Apple’s AirPods wireless headphones offer an iconic look, exceptional convenience and strong audio quality. They come with a premium price tag, however, so it’s important to shop around for a good deal… or find a bunch of tech experts who’ll do this for you. That’s where we come in.
In this article we round up the best AirPods discounts and bundle deals to help you save money. We’ve got the best prices on the 3rd-gen AirPods that were released in October 2021, and for the new 2nd-gen AirPods Pro that launched in September 2022. You may also find deals on early-2019 second-generation AirPods and AirPods Max.
Here are quick links to the best deals; you’ll find more detailed advice and price comparisons for each model further down.
Best AirPods deals
Apple sells two sets of basic AirPods: the new 3rd-gen model introduced in 2021 (MSRP $179 in the US, and RRP £189 in the UK), and the 2nd-gen model from 2019 ($129/£139). The deals aren’t huge at the start of the month, but we expect to see some nice bargains on at least some AirPods models as Black Friday approaches near the end of November.
AirPods (3rd gen, 2021; MSRP $179/£189)
Apple finally updated the ultra-popular AirPods in October 2021, after a wait of more than two and a half years. The new models feature a more Pro-like design and a MagSafe-compatible charging case; they also have improved battery life and water resistance, and support for Spatial Audio. Get all the info you need in our AirPods 3 review.
You can buy direct from Apple, but you’ll find the best prices elsewhere in the automated table below. For specific advice, read our guide on where to buy the AirPods 3.
AirPods (2nd gen, 2019; MSRP $129/£139)
Note that this version of the AirPods comes with an old-fashioned charging case which needs to be plugged in, as opposed to the wireless charging case bundled with the 2021 AirPods and AirPods Pro. (You can buy a wireless charging case separately, however.)
Check the automated table below for any deals that have popped up since we last updated this article.
Best AirPods Pro deals
The AirPods Pro came out in 2019, but a new version was released in September 2022. There are some great deals to be had on the older models. The comparison tables below gather the lowest prices on the AirPods Pro 1st and 2nd gen, so you can be sure not to miss out on any appealing deals.
AirPods Pro (2nd-gen, 2022; MSRP $249/£249)
Apple launched the second-generation AirPods Pro alongside the iPhone 14 at its “Far Out” event. You can already find a pretty good discount on these, our favorite AirPods.
AirPods Pro (1st-gen, 2019; was $249/£239)
Best AirPods Max deals
Right now, the AirPods Max are available to buy directly from Apple for $549/£549.
Find the latest prices in our automated table embedded below. For some time now, we’ve been seeing third-party retailers undercut Apple by a significant margin.
AirPods Max (MSRP $549/£549)
For an in-depth look at your options here, read Where to buy AirPods Max.
How to get a good deal on AirPods
Good AirPods deals are rare and tend not to last long. If you see one (and you’re sure the supplier is legit: look it up on TrustPilot if you’ve not bought from there before), grab it.
The recommend price of the AirPods Max is $549 / £549 / AU$899.
For the AirPods Pro it’s $249 / £239 / AU$399.
For the early-2019 AirPods it’s $129 / £119 / AU$219.
You should never pay more than these prices: we’ve seen unscrupulous retailers claim the MSRP/RRP is higher and work out ‘savings’ based on that.
The 2016 AirPods were removed from sale as soon as the early-2019 models came out, so never officially got a price cut from their launch price of $159/£159. But if you do plump for these much older models, you shouldn’t be paying even $100. If you can’t find a seriously good deal, go for newer ones instead.
Remember to take delivery and postage fees into account when evaluating deals; we include it in our list of prices but most retailers won’t add it until you’re at the checkout. And watch out for deals that seem too good to be true, but turn out to have no stock. We see this a lot.
The best way to get a good price on AirPods may be to bundle them with a phone, although this is mainly an option in the UK.
Three offers a variety of bundles that includes the AirPods. Visit the company’s accessories page to browse the best options for you.
EE lets you add AirPods to your plan for £10 a month spread over 11 months plus a £10 upfront fee (if you’ll settle for the 2019 models), or £15 a month + £10 for the 2021 models. The AirPods Pro, including the new MagSafe case for 2021, are £22 a month but with no upfront fee. In each case you’ll need to click Apple, then your choice of AirPods model.
Vodafone and O2 aren’t currently bundling the AirPods with their iPhone plans, although O2 sells the 2021 AirPods, the early-2019 AirPods and the AirPods Pro on their own.
Whichever bundle you go for, remember to check if you’re getting the AirPods Pro, the early-2019 AirPods (sometimes called the second-gen or AirPods 2) or the new 2021 AirPods (third-gen or AirPods 3). If you’re getting the AirPods Pro, find out if they include the new MagSafe charging case.
AirPods buying advice
Wondering if a pair of AirPods is right for you? Let’s discuss the pros and cons.
First of all, there are five models, of which three are still on sale:
- The original 1st-gen AirPods (2016), long discontinued;
- The 2nd-gen AirPods (2019), which are similar but add Hey Siri;
- The 1st-gen AirPods Pro (2019), which add improved audio quality and active noise cancellation, plus a new design, and are now discontinued;
- The 3rd-gen AirPods (2021), which add MagSafe support, improved battery life and some elements of the Pro design;
- And the 2nd-gen AirPods Pro (2022), which feature further improved sound quality and noise cancellation.
(Plus there’s the AirPods Max from 2020, which are over-ear headphones and essentially a completely different product to the rest of the AirPods range. For this reason we will discuss the Max model separately.)
All four non-Max models are wireless, sitting in your ears and in theory staying there through snugness of fit alone. The advantages of this are clear–they allow you to go running or work out without worrying about snagging the cables–but they may fall out once you pick up the pace. Our experience, however, is that the AirPods are among the best earbuds around in this regard.
The AirPods Pro offer a snugger fit than the others because they have a choice of flexible ear tips, and are actually able to tell you whether you’ve selected the right tip or not.
Sound quality is decent but not exceptional on the original and early-2019 models; the AirPods Pro are a step above thanks in part to their better fit and implementation of active noise cancellation. (We haven’t tested the 2021 AirPods’ audio quality yet, but Apple as ever talks a good game.) What AirPods consistently do better than non-Apple headphones is co-ordinate with other Apple products, thanks to the W1 chip (in the 2016 model) and H1 chip (2019 and 2021) which makes pairing with an iPhone a breeze.
Battery-wise, most non-Max AirPods will last around five hours, but that’s not the end of the story: they come with a little charging case with its own larger battery, so you can pop them back in for a rapid top up. The case should offer another 24 hours (give or take) before it’ll require charging. The 2021 AirPods, however, offer more in this department, with claimed figures of six hours out of the case and 30 hours in total. We’ve got some advice on getting better AirPods battery life.
Apple’s 2019 AirPods can respond to Hey Siri commands, charge wirelessly if you opt for the Wireless Charging Case, and offer more talk time than the originals. Those features are kept in the 2021 models, with Spatial Audio and Adaptive EQ added to the mix.
For more detailed advice and thoughts on the best alternatives to Apple’s three cheaper AirPods models, read our guides to the Best wireless headphones and, more specifically, the Best wireless earbuds.
The AirPods Max are a lot more expensive and a totally different proposition. Audio quality is almost universally considered to be exceptional, but it’s debatable whether it’s exceptional enough to justify that premium price tag. And many reviewers have pointed out that the case is oddly designed, given that the one part of the headphones that it doesn’t protect–the mesh headband–is the one that’s most vulnerable to damage.
The AirPods Max are an appealing prospect, but unlikely to be practical for most budgets.