Why Are Airpods So Expensive?

AirPods have gone from a luxury item to a household item – for every member of the family. It seems that while working and schooling from home everyone is now wearing Airpods on their Zoom calls.

Some consumers question if AirPods are worth it because of their high price tag. Basic AirPods cost $119-$159 and the Airpods Pro goes for $199-$249. For that price, they’d better be worth it.

StorePriceLink
Best Buy$119.99Link
Amazon$119.99Link
Walmart$119.99Link
Target$129.99Link
Costco$119.99Link
Micro Center$119.99Link
Staples$129.99Link

AirPods are expensive because people are willing to pay more for the assurance of quality that comes with the Apple brand. Apple’s overhead for research, design, development, construction, and marketing goes into making Apple products which result into higher cost.

Apple promises minimalist, premium innovative products and AirPods do offer unique features. At first, AirPods received a critical response from media and consumers but within two years their popularity spread throughout the mainstream culture.

For more than five times the cost of the old Apple EarPods, some are hesitant to make the switch. If you’re considering purchasing AirPods, take a deeper dive into their features, and why they are so popular before deciding if AirPods are worth it for you.

How AirPods Became Popular

While AirPods were announced in September 2016, and first sold in December 2016, they didn’t become popular until about 2018. In fact, when they were first introduced, AirPods were highly criticized and mocked in mainstream culture. However, they quickly gained traction as a status symbol and now AirPods are extremely popular, even selling out at peak times like the Christmas season.

TechRadar rated them 3.5/5: “Ultimately the AirPods end up disappointing…for that kind of money we think that you can find better products elsewhere.” In early September, headlines like “Earth to Apple: wireless Airpod headphones are like a tampon without a string” in the Guardian discouraged consumers from purchasing them.

They also received harsh reviews on Twitter. “If only there were an invention that could keep those AirPods tethered together, like a string,” said Ashley Esquede, a writer for tech site CNET.

And of course, there were countless memes making fun of AirPods. Like this one which showcases a user putting his electric toothbrush in his ear, making fun of the small white AirPod design.

But, by about 2018 attitudes towards AirPods began to flip. Celebrities started using them, and the mocking memes changed from making fun of their design to poking fun at their price, and the high-income class associated with owning them. They became a status symbol similar to luxury cars or designer bags. In fact, many memes and reviews compared Apple to Gucci in terms of their high prices which generated brand exclusivity.

Turns out, making fun of the product actually promoted them more. Like free advertising, the online memes and jests got the word out. As AirPods rose to popularity, they didn’t get cheaper, they didn’t suddenly surpass expectations. They simply became a symbol that one was wealthy enough to own them. Thus the high cost supports the status symbol of AirPods.

Convenience and Performance

AirPods are Apple’s most popular accessory, which is also why they are priced so high. The top two reasons that people give for satisfaction with their AirPods is their convenience and performance. AirPods offer a 24-hour battery life, comfortable fit, and quality connection for phone calls all in a portable design.

Serious businessman looking at touchpad display while watching online conference

AirPods come in a small design convenient for traveling or daily carrying. And enabling Siri makes a hands-free experience for phone calls, listening to music, or directions. They offer a simple set-up and pairing process that connects to both Apple products and non-Apple devices.

To connect to Apple products, you simply connect to one device and it automatically pairs with the devices on your iCloud account, so you can easily switch from listening on your iPhone to your iPad. And for Andriod and other devices, you just hold down the button on the back and open Bluetooth pairing to connect.

Additionally, AirPods perform well. One charge will last you about five hours of listening to music or three hours of talking on the phone, according to Apple. However, keep in mind that was tested with the volume at 50 percent. Apple also claims that 15 minutes of charge will get you up to three hours of listening on the AirPods or five minutes of Charge offers one hour of listening on the AirPods Pro.

The AirPod Pros also come in an adjustable size. Apple offers an Ear Tip Fit Test once your AirPods are connected to your phone to let you know which size of the ear tip is best for you.

Finally, the performance of AirPods is popular for its easy phone calls. Some users claim that AirPods have a better connection for phone calls than other wireless headphones.

Additionally, in a survey of AirPods users, respondents cited several reasons for liking the product including:

  • Fit
  • Sound quality
  • Convenient
  • Battery life
  • Simple pairing process

Their lightweight design packs in a lot of features that make AirPods so convenient and popular, but also more expensive.

5 Things That Make Apple AirPods Stand Out

AirPods have several unique features that other wireless headphones don’t offer. Because they are made with many use cases in mind, and offer unique benefits, AirPods are more expensive than other headphones.

1. Active Noise Cancellation

AirPods Pro are the only headphones with active noise cancellation that adapts to the fit of your ear, according to Apple. The noise-cancelling actively technology eliminates outside sounds with anti-noise. And users can easily switch back and forth between noise cancellation and transparency mode by pressing and holding the force sensor on the stem of either pod.

2. Audio Sharing

Additionally, Apple offers audio sharing so that users can share songs, podcasts, or any audio on one device, between two sets of AirPods. To enable audio sharing, bring both AirPods in their cases close to the iPhone or iPad you want to connect with. Then connect with a tap on the Bluetooth settings.

3. User Customization

Apple offers customization for AirPods. If you purchase your AirPods directly from Apple, they will engrave the case with an emoji, name, initials, phone number, or date for no extra cost. And you can name your AirPods with a custom nickname in your Bluetooth settings, just like with any other Apple device. You can also get customized protective cases that attach to a keyring or lanyard.

4. Wireless & Magnetic Charging Case

The AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro both come with a Qi-certified wireless charging case. But they also offer the traditional Apple lightning port at the base. Additionally, the case is magnetic to hold the lid closed and keep the pods in place so they don’t fall out.

5. Sweatproof/Waterproof Protection

This only applies to the AirPods Pro, but they offer sweat and water resistance for the avid gymgoer or rainy day. They are tested sweat and water-resistant to a rating of IPX4 under IEC standard 60529. Note: only the pods are water-resistant, the case is not.

Difference Between AirPods and AirPods Pro

AirPodsAirPods Pro
Price$159$249
FitUniversalCustomizable
Spatial AudioNoYes
Active Noise CancellationNoYes
H1 chipYesYes
SiriYesYes
Automatic switchingYesYes
Sweat and water resistant1NoYes
Battery lifeMore than 24 hoursMore than 24 hours
Personalized engravingYesYes

Are AirPods worth it?

Millennial girl enjoying music online in airpods

According to surveyed AirPods users, they are worth it. A study by Creative Strategies and Experian found that 98% of AirPods users are satisfied with their AirPods, a new record for Apple products. More than half of those surveyed said they would recommend AirPods.

In the same survey, respondents indicated that they are extremely likely to recommend AirPods. They receive a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 75. NPS is an indicator of how likely on a scale of one to ten someone would recommend a product. Anything over a score of 50 is good, and anything over a score of 70 is considered world-class.

If performance were the only factor, then AirPods would win every time. But for most people, cost is a key decision factor. AirPods cost from about $160 for the older version to $249 for the latest. However, AirPods range in about mid to high- level price in comparison to similar products.

While expensive, Apple AirPods are not the costliest wireless headphones out there. Beats headphones sell from about $149.5 to $349.95, a hundred dollars more than the most expensive AirPods model. But there are also cheaper, lower-quality options. You can save money on wireless headphones and get fewer features and a product that might not last as long. AirPods ‘dupes’ sell for about $40 and some users say they perform almost as well as Apple AirPods.

Tip for Students: If you bought a Macbook or iPad, you get a 2nd generation AirPods for free.

AirPods FAQ Answered

Generally speaking, Air pods are very suitable and comfortable when asleep by various people who have tried them. And so sleeping with them is fine and safe. But ensure that it is well fixed on the ear so it doesn't fall out during sleep.

There is a right way to wear Air Pods although many people wear them wrongly. To wear Air Pods the right way out them on your ears afterward twist them 30 degrees such that the stem is more horizontal and sticking out of the ears.

Unfortunately so for the lovers of black colours, Apple does not make Air pods or Air pods pro is black. They only make white Air pods. The black Air pods are painted by a 3rd party company such as Colorware.

No, they are not designed to be waterproof products but they are designed to be sweat and dust resistant. But these Air pods would not be destroyed by rain or falling in a puddle. And so that being said do not throw your Air pods in a pool or shower. They're rated to be IPX4, so only sweat and splash-proof.

Cheaper Alternatives to AirPods

AirPods are priced at a cost within reach of the general consumer and do offer monthly payment plans. However, they are pricey compared to the $30 Apple Earbuds we are all used to.

A lot of the features will only work with iPhone 8 or later, so if you have an older model iPhone it might not be worth it.

Other common concerns with AirPods include an uncomfortable fit, trouble with connectivity and pairing, and losing either the case or pods.

AirPods have gained record-breaking satisfaction rates, but there are many cheaper bluetooth earbuds out there that offer similar capabilities.

The convenience and performance of AirPods may be worth the premium price, but that is ultimately up to you. Let’s take a look at some of the best selling bluetooth earbuds out in the market right now.

Related: How Long do Bluetooth Earbuds Last?

Cheap Alternatives to Airpods Under $50

Best Music & Call Quality: Boltune BT-BH020 Bluetooth Earbuds

  • These Boltune BT-BH020 offer exception sound quality for both phone calls and music playback. Audio is crystal clear with a sweet treble and a deep bass. Its CVC 8. 0 noise reduction tech also makes sure you can make phone calls in even the noisiest environments.
  • Product Specs:
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Exceptional sound quality
  • CVC 8.0 noise canceling for crystal clear call quality even in noisy environments
  • Up to 6 hours of playback or talk time on a single charge

Best Bang for Your Buck: Mpow M9 4-mic Bluetooth Earbuds

  • These Mpow M9 offer good sound quality, dual mic array, CVC 8.0 noise canceling, tons of features, and up to 6 hours of use per charge – all for $30. If you want the biggest bang for your buck, look no further.
  • Product Specs:
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Dual-microphone array + CVC 8.0 noise canceling for enhanced call quality
  • Up to 6 hours of playback or talk time on a single charge
  • Mono Mode for single earbud usage
  • Touch Controls: playing, pausing, skipping tracks, adjusting volume, answering, ending, or rejecting a call

Best Battery Life: ENACFIRE E60 Bluetooth V5.0 Wireless Earbuds

  • ENACFIRE E60 offers a massive battery life of 8 hours of playtime from a single charge. No other Bluetooth earbuds in this price range can touch that. If you are looking for Bluetooth earbuds with long battery life, look no further.
  • Product Specs:
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Qualcomm apt-X HD Audio provides high resolution audio
  • 8 hours ultra long playtime from 1 single charge
  • IPX8 highest waterproof rating and nano-coating material: great for outdoor use
  • Smart touch sensors: control (including volume control) without using the phone or uncomfortable physical button

Best Comfort: TOZO T10 True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds

  • The TOZO T10 feels very comfy nestling in your ears. These earbuds are very lightweight and unobtrusive. You can wear them for hours without causing any discomfort. If comfort is your most important requirement, get the TOZO T10.
  • Product Specs:
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Hi-Fi Stereo Sound Quality
  • 8mm large size speaker driver
  • IPX8 waterproof: up to 1 meter deep for 30 minutes
  • 4 hours’ playtime from a single charge

Best Overall: TOZO T6 True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds

  • The TOZO T6 has it all. The sound quality is crystal clear with powerful bass response. It is waterproof up to 1 meter deep. You can even wear these earbuds in the shower. All in all, they are the best overall budget earbuds you can find anywhere.
  • Product Specs:
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Hi-Fi Stereo Sound Quality
  • IPX8 waterproof: up to 1 meter deep for 30 minutes
  • 6 hours’ playtime from a single charge

Frugalanswers.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.