AirPods have proven to be extremely popular since their debut, and have enjoyed a high consumer satisfaction rating. While that’s ultimately great for Apple, it also has the adverse effect of making it rather hard to get your hands on a pair.
Sure, they’re listed as “available” on Apple’s website for $159, but notice the shipping time. Currently, according to the AirPods sales page, the earliest shipping time listed is six weeks from now. If you’d rather pick them up in-store, you’ll have to wait quite a while, too. AirPods won’t be available again from brick-and-mortar Apple Stores until August 10, according to the company’s availability estimates. It doesn’t seem to matter where you are, either — every store we checked showed the same availability.
Of course, if you’re dying to get your hands on a pair of Apple’s Bluetooth headset — and you want them as soon as possible — there are some other options you can resort to, such as ordering them from third-party retailers. While there are probably other places you can find AirPods, two retailers in particular seem especially promising: Best Buy and Amazon.
First, Best Buy. As of press time, the tech retailer currently has AirPods available for just a dollar more than Apple’s own website (this fact will be important later). As noted on its website, they’re only available for shipping — meaning that you won’t be able to pick them up from a physical store. Luckily, shipping is free.
Still, it’s important to note that you won’t get your AirPods very soon when you order from Best Buy. Orders of the Bluetooth earphones are expected to ship by July 11, according to the retailer’s website. While that’s a lot sooner than Apple’s shipping estimates, it’s still a few weeks off. There’s also no way to know how much stock Best Buy has or will have, and when July 11 does roll around, they’re likely to sell out pretty quickly.
The second and much faster option is Amazon — but there’s a catch. Currently, AirPods are available from the retail giant for $223.50, a pretty steep markup from Apple’s and Best Buy’s price tags. But while you’ll pay more ordering through the website, Amazon does have the advantage when it comes to shipping and stock.
The platform aggregates products from a variety of third-party sellers, even if it fulfills the order itself via its shipping service. This largely means that stock isn’t as likely to sell out as quickly as through Best Buy or Apple. As an added bonus, you’ll be able to see how much stock is available from a particular third-party retailer, though the AirPods stock seems pretty chaotic currently. Throughout the writing of this article, it fluctuated from one pair left in stock to 12, and then to six. Fortunately, there are 106 options available from different sellers, so take that for what you will.
Of course, if you want your AirPods now and you’re willing to pay a bit more, Amazon still might be the best option. If you’re a Prime subscriber, and the particular seller’s orders are fulfilled by Amazon, you can get AirPods delivered in two days with free shipping. If you want a pair sooner than that, Amazon has a one-day shipping option — though that will, of course, cost a bit more.