Best neckband headphones Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best wireless neckband headphones you can buy in 2022.
If you're aiming to get fit with runs, gym workouts or just a HIIT session in your front room, a pair of neckband headphones to upgrade your playlist could be just the boost you need.
With sports models, there are three types of wireless earbuds available: true wireless models, wireless with a cable, and earbuds with a neckband.
These wireless neckband earphones feature a horseshoe-shaped collar that sits around your shoulders and houses a battery and Bluetooth transmitter. The designs may look a little unconventional, but they definitely have their strengths.
How to choose the best neckband headphones for you
Neckband headphones combine convenience with impressive battery life (high-end models offer 10 hours of playback) plus features such as noise cancellation. You won't be plagued by connection issues, either, since most offer superb Bluetooth stability. And there's the issue of keeping them in your ears – many would argue the neckband design is the best way to do it.
Most of the big-name audio brands have leapt on the neckband trend, so there's now a range of options to suit everyone from commuters to fitness fanatics. Want to cut the cord without sacrificing sound quality? Here's our pick of the best neckband headphones around right now.
These neckband headphones are based on Sennheiser's Award-winning Momentum in-ears, and deliver the same sensational sound quality. As well as impressive dynamics and superb vocal clarity, they offer features galore.
To add a touch of luxury to your listening experience, Sennheiser has trimmed the neckband in soft nappa leather. And when you get an incoming call, the neckband gently vibrates – a useful feature even when you’re not listening to music. In a hurry? They fast-charge in one and half hours.
These Sennheisers are our pick as the best neckband headphones around thanks to the top-of-the-class style, sound and build quality.
Read the full Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Wireless review
On a tight budget? These are the best neckband headphones in terms of pound-for pound performance. While Skullcandy is best known as a purveyor of bombastic bass, its Smokin’ Buds 2 offer surprisingly rich and accomplished playback.
The pared-back design features a simple three-button remote and looks more expensive than it feels. If you're into fitness and don't want the collar jangling around, you can remove the earphones from the flexible neckband.
As you’d expect, advanced features such as aptX Bluetooth and fast charging are off the menu. But factor in the eye-catching price and it’s hard not to be won over by these solid, reliable performers.
Read the full Skullcandy Smokin' Buds 2 Wireless review
Libratone’s splashproof TRACK+ earbuds are aimed at sporty types and remain securely locked into your ears during intensive workouts. They're light but powerful: with eight hours of playback you're sorted for a marathon (or two if you're quick).
Libratone’s noise-cancelling technology – dubbed CityMix II – offers four levels of noise cancellation, letting you choose how much of the world to let in. It's pretty effective at blocking out everything from chugging lorries to office chatter, and can be tuned via the remote or Libratone’s app.
While not as crisp or insightful as the Sennheisers, the TRACK+ offer a deft balance of dynamics and clarity – without breaking a sweat. If you love running, these are some of the best neckband headphones for going the distance.
Read the full Libratone TRACK+ review
If style and craftsmanship float your boat, you’ll be instantly drawn to these sleek neckband headphones made from “aircraft grade” aluminium. Their compact, minimal design is highly impressive – as is the clarity and upper-frequency refinement.
Sound isolation is good and they come with a nice range of tips (plus ‘sport hooks’ to hold them securely in place). Fast charging means two hours playback from 15 minutes of charging.
We did experience a few Bluetooth drop outs, though, and the soundstage lacks a little raw power. There are better all-rounders, but if you’re looking for outstanding sonic detail and a swanky design, make a v-line for V-Moda.
Read the full V-Moda Forza Metallo Wireless review
- Smash your PB with our running songs playlist
How we test headphones
We have state-of-the-art testing facilities in London, Reading and Bath, where our team of experienced, in-house reviewers test the majority of hi-fi and AV kit that passes through our door.
Of course, testing headphones don't often require such facilities (though we do often try audiophile headphones in our reference hi-fi system). What is important in our headphones reviewing process is that each pair is compared to the best in its price and style class – whether that's one standout pair or a few we favour the highest among the 100+ pairs we listen to each year for reviews and What Hi-Fi? Awards judging. What Hi-Fi? is all about comparative testing, and we keep class-leading products in our stockrooms so we can always compare new products to ones we know and love.
We are always impartial and do our best to make sure we're hearing every product at their very best, so we'll try plenty of different types of music and give them plenty of listening time (and time to run in). It's not just about sound quality, of course. If a pair has active noise cancellation – increasingly the case these days – we'll ensure part of our testing involves using them in different environments.
All review verdicts are agreed upon by the team rather than an individual reviewer to eliminate any personal preference and to make sure we're being as thorough as possible, too. There's no input from PR companies or our sales team when it comes to the verdict, with What Hi-Fi? proud of having delivered honest, unbiased reviews for decades.