Preferred store
  1. Table of Contents
  2. Intro
  3. Best Over-Ear
    1. Alternative
  4. Best On-Ear
  5. Best Earbuds
  6. All Reviews
  7. Q&A
Updated

The 5 Best Headphones under $200 - Winter 2018
Reviews

Best Headphones under 200

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 42 headphones under $200 and below are our recommendations for the best ones you can buy today.  

Best Over-Ear Headphones under $200: Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
Show Help

Test Benches:

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
5.9
Mixed Usage
Show Help
What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
7.9
Critical Listening
Show Help
What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
4.8
Commute/Travel
Show Help
What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
5.6
Sports/Fitness
Show Help
What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
5.2
Office
Show Help
What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
5.9
Home Theater
Show Help
Score components:
5.8
Gaming
Show Help
Score components:

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.

See our review

Alternative for Everyday Use: Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2

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.

See our review

Alternative for Gaming and Home Theater: SteelSeries Arctis 7

If you want a great headset for more indoor uses like watching movies and gaming, then the Steelseries Arctis 7 are the best choice below 200$. They have incredibly low latency which makes them an excellent option for watching video content and gaming. They're sturdy and well-built with a comfortable and breathable design that you can wear for hours.

They also have multiple ports and connection options including a wired mode to use with your phone or mobile devices that do not support the USB transmitter dongle. However, this makes them a bit less practical to use outdoors than the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2

See our review

Best On-Ear Headphones under $200: Bose SoundLink On-Ear

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
Show Help

Test Benches:

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
7.0
Mixed Usage
Show Help
What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
7.5
Critical Listening
Show Help
What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
6.9
Commute/Travel
Show Help
What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
7.1
Sports/Fitness
Show Help
What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
7.1
Office
Show Help
What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
6.1
Home Theater
Show Help
Score components:
5.9
Gaming
Show Help
Score components:

If you find the first options a little too bulky, 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 don't sound as balanced as the Beats EP, but they're wireless, comfortable and an overall good pair of portable on-ear headphones.

See our review

Best In-Ear / Earbuds Headphones under $200: Beats BeatsX

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
Show Help

Test Benches:

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
7.0
Mixed Usage
Show Help
What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
7.0
Critical Listening
Show Help
What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
7.3
Commute/Travel
Show Help
What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
7.8
Sports/Fitness
Show Help
What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
7.2
Office
Show Help
What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
5.5
Home Theater
Show Help
Score components:
5.3
Gaming
Show Help
Score components:

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 designs, 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 pair of wireless in-ear headphones.

See our review

Notable Mentions

  • 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
  • Beats EP On-Ear.  A well-built on-ear with a balanced sound. The wired design is a bit limiting and they do not block a lot of noise which is not ideal for loud environments. 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 BeatsX. 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
  • Logitech G533.  A good alternative to the SteelSeries Arctis 7 for gaming and watching movies. No wired or Bluetooth option for more casual use. See our review

All Reviews

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. 

Questions Found an error?

Let us know what is wrong in this question or in the answer.

Email:

Questions & Answers

0 ANSWERED QUESTIONS
Questions Have a question?

Before asking a question, make sure you use the search function of our website. The majority of the answers are already here.

Current estimated response time, based on # of pending questions: 4.5 business days.

:
:
A valid email is required. We answer most questions directly by email to prevent cluttering the site.