The 15 Best Headphones Under $200

Jul 21, 2020

Category: Tech

Two-hundred dollars is something of the perfect Goldilocks amount when shopping for headphones. The price-point allows for some truly exceptional, high-end models that afford the latest and greatest in features, comfort, performance, and sound quality, without requiring you to invest an arm and a leg. Access to offerings from some of the world’s most elite brands can also be had for this number, which is particularly noteworthy considering many of these sub-$200 models hugely benefit from cutting-edge hardware and tech that’s trickled down from even more top-shelf models from these same companies.

Though it costs more upfront, opting to invest a bit more for a set of decent headphones will typically save you money in the long run, helping to ensure years of reliable use through the utilization of more premium materials, construction, and componentry. The higher MSRPs also almost always mean more competent performance, in terms of aspects like battery life and sound quality. To help shine a light on some of the finest available offerings within this price range, we’ve put together this list of the best headphones under $200.

1MORE Triple Driver Over-Ear

If you don’t mind forgoing wireless connectivity, 1MORE’s Triple Driver over-ear is an absolutely phenomenal pair of headphones, offering a range of top-shelf features at an incredibly reasonable price. The headphone’s anodized aluminum alloy ear-cups can rotate 40-degrees and are linked via an adjustable stainless steel-framed headband that, like the ear-cups, are cushioned and bound in leather. Inside, near-audiophile-grade sound comes from a transducer arrangement comprised of 40mm dynamic drivers made from graphene, bass reflectors, and ceramic tweeters. The Triple Driver’s high-end components have also been specially tuned and optimized by Grammy-winning sound engineer, musician, and producer, Luca Bignardi. The headphones are also foldable, making them great for travel applications — a fact further by the included travel case this pair is sold with. Also included is a gold-plated 1/4” adapter and a tangle-resistant, oxygen-free copper wire connecting cord with a Kevlar core and a braided sheath.

Purchase: $148

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H4

Though Bang & Olufsen has more recently released the newer, second generation of its Beoplay H4 headphones, the original model is still a fantastic option when shopping in the sub-$200 range that hasn’t grown particularly long in the tooth since its release. Offered in grey with white and bronze accents or in a black on black scheme, the Danish outfit’s Beoplay H4 utilizes Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity. The right ear cup houses the model’s physical playback control buttons, as well as an integrated microphone for taking calls. Weighing in at around half-a-pound, the headphone’s battery allows for as many as 19 hours of music playback on a single charge. The Struer-based brand’s usual sleek Scandinavian design isn’t lost on the Beoplay H4, either, nor are the company’s signature top-notch construction or use of premium materials — in this case, genuine leather, fabric, and polished or powder-coated aluminum. Also very much present on the original Beoplay H4 is Bang & Olufsen’s phenomenal sound quality.

Purchase: $150+

Beats Solo3 Wireless

Beats refers to its Solo3 Wireless model as its “Classic All-Day Headphones,” and for good reason. The battery powering this wireless over-ear model allows for up to 40 hours of music playback, plus is Fast Fuel compatible, which means after being plugged in for only five minutes, a completely drained battery can yield a full three hours of playback time. The shells and headband have been designed together to firmly grip the wearer’s head, without becoming painful or uncomfortable after prolonged periods of time (something made possible by the Solo3’s extended battery life). The headphone’s acoustics have been fine-tuned, resulting in award-winning audio quality with deep bass, crisp highs, and minimal distortion, even when played towards the higher end of the Solo3’s fairly extreme decibel range. And, like the first entry on this list, the Solo3 boasts a folding design along with a travel case for carrying the headphones when collapsed. Backed by a one year manufacturer’s warranty, the Solo3 Wireless is also sold in five solid colors, as well as four incredibly-unique three color combos.

Purchase: $159

Marshall Major III Voice

Marshall produces some of the most iconic audio gear in existence, famously employing its distinctive old-school design language and professional-grade sound. And a modern interpretation of this formula can be seen in the British firm’s Major III Voice headphones: a reimagined version of a vintage Marshall model that now sports a slimmer, lower-profile 3D hinge design, rebuilt ear cushions, and partially-exposed wires with reinforced rubber dampers. Unlike the normal button-control setups, the Major III Voice packs a multidirectional control knob that can be used to adjust volume, control playback, and turn the headphones on or off. There’s also a built-in microphone for controlling a smart assistant or fielding calls. The Marshall III Voice’s battery packs a wildly-impressive 60-hours of life on a single charge, too. In addition to its potent battery and vintage-inspired outward appearance, what earns this model a place on this list is its superb sound quality, with a 20Hz to 20kHz frequency range coming from proprietary, custom-designed 40mm dynamic drivers.

Purchase: $170

Google Pixel Buds

Google’s Pixel Buds offer an attractive alternative to Airpods Pros, offering similar specs and features at a substantially lower price. Inside, there’re custom-designed 12mm dynamic drivers, plus dual beamforming microphones benefitting from a voice-detecting accelerometer and gyroscope. The Microphones can also sense ambient noise and block it out so you can clearly be heard on the other end of calls, regardless as to what’s going on in the background. The Pixel Buds also feature dual infrared proximity sensors, and capacitive touch sensors, that enable the earbuds to automatically detect when they’ve been removed from the user’s ear, at which point music playback is paused. Music playback then automatically picks back up when the earbuds detect they’ve been reinserted. Equipped with an IPX4 sweat and water-resistance rating, the Pixel Buds offer 2.5 hours of battery life per charge, and a collective 24 hours of music playback when drawing energy from the included wireless charging case.

Purchase: $179

V-MODA XS

V-MODA’s XS is another over-ear headphone model offering incredible bang for your buck and punching well above its weight in the audio quality department. The headphones pack M-Class 40mm dual-diaphragm drivers that offer studio-levels of sound. However, for a pair of headphones with studio-quality sound, the XS is shockingly rugged, boasting a Steelflex headband and a stainless steel chassis (with an interior that’s fitted with a textile mesh layer that provides a bit of airflow and ventilation. V-MODA also says it spent more than five years researching and developing the XS’ perfectly-contoured, form-fitting ear-pads and head-shells, which not only optimize sound and are amazingly comfortable, but also manage to offer stellar passive noise cancelation. And, though the XS admittedly isn’t wireless and requires being tethered to devices, the (removable) cord it does use just happens to be braided, aramid fiber-reinforced, and outfitted with an integrated microphone. The XS is also sold with a two-year warranty, carabiner clip, and an “Exoskeleton” travel case. V-MODA also sells the detachable BoomPro microphone, which can convert the XS into an office or gaming headset.

Purchase: $182

Sony WHCH700N

Not to be confused with Sony’s similar albeit lesser-expensive and lower-spec’d WHCH710N model, the WHCH700N is another thoroughly modern pair of headshells that pack an impressive host of features and amenities into an accessibly-priced pair of headphones further complimented by a striking physical design. The battery offers as many as 35 hours of music playback time and is compatible with 10-min quick-charging. The WHCH700N’s noise-canceling tech uses an AI-powered algorithm to scan its surroundings, block out external noise, and optimize audio. This same tech is also called upon for calling, with the Sony gadget’s bevy of microphones also getting this feature. Sony’s WHCH700N is also compatible with Amazon’s Alexa and can be used for hands-free control of the smart assistant. Collectively, these features all make the WHCH700N an absolutely stellar choice for those in the market for a quality set of work from home headphones, as these aforementioned amenities not only allow for improved calls and video chat experiences, but these headphones also look fantastic resting on a headphone stand alongside a desktop and keyboard.

Purchase: $198

Master & Dynamic MW60 Wireless

Harmoniously blending form and function, Master & Dynamic’s MW60 is a modern pair of wireless over-ear headphones with an aesthetic design that draws inspiration from the over-sized studio shells of the ‘70s and ‘80s, while still keeping one foot firmly planted in the present. As per usual, the New York brand has called on a host of top-shelf materials to construct its MW60, with stainless steel used for the hinges and hardware, heavy-grain cowhide leather covering the outside of the headband, and supple lambskin adorning the headband’s interior and the ear-cups. The MW60 is also padded with memory foam and packs an antenna that’s been CNC-machined from aluminum billet and offers best-in-class range with 33’ of autonomy — threefold the industry average. Weighing three-quarters of a pound, the MW60 also gets high-performance 45mm neodymium drivers, a 16-hour battery life, and dual noise-isolating microphones that allow for clear hands-free calling and music playback control. Music playback can also be handled via the right head-shell trio of physical buttons, which M&D says drew inspiration from the chronograph pushers found on high-end watch cases.

Purchase: $199

Bowers & Wilkins PI3

As one of the undisputed leading names in high-end audio, it really is hard to go wrong with anything made by the West Sussex firm, and though they carry a significantly more accessible price, Bowers & Wilkins’ P13 still boast the same top-notch level of quality that can be found across the rest of its prestigious product range. And the same goes for the company’s P13 model: the world’s first fully active two-way wireless earbuds. Weighing practically nothing at only 31 grams (or 0.068lbs), the P13’s Lithium polymer battery affords a total of eight hours of playback on a single charge, though after being plugged in for just 15 minutes, the P13 is good to go for another two full hours. Like B&W’s ultra-elite high-fidelity speakers, what really distinguishes the P13 from other wireless running headphones is its phenomenal sound quality, with one set of dedicated drivers handling the mids and highs and another delivering the bass. This top-shelf sound quality’s transmission also benefits from the use of Qualcomm’s aptX audio codec.

Purchase: $199

Nura NuraLoop

The original NuraPhone presented a novel concept to the headphone world, delivering a pair that could adapt and learn over time in order to customize itself to be perfectly tailored to each user’s specific hearing (through the use of an app that administers a personalized sound test). And the brand’s followup, the NuraLoop earbuds take this same envelope-pushing idea and manage to cram it into a more compact in-ear form. The Nuraloop’s highly-customized sound is also delivered through Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX HD. And, while there are microphones for hands-free calls and controls, there’s also touch-sensitive earbud housings that allow for swipe and tap-style physical control. They also boast a cool 16 hours of battery life (plus only ten minutes of charging will yield another two hours of music playback), active noise-canceling, and a “Social Mode” that allows you to hear a conversation while other ambient noise is still blocked out. And, like this model’s over-ear predecessor, the NuraPhone, the NuraLoop sports an incredibly unique industrial design for a pair of earbuds.

Purchase: $199

Master and Dynamic MW07 Go

Master & Dynamic’s MW07 GO true wireless earphones are far more than just a gym-focused version of the American brand’s regular MW07 model, boasting an additional eight hours of battery life, a 33’ longer range, and an IP67-rating versus the standard MW07’s IPX4 — all in a package that’s 15% smaller. They’re also sold in five earbud colors, each of which comes paired with a technical knit-wrapped wireless charging case made from TR90 composite — a high-end material often utilized for premium sports eyewear and watch cases – that now allows for a total of 22 hours of music playback, with the earbuds themselves carrying a 12-hour charge. Furthermore, the charging case can receive a full recharge in only 40 minutes, while only 15 minutes of charging the earbuds will allow for a whopping five hours of music time. Sound is delivered through a pair of 10mm Beryllium drivers and is of the same caliber and quality that the New York company has built its reputation upon since its launch in 2013.

Purchase: $199

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC700BT

Not unlike Marshall, Audio-Technica’s headphones tend to carry a very similar visual theme, with the Japanese brand possessing a distinctive signature aesthetic across its over-ear offerings. And while it’s no less attractive, the Tokyo firm’s ATH-ANC700BT (or “Active Noise Canceling 700 BlueTooth”) represent a clear departure from A-T’s usual industrial design in favor of a sleeker, more modern configuration. And though the headphone’s outward appearance may have changed, the company’s hallmark high-level audio remains in the mix, with the ATH-ANC700BT’s high-fidelity 40mm drivers being good for a 5 to 40,000Hz high-resolution frequency response range. Lined with memory-foam, the head-shells feature subtle tap and swipe controls, as well as an internal lithium polymer battery that gives the headphones 25 hours of music playback time (or up to 1,000 hours in standby mode). Backed by a one year manufacturer’s warranty, the ATH-ANC700BT is also outfitted with QuietPoint active noise-canceling tech, which calls on a proprietary four-microphone multi-feedback system that’s constantly scanning the user’s background to detect and block-out ambient sounds.

Purchase: $199

Meze Audio 99 Neo

If you don’t require active noise-canceling, wireless connectivity, and an extended battery life, and instead are simply seeking an affordable pair of headshells that will deliver absolutely incredible sound, then Meze Audio’s 99 Neo is an extraordinary option. The headphones feature 40mm drivers that offer up a 15Hz to 25KHz frequency response, 103dB (at 1KHz) sensitivity, and a 26Ohm impedance. The 99 Neo is tethered to devices via a detachable 1.5m Kevlar-cored, oxygen-free copper cable complete with a remote microphone. Meze also offers an even more top-shelf version of the 99 Neo’s that see the standard construction jettisoned in favor of genuine walnut and gold. Constructed with a distinct quality that you can literally feel, the headphone is comprised of a stamped manganese spring steel headband mated to PU leather and medium-density memory foam ear-pads via electroplated cast zinc alloy hardware. They also sport an adjustable headband design that evenly distributes pressure across the crown, regardless of the size of the user’s head, ensuring levels of comfort that are on par with the 99 Neo’s next-level sound quality.

Purchase: $199

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E6

Bang & Olufsen’s Beoplay E6 earphones can strangely be compared to a race car: it’s a highly-minimalistic and highly-calculated high-performance product that’s been purpose-engineered for a specific task. Like the tank on a Formula One car, the Beoplay E6’s 50mAh battery is just big enough to handle the required task at hand, in this case: a commute or gym session (i.e. five hours of music playback per charge). Under the proverbial hood, the Beoplay E6 packs 6.4mm electro-dynamic drivers with a 20 to 22,000Hz frequency range and a cool 107dB on tap. Pairing with a smartphone app allows the Beoplay E6’s EQ to be customized (or saved in one of five presets). IP54-rated, the Beoplay E6 was penned by award-winning Danish designer, Jakob Wagner, who set out to deliver an incredibly spartan yet competent set of earbuds, resulting in a package that tips the scales at just 21 grams (or 0.046lbs). Built around textured rubber and polymer housing with lightweight and rugged aluminum control buttons, the E6’s wireless earbuds are adjoined by a braided textile-sheathed cable that was reportedly inspired by urban sneaker culture.

Purchase: $200

JBL CLUB 700BT

Though Beats By Dre has admittedly developed a solid reputation for producing bass-heavy sets of headphones, JBL is definitely a brand that should be considered if you’re interested in a super deep low-end range. And while the Club 700BT’s JBL Pro Sound-backed audio quality is a major selling point, the wireless pair of over-ear shells have a lot more going for them such as a battery that yields an incredible 50 hours of music playback, and state-of-the-art noise-canceling technology with Ambient Aware and TalkThru, so vital sounds and communications can still be heard, while wind, traffic, and other ambient noises are drowned out. On top of the extended battery life, the headphone’s decently-rugged construction and a collapsible hinge design makes the Club 700BT an ideal choice for long-range travel. And, while it wouldn’t be unreasonable to think that the 610mAh battery and bevy of audio, NC, and transmission components would make for a rather hefty set of headshells, this JBL item manages to weigh it at a very reasonable 283 grams (or 0.62lbs).

Purchase: $200

The Best Headphones Under $100

Looking for a quality pair at a more accessible price point? Our guide to the best headphones under $100 boasts a dozen seriously-solid sets that can be had for a reasonable sum.

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