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Best Prime Day headphone deals so far: Save $40 on Amazon’s new Echo Buds, plus price cuts on AirPods Pro, Bose, Sony and more

Best Prime Day headphone deals so far: Save $40 on Amazon's new Echo Buds, plus price cuts on AirPods Pro, Bose, Sony and more

This story is part of Amazon Prime Day 2021, CNET’s guide on everything you need to know and how to make sure you get the best deal.

Headphones and earbuds are always popular purchases during Amazon Prime Day, which starts June 21. That’s why we’re keeping an eye on which headphone deals to expect and the best discounts available right now. We know that models from Beats, Bose, Sennheiser, Sony, Samsung and others often see steep discounts on Prime Day — and the deals (including Walmart’s “Deals for Days” sale beginning June 20) aren’t limited to just one type of headphone, either. You can pick up solid deals on over-ear, on-ear and in-ear styles, as well as true-wireless and noise-canceling models.

The most recent Prime Day headphones deals include new (or returning) price cuts on certain Sony and Bose models. In some cases, prices for headphones and earbuds are matching or even dipping below their all-time lows. Here are the best deals on headphones available right now. We’ll continue updating this list as more models go on sale for Prime Day 2021 and other deals expire.

Note that prices and inventory fluctuate frequently, but the “deals available now” were verified as of the most recent publication date. We’ll continue to update our list of Prime Day headphone deals to keep you informed of the best sales when Prime Day proper hits.

Headphone deals available now

David Carnoy/CNET

Released in mid-2020, the Jabra Elite 45h was essentially billed as the best on-ear headphones for the money. While there’s nothing terribly fancy about it, it is 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). Plus, these Bluetooth on-ear headphones perform well as a headset for making calls and include a sidetone feature that allows you to hear your voice in the headphones so you don’t talk too loudly. It offers multipoint Bluetooth pairing, a key feature for those working at home who want to pair with their PC and smartphone at the same time. Battery life is also good. 

We’ve seen it hit this price in recent weeks, but $70 is its low price.

Amazon

The second-gen Echo Buds, which feature active noise canceling, shipped on May 13. Amazon was selling them for $100 or $20 off if you preordered them. I expected them to reach that price sporadically throughout the year but am a little surprised they’re down to $80. I thought they offered some welcome improvements over the originals, including better sound and noise canceling, and they’re definitely good value at $80. You’ll need to be a Prime Member to take advantage of this deal.

Read our Amazon Echo Buds review.

 

David Carnoy/CNET

Anker’s Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro, the company’s first earbuds to feature active noise canceling, are a mostly excellent set of true-wireless earbuds that measure up pretty well against Apple’s AirPods Pro for significantly less money. Like the AirPods Pro, they have an IPX4 water-resistance rating (splash-proof). 

While I had an issue with the included ear tips and had to use some other tips (it’s crucial to get a tight seal or both noise canceling and sound quality will suffer), they should fit most people comfortably. Sound quality is better than Anker’s earlier Liberty Air 2, and the noise canceling is effective. These also work well as a headset for making calls and are available in multiple color options.

They were on sale for $100 for a few days when they launched. Luckily, that price has returned on Amazon. Read our Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro review.

David Carnoy/CNET

While Jabra’s Elite 75t series has been out for a while, they’re still one of the best true wireless earbuds out there and have added noise canceling via a firmware upgrade. Earlier firmware updates improved voice-calling performance. 

The Elite 75t aren’t quite as comfortable to wear as the AirPods Pro, but they arguably sound a touch better, with clearer overall sound and slightly better bass definition, so long as you get a tight seal. (The step-up 85t have more powerful bass.)

The Elite Active 75t buds are slightly more rugged than the standard 75t and usually cost $20 more than the standard 75t. Their current sale price of $130 is one of the lowest prices you’ll see for the Active version, but note that the standard 75t will be on sale for $100 on Prime Day.

AfterShokz

AfterShokz’ bone-conduction wireless headphones aren’t quite what many people picture when they think of earphones, because they don’t go on your ears — these headphones actually deliver sound to your ear through your cheekbones. That openness allows runners and bikers to hear traffic sound, an important safety feature, and these also stay on your head securely and are comfortable to wear.

The company’s flagship Aeropex model doesn’t go on sale all that often — they came out in 2019, so it’s possible a new model may be on the way — so $30 off is a decent deal (it was briefly as low as $125 last December). Note that while AfterShokz continues to make small improvements to performance with each new iteration of its wireless headphones, the sound quality still can’t match that of a traditional headphone. Read our AfterShokz Aeropex first take.

David Carnoy/CNET

Jabra describes the Elite 85t as “semiopen” earbuds, meaning you don’t have to jam the tips all the way into your ear canal. Rather, the new, more oval-shaped tips nestle in your ear for a more comfortable fit — according to Jabra, anyway. A touch of sound will leak in, however, because you’re not creating a supertight seal. Engineered with Qualcomm technology, Jabra calls the Elite 85t’s noise canceling “Advanced ANC,” which is designed for earbuds that don’t have true noise-isolating designs.

Personally, I didn’t find the 85t earbuds any more comfortable than the 75t. They didn’t stay in my ears quite as securely, though they did stay in. While the 85t buds are bigger — and so is their charging case — they definitely seem like siblings in terms of design. They do sound richer than the 75t, with more bass, and their voice-calling capabilities are also very good. They also feature multipoint Bluetooth pairing, so you can take a call on your smartphone while being connected to your computer.

Available in multiple color options, they’re splash-proof like the AirPods Pro (IPX4 water resistance rating) and list for $230, but we’ve seen them sporadically discounted to $180 (their lowest price). Read our Jabra Elite 85t review.

David Carnoy/CNET

Both Bose’s QuietComfort Earbuds and Sport Earbuds are good for workouts, 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 the Sport Earbuds discounted.

Unlike their step-up sibling, the Sport Earbuds don’t have active noise canceling or wireless charging and they give an hour less of battery life, at five hours instead of six. 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. It 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.They’ve hit $159 previously, but that’s their lowest price to date.

Read our Bose Sport Earbuds review.

 

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Beats Solo Pro are really good on-ear noise-canceling headphones. The only issue is they’re overpriced at $300. Woot had them for the best price we’ve seen to date — $135 to $140 — earlier in June. Also, for a few weeks, Amazon had certain colors available for $150. Now that best price is only available at Walmart, with the red color selling for $140 and most other colors discounted to $150. We’ll see if Amazon matches it. Read our Beats Solo Pro review.

Sennheiser

The Sennheiser PXC 550-II didn’t get much attention when it was released in 2020 and its $350 list price faced daunting competition from Sony and Bose. But we’ve spotted it for less than $200 on Amazon, a value purchase featuring very good sound (it’s got a slightly warmer sound profile), good noise canceling and solid voice calling. Battery life is impressive at around 30 hours with noise-canceling on. The only minor annoyance is that these have micro-USB charging rather than USB-C. 

David Carnoy/CNET

Way back in 2015, Swedish company Earin was the first to release a set of true wireless earbuds. Its third-gen A-3 earbuds look a lot like what the standard AirPods would look like if you removed their trademark extruding stems. Typically $199, they’re 20% ($40) off for Prime Day.

They fit my ears securely and they sound decent — arguably better than the AirPods — for this type of earbud, though they’re slightly bass-restrained. I also found they work well for making calls even though they don’t have stems (their noise reduction is decent though not fantastic), and I liked their charging case. 

The A-3 buds have an IPX52 water-resistance rating (they can withstand a sustained spray of water but aren’t fully waterproof) and deliver five hours of battery life, with five extra charges from their charging case. They have 14mm drivers, Bluetooth 5.0 and Qualcomm’s higher-end QCC5121 chipset. AAC and aptX audio codecs are supported. (Certain Android devices like Samsung Galaxy smartphones support aptX streaming, but iPhones do not.)

Sarah Tew/CNET

The AirPods Pro were briefly as low as $169 at Walmart and $170 at Amazon for Black Friday. Now they’ve been pingponging between $190 and $199, with Amazon currently selling them for $197. That’s still $52 below the regular Apple Store price.

Read our AirPods Pro review.

 

Angela Lang/CNET

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Plus have been out for a while, but they remain one of the better true-wireless earbud 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 $50 off their list price, a deal that’s $10 more than the lowest price we’ve seen for them.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus review.

 

David Carnoy/CNET

1More’s ComfoBuds Pro have previously dropped to $80, and the white version is at that price right now. If you get a tight seal (three different sized ear tips are included), not only do these sound good but they also perform well as a headset for making calls, with three microphones in each earbud. There’s a touch of presence boost in the treble and the bass packs a good punch, which gives these a dynamic sound profile (they’re not laid back) and they play loud for those looking for that.

You can toggle between two levels of noise cancellation (as well as “off”) using the touch controls — and there’s a pass-through transparency mode and a wind noise-reduction mode. You can also toggle through all of those modes using the companion app for iOS and Android. Battery life is rated at six hours with noise canceling on and eight hours with it off. The earbuds are IPX4 rated for water resistance, which means they’re splash-proof, the same as the AirPods Pro. 

In short, if you don’t want to spend $200 or so on the AirPods Pro, the 1More ComfoBuds Pro is a good budget alternative. Note that 1More also makes an open version of the ComfoBuds (see below), which is similar to the standard AirPods and costs around $50. This Pro version is better.

David Carnoy/CNET

Anyone looking at these first-gen Pixel Buds should note that the new Pixel Buds A-Series were just announced, and are a great deal at just $99. But if you want extras like wireless charging, wind reduction and swipe controls for volume, it’s worth spending the extra $30 on these step-up models (that’s still $50 off the list price). This second-generation model has improved over time with some firmware upgrades and is a good set of true-wireless earbuds, particularly for owners of Google’s Pixel smartphones. Read our Pixel Buds review.

David Carnoy/CNET

The Beats Powerbeats Pro (list price $250) earbuds remain 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 the moss green and lava red options for $160. Read our Beats Powerbeats Pro review.

David Carnoy/CNET

Samsung’s long-awaited active noise-canceling earbuds were released early this year for $200 (yes, the Buds Live also have noise canceling, but it’s pretty modest). The Galaxy Buds Pro were briefly on sale at Woot for $140 but are now $170 or $30 off at most retailers. I’ve been mostly impressed, particularly with the sound quality and call quality, and there are some nice bonus features, including an improved ambient noise mode with voice detection. There’s also a virtual surround feature that currently only works with the new Galaxy S21 models, but will slowly trickle out to other Galaxy devices. The noise canceling is also effective if you get a tight seal from the included ear tips. That said, just how good you think they are will ultimately depend on how well they fit your ears. Read our Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro review.

David Carnoy/CNET

Sony’s excellent noise-canceling headphones were on sale for $278 during the 2020 holidays. That price returns sporadically, but they’re $298 right now. Read our Sony WH-1000XM4 review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Bose’s flagship noise-canceling headphones have been selling for $380 after starting out with a list price of $400, but you can now pick them up for $329 (the white version has been as low as $299 recently). The Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones are on sale for $278, but if you had your eye on this Bose model, this is a decent price. Read our Bose Noise Cancelling 700 review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Beats EP is the only wired model we have in this list right now. As long as you’re OK with it being wired (some people want that), the EP is actually a really good set of on-ear headphones that’s well-built with a sturdy metal headband. It’s one of the more comfortable sets of on-ear headphones and is available in several colors.

Read our Beats EP review.

 

David Carnoy/CNET

This is the lowest price we’ve seen for Sony’s true-wireless noise-canceling sports model, the WF-SP800N earbuds. 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. Well, in blue, they’re down to $98.

These aren’t quite the WF-1000XM3 earbuds with a water-resistant body — they’re missing Sony’s QN1e processor — but there’s still a lot to like about them, including excellent sound, solid noise cancellation and good call quality. They’re definitely a significant upgrade over the WF-SP700N model, which came out in 2018, and their “arcs” (sports fins) lock the buds in your ears. Just make sure you get a tight seal from one of the included sets of ear tips or else both the sound and noise canceling will be lackluster. Read our Sony WF-SP800N review.

David Carnoy/CNET

As far as sound, comfort level and build quality, you’d be hard-pressed to do better than Anker’s SoundCore Life Q30 for the money, particularly now that it’s on sale for $60 with a $20-off instant coupon on Amazon (the blue and pink colors cost $10 more). It doesn’t quite have the clarity or bass definition as some of the top premium models, but it’s less than one-third the price of those and gets you 75% of the way there in terms of sound: It’s well-balanced overall with punchy bass, and there’s an app that allows you to tweak the sound. Noise canceling is good for the price, though not at the level of the Sony WH-1000XM4 or Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. Battery life is rated at an impressive 40 hours with USB-C charging.

The only area where the Q30 falls a little short is voice calls. It picks up your voice fine in quieter environments, but it doesn’t reduce background noise all that well. 

Compared to the Q20 ($50), the Q30 does offer improved sound (it’s not a huge difference, but it definitely is a notch up) and a more premium design. Anker often offers the Q20 at a $10 discount at Amazon. Eventually, we should see something like that on the Q30.

Jason Outenreath/CNET

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Live earbuds came out last summer. For Cyber Monday 2020, they were $60 off at Woot and now they’re back to $40 off at Amazon. I rated them highly, although the noise canceling is relatively light. A word of warning: While they fit my ears well, due to their beanlike shape, they won’t work for everybody. Read our Galaxy Buds Live review.

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