The Ultimate Guide to Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones

Looking for a pair of noise cancelling headphones that can block out the world? Bose is one of the leaders when it comes to active noise cancellation (ANC) technology. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the top Bose noise cancelling headphone models and help you decide which is best for your needs and budget.

An Introduction to Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones

Bose pioneered noise cancellation technology for aviation headsets in the 1980s. They later adapted this technology for consumer headphones to block out unwanted ambient sounds. Here’s a quick overview of how Bose ANC works:

  • Microphones on the headphones pick up external noise in your environment.
  • Advanced digital signal processing generates an equal but opposite canceling sound waveform to the incoming noise.
  • This canceling waveform destructively interferes with the external noise, effectively canceling it out before it reaches your ears.

The result is a dramatically quieter listening experience, ideal for travel and noisy environments. Bose ANC uses powered electronics for active noise reduction, as opposed to passive noise isolation used in some headphones.

Bose noise cancelling headphones continue to be ranked among the industry leaders. They deliver premium ANC performance in comfortable, lightweight designs. Let’s compare the key models and features:

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones Comparison Chart

| Model | Style | Key Features | Battery Life | Price |
| Bose QuietComfort 45 | Over-ear | Top-tier ANC, Aware Mode, multipoint Bluetooth | 24 hours | $329 |
| Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 | Over-ear | 11 ANC settings, voice assistant access, beamform mics | 20 hours | $379 |
| Bose QuietComfort Earbuds | True wireless earbuds | Adjustable ANC, ActiveSense technology, wireless charging case | 6 hours (24 with case) | $279 |
| Bose QuietComfort 35 II | Over-ear | 3 ANC levels, voice access, noise-rejecting mics | 20 hours | $299 |
| Bose Sport Earbuds | True wireless earbuds | Sweat/weather resistance, capacitive touch controls | 5 hours (15 with case) | $179 |

Now let’s dive into more details on each model to see how they compare for noise cancellation abilities, audio performance, features, comfort and value.

Bose QuietComfort 45 – The New ANC Headphone King

Top choice for frequent travelers and office workers seeking peace and quiet

The Bose QuietComfort 45 are Bose’s newest over-ear ANC headphones, released in 2021. They offer several upgrades over previous models:

Key Features:

  • Industry-leading noise cancellation – Take advantage of the new proprietary Custom ANC chip. It samples environmental sounds 48,000 times per second for better noise blocking than ever before.
  • Aware Mode – Lets external sound in with the press of a button so you can stay aware of announcements and conversations without removing the headphones.
  • Multipoint Bluetooth – Pair with two devices at once, like your computer and phone, and easily switch between the audio sources.
  • Simple, intuitive controls – Media playback, calls, and ANC are all controlled with buttons on the earcups. No need to install an app or use touch controls.
  • Plush earpads and headband – Designed for comfort during long listening sessions. The angled earcups avoid ear pain from excessive clamping force.
  • Up to 24 hours battery life – Keeps the music going throughout your workday and long trips. Fast 2.5 hour recharge time.

The QuietComfort 45 retain the excellent sound quality Bose is known for, with deep bass response and clear, detailed treble. Voices come through naturally on calls and podcasts. While not as feature-packed as the Headphones 700, the QC45 offer better ANC and simpler operation in a more comfortable and affordable package. They are the new gold standard for frequent travelers in noisy environments.


  • Best-in-class active noise cancellation
  • Aware Mode to let in ambient sound
  • Multipoint Bluetooth connections
  • Intuitive physical controls
  • Lightweight and comfortable for all-day wear


  • No EQ adjustment in app
  • No transparency/ambient listening mode
  • Less premium look and feel than Headphones 700

The Bose QuietComfort 45 currently retail for $329. For the best noise cancelling performance combined with wearing comfort, these are your top choice. The ANC can’t be beaten at this price point.

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 – Feature-Packed Over-Ears

Ideal for frequent callers needing enhanced voice pickup

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 were released in 2019 as the successors to the popular QuietComfort 35. While pricier, the 700 model adds more features and design flair.

Key Features:

  • Breakthrough microphone system – Sophisticated 4-mic system isolates your voice for clarity on calls and using voice assistants.
  • 11 increments of ANC – Fine tune the noise cancellation levels via the Bose Music app for the right amount of isolation.
  • Sleek, modern aesthetics – Minimalist styling with stainless steel headband and high-quality materials. Folds up for portable storage.
  • Touch controls – Control music, calls, volume and ANC with intuitive taps and swipes on the earcups’ touch panels.
  • Up to 20 hours battery life – Won’t run out of juice even on your longest days. Quick 2 hour recharge time.

The Bose Headphones 700 match the QuietComfort 45’s excellent noise cancellation using the previous generation ANC processor. Sound quality is similarly stellar with punchy, powerful audio reproduction. Where they stand apart is the enhanced microphone system for calls and accessing Alexa/Google Assistant. Touch controls and the granular ANC settings also make these headphones more customizable. Overall, the 700 model edges out the QC45 in features and design while costing around $50 more.


  • Advanced microphone system for calls
  • Precise touch controls
  • Personalize ANC and EQ in the app
  • Attractive modern design


  • More expensive than QC45
  • Touch controls have learning curve
  • Less comfortable for long periods than QC45

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 retail for $379. With unmatched call clarity and customizable noise cancellation, these headphones excel for daily office use and travelers who take business calls in noisy environments.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds – Noise Cancelling Buds

Top true wireless ANC earbuds for exercise and portability

As Bose’s first noise cancelling true wireless model, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds deliver robust ANC in a lightweight, portable form.

Key Features:

  • Bose ActiveSense technology – Automatically adjusts ANC based on your environment for consistent noise blocking.
  • IPX4 water resistance rating – Sweat and weather resistant for exercising and everyday use.
  • Customizable fit – Comes with 3 sizes of StayHear MAX tips for a secure in-ear fit that seals out noise.
  • Wireless charging case – Provides up to 24 hours total listening time and works with any Qi certified charger.
  • Intuitive touch controls – Control music, calls, volume and ANC with taps and swipes on the earbuds.

With six integrated microphones, the QuietComfort Earbuds deliver the excellent noise cancellation Bose is famous for in a compact design. You can enjoy distractions-free music and crystal clear calls anywhere. The sound quality doesn’t quite match the over-ear models but provides pleasing accuracy and balance. The companion app lets you set preferred levels of noise cancellation and EQ.


  • Impressive active noise cancellation
  • Weather/sweat resistant rating
  • Wireless charging case for 24+ hours of use
  • Touch controls on earbuds
  • Customizable fit and audio


  • More expensive than competitors
  • Larger size may not suit smaller ears
  • Noise isolation depends on getting good in-ear seal

With an MSRP of $279, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds fall on the pricier end for true wireless ANC earbuds. But you get unmatched noise blocking abilities in a workout-friendly, pocketable form factor.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II – Budget-Friendly ANC

Great value over-ear noise cancelling for daily casual use

The Bose QuietComfort 35 II headphones were released in 2017 as an upgrade to the popular QuietComfort 35 model, adding integrated Google Assistant support. They remain a compelling option for affordable Bose noise cancellation.

Key Features:

  • Three levels of world-class ANC – Block out distractions with presets for low, medium and high noise cancellation.
  • Hassle-free Bluetooth – Seamless pairing and switching between devices.
  • Built-in Google Assistant and Alexa – Access voice commands with a button press. Great for hands-free use.
  • 20+ hour battery life – Listen all day long and recharge quickly via USB-C.
  • Noise-rejecting dual mic system – Provides clear call quality by focusing on voice over ambient noise.

While missing some of the newer features of the 700 and QC45 models, the QuietComfort 35 II deliver theANC and sound quality Bose is known for. They share the same comfortable over-ear wearing style preferred by many. At around $100 cheaper than the newer models, these remain an appealing choice for budget-focused shoppers.


  • Significantly cheaper than newer models
  • Straightforward controls via buttons
  • Quick access to voice assistants
  • Proven noise cancelling technology


  • Basic noise cancellation adjustment
  • Outdated Bluetooth multipoint
  • Fewer microphones affects voice pickup

Currently selling for $299, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II give you excellent active noise cancellation at a more budget-friendly price point. They are a smart choice for daily wear in noisier environments.

Bose Sport Earbuds – For Active Lifestyles

ANC earbuds packed with workout-friendly features

The Bose Sport Earbuds are designed for exercise and active lifestyles, with a secure fit, sweat resistance and Bose’s famous noise cancellation.

Key Features:

  • Customizable fit – Comes with 3 sizes of eartips and adjustable earfins for a personalized secure fit that stays put.
  • IPX4 rating – Withstands splashes and sweat so they can handle your toughest workouts.
  • Capacitive touch controls – Control music, calls and volume right from the buds with just a few taps.
  • 5 hours battery + 10 extra in case – Plenty of power for your longest training sessions and beyond. Quick USB-C charging.
  • Active EQ2 – Automatically tweaks sound signature based on your fit for optimized audio at any volume.

With an emphasis on fit, stability and sweat resistance, the Sport Earbuds excel for exercise and on-the-go use. They don’t have the most advanced noise cancellation but provide quality ANC that’s rare among workout earbuds. The energetic sound profile keeps you pumped throughout your fitness pursuits. For the features and price, these are hard to beat for active ANC earbuds.


  • Secure comfortable fit for workouts
  • Withstands sweat and splashes
  • Touch controls on buds
  • Contains noise leakage for group classes
  • Optimized and powerful sound


  • Bulky earbud design
  • ANC not as strong as QuietComfort models
  • Mediocre battery life

With an MSRP of $179, the Bose Sport Earbuds earn their place among the best active noise cancelling earbuds. If you want distraction-free music for the gym or trails without breaking the bank, these are a top choice.

FAQ – Common Questions About Bose ANC Headphones

Q: How effective is Bose active noise cancellation?

A: Bose ANC headphones and earbuds are consistently top rated for blocking ambient noise. The over-ear models in particular excel at silencing loud environments, using patented technology and microphones to cancel out sound waves. You’ll be amazed how even airplane engine roar and office chatter disappear with Bose ANC activated.

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Q: Do Bose headphones work for phone calls?

A: Yes, Bose headphones are designed to provide clear phone call quality by using noise rejecting microphones that focus on transmitting your voice over ambient noise. The 700 model has a 4-mic system that makes your voice sound particularly natural and lifelike for calls.

Q: What is the difference between Bose 700 and QC35?

A: The Bose 700 has more advanced microphone systems for better call quality, touch controls instead of buttons, the

ability to adjust noise cancellation levels, and a more modern, premium design. The QC35 II model is cheaper, has physical buttons for controls, slightly better comfort for long wear sessions, and faster charging. Both deliver excellent active noise cancellation.

Q: Should I get Bose over-ear or earbud headphones?

A: Over-ear Bose models like the 700 and QC45 provide the strongest noise blocking with a comfortable fit suitable for extended wear. The earbud styles allow for greater portability and work well for sports. Get over-ear if you primarily want noise cancellation and in-home listening comfort. Go for earbuds if you prioritize lightweight travel and exercise use.

Q: How long does the battery last on Bose ANC headphones?

A: Battery life ranges from 5 to 24+ hours depending on the model. The over-ear styles like the QC45 have the longest lasting batteries, up to 24 hours. The true wireless earbuds last around 5-6 hours per charge but the cases provide an additional 15-18 hours. This gives you sufficient juice for long-haul flights or multiple workout sessions.

Q: Are Bose headphones good for working out?

A: Bose Sport Earbuds are optimized for workouts with earfin tips that keep them secure and an IPX4 rating for sweat resistance. They provide some noise isolation for distraction-free training. The over-ear models lack waterproofing and aren’t quite as stable for vigorous activity. For the gym, the Sport Earbuds are your best bet.


Thanks to patented active noise cancelling technology and premium designs, Bose headphones continue to be a top choice for tuning out external noise. Your decision comes down to form factor, features, budget and intended use. Over-ear models like the new QuietComfort 45 offer the most effective noise blocking for travel, while earbuds like the Sport Earbuds meet workout needs. Evaluate your personal priorities to pick the best Bose noise cancelling headphones for enjoying music, calls and media without distractions.

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