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Best headphones under $200

$200 can be an investment in a good pair of cans.
By
December 28, 2022
Best Sound
Monoprice Monolith M565
By Monoprice
8.9
Check price
Positives
Sound quality
Good value
Solid construction
Negatives
Not good for long listening sessions
Sound leakage
The Bottom Line.
If you want to dip your toe into the world of high-end audio without spending too much, these are a great way to get your feet wet. Read full review...
Best studio style
Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee
By Sennheiser
The Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee against a white backdrop.
7.5
Check price
Positives
Good neutral sound
Fairly comfortable
Doesn't need a headphone amp
Open backs
Swappable ear cushions
Negatives
Will leak sound because it's open backed
Not for bassheads
The Bottom Line.
The Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee punches above its price tag with a great studio style sound and a reasonably comfortable fit.Read full review...
Best Value
AKG K371
By AKG
A product image of the AKG K371 headphones in black on a white background.
8
Check price
Positives
Versatile
Durable
Lightweight
Sound quality
Negatives
Fair isolation
Poor fit can cause issues
The Bottom Line.
AKG nails it with the K371 wired headphones; these tick all the important boxes when it comes to comfort, sound quality, functionality, and portability. Read full review...
Best noise cancelling
House of Marley Positive Vibration XL ANC
By House of Marley
Product shot of the House of Marley Positive Vibration XL ANC.
7.4
Check price
Positives
Bluetooth 5.0, aptX Low Latency, AAC, SBC
Great ANC for price
Battery life
Negatives
No app
Tight fit
Sound isn't perfect
The Bottom Line.
For the price the Positive Vibration XL ANC provides impressive noise attenuation, and it's silly simple to use. For bass heads it has an extra boost of low end, but not so much that it ruins the audio.Read full review...
Best comfort
Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO
By Beyerdynamic
The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro headphones.
8.4
Check price
Positives
Neutral sound signature
Extremely comfortable
Solid value
Negatives
Questionable build
250ohm or 80ohm only
The Bottom Line.
At under $200, the Beyerdynamic DT PRO is well on its way to becoming a classic. For pretty accurate and comfortable listening, it's a great choice. Read full review...

Okay, so you’re in the market for a solid pair of headphones, but don’t want to spend your grocery allowance for the month. Fortunately, there are plenty of sub-$200 cans out there. Initially, the investment may be difficult to justify, but it will keep you satisfied for years to come. Rather than sending you off on a wild goose chase, we’ve saved you from the grunt work and put together a list of the best headphones under $200.

Editor’s note: this list was updated December 28, 2022, to include the Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee and the House of Marley Positive Vibration XL ANC in the Best list, to highlight the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2, to add the Anker Soundcore Space Q45 and Sennheiser HD 599 to Notable mentions, and to update formatting.

For the best sound, listen with the Monoprice Monolith M565

The Monoprice Monolith M565 is a great pair of planar magnetic headphones. As a disclaimer, this isn’t the best sounding headset under $200 because it has the most neutral frequency response; it doesn’t. Rather, it’s the best because it transitions listeners from the world of consumer audio to hi-fi audio. Some may balk at the emphasized bass, but the Monoprice Monolith casts a wide net, pleasing a majority of listeners.

Monoprice Monolith M565
Monoprice Monolith M565
8.9
A photo of the Monoprice Monolith M565's band.A photo of the 3.5mm connection and the 2.5mm connections of the Monoprice Monolith M565A photo of the Monoprice Monolith M565 on a glass dummy head, illuminated by colored LED light.A photo of the Monoprice Monolith M565 on a mahogany desk.The sizes of the Monoprice Monolith M1060 and the Monoprice Monolith M565.
Monoprice Monolith M565
Monoprice Monolith M565
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See review

The planar magnetic drivers make each bass note easy to hear, without resulting in masked midrange frequencies, unless the volume is cranked up all the way. What’s more, the open-back design more accurately emulates how we perceive sound in the real world. Black metal grills and wood-finished ear cups give the Monolith M565 a premium look and feel, but this design comes at the expense of isolation. For listeners looking to get the most out of these headphones, stick to quiet, indoor environments.

It is worth noting that Monoprice also sells a closed-back variant of these headphones: the Monolith M565C. While the closed-back can help block out ambient noise when mixing, it will also narrow down your stereo image, which sound engineering purists will abhor. That being said, closed-back headphones are best suited for recording and tracking, rather than for mixing and mastering.

Monoprice Monolith M565Monoprice Monolith M565
Monoprice Monolith M565
Sound quality • Price • Build quality
A set of affordable planar magnetic headphones for consumers take the stage.
The Monoprice Monolith M565 planar magnetic headphones are a great "starter set" to get into the world of higher-end audio. Enthusiasts may not like the bass over-emphasis, but consumers will appreciate the sound quite well.
$19.99 at Amazon
Save $30.00

Editor’s note: the price of the Monoprice Monolith M565 has seen price fluctuations, occasionally going above the $200 limit, however it is frequently under $200.

Listen accurately with the Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee

Sennheiser has built a well deserved reputation on manufacturing good quality headphones, and Massdrop (these days known as Drop) has done a few collaborations with Sennheiser (and others like Audio-Technica) over the years, supplying good value for the quality served. The Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee poses as no exception. The open back headphones are best suited to at home listening, or in post production at the studio use. For the price these cans undercut quite a lot of competition. Its build quality feels pretty good, and the light weight, albeit mainly plastic frame, makes hours long listening easy.

Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee
Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee
7.5
Pictured is the Sennheiser HD 58X laying on a desk.Pictured is the OFC cable of the Sennheiser HD 58X.Close-up of the padding of the Sennheiser headphones.Close up of the Massdrop logoShot of Adam wearing the Sennheiser HD 58XA chart depicts the Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee frequency response compared to the SoundGuys Studio Curve V2.A chart depicts the purposefully poor isolation of the Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee open-back headphones.
Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee
Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee
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See review

It doesn’t require a headphone amp, and the frequency response is fairly accurate, especially when considering it’s coming in under budget by a few bucks. The sound is by no means hyped, with a mostly flat bass frequency response and some under-emphasis above 4kHz, however, it sounds largely representative of what you’re listening to. For a simple set of good sounding headphones in quiet spaces the HD 58X Jubilee is our studio style sound pick.

The AKG K371 sounds great at any price

The AKG K371 features a modern design with an accurate frequency response that bodes well for studio use. Harman’s tuning follows the contours of our house curve, and if you want a headset that can make nearly any genre of music sound good, the AKG K371 one is for you.

AKG K371
AKG K371
8
A picture of the AKG K371 wired over-ear headphones with the AKG headband in focus.The AKG K371 wired over-ear headphones on an iron bedrame lit by blue and orange lights.A picture of the AKG K371 wired over-ear headphones on a nightstand in front of boxing gloves.The AKG K371 wired over-ear headphones' ear cup rotated back 45 degrees while being worn by a woman in profile.
AKG K371

This modest headset doesn’t rely on gimmicks to sell, rather it has a few useful features like ear cups that rotate upwards, so you can hear your surroundings and mini-XLR input on the left ear cup. AKG provides three cables for you to choose from depending on your intended use.

The K371 costs well under $150 today, which makes it a great pick for listeners interested in a high-quality, portable headset. We awarded these headphones over the Sony MDR-7506 because of their more comfortable design and detachable cable, which extends the life of the K371 over the MDR-7506.

AKG K371AKG K371
AKG K371
Excellent sound • Replaceable parts • Great sound
One of the best wired headphones on the market
The AKG K371 is one of the best over-ear headphones combining sound quality, comfort, functionality, and portability. The ear pads are rotatable and replaceable.

Get noise cancelling for under $200 with the House of Marley Positive Vibration XL ANC

As active noise cancelling (ANC) tech gets better, it also becomes more accessible. At under $200 the House of Marley Positive Vibration XL ANC supplies an impressive amount of noise filtering through a combination of effective isolation of high frequency noise, and ANC filtering a lot of low end noise. That House of Marley also focuses on eco friendly initiatives through materials choices (recyclable and reused materials) and tree planting is an added bonus.

House of Marley Positive Vibration XL ANC
House of Marley Positive Vibration XL ANC
7.4
House of Marley Positive Vibration XL ANC shown from underneath to display all the buttons and connections.House of Marley Positive Vibration XL ANC folded up on a bed of grass with purple flowers.A smiling man faces left holding a phone up for a video call wearing the House of Marley Positive Vibration XL ANC.House of Marley Positive Vibration XL ANC held by a hand squeezing the memory foam.House of Marley Positive Vibration XL ANC leans against a tree on grass with purple flowers.Chart shows House of Marley Positive Vibration XL ANC Bluetooth frequency response compared to our target curve.Charts shows the noise cancelling performance of the House of Marley Positive Vibration XL ANC.
House of Marley Positive Vibration XL ANC
House of Marley Positive Vibration XL ANC
Buy now
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See review

You don’t get any app support, but all the controls you need are found on the easy to use buttons on the aluminum housing. Its battery lasts 25 hours and 12 minutes with ANC on, or around 32 hours without. If you get caught with a dead battery, you can plug in the included 3.5mm cable and use the headphone jack. The Bluetooth 5.0 equipped headset uses the pretty standard suite of AAC and SBC codecs.

House of Marley Positive Vibration XL ANCHouse of Marley Positive Vibration XL ANC
House of Marley Positive Vibration XL ANC
High bass • Excellent ANC • Good microphone
Stay green with active noise cancelling.
Go wireless or wired with the Positive Vibration XL ANC, with surprisingly decent noise cancelling for the price. With a sound that prioritizes low end, bass fans can rejoice. The mic rates as pretty decent too. Some people will find the fit is not as comfortable as it ought to be.

Pick up the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO for a comfortable headset

Okay, they’re not actually a pillow, but these are the most comfortable headphones under $200. As if that isn’t convincing enough, the DT 990 PRO is beloved by enthusiasts and producers, alike. Concerning low-end reproduction, the DT 990 PRO keeps it clean without entering eardrum-shaking territory. Some may consider the bass to be lacking, but it benefits audio engineers when it comes to hearing and remedying overemphasized vocals and sibilant treble reproduction.

Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO
Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO
8.4
Best headphones under $200:A photo of the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO on a headphone standBest headphones under $200: A photo of the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO and its silver velour ear pads.The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro being worn by Adam Molina.
Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO
Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO
Buy now
See review
See review

Keeping the headphones comfortable is an (almost) entirely plastic build and velour-wrapped, memory foam ear pads. Adding to the comfort is the coiled cable (1m) that allows for travel within a studio space without having to do the constant on-again, off-again headphone tango. Of course, all this plastic compromises durability. They aren’t going to be able to take being shoved into a bag like the V-MODA XS, and the steel-reinforced headband is flimsier than others. Also, remember that cable? It’s not removable if it breaks you’re out of luck.

All that said, the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO isn’t a set of travel cans, and Beyerdynamic doesn’t advertise them as military-grade anything. Instead, these are for long listening and editing sessions, which they excel at, making them some of the best headphones under $200.

Do you want a bit of everything? Try the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2

If you can’t decide what you want, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 doesn’t make you choose. For the person who wants Bluetooth and a headphone jack, and the person who wants consumer friendly sound and studio style tuning, the ATH-M50xBT2 does it all, basically. It’s comfortable, foldable, and capable. The only reason not to try it is if you want ANC, if which case you’re out of luck there. Otherwise, the battery lasts an epic 64 hours and 51 minutes. It also uses LDAC which is nice for Android users and AAC for Apple. Heck, you can even comes in fun colors sometimes.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2
Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2
High-quality sound • Fast pairing • Long-life battery
An excellent-sounding and straightforward headset.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 headset offers excellent sound and the long battery life with an optional headphone jack promotes an uncomplicated music experience.

Best headphones under $200: Notable mentions

A view of the Anker Soundcore Space Q45 sitting on a wooden tabletop.
The Anker Soundcore Space Q45 works better than some of the competition at the same price.
  • Anker Soundcore Life Q35: While they may not look or feel as premium as others on this list, the Life Q35 is nearly unmatched when it comes to features and customization, it sells for $109.99 at Amazon.
  • Anker Soundcore Space Q45: For the price (at $149.99 at Amazon) it’s hard to find a more kitted out option than the Anker series. The noise cancelling is decently good and the sound quality is a little unusual, but not bad.
  • Audio-Technica ATH-M40x: These are the unsung hero of the budget studio category, and the M40x frequently pops up as a best list choice because it combines value and function at the price of $119 at Amazon. The design isn’t going to garner any compliments, but if you put function before form, you’ll want to pick these up.
  • Beats Solo Pro: These on-ear headphones feature decent ANC and the Beats-typical bass-heavy, but otherwise well-balanced, sound profile. The H1 chip gives Apple users hands-free access to Siri. You will have to pony up the Beats tax of $274.99 at Amazon.
  • Beyerdynamic DT 770: A well-constructed pair of cans that cater to the casual listener (for $134.99 at Amazon), or a studio musician looking for an inexpensive set of mixing headphones.
  • Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro: For $184 at Amazon, these semi-closed-back studio headphones prevent sound leakage similar to closed-back headphones, whilst retaining the wide stereo image commonly found on open-back cans. These qualities make the DT 880 Pro ideal for music professionals who need a workhorse pair of studio headphones.
  • Jabra Elite 45h: The Jabra Elite 45h are great on-ear headphones for casual listeners who prioritize compactness and microphone quality above everything else. Despite some sound quality drawbacks, these are some of the best on-ear headphones for the low price of $87.4 at Amazon.
  • Sennheiser HD 280 Pro: Coming in well under budget at $79.95 at Amazon, these over-ear studio cans are great for mixing music and listening in high quality.
  • Sennheiser HD 450BT: These cans are reasonably priced, for $91 at Amazon, featuring decent active noise cancelling, good sound quality, and a portable design. Audiophiles will appreciate the aptX Low Latency and AAC codecs.
  • Sennheiser HD 599: For the person who wants super comfortable headphones with a long cable for hanging out at home, the HD 599 has a lightweight, open back design, and more bass than you’d expect. You can’t really take it on your commute, but for $115 at Amazon it’s nice at home.
  • Sony MDR-7506: This is another great pair of studio cans; the MDR-7506 are arguably one of the most prolific pairs of mixing cans to rest on the heads of audio engineers everywhere. It’s no frills, but you can repair it which is nice. Get a pair for $79 at Sweetwater.
  • Sony WH-CH710N: These aren’t as comfortable as some of the newer, premium Sony headsets, nor do the ear cups rotate up (only flat), but the microphone is great for telecommuters. Get a pair for $149.99 at Amazon.
  • V-MODA XS: If you don’t take great care of your headphones, then you’ll want something as tough. Military-grade construction and replaceable parts should make them last a long time after its excellent 2-year warranty expires. Pick up a pair for $139.99 at Amazon.

What you should know about the best headphones under $200

A $200 budget has a lot of purchase power within the consumer audio market because it gives you enough financial flexibility to choose a specialized headset, or prioritize sound quality. For those who prioritize sound quality, it’s important to take into account that a neutral-leaning, or “flat,” frequency response will provide the most versatile sound profile across a variety of musical genres.

A photo of the Bluetooth toggle on the Android dropdown menu.
The main reason to un-toggle Bluetooth is battery savings, not safety.

If you intend to buy Bluetooth headphones, you should pay attention to Bluetooth codecs for high-quality streaming and reduced lag. Android smartphones work reliably well with the aptX codec, though it supports AAC too, the performance is highly variable across devices. iPhone owners are left with the choice of AAC or SBC (universal on all Bluetooth audio devices), and can’t even reap the benefits of aptX streaming. Note: Bluetooth headphones don’t support lossless audio playback; for that, you need a set of wired headphones.

Who should buy $200 headphones?

A woman wears the Mobvoi Earbuds Gesture true wireless earbuds in profile to illustrate the stemmed design.
Whether you already own earbuds or a set of hi-fi headphones, $200 is a great budget for a solid pair of wired or wireless headphones.

Anyone who’s interested in upgrading their current headphones without having it cost an arm and a leg. The headphones that appear are all the valedictorians of their classes. If you find yourself thinking that you want to further explore and experience what the audio world has to offer, any of these will be an excellent starting point depending on your needs. You should check out some of our hot tips as well.

What’s cool about this variety of headphones is that they represent the next significant step into learning what you favor in a product. From soundstage, active noise cancelling, comfort, or whatever else, investing in headphones under $200 weeds out generalities that accompany lower-caliber products.

How we picked the best headphones under $200

Although we’ve directly reviewed a vast array of products here at SoundGuys, we haven’t gotten around to all of them. After all, we’re only human and are inherently subjective. To counteract our unavoidable bias, we do quite a bit of research by perusing online forums, reading other reviews, conducting our own Twitter polls, and more.

Unlike some of our more niche best lists, we’re able to draw upon the full experiences of our entire staff—including some who have moved on—for input in populating our list of candidates. This list isn’t simply what one of us likes, it’s an accurate representation of our experiences as an entire staff. This is a very crowded segment of headphones, with countless models that are really, really good. However, this is what we feel is the best when you consider the diverse needs of many listeners.

In short, this list is the running conclusions of thousands of hours of use from a growing list of contributors over many years. This is a living document, and it’s updated every time a new model knocks an existing one off its pedestal.

Why you should trust SoundGuys

A picture of a man rotating the noise cancelling ring on the Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 in front of trees
We give each headset that comes our way a listen in the real world and test it in the lab.

Not only is this site our nine-to-five, but each of us has multiple years of reviewing consumer audio products. We’ve kept tabs on the ever-changing world of audio, giving us the ability to parse apart the gimmicks from the gems.

We want you to be happy with your purchasenone of our writers see a dime from partnership deals or referral purchases—and nobody here is allowed to benefit from steering you towards one product or another. While this site does make money from referrals, the individual writers are paid based on their work, regardless of whether or not people clicked that “buy” icon. They will never even know if anyone did, though the site going under might be a good hint.

Frequently Asked Questions

Some people prefer to workout with over-ear headphones because of its improved isolation over a pair of earbuds. For intense training sessions, however, you’d be better served by IP-rated workout earbuds guaranteed to last. Although if you’re adamant about working out with over-ears, there are a variety of headphones that are perfect for the gym.