cardo Packtalk Edge
If you want the best of the best from Cardo, look no further than the Packtalk Edge. This high-end Bluetooth headset offers a range of features that make it a top choice for riders who demand the best.
With Bluetooth 4.1 and a range of up to 1 mile, the Packtalk Edge can connect with up to 15 riders for intercom and even support private chat with just one member. Mesh 5.1 technology ensures seamless connectivity with any good brand of motorcycle communication kit.
The Packtalk Edge comes with a wired and boom mic, ensuring compatibility with all types of helmets. And with up to 13 hours of talk time, you won’t have to cut your ride short. Voice commands with “Hey Cardo” make it a breeze to control the device on the go.
But what really sets the Packtalk Edge apart is its 40mm JBL speakers. The sound quality is outstanding, providing well-balanced audio at all volume levels. Say goodbye to distorted or tinny sound.
Waterproof and dustproof, this headset is perfect for off-road adventures. And with an easy magnetic mount, installation is a breeze. Cardo has truly outdone themselves with the Packtalk Edge.
UCLEAR Motion Infinity
While UCLEAR may not offer budget-friendly options, their top-end helmet communication products are worth considering. The Motion Infinity stands out with its range of features that cater to riders who prioritize safety.
Equipped with Bluetooth 5.0 and Mesh technology, the Motion Infinity offers intercom connectivity for unlimited riders up to 0.75 miles. Its dual-microphone setup eliminates the need for a boom mic, providing convenience and comfort.
Battery life is impressive, lasting up to 18 hours depending on usage. And the motion sensors allow you to control the device with hand gestures, eliminating the need to fiddle with buttons while riding. Safety features like USAFE crash detection ensure that you and your fellow riders remain protected on the road.
While the reviews for UCLEAR products have been a bit patchy in terms of build quality, the Motion Infinity offers all the features of the best Sena and Cardo units. If safety is your top priority, this helmet communication kit is worth considering.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the best budget Bluetooth headset for a motorcycle?
The best budget Bluetooth headset for a motorcycle depends on your needs. If you’re looking for essential functions like calls, music, GPS directions, and two-way intercom, the Sena 5S is your best bet. For a longer battery life and the ability to connect with more riders, the Fodsports M1-S Pro is an excellent choice. Just keep in mind that customer service support may not be as robust with lesser-known brands.
What is motorcycle intercom?
Motorcycle intercom technology allows riders to communicate wirelessly. Whether through Bluetooth or Mesh technology, riders can chat with each other at the touch of a button, even when they’re on the road. It’s like having a conversation with your riding buddies, but without the need to shout.
Can I buy a helmet with Bluetooth integrated?
Absolutely! There are plenty of motorcycle helmets with Bluetooth integrated systems available on the market. Sena, in particular, offers a wide range of Bluetooth-integrated helmets that provide seamless connectivity. If you’re looking for the best Bluetooth-integrated helmet, I recommend checking out the Sena Momentum EVO.
How do Bluetooth motorcycle helmets work?
Bluetooth motorcycle helmets work by connecting a device inside the helmet to your phone, GPS device, or another Bluetooth helmet. Through this connection, you can listen to music, make phone calls, receive GPS directions, and even communicate with other riders via the intercom. It’s like having a personal assistant inside your helmet, keeping you connected and entertained on your rides.
In conclusion, finding an affordable motorcycle Bluetooth headset doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Whether you opt for the budget options from Sena and Cardo or explore lesser-known brands like THOKWOK and Fodsports, you can find a high-quality headset that meets your needs and fits your budget. And if you’re willing to splurge, the Sena 50S, Cardo Packtalk Edge, or UCLEAR Motion Infinity will provide you with the ultimate riding experience. So, what are you waiting for? Upgrade your gear and enjoy your rides with crisp audio and seamless communication.