Headphones under $200 usually offer great value for the money. They are recommended if you don’t want to spend too much on headphones, but at the same time, you prefer not to enter the budget category, where many products have questionable build qualities and mediocre performances. But there are dozens of options under $200, with different types of headphones to choose from.
If you are shopping for the best headphones under $200, this product guide is for you. In this guide, you’ll find the best options among the various types of headphones – including truly wireless headphones, open-back headphones, noise-canceling headphones, and studio headphones – found in this price range.
The Best Headphones Under $200
The Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 are some of the most versatile headphones under $200. They are good for office use, commuting, and traveling, with their active noise cancellation (ANC) making them better at blocking out background noise than regular closed-back headphones. They are well-designed wireless headphones boasting good overall performance and solid build quality.
A pair of over-ear headphones, the BackBeat Pro 2 are nice-looking headphones featuring a metal-reinforced headband and oval ear cups with soft cushions. Their plastic-and-metal construction feels sturdy and durable. Although they are quite bulky, they are lightweight and comfortable to wear for long hours due to their well-padded and breathable ear cups. They stay securely on the head but never feel too tight, further adding to their comfort level.
On the other hand, they are not as portable as other ANC headphones like the Sony WH-1000XM3 and the popular Beats Studio3. They don’t fold into a more compact form, taking up more space when stored in a bag. Their ear cups rotate to a flat position, though, which helps when packing them for travel and makes them less cumbersome when worn around your neck. A soft carry pouch is included for storage, which is quite disappointing since there are cheaper headphones that include a hard case.
The on-cup controls are excellent. They are remarkably efficient and easy to use, with good spacing and feedback. With the on-cup controls, you can adjust the volume, manage your calls and music, and switch between ANC and talk-through modes. When the talk-through mode is enabled, you can monitor your surroundings without removing your headphones, which is convenient.
With their deep and powerful bass, the BackBeat Pro 2 are especially exciting to use for most mainstream music genres and will be suitable for fans of bass-heavy music. Their sonic performance is good overall, with an accurate mid-range, a balanced treble, and a decent soundstage for closed-back headphones. However, you can’t modify the sound using the companion app, which has very limited customization options.
Capable of pairing with up to two devices at the same time, the BackBeat Pro 2 have a great wireless range and can be used passively with the included audio cable. They can run up to 24 hours per charge in wireless mode with ANC enabled, allowing them to last through particularly long flights and road trips on just a single charge. They also include convenient power-saving features like auto-pause, which is triggered when you remove the headphones from your head.
For blocking out chatter and noises in the treble range, the BackBeat Pro 2 are good noise-canceling headphones, making them ideal for listening to music in the office and at the airport. But when it comes to reducing the sound of airplane engines, they are rather pedestrian. Their overall noise isolation performance is decent, but there are better-isolating headphones in this price range. On the bright side, their sound leakage is low, allowing you to turn the music volume up to help with reducing background noise in particularly crowded or loud places.
Overall, the BackBeat Pro 2 make a strong case for the best all-around headphones under $200. They are good-sounding headphones with an excellent control scheme and battery life, a comfortable over-ear fit, and decent noise isolation performance. While they are not the most portable, they are good for most usages and can be used either wirelessly or wired, further adding to their versatility.
There are plenty of truly wireless headphones that can be bought for $200 or less, but the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ stand out as the best of the bunch. They are all-around headphones that are suitable for everyday use, with their improved battery life and mic performance making them some of the most complete truly wireless earphones on the market. And the best part is that they are only $20 more expensive than their predecessor, similarly offering good value for the money.
The Galaxy Buds+ look identical to the original model, retaining the same sleek, compact design that makes them less noticeable in your ears. They are available in different colors and feel like premium in-ear headphones due to their build quality. Compared to many other earphones, they are more comfortable to wear for long hours since their ear tips don’t enter your ear canals too deeply. There are three pairs of ear tips included in the box, allowing you to choose the best fit for your ears.
With their extremely breathable form factor and lightweight earpieces, the Galaxy Buds+ are good for sports use. They stay securely in your ears even during intense workouts, with their small fins making for a more stable fit. Their IPX2 rating is not as good as the IP rating of other sports earphones, though, which means their sweat protection is not as strong. As with the ear tips, there are three pairs of fins in the box.
Like other truly wireless headphones, the Galaxy Buds+ are very portable and easy to carry from place to place. They are extremely compact and will easily fit into most pockets. They come with a sturdy case that also serves as their charging dock. The case is similarly compact and lightweight, and it holds an extra battery charge and supports wireless charging, which is a big plus for some people.
For controls, the Galaxy Buds+ have a touch-sensitive surface on each earpiece. You can use them for call and music management and volume control, with the option to customize some gestures using the companion app. But while the control scheme is responsive and easy to use, the touch surfaces are prone to accidental presses, which can be annoying sometimes.
Many truly wireless headphones are only decent at best regarding sound quality, with only a select few products that can truly boast a good audio reproduction. The Galaxy Buds+ belong in the latter category. In fact, they are some of the best-sounding truly wireless headphones out on the market, with a remarkably neutral sound profile that will even impress some audiophiles. They sound balanced overall and are suitable for most music genres.
You can modify the sound using the companion app, which offers a few presets, but there is no actual equalizer for manual customization. If you find the bass response too flat and want a more exciting sound for genres like hip hop, you get a bass boost option among the presets. Aside from music, the Galaxy Buds+ are also good for listening to audiobooks, podcasts, and other media.
Regarding mic performance, the Galaxy Buds+ are better than most truly wireless headphones, which usually have a mediocre integrated mic. Their noise reduction is surprisingly good, allowing for better calls in moderately noisy places. They are also better than most of the competition in terms of battery life, with their impressive 11-hour battery per charge being one of the best marks among truly wireless headphones. And with the charging case, you get a total battery life of 22 hours, but there is only one additional charge.
The Galaxy Buds+ provide decent passive noise isolation. They are especially effective against chatter and noise like the sound of air conditioning units, making them suitable for blocking out ambient noise in the office. On the other hand, they are not very effective against the sound of airplane engines, which will disappoint frequent travelers. But on the bright side, their sound leakage is minimal, allowing you to increase the volume to further reduce background noise without disturbing nearby people with your loud music.
If you like wireless headphones but prefer them in a much more compact and portable truly wireless format, the Galaxy Buds+ are the best option right now. They are well-built headphones that sound better than most truly wireless headphones regardless of the price range and boast an impressive battery life per charge. They are all-around headphones that are good for office use, commuting, sports, and simply listening to music at home.
Selling for around $150, the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro are the best option if you prefer regular wired closed-back headphones. They are primarily designed for professional studio use, but they are also good headphones for gaming, watching movies, and listening to music at home. In a studio setting, they are suitable for recording tracks and for bass reference. They are some of the most popular closed-back headphones on the market and offer great value for the money.
Like the open-back DT 990 Pro and the semi-open DT 880 Pro, the DT 770 Pro are more utilitarian than stylish regarding aesthetics. They are some of the best-built over-ear headphones under $200, featuring a padded metal headband and large ear cups with velour-coated earpads. While they are bulky and feel tight on the head, they are comfortable. Their earpads are thick, soft, and spacious, helping mitigate their tight clamp. The default audio cable is non-detachable and terminates in a mini-plug, with a 6.3 mm plug adapter also provided, along with a soft pouch for the headphones.
The DT 770 Pro are some of the best-sounding closed-back headphones under $200 and are often recommended as entry-level headphones for audiophiles. Their bass and mid-range are excellent, with both being wonderfully clear and detailed, while their treble is good. Their soundstage is also decent for closed-back headphones. Whether you are listening to music, watching movies, or gaming, their great audio reproduction is going to be a delight.
However, they are best used at home or in a quiet room, as their passive noise isolation is not enough for blocking out ambient noise in very crowded or noisy places. They are decent against the sound of background chatter and high-pitched sounds, which is good enough for home and studio use. They also don’t leak too much at moderate volume levels – an especially beneficial attribute when recording tracks in the studio.
Considering they are decent at blocking out ambient chatter and don’t leak too much, the DT 770 Pro are also decent headphones for listening to music in the office. But their bulky design and non-folding ear cups make them more difficult to carry. Their long, non-detachable cable also can be annoying to manage, with wireless connectivity being more convenient. Still, if none of these issues is a big deal for you, they are decent headphones for office use, with their comfortable fit making them suitable for long continuous use.
Although they are not as versatile as the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2, the DT 770 Pro are a great pair of closed-back headphones. Their sound quality is great while their build quality is even better than some headphones selling for a much higher price. They are comfortable to wear for long hours and provide enough noise isolation when used at home or in the studio. Whether you are a professional or a budding audiophile, this Beyerdynamic product is one of the best closed-back headphones that you can get for $200 or less.
If you prefer open-back headphones because of their more natural sound, the Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee are the best option under $200. A Massdrop-exclusive, they are dynamic headphones that sound great and are recommended for audiophiles and headphone enthusiasts. They sound more neutral and have a wider soundstage than the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro – the open-back counterpart of the DT 770 Pro – which sell for about the same price.
The HD 58X Jubilee are large over-ear headphones that are lightweight and well-padded. While their glossy headband might suggest otherwise, their build quality is good. Their padded headband is sturdy and flexible while their ear cups feature durable metal grilles. Their thick earpads are covered with soft velour material that feels more luxurious than synthetic leather.
Like other open-back headphones, the HD 58X Jubilee have more breathable ear cups, but their overall comfort level is only decent at best. While their headband and ear cups are both generously padded, they have a very tight clamp that feels uncomfortable for long listening sessions, most especially if you have a large head. Even with the earpads helping mitigate the tight fit, these Sennheiser headphones are still tighter than most headphones.
Ending in a 3.5 mm analog plug, the default audio cable is easily detachable and replaceable, adding to the longevity of the headphones. It’s around six feet long and connects to both ear cups. A gold-plated 6.3 mm plug adapter is also included in the box. As with other audiophile headphones, the default cable lacks an in-line remote for music management and volume control.
What sets the HD 58X Jubilee apart from other similarly priced headphones is their excellent sound quality. They are some of the best-sounding open-back headphones under $200, with an accurate and balanced mid-range and a wide soundstage. Their treble and bass are both good while their imaging is outstanding. They are suitable for most music genres and are also good headphones for gaming, but they are best used at home or in a quiet room.
The reason for that is their poor noise isolation. Being open-back headphones, the HD 58X Jubilee are terrible at blocking out background noise. This makes them unsuitable for listening to music and other forms of media while in a noisy or crowded environment. Their sound leakage is also very high even at moderate volume levels, which means you’ll disturb nearby people with your loud music, making them a poor choice for office use.
On the whole, the HD 58X Jubilee stand out as the best open-back headphones under $200. Their build quality is good despite their plastic parts while their audio reproduction is superb. They are relatively easy to drive and are recommended entry-level open headphones for both audiophiles and headphone enthusiasts who are interested in modding headphones. Although they are not as versatile as closed headphones due to their poor noise isolation, they are fantastic for listening to music at home.
Among the closed-back headphones under $200, the Bose QuietComfort 25 are the best at blocking out background noise. Like the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2, they are noise-canceling headphones, but their overall noise isolation performance with ANC is significantly better. While their wired connection can be inconvenient sometimes, they are great headphones for listening to music indoors and outdoors.
The QuietComfort 25 are over-ear headphones with closed-back ear cups and a padded headband. Their understated aesthetic is similar to that of the QuietComfort 35 II, making for a more discreet profile that many will prefer when using them outdoors. Their build quality is good, but they are mostly made of plastic. They fold into a more compact format and their ear cups can rotate to a flat position, making them more portable and easier to pack for travel than most over-ear headphones.
In addition to the headphones and audio cable, you get an airplane adapter, a hard case, and an AAA battery in the box. Both the airplane adapter and the hard case are especially useful for frequent travelers. The audio cable is detachable, includes an in-line mic and remote, and terminates in a 3.5 mm analog plug for universal compatibility with most mobile devices.
For long flights and commutes, the QuietComfort 25 are very comfortable to wear, with their spacious ear cups capable of accommodating most ear sizes. They are lightweight and decently breathable for a sealed design. Their earpads are soft while their headband is flexible and doesn’t feel too tight on the head, which makes the headphones less fatiguing to wear for long hours.
The QuietComfort 25 are some of the better-sounding noise-canceling headphones, with a tight and clear bass response and a detailed mid-range. Their audio reproduction should be good enough for most non-audiophiles, especially those who mostly listen to hip hop and other mainstream genres. Their mic also has good recording quality, but its noise reduction is rather mediocre.
Whether you are traveling by bus, train, or airplane, you can count on the QuietComfort 25 to reduce a significant amount of ambient noise. They are some of the best at noise cancellation regardless of the price range. They are good at blocking out the sound of airplane engines and are very effective against background chatter in busy offices and public places. But on the other hand, their sound leakage is a bit high even at moderate volume, which can be undesirable in some situations.
For their ANC feature, the QuietComfort 25 use a single AAA battery. The easily accessible battery compartment is in the right ear cup. You can get up to 35 hours of playback on a single AAA battery, which is more than good enough even for very long flights. Even with the battery fully consumed, you can still use the headphones passively, which can’t be said for some battery-powered headphones.
All in all, the QuietComfort 25 are the best ANC headphones under $200, with their impressive noise cancellation easily making them stand out. They are very comfortable to wear for long hours and are quite portable for over-ear headphones due to their folding design and travel case. You can use them for listening to music in the office and while commuting and traveling.
If you prefer noise-canceling headphones in a more portable format, consider the Amazon Echo Buds, which sell for around $130. They are truly wireless earphones, making them much more portable than the Bose headphones. With their ANC feature and tight in-ear seal, they provide better noise isolation than most other truly wireless earphones under $200.
The Echo Buds are well-designed earphones with sleek earpieces that allow for a more discreet look, especially with their black color scheme. Their plastic build is good and feels sturdy, with their IPX4 rating meaning they are protected against sweat. They are lightweight and extremely breathable and are comfortable to wear, but not as much as the Samsung Galaxy Buds+. You can easily carry them from place to place due to their highly compact design. While bulkier than most, the included charging case is also compact, with a secure lid to keep the earphones in place while charging.
With their small stability fins, the Echo Buds stay securely in your ears. This makes them suitable for running, especially considering their truly wireless format and solid sweat protection. There are three sizes of stability fins included in the box, along with three pairs of ear tips, allowing you to get a more personalized fit. If you don’t like the silicone ear tips, you can buy a separate set of Comply memory foam ear tips.
Managing your calls and music on the Echo Buds is easy. They have a touch surface on each earpiece, similar to the Galaxy Buds+. The touch surfaces are responsive and easy to get used to and can be customized on the companion app. You can also use the touch controls to activate your voice assistant and enable or disable the ANC depending on your current environment. Additionally, the earphones have auto-pause, with the audio automatically pausing when you remove them from your ears.
Out of the box, the Echo Buds have decent sound quality. They sound fairly balanced, with a good bass response and an excellent mid-range. Their audio reproduction should satisfy most users. If you don’t like the default sound, you can slightly modify it using the equalizer on the app, which is compatible with both Android and iOS devices.
The Echo Buds are great at blocking out background noise, making them ideal headphones for office use, traveling, and commuting. You can count on them to effectively block out background chatter, the sound of airplane engines, and noises in the treble range. Even without ANC, their passive noise isolation is still solid due to their tight in-ear seal. Furthermore, their sound leakage is minimal even with the volume turned all the way up, allowing you to listen to music at high volume without disturbing nearby people.
Like most other truly wireless headphones, the Echo Buds have a short battery life per charge. On a single charge, they can only run up to five hours. But with the additional charges in the charging case, you get up to 20 hours of total battery life, which is good. You can’t use them in wired mode once the battery is depleted, though, as the earphones lack an audio cable. On the bright side, they have a quick-charge feature, providing up to two hours of playback after just 15 minutes of charging time.
Overall, the Echo Buds are the best noise-canceling earphones under $200, handily beating out the competition in noise isolation performance. They are versatile earphones that are suitable for sports, travel, commutes, and office use. Their build quality and app support are good while their sound quality and touch-based control scheme are decent. With their very compact design and truly wireless format, they are less cumbersome to carry for everyday use than the Bose QuietComfort 25.
For all-around sports use, the Jaybird Tarah Pro are the best headphones under $200. They are wireless in-ear headphones with a behind-the-neck cable, which means they are not completely wireless like the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ and the Amazon Echo Buds. Suitable for both light exercises and rigorous training indoors and outdoors, they are recommended for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
Available in different colors, the Tarah Pro are some of the best-built sports earphones, featuring sturdy earpieces, a durable braided cable, and an IPX7 rating for water resistance. They have a typical in-ear fit that some might find awkward at first. They are compact, lightweight, and breathable and include stability fins integrated into the ear tips for a more secure fit. There are three different sizes of ear tips in the box.
The Tarah Pro stay securely in your ears even during intense workouts, with their integrated fins being a big part of their stability. You can wear them either over or under your ears because of their rotating design. There is a small clip in the cable that allows you to easily tighten or loosen the cable depending on your workout. A shirt clip is also provided for additional stability and security. If you need to take a break, you can simply snap the magnetic earpieces together for easy cable management and to trigger the power-saving feature.
While they are not as extremely portable as truly wireless earphones, the Tarah Pro are still much more portable than both over-ear and on-ear headphones. They will easily fit into most pockets and are less prone to cable tangling due to their short cable, which can’t be said for wired earphones. A travel pouch is also provided for storage and for protecting the earphones from scratches and minor water spills.
Like other earphones with a behind-the-neck cable, the controls of the Tarah Pro are housed in a small remote integrated into the audio cable. Composed of a multi-function button and volume buttons, the in-line remote allows for call and music management, volume control, and voice assistant activation. The buttons are responsive and evenly spaced out and have good tactile feedback. In addition to the control buttons, the in-line remote also has a built-in mic.
Capable of running up to an impressive 14 hours per charge, the Tarah Pro are decent-sounding sports earphones with an excellent wireless range and decent mic performance. Although they lack NFC technology, they connect easily with compatible Bluetooth devices. Their companion app is also good and allows you to manually customize the sound using a parametric equalizer.
The Tarah Pro are also good earphones for casual everyday use, especially considering their portable design and long battery life. Their passive noise isolation is good while their sound leakage is minimal, making them suitable for commuting and office use. They are very effective at blocking out ambient chatter and high-frequency noises, but they are not good against noises in the bass range.
If you are shopping for sports headphones for running and gym use, the Tarah Pro are the best option under $200. Their build quality, wireless range, and battery life are great while their sound quality and mic performance are decent. They are easy to carry for everyday use due to their compact and lightweight design and have a good companion app for customization.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are the best all-around professional headphones under $200. They are more versatile than the similarly priced Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro. In addition to being great for studio use, they are also good DJ headphones. With their great price-performance ratio, they are some of the most popular headphones on the market.
A pair of over-ear studio headphones, the ATH-M50x have a practical design that makes them appealing to professionals. They are lightweight and flexible and feature closed ear cups with cushions covered in artificial leather. Their metal-reinforced headband feels sturdy, easily adjusts to large heads, and allows for a secure fit without being overly tight.
While they are not as well-built and comfortable as the DT 770 Pro, the ATH-M50x are much more portable, which is especially beneficial for DJs. They can be folded into a more compact form, allowing them to take up less space in your bag. Their ear cups also swivel to a flat position and can be rotated for easy one-ear monitoring. A soft pouch is also included for storage.
There are three audio cables in the box, with all of them terminating in a 3.5 mm plug. One of them is a coiled cable that can stretch up to around 10 feet, which is beneficial when working in the studio. The other two cables are straight cables of different lengths, with the shorter one being more suitable for mobile use. None of the included audio cables has an in-line remote for music management and volume control, but this should be a non-issue for professionals. As with other professional headphones, a 6.3 mm plug adapter is also included in the box.
The ATH-M50x are good-sounding closed-back headphones with a transparent treble, a punchy bass, and a detailed mid-range. They sound balanced overall and are suitable for different music genres, including hip hop, electronic dance music, and reggae. However, they are not recommended for studio mixing and mastering, as they are not as natural-sounding as open-back headphones.
Regarding passive noise isolation, the ATH-M50x are mediocre, but they are quite good at blocking out noises in the treble range. They are much better at keeping sound from leaking out, though, with their closed ear cups providing an effective seal. Their low sound leakage makes them more suitable for recording tracks in the studio. You’ll be able to monitor the recording without worrying about the sound leakage being picked up by your sensitive mic.
All in all, the ATH-M50x are great headphones for studio use and DJing. Their durability, portable design, and rotating ear cups are beneficial for DJs, while their low sound leakage makes them suitable for recording in the studio. Their sound quality and build quality are both good, and they include three audio cables, further adding to their versatility.
Although there are other better-built and better-sounding options, the Beats Solo3 are the best on-ear headphones under $200. They are all-around headphones that are good for running and are decent for office use and traveling, with their wireless connectivity making them more convenient to use than wired on-ear headphones. They are best paired with iOS devices due to their Apple W1 chip, but they are also compatible with Android devices.
The Solo3 are stylish headphones that easily stand out and are available in different colors, including black, red, and yellow. Their mostly plastic build is decent and feels sturdy, with their on-cup controls allowing for easy call and music management and volume adjustment. They have small, closed-back ear cups with the easily recognizable Beats logo on the backplates and can fold into a more compact format for better portability. A travel case is included in the box for storage, along with the USB charging cable and an audio cable (for the older model).
Lightweight and less bulky than over-ear headphones, the Solo3 are comfortable to wear despite their rather tight headband clamp. They are much more breathable than over-ear headphones since their ear cups don’t completely cover your ears. Their tight clamp makes for a more stable and secure fit, which is especially beneficial when using the headphones when jogging.
Suitable for most mainstream genres, the Solo3 are surprisingly good-sounding on-ear headphones with a balanced treble and mid-range. However, their emphasized bass is not for everyone, especially since it can be overpowering. Their wireless range is excellent, allowing you to move around the house or office without worrying about the signal cutting off, and they pair easily with Apple devices.
One of the most impressive aspects of the Solo3 is their long battery life. They can run up to 40 hours per charge, which is one of the best marks among wireless headphones regardless of form factor and price. They will easily last an entire day and also charge fast, with five minutes of charging time already providing three hours of playback. If you can’t plug them to a power source once their battery is depleted, you can simply switch to wired mode if you have an audio cable, which is already included with the older model.
The Solo3 are decent headphones for commuting and traveling, especially considering their wireless connectivity and portable design. But their passive noise isolation is not good, with the newer and more expensive Solo Pro being significantly better at blocking out background noise. They are decent at reducing ambient chatter, especially if you increase the volume, but for noises in the bass range, they are ineffective.
If you prefer on-ear headphones because of their more compact and more breathable design, the Solo3 are the best option under $200. Their battery life and wireless range are excellent while their mostly plastic build is decent. They are all-around headphones that are good for casual everyday use and can be used wired and wirelessly.
The Shure SE215 are the best option if you still prefer the simplicity and portability of regular wired earphones. While they are not as packed with features as most of the other headphones in this guide, they are decent for all-around use. You can get them for just around $100, which makes them the most affordable product listed here.
Like the other earphones in the Shure SE Series, the SE215 are well-built earphones featuring angled nozzles and a detachable audio cable. Their build quality is impressive and better than some earphones selling for a much higher price. They have a comfortable in-ear fit and stay securely in your ears due to their over-the-ear design. There are multiple silicone and foam ear tips included in the box, but there are no additional cables if you find the default one too short (or too long).
Although they are not as portable as truly wireless earphones, the SE215 are easy to carry for everyday use. They are compact and lightweight and will take minimal space in your bag whether they are stored in their travel case or not. The included travel case is zippered and protects your earphones from minor water spills and scratches.
The stock audio cable is durable and terminates in a mini-plug for universal compatibility with most mobile devices. However, it lacks an in-line remote, which means you’ll have to manage your music and adjust the volume on your smartphone, which can be inconvenient in some situations. But since the audio cable is detachable, you can easily replace it with a different audio cable that includes an in-line mic and remote.
Suitable for listening to music and general media consumption, the SE215 are good-sounding earphones with a neutral mid-range, an emphasized bass, and a recessed treble. Their bass is controlled, deep, and powerful while their mid-range is clean and fairly balanced. On the other hand, their treble can be too sharp and piercing on some tracks, which is a big turn-off for some people.
For blocking out ambient noise, the SE215 are an excellent pair of earphones. While they lack ANC technology, they block a good amount of background noise. They are especially effective for blocking out background chatter and are good at reducing the sound of airplane engines and high-frequency noises. This makes them ideal headphones for travel, commute, and office use, with their minimal leakage allowing you to listen to music at high volume without disturbing people around you.
On the whole, the SE215 are great earphones for casual everyday use. Their build quality is great while their sound quality is good. They are a bit more comfortable for long listening sessions than many other in-ear headphones and already include foam ear tips in the box. You can use them for listening to music and audiobooks and for gaming and watching movies, with their regular wired connection allowing for easy compatibility with most devices.
The Jabra Elite 65e are the best neckband headphones under $200. They are well-designed headphones suitable for all-around use, with their portable design making them easy to carry every day. They are good for sports, traveling, and office use and can last longer on a single charge than most truly wireless earphones.
Featuring a comfortable earbud fit, the Elite 65e are wireless headphones with a flexible neckband, an in-line mic, magnetic earbuds, stability fins, and an IP54 rating. Their overall build quality is good, with their IP rating meaning they are protected against both dust and sweat. They are compact and breathable and include different ear tip and stability fin sizes. If you need to rest your ears after a few hours of continuous use, you can either put the headphones in their travel case or snap the earbuds together and simply keep the headphones around your neck.
Unlike with the Jaybird Tarah Pro and other similarly designed wireless earphones, the controls are on the neckband itself. With the responsive and evenly spaced out control buttons, you can easily manage your calls and music, adjust the volume, and activate your voice assistant. You also get a pair of buttons for mic mute and for controlling the ANC, with the former function being especially notable for non-gaming headphones.
Out of the box, the Elite 65e are decent-sounding headphones with a good mid-range and bass response and a decent treble. Their in-line mic also has good recording quality and noise reduction, making them more suitable for phone calls than almost all the other wireless headphones mentioned in this product guide. You can customize some aspects of the headphones – including the sound and the ANC – using the Jabra Sound+ companion app, which has a user-friendly interface.
With their ANC and passive earbud seal, the Elite 65e are good at blocking out background noise like the sound of chatter and airplane engines. This makes them ideal for commuting, traveling, and office use, especially considering their portable design and convenient wireless connectivity. They can run up to eight hours per charge with ANC enabled and up to 13 hours without ANC. If you want to monitor your surroundings without removing your headphones, you can enable the ambient mode.
Suitable for indoor and outdoor use, the Elite 65e are a great pair of neckband headphones for different usages. Their build quality, controls, sound isolation, mic performance, and app support are good, while their sound quality and battery life are decent. They are more comfortable to wear for long hours than typical in-ear headphones and have magnetic earbuds for easy cable management.
Compared to dynamic headphones, there are fewer planar magnetic headphones out on the market. This makes shopping for them more difficult, especially if you have a tight budget. If you are shopping for the best planar magnetic headphones under $200, check out the HiFiMan HE400S. They are entry-level audiophile headphones that sound impressive for the price and are relatively easy to drive. Their price-performance ratio is great, and they are good for listening to music and gaming.
The HE400S are not going to dazzle you with their aesthetics: they look bland and boring, with their black-and-silver color scheme not really helping them stand out. But their build quality is good for the price, with both their metal headband and plastic ear cups appearing durable. They have a pleather strap below the headband and include a detachable audio cable with an angled mini-plug. A gold-plated 6.3 mm plug adapter is also provided.
Featuring velour earpads, the HE400S are comfortable to wear for long hours. Their large, open ear cups are breathable and can easily accommodate most ear sizes. They are relatively lightweight for a pair of planar magnetic headphones and stay securely on the head without being overly tight. They are not the most portable, though, with their bulky, non-folding design and lack of a case or pouch making them more difficult to carry from place to place.
Smooth and engaging, the HE400S are some of the best-sounding open-back headphones in this price range. Their treble is smooth, detailed, and never harsh while their mid-range is delightfully clear and detailed, but their bass response is a bit lacking for planar magnetic headphones. Their soundstage is also wide while their distortion is minimal even at high volume. As mentioned, their price-performance ratio is great, making them a recommended entry-level product for budding audiophiles.
However, the HE400S are best used for listening to music in a quiet setting, as their sound isolation is terrible. This is expected for completely open headphones. They are not going to block out ambient noise even in moderately noisy places and their sound leakage is quite high. If you prefer planar magnetic headphones that offer a bit of isolation, you’ll need to increase your budget since there are no good closed-back options under $200.
Overall, the HE400S are the best planar magnetic headphones under $200, with no other product offering the same combination of build quality and price-performance ratio. They are comfortable to wear for several hours and are relatively lightweight and easy to drive. You can use them for listening to music and gaming, but they are best used in a quiet room at home due to their poor sound isolation.
Most wired over-ear headphones under $200 – including the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro and the Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee – are good for gaming, especially if you mostly play single-player games and don’t need a mic. But if you want an actual gaming headset that includes a boom mic and gaming-specific features, go for the SteelSeries Arctis 7. It’s a versatile gaming headset that is suitable for both console and PC gaming and can be used wired or wirelessly.
The Arctis 7 is an over-ear headset featuring sealed ear cups, a metal headband, and a retractable boom mic. Its build quality is good, with both of its metal and plastic parts appearing sturdy and durable. Unlike some gaming headsets, it has a more discreet aesthetic, with minimal cosmetics and none of those fancy RGB lighting. It’s comfortable to wear for long gaming sessions, with its thick earpads mitigating its rather tight clamp.
A USB wireless transmitter is included in the box, along with an analog audio cable and the charging cable. For controls, the Arctis 7 has easily accessible buttons and dials on both ear cups. In addition to the power button, you get a mic mute button, a general volume dial, and a dial for balancing the game and chat volumes, which is especially convenient for multiplayer games.
Capable of running up to 24 hours per charge, the Arctis 7 is a good-sounding gaming headset with a powerful and emphasized bass response and a balanced mid-range. It’s suitable for different kinds of games, including action-packed first-person shooters, racing games, and role-playing games. It has an excellent boom mic that works well even in noisy environments. You can customize the headset with the SteelSeries desktop app, which offers a good amount of options – including options to enable surround sound and modify the sound using a graphic equalizer.
With its USB wireless transmitter, the Arctis 7 allows for low-latency wireless connectivity on PC, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch in docked mode. If you want to connect the headset to an Xbox One, a mobile device, or a Nintendo Switch in handheld mode, you’ll need to use the provided audio cable, which terminates in a 3.5 mm analog plug. Unlike the more premium Arctis Pro Wireless, it can’t connect using Bluetooth technology, but this shouldn’t be an issue for most gamers.
If you are shopping for the best headphones under $200 and want a product designed specifically for gaming, the Arctis 7 is the best option. It’s a highly versatile gaming headset that can be used both wired and wirelessly, with the latter being the more convenient connection option. It has a great battery life, user-friendly on-cup controls for on-the-fly adjustments, and good app support. You can use it for gaming on PC, consoles, and mobile devices, though its wireless connectivity is not available for all platforms.