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 Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless are the best headphones under $200 that we've tested. These comfortable over-ears have 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 can block out the low rumble of bus and plane engines and ambient chatter. They also have over 44 hours of continuous playback time, so you don't need to worry about recharging them every day. They leak some audio at high volumes, so if you like to crank up your music, others around you may be able to hear it.
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 you can fine-tune them to your liking. If you're looking for LDAC support, you may want to check out the Anker Soundcore Life Q35 Wireless instead. The successor to the Q30 support this Bluetooth codec, which is nice if you want to listen to Hi-Res audio, but they lack an auto-off timer to help conserve battery life when not in use.
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. Their frequency response consistency is very good, so once you achieve a good fit, you should receive consistent audio delivery.
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. However, 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. You may want to consider the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO instead if you value more noise isolation. They're closed-back headphones, so they're less prone to audio bleed and can help cut down some background noise. They aren't as comfortable, though, and some users may find they sound bright and piercing.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are the best studio headphones under $200 that we've tested. These headphones are a popular choice in the recording community, thanks to their comfortable and well-built frame. Their closed-back design also helps reduce audio bleed, and since their audio cable is detachable, you can easily replace it should it get damaged. Audio-Technica includes three different audio cables, including a coiled one that can stretch up to 10 feet, allowing you to move around more easily.
These headphones have a fairly balanced sound profile with a touch of extra warmth in their sound. Vocals and lead instruments still reproduce clearly, though. They also reproduce audio fairly consistently, although they're a little sensitive to fit and positioning on your head. They're not as versatile as other picks on this list, especially as they don't have a mic to take calls on the go.
The best earbuds under $200 we've tested are the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless. Although they can fluctuate just above the $200 mark, these sleek in-ears have a powerful ANC system that can cut down commuter noise, like the low rumble of bus engines to office chatter. They also have an H1 chip, which allows you to seamlessly pair them with other devices in your Apple ecosystem, and they support Spatial Audio, a feature that lets audio follow your head movements.
These comfortable and well-built headphones have a very neutral sound profile, although they lack sound customization features to help you adjust them to your liking. They still sound versatile enough for a variety of audio content, though. While they lack a bit of thump and rumble, vocals and lead instruments sound present and detailed. They have over five hours of continuous battery life, and their carrying case holds an additional five charges if you need it.
The Jabra Elite 7 Pro True Wireless are the best wireless headphones under $200 for sound quality that we've tested. These buds have a very neutral sound profile out of the box. Mids are very flat and neutral, so vocals and lead instruments sound clear and present in your mixes. If you prefer a different sound, their companion app offers a graphic EQ and presets to help you adjust their sound to your liking. They have a comfortable fit suitable for long listening sessions, and they feel well-built.
These buds have over eight hours of continuous battery life, and their carrying case holds three extra charges if you need them. Although they have a noise cancelling system, it doesn't improve much on their passive capabilities, though. These buds still have a decent overall noise isolation performance that's well-suited for blocking out office-type noise like ambient chatter.
Jun 30, 2022: Complete article overhaul to better meet user expectations. All categories have been changed, and adjusted the Notable Mentions to keep them relevant.
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'.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best wired and best Bluetooth headphones 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.