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- Apple’s AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) will be available September 23, replacing the model released in 2019.
- AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) cost $249, while AirPods (3rd Gen) are $179 and AirPods (2nd Gen) are $129.
- The differences between each model come down to physical design, audio features, and battery life.
The latest version of Apple’s AirPods Pro wireless earbuds will be available starting September 23, replacing the original model introduced in 2019. The second-generation AirPods Pro ($249) promise improved noise cancellation, more sensitive touch controls, better spatial sound, and 20 percent more battery life.
Once the new Pro model launches, the revised AirPods lineup will include three earbud-style models: the entry-level AirPods (2nd Gen) for $129, the mid-range AirPods (3rd Gen) for $179, and the high-end AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) for $249. Apple also sells an over-ear AirPods model, called the AirPods Max ($549), with premium sound geared toward audiophiles.
All AirPods allow for seamless pairing with Apple devices and Bluetooth connectivity. That said, they each differ when it comes to battery life, design, and audio performance. To help you decide which AirPods are right for you, we broke down key features for every earbud-style model.
Apple AirPods 2 vs. AirPods 3 vs. AirPods Pro
Which AirPods model should you buy?
Each AirPods model is geared toward a slightly different buyer.
The AirPods (2nd Gen) are a good fit for shoppers on a budget who don’t need wireless charging, noise cancellation, water/sweat resistance, or spatial audio. They’re good for basic listening, but aren’t ideal for workouts or audiophiles who want to hear music with surround sound-like effects. Though they’re listed for $129, you can often find them on sale for $99.
The benefits of the third-generation AirPods — like longer battery, water resistance, and a wireless charging case — are well worth the extra money if you can afford it. They also have the same battery life as the more expensive AirPods Pro, though they lack noise cancellation. The third-gen AirPods can often be found on sale for $150.
Buyers who don’t mind paying extra for the best AirPods experience should opt for the AirPods Pro. They add active noise cancellation and the ability to swap in silicone tips for a better fit. They’re pricey at $249, but they’ll give you the best performance, especially if you’re someone who commutes on a train or often listens to music in a noisy environment.
That said, we haven’t tested the new second-gen model ourselves just yet, so it remains to be seen just how much of an upgrade they offer over the original model. Though Apple no longer sells them directly, you can still find the first-gen AirPods Pro on sale at many retailers for $180. If you’re not interested in the second-gen model’s improved features, the first-gen AirPods Pro still offer a ton of value.