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.

Rank Country USD Equivalent Rank Country USD 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.

Apple AirPods MaxApple AirPods Max
AA Recommended

Apple AirPods Max

A spectacular pair of headphones with best-in-class ANC

The AirPods Max wireless headphones offer best-in-class noise canceling with twenty hours of battery life. They provide excellent frequency response and great audio features.

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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