The AirPods Family Is Growing — Here Are the Best AirPods Ranked

airpods buying guide
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Since 2016 when Apple first released the AirPods, these wireless headphones have been a staple in our society. When you see that long stem coming down from someone’s ears you immediately know what product they are using to enjoy their content or take phone calls. And if you don’t have a pair in yourself, you probably get a little jelly (unless you’re team Android, then go Galaxy Buds!) Now the ever-so-popular AirPod family is growing and there’s a handful of options to choose from, but what are the Best AirPods for you? Thanks to our handy Apple AirPods buying guide, we can help!

Here are a few things you should consider before choosing the right AirPods for you:

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  • Price
  • ANC
  • Spatial Sound
  • Fit

First and foremost, if you don’t want to spend over $200 for a pair of headphones then you can already eliminate AirPod Max and without a deal, AirPod Pros. The third and newest generation along with the second generation fall under $200. But if you want ANC (active noise cancellation), then you’ll need to up your budget and spring for the Pros or Max as they are the only ones in the series with this feature.

All of the AirPods (minus the second generation) now feature Spatial sound, which is a cool audio feature that detects your head movements and adjusts the sound of music and movies accordingly to create a completely immersive audio environment. But if you don’t watch new movies that often with your headphones, this might not be a big deal to you.

If you work out, your best bets are the Pros or even the third generation AirPods. The Pros have silicone tips to keep them comfortably in your ear and both the Pros and third generation are sweat and water-resistant.

If you’re still unsure about which AirPods to go with, check out our AirPods buying guide below so you can make the best decision on the AirPods that will fit your wants, needs and lifestyle best.

  

1. AirPods Pro

BEST OVERALL

Kicking off our AirPods buying guide has to be the AirPods Pro. For Apple earbuds, the AirPods Pro still reigns supreme, even over the newly released third generation of AirPods. You simply can’t beat the sound quality combined with the fitted seal thanks to three different sized silicone tips — and the big one — active noise cancellation with Transparency Mode. The stem is a little bit smaller, and the fit is better so these earbuds are all-around more comfortable than others, especially when you are working out. But you still get a microphone that’s great for taking phone calls. The only real downside is battery life, which at 4.5 hours isn’t great. But like the AirPods Max, you get Spatial Audio support for 360-degree sound while watching movies that are optimized for that functionality.

All in all, if you want the best of the best when it comes to earbuds, you can’t top the Pros.

AirPods Pro Courtesy of Amazon

AirPods Pro

$169.99 $249.00 32% OFF
  

2. AirPods Max

SPLURGE PICK

The AirPods Max are not cheap, to say the least, but the carefully designed cans are rather incredible in terms of sound quality, comfort and features. Leading the set of features are the Spatial audio and dynamic head tracking that essentially brings surround sound quality audio to your dome that adjusts with your head movements. And if you think the AirPods Pro noise canceling is awesome, the AirPods Max ANC is superb, plus the battery life is about 20 hours which crushes all other AirPods. Sure, the AirPods Max don’t necessarily look as flashy as some of the most expensive headphones available, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the performance.

AirPods Max Courtesy of Amazon

AirPods Max

$479.00 $549.00 13% OFF
  

3. AirPods 3rd Generation

GREAT MIDRANGE OPTION

The newest addition to the AirPod family is the third generation of AirPods. Even though these are new, we still consider these a mid-tier option in our AirPods buying guide. Apple elected to essentially keep the design of the second generation — no silicone tips — but did shorten the stem a bit like on the AirPod Pros. So, what’s the difference between this and the previous generation? Apple improved the shape of the bud to increase driver performance. That means improving upon audio quality that was already really good in the second-gen. The new buds also include Spatial audio found in both the Max and the Pros, but not in the second generation. One big omission is ANC, so you’ll still need to spring for the Pros or Max for that feature, but the battery life is better than the second generation and Pros with about six hours of run time. If the Pros and Max are a bit out of your budget, but you still want great sound, this is the option you want to go with.

New Apple AirPods (3rd Generation) Courtesy of Amazon

AirPods 3rd Generation

$169.98 $179.00 5% OFF
  

4. Airpods 2nd Generation

BEST BUDGET

The second generation of AirPods are not only reliable wireless earbuds, but also becoming a fashion and status statement of sorts. That long white stem immediately screams quality when you see someone wearing them. Beyond expert marketing from the company, the second generation of AirPods are amazing for taking calls and using in the office, but not so much in the gym. Sure, you can work out in these, but you won’t feel totally comfortable that they will stay in your ears — plus they aren’t rated as sweat resistant. Originally, they didn’t come with wireless charging capabilities, but you can buy a wireless charging case separately if you want that. The AirPods alone get about five hours of run time before they need to be charged, which isn’t as good as the third-gen, but better than the Pros.

Airpods 2nd Generation Courtesy of Amazon

Airpods 2nd Generation

$109.00 $159.00 31% OFF
  

5. AirPods Wireless Charging Case

BEST ACCESSORY

AirPods Wireless Charging Case Courtesy of Amazon

AirPods Wireless Charging Case

$75.99

  

6. Earpods with Lightning Connector

SUPER BUDGET OPTION

When you’re really strapped, going with the wired EarPods (technically not under the “AirPod” family) can save you over $100 on a pair of wired headphones that connect to your mobile device through the lightning port. The EarPods actually sound decent, and you never have to worry about battery life since they’re powered by your phone. That being said, you might feel like you’re going back to the stone age using a wired pair of headphones, but let’s not forget that a wired connection is as reliable as it gets. Plus these things are only about $20. And these days, we’re all for a budget-friendly price.

Earpods with Lightning Connector Courtesy of Amazon

Earpods with Lightning Connector

$19.00 $29.00 34% OFF
  

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