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Shopping Guide: Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Upgrading your headphone game can be an exciting journey into the world of sound quality. You might even learn something new about your favorite songs, like a lyric you’ve never noticed before or a unique sound balance that your old headphones couldn’t handle.
Bose headphones easily top the market for sound cancellation. They have become known for their ability to drown out the neighbor’s barking dog or the arguing couple next to you in a coffee shop. It’s no wonder in the professional and collegiate world, Bose headphones are widely chosen as the top pick for consumers.
When you dive into the collection of Bose headphones, you’ll find differences between each model, making a simple decision difficult without the right guidance.
What to Look For
If this is your first pair of noise cancelling headphones, it may come as a surprise your headphones now require batteries in order to properly work.
With Bose headphones, you’ll see that each model has a time frame to expect how long you can keep your headphones playing without having to recharge them.
This is a key differentiatior depending on your lifestyle. For college students looking to cram for a test with no distractions, you could use anything from 5 to 15 hours of usage. The same goes for international travellers who plan on long flights. Our first pick for Bose headphones runs for 20 hours without needing to be recharged. Bose headphones can range from 6 hours up to 20 hours of runtime, so make sure you find the right capability for what you need.
Without a juiced set of headphones, you’ll need an audio cable in order to continue listening to music. So, if your batteries die, you won’t have the convenience of wireless headphones until those puppies are recharged and ready to go.
Over the Ear vs. StayHear+ Tips
Bose headphones can either be ear pillows for long hours of use or discrete buds meant for bursts of activity. For audiophiles, you’ll find sound quality is not compromised just because of the shape of the headphones.
Instead, the difference boils down to comfort and noise cancellation capabilities.
Luckily, with the attention to detail that Bose manufacturers give each of their products, even the smaller earbuds are blessed with noise cancellation capabilities...when they’re charged up. Without the battery charge, these run times can be shorter (unless you’re looking at the 16-hour runtime of the QuietComfort 20).
With the added weight of headphones that go over the ear, you’ll want to look at how active you’ll be while listening to music.
Are these headphones going to be used mostly while studying or sitting on an airplane? Or are you hoping to complete 20 burpees and run up 15 flights of stairs during your daily workout?
For the athletes, we strongly suggest you push away the idea of the heavier, sweat-collecting over the ear Bose models and go with the Bose earbuds with StayHear+ Tips, a patented design to keep the buds in your ear regardless of movement.
In our top picks, you’ll see that both the QuietComfort 20 and the SoundSport are the two models that follow suit with this. Both of these models come with noise cancellation technology, and each have their own unique features.
QuietComfort comes with the revolutionary one-click Activate Aware mode, which stops the noise cancellation so you can hear what’s going on around you. This gives you a safer experience while out jogging, at the gym, or listening for your order while at Starbucks.
SoundSport is specifically designed to withstand tougher uses, like rainy weather or an extra sweaty workout. If you’re tough on your headphones and plan on running through mud puddles, the SoundSport is a great go-to.
Your Next Decision is Based on Features
Now that you’ve honed in to the type of headphones you’re looking for, the next step is deciding on which features you want. The newest feature in Bose technology is voice activated connection to Alexa, which means you can be completely hands-free with our number one pick.
However, this cool feature can also add another $100 to your purchase. If you aren’t tech-savvy, or you’d just prefer to manually control your headphone’s functions, this feature isn’t necessarily geared toward you.
In our comparisons, we’ve noted these unique features that give each model its own pizzazz. Consider your budget when looking at this final comparison, since features can add on anywhere from $50-$100 depending on what kind of technology is added to your headphones.
Take a look at our top 10 Bose headphones and glance at the notes we’ve made for each one. You should feel prepped and ready to make the best decision. With confidence backed by Bose knowledge, we’re sure you’ll choose wisely.
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