Kokoon Nightbuds review: calming sounds with a snug fit

The Kokoon Nightbuds are an ideal fit for those that struggle to sleep, even if they are rather pricey

Kokoon Nightbuds
(Image credit: Kokoon)
T3 Verdict

The Kokoon Nightbuds are pricey but a great way to ensure you get a good night's sleep that is distraction-free from any surrounding noises. Bundling in some sleep-related insights further ensure these are more than 'just' a nice pair of earbuds.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Comfy fit for side and back sleepers

  • +

    Extensive sleep related features

  • +

    Impressive noise cancellation

  • +

    Useful sleep insights

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Sound quality isn't amazing

  • -

    Can take time to feel right in your ears

  • -

    Potentially a placebo (but an effective one)

In this Kokoon Nightbuds review, we're going to talk a lot about how well they performed for us. That's surely the point for a review, right? In the case of any sleep headphones or earphones, the experience is that bit more subjective than anywhere else. That's because we all sleep so differently with some of us benefiting from complete silence, while others need some soothing interaction as they close their eyes. That's why there are so many different options in the best sleep headphones roundup as different fits suit different needs. They're all quite the investment with the bulk only really working when snoozing, but we still think these could be a bit of a game changer.

Much like the Kokoon Relax headphones, this brand's over-ear option (originally called the Kokoon Sleep Headphones), they're designed to help you switch off and sleep through the use of some well-known techniques like pleasant white noise, relaxing meditation sessions, and breathing exercises. While our Kokoon Nightbuds vs Kokoon Relax sleep headphones face-off will compare the two options in detail, the main difference is that the Kokoon Nightbuds differ are a much more comfortable fit for side-sleepers. 

Like the rest of today's best wireless earbuds, they're designed to fit snugly in your ear. Because they're for nighttime wear specifically, these ones have a cable to ensure they don't get lost in your bed if they do fall out overnight (this is well-designed so there's no risk of you accidentally strangling yourself in your sleep).

Much like their more expensive siblings, the Kokoon Nightbuds also track sleep too. They're not as advanced as something like the Withings Sleep Analyzer but they're convenient and require very little effort from you to get set up.

Our main issues with the Kokoon Nightbuds are their sound quality and fit. Audio isn't their strong point. They're fine for listening to meditative tracks as you slowly slip into slumber, but you certainly won't use these outside of the bedroom. Also, the fit takes some getting used to, with the silicone eartips prone to remaining in your ears after an all-night session. Nevertheless, the benefits are clear to see.

Kokoon Nightbuds review: price and release date

The Kokoon Nightbuds launched in January 2022, and are priced at USD $250 / GBP £230 with grey being the only colour option. Access to the MyKokoon app is included in the price. In the UK, it's also possible to buy them via an annual membership which works out at £159 per year for the earbuds, access to the MyKokoon app and lifetime device warranty.

For now, buying direct is the only option if you want to grab yourself a pair of Kokoon Nightbuds.

Kokoon Nightbuds review: setup and use

Kokoon Nightbuds

(Image credit: Jennifer Allen)

The Kokoon Nightbuds are fairly easy to set up. Pairing with your smartphone is as simple as holding the pairing/power button down and going through the relevant options on your device. While it's technically not essential to install the MyKokoon app, you really won't get the full benefits from the Kokoon Nightbuds without doing so.

Setting up the MyKokoon app is similarly brief, and if you already own a pair of Kokoon headphones you've probably already done the bulk of the work in the past. The app remains not exactly stylish but it has all the features you could need while trying to sleep better.

Kokoon Nightbuds review: features

The Kokoon Nightbuds are pretty versatile when it comes to how you want to use them. You could just simply listen to anything you felt like from a podcast or your favorite music playlist but, obviously, the MyKokoon app is really where you should head.

There's a huge amount of content to search through. These include guided relaxation exercises which work pretty well to quiet your brain, and natural soundscapes like the sound of rain falling or rivers nearby. There are also podcasts designed to soothe your mind, calming musical pieces, and a choice of pink, white, and brown noise. Basically, the Kokoon Nightbuds and companion app recognise that we all rest in completely different ways.

Kokoon Nightbuds

(Image credit: Jennifer Allen)

It can seem intimidating at first. Spend a bit of time with its recommended programmes and some short sessions to guide you through how to relax, and you'll soon feel more at home. Some of what's included within the MyKokoon app has been seen before via apps like Calm or Headspace, but the beauty here is that you don't have to pay extra to use it. Instead, the MyKokoon app is effectively bundled in with the Kokoon Nightbuds so costs are non-existent once you've paid the initial price.

Like with any sleep tracking tool, it's important to get into the habit of using them regularly to reap the most benefits. In particular, the Kokoon Nightbuds have sleep sensors that shine an imperceptible light on your skin at night so they can track your sleep and heart rate. In conjunction, it also automatically fades sounds out as you fall asleep.

Kokoon Nightbuds review: sleep tracking

If you're considering the Kokoon Nightbuds, you're almost certainly most interested in how well it tracks your sleep, as well as how well it helps you snooze.

The Kokoon Nightbuds use an infrared light system to monitor your skin at night, thereby tracking your heart rate and whether you're asleep. It then offers up some key information like how long it took you to get to sleep and how long you slept for. Best of all, it adjusts the volume of the music or sounds you're hearing to match the depth of your sleep.

It works pretty well too, providing you don't fidget too much in your sleep and end up pulling the headphones out (yes, we were prone to doing this).

Kokoon Nightbuds review: comfort and fit

Kokoon Nightbuds

(Image credit: Jennifer Allen)

The Kokoon Nightbuds are perfectly designed for side sleepers who find headphones too awkward. While we liked the Kokoon Sleep Headphones for improving things for those people, the Kokoon Nightbuds make it better still.

The in-ear headphones use a curly cable design so you can wrap them neatly around your ears, ensuring a snug fit. It still takes a bit of getting used to. We found that the earphones need to be fitted quite tightly to ensure a snug fit all night long. There's also the issue of the eartips falling out. They're typical silicone tips so there's no harm here really. It's just you'll sometimes need to pull them from your ear separately from the earbuds themselves.

Between the cable keeping the two earbuds together is the main control box. This is what you plug in when charging up, and it has simple controls for volume and power. It looks unassuming but it'll last about 10 hours. Be aware that there's no auto-off function here so you'll need to remember to switch them off when they're not in use.

Kokoon Nightbuds review: audio performance

The Kokoon Nightbuds aren't really made for listening to music. They offer pretty good noise-masking (passive noise cancellation by another name) but they're not for using outside of bed really.

Everything sounds a tad quiet, a tad calm, and far from appropriate for listening to all the finer moments of your favorite songs. Is that an issue? Not in the slightest. These are made for a different purpose than the average pair of earbuds and the passive noise cancellation is the key feature when using them. They do a good job of cocooning you away from traffic noises, your partner's snores, or anything else your ears may encounter at night.

Such noise blocking is handy too when you simply want to zone out and listen to some meditative tracks to calm down after a long day.

Kokoon Nightbuds review: verdict

Kokoon Nightbuds

(Image credit: Jennifer Allen)

Like the bulkier Kokoon Sleep Headphones, the Kokoon Nightbuds need a little time to bed in (appropriately). They're more flexible than the alternative thanks to being so lightweight and easy to wrap around your head. Only the most fidgety of sleepers will have an issue here as they feel genuinely quite comfortable even when you turn in your sleep.

It does take time to get used to wearing earphones when asleep though but it's worth sticking with. The MyKokoon app learns alongside you, suggesting what works best for improving your sleep pattern. You could always use a free app instead and some regular earphones but you won't get the comfort of how well the Kokoon Nightbuds fit and the MyKokoon app is well laid out.

Potentially best suited to those new to the idea of relaxation techniques and meditation, the Kokoon Nightbuds are a great way to try to improve your sleeping habits. They're expensive for something that can only be used for a specific purpose, but factor in what a relaxation app subscription could cost and it soon works out good value.

Kokoon Nightbuds review: alternatives to consider

The Kokoon Nightbuds's rivals fall into two camps: headphones and sleep trackers. If you're keen to track your sleep above all else, then the best sleep trackers are what you need most. A wrist-based device from Fitbit or the Withings Sleep Analyzer will ensure you know exactly how well you're snoozing. They won't help you relax though.

Instead, something like one of the best wireless headphones alongside a subscription to Headspace or Calm could help, but they're often awkward to wear. Instead, the obvious alternative is the Kokoon Sleep Headphones. They're best for back sleepers, but they offer more extensive features than the Nightbuds and some great use of active noise-cancellation.

Jennifer Allen has been writing about tech for nearly a decade. Her specialisms include fitness wearables, Bluetooth speakers, and all things Apple.