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QuietOn 3 Review: Tiny Noise Cancelling Sleep Headphones That Block Out The World

The QuietOn 3 buds achieve exactly what they set out to, but the price will still be too high for many

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Our Verdict

The most impressive (and expensive) ear plugs we’ve come across, the QuietOn 3 offer ANC and a comfortable fit for sleeping, but struggle to justify their high price.

For

  • Comfortable fit
  • Easy to use
  • ANC blocks certain sounds well
  • Long battery life

Against

  • Very expensive
  • No Bluetooth audio
  • No sleep tracking

RRP £229

Soft foam or silicone ear plugs have long been the solution for people who struggle to sleep in noisy environments. At less than a fiver for a few sets they offer an effective and affordable way to block out external sounds.

That might make you wonder what the benefit is of investing £229 in a set of ear plugs that also offer active noise cancellation (ANC). Unlike normal headphones that have a Bluetooth connection to your phone to play audio, or sleep headphones like the Bose Sleepbuds II that link up with an app to play soothing sounds, the QuietOn 3 buds are simply an advanced set of ear plugs.

While regular ear plugs rely on passive noise cancellation, where sound is blocked by the physical design of the plug, the addition of ANC means that the QuietOn 3 buds actively filter out sounds, especially low-frequency noise like the hum of airplanes or traffic.

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The QuietOn 3 buds offer a similar user experience to regular ear plugs. You take them out of the case and pop them in your ears, and that’s it. There are four different sets of foam ear tips in the box to ensure you get a good fit, and you can use the case to make sure it’s right. When wearing the buds, hold the case behind your ear, then pull it away. A quiet click will sound if the buds are fitted well.

This ease of use is partly because the buds aren’t linked to an app like other sleep headphones, either to play soothing music or natural sounds. You just put them in, the ANC kicks in, and you (hopefully) go to sleep thanks to the absence of distracting background noise.

It’s an enjoyably faff-free experience that removes the app set-up required on devices like the Bose or Amazfit sleep buds. However, if you do find that music or other sounds help you drop off, you have no option for that here.

I was impressed by the battery life on the buds. They last 28 hours on a single charge, and the case can recharge them three times. It’s long enough that you don’t really get any battery anxiety – something you want to avoid in a product designed to help you sleep.

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The fit of the QuietOn 3 buds is great and, as a side sleeper, the small size makes them easier to use than the Bose Sleepbuds II or Amazfit Zenbuds. On most nights I could wear the QuietOn 3 buds all night long without any ear irritation, though occasionally they were uncomfortable enough that I took them out. They take time to get used to, as do regular ear plugs, especially if you’re a side sleeper. I also found that just using one plug on the upturned ear while lying on my side was effective in helping block out noise.

It’s fair to say the effect of the ANC is noticeable compared with just wearing ear plugs or a set of in-ear buds without ANC. However, these aren’t a huge upgrade on normal ear plugs. If you were using the buds regularly to sleep in a noisy area or for travelling the benefits might justify the extra outlay, but it’s hard to say that the QuietOn 3 buds will be life-changing for most people.

The QuietOn 3 buds achieve what they set out to but come at such a high price it’s hard to recommend them, especially since the upgrade on regular ear plugs is not significant. They also offer none of the benefits of other sleep buds, such as calming sounds or sleep tracking, though this does make them supremely easy to use.

However, they will be the perfect solution to some people’s sleep problems, offering a winning blend of an excellent, comfortable fit and the added bonus of ANC on top of passive noise cancellation.

Buy from QuietOn (opens in new tab) | £229

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.