Headphones are always an exciting purchase. Getting a new, better pair has the potential to completely change your experience with audio, be it music, podcasts, or audiobooks. However, there’s also the risk of getting it wrong if you pick a bad model.
Of course, when making a purchase, the budget always plays a considerable part. Searching for good headphones under 200 may seem like a hassle, but it’s entirely possible to find a fantastic pair. There is no rule that says the most expensive pair is going to be the best, and within a $200 budget, there are plenty of options to choose from.
If you want to spend your money in the best possible way, a lot of factors have to be considered. You need to keep in mind what type of headphones you want and that kind of features you want them to have. Comfort, build quality, and wired vs. wireless are all important too.
To help you make a good decision without damaging your wallet, we’ve compiled a full list of our favorite headphones that are currently priced under $200. Don’t waste time shopping around — pick out your new pair today!
Things to Keep in Mind
When you set aside a specific budget, it’s important to get the most bang for your buck. This can be done by aiming for the qualities and features you want in your headphones from the get-go. However, it’s easy to lose track of the important specs when each and every pair has a whole lot to offer.
Before you start searching for your new headphones, read our buying guide below. We cover all the various headphone-related aspects to help you choose the ones you care about.
- Budget — as you’re on a $200 budget, there’s plenty of wiggling room to pick out a good pair of headphones. However, sometimes it might be worth it to stretch the budget just a little in order to get the perfect blend of features you want in your headphones. Before you start shopping, set a hard limit so that you don’t overspend.
- Headphone type — headphones come in many shapes and sizes. Do you prefer wireless earbuds that take up next to no space? How about earbuds with a hook that keeps them firmly in place? Or maybe you’re after huge, over-the-ear headphones? This is an important choice that affects the pricing, quality, and many more.
- Calls or just music — not every pair of headphones comes with a built-in microphone, but some of them do. If you’re looking for a pair that will connect to your phone, you might as well consider having one that has a mic.
- Wired vs. wireless — this plays a big role in how you’re going to use your headphones. As an example, wired models don’t rely on battery life, but they do, somewhat, restrict your movements. If you’re looking for headphones for running, wireless might be better. If you’re going to be mostly sitting still, it’s a non-issue.
- Audio quality — things like frequency range, dynamic range, noise cancellation, or bass levels all add up to how different songs may sound. If you want a realistic experience, it’s good to invest in a really top-notch brand that pays a great deal of attention to it.
- Sound isolation/cancellation — this is especially important if you tend to use your headphones outside. As an example, many runners prefer to have a moderate level of noise isolation as they need to remain aware of their surroundings. The same will apply to people who commute. However, if you’re sitting home, blocking out those annoying noisy neighbors is usually very beneficial.
- The comfort of wear — this applies to both over-the-ear headphones and earbuds. In the case of over-ear, common issues stem from having too much pressure on your ears or your head. You may also overheat. If you wear glasses, it’s good to look for models that are specially adapted for you. When it comes to earbuds, consider picking a pair that has several ear tips so that it’s the perfect fit.
Our 4 Favorite Headphones Under $200
We covered most of the important aspects for you to be mindful of. Now, nothing remains but for us to get right to it! Let’s talk about some of the best headphones under $200 you can buy right now.
Our Best Overall Pick
Made by audiophiles for audiophiles. These Sennheiser headphones consistently rank the highest in many recommendations for music lovers. We’ve tried and tested them ourselves to see what all the hype is about.
Type: Wired, over-ear
Weight: 4 oz
Special features: Rotatable capsules, detachable cable
If supreme audio quality is what you’re after, your money is best spent on this pair of Sennheiser headphones. Widely regarded as some of the best on the market, they’ve impressed us in nearly every possible way.
First of all, these are lightweight. For those that wear their headphones for hours on end, this is huge. They remain comfortable even six or more hours in, and the same can’t be said about many other models.
They can handle really high sound pressure levels, and they do an excellent job of canceling all noise incoming from the outside. They’re actually often used by DJs or cameramen, as they allow you to focus on the sound within them and not on the outside world.
Fancy features include a detachable cable for no tangling and hassle and rotatable capsules that allow you to listen with just one ear.
- Incredible sound quality
- Rotatable capsules for one-ear listening
- High comfort of wear
- Durable build with a sturdy cable
- Recommended by professional DJs
- Not adapted for glasses wearers
- The cable is not too long
Our Best Comfort Pick
Over-ear headphones can be a pain to wear — literally. But what if you could have amazing audio quality without a headache? Not convinced? Believe us, it’s possible. Beyerdynamic proves that.
Type: Wired, over-ear
Weight: 10.2 ounces
Special features: suited for professional mixing, replaceable velour ear pads, sound fit for audiophiles
Whether you’re a professional DJ, working with sound mixing, or simply a lover of music, you might like what these Beyerdynamic headphones have to offer.
They’re extremely comfortable to wear. Their ear pads are coated in velour and incredibly soft to the touch. While they do not put too much pressure on your ears, they enclose them well and block outside noise.
These have a very high volume and great bass reference capabilities. They also provide an incredible level of sound reproduction — almost as good as if you were right there in the studio while your favorite song was being recorded.
A lot of attention has been paid to the level of detail found in each and every piece of audio. You will, maybe even for the first time, hear the quietest whispers and the deepest bass. Each song is brought to a new level thanks to these audiophile-recommended headphones.
- Breathtaking audio quality
- Comfortable velour ear pads
- Sturdy built
- Amazing spatial reproduction
- Solid noise isolation
- Used by DJs, sound technicians, broadcast users
- No detachable cable
Our Best Earbud Pick
There are many reasons why you might prefer earbuds over on-ear headphones. If you want to take your music with you wherever you go, these wired earbuds come highly recommended by audiophiles.
Type: Wired earbuds
Weight: 4.00 ounces
Special features: built-in microphone, reinforced cable, high noise isolation
The sound accuracy and reproduction in these have both impressed us. Earbuds are not known for top-notch audio, so you can’t expect them to match the levels of high-end over-ear headphones. However, Etymotic does a great job of keeping up.
They also have an optimal noise isolation of 35-42 dB. We say “optimal” because most users don’t want complete isolation when they’re outside — that can be dangerous. Instead, these earphones will block out annoying noises while allowing you to hear the loud, important ones.
As most earbuds do, they have a built-in microphone that offers clear audio and is controlled via the three buttons located on the cord.
For just the price of headphones, you will receive a set of assorted ear tips, replacement filters, a filter removal tool, and a carrying pouch.
- Incredible sound accuracy and frequency
- Comfortable, with a set of replacement ear tips
- Relatively long cable
- The perfect amount of noise isolation
- Fantastic sound for earbuds
- Not wireless
- The wire needs to be well-looked after
Our Best Wireless Pick
If you don’t want any pesky wiring to slow you down, going wireless is a smart choice. For those that want to combine freedom with fantastic audio quality, we recommend Beats Solo 3.
Type: Wireless, on-ear
Weight: 1.4 pounds
Special features: great battery life, multi-platform compatibility, quick charging
This rose gold model is sure to draw eyes and attract many users just based on looks. If you’re not a fan of the rose color, you can always pick up this exact model in black, red, and other colors. What more do Beats have to offer, apart from their beautiful design?
For starters, a fantastic battery life. Your mileage may vary depending on what you’re doing, but you may get up to 40 hours of playing on a single charge. Recharging is quick due to Fast Fuel, Beats’ specialty technology. Just five minutes of charging will give you up to three hours of playback.
The headband is adjustable, allowing for some flexibility. The ear cups are cushioned and soft to the touch. They block out some noise without crushing your ears.
Their sleek design goes hand in hand with the ability to transport them easily. They’re foldable and can be paired with iOS and Android devices without a hitch.
- Fantastic sound quality
- Beautiful, streamlined design in many colors
- Compatible with iOS and Android
- Great battery life
- Fast Fuel for a quick recharge
- Adjustable, foldable, and easy to transport
- Not water/sweat resistant
- Might be a little tight-fitting for some people
This concludes the list of our personal favorites in the under $200 price range. We hope that you’ve found a pair to catch your eye! However, as we have provided you with quite a bit of information, let’s take one final parting glance at all of the four models.
- Sennheiser HD 25 Monitor Headphones: Delivering a great blend of incredible audio and a comfortable wear, these Sennheiser headphones impressed us enough to make it to #1 on our list.
- Beyerdynamic DT770 PRO 250: Endorsed and used by DJs and other sound professionals, these Beyerdynamic headphones are ideal for true audiophiles.
- Etymotic Research HF3: If you’re often on the move, pick up a pair of earbuds and get going. Etymotic delivers sound quality that can rival that of on-ear headphones.
- Beats Solo 3 Wireless Headphones: Don’t like the issues that wiring can cause? No problem — these Beats headphones can keep you listening to your favorite tracks for up to 40 hours on a single charge!
And if you haven’t found anything you fancy in the above models, here’s a list of our runners-up that we considered while preparing our top 4 list.
If you have any questions or suggestions, leave them down in the comments, and enjoy your top-notch headphones!