Not too 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While neckband headphones might seem a bit outdated in comparison - after all, their core design hasn't changed much from the very first Bluetooth earphones - they're still very popular. Many people prefer how you can just 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 if you take them out to chat with a friend. Even though truly wireless technology is catching up, neckband headphones still generally have better ANC, microphone, and battery performance.
We’ve tested more than 620 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.
The best neckband Bluetooth headphones that we've tested are the Sony WI-1000XM2 Wireless. They're well-built and have a malleable silicone neckband that feels light and comfortable. They're more compact than the previous-generation Sony WI-1000X Wireless, and their in-line controls are much easier to use.
They have an active noise cancelling (ANC) feature that does a good job blocking distractions, like the rumble of bus and plane engines and background chatter. Their default sound profile lacks low bass, which may bother fans of genres like EDM and hip-hop, but you can customize it in the app with a graphic EQ and presets. Their continuous battery life of about 8.6 hours is just okay, but they recharge quickly and come with an audio cable included, so you can use them wired if you run out of battery life.
Unfortunately, their in-ear fit isn't the most comfortable and may be fatiguing after a while. Depending on how they fit you, these headphones may not be the most stable and may be prone to falling out of place when you move your head. That said, they come with several different tip size options to help you find the best fit, and if you like headphones with a neckband design, these are a versatile option.
The Sony WI-C600N Wireless are the best neckband earphones for working out that we've tested. These headphones have a comfortable and stable fit, so they shouldn't move around if you're out jogging. They're also decently well-built and have a malleable neckband that some users may prefer.
These headphones have a warm sound profile that delivers a touch of extra body and boom to mixes. That said, you can customize their sound to your liking using their companion app's graphic EQ and presets. Their controls are also easy to reach, allowing you to play or pause music and take calls without having to pull out your device. They have active noise cancelling (ANC) too, and even though they struggle to cut down the low rumble of bus engines, they do a much better job of blocking out ambient chatter.
Unfortunately, their continuous playback time of under six hours may not get you through your day without needing a recharge. Even though we don't currently test for it, they also don't have an IP rating for dust and water resistance, which some users may find a bit disappointing. However, if you want to take neckband headphones with you to the gym or park, they're a solid choice.
The Sony WI-C400 Wireless are the best neckband earbuds in the budget category that we've tested. While they're getting harder to find in stock, and their price can fluctuate above the $50 mark, these headphones offer a fair overall performance. Unlike other headphones on this list, you can also adjust the length of the cables to suit your needs.
Their sound profile is mostly well-balanced and versatile enough for lots of audio content, even though they lack low-bass. They also have a breathable and decently comfortable fit, while their continuous battery life of over 17 hours should easily last through long days at the office. They don't leak very much audio at high volumes either, and they can help passively isolate you from mid-range noise like ambient chatter.
Unfortunately, they don't block out almost any bass-range noise, like the low rumble of bus engines. Their build quality is also just okay, and the earbuds and the thin audio cables feel like weak points. That said, if you're shopping on a budget, these wallet-friendly headphones offer versatile, no-frills performance.
If you want an even cheaper pair of wireless neckband earphones, you may prefer the Sony WI-C310 Wireless. Their mic performance isn't as good as that of the Sony WI-C400 Wireless, and they aren't as stable, but they cost less, and their flexible design makes them a bit easier to store. They have a similar continuous battery life of roughly 17 hours, recharge more quickly, and are decently stable and comfortable. They passively isolate you from a good amount of mid-range noise like ambient chatter, and they leak very little audio, so you can listen to music at high volumes without bothering people around you too much. Unfortunately, they aren't very well-built since the cables and in-line controls feel fragile.
If you want budget-friendly in-ears with a plastic neckband design, get the WI-C400, but if you want to spend less and don't mind their flexible cable design, you may prefer the WI-C310.
Sep 22, 2021: We've checked our picks for accuracy and product availability. We haven't changed our recommendations.
Jul 27, 2021: Checked picks to make sure they represent the best recommendations and that the products are in stock.
May 28, 2021: Replaced the Sony WI-1000X with the Sony WI-1000XM2 Wireless as the pick for 'Best Neckband Headphones' because the WI-1000X are out of stock. Removed the Jabra Elite 65e Wireless as the pick for 'Best Neckband Headphones For Mic Quality' because they're also out of stock. Changed the category to 'Best Neckband Headphones For Working Out' and added the Sony WI-C600N.
Mar 30, 2021: Verified that all main picks were still in stock and represent the best choice for their given category. Added Beats Flex Wireless to Notable Mentions.
Jan 29, 2021: Removed the Beats BeatsX Wireless as 'Better-Built Budget Alternative' as it's now priced above the Budget category. Added the Sony WI-C310 Wireless as 'Cheaper Alternative'.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the 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.