Best AirPods Max Alternatives: Save Money, Get Great Sound

Best AirPods Max Alternatives: Save Money, Get Great Sound

Find top-rated AirPods Max rivals that offer premium audio and noise canceling at a lower price point. Explore our expert picks.

You know that feeling when you see a shiny new gadget you just have to have, even though you know deep down it’s way overpriced? That was me when the AirPods Max launched. Don’t get me wrong, those space-age earcups look sweeter than a bowl of Lucky Charms, but dropping half a grand on headphones is just nuts.

I’m all about the sound quality and features, not flashy branding. So I went on a mission to find the best AirPods Max alternatives that deliver better value. Keep reading as I share my picks for high-end wireless headphones that don’t require selling a kidney. Whether you’re an audiophile on a budget or just frugal, you’ll discover some solid options that rival AirPods Max for hundreds less.

Why Consider AirPods Max Alternatives

Why Consider AirPods Max Alternatives

Save Hundreds of Dollars

At $549, the AirPods Max are pricey. As an alternative, you can get high-quality over-ear headphones with comparable features for a fraction of the cost. For example, the Sony WH-1000XM4 offers phenomenal sound, noise cancellation, and 30 hours of battery life for $350.

Experience Superior Sound Quality

While the sound quality of the AirPods Max is good, it may not match what you can get from brands focused specifically on audio. The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 produces a beautifully balanced sound with punchy bass, clear mids, and crisp highs. The Sennheiser PXC 550-II is also known for its wide, spacious soundstage and rich, detailed audio.

Enjoy More Advanced Features

Some alternatives offer extra features the AirPods Max lacks. For instance, the Jabra Elite 85h supports one-touch access to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant and has an ambient sound mode to let in outside noise when needed. The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 boasts multiple noise cancellation levels, an awareness mode, and a whopping 60 hours of playtime per charge.

Find a Perfect Fit

No two pairs of ears are the same, so headphones that suit someone else may not work for you. With more options on the market, you have a better chance of finding over-ear headphones that fit your unique ear shape and size. Some alternatives like the V-Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless even come with customizable shields that you can swap out to adjust the fit and look.

In the end, while the AirPods Max are appealing, don’t feel limited to a single choice. There are fantastic alternatives that could save you money, sound better to your ears, have useful features the AirPods Max lacks, or simply fit more comfortably. Shop around and go with what makes you happy!

Top AirPods Max Alternatives for Sound Quality

As an audiophile, I was eager to try the AirPods Max when they launched. However, after seeing the sky-high price tag, I knew I had to look for more affordable alternatives that still delivered amazing sound.

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Headphones


For around $350, Sony’s flagship WH-1000XM4 headphones are a fantastic AirPods Max alternative. They feature industry-leading noise cancellation, superb sound quality with rich bass and clear highs, and up to 30 hours of battery life. The touch controls also work great for handling calls and music playback. If sound quality is your top priority, the WH-1000XM4s should be at the top of your list.

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700


Bose is renowned for premium audio gear, and their Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 live up to the hype. Priced at $379, these sleek over-ear headphones produce a beautifully balanced sound with punchy bass and crisp highs.

The noise cancellation is also very effective at blocking out ambient noise. While the battery life of 20 hours isn’t quite as long as Sony’s model, it’s still plenty for most users. The Bose Headphones 700 are an excellent choice if you want high-quality audio in an uber-comfortable package.

Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless


For $350, Sennheiser’s PXC 550-II Wireless headphones offer fantastic value. They deliver Sennheiser’s signature high-resolution sound with tight bass and clear, detailed high frequencies.

The noise cancellation works well for blocking out most ambient noise, and the padded ear cups feel very comfortable for long listening sessions. With up to 20 hours of battery and an attractive, understated design, the PXC 550-IIs are a compelling, lower-cost alternative to the AirPods Max that music lovers will surely appreciate.

Best Value AirPods Max Alternatives

I’ve been eyeing the AirPods Max ever since they were announced, but that $549 price tag is just too much for my budget. As much as I’d love to have Apple’s premium headphones, I can’t justify spending that kind of money. Fortunately, there are some great alternatives out there that won’t break the bank.

Sony WH-1000XM4

Sony’s flagship headphones are considered by many to be the best alternative to the AirPods Max. For around $350, the WH-1000XM4s deliver premium sound quality, excellent noise cancellation, and up to 30 hours of battery life.

They’re also super comfortable to wear for long periods. The touch controls on the right ear cup let you control playback, activate your phone’s voice assistant, and switch between noise canceling and ambient sound modes.

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Bose is known for making some of the best noise-canceling headphones, and their 700 model is a great AirPods Max alternative for $379. Like the Sonys, they offer premium sound, adjustable noise cancellation, and long battery life.

The 700s have a sleek, minimalist design and feature an eight-microphone system for crystal-clear calls. The Bose Music app lets you customize the sound to your liking and provides firmware updates. For comfort, sound, and noise cancellation, the Bose 700s are a solid choice.

Anker Soundcore Life Q30


If you’re on a really tight budget, consider the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 headphones for just $80. They deliver surprisingly good sound quality and noise cancellation for the money. Battery life is rated at an impressive 40 hours per charge.

The Q30s offer three levels of noise cancellation so you can adjust based on your environment. They’re also lightweight and comfortable, with nicely padded ear cups and an adjustable headband. For basic features and sound quality at a wallet-friendly price, the Life Q30s are a great cheap alternative to the AirPods Max.

In summary, while the AirPods Max would be nice to have, there are excellent alternatives out there for a fraction of the cost. Brands like Sony, Bose, and even Anker make high-quality headphones with comparable features and performance at much lower prices. So save your money—you don’t need to spend $550 to get a great listening experience.

Alternatives With Longer Battery Life Than AirPods Max

As much as I love the sound quality and design of the AirPods Max, their battery life leaves something to be desired. For $550, I expect to get more than 20 hours of playback per charge. If a long-lasting battery is a top priority for you in a pair of wireless headphones, here are a couple of alternatives worth considering.

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Bose is known for premium sound and industry-leading noise cancellation, and their Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 deliver on both fronts. But they also offer up to 20 hours of wireless playback on a single charge. At $380, they’re a bit cheaper than the AirPods Max and the battery life is comparable. However, the 700s have a sleeker, more compact design that I find more comfortable for long listening sessions.

Sony WH-1000XM4

Sony’s flagship WH-1000XM4 headphones are considered by many critics to be the best wireless noise-cancelling headphones you can buy. They produce audio quality on par with the Bose and AirPods Max but offer a class-leading 30 hours of battery life. At $350, they save you $200 over the AirPods Max while giving you 50% more playback time. The ergonomic design is lightweight and cozy, with intuitive controls and hands-free calling. If battery life and value are top priorities, the WH-1000XM4s are the clear winners.

While the AirPods Max are a fantastic choice if you’re fully immersed in the Apple ecosystem and want the absolute best sound, their lofty price and mediocre battery life may be deal-breakers for some. If you can live with very good (rather than phenomenal) sound and want the convenience of much longer endurance between charges, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 or Sony WH-1000XM4 are smart alternatives that won’t break the bank. For my needs, the additional 10-15 hours of wireless playback makes these competitors worth considering. What do you think?

Frequently Asked Questions About the Best AirPods Max Alternatives

Do I really need noise cancellation?

As someone who travels frequently, noise cancellation is a must-have feature for me. The ability to block out ambient noise lets me focus on enjoying my music, podcasts, or audiobooks without distraction.

If you’re often in loud environments, noise cancellation can be a game changer. However, if you primarily listen in quiet places, you can save money by choosing headphones without active noise control.

How much should I spend?

When shopping for AirPods Max alternatives, you’ll find options ranging from under $100 up to $400 or more. In general, you get what you pay for in terms of sound quality, comfort, and features. If budget is a concern, you can find very solid over-ear wireless headphones for $150 to $250. Look for models with high-quality drivers, Bluetooth 5.0, and 20+ hours of battery life.

For the best audio experience, expect to pay $300 or more. High-end models from brands like Sony, Bose, and Sennheiser are worth the investment.

What are the most important features?

For me, the top features to consider are:

  • •Sound quality: Prioritize headphones with large drivers (40mm or bigger), a wide frequency range (5 Hz to 40 kHz or more), and support for high-resolution audio codecs like aptX HD.
  • •Comfort: Over-ear headphones can be heavy and clamp tightly on your head. Look for models with generous padding, adjustable fit, and lightweight but durable materials.
  • •Battery life: Any alternative to the AirPods Max should offer at least 20 to 30 hours of playback per charge for all-day listening. Some models provide up to 40 hours with noise cancellation on.
  • •Controls: Convenient on-ear controls let you adjust volume, skip tracks, take calls, and activate your phone’s voice assistant without pulling out your device. Tactile, easy-to-locate buttons are best.
  • •Durability: For the price of premium headphones, you want a design built to last. Look for metal components, scratch-resistant materials, and robust headbands. A carrying case is also useful for storage and travel.
  • •Compatibility: Make sure any AirPods Max alternative you choose works with your go-to devices like iPhone, Android, PC, and Mac. Most support both Bluetooth and wired listening but double check.

Choosing a great set of headphones is all about balancing performance, comfort, and budget. Do some research on the options I’ve recommended here and you’ll find an amazing pair of AirPods Max alternatives that suit your needs and won’t break the bank.


So there you have it, folks – some killer AirPods Max alternatives that won’t break the bank. Whether you’re looking for supreme comfort, top-notch ANC, or simply great sound quality, there are plenty of options that fit the bill for hundreds less. I’m partial to the Bose QuietComfort 45s myself – hard to beat that sublime Bose sound and noise canceling. But hey, to each their own! Whichever you choose, just know you don’t have to shell out mega bucks for a premium listening experience. Enjoy the music!

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