The headphones under $200 range includes some of the best models around, especially in the bang for the buck category. While there are some amazing audiophile pairs in the $200 and up category, there are also many amazing headphone choices in the under $200 category, including several of the most popular recording studio headphones.
There are also many great earbuds, on ear headphones, and even wireless headphones in this category.
With so many great models to choose from you are probably wondering which you should buy. What features should you look for and which should you avoid? The answer is it completely depends on your unique needs.
We also take a look at the best headphones under 50 dollars – click here.
Considerations When Purchasing a New Set of Headphones
You should first consider what you will be using the headphones for.
Common uses are home audiophile, recording and tracking, mixing and mastering, exercise and the gym, on the go, everyday varied use, noise cancelling, and watching TV.
It is also common for people to have more than one answer. In this case versatility will be an important factor.
Types of Headphones
Over Ear or Around Ear
Over ear or around ear models are large sized headphones that surround your ear. These are ideal for audiophile listening, as well as recording studio use. They come in open backed and closed backed models.
Open backed is recommended when the best and most accurate sound quality is required. Mixing and mastering, as well as audiophile listening are best done on open backed over ear headphones. These have the flattest and most accurate frequency response. They also have the most open sound. The primary drawback of this kind of headphone is that sound leaks out.
Closed back headphones have a hard back that provides isolation from outside sound while also keeping sound in. They are headphones ideal for tracking in a recording studio, home use where you don’t want to disturb anyone, and any situation where you need isolation from outside noise.
Closed backed headphones also keep sound from leaking into mics in a recording studio. Their main drawback is that some models have the “band in your head” effect. This means that because of the closed back and no sound escaping, the band sounds as though they are in your ears as opposed to all around you.
A third type of around ear headphones is the semi-open design which gives you the best of both closed and open backed headphones. They have a more open sound than closed backs, but more isolation than open backs.
While over ear headphones excel in many areas, their large size often makes them less than ideal for on the go, everyday use. This is why many choose a different style as their primary every day headphone.
On Ear Headphones
A smaller version of over ear headphones, on ears headphones sit directly on your ear. The advantage of these is that they are smaller and more mobile than over ear headphones.
If you don’t like earbuds and want a headphone for on the go use, on ear headphones are a good alternative.
Earbuds are the type of headphone that usually comes with your device.
They are small, portable, and easy to carry. Unlike the stock earbuds that come with your device, many nicer earbuds have a great sound and excellent isolation.
They are ideal for on the go use, gym use, and anytime portability is required.
The primary advantage of wireless headphones is that there are no wires.
They give you a freedom of movement that is simply impossible with wired designs. They are ideal for active situations such as exercise and going to the gym. They’re also great headphones for watching TV.
Bluetooth compression does have an effect on the sound, but there are many great sounding Bluetooth units out there.
When evaluating Bluetooth models, consider their battery life per charge, the amount of time it takes to charge, the reliability of the connection, and the overall sound quality.
Noise cancelling headphones electronically reduce outside noise in order to provide you with a quieter environment. They are especially good at reducing or eliminating constant ambient noise such as plane noise, train noise, and commute noise.
You don’t only find this feature on headphones though, you can can also find noise cancelling earbuds that work equally well.
But while they are amazing, they will not make you deaf to the world. You will still hear many sounds, just at a lower level. Noise cancelling plus music playing is particularly effective at drowning out the outside world.
Top Headphones under $200
In this article, I will discuss seven of the best headphones in the under $200 range.
I will include on ear, over ear, earbud, wireless, and noise cancelling models.
Some of the top headphone brands in the under $200 category will be discussed as well. These companies produce multiple products in this price range and have proven track record of producing quality headphones. So read on and I’m sure you will find the perfect headphones not only for your needs, but for your budget as well.
AKG K553 MKII Closed-back Studio Headphones (Best Overall Sound Quality, Most Versatility)
If you could take everything you love about open backed headphones; their sound quality, sense of openness, and accurate frequency response; and combine this with the best qualities of a closed back design; the isolation and lack of headphone bleed, you would come up with this set.
Featuring noise isolation that holds its own with the best closed back designs and an overall lack of headphone leakage into mics, the AKG K553 is ideal for studio tracking use. But in addition, its flat frequency response, open, transparent sounds, and lack of build-up in the low end frequencies, make it an ideal headphone for mixing, mastering, and critical audiophile listening. It’s almost like getting two pairs in one.
AKG must have known that since this headphone could do so much, people would be wearing them for long periods of time. This must be why they are so comfortable to wear, with soft ear pads that wrap comfortably around your ears and a lightweight design that provides hours of wearing comfort.
Other features include a detachable cable that is easily replaceable if something goes wrong and a design which folds flat for storage and transport.
I just can’t say enough about the quality and versatility of this set. Everything I love about closed back and open back designs are combined into this one exquisite pair of headphones.
Bose Quiet Comfort 25 (Best Noise Cancelling Headphone under $200)
When you think of noise cancelling, you think of Bose, and it’s easy to see why. Quiet Comfort 25s offer well balanced sound and noise reduction when you need it.
They also feature specific controls for Samsung and Apple devices so make sure you get the correct one for your needs. Active noise cancellation makes the world quieter, allowing you to experience some peace and quiet in an otherwise busy and noisy world.
With the noise cancelling activated, the world becomes quiet and every note of your music sounds clearer. This also allows you to listen at quieter levels, reducing ear fatigue. This is especially useful when you have them on for long periods of time, such as during flights.
A built in microphone and remote allow you take calls and control your music.
This model is perfect for frequent flyers as it excels in reducing plane noise. Constant lower pitched sounds are where these truly shine. Noise cancelling technology will not eliminate all noise and some sound will always get through. But they will certainly turn the outside world down.
In addition to quality noise reduction, these headphones also have a great sound quality which is clean and clear. They’re not exactly flat or accurate but they’re not designed to be. They’re also lightweight and comfortable to wear, making them a great choice for long trips.
Sennheiser HD Mix Closed Back Headphones (Best Closed Back Design, Best Isolation, Best Studio Tracking Headphones)
Sennheiser is known for their accurate and balanced sound and the HD Mix is no exception.
They have a sound that is incredibly accurate, especially considering they are closed back. They do a great job of keeping headphone sound from bleeding into mics; this is an essential feature for studio headphones. HG Mix headphones also isolate the listener from outside noise, making them a great choice for recording loud instruments such as drums and screaming guitar amplifiers.
Not just for tracking, HD6 Mix headphones are also ideal for studio monitoring and even mixing.
They have a sound that is natural and gives you an honest view of what is really going on in a recording. You’ll also love the feel and comfort these headphones provide. Well-built and durable, they are made to withstand the daily rigors of studio use. They also include an additional set of earbuds and an extra cable.
Not just for the studio, however, HD6 Mix headphones are also ideal for at home audiophile listening.
Shure SE315 Sound Isolating Earphones (Best Bass, Best In-Ear Monitor)
Shure is one of the most trusted names in audio and this set of in-ear headphones proves why.
Shure SE315s feature tuned bass ports that have a low end response that is not only great for an in-ear but stands up to the best audiophile over ear headphones as well.
The bass isn’t at all hyped; they accurately reproduce the lowest bass frequencies giving you low end that is clear, clean, and deep. But they do more than excel on the low end. They also feature clear highs and a vivid midrange.
An included Fit Kit gives you a choice of molded flex and foam sleeves of all sizes so you can choose the perfect fit. With in-ear headphones, fit is everything. Without a great fit you won’t get the best frequency response or ideal isolation. But with so many choices, anyone can find the perfect fit.
It’s amazing how much outside noise these block out. There’s no active noise cancellation, just a great design that passively reduces outside noise. Musicians and vocalists around the world trust Shure in-ear monitors on stage.
Not just for the stage, however, they’re just as at home playing music from your phone or iPod.
Sony MDRXB80BS/B Wireless, In-Ear, Sports Headphone (Excellent Wireless for Gym Use)
This Sony wireless earbud features Bluetooth connectivity with seven hours of playback per charge.
You can wear them in-ear style when you’re using them for normal daily use. When you’re at the gym, however, use the Secure Fit Loop arc supporters for an even more secure fit. These keep the earbuds in your ears no matter how much you move.
To ensure proper fit, four sizes of ultra-comfortable hybrid silicone ear tips are included, as are three sizes of arc supporters. With all these options you will have no trouble getting the perfect fit.
Bluetooth pairing is easy and includes NFC and LDAC enhanced codec support. They are also water resistant and can handle rain and sweat with ease. A built in microphone is also included which allows you to make hands free calls, as well as give commands to your smartphone.
They also feature a great sound with plenty of bass, plus well balanced midrange and crystal clear highs.
For gym use, this set is hard to beat. While their Bluetooth capability gives you more freedom of movement than ever possible with traditional wired sets, their comfort, secure fit, and sound quality make them an all-around winner.
Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro 250 ohm Studio Headphones (Incredible Open Backed Design)
Part of Beyerdynamic’s DT Pro series, the DT990 is made for critical listening applications. Because of its open backed design, it is not ideal for most tracking applications, especially through microphones.
For this type of work, a closed backed headphone is ideal. The DT990 excels in monitoring, mixing, and mastering. If you want a headphone that lets you hear every detail, this is an excellent choice. Its frequency response is flat and accurate, allowing you to hear your music exactly as it was intended.
The bass is tight and clear, not boosted or hyped, but just as it should be. The mids are clean and clear with plenty of definition and an overall smooth sound. The highs are clear and silky, without any boosting or hype, just as the artist and mix engineer intended.
The open backed design allows the music to breathe. Since the sound is not trapped and is allowed to escape, the headphones give the music more of a sense of space than a closed back design ever could.
You get none of the “band in your head” effect of closed backed designs. Instead, the band seems to be all around you, just like you’re at a concert. In addition, the sound has a 3D quality to it where some instruments sound closer and others sound farther back.
This quality has always been in the music, it’s just that only certain headphones can bring it out. The depth and realism is truly amazing. You not only hear the music but the details of the recording space as well, almost as though you can hear the sound bouncing around the studio walls.
These are also a top pick for comfort. Beyerdynamic is known for making comfortable headphones and these are no exception. You can literally wear the DT 990s for hours on end without fatigue. They are also durable and well made. But if anything goes wrong, all of the parts are easily replaceable.
The DT 990 is a great headphone to mix with. While I generally don’t like to mix with headphones, I do like to check my mixes with them. Mixes through these headphones translate well to other systems, a result of their flat frequency response.
This is also a great set of headphones for editing. The detail allows you to hear mistakes and imperfections in your audio.
Shure SRH750DJ (Best DJ Headphones under $200)
Shure SRH750DJ headphones are made specifically with DJs in mind.
They offer professional quality sound, wearing comfort, and durability that will stand up to show after show. They feature a boosted bass that will reproduce the lowest sub bass frequencies and the most slamming kicks. Built with extra dense padded ear cups, they offer superior isolation.
When you’re cuing your next song or mix element, you don’t want to be overpowered by the PA. You need to be able to hear the PA and your headphones at the same time.
This is why the SRH750DJ features heavy duty swivelling ear cups that let you listen to your headphones with one ear and the PA with the other.
Shure understands that DJs have to monitor many things at once and they built these headphones to make that task as easy as possible. They are highly durable but if something breaks or gets stepped on, the ear cups and cable are 100% replaceable and can even be replaced on the spot. It’s that easy.
Designed with maximum power and high impedance, these headphones are made to work with DJ mixers in a way few models can.
If you’re a DJ or just someone who loves powerful headphones with extended bass, this is a great set to consider.
Best Brands for Headphones under $200
Here are five brands that make an assortment of quality headphones for under $200.
One isn’t necessarily better than the other, as they all make great products. Consider your personal needs and then evaluate the different brands and models based on your unique requirements.
I hope you have enjoyed this article and have noticed how many great options are out there in the headphones under $200 price range. Whether you need earbuds, wireless Bluetooth, noise cancelling, or premier audiophile headphones, you are certain to find just the right set of headphones for your particular needs.
AKG Headphone brands under $200
Founded in Vienna in 1947, AKG has grown to become one of the world’s premiere audio companies. They released their first headphones in 1949 and are still making innovations to this day. Their microphones and headphones are used in top recording studios, concert halls, and television and film studios throughout the world. AKG also has the distinction of producing the world’s first two way headphones.
Here are a couple of my favorite AKG headphones in the under $200 range.
AKG K612 Pro Open back Monitoring Headphones
These feature an accurate frequency response that is perfect for mixing and monitoring. If you need to hear the music the way it really is without hype and boosting, this is a great choice. The over ear design allows the music to breathe, giving the sound added depth and realism.
They have the famous clean and clear AKG sound with tight, clean bass, detailed mids, and shimmering highs. Like all AKG over ear headphones that I have tried, these are very comfortable and can be worn for hours on end. Whether you are mixing or just relaxing and listening, this is a great pair of headphones.
AKG K275 Closed-back Foldable Headphones (A Quality On-Ear Headphone)
I mentioned in the beginning of this article that some people don’t like earbuds and in ear headphones. For some they just don’t feel comfortable. If you’re one of these people but still want a great headphone that you can take with you, this is a great choice.
They are smaller than over ear designs plus they fold up, making them easy to carry with you. Most importantly, these headphones sound amazing.
Shure Headphone brands under $200
Shure has been making quality audio products since 1925. This legendary company is a part of not only American music history but national and global history as well.
A Shure microphone captured Elvis when he first recorded at Sun Studio. Shure was also the microphone through which JFK announced he would put a man on the moon. In fact, Shure SM57 microphones have been on the President’s podium exclusively since 1965.
You’ll also hear Shure microphones on famous albums in all genres. The SM7 was the mic of choice to capture Michael Jackson’s vocals on the bestselling album of all time, Thriller. Musicians, recording engineers, live sound engineers, and DJs trust Shure products every day.
Not just for pros, they make quality products that are within the reach of anyone, regardless of budget. Today Shure makes a wide variety of products including microphones, wireless.
Shure SE215 with Bluetooth
If you’re looking for a Bluetooth set of in-ear headphones, Shure SE215s with Bluetooth is a great choice. They feature a miniature driver that reproduces frequencies from 22Hz to 17.5kHz with amazing accuracy.
The lows are rich and powerful, the mids clear and vivid, and the highs are sparkling and clean. Plus you get the freedom that only comes from a wireless design. They also provide excellent outside sound isolation and a comfortable fit.
Sennheiser Headphone brands under $200
Since its founding in 1945 by engineering professor, Dr. Fritz Sennheiser, Sennheiser has been an audio innovator, creating products that are used by professionals worldwide.
Known for microphones, headphones, wireless systems, and other audio solutions, you’ll find Sennheiser products in recording studios, concert halls, sound stages, TV and movie studios, and professional sound installations the world over.
Sennheiser HD 380 Pro Closed-back Professional Monitor Headphones
With a closed circumaural design, Sennheiser HD 380s are perfect for recording and tracking in the studio, but are also perfect for at home listening. The closed back design gives you 32dB of outside noise attenuation while also keeping the headphone sound from leaking out.
Sennheiser’s Ergonomic Acoustic Refinement (E.A.R) design channels the audio directly into your ears, providing the best possible sound experience. They are also incredibly comfortable and feature the durable quality that has made Sennheiser a worldwide name.
In addition, they are collapsible which makes them easy to store and transport. If you are looking for a closed back set that rivals the audio qualities of a fine open backed pair, this set is definitely worth checking out.
Sennheiser HD 25 Plus Studio Headphones (Another Excellent On-Ear Choice)
Another great on ear option, Sennheiser HD25s are smaller than most over ear headphones, allowing you to have the comfort and sound quality of an over ear headphone in a more portable, smaller size.
They feature quality Sennheiser sound, extreme wearing comfort, effective outside noise attenuation, and enough volume and power for the loudest environments.
The cable is detachable and easily replaceable. An additional cable, as well as a second pair of ear cups, are included.
Sony Headphone brands under $200
Sony is one of the premier audio companies in the world. They make a wide range of products in audio, video, software, cameras, gaming, music, finance, and too many other areas to list.
Their headphones are also some of the best in the world. Not just high end, however, Sony has many offering in the under $200 range.
Sony MDR-7506 Closed-back Professional Headphones (Affordable Sony Quality)
Considerably under $200, Sony’s MDR-7506 headphones are an excellent choice for everyday listening as well as studio monitoring. I can’t tell you how many studios I’ve been in that feature these headphones. Because of their sound quality, durability, and wearing comfort, they have consistently been a top pick.
Closed back design and thick ear cups attenuate outside noise while also stopping headphone leakage. If you’re at about a $100 price point, you can’t go wrong with these fine headphones. Whether you are in the studio or just sitting back and listening at home, Sony MDR-7506 headphones are a great choice.
Sony MDR-7510 Closed-back Studio Headphones $119
Another great choice from Sony, MDR-7510 headphones are comfortable, durable, and accurate. What more could you ask for? Thick, comfortable ear pads and a closed back design give you excellent outside noise attenuation.
They adapt to the shape of your ears, providing more isolation and wearing comfort than most headphones in this price range. Their over ear design makes them ideal for home and studio use whether you are making an album, listening to your favorite album, or just sitting back and watching TV.