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The 6 Best Headphones Under $200 - Winter 2024 Reviews

Updated
Best Headphones Under $200

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 760 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.


  1. Best Headphones Under $200

    The Anker Soundcore Space Q45 Wireless are the best headphones under $200 that we've tested. Anker dominates the mid-range headphones market, and these are the pinnacle of premium performance without the price tag. Their adaptive noise cancellation (ANC) system performs nearly as well as pricier headphones like the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless and can easily block out a wide range of background noise. They have a continuous battery life of nearly 28 hours with ANC on, meaning they'll last through a couple of workdays without recharging.

    Thanks to their excited, V-shaped sound profile, these headphones deliver extra bass and treble for a punchy, sparkling sound. Vocals and lead instruments aren't as detailed, so they're better suited for modern rock and pop music. Still, their companion app has a graphic EQ and presets, so you can always change their sound. Unfortunately, these headphones have a high noise floor while the ANC is on, meaning you may hear an audible hiss or impurities in the audio. It may not be as noticeable for everyone, but it's worth considering if you have sensitive ears.

    See our review

  2. Best-Sounding Wireless Headphones Under $200

    If sound quality is most important, you'll want to check out the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 Wireless. These wallet-friendly wireless headphones are the wireless variant of the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, popular wired studio headphones. They have a very neutral sound right out of the box, making them suitable for listening to many different audio genres. Vocals and lead instruments are reproduced with clarity and accuracy as a result. They pack less extra bass than their wired version, which you might not like for rumbly genres like EDM or hip-hop, but unlike the ATH-M50x, you can customize these cans using the graphic EQ and presets in their companion app if you prefer a different sound.

    These headphones don't have an ANC system like the Anker Soundcore Space Q45 Wireless, but you may not need this feature, especially if you plan to listen to your music in a quieter environment. Plus, these headphones come with some extra sound-focused features— in their app, you can choose between a couple of different codes, including LDAC and AAC, which are designed for streaming higher-resolution audio over Bluetooth. Add a continuous battery life of over 60 hours, and you have a great pair of headphones for listening to all your favorite albums.

    See our review

  3. Best Headphones Under $200 For Working Out

    If you want a pair of over-ear headphones that you can use for workouts, consider the JBL Live 660NC Wireless. These over-ears have a very stable fit to ensure they stay in place during your workouts. They're sturdy and decently comfortable for most people, although they clamp onto your ears a bit hard during long listening sessions. Their ANC feature will help reduce noise like background chit-chat or workout machines at the gym, and if you're working out outside, you can use 'Ambient Aware' mode, which lets you hear your surroundings without removing the headphones.

    They have a well-balanced sound profile with a bit of extra bass to help keep you pumped up during long workouts. If you prefer a different sound, you can customize these headphones with a graphic EQ and presets in the companion app. However, they don't have an IP rating for dust or water resistance. If you like exercising outdoors, consider the TREBLAB Z7 Pro Wireless instead. They're slightly cheaper headphones rated IPX4 for resistance against minor water exposure, like splashes or very light rain. However, they don't work with an app or have sound customization features like the JBL.

    Most headphones recommended in our best over-ears for working out article are also available for under $200.

    See our review

  4. Best Audiophile Headphones Under $200

    If you don't want to break the bank on a pair of audiophile headphones, consider the Philips Fidelio X2HR. These headphones have an open-back design, which 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 due to this design, these well-built over-ears have a very neutral sound profile, so vocals and lead instruments accurately reproduce. Once you achieve a good fit, you'll also receive consistent audio delivery.

    The headphones are comfortable for most people, with an automatically-adjusting headband and large, well-padded ear cups. However, their open-back design makes them less versatile than closed-back wired headphones like the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO since, by design, they leak noise and let in ambient sound. Closed-backs like the Beyerdynamic are worth considering instead if you want headphones to use in a shared space. Their soundstage doesn't seem as spacious, and sound seems to come from inside your head, but they leak much less audio and reduce some ambient sound. However, keep in mind that they come in 250ohm and 32ohm variants. The 250ohm headphones require an amp to properly power, which is an added expense if you don't already have one.

    See our review

  5. Best On-Ear Headphones Under $200

    The best wireless headphones under $200 with an on-ear design that we've tested are the JBL Live 460NC Wireless. If over-ear headphones make your ears feel hot, you might prefer on-ears, which sit on top instead of around your ears. These comfortable, well-built headphones have a well-balanced sound profile suitable for various genres. They also have an in-app parametric EQ for sound customization if you prefer a different sound. They last around 30 hours of continuous use; you can even use them wired in a pinch.

    They have an ANC feature, and while it's not the best, it can block out a fair amount of noise, so it helps reduce engine noise during your commute and background conversations at work. There's also an 'Ambient Aware' mode to let noise in, so you can hear what's happening around you without removing your headphones. While they have a lightweight design and a well-padded headband, they clamp onto your ears a bit hard, which can be uncomfortable during long listening sessions.

    See our review

  6. Best Earbuds Under $200

    Current Deal: The Anker Soundcore Space A40 Truly Wireless has dropped in price by $46 at Amazon.com. Get Deal

    You have plenty of options if you're looking for great casual-use earbuds for under $200. Earbuds are usually cheaper than over-ears, so the $200 price point offers many choices. The best we've tested are the Anker Soundcore Space A40 Truly Wireless, usually available for well under the aforementioned price point. They offer a comfortable fit and a warm default sound profile that, while not as thumpy and rumbly as more powerful over-ear headphones, is still well-suited for bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop. Vocals and lead instruments don't sound as clear and detailed as a result, but you can adjust the sound with the companion app's graphic EQ and presets.

    These headphones come with Anker's powerful adaptive ANC system, which automatically adjusts their noise cancellation based on background noise levels. It's great at cutting out the low rumble of subway cars and bus engines, chatter from commuters, and the loud clicks and clacks from a coworker's keyboard. They have over eight hours of continuous battery with four extra charges in their case, meaning they'll last throughout the workday without issue. Despite their versatility, they don't have a great mic. Your voice sounds distant and piercing, and our unit suffered feedback issues in one of the buds, making these headphones difficult to recommend for calls.

    If you want more variety, our list of the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds includes many buds for less than $200.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Philips SHP9600: The Philips SHP9600 are open-back audiophile headphones with a very comfortable design and a warm sound profile. However, their build quality isn't as good as the Philips Fidelio X2HR, as parts of their build, like the swiveling ear cups, feel prone to breaking with moderate stress. See our review
  • Anker Soundcore Life Q35 Wireless: The Anker Soundcore Life Q35 Wireless are the previous generation of the Anker Soundcore Space Q45 Wireless. They're cheaper and have a similarly comfortable, well-built design and long battery life, but they don't block out as much noise as the Q45. See our review
  • Audio-Technica ATH-M50x: The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are wired audiophile headphones. They have a closed-back design, unlike the Philips Fidelio X2HR, so they create a less immersive soundstage. Their sound has more high-bass than the Beyerdynamic, so you might like them if you like a bit of extra punch and boom in your audio or if you're using them for gaming and want to emphasize sound effects. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Jan 19, 2024: We've added the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO as a closed-back alternative to the open-back Philips Fidelio X2HR and moved the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x to the Notable Mentions.

  2. Nov 21, 2023: The Philips SHP9500 are no longer available and have been replaced by the Philips SHP9600.

  3. Sep 22, 2023: No product pick changes. Minor text edits for clarity.

  4. Jul 27, 2023: Added theย Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 Wireless as 'Best For Sound'. Merged the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x with the Philips Fidelio X2HR as 'Best Audiophile' for greater clarity.

  5. May 30, 2023: Removed the MOONDROP Aria and the Jabra Elite 7 Pro True Wireless to focus the recommendations on over-ear and on-ear models. Added the JBL Live 460NC Wireless and the JBL Live 660NC Wireless.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best wired and best wireless 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.