The 5 Best iPods of 2021

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The best iPod model should be able to handle your music library with ease. Most phone do that these days, but if you want a dedicated music player, the iPod touch (7th Generation) from Apple is the way to go. It has a powerful A10 Fusion processor, can handle apps, games, music, videos, and web browsing with ease. It's a great multi-functional music player.

If your budget is set a bit lower, take a look at our list of the best MP3 players. For all others, read on to see the best iPods you can buy.

The Rundown
The latest and greatest iPod touch offers a powerful A10 Fusion processor, crisp screen, and plenty of features.
This iPod is built with the speedy A8 processor and includes the M8 motion processor for tracking movement and physical activity.
Best for Video:
Apple iPod nano at Amazon
It's the perfect device for those on a budget who want to enjoy an iPod.
It's small, light, clips to clothing, and won't get in your way.
This entry-level iPod touch offers 16GB of storage.

Best Overall: Apple iPod touch (7th Generation)

The new iPod touch (7th Generation) is the latest and greatest iPod model out. It improves on the previous generation by beefing up the specs with a powerful A10 Fusion chip, putting it on par with the iPhone 7. The 4-inch display is 1,136 x 640, giving it a crisp 326 pixels per inch, making it a solid option for watching music videos, YouTube, and even Netflix. Navigating song titles and web pages is smooth and easy, and the iPod touch can handle a decent level of games.

Beyond that, it has a 8MP rear camera, letting it take solid photos if you don't have your phone handy and there's a 1.2MP front-facing camera for video chatting. Storage options available are 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB, giving you plenty of space to handle apps, game, music, photos, and video.

Best Overall: Apple iPod touch (6th Generation)

6th Gen. iPod touch

The 6th-generation iPod touch is the best handheld media player/Internet device (that's not a phone) that I've ever used. It takes all the strengths of the 5th generation model — its 4-inch Retina Display screen, Internet connectivity, App Store support, FaceTime video chatting — and adds a handful of key improvements.

This version is built around the speedy A8 processor, includes the M8 motion co-processor for tracking movement and physical activity, and greatly improves imaging by making the back camera 8 megapixels and adding support for slow-motion video on top of the existing 1080p HD recording. Even better, it also includes a model with 128GB of storage.

It's important to note that while the 6th gen. touch is my top-rated iPod, that rating does not apply to the 16GB model. See the end of the list for my thinking — and why you should avoid that one.

Best for Video: Apple iPod nano

7th Gen. iPod nano

The 6th-generation iPod nano was a step back. Apple intended that model nano — with its tiny shape and multitouch screen — to be an innovation, but it simply removed too many useful features.

The 7th-gen model rectifies that. It restores features like video playback that had been removed from the 6th-gen model, while also adding key new features like a bigger, 2.5-inch screen, a home button, and the Lightning connector. After the misstep of the sixth generation, the nano is again the best non-iOS iPod and, at just $149 for a 16GB model, it's the perfect device for those on a budget who want to enjoy an iPod.

Best Minimal: Apple iPod Shuffle

4th Gen. iPod Shuffle

The Shuffle will never be a contender for top iPod honors. It's too limited for everyday use by all users. But the users it's designed for are going to love it.

The Shuffle is best as something you use in limited ways, such as at the gym and when running. It's small, light, clips to clothing, and won't get in your way. It doesn't have a screen or too many features, but when you're exercising you don't need them.

This version of the Shuffle harkens back to the design of the 2nd generation model, offering the buttons on the face that the 3rd-generation model lacked. As a result, this version fixes most of the problems of the previous one. It's still tiny and light — just 0.44 ounces — and affordable. It only offers 2GB of storage, but it's a great package for the right users.

Best Budget: Apple 16 GB iPod touch

6th Gen. iPod touch

I sang the praises of the iPod touch at the top of the list, so why is this model at the bottom? Storage space. The entry-level iPod touch only offers 16GB of storage. When you factor in how much room the iOS and all of its default apps need, the user is left with 10GB or less of storage for their apps, photos, music, and more. That's just not enough these days.

The most elaborate games can take up as much as 4GB while recording 1 hour of HD video can require around 7 GB of storage. The 16GB model presumably exists so Apple can charge under $200 (in this case, $199) for a touch. But Apple simply shouldn't be selling 16GB models anymore: they're not good enough.

If you want a touch, but are also on a budget, spend the extra $50 to get the 32GB model. It's more than worth the difference in price.

Final Verdict

The best iPod for most people is undoubtedly the iPod touch (7th Gen) from Apple. It has upgraded specs, a nice screen, and offers plenty of functionality in addition to music playback. As another minimalistic option, we like the iPod Shuffle (view at Walmart) if you can still find it on sale. It clips to clothing, and is small and light, making it a great option for joggers and gym goers.

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