Banner Image: Sharper Image
Sure, you have your traditional headphones and your earpods and your smart home speaker. You have noise-canceling headphones and maybe even a few Bluetooth speakers that can go on the road with you. But what about neckband speakers? If you’ve been looking for a portable speaker alternative to personal headphones, you’ve found it.
What are Neckband Speakers?
But neckband speakers haven’t really hit the mainstream yet, so what are they?
Essentially, they are what they sound like. Neckband speakers fit around your neck like a band (or you can even think of them as similar to those airplane neck pillows) and allow you to stream your favorite tunes. They’re portable and hands-free, and they keep the noise relatively low for those around you—but don’t require you to completely block out all other noise.
Who are Neckband Speakers Best For?
You might want to invest in a wearable speaker for a multitude of reasons, but the primary reason that many buyers opt for this solution versus a traditional pair of headphones or a portable speaker is because they allow you to hear everything all at once. So, if you want to go for a run but still be able to easily hear other runners or traffic, these fit the bill. Likewise, if you work from home and want to listen to your favorite podcast while still keeping an ear out for the kids, these, again, work great.
Downsides to Neckband Speakers
But while neckband speakers come with a lot of pros, they also, like every piece of tech, have their cons.
If you consider yourself a true audiophile, you might not appreciate the audio quality a neckband speaker offers.
Likewise, if you prefer your privacy and would rather not have everyone around you listening in to your tunes or podcast, you might not like that a neckband speaker does allow others to hear everything.
Plus, if you’re considering a neckband speaker for the purposes of outdoor use, such as when camping or at the pool, but you don’t really need it to be all that portable beyond just taking it to one place and setting it down, then you might find your money is better spent on a more traditional, Bluetooth-enabled speaker.
The Best Neckband Speakers to Try
So, considering all of the above, do you think a neckband speaker might be a good fit for your audio needs? Then give one of these top options a try.
This waterproof neckband speaker comes with a built-in mic and upward-facing speakers that produce 3D stereo sound. It offers 24 hours of battery life and playtime before it needs charging. The silicone band is ergonomic and adjustable, so it can fit the individual curvatures of your neck. The built-in mic allows you to use the speaker not only for streaming music and other media but also for making phone calls.
If you only like to buy from the best brands, then check out this wearable speaker from the audible experts at Bose. The speaker features waveguide technology and digital signal processes, creating the most immersive sound experience possible from a wearable speaker.
There are three buttons on the neckband, allowing you to make calls, play and pause media and access either Siri or Google Assistant. The rechargeable battery works for up to 12 hours without the need to recharge, and the Bluetooth functionality will work up to nine feet away from your streaming device.
This wearable speaker is designed to fit most, as it simply hangs over your shoulders without any need to adjust or try to find the perfect fit. A series of buttons alongside one end of the speaker allows you to turn the device on and off, increase or decrease volume and pause or play media. The speaker also features a built-in mic, so you can take calls.
This neckband features four different speakers for clearer, bass-rich audio. The ergonomic and flexible speaker features a skin-friendly and soft fabric on the exterior. The speaker is extra-waterproof, too, and can handle up to 30 minutes submerged in up to a meter of water. After just 1.5 hours of charging time, it’ll last for 12 hours of use.
Okay, so you want to try a neckband speaker, but you don’t want to give up your earbuds just yet. But you also worry if you take your neckband speaker out and just tuck your earbuds in your pocket, just in case you decide to switch, you’re going to lose them during your run. In that instance, this neck speaker has you covered.
It features a pair of built-in earbuds, so you can use either option anytime you want. When you’re not using the earbuds, they retract into either side of the speaker, so there’s no need to worry about losing them. You can have privacy when you want but still be able to hear ambient noise as needed.
While a lot of wireless neckband speaker owners use their speakers for convenience, when running or doing some sort of activity that requires them to be both hands-on and at least partially cognizant of their surroundings, some use their speakers for entertainment only. Accordingly, this Sony speaker is made specifically for movie-watching and gaming in your home theater.
The powerful speaker offers cinematic sound and mimics a soundbar. It doesn’t use a Bluetooth connection, either, so there’s never any lag, and your audio always matches up to your video. It even has a vibrate feature, so you can literally feel your audio. It also comes with a charging dock.
Another neckband speaker made with gaming in mind, this option from Panasonic is lightweight, offering six different sound modes, a built-in microphone and four-channel surround sound speakers. It was developed in coordination with the Final Fantasy XIV Online sound team, too, so you know it’s expert-approved. The speaker even earned a 2022 CES Innovation Award.
The wired design means there’s no need for charging. Just slip the speaker over your head, saddle up to your desk and start playing.
The Sony SRS-NB10 Wireless Neckband Bluetooth Speaker was a CES Innovation Awards 2022 honoree, an accolade that the Consumer Technology Association bestows upon the most innovative products each year. Perfect for use at home or on the go, this speaker offers up to 20 hours of battery life and is IPX4 splash-resistant and sweat-resistant to keep you more comfortable.
This lightweight design features an upward facing speaker with voice pickup technology, dedicated mute, volume, and power buttons, and a built-in mic. It also features a multi-point connection system, so you can connect it to multiple devices at the same time.
If you’re looking to test out an affordable neckband speaker before investing in a pricier one, check out the ENUOSUMA Neckband Bluetooth Speaker. It’s IPX5 waterproof and sweat-resistant, so it’s perfect for wearing when you’re walking, biking, or working out outdoors. A single charge offers up to 12 hours of playback, while Bluetooth 5.0 technology provides a greater wireless range and a more stable connection.
This ENUOSUMA neckband speaker is ergonomic, and it’s made from a combination of TPU and soft silicone, so it’s lightweight and comfortable to wear for hours on end. It also offers 3D stereo sound with ultra-thin speakers that provide deep bass tones.
With Meridian Audio technology that provides rich bass and clear tones, the LG Tone Style HBS-SL6S Bluetooth Wireless Stereo Neckband Earbuds are a great choice if you have a bad habit of not charging your devices. A ten-minute charge will give you up to three hours of playback time.
On a full charge, this LG model offers eight hours of talk time and eight hours of music play time, and it’s designed with dual microphones and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity. With this speaker around your neck, it’s easy to switch between making calls and playing music, perfect for whether you’re working from home, driving, or working out.
In addition to the external speaker, it also has retractable earbuds that you can wear in your ears.
Enjoy the comfort of a wireless, wearable speaker for under $25 with the Bluedio Neckband Portable Bluetooth Speaker. This affordable design features Bluetooth connectivity, upward facing speakers for better surround sound, and multiple connection modes, including an FM radio mode.
Lightweight and comfortable in an ergonomic design, this speaker also has an SD card slot, so you can insert an SD card already loaded with your favorite playlist.
Popular Neckband Speaker Features
As you peruse your various neckband speaker options, keep an eye on the features that each speaker set offers. You may discover that there are certain features that you never even knew you wanted, as well as features that you weren’t aware were possible in a neckband speaker.
Some of the most popular neckband speaker features that help take this tech option to the next level include…
2.4 GHz Connectivity
You’ll find that some neckband speakers offer 2.4 GHz connectivity instead of Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity. The two options work similarly, but the former is a little better in terms of audio quality. Additionally, a 2.4 GHz connection will work at longer distances than a Bluetooth connection, and there’s very little lag time.
While the average user might not notice the minute differences between a 2.4 GHz and a Bluetooth connection, true audiophiles will definitely pick up on these details.
If you’re planning on wearing your neckband while you play video games or watch movies, you might want a speaker with a vibration function, to enhance your listening and viewing experience. The vibration function allows for richer bass tones.
Just like a neckband speaker allows you to listen to both your audio and the world around you, if you’re using a neckband speaker for phone calls, then you may find that your listeners on the other end of that call can also hear the world around you.
With a noise-canceling setting, you can stay on your call while using your neckband speaker and limiting background noise.
A Built-in Mic
Of course, you won’t need the noise-canceling setting if you don’t have a built-in mic in your neckband speaker. If you plan on using your neckband speaker for any kinds of calls, work or personal, this feature is crucial.
Some neckband speakers also feature built-in earbuds. These earbuds are usually tucked away inside of the band and then you can remove them and use them, as needed. This feature comes in handy when you need to listen to your audio privately, but you don’t want to switch to a totally different speaker or audio source altogether.
What to Look for in a Neckband Speaker
As you shop for a neckband speaker, whether you’re considering one of the top options above or any other similar product, there are a few things you’ll want to consider.
Do you want a speaker that’s going to be a little bit heavier so that it stays easily in place, no matter how much you move or jostle? Or do you want an extremely lightweight speaker that you can barely feel? Take weight into consideration as you pick out the best option for you.
How often do you plan on using your neckband speaker? Will you be using it during your workday, eight hours per day in your home office? Then you’ll want a speaker that has a pretty long battery life.
However, if you only plan on using the speaker maybe three or four times per week, when you go on an hour-long run, you can probably opt for a more affordable speaker that needs to be charged more frequently.
How much do you care about sound quality? Do you constantly notice if the audio is “off” or not quite as good as it could be? Then you’ll want to invest in a high-quality speaker with highly-rated audio capabilities (if not, you’ll go crazy trying to listen to the less-than-stellar audio that some of these products offer).
However, if you never notice audio quality (or a lack thereof), you probably won’t notice it with a neckband speaker, and you can get away with buying a more affordable option.
Neckband speakers can really range in price. Some can start for as little as under $50, while others can cost multiple hundreds of dollars. Take your budget into account as you start to shop, and keep in mind that a higher quality will inevitably cost you more.
Are there certain features you know you want from your neckband speaker? Do you definitely want a built-in mic for hands-free calling while wearing the speaker? Do you want an adjustable speaker, so multiple people in your family can wear it comfortably? Or do you know you need a waterproof speaker because you’ll be wearing it while sweating at the gym?
Whatever features are most important to you, make sure to look for neckband speakers that offer them.
At the end of the day, though, the most important factor to consider when shopping is your intended use. If you don’t go with an option that’s going to work well when running, watching the kids, working, or whatever you plan on doing, then you’re less likely to use your new speaker, meaning your latest tech purchase was just money wasted.
Neckband Speaker Alternatives
Of course, if you decide that maybe one of the above speakers isn’t a great fit for you, there are other options. You’re not limited to your AirPods or headset. There are other wearable speakers to consider.
12. Clip-On Speakers
Clip-on speakers, like this option from JBL, can easily clip onto your backpack, belt loop or other convenient places. The waterproof, durable and portable Bluetooth speaker from JBL comes in a range of colors and can play for up to 10 hours without charging. Stream wirelessly from your phone or tablet, and take the speaker on the go, whether you’re hiking up a mountain or just headed to the pool.
One alternative that’s particularly attractive if you feel like neckband speakers are just a little too heavy and uncomfortable, magnetic wearable Bluetooth speakers — like these from Zulu audio — feature just two small, round speakers attached by a cord. There’s no bulky pillow-like contraption that hangs around your neck.
Just slip the magnet inside your shirt and attach the speaker to the outside of the fabric; then, do the same with the other magnet, so the speakers are situated one on either shoulder. You get the audio you want, but with no bulk.
This small, round speaker is an interesting alternative. The wireless Bluetooth speaker can be used anywhere in your home as a general speaker, similar to your Google Home or Amazon Alexa device, but it also comes with a handy wrist strap that allows you to wear it on the go. It also features a clip so you can attach the speaker to any cloth item, such as your shirt, tent, hammock or anywhere else.
15. Audio Sunglasses
What if you could wear your speakers without anyone even being able to see them? That’s exactly the kind of audio solution that these Bose sunglasses offer.
The sunglasses feature built-in speakers that allow you to hear an immersive, right-next-to-your-ear sound without the need to carry around a separate pair of headphones. And, because the speakers are right next to your face, no one else can really even hear your audio.
The speaker portion of the sunglasses sits right behind your ears, and they work via a one-touch button on the side. If you purchase the sunglasses via other providers (rather than on Amazon), you can even get the glasses outfitted with prescription lenses.
Want another wearable audio solution that’s discreet? Try this flat-bill cap that sports a speaker system in the bill. The side of the hat features buttons that allow you to change the volume, switch songs and take calls.
Whether you’re traveling, sleeping, doing yoga, or meditating, the Perytong Headphones Headband is a comfortable and convenient way to listen to your favorite tunes. Featuring an ultra-thin design that wraps around the head, this Bluetooth headband has a control module in the center, so it’s perfect for back sleepers and side sleepers.
This headband has a stretch fit with a breathable mesh lining. It’s also machine washable (just be sure to remove the control pod first).
This rugged clip-on speaker offers up to 12 hours of battery life and is waterproof. The clip stays in place via a strong magnet that’s hidden beneath your clothes. Just place the magnet on the inside of your shirt and the speaker on the outside, and you’ll find it stays perfectly in place, even while exercising. Don’t want to use the magnet function? There’s also a traditional clip for clipping on belt loops, sleeves, backpacks, or wherever makes the most sense for your needs.
Other features include a headphone jack to allow you to transition to traditional wired headphones as needed, a built-in mic and background noise suppression.
If you’re worried that some of the above neckband speaker alternatives just can’t stand up to your lifestyle and any impending wear or tear, go with a portable, wearable speaker that’s intended for use on construction job sites. This option from trusted brand DeWalt features a built-in mic and charges quickly for 10 hours of playtime. Clip it to your shirt or backpack and go.
Reviewers report using this speaker in a range of settings, from while they’re working out to doing yard work. Many mention how great the sound quality is for how small the speaker is.
This wearable Bluetooth speaker available on Amazon is both a mic and a speaker, and it pairs with your smart assistant for extra capabilities, whether you use Google Now, Siri or Cortana. The speaker magnetically attaches to any other item for easy taking on the go. After one hour of charging, the speaker will work for four hours of continuous use or 40 hours of standby use.
One unique feature is the remote shutter control. Pair the device with your phone to easily take photos on the move with just a press of the volume button on the speaker body.
Neckband Speakers vs. Portable Speakers vs. Earbuds and Headphones
Still not sure if one of the above options is a good fit for your lifestyle and/or needs? Here’s what to consider as you compare neckband speakers, portable speakers, earbuds and headphones.
Pros of Neckband Speakers
Inarguably, the biggest benefit of using neckband speakers? The ability to both listen to what’s going on around you, as well as your media. For those who like to listen to music or podcasts while running, doing yard work or housework, cooking, etcetera, a neckband speaker is safer than earbuds or headphones that might not allow you to hear your environment.
For those who find earbuds or headphones uncomfortable, whether you just have sensitive ears or you wear glasses, neckband speakers can also be a more comfortable option.
Cons of Neckband Speakers
Unfortunately, neckband speakers do come with their cons. The primary downside is that neckband speakers do allow — even to a very small degree — others to listen in to your media or calls. If you want your privacy, a neckband speaker might not be for you.
Pros of Portable Speakers
Portable speakers offer much of the same benefits as neckband speakers, but without the need to wear something around your neck. If you think neckband speakers look, more or less, uncomfortable and annoying, you might want to go with a portable speaker instead of a neckband speaker.
Cons of Portable Speakers
Of course, the two don’t always share the same functions. You might be a little more hard-pressed to find a portable speaker that’s going to allow you to conduct your work calls, whereas built-in microphones for calling are quite a popular feature among neckband speakers.
Portable speakers are sometimes louder than neckband speakers, too, with greater range, so they don’t offer much privacy.
Pros of Headphones, Earphones or Earbuds
Of course, traditional headphones, earphones or earbuds are private and compact. They’ll work just about anywhere, with any of your devices, easily. You know what you’re getting when you buy a pair because you’ve likely used them for years.
If you want high sound quality and noise-canceling functions, headphones or earbuds are also usually superior.
Cons of Headphones, Earphones or Earbuds
Lastly, the things that make headphones and earbuds great for some, make them less than ideal for others. If you need to be able to hear your environment, or if you find headphones or earbuds uncomfortable, a neckband speaker is your best option.
Neckband Speaker FAQs
More questions? We’ve got answers.
Are neckband speakers worth it?
For those who want a handy, hands-free speaker that provides great sound quality without actually using in-ear or over-ear headphones, neckband speakers are definitely worth it. While they might not be suitable for every single time you want to listen to some sort of audio, they’re useful in a range of situations, from taking work calls on the go-to running more safely as you stay aware of your surroundings.
Are neckband speakers any good?
It all depends on the brand and type you buy. Some neckband speakers that are on the cheaper side may feel a little flimsy and the sound quality might not be that great. However, you don’t have to completely splurge in order to get a good pair. Most shoppers can find a suitable fit for under $100.
Can other people hear what you’re listening to on a neckband speaker?
Yes, but it’s not as loud to them as it is to you. Keeping that in mind, if you’re going to be in a very public place, you might want to keep the volume low or opt to listen to your favorite playlist versus that steamy romance audiobook. That said, though, most of the instances where you might find a neckband speaker most useful are places that aren’t very public, i.e., on the running trail, at home, etcetera.
How do neckband speakers work?
A neckband speaker connects to your favorite device via Bluetooth connectivity. From there, it works just like any other Bluetooth speaker, but a neckband speaker’s unique design allows you to listen to your favorite audio at close-range, as well as allows hands-free calling sans headset without shutting you off from the world around you.
Are neckband speakers waterproof?
Some neckband speakers offer some degree of water resistance, making them suitable for use while exercising or in hot weather. However, most are not going to be waterproof. You won’t want to expose your speaker to prolonged rain or sweat, and you definitely don’t want to submerge it in water of any depth.
Can I use a wearable speaker with my TV or home theater?
Yes! You can pair your neckband speaker or wearable speaker with far more devices than just your phone. If your television offers Bluetooth connectivity capabilities, you can pair your neckband speaker with the television and listen to your favorite shows or movies in a new way.
Why would you want to watch TV using your neckband speaker versus the television’s built-in speakers? The neckband speaker creates a quieter sound experience for those around you (say, a sleeping partner or next-door or upstairs neighbors) without sacrificing your own viewing experience.
What are the best brands of neckband speakers?
For any high-quality neckband or otherwise portable speaker, look to the same brands that are known for creating the best overall devices, speakers and headphones in audio. Bose, Sony and Panasonic are all great options, and each of these trusted brands offers its own version of a neckband speaker.
Can you wear neckband speakers while you game?
Yes! Just like you can wear wireless neckband speakers while watching television, you can also wear neckband speakers while you game for high-quality audio on your end but less disturbance for those in your vicinity.
Which Option is Best for You?
Whatever your reason for looking for an alternative style of speaker, you’re likely to find something that can fit your needs on our list above. Whether you need something portable and waterproof or discreet and immersive, you can find a tech solution for you.
You might also be interested in: The 6 Best Bookshelf Speakers [Mixing Books And Music]
The Best Neckband Speakers & Alternatives:
- Oraolo Wireless Wearable Speaker
- Bose Soundwear Companion Wireless Wearable Speaker
- Long Run Technologies Wearable Speaker
- Monster Boomerang Neckband Bluetooth Speaker
- Avantree Torus Wearable Wireless Neck Speaker
- Sony Wearable Speaker System
- Panasonic SoundSlayer Wearable Gaming Speaker
- Sony SRS-NB10 Wireless Neckband Bluetooth Speaker
- ENUOSUMA Neckband Bluetooth Speaker
- LG Tone Style HBS-SL6S Bluetooth Wireless Stereo Neckband Earbuds
- Bluedio Neckband Portable Bluetooth Speaker
- JBL Clip On Speaker
- Zulu Audio Magnetic Wearable Speakers
- Wrist-Strap Speaker
- Audio Sunglasses
- EDYELL Hat with Bluetooth Speaker
- Perytong Sleeping Headphones Bluetooth Headband
- noxgear 39g Wearable Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker
- DEWALT Wearable Bluetooth Portable Speaker
- TOKK Smart Wearable Assistant Hands-Free Bluetooth Speaker Phone