What Are Retractable Headphones, and How Do They Work? What Are the Benefits of Earbuds With a Retractable Cord?
Convenience is the key factor that everyone takes into consideration while searching for a good pair of earbuds or headphones. While most people are shifting their preferences from wired earphones to wireless options, these wire-free earbuds do have some shortcomings that cannot be ignored. Some of the common issues like earbuds falling off from the ears while jogging or workout, shorter battery life, or issues with sound quality are some of the most common ones. Nevertheless, they are definitely a better option than the traditional wired ones.
There are earbuds that come with a short cord connecting both the earpieces together. These types of earbuds are specifically designed for sports and fitness.
Earbuds with a retractable cord, also commonly known as neckband headphones, are a new form of earbuds that is catching a lot of attention these days. Although this type of headset hasn’t gained that much popularity yet, like that of the other types of earbuds, they come with numerous benefits that address the gaps between the true wireless earbuds and the ones with a short cord.
So what are these retractable earbuds?
These earbuds are attached to the neckband with a retractable cord that expands when you pull them to put in your ears. When you take them off your ears, they go back to their original form by curling back into the neckband frame.
In this article, we will focus on providing some of the best retractable neckband Bluetooth headphones available in the market today. Along with that, we will also take you through the basic factors you need to keep in mind while selecting a good pair of earbuds with a retractable cord, the benefits of these types of headsets, and some of their drawbacks.
What Are the Parameters for Purchasing Retractable Headsets?
So, first things first. Since this form of earbuds is relatively new, before heading to the list of the best retractable earbuds, let’s take a dive into some of the things that you will need to consider when buying a pair of earbuds with a retractable cord.
No matter how convenient your headset is, the sound quality still remains one of the most important things when you consider buying headphones. There is no point in getting one if it doesn’t sound good, right? Some of the main things that determine the sound quality of the headphones are- the size of the drivers, frequency response, noise isolation ability, bass response for an energizing sound.
The best retractable earbuds have a durable design in most cases, however, there may be a slight variation from product to product. Oftentimes, in the case of cheaper headphones, the manufacturer tends to trade off the durability part with other features to fit into the budget. If you are particular about the longevity of the headphone, then read the user reviews and check the warranty of the product. This will give you an essence of how durable the product can be.
It is a good idea to read up a little on the brand, its products, and customer service, so you know where you are heading to. While some of the top brands like Sony or LG have solid brand credibility, there are other brands with options worth looking at as well. So before you make a purchase, check their overall performance in the market.
Retractable headphones pair via Bluetooth and so that you get seamless audio streaming and a good connection, you need to ensure that the Bluetooth has a long range. Most of the latest Bluetooth headsets have an operation range of 30 to 33 meters, thanks to the development in technology.
For the headphone to last for several hours if you are outside, you need a good battery performance. Most of the best retractable neckband Bluetooth headphones have at least 10 hours of battery while some can offer more as well. Remember, some features like high volume, bass booster, noise-canceling feature tend to drain out the battery fast. Consider the charging time as well. Generally, these headphones take about 2 hours to charge fully.
Other than that some of the other things that need consideration are comfort, weight, simple user interface, etc.
Now that you have a fairly decent idea about the earbuds with retractable cords, you might want to know which are the best retractable Bluetooth headset available out there. Without any further delay, let’s move on to our next section.
Best Retractable Bluetooth Headset: List of Some of the Best Retractable Neckband Bluetooth Headphones, Their Features, and Price Point:
There are many options of this kind available in the market from different manufacturers, all claiming theirs to be the best retractable earbuds. However, when you are investing money in a good pair of earbuds, you will obviously want them to be packed with features and that can give you overall good performance. In this list, we have covered a wide range of earbuds with retractable cords that are under different price ranges, and have different features.
LG Tone Infinim HBS-900: (Overall best retractable Bluetooth headset)
Here’s the first one that tops the list of the best retractable neckband Bluetooth headphones. Coming from a reliable electronics brand LG HBS-900 is a combination of great sound, incredible battery performance, and durable build.
The headphone is lightweight and flattened on the neck part and comes down to become thick on either side where the control buttons house. The buttons are pretty distinctive and clear for ease of use. There is a dedicated button for retracting the earbuds back in place for easy storage. This is great functionality and better than many other similar earbuds where you need to pull the earbuds for them to go back into the spooling case.
With the sweat-proof design, the headphone is ideal for joggers, cyclists, and other sports enthusiasts. The headphones are engineered with noise-canceling microphone technology that efficiently picks up and filters the ambient noise ensuring that you get high-quality audio. The high-performing drivers reproduce deep bass, clean highs, and well-defined mid-ranges- good enough to keep you motivated constantly while you are running.
The play/pause button also allows you to change the modes between Normal, Treble Boost, and Bass Boost modes for a better listening experience.
These earbuds with retractable cord have an impressive 15 hours of battery life and 500 hours of standby time which is great when you go on a long road trip for your long practice sessions.
- Great battery life.
- Lightweight and comfortable build.
- Impressive noise-canceling performance.
- Superior voice quality.
- Good controls placement.
- aptX codec compatibility.
- Build quality could have been better. The headphone has a glassy finish which looks a bit cheap and it can show the fingerprints on it easily.
RoomyRoc Bluetooth Headphones: (Best retractable Bluetooth headset at an affordable price)
If you are looking for the best retractable earbuds within an affordable price tag, then this one is a great option to go for. These wallet-friendly headphones have a lot of features that make them a strong contender to the best retractable Bluetooth headset list.
The headphone supports Bluetooth 4.2 technology which provides a reliable signal strength and a long connectivity range of 30+ meters without any audio drops. It also ensures seamless pairing of two Bluetooth devices at the same time so you can easily switch between music and calls without any hassle.
The high-definition and immersive sound quality together with a 12-hour-long battery life give you non-stop music time. If you are not listening to the music, you will get up to 16 hours of call time and more than 180 hours if the headset is on standby.
- Ergonomic design with memory foam ear tip for superior comfort.
- The foam tips are effective at isolating the surrounding noise.
- Excellent battery performance.
- Sweat resistant and durable design makes it ideal for jogging and gym sessions.
- Access to voice control with one press of a button.
- Great value for money.
- Single click retracting earbuds for convenient storage.
- The overall appearance could have been better.
LG Tone Style HBS-SL6S: (Best retractable Bluetooth headset with hi-fi sound)
This pair of earbuds with a retractable cord by LG and tuned by Meridian Audio is all you need if sound quality is your top-most priority. The headset reproduces incredible, high-resolution sound, and thanks to its metal-coated audio unit, you will get an in-depth bass, with clean mids and treble.
The two microphone technology ensures crystal clear communication irrespective of any type of environment you are in. The headset is also integrated with an external mic which makes calling convenient when you are not able to use the earbuds for some reason.
The wireless Bluetooth technology offers effortless pairing and smooth audio streaming without any drop or signal breakage. You will get a battery life of about 8 hours of playback time and 18 hours of standby. Now, while other features are great, the battery performance is lesser than what some of the other competing headphones offer which can be a deal-breaker if you are looking for something to use while traveling or for your long-haul flights.
- Great sound.
- Solid mic implementation.
- Superior bass response.
- Quick charging mode offers 3 hours of run time with just 10 minutes of charge.
- Universal compatibility with a wide range of Bluetooth enabled devices.
- Average battery life.
AMORNO Foldable Wireless Neckband Headset: (Best retractable neckband Bluetooth headphones with foldable design)
This pair of earbuds with a retractable cord is a wonderful travel-friendly option because of its flexible and foldable design. This means that, other than the retractable earbuds, the headband can flex and fold up for easy storage and portability. It can easily be slid into the pockets of your trousers or bag.
Another salient feature of these headphones is that they have an extremely lightweight build. These earbuds with retractable cord are just 53g which is lighter than most of the other neckband headphones available in the market. You will hardly feel that you have the neckband around your neck which is a huge plus.
The sound quality of these audio gears is very pleasant. With distinctive bass, well-sculpted and defined vocals, and treble, you can thoroughly enjoy your favorite tracks with its hi-fi stereo sound. The audio becomes even more clear with the noise reduction mics put inside the earbuds. Integrated with Bluetooth 5.0 technology combined with CSR8635 chips, the headset allows an operation range of 32 feet allowing you to move around freely.
In short, the headphone is packed with vital qualities like a long-lasting battery, strong connection, great controls with a dedicated retract button, hands-free calling, and more. These together with an amazingly cheap price makes it one of the best retractable earbuds available in the market today.
- 10 hours of playback time (12 hours of call time).
- Great controls.
- Excellent sound.
- Flexi-neckband for easy storage.
- IPX5 rated for sweatproof.
- Good mic performance.
- The noise cancellation function could have been better.
Avantree Torus Earbuds with retractable cord: (Best retractable Bluetooth headset for watching movies)
Avantree Torus is a great option for those who are looking for an over-ear movie headphone equivalent audio gear with an immersive surround sound capability but do not want the overhead style headphones.
Built to last forever, the headset has a sturdy construction that sits around your neck comfortably for hours without causing discomfort. When it comes to the audio quality, the headphone exhibits exceptional performance with high-fidelity 3D surround sound for an immersive listening experience. The best part is, you experience this in ears-free mode through the speakers that are integrated on both sides of the neckband. This is why you will find the sides of the neckband thicker than others, making space to hold the speakers.
The sound is enhanced even more by the aptX HD codec support that maintains the originality of the content giving you a high resolution acoustics. The aptX Low Latency ensures that you have a great movie/ video experience with perfect lip sync, without any time lag between the audio and the video.
When you are in a public place and need to hear in private, you can use the retractable earbuds for a personal listening.
- AptX HD, aptX-LL and 3D surround sound technology offer excellent sound.
- Ears-free mode gives a break to your ears while you can still enjoy the movie with surround sound effects.
- Ergonomic design.
- Outstanding battery life (up to 8 hours on speakers/ 48 hours with 260 hours of standby)
- None found.
ECOSI Wireless Neckband headphones: (Best retractable neckband Bluetooth headphones at a bargain price)
Here’s a really cheap pair of earbuds with retractable cord, that has a lot to offer. The headphones come with up to 18 hours of playback time (600 hours standby) which is great for both indoor and outdoor use. You will be able to see the headsets battery indication once you connect it with your smartphone.
The headphone has a sleek design with textured body that gives the headphone a visually appealing look. It is also made of high quality material that makes it long lasting. The 2 years warranty backing automatically speaks of the headphones resistance to wear and tear.
With 10 mm speaker drivers (largest-in-class), the headset has a powerful and fuller sound with deep bass, and well balanced mids and highs.
One of the best retractable earbuds, these headphones are a perfect combination of features, performance and price, perfect for those who are on a tight budget.
- Noise-canceling microphone reduces the background noise.
- IPX5 rated for sweat resistance.
- Ideal for someone with an active lifestyle.
- Good battery life.
- Great visuals.
- Powerful sound signature.
- Different sized ear tips for the accurate fit.
- Great value for money.
- The control buttons could have been better.
BEARTWO earbuds with retractable cord: (Best retractable neckband blue tooth headphones with foldable design and great customer service)
These neckband headphones are a travel-friendly choice for those who are on road most of the time. The collapsible design enables you to fold it to half of its actual size and slide it into any pocket when you do not want to carry it around your neck.
These earbuds with retractable cord have a super comfortable weightless build for an all-day wear. The gel ear tips perfectly seals into the ears ensuring good passive noise reduction while maintaining the original sound quality. The vibration alert of the neckband will let you know when you receive a call so you do not have to keep checking your phone or wear the earbuds all the time.
Speaking of audio quality, these headphones have rich well defined sound with solid bass depth and undistorted treble. The vocals are distinct and clean. This means that they offer the perfect sound signature for any kind of music genre giving you a pleasant experience. The in-built mics pick up the voice with clarity for an uninterrupted communication.
One of the positive things that makes it one of the best retractable earbuds is its excellent customer service which is very important for a brand to maintain customer loyalty. The company boasts of 24X7 customer service for lifetime which makes it a lot earlier for everyone to raise their concerns.
- Foldable design.
- 365 days customer service.
- 16 hours of battery life.
- Travel-friendly option.
- User-friendly controls.
- Backed by a 2 years warranty.
- You might experience disruption in connection once in a while.
Avantree HT4186 Wireless Earbuds with retractable cord: (Best retractable earbuds for watching TV)
We discussed a product from Avantree in the list and here’s one more that takes retractable headphones to the next level by making it suitable not just for mobile devices but also for watching TV. If you are not an ‘over-ear headphones person’, then this is your best bet for watching TV.
The headphone comes bundled with a wireless transmitter that can be easily connected to your headphones power output jack and by turning on the power, it will connect with the TV. The transmitter is incorporated with Aux and RCA input, which makes it compatible with any type of TV in the market making it a versatile option.
Engineered with 40 mm speaker drivers, the headphones deliver high quality audio with precision at every frequency level even when the volume is cranked up. The bass tone is deep and thumpy, with well sculpted and distinctive mid ranges and highs. This model uses “Faststream” Bluetooth for low latency so the audio and the video is well synchronized.
The headphone has a 20 hour long battery life which is definitely impressive.
- Great in-ear headset for TV.
- Versatile pair that can be used for multiple applications.
- Low latency.
- Good battery life.
- Transmitter allows two devices to pair together.
- While the sound quality is okay, it could have been more accurate and clean.
Here’s a more versatile pair of earbuds with retractable cord that also works as a speaker. The headphone has an unique design with two mesh windows housing two speakers on both the sides of the neckband. The speakers are designed to deliver surround sound for an immersive audio.
You can switch between the earbuds and the speakers effortlessly with a press of one button. As for the sound quality of the earbuds, they have a decent bass and treble response with natural mids. Both speaker and earbuds have a microphone incorporated so you can either make calls or listen to the music on the move. The noise cancellation technology lowers the surrounding sound contributing towards a better audio performance.
The retractable cord allows you to pull the length as per your convenience and have them curl back to their place by pressing the retract button. The battery life is pretty decent. You will get about 15 hours of music or talk time depending on the usage and the volume you listen to and a standby of 500 hours. This means that you can have long listening sessions without having to worry about charging the headphones every now and then.
- Sturdy and durable build.
- Ergonomically designed for a better fit.
- Supports aptX HD and with Bluetooth v5.0 for a faster connectivity, stable signal and low latency.
- Speakers with 3D surround sound capability.
- IPX7 rating for water and sweat proof makes it ideal for all sports enthusiasts and perfect to use under any weather conditions.
- Battery life could have been a bit longer.
So Why and How Should You Use the Best Retractable Earbuds?
Well, there is a long list of advantages of having the best retractable Bluetooth headset and making them a part of your day-today life:
- Earbuds with retractable cords are a great alternative to their wired counterparts as they free you from the hassles of untangling the wire when you need them in emergencies.
- They are a great solution for those who are always afraid of losing their true wireless earbuds or keep losing them unknowingly. The earbuds with retractable cord help them to keep their earbuds close to the ears as they hang around the neck so they can use them when they need to and take them off otherwise.
- The entire make of the neckband headset is bigger in size so there are less chances of losing them like in case of the tiny buds.
- Great option for jogging or light exercises in the gym. No more cable ripping, heavy overhead headphones making you conscious or the wireless earbuds slipping off the ears.
More Benefits of the retractable earbuds.
- It is easy to control the length of the cable in case of the earbuds with retractable cords. You can pull the exact length of the cable you want with no extra extensions hanging and tugging at the door knob, hooks or getting held anywhere else.
- In case you are wondering that the continuous pulling of the headphones might rip the wires from the coiling case, then rest assured. These types of headsets are designed to have a stronger build than their other earbud counterparts. This means that they can be with you for a long period of time.
- Some of the best retractable Bluetooth headset come with in line mic or built in mic so you can make calls.
- These headsets have a better battery capacity than the true wireless earbuds. They offer a minimum of 10 hours of playback time or more. Many earbuds from top brands on the other hand offer around 6 to 8 hours of run time on a single charge.
Why Should You Avoid Buying Retractable Headsets?
While there is a long list of benefits that you can reap from these pair of headsets, it does have some limitations that you should know of–
If you are a critical listener, or an audio professional then you would probably want to go for headphones that offer more detailing and hi-fidelity sound quality.
If you need a headset for extensive fitness sessions that involves a lot of physical movement, then the earbuds with retractable cord may not be the best option for you. Even though it is pretty stable with lighter moves and running, with heavy work out, the headset may tend to slide off your neck.
Another potential downside of these headphones is that it is a bit challenging to find earbuds with the right fit for small size ears. Even though some headphones may come with different sized ear tips for the accurate fit, you may need to hunt a bit more if you have a really small ear canal. Still, the options are limited.
How do you use these headphones?
Using retractable headphones is pretty easy. The only thing you need to do is to pair the headphones with the audio device using Bluetooth wireless connectivity. Every headset has its own dedicated button for Bluetooth pairing. You need to turn the pairing mode of the headphone on and make sure that the Bluetooth of your mobile is also turned on and visible.
Once the pairing is done, you just have to pull the earbuds out at a length that is most comfortable to you and seal them into the ear canal. Many earbuds come with eartips of different sizes so you can choose what works best for you. This will help in sealing the buds into your ears properly so there is no sound leakage.
The retracting mechanism for different headphones may vary. While most of them that we have listed on our best retractable Bluetooth headsets list have a dedicated button to pull the earbuds back in place, some need to be pulled forward for them to unlock and spring back in place.
Retractable headsets are one of the great audio accessories to keep with you especially if you have an active lifestyle or tend to make impromptu plans most of the time. The headphones are easy to carry and store and the best thing is they do not have their wires hanging long which means you do not have to deal with hassles of untangling them. These headphones may not be the best option for professional uses or an audiophile who observes and analyses every minute detail in an audio content. However, if you need something inexpensive for casual use, they cost much less than an overhead headphone or a good pair of earbuds and they have their own conveniences.
It depends on the model and the brand. Since most of them are designed to suit the needs of a fitness professional they have a minimum of sweat resistance capability. But, some of them in the best retractable Bluetooth headset also have high levels of water resistance. If you have a specific need, do check the IPX rating before you buy them.
Yes, most of these types of earbuds are pretty durable owing to their design. The cord of the earbuds retract inside the neckband case that acts as a protection to these earbuds protecting them from the wear and tear. You can also check the warranty of the product before buying as it determines the quality of the build. The higher the warranty, the better the product usually is.
On an average these headsets take about 2 to 3 hours to get fully charged depending on the headphone. Some of them also have quick/ power charging capabilities that give you a decent amount of playback time with 10 to 15 minutes of charge.
Most of them in the best retractable earbuds list are bundles with extra ear tips of different sizes, so you can choose one that fits you accurately.