Apple's AirPods wireless earbuds are the hot ticket right now, with an iconic look and excellent sound quality plus new features that come with the updated models. But they're not cheap, and it's proved surprisingly difficult to get hold of a pair at anything lower than the RRP of £159. (If you're going to pay that, you may as well buy direct from Apple.)
But it's not impossible to find AirPods deals, and we expect we'll see retailers selling off older models of the AirPods now that new AirPods have arrived. In this article we round up the best discounts and bundle deals to help you save money. We've also got a couple of similar products from other manufacturers that are excellent value, for those who are willing to compromise.
Apple's second generation AirPods can respond to Hey Siri commands, charge wirelessly if you opt for the Wireless Charging Case, and offer more talk time than the originals. Find out more about the new AirPods here.
All of the deals mentioned in this article at present are for the original AirPods - we would recommend waiting until the price of the original AirPods has dropped in response to the new model, or buying the new AirPods for £159/$159 or £199/$199 with the Wireless Charging Case from Apple here.
For a broader look at the audio bargains out there, take a look at Best headphone deals.
Best AirPods deals right now
How to get a good deal on AirPods
Good AirPods deals are rare and tend not to last long. If you see one (and you're sure the supplier is legit - look it up on TrustPilot if you've not bought from there before), grab it.
The RRP of the AirPods is £159 and you should never pay more than that: we've seen unscrupulous retailers claim the RRP is £180 and work out 'savings' based on that.
The best way to get a good price on AirPods may be to bundle them with a phone, or with a phone contract. Three routinely offers AirPods bundles but these are currently out of stock; also check EE and Vodafone for appealing offers.
Finally, remember to take postage into account when evaluating deals - we include it in our list of prices but most retailers won't add it until you're at the checkout. And watch out for deals that seem too good to be true, but turn out to have no stock. We see this a lot.
Where to find AirPods deals
Here are some AirPods stockists that are worth checking on a regular basis - we look at all of them each time we update this article. Most of the time you'll just find them at the RRP of £159 (the AirPods are unusually consistent in that regard) but you may find a bargain that's popped up in the past few days.
You should also give eBay a try. Buying second-hand is one way to get a lower price, but eBay also has sellers offering brand-new items.
AirPods buying advice
Wondering if a pair of AirPods is right for you? Let's discuss the pros and cons.
Obviously they're wireless, sitting in your ears and in theory staying there through snugness of fit alone. The advantages of this are clear - they allow you to go running or work out without worrying about snagging the cables - but they may fall out once you pick up the pace. Our experience, however, is that the AirPods are among the best earbuds around in this regard.
Sound quality is excellent, but you can get that elsewhere, possibly for less money. What AirPods do better than non-Apple headphones is co-ordinate with other Apple products, thanks to the W1 chip (in the first generation) and H1 chip (second-gen) which makes pairing with an iPhone a breeze.
Battery-wise, the AirPods will last around five hours, but that's not the end of the story: they come with a little charging case with its own larger battery, so you can pop them back in for a rapid top up. The case should offer another 24 hours (give or take) before it'll require charging. We've got some advice on getting better AirPods battery life.
Best AirPods deals
1. Apple AirPods
Now: £14 per month (for 11 months)
EE is offering to add a pair of AirPods to an existing plan for £14 a month, for 11 months, with no upfront cost - a small saving on the RRP (the total outlay will be £154), and spread out to make it easier to manage.
2. Apple AirPods
Now: £149.99 (£9 off)
This offer - a small saving on the RRP - comes from a seller with 98.2% positive feedback. eBay tends to have the best AirPods deals, but look for a highly rated seller, check if it's new or pre-owned and bear in mind eBay's money back guarantee.
3. Apple AirPods
From: John Lewis
Now: £159 (2-year warranty)
John Lewis sells AirPods at the usual RRP, but the firm's two-year warranty (twice what Apple offers) and three months of free Apple Music are worth having.
4. Apple AirPods
From: Unlocked Mobiles
Now: £147 (£12 off)
Once you take into account the postage charge, the savings on this deal are down to just a few pounds. Unlocked Mobiles has a decent rating on TrustPilot, but you may prefer to pay the extra and buy from Apple.
5. Icetek Silicone Skin Case for AirPods
This AirPods accessory pack is good value. You get a protective silicone cover for your charging case, and an 'anti-loss' connecting wire for precarious situations.
6. Winberry Metal AirPods Case
This protective AirPods cover is silicone on the inside and aluminium on the outside, and looks pretty nice. There are 11 colour options.
7. Jabra Elite 65t
Now: £128.24 (£21 off)
These are an excellent alternative to the AirPods - they got 4.5 stars in our review - and are available at a good price from Amazon.
8. Earin True Wireless Bluetooth Headphone
Now: £49.99 (£50 off)
The Earins are incredibly small but provide detailed sound with excellent mid tones, a clear high end and a tight bass. They also come with a charging/storage 'capsule', just like the AirPods. Product details here.