If you want to invest in a pair of above-average handphones that deliver a good and reliable listening experience, you have a lot of options at your disposal. The headphones in this list are versatile, well-built and deliver a good sound quality. They typically provide additional features like wireless Bluetooth and active noise cancelling.
So far, we've tested 46 headphones under $200 and below are our recommendations for the best ones you can buy today.
Best Over-Ear Headphones under $200
If sound quality is your main priority, the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro are the best over ear headphones under $200 we've tested. They have an excellently balanced audio reproduction with a spacious soundstage that immerses you in whatever you’re listening to. They’re also sufficiently sturdy and durable that you won’t worry if they accidentally fall a couple of times. However, like most open headphones, they’re not practical to use outdoors, and they also feel a bit tight on the head which may be uncomfortable for some at first.
Alternative for Everyday Use
The Beyerdynamic DT 990 should be your first choice if you only care about sound quality and critical listening, but for almost everything else, get the Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2.
They’re amazingly versatile and improve on the previous model, with a better build quality and a more ergonomic design, although the controls scheme is not as intuitive. They have a great battery life, a reliable and fast wireless connection and better noise canceling than the original BackBeat Pro. However, they’re still somewhat bulky headphones, so they won’t be ideal for running and sports.
Best On-Ear Headphones under $200
If you find the first two options a little too bulky, then we recommend the Bose SoundLink On-Ear. They're incredibly comfortable headphones, especially for an on-ear design. They're compact enough to fit in some larger pockets, and they have a slightly better sound and build quality than the Samsung Level On, although they do not have as many features.
They also don't sound as balanced as the Beats EP, but they're wireless, comfortable and an overall good pair of portable on-ear headphones.
Alternative for Critical Listening
If you only care about sound quality and don't need a wireless design or a lot of active features, then get the Beats EP. They're one of the best sounding on-ear headphones in this price range with a surprisingly well balanced audio reproduction and an above-average build quality.
They're decently versatile but won't be the best headphones for all use cases. They don't block a lot of noise and they're not as portable as other on-ears but they deliver in the sound department.
Best In-Ear / Earbuds Headphones under $200
If you prefer in-ear designs and have an iOS device, then we recommend the Beats X. They have a slightly better sound than the Jaybird X2 and X3, although they don't have any customization option like the X3.
They're stable enough for casual and sports use and thanks to their flexible design they're more portable than other around-the-neck design, like the Bose QuietControl 30. They're not ideal for Android users, but they isolate well against ambient noise despite only passively blocking noise, and they have a surprisingly good wireless range for a wireless in-ear headphone.
- Bose SoundTrue Ultra In-ear. Good well-rounded earbuds with a comfortable fit and compact design. However they sound a bit dark. See our review
- Sennheiser HD 4.50. Versatile wireless headphones with decent noise cancelling. Great for office use but not as good as the Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2. See our review
- Bose SoundSport Wireless. Decent mixed usage earbuds with a comfortable fit. Poor isolation and relatively high latency. See our review
- Jaybird X2. Great headphones but a bit outdated and doesn't have any app support. See our review
- Jaybird X3. The upgrade to the Jaybird X2 with a more customizable sound. Slightly worse performance overall but a good alternative to the Jaybird Freedom. See our review
- Samsung Level On Wireless. Good headphones but the Bose SoundLink On-Ear are better. See our review
- Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. Excellent sound quality and durable design. A great closed-back alternative to the DT 990. See our review
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best headphones under $200 to buy for most people. We factor in the price (a cheaper headphone wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for headphones under $200. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no ideal headphones. Personal tastes, preferences, and listening habits will matter more in your selection.