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Bose Sport Open Earbuds vs Bose Sport Earbuds (2021): Which Is Better?

Portable and lightweight wireless earbuds have become the top picks for running and workouts. With the Bose Sport Earbuds, you can enjoy your beast mode playlist without worrying about cables or getting it wet with sweat. However, their snug fit reduces what you can hear around you, which can be a bummer if you wanted to fully enjoy the scenery on your runs. Enter the new Bose Sport Open Earbuds, designed specifically to address this. Here’s our comparison between these top wireless sports earbuds from Bose.

Bose Sport Open Earbuds vs Bose Sport Earbuds Comparison Chart

ModelBose Sport Open EarbudsBose Sport Earbuds
Bose Sport Open EarbudsBose Sport Earbuds
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
Dimensions2″ x 6.5″ x 8″0.7″ x 1″ x 0.8″
Weight0.49 oz each0.3 oz each
AppBose MusicBose Music
Water ResistanceIPX4IPX4
Eartip sizes13
Touch ControlsNoYes
Battery Life8 hours5 hours
Charging Time2 hours2 hours
Quick ChargingUp to 3 hours in 30 minutesUp to 2 hours in 15 minutes
ColorsTriple BlackTriple Black, Glacier White, Baltic Blue


The Bose Sport Open Earbuds have an open-ear design while the Bose Sport Earbuds have an in-ear design.

The Bose Sport Open Earbuds (left) will clip onto the top of your earlobe while the Bose Sport Earbuds (right) fit snugly in your ear.

The similar sounding names of these wireless earbuds actually tells you their most important difference. The Bose Sport Open Earbuds have an open-ear design while the Sport Earbuds have the standard in-ear build. This impacts nearly everything about these headphones, including which will ultimately fit your own preferences and needs.

The open-ear Bose Sport Open Earbuds features a smooth loop that suspends the device on top of your ear. The earbuds themselves have a flat panel with drivers positioned to deliver sound onto your ear canal. There’s no easy way to determine whether it will fit comfortably other than trying them on, though it largely depends on how thin or thick your ear lobes are.

In comparison, the Bose Sport Earbuds have a more standard design and configuration, though it’s just as stylish and premium in overall looks. It comes with three tips sizes so it’s easier to find the best fit for you. These work really well in ensuring the earbuds stay in place no matter how much you move. Parts that touch your ears are made of soft silicone so there’s no extra pressure on sensitive areas.

Both Bose wireless earbuds have a water resistance rating of IPX4, so they’ll survive perspiration and even light rain. They also come with compact storage cases, though only the one for the Sport Earbuds functions also as a charging case. This makes it slightly more portable and convenient than the Sport Open Earbuds, which has a separate stationary charging base instead.


The Bose Sport Earbuds have better noise isolation and less leakage than the Bose Spirt Open Earbuds.

If you’re after pure sound quality, the Bose Sport Earbuds will simply be more impressive.

Bose used the OpenAudio technology they developed for their Frames Tempo audio sunglasses to power the Sport Open Earbuds, though it’s a much better experience here due to how close the drivers are to the ears. Though they have the same warm sound signature that Bose is known for, it doesn’t have a punchy bass due to the open-ear design. However, they still perform moderately well compared to other in-ear headphones while also improving environmental awareness.

So for just pure sound quality, the Bose Sport Earbuds wins this category without question. It has a hefty emphasis on bass without overpowering mids, while its upper midrange is sufficiently loud to make it easy to hear harmony. Since they fit snugly, they block out external noise, resulting in better audio, though its noise isolation is still quite low for safety reasons: awareness of your surroundings is important when running outdoors or lifting inside the gym.

It’s understandable that you get a lot more sound leakage on the open-ear Sport Open Earbuds. This affects phone calls, too, since the person on the other line will hear what’s going around you and the mics do not have adequate background noise reduction. Its two mics were designed to focus on your voice, though they only have average wind resistance. In this regard, the Sport Earbuds perform much better for phone calls, with a 4-mic array that can lessen low-frequency noises to highlight your voice.

Both Bose earbuds operate with Bluetooth 5.1 connections so pairing with devices should be near instant. Bluetooth 5.1 improves pinpointing accuracy, energy efficiency and broadcast capabilities. You can get up to 30 feet of wireless listening range between your device and the earbuds.

Other Features

The Bose Sport Earbuds have touch controls unlike the Sport Open Earbuds.

You’re likely going to use the Bose Sport Open Earbuds more than the Sleepbuds II.

There are no actual buttons on the Bose Sport Earbuds but its housing doubles as a touch panel that recognizes taps and swipes. The capacitive touch interface for each earbud has different controls, with the right earbud providing volume control by swiping up or down, along with a double-tap to answer calls and play or pause music. The left earbud can be customized to work as a shortcut for a function you choose in the Bose Music app. In addition, the right earbud has an automatic ear detection sensor and can be used for mono listening.

In lieu of touch controls, the Bose Sport Open Earbuds only have a multifunction button at the base of each earbud. These have a wider range of controls, letting skip tracks or replay the previous one in addition. However, there are no volume controls on the earbuds themselves. Bose is planning a firmware update that will add these later this year. A definite advantage of the open-ear design is being able to have a conversation without pausing or lowering music volume, which is a nice convenience.

Both variants support voice assistants and work sufficiently well in recognizing voice commands. They’re designed to work with the Bose Music app primarily for the Active EQ software along with other customization settings.

Battery Life

The Bose Sport Open Earbuds have a longer battery life than the Bose Sport Earbuds.

The carry case for the Bose Sport Open Earbuds (left) are only for storage while that for the Sport Earbuds (right) can quick charge.

Bose significantly improved the battery life of the Sport Open Earbuds. With an 8-hour battery life, it’s among the most long-lasting wireless earbuds on the market. It’s a lot more than the 5 hours of the Bose Sport Earbuds. However, the Sport Open Earbuds comes with a separate carrying case and charging base, whereas most wireless earbuds combine the two into one neat convenient accessory.

You’ll get around 3 hours of extra juice after charging the Sport Open Earbuds for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, you’ll get 2 hours of playback on the Sport Earbuds after 15 minutes of quick charging. Overall, you can get up to 7 hours of use with a fully charged Sport Earbuds and case.


The Bose Sport Earbuds offer better value than the Bose Sport Open Earbuds.

Bose Sport Open Earbuds

Bose Sport Open Earbuds

Bose Sport Earbuds

Bose Sport Earbuds

Offered at a lower price point, the Bose Sport Earbuds are simply better value if you’re after a pair of water resistant wireless earbuds for workouts. They ensure a snug and comfortable fit that improves audio quality and noise isolation. Though it only has an average battery life, its convenient charging case provides extra juice while being portably compact.

The open-ear design of the Bose Sport Open Earbuds is more appealing for outdoor enthusiasts who don’t want to be closed off from ambient sounds. The loop’s fit and comfort will vary depending on your ear shape though, and the music delivery can take some getting used to. Battery life is topnotch, giving you enough for hour-long workouts throughout the week.


๐Ÿ“Œ Do Bose Sport Earbuds have noise cancelling?

No, the Bose Sport Earbuds do not have active noise-cancelling features like the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds.

๐Ÿ“Œ Are Bose earbuds worth the money?

Yes, Bose’s wireless earbuds are among the best-performing headphones you can get today, with options for sport, noise-cancelling and other features.

๐Ÿ“Œ Which Bose earbuds are the best?

All of Bose’s wireless earbuds are designed for different audiences. The Bose Sport, Sport Open and SoundSport Earbuds offer sweat-resistant options for fitness enthusiasts while the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are great if you want ANC.

๐Ÿ“Œ What’s the difference between the Bose Sport Open Earbuds and Bose Sport Earbuds?

The main difference between the two is their primary design: the Bose Sport Open Earbuds have an open-ear design that loops around and on top of your ears while the Bose Sport Earbuds have a more typical in-ear design.

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Derick Bondoc

Managing Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, gaming and snacks.