This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2021, our list of ideas, by topic, by recipient and by price, to help you discover the perfect gift.
The first big AirPods deal of the Black Friday has ended, a new one has arrived for the AirPods 3, and a wild one is coming for the AirPods Pro. The AirPods 2 were down to an all-time low of $89 at Walmart from November 10 through 14, but now that deal has ended.
Soon, however, Walmart is set to begin a sale on the AirPods Pro for $159. Meanwhile, several retailers already have the AirPods Max on sale for $50 to $70 off — but we’ve already seen better prices there, too.
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 (if you buy the right one). 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 will offer these starting on Nov. 22 for $159, and other retailers are likely to match.The second-generation AirPods (aka 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 that with a closed design. They are currently discounted down to $130 and are a good alternative to the AirPods 2 if you don’t need an open design.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’re seeing the first decent discounts of $14.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 for some.The AirPods Max, Apple’s high-end full-size headphones that were released late in 2020, are still in the line, but are 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 on sale for $440 (but you have to be a member to buy them).
Long story short, Apple now has three sets of true wireless headphones competing in the $180 to $200 range, plus an older entry-level AirPods model that will be selling for as low as $89 ahead of Black Friday. Except for those baseline AirPods, all of the other ones listed above are compatible with Apple’s new spatial audio features, but none of them will deliver the maximum quality of Apple’s upcoming lossless audio format, which is too rich for the current Bluetooth wireless standard to handle.
AirPods pricing 2021
Apple Store price
Best price right now
Best all-time price
AirPods Pro 2021
Beats Fit Pro
We update this story frequently to reflect current pricing.
Woot has Apple’s newest AirPods, the AirPods 3 on sale for just $165 right now, which is $15 less than the Apple Store and other retailers. For the full savings, you’ll need to sign in with your Amazon Prime account, otherwise they are $170 for everyone else.
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. It’s unclear if we’ll see them return to previous lows or not.
Read our AirPods review.
Apple’s AirPods Pro were briefly as low as $169 at Walmart and $170 at Amazon for Black Friday 2020. More recently, the wireless headphones have been ping-ponging between $180 and $200. Right now, the new model — with the MagSafe case — is available for $190 at Walmart. Walmart’s official Black Friday ad shows that the AirPods Pro will drop to $159 on Nov. 22, a new all-time low.
Read our AirPods Pro review.
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. Otherwise, the street price seems to be closer to $480 most times.
Read our AirPods Max review.
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