Best Headphones Under $200 - 2018 Reviews and Top Picks
Getting the best headphones under $200 does not need to be difficult!
The reality is your headphone search requires you to look at tons of different models and think about all your preferences. This can be hard work and ultimately you’ll want to head to the store and just pick up a pair, and in the end you’ll end up unsatisfied.
Fortunately, this guide will help you find the right set of headphones for your lifestyle and preference. Whether you prefer a wired or Bluetooth headphone, everything is here for you. These are some of the best headphones on the market and if you match your needs with their offerings, you’ll be very happy.
Buying the Right Headphones
All these headphones are not for everyone, and it’s important that you stick to your budget while determining what pair of headphones best suits your needs. Some people care deeply about style, others are more about function – fortunately everything is represented here!
Best Headphones Under $200 Comparison Table
Modified Ear Bud
Traditional Ear Bud
Traditional Ear Bud without strap
Solid Neck Strap/Ear Bud
Traditional Ear Bud
Traditional Ear Bud
Modified Ear Bud
Traditional Ear Bud
When reviewing headphones there are a number of considerations but ultimately a key component of a good set of headphones is versatility and durability. Bluetooth headphone manufacturers such as Maxtronic understand how this technology enables many advantages not offered by traditional wired headphones and furthermore expands what is available for the Bluetooth headphone user. The average Bluetooth headphone user sees utility just as important as sound quality. This is why the QY8 – like every other Bluetooth ear bud headphone set has several options to ensure a comfortable fit, convenient storage, and easy connectivity.
As for the design, this is where the QY8’s utility is found. The strap that goes behind the neck is light and unobtrusive, unlike the neckband or DJ-style headphones you will forget you’re even wearing the headphones because there’s no flapping of a cord or over the head device to keep adjusting. The ear buds themselves are small and the different silicone covers allow you to get the best fit for your ear canal while the rotatable ear hooks ensure these ear buds will not fall out, instead comfortably remaining in your ear.
There are way too many combinations to find the right fit for your ear. This is the main drawback of this particular model. The sound quality is excellent. The bass is much more emphatic than one would expect out of such a small device! Furthermore, when you adjust the sound on your device, these ear buds will effectively convey the subtle tonal changes making your listening experience more authentic as you switch from one genre of music to another.
Where the sound really excels is the volume adjustment panel on the ear buds themselves. The noise cancelling effect allows you to be immersed in your device and it’s scary how the outside world disappears as you get engrossed in your music and/or podcast options. These headphones are perfect for commuters who ride city buses or light rail – no more having to jack up the volume just so you drown out the loud conversation of the couple next to you.
If you are not the discerning type when it comes to sound quality, there are a few key features you should note about the QY8. The first is the myriad of options with the ear hooks and the silicone ear bud covers. Finding the right fit for your ear has never been easier and the best part is you never have to worry about the ear buds slipping out and having to re-insert them.
Connecting via Bluetooth is easy enough, and the QY8 has a 6-hour battery life but 5 hours for calls. There is a volume adjustment on one of the ear buds and it’s very easy to set the right volume in conjunction with your device.
If I’m going to be picky, the one drawback is the charging feature. There is a silicone micro-USB cover and if you lose the little tool it becomes irritating to remove the cover to charge the ear phones. That being said, this is easy to MacGyver. A paperclip, staple, needle, or any similar object will easily pop this cover open, but there’s something to be said for having the ability to easily open the cover with your fingernail. Alas, I’m being picky though.
Depending on where you find these headphones, the price can be a flat-out steal. These headphones are on sale often, and if you can snatch them up at a great price – go for it!
- Perfect design for any type of intense physical activity or leisure
- Easy Bluetooth connection allows you to enjoy your device anytime, any place
- Great noise-cancelling fit guaranteed with variety of ear bud attachments
- Micro-USB charger flap can be annoying to open for charging
- 6 hour battery life is advertised, but may not hold up over time
Every industry has products that can be best described as “follow the leader” type of products. In the case of technology, Apple is the notable company that everyone seeks to follow. Because their designs merge function and form, Apple products are often imitated but never duplicated. In the case of EGRD’s Bluetooth headphones, this is precisely the case. In fact, despite being Amazon’s #1 Best Seller in the Portable Headset Radios category, these headphones are best described as the cheap version of Apple’s Airpods.
The difference? The EGRD has a strap connecting both ear buds while the Airpods are famously strapless. There are benefits and drawbacks to each design, but the bottom line is EGRD is wisely marketing to people who want to have Apple style but do not wish to spend roughly $265 on headphones when they could have pretty much the exact same product (minus a couple quirks) for just 10% of Apple’s price.
Like the Apple headphones they’ll fall out of the ear fairly easily. Plus, everyone will know you have an Apple imitator.
This guide makes no presumption of people’s tastes, but in the case of the EGRD it’s important to note the functionality of these headphones. The sound quality is enhanced through the noise cancelling features and the clarity of these headphones is what you’d expect for their price. They are not too bassy, but if your phone isn’t an iPhone, you may have some leveling issues. Ultimately, they don’t have the same sound quality as the Airpods.
The other big feature is the Siri compatibility. Again, these headphones are nakedly Apple headphones without the price tag. The control panel allows you to skip to the next song, raise and lower volume, and also take phone calls. Here’s where imitating Apple is extremely helpful – most Apple users are not fans of how the Airpods lack this feature!
There are many benefits and drawbacks of imitating Apple products, but the most apparent is the design of these headphones. Designed to look like the Airpods, they have the exact shape for your ear. Because it’s a solid design, your ear may have them fit perfectly, or they could constantly fall out. For some people, this doesn’t matter. For me, this is an OCD nightmare.
As for the strap connecting the headphones, this is an improvement on the Airpods because it reduces the chance you could lose an ear bud. The control panel is very helpful as described above and EGRD boasts of being water resistant. The charging port is easily accessible and USB friendly (another improvement upon the Apple design).
If you’re looking for Apple design without the Apple price tag, these headphones are for you.
- Headphones are Apple products without the Apple name and price tag
- The control feature is quite useful and allows you to easily control your device without having to pull it out
- USB charging port is easily accessible; strap keeps your ear buds together
- Solid ear bud design means they could fall out of your ears often
- Looks like Apple, functions like Apple, doesn’t sound like Apple
Similar to the EGRD, Syllable has come out with an Apple-style design except unlike EGRD they didn’t blatantly rip off Apple with a few twists to prevent a lawsuit (Are you taking notes Samsung?). These ear buds are small and designed to fit snugly in your ear while you engage in a variety of activities including intense exercises such as weight training and distance running.
There are many interesting features, and when you look at the Amazon page it’s clear that while Apple inspired these ear buds that’s the extent of their influence. The portable charging case is a fantastic take off on the Airpods system – except this case is more stable and depending on your tastes, better looking. The two-hour battery life though does leave something to be desired.
If you lose one of these ear buds you’re in trouble. They’re so small that they can end up nearly anywhere but where they’re supposed to be.
Syllable is really excited about their noise cancelling technology and this is achieved in a couple ways. The first is the actual engineering of the ear buds. The system itself does a great job cancelling out noise but Syllable also has ear buds that are designed to fit in your ear and not fall out. This is an unequivocal improvement upon the Airpods – Apple apparently believes all ear canals are the same size on all people.
The noise cancelling technology also gives way to a sharp sound. Whether you’re running or simply idling time away by the pool, these headphones provide the perfect environment to get lost in your music and/or podcasts. They have a good range and though Syllable is quick to advertise how they work with all Apple products, if you have Bluetooth you’ll be satisfied regardless.
As mentioned, the charging box is a critical component. The box itself is mobile and supports up to 6 charges before it needs to be connected to power. It’s important to charge the box prior to going about your day because the ear buds only support two hours of charge. This means if you’re running a marathon these ear buds aren’t for you.
Also, these ear buds have no functionality with your phone. While the EGRD’s work well with your iPhone, you’ll just have to settle with removing an ear bud to take a call. That brings up another point – these things are SMALL. If you lose one, good luck. This is a case where Syllable may have imitated the wrong part of the Apple design.
When you want comfortable, quality headphones but don’t want a strap the Syllable headphones provide exactly what you’re looking for.
- Ear buds are designed to fit your ear and not fall out
- Sound quality and noise cancellation is unbelievable from such a small product
- Case allows you to be completely mobile throughout your day
- Ear buds are quite small and present a real risk of getting lost
- Two-hour battery life won’t cut it for people who don’t want to start and stop what they’re doing to charge headphones
The over-the-ear style of headphones was once the domain of the serious musician and the DJ. Regular folks did not walk around with the cans – it just didn’t happen. Back in the day they were necessary to listen to records but with the advent of the Walkman the small version of the over-the-ear headphone and the ear bud took precedence.
Then Dr. Dre happened. Beats By Dre introduced a new music enthusiast to this style of headphone and the noise cancellation offered with these headphones thanks to the coverage of the whole ear revolutionized the game. Beats of course is a billion dollar company, but Cowin used Beats as their inspiration to create headphones that serve the entertainment professional and the regular guy who needs headphones with the same high level of satisfaction.
The Cowin acts like Beats but the design isn’t all that inspiring. If you’re wearing these to be seen, you’ll be seen for the wrong reasons.
In terms of value, basically the Cowin delivers everything Beats does but without the brand. The first part to evaluate is sound quality. Cowin provides exceptional sound quality that other headphones envy. The sound provides a full spectrum and ensures an incredible listening experience. Music just doesn’t sound the same after using these headphones.
The noise cancellation feature is excellent as well – and it can be turned off! For DJs, the noise cancellation is an essential feature but if you’re travelling on the bus or subway, the noise cancellation is a great way to avoid conversations and blowing out your ear drums because you need to jack up the sound to avoid the squealing of the rails.
Perhaps the best feature of the Cowin is the ability to use both Bluetooth and the corded feature. This guarantees you’ll always have access to your music. You get 30 hours of playtime in Bluetooth mode so don’t lose the cord even though it seems like you’ll never need it! The protein ear pads guarantee unmatched comfort and even swivel 90 degrees.
Other features include a volume button on the side allowing you control of your phone along with other headphone features. The on-board mic is unbelievably clear and helps with all your calls. A carrying case is included as well, so you never worry about storage. With the Cowin you get all the features of Beats but it lacks the slick design of Dr. Dre’s signature headphones.
- Unbelievable sound quality that makes it feel like the musicians are right next to you
- Soft protein pads mean you’ll always be comfortable
- Bluetooth and corded options mean you never are without these headphones
- Lack the style that characterizes the Beats brand
- Large headphones mean they can’t be used while exercising
One of the worst parts about owning headphones is the constant tangling of wires or in the case of Bluetooth headphones, how they can get lost because they’re small and the strap isn’t that big – and if you have the Airpods style, when those get lost, YIKES! Fortunately, the MPOW Jaws not only has a solid device that fits around your neck, but has a magnet as well so unless the ear buds are in use, they literally can’t go anywhere.
Unfortunately, for all the problems the solid storage solves, it creates just as many. For lots of people, this just isn’t as comfortable on your neck the way the strap or lack of a strap is. Furthermore, part of the reason you have Bluetooth headphones is to lose the nonsense that is cords and other things that feel like they restrict your movement.
The solid piece of this device is really clunky and if you’re a runner be prepared for it to bounce as you take each stride. It’s an OCD nightmare.
In that case let’s talk sound. MPOW does a fantastic job delivering exceptional sound in such a small speaker. They have a number of Bluetooth devices and if you’re looking for Bluetooth headphones you can do much worse than MPOW. These headphones have good clarity, and do well to transmit the sound regardless of whether you’re paired with an iPhone or Android.
Adding to the experience is the clarity on phone calls. The built-in microphone means that people talking to you will always be able to hear you because the microphone in the perfect location. There’s a lot to like about these headphones if you’re into the around the neck design.
MPOW does a great job integrating the phone features to the headphones. On the storage device worn around your neck, taking calls and using your phone in a hands-free setting is exceptionally easy and intuitive. It takes seconds to learn and the speaker function means you can use it as a hands-free device for driving.
The magnet is great for keeping the ear buds in one place. As for the storage device, you won’t lose it because of its construction. The battery life is nearly 13 hours, so charging it overnight means that you’ll have the whole day to use it extensively.
The MPOW Jaws V4.1 is designed with a specific type of user in mind, those who like the design will love this iteration of it, and those who don’t have plenty of other options.
- MPOW is excellent at producing headphones that provide unmatched sound quality, these are no different
- Integration with your iPhone or Android is relatively unmatched compared to other systems
- The battery life on this unit is unreal, you’ll be able to listen to music whenever you want as long as its charges
- You either love the design or you hate it – there’s no in-between
- Must be careful when taking out ear buds because the magnet is so strong that if you pull by the cord you can damage the unit
The most common complaint people have about ear buds is how they constantly fall out of people’s ears. This is not an unusual complaint and various headphone manufacturers have done their part to alleviate this problem with the various silicone adapters and the silicone anchors holding the ear bud in place against your ear. Anlo’s ear hook design allows you to avoid all the nonsense that comes with ear buds.
However, others just swear by ear hooks, and when you’re exercising – especially running – ear hooks provide unmatched stability and allow you to not worry about having to re-insert the headphone into the unaccommodating ear. In many cases, ear hooks are more comfortable than ear buds as well, many people don’t like putting the ear bud right up against the ear canal.
These headphones are stable but the actual headphone is large and takes up a lot of space while the buttons are not easy to use.
In the case of the Anlo’s headphones, very well. The noise cancellation technology means you don’t have to worry about outside noise interfering with your enjoyment of your device, and the bonus is the microphone also features filtering technology so that noise doesn’t come into play.
In the case of how they sound, it’s the full spectrum you come to expect. Of course, when compared with systems like Beats or the Cowin profiled above, there will be a drop off but for someone interested in having headphones for background noise you can do far worse than this handy set of Anlos.
One thing that stands out about the Anlo compared to other Bluetooth headphones – besides the ear hooks – is the micro-USB charger is not covered by a flap. It’s on the underside of the unit and very easy to access for charging. Anlo claims the battery will last roughly 7 hours and boasts about its voice prompt’s functionality with iOS devices.
However, the key feature of the Anlo are the ear hooks. The headphones are designed to go in the ear but the ear hooks keep them anchored in. People who are active report that this design is more conducive to their lifestyle as the ear buds can be very frustrating. It seems Anlo has solved a problem here.
If ear buds are a frustration of yours, Anlo provides a great alternative at a great price.
- Ear hooks provide incredible stability while working out – perfect for runners
- Long battery life means you can go about a busy day on just a single charge
- The micro-USB charging site is the best compared to other Bluetooth headphones for accessibility and ease of use
- Unlike ear buds or the Airpods, these Bluetooth headphones are larger and the headphone itself takes up a lot of space on the ear
- Buttons for volume and phone function are small and awkward to use
Audiophiles always have complaints regarding headphones and are rarely satisfied, this is why the market for premium headphones is alive and well – making a great headphone that integrates with your phone costs a premium but for the discerning buyer, the price is well worth it.
For 1More, this is exactly the calculation they made. These are expensive headphones but 1More is banking on the amazing sound quality as the reason why people would buy them. The smart marketing would be towards musicians and other people in various parts of this industry, but many music enthusiasts will enjoy these headphones even if they’ve never picked up an instrument.
You say the sound is incredible, but is it $150 of incredible?
That’s a question that goes to personal preferences, but 1More boasts tuning from Grammy winner and sound engineer extraordinaire Luca Bignardi. The triple driver technology can be a bit much to understand, but here’s what you need to know – they sound great.
Ultimately, the purpose of headphones is to transmit great sound, and in that way 1More has blown away their competition. The sound is unbelievable and is appreciably better than over headphone sets that cost 90% less.
1More’s headphones are available with the Apple lighting connector or the standard connection, and they boast intuitive volume controls that integrate well with any iPhone or Android devices. Since this is a wired connection, no battery life is available however with a pair of headphones such as these it’s important to take care of them so the cord doesn’t become frayed or kinked.
The microphone also provides exceptional clarity so phone conversations go exceedingly well with this model. The big drawback is the ear bud style. You’re going to have to really push them into your ear to keep them in, and don’t bother exercising with these headphones, it’s just not going to happen.
If you’re willing to pay for great sound, these are headphones for you, but understand they are not every day use type of headphones.
- Sound quality on these headphones is utterly ridiculous, audiophiles and regular folks will be blown away
- Volume and integrated phone controls work with great ease
- Microphone is of great quality as well so you can use this is a great hands-free device
- Because these are wired, it’s easy to get them tangled and ultimately cause fraying and shorts – not what you paid $150 for
- Designed for enjoying audio, not for exercising or being utilized on the daily grind
When people think of headphones they view simplicity as the standard and everything else as extra most times. In fact, headphones are not usually a high-research endeavor, instead they’re something that you add on when you’re out at an electronic store – in short, you don’t think about buying headphones, but you do notice when they don’t work.
Mengo Bumps are your standard headphones in today’s world. They have the standard features such as the microphone and volume control on the unit and the ear buds are angled so that they fit in your ears with as little of the popping out as possible that tends to plague ear buds. They are no-nonsense, easy to use and truly plug and play.
Mengo Bumps are pretty much run of the mill headphones and if you’re not inclined to wait for Amazon you can find similar products everywhere.
The reason is simple – Mengo Bumps are much more than they appear to be. They’re not noise-cancelling like nearly every other headphone here but they do a great job at reducing that outside noise so you can focus on your music. They are also faithful exercise companions. You can easily run and do other types of exercise with your Mengo Bumps lodged in your ears.
The sound quality also is deceptively good for the price. The fact is the average Mengo Bumps user is focusing on other tasks besides listening to the audio coming through the headphones. Whether they’re going through the day’s requirements or part of a tough workout, you’ll be blown away at how impressive the sound is. Mengo Bumps are especially proud of their bass, and they should be.
One of the most unique features is the gold-plated headphone jack. Because gold has better conductivity properties than many other metals used for headphone jacks, Mengo Bumps rightfully claims the sound coming through your headphones is purer and the life of the headphones is enhanced. It’s astounding more headphones don’t have gold-plated jacks because it’s clearly not expensive to do.
The other big feature is the microphone. Mengo Bumps has an easy to use control for your smartphone that includes the microphone capability. It’s also not obtrusive to look at and integrates well with all types of devices. The last and possibly most important feature is the thicker wires. This prevents annoying tangles and shorts that plague wired headphones.
When looking for headphones that are very inexpensive and seemingly underpriced, you can’t do better than Mengo Bumps.
- Inexpensive headphones that deliver great sound and last long despite the price tag
- Gold plated headphone jack means clearer sound, better connectivity compared to other metals
- Cord is thicker than most and resists tangles and shorts
- Ear bud design isn’t for everyone and if you don’t have success with ear buds, you won’t with these
- Noise-reducing instead of noise-cancelling, this can make a big difference in certain situations
When you see “urban” in any brand name immediately you know the product is going to be cosmopolitan, sharp looking, and ultimately find the right balance between proper function and awesome style. In the case of Urbanears Reimers In-Ear Active Headphones, this is doubly true – these headphones provide good value for the price and are also pretty sweet to look at.
Urbanears has a whole line of different types of headphones but the Reimers In-Ear Active headphones are the perfect solution for the person looking to get the most out of their headphones. Whether it’s running, lifting, or just commuting, Urbanears provides the comfort and quality that urban folks come to expect from all their devices.
The price for Urbanears seems a bit excessive when you don’t get the best sound combined with these features.
The sound from these headphones is fairly exceptional especially when you consider that Urbanears doesn’t do too much to promote their sound as much as they promote the other features of these headphones. They have decent bass and good noise-cancelling ability so you won’t be hearing a conversation from two strangers during the commute.
The other unique part of the Urbanears experience is the headphones are produced specifically for Apple products, so if you have a different brand of phone, it’s important you be sure that you have the right pair of headphones before ordering – it’s an expensive mistake to make.
Urbanears really promotes the other features of their headphones and rightly so – the design is smart and the features allow you to have a fantastic experience while going through your day to day routine. Runners and other folks who are out in the evening will especially love the reflective pattern on the cord – you’ll be easily visible for cars and other folks so you don’t get bumped into or be involved in pedestrian accidents.
The earclick technology is another feature Urbanears hypes. Understanding how ear buds can be frustrating when they fall out, Urbanears developed a system that keeps the ear buds nestled snugly and comfortably in your ears despite your activity level. The built-in mic allows for seamless control of your phone, but again, make sure you get the right set.
Urbranears is one of the top mergers of form and function on this list, and the Reimers provide great quality for all users.
- Design is both stylish and functional, especially the reflective element
- The earclick technology offered is possibly the best at keeping those ear buds in your ears
- Specialized models mean that you get the best integration with your phone
- The price point on these headphones seems a little steep
- Sound quality is good, but not as good as it could be compared to others in their price range
When talking about any Apple product, it’s important to know about the two different sets of Apple consumers – those who love their products, and those who aren’t as passionate. The bottom line is the EarPods are beloved amongst the Apple enthusiasts but for anyone else who uses headphones on a regular basis these headphones leave a lot to be desired. Don’t listen to the Apple guy as he tells you I’m wrong.
We’ll get into the features in a minute, but what sets Apple apart is the style – as seen in one of the other reviews, you’ll notice that imitating Apple design is big business, in fact if you can rip off Apple really well, you can make a lot of money. Until they sue you because your rip off is so blatant. Getting down to business though, there is a lot to be desired from EarPods, and ultimately I’d recommend going in another direction unless you’re super passionate about Apple products.
The problem with the EarPods is they always fall out of the ear which gets extremely frustrating. As with anything Apple does, they function very well.
There is a fantastic tonal quality to these headphones and Apple clearly engineered them to keep the music enthusiast in mind. The headphones deliver a great sound and you don’t need to live in Cupertino to appreciate it.
That being said, another thing to add is the EarPods only have full functionality on an iPhone or iPad. If you try to connect them to your Android, you’ll hear the sound well enough but you won’t have any of the function including the volume controls. So, unless you have an iPhone or iPad, you’d just be buying these for the name.
Apple proudly touts the EarPod is designed with “the geometry of the ear in mind.” This is clearly a generic ear because the bloody EarPods fall out all the time! This is an area where style supersedes function, and it’s really annoying.
The built-in mic allows you to use Siri effectively and also control your iPhone with ease. As it’s an Apple product, you already know that it’s too easy for everything to be fully integrated. There is really no better ease of use. Plus, the case you get with the headphones is pretty nice. That being said, the cord is so skinny you’re asking for it to get tangled and have shorts pretty quick.
EarPods are worth purchasing if you have an iPhone and are an Apple enthusiast, but there are so many other great options at the same price that work just as well.
- Once again, Apple has knocked it out of the park when it comes to style.
- The sound in these headphones is outstanding
- If you have an iPhone, the integration is pretty incredible
- Thin cord creates so many problems, especially if you don’t have the case
- They fall out of your ear. All. The. Time.
Best Headphones Under $200 – Buyers Guide
Here are the key things you need to think about when assessing headphones:
Fit: Do you want headphones that go in your ears? Are you ok with headphones that may pop out from time to time but deliver good sound?
Activity Level: Are you looking for headphones for working out or are your headphones more for music appreciation?
Sound Quality: Not all headphones are created the same, some headphones offer greater convenience but sacrifice sound quality to achieve it.
Wires: Bluetooth technology allows you to have wireless headphones. This seems like a great idea until you might need to charge the headphones. Think about how accessible chargers are throughout your day.
Ultimately, the choice of the best headphones is based on your lifestyle. How you use your headphones is critical to getting the right pair. Don’t buy a pair that’s super-cheap because you’ll be frustrated; on the other hand, don’t buy an expensive pair because they look great. Ultimately, your lifestyle is critical, so a good self-assessment will help you select the right pair.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this headphone buyer guide. It’s been our pleasure to assist you with your next purchase. If there are questions you have, feel free to drop us a line and we’ll get you the information right away!