Two names will invariably show up to the top when you’re looking for a bike communication system. Yes, Cardo and Sena seem to be at a cut-throat competition. So, which one’s better? Read on to find out.
Also, find out the answers to these frequently asked questions such as:
- What’s better? Cardo or Sena?
- Which is the best motorcycle intercom system?
- Can Cardo talk with a Sena?
- Does Sena 30S work with the 20S?
And many more!
But before we tackle those questions, find out our top picks from both the manufacturers.
Cardo Top Pick: Cardo Packtalk Bold
- The patented Dynamic Mesh Communication technology provides seamless, wide...
- Sound from JBL really unsurped sound quality and performance at all speeds....
- Hey Siri /OK Google Voice Activation Cardo's natural voice operation...
- iOS and Android Cardo Connect app for full remote control and complete...
The Packtalk Bold is our top pick from Cardo, and all for good reasons. The Cardo Packtalk Bold is a top-of-the-line model that packs a punch of features at an affordable price.
It has a universal fit and can connect with all brands and models of helmets. If you own a half helmet, it can be used with the Half Helmet kit too. The Packtalk Bold is quite a fuss among bikers due to its ease of use and superior audio quality.
You can seamlessly connect a small or large group of bikers, ensuring that your biking experience is both pleasant and thrilling.
Let’s go over some of its features.
- The mesh technology ensures superb and wide-range connection with your team. Whether you’re biking in a small or large team, experience stable connection with excellent wind protection.
- Stream music, calls, and GPS navigation with superior audio quality from the JBL speaker.
- Experience natural voice operation with integrated commands in several languages.
- Gain complete control over the presets via the iOS and Android apps. Controlling your system can’t be easier.
- Ride in the rain, wind, or sunshine without damaging your communication device. It is waterproof and dustproof.
- The system comes with 40mm speakers, speaker relocators, square and rectangular Velcro pads, glue plate, corded and hybrid microphones, and a USB cable.
The Cardo Packtalk has three buttons – the telephone button, an intercom button, and a media button. You can connect with and talk with up to four bikers via Bluetooth and up to fifteen people using a mesh intercom.
With a connection range of up to 8 miles, it’s an excellent choice for any biker looking for a fantastic motorcycle intercom. Whether you’re biking with your close pal or a huge group, it will meet your needs.
Sena Top Pick: Sena SMH 10 Bluetooth Headset and Intercom
- Wireless Bluetooth 3.0 headset and long-range intrecom with easy-control...
- Conference intercom among 4 riders and Universal intercom
- Advanced Noise Control
- Stereo Music / Track control via Bluetooth / Music Sharing between rider...
The Sena BT0003006 SMH 10 features among the best intercoms out there and is our favourite pick from Sena. You can’t get a more efficient one with its crystal clear audio system, long-range connection, and easy user interface.
With access to free updates, you get to operate with the company’s latest software. The Sena SMH 10 is a winner from all aspects you would consider in a motorcycle intercom, including affordability, audio quality, stability of the connection, and range.
Now let’s see its features.
- Wireless Bluetooth 3.0 headset allows you to make calls, share music, and converse with up to four riders at a distance of up to 980 yards away from each other.
- Minimum fuss and more safety with the jog dial. Easy user interface for a smooth ride across any terrain.
- Natural sound operations through a stereo headset with advanced noise control technology that cancels out background noise. Talk with your riding partner without any disturbance.
- Integrated voice prompts in English, German, Italian, Spanish, and French.
- Comes with Helmet Clamp Kit and Boom Microphone.
- Lightweight and compatible with all models of helmets.
The SMH10 renders excellent service and flawless navigation. Make hands–free calls, converse with your pals in a crystal clear, natural sound, or share and enjoy your favourite music hassle-free.
Although Sena doesn’t advertise its products to be waterproof, they’re, without doubt, able to work in the rain or sunshine without getting damaged. A single charge gives you up to 10 days of standby time and 12 hours of talk time.
SMH 10 is a simple but one of the most capable intercoms from Sena. Despite being on the lower end of technology, it made it to the top of our list, given its efficiency. It is perfect for any motorcycle enthusiast who commutes daily or wants to share a good ride with his partner.
Now, on to the most frequently asked questions!
Which is the best motorcycle intercom system?
Thanks to the ever-evolving technology, innovations in the motorcycle riding industry have hit a new level. Bikers worldwide are looking to enhance their gear and improve their riding experience.
With rising demand, much sub-standard technology has come up, making it difficult to choose the right one. You have lots of options, and investing in the wrong one could scam you out of your hard-earned money.
Sticking to the top brands may be the safest choice. And, among the leading manufacturers are the Cardo and Sena brands which have won the trust of bikers worldwide. They are undoubtedly the best intercom systems in the market, with the most capable devices that offer excellent features.
The best intercom systems should allow hassle-free communications over a long range with your fellow bikers. Plus, the audio quality must be superior. Both Cardo and Sena stand out among the others with several models that vary in price and technology.
Although picking the right model will come down to your specific need and budget, Cardo and Sena’s intercoms are the best ones that will give you your money’s worth of service.
Why should I get a motorcycle intercom system?
Biking can be thrilling but a solitary activity without a communication system. And, an interactive biking experience is impossible without a good intercom. Using a mobile phone while riding a bike can be dangerous, and you want to avoid a nasty accident.
Did you know that about 600 bikers are killed on the road in the UK every year? Statistics say that a biker is 40 times more likely to meet a fatal accident than a car driver.
Motorcycle intercoms not only add fun to biking but make riding safer. You can stay connected to your group and manage calls without moving a hand.
What’s better: Cardo or Sena?
Both Cardo and Sena are top leaders in the motorcycle intercom industry and offer significant technological innovations. They offer competitive prices and product features and hence is the go-to for most bikers.
Well, which one’s better? That will come down to individual preferences. But here is a little comparison of their features.
Premium versions of both brands employ mesh technology that enables riders to connect to large groups and establish stable connections over long-range. In Cardo intercoms with mesh technology, a biker can disconnect without disturbing the group.
Sena Mesh Technology can engage up to 30,000 bikers in a shared chat. If a rider loses connection when he goes outside the range, he will automatically connect once he re-enters the field.
Most Cardo models maintain a one-mile range while Sena takes the edge by an extra 0.2 mile. Both have excellent voice control features and audio systems.
Cardo is associated with JBL, a popular name in the audio world, making it a pioneer of new technology. Sena, too, offers excellent audio quality, and both manufacturers have put well-designed products out there for greater ease of use and installation.
Can a Cardo talk to a Sena?
Cardo intercom systems offer universal connectivity, and they can pair with other Bluetooth communication systems. Sena, too, comes with a universal intercom pairing feature.
If you and your mates have Cardo or Sena intercoms, talking to each other shouldn’t be a problem as all models have Bluetooth processors. Even high-end models that run on mesh technology also include Bluetooth.
To connect with a Cardo from Sena, press the ‘Jog Dial” and hold it for a few seconds. It will open the universal pairing mode. Release the Jog dial and connect it with the secondary Bluetooth device.
Mesh Technology intercoms, on the other hand, can only work with intercoms of the same brand. If your mesh intercom also has a Bluetooth processor, you can connect with an intercom system of another brand via Bluetooth.
What is the best Sena Intercom?
Sena has an impressive range of intercom systems across a wide price range and features. They offer a competitive price in the market, and they’re a leading manufacturer in the industry.
Several outstanding products are popular; however, narrowing the best one will depend on what you’re looking for in an intercom.
Our top pick from the Sena is the SMH10 that operates via Bluetooth. It is affordable, durable under all weather conditions, has excellent audio quality, and offers a stable rider-to-rider connection over a long-range. Sena intercoms are known to deliver the best sound.
For premium models, the 30K and 50 S models are excellent options among the best-rated intercoms. They are loaded with the latest features that enable robust connection and superior sound. With your companions at an easy reach and great music, you will be truly inspired to pursue adventure.
What is the best Cardo intercom?
Cardo intercoms are solid performers and a favourite name among the biking community. Cardo has a series of excellent intercoms, but the best one is the Packtalk Bold.
The Packtalk Bold uses a Dynamic Mesh Communication system and a natural voice operation feature that solves all biking pains. It includes a Bluetooth processor too, which enables you to connect with your friends on lower-end models.
Communication couldn’t be more effortless with this tiny but powerful device that has made it our top pick among Cardo intercom devices.
Other great options include the Freecom series. Check out some of the best devices down below in the review section.
Which one is better: Cardo Packtalk Bold or Slim?
The Cardo Packtalk Bold and Slim are both great products with slightly different features. Before we decide on the winner, let’s compare some of its features.
The first difference is the size and shape. The Packtalk Slim is impressively thinner than the Bold by 18.5mm, and it is also slightly shorter with flip-up antennae.
The Cardo Packtalk Bold has three buttons and a control wheel at the back, while the Slim version is more straightforward with three buttons and a volume control button that can be pushed up and down. Both versions have a natural voice operation system and are easy to operate.
Both versions have an impressive range of five to eight miles over mesh technology. But the Bluetooth communications system in Packtalk slim is slightly shorter by 0.6 miles.
Both have long-lasting batteries with about one-week standby and take about four hours for a complete charge. However, the difference is its location on the helmet.
The Packtalk Slim has a separate battery that you can mount at the back of the helmet. The Packtalk Bold, on the other hand, is easier to install with an integrated battery system.
Winner? Both are excellent intercom systems with their pros and cons. Again, it depends on your requirements and personal preferences.
How do I pick the right motorcycle intercom system?
The right motorcycle intercom system for any biker depends on the features he needs. For a solo biker who often hits the road, a simple Bluetooth intercom will suffice.
A short-range intercom with HD speakers, good battery life, and easy–to–use buttons will make the ride a pleasant experience. The Sena SMH 10 and Cardo Freecom are great choices.
For the truly adventurous who also like to take videos of the breathtaking views on the road trip, models like the 10C EVO might be worth investing in.
If you love riding in larger groups and want to remain connected with your team across all terrains, you need intercoms with mesh technology.
Check out other features and technological innovations such as voice activation, long-range, microphone technology, and audio quality. If you’ve figured out what your needs are, the recommendations on this list might just be for you.
Can Sena 50S connect with Cardo Packtalk?
In a large group, not all the riders will have the same brand of the communications system. So if you want to communicate, you’ll have to invest in the same brand.
But thanks to the manufacturers, the higher-end models, including the Sena 50S, have universal Bluetooth intercom, which allows you to pair with intercoms of other brands.
The Sena 50S and Packtalk are popular products and will pop up among users in a large group. They can’t be connected with Mesh Technology but can be paired via Bluetooth. Another way is to use one device as a second device, and one unit will function as the control unit, while the other must go into mobile pairing mode.
Does Sena 30K work with the 20S?
The Sena 30K and 20S have similar features, but the 30K is set at a higher level of innovation as it employs mesh technology. Both devices can connect and work well together via Bluetooth. However, the pairing is ideal if you are riding with only one pal.
Since Sena 30K incorporates mesh technology, it can connect several riders. If 20S users are connected with you, you will have to switch to Bluetooth mode to talk with them. While such pairing is not impossible, frequently switching from mesh to Bluetooth can be inconvenient and impractical in the long run.
If you are on a big team of bikers and want to remain connected seamlessly with the team, upgrading your device to a 30K may prove rewarding. Your pals won’t have to switch modes to talk with you, and it will improve the overall biking experience of the entire team.
If you are a solo biker or often go riding with a partner or few friends, the 20S is a good choice.
Which is better, Sena 30K or 20S?
Sena 30K and 20 S are identical models with similar cables, microphones, and speakers and a negligible price difference. Because of this, choosing the right one may be tricky. But there is one key difference that sets the two models far apart.
The Sena 30K is a premium product that uses patented and dynamic mesh technology, while the 20S works via Bluetooth.
If you like things simple, the 20S is for you. It has fewer features, but that makes it easy to operate. The 30K will leave you with more features to get a grip on. On the other hand, if you plan on a group ride with at least five members, the 30K’s technology will enhance your biking experience by miles.
You can create a self-healing connection with an unlimited number of riders in a mesh network of over 5 miles compared to Bluetooth’s 1.2-mile limit.
Sena 30K also includes the 20S’ Bluetooth processor. Hence, you can connect your new 30K with other old Sena models via Bluetooth. Considering the negligible price difference, 30K is undoubtedly the better deal.
Can you use Sena intercoms in the rain?
Sena communication systems do not have a waterproof label, unlike the Cardo. However, they are extremely weather resistant. Unless you immerse it utterly underwater for a long duration, you don’t have to worry about wearing it in a heavy downpour. Sena Expand is the only model that has a water and sweat-resistant label.
How long does Sena take to charge?
Sena models take about 2.5 hours to get fully charged. They have good battery life, and a fully charged Sena intercom will give you a talk time of about 6 to 9 hours.
Sena headsets come with a USB cable that you can insert into a power source. In case the supplied cable is damaged or lost, any standard USB cable can be used.
Once fully charged, the LED will turn blue. The red LED indicates the battery level by flashing rapidly when you power on the headset.
What is the ambient mode on Sena 30K?
The ambient mode on the Sena 30K allows you to control sound. When you switch on the ambient mode, the mic inside your helmet is put on mute, and the external microphone is activated. This voice command enables you to hear external voices such as environmental sounds or your fellow rider’s voice.
Cardo FRC4P001 Freecom 4 Plus
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The Cardo Freecom 4+ makes your riding experience stand out. You can connect with three devices and even with different brands at a long range. The in-built FM radio plays on JBL speakers and has a battery life of 13-hours operational time.
- Cardo Freecom 4+ supports conferences for four riders within a fantastic range of 1.2 km. It has a universal pairing feature which means it can be connected with other brands’ devices, and it can connect with up to 15 other riders.
- Experience an optimized sound quality from JBL speakers that allow consistent, high-quality audio at all speeds.
- Connect with a portable power bank or your bike’s battery if you run out of power and extend the operation time.
- Easy to follow guides for quick installation.
- Freecom 4 + comes with base plates, glue plates, slip-on clamps, boom mic, corded mic, USB cable, JBL speaker, and sic Velcro patches.
There are many programming controls from the smartphone app that includes FM presets, automatic volume control, and mic sensitivity control. The voice command feature allows you to keep your hands on the bar as it operates 24 verbal commands.
Cardo Scala Freecom 4 Duo
- The world leader in motorcycle communicators. Connecting riders since 2004....
- Rider to passenger short range intercom keeps you both connected at all...
- Universal pairing to conduct intercom conversations with non-cardo headsets
- WATERPROOF and dustproof, Bluetooth 4.1, 13 hour talk time, interchangeable...
The scala Freecom duo has better ranges and intercom than its predecessors. The compact design, measures 2.9 x 1.8 x 0.6 inches, and it comes with an interchangeable hybrid boom and wired microphone.
The dual-purpose USB cable allows you to charge or download files, and the pack includes Velcro spacers, a wall charger, and glue plates.
- Four-way conferencing with a range of 1.2 kilometres. Your team adventure gets more fun with the Scala Freecom 4. The intercom also allows you to pair with non-cardo devices. So, there’s less hassle if any of your team members are on a non-cardo intercom.
- Pair with up to two devices via Bluetooth.
- Built-in FM Radio with RDS. Listen to your favourite music station and share it with your friends too.
- Hook it up with your phone via a smartphone app and manage your calls hands-free. Speed dial your family or best buddy with one touch of a button.
- It is dustproof and waterproof with IP67 certification. Enjoy your ride without worry, even in extreme weather conditions.
If you are a biking enthusiast, this intercom will improve your communication with your pals and up your excitement.
Cardo Freecom 1 Plus
- World’s most advanced Bluetooth communication system for Solo or Rider to...
- Fully waterproof/dustproof, Parallel Audio Streaming, Self-Adjusting Volume...
- iOS and Android Cardo Connect App for full remote control ability and...
- Universal Fitment: compatible with all helmet makes and models. For use...
The Cardo Freecom 1 Plus can be used for solo or two people on a bike. So you’re on one bike but want entertainment on your adventures, this is for you. It doesn’t have all the features but is perfect for a solo ride or a weekend trip with your best buddy.
- Neat and compact design that doesn’t stick out. It fits snugly against the side of the helmet.
- Excellent audio quality with 400 mm speakers that have an advanced processor.
- Universal pairing- pair with an intercom of any brand.
- iOS and Android Cardo Connect App enables you to control presets efficiently.
- Upgradable firmware, 3.5 mm output jack, in-built FM radio, and music sharing.
- 13-hour operating time.
This is a decent product that gives you your money’s worth. The audio is brilliant, and you can entertain your passengers throughout the ride with your favourite music.
If you’re big on the wired microphone and are not satisfied with the boom mic alone, you’ll have to install it separately, which is pretty much the only negative point. It is easy to install and use and is overall an excellent intercom.
Sena SMH5-UNIV Intercom
- Jog Dial and Ergonomics: The Jog Dial allows users to easily control volume...
- Bluetooth: Sena's headsets come standard with Bluetooth 3.0 technology...
- Universal Intercom(TM): The Universal Intercom(TM) is a unique technology...
- Music Sharing: The music sharing feature provides the ability for two...
The SMH5 from Sena is a tiny compact intercom system that effortlessly slides into all helmets and is suitable for everyday use. The kit includes two intercom modules, mounting brackets, USB cables, headset assemblies, and foam covers for the microphone tip.
- Jog Dial enables you to access the device’s functions and control volume.
- Bluetooth 3.0 technology allows you to make and receive calls, listen to music, or follow instructions of GPS navigation.
- Universal Intercom technology for pairing with intercom systems of other brands. Advanced voice control cancels out background voice, ensuring clear audio as you talk on the phone.
- Lithium metal batteries with lasting operating time.
- Upgradable firmware to ensure you’re always with the latest technology.
The SMH5 is similar to the SMH10 but smaller with slightly lesser content. At its price, it is a total steal. You can stream music via Bluetooth from your music player or phone.
It can only be charged with a USB port, unlike the SMH10, which has a power adapter. Despite limited features, the SMH5 significantly adds to the safety of any biker. The manual is printed in several languages and will provide simple and easy steps to set up the system.
- Two modes of Mesh: Open Mesh Intercom allows you to communicate with a...
- Mesh 2.0 Intercom range can be extended up to 8 km (5 miles) with a minimum...
- Bluetooth Intercom has a working distance of up to 2.0 km (1.2 miles) in...
- Pair the 30K to your smartphone via Bluetooth and you can take/make phone...
The Sena 30K is undoubtedly one of the most popular intercom systems and a favourite among many bikers because of the mesh technology.
While it uses the same components as the 20S, the mesh technology makes all the difference. With this, bikers can connect with 15 other devices and reconnect automatically even if they drop out of range.
The kit includes a wired microphone and a boom microphone, two speakers, rubber spacers, glue pads, and a user manual.
- Sena 2.0 Mesh Technology that can connect an unlimited number of 30K users. Create a private group and communicate with up to 24 members via the Group Mesh Intercom.
- Intercom range of 8 miles.
- A dual antenna allows you to use all the features of the intercom simultaneously.
- Pair it with your smartphone and manage calls, listen to music, or navigate your way.
- Built-in FM radio and RDS with advanced noise control.
The 30K is efficient with over 8 hours of talk time. It recharges quickly and is aesthetic. At just 61 grams, it is hardly noticeable. For every wild adventurer and biking group big on technology, this model is a perfect gear for hitting the road.
Sena 50S Intercom
- Mesh 2.0 Intercom lets you communicate with other riders within a range of...
- Multi-Channel Open Mesh allows communication with a near-limitless number...
- Bluetooth 5 connectivity to your smartphone for access to music, phone...
- Voice-activated digital assistant access to utilize a smartphone's...
The Sena 50 S is a unique communication system with impressive features. It ensures a robust and reliable connection via mesh technology with Bluetooth connectivity, voice-activated digital assistant, upgraded HD speakers and more.
- Mesh Intercom with two modes. Open mesh intercom helps you connect with unlimited riders in the network, and Group Mesh allows you to privately communicate with up to 24 participants.
- Includes boom mic, wired mic, and wire boom mic.
- Nine hours talk time with mesh intercom and 14 hours on Bluetooth intercom.
- Give commands to your Google Assistant and Siri for hands-free function. Take phone calls, listen to music or GPS navigation.
- Use the Sena 50 Utility app to control your device. Save your favourite radio stations or adjust the sound quality.
- Excellent upgraded HD speakers with great bass and clarity.
- Wi-Fi cable for charging your device and downloading the latest updates of the firmware.
Sena 50K has features similar to the 30K. However, the significant difference is the high volume and higher bass sound quality of the 50 S. The battery life is also longer by about an hour and takes less time to charge to the total capacity. The Bluetooth protocol 5.0 significantly raises the stability of the connection.