The best fake AirPods remain plentiful, even as Apple expands its own range. The on-brand AirPods all sound great and are widely liked by users, but they are expensive: the AirPods Pro will set you back about $250, and even the standard AirPods are a big ask at $130.
It is any wonder there are so many cheaper knockoffs on the market? These earbuds might not be a true fashion statement, but for $60 or less, most are passable for the real thing, and might not sound half bad either. To find out which are the best fake AirPods of all, we ordered some in and put them to the test.
- the best wireless earbuds you can buy
- Our picks of the best noise cancelling headphones
- Check out the best AirPods deals this month
What are the best fake AirPods?
The best fake AirPods are difficult to track because they're often sold through third-party retailers with no association to Apple. As such, Amazon pulls the knock offs from time to time to avoid copyright complaints. We try to keep an eye on the availability of the buds, and update this round up as sale information changes.
Currently, we feel the TaoTronics SoundLiberty 53 are the best fake AirPods. These buds actually outperform the AirPods on battery, and offer IPX8 waterproof protection, something that's not all that common on the most expensive earbuds. The AUKEY EP-T21 run a close second, offering remarkably high sound quality for a meagre $30.
The best fake AirPods you can buy today
The model that put TaoTronics on the true wireless map, the TWS TT-BH053 (now renamed the SoundLiberty 53) packs surprisingly good audio and respectable battery life into an AirPods-style design. Its biggest feature is the charging case, which has been scaled down to accommodate portability and holds up to 50 hours of playtime. That’s pretty amazing for wireless earbuds priced under $50. TaoTronics also sells the buds in black, if you’re trying to get away with that whole AirPods-custom-paint-job look from a distance.
Just be aware that while these are our current favourite fake AirPods, a low price doesn’t guarantee perfection. During testing, we noticed the tap gestures were highly sensitive and often misinterpreted commands to raise volume or enable the digital assistant. There was also some lag present when calling up Siri and Google Assistant; we often had to wait a few seconds before speaking or else the digital assistant wouldn’t recognize commands. The branding on the buds’ exterior is a dead giveaway as well.
Aukey has become a staple for high-performance portable gadgets at a super-duper cheap price, and the EP-T21 is no exception. These all-black danglers offer slightly better sound than the original AirPods, highlighted by clear treble, deep bass, and loud volume to enjoy music and videos on the go. The clean matte design might lead you to believe these are fragile buds, but they’re quite durable, covered in IPX4 coating for water-resistant protection. Wireless performance is another positive, maintaining strong connectivity between mobile devices and pairing instantly when removed from the charging case, which holds 20 hours of playtime.
That said, we wish the capacitive touch controls weren’t so finicky; double-tapping to play/pause music often lagged or required me to perform the same gesture again to execute the command.
We have always considered the Liberty Air True to be the first legitimate AirPods clone when it released back in 2019, and for a few good reasons. One, sound quality surpasses the performance on most of the models in its price class, as well as the AirPods I and II, producing clear, bass-forward audio to enjoy contemporary music genres. Two, the inclusion of ear tips is a huge bonus for those who have lost many AirPods down a sewer drain, offering a pleasant and stabilized fit. Three, the 5 hours of playtime you get is pretty close to what Apple’s buds offer and is longer than the AirPods Pro, though the latter requires extra juice to operate noise cancellation, which these buds don’t have.
Had Anker managed to make the touch controls more reliable and the design less of a scratch-n-scuff magnet, then the Liberty Air True could have been a bigger threat to the real thing.
Read our full Anker Soundcore Liberty Air True review.
Letscom makes the noble attempt of giving listeners some form of noise neutralization for super cheap. The T19 is decent enough to quiet commuters and TVs that are several feet away, but don’t expect to get much silence from reasonably loud noises that are in close proximity. However, the real highlight on these buds is sound, giving listeners some astounding bass performance that doesn’t distort vocals or booming effects on recordings. Knowing the poor build quality associated with most models in this price point, it’s good to see Letscom provide a 1-year warranty to assure you coverage if anything goes wrong with the buds.
For all of its quality traits, there are also some drawbacks. The biggest one is the touch panels, which struggle to recognize tap gestures and execute them inaccurately at times; skipping a track was often misinterpreted for raising volume. Also, the design isn’t pleasant on the ears, as the angular sound port digs into the concha and applies unwanted pressure that you’ll start to feel around the 30-minute mark.
This pair of earbuds may share the same silhouette as the AirPods, but the Stockholm is a more fashion-forward option, thanks to a matte finish that comes in multiple colors. Bluetooth 5.0 holds up strong, so you’ll be able stream music and take calls several feet away from your audio source without experiencing any dropout. The buds also connect instantly to devices when removed from the charging case. Sound is crisp, but don’t expect much bass or highs when listening to music; you’ll want to stick to vocal-driven recordings to enjoy audio performance. We recommend the buds more for podcasts and videos.
Where the Stockholm loses points is in battery life, which is below standard at 3.5 hours on a single charge, and in noise isolation. The latter affects listening by allowing a high amount of ambient noise to enter the soundstage.
A sleek all-black design and powerful specs for a budget-friendly price, EarFun has clearly taken cues from other sub-$100 competitors like Anker. The Air is a solid effort that’s well engineered on the audio end, giving high-pitched vocals prominence on recordings, while producing rich bass depth to balance out sound. We attribute the Air’s resonant output to the buds’ fit, as the tips create a tight seal around the ear to keep music from leaking out and noise from seeping in. You’re also getting much more playtime out of these than the regular AirPods or AirPods Pro; we appreciate the buds coming fully charged right out of the box.
The charging case is wireless charging compatible, but it’s also larger and heavier than most other models. However, the Air’s biggest problem is the touch controls, which fail to work most of the time.
Outside of the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Earbuds, there aren’t many true wireless models designed for gaming. But if you’re really keen on playing Fortnite on your smartphone and want something that is super affordable and well-engineered to reproduce action-packed sound to your liking, take a look at the QCY T5. These buds come programmed with a Game Mode that reduces latency and stabilizes connectivity, while also delivering clear mids and highs when vibing out to music. Pairing is simplified, thanks to a one-tap setup that speeds up the process. The accompanying gel tips also offer great comfort and fit.
QCY could have done a better job with designing the T5. For one, the lack of USB-C charging does make this model seem a bit outdated. And despite the buds being IPX5-certified (sweat- and waterproof), they don’t feel as sturdy as they look, nor does the charging case.
The AU-Stream is an ambitious model that gets the basics right and comes with a few cool features. Touch controls tend to be hit or miss on wireless earbuds, but this pair hits it out of the park with several programmed functions (e.g. play/pause, digital assistant activation, volume +/-) that can be executed through single or multi-tap gestures. Bass hounds will love the deep lows produced on hip-hop and EDM tracks. The charging case only holds 20 hours total, but also comes with rapid wireless charging, so you can quickly juice up the buds in 1.5 hours by placing the case atop any Qi-enabled wireless charger.
While the buds do support multipoint technology so you can pair them to two devices simultaneously, the feature is buggy. It would only play the left earbud when listening to music on my first paired device (MacBook Pro), and vice-versa with the right earbud on my second device (Google Pixel 3 XL). Also, the long, thick stems are very unflattering.
How to choose the best fake AirPods for you
If you’re here, you’ve probably decided you want to get a pair of the best fake AirPods instead of the real thing. Both AirPods and AirPods Pro regularly go on sale, so be sure to check out our updated AirPods sales pages to see if the Apple-made earbuds fall in your budget before spending money on lower-quality knock offs from different manufacturers.
While all of the pairs above adopt the AirPods’s iconic, white plastic aesthetic, several sacrifice audio quality in the process. If you want a pair of the best fake AirPods to make it seem like you’re sporting real ones, prioritize a replicated design more than how the buds sound. But if you still want your new headphones to get you in the groove for commutes, workouts or phone calls, consider choosing a pair above that offer decent audio technology. Even if they don’t look exactly like genuine AirPods.
How we test the best fake AirPods
We call in and test the best-selling fake AirPods from Amazon and other suppliers taking note of when pairs are pulled from the website or re-listed under different product names. When new styles appear, we call them in and consider them for this list.
For reviews of the best headphones, design and appearance take a backseat to performance and battery life. But for this list of the best fake AirPods, we prioritize how much each pair looks like real AirPods, pointing out the aesthetic differences of the cases and buds.
After we gauge design, we listen to music, catch up on podcasts and make calls using the best fake AirPods contenders. We tune our ears to catch static or other faults with these low-cost buds, and decide whether they sound good enough to recommend. The headphones listed here might not be perfect, but they've at least passed the test.