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There's a reason Apple AirPods are so popular: They're damn good earphones, and particularly nice for phone conversations and Zoom calls. Unfortunately, they're also among the most expensive ones you can buy, especially if you walk into an Apple Store. Prices start at $129 and rise sharply from there. That's pretty steep for a couple balsa-weight pieces of plastic.
Thankfully, Amazon and other stores have been offering substantial discounts. Right now, in fact, every earbud in Apple's lineup is on sale, with a few prices very close to rivaling Black Friday.
Ah, but which AirPods should you buy, and what will you pay for them? Read on to find out. (Note that I've also included the AirPods Max, which are over-the-ear headphones but still technically part of the lineup.)
Before you get started, make sure you're signed up for Amazon Prime so you can score free two-day shipping. Not yet a member? No problem. You can sign up for a free 30-day trial here. (And by the way, those without Prime still get free shipping on orders of $25 or more.)
Apple AirPods: $100 (save $29)
Not everyone likes the feeling of silicone ear tips nestled inside their ear canals, which is how AirPods Pro and roughly 98 percent of all other earbuds work.
Those ear tips also block outside noise, which is desirable in some situations but not others. If you're out for a walk, for example, noise-isolating earbuds can pose a safety issue, preventing you from hearing oncoming bikes and cars.
So consider these hard-plastic AirPods, which at $100 are close to the lowest price on record for any AirPods. Instead of creating a seal inside your ears, they rest just outside the canals. They also sound incredibly good and offer a couple nice usability perks, including touch controls and auto-pause/resume when you remove/replace an earbud.
Take note, however, that they're not sweatproof, something to consider if you're eyeballing these for jogging or the gym.
Apple AirPods Pro: $180 (save $69)
Should you "go Pro"? You should if you want top-flight noise-canceling, which arrives here via a combination of a physical in-ear seal and fancy ANC technology. I can't overstate how great that is when you're trying to work in silence, watch a movie on a flight or just enjoy your music to its fullest.
The AirPods Pro also offer something called transparency mode, which allows outside noise in (courtesy of the built-in microphones) when you want to converse with someone or you're concerned about bikes or traffic sneaking up behind you.
Meanwhile, the earbuds themselves are sweat- and water-resistant (important for exercisers) and the case supports wireless charging. There are cheaper alternatives, no question, but as an AirPods Pro owner I can understand the appeal here. They're singularly great earbuds.
Apple AirPods Max: $449 (save $100)
Don't buy these. Seriously, don't. Apple's over-the-ear headphones are very good, yes, but they're overpriced to a degree I find ludicrous. Most users will be just as happy with something like the Bose 700 or Sony WH-1000XM4, either of which will cost you considerably less. Oh, and the less said about the goofy purse-like case these headphones come in, the better.
Couldn't talk you out of it? I understand. Sometimes the ears want what they want. At least you can get the Sky Blue color for $449, a hefty $100 discount. (All other colors are currently marked at $479.)
Looking for more great Amazon deals? Check these out:
Headphones and earbud deals:
Apple AirPods Pro, $180 (was $249), amazon.com
iLuv TB100 Wireless Earbuds, $25 (was $40), amazon.com
Apple AirPods 2nd Gen, $100 (was $159), amazon.com
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7, $510 (was $649), amazon.com
Fire HD 8 tablet, $45 (was $90), amazon.com
Smartphone and tablet deals:
Video game deals:
The Medium for PlayStation 5, $30 (was $50), amazon.com
Homall Gaming Chair, $99 (was $150), amazon.com
Crock-Pot Slow Cooker, $120 (was $160), amazon.com
Hoomqing Bed Pillows 2 Pack, $27 (was $40), amazon.com
Mellanni King Sheets, $38 (was $51), amazon.com
Health and Wellness
Germ-X Hand Sanitizer 4-pack, $25 (was $40), amazon.com
Sports & Outdoors
Toss Across Game, $16 (was $20), amazon.com
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