While most companies' flagship headphones can cost upwards of $300, you can still get a great, well-rounded pair for less. For under $200, you can get a wide range of headphones, from Bluetooth over-ears to truly wireless in-ears, and an assortment of features like active noise cancelling (ANC), IP ratings for water resistance, or dedicated companion apps with EQ adjustments. The headphones in this list are well-built, have good audio reproduction, and provide good value for their price.
We've tested over 670 pairs of headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best headphones and earbuds under $200 you can buy. See our picks for the best wireless headphones, the best noise cancelling headphones under $200, and the best headphones.
The AKG N700NC M2 Wireless are the best headphones under $200 with a wireless over-ear design that we've tested. These comfortable over-ears offer versatile performance for daily use, thanks to their feature-packed design. They have an adaptive active noise cancelling (ANC) system that adjusts the level of isolation to match the sound around you. Using it can cut down a broad range of noise, including ambient chatter and the hum of AC fans.
Out of the box, these headphones have a slightly bass-rich sound profile that delivers a touch of extra thump, punch, and warmth to audio. That said, their companion app offers a parametric EQ and presets so that you can finetune their sound to your liking. These over-ears also support multi-device pairing, meaning you can connect them to your smartphone and laptop at the same time, and they have over 20 hours of continuous playback time. You can use them wired with their included 1/8" TRRS cable if you prefer.
Unfortunately, some users have reported that the hinges on their units broke with continuous use. Their integrated mic also struggles to separate speech from ambient noise, so your voice may be drowned out if you're taking a call from a busy street. These headphones have a lot of extra features worth checking out, making them the best Bluetooth headphones under $200 with an over-ear design that we've tested.
If you prefer lighter and more portable headphones, the Jabra Elite 7 Pro True Wireless are the best wireless headphones under $200 with an earbud design that we've tested. These earbuds have a well-built design that's certified IP57 for resistance against dust and water. They also have a comfortable and stable in-ear fit suitable for long days on the go or working out at the gym.
Out of the box, they have a very neutral sound profile suitable for most kinds of audio content. Their companion app has a graphic EQ and presets, meaning you can customize their sound to your liking. They have over eight hours of continuous battery life too, and their carrying case has three additional charges, which is handy in a pinch.
Even though they have an ANC system, it doesn't offer significantly better performance than the buds' passive isolation. They still have some trouble blocking out the low rumble of bus and plane engines, which is disappointing if you commute or travel often. On the upside, they do a decent overall job of reducing office-type noise like ambient chatter and the hum of computer fans.
The Philips Fidelio X2HR are the best audiophile headphones under $200 that we've tested. Their open-back design helps them create an open, spacious, and natural passive soundstage, making for a more immersive audio experience. Although they lack a bit of low-bass, they have a very neutral sound profile, so vocals and lead instruments accurately reproduce.
These over-ears are well-built and have an automatically-adjusting headband with large and well-padded ear cups. They also have a comfortable fit that shouldn't cause fatigue if you're using them during long listening sessions. Their frequency response consistency is very good, so once you achieve a good fit, you should receive consistent audio delivery.
Due to their open-back design, they leak a lot of audio at high volumes and won't block out almost any background noise, so they aren't the best choice if you listen to audio in a shared or noisy space. However, if you're looking for headphones with a more neutral sound, they're worth checking out.
If you're looking for audiophile headphones that can block out more background noise and bleed less audio, try the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO. While their passive soundstage doesn't seem as open or spacious as that of the Philips Fidelio X2HR, the Beyerdynamic have a closed-back design, which can be beneficial if you like to listen to audio in busy environments. They have a very flat mid-range, ensuring that vocals and lead instruments are clear and accurate. However, their mid-treble is overemphasized, so sibilants like cymbals are piercing. You may prefer this analytic sound if you're mixing audio, though, as it allows you to more easily hear imperfections. These headphones have a comfortable fit and are well-built.
Go for the Philips if you want a more open passive soundstage that can help immerse you in your audio. However, if you want to cut out some background noise like ambient chatter or reduce the amount of audio leakage, consider the Beyerdynamic.
The Jaybird Vista 2 Truly Wireless are the best headphones under $200 for sports that we've tested. These comfortable in-ears have stability fins to keep them stable in your ears, even during harder workouts. They're well-built, sturdy, and are rated IP68, meaning they're fully dust-tight and can resist damage from submersion in water.
Out of the box, these buds have a well-balanced sound profile that you can customize to your liking using their companion app's parametric EQ plus presets. They have a mix of touch and physical controls, which are easy to use. While their 5.3-hour continuous battery life may not last through long days on the go, their carrying case holds an additional two charges, and the buds are equipped with an auto-off timer to help conserve battery life when you're not using them.
Unfortunately, while they have an ANC system, the buds still struggle to block background noise. If you need to take a call while you're jogging in the park, their mic also has a hard time separating your voice from moderate background noise. These headphones have a sports-oriented design and a few extra features like robust sound customization features that are sure to please most people.
The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless are the best headphones under $100 that we've tested. If you're looking for more budget-friendly headphones, these comfortable over-ears a versatile performance suitable for most uses. They have a few extra features like ANC, a companion app with customization features, and multi-device pairing.
Their adjustable ANC system offers an outstanding noise isolation performance, and it can block out the low rumble of bus and plane engines and ambient chatter. These over-ears have a very excited v-shaped sound profile that delivers intense thump, rumble, and boom to mixes while sibilants like hi-hats are piercing. While this sound is good if you enjoy genres like pop and rock, their app offers a graphic EQ and presets so that you can finetune them to your liking. They also have over 44 hours of continuous playback time, so you don't need to worry about recharging them every day.
Unfortunately, they leak some audio at high volumes, which may be a problem if you're listening to music near others. The integrated mic also has a problem separating your voice from moderate ambient noise, so if you're taking an important call, it's best to do so from a quiet space. However, if you're looking for more affordable headphones, these are worth checking out.
Apr 25, 2022: We've checked our picks for accuracy and product availability. However, there hasn't been a change in our recommendations.
Mar 01, 2022: Full article overhaul to better align our picks with user expectations. Moved the Philips SHP9500, JBL CLUB PRO+ TWS True Wireless, Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless, and JBL Live 460NC Wireless to Notable Mentions. Added the Jabra Elite 7 Pro True Wireless, Philips Fidelio X2HR, Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO, Jaybird Vista 2 Truly Wireless, and Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless.
Dec 20, 2021: Replaced the Razer Opus Wireless with the AKG N700NC M2 Wireless as the 'Best Over-Ear Headphones Under $200' because the variant of the Razer we tested is no longer available. Also removed the Βeats Solo Pro Wireless as the 'Βetter-Βuilt Alternative' to the JBL Live 460NC Wireless because some variants are sold for over $200, and the JΒL represent a better value for most users.
Oct 28, 2021: Removed the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Truly Wireless and the EarFun Air Pro True Wireless because they may be hard to find available. Replaced the Samsung with the JBL CLUB PRO+ TWS True Wireless as the 'Best Earbuds Under $200' and the EarFun with the Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless as the 'Alternative With Βetter Noise Isolation'.
Aug 31, 2021: We've checked our picks for product availability and text accuracy. There hasn't been a change in our recommendations.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best headphones and earbuds under $200 to buy for most people. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find in the US or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for headphones. 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.