If you’re still looking to grab a good set of noise-canceling headphones for the holidays, Bose’s QuietComfort 45 is one of the better pairs you can buy, and right now it’s on sale for $229 at several retailers, including Amazon, Walmart, and Bose’s own online store. Outside of a few discounts limited to Costco members, this is the lowest price we’ve seen, coming in $100 below Bose’s MSRP and about $70 less than the headphones’ average street price in recent months. It also matches the price we saw during Cyber Monday last month. According to Bose, though, the deal is only scheduled to run through Monday.
We recommend the QuietComfort 45 as “another solid option” in our guide to the best wireless headphones, and we gave it a review score of 86 last year. Though we don’t recommend it over our top pick, the Sony WH-1000XM5 — which is currently on sale for $348 — it’s a more-than-acceptable alternative, particularly when it’s priced this much lower than Sony’s model.
The QuietComfort 45’s main strengths are right in its name: Its lightweight design is plain but exceptionally comfortable to wear for hours at a time, and its active noise cancellation (ANC), while not the absolute strongest we’ve tested, is smooth and powerful. Out of the box, its sound quality is typical Bose: not super rich in detail, but pleasant, with slight bumps to the bass and treble. It’s more even-handed than the XM5’s bass-forward sound by default, but like Sony’s pair, you can now use a graphic EQ tool in the headphones’ companion app to tweak the profile more to your liking.
The XM5 is far more feature-rich than the QuietComfort 45, and it has a distinct edge on battery life, lasting more than 30 hours while Bose’s pair typically gets between 20 and 25. Call quality is better on the XM5, too, and Sony actually lets you turn the ANC or ambient sound modes off completely, while Bose always makes you choose between one or the other. The QuietComfort 45 can still connect to multiple devices at once, though, and unlike the XM5, its design can fold up for easier storage. It also uses physical control buttons. For $120 less than Sony’s pair, it’s a good value.