Two of my favorite things in the world are music and skiing, and when they come together I might very well be the happiest man in the world.
Problem is, of all of my many (many, many…) pairs of headphones, none are really suitable for skiing, and don’t work with ski helmets. So I decided to find and purchase the best ski helmet headphones on the market today, and am writing this article to help you do the same.
This isn’t the longest buyer’s guide on the web, but still, if you’re in a hurry – to get to the slopes, I assume – here are my top two choices:
- Best Ski Helmet Headphones Overall – Outdoor Tech Chips 3.0 Wireless Ski & Snowboard Helmet Audio
- My Favorite Ski Helmet Headphones – Wildhorn Alta Wireless Drop in Ski Helmet Headphones
What Are Ski Helmet Headphones?
Just as the phrase suggests, ski helmet headphones are headphones designed for ski helmets. Glad I could help, and please let me know if you need any more insight or clarification.
But, all joking aside, this is a very important topic, because regular headphones, even small or low-profile models, are not suitable for ski helmets – mainly because they just aren’t safe to use.
I’m a bit of a hotdog skier, but I have to admit that I still spill pretty regularly, and the thought of small in-ear phones being slammed into my precious ears terrifies me – as well it should.
Add to that the danger of them breaking apart, or the similar calamities you can have with even slim profile on-ear headphones, and a good pair of ski helmet headphones doesn’t just make sense, it is an absolute must.
The best ski helmet headphones are designed to fit into the ear pad pockets of snowboard helmets or ski helmets, and so are safe to use whether you’re a snow-soaked beginner or a seasoned pro.
This placement not only makes taking a dive no problem, but it also allows for high-quality music listening while still maintaining awareness of the sounds, and the other skiers and boarders, all around you – an equally important safety consideration.
The best snowboard helmet headphones not only are made for safety but also are designed to be easy to use when you’re on the slopes, with big, simple buttons you can use even with gloves on.
And, last but not least, the best ski helmet headphones must sound fantastic, with great bass, lots of detail and clarity, no harshness or distortion, and plenty of volume and musical energy. I mean, otherwise why even bother?
Who Makes the Best Ski Helmet Headphones?
As I began to search for my ideal ski helmet headphones, I first looked for models by the old standbys like JBL, Sony, Bose, JVC, Sennheiser, and others. And you know what? Nothing…
This really surprised me, but then a couple of points kind of dawned on me:
- This is a pretty specialized market, and it might not make financial sense for the headphone giants to spend their time and resources developing ski helmet headphones. and…
- Given the special conditions and considerations around skiing, safety, and usability, it makes sense that the best ski headphones are designed and made by people and companies that know and love skiing.
But, really, no Sennheiser? I thought to myself, wholly aghast. How good can headphones from companies I’ve never even heard of possibly sound?
Well, in truth, for a lot of them the answer is not so good. But a few companies – like Dreamruns, Outdoor Tech, OutdoorMaster, and Wildhorn, really nail it, with ski helmet headphones that are pretty darned incredible sounding and really fun to listen to, while at the same time tough, durable, water- and weather-resistant and made to be actually useable while you’re shredding.
So let’s get into what I found – of all the ski headphones I considered and tried out, these are the 6 best, and each and every one of them is highly recommended.
After the reviews, in the Bonus Section, I will reveal the ones I chose for my own personal skiing headphones, but now let’s look at the overall list.
Best Super-Cheap Ski Helmet Headphones
- Connection Type: Wired
Though they are silly cheap, these Dreamruns ski and snowboard helmet headphones are remarkably well made, with excellent materials and build quality and surprisingly tough and strong cables.
And yes, while wireless Bluetooth has some obvious advantages, these Dreamruns are wired headphones, and they have much better sound quality – and apparently better overall quality – than any wireless ski helmet headphones I found at or around this price.
The design is just great – there is a short cable for connecting to a helmet’s com system (if it has one) and a long extension cable for connecting to your phone or music player, and the cables can be disconnected from each individual headphone if you just want to use one. The quality is high, the microphone is quite clear and the buttons are at least big enough and easy enough to use.
The build quality is quite nice too, with good materials and especially strong and durable cabling. But what really sold me on these puppies is the sound!
The large 40-millimeter drivers deliver remarkably deep bass, which is very nicely boosted but doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the music. Mids are warm and rich, and vocals never have that nasty edge you get with so many cheap headphones, and the high frequencies are detailed and well extended.
And they play plenty loud, and with lots of energy and dynamics at any level.
If you are on a tight budget, you can find wireless Bluetooth ski helmet headphones for this price – like the decent VR Robot Bluetooth 5.0 Helmet Headset – but the Dreamworks direct connect ski and snowboard helmet audio kit is a better sounding headphone and a better choice.
Best Wired Ski Helmet Headphones Overall
- Universal fit with almost any helmet that has...
- Oversized, two-button interface controls...
- 40 mm drivers for outstanding sound and...
- No battery means no charging and no worrying...
- Sweat-resistant and designed for use in...
- Connection Type: Wired
The Outdoor Tech Chips wired helmet headphones are about twice the price of the Dreamruns above, and while the Dreamruns are just fantastic for their low, low price, the Chips are easily twice as good.
Anyway, they are still cheap, but when I think of the best normal headphones you can get at this price I realize that some of them sound amazingly good. And I have to say that the Outdoor Tech Chips actually hold their own, and did not disappoint in this respect, with slamming bass that’s deeply extended, fast and tight, really warm and realistic mids and vocals, and sweet, detailed highs with just the perfect amount of brightness.
There is actually a couple of superb sub-50 dollar in-ear or on-ear normal headphones that might sound better, but these Chips are amazing, especially considering they are in-liner headphones.
And, while it might sound weird considering these will be hiding in your helmet’s lining, the Chips have a sense of style that I personally find really appealing. Of course, even if nobody really sees it, this style also presents itself in premium fit and finish, which in this case means a ski headset that not only looks great but is very well made, high quality, and long-lasting.
The best value in skiboard helmet headphones I have found, the Outdoor Tech Chips wireless are a near-perfect package – great microphone and smart controls, heavy-duty build, nice looks, and brilliant sound – and strongly recommended.
Best Value Wireless Ski Helmet Headphones
- Clean Sound, Clear Highs, Big Bass - OM BT01...
- Skiing/Snowboarding Friendly Control - Three...
- A Pair of Chips Understand Skier/Snowboarder...
- Universal Helmet Compatibility - Minimal...
- Rugged Design for All Conditions - OM BT01...
- Connection Type: Wireless
We’re jumping up a bit in price with our first Bluetooth ski helmet headphones, but it is well worth the jump. Sure, there are cheaper sets out there, and I actually really like the BE Headwear BEL3.0 too – and for about 20 bucks less – but the OutdoorMaster is better in pretty much every way, and are actually the cheapest Bluetooth wireless headphones for ski helmets I can recommend without reservation.
The OutdoorMaster have the latest generation 5.0 Bluetooth wireless technology, for a more secure and stable signal and better sound, decent battery life (more than enough for a day on the slopes), and they are compatible with both Siri and Google Assistant.
And they are just better designed – the big, simple buttons are a breeze to use, even with fat ski gloves on, the charger is very easy to access, and the overall build looks almost industrial level in quality and durability. The OutdoorMaster is also IP45 water resistant and will work fine well below freezing.
But getting back to the sound, these are really fun headphones. For one thing, they play really loud – not so loud that they will take you away from awareness of the slopes and other skiers, but their volume and their dynamic energy provide a very impactful experience. They are tuned to a sort of popular sound signature, with bright highs and lots of basses, but they still have amazing clarity and detail and are quite warm and musical overall.
So yeah, you can get cheaper wireless headphones, but if you’re really on a budget one of the wired choices above is probably a better idea. If you want Bluetooth wireless, though, with all of its convenience and advantages, the OutdoorMaster drop-in helmet headphones are not just the least expensive I would consider buying, they are an amazing product for the price.
My Favorite Ski Helmet Headphones
- PREMIUM BALANCED SOUND - Shred the slopes...
- CRISP HANDS-FREE CALLING - With the helmet...
- UNIVERSALLY COMPATIBLE - Works with most...
- INTUITIVE DESIGN - These ski helmet...
- RUGGED CONSTRUCTION WITH ALL DAY PLAYTIME -...
- Connection Type: Wireless
I really fell in love with the Wildhorn Alta wireless headphones when I first saw and tried them, and to this day I think they are one of the best ski headphones available.
They are just so simple, with two huge buttons on the left side and one on the right, and yet you can – once you get the hang of it – easily do anything you want or need to do: change tracks, adjust volume, activate Siri or Google Assistant, answer calls and more. Even when wearing oversized gloves, and even when faced with a diamond descent, the operation is easy and intuitive – even eventually automatic.
The Wildhorn Alta are also as tough as nails, with obviously strong and durable materials, thick and substantial cables, IP45 water resistance, and a temperature range that goes down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit.
And the sound, well, I don’t mean to detract from the wonderful sounding less expensive products on this list of best ski helmet headphones, but this is really next-level sound, with not only a perfect “street” tuning – bright, extended highs, lots of deep bass and tons of energy – but a level of accuracy usually only found on higher-end headphones – really low distortion, great imaging, superior resolution of detail and dynamics and sweet musicality.
Spoiler alert – even though I thought this audiophile-level sound quality might not be that apparent when I was skiing, it turns out that even with the rush downhill, their clean, accurate, and musical sound comes through loud and clear, and is as enjoyable as the skiing itself – yep, for me, pure heaven!
If you are really looking for the most popular audio tuning, and listening to mostly rap and hip hop, EDM and electronica, rock and pop, but still want the best product on every level, you might actually prefer one of the Outdoor Tech wireless ski and snowboard helmet headphones below, but for purity of sound, and for all kinds of music, from classical and jazz to hardcore noise, these Wildhorn Alta drop-in helmet ‘phones are the best choice.
They sound beautiful, work beautifully, and will hold up to countless seasons of shredding.
Best Ski Helmet Headphones Overall
- The Future of Snow Helmet Audio Is Here:...
- More Play Time: The chipset has been updated...
- Easy Access: Each earpiece features a single...
- Safe and Seamless Audio Solution: Listen to...
- Crystal Clear Sound: Chips 3.0 comes equipped...
- Connection Type: Wireless
As crazy as I am about the Wildhorn Alta, you might think I could have ended this buyer guide with them, and on a very high note. But we absolutely have to give some love to what are surely the best ski headphones on the market today – the Outdoor Tech Chips 3.0 and (just below) the Chips Ultra TWS.
Not everybody wants a more neutral sound – in fact, based on sales figures, most people don’t, and actually prefer a big, dynamic, exciting V-shaped sound tuning, with strongly boosted bass and somewhat boosted high frequencies, tons of volume and energy, and a bright, clear and meaty overall sound.
And that’s just what the Outdoor Tech wireless headphones offer and in pretty much the perfect way, with no audible distortion and a smooth, clean sound that can be listened to at very high volumes all day long without a hint of fatigue or discomfort. So much detail, so much energy, and so much bass!
These brand new Outdoor Tech Chips 3.0 wireless headphones have a brilliant design and were clearly engineered by people who love skiing and boarding as much as we do. They have the best controls – the most solid and durable, the best laid out and the most usable – and they work perfectly on the slopes.
The very latest Bluetooth 5.2 gives reliable connections and superior sound, the Chips are also compatible with Siri and Google Assistant, have great battery life, have an excellent microphone, and are super weatherproof and made for winter.
If you listen to a lot of classical, jazz, or acoustic singer/songwriter type of music, the Wildhorn Alta, just above, may be a better choice, but for all kinds of popular music the Outdoor Tech Chips 3.0 are absolutely as good as it gets, and the best designed and best-made ski helmet headphones on the market today.
Best True Wireless Ski Helmet Headphones
- True wireless
- 12 hour play time
- Bluetooth profile V5. 0
- 10 meter operation range
- 2 hour charging time
- Connection Type: True Wireless (TWS)
This will be more a report than a review because in truth I didn’t have an opportunity to try out or listen to the Chips Ultra – and thus I was actually a bit reluctant to even include them here.
But two things changed my mind:
1, these are the flagship products from the best snowboard helmet headphone manufacturer out there, and surely deserve some attention, and
2, one of my favorite ski buddies has a pair that he absolutely loves (so much so that he won’t even let me borrow them for a single run)!
At any rate, the Outdoor Tech Chips Ultra is also worthy of mention because they are the only TWS (true wireless stereo) helmet headphones I know of – they are not in-ear buds, which for skiing would be dangerous, but are rather the same sort of mini-speaker configuration as anything else on this list, designed to drop into the lining of your helmet – but in this case completely wireless – not even a wire connecting the two headphone units.
And, by all reports, they sound fabulous, with the same kind of big, bright, dynamic, and super-fun sound as any of the Outdoor Tech headphones, clear, clean, detailed, and free of any distortion or harshness – even at high volumes.
With great battery life, Bluetooth 5.0 wireless protocol, IPX5 waterproofing, superior cold-weather functionality, a brilliant two-button control system, and a very clear and nice-sounding microphone (that part I did get to check out when my friend called me), Google Assistant and Siri compatibility, these seem like the complete package.
And, since they’re made by, again, the best ski headphone company I’ve encountered, I think I can still easily recommend these – and say that, if you want true wireless, these are your very best bet and top choice.
…of course, they are, I think, the only choice, but still they’re sure to be just excellent and well worth the money!
Bonus Section: Which Ski Helmet Headphones Should I Buy?
Yeah, there’s a bit of trickery in that title – usually, I ask something like:
- Which ski helmet headphones are best for you and your needs?
…but this bonus section is all about me and my needs, and – assuming any of you care and are still with me – here I will reveal which of the above choices I myself purchased and use.
Is that a drumroll I hear?
Anybody who knows me even a little knows at least part of what comes next – because, of course, I didn’t get one. I got two…
Actually, I kind of got three – my first choice was the amazing Outdoor Tech Chips 3.0, which I still believe are the best designed and most functional ski helmet headphones of them all. But I took them out for a couple of runs and realized that I personally prefer the more neutral and accurate sound of the Wildhorn Alta, and so returned the Chips and got a pair of the Alta – and we’ve been happily shredding together ever since.
Ok, again, if you know me you know that’s not the whole story. See, I really like the design of the Chips, and there are times when even I, the staunch audiophile that I am, really love that exciting, big, and bassy V-shaped street tuning.
And, to add justification to justification, I had, to be fair, saved about twenty bucks with my exchange.
So I also bought a pair of the original wired Outdoor Tech Chips, which I don’t use as often, but which never fail to please and excite me, and which are so intuitively and intelligently designed that they are as much a joy to use as they are to listen to.
Anyway, I can buy new skis next season, right?