Looking For An Alternative To Headphones? These Options Are Portable, Ergonomic, & Noise Cancelling


While DJ-style headphones offer padded comfort, the best headphones alternatives fit comfortably in or over the ears, sound great, and are much less bulky than traditional headphones, so they’re easier to stash in your bag or pocket. When shopping, you'll have a few options:

  • Earbuds: The most common alternative to traditional headphones, these fit inside the ears and generally boast a low profile. They're the most portable option, but you'll have to decide whether you want wireless earbuds or wired earbuds. With wireless Bluetooth earbuds, you'll have to remember to charge them, but they do away with the annoyance of tangled cords, and many of them come with charging cases, so you get a little extra juice before having to plug into the wall again. Wired earbuds, on the other hand, are the cheapest option and don't need to be charged.
  • Neckband headphones: These wrap around the neck and hook over the ears, and they tend to offer superior noise cancellation for the price compared to earbuds.
  • Headbands: Soft and stretchy, these feature thin wireless speakers sewn into the sides and they're a great option if you're looking for something comfortable enough to sleep in.

And if you're planning to use these while exercising, you might want to spend a few extra bucks for water-resistance so you can sweat it out at the gym or run in the rain without risking damage.

Whichever style is right for you, these are the best headphones alternatives on Amazon that are comfy and wallet-friendly whether you're listening to podcasts, music, or an audiobook.

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The Overall Best Wireless Earbuds

If you want a set of wireless headphones that can withstand sweat, rain, or even accidental drops in water, opt for these water-resistant wireless earbuds with an IPX8 rating, which means they're water-resistant to a depth of 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. These Bluetooth earbuds are compatible with iOS and Android devices, and they offer up to six hours of use on one charge, with an additional 24 hours with the charging case. There's a built-in mic and touch control for music, phone calls, voice assistants, and even volume, and each earbud works independently if you want to use just one at a time. Choose from white, black, or pink.

Glowing review: “I LOVE the way they fit in my ears; they stay in place. They are sweat proof, as they claim, and very comfortable … The sound is much better than I expected.”


The Best Budget Wireless Earbuds

These cheap AirPod alternatives use Bluetooth to deliver high quality sound on both iOS and Android devices. With an integrated mic plus smart touch controls on both earbuds, you can play, pause, skip tracks, use a voice assistant, and take calls. However, there's no volume control on the earbuds. They provide five hours of use on one charge, and the charging case offers an additional 15 hours of play time, so you don’t have to be near an outlet to plug in. And since each earbud works independently, you can use one and leave the other in the case to charge. But since a water-resistance rating isn't listed, there's no guarantee of how well these will hold up during sweaty workouts.

Glowing review: “My music sounds great, and no complaints on call quality. I also don't feel them when they're in, and that is a good thing.”


These Wallet-Friendly Wired Earbuds For Computers & Androids

These wired earbuds are the most affordable option on the list and they use a standard 3.5-millimeter jack to connect to iOS and Android devices. But keep in mind that your device will need a compatible jack, or a Lightning adapter for Apple phones. These have a built-in microphone and easy one-button operation on the cord for playing, pausing, skipping tracks, and answering calls, but no built-in volume control. Reviewers note they also come with different ear tip sizes so you can find the most comfortable fit. Water-resistance is mentioned with this pick either, though, so be sure to take that into consideration.

Glowing review: “These earphones are amazing! They are so comfortable and the sound quality is fantastic!”


These Neckband Headphones With Noise Cancellation

If noise cancellation is a priority, I recommend these Bluetooth neckband headphones that use clear voice capture (CVC) technology to block out ambient and external noise, for clear, easy-to-hear phone calls and music. Another thing working in their favor: These headphones boast an IPX7 water-resistance rating, so they’ll withstand some sweat and rain, making them a good choice for workouts.

The set wraps around the back of your neck with a cord and features earbuds with soft silicone hooks that loop over your ears for a secure fit. Small, medium, and large ear tips are included so you can find the best fit, and the headphones feature integrated control buttons for music, phone calls, volume, and voice control on both iOS and Android devices.

They work for up to eight hours on one charge, and you can choose from seven color combinations, including black and red or pink and gray.

Glowing review: “They cancel out noise very well and the battery last for hours. I woke up this morning and they were still connected to my phone from the yesterday afternoon. I would definitely recommend these ear buds to anyone."


These Headband Headphones That Are Comfy Enough To Wear To Bed

If you like falling asleep to music, podcasts, or other soothing sounds, these wireless sleep headphones are comfy enough to wear while you snooze. The headband has thin wireless Bluetooth speakers inside, which are compatible with iOS and Android devices. The speakers are adjustable so you can move them directly over your ear, too. A built-in microphone and volume control buttons make it easy to control music and answer phone calls.

The headband is made from breathable, moisture-wicking material, so it’ll even work for hot sleepers — and you can also use this headband while you’re working out. Although they're not water-resistant, the speakers offer up to 10 hours of use on one charge — the longest battery life on this list — and they’re removable so you can easily machine wash the headband.

Glowing review: “It's super comfortable and easy to use. My boyfriend snores very loud so it's hard to sleep. I've tried different kinds of headphones but i always wake up to my ears hurting. this helps with that!”