Do any of you use Bose noise-cancelling headphones?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Peter5 posted 03-19-2012 07:11 PM 12863 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Peter5's profile


66 posts in 3002 days

03-19-2012 07:11 PM

I’ve been wanting to figure out a way to listen to music and/or the radio while I run my planer/drum sander/table saw etc. and I thought of the Bose noise-canceling headphones. I’ve heard they completely block out everything, but is that true even with heavy machinery? Does anyone wear these while they work in their shop? They’re about $300 so I don’t want to make the investment unless I can be pretty confident. I’d love to hear your experiences.

-- Pete, Long Beach, CA

28 replies so far

View Bagtown's profile


1739 posts in 3929 days

#1 posted 03-19-2012 08:00 PM

$300. buys quite a few decent hand tools; handplane, scrapers, hand saws, chisels, etc.
And then you wont have to buy the headphones.



-- Mike - In Fort McMurray Alberta

View chrisstef's profile


17761 posts in 3205 days

#2 posted 03-19-2012 08:05 PM

ive got a pair of Impact Sport ear muffs with an aux jack in them that work great for listening to music while keeping loud noises out. Think i got em at Cabela’s .. $50. If youve got the dough bose stuff cant be beat but id save my cash personally.

When i was working in the contruction field runnign things like a bobcat skid steer i had used Shure earphones T2 i think … you could still hear the diesel engine over them unless you cranked em up real loud and that would defeat the purpose of having ear protection in my book.

My suggestion is a pair of muffs with an aux jack in them.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View iozl's profile


51 posts in 3998 days

#3 posted 03-19-2012 08:17 PM

I had been thinking a bit about this as I changed my shop routine recently: in the past whenever I used machinery I wore earplugs, and when I was using my router table (with vac) I would put ear muffs over the earplugs for extra protection.

Recently I purchased new IEM’s (in ear microphones) – I did a lot of research and purchased a pair that were expensive, but not $300 expensive. Now, I’m finding that if I’m listening with my IEM’s and using ear muffs, I get almost the same dB reduction as with the earplugs, PLUS I can enjoy music or listen to the audio edition of the Economist.

& BTW – if you are interested in browsing IEM reviews, check out the link below. I found it incredibly useful for comparing the various options out there, and they range from $5 pairs all the way up to +$1,000 gear:

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3846 days

#4 posted 03-19-2012 08:18 PM

I use in-the-ear earbuds sometimes. They seal out external noise about
as well as earplugs and you can listen to music or the radio too.

I think the noise-canceling headphones are designed to cancel-out
the sound of jet engines, which is fatiguing.

View Rostasteve's profile


5 posts in 2458 days

#5 posted 03-19-2012 08:26 PM

When you buy Bose, you’re paying for accurate music reproduction (as well as the Bose name), which is a waste if you’re only going to use them in the shop. You should look into shooting range ear protection—they seal out noise, have active noise cancelling, and an aux jack for your music source. Howard Leight and Peltor make some decent models.

View Elizabeth's profile


817 posts in 3342 days

#6 posted 03-19-2012 08:32 PM

I have a pair of Bose that I use for flights but it never occurred to me to use them in the shop. I’ve no idea what the decibel rating is on them but I doubt it’s high. I can still hear people talking to me when they are on, but it’s muffled. (If I am playing music I will have to take them off to hear the person but if I’m just using the cancellation I can still understand them.) Really they excel at taking a background droning noise and canceling it out, not at shielding you from loud noise.

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2463 days

#7 posted 03-19-2012 09:24 PM

Okay, not to be contrary to others’ opinions, but Bose is just “okay” when it comes to quality audio. They aren’t high-end by any true sense of the word. They are at the top end of average consumer audio for most people though.

But, about the Bose headphones, there are several styles to choose from (over ear is probably the most comfortable and convenient in this case). None of them fully block the noise. You’re still going to hear it no matter what you use. It works a lot better on constant noise than on sudden or intense noises in my experience.

If I were you, I’d get a set of earbuds and a good set of ear protection to wear over them. I do that myself since the wires are so thin no noise really gets past my ear protection’s pads (I have a few sets from -20 dB to -30 dB) and my earbuds fill the ear canal so it’s just one more level of protection. When using machinery though, I usually do like the option of just hearing the tool running with ear protection and no music to see if I can detect any odd noises. I had a miter saw start producing this awful whine once that I didn’t notice until I made a quick cut with no protection. Since then, I make sure my tools sound okay every now and again before I drown them out with music.

One thing to make sure about though, do not let your headphone wires dangle in front of you. Think about that and what would happen around a circular or tablesaw or any spinning tool. I usually put my MP3 player in my back pocket and run the wire under my shirt and up my back.

Also, if you have someone in the shop with you, it’s best not to play music so you can hear them if there’s an emergency or alert.

I hope that helps.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View DKV's profile


3940 posts in 2703 days

#8 posted 03-19-2012 09:33 PM

I bought a pair when I was traveling two or three times a week. Now that I’m retired I use them in the workshop. They work great, especially around the dw735 planer. However, if I hadn’t had them already I would not have spent that kind of money for just shop use.

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View Peter5's profile


66 posts in 3002 days

#9 posted 03-19-2012 09:50 PM

Thanks everyone, you’ve given me some great feedback. I’m going to try my ear buds under my cheap Harbor Freight ear muffs today to get an idea of how that works. I definitely think I’ll save the $300.

-- Pete, Long Beach, CA

View Jeff's profile


489 posts in 3393 days

#10 posted 03-19-2012 10:40 PM

I’d be afraid of ruining those expensive headphones with all the dust and paint in my shop. I use the same foam earplugs I use when I visit a paper mill. If it can reduce that noise it can reduce my workshop noise. They’re ony a few cents a pair and if you’re really cheap they’re washable.

View Paul Pomerleau's profile

Paul Pomerleau

309 posts in 2892 days

#11 posted 03-19-2012 11:03 PM

I have a pair of Bose over ear noise cancelling headphones that I bought when I traveled extensively.
Although I never used them in the shop, I decided to try it because you were asking.
I plugged them into my ipod and played “An Act of War” by Elton John at a bit louder than comfortable volume.
I went into the shop and turned on the air filter, I couldn’t hear it.
I started the table saw, I could barely hear it.
I started the shop vac, I could hear it easily but it was a smoother sound and definitely would not bother me listening to the music.
Then I turned on the thickness planer, it was the loudest of all machines and I would not operate it long without replacing the headphones with my regular ear protection.
Still, most of the tools running either alone or all together would not affect my enjoyment of the music.
Although, I would be worried a bit that the music would drown out the noise of the tablesaw and perhaps make you forget that it was on.
I respect the tablesaw too much to let the enjoyment of music lower the level of safety in the shop.
If you were strictly on the scroll saw or band saw for a period of time, then the music would be enjoyable.

-- Close to Ottawa Ontario Canada

View waho6o9's profile


8516 posts in 2776 days

#12 posted 03-20-2012 12:23 AM

Affordable as well, 21.00 plus shipping. You can hear music and work too.

View pvwoodcrafts's profile


244 posts in 4120 days

#13 posted 03-20-2012 12:29 AM

Got my wife a set. She runs a scroll saw all day in the corner of the shop where I’m running everything else. She’s had them for about 5 years and hasn’t had any problems with them. She has them on all day listening to her bluegrass and books on tapes. She wouldn’t be happy without them.

-- mike & judy western md. www.

View HamS's profile


1829 posts in 2588 days

#14 posted 03-20-2012 12:51 AM

I have ell cheapos that cost $35 at wallmart. They work great. I wear them in the shop with the radio and mowing and sometimes even when I am LJin- and want people to leave me alone. I think the brand is Maxwell.

-- Haming it up in the 'bash.

View OnlyJustME's profile


1562 posts in 2575 days

#15 posted 03-20-2012 12:58 AM

how about a pair of these?

-- In the end, when your life flashes before your eyes, will you like what you see?

showing 1 through 15 of 28 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics