We found the best Alternatives to Airpods, whether you’re looking for a less expensive option or something with more performance and features.
We’ve already done the legwork for you if you’re looking for the best AirPods alternatives. Apple’s AirPods headphones are undeniably impressive, but they’re not for everyone. While they deliver excellent audio quality and a slew of other useful features like active noise cancellation and seamless Siri integration, they’re a little pricey (especially the AirPods Max), and they’re difficult – if not impossible – to use with non-Apple gear.
Fortunately, there are many excellent alternatives to AirPods that are less picky about what they connect to and often offer comparable performance at a lower price. Whether you’re looking for cheap AirPods-style in-ears, earbuds that sound better than the AirPods Pro for a similar price, or a much less expensive alternative to the AirPods Max, we’ve found the best deals.
However, if you’re looking for AirPods, we can assist you as well. Find out everything we know about the upcoming AirPods Pro 2 or take advantage of the best AirPods Pro deals if you can’t wait. If the AirPods Pro is too pricey for you, compare the best AirPods 3 prices instead.
Earlier we had a look at Nothing Ear (1) Alternatives
Sony WF-1000XM4 Wireless Earbuds
If you’re looking for the best AirPods Pro alternatives, Sony’s WF-1000XM4 wireless earbuds are a good choice. They’re not just a substitute; in many ways, they’re superior to Apple’s top-of-the-line in-ears. LDAC support is a big plus for audiophiles, as it allows you to listen to high-resolution audio as well as upscaling compressed audio files for a richer overall listening experience.
While there’s no direct equivalent of the AirPods Pro Transparency Mode, there is a Speak-to-Chat feature that will pause music and let ambient sound in when needed, and while there’s no direct equivalent of the AirPods Pro Transparency Mode, there is a Speak-to-Chat feature that will pause music and let ambient sound in when needed. They also outlast the AirPods Pro in terms of battery life; a single charge with noise cancellation turned on should last for several hours.
REASONS TO BUY
- Big sound
- High-resolution audio
- Useful features
- Great battery life
OnePlus Buds Z2
The OnePlus Buds Z2 have a similar look to Apple’s AirPods, and if you want that look without paying the Apple price, we think they’re the way to go. They not only look the part, but they also sound the part, with 11mm bass-tuned dynamic drivers pumping out thumping low-end and crisp trebles, and not only active noise cancellation up to 40dB, but also a transparency mode.
They even support Dolby Atmos, but there’s a catch: to use it, you’ll need to pair them with a OnePlus phone or (more likely) download OnePlus’s HeyMelody app, which will also let you fine-tune their audio performance to your preferences.
REASONS TO BUY
- Good price
- Three noise-cancellation modes
- Ear detection
REASONS TO AVOID
- Best with OnePlus phone
The AirPods Max are incredible headphones, but they come at an exorbitant price. Look to Sony and its WH-1000XM4 headphones for a similar performance at a much more budget-friendly price. They’re packed with cool features like touch control, customizable EQ, and adaptive sound control, and they combine top audio quality with heavyweight active noise cancellation (not to mention a Speak-to-Chat feature, as seen in the WF-1000XM4 earbuds above).
They’re about half the price of AirPods Max, and they have a longer battery life as well: 30 hours with active noise cancellation or 38 hours without. What’s not to like about that?
REASONS TO BUY
- Fantastic sound
- Impressive noise cancellation
- Useful touch controls
- Much cheaper than AirPods Max
Shure Aonic Free
Active noise cancellation is standard on most of the AirPods alternatives listed here; it’s something we’ve all come to expect. If you can live without it (and put up with a pair of undeniably chunky earbuds), Shure’s Aonic Free will delight you with incredible sound quality; you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything at this price level that sounds as good (although you should also check out the Grado earbuds further down).
They produce a big, precise sounds that you can fine-tune with an easy-to-use app, and despite their enormous size, they are extremely comfortable to wear.
We believe the battery life could be better given the lack of active noise cancellation, but the incredible sound you get from these headphones more than compensates for their shortcomings.
Amazon Echo Buds 2
Amazon’s Echo Buds 2 will give Apple’s AirPods and AirPods Pro a run for their money at a lower price, with active noise cancellation and a pass-through mode that’s effectively the same as Apple’s transparency mode. They’re also designed to pair with the Alexa app so you never have to be without Amazon’s digital assistant (they’ll also work with Siri and Google Voice Assistant).
They’re light and comfortable, but if you expect excellent audio quality, you might be disappointed; they’re fine, but a little flat in that regard. They are, however, a good all-around package in terms of price and features.