There is nothing in the world to beat great acoustics while you are listening to your favorite songs. Music with all its intended effects can transform your mood magically. You can use it to calm yourself down or concentrate better while studying, or pick up your jogging pace.
Well, to achieve this liberating effect, the best gift you can buy yourself is an awesome pair of headphones. Don’t go for the cheap varieties since they diminish the effects of the audio and hardly last. Rather, look for the best there is in the world today, without going over the top of course. There are some amazing headphones out there which deliver outstanding acoustics without burning a hole in your pocket. So, what if you could get some great headphones for 200 dollars?
Rather than just listening to the salesman’s pitch, if you go armed with some prior knowledge, you have a much better chance of buying exactly what you want without getting ripped. Here are some basics to get you started.
Firstly, there are three different types of headphones at present.
In-ear headphones are small and fit into your ear. They are perfect for stuffing into your pocket or purse and carrying around. However, the pokey feeling in the ear can get uncomfortable and unless the headphones have a well-fitting design, they have a tendency to fall out when you are running or jogging.
The second kind is on-ear or supra-aural headphones. These are bigger and are attached to a headband. They rest on the ears, so they are comfier than the in-ears, but their extended use can get weary. Their sound quality is normally superior to that of the in-ear headphones. Generally, they are extendable and foldable and can be put away in a drawer or bag.
Over-ear or circumaural headphones are the third kind. These headphones completely cover the ear. They are big and comfortable and provide the best listening experience. But, you may not be able to carry them around as they are bulky. So you can buy them for home, office or studio.
Now coming up is a compilation of the best headphones under $200, complete with price, specs, pros and cons.
- #15. Bose SoundTrue Ultra In-Ear Headphone - $149.95
- #14. Urbanears Hellas Headphone - $119
- #13. Beats Solo 2 Wired On-Ear Headphone - $128.78
- #12. Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear Headphone - $129.95
- #11. Philips Fidelio L2 Headphone - $179
- #10. Bose SoundSport In-Ear Headphones - $129.95
- #9. Sennheiser Urbanite XL – $149.99
- #8 Focal Sphear High-Resolution In-Ear Headphone - $149
- #7 V-Moda XS On-Ear Cliqfold Headphone - $157.63
- #6 Bowers & Wilkins C5 S2 In-Ear Headphone - $179.99
- #5 Sony MDRXB950BT/B Extra Bass Bluetooth Headphone - $148
- #4 Sennheiser Momentum Over-Ear Headphone - $179.99
- #3 Bose SoundTrue Around-ear Headphones II - $179.95
- #2 V-Moda Crossfade LP2 Headphone - $148.99
- #1 Audio Technica ATH-M50x Professional Monitor Headphone - $127
#15. Bose SoundTrue Ultra In-Ear Headphone - $149.95
Starting the list is Bose’s smallest headphone. The SoundTrue Ultra comes with a unique fitting design meant to stay secure inside your ear. Bose has provided three changeable ear buds in different sizes to suit all ears. There are two variations in the market – one for Apple devices and another for Samsung and Android devices.
The headphone delivers stereo sound and its closed design gives high sound isolation. It comes with a carry case and a clip for clothing. The cord has an integrated remote with three buttons for handling playlists and phone calls easily. Small and durable, this headphone is maximized for user comfort.
- This in-ear headphone weighs 17g, and comes with warranty of 1 year
Wow factor: Resistant to sweat and weather
Pros: Fits comfortably and stays in the ear
Cons: Vibrations in the cord may get in the way of your music listening experience
#14. Urbanears Hellas Headphone - $119
This one is picking up in popularity slowly. The wireless headphone is great for listening to music while doing any physical activity. The headband and ear cushions can be removed and washed. This is a big plus point for joggers and gym buffs who sweat a lot. It is a pleasure to work out with a clean and fresh headphone every time.
The headphone comes in various attractive colors within the same price range. It’s powered by batteries and is designed for use with Bluetooth. It has an integrated microphone and touch interface. The Urbanears Hellas boasts of great audio quality over a wireless range which is quite sufficient.
- This on-ear headphone weighs 128g and has an impedance of 60 ohms
Wow factor: In-built touch interface to control music and phone calls
Pros: Long-lasting battery for extended listening pleasure
Cons: Some users might find it too tight-fitting
#13. Beats Solo 2 Wired On-Ear Headphone - $128.78
On the lower side of the price range, this headphone is one of the good headphones under 200 dollars. It is made for the majority of the population who listens to music for enjoyment. It comes with a good frequency range with a strong emphasis on bass. With a sleek and shiny design, it sits comfortably on the ears. The auditory range makes it an attractive buying choice.
The matching cord has a variety of buttons for volume, incoming calls and changing music. This headphone is available in a variety of colors too. Owing to its high demand, the skin of the headphone is also sold separately often.
- The headphone is of the on-ear closed-back type, and comes with a frequency response of 5 – 30,000 Hz
- Its weight is 205g and a warranty of 1 year is included
Wow factor: Small and easily portable
Pros: Decent ambient sound blocking and good cord length
Cons: It may fit too tightly over the head
#12. Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear Headphone - $129.95
This is a great product from the trusted house of Sennheiser. It lives up to its name by ensuring that you keep moving to its beat. A wonderful option for people who prefer on-ear headphones, this one is for those who aren’t too keen on the newer M2 model.
Decent impedance results in good sound quality and improved output. Different colors are available and choosing any of them will up your style quotient significantly. Its flexible metal headband and breathable ear cups add to the comfort factor. The cords are included in the box and one of them comes with an integrated remote. This is one of the better on-ear models in the lower hundreds price range.
- The on-ear closed-back type headphone is equipped with a frequency response of 16 – 22,000 Hz
- It weighs 190g, with an impedance of 18 ohms, and warranty of 2 years
Wow factor: Excellent overall sound quality
Pros: Comfortable and sturdy design
Cons: Sound isolation could have been slightly better
#11. Philips Fidelio L2 Headphone - $179
This one is a quality headphone from Philips which delivers powerful audio. The best part is the audio spectrum coverage with strong highs and lows. Its other highlights are the adaptable foam cushions which fit snugly over your ears, and the strong drivers which respond rapidly to changes in audio tempo.
The semi-open-back design combines sound transparency and isolation. Vibrations are dampened to give sharp sound. The headphone has an in-built microphone and a button to take calls. The ear cups are at an angle to match the human ear’s contours. This enhances the directional precision of the sound waves. The black-orange color is modern and cool.
- Armed with an over-ear and semi-open-back design, this headphone offers a frequency response of 6 – 40,000 Hz
- Its impedance is 16 ohms and weight is 258.5g
Wow factor: Easy to control phone functions
Pros: Superb design and comfortable usage assured
Cons: Not easy to carry around and the carry case is not very strong
#10. Bose SoundSport In-Ear Headphones - $129.95
Bose has come out with this headphone especially for sports enthusiasts. The vibrant colors are perfect for any kind of sporting activity from working out in the gym to running in the countryside. This headphone is superbly designed to keep sweat and moisture at bay.
The integrated microphone and three button system work very well with Apple devices. Though the headphone can work with other devices, these features may not function as well as desired. Bose has specially designed the ear buds, to keep them stable and prevent them from falling out of the ears. Included in the box are the carry case, clip for clothing and 3 different sizes of ear buds.
- This in-ear type headphone weighs 18g and comes with a warranty of 1 year
Wow factor: Perfect for using outdoors
Pros: Works well at high volumes without loss in sharpness
Cons: Not the best for bass
#9. Sennheiser Urbanite XL – $149.99
The Urbanite series from Sennheiser is compatible with a huge variety of mobile devices. Buy the correct headphone, keeping in mind the device you are going to use it for. The Urbanite XL delivers excellent bass while preserving all-round sound clarity.
Flexible and tough, its design is built to last. The cord can be unplugged for convenient storage without tangling. It also features a remote and in-built microphone. This headphone is available in a variety of sleek-looking colors which make it an attractive choice for youngsters. It comes with a storage case for easy portability.
- The type of this headphone is over-ear and closed-back
- Frequency response is 16 – 22,000 Hz and for microphone, it is 100 – 10,000 Hz
- Impedance is of 18 ohms and the headphone weighs 315g
- Comes with a 2-year warranty
Wow factor: Equipped with remote and integrated omni-directional microphone
Pros: Comfortable for long use
Cons: You may find the detachable cable a little on the shorter side
#8 Focal Sphear High-Resolution In-Ear Headphone - $149
This Hi-Fi headphone is perfect for long journeys where luggage size and weight is an issue. You can fold it into a tiny ball and stash it away anywhere. However, its size belies its awesomeness. It delivers clear, precise sound over a wide range of frequencies, particularly the midrange and bass.
The spherical ear buds fit perfectly into the ear. They are designed to provide maximum possible sound isolation. The integrated remote on the cord is handy for controlling phone calls and adjusting music. Light-weight and eye-catching with outstanding sound quality, this headphone is one of the best in-ear ones.
- This in-ear headphone has a frequency response of 20 – 20,000 Hz and weighs 15g
- It is armed with an impedance of 16 ohms
Wow factor: Three pairs of changeable silicon and foam ear buds
Pros: Compatible with all kinds of devices
Cons: It takes some time for the sound to become really good
#7 V-Moda XS On-Ear Cliqfold Headphone - $157.63
This offering from V-Moda comes with 3D sound and a metal body. The headphone has a one-of-a-kind collapsible design which makes it simple to fold and carry around. A lot of hard work has been put into controlling the audio quality over a wide range. V-Moda has come up with a unique dual-diaphragm design for which it is awaiting a patent. Listening is a pleasure over the entire sound spectrum.
The frame fits beautifully over your head without leaving any spaces. There are various colors available in the same price range. Dual-input and universal microphone cables are included in the box. This luxurious product is sure to draw invoke envy from your friends and family.
- The headphone is of the on-ear closed-back type and has frequency response of 5 – 30,000 Hz
- Its weight is 195g and it comes with an impedance of 28.5 ohms
- Warranty is of 2 years
Wow factor: Super portable
Pros: Balanced sound quality
Cons: The brand’s customer service can do with some improvement
#6 Bowers & Wilkins C5 S2 In-Ear Headphone - $179.99
It’s one of the best in-ear headphones available currently. Featuring an enhanced driver in the S2 series and a porous filter, the device is made for relaxed listening of high quality music.
The headphone comes with unique Secure Loops to ensure that the ear tips never fall out of your ears. Intended for use with iPhones, it also works with other devices. With three sizes of ear buds offered, you can choose the best fit for your ears. A distinctively shaped carry case is included in the box. An exceptional product from Bowers & Wilkins, it is totally worth the price.
- This in-ear headphone features a frequency response of 10 – 20,000 Hz
- Weight is 20g, impedance is 32 ohms, and the product comes with a warranty of 2 years
Wow factor: Almost recreates the magic of larger drivers
Pros: Effective noise blocking and comfy in the ears
Cons: The remote may not work with all devices
#5 Sony MDRXB950BT/B Extra Bass Bluetooth Headphone - $148
As the name suggests, this one is apt for you if you like your bass rich and powerful. The thumping beats will get your foot tapping. The headphone comes with a rechargeable battery which lasts up to 20 hours. The battery can be charged with a micro-USB cable. The headphone can be used in normal mode without the battery too. If you want to carry it around, the ear cups fold flat.
As it has an in-built microphone, you can pair it with your phone to take hands-free calls between listening to your music. A simple button lets you end the call and get back to your music immediately. The cushioned ear pads relieve pressure on the ears.
- This Sony headphone is of an over-ear closed type, with frequency response of 3 – 28,000 Hz
- Its weight is 280g
Wow factor: Wireless Bluetooth technology
Pros: Incredible sound and effective noise cancellation
Cons: Slightly heavy and bulky
#4 Sennheiser Momentum Over-Ear Headphone - $179.99
There is a reason why there are so many Sennheiser products on this list. It is a brand which promises unmatched audio quality. The Momentum Over-Ear Headphone is the best of the lot. Those Neodym transducers they use really deliver. Great looks and greater acoustic quality means you can use the headphone anytime and anywhere.
Using leather for the head band and the ear cups gives it a classy look. The ear cups completely cover the ears providing very effective sound isolation. The device comes with a stereo adapter, cables and a hard case.
- The frequency response of this over-ear and closed-back type headphone is 16 – 22,000 Hz
- It comes with an impedance of 18 ohms, weight of 190g, and warranty of 2 years
Wow factor: In-built microphone and smart remote
Pros: You can’t find complaint with the sound quality – perfect highs and lows
Cons: It’s not very comfortable for extended use as the ear-pads are of an inconvenient size
#3 Bose SoundTrue Around-ear Headphones II - $179.95
Bose delivers another quality product once again. A great over-ear headphone at this price point! The Bose technology delivers on its promise of clear, incisive, real-sounding music. The noise-cancellation is of outstanding quality and the sound does not deteriorate at high volumes.
The slim and trim look really works for this headphone. Though it is made of plastic, it is of a high quality and does not compromise on robustness. It is foldable and comes with a detachable cable for hassle-free storage. The headband is padded and the headphone is available in different colors. You can get one which works with your Android device nicely for the same price.
- With a weight of 184g, this over-ear type headphone is simply a must have
Wow factor: Superb sound quality
Pros: Extremely comfortable with foam ear pads which adapt to the ear’s shape
Cons: The detachable cable is slightly thin, so should be handled with care
#2 V-Moda Crossfade LP2 Headphone - $148.99
The first thing which strikes when you look at the headphone is the unusual and attractive shape of the ear cups. They are perfect for sound isolation. The driver uses two diaphragms which prevent the bass from leaking into the trebles and midrange.
The device comes with a hard carry case and can withstand being dropped from a height of 1.5m. The microphone and audio cables are made to withstand multiple bends. These headphones are perfect for recording and editing audio/video. They come recommended for use by many DJs.
- This over-ear closed-back headphone exhibits a frequency response of 5 – 30,000 Hz
- Its impedance is of 32 ohms, it weighs 260g, and the warranty is for 2 years
Wow factor: Can be used in harsh external conditions
Pros: The ultra-modern look, extremely sturdy build and stylish packaging are advantageous
Cons: The bass can get slightly muddy and the ear cups may not suit someone with large ears
#1 Audio Technica ATH-M50x Professional Monitor Headphone - $127
This one is the winner with regards to sound quality, price and comfort. Engineers and users alike have got good things to say about it. The current x model is a definite improvement over the previous version. The superior audio quality and wide frequency range make this ATH-M50x a hit.
This headphone is made for use in the studio for long recording and editing sessions. It is also perfect for use at home. The ear cups and headband are designed for maximum comfort and robustness. The headphone can be folded easily and comes with a variety of detachable cords.
- The headphone is of over-ear and closed-back type, with a frequency response of 15 – 28,000 Hz
- It has an impedance of 38 ohms, and weighs 285g
- The warranty is of 2 years
Wow factor: Ear cups which can be turned 90 degrees to facilitate listening with one ear
Pros: Great design
Cons: You could have some issues with sound spillage
That’s the list of top headphones for under 200 USD. It is your best starting point to begin shopping for headphones. In addition, here’s something more to help you decipher the heavy terminology and sift through the important factors to consider.
What are drivers?
They are the main parts of a headphone which convert electrical signals coming to the headphone into sound waves which you can hear. Various technologies are used in drivers to create rich, powerful sound. Big drivers are good for bass, but they are not always the best. There are other factors which come into play while deciding the sound quality. So try out a headphone to know whether it suits you.
What about open-back and closed-back headphones?
Open-back headphones let sound leak to the surroundings and let ambient noise enter. When you hear the music playing on the iPhones of your neighbors in the tram that is what they are using.
Closed-back headphones completely surround your ears. Nobody else near you can listen to your music. They also block out a lot of ambient noise. This creates an intense listening experience where you are alone with your music.
What does frequency response mean?
Frequency response tells you the range of frequencies the headphone can handle. Human hearing extends from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. Headphones sometimes have a larger range of frequencies to let you feel the music better. This also means better range and output for the bass, mids and treble.
The impedance figure tells you how much power your headphone needs. Lower impedance of 15 ohms and under is for headphones you use with phones or portable audio players. If used with high impedance devices, such headphones can crash. Higher impedance (50 ohms and above) headphones need to be driven with amplifiers and they give a better listening experience. This is not such a big deal as a lot of smartphones nowadays can drive high impedance headphones.
Do you need the headphones for anything special?
If you want headphones for gaming, you need to get ones which enrich voices and sounds and provide directional audio.
Headphones you use for listening to music while cooking or cleaning should be wireless. Your audio system may be in your bedroom. You should still be able to roam freely around the whole house doing your job, without compromising your auditory pleasure.
If you are often in noisy places like busy roads, loud factories or aircraft fields, headphones which cancel noise will serve you best. They produce frequencies which oppose the ambient noise and nullify it.
With this comprehensive information, you can make your foray into the world of buying classy headphones. Do you think there is a headphone out there which we forgot to mention, but it deserves to be on the list? Then let us know in the comments section.