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What I use my AirPods Max for versus my AirPods Pro

Key Takeaways

  • AirPods Pro are ideal for working out with their secure fit and lightweight design.
  • AirPods Max are better for watching videos with their long battery life and superior sound quality.
  • AirPods Pro are more suitable for taking public transportation, providing better noise cancellation and compactness.

I’ve been wearing my in-ear AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) for two years and, for the longest time, couldn’t imagine my life without them. That was until this past November when I bought the over-head AirPods Max, of course. Since then, my life consists of constantly debating whether I should use my AirPods Pro or AirPods Max for different activities.

I’m constantly debating whether I should use my AirPods Pro or AirPods Max? Champagne problems, I know, but still a decision that heavily impacts my experience.

Champagne problems, I know, but still a decision that heavily impacts my experience during Zoom meetings or while listening to music on a noisy tube. If you’re deciding whether you want the AirPods Pro or AirPods Max, I can confidently tell you that you can’t go wrong either way. However, both sets of headphones work best for different activities.


5 reasons AirPods are my main earbuds

I’ve tested a lot of headphones, and at the risk of sounding like an Apple superfan, AirPods offer features that keep them in my ears.

Looking for headphones just for working out? AirPods Pro is the way to go. Need a sturdy set of headphones for watching videos on your laptop? The AirPods Max will probably be the better option. After a couple of months of owning both the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, here are some activities I use my AirPods Pro versus my AirPods Max for.

1 Working from home

Winner: AirPods Max


AirPods Max on the side

Truthfully, one of the biggest reasons the AirPods Max works best for working from home is because of its 20+ hour battery life. There’s nothing more annoying than being in the middle of a Zoom meeting just to hear the noise made by the headphones signifying that they’re about to die. Although both headphones have a solid microphone, the AirPods Max also has a better microphone for Zoom calls.


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The biggest downside, for most, to wearing AirPods Max for the work day is the weight of the headphones. I’ve never had an issue with the weight of over-ear headphones, and it’s not something I fully notice until taking the headphones off, but if you can be sensitive to weight, the AirPods Pro will be a better option for you.

2 Working out

Winner: AirPods Pro

AirPods Pro 2 case

Apple AirPods Pro 2nd Gen USB-C - 7

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen)

AirPods Pro are the clear winner for working out. The in-ear earbuds come with silicone tips that help the headphones grip on your ear, so you don’t need to worry about an earbud falling out. The headphones are lightweight and are built with runners in mind. Plus, the charging case is small enough to fit in your pocket or sports bra, so you can easily put your headphones away once you finish your workout.

Of course, you can use the AirPods Max to work out, but I can’t say it will be as pleasurable as an experience — especially if you’re doing cardio. AirPods Max are relatively heavy, making them the more uncomfortable option for working out. I’ve also found that since the length of the AirPods Max is adjustable, they tend to slip down after a while, which will be extremely noticeable, albeit super annoying.



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3 Taking public transportation

Winner: AirPods Pro

AirPods Pro 2 scrolling on stem

If you’ve ever taken the tube in London or the subway in New York City, you’re familiar with how loud underground transportation gets. From the piercing noise of the train moving to the loud chatter of others, you want a pair of headphones that have good noise-cancelling that will block out all surrounding noise.

That’s where the AirPods Pro comes in. While both the Pro and Max have good noise-cancelling abilities, the AirPods Max doesn’t block out as much noise while on a busy train. The AirPods Pro does a better job at fully cancelling out outside noise without you having to turn the volume all the way up.


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From Apple’s in-ears to Bose’s new buds, these ANC earbuds promise convenience, comfort, and silence without the bulk of over-ear headphones.

AirPods Pro are also more compact, allowing you to easily take them off and slip them into your pocket when you’re done listening. The AirPods Max require more of a hassle when taking them on and off, and when you’re taking public transit you want to do everything as quickly and smoothly as possible.

4 Watching videos

Winner: AirPods Max

AirPods Max 169 (1)

Another victory for AirPods Max is thanks not just to the headphone’s exceptional battery life, but also to the surround sound listening experience. If you spend your free time watching movies on your laptop or editing YouTube videos, then you’ll be thankful you went with the AirPods Max.

As mentioned, the AirPods Max has around 20 hours of battery life and charge extremely fast. According to Apple, only five minutes of charging will give your headphones a 90-minute battery life. AirPods Max’s Spatial Audio and sound quality is a bit of a step up from the AirPods Pro, giving them another leg up on the in-ear earbuds.

5 When traveling

Winner: Tied, both great options

AirPods next to airplane window

I can’t give a decisive answer to this. Both the AirPods Max and AirPods Pro have unique qualities, making them good options to use while flying. AirPods Max are better for long haul flights due to their battery life and are better for connecting to in-flight entertainment systems.


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I flew round trip from London to New York for under $300 — without using any credit card or loyalty points — thanks to this one travel hack.

Despite the lack of a 3.5mm jack for an auxiliary cord to connect the headphones to in-flight systems, you can opt to buy a connector which will allow you to easily connect the headphones to the screen.

I prefer using the AirPods Pro on shorter flights where I just want to listen to music or podcasts from my iPhone.

AirPods Pro are smaller, making them the better option for when you want to listen to music while also falling asleep. Sometimes I will even just turn my AirPods Pro on noise-cancelling mode to block out surrounding noise, then fall asleep.

Airpods (1)

Which is better, the AirPods Max or AirPods Pro?

At the end of the day, it depends on what you want to use the headphones for and your personal preferences.

Both headphones are great options if you’re looking for noise-cancelling headphones, the major difference being the price.

The AirPods Max cost around $550-$600 whereas the AirPods Pro can run you around $230. If you want a more professional set of headphones for work, then I would go with the AirPods Max, but if you just want a set of headphones for casual daily use, then I would stick with the cheaper AirPods Pro.

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