Quick answer: The Bose QuietComfort Ultra earbuds are rated IPX4, which makes them sweat and water-resistant, but not fully waterproof.
Bose disrupted the sound waves recently with the reveal of its super sleek QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds. The premium buds are the latest in the QuietComfort line, following the highly-regarded QuietComfort Earbuds 2. Designed to take noise cancelation to the next level, the QC Ultra buds are focusing on user immersion and a tailored audio experience.
The best earbuds won't just sound good, though. They'll be durable, specifically made to withstand the elements, and an active lifestyle with a water and sweat-resistant design.
Are Bose QuietComfort Ultra earbuds waterproof?
Like their predecessor, Bose's QC Ultra earbuds boast an IPX4 rating - near the middle of the Ingress Protection (IP) liquid rating. You won't want to submerge them completely, but the QC Ultra Earbuds will withstand some splashes of water or even sweat.
At a rating of IPX4, you can still comfortably jam to your favorite songs poolside or take your buds with you on your next workout session, but don't let them get submerged.
The rating is lower than some of the competition, considering that Samsung's Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, launched in 2022, feature an IPX7 rating. At that rating, Samsung's buds are safe in water depths of just over 3 feet.
How do I read the IP rating?
The IP rating is comprised of two designators. The first, or the "X" in IPX4, indicates protection from solid particles, such as dust. The scale ranges from 0 to 6, with 6 suggesting a dust-proof construction. A designation of "X" indicates no data to specify a rating.
The second number is the level of liquid protection, based on a scale of 0 to 9. Lower numbers suggest lower levels of protection, while something as high as 8 means a device was tested at a depth of more than 3 feet. A rating of 4, per the International Electrotechnical Commission, suggests that "water splashed against [an] enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects."
Is an IPX4 rating high enough?
Though you can find earbuds rated at a liquid IP rating of 7, including Jabra's Elite 7 Pro, the QC Ultra Earbud's IPX4 rating should be high enough to use them comfortably in most situations. You may want to think twice about bathing, sitting in the pool, or lounging on a boat with them, but so long as you're careful, a little water contact won't damage them.
If you're an avid swimmer with a playlist for laps, you may want to consider earbuds with a higher rating, or even a pair of fully waterproofed headphones for swimming.
What if my QuietComfort Ultra earbuds get wet?
So long as it's a splashing or misting of water, the Bose earbuds should still work properly. However, there could be instances where water gets to where it shouldn't, such as if the earbud is damaged, cracked, or accidentally dropped in water. If this happens, the first thing to do is gently shake off excess water. This may even dislodge water that got inside.
Next, pat down the wet bud with a dry microfiber or other soft cloth. Using a hairdryer on the lowest heat setting can also work to fully dry any remaining water. When you're comfortable that no moisture remains, place the buds into the included charging case to air dry until you're ready to use them again.
Are you sacrificing physical quality for higher-end audio?
You may think a lower IP rating means the earbuds are of lower quality. That's not the case, though, and unless you spend a lot of time around water, a lower IP rating shouldn't be a huge factor in your decision-making. Regarding the QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds, Bose opted for a rather standard rating frequently used by Sony, Apple, and Google in their earbuds.
Bose is known for its high-quality all-around, and there's no reason to think the QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds and their IPX4 rating will be any different.
Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds
Bose amplifies the user experience with a refreshed version of the QuietComfort Earbuds II. Immersive Audio is taken up a rung with effective noise cancelation, spatial sound, and an IPX4 water-resistance rating.