Here are the best headphones under $200 you can get in 2020.
|Rating||Price||Connection||Mic & Controls||More info|
Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless Best wireless
Jaybird Vista 2 Best true wireless
Sennheiser HD 560 S Best wired
Wired 3.5mm & 6.3mm
AKG K371 Wired alternative
Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT Best all-around
GRADO SR125e Best on-ear
Razer Opus Best gaming
Jabra Elite Active 75t Great for sports
Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO Best for studio
Are Headphones Under $200 Worth It?
To some, 200 dollars is a lot, and spending that amount can be hard to swallow. However, by buying a headphone at this price point, you get a reliable pair that will serve you for many years.
It’s a good investment that you won’t regret. And if you want to further improve your headphone’s performance, pick audio devices like amp and DACs instead.
- Great value: In this price range, you can expect headphones with an excellent price to performance ratio. For under $200 you will find one of the most popular headphones on the market. Some models are even that good they use them in professional studios.
- Improved sound quality: If you’re new to high-end audio, you’ll be diving into a whole new dimension of music. This is where entry-level audiophile headphones start. Music sounds clearer and more detailed than before. You might end up loving your new headphone so much, they might be your last. Or, they could become a reason for discovering other, more expensive options.
- You’re getting a noticeable boost in build quality: You start seeing premium materials like aluminum and stainless steel.
- Useful technologies that make your life easier: Many wireless headphones in this price range have additional features like active noise cancellation and companion apps.
The Best Headphones Under $200
1. Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless
One of the best headphones under $200. They offer superb sound quality and active noise cancellation for the price.
- Great ANC performance
- Good sound quality
- Useful mobile app
- Foldable, lightweight design
- Micro-USB instead of USB-C
If you seek neutrality in wireless headphones, these might be the perfect pick.
There’s still some sound coloration to prevent headphones from being too dull, and you can further change it inside the companion app. They’re good for any music genre, even hip hop.
The over-ear design of PXC 550-II is quite understated. Instead, Sennheiser focused on delivering a comfortable fit and lightweight construction.
With the addition of foldable hinges and carry case, they’re great for everyday commuting.
The 550-II also offer Transparent Hearing and active noise cancellation. The latter does a great job and it can easily compare to the best in the business, like Sony WH-1000XM4.
They have a generous amount of Bluetooth codecs, AAC, aptX, and even aptX Low Latency, which reduces audio lag.
2. Jaybird Vista 2
Impressive sports earbuds with a durable design and excellent stability.
- Great out-of-the-box sound
- Excellent comfort and stability
- Extremely durable with water-resistant charging case
- Good battery life
- Feature-rich companion app
- Decent active noise cancellation
- Occasional connection stutters
- Error messages during firmware updates
Audio quality is great out of the box, and it gets even better once you tweak it in the mobile app. You can fiddle with the EQ settings to find your perfect balance of bass, mids, and highs.
Jaybird Vista 2 true wireless earbuds provide excellent comfort and stability thanks to ear fins that latch onto your ears.
Vista 2 boast an IP68 rating, meaning you can completely submerge them. The case also holds an IP54 rating.
These are also the first true wireless earbuds that come with a MIL-STD-810G military standard, ensuring drop and shock protection.
Playtime is more reliable this time around, with an 8-hour battery life that should be enough for a lengthy workout. Another 16 hours are waiting in the Qi wireless charging case.
3. Sennheiser HD 560 S
Best headphones under $200 from Sennheiser, offering tons of value for people seeking a spacious and neutral option.
- Exceptional neutral sound
- Big soundstage
- Velour earpads
- Detachable cable
- Can get sibilant at times
HD 560 S have a fairly neutral frequency response with a hint of warmness and a slightly brighter treble. They’re a great pick for studio use, too.
They follow a similar form factor as other HD models below the $200 price point. These are mostly plastic headphones with metallic mesh to protect the drivers (headphones come in an open-back design).
The most comfortable headphones on this list have earpads that go around your entire ears, providing superb comfort for long listening sessions.
You get them in velour, which helps with breathability but can also leak some sound.
The audio cable is quite long and of decent quality. If it ever breaks, you can quickly replace it with a new one.
4. AKG K371
Excellent sounding headphones for everyday use with Harman target tuning.
- Great sound quality
- Comfortable earpads
- Foldable design
- Good build quality
- Detachable cable
- … with proprietary connector
- Might be too bassy/warm for audio purists
Headphones very closely follow the Harman curve target, with a smidge of bass boost. As a result, they sound great and will easily please most listeners.
If you want a more neutral presentation, pick AKG K361 instead.
The AKG K371 have a unique design with clean lines that looks very minimalistic. Thanks to foldable earcups, they’re suitable for commuting as well.
They’re made mostly from metal, which adds to the quality feel. Earpads are super plush and comfortable for extended listening sessions, even if you wear glasses.
Like other PRO headphones in the AKG lineup, the K371 also uses a removable cable with a mini-XLR port.
Find more excellent open-back headphones.
5. Jabra Elite 85h
Wireless over-ears with good noise cancellation performance and nano-coating for sweat protection.
- Excellent battery life
- Bright, detailed sound
- Nano-coated to resist water
- ANC could be better at this price point
Jabra tuned the Elite 85h to put more focus on midrange and treble. They’re overall brighter and more forward sounding, with less extension in the sub-bass end.
Whereas the soundstage is a bit lacking, the imaging is quite precise.
With a total of 8 microphones, these headphones offer quality for phone calls or audio streaming and active noise cancellation.
Their comfortable design is suitable for commuting, home listening, and gym. They also have nano-coating to deflect sweat during intense workouts.
Elite 85h support some nifty features like a wear detection sensor and voice control smart assistant (Amazon Alexa).
Of course, you can connect them with the app the unlock many more useful tools.
6. Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT
Wireless version of Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, one of the most popular headphones under $200 of the past few years.
- Fun, V-shaped sound
- Good build quality
- Foldable design, perfect for travelling
- No fast charging
Thankfully, Audio-Technica included both AAC and aptX among the Bluetooth codec support, so that you can expect excellent audio on both Android and iOS.
Speaking of audio, these headphones are V-shaped, with punchy bass and crispy highs. They’re enjoyable to listen to while also packing a lot of details.
Plastic build doesn’t scream rigidness, but it can survive quite a bit of abuse. These closed-back headphones are made for the studio, where they get tossed around a lot.
However, the new Bluetooth headphones support wireless connection and are more suitable for commuters and office workers who don’t like wires. The battery can hold up to 40 hours of playtime.
More similar guides:
Check the best bass headphones for more options.
7. GRADO SR125e
A more affordable model from Grado Labs, with a similar retro look and remarkable audio quality.
- Open, airy sound
- Robust build
- Non-detachable cable
- On-ear earcups aren't for everyone
The level of detail these on-ear headphones under $200 are capable of is impressive. The sound quality is very dynamic and airy, with good control across the frequency spectrum.
They’re light on bass, but that is normal for open-back headphones. They have a wide stereo image, making these great listening headphones for live recordings.
Their housing sports a unique retro look that distinguishes them from the pack. They’re extremely light and relatively small. Dense foam ear cushions rest on your ears without creating too much pressure.
Overall looks might no scream quality, but they feel sturdy and flexible. You will have a hard time breaking them.
They come with a 3.5mm connector, with an included 6.3mm adapter in the box.
8. Razer Opus
It’s not often that Razer surprises us with well-balanced, detailed noise cancelling headphones for gamers and commuters alike.
- Balanced, detailed sound
- THX certified for better in-game effects
- Good ANC performance
- No custom EQ
Opus active noise-cancelling headphones have a surprisingly balanced sound signature with a slight bump in the sub-bass to bring out the rumble.
For better positional accuracy, you can activate the Enhanced Clarity sound profile, which boosts the highs and in-game details.
Opus pack some exciting features. One of which is active noise cancelling, which works pretty well at blocking background noise.
Razer also includes EQ presets that they made in collaboration with THX. These presets are geared toward gaming since they amplify specific sounds like speech, footsteps, and game effects.
If you plan to commute with these, you can also enable Ambient Awareness to amplify your surroundings. You can connect the headphones wirelessly or wired.
Also, the built-in microphone performs quite well for phone calls, even in louder environments. For easier transport, there’s an included carrying case in the box.
For noise cancellation for a lower price, check the best budget noise cancelling headphones.
9. Jabra Elite Active 75t
Still one of the best headphones under $200 for sportspeople, with an ergonomic fit and a bassy sound signature.
- Reliably stable during movement
- Comfortable for hours thanks to smart ergonomics
- Fully waterproof with IP57 (IPX7)
- Great sound quality with equalization
- HearThrough awareness mode (useful for runners, cyclists…)
- Competitive battery life at 7 hours per charge (+20h in case)
- Perfectly designed physical controls
- High build quality
- Tiny soundstage (all sounds come from the middle of your head)
- Pricier than most alternatives
- Only right earbud can be used as mono
Since they’re designed for sports, they lean towards the bass-heavy sound. However, you can tame it down using the app. Look at best bass earbuds for similar.
Because of their ergonomic design, headphones are comfortable to wear without causing pain even after long listening sessions.
Elite Active 75t come with a useful mobile app where you can change what your control buttons do, play with sound equalizer, turn on the HearThrough awareness mode, and find a lost earbud.
10. Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO
These open-back headphones are the only tool you need in your studio. They’re great for both casual listening and mixing.
- Robust build, made in Germany
- Very detailed sound
- Non-detachable cable
- Bright sound can get sibilant
With this great pair of headphones, it’s all about detail and how to recognize flaws in the audio content. Their studio-quality sound is suitable for both casual and professional use.
Their soundstage is quite spacious and airy, thanks to the boosted treble. The latter does introduce some sibilance.
Headphones are made of hard plastic earcups and a leather-padded metal headband.
To ensure optimal comfort for extended studio sessions, earpads have a thick layer of velour-covered foam. The latter also provides breathability, preventing any heat from staying trapped in the ear cup.
If you plan to use these in the studio, you’ll be happy to know that while the cable is non-removable, it’s thick and durable.
Sennheiser HD 599: If you want the best headphones under $200 for music, HD 599 are the way to go. They’re perfect for diving into the audio world. Be aware that because of their open-back design, ambient background noises can quickly ruin the listening experience. (Check HD 599 price)
Philips Fidelio X2HR: Philips Fidelio X2HR are incredibly successful open-back headphones under $200, with many users praising their excellent sound quality and comfort. The latter is due to their comfy velour earpads that ensure breathability. (Check Fidelio X2HR price)
Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO: Excellent studio headphones under $200 with closed-back ear cups for increased passive noise isolation capability and velour pads for superb comfort. Dynamic drivers output a brighter sound signature with a good stereo image. They work great for studio use and music production. (Check DT 770 PRO price)
Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus: True wireless earbuds with ergonomic and lightweight housing, accompanied by good audio reproduction. Their charging case even supports wireless charging. They come with an impressive 11 hours of playback time on a single charge. Sadly, there is no active noise cancelling feature. Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus review
V-Moda XS: Great headphones for listening to music, with extremely robust construction and comfy memory foam ear pads. With them, you also get a durable hardshell travel case. (Check XS price)
Monoprice Monolith M565: There aren’t many planar magnetic headphones in this price range, but these are definitely the best. Monolith M565 offer a full, bass-forward audio performance that most people like. (Check Monolith M565 price)
Skullcandy Crusher Evo: Best headphones under $200 for emphasized bass response. There is even a physical slider to increase or decrease the low-end. Despite their all-plastic construction, headphones feel quite sturdy. (Check Crusher Evo price)
Want more options for less money? Check the best cheap headphones.
Are Wireless Headphones Better Than Wired?
$200 is a price point where wired and wireless technology starts to matter less and less. Regardless of what your preferences are, both technologies can deliver equal audio performance.
- Codecs don’t matter anymore. Some might argue that wireless headphones, using Bluetooth codecs, can’t play frequencies over 16kHz, therefore ruining the listening experience. While that is true for AAC, in reality, this isn’t as perceivable as you might think. Also, the majority of codecs support frequency ranges up to 20kHz and can offer high bitrate speeds that excel the ones from audio codecs like mp3.
- They’re perfect for commuting since you don’t have to bother with dangling wires. Too often the cable gets stuck on a door handle or armrest, violently pulling headphones off your ears. That worries are gone if there are no cables to being with.
- On the other hand, wired ones are fool-proof and work every time.
- Their performance highly depends on the source. By upgrading the source quality, you can also upgrade the audio quality, which is a real beauty of wired headphones.
Considering affordable earbuds?
What Are The Best Headphones For Everyday Use?
That highly depends on your preferences. In general, if you’re solely listening to music, anyone will do, as long as they’re closed-back. This type of headphones can offer:
- Isolation is much better due to closed ear cups. There is much less ambient noise coming inside, which lets you fully concentrate on your music. Also, headphones sound leakage is kept in check.
- Active noise canceling can’t work with open-back ear cups, meaning that this technology only makes sense on closed headphones.
- Deeper bass is something that a specific user base looks for in headphones. The latter is easier to achieve when you have a closed space for frequencies to resonate.
If you don’t mind the lack of noise cancelation, or even noise isolation itself, and just want to enjoy long listening sessions in the comfort of your home, open-back headphones might be a better idea. You get:
- Bigger soundstage is a result of an open back that doesn’t trap the sound inside ear cups. It pushes the sound further away from your head to create a truly unique experience.
- Better sound quality due to open design, which prevents distortion and makes the sound more airy and natural. there is a reason why the best headphones don’t have closed ear cups.
- Mixing with open studio headphones is delightful, especially if you pick a truly neutral pair. The lack of distortion helps you to find small errors in the mix that would otherwise pass through.
What is a Good Price for Headphones?
Anything between $100-$500 is a worthwhile investment. After that point, you’re only paying for luxury materials and marginal improvements in sound quality.
It depends on how good you want your headphones to sound and how many features you want them to have. For wireless headphones, there’s no need to go over $400.
Should I Spend $200 on Headphones?
Quality comes at a cost, especially if you also want extra features or a better build. The $200 price tag is a great start when diving into an audiophile world.
Of course, there are great sounding headphones for under $100, but the ones under $200 truly do sound better.