When do you need an accessory for an accessory? When it’s one of the most popular wireless headphones around. Apple’searbuds have created their own accessory ecosystem, complete with supplementary cases and that help overcome minor shortcomings that, for some people, may be major.
When it comes to Apple AirPods and their accessories, there’s no shortage of variety. If you want a genuine leather case versus silicone material, a charging case or a wireless charging case, all of those are available. If you want a fun carrying case, a waterproof case, something with an included carabiner keychain or something that hangs from your keychain, those exist as well. If you’re looking to personalize things further, you can even get an AirPods Pro case cover or an AirPods skin. The options are seemingly endless.
But you need to start somewhere. From the best AirPods Pro case to the best wireless charger and more, here’s a look at some of CNET’s top picks of accessories for AirPods, based on my own hands-on experience with each product. Most of them fall into the protective case and earbud enhancement buckets, with a few other interesting things I’ve found. I’ll update this as I test more of the best AirPods Pro accessories.
You can find cheaper knockoff versions of Catalyst’s AirPods Pro case ($30), but the Catalyst is a better Apple AirPod case than many of the imitators, not to mention one of the top AirPods case options you can purchase. This AirPods case cover protects your AirPods’ own case, as well as makes it fully waterproof. Another key feature: The bundled detachable carabiner lets you strap the AirPods case onto a belt loop or backpack or use it as a keychain case to help keep your wireless earbuds from getting lost. This Catalyst waterproof case is currently available in black, blue or red. Expect more colors in the future.
For several years Comply has been the gold standard for memory foam eartips and now you can get Comply tips for your AirPods Pro. I tried them and they work quite well and even the large tip fit just fine in the AirPods Pro charging case. With the Apple-issued tips, I found that the AirPod Pro in my left ear got a little loose when I ran with the buds. With the Comply tip, it didn’t get loose and fit very securely. They also seem to help a bit with noise-canceling because you get an even tighter seal.
Comply tips are fairly pricey at $25. You can get foam tips that cost less (more like $12-$15), but as I said, Comply is the gold standard and it may be worth paying a little more. If you know your specific size, you do get three sets of tips in a pack (of the same size. Comply also sells a pack with small, medium and large tips though it’s currently only available on the Comply website, not Amazon). That might be a good option for your new AirPods Pro eartips if you have a couple of people in your family who own the AirPods Pro and have different sized ears.
Speck’s initial AirPods Pro cases, the Presidio Pro and Presidio Perfect-Clear, are decent but not anything special. However, the newer Presidio ClickFlip is more intriguing, even if its list price of $40 is high. It offers IPX5 water resistance, as well as dust resistance and is generally well-designed though a bit thicker than more minimalist AirPods Pro cases.
The Lightning port is covered by a gasket, but the port is still easy to access, and wireless charging works fine even though the case is thicker. Also, the carabiner seems securely attached to the case (with some silicone cases, the carabiner can end up getting torn off if you snag the case on something). The case has a kind of band that slides up and clicks into the lid, locking it down.
The ClickFlip is available in three color options, and it’s worth noting that you get 30% off on your first purchase from Speck.com, so that can bring the price down to less than $30.
The husband-and-wife team of Charlie and Jen at CharJenPro pulled off a successful Kickstarter for AirPods foam earbuds in early 2020 and now have a growing line of AirPods Pro foam eartips, including the new AirFoams Pro Active ($27) that have a silicone layer over the foam that’s designed to protect the tips from sweat and ear wax and help them last longer (the company claims 3 times longer).
CharJenPro also sells its AirFoams Pro Form Fit eartips ($22) that have a slightly more convex shape than the original AirFoams Pro ($17). (Note: I did notice that the large Comply tip is slightly larger than the large CharJenPro AirFoams Pro Form Fit tip, and it’s also probably worth pointing out that if you typically use a medium tip for your AirPods Pro, you may want to go with a large foam tip here).
The AirFoams Pro Active include three different sized tips (small, medium, large), so you can choose the tip size that fits you best and possibly pass the other tips onto friends). Since I know I require a large tip, I’d prefer it if there was an option that included a couple of sets large tips instead — that would be the better value — but CharJen Pro doesn’t offer that option.
Again, when it comes to generic tough cases, there are dozens available on Amazon. However, this model from amBand, which mainly sells smartwatch bands, manages to stand out for its attractive design and reasonable price (a little more than $10). Just be warned that it’s a little bulky, but you can still wirelessly charge your AirPods Pro with the case on. It’s available in 4 color options and comes with a carabiner.
I like Catalyst’s original Waterproof Case (see above — $30) but if you want something that delivers maximum protection, its newer Total Protection case certainly measures up to its title. if you happen to drop your AirPods in the ocean or a deep lake, the case is rated as waterproof down to 330 ft. (100m). It’s also shockproof.
Catalyst’s original Waterproof case has a rubberized finished while this has a hard plastic finish. Both include a carabiner and this model literally clamps shut. Still, you can access your AirPods fairly quickly. The case is available in army green or black.
Nomad makes nice leather cases for the iPhone and the original AirPods. Its Rugged AirPods Pro case is one of the best I’ve tested. This AirPod Pro case fits like a glove and wears nicely over time. It’s available in three colors.
You have a couple of choices if you want to add some additional grip to the AirPods Pro to promote them staying in your ears more securely. You can get very thin silicone skins that cover the bud portion of the AirPods Pro or a set of wings like these that not only cover the bud but add a sport fin (they do help lock the AirPods Pro in your ears). The only issue with the fin approach is that the AirPods Pro won’t fit in their case with an appendage on them so you have to remove them whenever you want to charge the AirPods.
It’s actually pretty easy to get them on and off but you just have to avoid losing them. Two sets of ear hooks are included — one that’s translucent (shown here) and one that’s white.
If you go the silicone skin route (with no fin), you should be able to get your AirPods in the case without having to take the skins off. However, some people complain that because the rubber is so thin it has a tendency to stretch easily and end up not fitting as well as it should. That isn’t a problem with CharJenPro AirFoams Pro Ear Hooks (and other ear-hook accessories) because the rubber is thicker and more durable.
What do you do if you want to use your AirPods with an in-flight entertainment system or the TV built into a machine at the gym that requires a wired connection? Well, one workaround is buying a Bluetooth transmitter that you can plug into any 3.5mm audio jack. There are several transmitters available from TaoTronics and other little-known brands (I’ve also tried the TaoTronics.)
To pair your AirPods with a transmitter, you have to turn off the Bluetooth on your phone (or just put it into airplane mode), put your AirPods in their case, hold down the Bluetooth button on the transmitter until it goes into pairing mode, and then hit the pairing button on the AirPods case. (This video explains how to pair to your AirPods.)
Battery life is rated at 16 hours and the AirFly Pro uses Bluetooth 5.0.
If you’re looking for a mini USB-C wireless charging dock for your AirPods Pro (or standard AirPods), this Satechi accessory fits the bill nicely. It’s very compact — basically slightly bigger than the AirPods Pro’s case — and easily fits in a pocket. It works with any USB-C port that outputs power. The only issue is that you may have trouble plugging it in if you have some sort of case on your computer (it has to plug all the way into the port to work).
RHA has a slightly different take on a wireless flight transmitter. This one has two foldable 3.5mm jacks: You can either opt to use one 3.5mm plug, or two for those older in-flight systems that have two jacks. Both plugs tuck back into the transmitter. The pairing process is the same as with the Twelve South transmitter and was straightforward. Like that model, this uses Bluetooth 5.0. It’s also rated for 16 hours of battery life and charges via USB-C. It also works with the Nintendo Switch.
Made of rugged leather and equipped with a snap closing system, as well a “loss-prevention” S-Clip, Twelve South’s AirSnap leather case is a slightly different take on an Apple AirPods Pro case. It’s available in several colors in leather, and depending on the color, prices range from $21-$35. You can wirelessly charge your AirPods Pro with the leather case on.
The AirPods Pro feature wireless charging, so you’ll need a wireless charging pad to take advantage of that feature. A good affordable option for both your AirPods Pro and your phone is the Anker PowerWave. It offers 7.5-watt charging for your iPhone and 10-watt charging for Android models that support it. It costs $14 but sometimes goes on sale for less than $10. Available in black, white and blue.
The Arriva Keeper is a little bit different take on a retention strap for the AirPods. The cord has a wavy, malleable design and it clings to the back of your neck or head depending on how you shape it. I’m not a huge fan of straps for true wireless earbuds but some people do worry about losing them and this helps keep them on your head. It also allows you to pull your AirPods out and have them dangle around your neck.
Arriva has an instructional video for how to attach the wire correctly and it’s worth checking out before you buy the Keeper. It did fit me pretty comfortably. The wire is available in a few different color options (translucent is shown).
If you’re looking for a more affordable way to make sure your AirPods don’t drop out of your ears, these clear-colored ear hooks can currently be had for $4. Of course, you do need to take them off to charge your AirPods Pro, but if you’re a biker who’s worried about losing a bud, this is certainly a cheap option to try.
If money is no object, I’ve got an AirPods Pro case for you: the Gray Raptor Titanium. At $199, it basically costs as much as the AirPods Pro themselves. It’s not actually made out of titanium but has aerospace-grade titanium bits inlayed into its design, including inserts at the flanks for a “more ergonomic grip,” according to Gray, and a triangular element that frames the AirPods’ charging LED, giving the case — and your AirPods Pro — a sort of Iron Man vibe.
The case also comes in versions with aluminum “variants” that brings the price down to $130. All of Gray’s cases are handcrafted, and the company says, “Make no mistake about it, this is a work of art, not a case.”
I don’t know if I’d personally pay $199 for it, but it is a sweet case (though not waterproof, and it does attract some dust) and I had no trouble wirelessly charging the AirPods Pro with the Raptor on.