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Should you buy AirPods before Black Friday?

should you buy airpods before black friday
(Image credit: Future)

Black Friday AirPods deals are some of the most sought-after offers on the shelves come November, but with so many retailers launching early discounts, it's easy to wonder if you should buy AirPods before Black Friday itself and when the official sales kick-off. That impulse is even harder to fight off right now, with a new set of third-generation buds hitting the market, and a mid-cycle refresh to the AirPods Pros appearing as well. 

There's been a lot of movement in the world of AirPods recently. Not only are the new releases now available, but their effects on previous iterations' prices are a little strange. We're seeing AirPods Pro prices, for example, rising ahead of the November sales, which means you'll have to be particularly careful when browsing for deals ahead of Black Friday. 

So, when should you buy AirPods before Black Friday, and when should you hold the line? We're looking back through years of price history and using our experience tracking holiday sales on Apple's premium buds to show you which early offers to jump on and which to pass up. 

Should you buy AirPods before Black Friday?

AirPods 2019

(Image credit: Future)
  • Yes, if: prices drop below $99 / £100

We weren't sure whether the second-generation AirPods were due to be replaced by the new third generation. However, since the AirPods 3 release we've seen the two models sitting side by side on the shelves. That means the old 2019 model isn't going anywhere soon. We had hoped the new release would force the previous generation into a price tailspin, returning to previous record lows of $99 / £100. However, we're still seeing this model priced at $119 / £119 across a number of retailers. 

We'd recommend waiting here, then, as we'll likely see the standard wired-charging model hitting prices of $99 / £100 over the Black Friday weekend - and potentially even dropping down to $79-$89 / £79-£89 in flash sales considering the age of these buds. If, however, you spot a deal already surpassing that record low, it could be worth getting in there early and beating the crowds; these are going to move particularly quickly over Black Friday if they're cheap enough. 

Should you buy AirPods 3 before Black Friday

AirPods third generation

(Image credit: Future)
  • Yes, if: we're a couple of weeks away from Black Friday and shipping times are extending

While we have seen a handful of early discounts on the newly released AirPods third generation, savings have only reached around $5 in the US. We'd definitely wait to pick these up, at least until Thanksgiving week. The biggest flash sales will likely go down around Black Friday itself, though at $179 these are going to a popular mid-way point between the second generation and AirPods Pro. That means stock could run out fast, with shipping times stretching further and further into the distance should a particularly strong discount hit. 

Considering just how popular these buds are likely going to be, and the fact that we're only expecting such a new release to drop to around $159 / £149 max ($20 / £20 off the MSRP), those shopping for the holidays would do well to keep an eye on those delivery timings as we head further into November. 

Should you buy AirPods Pro before Black Friday?

AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Future)
  • Yes, if: the previous Qi charging-only model drops back to $169 or lower

The AirPods Pro are seeing some strange pricing activity right now. The new MagSafe charging variant is on the shelves, and the cost has jumped from the $169-$189 / £179-£189 sale prices we were seeing on the standard model back to that $249 / £249 MSRP. Not only that, but the previous Qi charging model has also jumped in price, back up to $199 in the US (thankfully still £174 in the UK). 

All of that means we would definitely hold off, at least until some heavier discounts arrive on the previous model. Unlike the AirPods 3, the new AirPods Pros will replace the Qi charging-only model before long, though. If you do spot those prices trickling back down to $169 or lower, it's worth noting that we don't expect the new MagSafe version to hit such a price low over Black Friday. Those who aren't fussed about Apple's proprietary charging system, then, would do well to keep a close eye on stock levels and prices over the next few weeks. 

Should you buy AirPods Max before Black Friday

AirPods Max

(Image credit: Future)
  • Yes, if: prices drop back down to $449 / £429 

Black Friday is usually much kinder to more expensive items like the AirPods Max. That's because there's far more wiggle room for heavier discounts when there's a higher MSRP to contend with. This year we're expecting the holiday sales to treat the AirPods Max particularly well. These premium cups have been trickling down in price since their January launch, hitting price lows of $449 / £429 down from that $549 / £549 MSRP recently. 

We don't expect to see much improvement on this record low in November, though - this is still Apple's luxury headphone set we're talking about, and they haven't yet hit their first birthday. If we do see additional savings, they may well stick to within $10 or $20 (£10 or £20) of that $449 sales price. 

That means we would consider a $449 / £429 price to be a good deal for those looking to buy AirPods before Black Friday. There's even less of a chance that these cups will drop further in November, especially considering we've only seen these record low prices once or twice throughout the year. 

If you're after something a little more gaming-focused, check out all the best Black Friday gaming headset deals we're expecting to see this year. We're also rounding up all our expectations for Black Friday PS5 headset deals and Black Friday Xbox headset deals as well. Or, to stay within the Apple ecosystem, take a look at the Black Friday iPad deals we're watching in 2021. 

For more inspiration, check out all the best gaming headsets on the market right now, and all the latest AirPods Pro deals for more discounts. 

Tabitha Baker

I originally landed in hardware at our sister site TechRadar before moving over to GamesRadar. In between, I've written for Tom’s Guide, Wireframe, The Indie Game Website and That Video Game Blog, covering everything from the PS5 launch to the Apple Pencil. Now, i'm focused on Nintendo Switch, keyboards, mice, and the quest for an RTX gaming laptop.