This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET’s gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.
The new iPhones debuted in October, and surprise: For the first time ever, they don’t come with headphones in the box. The good news is that Apple’s AirPods true wireless earbuds have never been more affordable. No, we’re not talking about the price you’ll pay for these headphones at the Apple Store: Those are stuck at $159 for the standard AirPods, $199 for the AirPods with wireless charging case and $249 for the AirPods Pro with better sound quality and active noise cancellation. But shop around, and you’ll find much better prices across the board: We saw the AirPods Pro drop to $200 and the regular AirPods dip to $115 during Prime Day sales, for instance.
AirPods pricing 2020
Apple Store price
Best price right now
Best price (all-time)
AirPods with wireless charging case
With Black Friday just around the corner, big sales are getting ready to start — or have even already started — at retail giants like Home Depot and Best Buy. And Walmart has already thrown down the gauntlet with major early Black Friday sales starting at 4 p.m. PT on Nov. 4, including the baseline AirPods for $99. That beats the earliest price we’ve seen by $16. Costco and now Amazon, meanwhile, have beaten Walmart to the punch by offering them for $100. (Best Buy’s price was also briefly at $100, but has reverted back to $130 for now.)
Now, we can’t guarantee that you’ll see better prices than those between now and the end of the year. But the moral of the story is that you shouldn’t pay full price — the Apple Store price — for any Apple headphones right now.
The AirPods Pro briefly dropped as low as $190 during Prime Day sales at Woot, but that instantly sold out. Woot is now selling Apple’s top-of-the-line noise-canceling true wireless earbuds for $195, and the discounter has kept inventory up for several days. Meanwhile, the Amazon price has returned to $219, but we’d expect it to drop back to $199 later in the season.
The standard AirPods with the wired charging case dropped as low as $115 during Prime Day, and they’re back to $129 on Amazon. But now they’ve hit $100 at Amazon and (with membership) Costco, and later on Nov. 4 they’re slated to drop to $99 at Walmart, too.
Read our AirPods review.
Personally, I would either get the cheaper AirPods or the AirPods Pro. But if you’re really a zealot for wireless charging, know that you can get the standard AirPods with a wireless charging case for $160, which is a $39 savings versus the Apple Store price.
This article is frequently updated to reflect current pricing.
CNET TVs, Streaming and Audio
Get CNET’s comprehensive coverage of home entertainment tech delivered to your inbox.