The 8 Best Headphones Under $200 to Buy in 2018

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If you have $200 to throw down on a new pair of headphones, you’re in luck. With that budget, you'll find a whole host of options with a variety of top-notch designs and features to pick and choose from. We’ve got over-ear headphones with wide frequency response ranges for music lovers, wireless headphones for those on the go, gaming headsets for anyone looking to get the upper hand, and earbuds for the ultimate low-profile solution.

Here, we've narrowed down a wide pool of competitive headphones to just a handful of the very best. We’ll explain what makes them an exceptional pick, from base specs to extra features, and give you all the details you need to determine whether they’re the ones for you. Get ready to give your ears a treat.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Audio-Technica ATH-ANC700BT

While the name may be a mouthful, your ears will have a lot to enjoy with Audio-Technica’s ATH-ANC700BT headphones. They feature both wired and wireless connection options, with support for both aptX and AAC codecs for decent audio quality courtesy of Bluetooth 4.1 connection.

The story just gets better for the ATH-ANC700BT headphones, as they also feature active noise canceling, and that’s on top of the noise isolation offers by the over-ear design. The internal battery offers up to 25 hours of life using both Bluetooth and noise cancellation, or 30 hours with just Bluetooth, 45 hours with just noise cancellation, and up to 1,000 hours on standby.

While all of that is enough to make them a great pair of headphones, Audio-Technica has gone even further, as the 40mm drivers inside offer a dazzling frequency response range from a low 5Hz way up to 40kHz. And, a folding design helps make these headphones portable as well. So, they offer up impressive audio quality, great battery life, noise canceling, and high versatility. If you don’t need the noise cancellation, you can get a very comparable alternative in the Audio-Technica ATH-SR5BTBK for a bit less money.

Best Budget: Samson SR850

If you want to stay well below the $200 mark, the Samson SR850s are an incredible offer. They deliver some serious audiophile specs at a budget barrel price. For starters, they offer a wide frequency response range from 10Hz on the low end up to 30kHz on the high end. Translation: more of the sound from high-quality audio files will come through to your ears.

The Samson SR850 headphones feature an over-ear, semi-open design with large, 50mm drivers. For comfort, the headphones feature a self-adjusting headband that can evenly spread the weight of the set over the top of your head, helping to avoid putting too much pressure on one point.

The semi-open design will give you a larger soundstage than you’d get from a closed-back design or more earbuds, and this can really help each part stand out in a complex tune featuring lots of instruments. They may not be ideal for listening in loud environments, but they’ll offer a solid listening experience at home, or in quiet spaces (people near you may hear your audio though).

Best Wired Noise-Cancelling: Bose QuietComfort 25

Bose’s QuietComfort line is consistently among our favorite headphone sets, but the higher end, wireless QuietComfort 35 line is a tad on the expensive side. Fortunately, if you don’t mind a wired connection, the Bose QuietComfort 25 offer a similar experience for a fraction of the price. The QuietComfort 25 come in both an Apple-friendly variant as well as an Android- and Samsung-friendly version, with in-line microphones and audio controls specific to the platforms.

The QuietComfort 25 headphones have an over-ear design which helps seal out external sounds, so you can focus on what you’re listening to. They also feature Bose’s active noise cancellation, which you can use whether you’re plugged into an external audio device or not. So, if you just want to drown out noise and study, you can do so.

Of course, quiet is only half the name. Comfort is a major factor for these headphones as well. They feature a padded headband and earpads, with a suede-like material covering the padding. They’re also lightweight, foldable, and come with a carrying case, making them easier to take on the go.

Best Wireless Noise-Cancelling: Sennheiser HD4.50 BTNC

If you want quality audio, comfort, wireless connectivity, and noise canceling in a portable design, then you want the Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNCs. For audiophiles, they offer a decent frequency response range of 18Hz to 22kHz, and a low impedance of 18 ohms that will make them easy to use with phones and computers.

Most important on the wireless side is support for the aptX codec over Bluetooth. This offers up CD-like quality, so you can enjoy music using a Bluetooth connection without grating compression. And, if you want to save battery and experience no compression at all, these headphones also support a wired connection.

The Sennheiser HD4.50 BTNCs also feature dual omni-directional microphones for clear quality when you’re making phone calls. Then there’s the noise-canceling, which takes the noise isolation of the over-ear design and reduces background noise even further. The headphones are also built with a compact, foldable design, so you’ll have little issue taking them on the go, especially thanks to the long-lasting battery.

Best Gaming Wireless: SteelSeries Arctis 7

If you like gaming but don’t like all the wires or having to take your headphones off when you want to step away from the computer for a second, then the SteelSeries Arctis 7 wireless headphones are a superb option. They offer a comfortable, over-ear design with an elastic headband that evenly distributes pressure and multiple ear cushion options.

The Arctis 7 headphones are powered by 40mm drivers that offer a 20Hz to 20kHz response range, and the audio quality you get is substantially better than Bluetooth can offer. These headphones use a 2.4GHz wireless connection for lossless, latency-free audio as well as a long range. The ChatMix dial can also help you balance your team chat and game audio levels without having to leave the game.

The Arctis 7 features a retractable microphone with noise cancellation and a light on the end so you can easily see when you’ve got it muted. These headphones are compatible with PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch in wireless mode, but you also have the option of using a wired connection with a 3.5mm jack to support even more devices.

Best Gaming Wired: Cloud Revolver S

If you want to game and don’t mind a wired connection, then the HyperX Cloud Revolver S headset is an excellent pick. It can connect to devices using either a USB connection or 3.5mm jacks, giving it wide compatibility. However, the best experience is available on PS4 and PC using USB, as that includes the digital signal processor with multiple EQ settings, in-line controls, and Dolby Surround 7.1.

On top of offering incredible sound through the digital signal processor and 50mm drivers with a 12Hz to 28kHz response range, the Cloud Revolver S headset offers unbeatable comfort. The earcups offer a wide, over-ear design that can fit around even large ears while spreading out the clamping force. The self-adjusting headband and ear cushion also feature incredibly soft memory foam that remains comfortable for even the longest gaming sessions.

The headset includes an adjustable, detachable microphone. Topping everything off is an impressive, durable design. The frame of the headset is made of steel that’s sturdy and highly flexible. They may not be the most portable headphones, but for gaming, they’re some of the best.

Best True Wireless Earbuds: Jabra Elite Sport

If you're not really into larger headsets with over-ear designs, you can still have a great experience with these Jabra Elite Sport earbuds. An older model comes at a cheaper price, but the newest version offers 4.5 hours of battery life, which is a great amount for truly wireless earbuds. Additionally, the included charging case can add another 9 hours of charge. With three different sizes of earwings, gel tips, and foam tips, you can ensure a good fit so they stay in place while you’re on the move or working out. The earbuds also offer an IP67 water resistance, so a bit of rain or sweat won’t stop you from using them.

The experience for athletes is further topped off with automatic rep counting, a built-in heart rate monitor, and touch controls on the earbuds. If you like exercising outdoors, the Jabra Elite Sport earbuds also feature a "Hear Through" mode, which will blend external sounds with whatever you’re listening to, helping you stay aware of your surroundings if you're out on a run or walking your dog in a busy neighborhood.

Best Noise-Canceling Earbuds: Sony WF1000X/BM1

For a highly portable wireless option with active noise cancellation, check out the Sony WWF100X/BM1 earbuds. These are true wireless earbuds with Bluetooth connectivity and up to 9 hours of battery life on the go courtesy of an included charging case.

The Sony WF1000X/BM1 earbuds give you multiple sound options, from a listening-focused experience with noise canceling turned on, to a safe listening option while you’re out and about with background noise passed through to your ears so you can hear your surroundings. The earbuds can also automatically adapt the level of noise cancellation used by detecting the surrounding sounds.

With a built-in microphone, you’ll also be able to take hands-free calls on these earbuds. Tap and hold controls also give you a way to control your audio playback or phone calls without needing to pull your phone out. For under $200, its truly impressive Sony is offering a true wireless experience and active noise cancellation.

Our Process 

Our writers spent 5 hours researching the most popular headphones under $200 on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 75 different headphones overall, screened options from 25 different brands and manufacturers, read over 24 user reviews (both positive and negative) and tested 1 of the headphones themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.