For a lot of people, headphones are a commodity well worth investing in. They make your life easier, especially if you’re a frequent traveler or even if you just love music in general!
However, the high price tag of most top-shelf headphones deters a lot of aspiring audiophiles. To such people, we say, “Never fear, lads! We’ve got you!”
Luckily for everyone, you can get older versions of flagship headphones at much cheaper prices than the newest iterations. There are also a bunch of truly underrated brands that manufacture headphones which offer incredible value for the money.
Today, we’ve curated a list of the best headphones under $200. Go through each entry for more information about our selections or skip right to the end if you’re simply looking for our best pick.
Best Headphones Under $200
Sennheiser headphones are known to offer incredible sound quality, but are these special edition over-ear headphones worth their salt?
Comfort and Build Quality
Since the HD598s are special edition headphones, their build quality is nothing short of stellar. These are headphones that look and feel incredible.
The headband features extra leatherette padding, and the earpads are covered with luxurious velour. You’ll not want to take the HD598s off once they’re on your head. In fact, you might even go a whole day without realizing that you’ve worn them.
You’ll be able to use these headphones with almost all audio devices, including phones, tablets, and even stereo equipment. You even get to choose between a 1.2m cable and a 3m cable, both of which come in the box.
The HD598s are open back headphones. While this does improve the headphones’ soundstage, it also means that they leak a lot of sound. If you know you’re going to be using these in public or around other people, they’ll be able to hear everything unless you keep the volume really low.
Regarding sound quality, the HD598s project beautiful sound. They do not project skull-thumping bass, but offer consistent and balanced sound output across the board.
One thing to note is that while these headphones can work when connected to your phone or computer’s headphone jack, you’ll be missing out on a much more ethereal listening experience. Get yourself a good amp, and you’ll be able to get much more out of these cans.
Features at a Glance
- Open-back design creates a whole new listening experience
- Premium build quality designed to provide the utmost comfort
- Ships with 1.2m and 3m cable plus a 3.5mm adapter plug
- 2-year limited warranty if purchased from an authorized dealer
Bose’s SoundSport headphones are wireless in-ear headphones. While they don’t have noise canceling capabilities, you don’t really expect them to – after all, they’re workout headphones.
The SoundSports feature NFC and Bluetooth pairing capabilities which allow you to connect to your music anywhere and at any time.
A powerful integrated Li-ion battery provides you up to six hours of charge. With these headphones, you don’t have to worry about your music failing to outlast your workout.
You can download the Bose companion app to make it incredibly easy and intuitive to switch between devices.
The SoundSports come with Bose’s proprietary StayHear+ tips which are designed to stay in your ears during even the most intense workout sessions.
One thing you’ll quickly notice is that these headphones are HUGE since they house all the electronics required to power them. Luckily, Bose has made them in such a way that this adds almost no extra weight or heft to the StaySports. To be honest, it’s slightly unnerving.
The headphones are completely sweatproof and weather resistant – you can work out while wearing them on a rainy day and not worry about them giving up the ghost.
You can even check your pulse using the earbuds, which is a great feature that could really come in handy when working out.
As with all Bose products, the sound quality is simply spectacular. These headphones beat every other pair of in-ear headphones, and nothing even comes close to touching them in their price range.
- Bose active EQ consistently balances and optimizes the sound
- Easy Bluetooth and NFC pairing
- StayHear+ tips ensure the earbuds stay in your ears
- Ability to check your pulse using the earbuds
- Completely sweatproof and weather-resistant
- Up to six hours of battery life
Features at a Glance
In the past few years, there’s been an increase in the demand for extra-bass or bass-boosted headphones.
While the origin of this trend can be traced back to the skull-thumping headphones of brands such as Beats and Skullcandy, a lot of other brands jumped on the bandwagon with their own implementations of bass-boosted technology.
Sony is one of these brands, and their implementation of the concept is exquisite.
To begin with, these headphones offer Bluetooth and NFC connectivity. However, Sony has taken steps to ensure that wireless playback doesn’t suffer the disadvantages usually associated with it.
The headphones offer up to twenty hours of playback on a single charge and can be used with the included cord once the battery dies out.
The inbuilt mic and remote allow you to take calls and hang up with a simple press of a button.
Comfort and Portability
The headphones’ wrap-around ear cushions wrap around your ears for unparalleled comfort. The earcups also swivel and fold up to facilitate portability.
The sound quality is stellar. While the headphones don’t offer active voice canceling, the passive cancelling is comparable to high-end headphones with active noise canceling.
Electronic bass boost allows you to simply press a button to enhance lower frequencies and boost the bass to higher levels.
The large 40mm audio drivers deliver broad and dynamic sound across a huge range of frequencies.
Features at a Glance
- Really good passive noise cancellation
- Electronic bass boost
- Up to twenty hours of playback on a single charge
- Extremely comfortable
- Cable included to allow you to continue listening to music even when the battery runs low
Beats. The much reviled but hugely successful company finally makes an appearance on our list with the Solo2 wired on-ear headphones. Let’s take a closer look at the Solo2.
The Solo2 wired headphones are on-ear headphones, which by itself is a deal breaker for some people. On-ear headphones are usually less comfortable and provide less sound isolation than both in-ear and over-ear headphones.
As with most Beats products, the headphones look gorgeous and will draw a few looks courtesy of the Beats brand name.
The headphones can be folded and put into the included carry case for ease of portability.
The included RemoteTalk cable allows you to take calls and control music. However, the cable can’t perform music control functions when used with an Android device, which is a huge negative.
The sound quality is average. The high bass and good clarity will appeal to some, but no audiophile would buy these headphones.
If you’re an average user and are interested in conspicuous consumption, then these headphones are perfect for you.
Features at a Glance
- Can be folded for increased portability
- Carry case included
- RemoteTalk cable allows you to control music and take calls
- Good sound quality
Phaiser may not be as well-known as some brands in the headphones industry, but they make some really good products. The BHS-730s are in-ear sport headphones with wireless capabilities.
The BHS-730s are compatible with the Bluetooth 4.1 standard and are designed for extremely high-quality music playback. This translates to better bass, lighter treble, and perfect clarity during phone calls.
The headphones interact with iOS and newer Android devices to allow you to see how much battery life is left in a single glance.
These headphones will give you around five to six hours of battery life when charged fully.
The BHS-730s have magnetic tips. This allows you to keep them around your neck without worrying that they’ll get lost. They’re also made entirely out of metal, which significantly increases their durability.
The headphones are sweatproof and waterproof. Phaiser has also incorporated a Liquipel Nano Coating onto the headphones, allowing them to survive the sweatiest workouts and even accidental immersion in water.
The winged earbud design keeps the buds in your ear at all times. Phaiser also includes different tips for over and under-ear fit.
The BHS-730s’ 8mm drivers deliver amazing music. While the headphones retail for less than $50, they give much more expensive in-ear headphones a run for their money.
The included Comply earbud tips usually retail for around $15 and are incredible at noise isolation. As a bonus, music sounds even better when you’re experiencing close to total noise isolation.
Features at a Glance
- Compatible with Bluetooth 4.1
- Magnetic earbuds exponentially increase convenience
- Completely sweatproof and water-resistant
- Included Comply earbud tips offer superb noise isolation
- Secure fit with several tips included
- Very loud and clear sound
- Lifetime sweatproof warranty
All of the headphones on our list are extremely good and choosing the best headphones under $200 is not an easy task.
They’re also all of different varieties, making it that much harder to choose. From wired headphones to in-ear headphones to sport headphones, we tried to cater to everyone’s needs.
However, if you asked us to make a choice, we’d probably go for the Sennheiser HD 598 special edition headphones. They look incredible, sound incredible, and are extremely comfortable. The only downside to the HD 598s is the noise leakage engendered by their open-back design.
Which is why we’d like to expressly assert that they aren’t for everyone.
We’ve got several types of headphones in our list, so just go through them and pick the one that you think will suit you the most.
At the end of the day, it’s your choice that matters, right?