Don't fancy a pair of AirPods this Black Friday? Try these excellent alternatives

AirPods alternatives
(Image credit: Future)

The AirPods line is filled with some excellent headphones — there is a pair for anyone and everyone, with each use case considered. There are, however, some key things that might put people off, like the price, and the style. If you don’t want white earbuds, for example, then you could be stuck when you’re looking at AirPods.

Not only that, but even the Best AirPods Black Friday deals come in at a higher price than their competitors, leaving you with a large bill if you want to pick up some new headphones for your brand-new iPhone 15 Pro. Thankfully you needn’t worry too much about spending loads on a pair of new headphones: There are some great options out there that perform like AirPods, but don’t cost as much. Here are some of my favorite alternatives to Apple's most popular headphones, all in for some of the best Apple Black Friday deals.

Where to find the best headphones Black Friday deals

AirPods Pro 2

The AirPods Pro 2 are an epic pair of noise-cancelling in-ear headphones, but they have their weaknesses. To some, they sound a little too neutral, with no focus on dynamism or fun — if this is your main complaint, then boy, do I have the option for you. Want something a little cheaper?

We’ve got you covered with some excellent noise-canceling earbuds. Don’t get too confused with the USB-C and Lightning models — we’re finding the latter becoming harder to find, and all these alternatives use the USB-C standard.

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX | $399$373 at Amazon

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX | $399 $373 at Amazon

These are more expensive than AirPods Pro 2, but if you want something that sounds better than them, you’re in the right place. The noise canceling is good, they’re comfortable, and they feel very premium — but most importantly, they sound great. They’re a little richer, a little more bouncy and fun, and they’re going to please even the most particular of listeners. This Black Friday deal isn’t the lowest they’ve been, but go read my Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX review and you’ll soon discover an excellent pair of buds.

1More Aero |$109$65 at Amazon

1More Aero | $109 $65 at Amazon

These are some of my favorite pairs of in-ear buds with ANC that don’t cost the world. They look great and sound good as well. Above all else, however, they come in at a great price, which now finds them under 100 dollars. Add in an 11 percent code that you’ll find on their Amazon product page and you’ll have one of the best headphone deals of the year.

AirPods Pro 2 |$249$229 at Amazon

AirPods Pro 2 | $249 $229 at Amazon

Of course, if you still want the AirPods, then the AirPods Pro 2 still have a reasonable deal at Amazon. This is likely not the lowest price they’ll have over the next week or so, so make sure you keep an eye out for another price drop.

AirPods 2

The AirPods 2 are the budget offering in the AirPods line, yet they usually cost just over $100. If you don’t mind about the lack of Spatial Audio or Noise Canceling with AirPods 2, then there are some excellent alternatives out there that cost less, sound better, or offer more features for a similar price.

Marshall Minor III | $129$89 at Amazon

Marshall Minor III | $129 $89 at Amazon

The Marshall Minor III not only sound better, but I think they look cooler as well with a unique black finish. I love Marshall gear, and the Minor in-ears are the lowest-priced of the bunch. They’re perfect for those who were otherwise considering AirPods 2, and they’re now at a great price.

soundcore Liberty 4 |$99$69 at Amazon

soundcore Liberty 4 | $99 $69 at Amazon

I really like these little buds. They’re attractive, sound solid, and they come packed with noise canceling as well. That makes them an even better bet than the AirPods 2, bringing more features than the Apple option — and they come in more colors like Pink and Blue. This deal makes them the cheapest pair of buds on the list, with a massive $30 discount that brings them down to $69, an epic price for a fully-featured pair of earbuds.

AirPods 2 | $129$99 at Amazon

AirPods 2 | $129 $99 at Amazon

The AirPods 2 are still available as well, and they’re a great option if you have to have that AirPods magic. This isn’t the lowest price we’ve ever seen on the AirPods 2, but it's a good saving that makes them a little more affordable than they might otherwise be.

AirPods 3

The AirPods 3 are the weird middle child of the line, without ANC but with Spatial Audio. If you want Spatial Audio at this price then you’ll struggle for an alternative, but:

1. You’re better off without it
2. You can save money with headphones that sound better

Here are a couple of options that you should consider.

Beats Studio Buds + | $169$134 at Amazon

Beats Studio Buds + | $169 $134 at Amazon

These don’t have Spatial Audio, but they have plenty more features where it counts. The Beats Studio Buds + more comfortable, sound better, and I’d argue look more fun with their cool color options and tiny buds. This deal makes them around the same price as Apple’s AirPods 3, although I’d argue that the noise canceling makes them the more compelling choice.

Status Audio Between Pro |$16998 at Amazon

Status Audio Between Pro | $169 $98 at Amazon

These are an epic deal if you don’t mind about Spatial Audio or ANC — they sound incredible. Much better than the AirPods 3, that’s for certain, and they even have a cool new look to them that makes them more unique than the competition. They’re also a good deal cheaper than Apple’s offering in this sale, so you’ll save and get some good wireless audiophile buds.

AirPods 3 | $169$139 at Amazon

AirPods 3 | $169 $139 at Amazon

The AirPods 3 remain, of course, should you want that Spatial Audio, and with a deal like this they are well worth a purchase. They’re not cheap, even with this discount, but they are AirPods with that signature AirPods connection that makes them so special.

AirPods Max

The AirPods Max are the big tasty ones, that come in a lovely metallic sheen. They’re also mighty expensive, coming in at a hefty price no matter how you look at it. Thankfully, you don’t need to spend loads for something like the AirPods Max — or you can spend more and get something even better.

Focal Bathys |$799$629 at Amazon

Focal Bathys | $799 $629 at Amazon

The Focal Bathys are my all-time favorite wireless headphones. They sound stunning, look amazing, and are super comfortable for long periods. In my review, I gave them the full five stars, and if you stick them on your head and play a track, you’ll soon find out why. They are epic. They’re also very expensive — so this $170 saving is most welcome. Spend the extra, if you can afford it. You won’t regret it.

Beats Studio Pro | $349$169 at Amazon

Beats Studio Pro | $349 $169 at Amazon

So while my review of the Studio Pro wasn’t glowing, that was with them at full price — with this deal, they become more compelling. They sound fine for this price, and they look good too. They also now cost a whole lot less than a pair of AirPods Max, and also play Spatial Audio tracks, which is always a nice extra.

AirPods Max |$549$449 at Amazon

AirPods Max | $549 $449 at Amazon

This is close to the lowest price for the AirPods Max, only being pipped to the record by around $20. If you want the best headphones that Apple offers, then these are the headphones for you — but there are some better options out there.

Black Friday
Save money with Black Friday sales

Grab bargains on Apple devices this Black Friday

If you're looking for the best Black Friday Apple deals as the annual sales season kicks off, we've got you covered. From now right through to Cyber Monday on November 27, we'll be serving up the best offers on iPhone, MacBook, Apple Watch, iPad, HomeKit smart home devices and more. Save a small fortune by checking back on our daily deals coverage.

Tammy Rogers
Senior Staff Writer

As iMore's Senior Staff writer, Tammy uses her background in audio and Masters in screenwriting to pen engaging product reviews and informative buying guides. The resident audiophile (or audio weirdo), she's got an eye for detail and a love of top-quality sound. Apple is her bread and butter, with attention on HomeKit and Apple iPhone and Mac hardware. You won't find her far away from a keyboard even outside of working at iMore – in her spare time, she spends her free time writing feature-length and TV screenplays. Also known to enjoy driving digital cars around virtual circuits, to varying degrees of success. Just don't ask her about AirPods Max - you probably won't like her answer.