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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40 Customer Reviews for KANOA Headphones

Average Customer Rating: 1.6
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 5 4 star: 0 3 star: 2 2 star: 2 1 star:  31
Bottom Line: 18% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 40
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  • 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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  • 3 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Disappointed.

    • Austin, TX,
    • Jul 16, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Ordered in batch 1, and was so hopeful. I kept faith through everything, but it's all smoke and mirrors. All these constant updates and emails are so annoying because it never amounts to anything.

    It seems like this was a big scam. For a long time they claimed they could not refund anyone's money because of accounting issues or some other such nonsense. These guys posed as a legit company but this is obviously a poorly managed start up company.

    They might have the best intentions but there is no excuse for the amount of delays and lack of transparency to its customers. Several companies out now that have produced quality truly wireless headphones, so I would either wait until they deliver on their company's promises or take your business elsewhere.

    They might be great but it seems like Kanoa can't make good and deliver. Word is they might make first batch available by September. Best of luck to them.

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

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  • 8 out 9 people found this review helpful

    Ordered in December. Now mid-July, no headphones!

    • Virginia,
    • Jul 12, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I'm amazed at the fact that they send me emails every few weeks showing their progress on the newest batch, mine should've been the last batch, and still nothing. Almost eight months after they were ordered, the ticket says "Spring," as if that weren't vague enough, it's mid-summer, completely defeating the purpose of purchasing this product.

    TERRIBLE, terrible customer service for such a VERY EXPENSIVE product!

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

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  • 17 out 19 people found this review helpful

    Is it ever actually going to ship?

    I paid in full my order June 16th, 2016 (yes 2016), and the communication has been less than sufficient. They talk about production challenges, new manufacturers, etc., but I just want to know, legitimately know, when my order will ship or give me a refund.

    I have been through several product launches and to be almost nine months past initial promised date is totally unacceptable. These headphones better select my music, make my eggs in the morning and wash my car for this type of a delay. It would be one thing if they honestly provided updates vs. just blowing smoke up our you know what. Get your stuff together and stop lying to your consumers that paid for this and give us real dates. I have a lawyer ready for class action if this continues, so contact me if you feel the same.

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

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    • Jul 13, 2017

      Jodi

      I ordered a pair for my son in April of 2016 and I'm STILL waiting. It's crazy! I have gone through two different shipment date promises. My son was stationed in one place when I placed the order, and now he is at another duty station. I hope they contact and verify the address before shipping!

    • Jul 13, 2017

      Curtis

      I ordered mine around the same time, and no product. Every time it's just an email response with a new vague estimate of a future date for the release.

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  • 6 out 11 people found this review helpful

    Delays are frustrating but I believe a quality product will be the result.

    • New Hampshire,
    • Jul 7, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Like many others, I placed my order in April of 2016 when there was a fall shipping date with the hope of getting the product before 2017. While I do think it looks bad and is misleading to keep missing and pushing out deadlines, I would rather know that any issues are carefully investigated and solutions properly implemented. KANOA seems to be a small company with few employees so any delays cannot be simply absorbed by a huge engineering team or adding more Chinese slave labor. Also, these are being made entirely in the USA, so there is almost always a time or cost penalty vs. overseas production. The fact that they are willing to push the deadline due to a component not meeting standards gives me MORE confidence in the product quality.

    Getting a set of earphones is not life or death for me, so I will continue to be patient, positive and wait for my product. In the meantime, I'm confident the folks at KANOA will keep their heads down to the finish and deliver the quality they promise. They know they're under the microscope at this point.

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

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    • Jul 8, 2017

      Hamish Wickens

      I'm in the same boat, but I think it will be worth the wait.

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  • 12 out 16 people found this review helpful

    It has been over a year and still NO product?

    I was one of those that ordered this product in phase one and received it at a cost of $159.

    I was told that I would receive my product in June or July of 2016. I place my order in February of 2016.

    Now it is July of 2017, and I have still not yet received my product and have absolutely no idea if there is such a thing as KANOA wireless earbuds or not? How is it possible that I have been told I will be receiving a product in June or July of 2016 and a year later I still do not have it?

    I am wondering if this is just another internet scam that was fortunate enough to take advantage of people on Facebook thinking this company was actually legitimate?

    I'm so frustrated and disappointed in either this company or myself for being taken advantage of. I hope others read this review and don't fall into the trap I did.

    Regards.

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

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    • Jul 8, 2017

      Hamish Wickens

      So call or email them and get the refund they have repeatedly offered to anyone who wants one.

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  • 12 out 17 people found this review helpful

    Lies with a smile. Shame on you!

    • Oregon,
    • Jul 4, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Like SO many other reviews, sadly, mine is the same frustration. I ordered these back in December of 2015 and still do NOT have them. I have been told about delay after delay and production setbacks every step of the way. I was PROMISED June of 2017 and just got an email two hours ago saying mid-JULY! How is this even allowed to go on?

    I have asked for my money returned and still haven't gotten it. I have asked to SPEAK to someone on the phone but still only get a sugar tainted email with more excuses. What a horrible company; shame on you!

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

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    • Jul 8, 2017

      Hamish Wickens

      My prediction is that in two years you will have a pair.

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  • 11 out 17 people found this review helpful

    Fed up with this crap

    I too preordered these headphones and have been told multiple times that they're going to ship on multiple different dates and have yet to see anything!

    When I purchased them back in August of last year for $159, I was told that first batch orders would ship between September 31st and October 15, 2016, and batch two orders would ship between October 16th and November 30, 2016. Since then, they just keep pushing out the date again and again and again. Meanwhile, multiple other companies have already made this same product and have been selling it for months.

    How many times can you possibly over sell and under deliver? If I don't get a product shipped to me within the next week, I'll be filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau in requesting a refund! Absolutely pathetic. This company should not be allowed to keep taking pre orders. Nobody cares how nice your customer service is anymore or how sorry you are. People just want the product they've been promised and paid for!

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

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  • 8 out 22 people found this review helpful

    Great everything - customer support, product, and company.

    I ordered these back in August on the 29th of 2016. I bought them for $149.00 with a coupon code. This was when they had their old website, and making the idea a reality. It was obvious it was a pre-order at the time. Many times they promised to release their earbuds, but with little success, it was postponed. That was a little upsetting. But then all suspiciousness changed into hope as they started to release updates weekly. Then they posted videos showing off their brand new product.

    All hope was back, and I knew that the Kanoa team was in full drive day after day to get the Kanoa to their customers. From their perspective, I could see why they want to get it right (I mean we paid good money for even better earbuds). As of writing this, the earbuds are said to ship at the end of June. And I know they will, because I have been in contact with them through their customer support about the earbuds, I am probably annoying them at this point.

    All these people saying their customer support is terrible, and they are fake, have no idea what a pre-order is. Yes, we were promised a date, but we were also promised great earbuds. I want to see you make a painting in a short amount of time and make it perfect. Not possible.

    Not only that, but I actually made a mistake with my pre-order. I have an email on Google, and I put @gmail.net instead of .com. I emailed them about this issue after I realized I couldn't get into my account to see my purchase. Without telling them how much I paid, I gave them my order number. With that, they were able to swap over my purchase to the correct email, and the price, coupon, and the day I purchased it was all there. Within one day too. If that isn't good support, I don't know what is.

    I am a loyal customer, and if you think I'm not, here is how you know I am, go to my Instagram, or even theirs @Giova140 and @getKanoa. I have pictures of me wearing their hat in multiple of my races for my sport. I was not paid. I asked for a hat, and they actually gave it to me for free, only because I missed one of their giveaways, and it shipped to me in two days, from California to my house in New Jersey.

    If you don't want to wait and you feel worried about Kanoa being a scam, then get your money back, a scam wouldn't let you do that, they do, because they are a real company. They work hard at what they do, they even update us weekly. Not only that, but they let real customers go to their HQ and test the earbuds to get feedback! No other companies I know do that.

    Enough ranting. I know this is a well-made product that I'm willing to wait for, and I will be happy with the product when it gets to me because I know it will be fantastic.

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

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    • Jul 1, 2017

      Neil Broussard

      I was just on the Kanoa website, and now they are saying units will not ship until mid-July because of an antenna issue, they have a wrong placement of some sort. I also have had mine ordered since August of last year. It's been a long wait and I'm hoping to get a great product because I'm tired of dealing with hanging cords on my neck during workouts.

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  • 13 out 20 people found this review helpful

    Extremely frustrated

    • Jun 20, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I ordered in August of 2016. Kanoa failed to hit any timeline they promised, and customer service was not helpful at answering questions.

    My understanding is that they have promised to start fulfilling orders at the end of June 2017, but you probably won't receive it until July, and that's batch one. No word on when batch two will ship.

    After stating my frustration, Kanoa canceled my order against my wishes. I have emailed Kanoa, stating I want my order fulfilled but I'll have to wait and see. Save your money and wait until they make good on their orders.

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

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    • Jun 20, 2017

      Jordan Shou, Customer Service

      Hi Garrett,

      We're sorry that you're extremely frustrated with us. We're working hard to get KANOA out. We're set to begin shipping units at the end of this month. Once we ramp up, and we have a better gauge on production capabilities, we'll be able to provide a more detail timeline as to when the other batches will ship.

      Also, you forgot one crucial piece of information in your review. We didn't refund you based on your frustrations, you attached a picture of male genitalia and told us to go eat it. Your emails pose no questions and are filled with vulgar and offensive remarks. Our customer service rep has reached back out to you if you'd like to have your order fulfilled. Thank you.

    • Jun 29, 2017

      Garrett

      I follow a lot of forums and online threads trying to get more information on Kanoa, and whether or not they would hit the next scheduled release date of late June 2017.

      While everyone was super hopeful, many people I spoke to, who were calling around and asking questions of their own said no way would Kanoa make that deadline.

      Today they announced expecting to start shipping the first batch mid-July.

    • Jul 5, 2017

      Alex D.

      Do not ever think about of buying this "fantastic" product because you can actually have it only in your fantasies. It is not about to become existent. What I want most now is to get my money back from this PEAQ Inc., which is the firm behind the Kanoa brand.

      Best wishes to all,

      Alex.

    • Jul 8, 2017

      Hamish Wickens

      "Also, you forgot one crucial piece of information in your review. We didn't refund you based on your frustrations, you attached a picture of male genitalia and told us to go eat it. Your emails pose no questions and are filled with vulgar and offensive remarks."

      This is why internet rage should be held to account more often. I applaud the KANOA here for shining a light on this. My estimation of KANOA just went up a notch!

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  • 15 out 22 people found this review helpful

    Pretty sure they just want money

    • Texas,
    • Jun 13, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I am pretty sure they are never going ship. I too ordered a pair of these back when they were in the second batch of pre-orders, and according to them they were supposed to ship in October of 2016, but did not happen. Then in spring of 2017, it did not happen.

    But in January I went and bought Jabra elite wireless headphones and have never been happier! Don't tell me you're inventing the wheel when I have a pair of my ears from a different brand. By the way, I asked for a refund, and they said they can't do that due to how close they were to shipping back in spring. After stating that at anytime we could get our money back.

    Like I said, I have a pair of truly wireless headphones in my ear from Jabra. What's their excuse now?

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

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    • Jul 8, 2017

      Hamish Wickens

      So did you get a refund?

    • Jul 12, 2017

      Tylor

      No, I did not. By the way, they said that way back when they were supposed to ship in Spring. Technically they weren't close at all, it's now July and still no word.

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