When searching for a pair of wireless earbuds you may end up with three options: totally wireless earbuds, Bluetooth earbuds with a short cable and earbuds with a neckband.
Totally cordless headphones have some drawbacks like short battery life and average sound quality.
Bluetooth earbuds with a short cable, on the other hand, are designed for sports rather than office use or phone calls.
With a long battery life, overall design and sound quality, the LG Tone Platinum HBS 1100 took the top spot on our list for best neckband headphones of 2018. Continue below to read our full review of the LG Tone as well as other top selling models…
Behind the neck Bluetooth headphones (often called retractable bluetooth headsets) fill the gap between Bluetooth earbuds and wired earbuds by providing ease of use and long battery life that other designs can’t provide.
They have two earbuds connected to a neckband which houses internal components and also allows the earbuds to dangle freely and are retractable when not in use to keep them neatly stored.
This way you won’t have to worry about losing the earbuds. In terms of sound quality, some of these neckband sets may impress to audiophiles and have call quality that outperform other types of headphones. If you like around the neck design, here are top 5 models you can buy in 2018.
Top 5 NeckBand / Behind Neck Bluetooth Headphones Comparison
|Headphones:||Battery Life||Design||Sound Quality||Features|
|Up to 10 hours||8.5/10||8.5/10||Retractable Earbuds/Mic Noise Cancellation|
|8 hours||9/10||8/10||Water-resistant, earbuds magnetic clip.|
|Up to 10 hours||8/10||8.5/10||*Best Sound. Leather neckband.|
|9 hours||8/10||7.5/10||Budget Pick. Water-resistant|
|Up to 20 hours||8/10||7.8/10||Long Battery Life.|
LG Tone Platinum HBS-1100
Release date: 2016 | Style: Around the neck, neckband | Weight: 60 grams | Play Time: 10 hours | Bluetooth 4.1 Qualcomm aptX / Qualcomm aptX HD | Driver type: Balanced Armature | Bluetooth range: 30+ feet |NFC: Yes | Dual Mic for calls | Mic Noise cancellation: Yes |
LG constantly improves their notable, around the neck headphone in their Tone Series. The latest version, the Platinum HBS-1100, has become more flexible and better in terms of playback controls and Bluetooth connection than previous models.
The active noise cancellation feature enables you to make calls in noisy environments.
Note that this doesn’t work the same as active noise cancelling earbuds, it simply filters out the noises when you have a conversation on your phone.
|If you already have LG Tone HBS-900s and are thinking of upgrading to the HBS-1100, don’t expect a huge improvement on sound.|
Overall the HBS-1100’s sound quality is good, but it would be rated excellent if the highs produce more details and clarity.
- Good sound
- Strong Bluetooth connection
- Retractable earbuds
- Treble lacks some clarity
| Release date: 2016 | Style: Around the neck | Play Time: 8 hours | Fast charging: Yes | Driver type: NA | Apple W1 Bluetooth chip | Bluetooth range: 30+ feet | Check current price of Beats X on Amazon.
BeatsX headphones are the first Bluetooth set from Beats with help from the Apple engineering team. They have a new, flex form cable that sits around your neck. Check
Unfortunately, the cable is rather long and showy, making them look quite bulky. BeatsX are very comfortable and fit snugly even without earhooks or wingtips that are commonly seen in other sport earbuds.
In terms of sound quality, these earbuds have strong, plentiful bass that you’d expect from Beats. They also use Apple’s impressive W1-chip, which allows for a longer battery life and stable Bluetooth connection.
|Thanks to the W1 chip, BeatsX will automatically identify and pair instantly with any Apple devices using the same cloud ID.|
BeatsX introduced the fast-fuel feature that allows you to get two hours of playback with just 5 minutes of charging.
- Fast charging
- Solid wireless performance
- Balanced sounding profile with satisfying bass impact
- Secure, comfortable fit makes them great for sports
- Long cord
- The treble is a bit harsh
Sennheiser HD 1 Wireless In-Ear
Release date: 2017 | Style: Around the neck, neckband | Weight: 1.86 oz (53g) | Play Time: 10 hours | Bluetooth 4.1 Qualcomm® apt-X™ Driver type: Dynamic | Bluetooth range: 30+ feet |NFC: Yes | Mic for calls | Mic Noise cancellation: Yes.
You might have heard of the Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear which is rated as one of best wired earbuds under $100.
This amazing model has been upgraded to wireless, and is now called the Sennheiser HD 1 Wireless In-Ear (check current price of the HD1s on Amazon).
It sports a classy leather neckband and its earbuds fit exactly the same as Momentum In-Ear, but even more securely and comfortably.
|Sennheiser HD 1 Wireless In-Ear is the Bluetooth version of well-known, V-shaped sound signature Momentum In-Ear.|
Though the Sennheiser HD 1 Wireless are expensive and lack some features such as magnetic or retractable earbud attachment, they deliver great sound with a ton of detail. The treble is clear and bright, the mid-range is pronounced, and the bass is strong.
Overall the sound is V-shape, which is identical to Momentum In-Ear’s sound. Because this model is Bluetooth, though, the sound tends to be more sculpted.
- Strong bass, nice mid-ranges and clear treble
- Authentic leather neckband
- Comfortable to wear
- Bulky neckband
Samsung Level U Pro
Release date: 2016| Style: Around the neck, neckband |Earbuds: Sealed in the ear | Weight: 1.61 oz (46g) | Play Time: 9 hours | Bluetooth 4.1 Qualcomm® apt-X™ Driver type: Dynamic | Bluetooth range: 30+ feet |NFC: Yes | Mic for calls | Mic Noise cancellation: Yes |
The Samsung Level U Pro is the most ergonomic around-the-neck design on the market. Its collar will fit nicely on anyone’s necks. The earbuds give an extremely comfortable fit, and are lightweight. The rest of the headphones are sweat resistant which makes them ideal for workout sessions.
The button layout is well placed and can be easily accessed without looking. It has flexible urethane joints which can easily accommodate various user requirements. The sturdy yet sleek metallic finish makes its overall visual aesthetic very appealing.
They use a two-way speaker unit and Ultra High-Quality Audio (UHQ) technology that provides superior sound. The free Samsung Level app that is available for Android devices lets you access advanced control settings of these headphones and even have your text messages read to you.
Bass quality is as good as expected, treble is accurate. When the sound is complemented by the volume monitor, these headphones provide an incredible musical experience.
Level U Pro is an affordable Bluetooth headset that might not offer the great sound you expect from a Samsung device, but it certainly does offer crystal-clear voice quality and rarely has any issues related to connectivity.
- Dynamic sound
- Vibrates on call notification
- Looks and feels a little bit cheap
- No earhooks for sports
- Treble is slightly piercing
Release date: 2017| Style: Around the neck, neckband | Weight: 35 grams | Play Time: 20 hours | Bluetooth 4.2 | Driver type: 9mm Dynamic | Bluetooth range: 30 feet | Single mic for calls | Vibration for incoming call: Yes | Mic Noise cancellation: Yes | NFC: Yes | Sweat-proof: No
Sony’s new budget behind neck headphone, the Sony WI-C400, has an impressive battery life of roughly 19 hours. The headset also offers a handy way to manage the cable which can be adjusted by sliding a ball located on the neckband. The buds are small and lightweight with a polished look and comfortable fit.
The Sony WI-C400 has a natural sounding profile. The bass isn’t huge and doesn’t have a strong impact, but it is still present. The midrange is quite good and the treble is clear, but it doesn’t seem to be muffled like most Bluetooth earbuds in the same price range.
Though this Sony headset is an exellent value, it isn’t the most comfortable and its call quality could be better.
- Handy cable management
- Solid build quality
- Bulky neckband
- Mediocre call quality
Others Models We Considered
Release date: 2017 | Style: Around the neck, neckband | Weight: 20.5 grams | Play Time: 7 hours | Bluetooth 4.1 Qualcomm CSR8635 | Driver type: Dynamic | Bluetooth range: 30 feet | Single mic for calls | Mic Noise cancellation: Yes
The LyreBeats-NB1 headphones have metal buds that ate unique and built to last. The battery can handle more than 8 hours of continuous play. The earbuds are waterproof (IPX4) and designed to fit snugly in the ear for comfortable listening even during strenuous activity.
With built-in neodymium magnets, the LyreBeats-NB1 deliversclear treble and enjoyable sound. Plus, the CVC 6.0 noise cancelling technology ensures high quality calls, so this set could be an alternative to regular headsets.
- Strong bass and pronounced mid-ranges
- Bluetooth connection range is shorted than advertised
- Treble is a little muffled
Neckband Bluetooth headphones are not just great for flexibility, sound quality and solid connection. These days they can also be your personal training assistant. Vi is one of the first smart neckbands to integrate a heart rate monitor feature and voice coaching which makes your workout sessions more motivated, productive and enjoyable.
The HBS-900 is in the line of the most popular behind the neck Bluetooth headphone series: LG Tone. This line of headphones gained popularity because of many factors, but what truly sets these headphones apart from the others is their stylish design, modern look, and sound quality that is hard to match.
This model looks appealing as it has a metallic finish with a particular economic design that is bound to catch attention.
The retractable earbuds make cord management a simple task and easy access to the jog button lets you change music and volume on the fly.
They offer decent audio quality for Bluetooth headphones, thanks to Harman Kardon signature sound, which sounds quite clear and detailed. The highs are not as edgy or crunchy as other headphones in this category.
The Tone is an ideal choice if you like a warm sound with less bass. These headphones are equipped with aptX compatibility that delivers high-quality music. Features like MEMS and HD voice ensure that all voice communications remain crystal clear all the time.
This set even works well as a headset thanks to a built-in mic with noise reduction capacity, but if you make a call while biking or in a windy environment, it does lower the call quality. You can also have a voice read your SMS texts on Android devices thanks to the Tone and Talk application.
Though the collar is not as flexible as other sets, it does hold an impressive an impressive battery that can last for up to 14 hours. As far as connection stability, audio lag and connection drop rarely occur if you put your phone on the table or stuff them in your pants pocket.
While this model may be slightly more expensive in comparison to other LG Tone Ultra models, it is more than worth buying at an extra cost. Coming from one of the leading technology companies in the world, the HBS-900 Wireless will certainly rock your world with an entirely different musical experience.
Sony is a brand that needs no introduction as it is one of the three global electronic giants. The Sony SBH70 is another stellar Bluetooth headset released by the company and it comes with a behind the neck design, has in-ear headphones, and weighs just 50 g making it extremely flexible and enjoyable to use.
This lightweight headset makes use of a vented acoustic design and is made of metal to add more glamour. Build quality is solid as this device can withstand rain drops and will not break even if you accidentally drop it in a puddle.
The Sony SBH70 is flexible, light weight and comfortable to wear. This headset features retractable earphone cables to keep them conveniently stored when not in use. The earbuds looks almost like Apple earbuds. Because of unsealed style they do let ambient sound in, so it’s not quite suitable for use in a noisy office.
The open-style earbuds have an advantage of offering more airy, open sound, but less bass compared to sealed style earbuds like the Shadow or LG-tone.
SBH70 has good music streaming quality as it can play loud and pump a balanced bass that never gets overwhelming. The sealed in-ear headphone design can be a hit or miss depending on preference as it doesn’t block all types of external noise well and can cause you to be unaware of your surroundings as you exercise. However, people who like to hear what’s happening around will love the un-sealed design of these headphones.
As far as call quality is concerned, you can count on the echo, noise and wind cancellation features to provide you with exceptional voice quality. The HD voice compliant microphone is another bonus that further adds to this model’s utility.
This Bluetooth headphone is a cost-effective alternative to a higher-priced version, the Level U Pro. This model offers a highly comfortable fit, sleek and stylish body design that will make anyone take notice, and is extremely lightweight so that it can be used in almost all scenarios.
This is an around-the-neck type device that is ideal for use in workout sessions or any activity that demands a high level of physical involvement. It is splash and sweat-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about this device getting damaged.
The sound quality is great, but Samsung being the pioneers that they are, have introduced few exclusive features to make it stand out. The bass and treble quality are balanced, and you can expect to hear music in its finest details. This model is especially perfect for those who do not like jamming earbuds inside their ears.
It has well-placed buttons that you can easily access, and the vibrate feature alerts you to incoming calls without disrupting your flow of work. Call quality and connectivity is good enough to make the Level U model worth the price.
The Jabra Halo Smart sports a rugged and sturdy neckband and the earbuds fit reasonably comfortably.
It has a great battery life of up to 17 hours for headset function and 15 hours for listening music.
For music it does sound great, and the sound tends to be balanced. The treble is not sparkling, but rather it’s pleasant to hear while the bass remains calm. If your main purpose for buying a headset is for voice calling, then this set is perfect as the call quality is amazing.
Just like many around the neck headphones, these sit around your neck. The custom comfort comes from the earbuds, and these earbuds are very comfortable.
The magnetic clip feature is also a plus because you can look more stylish when the earbuds are locked on your chest. If they cost less and looked sturdier compared to other sets, they would be a great pick for this holiday.
Bose released their first neckband-style wireless in-ear headphones, the Bose QuietControl 30 with noise cancelling technology. You can manually control how much ambient sound comes into your ears with buttons on the inline control.
RHA MA750 Wireless
Another neckband Bluetooth headphone set worth checking out. Their build quality and excellent look are impressive, but the sound quality is not good as its looks. As discussed in our post about how the sound degrades if we move to Bluetooth, you will loose some detail and richness of sound compared with the wired version. Overall, while the wired model, the RHA MA750, is a great headphone its wireless version isn’t.
Sol Replublic Shadow
It didn’t take long for this brand to become famous since first arriving on the market in 2011; the reason being that this company has managed to release impressive devices at affordable rates.
The Sol Republic Shadow is another fantastic release as it features everything that you might want out of in-ear Bluetooth headphones. It is good looking, has a sturdy build, and is offered at a reasonable price. This model is light, foldable, and can be bent according to the user’s convenience.
While the audio quality may not blow your mind, it is definitely on par with some of the best models that are available now. The bass quality is surprisingly robust and crisp and stays clear throughout the lowest frequencies.
The volume range is extensive and can be cranked up to the point when no other environmental sound is audible. In a direct comparison with another popular set, LG Tone SBH 900, The Shadow offers a wider frequency response with more details and stronger bass. Due to the balanced sound, the bass of Shadow isn’t huge.
The headphones are supported by the latest technology for streaming sound, AptX, which supposedly delivers a more aggressive sound and higher fidelity. Though for tracks with complicated mixes packed in, the sound is not as clear and detailed as it could be.
For people who frequently make or receive calls, this is a good headset to be used in offices. When making calls outside, wind blowing or traffic noises are captured by the microphone, but you can still hear the caller’s voice clearly as long as the earbuds are securely in your ears.
Unfortunately, people who want to use the Shadow while exercising might be disappointed that is not great in active situations. The flat cable, no wingtips and collar make this set perfect for daily use rather than for sports. Included silicon eartips are varied in size and provide decent noise isolation. The collar is coated in flexible rubber and contours well to your neck, though you can’t bend it to any shapes, and it flops a little bit if you move fast.
With multiple point technology, the Shadow can pair simultaneously to 2 devices. As promised, Bluetooth connects up to 30 feet, but you should keep the phone in your pocket at all times to get the best connectivity. The button layout could have been better but it works.
Why Buy Around or Behind The Neck Bluetooth Headphones?
In the future all this type of headphone will have built-in bio-sensors which are able to track and analyze your performance. AI coaches will also be common soon, which will give you voice commands and prompts to help you have the best workout possible. Real-time translation will also be integrated into around the neck headsets in the near future.