QuietOn 3 sleep earbuds review: a silent dream for side sleepers

The active noise-cancelling QuietOn 3 sleep buds are steep in price but an essential investment if you need some peace and quiet

T3 Platinum Award
QuietOn3
(Image credit: QuietOn)
T3 Verdict

They’re expensive, but the QuietOn 3’s deliver a comfortable blanket of silence that successfully mutes snoring and other distracting nightly noises. Their minuscule size even makes them ideal for side sleepers and the battery life is brilliant.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Mutes low frequency noises perfectly

  • +

    You can still hear your alarm

  • +

    Ultra comfortable, even for side sleepers

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Expensive

  • -

    Essentially just fancy earplugs

Four months of silent slumber later and it’s very easy to write this QuietOn 3 sleep earbuds review. If you struggle with shuteye and have been looking for solutions, then chances are you’ve seen just how relentlessly lively the sleep tech market is in 2022. There’s no shortage of trackers waiting to congratulate you on reaching your snooze goals, and if drifting off is your main problem then there’s a raft of the best sleep headphones to try for size. But the key word there is ‘headphones’ which assumes that you’d like to go to sleep to the sound of waterfalls or gentle meditative hums. But what if you want, or in fact need, total silence?

This is where the QuietOn 3 sleep earbuds come in. This is a set of buds that do one thing and one thing only; delete the sound of the world with active noise-cancelling tech. But unlike the entrants in our best noise-cancelling headphones guide, there's no music here. There's also no built-in wave machine, and no sleep tracking either. Just two tiny buds that swivel into your ears to erase the low frequency noises that keep us staring at the ceiling. The price tag might be steep, but if you’re looking for a silent solution, read on for all the details in our QuietOn 3 sleep earbuds review.         

QuietOn 3 ear buds

(Image credit: Louise Blain)

QuietOn 3 sleep earbuds review: features 

Features wise, the QuietOn 3s have one mission and that’s to mute low frequency noise with active noise-cancelling. Most of the sounds that keep us awake at night tend to lurk in the lower frequencies. Neighbour noise through walls, distant traffic, roadworks, and even snores all lurk under or around 300Hz. This is the band that the QuietOn 3s purposefully erase and reduce using the same active noise-cancelling tech as regular headphones. This means that all the buds need to worry about is making noise disappear and having enough charge to do so. 

Given that they don’t actually need to do anything other than make things quiet, the buds themselves hold 28 hours of battery life and there’s another three full charges held in the slick AirPods-style case. It’s a satisfying little clamshell design with a brushed aluminium interior and the buds sit snugly on connectors inside to recharge. There are helpful lights to let you know things are charging too. On the front are three LEDs to let you know the status of the buds themselves. If just one of the three LEDs is lit then there’s enough charge for at least one night and the lights move in a breathing pattern if the buds are charging. On the rear of the case, above the USB-C charging port are another three LEDs. These indicate how many full charges are left in the case. Apple could definitely learn a few things here.   

QuietOn 3 ear buds

(Image credit: Louise Blain)

QuietOn 3 sleep earbuds review: setup and use 

But how do they feel to use on a nightly basis? In short; exceptional. In the box are four different sizes of foam ear tip to pop over the bud. Finding the right tip is vital. These need to go into your ear canal with a snug seal and fit. Once you’ve got the right one, it’s just a case of compressing the foam and popping the bud into your ear - they're labelled L and R and you'll know if you've got them the wrong way. It feels a little odd at first as the foam expands but very quickly you’ll get used to the feeling as you rotate the body of the bud so it’s snug inside your ear. This means that unlike so many sleep earbuds, you can actually happily lie on your side. The QuietOn 3s are so small that there’s no feeling of lying with something trying to prod its way into your brain. They also, unlike so many buds, actually stay in your ears overnight. And once they're in, they're just on. There's no fiddling with tiny buttons to switch them on or off. 

Soundwise, the effect is similar to that of ANC headphones before you hit play on your music. A vacuum of noise where the world has just been switched off. The low frequency cancellation makes a real difference though. You aren’t deaf and can still hold a conversation but a layer of sound has just been wiped out. Neighbour noise disappears, snoring is gone, and even especially loud distractions feel cushioned and distant, like there’s an extra layer between you and the disturbances. The QuietOn 3s are a real game changer for those who need silence at home or frequent fliers who just want that engine hum to stop.    

QuietOn3

(Image credit: QuietOn)

QuietOn 3 sleep earbuds review: price and release date

The QuietOn 3 sleep earbuds launched in early 2022, with "free fast delivery globally". 

Here’s the painful bit. The QuietOn 3 sleep earbuds retail for GBP £229 / US$269 on the QuietOn site. There’s no way around it, this is expensive for a solution that doesn’t even play your favourite Spotify playlist. Comparatively, the Kokoon Nightbuds are £230 for a connected set of buds you can hook up to your smartphone but the important difference here is size. The QuietOn 3s have been engineered to be as small as possible. There’s no audio functionality for good reason and the result is a delightfully single minded piece of technology. On the price front, there is a couple's pack for £409 so at least you can save a little bit if you’re buying for two.

QuietOn 3 sleep earbuds review: verdict 

The outlay is a little painful but if you’ve felt the frustration of every brand of silicone earbud on the planet tumbling from your lugs, and not making much of a difference even when they're in, the QuietOn 3’s are a silent revelation. These buds are ultra comfortable and do exactly what they intend to do. Add in the ludicrously long battery life and you don’t need to worry about running out of juice mid sleep. All in all, an essential investment if you need some peace and quiet.   

Louise Blain is a journalist and broadcaster specialising in technology, gaming, and entertainment.  She has a weekly consumer tech slot on BBC Radio Scotland and is the presenter of BBC Radio 3's monthly Sound of Gaming show. She can also regularly be found on BBC Radio 4, BBC Five Live, and The Evolution of Horror podcast as well as writing for GamesRadar and NME. Louise loves finding ways that tech can make our lives better every day and no, she doesn't have enough smart lighting yet.