This story is part of, our year-round collection of the best gift ideas.
It's been a banner day for AirPods price drops -- and out-of-stock notices. The promisedAirPods deals have been hitting left and right, along with a few surprises. Right now, you can get AirPods Pro for $159, their lowest price to date. The AirPods 3 are also at their lowest price so far -- $150 at Amazon with a stealth extra $5 off at checkout. And while the AirPods 2 haven't returned to their earlier November low of $89, they recently dropped to a decent $109 at Amazon. Meanwhile, several retailers already have the AirPods Max at their low price of $429 in certain colors.
Long story short, Apple now has three sets of true wireless headphones competing in the $180 to $200 range, plus an older entry-level model that will be selling for as low as $89 ahead of Black Friday. Except for those baseline AirPods, all of the others listed above are compatible with Apple's new, but none of them will deliver the maximum quality of Apple's upcoming , which is too rich for the current Bluetooth wireless standard to handle.
AirPods pricing 2021
|Model||Apple Store price||Best price right now||Best all-time price|
|AirPods Pro 2021||$249||$159||$159|
|Beats Fit Pro||$199||$199||$199|
We update this story frequently to reflect current pricing.
Leading up to Black Friday, Apple's AirPods Pro had been ping-ponging between $170 and $200, then dipped to their all-time low of $159 on Thanksgiving Day. Right now, the new model -- with the MagSafe case -- is available for $159 at Amazon.
Amazon has Apple's newest AirPods, the AirPods 3, on sale for just $155. That's $24 less than the Apple Store and other retailers. Note that at Amazon, you get an extra $15 off at checkout -- it's listed in green under the larger red price. If you don't see "Save $15 at checkout," the deal has expired. The AirPods 3 have been in and out of stock at this price.
In 2020, the entry-level AirPods hit $99 during Black Friday sales at Walmart. This year, Walmart raised the bar by selling them for $89, an all-time low. After Nov. 14, however, prices have reverted to $119, but Amazon has them down to $109 for a limited time.
The newest Beats headphones aren't AirPods, but -- except for lacking a case with wireless charging -- they pretty much pack most of features found on the AirPods Pro into a sportier design, available in multiple color options. You should definitely check these out before buying the AirPods 3 or AirPods Pro at nearly the same price. Read our Beats Fit Pro review.
Apple's first full-size headphones are chock-full of high-end features like noise cancellation, spatial audio and easy integration with Apple devices. Yes, paying about the same as you would for a PS5 may sound crazy, but here's the crazier thing: They're actually kinda worth it, so long as you don't feel burned by their lack of support for full lossless audio. As of early November, prices have dipped to as low as $430 on certain colors and Amazon has the space gray and blue colors for $429 right (their low price). Otherwise, the street price at other retailers seems to be closer to $480 most times.
Yes, these are "wired wireless" earbuds -- with a cable connecting the left and right earbud, but they're also the most affordable wireless Apple headphones you can buy (Beats is a subsidiary of Apple). Equipped with Apple's older W1 chip, not the H1 found in the AirPods 3rd Generation, AirPods Pro and Beats Fit Pro, they don't have such extra features as spatial audio. However, they sound good and work well for making voice calls.
Some people like the concept of neckband-style wireless earbuds. You can leave the earbuds dangling from around your neck, wearing them like a pendant. Gone is the fear of losing an AirPod by dropping it. Going from listening to not listening to the earbuds requires simply lifting them to your ears -- or pulling them out. And forget about having to drop them in a charging case when you're not using them.
Note that they started out with a $50 list price when they were released, but their price mysteriously got bumped up to $70. That said, $39 is their lowest price to date.
There are a bunch of models in Apple's AirPods lineup, so let's break it down for you quickly so you know which ones you should be looking for deals on.
- The AirPods Pro ($249 list, often on sale for $190 or less) are still around, but they now include that same MagSafe-compatible case ( ). The Pro models offer full noise isolation (via ear tips) and active noise cancellation, neither of which are available in the standard AirPods models. Walmart is now selling them for $159.
- The AirPods 3 were released in October (alongside new MacBook Pros). The new $179 true-wireless headphones include a case that's compatible with MagSafe and wireless charging, and they offer better sound quality than the older AirPods 2 (see above). For Black Friday, we were seeing the first decent discounts of $24, but they've since gone out of stock at Amazon.
- The second-gen AirPods (or AirPods 2) are the entry-level models in Apple's lineup now, and we've already seen Walmart drop them down to $89 for Black Friday. This deal ended on Nov. 14, and it's unclear whether we will see this price return or not.
- The Beats Studio Buds are a 2021 model with a closed design. They are currently and are a good alternative to the AirPods 2 if you don't need an open design.
- The Beats Fit Pro were unveiled just a few days after the AirPods 3 were released. Like the AirPods Pro, the $200 Fit Pro offer an isolating design, active noise cancellation and water resistance. But they also add a stabilizing fin built into the design, making them better for active use.
- The AirPods Max, Apple's high-end full-size headphones that were released late in 2020, are still in the line, but they're often on sale at closer to $449, versus the official Apple Store price of $549. It looks like Black Friday pricing will be at the $479 price from what we've seen so far, though Costco currently has them (you have to be a member to buy them).