Best Headphones under 200 – The Complete Guide
If you are looking for the best headphones under 200, you will find yourself searching through a gazillion reviews, products and headphone brands. You select one and add it to the cart and suddenly realize that they don’t fit your budget or indeed your requirements. Sounds familiar? Products that exceed expectations on their price-point are a rarity. And finding them is harder still. So we set up a $200 wallet and went window shopping (virtual windows, of course!) and rounded up top ten headphones under 200 bucks. This roster has something for everyone: running headphones, audiophile cans, wireless headphones, RF wireless headsets and studio monitor headphones.
Analysis – Key considerations
We have carried out an in-depth analysis, and have identified and ranked the top 10 best headphones under 200 dollars by analyzing 351 headphones and 120,700 customer reviews. We have also taken into account a wide array of headphone features and characteristics.
- Audio performance: These headphones under $200 do not relinquish the stellar audio quality that we admire in expensive sets. From ultra-clean music to feisty sound signature, they differ in sonic output. Some headphones are meant for the regular bassheads and others for true music-maniacs.
- Design Dynamics: We have covered IEMs, earbuds, on-ear and over-ear headphones here. What resonates with all of them is the level of comfort. You can wear these cans over prolonged hours without clamping pressure or ear inflammation.
- Extra Features: We appreciate any product that goes an extra mile. The main ones are – Wireless and Bluetooth capabilities, and connectivity with smart devices (IOS and Android alike). It could also be an airplane adapter, a carry case, bass boost functionality or even an audio suite.
We have also taken into consideration the different types of headphones based on design and purpose, which are as follows:
- Over-ear headphones – which are the ones with earcups that cover the entire ear of the user, ensuring a high-quality audio experience with minor or no sound leakages. The drawback of such headphones is that they tend to be bulkier and heavier than the other two types of headphones (i.e. On-ear and in-ear headphones).
- On-ear headphones – These are headphones have smaller earcups that sit on the ear of the user, but don’t fully cover it. They tend to be lighter and more portable, but their disadvantage is sound leakage.
- In-ear headphones – These are similar to earbuds sit right inside the ear-opening. They are a lot lighter and portable than the other two types of headphones, and their audio performance has improved substantially over the years – which makes them an attractive option for audiophiles and regular users.
Results of our best headphones under 200 analysis
There are a lot of interesting facts and observations that have come out of our analysis, and the main ones are as follows:
- All headphones are from top-notch brands, and all types that have been mentioned above
- Not surprisingly none of the Beats models are in our list
- Most of the headphones in our list have some impressive tech features (especially the Sony MDRXB950BT !) , such as wireless and bluetooth capabilities
RESULTS – (1/10) – BEST HEADPHONES UNDER 200
Sony’s artfully named MDRXB950BTsare a labor of love coming from the audio giant. Their minimalistic and mature architecture, comfort factor, incredible sound, extra pop of bass and Bluetooth capability hoist them to the center stage of brilliant audio equipment. They give the much pricier Sennheiser and Beyerdynamic cans a run for their money. Just under the 200 bucks mark, they sure have a lot of value for money.
Sound quality is the absolute winner for Sony MDRXB950BT headphones. Deep bass is coupled with detailed mids and laidback highs.These individual elements are garnished with proper instrument separation and housed in an airy soundstage. But if you are not in the mood for tame, MDRXB950BT has a Bass Boost button to turn your playlist Endsville. Techno, hip-hop, rock, all start sound vibrant and energetic with this option. Other genres will lose details if you leave this option on. Wireless connectivity is afforded through Bluetooth or NFC. AptX spruces up the Bluetooth streaming. Bluetooth connection is smooth, as even at 30 feet you don’t find static trampling your audio. These headphones are closed-back over-ear headphones. The plush cushioning and roomy earcups ensure a tight seal from outside noises. The passive noise isolation is so effective that you can use these cans on a flight without having engine noise creep into them. At 10 ounces, they are relatively light and rest easy on your head through cranial padding. Earcups fold flat for more portability. An internal mic inside the ear piece allows you the facility of making calls as well.
Sony MDRXB950BT Extra Bass headphones are an exemplary choice for everyday foray into the city or noisy environments like airplanes. They facilitate use across different time and genres. It is a natural for our best headphones under 200 list.
Any best headphones under 200 line-up is incomplete without the mention of the iconic Audio Technica M50x and M50. They are a name that this generation will use as yardstick to judge headphones. A-T sound engineers are masterful in crafting fiercely beautiful audio and with M50x they outdid themselves. The relaxing fit and studio ready cables make them the byword amongst music producing crowd.
M50x is a studio monitor headphone so they are expected to perch on your head without causing any fatigue. M50x toes a balance between durable build and weight for a tranquil wearing experience over prolonged use. Cushions on earcups and headband are softer than M50 and gentle to your head. Audio is, similarly, a pleasure to listen to. For a closed-back headphone, the audio sounds staged in a spacious arena. They are decadently warm, starting from rumbling bass to complex details in the mids, sassy treble and sparkling highs. Bass has the tight quality to it that provides space to other agents of audio.Tonal balance is so precise that it performs studio monitoring with practiced ease. To help, M50x comes with three kinds of detachable cables: A long straight cord (3M), a shorter straight cord and a coiled cord. One advantage of these over-ear headphones is noise isolation. Without the hiss of ANC, these grant you ample relief from the clicks and clops of studio. The 90 degree swiveling earcups can hang on your neck without fuss or allow you to listen one side. M50x comes with a pouch and the sterling reputation of M50. Fortunately Audio Technica doesn’t believe in fixing what’s not broken and retains all the golden points of M50.
<<Latest customer reviews and prices of Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones>>
Sennheiser HD598 is a worthy successor to HD580 headphones and has redefined the way we hear ‘natural’. These open-back cans feature a massive soundstage and an all too real reproduction of audio. But what tops it is the fact that they are the most comfortable headphones in their price range. They become inconspicuous on your head after a few minutes and you can give yourself into pristine music.
HD 598 headphones are padded generously, drawing a line only to keep them lightweight. Open earcups are done with velour ear pads for ethereal contact with your ears. The outer side of earcups has a metal grille sporting the Sennheiser logo. There’s an all-black model and also more stylish tan-and-brown one. The cable is detachable. It screws back in with a rotate-and-lock mechanism for secure attachment. Since these are open cans, a certain amount of sound travels both in and out of them. But that only augments the prolific sound signature of Sennheiser. HD598’s audio can open you up to a whole new level of nuances that you never noticed in a song. Dialogues sound especially prominent amongst all the background ad-lib that becomes more perceptible. Entire frequency spectrum is scrubbed for high-level clarity. Tight bass, balanced mids and highs anneal to form an accurate stereo image. This is an additional perk to these headphones being the height of comfort and fashion. A cable ending in 3.5mm plug is part of the box along with audio adapter. Sennheiser slums on accessories to keep the budget low.
Sennheiser HD 598 headphones have the premium finish that many costly cans fail to achieve. They are a crucial candidate for our best headphones under 200 list.
Ultrasone HFI-780 headphonehas been trending on internet because of its remarkable audio capable. The reviews are bitter sweet because they have gone for pumped up sound which may be too lively for some people. Nevertheless they dared an unconventional audio type and it registers as a success with the majority. That favours their spot in our best headphones under 200 mark list.
Ultrasone HFI-780 headphones have a vigorous sonic quality uplifted by S-logic Surround sound. The thunderous bass provides andwaking kick to music. Vocals and mids are comprehensive and separated from bass which makes it a great pair of headphones for watching movies. Soundstage is a surprisingly wide affair and allows room for all the bright characteristics of its audio including the sparkling highs and balanced treble. The minutiae of music played are the reasons these Ultrasone headphones are great for professional studio monitoring use. They need a considerable burn-in time, so be patient while you wait for your music to evolve. In the same way, physically the headband needs to be stretched slightly if you have a bigger head. Earcups have some depth to them because of pleather earpads and curb listening fatigue. They are finished in metal on the outside to arrest radiation. The cable that runs from the left ear piece is 1m long and terminates in 3.5mm plug. 1/8 inch plug for studio use is shipped with these headphones. You can get mixing or listening or go on a binge TV series spree. It is guaranteed that these headphones are wicked fun and will definitely never let your Mondays be blue.
<<Latest customer reviews and prices of Ultrasone HFI-780 S-Logic Surround Sound Professional Closed-back Headphones>>
Skullcandy Hesh2 headphones feature the Skullcandy excitement in audio that we have come to love. Situated way under the 200 bucks mark, these cans have a lot to offer. Skullcandy offers some attractive color combinations including a grey/hot lime one that will instantly grab eyeballs. They also have some sensible solid colors accentuated with the deadly skull logo.
Hesh 2 wireless headphones have the talent to play the best elements in music. This is what makes it a safe choice if you listen to all genres. They have the bass underbelly that Skullcandy specializes in. But mids and highs are just as crisp and clear. The sonic quality tends to warm but it’s not aggressive like Ultrasone or meticulously characterized like HD598. These headphones are for the everyday music-lovers and not audiophile critics. Bluetooth is used to connect Hesh 2 wirelessly to smartphones, tablets and the like. It allows 15 hours of playback on a single charge. When they run out of charge, they can be used in the wired mode. A mic is enveloped in the ear pieces which allow you to hold conversations over cell phones. These headphones sit on the middle ground between on-ear and over-ear headphones. Ear pieces are round but not big enough to nestle the ears completely. That being said, they are not uncomfortable and cut out external noises to a moderate amount.
Skullcandy Hesh 2 headphones have the trendy looks that will earn you compliments when you wear them around every day. These are the best headphones under 200 to wear casually and listen to pleasant music.
Bose is a juggernaut that razes through the reputations of it competition with its headphones. Their sports line follows the same standard with the premium SoundSport earphones. These in-ear earphones do not really squirrel into your ear. They sit at the foyer of your ear canal and are secured by a winged eartip that grabs the inner curve of the ears. They stay on even during your spirited rendition of squats and planks. They make a tempting deal at their price and a secure a position on out best headphones under 200 list.
Bose SoundSport earphones are available in 3 versions: one with Android compatible inline remote, another with Iphone-friendly remote and an audio only version, all at different prices. They come in many sporty color combinations that you would be proud to show off at the gym. The ear pieces have something of a perforated design that makes your music sound more open and airy. But external sounds also make their way into them. This is an ideal quality for running headphones because you need to keep track of vehicles and fellow joggers around you. Earbuds are tilted away from the driver shell. SoundSport earphones are sweat and weather resistant in face of physical activities excluding ones like swimming. Audio sounds peppy across the frequency response from these IEMs. They are balanced earphones which have just enough details to keep the usual morning runners happy. Audiophiles may want to see more details than they can provide. They come with extra sets of winged eartips and a fancy round case with carabiner to hang it on your gym bag or loop. A clip on the cable keeps the cord out of the way.
Parrot Zik line of best headphones under 200 would be what James Bond would have used if he were an audiophile. These are high-tech headphones coming from a drone-maker. They debuted at a high price but this initial version has dropped in price below the $200 mark. So the commoners can now experience what touch control feels like.
Touch control captures your imagination with the Parrot Zik wireless headphones. Tapping on the right earcups can answer/reject or end call. Swiping through can change volume or tracks. To see it in action is quite something. Owing to touch sensors, Parrot Zik’s architecture is kept artfully minimalistic. They have black or tan headband and earcups with metal highlights that reinforce their sturdy image. Ear pieces are the circular circum-aural type that passively shields the ears. Zik also has active noise cancellation circuitry which gathers noise through 5 mics and runs a mirror wave to cancel it. They connect wirelessly through Bluetooth or NFC and work on replaceable battery. A Parrot Audio Suite app lets you control the headphones and music via your phone. It also customizes the Concert Hall effect that simulates the stereo image for an actual concert. You have to work your way through the myriad audio options and select the right one to understand the true sonic potential of Zik. ANC with the right kind of equalization settings can produce clear, warm music that can easily beat its peers. In fact they sound much more natural and kicky without the Concert Hall effect. The different audio settings actually allow you to tweak their sound to your personal preference.
Zik Bluetooth headphones have elegantly executed Bluetooth, shiny contours, comfort and thrilling audio. That’s the mix you look for in your everyday headphones. Definitely one of the best headphones under 200.
<<Latest customer reviews and prices of Parrot Zik Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones with Touch Control>>
V-Moda Zn in-ear headphones are a steal, even at their full price and that’s saying something because they edge very close to 200 bucks. The true audiophiliac music that is usually possible only with over-ear headphones are reproduced note-to-note on these IEMs. To justify the price, V-MODA has rugged the architecture out with military-level quality tests and Kevlar reinforced cables. It all but snatches a spot on our best headphones under 200 list.
V-Moda Zn are true in-ear monitors with eartips that seal the ear canal as they snuggle in. They come with multiple sizes of ear tips, one of which is sure to provide the right seal and comfort level to the user. If you want to use them for running, they also come with detachable earhooks that route the wire around your ears to keep these IEMs from falling off. Wearing ear hangers is subject to preference, so it’s super to have them optional. Drivers are housed in Zinc casing to boost the audio performance. Tangle-free cable has an inline remote. A wire clip and a suave leather case complete the box. Audio is a revelation in Zn headphones. The soundstage is massive due to their innovative design. They almost catch the magic of perfect reproduction of music with these headphones. Terrific sub-bass region extends all the way till highs with a crisp air. Bass is powerful but vocals are respected. Treble is smooth and without sibilance. An airy warmth flourishes on the solid bass foundation of music. V-Moda certainly sets a high threshold for quality with the Zn in-ear headphones.
<<Latest customer reviews and prices of V-MODA Zn In-Ear Modern Audiophile Headphones with microphone>>
Monster DNA Pro 2.0 headphones seem to have fiddled with many architectural plans before settling down with the unorthodox triangular earpads that are supposed to frame the shape of ears exactly. If you have normal sized ears, these will work great for you, way par their value for price. They even collapse to half their size for portability.
DNA Pro 2.0 headphones feature lavish padding on the inverted teardrop shaped ear pieces. They have gone for a more circular headband than the usual oval ones that Monster sports. A carbon fiber weave decorates the headband. A cable with inline remote control can be plugged into one of the earcups. They come with a smaller cable without mic as well. There’s an auxiliary port in the other earcup to share music with a friends. Two headphones can be chained together using a 3.5mm male-to-male cable. Sound output of DNA Pro 2.0 has the rare combination of bold bass and detailed mids. Usually punch in the bass is a kick in the guts of mids and highs. But DNA Pro 2.0 manages to maintain a balance with the tight bass. They produce good audio across the genres without leaking any sound. The earcups even muffle some of the external noises by isolating your ears.
Monster DNA Pro 2.0 headphones are solid performers in their price range. No wonder they ended up in our best headphones under 200 list.
Sennheiser RS120 transforms your TV viewing and car music system experience with effortless RF connectivity. They even outperform the RS65s which cost a bomb comparatively. Any audio/video device with RF capability can be connected to these headphones and you will be treated with a hassle free wireless connection that survives a few walls or a big-boned uncle in between the transmitter and receiver. They have a reasonable repertoire for the best headphones under 200 list.
RS120 wireless RF headphones are carved in lightweight plastic clocking a total of 8.1 ounces. They have oval on-ear ear pads that rest gently on the ears. You can wear them through a Die Hard marathon without feeling tired. Volume buttons are placed on the ear cup. They connect wirelessly through RF transmitters. They are not Bluetooth compatible. You can choose from 3 RF channels to get the best reception amongst them. You can connect to Smartphones, tablets, mp3 players via a 3.5mm male-to-male cable. Audio sharing is possible with up to 100 receivers. These cans power on when the connected audio devices wake and automatically shut off five minutes after when the source is powered off. The RS20 headphones come with a charging dock which can also be used to store the headphones. They get through 20 hours of work on one charge. The RF leash is maximum 300 feet. RS120 dazzles us with the details in its sound output. They bring out the beauty in all kinds of audio. These headphones bang big for bucks at their sub $200 price.