When your pockets are too small — or you don’t have any at all — neckband earbuds are a convenient alternative to wearing larger over-ear or on-ear headphones. They lay around your neck and take away the weight from the earbuds for a more comfortable fit. If you’re looking for a dependable pair, the JBL Live 220BT Wireless is an excellent place to start for the best neckband headphones under $100, owing to their exceptional sound, battery life, and comfort.
Best Overall: JBL Live 220BT Wireless
JBL made the Live 220BT good enough to stay at the top of our list, mainly because of its superb sound quality. You get a pretty balanced soundstage out of the box that stands out for the right reasons. Bass is present without it being too heavy, while the highs and lows complement each other well.
Finding the right fit will largely depend on which ear tips you feel offer the best seal. This part is critical to ensuring they fit right and getting the most out of the audio quality. It’s really the only caveat as far as comfort goes because the Live 220BT are lightweight and easy to manage so that you can wear them for leisure or while working out. The Ambient Aware mode pipes in some background noise to hear your surroundings, while TalkThru lets you jabber and hear other people.
You can pair the Live 220BT with up to two devices simultaneously. It’s a great way to listen to audio from your computer while keeping your phone accessible for phone calls or notifications. The headphones will switch automatically when the phone rings, silencing the audio from the computer all at once. Amazon Alexa is also built-in through a dedicated button on the neckband, adding the voice assistant to the feature set.
Battery life is modest at up to 10 hours per charge. A quick 15-minute charge can get you up to an hour of playback. That’s pretty average for a set of Bluetooth earbuds and is really as good as it gets with Micro-USB.
- Great sound quality
- Dual device pairing
- Ambient and TalkThru modes
- Alexa integration
- Color options
- Comfort could be iffy
- Micro-USB charging
JBL Live 220BT Wireless
Superb sound for the price. The best value for wireless neckband earbuds, with the sound and comfort all in the right place.
Best Value: Skullcandy Jib Plus Wireless
If you’re on a tight budget within various budget options, the Skullcandy Jib Plus Wireless are among the cheapest neckband earbuds you can find. They come in several colors to stand out aesthetically, but you should measure your expectations with anything in this price range.
That’s not to say there aren’t some decent features and performance to give you bang for your buck. Sound quality belies their price, coming off better than you might expect. Bass is present, with decent highs and mids to make audio playback feel pretty resonant. Onboard controls also include an easy way to get to Google Assistant to make any requests or commands. They are splash-resistant, so they should be reasonably safe to use for workouts and show they’ve got some durability.
You won’t get too far on battery life, with up to six hours per charge — potentially shorter depending on volume. You will be recharging them often, but you’ll also have to do it with Micro-USB.
- Good sound quality
- Comfortable fit
- Voice assistant access
- Color options
- Great price
- Battery life isn’t long
- Micro-USB charging
Skullcandy Jib Plus Wireless
Tight sound, tight budget
The best value for wireless neckband earbuds, with the sound and comfort all in the right place.
Best Battery Life: Mpow Jaws 6
The Mpow Jaws 6 are an excellent fit for a tight budget where battery life really matters. They’re among the longest-lasting neck buds available, with up to 24 hours of battery life on a single charge. That’s more than enough juice to pace you over a few days or on a long flight. And if you plan to do a workout with these on, the IPX7 rating should keep them rugged.
These neck buds don’t have ANC but do have some echo cancelation for phone calls. Sound quality is what you might expect for something in this range. You get a bass-boosted sound with amplified treble and an okay mid-range to round out a more than the acceptable audio profile for what you’re paying.
Comfort is a mixed bag. You should be fine for an hour or two, only to then need a break, as the earbuds have a bit of a stuffy feeling after a while. The good thing is that when you do need a break, the two earbuds attach through magnets. When they do, the earbuds go into a super low-power mode. That mode allows the neckband to vibrate whenever you get an incoming call.
In addition to the solid battery life, Mpow also went with a USB-C port to charge them faster. A quick 10-minute charge will deliver up to two hours of playback. Keep them plugged in for two hours, and they fully charge.
- Decent audio quality
- Superb battery life
- USB-C charging
- Phone call notifications
- Good water and sweat resistance
- Magnetically attach when not in use
- No ANC like predecessors had
- Comfort could be better
Best Battery Life
Mpow Jaws 6
Super long battery life
Just because they have a low price doesn’t mean they’re wrong. The Jaws Gen-5 offers excellent battery life, Bluetooth 5.0, ANC, and a few innovative features.
Best Sound Quality: Creative Aurvana Trio Wireless
If you haven’t considered Creative an option, you might want to give the Aurvana Trio Wireless a try. The sound quality is excellent for the price. What works so well is the solid bass complementing such a lively combination of mids and highs. Call quality is equally up to the task, with impressive clarity on both sides.
Much of the audio performance comes from the wired earbuds the company launched back in 2017. Going wireless is great, but codec support is what takes it to another level. You get aptX, aptX LL (Low Latency), aptX HD, and AAC support, making them great for higher-quality streams and no lag when watching a video or playing games. Creative did include its amazing Super X-Fi (SXFI) technology; it only works with media files you’ve downloaded to your device — not anything you’re streaming.
The fit is comfortable, and with both silicone and foam tips included, the odds are good you’ll find the best possible deal. Whenever you’re not using them, the two earbuds connect with magnets. Battery life hits up to 20 hours, which is excellent, but you, unfortunately, have to charge them via Micro-USB.
- Excellent sound quality
- Lightweight build
- Solid codec support
- Great battery life
- Comfortable fit
- Magnets hold earbuds together
- Super X-Fi is too limited
- Outdated Micro-USB charging
Best Sound Quality
Creative Aurvana Trio Wireless
Clear, concise, and on time
Creative gives the Aurvana Trio Wireless the right tools to stand out. Putting sound first pays off.
Best for Phone Calls: Samsung Level U
Hands-free phone calls are super convenient, and any pair of earbuds are capable, but not all are necessarily great at it. Meeting that challenge, the Samsung Level U is an excellent pair of neckband earbuds if you’re specifically looking for a team that is great for phone calls.
The earbuds magnetically attach when not in use, and they also don’t turn off when you put them together. They stay in a low-power standby mode, springing back to life when you separate and put them in your ears. The sound quality is decent, though not all that better or worse than any other pair in its range. One of the challenges is comfort, where wearing them for more extended periods could make you feel a pinch after a while. The ear tips aren’t as soft as others and would likely be the primary reason for any discomfort.
You get up to 11 hours of battery life per charge, and you will need to use Micro-USB to recharge them again. There’s no fast charging, which means they’ll take roughly three hours to go from empty to full.
- Great for phone calls
- Decent sound
- Magnetically attaches when not in use
- Long battery life
- Low power mode
- Comfort could be better
- Charge over Micro-USB
Best for Phone Calls
Samsung Level U
Hello? Are you there?
With long battery life and great convenience features, the Level U from Samsung is excellent in most scenarios.
Best Workout Buds: Philips Wireless
It’s never the wrong time to work out, and you’ll need a great set of workout buds. As far as neckband earbuds are concerned, the Philips Wireless are standouts. They feature IPX5 water resistance, meaning they can withstand the light or moderate workouts and heavy rain without issue. Just don’t dunk them in water or go swimming with them. They also feature a vibration motor to notify you when you’re getting a call. Both buds magnetically attach when not in use, so they’re not just dangling around your neck.
When you’re not working out, the Philips Wireless works well, letting you wear them for extended periods because of their comfortable fit. They sound great, with bass and treble-heavy sound uncommon for headphones in this price range. They’re pretty vibrant and are in line with how sporty headphones generally sound.
Battery life is good at up to eight hours on a single charge. Unfortunately, there’s no fast charging, so it’ll take roughly three hours to charge from empty to full.
- IPX5 water resistance
- Superb comfort
- Long battery life
- Good bass and treble-boosted sound
- Call notifications
- Micro-USB for charging
- No fast charging
Best Workout Buds
Don’t break a sweat
Great workout buds that feature eight hours of battery life, excellent sound reproduction, and are IPX5 water-resistant.
Neckband earbuds may not be as popular as other headphone types, but at least there are some excellent options to select from, especially if you’re on a budget to find the best neckband headphones under $100. The JBL Live 220BT is worth looking at if you’re looking for neckband earbuds that do everything. The Creative Aurvana Trio Wireless is an excellent alternative if sound quality is your primary motivation.
Whether or not you consider neckband earbuds an acquired taste, they are a worthy option if you don’t want something big or don’t trust other wireless earbuds to be comfortable or stay in place. If you’ve broadened your search, you can always look at the best true wireless headphones.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Ted Kritsonis loves taking photos when the opportunity arises, be it on a camera or smartphone. Beyond sports and world history, you can find him tinkering with gadgets or enjoying a cigar. We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.