The 8 Best Bose Headphones to Buy in 2018

Enjoy your favorite jams even more with these top-tier headphones

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The Rundown

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II)

QuietComfort 35
Courtesy of Amazon.com
4.8

Widely lauded as some of, if not the best, over-the-ear headphones on the market, Bose’s QuietComfort 35 (Series II) easily earns our top spot. It features a volume-optimized equalizer for a balanced audio performance, Bluetooth, NFC pairing, as well as voice prompts and world-class noise cancelation. While not every pair of headphones are perfect, the QC35 come very close, with 20 hours of battery life per charge in wireless mode and up to 40 hours in wired mode.

Included with the headphones are a USB charging cable, stylish carrying case, backup audio cable for wired listening and an airline adapter. Beyond its well-packaged accessories, windy or noisy environments are no match for this headphone with a noise-rejecting microphone system that allows for clear calling on both ends of the line. Weighing 8.32 ounces, the premium design of the QC35 makes for hours of comfortable listening without any ear or head fatigue.

Best Fitness: Bose SoundSport Wireless

SoundSport Wireless
Courtesy of Amazon.com
4.6

The SoundSport headphones are ideal for fitness because they're lightweight, wireless, as well as sweat and weather resistant. Featuring StayHear+ technology, the tips offer a solid and gripping in-ear fit for staying in place while running on the street or on the treadmill. Changing the song, volume or taking calls can be easily done on the in-line microphone that’s located just a few inches below the right ear.

Battery life lasts up to six hours, so if you forget to charge overnight, don’t worry because you can squeeze in an hour of cardio with just a quick 15-minute charge. Pairing to your smartphone is a snap, thanks to both Bluetooth and NFC pairing, as well as the Bose Connect app, where you have additional control over equalizer and the audio experience. The included extra sets of tips will help you find the perfect fit for your ear size and get you right into your workout routine with no time wasted.  

Check out our other reviews of the best fitness headphones you can buy today. 

Best for Sleeping: Bose Noise-Masking Sleepbuds

4.3

Bose wants to prove that peace and quiet might no longer be the secret to restful sleep — at least, the quiet part. Bose Sleepbuds, a couple of years in the making, are wireless earphones that, rather than blocking noise, create it. To overcome ambient noises like talking, traffic, or even snoring, the Sleepbuds play 10 different tracks meant to mask all distractions.

Weighing in at 1.4 grams and measuring only one centimeter wide, they fit comfortably when lying on your side and feature ear tips with a tight seal to block out as much noise as possible. The miniaturized devices don’t stream any music other than the preloaded audio — think soothing nature sounds, along with brown noise and a dehumidifier — although Bose has said it will be releasing additional tracks. The silver-zinc rechargeable battery lasts for 16 hours and the accompanying case provides an additional 16 hours of power. Significantly pricier than their foam counterparts, the Sleepbuds can be placed on timers or you can set an alarm to wake you up without disturbing the person sleeping next to you. 

Best Budget: Bose SoundTrue Ultra In-Ear Headphones

If you’re on a more limited budget but still want quality sound, the SoundTrue Ultra in-ear headphones may be what you’re after. Remaining true to Bose’s reputation for comfort, each pair of headphones includes three sizes of in-ear tips to choose from. Each tip conforms to your ear for a secure fit that makes the headphones exceptionally comfortable for long periods of wear.

On the headphone cable, you will find a shirt clip which can come in handy while exercising. Slightly below that is a three-button remote that adjusts volume and allows quick switching between calls and music.

When it comes to audio quality, the SoundTrue Ultra does not disappoint. Its rich, deep sound makes it a smart option no matter your music genre of choice. The bass isn’t too heavy and the mids are balanced and warm, which is exactly what you’d expect in this price range. The in-ear design creates some noise isolation, but without active noise cancellation, there are limits on how much external sound will be blocked out.

Check out our other reviews of the best budget headphones you can buy today. 

Best Over-Ear: Bose QuietComfort 25

QuietComfort 25
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Released in 2014, the 6.9-ounce QuietComfort 25  remain a superb over-ear headset that rival’s today’s models with aplomb. The focus on highs and rich lows add to the headphone’s quality and audio lovers will still enjoy the QC25 experience even as new models hit the market. Available in black and white, the deep and powerful musical experience is balanced so that every note sounds clear. The QC25 have long been valued for their ability to tune out the blaring airplane engine noise, so you can sleep peacefully or enjoy the latest movie with no distractions. If there’s any drawback to the QC25, it’s the lack of wireless connectivity, but the inline mic and remote will help you change the music or take calls on both Apple and Samsung/Android variants.

Check out our other reviews of the best over-ear headphones you can buy today. 

Best Noise-Canceling: Bose QuietControl 30

QuietControl 30
Courtesy of Amazon.com

When you typically think of noise-canceling headphones, over-the-ear comes to mind, but the QuietControl 30 wireless headphones are superb in-ear options. Offering similar noise-canceling levels of their over-the-ear rivals, the QC30 includes technology that allows complete control over the level of noise-reduction throughout the day. The included microphone can handle the wind and noisy environments with aplomb courtesy of a noise-rejecting dual-microphone system.

The neckband might not be the design choice for everyone, but once they are on you’ll hardly notice. Beyond design, the Bose technology works with active noise reduction to measure and compare the volume of outside noise and then reacts by producing an opposite signal to counteract it. Additionally, the StayHear+ tips create a seal in the ear for added passive noise reduction. It has a Bluetooth range of 33 feet and a battery life of up to 10 hours on a full charge.

Check out our other reviews of the best noise-cancelling headphones you can buy today. 

Best Wireless: Bose SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless II

SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless II
Courtesy of Amazon.com

First available in 2015, the SoundLink around-ear wireless headphone II is an all-star headset that offers up to 15 hours of battery life on a single charge. Featuring Bluetooth technology, the SoundLink handles not only audio, but HD voice for clear calls in both noisy and windy environments. Additionally, there’s a switch that allows simultaneous connections to two devices with quick switching, so you can do things like watch a video on a computer while staying connected to your smartphone. Earcup controls help you switch between calls and music, as well as control music on both Apple and Samsung/Android devices.

The combination of TriPort technology and active equalizer (EQ) creates a sound that is both crisp and strong no matter what the volume is set at. Wearing the headset for hours on end is a breeze, thanks to a lightweight (6.88 ounces) and comfortable design with impact-resistant (read: durable) materials.

Check out our other reviews of the best wireless headphones you can buy today. 

Best Aviation: Bose A20

A20
Courtesy of Amazon.com

While Bose is mostly known to consumers as a premium name for headphones, the company goes beyond consumers right into other markets such as aviation with the A20 headset. Offering 30 percent more active noise cancelation and 30 percent less clamping force than conventional models, the A20 is available in both Bluetooth and non-Bluetooth variants. Designed to be more comfortable than traditional headsets, the A20 doesn’t come cheap in either variant, but the plug-and-play operation, high-performance microphone and optional non-tangle coil cord make this an attractive option.

Weighing just 12 ounces, the A20 has sheepskin cushions that help retain the lightweight design and allow for soft and comfy listening. The ergonomic control module offers auxiliary audio input, intercom switching, as well as mute and mix settings that can switch to and from battery power and aircraft power with ease.

Tested by

How We Tested

Our reviewers spent 134 hours testing three of the most popular pairs of Bose headphones on the market. To get the most well-rounded results, they tried them in all types of situations — on their daily commute, hitting the gym, falling asleep, and more. We asked them to consider the most important features when using these Bose headphones and we've outlined them here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a Pair of Bose Headphones

Price - Bose headphones and earphones are known for being pricey. Anyone who owns a pair will probably tell you they’re worth the money, though, because the brand’s sound quality is hard to beat across the board. However, there are less expensive options (for example, if you choose a model without active noise-cancelation).

Earbuds vs. earphones - Do you prefer headsets or earbuds that fit snugly inside your ear? Each has its benefits. Over-the-ear headphones often provide better sound quality and have superior noise-cancelation; In-ear headphones can be difficult to fit and uncomfortable for long-term wear, but they are much more portable.

What you’ll use them for - It’s important to take into account how you’ll be using your headphones. Sport-friendly models are best for exercise, while some of Bose’s noise-cancelation technology specializes in reducing airplane noise, which is important for frequent travelers. And if you need earbuds to mask nighttime noise, Bose even makes a pair of Sleepbuds.

Test Results: Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II) (Best Overall)

4.8

What We Like

  • Adjustable noise-cancelation

  • Impressive sound quality

  • Great battery life

What We Don't Like

  • A bit bulky

  • No microphone

Our testers loved these headphones’ noise-canceling abilities. “When playing music, it's all you hear,” one reviewer wrote. Their sound quality is also superior, with one tester raving that they “measure up to studio-quality headphones I have that are similarly priced.” Another plus? A “stellar” battery life. “I use the headphones almost every day and the battery lasts an entire week,” one reviewer said. “Even when you have to recharge, the headphones are juiced up to 100 percent in no time at all.”

Test Results: Bose SoundSport Wireless (Best Fitness)

4.6

What We Like

  • High-quality sound

  • Solid battery life

  • Comfortable fit

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive

  • Small, hard-to-find power button

The best feature of these headphones was their top-notch sound quality, according to our testers. “Bose has a great reputation for sound quality,” one said, “and these earbuds live up to the reputation.” Our testers found that this pair was also very comfortable, and had better-quality bass sound than other earbuds. The only real drawback? One of our testers thought the power button was small and tough to find.

Test Results: Bose Noise-Masking Sleepbuds (Best for Sleeping)

4.3

What We Like

  • Comfortable fit

  • Blocks outside noise

  • Very portable

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive

  • Limited choice of sounds

  • Could be slightly louder

One of our testers thought that these were “by far the best sleeping headphones I’ve experienced to date.” Concerned about comfort? Although one of our reviewers found that his ears were a bit sore after the first night of use, that went away quickly, and that, overall, “they are much more comfortable than other earpieces.” One downside, according to our testers, was that the selection of sounds provided was a bit limiting: “While the ones they’ve chosen are good, there are only a few,” one person said. “Given the cost, if you don’t find something that works for you, it makes it hard to keep them.”