September 28, 2023

$160 at Amazon

Beats Fit Pro purple earbuds in a case, with a city skyline in the background

Beats Match Professional

Greatest Apple buds for figuring out

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$549 at Apple

Apple AirPods Max on a red leather couch

AirPods Max

Greatest noise-canceling headphones

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$179 at Apple

Apple AirPods 3rd gen on concrete

AirPods 2021 (Third-gen)

Greatest open AirPods

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$129 at Apple

airpods 2019, second generation

AirPods 2019 (2nd-gen)

Greatest finances AirPods

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If you happen to’re already a part of the Apple ecosystem, there’s little cause to not go for a pair of AirPods. These earbuds not solely present nice sound, they seamlessly join between Apple gadgets and are designed to fulfill the identical excessive requirements as every other Apple product. Nonetheless, given the variety of decisions accessible, choosing a pair of AirPods will be complicated. We examined a number of fashions and put collectively this checklist that can assist you discover the most effective AirPods.

There is a cause AirPods all the time high the finest headphones lists for the yr. However the procuring course of has change into much more difficult now that Apple has launched a number of generations and variations of its AirPods. These variations embrace customary AirPods, AirPods Professional and AirPods Max. Confused? Do not be: We’ll break down the variations and advantages of every. 

Word, too, that we’re pulling the Beats Match Professional into this dialog — they are not “AirPods,” however this mannequin from Apple-owned model Beats is price contemplating when you’re on the lookout for earbuds within the $150 to $200 vary. 

Nice sound high quality, a wide range of ear ideas for a cosy match, noise-canceling expertise and prolonged battery life (because of a wi-fi charging case) undoubtedly contribute to AirPods’ perpetual enchantment. 

Selecting the most effective AirPods typically includes hanging a stability between perform and worth, so we have mapped out essentially the most present pricing for you as effectively. These are the most effective AirPods offers you will discover this yr.

Learn extra: Greatest True-Wi-fi Earbuds for 2023

AirPods worth comparability

Mannequin Apple Retailer worth Greatest worth proper now Greatest all-time worth
AirPods 2 $129 $99 $90
AirPods Professional 2 $249 $235 $199
AirPods 3 $179 $179 $150
Beats Match Professional $200 $160 $160
AirPods Max $549 $480 $395

We replace this story often to replicate present pricing. 

Greatest AirPods in 2023


David Carnoy/CNET

Battery Life Rated as much as 6 hoursNoise Canceling Sure (ANC)Multipoint NoHeadphone Sort Wi-fi earbudsWater-Resistant Sure (IPX4 — splash-proof)

The brand new AirPods Professional (2nd technology) are powered by Apple’s new H2 chip, which delivers extra processing energy whereas being extra vitality environment friendly, in keeping with Apple. The brand new chip, mixed with new low-distortion drivers, permits for improved sound that gives higher readability and depth. The noise canceling can be improved — Apple says the brand new AirPods have “double” the noise canceling of the unique AirPods Professional. 

Moreover, the brand new AirPods add an additional hour of battery life, up from 5 to 6 hours with noise canceling on. Plus, a speaker within the case that emits a sound that helps find your buds by way of Discover My ought to they determine to cover from you.

Word that whereas Apple has discontinued the original AirPods Pro, they will stay on sale at discounted prices till provides are exhausted. Nonetheless, most individuals ought to get this newer mannequin if they’ll afford it.

Learn our Apple AirPods Professional 2 overview.

Beats Fit Pro purple earbuds in a case, with a city skyline in the background

David Carnoy/CNET

Battery Life Rated as much as 6 hoursNoise Canceling Sure (ANC)Multipoint NoHeadphone Sort Wi-fi earbudsWater-Resistant Sure (IPX4 — splash-proof)

Made by Apple, the most recent Beats headphones aren’t AirPods, however — aside from missing a case with wi-fi charging and MagSafe compatibility — they beautiful a lot pack a lot of the options discovered on the AirPods Professional in a sportier design and can be found in a number of colour choices. You must positively examine these out earlier than shopping for the AirPods 3 or AirPods Professional on the similar worth from the Apple retailer. Learn our Beats Match Professional overview. 

Apple AirPods Max on a red leather couch

David Carnoy/CNET

Battery Life Rated as much as 20 hoursNoise Canceling Sure (ANC)Multipoint NoHeadphone Sort Over-ear wi-fi headphonesWater-Resistant No IP ranking

Apple’s first full-size headphones are chock-full of high-end options like noise cancellation, spatial audio and straightforward integration with Apple gadgets. Sure, paying about the identical as you’ll for a PS5 could sound loopy, however here is the crazier factor: They’re really kinda price it, as long as you do not really feel burned by their lack of assist for full lossless audio and lack of included cable for wired listening (which have to be bought individually).

We have often seen the Apple AirPods Max costs dip as little as $395 in sure colours, however proper now they’re hovering round $480 at most retailers.

Learn our AirPods Max overview.

Apple Airpods Pro

Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple’s unique AirPods Professional have been discontinued, so that they’re regularly getting just a little tougher to seek out (Amazon is simply stocking “renewed” variations). Whereas a transparent step down from the brand new AirPod Professional 2, if you will discover them at a steep low cost — beneath $180 — they might be price shopping for.

Learn our AirPods Professional overview.

Apple AirPods 3rd gen on concrete

David Carnoy/CNET

The most recent 2021 AirPods ship higher sound high quality than their predecessors whereas sustaining an open design. Barely bigger and formed extra just like the AirPods, they need to be a greater match for extra folks’s ears, however on the similar time, they might not match these with very small ears who received an ideal match with the AirPods 2nd Technology. Learn our AirPods 3 overview. 

Battery Life Rated as much as 5 hoursNoise Canceling NoMultipoint NoHeadphone Sort Wi-fi earbudsWater-Resistant Sure (IPX4 — splash-proof)

Apple’s second-generation AirPods stay within the line however not embrace a wireless-charging possibility. Apple has dropped the official worth of the AirPods 2 to $129, although you possibly can often discover them for $100 or much less. 

They don’t seem to be as feature-packed as the opposite AirPods on this checklist, however they continue to be an interesting possibility for folk on a tighter finances or those that’ve worn out their unique pair however love their match and easily need to change them.

Learn our AirPods overview.

Apple AirPods FAQ

What are the most recent AirPods?

The most recent AirPods are the AirPods Professional (2nd technology), which hit shops in September 2022, and have Apple’s new H2 chip together with higher sound, noise canceling and battery life. The third-generation AirPods with enhanced performance, improved sound and an up to date design arrived in shops in October 2021 In the meantime, the Beats Match Professional — which share a lot of the similar options as the unique AirPods Professional — arrived in November 2021. Whereas they don’t seem to be AirPods by title, we and others have referred to them as “the sports activities AirPods you all the time wished.”

Are the AirPods Professional 2 higher than the Beats Match Professional?

With their built-in wingtips, the Beats Match Professional could give you a safer match than AirPods Professional 2 and so they do value $50 much less (and typically even much less once they go on sale). In any other case, the AirPods Professional 2 are higher — they’ve barely higher sound high quality and noise canceling together with higher voice-calling efficiency.

Additionally notice that the Beats Match Professional are lacking wi-fi charging and the MagSafe compatibility discovered within the AirPods Professional 2.

Ought to I purchase AirPods within the Apple Retailer?

If you happen to may also help it, no: The varied AirPods fashions sometimes promote for much less on-line at different retailers like Amazon and Walmart. Amazon, in the meantime, sometimes matches the bottom worth at different retailers. Usually, we might solely purchase AirPods on the Apple Retailer if we would like engraving, which is not accessible elsewhere. That mentioned, when you decide to enter an Apple Retailer for Apple offers, you must ask about worth matching. Whereas Apple would not appear to have any official coverage, it has been reported that it’ll provide as much as 10% worth matching. For example, that will be $25 off the AirPods Professional, which checklist for $249. That is not a lot, but it surely’s price asking to see if you will get 10% off. 

Does spatial audio sound completely different on completely different AirPods?

The brief reply is, probably not once you’re speaking about spatial audio with head monitoring for film and TV watching. Whereas the AirPods Max provide the most effective sound total, utilizing the spatial audio digital sound function is essentially the identical expertise on all of the AirPods that assist it.