We have currently tested 24 pairs of Bose headphones. This manufacturer is known for their high-end headphones and earbuds that lead the industry in active noise cancelling (ANC) performance. Most of their models occupy a premium price point and come with good build quality and comfort.
The Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones Wireless are the best Bose headphones we've tested. They're top-of-the-line cans with Bose's CustomTune technology. This feature allows the headphones to automatically adjust their performance to your unique listening traits as well as to your environment. As a result, their ANC can block out a significant amount of ambient sound around you, whether that's the rumble of a commuter train or office chatter. With their ANC on, they last 29 hours continuously, too.
In addition to their ANC, these very comfortable over-ears support multi-device pairing, so you can stay connected to your PC and smartphone simultaneously, and aptX Adaptive, a Bluetooth codec that dynamically adjusts sound quality or latency, depending on your content. They also support Immersive Audio, a head tracking feature to create a more spacious and dimensional sound experience. You can adjust their bassy sound to your liking using their companion app's graphic EQ and presets.
If you're looking for over-ears that are a bit more affordable, try the Bose QuietComfort Headphones Wireless. They're very similar to the Ultra in many ways, including in noise isolation, but they don't support Immersive Audio. They also don't feel quite as well-built.
If you're specifically looking for headphones to use at the office or while you work from home, look at the Bose 700 Headphones. Although they've been on the market much longer than the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones Wireless, they're still worth considering as they're designed with office use in mind. You can even pick these up in a United Communications (UC) variant, which comes with a dongle to make it even quicker to connect them to your work PC.
Their mic offers a much better noise handling performance than our top pick, ensuring your voice is easy to understand, even in a busy office. It also has a good recording quality, making your voice clear and intelligible. They have dedicated controls for pausing and unpausing the mic while you're on calls, and their ANC feature does a fantastic job of isolating you from ambient noise, meaning you won't have a problem hearing your call. Their comfortable, well-padded design means you can wear them for long hours without much fatigue.
Their sound profile is well-balanced, with a very neutral mid-range response, so voices reproduce clearly and accurately. They also work with an app that has a 3-band graphic EQ that you can use to customize it. They also support multi-device pairing, which is nice if you always switch between your phone and computer.
The best Bose earbuds we've tested are the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds Truly Wireless. Earbuds are a great alternative to over-ear headphones if you want something more lightweight and portable. They don't skimp out on extra features, either. Like their over-ear Ultra counterpart, they support CustomTune technology, which adjusts the headphones' sound and noise isolation to your ear shape and environment, and Immersive Audio, allowing sound to follow your head movements. Their ANC also does an outstanding job of blocking background sound so that you can focus on your audio. That said, their battery life is shorter than over-ear models. They last seven hours continuously, but their carrying case holds an extra three charges if you need it.
Out of the box, they have a bass-heavy sound that can be tweaked to suit your preferences via their companion app's graphic EQ and presets. Their comfortable fit also has stability fins, so you can wear them while working out or running without the risk of having them fall out of your ear. They're certified IPX4 for resistance against water splashes but don't support multi-device pairing.
Like Bose, Sony makes many different sorts of headphones, and their noise cancelling over-ears, like the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless, are often compared to similar headphones from Bose. Both brands have options with very strong noise cancelling, but Bose products tend to have a more neutral sound profile, while Sony headphones like the XM5 pack a lot of extra bass. Bose's headphones are generally more comfortable as well. If you're looking for sound customization features like virtual surround sound or high-resolution audio, you might find what you're looking for in our article on the best Sony headphones.
Sennheiser offers a diverse line of headphones, including earbuds and over-ear headphones. Across the board, they tend not to have the same great noise cancelling performance as Bose headphones, meaning casual use options like the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless don't offer much over similar Bose headphones like the Bose QC45. However, they offer more budget-friendly options. You may want to check out our article on the best Sennheiser headphones if you're looking for audiophile headphones with an open-back design and a neutral sound profile.
Bose's earbuds and over-ears are competitors to Apple products like the AirPods Max Wireless and Apple AirPods Pro 2 Truly Wireless. Bose has an edge with noise cancellation, making their QuietComfort line a better option if that's a priority. Even though Bose headphones aren't the most customizable in most cases, they're more likely than Apple to have in-app features like an EQ and presets. However, they don't have Apple's sleek design or build quality and naturally lack iOS-specific features. Our article on Apple's best headphones has more info and picks.
Anker's headphones and earbuds are usually cheaper than Bose products, and the brand's best products can compete with Bose's in terms of noise cancelling. Many Anker products come with sound customization features, but Bose is the better brand if you're looking for neutral sound out-of-the-box. Bose also makes much more comfortable over-ear headphones. Check out our article on the best Anker headphones for more info.
Overall, Bose makes well-rounded headphones that provide an unparalleled level of comfort. Many of their headphones also have very good noise cancelling and sound well-balanced. However, Bose tends to make comparatively expensive headphones that feel a little plasticky compared to other headphones in the same price range. Their over-ear lineup also leaks at higher volumes, which might not be ideal for all environments.
QuietComfort: Headphones with active noise cancelling. Includes wireless over-ears (like the Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless), earbuds (Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II Truly Wireless), and dedicated gaming headsets (like the Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset).
Sport: Earbuds meant for sports and workouts without active noise cancelling, including open-back models (like the discontinued Bose Sport Open Earbuds Truly Wireless) meant to let you hear your surroundings.
SoundSport: An older line of sports earbuds that have been discontinued (like the Bose SoundSport Free Truly Wireless).
Frames: 'Audio Sunglasses' that work like open-ear headphones so you can listen to audio and hear your surroundings.
Aviation headsets: Specialized noise cancelling headsets meant for pilots. Includes the A20 Aviation Headset and the Pro Flight Series 2 Aviation Headset.
Other: One-off products that aren't part of a larger line-up, including the Bose 700 Headphones Wireless, which are ANC over-ears, and the SleepBuds, which don't work as conventional headphones but play noise from a dedicated app meant to help you sleep.
Nov 29, 2023: We've replaced the Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless with the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones Wireless and the Bose Quiet Comfort Earbuds II Truly Wireless with the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds Truly Wireless as both the QC45 and Earbuds II have been discontinued.
Oct 04, 2023: We've removed the Bose Sports Earbuds Truly Wireless as they're no longer available. We're currently testing the Bose QuietComfort Headphones Wireless and will update this article once it's complete.
Bose is a well-known brand, popular for its excellent noise cancelling and incredibly comfortable designs. They produce well-rounded and versatile headphones that also deliver in the sound department. However, their models are comparatively more expensive and less well-built than headphones in the same price range.