12 Best Headphones Under $200 in 2018
It doesn’t matter if you want to listen to yourself play the guitar, zone out to a video game or hit the trail to some tunes – headphones are the only way to go for immersion. There are literally millions of options to choose from although the field narrows considerably once you get past $100 bucks.
We put together a list of the best headphones under 200 dollars, which is a nice range that doesn’t dig too deeply into your pockets while still offering up superb sound quality. That also means we are just going to focus on the type of headphones you use to listen to music and fit on your head, not ones necessarily geared towards car use, gamers or office professionals.
Top 12 Headphones Under $200 Ultimate Table
|1. Sennheiser HD 598 Special Edition Over-Ear Headphones||Over-Ear||No||4.6|
|2. Skullcandy Crusher Bluetooth Wireless Over-Ear Headphone||Over-Ear||Yes||4.6|
|3. Beyerdynamic DT-990-Pro-250 Professional Acoustically Open Headphones||Open Back||No||4.5|
|4. Bluedio V (Victory) Pro Patented PPS12 Drivers Wireless Bluetooth headphones||Over-Ear||Yes||4.5|
|5. Beats Mixr Wired On-Ear Headphone||DJ||No||4.3|
|6. Bose SoundLink On-Ear Bluetooth Wireless Headphones||On-Ear||Yes||4.3|
|7. BÖHM Wireless Bluetooth Over Ear Cushioned Headphones||Over-Ear||Yes||4.3|
|8. August EP750 Active Noise Cancelling Wireless Bluetooth Over-ear Stereo Headphones||Over-Ear||Yes||4.3|
|9. Samsung Level On PRO Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones||On-Ear||Yes||4.1|
|10. Sony MDR-ZX770DC Bluetooth and Noise Canceling Headphones||Over-Ear||Yes||4.0|
|11. Beats Solo2 Wired On-Ear Headphone||On-Ear||No||4.0|
|12. Plantronics BackBeat PRO+ Wireless Noise Canceling Hi-Fi Headphones||Over-Ear||Yes||3.9|
High-End Headphone Buying Tips
When you go past a certain price point, headphones enter the high-end of the audio spectrum. That means there are additional things to keep in mind like the areas below.
As mentioned, we are only going to focus on headsets that sit on top of your head and are built for music or musicians. While you can certainly use our picks to play video games, our choices are all about that sweet Hi-Fi sound. Well, that and comfort. The style of the headphone you choose will directly play into how comfortable it feels on your head. For our purposes, we are looking at two styles with On-Ear and Over-Ear headphones.
- On-Ear – Headphones that sit “on your ear” have smaller cups and no true passive noise reduction as they don’t cover your entire ear. That means there is no seal although your head is less likely to heat up during long listening sessions. This style can also be considerably smaller than our next option.
- Over-Ear – Whenever you see a big set of cans on someone’s head, there’s a good chance they are Over-Ear headphones. These have large cups that sit over your ears and can block out most of the ambient noise around you. That said, there are “open back” models that let in the sound if you don’t want to be totally isolated.
All of the choices in our best headphones under 200 dollars list have a form of noise reduction or cancellation. The aforementioned On-Ear models have passive noise reduction due to the way they are built. They can also have built-in technology that uses tiny microphones to kill background noise.
This is called ANC and stands for Active Noise Cancellation. Any headphone with this type of tech requires power for the feature to work. Some units allow you to turn it off to save juice or will still work when ANC is powered off. If you truly want full immersion, go for a headset with large cups and ANC.
This is going to be the most important factor in your buying decision even with a set price point. Take a minute and think about where you will use your headphones the most and what your needs are. A DJ style headset isn’t just for DJs as those swiveling cups work great in studios or for casual use when you don’t want to be totally zoned out.
Are you going to be hooking these up to an instrument or listening at high volumes? If so, you may want to make sure you go for a pair of headphones with a closed back. This ensures you’re the one listening to the music, and not the people around you. Alternatively, wireless On-Ear headsets are easier to wear out and about compared to their big can counterparts.
Top 5 Best Headphones Under $200 Reviews
Number one with a bullet on our list of the best headphones under 200 dollars are the Sennheiser HD 598 headphones. These are true “over the ear” headphones with massive cups that are also very, very comfortable. That’s due in part to the padded leatherette headband across the top and the soft ear pads which are covered in velour. You won’t find that on cheaper headsets.
While it’s great to have a comfortable headset, it is still all about the audio quality. We are pleased to say the HD 598 hits all the sweet spots from the low range all the way up to the highs. Tech specs include an impedance of 50 ohms and a frequency response of 12 – 38,500Hz. The materials used help to put the sound quality on a whole different level with Duofol diaphragms, optimized magnets, and aluminum voice coils.
We could hit you with a dozen more buzz words, but instead, we are going to talk about a few negatives. These are not wireless and they are “open back” so you will not be totally immersed if you are in a noisy room. Others will be able to hear the sound as well – something to consider depending on your usage. The Sennheiser HD 598’s are available in Black or Ivory and can be purchased with or without a Microphone.
If you don’t enjoy being tethered while listening to your music, you will appreciate the wireless nature of the Skullcandy Crusher headphones. Not only are they a great looking pair of headphones, they have amazing battery life as well. The company rates them at 40 hours, which isn’t really true as it depends on your usage. That said, we feel that 20-30 hours is a more reasonable estimate and still outstanding.
These headphones are what we would consider “bass heavy” as well. They have a stereo haptic bass setup tuned in for each ear and refined acoustics courtesy of dual custom-tuned drivers. If you need to lighten things up, you can actually dial the bass back on these. The cups aren’t nearly as fancy (or comfortable) as the ones from our top choice, but they are nothing to scoff at either.
The Skullcandy Crushers are a solid choice for casual listeners that want something more out of their headphones but aren’t ready to step up to the pro level. These foldable beauties are available in Grey & Tan and Black.
And now for something built for the pros. The Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro headset is geared towards those who spend more time in the studio than sitting on their couch listening to records. That said, these will sound amazing no matter where you decide to use them, but they are open back so sound leakage occurs naturally. They aren’t wireless either although that is generally not something you need in a studio.
The DT-990 are accurate so they aren’t bass heavy or geared towards certain genres or styles. They are also pretty mean with 250-ohm drivers and a frequency response of 5 – 35,000Hz. The nominal sound pressure level is 96 DB, just in case you were curious. You’ll get plenty of cable at 9.8” to go along with the outstanding sound reproduction and comfortable velour ear pads.
While we chose the DT-990 Pro, there is also a regular 250-ohm model and a 32-ohm model if you want something different. Several bundles are available as well with an amplifier bundle and converter bundle which comes with a Micro DAC.
Looking for a set of headphones with plenty of options? Well, Bludio has you covered with their V Pro PPS12 headphone. These come with a slew of connectors, cables, and adapters out of the box but also offer up options on the technical side. These are wireless but actually support more than one profile with VRCP, APTX, and the popular A2DP. The range is set to 10 meters although that will vary depending on your surroundings.
As for the actual audio, we think you will be pleasantly surprised with the PPS12’s if you aren’t familiar with the brand behind them. The Victory headphones use something called Transcendent S/PDIF Optical Transmission which is a fancy way of saying they sound amazing and support 24-bit 47 kHz audio resolution to boot. The drivers are 50mm monsters with a frequency response of 10 – 22,000Hz and an impedance of 42 ohms.
We have no complaints about the battery life on the Victory Pro model and feel that folks will enjoy their touch-based control setup as well. You can adjust volume or change tracks by sliding your finger across the right cup, something you aren’t going to find on too many models in this price range.
If you have watched a sporting event in the past 5-6 years, you are familiar with Beats. The headset has been worn by millions around the globe and can often be seen on stars heads heading out to the airport or into a stadium on game day. Well, the Beats Mixr headphones are not wireless but made our list for another reason altogether.
These are “DJ” style headphones from Beats, and you know Dre had a hand in these considering he is a mix master. The headphones will sound great, but also have cups that swivel up and out of the way when you need a free ear. Needless to say, they won’t take up much space in your bag as they fold up as well. Unfortunately, we do not have tech specs on this model as Dr. Dre must have left them in his lab.
If you need a solid set of headphones that are “bass heavy” and not necessarily built for accuracy out of the box, look no further. That said, you can always fine tune things on your end and there are more colors than you can shake a stick at with the Mixr’s.