About KANOA Headphones

Whether you’re biking, running, swimming, lifting weights, or engaging in any other kind of physical activity, you already know that the right music can make all the difference in your performance. And while music device and headphone technology has come a long way since Walkmans and their foam padded monstrosities, we’re still tethered by wires, which have a habit of getting in the way at the least opportune times.

But with their completely wireless earbuds, KANOA Headphones is out to change how the game is played. Not only will you gain complete freedom of movement, but KANOA’s ergonomic design and customizable fitment ensure maximum comfort, while their cutting-edge audio technology will deliver “beautiful sound straight to your ears.”

Each pair of KANOA Headphones connects via Bluetooth to most modern devices from up to 33 feet away, where the free app (not yet released—more about this shortly) allows you to fine tune the sound to match your preferences. Here, you’ll also be able to track heart rate, calories burned, distance traveled, and time. Then, when it’s time to recharge, simply place your KANOA earbuds into the included carrying case, and they’ll be good to go in about an hour and a half.

A screenshot of Kanoa HeadphonesIn our opinion, if you want a truly wire-free music experience, whether you’re working out or not, KANOA Headphones could be a game-changer.

Between their completely wireless design, the ability to track core fitness stats (say goodbye to your separate tracker!), and their customizable fitment and audio options, there’s a whole lot to be excited about when it comes to KANOA Headphones. But are they your best wireless earbud option? Does the company even have any competition? Are there certain things you should keep in mind before ordering? It’s my job to ensure you have as much information as possible, so I’ll cover all of this—and much more—in this review.

KANOA’S Audio Features

In order to provide the best audio quality available, KANOA implemented a variety of different technologies into their headphones. This includes balanced armature devices that provide safe, crystal clear, lossless audio, along with specially developed sound profiles to deliver a full range of “warm yet precise bass, smooth mids and crystal clear highs.”

Along with the aptX® technology, KANOA’s chipset and audio compression and coding processes allows you to stream CD-quality sound, while the app’s audio equalization feature gives you fine control over your audio. Not only this, but KANOA’s built-in microphone will allow you to make and receive phone calls!

If you run or bike on public streets, paths, or trails, you likely understand the importance of maintaining environmental awareness when listening to music. KANOA’s Audio Transparency can help you accomplish this by allowing you to choose whether or not you’ll let sound in or block it out.

Finally, remember how we mentioned that KANOA Headphones can track some of your core vitals, like heart rate and calories burned? According to the company, the app can use this information to change your music’s pace and volume in order to improve your performance (something they call Dynamic Audio). Here’s how they explain it:

For example: You select your “Back and Biceps” playlist with a 45 minute session. The App starts your music at a warm-up pace and increases steadily as time elapses. Music intensity such as volume and speed increase in peaks for a more dynamic workout before coming down for the cool-off.

KANOA’s Fitment & Other Important Features

Regardless of how good the audio sounds, if earbuds won’t stay in place or you find them uncomfortable, they won’t do you much good. To this extent, KANOA’s Headphones include a variety of different sized, shaped, and styled silicone jackets that can help ensure a proper fit. They’ll also include memory foam tips to help them stay in place better and provide even more comfort.

A screenshot of Kanoa HeadphonesKANOA Headphones feature different silicone jackets and memory foam tips to ensure a proper fit.

You probably noticed that a lot of the athletes shown on the KANOA website specialize in water sports, which is why they’re completely waterproof (IP68 Rating). This means you can actually get in the water with them in place.

Inside KANOA’s app, you’ll be able to view your Performance Tracking metrics (heart rate, calories, distance, time), play around with the custom tuner/equalizer, go through the quick, one-time setup and sync, select motivating playlists from the pros, and access various social and sharing features.

The KANOA Recharging Case

The company claims that KANOA Headphones will provide 4-6 hours of play time, after which you’ll need to use the included carrying case to recharge them (takes about 1.5 hours), and you won’t even need to remove the silicon jackets. The carrying case itself plugs into any standard outlet via a USB cable, and once fully charged, can recharge your earbuds up to five times.

A screenshot of Kanoa Headphones Portable Charging CaseKANOA’s small, portable recharging case can provide protection and extra battery power on the go.

KANOA’s case is small and lightweight, and can slide right into your pocket or even attach to your jacket, keys, or belt loop using the attached steel loop. And since it closely securely, it can double as a protective carrying case.

How much will you pay for all this?

Are KANOA’s Prices So High You’ll Pop an Eardrum?

At the time of our research, KANOA Headphones were only available for preorder, with a 40% off price of $179. For this price, you’ll receive:

  • 2 KANOA Earphones
  • 1 Charging / Carrying case
  • 3 Sizes Silicon Jackets
  • 3 Sizes Silicon Ear Tips
  • Extra Memory Foam Ear Tips
  • Safety Leash and Accessories
  • Sticker Pack

Batch 1 (already sold out) had an estimated ship date of April 2016 on a first come, first served basis. Batch 2 (53% reserved at the time of our research) had an estimated ship date sometime around May, or after all Batch 1 orders have shipped.

There wasn’t a refund policy listed on KANOA’s website, so we emailed the company for additional information. After waiting less than 24 hours, here was their reply:

“While we're incredibly confident in our product here at KANOA, if you don't like your earphones you can return them within the first year after receiving them! In addition, if you'd like to cancel your order for any reason before we ship, we can process that for you without a problem. We really are here for you!”

KANOA Headphones also come with a limited 12-month warranty that covers manufacturing defects or issues resulting from normal use.

Given these features and pricing, how do KANOA’s Headphones fare against the competition?

Is KANOA the Best Wireless Earbud?

As you might imagine, the term “best” is highly subjective, and depends on a wide variety of personal preferences. For example, you might find one brand of wireless earbuds to fit perfectly, while someone else can’t stop them from falling out. On the flip side, you might find one brand’s audio to be terrible for cycling, but someone else might find them perfect for the slower pace of running.

With this in mind, if you’re on the hunt for truly wireless earbuds, your options are fairly limited. Which, in my opinion, is really surprising. After all, there seems to be huge demand for these products from the fitness community, but only a handful of companies have been able to release successful products to date, including EARIN and Bragi. Other options, like Earity and Elbee, never made it past the crowdfunding stage.

Of these two options, KANOA is currently the clear winner from a price perspective, coming in at 40% less expensive (although this will increase after Batch 2 is sold out). Outside of price, it’s a matter of which features are most important to you.

For example, EARIN doesn’t feature a microphone, so you won’t be able to take calls. It also doesn’t seem to provide any tracking, although it does come with a cool-looking recharging pod. On the other hand, Bragi’s earbuds feature tracking, a microphone, app connectivity, and much of the same audio technology as KANOA, but can also be controlled directly by touch. You’ll pay for this added feature though, as Bragi’s headphones come in at nearly $300.

Outside of these options, if you search online for “wireless earbuds,” most results will be for products that aren’t connected to a music device (often communicating via Bluetooth), but they are tethered to one another. While this design might eliminate some of the problems associated with wires, you still won’t get a truly wire-free experience like you will with KANOA. But if this isn’t your main concern, they’re often much less expensive.

So, should you preorder KANOA Headphones? To help answer this question, I’ll provide my opinion as an avid cyclist.

A Cyclist’s Take On KANOA Headphones

During the height of the cycling season, it’s not uncommon for me to bike 200+ miles per month, and for much of this time, I’m listening to music. I have whole playlists set up just for cycling, and (probably like you), I’ve found music can make a big difference in my physical performance.

The problem is that unless I want to snake my earphones down the back of my jersey and connect them to my phone, which I store in my jersey pocket, I don’t have a lot of options. And because I only wear a bud in my right ear (I always keep my left ear open to maintain awareness of my surroundings), existing “wireless” earbuds won’t work—unless I want the spare bud flopping around for a few hours as I ride over rough singletrack. No thanks.

Even then, my existing setup is an imperfect solution, since a sudden sideways glance is enough to yank the bud out of my ear and interrupt my flow.

But with existing options like Bragi and EARIN, it’s hard for me to justify spending $250-$300 for technology that—according to several media outlets—can leave quite a bit to be desired. On the flip side, earbuds like EARIN are sold at local big box electronics stores, so returning them is easy and free (there’s no return shipping!) if I end up dissatisfied.

Ultimately, I think this might be the biggest sticking point for KANOA. Sure, it seems to provide many of the same features as higher-priced wireless earbuds, but it hasn’t been released yet. So, I can’t gauge my buying decision on customer feedback, and as I’ve learned with some of the other new tech we’ve reviewed, new companies often experience setbacks and delays that can frustrate customers.

Will we experience the same with KANOA Headphones? At this point, there’s no way to know, so we’ll just have to wait and see. Until then, in my opinion, it might be worthwhile to lock in KANOA’s ultra-low preorder price—but I’d recommend waiting until we hear back from the company about their refund policy (be sure to bookmark this page and check back often!). After all, with all its features, I think it might just be a game changer for whatever you do to get your endorphins pumping.

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50 Customer Reviews for KANOA Headphones

Average Customer Rating: 1.5
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 5 4 star: 0 3 star: 2 2 star: 2 1 star:  41
Bottom Line: 14% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 50
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  • Same ol' - same ol'

    Just like everyone else in the civilized world, I bought in. Back in July or August 2015, I pre-ordered for a February 2016 ship date. To my dismay I did get many email updates about the "process," and I waited another 9 or 10 months until I received another postponement email and by then I've had enough.

    I emailed and did receive my full refund, but it's kind of alarming that I can find no one in the world who has seen and used a working product. These spokespeople they have on the website are the only ones, and I've never heard of any of them. Seems like a scam or shady business to say the least.

    It's now August 2017, and I'm very happy with a pair of $25 wireless buds I bought on Amazon last year. I'm glad I got out early. Sounds like you should too. I don't think these are ever going to come out and if the business loses its capital, then whoever hasn't got a refund certainly will not be getting one by then.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • Really unfortunate

    • Oklahoma City, OK,
    • Aug 21, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I ordered a set of the headphones several months ago and continued to receive the ongoing delay excuses. Several weeks ago I requested a refund and was told that it would hit my account. I have seen nothing, and now they have stopped responding to my messages.

    Really unfortunate as I was actually looking forward to the product but now I think I am screwed along with several others that got sucked into the scam.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    They will take your money and sell false hope of a product

    • New Jersey,
    • Aug 16, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I'm 12+ months past my original estimated ship date with no end in sight. They post all kinds of progress reports designed to make it look like something is on the horizon, but there is always some hiccup or issue.

    Do not order now; there are other products out there that actually exist. Perhaps they will be great some day, but I would recommend waiting until they have a product.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Great idea + awful business = same boring crowd funding story

    Just like everyone else's complaints, I have yet to receive this. I feel bad that I convinced a couple of co-workers to hop on this crowd funding project.

    Just another shameful attempt of producing something promised by a group of lip dribblers that was able to figure out the most important part of a greedy business model: get the money.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 7 out 7 people found this review helpful

    Still nothing

    • San Diego, CA,
    • Aug 10, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    September 2015, batch one. Guess what? Still nothing. I haven't even seen a post from people about receiving a pair, though Kanoa says they have started shipping.

    Don't waste your money!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 6 out 11 people found this review helpful

    Thieves

    • New South Wales, Australia,
    • Aug 10, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    These people are thieves. They have accepted money from thousands of people, and literally not a single person, anywhere in the world, has ever seen the product in person. The images on their site are either renders or plastic (nonworking) prototypes.

    I ordered and paid 18 months ago, and still no sign and no update. This product does not exist.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 9 out 11 people found this review helpful

    Was excited at first, but this is just a big waste of time and money

    • New York,
    • Aug 2, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    After looking for wireless earbuds for a while, I came across Kanoa in 2015. I was excited about not having to wait that long for this supposedly amazing technology. Then the delays started. I was with them when they said it was going to take two more years before release. I was with them when they shifted the release from Fall 2017 to Summer. But once they said June to July and then it became August, I was out.

    To their credit, I did get a refund. I think the biggest problem is they claim these are better than any other brand out there, but they have zero proof of concept. I went out and got a competitor brand at Best Buy. I have been wearing them for the past month, and they are great. Kanoa's tech already exists and for less money.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Aug 10, 2017

      heinekennut

      Can I ask which competitive brand you purchased? I've been waiting since August of 2015 and am ready to bounce.

    • Aug 16, 2017

      Conner

      I purchased the JAM Truly Wireless earbuds. I did extensive research on other companies and then one day came across these. I purchased them at Best Buy, picked them up an hour later, and haven't looked back since. They are $99, noise canceling, water resistant which is great because I sweat a lot and I've used these at the gym for a couple months and have not had issues. They are made by an American company and they look cooler than Apple buds (no dangling microphone), they work for phone calls and don't require an app. The sound they produce is a better sound than Apple's earbuds as well in my opinion. They also have a relatively long power cycle.

      Now, the downside of which there are only two. One, the case is a bit bulky, but if I'm going out for a bit and don't have a bag, I can leave the case at home. Twos, sometimes the Bluetooth does cut in and out. It doesn't happen every use and it only lasts for a couple seconds. Usually, it's when I'm at an intersection in Manhattan and I assume there's a lot of interference. Again, it's only for a second or two and it doesn't happen that often.

      I would rather deal with this minor annoyance than with wires though. It's the first generation and I assume it will only get better. The company has been around for decades and they can at least provide support, whereas Kanoa doesn't really even have a product yet and who knows if it will actually be as good as they say it will be. Who knows if they will be able to offer any kind of quick support should issues arise. My two cents.

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  • 13 out 16 people found this review helpful

    Lies

    • Seattle, WA,
    • Jul 28, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I pre-ordered in February 2016 thinking this was going to be great, but it has been one set back after the other.

    Set back after set back. Deadline after deadline, and still nothing. Supposedly they have started producing, but I just have no faith in these guys.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 7 out 9 people found this review helpful

    Don't order

    • Salt Lake City, UT,
    • Jul 28, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I ordered in December 2015, hoping to get the first batch which was supposed to ship in March 2016. When March came around, they updated their website to show shipping would happen in July. Then this sliding window shifted to August. Then September, etc. I'm guessing their website has logic to just display a ship date several months in advance of the current date.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 11 out 17 people found this review helpful

    Extremely frustrated and fed up of waiting

    • Folsom, CA,
    • Jul 20, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I ordered these earphones in May of 2016, and my order was accepted (of course) but without any delivery date. It's been over a year (14 months precisely), and my customer page says "you are in the right batch." I don't understand the point here. You had to have a vision when you are a crowd funded company. This is extremely disappointing of all the hype and concept these guys put up but delivered nothing. I'd like my money back. I might as well buy something off the store as these things are available everywhere.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Jul 21, 2017

      Justin

      Sad, you have been waiting 14 months and you wait until the day KANOA says they started delivering the headphones. And now you say you want a refund?

    • Aug 3, 2017

      Bozo

      Justin, you're sad believing their lies. I wouldn't give ANY company my money even if they betrayed me and others just like this company did.

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  • 17 out 22 people found this review helpful

    Discouraged

    I ordered my headphones in May of 2016. I used to get email updates on production. I don't even get those anymore. I'm a patient person but am starting to believe these aren't coming after all and will now have to look at joining a class action lawsuit with the rest of those who have already paid for a product they may never receive.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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