The Pros and Cons of Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones

The Pros and Cons of Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones

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Noise-cancelling headphones are a must for frequent travelers. And if you want highly effective noise cancelling in a travel-friendly design, it’s true that Bose headphones deliver. But we think the picks in our best noise-cancelling headphones guide offer a better combination of noise cancelling, sound quality, comfort, and flexibility. Now, Bose headphones like the QuietComfort 35 Series II may be the best choice specifically for frequent flyers who don’t mind paying more. But for most people, there are better options.

Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II

Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II

Bose’s most versatile headphones

The QC35 II offers excellent noise cancelling and comfort in a super-compact design, but the aggressive noise cancelling may be uncomfortable for some listeners’ ears.

Buying Options

$300* from Amazon
$350 from Best Buy

*At the time of publishing, the price was $350.

We think the over-ear QuietComfort 35 Series II is the Bose model with the greatest overall appeal. The noise cancelling is about as good as it gets, and the headphones have a natural and satisfying sound. They’re also comfortable to wear and they pack into an ultra-slim travel case. They can connect to any smartphone or tablet through Bluetooth, or to an in-flight entertainment system with the included cable. But for some listeners the powerful noise cancelling can cause an uncomfortable sensation that we call “eardrum suck.”

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Bose QuietComfort 20

Bose QuietComfort 20

Bose’s best noise-cancelling earbuds (for Apple devices)

The QC20 provides the best noise cancelling we’ve measured in a set of in-ear headphones and connects to almost anything.

Buying Options

$250 from Amazon
Bose QuietComfort 20

Bose QuietComfort 20

Bose’s best noise-cancelling earbuds (for Android devices)

The QC20 provides the best noise cancelling we’ve measured in a set of in-ear headphones and connects to almost anything.

Buying Options

$250 from Amazon
$250 from Best Buy

The wired QuietComfort 20 offers the most effective noise cancelling we’ve found in a pair of earbuds, and it doesn’t produce the “eardrum suck” we’ve experienced with the over-ear QuietComfort 35 Series II. Bose’s proprietary silicone tips provide an excellent fit without the unnerving need to shove silicone tips deep into your ear canals. The earbuds sound decent, although not as good as many other earbuds we’ve heard. The QC20 is available in either an Apple-friendly or Android-friendly version; both can connect to in-flight entertainment systems but their lack of Bluetooth means you’ll need an adapter if your phone doesn’t have a headphone jack.

Bose QuietControl 30

Bose QuietControl 30

If you want wireless noise-cancelling earbuds

The wireless QC30 offers strong noise cancelling, good sound, and decent battery life but it carries a high price and doesn’t support a wired connection.

Buying Options

$300 from Amazon

The Bose QuietControl 30 collar-style wireless earbuds offer excellent noise cancelling (although not as good as the QC20 model’s), reasonably long battery life, and good sound. However, the hard, plastic collar isn’t as comfortable as some competing designs, and the lack of a wired connection option means you can’t connect the QC30 to in-flight entertainment systems or use it when the rechargeable battery runs down. Still, if you have no desire to plug into in-flight entertainment, it’s a great choice.

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Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II

Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II

Bose’s most versatile headphones

The QC35 II offers excellent noise cancelling and comfort in a super-compact design, but the aggressive noise cancelling may be uncomfortable for some listeners’ ears.

Buying Options

$300* from Amazon
$350 from Best Buy

*At the time of publishing, the price was $350.

Bose QuietComfort 20

Bose QuietComfort 20

Bose’s best noise-cancelling earbuds (for Apple devices)

The QC20 provides the best noise cancelling we’ve measured in a set of in-ear headphones and connects to almost anything.

Buying Options

$250 from Amazon
Bose QuietComfort 20

Bose QuietComfort 20

Bose’s best noise-cancelling earbuds (for Android devices)

The QC20 provides the best noise cancelling we’ve measured in a set of in-ear headphones and connects to almost anything.

Buying Options

$250 from Amazon
$250 from Best Buy
Bose QuietControl 30

Bose QuietControl 30

If you want wireless noise-cancelling earbuds

The wireless QC30 offers strong noise cancelling, good sound, and decent battery life but it carries a high price and doesn’t support a wired connection.

Buying Options

$300 from Amazon

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter
Keyword: The Pros and Cons of Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones

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