As Black Friday approaches, you can give your loved ones the gift of music. Or at least the devices that let them hear their favorite tunes with great sound and wireless convenience. Consumer Reports has highlighted the deals on headphones and speakers that feature significant discounts on popular models at major retailers, including Best Buy, Costco, Dell, Kohl’s, Target and Walmart. And they’re placing special emphasis on headphones and speakers that earned a recommendation from CR’s team of discerning product testers. Here are the best Black Friday Headphone Deals, along with their speaker counterparts.
Beats by Dr. Dre Studio 2s
The Studio 2s wireless headphones are a popular—and heavily discounted—item this holiday season. With their over-the-ear design, these Beats are good at keeping outside noise out, making them great for streetwear and commuting. They also keep the music in, which makes them ideal for dorm rooms or open-plan offices. Although they often retail for $380, you can now buy them for $160 at Target and Best Buy.
Beats by Dr. Dre Solo 3
Target is also discounting the Solo 3, which is recommended by our testers, who said its signature bass was “deep,” with “good impact.” The on-the-ear design was comfortable, while the closed-back configuration prevents sound leakage into the room. The Solo 3s normally sell for $300, but for Black Friday they’re marked down to $240 and come with a $30 Target gift card.
Walmart has a comparable deal on the Solo 3: the price is $219, but no gift card.
Beats X Wireless Earbuds
Walmart is also discounting the Beats X wireless earbuds, which earned a CR recommendation in part because they stay in place with no problem, even while you’re on the move. The earbuds are connected by a flexible cord that’s comfortable around your neck, making them a good choice for everyday use. The Black Friday price is $109, down from the list price of $150. Best Buy also features the Beats X in selected colors at the same price.
Powerbeats 3 Wireless Earbuds
Target has the Powerbeats 3 wireless earbuds for $160, with an additional $20 gift card, while Walmart has the Powerbeats 3 for $134. The Powerbeats 3 feature sweatproof construction and are designed to stay on while working out. Just the thing for making those New Year’s resolutions a reality.
Bose QuietComfort 35 Noise Canceling Headphones
If you see the Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless headphones in a Black Friday circular, don’t expect to find them selling at a discount. They’re rarely on sale, but retailers may feature them because the headphones make an attractive gift.
We rate them highly, saying they offer “excellent active noise reduction and excellent sound quality.”
You may also notice that some retailers are advertising the QC35 at two slightly different prices in their Black Friday circulars, but the lower price is for a somewhat different model. The standard Series 1 model sells for $329 at Target. The “Wireless Headphones II” model, which adds Google Assistant functionality, costs $20 more—$349—at Dell and a number of other retailers. Best Buy offers both models at the same prices.
If an authorized retailer does announce a last-minute discount on these Bose cans on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, remember that many retailers will match prices.
Jaybird Freedom F5
Best Buy is featuring the Freedom F5, a widely sold wireless earbud that was recommended by our testers, for Black Friday. In a Special Edition black, it’s a doorbuster for $50, which is $100 off the regular price. (Note that the other colors are still selling at the regular price.) Our testers found the fit “very stable even with vigorous head movement,” making the F5s a good choice for workouts, and the sound quality very good.
Jaybird Freedom Sport
Costco is featuring the Freedom Bluetooth Sport. This model has a streamlined sweatproof design that’s similar to the Freedom F5s, for $50, with a limit of three per customer.
Skullcandy Ink’d Bluetooth Earbuds
If you’re searching for stocking-stuffer earbuds for a youngster or another loved one prone to losing things, both Target and Costco have the Ink’d wireless Bluetooth earbuds on sale for half price at $25. Our testers described the overall sound as “bassy and somewhat hazy and grainy,” adding that the Ink’d “reproduces music and voice reasonably well despite the obvious shortcomings in its sound.”
Sony’s MDR-XB650BT wireless Bluetooth headphones come in black, blue, and red and feature a closed-back over-the-ear design that balances user comfort and sound leakage. These phones didn’t earn a recommendation from Consumer Reports, in part because our testers found the tonal balance “overwhelmingly bassy.”
Best Buy, Target, and Walmart are all selling the Sonys for $100. That’s down $30 from the normal selling price. Dell has these phones for $128, but, if you have a Dell gift card you want to use, you might ask about a price match.
The company’s speaker systems have been highly rated by Consumer Reports. They rarely go on sale, but Best Buy and Sonos itself have discounted a number of models for Black Friday.
Our testers called the Sonos Play:1 “a stylish, solidly constructed mono WiFi speaker that delivers very good sound quality.” Normally $199, the Play:1 is discounted by $50 to $149 at Best Buy and Sonos.com.
Sonos.com is offering the Sonos One, a similarly sized unit with Alexa-powered smart-speaker features, for $174, which represents a $25 discount.
You can integrate the Play:1 and a Sonos One in the same multiroom system, but for stereo pairing you’ll need two of the same model.
Best Buy and Sonos.com are offering a $50 discount on the larger $299 Sonos Play:3, for a Black Friday price of $249. Our testers gave this midsized Sonos speaker high marks, calling it “a good choice for critical listeners.”
Sonos Playbar and Playbase Soundbars
Best Buy and Sonos.com are taking $100 off the price of the Sonos Playbar sound bar. The Playbar was recommended by Consumer Reports’ testers, who called it “one of only a handful of sound bar speakers we recommend for more critical listeners for both movie and music playback.” The Black Friday price is $599.
The Sonos Playbase, which can support your monitor, is also being discounted by a Benjamin for Black Friday at Best Buy and Sonos, bringing the price down to $599. CR hasn’t tested this model.
JBL Charge 3
Kohl’s has the Charge 3 splashproof speaker on sale for $90, down from its normal price of $150, and the retailer kicks in $15 in Kohl’s Cash. Our testers found the sound quality merely good, with a midrange that’s “somewhat hazy and grainy,” which precluded a recommendation. But, they added, “noncritical listeners could also use it as a home system in a small to medium-sized room.”
JBL Flip 3
Walmart has the JBL Flip 3, a small cylindrical Bluetooth speaker, for $80, which is $20 off its list price.
Altec Lansing Mini Lifejacket 3
If someone you know wants tunes by the pool—or near the bathtub—Target and Kohl’s have the waterproof Mini Lifejacket 3 speaker on sale for $50, half the regular price. Our testers liked its ease of use but were less than blown away by the sound, which they described as “thin [and] gritty.”
Ultimate Ears UE Wonderboom
One of Target’s featured items is the waterproof UE Wonderboom for $70—down from $100—with the provision that quantities are limited and there are no rain checks.
Ultimate Ears UE Boom 2 Waterproof Speaker
Kohl’s is discounting the UE Boom 2 Waterproof speaker, in the limited edition Panther color, which normally sells for $200. It’s down to $100, and Kohl’s is throwing in $30 in Kohl’s Cash.
Beats by Dr. Dre Pill+ Speaker
Walmart and Best Buy feature the Beats Pill+ for $159, down $20 from its normal price. The capsule-shaped speaker missed a recommendation from Consumer Reports, but our testers called it “a good choice for those looking for a portable wireless stereo speaker for playing music and movie/TV soundtracks.”