Neckband headphones never quite took off as much as some people thought they would. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have a market.
Considering these were the first earbuds to really sport proper ANC, they should not be ignored. Sony’s successful WF-1000XM3’s are the successors to the WI-1000 range, which sported the now world-renowned ANC that has pushed Sony to the forefront of noise-canceling headphones.
Neckband headphones are also great for gym enthusiasts looking for some extra stability when going out for a run or heavy lifting sessions. Not to mention the added battery life that comes with the neckband.
Here is our review of the Best Neckband Headphones money can buy. So, let’s go through them and find the perfect ones for you…
Top 5 Best Neckband Headphones To Consider In 2021 Reviews
1 Bose Quietcontrol 30 Wireless Headphones – Best Sound Quality Neckband Headphones
Bose’s Quitecontrol 30 wireless headphones are the best-sounding pair of neckband headphones we’ve had the pleasure of experiencing. The curved neckband doesn’t just offer excellent comfort but also keeps it secure around your neck, leaving you stress-free.
Anywhere, any time…
These headphones are perfect for any situation. Whether you want to keep out office distractions, commute to work, or dance around the house while cleaning, these headphones won’t disappoint.
The earbuds fit comfortably and secure, without putting too much pressure on your ears. These headphones had us listening to our favorite tunes for hours on end, without any sort of discomfort.
On offer here is Bose’s excellent, well-balanced sound that suits all genres of music without losing any of the perks each has to offer.
EDM sounds alive, with a great thump added to the low ends, without losing any ambiance or space offered by the wet, reverbed synths.
Metal is heavy, guitars cut through the mix cleanly and sharp, whilst the drums hammer away in the background.
Protects your hearing…
The noise-canceling is not as great as Sony’s WF-1000XM3 earbuds but is still decent enough to be used daily. It does a great job removing most noise found during a daily commute. We never felt like turning up the volume, which is not only convenient but protects your hearing in the long run.
The battery life on offer is great, with up to 11 hours of playback and the auto timer lets it shut down by itself when not used to save battery life.
But there’s a catch…
The only con we found was the build quality. The rubber coatings are not the best and might start peeling away with continued use. At the price these are retailing for, it might be a serious issue for some, but for us, it is mainly a cosmetic issue.
- Good ANC.
- Great sound.
- Build quality.
2 Sony WI-1000X Noise Cancelling Wireless Behind-Neck in Ear Headphones – Best Value for the Money Neckband Headphones
The Sony WI-1000X is Sony’s first wireless noise-canceling neckband style headphones. Although there is a newer version, we still prefer going for the original because of its discounted price and lack of real extra features added to the new version.
Control from your phone…
The main reason we love these headphones is the Sony Headphones Connect app. It has some excellent features, including sound customization, noise-canceling control, and adaptive spatial options. This means you can customize to your heart’s desire to find the best sound that suites your taste and genre of music.
The headphones offer just over 10 hours of use on a single charge, but can also be used wired with a micro-USB to a 1/8 TRS cable. Perfect for those who still prefer wired headphones or are on an extremely long plane or bus trip.
Find your fit…
The neckband is comfy and doesn’t slip easily, but the earbuds are a bit uncomfortable inside your ears, especially after a long listening session. That can be easily fixed by swapping tips.
Sony includes seven different tip options, which means there is a size and style for every user. The noise-canceling is definitely better than Bose’s neckband earbuds, but the sound on offer is slightly worse. It’s not as balanced, with a bit more bass and a narrower soundstage.
A difficult choice…
The noise-canceling easily keeps outside noise at bay, keeping the volume down on your headphones and protecting your ears. The build quality is better than the Bose, but picking between the two isn’t easy. If you want a wired listening experience and better active noise canceling, the Sony will suit you better.
- Good, commercial sound.
- Excellent ANC.
- Large selection of ear tips.
- Excellent app.
- Stock ear tips not comfy.
3 Jabra Elite 65e Wireless – Best Neckband Headphones for Calling
Jabra has been in the audio business for many years, specializing in telemarketing/call center audio equipment; their expertise in microphone quality is far beyond any other headphone brands on the market currently.
Best in class microphone…
The in-line microphone is far superior to any other we’ve used before. If you are constantly on the phone with business meetings or teaching online, there is no better than these.
The microphone offers excellent background noise cancellation, with a clear and well-rounded sound. Add to that a dedicated mute button that allows you to turn off the microphone at the push of a button; you have the full package.
A little thin on the sound…
The Jabra lacks a little in the sound department. While the sound isn’t unbearable, it is definitely miles behind what Sony and Bose can accomplish in this small form factor. The Jabra app does allow for some tinkering, which helps, but it lacks the versatility found on Sony’s app.
Stand out function?
A big plus here is multi-point connections, which means you can connect to multiple devices at the same time for seamless transitions from one to the other. Great for working on the laptop and quickly switching over to pick up a phone call on your mobile device.
The ANC is decent, although inferior to Sony and Bose. The earbuds are comfy and isolate your ear canals well. The fin-shod-style earbuds keep them secure in your ears, no matter what you are doing.
Great for a quick jog…
The eight hours battery life is lower than most neckband earbuds, and the long stalks might not fit well in smaller ears. However, the long stalks do keep things secure, even whilst going on a run.
Jabra offers excellent microphone quality, and although not mind-blowing, the sound on offer is decent enough. If you find yourself in need of a neckband headphone with great microphone quality, these are the best we’ve had in our hands.
- Best microphone in this class.
- Decent fit and comfort levels.
- Multi-point connection.
- Sound is average at best.
- The app lacks any versatility.
4 Sennheiser HD1 In-Ear Wireless Headphones – Best Premium Neckband Headphones
If you are looking for style and that premium feel, there is no better than Sennheiser’s HD1 wireless headphones. The sheepskin Nappa leather is as premium as it gets. It’s soft, elegant, and oozes style with some nicely accented stitching. The stainless-steel earbuds feel and look great, although there is no waterproofing here, so best avoid any wet situations.
The battery life is alright at 10-hours of payback on a charge. The charging is done through micro-USB but is still quite fast, going from 0 to 100 in an hour and a half.
Built for bass…
Like their siblings, the Momentum wireless earbuds, the HD1 wireless earbuds favor the low-end frequencies over the rest. This makes them the perfect companion for bass-heavy music like EDM, pop, or hip-hop. So, don’t expect to use these as reference earbuds.
Isolation is decent, with most sounds from the outside all but gone while we were jamming our favorite tracks. That said, there is no ANC on these, so don’t expect these to block out the subway or airplane noises.
Ready for high-resolution audio…
These earbuds do have aptX and AAC support, which is great for hi-res listening fanatics. That said, with such an altered sound profile, we don’t know how much it really benefits from the better audio codecs. However, there won’t be any audio lag, which is a plus.
These earbuds are all about style, and if you don’t care about extra features, a neutral sound, or convenience, these earbuds are perfect for you. They ooze premium, and if that’s your style, these are the pair for you.
- Style and comfort.
- Supports aptX and AAC codecs.
- No ANC.
- Lacks features that other headphones offer at the same price.
5 Sony WI-1000XM2 Cancelling Wireless Behind-Neck in Ear Headphones – Most Durable Neckband Headphones
The Sony W1000XM2 is Sony’s second wireless noise-canceling neckband style headphones. Although, the older version, the WI-1000X, the newer update is for those who believe in purchasing the newest version.
As mentioned before, the Sony app on Android and IOS devices is one of the highlights of the device. The app offers personalized equalization options and control over not only the ANC, but the amount of ANC applied.
Comfortable and fast charging…
These headphones offer decent battery life, just under 10 hours of use on a single charge. The quick-charging nature allows for 80 minutes of playback on a 10-minute charge. Great if you forgot to charge them and have only a few minutes before you leave for work.
The neckband is still comfy and doesn’t slip easily, and the earbuds have been modified a bit for comfort. Sony still includes seven different tip options, which means there is a size and style for every user.
The sound has been altered even more on the newer generation. With a more bass-heavy sound profile, we prefer the older version to this one. It’s a very consumer-friendly sound and will please most people. If you are an audiophile, please look away.
The noise-canceling comes close to what Sony achieved on the WF-1000XM3. They easily keep noise out, keeping the volume down on your headphones and protecting your ears.
Built to last…
The build quality is excellent. The earbuds don’t feel cheap, the cable feels strong and durable, and the neckband doesn’t slip around when running or working. Easily one of the Best Quality Neckband Headphones you can buy.
- Bass-heavy sound.
- Superb build quality.
- ANC is excellent.
- Sony app is easy and versatile.
- Bass-heavy sound.
Best Neckband Headphones Buying Guide
Buying the right pair of headphones can be challenging. Especially if you are on a tight budget and want a decent pair that will be used daily. Buying a pair of headphones and being disappointed by the lack of features or low sound quality is something we won’t wish upon anyone. Therefore, we need to make sure the pair of headphones we buy are exactly what we need.
So, here are a few things to keep in mind before buying headphones…
Measuring build quality against the price you are paying is important. Steel is always better and lasts much longer. That said, it is also much more expensive. Over the last few years, companies like Sony and Bose have made some sturdy headphones with all plastic bodies. That said, if it creaks a lot and the hinges don’t look very sturdy, it’s best to avoid it at all costs.
If you are an audiophile, buying wireless headphones can be cringe-worthy since wireless audio streaming isn’t nearly as high quality as using wired headphones. That said, AAC and aptX are great and offer almost CD-quality streaming without any lag.
Sony ups this with their very own codec called LDAC, which offers lossless quality music over a wireless connection, which is frankly mind-blowing.
Earbuds come in different shapes, sizes, and materials. Our preferred material is definitely memory foam. Swapping out your stock ear tips for a pair of memory foam ear tips will make a massive difference to the comfort levels already.
Isolation is also important. You need a decent seal to get the full experience and sound, but don’t want it to put so much pressure on your ears that it becomes uncomfortable.
Battery life and connectivity options…
Making sure what version of Bluetooth is important. Anything above 4.1 is fine. If you want to use multiple devices with the device, getting multi-point functionality is important. Battery life also needs serious consideration. If you plan on going on long drives or flights, the longer, the better.
Looking for Something Else?
If so, check out our in-depth reviews of the Most Comfortable Earbuds, the Best Noise Isolating Earbuds, the Best Airpods Alternative, the Best Sound Quality Earbuds, and the Best iPhone Earbuds currently on the market.
So, what are the Best Neckband Headphones?
Well, our top pick is the…
They are less expensive than the Bose or the newer WI-1000XM2 but don’t skimp on important features or build quality. The sound signature is a bit more commercially friendly, but that isn’t a bad thing.
The ANC is excellent, and the battery life is good too. They are comfy, and the large selection of ear tips means there will be a good fit for everyone. Considering that these have a very appealing price point, they are easily our number one pick.
Until next time, happy listening.