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The cheapest countries to buy the AirPods Max

The high-end Apple headphones have a different price tag in each country and the variation is quite stark.
By

Published onJanuary 30, 2024

The Apple AirPods Max in white against a slatted wood surface.
Adam Molina / Android Authority

For Apple fans in the market for a new pair of premium wireless headphones, the AirPods Max are the standout choice. The quality of these cans isn’t in dispute, but as with all Apple devices, you better have a hefty budget to afford them. Despite being released over three years ago, they still maintain a $549 retail price before tax in the US. But what you may or may not know is that the retail price is different in every country. That begs the question, where is the cheapest place to buy the AirPods Max? We’ve looked into whether you should try to buy them for less while on vacation.

There are two factors to consider for a US resident looking to buy the AirPods Max while abroad. The prospect of a lower price is obviously important, but sales tax is also a key element. You get hit with this significant extra cost when you order the Apple headphones at home, but this tax often doesn’t apply to tourists. That means you might be able to avoid it while you’re abroad. When you combine these two potential savings, there could be scope to get a good deal during your travels.

But is it worth adding to your travel checklist? Let’s look at the numbers.

QUICK ANSWER

Vietnam is the cheapest place in the world to buy the AirPods Max at $499, with Australia and South Korea close behind.


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What are the cheapest countries to buy the AirPods Max?

The figures in the table below were published on The Mac Index website, and our thanks go to that team for sourcing the figures. The retail price of the AirPods Max in each country has had the sales tax deducted to represent what a US citizen would pay if it’s possible to avoid tax in that country. The exception is the United States, which has had an approximate extra 10% added to the retail price, reflecting the unavoidable tax you’d pay domestically. The amounts have then been converted to US dollars and ranked in order from cheapest to most expensive.

RankCountryUSD EquivalentRankCountryUSD Equivalent
Rank
1
Country
Vietnam
USD Equivalent
$499
Rank
22
Country
Netherlands
USD Equivalent
$555
Rank
2
Country
Australia
USD Equivalent
$522
Rank
23
Country
Switzerland
USD Equivalent
$561
Rank
3
Country
South Korea
USD Equivalent
$532
Rank
24
Country
Sweden
USD Equivalent
$568
Rank
4
Country
Taiwan
USD Equivalent
$532
Rank
25
Country
Hungary
USD Equivalent
$570
Rank
5
Country
Thailand
USD Equivalent
$536
Rank
26
Country
Czech Republic
USD Equivalent
$578
Rank
6
Country
Malaysia
USD Equivalent
$537
Rank
27
Country
Japan
USD Equivalent
$581
Rank
7
Country
Luxembourg
USD Equivalent
$542
Rank
28
Country
Denmark
USD Equivalent
$581
Rank
8
Country
Ireland
USD Equivalent
$542
Rank
29
Country
Philippines
USD Equivalent
$588
Rank
9
Country
Portugal
USD Equivalent
$542
Rank
30
Country
Hong Kong
USD Equivalent
$589
Rank
10
Country
Finland
USD Equivalent
$545
Rank
31
Country
Russia
USD Equivalent
$589
Rank
11
Country
Spain
USD Equivalent
$547
Rank
32
Country
New Zealand
USD Equivalent
$593
Rank
12
Country
Italy
USD Equivalent
$547
Rank
33
Country
United States*
USD Equivalent
$601
Rank
13
Country
Austria
USD Equivalent
$548
Rank
34
Country
Poland
USD Equivalent
$618
Rank
14
Country
Chile
USD Equivalent
$548
Rank
35
Country
Mexico
USD Equivalent
$626
Rank
15
Country
UAE
USD Equivalent
$549
Rank
36
Country
United Kingdom
USD Equivalent
$634
Rank
16
Country
China
USD Equivalent
$549
Rank
37
Country
Canada
USD Equivalent
$651
Rank
17
Country
Singapore
USD Equivalent
$550
Rank
38
Country
Greece
USD Equivalent
$686
Rank
18
Country
France
USD Equivalent
$550
Rank
39
Country
India
USD Equivalent
$720
Rank
19
Country
Belgium
USD Equivalent
$552
Rank
40
Country
Turkey
USD Equivalent
$742
Rank
20
Country
Norway
USD Equivalent
$552
Rank
41
Country
Croatia
USD Equivalent
$791
Rank
21
Country
Germany
USD Equivalent
$553
Rank
42
Country
Brazil
USD Equivalent
$1,352

At the time of writing, the cheapest place to buy the AirPods Max is Vietnam. The headphones would cost a US tourist the equivalent of $499 there, compared to around $600 in the US. Australia is also a good location to pick them up at $522, followed by a cluster of Southeast Asian countries, including South Korea and Taiwan.

Brazil is the most expensive place to buy the AirPods Max by a country mile — at least from a US resident’s perspective. Paying over $1,300 for the cans seems crazy, but there are possible reasons why this figure looks so high. We’ve discussed it a little further below.

Nah, I saw them cheaper in Asia!

Possibly. We’re only comparing the official price of the AirPods Max directly from Apple or the equivalent licensed outlet in each country. Unlicenced third-party vendors may well be selling the headphones for different prices in every corner of the world. But we’d always urge extreme caution if you see an offer that appears too good to be true. Sales of stolen goods do happen in many places, or it could be a cheap knock-off replica. Given that the AirPods Max have been available since late 2020, one of the many second-hand pairs floating about might also be touted as new. It’s a risk you take if you don’t go directly to Apple.

None of that means that all tempting prices are illegitimate. Being three years old, genuine deals on the headphones are increasingly common, both at home and abroad. Indeed, there’s $50 off the AirPods Max on Amazon US at the time of publication.

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Should I buy the AirPods Max from another country?

This is for you to decide, but our view is that it isn’t worth it. If you happen to be in Vietnam and want to make relatively modest savings by picking up the AirPods Max, it would be understandable. But you’re only saving around $100 in total, or less than that when the headphones are on sale in the US, as they often are. On top of that, you’ve got extra luggage and a warranty that would be next to useless back in America. These factors are worth taking into account.

One thing that’s beyond doubt is that it certainly isn’t worth traveling to Asia or Australia for the sole purpose of getting cheaper AirPods Max. The flight and accommodation costs alone could buy you the headphones several times over in the US.

Why are the AirPods Max cheaper in some countries and more expensive in others?

Apple AirPods Max 09
Adam Molina / Android Authority

Many market forces dictate how much any product will cost in any region of the world. The list of costs to bring a set of headphones to market is long and varied, including import taxes, labor, logistics, and much more. These costs are different in every country, so it stands to reason that the AirPods Max would have a different retail price in each country to reflect that. The spending power of the residents is also considered. Apple will have done its research in order to maximize the bottom line.

The other thing is that we’re converting the local retail prices of the AirPods Max in each country, which were probably decided almost four years ago, to the equivalent US dollar value now. The world has been through a pandemic and various other forms of instability since then, and exchange rates have fluctuated quite starkly. It’s possible Vietnam wasn’t the cheapest country on the list in USD terms when the headphones were launched, and it might not be in six months’ time.


FAQs

Nothing is official yet, but the AirPods Max 2 are rumored to be released in late 2024.

These are top-tier headphones with an Apple premium heaped on top. You get quality from Apple but not necessarily value for money.

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