Best cheap AirPods deals for December 2021

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the holidays may have come and gone, but there are still some great discounts available on Apple’s AirPods. In fact, we’ve actually been seeing some deals that are even better than they were during the recent shopping holidays.

Since Apple launched the third-gen AirPods in October and unveiled its new AirPods lineup, we’ve seen the starting price of the second-gen, entry-level model drop from $159 to $129. Even better, we’ve seen many retailers starting to heavily discount the second-gen AirPods as well as the more expensive AirPods Pro and Max, which offer noise cancellation and better sound quality than the standard model. We’ve even recently seen some significant discounts on the third-gen AirPods, despite how recently they launched.

Here, we’ll run through the best deals available on each model, including the entry-level AirPods, the AirPods Pro, the third-gen AirPods, and the AirPods Max.

Highlights across the range

Model List Price Sale Price Retailers
Model List Price Sale Price Retailers
AirPods (second-gen) with wired charging case $129 $90 Walmart Target
AirPods (third-gen) $179 $169 Amazon Walmart
AirPods Pro (2021 model) $249 $197 Amazon Walmart
AirPods Max $549 $479 Amazon B&H Photo

The best entry-level AirPods (second-gen) deals

Once $159, Apple recently lowered the list price of the second-gen AirPods — now the entry-level model — to $129. It only sells the model with a wired charging case, however, which charges via a standard Lightning cable. Despite their age, we found these easy-to-use earbuds offer great wireless performance and reliable battery life, making them a great pick if you can live without a wireless charging case.

Although we’ve recently seen Apple’s most affordable pair of AirPods drop to $90 — their lowest price to date — the second-gen earbuds are currently only on sale at Walmart, Target, and Staples for around $119, which is $10 less than their typical asking price.

The newest pair of wireless earbuds support Apple’s MagSafe technology. The short stems yield a more subtle design, while improved sound and features like sweat and water resistance, support for spatial audio with dynamic head tracking, and improved battery life render them a nice improvement over the last-gen model.

Deals were once hard to come by on the third-gen model, but we finally started seeing some significant deals starting around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Sadly, like the second-gen AirPods, they’re currently only available for slightly less than MSRP. At the moment, Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy are selling the third-gen earbuds for $169, just $10 off the full retail price and a far cry from their all-time low of $139.99.

AirPods (third-generation)

Similar in appearance to their sleeker sibling, the AirPods Pro, the latest entry-level AirPods boast a new charging case and shorter stems. They’re also water-resistant, unlike the 2019 model, and sport better battery life.

We think Apple’s premium true wireless earbuds, the AirPods Pro, are the best wireless earbuds an iPhone owner can buy, regardless of the price. They have better sound quality than the models above, offer active noise cancellation, and come with a wireless charging case. The earbuds also support Apple’s spatial audio feature, which adds an immersive surround sound effect to select content, and come with swappable silicone tips.

Apple recently launched a new version of the AirPods Pro with a wireless charging case that supports Apple’s MagSafe technology, just like the third-gen AirPods. These retail for $249, but you can buy them right now for $197 at Amazon and Walmart, or for $199.99 at Target. That’s not nearly as low as the $159 price we saw this model drop to during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but it’s still more than $50 off what you’d pay if you were to purchase the earbuds directly from Apple.

The AirPods Max aren’t the iconic in-ear style that has become synonymous with the AirPods name. They’re large and luxurious, comprised of aluminum, steel, and mesh fabric that remains comfortable during extended listening sessions. They also sport excellent noise cancellation, Apple’s spatial audio feature, and a wide, balanced sound, even if they lag behind some of their peers when it comes to bass response. They’re not the best noise-canceling headphones for most people — blame the $550 sticker price — but it’s hard to find a pair of Bluetooth headphones that sound better and feature more intuitive controls.

Apple AirPods Max

Apple’s AirPods Max feature exemplary build quality, sound phenomenal, and keep up with the best at noise cancellation.

Although the AirPods Max were discounted to $429 at Amazon during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, prices have since increased. Still, the Max are currently selling for $479 in most colorways at Amazon and B&H Photo, saving you $70. You can also reserve them at Micro Center for $429.99, one of their best prices to date, though they’re only available or in-store pickup in select states.