Best AirPods Deals: Save on Apple and Beats Wireless Earbuds     – CNET

Best AirPods Deals: Save on Apple and Beats Wireless Earbuds – CNET

The Apple brand is responsible for some of the best earbuds and best over-ear headphones on the market today, but they don’t often come at the best prices. Unless you can find a deal, that is.

Those deals aren’t always easy to come by which is why we’ve rounded up current bargains, along with the original prices and all-time lowest prices we’ve seen for comparison. We’ll update this page as deals come and go, so check back often for the best AirPods prices at any given time. 

Apple AirPods pricing 2023

Model Apple Store price Best price right now Best all-time price
AirPods 2 $129 $99 $79
AirPods 3 $169 $160 $140
AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) $249 $225 $199
AirPods Max $549 $500 $389

Best AirPods deals

AirPods Pro 2 USB-C

Apple/CNET

The AirPods Pro 2 with USB-C charging case are almost identical to the AirPods Pro 2 that come with a Lightning case, except for one key feature. Those who buy a Vision Pro headset will benefit from lossless audio when connecting these earbuds. That’s probably an edge case, but it’s still worth knowing, especially if Apple adds the same feature to future iPhones and other hardware as well.

Apple AirPods Pro 2

Apple

Other than some minor upgrades and a different charging port, the original AirPods Pro 2 with the Lightning charging port is identical to the new USB-C version. They’re equipped with Apple’s advanced H2 processor and boast seriously impressive noise-canceling capabilities.

Read our AirPods Pro 2 review.

Apple's AirPods 3 are displayed against an orange background.

Apple/CNET

Battery Life Rated up to 6 hoursNoise Canceling NoMultipoint NoHeadphone Type Wireless earbudsWater-Resistant Yes (IPX4 — splash-proof)

Unlike the AirPods Pro 2, these third-generation AirPods have an open-air design, so they don’t have active noise cancellation. They still offer some serious improvements over the AirPods 2, though. The adaptive EQ attunes music to your ear shape, and the battery life has been bumped up to a total of 30 hours. They also have an IPX4 water-resistance rating.

Read our AirPods 3 review.

The black variant of Apple's AirPods Max are displayed against a blue background.

Apple/CNET

Battery Life Rated up to 20 hoursNoise Canceling Yes (ANC)Multipoint NoHeadphone Type Over-ear wireless headphonesWater-Resistant No IP rating

Apple’s first full-size headphones are chock-full of high-end features such as noise cancellation, spatial audio and easy integration with Apple devices. Yes, paying about the same as you would for a PS5 may sound excessive, but here’s the thing: They’re actually kinda worth it, so long as you don’t feel burned by their lack of support for full lossless audio.

Read our AirPods Max review.

Apple AirPods 2

Apple/CNET

Battery Life Rated up to 5 hoursNoise Canceling NoMultipoint NoHeadphone Type Wireless earbudsWater-Resistant Yes (IPX4 — splash-proof)

While the AirPods 2 are the least advanced AirPods on the market, they still boast some impressive specs and are a great choice for those on a tighter budget. They’re equipped with the same H1 chip as the AirPods 3, so they have the same fast connectivity, and they support hands-free Siri access. They’re available for $99, $30 less than Apple sells them for these days.

Read our AirPods 2 review.

The Beats Studio Buds Plus have significantly improved performance

David Carnoy/CNET

Alas, for those of you who bought the original Beats Studio Buds, I’m sorry to report that these new Plus buds are significantly improved, with better sound, noise canceling and battery life. Additionally, they now deliver top-notch voice-calling performance.

The transparent version is getting a lot of attention (who doesn’t like transparent electronics?), but the big changes are on the inside. Beats says 95% of the components are new and improved, and the buds’ “acoustic architecture” has been revised. The speaker drivers remain the same, but the Studio Buds Plus are powered by a new, more powerful custom chipset and have three new microphones in each bud, which are three times larger and more sensitive than the ones found in the Beats Studio Buds. This deal comes with two free years of Apple Care Plus rather than a discount on the earbuds themselves.

Read our Beats Studio Buds Plus review.

Beats Fit Pro

Beats/CNET

Battery Life Rated up to 6 hoursNoise Canceling Yes (ANC)Multipoint NoHeadphone Type Wireless earbudsWater-Resistant Yes (IPX4 — splash-proof)

The Beats Fit Pro are built on the same tech platform as the AirPods Pro. Unlike Beats’ earlier and less expensive Studio Buds, the Beats Fit Pro includes Apple’s H1 chip and has most of the features of the original AirPods Pro, including active noise canceling, spatial audio and Adaptive EQ. I’d venture to call them the sports AirPods you’ve always wanted. For some people, they might just be better than the AirPods Pro.

Read our Beats Fit Pro review.

Which AirPods are right for you?

Apple’s wireless audio lineup now includes five models of AirPods, and choosing the right set will depend on the features you care about and the price you are willing to pay. The second-gen AirPods from 2019 are the least expensive option, while the current, third-gen AirPods boast better sound quality with spatial audio. Meanwhile, the AirPods Pro 2, which have active noise cancellation and transparency modes, are Apple’s most advanced earbuds to date and the first to feature Apple’s new H2 chip. The plush AirPods Max, by far the priciest of the bunch, are Apple’s over-ear headphones and come packed with high-end features, though no H2 chip. 

Along with Apple-branded AirPods, there are some Beats-branded earbuds worth considering that also incorporate Apple-made tech for a similarly smooth experience. These include the Beats Fit Pro, which uses Apple’s H1 chip for fast, reliable connections and a sporty design for jamming out while running or otherwise being active. The Beats Studio Buds lack the H1 chip and the AirPods’ stem, but they are lightweight, comfortable and affordable. Similarly, the updated Beats Studio Buds Plus doesn’t have an H1 chip but does have one-tap pairing with Apple (and Android) devices plus Find My support. 

Except for the baseline AirPods 2, all the AirPods listed above (plus the Beats models) are compatible with Apple’s spatial audio features. None of them will deliver the maximum quality of Apple’s lossless audio format, which is too rich for the current Bluetooth wireless standard to handle. 

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Watch this: AirPods Pro 2 Review: Hard to Beat for Apple Users

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David Carnoy

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