Here at Hotrate, we’ve written a lot of words 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 basement budget headphones to headphones 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 so you can dig into 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:
- COWIN E7 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones
- Bose SoundLink Around Ear Wireless Headphones II
- 1MORE Triple Driver In-Ear Earphones
- Plantronics Wireless Noise Cancelling Backbeat Headphones
- Mpow 059 Bluetooth 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. COWIN E7 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones
If you're looking for the best bang for your buck, the Cowin E7 headphones make a very persuasive argument. The $60 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. Bose SoundLink Around Ear Wireless Headphones II
The Bose SoundLink 2 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. There are even a variety of EQ settings so you can tailor the soundscape to match your favorite music, movies, or games.
And 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 a decent distance from your tethered phone. The ability to save up to two source devices at once makes the process of swapping sources very seamless.
3. 1MORE Triple Driver In-Ear Earphones
1MORE has a trick up their sleeve with their earbud style headphones: the talents of Grammy winning sound engineer Luca Bernard, who personally tuned it. 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 sizes and shapes so you should be able to find a solution that matches the unique contour of your ears. And 1MORE has one more trick up their sleeve. An entire three drivers are packed into each of the buds, allowing for more textured audio and a richer sound stage.
4. Plantronics Wireless Noise Cancelling Backbeat Headphones
The Backbeat by Plantronics is a very strong contender for the title of best travel headphones at a mid-range price, but you can currently get them for almost half that 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. And the headband looks great while maintaining a comfortable fit for longer listening sessions. But form also marries functionality here. The controls are substantive and built right into the left ear cup. And the headband looks great while offering some dense padding.
5. Mpow 059 Bluetooth Headphones
Mpow isn't quite a brand name yet, but they've been making waves for their ability to produce quality headphones at the best price around. These are arguably the best over-ear headphones for customers on a budget. The control scheme is well designed and easy to access on the go, and these headphones even sport a foldable design so you can clear up more space in your backpack or luggage when you travel.
Even cooler, these headphones can be used in both a wireless and wired format, but you shouldn't have to lean on the wired option too often. There's a maximum battery life of 20 hours, and you can get up to 2 hours of usage on a single 10 minutes spent charging. The bold and bright design reflects the fact that these were made as gaming headphones, and they're understandably equipped with a microphone for better competitive gaming.
6. Sennheiser HD 4.50 Bluetooth Headphones
Sennheiser is one of the kings of the high end headphones market, but not all of their models are so expensively priced. Less than a hundred bucks gives 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 aren't the best over-ear headphones on the market, they do offer a whole lot of value for the asking price. The highs and the bass are somewhat weak, but the mids here really shine.
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 2020? 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 identifiable spec. The frequency range represents the scale of pitch from the lowest bass to the highest treble, and 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 creating 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 for a phone. Bluetooth allow headphones to connect at a range of at least 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 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 making use of a wireless model. 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 cancelling technology, or bass boost functionality. 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 variations.
Noise Cancelling Tech
Any headphones are going to come with some level of noise isolation, which refers to the sound that the cups themselves naturally block out. But many of the best models come with active noise cancelling 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 cancelling 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 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 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 environmental sound.
What Are the Best Headphones For 2020?
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 on 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 2020.If you liked our article on headphones under $200, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.