Bose QC25 vs QC15 : In-depth Comparison & Honest Review

Whether you’re a music maniac or an audio-book geek, an introvert whose hobby is to avoid human contact or an extrovert handling their daily shenanigans, a teenager or a fully-functioning adult; we can’t deny that headphones have become a chief staple in everybody’s lives. However, choosing the right pair that caters to your specific needs is a hard job – there are a lot of scammers out there ready to snag what you have to offer and other times you find your decade-old headphones working way better than the latest, unnecessarily over-priced model that the masses are going gaga over.

Safe to say, there are several issues that you need to deal with before finding the perfect pair. The trick is to first figure out what you require in your headphones and then invest in a high quality pair that carries those features, as they are going to be your companion for a significant period of time.

One of the most celebrated names in the world of acoustics is Bose; and two of its creations – Bose QC15 and QC25 comprise majority of the features that you might require in your set. That is what makes them some of the best headphones available in the market. Still, the question arises – which one to go for then?

Bose QC25 vs QC15 – Pros & Cons and Verdict

Read on for an in-depth Bose QC15 vs QC25 battle aiding you in choosing the one that may suit your needs the best.


 Both of the models have a classy look to them with a glossy finish on the outer sides of their ear cups. QC15 comes in an overall white colour with mustard ear pads, whereas QC25 has a more lush look to it as it comes in black and its variations with the aforementioned metallic touch to top it off. QC15 carries round shaped ear cups, a feature that Bose has improved upon in QC25 –  introducing the oval-shaped ones which cater to all sizes. Next, the chords in both sets are different, the ones in QC15 seem fragile and flimsy, the kind that would break in a short period of time, whereas QC25’s chords are comparatively sturdier and would last a longer time. When it comes to their cases, QC15 has an edge, even though it’s not a proper case but a Velcro pouch, it can be more easily stored and can fit anywhere, whereas QC25 comes in a proper, hard, rectangular case that takes up a fair amount of space and would be difficult to carry along.

Bose has fixed some of the errors in QC25 that the users pointed out in QC15 – there was no way to indicate which side was for which ear and Bose fixed it by marking “R” and “L” on the inner sides in the QC25 model. Another difference is that QC15 employs two proprietary cables which suggests that you’d have to buy them from Bose itself in case the cables are damaged whereas QC25 has a 2.5mm jack at the end of the ear cup made to fit an adapter, which can provide you with more flexibility.

Considering all of these aspects, QC25 wins in design.

Sound Quality

Both models are considered to be the top choices in the market when it comes to the sound quality; however, Bose has made sure to give each model a signature sound, unique in its own way. QC15 is a smoother version of QC25, making it comparatively softer and warmer with the basic emphasis on the low-mid. It makes every note fall into one place and blend impeccably together. You hear each sound the way it was originally made for you to hear. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something glaringly intense then these headphones are not for you.

QC25 captures each note perfectly and has a honed quality to it that makes each sound crisp. However, QC25 is not structured for the highs especially at high volumes and mainly caters to the middle and lower notes.

When it comes to genres, if your interest encompasses bass-heavy genres, then QC15 is the set for you but if you’re more of a jazz or indie person then QC25 is a clear choice as it exhibits more clarity in the mid-range and lower tones.

Read more:  6 Best Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones

Noise Canceling

Noise-canceling is one of Bose’s key features which they have perfected over the years and the brand is considered to be the market’s leader when it comes to this specific aspect.

However, out of the two, the clear winner is QC25. Even though, QC15 was one of the first headphones to come out with this feature, its specifications have become comparatively obsolete in the face of the new, technologically advanced models such as QC25 which is one of the best noise-cancelling headphones available today. This model is ideal for extremely noisy environments e.g. while traveling on public transport, working out in the gym, taking calls in public etc, as it cancels out 85% of the surrounding sounds. Further, QC25 has both active and passive noise-cancellation feature. The same feature is available in the QC15s but there is an additional noise that comes out when the active noise cancellation feature is turned on, which has been taken care of in QC25.


QC15 requires an AAA battery at all times to operate and has the average life of 35 hours with the noise-cancelling feature being used all along. Using an AAA battery is considered to be a fairly old method for some people but for those who prefer it, this set is a worthy choice. On the other hand, QC25 uses a AAA battery as well and it further has a passive option where you can use your headphones with or without the noise-cancellation feature, but one thing to note is that as the battery dies, the sound quality deteriorates and once it does completely, QC25 will continue to work but without the noise-cancellation feature which all in all, isn’t as amazing an experience. One thing that should be kept in mind is that users would incur further costs by having to buy batteries for their headphones and that Bose could have prevented this environmental issue but still decided to go old-school.


Both of the models do not carry the Bluetooth feature, however, QC25 can be used with a Bluetooth adapter.


QC25 started with a $300 mark when it was released in 2014 and when compared to QC15, it’s still the better choice as the manufacturer has discontinued QC15, making it even more expensive and harder to find due to this “rare” factor. So if you have to choose, QC25 is comparatively cheaper and easily available.

you might like: Bose NC 700 vs. QC 35 II

Further Features

  • The chip installed in QC25 cancels noise faster and in a more accurate manner than in QC15.
  • QC25 provides more comfort as it has slightly larger ear cups.
  • QC25’s clamp lies comfortably on the ear area as compared to QC15.
  • If you have the habit of wearing your headphones on your neck then QC25 is the pair for you due to its light structure.
  • Both of the sets have ear pads made of the most cushion-y materials.
  • There is a slight difference in the materials used for the headbands. The QC15 has its padding made by faux-leather, and the material used in QC25 is ‘Alcantra’ which is used in high-end sports cars as well. It is 68% polyester and 32% polyurethane, which makes it way softer than QC15.
  • QC25 can be folded as well, making it compact and easy to travel with.
  • Both of the sets are not wireless.
  • QC25 is heavier than QC15, which is odd considering the trend of lighter sets especially in comparison to their preceding ones.

Pros and Cons

QC25 vs QC15

QC15s are one of the first noise cancelling headphones to grace the tech world, and have a super long battery life; however, this model is quite rare and expensive now and does not carry the Bluetooth or wireless feature. On the other hand, QC25 is a better fit and has better sound quality than QC15, with users being able to listen to music even after the battery is all drained out but QC25 isn’t wireless either and has the added cost of AAA batteries as well, just like QC15, in addition to an already high price-point.

However, it is quite apparent that QC25, considering all of the pros and cons, does outweigh QC15.

In a nutshell, Bose QC25 is an advanced version of QC15 and has overcome many errors that the users found in QC15, if not all. Considering the price point and an elevated version, Bose was expected to create more favorable changes in QC25, but Bose is a visionary when it comes to the audio and tech world, so who knows what else they may have in store for us.

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