While most company's 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 615 pairs of headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best headphones under $200 you can buy. See also our recommendations for the best wireless headphones, the best noise cancelling headphones under $200, and the best headphones overall.
The Razer Opus Wireless are the best headphones under $200 with an over-ear design that we've tested. These headphones have an active noise cancelling (ANC) system that offers an outstanding noise isolation performance. They can block out a lot of bus and plane engine noise as well as ambient chatter and the high-pitched hum of an AC unit.
Their default sound profile is very neutral and accurate, which makes them well-suited for a variety of audio genres. If you prefer a different sound, their companion app offers a graphic EQ and presets so you can tweak them to your liking. They very feel well-built and have a comfortable as well as stable fit. They also have over 32 hours of continuous playback time and an auto-off timer to help conserve battery life when not in use.
However, their integrated mic has a hard time separating your voice from moderate ambient noise so you may not be heard clearly if you're making a call in a noisy environment. They also lack multi-device pairing so you can't connect them to more than one device at a time. Still, these headphones offer a well-rounded and versatile performance with powerful ANC at this price point.
If audio quality is very important to you, consider the Philips SHP9500 instead. While these wired-only over-ears aren't as versatile as the Razer Opus Wireless, they have a very well-balanced and neutral audio reproduction that makes them ideal for critical listening. They're more comfortable than the Razer, and they also deliver more consistent performance across different listeners. As they're open-back headphones, they encourage acoustic interaction with the objects and walls in your environment, enhancing sound quality and making it seem like sound is coming from all around you instead of in your head. Unfortunately, their open-back design means that they don't do a great job isolating background noise or preventing leakage, so they aren't as practical for use as everyday headphones.
If you want a more versatile pair with lots of features, go with the Razer, but if you want a pair of open-back critical listening headphones, go with the Philips.
The best earbuds under $200 that we've tested are the Samsung Galaxy Buds+. These in-ears have a compact design that's lightweight and doesn't protrude too far from your ears. They do a great job of staying in place, even when you shake your head vigorously, and they feel comfortable enough to wear for extended listening sessions. They also feel quite sturdy, with high-grade plastic construction.
These earbuds have an impressively well-balanced sound profile that makes them a good fit for listening to a wide variety of audio content, from EDM tracks to podcasts. Still, if that isn't to your liking, you can select from a couple of different audio presets in their Galaxy Wearable companion app. They provide over 13 hours of playback time on a single charge, which should be more than sufficient for a couple of days, though their charging case only supplies roughly one additional full charge.
Unfortunately, they do a terrible job of isolating you from bass-range ambient noise. Their touch-sensitive control scheme is difficult to use while wearing gloves, and it can be easy to make an accidental input. Still, their comfortable, stable fit, well-balanced sound profile, and long continuous battery life help make them some of the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds that we've tested.
If you want to block out more ambient noise when wearing your earbuds, consider the EarFun Air Pro True Wireless instead. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Truly Wireless, they lack EQ presets so you can't tweak their sound to better suit your tastes. However, the EarFun have an ANC system that delivers a great noise isolation performance, cutting out the low rumble of bus and plane engines as well as office chatter. They have a slightly v-shaped sound profile that adds a touch of extra thump, rumble and boom to your mixes while vocals and lead instruments are bright. Their continuous battery life of over nine hours should last through long days at the office and their carrying case supplies roughly 2.5 extra charges if you need it. Overall, they offer a well-rounded performance and are one of the best wireless headphones under $200 that we've tested.
Go for the Samsung if you want truly wireless in-ears that you can customize with EQ presets. However, try the EarFun if you prioritize a better noise isolation performance.
The JBL Live 460NC Wireless are the best on-ear headphones under $200 that we've tested. These headphones have a fairly comfortable fit and feel well-built. Their continuous battery life of over 29 hours should last through long days on the go without an issue.
Out of the box, they have a very neutral sound profile, which makes them suitable for a variety of audio content. That said, if you prefer a different sound, their companion app offers a parametric EQ and presets so you can really adjust them to your liking. These headphones are also equipped with an ANC system and it delivers an overall decent noise isolation performance, though it does best at cutting down mid to treble-range noise like ambient chatter. You can pair them with up to two devices at a time, which is handy if you want to stay connected to your laptop and smartphone.
Unfortunately, they can fall off your head during moderate physical activity. Their mic also struggles to separate your voice from ambient noise around you, which could be frustrating if you're talking in a noisy environment like a busy street. However, their neutral, yet customizable sound profile, decent noise isolation performance, and long-lasting battery life make them one of the best Bluetooth headphones under $200 with an on-ear design that we've tested.
If you're looking for on-ear headphones with a more premium build quality, take a look at the Beats Solo Pro Wireless. While their battery performance falls a bit short of the JBL Live 400BT Wireless, and they lack any sound customization features, the Beats have a better build quality. They have a metal alloy headband and thick-padded ear cups, which makes them look high-end and feel sturdy. Their ANC system also does a significantly better job of isolating noise like office chatter around you, and they have an H1 chip, which makes it easy to seamlessly pair with Apple devices. However, unlike the JBL, they can't be used wired.
Go for the JBL if you like to tweak your headphones' sound to better suit your tastes. However, check out the Beats if you're looking for something that feels sturdier and more premium.
Aug 31, 2021: We've checked our picks for product availability and text accuracy. There hasn't been a change in our recommendations.
Jul 02, 2021: Replaced the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless with the EarFun Air Pro True Wireless as they're no longer found within this price range. Also replaced the JBL Live 400BT Wireless with the JBL Live 460NC Wireless, since the 460NC offer more value to most users.
May 04, 2021: Replaced the Jaybird Tarah Pro with the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless as the Apple represent a better value to most users. Also renamed the 'Alternative With ANC' to 'Better-Built ANC'.
Mar 05, 2021: Verified that all picks are still in stock and represent the best choice for their given category. Added JBL CLUB PRO+ TWS True Wireless to Notable Mentions.
Jan 04, 2021: Replaced the Bose SoundLink On-Ear Wireless with the JBL Live 400BT Wireless as 'Best On-Ear Under $200'. Replaced the Marshall MID ANC Wireless with the Beats Solo Pro Wireless as 'On-Ear Noise Cancelling Alt'. Updated Notable Mentions.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best 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.