Mpow Jaws Gen 2Source: Mpow

Best Neckband Earbuds Under $100 Android Central 2020

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 are a good 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 Live 220bt LifestyleSource: JBL

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.

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Finding the right fit will largely depend on which of the 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 talk quickly 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.

Pros:

  • Great sound quality
  • Dual device pairing
  • Ambient and TalkThru modes
  • Alexa integration
  • Color options

Cons:

  • Comfort could be iffy
  • Micro-USB charging

Best Overall

JBL Live 220BT Wireless

Superb sound for the price

The best value when it comes to wireless neckband earbuds, with the sound and comfort all in the right place.

Best Value: Skullcandy Jib Plus Wireless

Skullcandy Jib Plus LargeSource: Skullcandy

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 do come in several different colors to stand out aesthetically, but as with anything in this price range, you should measure your expectations.

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 in case you want to make any requests or commands. They are splash-resistant, so they should be reasonably safe to use for workouts, but also shows 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.

Pros:

  • Good sound quality
  • Comfortable fit
  • Voice assistant access
  • Color options
  • Great price

Cons:

  • Battery life isn't long
  • Micro-USB charging

Best Value

Skullcandy Jib Plus Wireless

Tight sound, tight budget

The best value when it comes to wireless neckband earbuds, with the sound and comfort all in the right place.

Best Battery Life: Mpow Jaws Gen-5

Mpow Jaws Gen-5Source: Mpow

The Mpow Jaws Gen-5 are a great fit for a tight budget where battery life really matters. With up to 18 hours of battery life on a single charge, they are among the longest-lasting of any neckbuds available. That's more than enough juice to pace you over a few days or on a long flight.

Even better, the Jaws Gen-5 have active noise-cancelation (ANC). It's not mind-blowing performance, but is still better than not having it at all. 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 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 for them to vibrate whenever you get an incoming call.

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • Sound can lack dynamic range and soundstage
  • Comfort could be better

Best Battery Life

Mpow Jaws Gen-5

Super long battery life

Just because they have a low price doesn't mean they're bad. The Jaws Gen-5 offer excellent battery life, Bluetooth 5.0, ANC, and a few smart features.

Best Sound Quality: Creative Aurvana Trio Wireless

Aurvana Trio Wireless LifestyleSource: Creative

If you haven't considered Creative as 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 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 seal. Whenever you're not using them, the two earbuds connect with magnets. Battery life hits up to 20 hours, which is great, but you, unfortunately, have to charge them via Micro-USB.

Pros:

  • Excellent sound quality
  • Lightweight build
  • Solid codec support
  • Great battery life
  • Comfortable fit
  • Magnets hold earbuds together

Cons:

  • 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, and putting sound first pays off.

Best For Phone Calls: Samsung Level U

Samsung Level USource: Android Central

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 are an excellent pair of neckband earbuds if you're specifically looking for a pair that are great for phone calls.

The earbuds magnetically attach when not in use, and they also don't turn off when you do put them together. They stay in a low-power standby mode, springing back to life when you separate and put them in your ears. Sound quality is decent, though not all that much better or worse than any other pair in its range. One of the challenges is comfort, where wearing them for longer 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.

Pros:

  • Great for phone calls
  • Decent sound
  • Magnetically attaches when not in use
  • Long battery life
  • Low power mode

Cons:

  • 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 are excellent in most scenarios.

Best Workout Buds: Philips Wireless

Philips Wireless earbudsSource: Philips

It's never a bad 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 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 work well, letting you wear them for extended periods because of their comfortable fit. They do sound great, with a bass and treble-heavy sound that isn't 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. No fast charging, unfortunately, 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

Cons:

  • Micro-USB for charging
  • No fast charging

Best Workout Buds

Philips Wireless

Don't break a sweat

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

Bottom line

Neckband earbuds may not be as popular as other headphone types, but at least there are some good options to select from, especially if you're on a budget to find the best neckband headphones under $100. The JBL Live 220BT are worth a look at if you're looking for neckband earbuds that do everything. The Creative Aurvana Trio Wireless are a nice alternative if sound quality is your main 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 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.

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