Apple AirPods have captured the hearts of countless users, and it’s not just because of their comfort and fit, which have improved over the years. The latest AirPods are celebrated for their top-notch design, exceptional sound quality, and, crucially, their seamless connectivity to Apple devices. Whether you’re on the hunt for noise-canceling AirPods for your next flight or ones that can keep you comfortable during long office hours, our tech experts have sifted through the options to present you with the best Apple AirPods to consider in 2023.
Over 25 pairs of earbuds and headphones have been put to the test throughout the course of decades-long expertise evaluating audio equipment, ranging from low-cost earbuds to high-end noise-canceling headphones, including the most recent AirPods Pro 2 and AirPods Pro 3. We carefully analyzed battery life, audio quality, comfort and design, and other factors to determine the best options. We also took into account reviews from actual customers who discussed how well the AirPods fit and whether or not the sound quality lived up to their expectations. These are the best Apple AirPods to think about in 2023, according to user feedback and our extensive testing.
After looking at the AirPods that our experts like, check in for additional information about factors to take into account when purchasing AirPods. We’ll also offer professional advice on how to maintain the best possible condition for your Apple AirPods.
Our Top Picks: Best Buy Airpods 2023
Best Overall AirPods: Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) with MagSafe Charging Case, USB-C )
- Excellent noise canceling
- Great sound quality
- Adjustable ear tips
- Supports wireless charging and USB-C
- Water, sweat, and dust-resistant
- Fit is not perfect for everyone
The second-generation AirPods Pro with USB-C charging have taken the original AirPods to new heights by introducing powerful noise-canceling capabilities. This advancement makes it easier than ever to take calls hands-free, even in noisy environments. The AirPods Pro 2 feature silicone tips that seal off the ear canal, enhancing comfort and ensuring a secure fit while you’re on the move.
These AirPods make it simpler to find the right size for your ears, addressing a common problem among earbud users. The second-generation model boasts improved audio quality with exceptional clarity and depth, thanks to Apple’s H2 chip.
Apple claims that the noise canceling is twice as powerful as the previous generation, and our recent lab tests confirm that the AirPods Pro 2 can compete with some over-ear headphones when it comes to blocking out background noise. These earphones are “impressive for earbuds,” according to Comport Shop Lab Assistant and audiophile Nik Greenwald. They provide a well-balanced bass range and little distortion. These AirPods are a popular option since they provide some of the greatest audio quality of any AirPods.
Our experts were pleased with the AirPods Pro 2’s capacity to cancel out loud city streets when using public transit. They also praised the ease of switching to transparency mode by simply pressing the AirPods’ stem. Apple has also added a feature called “Conversation Awareness,” which automatically reduces audio volume and background noise when you start speaking, facilitating smooth transitions to conversations.
However, it’s worth noting that callers on the other end may pick up ambient sounds like traffic and wind that the earbuds capture. Reviewers generally praised these AirPods for their ability to deliver an immersive audio experience, but some found that they occasionally fell out of ears and didn’t provide a perfect fit despite the silicone tips.
Best Value AirPods: Apple AirPods (2nd Generation)
- Features the same performance chip as AirPods 3
- Ideal for smaller ears
- Good audio quality
- Weaker audio quality and battery life than the latest AirPods
- Doesn’t support wireless charging
- Not water-resistant
If you’re looking to save money while transitioning to wireless audio and saying goodbye to Apple EarPods, the 2nd generation AirPods are an excellent starting point. Although they don’t offer the improved audio quality of the pricier 3rd-generation AirPods, they share the same H1 chip, so the performance isn’t vastly different.
In comparison to other manufacturers, these earphones are reasonably priced and of excellent quality. These earphones are really comfy for me, and I appreciate that the silicone isn’t soft as with other earbuds. The same pair have remained in excellent shape for the many years I’ve owned them.”
These AirPods don’t withstand water and have a somewhat lower battery life than the AirPods 3, but they still connect to Bluetooth almost instantaneously and work seamlessly with all Apple products. Some testers even prefer the design of these AirPods to newer generations, noting that they stay securely in narrow ear canals due to longer stems and smaller earbuds. Others appreciate the rapid charging and the compact case that protects the earbuds when not in use.
Best Open-Ear AirPods: Apple AirPods (3rd Generation)
- Improved audio quality over 2nd generation AirPods
- Supports wireless charging
- Water and sweat-resistant
- Prone to falling out of some ears
Falling in between the AirPods Pro 2 and the AirPods 2 in terms of price, our experts recommend the latest generation of open-ear AirPods for their improved audio quality compared to the previous generation. These open-ear AirPods won’t block out sound as effectively as AirPods Pro or over-ear headphones but allow you to remain aware of your surroundings by allowing some ambient sound in. However, they do not feature active noise cancellation.
Our pros found the sound to be crisp and clear with rich bass while streaming music. Nik Greenwald expresses, “The sound quality of Apple’s earbuds is unmatched to me. They have a really smooth frequency response that just sounds good.” These AirPods also offer wireless charging and are water and sweat-resistant, making them a great choice for workouts. However, some testers found that they didn’t stay in their ears as well as other AirPods due to the new shape.
When shopping for the best AirPods, consider the following factors
- Noise Cancelation: Some AirPods offer noise cancelation, which is essential for blocking out background noise. Active noise cancelation uses technology to cancel outside sounds, while passive noise cancelation relies on physical design. If you prefer active noise cancelation, look for AirPods Pro 2nd Gen or AirPods Pro 3rd Gen.
- Comfort and Fit: Not all AirPods fit the same way. AirPods Gen 3 and earlier models easily slide into your ears but may fall out. AirPods Pro offer adjustable silicone tips for a secure fit. Over-ear headphones like Air
- Battery Life and Charging: Check the battery life of your AirPods, especially if you tend to forget to charge devices. Newer generations usually offer more battery power. If wireless charging is important to you, ensure that the model you choose supports this feature. The latest AirPods Pro Gen 2 can be charged with USB-C, a convenient feature for reducing cable clutter.
- Water Resistance: Most recent Apple AirPods are water and sweat-resistant, but there are exceptions.Pick a water-resistant AirPods model with at least an IPX4 rating if you want to use them in the rain or during your workouts. The stronger the protection against liquids and solids, the higher the IP rating. For example, the IP54 classification of the AirPods Pro Gen 2 makes them more dust-resistant than other versions.
Choosing the right Apple AirPods depends on your priorities, whether it’s powerful noise cancelation, affordability, or improved audio quality. Our expert recommendations cover a range of needs, from the top-of-the-line AirPods Pro 2 to the budget-friendly 2nd generation AirPods and the open-ear 3rd generation AirPods. Consider factors like noise cancelation, comfort, battery life, and water resistance when making your decision.
Remember to explore additional tips on cleaning your Apple AirPods to keep them looking and performing like new. Investing in the right pair can enhance your audio experience and seamlessly integrate with your Apple devices. Stay informed and make the best choice for your audio needs in 2023.