The best neckband headphones you can buy

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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 is an excellent choice with exceptional sound, battery life, and comfort.

Best Overall: JBL Live 200BT Wireless

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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 flat. They produces some of the best sound you can get for its form factor and price.

You’ll also get up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge. And once dead, they will 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 pair 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 to your phone to answer the call.

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.

Pros:

  • Great sound quality
  • Dual device pairing
  • Super lightweight and breathable

Cons:

  • Comfort out of the box could be better
  • High latency due to only having SBC

Best Overall

JBL Live 200BT Wireless

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  • $46 from Amazon

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

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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, ANC performance 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, however you’ll get super cool vibrations for when you get a call.

The Jaws Gen-5 have two major flaws: 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.

Pros:

  • Bluetooth 5.0 support
  • Superb battery life
  • Active Noise Cancelation (ANC)
  • Phone call notifications
  • Magnetically attach when not in use

Cons:

  • Sound lacks dynamic range and soundstage
  • Comfort could be better

Best Battery Life

Mpow Jaws Gen-5

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  • $25 from Amazon

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 CX 7.00

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For the price, Sennheiser’s CX 7.00 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 CX 7.00 an overall darker sound signature.

In terms of battery life, the CX 7.00 are 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 earbuds from dead. You’ll also get dual-device pairing with the CX 7.00. 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 CX 7.00 will automagically switch and allow you to pick up the phone call.

The only real downside with the CX 7.00 is that unlike most other neckband earbuds, the CX 7.00 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.

Pros:

  • Great, warm sound signature
  • Above-average battery life
  • Simultaneous pairing with up to 2 devices

Cons:

  • No magnetic closure for easy storing
  • Micro-USB for charging

Best Sound Quality

Sennheiser CX 7.00

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  • $89 from Amazon

Excellent HQ sound

The CX 7.00 pairs excellent sound quality with high fidelity Bluetooth audio codecs, two device pairing, and a good battery life.

Best For Phone Calls: Samsung Level U

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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 take them can be a bit challenging. The Samsung Level U are an excellent pair of earbuds if you’re specifically looking for neckband earbuds that are great for phone calls.

The Level U features magnets on both earbuds that allow them to magnetically attach when the earbuds are not in use. They’re not off as the earbuds are still paired to your phone, but it enters a super low power mode so that the earbuds are always ready for use when you put them in your ear.

The Level U are pretty good when it comes to battery life. You get up to 11 hours of battery life on a single charge and charge over Micro-USB. This isn’t ideal and don’t feature fast charging which means they’ll take roughly 3 hours to charge from dead.

The only real downside with the Level U is in terms of comfort. They’re great to use in bursts but if you’re planning on using them for longer periods of time, you’ll likely start feeling discomfort as the ear tips aren’t soft.

Pros:

  • Great for phone calls
  • Magnetically attaches when not in use
  • Long battery life

Cons:

  • Comfort could be better

Best For Phone Calls

Samsung Level U

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  • $25 from Amazon

Hello? Are you there?

With long battery life and great convenience features the Level U from Samsung are excellent in most scenarios.

Best Workout Buds: Philips Wireless

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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 Philips Wireless is unrivaled in this price range. First and foremost, they feature IPX5 water resistance. This means you earbuds can withstand light or moderate working out and heavy rain without breaking a sweat (ha). Swimming or submerging the Philips Wireless is not recommended. The Philips Wireless also feature a vibration motor to notify you when you’re getting a call. When the earbuds are not in use, this feature enables and lets you know when you’re getting a call.

But when you are doing pretty much anything else, the Philips 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 Philips Wireless, you’ll want to listen to them because the sound quality is excellent. They have 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 Philips Wireless with up to 8 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.

Pros:

  • IPX5 water resistance
  • Superb comfort
  • Long battery life
  • Great V-shaped sound
  • Call notifications

Cons:

  • Micro-USB for charging

Best Workout Buds

Philips Wireless

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  • $55 from Amazon

Don’t break a sweat

Great workout buds that feature 8 hours of battery life, excellent sound reproduction and are IPX5 water resistant.

Bottom line

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 Samsung Level U 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! If you’re looking for the best wireless headphones in general, don’t forget to check out our article on best wireless headphones.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

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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.