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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.
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.
Noise-canceling has never looked so good. Though the name won't summon much excitement, the Bose Noise 700 are a sleek, clean addition to the company’s line-up of stellar headphones. The noise cancellation, unsurprisingly, is the headphones’ main claim to fame: It’s adjustable and, at its highest level, creates isolation that few other devices can mimic. At its lowest level, the headphones let in ambient sounds that are sharp and clear, almost as if you weren't wearing them at all.
Swipe and tap on the front half of the right earcup to change songs, control volume, pause your music, check your battery levels, and answer calls. Some physical buttons remain. On the back, you’ll find ones to adjust noise cancellation, Bluetooth pairing, power, and voice assistant activation — the headphones support Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa. Battery life comes in at around 20 hours and is done through USB-C charging. While full power requires over two hours of charging, you can get about three hours of life in just fifteen minutes.
The Bose Frames are quite possibly the company's most unique offering — and that’s saying something with a lineup that features noise-canceling earbuds meant to tune out boisterous roommates when you’re going to bed. At their core, the Bose Frames are just sunglasses, albeit with the inclusion of wireless sound transmission.
Reminiscent of bone conduction audio, the Bose Frames ensure that you hear audio while retaining ambiance, which comes in handy whenever you're out for a walk or drive. That said, it's important to note that this output method differs from that of traditional speakers, even if it does yield a handful of interesting use cases. Of course, the sunglasses themselves provide UVA/UVB protection in the lenses, and you can choose between two styles: What'll it be, the classic Alto or the rounded Rondos?
You can connect the Bose Frames to your other devices, such as your smartphone or laptop, using Bluetooth. More options are available in the optional Bose Connect app found on both the Apple App Store and Android's Google Play. However, we'd argue the most promising aspect of the Bose Frames is their experimental augmented reality implementation. Though limited in execution, we're excited how third-party app developers choose to engage with non-ear-focused sound as it pertains to real-world applications.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Our writers spent 89 hours researching and testing the most popular Bose headphones on the market. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.
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.
Impressive sound quality
Great battery life
A bit bulky
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.”
Solid battery life
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.
Blocks outside noise
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.”