2021 Gift Guide: Top Wireless Headphones and How Much You Will Pay For Them
Wireless headphones, especially “true wireless earbuds” (a la AirPods) are one of the most popular and plentiful categories on Ben’s. We analyzed the data from our top performing wireless headphones this year so you’ll know what will be the best deals this holiday season.
We broke down wireless headphones into 4 segments:
- Apple: which is clearly dominating consumer interest in this product category;
- Active Noise Cancelling: the most sought-after feature in wireless headphones but adds heavily to the price tag;
- The Rest: including standard-issue in-ear headphones, sports earbuds and over-ear headphones; and
- Gaming Headsets: which have features like noise-cancelling mics, surround sound and flashing lights of interest to gamers.
This list contains many recognizable brand names. If you’re not interested in brands, you don’t really need a list like this. You can find no-name earbuds for under $20 anytime. They’ve really watered down this product category.
Take note of your favorite models below and set a deal alert on Ben’s to get a jump on the lowest prices of the holidays!
Apple Wireless Headphones
Apple has dominated the market wireless headphones market in recent years with their iconic AirPods.
- AirPods Pro with MagSafe (2021): Apple’s ultra-popular wireless earbuds with active noise cancelling are currently on sale for $190. The older 2019 version without the MagSafe case (otherwise same) is getting harder to find, but we’ve seen it as low as $180. Walmart is advertising the Airpods Pro for an amazing $159 on Black Friday (actually 11/22). Unclear if it’s the MagSafe version or not. [Best Buy]
- AirPods 2 with Wired or Wireless Case (2019): The sale price on the wired case model recently hit a super low $89 at Walmart, Amazon and Costco. It’ll probably return to that price at times during the holiday season. The wireless case model briefly hit $99 at Walmart in October, and that’s the price point you want to get close to when looking for sales. [Best Buy]
- AirPods Max (2020): Apple’s super-deluxe over-ear model with active noise cancellation is truly overpriced, but has been coming down in price in recent months. We’ve seen it as low as $430, and that’s a good low price to aim for during Black Friday, perhaps just under that. [Best Buy]
- AirPods 3 (2021): The brand-new entry into the AirPods lineup is the wildcard since it’s unlikely to see any major price drop during Black Friday, except possibly an accompanying gift card from Apple or Best Buy. It’s currently $175 ($5 off retail) on Amazon. [Amazon]
- Beats Solo3 (2016, updated 2019): These popular on-ear headphones have outlasted the recently discontinued Solo Pro (released in 2019) and are very popular on Ben’s. They recently went on sale for $90 at Target and that’s the price to aim for come Black Friday. [Amazon]
Active Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones
Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) adds a pretty penny to the cost of the headphones but is a much-needed feature for travelers and people in noisy environments.
- Bose QuietComfort Earbuds (2020): The gold standard in ANC earbuds, we’ve seen them for as low as $229 brand-new (and $169 refurbished direct from Bose). Expect them to dip under $230 for Black Friday. [Amazon]
- Sony WF-1000XM4 Earbuds (2021): These top-notch Sony earbuds are worthy competitors to the Bose and are currently at their all-time low price of $248. They might go down a bit for Black Friday, but unlikely. [Amazon]
- Samsung Galaxy Buds Live (2020): These popular ANC earbuds are pretty affordable and are currently at their all-time low of $99. [Amazon]
- Jabra Elite 85t (2020): Now is a good time to buy these top-performing ANC earbuds as they have hit an all-time low of $150. [Amazon]
- Sony WF-1000XM3 Earbuds (2019): The older but still popular ANC Sony earbuds are where you’re more likely to see deals this Black Friday. They recently went as low as $128, and are likely to hit that fantastic price again around Black Friday. [Amazon]
- Bose QuietComfort 35 II (2017): These venerable over-ear headphones might be the most popular noise-cancelling headphones ever. They recently hit an all-time low of $179 on Amazon, and that’s the price you want to aim for on Black Friday. [Amazon]
- Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 (2020): We’ve seen these sleek over-ear headphones go as low as $200 last season and they should hit close to that price point again for Black Friday. [Amazon]
Other Wireless Headphones (The Rest)
Without active noise cancelling, you can find true wireless earbuds or wireless over-ear headphones from top brands for under $100 or even under $50.
- Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Plus (2020): We’ve seen them as low as $63 on Woot! back in July, but that was quite a fluke. Aside from that, the best sale prices we’ve seen have been in the $85 to $90 range. That’s a good price to aim for during Black Friday. [Amazon]
- JBL Tune 115TWS (2020): These well-reviewed no-frills budget earbuds can currently be picked up for as low as $30. [Amazon]
- LG Tone Free HBS-FN6 with UVnano Case (2020): We’ve seen these unique earbuds with the anti-bacterial case go for as low as $45 and expect to see that price again during the Black Friday season. [Amazon]
- JBL Endurance Peak (1st Gen, 2019): Although discontinued, JBL has been selling these highly rated sports earbuds direct from its store or eBay storefront for as low as $40. [JBL]
- JBL Endurance Peak II (2nd Gen, 2020): The new version of the popular true wireless sports earbuds has recently been as low as $50 on Amazon. Watch for them to return to that price around Black Friday. [Amazon]
- Google Pixel Buds A-Series: Google’s new true wireless earbuds ($99 retail) have recently been a freebie with purchase of the new Pixel 6 phone. If they’re getting any kind of decent discount this holiday season, watch for Google’s Black Friday sale starting Nov. 18. [Google]
- Panasonic RP-HTX80B Retro (Over-Ear): We’ve seen these stylish cans on sale for $30, and they’re currently $35 on Amazon. The “Sangria” (red) color is particularly striking. [Amazon]
Wireless Gaming Headsets
Gaming headsets are very popular these days as they offer an immersive sound stage for gamers, and wireless is a bonus convenience, avoiding the hassle of wires tangling with controllers.
- Logitech G733 Lightspeed DTS 7.1 RGB (2020): We’ve seen them for as low as $110 at Newegg, and they’re currently around $120 on Amazon. Those are the sale prices you can aim for this holiday. Compatibility: PlayStation/Switch/PC/Mac (no Xbox). [Amazon]
- Astro Gaming A20 Gen 2 (2020): This lower-priced wireless headset hit the amazing low price of $68 back in August, but the Black Friday price is more likely to be closer to $99. Compatibility: Xbox or PlayStation (2 separate models). [Amazon]