Here at Hotrate, we’ve written about a lot of different types of headphones, but you may not always know what kind of specialized headphones you want right away. That’s what this guide is for. With a focus on headphones under $200, you’ll find everything from bargain-basement headphones to those comfortably positioned within the mid-range market.
We’ll start by running through reviews of 10 of the best headphones under $200. Then we’ll dig into the specifics to help you understand what the important specs and features mean and learn all the factors you should pay attention to when you’re shopping for the best headphones under $200. Keep reading to learn more.
TL;DR - 10 Best Headphones Under $200:
- Silensys E7 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones
- Sony WHCH710N Noise Cancelling Headphones
- 1MORE Triple Driver In-Ear Earphones
- Plantronics Backbeat Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones
- Sennheiser HD 560 S Audiophile Headphones
- Sennheiser HD 4.50 Bluetooth Headphones
- Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Headphones
- Jabra Elite 85h Noise-Canceling Headphones
- beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro 250 ohm Headphones
- Skullcandy Crusher Wireless Over-Ear Headphone
1. Silensys E7 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones
Stellar Performance for a Bargain Price
If you're looking for the best bang for your buck, the Silensys E7 headphones make a very persuasive argument. The $40 price tag is significantly less than you could expect for the sound quality on display here, and the active noise cancellation means that this is a pair of headphones that you can bring with you just about anywhere.
And if you're looking to field calls or coordinate better with your teammates while gaming, the isolated mic provides clear and crisp voice quality even when you are in less than ideal environments. That's also where the active noise cancellation comes in. It provides an extra layer of protection to drown out surrounding noise. Of course, that will put some extra drain on the battery life, but if you're willing to be conservative with your energy usage, you can get a good 30 hours out of these headphones.
2. Sony WHCH710N Noise Cancelling Headphones
Sony Quality Without the Price Tag
The Sony WHCH710N brushes right against our price ceiling here, and while it doesn't offer the best performance on the market, it does provide an affordable path to entry to more dedicated audiophile sound. The sound reproduction is some of the best on our list, and the sophisticated microphone system offers high definition vocal quality even when you're in windy or otherwise loud environments.
Since this pair of headphones makes use of the latest Bluetooth protocol, you can count on it to provide you with a stable connection that can work even at a decent distance from your tethered phone. And with a battery life of up to 35 hours, you can rest assured knowing you can go several sessions without needing to charge them up again.
3. 1MORE Triple Driver In-Ear Earphones
Quality Engineering for a Distinct Sound Signature
1MORE has a trick up their sleeve with their earbud-style headphones: the talents of Grammy-winning sound engineer Luca Bernard, who has personally tuned them. There's a very distinct sound signature here - a rare quality for earbuds. And despite the compact frame of these headphones, the inline controls are surprisingly intuitive and varied. The result is a pair of headphones that's perfect for the gym but also well suited for a more discerning listening experience.
And these headphones are designed to be comfortable for just about anyone. There are nine different ear tips of varying shapes and sizes so you should be able to find a solution that matches the unique contour of your ears. And 1MORE has one more trick up its sleeve; an entire three drivers are packed into each of the buds, allowing for more textured audio and a richer sound stage.
4. Plantronics Backbeat Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones
Unique Design with Killer Functionality
The Backbeat by Plantronics is a very strong contender for the title of best travel headphones at a mid-range price. These headphones employ some of the best active noise cancellation we've seen, and they can run for up to a full day on a single charge. And with a wireless range of 330 feet, it gives you significantly more space to work with than the average wireless headphones.
These are some pretty stylish headphones, too. The classic wood grain design looks great in contrast to the classic, textured elements, and it even comes with an understated travel sleeve. The headband looks great while maintaining a comfortable fit for long listening sessions. But form also marries functionality here. The controls are substantive and built right into the left ear cup
5. Sennheiser HD 560 S Audiophile Headphones
Open-Back Audiophile Paradise
Sennheiser is a brand that has well cemented a name for itself in the world of audiophile headphones. While many of their more expensive models are the favorite of many sound technicians for their well-balanced soundstage, the HD 560 S offers audiophile-level quality for a fraction of the cost. These are open-back headphones, which means they offer much greater depth than closed-back models. However, that does also mean that you won't want to take these out and about with you, as everybody around you will easily be able to hear your audio, too.
Swiveling ear cups and a flexible, cushioned band allow for comfort contoured specifically to your head shape, which will make the most difference for those long listening sessions. These headphones are wired, meaning you won't have to put up with charging them all the time, and that also allows them to offer the utmost quality without having to account for fitting in extra Bluetooth functionality.
6. Sennheiser HD 4.50 Bluetooth Headphones
Sennheiser returns with another killer model that doesn't break the bank. Less than a hundred bucks will get you the sort of balanced sound that only a few manufacturers can produce, and the NoiseGard active noise cancellation tech here provides an absolutely pristine solution to listening to music in busier environments like the office or train.
Even with the cool extras, the Sennheiser HD 4.50 is reliably efficient. They get a battery life of right around 20 hours even with Bluetooth and NoiseGard activated, and there's even a quality mic with additional noise isolation. And in addition to the latest version of Bluetooth, these headphones are equipped with NFC.
7. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Headphones
Audio-Technica does not mess around, a fact well illustrated by the Audio-Technica ATH-M50X. Case in point: the sound quality, which is always a highlight of Audio-Technica headphones but which offers particularly great value for the $150 asking price. The bass is lean but not underwhelming, and there's a nice sense of balance across the entire frequency range. In fact, these can even be used as monitor headphones.
The memory foam ear cups feel great too, although the chunkier design means they're probably better suited for the home than for travel. Three different cords are included to provide you with access even to older legacy audio sources.
8. Jabra Elite 85h Noise-Canceling Headphones
The Jabra Elite 85h is a premium pair of headphones for a price well below what you should expect to pay. Just keep in mind that you may need to wait for a deal to find them comfortably under $200. The active noise cancellation is pretty impressive, and the sound quality is top of the line.
And these headphones are an especially great choice if you regularly find yourself fielding calls. Combine the active noise cancellation with the crisp and crystal clear microphone, and you're left with a solidly performing set of headphones that can provide you with great sound quality even in a busy office.
9. beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro 250 ohm Headphones
You won't find a pair of headphones that are more comfortable than the Beyerdynamic DT 990. With their velour cushioning, these are some luxurious feeling headphones, but the sound quality is equally as rich and silky. There's a strong sense of neutrality that really captures the full extent of the extended frequency response range and sets a great sound stage.
Speaking of that frequency response range, it's pretty absurd for this price - proceeding to a maximum of nearly double the range of human hearing. That's further enhanced by the fact that these are open-back headphones, making them perhaps inappropriate for your commute but one of your best choices for listening to music at home.
10. Skullcandy Crusher Wireless Over-Ear Headphone
Wireless connectivity isn't a common feature of headphones in the $100 price range; and while the Skullcandy Crusher isn't the best pair of over-ear headphones on the market, they do offer a whole lot of value for the asking price. The highs are somewhat weak, but the mids and bass here really shine - not least all because of the base slider, which will afford you unparalleled bass should you choose to use it.
And the relatively feature light design benefits the battery life. It can run for about 40 hours on a single charge, and the quick charging feature can give you a full 3 hours with only 10 minutes of downtime. There's also a mic built-in, making these an appropriate choice for gamers.
Headphones Under $200 Buyer’s Guide
Are you looking for the best headphone model available for under $200 in 2021? There’s a lot more to consider than just great sound quality, but that doesn’t mean that you need to get lost in the weeds just because you’re buying headphones for the first time. We’ll cover everything you need to know below.
Frequency response isn’t the only indicator of how headphones sound, but it’s potentially the best format for identifying sound quality as an objective spec. The frequency range represents the scale of pitch from the lowest bass to the highest treble. The human range of hearing is 20 to 20,000 hertz, so that should be the minimum you look for. But having a frequency response range that extends beyond that can result in great sound performance and a more expansive sound stage.
The most popular headphones tend to be over-ear headphones. As a result, our list is dominated by the best over-ear headphones. Over-ear headphones are a great choice for everything from listening to music at home to offering noise isolation during your commute. Most of these are closed-back – a choice that blocks out exterior noise. But open-back headphones allow for a more expansive sound stage and are generally designed to appeal to audiophiles. That said, there are some great earbuds that go well beyond the disposable models that come with many phones.
Wireless connectivity is one of the best features you can have in headphones. Bluetooth allows headphones to connect at a range of up to 33 feet, making these models a good choice for both the office and the gym. Some versions of Bluetooth allow you to connect at a longer wireless range. But physically connected headphones also have their own advantages over wireless models. They tend to be significantly cheaper, and they offer a more steady connection that isn’t reliant on your wireless connection to a phone.
Battery life is only going to be an issue if you’re using wireless headphones. Wireless Bluetooth can drain your battery pretty quickly, but that power draw can grow even greater when you start using more advanced features like Bose SoundLink, active noise-canceling technology, or bass boost. Consider the battery life listed by the manufacturer as a best-case scenario for when everything goes right, and seek out headphones with a battery life that takes into account these variables.
Noise Cancelling Tech
All headphones are going to come with some level of noise isolation, which refers to the sound that the cups or buds themselves naturally block out. But many of the best models come with active noise-canceling technology. ANC detects the sound outside of your ear cups and creates a counter signal that’s designed to balance out that exterior sound. The downsides are that noise-canceling headphones tend to be more expensive than traditional models, and they can quickly wear down the battery life on wireless models.
Weight and Size
If you’re looking for travel headphones, weight and size are going to be a huge consideration. Unfortunately, heftier headphones tend to be more comfortable in addition to being chunkier. As a result, you need to find a balance between comfortable design and great portability. Wireless models will obviously decrease the footprint of headphones somewhat, but seeking out a foldable design can help you find great travel headphones. Many even come with their own protected carrying cases.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Best Wireless Headphones Under $200?
For many people looking for some of the best headphones, Bluetooth will be a high priority. The Plantronics Backbeat can connect at a wireless range of up to 330 feet, and they can tether to two separate devices for a seamless transition from work to home.
What are the Best Noise Cancelling Headphones Under $200?
The Jabra Elite 85h are the best headphones under $200 if the ability to counteract outside sound is a high priority for you. The active noise cancellation tech is some of the best around and further enhanced by dynamic technology that adjusts the sound coming in your ears depending on ambient sound.
What are the Best Headphones for 2021?
There’s no deal quite like that offered on the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro. These combine some of the best sound performance we’ve found along with one of the most luxurious and comfortable fits around. We’re comfortable calling them the best over-ear headphones under $200.
Seeking out top-shelf sound quality but not looking to spend a fortune? All the headphones on our list offer the best of both worlds, but that doesn’t mean every model will be a perfect fit for everyone. You can keep checking back here whenever you’re in the market for a new pair. And if you decide you want something with more sound depth, we encourage you to check out our guide to the best audiophile headphones of 2021.If you liked our article on headphones under $200, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.