Best Bose headphones 2022

Lifestyle shot of Bose Noise Canceling Headphones.
(Image credit: Bose)

Bose is known not only for comfortable headphones, but for excellent sound quality, so getting a pair of the best Bose headphones might be worth the investment. Bose's Noise Canceling Headphones 700 are the company's most innovative option to date. They feature 11 different steps of active noise cancelation (ANC), great battery life with up to 20 hours on a single charge, USB-C charging, and solid sound quality.

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Woman wearing Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700.

(Image credit: Bose)

Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700

Peaceful tunes

Reasons to buy

+
Solid, balanced sound
+
USB-C charging with fast charging
+
Excellent comfort
+
11 steps of ANC
+
Decent battery life

Reasons to avoid

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Can't be folded for compact storing
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Expensive

The Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 aren't the newest headphones the company has to offer, but they're still, by far, the most innovative.

The headlining feature here are the NCH 700s' active noise-cancelation (ANC) capabilities. The outgoing Bose QC35 II had solid ANC but were clearly showing their age. However, the NCH 700 now feature some of the best ANC available on the market today. With new ANC algorithms, they're able to block out nearly all bass/low-end noise and a decent amount of midrange and treble. They also feature 11 steps of ANC, allowing you to choose how much (or how little) ANC you want or need.

In terms of comfort, Bose is still the best in the business. The ear cups on the NCH 700 are super soft and extend deep with no issues regarding fatigue or pain from the ear cups or the headband. Soundwise, Bose has refined the QC35 IIs' already great sound signature. They feature an overall balanced sound signature throughout and are not all that different from the newer QC45.

The NCH 700 features USB-C for charging up to 20 hours of battery life on a single charge. You're also able to charge and listen at the same time. The NCH 700 are fast charging capable, giving you two hours of listening time with a 10-minute charge.

The only real downside with the NCH 700 is that they don't fold up in any way, making them slightly annoying to stow away in your bag while traveling.

Man sweating in Bose SoundSport.

(Image credit: Bose)

Bose SoundSport Wireless Earbuds

Great all around

Reasons to buy

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Solid sound with boosted treble
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Fast charging capable
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Excellent comfort
+
Comes with several ear tip sizes
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Great price

Reasons to avoid

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Micro-USB for charging
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Treble boost can be fatiguing for some

If you're looking for the best bang for your buck, look no further than the Bose SoundSport Wireless.

Overall, the sound quality is good. There's a slight boost in the bass and a more substantial boost in the treble, which emits a "bright" sound signature. This means that hi-hats from drums, horns, and some female vocals will sound louder than the rest of the sound. Still, the SoundSport Wireless sound excellent for their form factor.

Comfort is excellent as well. You get several ear tip sizes in the box to help with sizing and fit. Like other buds in the SoundSport line, the wings and ear tips are a single piece, adding extra stability when you have them in your ear.

Battery life is pretty decent with the SoundSport Wireless with up to six hours of usage on a single charge. Not quite an entire workday's worth of listening, but they make up for it with up to an hour of listening time when you plug them in for 15 minutes. A full charge will take roughly two hours, and the SoundSport Wireless charges over the older micro-USB connector.

Bose Noise Canceling Earbuds in ear.

(Image credit: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

Bose QuietComfort Noise Cancelling Earbuds

Cord-free listening

Reasons to buy

+
Superb sound quality
+
Outstanding ANC performance
+
Solid ambient mode
+
Comfortable fit
+
Wireless charging case

Reasons to avoid

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Earbuds are big compared to competition
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Case is big
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App needs an EQ
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Expensive

Sony's WF-1000XM4 are the best true wireless earbuds when it comes to active noise cancelation, but Bose has answered with its own salvo in the QuietComfort Earbuds. Their performance in that regard is right up there with the WF-1000XM4, which is why they can be considered an elite choice.

Bose stuck to a neutral sound profile so that the bass won't be heavily pronounced, but the mids and highs still come through warm and detailed. Unfortunately, the company still hasn't included an equalizer in its app to customize the sound, making little sense for a pair of earbuds in this range.

Bose made these earbuds bigger to squeeze in all the tech inside so that comfort will be relative. It's not so much that they won't fit comfortably, but more that their very size means they'll stick out more. The same goes for the case, which is considerably bigger than most other true wireless earbuds.

Battery life is decent, where you'll get about five hours when ANC is on. There's an additional 18 hours with the charging case. Like most ANC headphones, the QC Earbuds also have an ambient sound mode that lets in background noise to make it easier to hear your surroundings and talk to people without removing the earbuds.

Bose Sport Earbuds during workout.

(Image credit: Bose)

Bose Sport Earbuds

Active listening

Reasons to buy

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Great sound quality
+
Smaller size
+
Different color options
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Comfortable fit
+
Moderate IPX4 rating

Reasons to avoid

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No noise cancelation
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No wireless charging case
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App needs an EQ

True wireless earbuds are still relatively new on the market and don't always land in terms of sound quality. Bose has been down this road before, particularly with making activity-focused earbuds, but the Sports Earbuds cut out all cords and stick to the basics as much as possible.

When it comes to fit and comfort, there are real similarities here to Bose's QuietComfort Earbuds. Both were clearly designed using similar metrics and engineering specs, and only their respective objectives are different. For example, Bose includes wings and ear tips with the Sport Earbuds to help keep them in your ear, and their weight can slightly pull on the wings depending on how snug they sit in your ear. This could potentially cause issues for folks where the wing tips don't sit snug.

The Sports Earbuds also retain a fair bit of the same soundstage, right down to the subtler bass response. Unlike other sporty earbuds out there, Bose tuned these to offer more balance, which is why the bass doesn't give audio a deep feel with everything you listen to. The brighter treble pushes up a bit as well, though not to the point of inviting sibilance to the highest notes.

With no ANC onboard, battery life is ultimately average at about five hours per charge. The included charging case nets you an additional 19 hours of battery life, allowing up to 24 hours of total listening time. A 15-minute fast charge through USB-C will net you up to two hours of playback, but to fully charge them from empty to full, you're looking at two hours altogether.

Bose QC45 lifestyle shot.

(Image credit: Bose)

Bose QC45

Over-ear lovers dream

Reasons to buy

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Great sound quality
+
Excellent comfort
+
Good battery life
+
ANC gets better
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Improved phone calls
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Fold up for portability

Reasons to avoid

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Pricey

The Bose QC35 II really set the tone as one of the best over-ear headphones available and should continue to be a viable choice. Only now, with the QC45 coming into play, Bose took what's worked so well and gone further to make these over-ear headphones among the best you can wrap around your ears.

Let's start with sound quality. Having already heard the QC35 II and their balanced approach toward the bass and midrange, the QC45 aim to highlight the nuances of what you're listening to, so the audio stands out. Part of how the company did that was to tweak the fit ever so slightly to feel less constricting while cutting down on audio leakage. On top of that, there are two modes: Quiet and Aware, both of which use the onboard mics to trigger active noise cancelation ANC or ambient sound.

The onboard mics also play a role in improving phone calls on the QC45, making them a good choice if you also want headphones for video and conference calls. If you are rocking them while outside, you can always use Aware mode to hear your surroundings with the audio content you have playing simultaneously. Use Bose's Music app to utilize some of the features there to customize the headphones.

Comfort plays a big role in how the various features do what they do. Bose built these to fit better, which only helps features like ANC and sound quality deliver better results. The ear cups and headband maintain their softer cushioning, allowing them to simply rest on your head and ears. Like their predecessors, they do fold up super quickly when you need to stow them away.

They feature decent battery life with up to 24 hours of battery life on a single charge. The most significant change from before is the USB-C port, which also offers fast charging. Plug in for 15 minutes, and you get up to three hours of playback. Keep them there for two hours, and you can fully charge from an empty battery. You can also simultaneously play audio and charge regardless of whether it's over Bluetooth or analog wired connection.

Wearing the Bose Frames.

(Image credit: Bose)

Bose Frames - Audio Sunglasses

Discreet tunes

Reasons to buy

+
Great sound for phone calls and podcasts
+
Great comfort
+
Super discreet design

Reasons to avoid

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Battery life is poor
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Audio is still only OK
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Proprietary charging connector

Every now and then, a headphone company will do something new and unique. In some cases, it's a total flop. But in other cases, it can turn out to be really useful. Enter the Bose Frames, a pair of sunglasses that also pump audio to your ears.

Comfort depends on how well the sunglasses fit over your ears. The Frames don't actually have a bud of any sort and rely on little speakers that live on the stem to project audio to your ears. Yes, the audio quality isn't going to blow your mind, and yes, audio leakage will be apparent, but they are great for those who struggle with traditional earbuds. If you have no issues wearing glasses, the Bose Frames will be as comfortable as any other pair of glasses.

In terms of sound quality, the Frames are good for what they are. The bass is pretty mediocre due to their design, with basically no bass at all. The midrange is balanced, and the treble is recessed quite a bit. This means that the Frames are best for those who take a ton of phone calls or listen to a podcast.

Battery life is as expected for a relatively new product line, coming in at around 3.5 hours of usage on a single charge. It could be better, but there's only so much you can stuff into the glasses' frame before they become too heavy. Unsurprisingly, the Frames use a proprietary magnetic charging connector instead of micro-USB or USB-C as those connectors add too much depth to the Frames. Unfortunately, this also means that if Bose decides to axe the Frames, you're SOL if your charging cable stops working.

Wearing the Bose Sport Open earbuds.

(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)
Keep your ears open

Reasons to buy

+
Good sound quality
+
Natural ambient listening
+
Physical button controls
+
Decent water and sweat resistance
+
Decent battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Separate charger from case
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Lacking in bass response
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No flexibility in fit or comfort

In an attempt to make a sporty set of earbuds with a unique design, Bose chose to make the Sport Open Earbuds something very different. These aren't your typical earbuds in that they don't make any contact with your inner ear or ear canal. Instead, they simply hook over the ear and rest the speaker close to the canal to pump in sound. The reason for all this is to let ambient sound in while the music plays while avoiding any potential discomfort by plugging your ears.

It's an acquired design for an acquired taste, and that's how you might see other aspects of them, too. Sound quality is surprisingly good for how they fit, except you sacrifice a fair amount of bass to get there. If you're into genres that rely on good bass response, you may want to consider it before going for these earbuds. There is no flexibility in the ear hooks, so however they fit is what you have to accept.

The open concept lets you hear your surroundings at all times, which is why there's no ambient mode. Nor is there ANC support, so you can't do much to block out outside noise, either. Instead, physical button controls simplify how to play/pause or skip and repeat tracks. The Bose Music app offers some support, except there's no equalizer to adjust the sound or make other customizations.

Battery life is OK, with Bose rating it up to eight hours per charge, though you can expect less when using them in noisier environments where you have to raise the volume. Unfortunately, Bose also separated the case from the charger, so you can use the case to transport them, but you need to keep the charger handy to get extra juice when you need it.

Bose knows headphones

Our top pick, the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700, are among the best wireless headphones out there, let alone Bose headphones, and for good reason. They offer the best comfort when compared to many competitors on or off this list, whether you're taking an 18-hour flight or a 30-minute commute to work.

The NCH 700 also features some of the best ANC performance on the market, now offering up to 11 different ANC levels. This means you can block out any ambient sound around you, or just enough to block out nearby chatter but still be able to hear important noises such as oncoming traffic. The sound quality is also excellent, with a relatively balanced tone.