Overall I am quite pleased with the QuietOn 3 sleep earbuds. They are small, comfortable, and get great battery life. They physically block a decent amount of sound and they have ANC to zap even more. I’ll be using these long after this review is published, and I think that says it all.
- Physically block a significant amount of sound
- ANC further reduces noise so you can concentrate and/or sleep
- Excellent battery life
- Good for side sleepers
- Difficult to know when they are on
- Smaller tips are more comfortable for me but fall out while I sleep
- At $269, they cost as much as a premium pair of True Wireless Earbuds
I don’t sleep well anymore. Some nights it takes me forever to fall asleep; other nights, I drift right off but, an hour later, I’m awake and unable to fall back to sleep. Wearing a sleep cap helps (seriously, you should try it), earplugs help, but nothing comes close to the QuietOn 3 sleep earbuds for quiet and comfort. Nothing.
A few years ago, I tried a pair of disposable earplugs. They worked well enough but weren’t very comfortable. I noticed that in-ear earphones worked as well or better than “dedicated” earplugs, and so I began falling asleep with earbuds in my ears. Sometimes I didn’t even play music.
When V-Moda released the Faders, earplugs that are basically earbuds without the electronics, I thought I had found the right solution. But, while they worked well, they often caused a bit of ear fatigue after a few hours. I’ve tried various True Wireless Earbuds, including the Master & Dynamic MW08 Sport, which are almost small enough to be comfortable. The active noise cancellation does a superb job of eliminating ambient sound. But, like the V-Moda Faders, their size often results in a sore ear by the morning.
The QuietOn 3 sleep earbuds take a different approach. I’ve been using them for the past few weeks, and I’m rather impressed. Here’s why.
The MW08 Sport “work” as sleep earbuds because they have active noise cancellation. That means I don’t need to jam them so far into my ears to make a tight seal that blocks out external sound. But the hard material that houses the speakers and the electronics is still… hard. Unless I position my head on the pillow in just the right way, they become uncomfortable after a short period.
Like the MW08 Sport, the QuietOn 3 sleep earbuds have active noise cancellation. This means that, in addition to physically blocking sound, they actively eliminate it too. But unlike the MS08 Sport, the QuietOn 3 sleep earbuds are tiny and fit comfortably inside the ear. That, in turn, means they stay in place all night without putting undue pressure on my ears. I get a quiet night’s sleep without the morning pain that frequently accompanied other earplugs.
To accomplish this, QuietOn stripped the earbuds down to the bare bones. Bluetooth for enjoying streaming music? There is none. On-device controls? There are none. Fancy bells and whistles? Nope.
Instead, the QuietOn 3 sleep earbuds are small, comfortable earbuds with ANC and little else. They activate as soon as you remove them from the included battery case and only shut off when placed back into the charging case. As the company explains:
The product is removed from the charging box and can be used immediately – no buttons or setup needed. QuietOn 3 battery life is around 28 hours on a single charge. The charging case battery lasts for about 3x charging the earbuds from empty to full, meaning that QuietOn 3 Active Noise Cancelling earbuds for sleeping can be used without having to worry about recharging – or waking up at night unexpectedly to your partner’s snoring or disturbing neighborhood noise.
In other words, the QuietOn 3 sleep earbuds look, and to a degree act, like small, traditional earplugs. The only difference is that these earplugs have Active Noise Cancellation baked in, and they deliver up to 28 hours of battery life per charge. That means these small earplugs not only block noise but also actively eliminate noise as well.
Here’s what QuietOn has to say:
Say YES to quiet nights and waking up refreshed in the mornings. Enjoy sweet dreams at night with QuietOn 3 Active Noise Cancelling earbuds and see the sunny sides of life during the day. QuietOn 3 Active Noise Cancelling earbuds provide you with your much-needed portion of Nordic Quietude when you can not sleep, due to insomnia, neighborhood noise, a snoring partner, or other noise disturbance. QuietOn 3 excels with its market-leading noise-canceling performance, smallest possible size, and best fit for the ear anatomy.
When you take the QuietOn 3 sleep earbuds out of the box, you will think you are unboxing a new pair of True Wireless Earbuds. Just like most TWE, inside the box, you get the earbuds, the charging case, and four sizes of ear tips.
While it has a different shape, the charging case is about the size of my AirPods Pro charging case, but it is a bit thicker.
On the back, there is a USB-C charging port — you won’t find wireless charging here. Above the USB-C charging port, three LEDs indicate the remaining charge of the battery case itself.
Hidden along the lip of the front portion of the case are two more sets of three small LEDs. These indicate the remaining charge of the earbuds themselves.
The earbuds are tiny but, were you not to know better, you would be convinced they were the smallest true wireless earbuds you have ever seen. They obviously aren’t, but they certainly look the part.
To use the QuietOn 3 sleep earbuds, you simply take them out of the charging case, roll the bud between your fingers to compress it a bit, position the earbud in your ear, and rotate slightly to “lock” it in place. The foam tips then slowly expand to their original size and create a good seal. That seal alone is enough to give you a quiet moment, but the addition of ANC takes things to a new level.
The technology of QuietOn 3 sleep earbuds is based on finely tuned Active Noise Cancelling, which effectively reduces noise across the entire frequency spectrum, but especially in the low-frequency range. Noises such as snoring or neighborhood noise that may disturb your sleep are canceled, and you can finally enjoy quiet and relaxing dreams. As shown by the so-called “Snoring Mountain,” QuietOn makes the difference in this frequency range to reduce sleep disturbances.
Interestingly, in an effort to keep the QuietOn 3 sleep earbuds as small as possible, they were designed without any controls or indicators to indicate they are on. The company did something a bit strange to address this. To check that the earbuds are working, you need to put them in, pick up the battery case and bring it up to your ear. If you hear a slight “click” sound as you slowly move the battery case away from the earbud, you will know they are on. It’s a bizarre way to check their status, but it does work.
The key to relaxed trips and concentration during noisy office hours: Do you ever find yourself in situations at work or while traveling where you long for relaxing calm? With QuietOn 2, that bubble of tranquility is just a push of a button away from you. Enjoy excellent noise-canceling technology that reduces disturbing background noise such as cabin noise, engine noise or the soundscape in the open-plan office.
The company also makes clear that the QuietOn 3 sleep earbuds aren’t just for sleeping. I haven’t tried them for travel, but I have used them mid-day, and they are excellent.
- Sleep in quietude, wake up full of energy
- Premium quality Active Noise Cancelling
- Ergonomic design, four sizes of comfortable and soft foam eartips
- 28h battery life/single charge
- The package includes earbuds, ear tips (XS, S, M, L), charging case.
Here’s the company promotional video:
I’ve been sleeping with the QuietOn 3 sleep earbuds for the last two weeks. Thanks to their small size, they are incredibly comfortable. Honestly, I would use these even if they were just “dumb” earplugs. The fit and seal are good, and the small size is comfortable enough for someone like me who sleeps on his side.
The added functionality of the ANC takes down even more of the ambient sound given you an even quieter night’s sleep. I’ve even used them in the middle of the day when I desperately needed a few minutes to “get away.”
I’ve tried different size tips and still have not settled on the right one. The ones that give the best seal are a bit too large to be comfortable all night, while the smaller size is more comfortable but often slips out of my ear at some point. I’ll probably use the smaller ones from now on, but not for the reason you might think.
My biggest concern when I first got the QuietOn 3 sleep earbuds was that they worked well enough that I might not hear my alarm clock in the morning. Sure, I could significantly increase the volume on the clock, but that wouldn’t be fair to my wife, Raina. Because the small tips seem to come out at some point after I fall asleep, I don’t have to worry about missing the alarm.
Overall I am quite pleased with the QuietOn 3 sleep earbuds. They are small, comfortable, and get great battery life. They physically block a decent amount of sound, and they have ANC to zap even more. I’ll be using these long after this review is published, and I think that says it all.
The QuietOn 3 sleep earbuds retail for $269; they are available directly from the manufacturer.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Small; Comfortable; Physically block a significant amount of sound; ANC further reduces noise so you can concentrate and/or sleep; Excellent battery life; Good for side sleepers
What Needs Improvement: Difficult to know when they are on; Smaller tips are more comfortable for me but fall out while I sleep; At $269, they cost as much as a premium pair of True Wireless Earbuds