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. Below are our recommendations for the best headphones under $200 we have tested so far.
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 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.
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. They do not have as many features, but if you want a comfortable pair of portable on-ear headphones, then the SoundLink On-Ear are the best option.
If you want more features, go for the Samsung Level On Wireless. They're noise canceling and have a companion app that lets you customize their already above-average sound. They also support aptX and aptX (LL), which makes more suitable for watching videos and gaming. However, they have a slightly flimsy build quality and they're not as compact as the Bose SoundLink On-Ear. On the upside, they're often on sale which makes them a great recommendation for this price range.
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.
If you're an Android user and don't mind a slightly out-of-date pair of headphones, then get the Jaybird X2 instead. They work equally well for Android and iOS and they're still the best model we've reviewed out of the Jaybird Line-Up. They may not benefit from the customization options of the Jaybird Freedom or Jaybird X3, but they have a better battery life, a good audio reproduction out of the box and one of the best passive isolation for any non-noise-canceling headphone.
The Jaybird X2 are quite versatile if you want to use them as your everyday headphones. However, they don't have the most comfortable fit, and they lack a few features when compared to some other wireless in-ears.
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).
A few examples of headphones under $200 that didn't make the cut:
- Sennheiser HD 598. Very comfortable and great, open sound quality. A little weak at the hinges and not the most stable design. 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 X2. 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
- Parrot Zik 3.0. The newer model of the ZIk 2.0 with great active features and a customizable sound. However, they have a Poor battery life. See our review
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.