Best Black Friday headphones deals: Save on AirPods Pro, Bose, Beats, Sony, Jabra, JLab, Sennheiser and more
This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET’s gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.
There’s been a steady stream of Black Friday deals on headphones for the last few weeks and some top models, including the AirPods Pro and Sony WH-1000XM4 are getting some good savings. The sales aren’t limited to just one type of headphone, either — there are excellent deals for on-ear, over-ear, noise-cancelling and true-wireless headphones — and several cost less than $100 and even a few cost less than $50.
In some cases, prices for headphones are matching their all-time lows or even dipping below all-time lows. Here are the best headphone deals available right now. We’ll continue updating this list as more models go on sale and other deals expire. We expect to see some of these discounts to fluctuate over the next few weeks and some deals will extend past Cyber Monday.
Read more: Best Black Friday Bluetooth speaker deals
If you’re looking for an AirPods Pro alternative for a lot less, JLab’s Epic Air is well worth considering, particularly at only $50, or half off its list price of $100. I used these recently and was generally impressed, partially because they fit my ears really well. They’re comfortable and come with a wide assortment of ear tips. They also sound decent, have active noise canceling and a compact wireless charging case that can also be charged using the integrated USB cable, a trademark of JLab true wireless earbuds. Don’t expect the noise canceling to be as good as the AirPods Pro, but for $50 these are a very good value. They also work decently for making calls.
Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Live earbuds came out a few months ago and we’re already seeing them discounted. It’s not a huge discount, but $30 is almost 20% off. They have perhaps the most innovative design of the year and I rated them highly, although the noise canceling is relatively light. A word of warning: While they fit my ears well, due to their bean-like shape, they won’t work for everybody. Read our Galaxy Buds Live review.
Jabra’s Elite Active 75t earbuds are the more rugged version of the Elite 75t. Both models are among the best true wireless earbuds out there and now can be upgraded with active noise canceling via a software upgrade. (New models that shipped to stores recently may already be equipped with the upgrade.)
The Elite Active 75t buds look nearly identical to the Elite 75t, but upon closer inspection, you’ll notice the finish on the case and earbuds is different. Instead of the hard smooth finish of the Elite Active 75t, the Active 75t has a soft-to-the-touch finish with a touch of grip to it. Or, as Jabra put it, the earbuds are “built with a durable coating for dust and sweat resistance and features an increased IP water-resistance rating from IP56 (of the Elite Active 75t) to IP57, making them waterproof.” Read our Jabra Elite Active 75t review.
The AirPods Pro were selling for $190 at Woot, but with Walmart selling them for $169, Amazon has matched that price. It’s the lowest yet. Expect shipping times to be delayed.
Skullcandy’s Sesh Evo true wireless earbuds are usually around $50-$60. They don’t really distinguish themselves from a host of other earbuds in that price range, some of which have extra features like active noise canceling (the Mpow X3, for example). But at $25, they’re a relative bargain.
They sound decent enough, should fit most ears pretty well, have an IP55 water-resistance rating (they can sustain a long spray of water) and are equipped with Tile technology to help you find them should you misplace them. They’re available in several different colors.
Both Bose’s new QuietComfort Earbuds and Sport Earbuds make good workout headphones, thanks to their StayHear Max tips and secure fit, but the Sport Earbuds are more compact and lighter and also more affordable (the QuietComfort Earbuds do have excellent active noise canceling, however). This is the first time we’ve seen them discounted.
Unlike their step-up sibling, they have no active noise canceling and an hour less of battery life — five hours instead of six — as well as no wireless charging. While they do stick out from your ears, they’re noticeably smaller and lighter than the QuietComfort Earbuds and their case is about 30% to 40% smaller. The case still isn’t as small as the cases for such competitors as the AirPods Pro, Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus, Galaxy Buds Live and Jabra Elite 75t. But it feels reasonably compact.
Sony’s newest noise-canceling headphones — and arguably the top noise-canceling headphones out there — recently went on sale for $300 as part of Amazon’s Prime Day. They’re now available for $278, the lowest price yet. Read our Sony WH-1000XM4 review.
Skullcandy’s Indy and Indy Evo earbuds are on sale for $35 and $40 respectively. I think it’s worth spending the extra $5 on the newer Indy Evo. I didn’t think they were a good deal at their list price of $80, but they’re a decent value at $40 and should fit most people’s ears well. They’re available in multiple colors at that sale price.
Sennheiser updated its well-regarded 4.50BTNC noise-canceling headphones for 2020. The new headphone model is called the 450BT and it has some notable upgrades, including better battery life (up to 30 hours with noise canceling on), USB-C charging, Bluetooth 5.0 with AptX support for devices like the Samsung Galaxy smartphones that support it, and more comfortable earpads. That said, they’re still not as comfortable as Sennheiser’s higher-end headphones. The 450BT noise-canceling headphones list for $200, but usually sell for around $150 so they’re really $50 off. They sound very good for the money.
Companies like Under Armour (with the help of JBL) have released sporty on-ear models designed for people who want that type of secure-fit workout headphone that covers their ears. This Adidas RPT-01 is a bit too expensive at its list price of $170, but it’s a good deal at $100. Designed by the same Swedish company that makes Urbanears headphones, it sounds quite decent, with well-balanced sound that doesn’t push the bass too much.
I found them comfortable for on-ear headphones, which tend not to be as comfortable as over-ear headphones, but those with larger heads may feel they clamp down a little too snugly on both your head and your ears. This set of headphones is sweat-resistant with an IPX4 certification. Also, the ear cushions and inner headband are removable and washable (there are instructions for how to do this, but Adidas should do a how-to video). The RPT-01 is available in three colors.
Bose’s flagship noise-canceling headphone has been selling for $380 after starting out with a list price of $400, but you can now pick up the white version for $299, while the black or silver versions are going for $339. The Sony WH-1000XM4 has been on sale for $278 — that’s probably the better deal when it returns — but if you had your eye on the Bose, this is a good price, especially for the white version. Read our Bose Noise Cancelling 700 review.
Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Plus have been out a while but they remain one of the better true-wireless options for the money, with really good sound, call quality and battery life along with a comfortable fit. They’re a solid value at $110 or $40 off their list price.
This is a great price for the Jaybird Vista, one of our top picks for runners. It’s a good set of true wireless sports earbuds that lock in your ears and are fully waterproof. The Vista has been out a while, so it’s due for an upgrade — maybe that’s why it’s on sale — but if a new model comes out any time soon, it’ll probably cost around $180. Read our Jaybird Vista review.
The Beats Powerbeats Pro (list price $250) remains a top true-wireless sports model with many of the same features as Apple’s standard AirPods but in a water-resistant design with better sound. You can get certain colors for as low as $160 (spring yellow, moss green). Read our Beats Powerbeats Pro review.
JBL’s Live 300 true-wireless earbuds have been out since last year and have sporadically been on sale for $100. Now $75 is the lowest price we’ve seen for them. They’re a good sounding set of earbuds that are suitable for sports use with their included sport fins and IPX5 water-resistance rating (they can withstand a sustained spray of water). Battery life is rated at six hours and they have an “ambient aware” mode that lets some sound in for safety purposes. They’re available in four color options.
The WF-XB700 is in the company’s Extra Bass line and lists for $130. I’ve tried them and really liked their fit. Their sound quality doesn’t measure up to that of the WF-1000XM3 or WF-SP800N (it lacks some clarity), but if you like bass, they’re decent-sounding earbuds. I thought they were a little expensive at $130. At $62 off, they’re a much more enticing option. $68 is their all-time low price. Read our Sony WF-XB700 Extra Bass first take.
Although they’ve been out for over a year, Plantronics’s BackBeat Fit 6100 over-the-ear wireless headphones are a solid choice for both the gym and everyday use. The adjustable sport-fit headband has an IPX5-rated water-resistant and sweatproof design. The headphones are equipped with 40mm angled drivers and noise-isolating earcups with an Awareness mode. Battery life is rated at 24 hours. I thought they were a bit expensive at $180, but they’re a good value at $80. Last year for Black Friday they were on sale for $110.
The Beats Solo Pro are a very good set of on-ear noise-canceling headphones. The only issue is they’re overpriced at $300. At $170, they’re downright enticing. This is below the earlier sale price of $200 that we were seeing a few weeks back, and back down to the low we were seeing earlier. Read our Beats Solo Pro review.
Swedish company Urbanista’s London true-wireless earbuds are a good alternative to the AirPods at less than half the price. They look a lot like Apple’s AirPods Pro and have noise canceling with a transparency mode, as well as a sensor that detects when you take the earbuds out of your ears and pauses your music. They sound better than the AirPods Pro, with clean, well-balanced sound and punchy, well-defined bass and nice detail. On top of that, they’re good for making calls, with good noise reduction so people hear you well, even if there’s noise in the background.
Their only downside is that their touch controls are somewhat limited and not quite as easy to use as those of the AirPods Pro. They also sound distinctly different when you have them in ambient (transparency) mode and noise-canceling mode. Battery life is rated at five hours — the same as the AirPods Pro — but that’s not as good as some of the latest true wireless earbuds with noise cancellation. The compact charging case, which charges via USB-C, gives you an additional four charges.
On Amazon, there’s sporadically a 20%-off instant coupon that brings the price down to $80, so it might be worth waiting.
If you can’t afford Sennheiser’s $300 Momentum True Wireless II, its CX 400BT earbuds are a more affordable option that also deliver excellent sound (they are a little bulbous, however). They’re a little expensive at their list price of $200, but I had a feeling they’d see some discounts this holiday season, and now they’re $70 off, which is about what they should cost. Read our Sennheiser CX 400BT review.
The Jabra Elite 85h is a good value alternative to pricier premium noise-canceling headphones from Bose and Sony. It features good sound, a comfortable fit and excellent voice-calling performance, which makes it a good option for working from home. Read our Jabra Elite 85h review.
If you can’t afford Sony’s WH-1000XM4, the company’s more entry-level WH-CH710N noise-canceling headphones are available for a nice discount. They don’t offer the sound quality, build quality or noise-canceling performance of Sony’s 1000X models, but at $88 they offer good value for money. I don’t think they’re worth anywhere near $200, their list price.
Bose’s Noise Canceling 700 Headphones ($379) are the company’s current flagship noise-canceling headphone, but in recent weeks, we’ve seen the older but arguably more comfortable QuietComfort 35 II, get big discounts. It’s now only $199, the lowest we’ve seen for them.
Note that with Sony discounting its new WH-1000XM4 to $278, we may see the Noise Canceling 700 Headphones also get some nice discounts as we head into the holidays. Read our QuietComfort 35 II review.
The WF-1000XM3 earbuds list for $230 and are now frequently on sale, although $168 is near their low price. They’re still the best-sounding wireless earbuds in this price range and also feature active noise cancellation technology to reduce ambient noise.
The only drawback is the WF-1000XM3 earbuds aren’t rated as sweat-proof or waterproof headphones. That said, I’ve used them for light workouts with a bit of a sweat at the gym without a problem. They use Bluetooth 5.0 with support for AAC, but not aptX.
Note that we’ve been expecting Sony to release the next-generation WF-1000XM4, but at this point, we may not see those before 2021. Read our Sony WF-1000XM3 review.
It took a while, but now we finally have a new true wireless noise-canceling sports model from Sony: the WF-SP800N. Funnily enough, I wrote at the end of my mostly positive review that I’d like to see them more in the $160-$175 range. They were recently down to $127, but the current $148 price is still $50 below list, and $20 below their usual street price.
This isn’t quite the WF-1000XM3 with a water-resistant body. It’s missing Sony’s QN1e processor, but there’s still a lot to like about it, including excellent sound, solid noise canceling and good call quality. It’s definitely a significant upgrade over the WF-SP700N, which came out in 2018, and its “arcs” (sports fins) lock the buds in your ears. Just make sure you get a tight seal from one of the included ear tips or else both the sound and noise canceling will be lackluster. Read our Sony WF-SP800N review.
Amazon’s Echo Buds were a little expensive at $130, but they’re certainly more enticing at $80. They’re one of the better true wireless models for calls, partly because they’re equipped with Bose noise-reduction technology. They also feature always-on Alexa so you don’t have to press a button to access Amazon’s voice assistant. Six months of Amazon’s Music Unlimited service is included for free.
The Jabra Elite 45h was released a few months ago and is now on sale for $90, 10% off its list price of $100 (its price has recently been as low as $80). It’s one of the best on-ear headphone values right now, with good sound quality, a sturdy design and comfortable fit (for on-ear headphones, anyway). Additionally, it performs really well as a headset for making calls and includes a sidetone feature that allows you to hear your voice in the headphones so you don’t talk too loudly. Battery life is also good.