We have currently tested 21 pairs of Bose headphones. They're a brand well-known known for their industry-leading active noise cancelling (ANC) features and comfortable designs.
The Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless are the best Bose headphones we've tested. These are the next generation of the discontinued Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018, and even though they don't offer a ton of improvements over the 35, they're a great pair of over-ear headphones. They're very well-built, lightweight, and amazingly comfortable. While they don't have features like an EQ to customize their sound, they have a very well-balanced sound profile suitable for most genres. There's some overemphasis in the bass range that adds extra thump, punch, and warmth to your audio, and their very accurate mid-range response ensures vocals and lead instruments sound clear and detailed.
They have an ANC feature that you can set to different levels in the app, depending on how much ambient noise you want to block out. When set to the maximum level, it does an excellent job of isolating you from bass-range noise like rumbling engines. It's not quite as effective as the QC35's ANC with office-type noise, like voices or the hum of an A/C unit, but it still does a very good job. They also support multi-device pairing and have a continuous battery life of more than 20 hours.
The best earbuds from Bose that we've tested are the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II Truly Wireless. These are an updated version of the original Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless and offer an even better ANC performance. They block out a significant amount of ambient sound, including rumbling engines and background chit-chat, so they can help block out noise and distractions during your commute and at work. The II still have a somewhat bulky design compared to many other truly wireless buds, but they have a comfortable fit for most people. They won't hurt your ears or slip out of place during workouts.
They have a neutral default sound profile, with some extra low-bass that emphasizes the thump and rumble in your audio. However, instruments and voices are still clear and detailed, so their sound is suitable for a variety of genres and types of content. If you prefer a different sound, you can use the in-app EQ and presets to tweak it to suit you. The earbuds have a solid continuous battery life of roughly seven hours with ANC on, and they come with a portable case that holds three extra charges. Unfortunately, they don't have the premium build quality of the previous generation, but they're still 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. They offer a much better microphone performance than our top pick, so they're a better choice if you need headphones to make calls during your workday. The integrated mic has a good recording quality and does a great job separating your voice from ambient sound, so it'll be easy to understand you even if you're calling from a busy office. They also have an ANC feature that 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're always switching between using your phone and computer. However, the touch-sensitive surfaces on the ear cups are tricky to use compared to the physical buttons found on some Βose headphones, including the Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless.
The Bose Sport Earbuds are the best Bose earbuds for sports and fitness we've tested. These earbuds come with a few differently-sized pairs of stability fins, and once you find a good fit, they have better stability than the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II Truly Wireless. They'll stay in place during intense workouts, even if you move your head around a lot. They have a great build quality to stand up to accidental drops and bumps and are certified IPX4 for resistance to minor water exposure like splashes or very light rain. Their warm, smooth sound profile lacks a little low-bass, which may be disappointing if you work out to genres like EDM, but it's well-suited for content like podcasts or audiobooks.
Their controls make it easy to change the track or turn up the volume when you're on the move. While they don't block out much ambient sound, you might not mind this since it allows you to monitor your surroundings if you're exercising outdoors. If you want headphones that block out even less ambient sound, you might prefer the Bose Sport Open Earbuds Truly Wireless, which are designed for that purpose. They're also a great option for workouts and have an ear hook design that sits outside your ear. This design also makes them less stable and comfortable, though.
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 generally makes more comfortable headphones. However, if you're looking for sound customization features like virtual surround sound or high-resolution audio, you might have better luck with Sony.
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. Sennheiser is the better brand 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 to have an app with features like an EQ and presets. However, they don't have Apple's sleek design, especially when it comes to earbuds, aren't usually as well-built, and naturally don't have as many features for iOS users.
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 tends to leak at higher volumes, which might not be ideal for all environments.
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).
Earbuds meant for sports and workouts without active noise cancelling, including open-back models (Bose Sport Open Earbuds Truly Wireless) meant to let you hear your surroundings.
An older line of sports earbuds that have been discontinued (like the Bose SoundSport Free Truly Wireless).
'Audio Sunglasses' that work like open-ear headphones so you can listen to audio and hear your surroundings.
Specialized noise cancelling headsets meant for pilots. Includes the A20 Aviation Headset and the Pro Flight Series 2 Aviation Headset.
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.
Feb 03, 2023: Added information about Bose's overall product lineup and comparisons with other brands.
Nov 24, 2022: Replaced the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless with the newly-reviewed Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II Truly Wireless.
Jun 17, 2022: Replaced the Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018 with the Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless because the 35 have been discontinued by the manufacturer.
Mar 18, 2022: Checked our picks for accuracy and product availability. However, there hasn't been a change in our recommendations.
Dec 16, 2021: Checked that picks represent the best recommendations and that the products are in stock. There were no changes to picks.
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 not as well-built as other headphones in the same price range.