Which AirPods should I buy this Black Friday?

Black Friday is always a great time to pick up a pair of headphones or earbuds at a discount - especially if you’re on the hunt for some...

Black Friday is always a great time to pick up a pair of headphones or earbuds at a discount - especially if you’re on the hunt for some AirPods, which can be pricey at other times of the year. 

Now that the AirPods 3 have been announced, there are more AirPods to choose from this year - and a new lower price for the AirPods 2 means that 2021’s AirPods Black Friday deals are set to be better than ever before.

In fact, we’ve already seen the AirPods 2 with the wireless charging case crash to an all-time-low price in the US- and the deals are only set to get better in the run up to November 26. 

While the AirPods 2 may be the best budget option this Black Friday, they aren’t necessarily the best AirPods you can buy. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to all the different AirPods models, to help you make the right decision when the sales hit. 

The best AirPods you can buy this Black Friday

The Airpods pro

(Image credit: Apple)

1. Apple AirPods Pro

The best AirPods you can buy today

Weight: 5.4g | Drivers: Dynamic | Battery life : 24 hours

Good noise cancellation
Better fit than AirPods (2019)
More expensive than better rivals
USB-C charging cable in box

The AirPods Pro are the best AirPods you can buy in 2021 - and they're sure to be discounted this Black Friday now that the AirPods 3 have been launched. 

While the AirPods Max have superior sound and the AirPods 2 are cheaper, the AirPods Pro are the best all-rounders, and they come with active noise cancellation to help you block out the world around you. 

We've previously seen a record-low price in the US of $169, and £169 in the UK - so if you see discounts like this you can be sure you're onto a great deal. It's entirely possible that prices will drop even further, making them cheaper than the new AirPods 3 ($179 / £169), which don't come with active noise cancellation.

There are also rumors that the AirPods Pro 2 are on the horizon, which could drive prices down even further - we'd be surprised to see anything cheaper than $170 / £160, though, unless you opt for a refurbished pair.

, a sales price that proved popular over the Black Friday period meanwhile, the UK has seen prices drop to £169 in the past. 

Read more: Apple AirPods Pro review


the AirPods Max in silver and white

2. Apple AirPods Max

The best AirPods for sound quality

Weight: 350g | Drivers: 40mm dynamic | Battery life: 24 hours

Unbelievable audio performance
Fantastic user experience
Brilliant extra features for iOS
Great noise cancellation
Very expensive compared to rivals
No 3.5mm audio port
Limited features for Android
Ineffective carrying case

The AirPods Max are hands-down the best-sounding AirPods you can buy - and they even have a place among the best wireless headphones on the planet thanks to their stellar audio performance. 

They boast an unusual, eye-catching design that stands out from the crowd, and intuitive controls that make using them a breeze.

The biggest drawback with these headphones is the price, which is why any Black Friday AirPods Max deals will be so welcome. They cost $549 / £549 at launch, which is much pricier than high-spec rivals like the Sony WF-1000XM4

They also don't come with a 3.5mm audio jack, which will be a problem if you're hoping to use them with a wired connection; to get the most out of these headphones, you need to be pretty committed to the wider Apple ecosystem and to wireless listening.

Still, the AirPods Max are well worth looking out for this Black Friday. They've been on the market for about a year now, and we've recently seen prices fall to $449 /£399 - bringing them closer to much of the competition in terms of price. Those prices could easily fall even lower come November 26, too.

Read more: Apple AirPods Max review


(Image credit: techradar)

the apple airpods and their charging case

(Image credit: Apple)

3. Apple AirPods 2

The best AirPods on a budget

Weight: 4g (38g with case) | Drivers: Dynamic | Battery life: 24 hours

Faster pairing
Wireless charging
Wireless charging case costs extra
Audio hasn't improved since originals

The second-generation AirPods may have been usurped by the AirPods 3, but they haven't been discontinued by Apple - in fact, the company has slashed the price from $159 / £159 to $129 / £119.

In last year's Black Friday sales you could get the AirPods 2 for just $99 / £99 - and we think prices will fall even further this year. 

Bear in mind, that's for the AirPods with the standard charging case - you can expect to pay a bit more for the wireless charging case. 

While the AirPods 2 are the best AirPods you can buy, they still sport some excellent features. Their lively sound is ideal for listening to pop music and podcasts, while their H1 chip makes them super easy to use with other Apple devices.

Read more: Apple AirPods (2019) review

What about the AirPods 3?

a woman wearing the airpods (third generation) while working out

(Image credit: Apple)

You may be wondering where the AirPods 3 fall in this list. We're hesitant to recommend them without testing them first, but we'll be sure to upgrade our guide as soon as we've finished reviewing them. 

Saying that, a quick glance at the specs suggests that the AirPods 3 will be a big improvement on the AirPods 2. 

The new Apple earbuds come with Spatial Audio support (like the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max),  new custom-built drivers, and a longer battery life. Those specs, plus an upgraded design that's more elegant than that of the previous AirPods, and the AirPods 3 look like a solid upgrade. 

Whether they'll be discounted over Black Friday isn't clear. If they are, don't expect any huge price cuts. Apple products don't see the largest discounts at the best of times, and as the AirPods 3 are so new, we can't see retailers cutting the price significantly. 

They are still cheaper than the AirPods Pro, though. Available to pre order at the Apple Store and officially going on sale on October 26, the AirPods 3 cost $179 / £169 / AU$279. 

What about the competition?

Not an AirPods fan? No problem - we're expecting to see lots of brilliant Black Friday wireless earbuds this year. 

From big brands like Sony, Sennheiser, and Bose, to more budget-friendly buds from the likes of EarFun, Urbanista, and JBL, we'll be here to bring you all the best deals in the run up to November 26. 

And, if you're looking for over-ear headphones, be sure to bookmark our guide to the best Black Friday headphones deals, where you'll find discounts on everything from audiophile cans to cheap true wireless earbuds.

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