Neckband headphones are convenient for those who either have small pockets or no pockets at all. They lay around your neck and are always readily available whenever you need them. If you’re looking for a dependable pair, the JBL Live 200BT Wireless are excellent with exceptional sound, battery life, and comfort.
Best Overall: JBL Live 200BT Wireless
The Live 200BT from JBL makes the top of our list due to its superb sound quality. For the price, the overall frequency response is mostly neutral and produces some of the best sound you can get for the price.
Also, you’ll get up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge. And once dead, it’ll take roughly 2 hours to charge to 100% which is above average for Bluetooth earbuds. In terms of Bluetooth audio codecs, you’ll only get SBC. Sound quality-wise, that’s fine for most people, but the latency won’t be ideal for watching videos or playing games. However, the Live 200BT makes up for this as you’re able to pair to up to two devices simultaneously. So, you can match them to your phone and computer at the same time and if you’re listening to music on your computer and a phone call comes in, they seamlessly switch so you can pick up the phone.
Depending on the type of person you are, you might get some comfort issues with how the Live 200BT sits in your ear. This is mostly due to the variety of ear tips in the box. If the ear tips in the box aren’t comfortable, you can always buy a set of third-party tips. You’ll be glad you did because the Live 200BT are super lightweight and breathable and are great for working out.
- Sound quality
- Dual device pairing
- Lightweight and breathable
- High latency due to only having SBC
JBL Live 200BT Wireless
Superb sound to price ratio
The best value when it comes to wireless neckband earbuds. Excellent sound quality, excellent battery life, and impressive comfort.
Best Battery Life: Mpow Jaws Gen-5
If you’re looking to get a pair of neckband earbuds without breaking the bank, the Mpow Jaws Gen-5 are a great selection. First and foremost, they support the latest Bluetooth 5.0 technology, which equates to better overall efficiency between the Jaws Gen-5 and your smartphone. You’ll also get superb battery life with the Jaws Gen-5 with up to 18 hours of battery life on a single charge. This is more than enough juice to last you through a few days use or a long flight.
Speaking of long flights, you also get active noise cancelation (ANC) with the Jaws Gen-5. As expected, the ANC isn’t mind-blowing, but it’s still better than no noise isolation while flying. You’ll also get a slight vibration when you get a call. It’s not the strongest vibration but super-useful if you’re planning to use these to take calls often.
Lastly, they’ll magnetically attach when not in use. This will force the earbuds to enter a super low power energy savings mode. Technically speaking, they’re not off because it’s still paired to your phone and you’ll even get the super cool vibrations for when you get a call.
The only real downsides to the Jaws Gen-5 is sound quality and comfort. Sound quality-wise, they’re average and what you’ve come to expect from super cheap wired earbuds. There’s not much dynamic range or soundstage. The bass is boosted quite a bit, the mid-range is neutral, and the treble is also boosted but not overbearing. For comfort, they’re good for about an hour or two and then you’ll probably need to take a break because your ears will need some time to breathe. Needless to say, the Jaws Gen-5 are not breathable at all.
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Battery life
- Active Noise Cancelation (ANC)
- Phone call notifications
- Magnetically attach when not in use
- Sound quality
Best Battery Life
Mpow Jaws Gen-5
Super long battery life
Just because it has a low price doesn’t mean it’s bad. The Jaws Gen-5 offer excellent battery life, Bluetooth 5.0, ANC, and a few smart features.
Best Sound Quality: Sennheiser HD1 In-Ear
For the price, Sennheiser’s HD1 In-Ear offer superb sound quality for a neckband headphone. The low- and mid-bass are neutral while the upper-bass has a slight boost giving the overall sound a boomy sound. The mid-range is neutral overall, and the treble is a bit recessed, giving the HD-1 In-Ears an overall darker sound signature. You’ll also get Bluetooth 4.1 with support for the AAC and aptX Bluetooth audio codecs. This means you’ll get slightly higher fidelity sound (though most won’t hear the difference) and lower latency when watching videos or playing games.
In terms of battery life, the HD1 In-Ear is capable of up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge. And once dead, you’ll need to plug in the included Micro-USB cable to re-charge the headphones from dead. You’ll also get dual-device pairing with the HD1 In-Ear. This means you can pair to your computer and your smartphone at the same time. And if you’re listening to a podcast on your computer and get a phone call, the HD1 In-Ear will automagically switch and allow you to pick up the phone call.
The only real downside with the HD1 In-Ear is that unlike most other neckband earbuds, the HD-1 In-Ear do not magnetically attach. This means they’ll dangle around your neck while not in use. Not a huge deal if you plan on using them while you have them on but something to think about.
- Sound quality
- Above-average battery life
- Simultaneous pairing with up to 2 devices
- AAC and aptX Bluetooth audio codecs
- No magnetic closure for easy storing
Best Sound Quality
Sennheiser HD1 In-Ear
Excellent HQ sound
The HD1 In-Ear pairs excellent sound quality with high fidelity Bluetooth audio codecs, two device pairing, and a good battery life.
Best For Phone Calls: EXFIT BCS-700
While not many make them anymore, phone calls are still relatively important. And for those who take a lot of phone calls, finding the right earbuds to do them can be a bit challenging. The EXFIT BCS-700 are an excellent pair of earbuds if you’re specifically looking for neckband earbuds. They’re designed for phone calls in mind as the earbuds retract when not in use. And when you do get a phone call, the BCS-700 automatically answer when you pull an earbud out, similar to opening a flip phone from yesteryear.
You’ll also get a few other nifty features with the BCS-700 such as IPX4 water resistance. This means you’ll be able to sweat with them in your ear if you plan on taking a call while working out. The rating also means they can withstand some light splashes. Also, you’ll get an ambient sound mode, something that isn’t typically available for earbuds or headphones at this price. With this mode enabled, the BCS-700 will use its onboard mics to pump in the environment around you. They allow you to hear your surroundings without removing your earbuds.
The only real downside with the BCS-700 is in the battery life department. It’s not bad, but it’s below average. They’re rated at 8 hours on a single charge which isn’t ideal for someone who’s taking phone calls throughout the day.
- Retractable earbuds
- Automatic answer
- IPX4 water resistance
- Ambient sound mode
- Battery life
Best For Phone Calls
Hello? Are you there?
With automatic answering, IPX4 water resistance, and ambient sound mode, the BCS-700 are excellent in most scenarios.
Best Workout Buds: SoundPeats Force Wireless
It’s never a bad time to work out, and you’ll need a great set of workout buds. When it comes to neckband earbuds, the SoundPeats Force Wireless is unrivaled in this price range. First and foremost, they have IPX7 water resistance. This means you earbuds can withstand anything from sweat to heavy rain without breaking a sweat (ha). Swimming or submerging the Force Wireless is not recommended.
But when you are doing pretty much anything else, the Force Wireless will do a superb job. And you’ll be able to use them for extended periods as well as they’re super comfortable. You won’t have issues with wearing them for extended periods. And with the Force Wireless, you’ll want to listen to them because the sound quality is excellent. It has an overall V-shaped sound signature which equates to boosted bass, a neutral mid-range and boosted treble. However, you won’t hear any fatigue from the boosted treble or muddiness with the boosted bass.
Battery life is excellent with the Force Wireless with up to 16 hours of usage on a single charge. Unfortunately, there’s no fast charging here so it’ll take roughly 3 hours to charge from dead to 100%. Both buds magnetically attach when not in use, so they’re not just dangling around your neck.
The SoundPeats Force Wireless have active noise cancelation (ANC) built-in, but you probably shouldn’t use it. Not only is the ANC not that great, to begin with, but it also has a substantial negative impact on the sound quality. Plus, if you’re working out, you’ll want to hear what’s going on around you.
- IPX7 water resistance
- Battery life
- V-shaped sound
- Magnetically attached
- ANC could be better
Best Workout Buds
SoundPeats Force Wireless
Don’t break a sweat
Great workout buds that have 16 hours of battery life, excellent sound reproduction and are IPX7 water-resistant.
Despite its decline in popularity, neckband headphones are still rather popular among a certain subset of people. The JBL Live 200BT is worth a look at if you’re looking for neckbuds that do everything. The EXFIT BCS-700 aren’t bad either if you’re looking for a pair that purely focuses on taking phone calls. It also has a few neat tricks up its sleeve.
Regardless, neckband earbuds are yet another option for consumers. You can never have too many choices!
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Peter Cao is an audio enthusiast. He spends his days testing headphones from over-ear open-back headphones to truly wireless earbuds. When he’s not working, he likes to analyze music and play video games.