AirPods Buyer's Guide: Should You Buy?

Apple's AirPods range is a must-have for any iPhone user, but with so many different models and generations, it can be hard to decide which to buy.

Thanks to this AirPods buying guide, you'll be able to work out the exact differences between all of the AirPods models and generations, so you can decide which is best for you.

Keep reading to discover AirPods guide and tips to help your decision-making, including everything you need to know about each model and which is best for your budget!

In this blog:

Which are the best AirPods to buy?

With many models and generations of AirPods on the market, it can easily leave you wondering, "which AirPods should I buy?" Luckily, we're here to break down each AirPods model and the generations that are on offer.


These types of AirPods are Apple's entry-level options and there are currently three generations to choose from.

The standard AirPods are the cheapest option when compared to the AirPods Max or AirPods Pro version of the same generation, so if you're thinking, "should I buy AirPods or AirPods Pro" and want to keep costs at a minimum, the standard AirPods will be the best choice for you.

AirPods increase in price depending on the generation you want to buy. Usually, the older generations will cost less, as they aren't as new and don't offer the latest and greatest updates/features.

To help you decide on which generation to choose from, here is a list of specs:


AirPods (1st gen) AirPods (2nd gen) AirPods (3rd gen)
Active noise cancelling No No No
Transparency mode No No No
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.0
Battery (case) More than 24 hours More than 24 hours Up to 30 hours
Battery (earbud) Up to 5 hours Up to 5 hours Up to 6 hours
Water resistance No No IPX4
Charging Lightning only Lightning only Lightning, Qi, MagSafe
Custom chip Apple W1 Apple H1 Apple H1


AirPods Pro

The AirPods Pro are the Pro versions of the standard AirPods, and so they cost a little extra – but for good reason. Whether it's a better chip, added water resistance, or a noise cancelling feature, the AirPods Pro will always one up the matching AirPods generation.

There are currently two generations of AirPods Pro models: AirPods Pro 1st gen and AirPods Pro 2nd gen. Like with the standard AirPods, the higher the generation, the more expensive the AirPods will be, as they will be newer.

If you're wondering, "should I buy AirPods or AirPods Pro" and you'd happily sacrifice an extra few pounds in exchange for better earbuds, we'd suggest opting for the AirPods Pro instead!

To help you decide on which generation of AirPods Pro to choose from, here is a list of specs:


AirPods Pro (1st gen) AirPods Pro (2nd gen)
Active noise cancelling Yes Yes
Transparency mode Yes Yes
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.3
Battery (case) More than 24 hours Up to 30 hours
Battery (earbud) Up to 4.5 hours Up to 6 hours
Water resistance IPX4 IPX4
Charging Lightning, Qi, MagSafe Lightning, Qi, MagSafe
Custom chip Apple H1 Apple H2


AirPods Max

Unlike both the AirPods and AirPods Pro, the AirPods Max are actually headphones rather than earbuds; therefore they don't come with a charging case and offer different features.

Currently, there is only one generation of AirPods Max, so there's less research needed before making your purchase.

To help you decide if the AirPods Max are right for you, here is a list of specs:

AirPods Max
Active noise cancelling Yes
Transparency mode Yes
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.0
Battery (case) N/A
Battery (earbud) Up to 20 hours
Water resistance No
Charging Lightning only
Custom chip Apple H1

AirPods user guide

Now that you've looked through our AirPods buyers guide and have decided on the AirPods for you, it's time to figure out how to use them!

Pair your AirPods

To use your AirPods, you'll need to pair them to your Apple device. To do this, simply open your Bluetooth settings and pair to the AirPods. You'll then be able to listen to music, movies, messages and more.

After you've set up your AirPods with your Apple device, your AirPods will connect automatically to your other Apple devices where you're signed in with the same Apple ID.

Controlling sound and music

The AirPods controls are simple to use. With just a tap or a press, you'll be able to pause and resume video playback, skip music tracks and more!

Using Siri

If you want to use Siri on your AirPods, you can either turn on 'Listen for Hey Siri' in your settings or tap the stem of your AirPods Pro (for 1st and 2nd gen AirPods, you'll need to tap the top of you earbuds) to activate Siri.

Using noise cancellation

An AirPods tip for those with AirPods Pro (all generations) or AirPods Max is using the noise cancellation feature. To cancel external sounds, switch the noise cancellation feature on in your settings. And when you need to hear the dog bark or kettle whistling, switch to Transparency mode.

Finding your AirPods

It's all too easy to misplace an earbud, that's why Apple added the Find My feature to AirPods! You can locate and get directions to your AirPods when they're lost or if they're nearby, you can play a sound on your AirPods to help you locate them.

Where to buy Apple AirPods?

There are plenty of places you can buy Apple AirPods! The most obvious place to purchase some new AirPods would be with Apple, either in a store or on the website. If you don't fancy paying the expensive prices that most retailers offer, you can always switch to refurbished instead for a cheaper price!

For those wondering, "is it worth buying refurbished AirPods?" we're here to tell you it is! It's no secret that AirPods are quite costly, so if you aren't willing to part with that much money, refurbished is a great solution.

Refurbished AirPods from musicMagpie are thoroughly checked to ensure they're in perfect working condition, ready to be resold and put back to use. So if you're looking for a way of buying AirPods for less and are thinking, "should I buy second hand AirPods" the answer is yes!

Can you buy AirPods without the case?

If you're looking to cut costs by purchasing the AirPods without the case, you'll be disappointed to know that AirPods can only be purchased with the case unless you're buying replacement AirPods from Apple.

You have to purchase both left and right AirPods along with the case; this is the case for both new and refurbished AirPods. If you already have AirPods but have lost the case or an AirPod, you'll be able to purchase a replacement for the part you have lost with Apple directly.

Decided on your next set of AirPods? Get them cheaper when you buy refurbished AirPods with musicMagpie. You can also trade in AirPods with us to get extra cash towards your next AirPods purchase!

Plus, make your next phone even cheaper by shopping our huge range of refurbished phones and refurbished iPhone models at the musicMagpie Store.