Are you in the market for a new set of Apple earbuds, but not sure which ones to get? If that's a resounding yes, then you're in safe hands.
Whether you listen to music, audiobooks, or podcasts while working out at the gym, a pair of high-quality earbuds with great sound quality and a comfortable fit is a must. But with so many new and innovative designs on the market, it's hard to choose which set of earbuds is right for you.
That's why we've researched the best Apple AirPods to help you find your ideal match. Whether you're looking for something compact and discreet, or a set of earbuds that can handle your active lifestyle, read on to discover our top picks.
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The Best Apple Earbuds—Our Top Picks
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- Best Overall Apple Earbuds: Apple AirPods
- Best Sound Quality: Apple AirPods Max
- Best Value Apple Earbuds: Apple Earpods with Lightning Connector
What to Look for When Shopping for Apple AirPods
Sound Quality and Noise Cancellation
Sound quality is crucial when you're shopping for earbuds—no one wants to listen to their favorite songs or podcasts with terrible sound. Noise cancellation is a fantastic feature to have, especially if you are planning to use your earbuds for running or working out in a busy gym. Earbuds with noise cancellation are also useful when you work in an open-plan office or a noisy work environment since they can block out distracting noises.
Comfort and Shape
Earbuds that don’t fit properly can ruin your ability to enjoy your music and your workout, which is why it's important to look for earbuds that are designed for maximum comfort. Features like memory foam, extendable arms, or ergonomic tips are some factors that contribute to a great fit. The goal here is to find the right fit so you don’t have to fiddle with your earbuds and can enjoy a comfortable listening experience.
Type of Earbud
There are two main types of earbuds (wired and wireless) and each come with their own set of pros and cons. Wired earbuds are typically less expensive than wireless earbuds, but they are prone to tangling and limit your movement. Wireless earbuds are more expensive, but they are much easier to use since you don’t have to carry your phone, iPad, or iPod around.
If you partake in more high-intensity workouts where you're performing exercises like jump squats and mountain climbers, you may prefer wireless earbuds so you don’t have to worry about anything falling out as you're training. If you mostly work out on a treadmill or other stationary type of equipment, you may be able to get by with wired earbuds.
Be sure to choose earbuds with decent battery life so that you can use them for a long time without having to worry about recharging them. One way to tell if an earbud has a long battery life is to look at the battery life with and without the case. The earbuds that have a longer battery life without the case will typically have longer overall battery life.
When looking for earbuds, you should also make sure that they are compatible with the devices that you use. This way, you’ll be able to use them with your phone, computer, and any other devices that you want to use them with. Apple regularly releases new devices, so it’s important to check that your devices aren’t too outdated for the earbuds that you want to buy.
Luckily, there's a wide range of Apple earbuds available for a variety of budgets. Prices vary between $20 and $500, depending on the model.
When planning your budget, it's helpful to consider the features that are most important to you (long battery life, waterproof, etc.) and which you can live without. Typically, the more features a pair of earbuds has, the higher the price tag will be.
Best Overall Apple Earbuds – Apple AirPods 2
- Charging: Charging Case
- Battery life: 5 Hours
- Battery life w/ case: Over 24 Hours
- Water/sweat rating: IPX4
- Personal assistant: Siri
- Active noise cancellation: None
- Type: Wireless
Out of all the Apple earbuds, our favorite pair overall are the AirPods 2nd generation. Quick access to Siri, effortless setup with devices, and in-ear detection to save battery are just a few reasons why these earbuds top the list. They also feature automatic switching between devices for a seamless and effortless transition. Another plus? You can share audio between two sets of airpods on any of your Apple devices when you want to play your favorite song or podcast for a friend.
When it comes to sound quality, Apple did not disappoint. The Airpods 2 are made with an H1 chip that delivers a stable, low-latency wireless connection which ensures high-quality sound. Bluetooth compatible, these airpods also come with a charging case that gives you over 24 hours of listening time or up to 18 hours of talk time. These airpods also have a waterproof rating of IPX4, meaning they can withstand overly sweaty workouts but not a dive in the pool. If you want a pair of top-notch earbuds that deliver high-quality sound and can last through many workouts on a single charge, we think the AirPods 2 are a great option.
- Over 24 hours of listening time with the charging case
- Accessibility features for people with disabilities
- In-ear detection to save battery life
- Access to Siri
- Sweat and water resistant
- No noise cancellation features
- Not waterproof enough to swim with
Best Sound Quality Apple Earbuds – Apple AirPods Max
- Charging: Lightning Connector
- Battery life: 20 Hours
- Battery life w/ case: N/A
- Water/sweat rating: N/A
- Personal assistant: Siri
- Active noise cancellation: Active Noise Cancellation with Transparency Mode
- Type: Wireless
The AirPods Max aren’t technically earbuds since they are headphones, but their combination of high-quality sound and comfortability deserved a spot on our list of top picks. They feature high-fidelity audio with a dynamic driver, spatial audio with dynamic head tracking, and an acoustic design coupled with the proprietary Apple H1 chip and software. All of these features combined provide a unique theater-like sound and an exceptional audio experience. We also like the Active Noise Cancellation feature, which blocks outside noise, or you can switch to Transparency mode, which allows outside noise in so you can still hear and interact with the world around you.
Designed with a durable stainless steel frame and wrapped in a soft material to provide both strength and comfort, the AirPods Max also feature a knit-mesh canopy and memory foam ear cushions for a snug fit. The extendable arms can be adjusted to your preference and are made to stay in place. With up to 20 hours of listening or talk time, you can also store them in ultra-low-power mode with the slim Smart Case. Sure to make any audiophile giddy, we think the AirPods Max are a top pick for anyone interested in top-notch sound quality.
- Memory foam cups for a comfortable fit
- Active Noise Cancellation with Transparency mode
- Smart Case that enables low power mode
- Spatial audio with head tracking to provide a theater-like experience
- No charging case
- Not water or sweat resistant
- More expensive than other options on this list
Best Value Apple Earbuds – Apple EarPods with Lightning Connector
- Charging: N/A
- Battery Life: N/A
- Battery Life w/ Case: N/A
- Water/sweat Rating: N/A
- Personal Assistant: None
- Active Noise Cancellation: None
- Type: Wired
If you're looking for an affordable pair of earbuds that can still get the job done, we like the old-school Apple EarPods. Designed with the shape of the ear in mind, these earbuds are more comfortable than comparable earbuds available on the market. Made with deeper and richer bass tones, these earbuds aren't engineered to reduce sound loss while maximizing sound output for higher quality sound. They also come with a built-in remote that allows you to easily answer and end calls and control the volume and playback of songs and videos.
Compatible with any device that has a Lightning Connector port and supports iOS 10 or later, these earbuds also work with a variety of devices. Plus, since they aren't wireless, you don’t have to worry about charging or battery life. Ideal for anyone who prefers the traditional wired earbuds over the wireless ones, these earbuds are a great option if you're on a budget but still need a quality pair of earbuds.
- More affordable than other Apple Earbuds
- Comes with a Lightning Connector so you don't need to charge
- High-quality sound and a comfortable fit
- Lightning Connector cable is prone to tangling
- No noise cancellation
FAQs About Apple AirPods
Are Apple earbuds worth it?
Apple AirPods are some of the most popular earbuds on the market because they provide a great listening experience. Compatible with most devices and comfortable to wear, Apple earbuds are a worthy investment for many. They also offer various options for a wide range of budgets, helping you find the pair that works best for you.
What is the difference between earbuds and Apple AirPods?
The major difference between earbuds and Apple AirPods is that AirPods are wireless and earbuds are not. AirPods use Bluetooth to connect to your device, whereas earbuds use a wired connection. This means that AirPods are much more convenient to use and are less likely to get tangled up.
Another difference is that AirPods have sensors that allow them to pause your music when you take them out of your ears, whereas earbuds do not have this feature. However, AirPods are more expensive than earbuds since they're wireless.
How much do Apple earbuds cost?
Apple earbuds typically cost between $19 and $550. The exact price depends on the model and features of the earbuds.