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1 December 2021

Best AirPods and headphone deals in the sales

The best wireless headphones deals from the sales as chosen by Which? tech experts, including cheap wireless headphones, Apple AirPods deals and the best deals from brands such as Anker, Bose and Sony
Oliver Trebilcock
Best AirPod and Headphones Deals and Sales

Looking for a bargain on the best headphones? Whether you're after truly wireless headphones or an over-ear pair, we’ve rounded up some of the best offers you can find in the sales right now.

Headphones come at a huge range of prices, from £5 to more than £300, and a small saving on a pair of cheap headphones can be as worthwhile as a larger saving on a more expensive pair.

You'll need to be prepared to spend more if you’re looking for an effective pair of active noise-cancelling headphones, as our tests have found that good pairs rarely come cheap.

Best headphones deals in the sales for December 

There are attractively-priced and cheap headphones deals available all year round. Some models are always cheap and can be great to snap up at any time of the year, while some pricier sets get huge discounts during promotional periods.

Below we've listed the best deals at the moment, but if you're just looking for a decent set of cheap headphones, check out our top five best cheap headphones for 2021.

Best Apple AirPods deals

The most popular kind of in-ear and earbud headphones are truly wireless headphones such as the Apple AirPods. They’re compact and save you from daily untangling of wires.

Other styles of wireless headphones have a wire or a neckband between the two earpieces.

Apple AirPods (2nd Generation) – £99

Apple AirPods
  • Truly wireless headphones (earbuds)
  • Apple iOS and Android device compatible (some non-essential features are iOS-only)
  • Five hours claimed battery life
  • 24 hours total claimed battery life with top-ups from charging case

We like: Comfortable

We didn’t like: Quite a bit of sound leaks to your surroundings

With the launch of the AirPods 3 in late October, the price of this second-generation model (which launched in 2019) has fallen considerably – its RRP is now £119, when it was originally £159. The best price we can find at the moment is £99.

Find out whether they’re the best option to choose in our Apple AirPods review.   

Buy for £99 from AOAppliances Direct and John Lewis.

Apple AirPods Pro - £168

Apple AirPods Pro
  • Truly wireless headphones (earbuds)
  • Compatible with both iOS and Android devices (somewhat limited functionality on Android though)
  • Four and a half hours claimed battery life
  • 24 hours total claimed battery life including top-ups from charging case

We like: No sound leakage

We didn't like: No equaliser to adjust sound to your preferences

It's rare to see a saving this large on Apple devices, but with newer AirPods launching very recently we've seen a substantial decrease in prices from this tech giant. They normally retail for around £215 on the high street, but you can pick them up for just £169 from Vchain.

Check out our Apple Airpods Pro review to find out how they performed in our rigorous lab tests.

Buy for £168 from Vchain or £179 from Appliances Direct.

Best deals on earbud and in-ear headphones

Skullcandy Jib Wireless - £12.59

Skullcandy Jib Black Friday
  • Bluetooth in-ear headphones
  • In-line remote for calls and music control
  • Six hours claimed battery life

We like: Great price, Bluetooth connectivity

We didn’t like: Battery life could be better

The two earbuds are connected by a cord, but they link wirelessly to your phone. However, can a set of Bluetooth headphones costing this little possibly sound great?

Our independent lab tests have all the answers: see our Skullcandy Jib Wireless review.

Buy from £12.59 at Amazon.

Skullcandy Sesh - £27.59

Skullcandy Sesh Black Friday
  • In-ear buds
  • Water and dust resistant 

We like: Decent price

We Don't Like: Poor battery life

These Bluetooth earbuds are compatible with Android and IOS  and have with controls on each bud. They're water and dust resistant, and produce a decent amount of bass.

Normally around £50, these Skullcandy earbuds are discounted on Amazon marketplace to £27.59.

Read our Skullcandy Sesh review to find out more about them or buy now for £27.59 at Amazon marketplace

Sony WF-1000XM3 - £99

Sony WF-1000XM3 Black Friday

                                                                                                                          

  • Wireless
  • Noise cancelling

We like: Over 6 hours of battery life

We Don't Like: Sound quality isn't great when making calls inside

These headphones come with noise cancelling, helping to block out unwanted background sounds. They also come with a charging case which will give you 24 hours of listening.

They're normally on sale for £129, but Amazon currently has them for £99.

Find out whether they're a match for your ears by reading our expert Sony WF-1000XM3 review or buy them for £99 at Amazon.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro - £149

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
  • Wireless
  • Noise cancelling
  • IPX7 fully waterproof

We like: Comfortable, good build quality

We Don't Like: Battery life could be better

Samsung's answer to the Apple Airpods Pro, the Galaxy Buds Pro are wireless, in-ear headphones with active noise cancelling designed for use with Android devices. The earpieces are waterproof and they come with a small charging case, so you can charge the battery when you're not using them.

They usually cost £219, but we've found them on sale for £149.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro review or buy them for £149 at AmazonBoots and Currys.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds - £179 

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
  • Wireless
  • Noise cancellation feature
  • IPX4 water resistant

We like: Well built

We Don't Like: Expensive compared with some rivals

These wireless in-ear headphones have a built-in active noise cancelling, helping to block out background noise. Touch controls on the earbuds let you perform functions such as skipping between tracks and turning on noise cancellation. These Bluetooth earbuds are compatible with iOS and Android devices.

Usually retailing for around £229, these Bose earbuds are now available on Amazon for £179.

Find out whether they're worth the money by reading our Bose QuietComfort Earbuds review or buy them now for £179 at Amazon.

Best deals on over-ear and on-ear headphones 

On-ear headphones sit on top of your ears, while over-ear headphones surround and cup your ears. This makes on-ear headphones more compact, while over-ear headphones can be more comfortable for longer listening sessions. 

Both types tend to have much longer continuous-listening battery lives than in-ear headphones.

Sennheiser HD 300 - £35

Sennheiser HD 300 Black Friday
  • Over-ear headphones
  • Wired

We like: Comfortable and good build quality

We Don't Like: No headphone controls or travel case

These headphones sit on the ear, and the padded ear muffs make them comfortable for all ages. 

They have no sound leakage at all, and they also fold so are perfect for commuting.

They're usually around £45, but now available on Amazon for £34.99.

Read our full, expert Sennheiser HD 300 review or buy now for £35 at Amazon.

AKG N60NC Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones - £99

                                                                                                                

  • Wireless
  • Folding design 

We like: Noise cancelling feature and little sound leakage

We Don't Like: Not the most comfortable

These are sleek and stylish headphones which are easy to fold and transport. If the battery dies, you can attach a wire and carry on listening. The headphones have playback controls on them, but you can also control them using voice commands.

Normally £119, they're now available on Amazon Marketplace for £99.

Read our expert review here AKG N60NC Wireless review and buy now at Amazon Marketplace.

JBL CLUB 950NC - £99.97

  • Noise cancelling
  • Over-ear wireless headphones

We like: Decent battery life   

We didn’t like: Build quality and comfort could be better

These headphones sound good and come with a noise-cancelling feature. Usually costing £179 they're currently on sale for £99.97 at Currys.

Read our expert JBL CLUB 950NC review to find out the full range of features.

Microsoft Surface Headphones - £135.74

                                                                                                                     

  • Over-ear Bluetooth headphones
  • Noise cancelling 

We like: Good sound quality 

We Don't Like: The app works only with Windows 

These headphones were launched a while back and have been superseded by the Microsoft Surface Headphones 2, but they are still worth considering as a cheaper alternative. They usually retail for around £180, but are currently on sale at Amazon Marketplace for around £136.

They have excellent sound quality with very little sound leakage. The battery life is approximately 14 hours and they come with a detachable cable in the event your battery runs out. They can also be activated via the Cortona voice control function. 

Read our expert Microsoft Surface Headphones review or buy now for £135.74 at Amazon Marketplace.

Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 - £159

Microsoft Surface Headphones 2
  • Over-ear wireless headphones
  • Noise cancelling

We like: Compatible with iOS and Android as well as Windows

We don't like: Built quality is a bit rattly

These headphones were launched in June 2020 and are the updated version of the slightly older Microsoft Surface Headphones. They're usually on sale for around £200, but you can pick up a pair from John Lewis for just £159.

Find out how these over-ear headphones performed in our Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 review, or buy them for £159 from John Lewis.

Sennheiser PXC 550-II - £166                                                                                                            

  • Wireless
  • Folding design
  • Noise cancelling

We like: Excellent battery life

We didn’t like: Small ear-cups, tight fit

These headphones were released in 2019, but are still worth considering. They are compatible with Google, Siri and Alexa and have various noise cancelling modes. We found they have a tight fit, which won't suit everyone.

Usually around £200, these headphones are now available from Amazon for £159.

Find out how well they perform by reading our Sennheiser PXC 550-II review or buy now for £166 from Amazon.

Sony WH-1000XM3 - £159

Sony WH-1000XM3 Black Friday
  • Noise cancelling
  • Over-ear wireless headphones

We like:  Comprehensive smartphone app  

We didn’t like:  Touch controls could be better 

The Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones' sound is supremely balanced and engaging with an excellent active noise cancelling system.

Usually costing £239 they're currently on sale for £159 at John Lewis.

Read our expert Sony WH-1000XM3 review to find out whether they're the model for you.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II - £179

  • Convenient to use
  • Over-ear wireless headphones

We like: Strong noise cancelling   

We didn’t like: Sound lacks dynamism 

Bose is renowned for its high-quality headphones, with its QuietComfort 35 II set being one of the most popular.

Normally selling for £229 they're currently available for £179 at Fenwick.

Read our expert Bose QuietComfort 35 II review to find out whether they're worth investing in.

Sennheiser Momentum 3 wireless - £249                                                                                                              

  • Metal frame
  • Noise cancelling

We like: Voice control

We didn’t like: Battery life could be better

These high-end headphones are very study and have a metal frame. They also have a transparent mode, which lets you hear sound from your surroundings alongside your music (this works well when commuting and listening for announcements). All features can be adjusted in the app, which works on Android and iOS devices.

They're usually on sale for around £300, but are currently available for £249 at Very.

But are they worth the money? Read our expert Sennheiser Momentum 3 review to find out.

Apple Airpods Max - £459

Apple Airpods Max
  • Compatible with Apple devices
  • Over-ear wireless headphones

We like: Impressive noise cancelling

We didn’t like: Not fully foldable, heavy to wear

The Apple Airpods Max are Apple's first over-ear headphones, designed for use with iPhones, Macs and other Apple devices. They feature active noise cancelling and a Transparency mode for when you need to hear more sounds from your surroundings. 

Usually costing £549, they're some of the most expensive wireless headphones we've tested, however they're currently on sale for £459 at Amazon.

Read our expert Apple Airpods Max review to find out whether they're worth investing in.

How we select the best headphone deals

Apple AirPods are also incredibly popular, and big savings on Apple products are rare, so we keep a close eye on the prices of these iconic headphones to pull out any rare bargains.

Be aware that not all price cuts are as good as they seem. Even if a retailer promotes a big price cut, it doesn’t guarantee that you won’t find the headphones cheaper elsewhere, or that the pair is good enough to justify even a rock-bottom price.

We only feature deals on headphones that score pretty well in our tests, though they’re not all Best Buys. You can make sure that the headphones you have your eye on deliver where it matters to you – be that sound quality, comfort, ease of use or battery life – by clicking on the links to our full reviews.

When and where are the best headphones on sale?

Some headphones are cheap all year, while pricier sets from big-brand names such as Sony and Bose get their prices slashed at certain times of year. 

However, just because the price tag highlights a huge saving, it doesn’t mean the offer is as special as is claimed. Retailers use all sorts of tricks to try to convince you to buy, such as:  

  • Making something seem like a ‘hot’ product by flagging how many people are viewing the product around the same time as you, which can give a sense of urgency and make you feel it’s popular.
  • Giving low stock warnings, which can also encourage a hasty purchase. 

It’s worth stepping back from these messages and ensuring the product really is a good deal, as it could just be one being heavily marketed at that time.

Below, we’ve highlighted some of the most popular retailers to buy headphones from, and what to watch out for to identify a genuinely great deal. 

Apple Store headphones deals

Apple headphones, such as the AirPods, are very popular, but the Apple Store is usually not the place to go if you’re looking for the best price, as Apple rarely cuts its prices when selling direct. 

You’d be better off keeping an eye on big tech retailers such as Amazon and Currys PC World. These often offer considerable savings over the recommended retail price of Apple products to tempt your custom their way.

Click on the links below to head to these key retailers’ dedicated AirPods pages and see what they have to offer right now:

Amazon headphones deals

Amazon can be a great place to compare prices and snap up a bargain on headphones from big name brands such as Bose, Sennheiser or Sony – and it offers some particularly good deals around Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday and other promotional periods. 

What to watch out for

Search for headphones on Amazon.co.uk and you’ll also find loads of very cheap pairs for sale, including many brands you’ve probably never heard of – names that crop up regularly include Anker, Mpow and Enacfire. Many of them will have hundreds, or even thousands, of positive reviews. 

If you’re tempted by the low prices of lesser-known brands, proceed with caution. Just because you haven’t heard of a brand doesn’t automatically make the headphones a bad buy, and we’ve found some great cheap headphones in our testing. However, we’ve also found many that have disappointed our lab experts, despite the apparently endless number of rave reviews.

Which? investigations repeatedly show that product reviews on online marketplaces such as Amazon can’t always be trusted, and a huge numbers of positive reviews for budget-priced products is something to be sceptical about.

The only way to make fully considered comparisons is to check out our headphone reviews. There are so many pairs on Amazon we don’t test them all, but we do review some of the most popular models from brands that regularly feature in Amazon's bestsellers charts, such as Anker, Mpow and Enacfire.

Argos headphones deals

Argos is a popular place to buy small consumer electronics such as headphones. The retailer often has handy outlets in larger Sainsbury’s stores too.  

Argos often has good deals on individual headphones, so it can be worth checking the Argos website on occasion to see what new pairs its promoting heavily.

Argos also has a clearance section. It’s worth keeping an eye on, as clearance deals at Argos are often genuine discounts on stock that it’s trying to get rid of. 

What to watch out for

Be wary of headphones marked with a ‘WOW’; Argos uses this to pull your attention to a product (often its own-brand Bush range), and it doesn’t always mean that the headphones are a good deal. 

Also watch for ‘Great new price’ labels, as that is no guarantee the price is better than the old one.

Currys PC World headphones deals and ‘clearance’ sales

While Currys PC World can offer some genuinely great headphone deals on its dedicated deals page, it’s worth scrutinising the small print.

What to watch out for

Many Currys PC World deals aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. The retailer sometimes puts headphones on sale at an inflated price, before suddenly dropping the price to a more appropriate level just a few weeks later. This can make the saving seem bigger than it actually is – and doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t find the same headphones cheaper elsewhere.   

Currys PC world also has a ‘clearance’ page that, at certain times of year, is packed with headphones. However, whatever the term ‘clearance’ might suggest, discounts on these models can be very small or, in some cases, nothing at all. Currys may want to shift stock, but it doesn’t guarantee it’s a good deal.

Are headphone recycling and trade-in schemes a good deal?

Some headphone manufacturers such as Jabra also offer trade-in schemes for the headphones, where you send back your current pair for a discount on a newer model, and they responsibly recycle your old pair.

This can be a good way to get an even better deal on your new pair of headphones, although the manufacturer’s discount will often be on the standard retail price rather than any lower price commonly offered by other retailers, so the discount can seem larger than it actually is.

Alternatively, you can recycle your old headphones along with other small electrical items.

Head over to our how to buy the best headphones guide to find more about how to buy the ideal pair of headphones for you.