Sena SMH5 vs SMH10: Detailed Comparison by an Owner

Are you confused between the Sena SMH5 and the Sena SMH10? There are many features that these two share and this creates confusion about which one is better and which one to buy. I own both of them and have been using them for the last two years. 

There are some minor differences between the Sena SMH5 and SMH10 that you need to understand first before making your decision. 

Sena SMH10 has a slightly better range and features compared to the SMH5, and this makes it a little bigger in size as well, the SMH10 comes with an AUX port and has better connectors that can last long. In short, Sena SMH10 is built for long rides but the Sena SMH5 is made for casual and short rides.

Sena SMH5Sena SMH10
Dimensions2.8 in x 1.8 in x 1.2 in3.3 in x 2.2 in x 1.5 in 
Bluetooth3.03.0
Talk time8 hours12 hours
Range400m or  0.25 miles900m or 0.55 miles
No. of Device Connected 84
Weight40g (Headset), 37 oz (Clamp)60g (Headset), 84g (Clamp)
Charging Time2.5 hours2.5 hours

Sena SMH5 vs SMH10

You are riding your motorcycle, feeling badass, but imagine having no music to support this scene? Like us, if you too are looking for a Bluetooth headset and intercom for motorcycles, then Sena is among the best in the market! 

It designs its products to inspire you in the pursuit of adventures. But out of the various models that Sena offers, we have narrowed it down to the two best options available for you!

Sena SMH5 and SMH10 are very popular and highly reliable. But before you make a decision, let’s try to understand the difference between these two intercom headsets! 

Differences Between SMH5 and SMH10

We’re not going to complicate the differences between the two headsets unnecessarily. The salient differences between SMH5 and SMH10, the two excellent Bluetooth headsets are:

Sena designs the SMH5 primarily for scooter riders, and the SMH10 is suitable for motorcycle riders. Why do we say that? The body of the SMH10 is pretty huge compared to SMH5, so you can adjust the dials or change settings even when you have your gloves on! 

The SMH10 will allow up to 900m distance between riders while being used as an intercom. However, the SMH5 allows only a 400m distance, i.e., rider to passenger communication. Additionally, the former enables 4-way multi-pair conferencing, meaning that up to 4 riders can talk to one another!

You will benefit from the 12 hours of talk time with SMH10 and 8 hours of talk time with SMH5. Likewise, the former gives ten days of standby, and the latter offers up to 7 days. 

Another point of difference is that the SMH10 allows both Bluetooth and corded audio input, while the SMH5 only allows Bluetooth audio input. However, it comes with a detachable microphone. 

So, if you only want to chill by listening to music or the GPS guides, no dangling microphone will disturb you throughout the ride. 

Sena offers a micro USB cable with the SMH10; on the other hand, SMH comes with three charging options- a micro USB cable, bike cig charger, and AC power adapter. 

The Sena SMH5 has many models to offer, and each has some minor differences in terms of features, but you can get an idea about the differences by looking at this small table:

Sena SMH5 vs SMH10

Sena SMH5 Review

Sena released the SMH5 in 2014 in an attractive black color. The small body of the headset makes it lightweight and easy to use. What makes this user-friendly is that it only has two buttons that are easy to locate even with thick winter gloves on! 

Setting up the SMH5 is easy and intuitive. You can use the mounting clip or stick-on mount on the helmet’s left. These clamps are highly secure and hold the cables well. 

Sena SMH5 Review

The Jog Dial interface lets you raise or lower the volume by simply turning the dial, and the red-colored ‘phone’ button enables you to answer calls, turn on or off the intercom! 

Whew, easy, right? With this headset, Sena has ensured that every user can easily access all features with the two handy controls.

Not only does this Sena unit allow you to communicate with the other passenger, but it also lets you play music via Bluetooth, answer and make calls, and use the GPS device. Pairing the headset with other Bluetooth devices is easy. 

Once the device is fired up, press and hold the red-colored ‘phone’ button in pairing mode, a fast blinking red and blue LED will indicate that the headset is now ready to be paired. 

Bring the other Bluetooth device like an iPod or phone closer to the headset in pairing mode, and voila! They are paired! 

Sena SMH5 intercom Review

The decent battery life of SMH5 is suitable for a short road trip and gives a talk time of up to 8 hours. To charge the device, connect the USB cable to a port on your computer and watch the headset come to life!

A detachable microphone in the unit ensures that it clearly hears your voice even in strong winds, thus ensuring wind noise reduction. SMH5 offers outstanding sound quality with noise reduction and impressive volume. We recommend you place the speaker close to the ears while wearing earplugs for safety. 

This Bluetooth headset will bust the myth that you need to play loud music to drown out the noise of the wind. It lets you listen to music or communicate with your partner with utmost ease.

Pros

  • Detachable microphone
  • Lightweight
  • Compact

Cons

  • Average volume

Our take on the product: SMH5 is the ideal Bluetooth headset and intercom set if you are going on a weekend trip with your partner. The detachable mic catches your voice well, and the easy interface makes it handy and user-friendly! 

Sena SMH10 Review

The SMH10 has a unique approach in its design and layout, which makes it easy to use. You will be shocked to see that it only has one intuitive button- a phone button! 

You can also increase or decrease the headset’s volume by rotating what Sena calls the Jog Dial. The single integrated button ensures that there is minimum fuss and maximum safety while you drive.

Installing it in your helmet is pretty easy. You can use the clamp mount or the stick-on mount that Sena includes with this. Rubber pads on both sides of the mount offer additional grip and protect the helmet. 

Sena SMH10 Review

To turn the Sena SMH10 on, press and hold the phone button with the Jog Dial for about 2-5 seconds and watch the headset fire to live! 

It allows a four-way conference intercom with a 900m range. This multi-pair feature lets you connect with four persons in the line-of-sight distance. 

You can also easily pair two mobile phones or other MP3 audio devices via Bluetooth. Additionally, you can connect the headset to non-Bluetooth devices with a 3.5mm jack. 

You benefit from 12 hours of talk time and ten days standby, so the SMH10 offers more talk time than the SMH5. None of us like the loud crackling noise of the wind as it disrupts communication among motorcycle riders. Thanks to the loud volume output of SMH10, you can still hear your fellow riders with minimum noise interference. 

Another feature employed by SMH10 is that there are two mics types- a boom mic and a wired mic. For flip-up helmets, a boom mic is more suitable and easily clamped on, and for full-face helmets, the wired mics are more appropriate. 

The slim speakers offer clear and loud audio output with astounding quality without pressing a lot of buttons. 

You can also easily access Siri to ask questions and adjust volume independently for each function. This means you can set different volumes for music, calls, or Siri! 

Pros

  • Four-way conference intercom
  • Two mic designs
  • AUX port

Cons

  • Bulky body

Our take on the product: The SMH10 by Sena ensures that you have a memorable riding experience with your companions even in longer ranges. 

It allows 900m of four-way conference intercom and lets you make and receive calls after connecting it to a Bluetooth-enabled phone. The jog dial and the phone bottom are large enough to be accessed even in thick riding gloves! 

Conclusion 

We hope you got the significant differences between the two units from Sena. Although different, they are alike in the sense that they both deliver high-quality audio with noise reduction. 

So, the question isn’t which of the two units, SMH5 and SMH10, is better. It is, which Bluetooth headset and intercom suits best for YOU?

However, if we had to tell which Sena unit to go with, we would suggest you identify the purpose well. Why would you need multi-way intercom pairing if you’re going on a short trip with a companion sitting right behind you? 

All you need is a device that lets you talk to your partner, listen to music, and answer calls! Sena SMH5 does just that! This unit is lightweight and designed mainly for scooter riders. 

But, if you are going for a longer trip with fellow motorcycle lovers, SMH10 is the real deal! With a four-way conference intercom, you can connect with three other riders on your journey at a range of up to 900m! 

This unit is rather bulky and does not come with a detachable mic, so even if you just want to listen to music, you’ll have the mic dangling around your face. 

So, based on your requirements, buy the most appropriate Sena headset to enjoy the ride, journey, and destination! 

Motorcycle Intercom Buying Guide 

If you don’t like both of them, then you can go with another intercom, but there are some important points that you should keep in mind before buying any intercom. Here are those important points:

  • Range of Communication: How far can the intercom of the helmet connect? Of Course, if you’re only looking to talk to the passenger, a high range does not matter.

However, if you tag along with other riders, you may want a greater range of communication. If you’re riding in areas with no traffic, you won’t need to cover a considerable distance; however, if there’s traffic and you have spread apart, you need an extended range of communication.

  • Users: How many users can connect with each other via the communication system you choose? Some intercoms support two users, while others support 3-4 users. 

So, based on the number of riders, choose an appropriate intercom. But remember, the more people it supports, the costlier it becomes! 

  • Connectivity: Does the intercom connect with your phone or other MP3 devices? We all want an epic playlist for our adventurous rides over the weekend. Go for those headsets that pair via Bluetooth easily and also allow corded audio inputs. 

So, if you don’t want to connect your phone or other Bluetooth-enabled devices, you can still use a jack input to connect to a corded audio input. 

  • Battery Life: Nobody likes to be interrupted in the middle of an exciting conversation. Imagine if that happens on your road trip! Frustrating, right?

Go for headsets that have a longer battery life that is reliable for long hours of talk-time! Another aspect is the amount of time it takes to charge. Buy those headsets that get charged in a short span of time. 

  • Installation: Check the type of helmet before buying a Bluetooth headset and intercom for your helmet. The unit should easily install in your helmet and must stay secure. Most of the intercoms come with clamp mounts or stick-on mounts that stay steady. 
  • Design: Nobody wants a heavy, bulky headset while riding! Go for those intercoms that have a lightweight body and allow you to access the buttons easily. 

Most of us wear gloves while going on an adventure. We do not want to stop at a corner, take off the glove, and then raise the volume of our favorite song. Some units have larger dials and buttons that offer easy access, even in thick gloves!

  • Audio Quality: An intercom should essentially minimize the sound of wind and other noise to enable clear communication between riders. 

Imagine talking to the passenger through an intercom and still being disturbed by the noise of the wind? Wouldn’t you rather scream at each other?! Oh no, please don’t! Thankfully, both SMH5 and SMH10 promise to reduce the noise of the wind! 

FAQs

What is the difference between Sena SMH10 and SMH5?

As we mentioned, the significant differences include battery life, range of connection, and supported users. SMH5 also indicates the remaining battery life, while SMH10 does not. On the other hand, SMH10 has longer battery life. 

Is Sena SMH10 waterproof? 

Waterproof? No. Water-resistant? Yes! The trick here is to wear the headset while it rains but can not immerse it in water. So, if you have the headset on as it pours down for hours, you need not worry, as several users have stated that the SMH10 worked just fine after 3-4 hours of rain! 

Does the Sena SMH10 have FM radio?

No, Sena SMH10 does not have FM radio. You can enjoy listening to music by connecting the Sena SMH10 to a phone or other MP3 device via Bluetooth or jack input. 

Is Sena SMH5 waterproof?

Just like SMH10, this too is water-resistant. So, you can wear it in inclement weather but can not submerge the unit in water. 

Can Sena SMH5 pair with Cardo?

Yes, just like Sena connects with other Sena units, it can connect to Cardo in the Universal Pairing Mode.

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