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The 4 Best Neckband Headphones - Winter 2023 Reviews

Best Neckband Headphones

Not long ago, if you wanted wireless earbuds with active noise cancelling (ANC), or even just a good battery life, neckband headphones were the way to go. However, companies have been getting better and better at cramming these powerful features into ultra-compact truly wireless earbuds.

While neckband headphones might seem like an outdated design, they're still very popular. Many people prefer that you can put them around your neck and forget about them. You can enjoy having your music at arm's reach all day long without needing to worry about dropping your earbuds or forgetting where you put them. Even though truly wireless technology is catching up, neckband headphones still generally have better ANC, microphone, and battery performance.

We’ve tested more than 700 headphones, and below, you'll find our recommendations for the best wireless neckband headphones. If you’re looking for our top picks of other earbuds or in-ear headphones, check out our picks for the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds and in-ears, the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds for running and working out, and the best noise cancelling earbuds.

  1. Best Neckband Headphones

    The best neckband headphones we've tested are the Sony WI-1000XM2 Wireless. These headphones are the next generation of the Sony WI-1000X Wireless and feature more intuitive controls and a more flexible neckband. They feel well-built and come with a great hard case to help protect them when you're on the go. Thanks to their active noise cancelling (ANC) system, they can block out a very good amount of ambient noise at the office or during a commute. They have roughly eight and a half hours of continuous battery life and support multi-device pairing, meaning you can connect them to your smartphone and PC at the same time. You can also plug them in and use them wired if the battery dies at the wrong moment.

    Fans of bass-heavy genres like metal may find their sound lacking in thump and rumble, but they have a very accurate mid-range response that makes them well-suited for vocal-centric content like podcasts or pop music. You can customize their sound profile with the companion app's EQ and presets. Unfortunately, their in-ear fit can be fatiguing over time. The buds can also fall out of your ear with moderate head shakes, which is a little disappointing if you want to wear them during a run in the park. On the plus side, they come with several differently-sized pairs of ear tips to help you get the best fit.

    See our review

  2. Best Upper Mid-Range Neckband Headphones

    If you want premium-quality performance at a lower price, check out the Jabra Elite 65e Wireless. These headphones aren't as customizable as the Sony WI-1000XM2 Wireless since they lack features like button remapping and virtual surround sound. However, they have a more comfortable fit for most people and are less likely to fall out of your ears thanks to their stability fins. Their bass-heavy sound profile adds rumble and thump to your audio, which makes them better for genres like EDM and hip-hop. Instruments may lack a bit of presence and detail in genres like classical and jazz, but their companion app has a graphic EQ for sound customization.

    Compared to our top pick, their ANC system does a better job of blocking mid-range and high-pitched sounds, like chit-chat at the office or your laptop's fan. However, the Sony headphones' ANC is more effective with bass-range noise, like rumbling bus and plane engines, so they may be a better choice if you need headphones for your commute. Also, while they have a similar continuous battery life of around eight and a half hours, they can't be used wired if they run out of power.

    See our review

  3. Best Mid-Range Neckband Headphones

    The Sony WI-C400 Wireless are our pick for the best neckband earphones at the mid-range price point. They're much cheaper than the first two picks on this list and lack features like ANC, multi-device pairing, and a companion app. Still, if you're looking for a basic pair of headphones, they offer a decently comfortable fit and last 17.5 hours on a single charge, meaning they'll last through your workday and commute. Also, unlike other headphones on this list, the earbuds' cables are adjustable, which can help prevent them from getting caught and coming out of your ear.

    Their sound lacks low bass, but it's well-balanced otherwise, so vocals and lead instruments are clear and detailed, making them a good choice for content like podcasts and audiobooks. Although they don't have ANC, these earbuds passively block out a decent amount of mid-range ambient noise, like background conversations. Unfortunately, they don't isolate you from bass-range noise like loud construction sites or planes passing overhead. Their build quality is just alright—the audio cables feel thin, and the plastic the earbuds are made from feels cheap. Also, they can be harder to find online compared to the other picks.

    See our review

  4. Best Budget Neckband Earphones

    Need a neckband without a neck-breaking price tag, try the Beats Flex Wireless. They're technically neck cable headphones with a thin, flexible cable instead of a more rigid neckband, but you may find this design more comfortable for all-day portability. They're also one of the best neckband earbuds for apple users thanks to their W1 chip, which lets you seamlessly pair them with other devices in your Apple ecosystem.

    Their bass-heavy sound profile delivers a touch of extra thump, rumble, and boom to mixes, making them nice for genres like trap and DnB. They're also well-built, last roughly 11 hours on a single charge, and come in a few different colors, so you can find a look that matches your style. However, they lack ANC and struggle to block out bass-range frequencies, like engine noise, during a commute. Due to their in-ear fit, they do a much better job cutting down office chatter.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear/HD1 In-Ear Wireless: The Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear/HD1 In-Ear Wireless are neckband headphones with longer battery life than the Sony WI-1000XM2 Wireless. Their app has a parametric EQ, but they don't perform as well and are much more expensive. See our review
  • Sony WI-C310 Wireless: The Sony WI-C310 Wireless are neck cable headphones that are cheaper than the Beats Flex Wireless. They offer a more neutral sound profile you might like if you're not a fan of a bass-heavy sound but aren't as well-built or comfortable and lack the W1 chip. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Jan 31, 2023: Quality of life text update for better flow and readability.

  2. Nov 24, 2022: Rearranged article to make it easier to find what you're looking for. Added the Jabra as the 'Best Upper Mid-Range' pick.

  3. May 16, 2022: Added the Beats Flex Wireless as 'Best Neckband Earphones For iPhone'. Moved the Sony WI-C310 Wireless to Notable Mentions.

  4. Mar 17, 2022: Checked our picks for accuracy and product availability. However, there hasn't been a change in our recommendations.

  5. Jan 17, 2022: Checked our picks for product availability and accuracy. There hasn't been a change in our recommendations.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best neckband Bluetooth headphones and best wireless neckband earphones to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).

If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our wireless in-ear and earbud headphones reviews. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection.

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