Best Headphones Under $200 in 2022

by Alex.   Last Updated On September 26th, 2022.
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Whether you are an audiophile, gamer, studio professional, or a casual listener, it’s important to have a nice pair of headphones that are comfortable for extended listening sessions as well as able to deliver a good sound quality of any audio to your ears.

Consumer headphones can be found in a wide range of brands and styles, including wired headphones, wireless Bluetooth headphones, over the ear headphones, earbuds, and more. You can also find a wide range of prices, some which may be outside of your budget and some that could be right for you.

If you are searching for the best headphones under $200, this article should help. We have taken a closer look at several wired and Bluetooth headphones and have compared them to others in the same price range to see how they compare. We’ve also included a buying guide which can help you decide on the features you need and what may be unnecessary for you.

Table of Contents
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Comparison of the Best Headphones Under $200

Most Lightweight Headphones Under $200See On Amazon
photo of the Sony WHH900NSony
WHH900N
Best Sound Quality Headphones Under $200See On Amazon
photo of the  Roll over image to zoom in Monolith M565C Roll over image to zoom in Monolith
M565C
Best Premium Headphones Under $200See On Amazon
photo of the Audio-Technica ATH-M60xAudio-Technica
ATH-M60x
Best Budget Headphones Under $200See On Amazon
photo of the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PROBeyerdynamic
DT 990 PRO
Best for Gaming Headphones Under $200See On Amazon
photo of the Drop + Sennheiser PC38XDrop
+ Sennheiser PC38X

Reviews of the Best Headphones Under $200

Well known brand name that has created lightweight and stylish over-ear headphones perfect for casual listeners and studio professionals.

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Being one of the top names in the industry, Sony has put a lot of resources into making these over-ear headphones to be not just stylish but powerfully sounding as well. The highs and lows of every note are perfectly balanced with no distortion, even at higher volumes, giving you near studio quality sound. The exterior construction includes a mix of stainless steel, aluminum, leather, and fabric coverings.

These wireless headphones are perfect for use with smartphones or travel devices, and offer a high level of noise cancelling technology so you can listen to your favorite music on a bus, plane, or in a busy environment where background sound may leak in and ruin your music with other headphones.

The high resolution audio up to a maximum of 96kHz that these headphones can provide is expansive and well balanced. The bass is deep and can be felt as well as heard, while the highs are clear and clean with no shrill overtones.

What We Like

Extremely stylish look with rotating ear cups for easy storage

Excellent balance of sound with clear highs and deep lows

High resolution audio and high quality noise cancellation

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Offers 4.1 Bluetooth connection for smartphones

Powerful sound with no heavy distortion at high volumes

Lightweight over the ear style

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These planar magnetic headphones offer superb sound quality right out of the box with no break-in period needed.

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If you are looking for a magnetic planar over the ear headphone that can offer a powerful and well balanced sound right out of the box with no need for a break in period, look no further. Monolith has created these over-ear headphones to be ready to play your favorite music or vocals as soon as you get them home.

The unique diaphragm design offers a rich and vibrant audio experience you can’t find from other headphones. In fact, as soon as you put these headphones on, you’ll be hearing notes in your favorite music you never noticed before, hearing it just how the recording studio intended.

These over-ear headphones are excellent for audiophiles, casual listeners, and audio professionals alike. Being a closed back headphone, you won’t have to worry about background noise leaking in and drowning out your music.

What We Like

Stylish closed back design with real leather coverings

Excellent sound right out of the box with no break in

Amazing quality of sound with high levels of clarity

Know Before Buying

Over ear pads are leather for optimal comfort

Overall lightweight design uses aluminum

Made with a second generation magnetic driver

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High quality headphones that are perfect for professional audio monitoring tasks, live broadcasts, or other studio applications.

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These on-ear headphones are a great choice for DJs, audio professionals, sampling professionals, studio vocalists or musicians, or any other person that needs high definition audio for real-time monitoring. Audio Technica has put a lot of resources and research into these headphones to ensure they provide a high level of sound reproduction when its needed most.

Made with massive 45mm drivers, the ear cups are extremely well padded which makes them well suited for long hours of continuous wear. You’ll find copper coated voice coils for a better frequency response and overall audio balance making your highs crystal clear and your lows balanced with no noticeable distortion.

In addition to looking sleek and stylish, these on-ear headphones are also made to be highly comfortable whether you are wearing them for a short time or all day. The ear cups are padded with memory foam to conform to your ear without causing fatigue or strain, and the self adjusting support mechanism makes the headphones feel lightweight and comfortable overall.

What We Like

Memory foam ear cup padding for long hours of use

Made with massive 45mm drivers in each ear cup

Aluminum voice coils are copper coated

Know Before Buying

Made with high quality rare earth magnets

Sleek and sturdy design for in-studio use

Unique self-adjusting support mechanism for comfort

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Perfect headset for mixing, mastering, audio editing, and live studio monitoring for any professional or discerning listener.

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These high end noise cancelling headphones are a perfect choice for studio professionals in search of a reasonably priced studio monitor. Whether you are in the market for noise cancelling headphones that can deliver clear and precise sound for audio editing and mastering, or are searching for the best headphones that can cater to your discerning needs when it comes to playing music or singing, here they are.

Beyerdynamic has put an emphasis on making these headphones a great all-around high end choice for studio professionals, post production editors, broadcasters, streamers, audiophiles, casual listeners, and more. Not only are they made from high quality materials inside and out, but they are also made to be highly comfortable for extended wear so you can get your job done without feeling ear fatigue or pain.

These impressive studio headphones offer a closed back design with lightweight construction. The quality of sound is well balanced with a wide range of audio frequencies and sound reproduction helping with critical listening tasks. There will be very little ambient noise leaking in and ruining your sampling, which makes these one of the best headphones under $200 you can choose for studio work.

What We Like

Extremely accurate sound reproduction

Huge frequency range from 5Hz to 35kHz

Incredible 2 year warranty for studio use

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Soft velour ear cups add high levels of comfort

Lightweight and stylish design you can enjoy

Over the ear and closed back design

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Perfect headset for the gamer in the family, providing great sound performance and a high clarity microphone.

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If you love online gaming but need a headset that can not only deliver precision audio cues but also provide clear and detailed voice chat with an included microphone, look no further than the PC38X from Sennheiser.

Made with gaming in mind, these noise isolation headphones offer a high level of audio performance, crisp and clear highs, deep and distortion free lows, and excellent reproduction at high speeds when you need it most. If you’re listening for footsteps, distant signals, or need precise directional audio, these comfortable headphones can deliver that and more.

Designed to be lightweight and extremely comfortable, these headphones are from an award-winning brand which puts an emphasis on comfort. You can wear them for a short time or an extended gaming session and not suffer from ear pain or fatigue. The headset offers multiple adjustment points and high amounts of padding on the ear cups and headband to ensure you are pain-free throughout your game time.

What We Like

High quality audio isolation and noise reduction

Included microphone with noise cancelling technology

Compatible with a variety of devices including PC, PS4 and more

Know Before Buying

Provides 7.1 HD surround sound

Can reduce ambient noise for precision in-game audio

In-line controls for microphone volume and noise canceling

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How to Choose the Best Headphones Under $200

Battery Life

If you are searching for wired headphones, battery life will not be a concern for you and you can skip this section. Wired headphones will get all the power they need from the device they are connected to. This connection is usually via USB, 3.5mm jack, or 6mm.

Additionally, some headphones and microphone combinations will provide a split-end jack for the headphones and microphone separately. Regardless of the initial connection method, all wired headphones will receive power from the PC, stereo, or other audio devices they are connected to.

Wireless headphones will depend on a battery, and this battery life can be a huge concern for some users. If you plan on using your headphones on a daily basis, or for long periods of time, a good battery life is an important consideration before purchasing a headset.

Consider your needs, then compare the available headphones and the battery life they offer under normal and extended use. Some battery types will offer a longer overall battery life than others, such as lithium ion batteries. Each year, batteries get better and better with some being able to last more than 30 hours between charges, while others may need to be charged every 10-12 hours.

You can also find wireless headphones that can be charged at low battery life as they are being actively used, which is extremely useful for studio professionals and gamers. The last thing you want is to be in the middle of a game or long listening sessions only to find out your headphones are dying. Instead of ending your current task, you can just plug the headphones in to charge while still using them.

Carefree cheerful woman listening music on smartphone and wearing headphones in bed at home

Comfort Level

Comfort is a huge consideration when you plan on wearing your over-ear headphones for an extended period of time, or if they will be used on a daily basis. Over time, improperly sized headphones or headphones that are not well padded can cause headaches or ear and muscle fatigue on your head. This is due to the weight of the headphones, as well as the tightness of them around your head.

Padding options can include various types of foam, including memory foam. Dense and firm foam may be comfortable for short periods of time, but over a few hours or more they can become uncomfortable and cause ear fatigue. Look for foam or gel foam padding for your ear covers if you plan on wearing your headphones for long periods of time.

Additionally, the ear cup and headband covering can be important too. Leather is a sleek and stylish material, but can be overly warm for some wearers causing your ears to sweat. Over time, this excess sweat can build up moisture in and around your ear leading to itching and general discomfort. Look for breathable fabric or a sweat wicking material to prevent this issue.

Design Quality

Many manufacturers will have their own unique design aesthetic. This can be as simple as an ear cup size or shape, or could include certain accents such as titanium stripes or silver plated connectors. Design quality and build quality go hand in hand with headphones and the term can be interchangeable. Basically, both design and build quality can mean the external case, which is what we are covering in this section.

Regardless of what may be offered, design quality normally does not affect the overall audio quality. It is purely aesthetic and can be something you put a lot of thought into, or can mostly be ignored. If aesthetics are not important to you, design quality won’t be a concern when searching for a new pair of headphones.

Some headphones may be made from high end materials such as aluminum, titanium, and other more durable materials. Lower end plastic headphones can be found on the market quite often, but are not usually as durable. While these affordable headphones are a great entry level option for casual listeners, they usually cannot hold up to more serious music enthusiasts.

Sound Quality

Potentially the most important consideration when buying both open and closed back headphones, the overall audio quality is what you are looking for. Some brands have a better overall quality of sound than others, and this is due to the components used when making the headphones. Larger and more well known brands have access to better components which usually gives them a step ahead when it comes to the overall quality of the headphones they can produce.

However, even lesser known brands can produce great sounding headphones that offer an excellent quality of audio with high end passive noise isolation. And in fact, these lesser known brands may also be cheaper than the name brands simply because they are unknown in the industry, while still offering the same perks including comfort, battery life, noise cancelling technology, and overall audio quality.

When searching for high quality sound, don’t be afraid to compare the name brand claims to the lesser known brand claims in order to find the best headphones for your own personal needs. You may be able to find a headset that offers the same excellent sound quality and noise cancelling technology without the same high price tag.

Sound quality can be changed in a variety of ways, most commonly by the type of materials used in internal construction. Higher quality magnetics, certain metals used in voice coils, diaphragm shape and size, and more. Keep in mind that a higher price does not always equal a higher audio quality. It’s important to test the headphones if possible before you make your purchase.

Connection Options

Casual and studio headphones today have a variety of connection options, but the most common is USB. A USB connection is suitable for computers, consoles, laptops, tablets, some stereo systems, TVs, and many other devices.

Smartphones on the other hand will normally be connected via 3.5mm jack or Bluetooth syncing. Wireless headphones are your best option when connecting to a smartphone, though it’s not hard to find wired headphones with a 3.5mm jack. You can also find USB to 3.5mm jack adapters if that is your choice as well.

Connections options can have some effect on overall sound quality, but should not make or break a purchase. In general, USB is a very robust and great all-around connection to consider, but if your device does not accept USB, don’t be afraid to try out various jack sizes.

Wireless connections are normally very reliable, but if you do a lot of moving around your home or office, their reception can be blocked by other electronics, structures, or hindered by distance.

True audiophiles may prefer sticking to the old-school style of 6mm jacks to get the best and most secure connection, however most connections can produce great sound for all levels of listeners.

Extra Features

Headphones can have a number of extra features. These can include different styles of cable, different perks such as in-line or on-ear volume controls, noise cancelling technology, woven cables, and more.

Extra features are not normally something to consider if you are just looking for a good pair of headphones to play music. But if you are putting a focus on style or convenience, some extra features may be just what you want.

Different manufacturing brands can have different extra features, and different models of headphones within the same brands can differ as well. While the first generation of your favorite headphone had a woven audio cable, for example, the second generation from the same company may not.

Extra features can also include microphones. These can be in-line microphones, or boom style microphones. In some cases, the microphone quality can be one of the selling points of some headsets, especially for gaming purposes. If you are not a gamer, and don’t plan on using your headphones to make calls, a microphone is probably not important to you.

While most extra features will be for aesthetics or comfort, some can affect the overall sound reproduction quality of the headphones. For example, noise isolation can play a big role in you getting amazing sound from your headset, especially if you are listening to your music in a noisy environment.

Price Range

Headphones both wired and wireless can have a huge range of different prices, and their prices will depend on a wide range of factors. Most people may think that the higher the price is, the better the headphones are – but this is often not true.

Sometimes you will be paying for the name brand itself. You can find some completely average headphones carrying a certain celebrity brand name or company name which are twice the price of a non-branded headphone. In this case, you are paying for the brand name itself and not the best sounding headphones.

In other cases, you will be paying for the headphone quality and internal components itself. These great headphones may or may not come from a well known brand, so be sure to compare the quality and what they can offer before you make your purchase.

Frequently Asked Questions

How important is sound quality?

If you are looking for a new pair of headphones, sound quality is probably the most important consideration for you. If you are a casual listener, sound quality won’t be vital but will still be important. You want to hear and enjoy your music just as much as a studio professional would.

If you are a studio professional, audio mixer or sampler, DJ, or audiophile, sound quality will be quite a bit more important for you. You want to hear every note in clear and distortion-free quality. You will notice differences in highs and lows which casual listeners may miss.

For the more discerning listener, sound quality and frequency range or frequency response is an important consideration in headphones. Some of the best headphones under $200 may not be able to deliver the high definition sound you expect, while other headphones can be perfectly fine for the average listener or the entry-level audio sampler.

How do I choose a good headset for my needs?

The first step here is to determine exactly what your needs are. If you are a gamer that needs a high level of directional audio, look for headphones with a rapid frequency response and decent frequency range. These will let you know not only the direction a sound is coming from, but can alert you to it immediately.

Studio professionals or audio editors may not need the rapid response, but will need a wide frequency range to hear every note in crystal clarity. When editing or sampling music and vocals, you need a distinct separation of each and every note from the high sopranos to the deep bass.

Casual listeners will benefit from all of these things, but may not actually need them. In some cases, the extra features on high end headsets are unnecessary or misunderstood by casual listeners that simply want a good headset with good audio reproduction and comfortable ear pads to listen to internet radio stations, YouTube videos, or streaming music.

Are gaming headphones okay for casual listening?

Absolutely. A gaming headset is perfectly good for casual listening (see here for the best headphones for music and gaming). In fact, many gaming headsets can be great for more discerning listeners too. The only thing you may not need is a microphone. Most, but not all, gaming headphones have a microphone built into the headset itself or installed in the cord. The most commonly seen microphone on gaming headphones is usually a boom style which can be rotated up and out of the way.

If you don’t plan on doing any online vocals such as voice chat, Zoom meetings, recording your voice, etc, the built-in microphone may be an extra that causes more hassle than it is worth. However, as mentioned earlier, not all gaming headphones will have a built-in microphone. Many headsets sold for gaming are a headphone only, with no microphone of any kind.

What makes one headset more expensive than another?

In short, features and internal components. Headsets are made in a variety of different ways depending on the manufacturer and the model of headphone in question. While all headphones are basically the same when it comes to core components, the quality of those components can vary drastically.

Magnets for example are a necessary part of every headphone, but magnets used in headphones can come in a wide variety of different types. The better the magnet, the better the sound quality from the headphones.

However, better magnets can also increase the cost of the headset. Rare earth magnets and Neodymium magnets are the most commonly used in headsets and earbuds. They are very high quality magnets that are extremely long lasting, lightweight, and great for the purpose.

Companies such as Bose, Sony, and Sennheim all use high end neodymium magnets in most of their headphones and speakers. Slightly lesser known companies such as Beyerdynamic, Monolith, and Audio Technica may opt to use lower cost magnets.

While the range of sound lower cost magnets can produce is not as high quality as high end Neodymium magnets, it is a distinction that only very discerning listeners or those working in professional studios may be able to tell.

Conclusion

Most Lightweight Headphones Under $200
Best Sound Quality Headphones Under $200
Best Premium Headphones Under $200

While all of the headphones on this list can make an outstanding new pair for most people that enjoy music, we have decided to place the Monolith M565C Over Ear Planar Magnetic Headphones at the top of our recommendation list. Compared to the other headphones we took a closer look at, the Monolith headphones offer the best combination of high end audio, comfort, style, and an affordable price.

You’ll love the high quality noise cancellation, long term comfort from the foam ear pads, and the sleek and stylish exterior construction. Additionally, the leather ear pads can keep your ear and head temperature well balanced to reduce the amount of sweat and discomfort that can come from long hours of wearing headphones.