The AirPods Pro is great — but this $25 accessory makes it perfect
The AirPods Pro is already an excellent pair of wireless earbuds. But when I found a problem it seemed incapable of solving, it was a $25 ear tip that kept it from becoming useless.
I was late to the AirPods Pro party, only buying mine during Black Friday last year. Nonetheless, I quickly fell in love. The sound quality is balanced just right so it works for anything you want to listen to; they’re easy to use; and the active noise cancellation (ANC) is surprisingly powerful for a pair of earbuds.
Due to working from home a lot more for the past few months, I’ve often worn my AirPods Pro while sitting at a desk writing. Here it works brilliantly, providing unobtrusive music while also keeping the noise of housemates and neighbors out. What I didn’t realize at the time was how limited the buds’ effectiveness could be.
The problem came when I took up running again, after taking a hiatus due to, well, laziness. As with all relationships, a change in routine brought with it a new source of stress, as I discovered that running with my AirPods Pro made each stride a potential disaster.
A cheap but huge AirPods Pro upgrade
While the fit of the medium-sized gel ear tips included in the AirPods Pro’s box was good for sitting around the house, they easily worked themselves loose. There was never much time between moments I needed to jab at my ears to make sure they were still in properly, making the AirPods Pro its own form of interval training.
Not wanting to lose the AirPods Pro, but also not wanting to give up running again, I started investigating custom ear tips. And I eventually landed on the Comply AirPods Pro 2.0 eartips.
This accessory costs $25 for a pack of three. You can buy three pairs of the same size — small, medium or large — but only owning a single pair of the AirPods Pro, I instead went for the variety pack, which sends a pair of each size for you to try out.
Installing the tips was surprisingly simple. The AirPods Pro has a proprietary clip mechanism to fit the ear tips, in true Apple fashion, but the Comply tips snapped on and off as easily as the originals.
A better fit for running (with some trade-offs)
Wearing the buds again, the sound was just like the AirPods Pro I already knew and loved. Now, however, the foam tips made sure the buds stayed secure inside my ear, meaning I could now focus on improving my running technique and speed rather than making sure I didn’t lose an AirPod Pro to a nearby drain.
Swapping away from the standard ear tips does come with some small costs. They’re less convenient to pop in your ears, since you have to squash the foam between your fingertips to fit them in. The color scheme changes as well, since the Comply tips add a lot more black to the nearly pure white basic AirPods Pro. These are quite easy to forgive though.
Apple has some of the best industrial designers in the business, but no designer can make a product that fits everyone. Besides, Apple has a bit of a reputation for pursuing its company goals whether that makes its products more usable or not. Yes, we’re looking at you, Lightning port.
Fortunately, the huge ecosystem surrounding Apple means that more people are able to enjoy its products to the fullest. You should of course take care when swapping parts, lest you damage something you can’t repair yourself. However, if it goes well it can prevent a $249 pair of the AirPods Pro from becoming an expensive waste.
Insten 3 Pairs Memory Foam Replacement Ear Tips Compatible with AirPods Pro - Secure Fit for Earbuds, Black (M)
Best AirPods Pro accessories
While the Apple AirPods Pro greatly improve upon the original AirPods design, they’re not without their flaws. Whether you’re unable to get a good fit, or are worried about the case’s durability, there are extras you can pickup to improve your AirPods Pro experience. Seeing how everyone’s trying to cash-in on the AirPods market, it can be hard to differentiate the good from the gimmicks. That’s where we come in: here are the best AirPods Pro accessories out now.
Editor’s note: this list was updated on April 6, 2021, to address an FAQ about painting the AirPods Pro.
The best AirPods Pro accessories are the Proof Labs Memory Foam Tips and Ear Hooks
Apple doesn’t include memory foam ear tips or wing tips with its AirPods Pro, but the Proof Labs Memory Foam Tips and Ear Hooks fill the gap. These ear tips are compatible with the AirPods Pro’s indented collar design, and they come with three sizes. The memory foam tips improve sound quality and noise cancelling performance, and the wing tips improve stability for workouts or everyday use.
Proof Labs Memory Foam Tips and Ear Hooks
Noise cancelling technology is complicated, but the TL;DR of it is this: in order to get the most out of your noise cancelling earbuds, you have to have to start with a good fit. Finding a proper fit with earbuds can be difficult, especially if the headset only includes a few pairs of silicone sleeves. Memory foam ear tips remedy this fit issue because they expand to the shape of the user’s ear canals. This means even more excess noise is blocked out passively by the dense foam barrier than silicone alternatives. The end result: improved noise cancelling and sound quality. The downside is that memory foam degrades faster than silicone and is a lot harder to clean.
The Catalyst waterproof case can endure
One of the best things about true wireless technology is how portable it is, but just because the AirPods Pro case is portable doesn’t mean it’s durable. That’s why backpackers, hikers, and urban explorers should pickup the Catalyst waterproof case.
This buddy can handle it all: it’s IP67 and MIL-STD 810G certified and tested; the former rating denotes dust and water-resistance while the latter indicates shock-resistance. Its silicone sleeve is form-fitting but still allows quick access to the case’s lid, so you can reveal the earbuds for easy listening.
Catalyst made a little cutout in the center of the case, so the AirPods Pro case’s LED indicator is still visible. The included carabiner is great for hooking it onto a backpack strap or belt loop, so you’ll never be without your favorite buds.
The Anker 15W Wireless Charger can charge anything quickly
Of all the Apple AirPods Pro accessories, this one may be the most versatile. Not only can it charge the AirPods Pro case, but its 15W specification means that it can also fast charge a smartphone and any Qi-compatible device quickly.
It’s a bit cumbersome relative to other wireless charging pads because of the five-foot DC power cable, but that’s really the only downside here. The smart charging technology is programmed to recognize when it needs to switch between 5, 7.5W, 10W, and 15W charging modes. This means you’ll benefit from optimal charging rates no matter the device.
An anti-slip ring encircles the circumference of the pad, so it can hold a phone, Apple Watch, or AirPods Pro case in place. Oh, and it plays nicely with cases up to 5mm thick. So if you buy a case for your earbuds, you don’t have to fiddle with removing it before placing it on the charging pad.
Keep track of your AirPods Pro with the Cobcobb magnetic leash
This magnetic earbuds leash is great for anyone prone to losing things, and for athletes. Since the leash is made of silicone, it can stretch to hold the AirPods, AirPods Pro, or any other AirPods and AirPods Pro alternatives.
Each collar hides a magnet for clasping the earbuds together, which is great for avoiding unwieldy cables when the earbuds aren’t in use. The cable leash weighs just 14 grams and comes in a variety of colors. The company also backs a six-month warranty in case any issues arise.
Every day is throwback Thursday with the Spigen Classic Shuffle case
If you’re looking for fun AirPods Pro accessories, you’ve hit the jackpot here with the Spigen Classic Shuffle case. This turns the white plastic case into an Apple iPod shuffle lookalike.
Spigen Classic Shuffle case
The soft silicone covering protects the Pro’s case from scratches and absorbs minor shocks; though, it isn’t nearly as durable as the Catalyst waterproof case mentioned above. The buttons on it are aesthetics only, but cool nonetheless. Spigen kept a cutout for the LED indicator and button indentation for manually pairing the headset. This makes a great gift for the Apple fanboy in your life. For a more modern case from Spigen, check out the Rugged Armor case.
Best AirPods Pro accessories: notable mentions
- AhaStyle AirPods Pro Ear Hooks: Athletes who want a way to secure their valued noise cancelling earbuds to their ears when working out should get these. They’re easy to install and include a carrying pouch.
- Caseology Vault case: This is a more affordable alternative to the Catalyst case, and is more durable than the Spigen Shuffle Classic case. The textured exterior makes it easy to grip, and its thin enough to be compatible with a wide array of wireless charging pads.
- CharJenPro AirFoams Pro: These ear tips are more expensive than the Comply Foam Tips, but include a mesh guard to prevent earwax from mucking up your AirPods Pro.
- Comply Memory Foam Tips: If you want memory foam ear tips without the wing tips, go for these. They are more expensive than the Proof Labs tips, though.
- elago AirPods Pro Ear Hooks: For extra stability, get these ear hooks. They’re soft, bendable, and easy to install and remove.
- elago Peach AirPods Pro Case Cover: This cute peach-shaped case cover doesn’t block wireless charging capabilities, and it has a bright silicone build, so you shouldn’t have trouble locating it on your desk or in your bag.
- Nomad Rugged Case for AirPods Pro: If you’re looking for a slim yet durable case to protect your AirPods Pro, Nomad has you covered. Literally. This leather case is available in black and in two shades of brown. It also comes with an optical light pipe which allows you to see the LED charging indicator, and a lanyard attachment point for an optional wrist strap.
- Wowwat accessory bundle: This $10.99 bundle of accessories includes an Airpods Pro strap, case, watch band holder, 2 different keychains, 3 different AirPods Pro covers, an earhook, an earbuds holder, a cleaning brush, and a zippered pouch to carry all your accessories.
What you should know about the best AirPods Pro accessories
The AirPods Pro come with three different sized eartips, one of which comes pre-installed on the earbuds.
Although the AirPods Pro is a more feature-packed variant of the original AirPods, Apple has yet to design an extensive line of accessories for the AirPods Pro, missing out on products like foam ear tips, a first-party wireless charging pad (RIP AirPower), or even a decent protective enclosure for the charging case. Fortunately, third-party manufacturers have answered the call for AirPods Pro accessories, with Amazon being flooded with different case, ear tips, and wireless charging pad options. With our list of the best AirPods Pro accessories, you can take comfort in the fact that any product listed here will be well worth your money.
How to use AirPods Pro accessories
Accessories for the AirPods Pro come in all different shapes and sizes. Whatever you’re buying, whether it be ear tips, straps, silicon cases, or even a charging mat, it’s best to read the instructions from your product manufacturer, ensuring that you’re using your accessories correctly. This is especially true if you’re buying third-party ear tips, where improper installation can lead to a bad fit, negatively affecting your music listening experience.
Please note that AirPods Pro accessories are not compatible with AirPods, and vice-versa, since both products are engineered with different designs and hardware specs. This includes ear hooks, ear tips, charging case sleeves/skins, cable leashes, and charging pads.
Why you should trust SoundGuys
We get our ears on as many headsets as possible.
We make sure to test every audio product that comes out way, subjecting each set of headphones to a battery of objective tests for battery life, isolation, microphone quality, and frequency response. We lay the facts bare here at SoundGuys in order to make your buying decision easier, and if we make a mistake, we own up to it.
We don’t just rely on data to inform our recommendations, though; we also take audio products into the real world to see how they perform on a day-to-day basis. This means we exercise with workout earbuds and commute with noise cancelling headphones, to give readers a holistic illustration of how a given product performs.
Next: Apple AirPods Pro vs. Google Pixel Buds
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