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Refurbished Apple AirPods and where to find them

Who doesn't like the sound of paying less for a set of AirPods?

Fergus Halliday
May 27, 2024
Icon Time To Read4 min read

If you’re in the market for new earbuds, you can always choose from the best brand-new Apple AirPods. You'll probably come away happy with whatever model you zig towards. However, if you'd like to zag in the opposite direction then there's plenty of cash to be saved by going for a refurbished set of earbuds instead.

Refurbished AirPods from the right retailer tend to go through a rigorous appraisal and cleaning and have had potentially faulty parts replaced. Your next set of AirPods might have some evidence of previous usage. However, if it means a much more affordable asking price, that might be a caveat you're happy to live with.

Scroll on for our pick of the best refurbished AirPods in Australia.

The big catch when it comes to refurbished AirPods is their availability is dependent on a returned product. While refurbished AirPods are typically closer to new than buying a second-hand tablet from eBay, Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace, the stock tends to be limited. A refurbished AirPods that’s available one day—including our picks—may not be available the next.

Refurbished AirPods retailers

There are a handful of reputable online retailers to choose from when it comes to sourcing a great deal on a refurbished set of AirPods. Our first port of call is Reebelo.

All refurbished Reebelo products come with a one-year warranty. Reebelo is also a good place to check for Samsung, Amazon Fire and Microsoft tablets. Alternatively, Kogan and Dick Smith both sell refurbished AirPods.

Compare the best refurbished Apple AirPods

Product
Rating
Price
Battery life
Active noise-cancelling
Water resistance
Availability

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen)

Best refurbished AirPods overall

Chip
H2
Battery life
6 hours per charge, 30 hours total
Noise cancelling
Yes
🔥From $399
$220

Pricing and availability only accurate as of last page update.

pro
Pros
pro Smart design tweaks
pro Better noise cancelling
pro More battery life
con
Cons
con Has to be used with iOS or macOS to access the best features
con Uses Lightning cable for wired charging

Refurbished or not, if you're keen to snag the best value set of AirPods that Apple sells then you're going to have to spend a little bit more than you otherwise might. That said, the AirPods Pro doesn't actually cost that much more than Apple's more everyday earbuds and that's even more the case when it comes to refurbished AirPods.

In part, this is a byproduct of the standard AirPods being pretty pricey to begin with. However, at the same time, it makes the enhanced audio and noise cancelling that much more of a value-add. In our review of the AirPods Pro, we came away impressed.

"Every tweak that Apple has made here is for the better. Absent a price hike, these improvements leave the new AirPods Pro poised to take the reigns from the original as the best obvious choice for iPhone users who want a nice set of true wireless earbuds."

Back in 2023, Apple also introduced a new version of the second-generation AirPods Pro that features a carry-case that charges via USB-C rather than Lightning cable. Realistically, if you're rolling the dice on a set of refurbished AirPods then chances are you're getting the older model.

While the latest AirPods Pro feature improved acoustic architecture, dust resistance and support for lossless wireless audio when paired with Apple's Vision Pro, the upshot is that for most users there isn't going to be a huge difference in the quality of the listening experience.

Apple AirPods (3rd Gen)

Best cheap refurbished AirPods

Chip
H1
Battery life
6 hours per charge, 30 hours total
Noise cancelling
No
🔥From $279
$190

Pricing and availability only accurate as of last page update.

pro
Pros
pro Super comfortable
pro Great sound quality
pro Good battery life
con
Cons
con No sound isolation
con Weird price

In the market for the cheapest set of AirPods? The standard option is the standout choice. Just as naturally, this is also the thriftiest option for those looking to save even more money by buying some refurbished AirPods instead of brand-new ones.

The third-generation AirPods don't have noise cancelling but they do take a few cues from the more premium AirPods Pro, specifically shorter stems and a more subtle design. The biggest takeaway of our review was that this broader shift in design is probably going to be the bigger factor when it comes to making the asking price worth it.

"If the AirPods 3 were a little bit cheaper they could represent a great entry-level pair of AirPods, but given the state of the market, they won't be the right choice for most."

Fortunately, buying refurbished instead of brand new changes this equation. If you shop around, you might be able to find a set of refurbished AirPods that are less than half what you would be paying if you bought brand-new ones instead.

How much do Apple AirPods usually cost in Australia?

Not sure whether you're getting a good deal? Here's how much you'd usually pay for a set of Apple's wireless earbuds

Here's how much each set of AirPods retails for Australia:

  • Apple AirPods (2nd Gen) starts at $219
  • Apple AirPods (3rd Gen) starts at $279
  • Apple AirPods Pro starts at $399
  • Apple AirPods Max starts at $899

Apple AirPods Max

Other refurbished AirPods

Chip
H1
Battery life
20 hours total
Noise cancelling
Yes
🔥From $889
$840

Pricing and availability only accurate as of last page update.

pro
Pros
pro World-class noise cancelling
pro Premium build
pro User-friendly EQ customisation
con
Cons
con No 3.5mm cable or port
con Heavy rig

The AirPods Max aren't just the only set of Apple AirPods that come with an over-ear design, they're far and away the most expensive set of noise-cancelling headphones that Apple sells. Fortunately, you can shave off a few bucks if you shop refurbished and the end experience shouldn't be all that different.

If you can afford to swing it, chances are you'll be pretty happy with what the AirPods Max has to offer. Our review of the AirPods Max found that Apple's over-ear wireless headphones work hard for that price.

"Noise-cancelling, spatial audio and ambient sound features are nothing new, but Apple’s execution is world-class. The sound is balanced incredibly well out of the box and you won’t be scrambling for the EQ settings."

The only caveat here is that, as a result of their higher price (and relative age), the difference between a brand-new set of AirPods Max headphones and a refurbished one isn't as steep as it is for other models. You'll be paying a little less, but you're still spending a fair amount more than you might be for a set of secondhand AirPods or AirPods Pro earbuds.

How we choose the best refurbished AirPods

We started our refurbished AirPods comparisons by rounding up the best retailers that sold AirPods, AirPods Pro and AirPods Max. From there, it was a case of comparing products in terms of price and performance.

Of course, if you're already considering shopping secondhand tech, chances are price matters more to you than it might to someone buying brand new. For that reason, we opted for the standard AirPods as our pick for the best cheap Apple earbuds. However, if you can afford to spend a little more, then the AirPods Pro are a natural next-best choice. Finally, we included the AirPods Max as they're the set of Apple AirPods that are most likely to be out of the reach of everyday consumers due to the steep RRP but an option to consider as the savings that come with shopping secondhand might make them more appealing.

Refurbished AirPods frequently asked questions

A refurbished AirPod is an Apple earbud that’s been previously used in one way or another but has been cleaned and repaired to a like-new state. Refurbished AirPods may not have as long a warranty as brand-new ones, but they should still sound more or less just as good.

A set of refurbished AirPods is a good choice for kids because they can often be much cheaper than a brand-new pair of Apple earbuds.

Fergus Halliday
Written by
Fergus Halliday
Fergus Halliday is a journalist and editor for Reviews.org. He’s written about technology, telecommunications, gaming and more for over a decade. He got his start writing in high school and began his full-time career as the Editor of PC World Australia. Fergus has made the MCV 30 Under 30 list, been a finalist for seven categories at the IT Journalism Awards and won Most Controversial Writer at the 2022 Consensus Awards. He has been published in Gizmodo, Kotaku, GamesHub, Press Start, Screen Rant, Superjump, Nestegg and more.

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