6 Best Bose Headphones – Which One to Choose

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Bose headphones are some of the most popular headphones on the market. They are known for their consumer-friendly sound and excellent comfort regardless of the headphone type. Bose noise-canceling headphones are also some of the best in their category, with few other products capable of matching them in noise isolation performance. However, Bose headphones and earbuds are expensive, which is a big drawback for many people.

If you want to buy a pair of Bose headphones but are having a hard time choosing between the several options available on the market, this product guide is exactly what you need. Below are the best Bose headphones currently out, with almost all of them featuring active noise-canceling (ANC) technology.

Budget
best-budget-bose-headphones
Bose QuietComfort 25
4.0/5.0
Type: Wired over-ear
ANC: Yes
Foldable design and detachable audio cable.
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Best Value
best-value-bose-headphones
Bose QuietComfort 20
4.0/5.0
Type: Wired earbuds
ANC: Yes
Ambient sound mode and 16-hour battery life.
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Top Pick
top-value-bose-headphones
Bose NCH 700
4.5/5.0
Type: Wireless over-ear
ANC: Yes
Adjustable ANC levels and conversation mode.
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Bose Headphones Comparison Table

ModelRatingTypeANCConnectivityBatteryPrice
Bose NCH
700
4.5Wireless
over-ear
YesBluetooth
5.0, 3.5 mm
audio cable
20 hoursCheck Price
Bose
QuietComfort
25
4.0Wired over-
ear
Yes3.5 mm
audio cable
35 hoursCheck Price
Bose
QuietComfort
20
4.0Wired
earbuds
Yes3.5 mm
audio cable
16 hoursCheck Price
Bose
SoundSport
Free
3.8Truly
wireless
earbuds
NoBluetooth 4.15 hoursCheck Price
Bose
QuietControl
30
3.9Wireless
earbuds
YesBluetooth 4.210 hoursCheck Price
Bose
QuietComfort
35 II
4.4Wireless
over-ear
YesBluetooth
4.1, 3.5 mm
audio cable
20 hoursCheck Price

1. Top Pick: Bose NCH 700

Bose NCH 700View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

The Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 (alternatively called the NCH 700, Headphones 700, or NC700 Headphones) are the best among Bose’s current lineup of consumer headphones. While they are not as comfortable and portable as the very popular QuietComfort 35 II, they are better-built and have a more premium design with more features. They are highly versatile wireless headphones that are suitable for casual use and business use.

Design & Features

A pair of closed-back over-ear headphones, the NCH 700 have a sleek, modern design featuring a stainless steel headband that directly connects to their ear cups for a more streamlined look. Their build quality is the best among the headphones listed in this guide, with a sturdier and less plasticky frame.

They are lightweight and have large ear cups that swivel into a flat position, but they are not foldable, which hurts their overall portability. Included in the box are a USB-C charging cable, an analog audio cable, and a hard case, with the former being more modern than the micro USB charging cables of older Bose wireless headphones.

With their thick, spacious earpads and soft headband foam, the NCH 700 are comfortable to wear. They have a tight clamp out of the box, which can be uncomfortable if you have a large head, but they will loosen up after regular use. Their tight over-ear fit creates a better passive seal and makes for a more stable design that prevents them from sliding off your head easily.

The NCH 700 have the most complete control scheme among the headphones in this guide, featuring a responsive touchpad and voice activation for Amazon Alexa – the latter is an uncommon feature among wireless headphones. Located on the right ear cup, the touchpad is used for managing your calls and music, adjusting the volume, checking the battery status, and toggling the Alexa voice activation, but the latter two functions can’t be active at the same time and must be set on the Bose Music app.

In addition to the touchpad, the NCH 700 also have three physical buttons that are easy to access even while on the move. The power button is also used for initiating the Bluetooth pairing process while the other two buttons are for switching between ANC levels, activating the ambient sound mode, triggering your voice assistant, and disabling the mic during calls.

Performance

Although their treble can be too much sometimes, the NCH 700 are good-sounding headphones that are suitable for listening to different music genres and for general media consumption. Their integrated mic is also excellent and easily stands out as one of the best among wireless headphones regardless of form factor or price range. Their mic performance is comparable with some of the best gaming headsets, especially regarding noise reduction, which makes them suitable for calls even in noisy places.

The NCH 700 support Bluetooth 5.0 and can connect with up to two devices at the same time, allowing you to connect them to your smartphone and computer and seamlessly switch between them. They are also recognized by the Bose Music app. With the companion app, you can adjust the ANC and voice assistant settings, manage your Bluetooth connections, and slightly modify the sound using the recently added equalizer, among other things.

Featuring 11 ANC levels, the NCH 700 are some of the best noise-canceling headphones currently out on the market. They are good at blocking different types of noise, including background chatter and the sound of airplane engines and air conditioning units. Their excellent noise isolation makes them ideal for commuting, traveling, and office use. They also have a low sound leakage and provide a tight seal around your ears for better passive noise isolation. Furthermore, their ambient sound mode – called Conversation Mode – allows you to monitor your environment without removing them from your head.

Battery performance is yet another strength for the NCH 700. They can run up to 20 hours per charge in wireless mode with ANC enabled and have a fast-charging feature that allows them to get three and a half hours of playback after a 15-minute charge. Moreover, they have two auto-off features: one is motion-based while the other is a typical auto-off timer that activates when there is no audio playing for a certain amount of time. If the headphones run out of power at an inconvenient time, you have the option to switch to wired mode using the included audio cable.

Wrap-up

The NCH 700 are the most expensive headphones listed in this product guide, normally selling for around $400. But they are definitely worth the money if you want highly versatile noise-canceling headphones for everyday use. They are premium headphones with a sleek design and plenty of useful features. They are suitable for different usages, with their excellent noise isolation, wireless connection, and long battery life per charge making them especially good for commuting and traveling.

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Tech Specs
Type: Wireless over-ear
ANC: Yes
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, 3.5 mm audio cable
Battery: 20 hours
Pros
Stainless steel headband
Adjustable ANC levels
Conversation Mode
Excellent mic performance
Alexa voice activation
Multipoint pairing support
USB-C charging port
Cons
Very expensive
Not foldable
Narrow touchpad

2. Budget: Bose QuietComfort 25

Bose QuietComfort 25View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4/5

There are no true “budget” Bose headphones. But if you are looking for a relatively more affordable product, there are two options: the noise-canceling QuietComfort 25 and the SoundSport Wireless earbuds. Both can be bought for $150 or less. Of the two, the QuietComfort 25 are the better product: While they are more expensive than the SoundSport Wireless, they are more versatile and offer better value for the money.

Design & Features

The QuietComfort 25 are wired over-ear headphones with closed ear cups and an in-line remote for call and music management and volume control. While their mostly plastic build is inferior to that of our top pick, they are much more comfortable to wear. In fact, they are some of the most comfortable over-ear headphones out there. They are lighter and have a looser clamp that makes them less fatiguing to wear for extended periods, not to mention their ear cups are generously padded and breathable for closed headphones.

In addition to being more comfortable, the QuietComfort 25 are also a bit more portable than the NCH 700. They are less bulky and fold into a more compact form, allowing them to take up less space in your bag. Their audio cable is detachable for easier cable management while their hard case also has a smaller footprint. Furthermore, their ear cups can swivel to a flat position, which makes them less cumbersome to wear around your neck when not in use.

Like most other wired headphones, the QuietComfort 25 come with an audio cable terminating in a 3.5 mm analog plug. This allows for easy compatibility with most devices, including smartphones, laptops, portable music players, and gaming consoles. An airplane adapter is also included in the box, which is beneficial if you travel a lot.

Performance

The QuietComfort 25 are good in most performance aspects and will satisfy most consumers with their sound quality, noise isolation, and battery life. They are good-sounding headphones that sound clear and detailed and are especially suitable for bass-heavy music. Since they are wired headphones, they don’t suffer from latency issues, which is beneficial if you intend to use them for gaming. On the other hand, mic performance is a mixed bag: the in-line mic has good recording quality, but its ability to separate your voice from background noise is rather mediocre.

With their excellent noise cancellation, the QuietComfort 25 are recommended headphones for travel and commuting. They are good at reducing low-frequency and high-frequency noises and are especially effective at blocking out ambient chatter in the office and public transport. This is one of the biggest reasons they are a better option than the SoundSport Wireless. However, their overall sound isolation is not exactly spotless; although their noise isolation is outstanding, their sound leakage is quite high, which can be undesirable in some situations.

The QuietComfort 25 are not wireless headphones, but they still need power for their ANC. Instead of a non-removable internal battery, they simply use an AAA battery, which is inserted into their ear cup and can be easily replaced. One AAA battery is already included with the headphones, but you can use other AAA batteries if you want. You can get up to 35 hours of playback from a fresh battery, which is more than enough for even the longest flight in the world. If the headphones run out of power, you can still use them as regular headphones without ANC.

Wrap-up

All in all, the QuietComfort 25 are some of the best noise-canceling headphones that can be bought for less than $200. They are not exactly what people would normally consider as “budget headphones,” but they won’t burn your wallet like other Bose headphones. Their comfort, noise cancellation, and battery life are excellent while their sound quality and build quality are good. Although their wired connection can be cumbersome sometimes, they are versatile headphones that are suitable for casual everyday use.

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Tech Specs
Type: Wired over-ear
ANC: Yes
Connectivity: 3.5 mm audio cable
Battery: 35 hours
Pros
Extremely comfortable fit
Foldable design
Detachable audio cable
Great noise cancellation
Very long battery life
Airplane adapter included
Cons
Mostly plastic frame
Too much treble
High sound leakage

3. Best Value: Bose QuietComfort 20

Bose QuietComfort 20View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4/5

The QuietComfort 20 are noise-canceling earbuds that easily stand out as some of the best in their category. They are suitable for casual everyday use, with their outstanding noise isolation making them especially good for commuting and travel. If you prefer noise-canceling headphones in a much more portable form factor, they are a better option than the QuietComfort 25.

Design & Features

Featuring stability fins for a more secure fit, the QuietComfort 20 are wired headphones with an earbud design, which means they don’t actually enter your ear canals. Since their ear tips simply rest outside your ear canals, they are more comfortable than in-ear headphones or earphones. Their build quality is good, but their long, rubberized audio cable is not detachable. Their cable terminates in an angled plug with a 3.5 mm analog connector for universal compatibility with most devices.

The QuietComfort 20 are significantly more portable than our other top picks. While their ANC control module can be cumbersome, they are compact and lightweight and will easily fit into most pockets. A small travel pouch is included with the headphones for storage, along with a shirt clip for better cable management. Unfortunately, there is no adapter included for connecting the earbuds to mobile devices without a regular headphone port.

For controls, the QuietComfort 20 include a four-button in-line remote and a control module located near the audio cable plug. The remote has volume buttons, a multi-function button for call and music management, and a button for toggling the ambient sound mode. The separate control module has more limited controls, with only a switch for enabling or disabling the noise-canceling feature.

Performance

Although their bass can be overpowering sometimes, the QuietComfort 20 are decent-sounding earbuds that are suitable for bass-heavy music. They are suitable for general media consumption, with their wired connection eliminating any latency issues, which is especially beneficial for gaming. Their in-line mic is also good for non-business calls, but not in very loud places since the mic is only decent at best when it comes to noise reduction.

The QuietComfort 20 are some of the best noise-canceling headphones on the market, especially in the earbud and earphone category. Their noise cancellation is excellent, which isn’t really surprising for a product from Bose, a company known for noise-canceling headphones. They block a great amount of ambient chatter and low-frequency noises and are also good against high-frequency noises. Their noise cancellation makes them ideal for commuting, traveling, and office use. Their sound leakage is also minimal even at high volume.

If you want to temporarily monitor your surroundings without removing your earbuds, you can activate the ambient sound mode using the in-line remote. When the ambient sound mode is enabled, the earbuds let some background noise in, allowing you to have more situational awareness. But unlike with some noise-canceling headphones, you don’t have full control over the amount of noise being filtered in or blocked out.

With ANC enabled, the QuietComfort 20 can run up to a solid 16 hours per charge, which is good enough for all-day use at the office and long flights. If their battery runs out, you can still use them as regular headphones without the ANC. They take around two hours to be fully recharged and include a micro USB charging cable. They lack an auto-off timer or other similar power-saving features, which means you need to disable the ANC when they are not in use to prevent the battery from draining.

Wrap-up

Overall, the QuietComfort 20 are excellent wired earbuds that are suitable for casual everyday use, with their noise cancellation and very portable form factor being especially beneficial for travel and commutes. They have a comfortable earbud design with stability fins for a more secure fit and boast an excellent ANC feature that simply works. Although they are not packed with features, their build quality, battery life, and mic performance are good while their sound quality is decent.

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Tech Specs
Type: Wired earbuds
ANC: Yes
Connectivity: 3.5 mm audio cable
Battery: 16 hours
Pros
Comfortable earbud fit
Integrated stability fins
Excellent noise cancellation
Ambient sound mode
16-hour battery life
Minimal sound leakage
Cons
Non-detachable cable
Poorly positioned ANC control module
No auto-off feature

4. Bose SoundSport Free

Bose SoundSport FreeView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 3.8/5

Among Bose’s current headphones lineup, the SoundSport Free are the best for sports use. They are truly wireless earbuds that are easy to carry for workouts at the gym and outdoor runs. Their semi-open design and completely cable-free form factor make them unique among the Bose headphones in this guide. You can get them for around $200 or less, with Bose offering multiple color options to choose from, including a less flashy all-black model.

Design & Features

The SoundSport Free are IPX4-rated earbuds with non-removable stability fins for a more secure fit, which is important for sports use. Their earbud fit means they don’t enter your ear canals at all, making them more comfortable to wear for extended periods than in-ear headphones. Three pairs of ear tips are included with the earbuds. Unlike sports earphones in a neckband format, they lack any form of cable connecting to their earpieces, which allows for more movement freedom while exercising.

While they are bulkier than most truly wireless headphones, the SoundSport Free are still extremely portable and easy to carry for everyday use. They are the most portable among the headphones in this guide due to their extremely lightweight and compact design. Their charging case – which also holds additional charges – is bulkier than usual and won’t easily fit into small pockets, but it’s still easy to carry for daily gym sessions.

The control scheme of the SoundSport Free is composed of physical buttons located on the earbuds. In addition to a multi-function button for call and music management, they have separate volume buttons and a button for initiating the Bluetooth pairing. But while their control scheme is one of the more complete among truly wireless headphones, the buttons are not the easiest to use: they are stiff and hard to press, making them difficult to use while on the move.

Performance

The SoundSport Free are some of the best-sounding in the truly wireless category, a headphone category not exactly known for audio reproduction. They sound balanced, clean, and detailed, with a wider and more open soundstage than closed-back earphones. They are suitable for different music genres, but if you mainly listen to hip hop and electronic dance music, you may not like their bass-light sound.

Equipped with Bluetooth 4.1, the SoundSport Free have an easy pairing process and relatively low lag when connected to mobile devices. But they don’t support multipoint pairing and NFC, which is rather disappointing for a product in their price range. Their integrated mic is also mediocre, but this can also be said for many other truly wireless headphones.

Sound isolation is a mixed bag for the SoundSport Free. On one hand, their noise isolation performance is mediocre – which is beneficial if you prefer to be more aware of your surroundings, especially while running outdoors, but undesirable for commuting and traveling. On the other hand, their sound leakage is low, allowing you to increase the volume for better passive noise isolation without worrying about disturbing people around you.

The SoundSport Free can run up to five hours on a single charge, a decent mark for truly wireless earbuds, which usually have a short battery life per charge. You get two additional charges in the case, increasing the total battery life to 15 hours. As with other truly wireless headphones, there is no option to switch to wired mode when the battery is depleted – the only cable included with the earbuds is a micro USB charging cable for the case.

Wrap-up

For strictly sports use, the SoundSport Free are the best Bose headphones, besting the similarly sports-oriented SoundSport Wireless. They have a completely cable-free design, an IPX4 rating, stability fins, and a portable charging case – all of which are beneficial for sports use. Their build quality and sound quality are good while their earbud fit is very comfortable. They are also decent for non-sports use, but only if you don’t mind their mediocre passive noise isolation.

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Tech Specs
Type: Truly wireless earbuds
ANC: No
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.1
Battery: 5 hours
Pros
Cable-free design
Comfy and secure fit
IPX4 rating for water resistance
Magnetized case
Good sound quality
Low sound leakage
Cons
Short battery life per charge
Bulky charging case
Stiff control buttons

5. Bose QuietControl 30

Bose QuietControl 30View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 3.9/5

If you like the comfortable earbud fit and noise cancellation of the QuietComfort 20 but prefer the convenience of wireless connectivity, get the QuietControl 30 instead. They are wireless headphones in a neckband format, which means they are not completely cable-free like the SoundSport Free. They are some of the best neckband headphones on the market, but they are also some of the most expensive, normally selling for around $300.

Design & Features

The QuietControl 30 are wireless earbuds featuring a flexible neckband with two short audio cables connecting to the two earpieces. Although they are mostly made of plastic, their build quality is good, but they lack an official IP rating for water resistance. They are lightweight and portable, with their neckband design allowing you to simply wear them around your neck when not in use.

Their ear tips have stability fins for a more secure fit and can be easily removed, with Bose including three different pairs in the box. A hard case is also included with the earbuds, along with a micro USB charging cable. The hard case offers better protection against physical damage and water spills than the travel pouch of the QuietComfort 20, but it has a larger footprint.

Like most other neckband headphones, the QuietControl 30 have a remote for the main controls, but it has a bit more functions due to their ANC feature. The in-line remote has five buttons in total: two volume buttons, one multi-function button for call and music management, and two more buttons for adjusting the ANC level. Unlike with the QuietComfort 20, there is no dedicated button for quickly switching to ambient sound mode.

Performance

The QuietControl 30 are decent-sounding earbuds with excellent bass and mid-range. Their bass is not overpowering while their treble is not too sharp. They are suitable for listening to different music genres and for general media consumption. They support Bluetooth 4.2 and NFC technology and can connect with up to two devices at the same time. On the other hand, their mic performance is mediocre, especially regarding record quality.

With their noise cancellation, the QuietControl 30 are good headphones for commuting, traveling, and office use. They are very good at reducing low-frequency and high-frequency noises and background chatter, with their adjustable ANC allowing you to control how much noise you want to hear or block out. Their sound leakage is also low even at high volume. You can adjust the ANC level using either the in-line remote or the Bose Connect app.

The QuietControl 30 can run up to 10 hours per charge, which is good enough for a typical work shift and for long flights and commutes. Unlike the QuietComfort 20, they have an auto-off feature, which can be adjusted on the companion app. However, they can’t function as regular passive headphones since they lack an audio cable for wired mode.

Wrap-up

Suitable for casual everyday use, the QuietControl 30 are some of the best neckband headphones out on the market. They are more versatile than the SoundSport Wireless and the SoundSport Free, which are also wireless earbuds. Their comfort, portability, noise cancellation, and wireless connectivity features are great while their battery life and in-line controls are good. If you want wireless noise-canceling headphones but don’t like the bulky over-ear designs of both the NCH 700 and the QuietComfort 35 II, go for the QuietControl 30.

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Tech Specs
Type: Wireless earbuds
ANC: Yes
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.2
Battery: 10 hours
Pros
Portable neckband design
Adjustable noise cancellation
Multipoint pairing support
NFC pairing
Great wireless range
Adjustable auto-off feature
Cons
Very expensive
Subpar mic performance
Neckband coating issue

6. Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Bose QuietComfort 35 IIView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.4/5

The QuietComfort 35 II are excellent noise-canceling headphones that also make a strong case for the best Bose headphones overall. While they have a less premium design and fewer features than the newer NCH 700, they are more comfortable and better-sounding out of the box. They are also more travel-friendly and more affordable, with their price sometimes dropping to below $300 during a sale.

Design & Features

A pair of wireless over-ear headphones, the QuietComfort 35 II have a metal-reinforced headband and closed-back ear cups with synthetic leather earpads. Their overall build quality is good, but they are more plasticky than our top pick, which is disappointing for such an expensive product. Their ear cups are foldable, making them more portable and easier to carry for travel. A hard case is also included for storage.

Like the QuietComfort 25, the QuietComfort 35 II are some of the most comfortable headphones out on the market. They are lightweight and have spacious ear cups with soft cushions that don’t get too hot easily. Compared to the NCH 700, their clamp is looser, which makes them less fatiguing to wear for long flights and commutes. But despite their looser fit, they still stay securely on your head and don’t slide off easily.

The QuietComfort 35 II have simple and user-friendly on-cup controls. You get a typical three-button layout for call and music management and volume control, along with a separate button for toggling between ANC levels and activating either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. There is also a switch on the right ear cup for turning the headphones on or off and for initiating the Bluetooth pairing process.

Performance

The overall performance of the QuietComfort 35 II is mostly good. They sound great out of the box, with powerful bass, clear reproduction of vocals and instruments, and a smooth treble. They support the older Bluetooth 4.1 and can connect with up to two devices at the same time. They can also pair with compatible devices using NFC technology, which is convenient. Their built-in mic is decent for calls, but the NCH 700 are significantly better in mic performance.

With their ANC, the QuietComfort 35 II are excellent at blocking out noise, from the sound of airplane and bus engines to background chatter. This makes them ideal for commuting and traveling, especially considering their travel-friendly foldable design. But they only have three noise cancellation levels and lack a true ambient sound mode for temporarily monitoring your surroundings. Their sound leakage is also a bit high, but it shouldn’t be an issue unless you listen to music at unhealthy volume levels.

The QuietComfort 35 II can run up to 20 hours per charge and require around two hours to be fully recharged. Their long battery life per charge allows them to last through extended work shifts and very long flights. They have an auto-off feature (adjustable on the Bose Connect app) and also work as regular passive headphones when their battery is depleted. An audio cable terminating in a 3.5 mm analog plug is included with the headphones for switching to wired mode.

Wrap-up

If our top pick is too expensive for you, check out the QuietComfort 35 II instead. Their noise isolation and battery performance are similar to the NCH 700, but they are more comfortable, more portable, and better-sounding out of the box. While their mostly plastic build is disappointing for a product normally selling for around $350, they are some of the best noise-canceling headphones currently out on the market. They are suitable for casual everyday use, with their long battery life allowing them to last almost an entire day on just a single charge.

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Tech Specs
Type: Wireless over-ear
ANC: Yes
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.1, 3.5 mm audio cable
Battery: 20 hours
Pros
Superb comfort
Excellent noise cancellation
Long battery life
Foldable design
Multipoint pairing support
NFC pairing
Cons
Mostly plastic build
No talk-through mode
Limited ANC settings
0/50 ratings