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Bose® QuietComfort® 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling® headphones

For iPod®, iPhone®, and iPad®

64 Reviews | 4 questions - 19 answers

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Item # 018QC20I

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Our take on the Bose® QuietComfort® 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling® headphones

Take your music everywhere, and leave distractions behind. The Bose® QuietComfort® 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling® headphones are ultra-portable thanks to their compact in-ear design. So Bose's legendary noise-cancelling technology is easier to take along than ever. They may be small, but the QuietComfort 20i headphones deliver plenty of smooth Bose® sound. And with their ability to minimize external noise, you'll be able to hear every note of your music clearly. 

Bose QuietComfort 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones

The QuietComfort 20i headphones let you enjoy your music distraction-free, everywhere.

The first in-ear noise-cancelling headphones from Bose®

Take your music everywhere, and leave distractions behind. The Bose® QuietComfort® 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling® headphones are ultra-portable thanks to their compact in-ear design. So Bose's legendary noise-cancelling technology is easier to take along than ever. They may be small, but the QuietComfort 20i headphones deliver plenty of smooth Bose® sound. And with their ability to minimize external noise, you'll be able to hear every note of your music clearly. 

Stay aware of your surroundings

Powerful noise-cancellation is great for those times when you want to block out the world. But sometimes you need to be aware of what's happening around you. That's why Bose developed "Aware" mode for the QuietComfort 20i headphones. With the press of a button on the in-line remote, Aware mode passes external noise to your ears from two of the four tiny internal microphones. This allows you to hear your music clearly while still keeping aware of your surroundings — perfect for busy city streets or jogging through the park.

Bose QuietComfort 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones

The ultra-compact QuietComfort 20i headphones feature an in-line remote, rechargeable battery, and passive listening to keep the music going if your battery runs out (iPhone not included).

A focus on long-lasting comfort

Comfort is key for any pair of headphones. Bose developed their StayHear+ tips to provide a fit that's both comfortable and secure. With their soft, cone-shaped tips and stability loops, the QuietComfort 20i headphones are built for long listening sessions, even when you're on the move. Plus, the StayHear+ tips provide the proper seal required to keep external sound out for maximum noise-cancelling efficiency. Try all three included pairs to find the right fit that will keep these headphones securely in your ears as you go from the plane to the taxi or while exercising at the gym.

Built-in remote and microphone for iPhone

Want to take calls on your iPhone? The QuietComfort 20i headphones feature an in-line remote with a built-in microphone. You can answer calls with the push of a button while your phone stays in your pocket. It also lets you control music playback and volume on your iPhone, iPod, or iPad — though you won't have to crank it up to ear-damaging levels thanks to the noise-cancellation.

Dead battery? Keep listening with passive mode

The QuietComfort 20i headphones feature a built-in rechargeable battery. Just connect the included USB cable to your computer or compatible AC charger. Stuck on a plane and can't recharge? Keep the music playing thanks to passive listening mode. Just switch off the power and listen without noise-cancellation until you're able to recharge the battery.

Have an Android™, Blackberry®, or Windows® smartphone? Then check out the Bose QuietComfort®20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones.

From our Bose QuietComfort® 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones review:

Part of the beauty of music is that it has the power to take you out of your present place and transport you somewhere else. The Bose® QuietComfort® 20 headphones set the stage for this phenomenon by eliminating the outside world from the picture before you even press play. They make it that much easier to get lost in your music.

— David Brown, Crutchfield A/V Writer

A lifesaver on airplanes!

Thornton A, Massachusetts

Featured Video:

What's in the Box:

  • Pair of in-ear headphones with in-line remote/microphone and control module (52" audio cable terminated by a 3.5mm connector)
  • Clothing clip (installed)
  • Pair of medium StayHear eartips (installed)
  • Pair of large StayHear eartips
  • Pair of small StayHear eartips
  • 13" USB charging cable (Type A USB on one end and micro USB on other end)
  • Soft zippered carry case
  • Owner's Guide
  • Important Safety Instructions
  • Warranty Information card
  • Australia/New Zealand warranty note
  • "We're here to help..." card

Product Highlights:

  • in-ear headphones with active noise cancellation to block out external distractions
  • in-line three-button remote lets you control music on an iPhone, iPod, or iPad
  • built-in microphone lets you take calls with an iPhone
  • Aware mode allows some external sound into your ears so you can remain aware of your surroundings while your music remains clear
  • TriPort® acoustic headphone technology for powerful bass and clearer sound
  • three sizes of proprietary StayHear®+ tips provide a comfortable, secure fit and proper noise isolation
  • slim control module with built-in rechargeable battery, power/mode switch and status lights for battery life and mode
  • up to 16 hours of use with a fully charged battery
  • passive listening mode for use when internal battery runs down (no noise cancellation during passive listening)
  • USB charging cable
  • clothing clip
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Bose® QuietComfort® 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling® headphones Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(64 Reviews)
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Hands-on research

Features and Specs

Fit Style In-ear/Earbud
Earcup Type Closed
Earcup Width x Height 1 x 1.25
Noise-canceling Yes
Bluetooth No
Mic For Taking Calls Yes
iPhone Control ---
Lightning Connector No
Android Control ---
Frequency Response Not Given
Sensitivity Not Given
Impedance Not Given
Weight 1.55 ounces
Cord Length 52
1/4-inch Adapter Included No
Volume Control Yes
Parts Warranty 1 Year
Labor Warranty 1 Year

Product Research


Overview: The Bose QuietComfort 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones combines the audio performance of the Bose IE2 in-ear headphones with the patented Acoustic Noise Cancelling technology. The QC20i comes with an in-line remote/microphone that is compatible with Apple i-devices, including iPhone 3GS and later, iPod touch (2nd generation and later), iPod nano (4th generation and later), iPad, iPad 2, MacBook, and MacBook Pro models 2009 and later.

Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphone Technology: The patented Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphone technology in Bose QuietComfort headphones provides full-spectrum noise reduction for a better audio experience. Microphones on the outside of the earbuds actively monitor what you hear, including unwanted outside sound. The difference between the unwanted sound and the desired sound is then electronically processed, creating a correction signal that acts to negate the unwanted noise. The speaker within each ear-cup is then fed the correction signal. This signal, combined with the passive noise reduction of the StayHear+ ear tips, dramatically reduces the outside distractions that reach your ears.

TriPort Technology: Bose proprietary TriPort technology allows the drivers of the QC20i headphones to create deep lows while keeping the headphones small and lightweight. TriPort technology, combined with Active EQ, give you lifelike sound for your music, videos, and phone calls.

StayHear+ Ear Tips: The Bose headphones come with StayHear+ silicone ear tips in three sizes (Small/Medium/Large) to help assure a more accurate and comfortable fit. The StayHear+ ear tips offer greater in-ear stability during exercise and other active sports. Advanced materials and design allow the tips to nestle inside the bowl of the ear, while also naturally conforming to the ear's upper ridge. The natural oblong cone shape of the ear tips provides a gentle seal that helps keep unwanted ambient noise out. StayHear+ ear tips also are designed to remain more securely on the headphone itself.

Aware Mode: The Aware Mode temporarily turns off the Active Noise Cancelling to allow you to hear ambient noise while continuing to listen to your music. Whether you're crossing the street, waiting on airline gate announcements, or just wanting to be more aware of your surroundings, you can engage the Aware Mode by pushing a button on the in-line remote.

In-line Remote/Control Module: The QC20i gives you control over your headphones and your music. The 4-button in-line remote/microphone is compatible with Apple i-devices, and features volume up/down, answer/end call, voice commands, music/video functions, and Aware Mode. The microphone enables you to make phone calls and perform voice commands with your iPhone. The control module contains the rechargeable battery, and includes the power switch for Active Noise Cancelling and LED status indicators.

Rechargeable Battery: The QC20i's Active Noise Cancelling is powered by a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery in the Control Module. The battery is charged with the supplied USB cable in approximately 2 hours. A fully-charged battery provides approximately 16 hours of battery life. Even if the battery is exhausted, you can still use the headphones without Active Noise Cancelling.

Clothing Clip: The included clothing clip help keep the headphones in place when you're on the move. Use the clothing clip to fasten the cable to your clothing, for convenience, stability, and to help manage the cable. This can be helpful during rigorous activities or when using the headphones in a single earpiece configuration.

Storage Case: The headphones come with a small carrying case that protects your headphones and cables when not in use. The case has a small mesh inside pocket for small items, and a zippered closure.

Our Product Research Team

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Staff Reviews

Product reviews from the Crutchfield Labs

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Customer Q&A

4 questions already asked

Yes [ KRIS  Jun 06, 2015 ]
Of course nothing can beat over the ear but I would think in the ear would perform better than on the ear. For yard work I use the QC20i and use my over the ear QC15 in the house. I have never tried the on the ear headphones, yet. [ GLENN  Jun 04, 2015 ]
I have had 2 earlier versions of the Bose over the ears noise cancelling headphones. I find little difference between the noise cancelling with the in ear set. They work well and are much more convenient, especially for airplane travel (fit in a shirt pocket) [ John  Jun 04, 2015 ]
Thanks for your question. I would recommend reaching out to an Advisor by phone (1-800-324-9695) or online chat. They will be able to help determine the differences and help you make the best choice for your system and your budget. [ Krissy  May 05, 2015 ]  Staff
When I purchased the QC20i I honestly didn't think it would perform as well as the over the ear QC15. Man, was I wrong. These ear buds really held their own. In fact I no longer use the more expensive QC15. I really prefer the WC20i for comfort and performance. Highly recommended. Yes they are heavy duty enough to stand up to working out in the gym or jogging. Something that was impossible with the QC15 [ GLENN  Mar 05, 2015 ]
Yes. This is a very high quality product. [ TIM  Mar 04, 2015 ]
The system is so light, I don't think you will notice. But keeping the buds in your ears could take some effort.They fit tightly so you should be able to do it [ John  Mar 03, 2015 ]
These headphones are very well built and have a secure fit, so I think they will stand up to the rigors of exercise. Personally, at this price point, I would keep the Bose's for quiet or noise-canceling situations where their high quality sound can be appreciated and get a less expensive set for daily use (that you won't mind if you forget them at the gym or they get lost elsewhere. [ AZHAR  Mar 03, 2015 ]
Absolutely. They stay in you ears very well. [ CAMERON  Mar 03, 2015 ]
these are way too nice to use exercising. Get a pair of sweat-proof ones designed for that. JBL and Denon make exercise-friendly units as well. [ ROBERT  Mar 03, 2015 ]
yes [ ROBERT  Mar 03, 2015 ]
I bought these for my husband he loves them! He does yard work in them and tells me they will stand up to jogging/gym. [ Stacey  Mar 03, 2015 ]
Probably not. They do a great job with back round noise but . They will reduce it I'm sure. They. May. Be uncomfortable to sleep with if you sleep with your head against a pillow. [ DENNIS  Jan 01, 2014 ]
I have only taken one plane trip with these earphones and have found my SURE ear buds work better and are more comfortable. Disappointed in this purchase. W.B. brown [ William  Dec 30, 2013 ]
who`s snoring ? ,if the person snoring is wearing the earphones,I think the wearer will hear there own snoring,I wore my phones on a plane behind the wings and the engines went silent when i turned the phones on ,so i dont think you will hear your partners snoring if you are wearing the bose noise cancelling earphones. i hope that made sense . [ ROBERT  Dec 30, 2013 ]
Thank you anyway. [ Debbie  Dec 30, 2013 ]
I bought the QuietComfort 20i headphones about two months ago and I love them. I travel (fly) 2-3 times a week and they work great not only cancelling the noise of the plane but the audio fidelity is great. Also, the size is much easier to deal with than the over the ear headphones when you're carrying other stuff in your briefcase. As to your question, these are larger than normal ear buds. I think that if you sleep on your side, as I do, they would be jammed into the ear and would be uncomfortable. [ TIM  Dec 30, 2013 ] idea.. [ DAVID  Dec 30, 2013 ]
Good question. I own two sets of noise canceling earphones but have tried neither for the problem of snoring. The real question here is: who is the noise canceling for, the snorer or the snoree? Depending on the sleep position of the wearer noise canceling earphones should do an excellent job. I will research this question further.... [ MIDTOWN  Dec 30, 2013 ]