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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23 Customer Reviews for KANOA Headphones

Average Customer Rating: 1.9
Rating Snapshot:
5 stars: 4 4 stars: 0 3 stars: 1 2 stars: 2 1 stars: 16
Bottom Line: 17% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 23
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  • 9 out 13 people found this review helpful

    Issue refunds or ship product now, it's that simple!

    Just like most of the folks on here, I too am tired of their empty promises. After almost a year, the only thing I have to show for my money is placating and insulting emails. KANOA is probably writing the good reviews on here trying to pump themselves up. If not, the folks who are giving them four stars are delusional. It's a start-up company and a pre-order (blah, blah), they are making the absolute best product they can. No, they are using my money to build orders taken before mine, on a Unicorn product they say exists.

    Time to get my Bank involved and then a nice letter to the Attorney Generals office. The AG does not screw around and will not tolerate companies like this.

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

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  • 7 out 13 people found this review helpful

    Not a scam

    KANOA isn't a scam. They're creating a product, and there is just a delay because they want to make sure the product is as good as possible. Just check social media! I don't think a scam would actually create a product and keep all of their customers up to date with their progress if they were a scam.

    They would just take your money and leave! I can't believe that people think they are a scam. Wireless earbuds are a new technology; give it some time people. I think they will release very soon. KANOA, if you are reading this, I believe in you. Get the product out soon!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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    • Mar 31, 2017

      Xavier

      It's a scam when they do not update you personally and make you pay tons of money upfront. New technology? Please, give it a rest. There are so many other companies that have released their product to the public. I was supposed to receive my product in the fall of last year, and after repeated delays, it is now at the end of March 2017 and there is still no product. What incentive do I get for waiting this long?

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  • 10 out 18 people found this review helpful

    KANOA is NOT a Scam

    KANOA is real. I was looking online for reviews to see if they're on the market yet and I found this thread of people wondering whether it's a scam. Come up. It's a preorder! Have you been following their updates at all? There's like three a week and you can clearly see the progress of the units being built in the factory, being prepared to ship.

    I'm tired of waiting too, but living in the Bay Area I see tons of pre-order and kick starter companies, and although it takes long to produce, and they always have delays, I don't mind because I know that going in. That's why I get the product at a discount and before anyone else.

    Anyway, be realistic people. Why would anyone go through all this trouble for a scam? Check their updates, be patient and no, KANOA is NOT a scam.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 12 out 20 people found this review helpful

    Waiting forever

    I understand that there can be setbacks, and you want your product to be perfect, but after ordering a set of batch one buds over a year and a half ago, I still have nothing. Such negligence in a company doesn't bode well for business when all they offer you for compensation is a refund. How about an extra pair for free? There will be no repeat business or recommendations coming from me. That is if I ever get the first pair.

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

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  • 15 out 21 people found this review helpful

    Feeling scammed

    • Bay Area, CA,
    • Mar 12, 2017

    I ordered a year ago with the same delivery promise as you read from others. I finally decided I have had enough of failed deliveries, and let's face it they are now behind the market, with a product we only have their words for on how good it is.

    I asked for a refund and like others was certain you could get money back when asked, considering the delays. What reputable company would not be offering refunds?

    I was emailed back and told I would have to wait, the actual wording was:

    "I totally understand your request. Due to the nature of pre-order campaigns, we will issue refunds as we near our release."

    Why should I have to wait? I can only draw the conclusions like others that this is either a company in trouble or has been a scam from the outset. I will, of course, contact my credit card company and ask them to assist, but the bottom line (based on my and others experience) is they should be avoided.

    As for people saying they are a startup, it's a pre-order campaign, they look great on social media, blah blah, can you honestly say delays of over a year are a good idea for a startup, and that is to date?

    I can post and make great videos which I post online, that does not mean I can or will deliver! Draw your own conclusions, but my experience has been sobering and has put me off such companies.

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

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  • 8 out 21 people found this review helpful

    It's called a PRE-ORDER

    Guys, pre-orders take time! If you don't want to wait, simply request a refund. Yes, the delays are frustrating, but KANOA is crazy active on social media and always posts progress updates.

    I've also pre-ordered a pair of Airpods from Apple, and I'm currently waiting on a pair of Phazon's. I'm shocked everyone here that is bashing KANOA isn't aware that this is a pre-order campaign where delays are bound to happen with new technology. I've waited through Apple's delay earlier this year, and I'm sticking it through Phazon's multiple delays as well. I'm interested in trying out multiple brands, and I'm happy to wait as the technology becomes available.

    I'm rooting for you KANOA, and I hope you pull through. The latest updates look promising. I'm stoked to see some more testing videos, so get on it!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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    • Mar 16, 2017

      Ken Manfredi

      No disrespect but you're either gullible or a shill for the company. The original release date for this pre-order was February 2016, that's over 13 months ago. This company has persistently moved back the release date specifically because either they don't have a product or they don't have a way to manufacturing. Either way, you could not in good conscience give them five stars when you have never seen a product and the pre-order date has been pushed back for some people almost 2 years.

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  • 27 out 36 people found this review helpful

    Don't get scammed by KANOA

    • Feb 9, 2017

    Like many of you, I thought these headphones looked great so I purchased them in 2015 and they commitment to ship them three months later. Nearly a year and a half later, I have no headphones, no refund, and they continue to market aggressively, still promoting to ship three months from now.

    KANOA is a scam and a Ponzi scheme. Don't fall for their marketing. They will tell you that all the units will ship in "Spring 2017". My guess is that on June 20th they will change that to "Fall 2017."

    Save yourself!

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

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  • 9 out 20 people found this review helpful

    People are mad because the date keeps getting pushed back!

    With any start-up product, there is going to be issues with production, shipment, and what not. Why are people getting mad?

    I am part of the first batch that ordered a few years ago and paid significantly lower than any of the competing products out on the market. So what if the date gets pushed back? The company is not going under from what I have read and seen.

    Do not call it a scam when all they did was push the production date further out. As you can see from the other reviews, customers have asked for a refund, and they gave it. Anyone calling this company and its product a scam is uneducated in the business world.

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

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  • 13 out 19 people found this review helpful

    No response

    • California,
    • Jan 26, 2017

    Hello, KANOA crew. I've sent an email twice already to find out about the delivery with no response. Now I want to cancel my order. They charged my credit card but no email confirmation was sent.

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

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    Comments (2)
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    • Jan 26, 2017

      Jordan Shou, Customer Service

      Hello Tariel,

      I'm terribly sorry about this. Your email must have not gone through. Everyday we ensure that our customer tickets reach 0. Please reach us directly at info@getkanoa.com for immediate assistance. Thank you!

    • Apr 2, 2017

      Derek Sielewicz

      I paid for my order 18 months ago. When are you going to ship it, if ever?

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  • 12 out 16 people found this review helpful

    Don't Preorder!

    • Denver, CO,
    • Jan 24, 2017

    I read reviews, and they sounded GREAT! I preordered in August to save money, the FAQ's at the time said I could cancel and get a refund at any time. I was supposed to get my batch two order shipped between October 16th and November 30th. Now it's pushed back until Spring of 2017. I requested a refund, because I am just sick of waiting. I was told that I can't get one due to the nature of the manufacturing. I can wait until the product is released and request a refund then.

    So frustrating!

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

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    • Jan 26, 2017

      Jordan Shou, Customer Service

      Hello Ally,

      I'm sorry for this frustrating experience. We are at a crucial stage in our manufacturing timeline, and we need a final unit count to proceed with our CM. Once production is underway this Spring, we can reach out to you personally to refund your order. Please let me know. Thank you for your patience with us.

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  • 12 out 16 people found this review helpful
    Updated review

    Can not get them delivered and they will not give me a refund.

    • Santa Rosa Beach, FL,
    • Dec 26, 2016

    The company did give me the refund and I look forward to seeing the product when it comes out. I will consider buying then.

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

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    Comments (5)
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    • Dec 2, 2016

      Jordan Shou, Customer Service

      Hi Steve,

      I'm terribly sorry that you have not received a refund. Please reach out at info@getkanoa.com and we'll refund you immediately. Thank you.

    • Dec 2, 2016

      Steve

      Jordan, I have received a refund, and I thought I posted this on the site. Kyle followed up with me, and I confirmed the refund.

      Thanks for getting back to me, and I will consider your product when it comes out.

    • Jan 24, 2017

      John Bagwell

      I have been waiting a long time and still have not received my headphones. I ordered them from the first batch. Do you have any idea on the ship date?

    • Jan 28, 2017

      Greg

      Don't get swindled by KANOA! I saw the product advertised in Spring 2016 and forked out $150 on the KANOA wireless headphones. I was promised that they would be delivered last July. I cannot get a hold of the company for a refund or explanation, and needless to say, they never shipped anything.

      They continue to market the product to attract consumers. If you want good wireless headphones, there are plenty of options from reputable companies such as Apple and Bose.

      I suggest that you don't make the same mistake, and that is coming from someone who forked over money to these jokers.

    • Mar 22, 2017

      Tony Perletti

      Hi, I made a preorder for a pair of your headphones and was promised a three-month ship date. Now a year later and no idea when these will ship. I'm ready for a refund. How can I proceed with this process? Thanks.

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    • Previous review
    • Nov 19, 2016

    Can not get them delivered and they will not give me a refund.

    I paid for these ear buds in Feb 2016, despite being told they would be delivered in the spring of 2016 and then Sept 2016 and now spring 2017.

    I have asked for a refund and they have stalled for a couple of weeks. Not sure if they are crooks but they have not been able to deliver and despite promising a refund they have not come thru.

    (read moreread less...)

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