Are Fake AirPods Good or Bad?

If you’re looking for cheap earphones, you may consider buying a pair of fake AirPods, but how good are they exactly?


Tina Chang
Updated 18 March 2022
Are Fake AirPods Good or Bad?

United States Counterfeit Goods Statistics


$1.3 billion in counterfeit items seized each year
$200 billion yearly loss to businesses

$959 billion (estimated value of the counterfeit market by 2022)

Source: Library of U.S. Congress

Sections on this page
  1. What Are Fake AirPods?
  2. Are Fake AirPods Good?
  3. Are Fake AirPods Dangerous?
  4. How Can I Tell if My AirPods Are Real or Fake?

Apple AirPods are the most popular wireless earphones today, with a whopping 60 million units sold in 2019. Some love the design, some love the advanced features, and some people are just loyal Apple enthusiasts. If you're not someone who needs an Apple-branded product, you could consider buying fake Airpods. However, there are essential things you need to consider first. 

What Are Fake AirPods?

There are two different definitions of fake AirPods:

  • Counterfeit AirPods, made to look just like the real deal and sold as genuine Apple products (both AirPods and AirPods Pros are commonly counterfeited). 
  • Cheap knock-offs that look similar to genuine AirPods but are sold under a different name and brand. 

Regardless of the kind of "fake" they are, both try to leverage the Apple brand and design of the wireless headphones to increase sales. 

Counterfeit AirPods can be difficult to spot, as scammers sell them under the Apple brand and will falsely claim they're 100% genuine. However, the authorities and Apple have cracked down on the counterfeit market, so if you buy AirPods from legitimate websites, you can be sure you have an authentic pair. 

Cheap knock-offs, however, are found all over the internet, including on Amazon. These may use the words Apple AirPods in the product name and/or description, but they will mention that they're not actually Apple products. 

Knock-off AirPods on Amazon
Cheap, knock-off AirPods can be found easily online, including on Amazon. Although they look very similar to AirPods, they aren't sold as genuine Apple products.

Are Fake AirPods Good?

Some fake AirPods (and AirPods Pro) can be pretty decent. There are even some counterfeit ones that are so good you won't be able to tell the difference between them and real AirPods. However, fakes vary so much in price and quality that's there are no guarantees when it comes to getting your money's worth. 

What You Risk When Buying Fakes

  • Cheap materials—easier to break
  • Poor audio quality
  • Lack of advanced features, like noise cancellation
  • Poor Bluetooth connectivity
  • Health implications

Are Knock-Offs Good?

If you want a cheap pair of wireless earbuds, you can get some for as little as $20 on Amazon that work just fine but will be missing the advanced features you get from AirPods, such as:

  • Noise-canceling
  • Wireless charging
  • Long battery life
  • Advanced sound quality
  • Sweat and water resistance

Cheaper earbuds with a similar design to AirPods can be good, but they won't be as good as genuine AirPods—you'll get what you pay for. If you just want basic wireless headphones and don't need all of the bells and whistles, non-Apple earbuds do the trick and don't break the bank

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Are Counterfeit AirPods Good?

If you end up with counterfeit AirPods, you will have wasted your money. Scammers will sell fakes as genuine Apple products for higher prices than knock-off brands. They do this because they can—they trick you into believing they are genuine Apple AirPods, so you are willing to pay more for them. 

Instead of paying $20 for knock-offs, you'll probably pay $100 or more for fake AirPods, even though they may also be worth about $20. 

Remember that it's illegal to buy counterfeit goods—if you are aware that it's a fake, don't buy it. You're better off purchasing a knock-off version that costs much less. 

Are Fake AirPods Dangerous?

Fake AirPods—whether counterfeit or knock-offs—can be dangerous for several reasons. Apple AirPods are made from quality products, have undergone testing, and produce safe amounts of energy (as deemed by the Federal Communications Commission). 

On the other hand, fake AirPods don't have quality standards, so you open yourself up to various risks when using them. 

Dangers of Fake or Knock-Off AirPods

  • Hearing loss: Fake AirPods don't have the same quality of sound waves as genuine ones, leading to hearing loss when used long-term. 
  • Pain: Apple has done a ton of research and testing to create the perfect design to limit ear pain and discomfort. Other cheap earbuds haven't undergone the same testing, so you're likely to notice ear pain after prolonged use.
  • Headaches and migraines: Fake AirPods do a terrible job of coordinating sound frequencies which can cause headaches and migraines in some people. This is especially common for the elderly.
  • Cancer: It is believed by some researchers that wireless earbuds may cause cancer due to the electromagnetic radiation that they emit. Due to the low quality of fake AirPods, they are more likely to expose you to these highly cancerous waves. 

How Can I Tell if My AirPods Are Real or Fake?

There are several ways to check if your AirPods are genuine or counterfeit, including:

  • Looking closely at the packaging: There are usually inconsistencies with the color and labels on the box. 
  • Checking for serial numbers: These should be printed on the box, the charging case, and both earbuds. 
  • Checking the placement of various features: Such as the pairing button on the charging case. 
  • Looking at the quality of all parts: The charging case, each earbud, and even the box on genuine Apple AirPods are of exceptionally high quality. Anything that feels flimsy or low quality is a sign of a fake.
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