Do you love listening to music?
You probably have your favorite playlists for every occasion. Maybe you like to listen to energetic music with a beat while you’re at the gym, but you prefer chill instrumentals while you work or study.
Perhaps you have a playlist of your all-time favorite songs to listen to while you travel on airplanes or the subway.
You probably have a favorite pair of headphones, too.
Do you use the cheap pair that came with your phone, or do you have a nicer pair?
If you’re still using cheap headphones to listen to your music, it’s time for you to upgrade. Luckily, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a quality pair of headphones. You can purchase a good pair of headphones for less than $$.
But you’ll find a lot of low caliber headphones at this price point, too. How do you separate the good from the bad?
Read on to learn about the best in high quality, low cost headphones. You’re sure to find your next favorite pair to use when you want to listen to music at they gym or in the airport.
Why should you consider replacing your inexpensive headphones? They still work!
The world around us is often loud and distracting. You use headphones to be able to hear your music over all other noise, and to keep your music from disturbing the people around you. Without fail, the sounds of your environment intrude.
Imagine how much better your music could sound while you’re riding the bus to work or jogging on the treadmill at the gym. Think of the subtle notes of your favorite songs and how much better they would sound if they weren’t drowned out by the noise around you.
A good quality pair of headphones will help you hear all the details you’ve been missing while using your cheap earbuds. Come with us as we explore the best headphones you can get for less than $$.
|Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, Black||Check Price|
|V-MODA XS On-Ear Folding Design Noise-Isolating Metal Headphone (Matte...||Check Price|
|V-MODA Crossfade LP2 Vocal Limited Edition Over-Ear Noise-Isolating...||Check Price|
|Bose SoundLink On-Ear Bluetooth Headphones with Microphone, Triple...||Check Price|
|Plantronics Wireless Noise Cancelling Backbeat - Headphones (Black &...||Check Price|
|SteelSeries Arctis 7 Lag-Free Wireless Gaming Headset with DTS...||Check Price|
|Sennheiser HD 598 Over-Ear Headphones - Ivory||Check Price|
How did we choose our list of the best headphones under $$?
We searched electronics magazines and consumer reviews to find headphones recommended by both professionals and regular users alike. We
looked for trusted brand names and valuable features you might be looking for.
You want recommendations found through honest, accurate, and thorough research, and we’re determined to give that to you. We recognize there’s no such thing as a perfect product, so we’ve made sure to look at both the good and bad aspects of the headphones we’re recommending to you.
At the end of each review, we’ve rated the product out of 5 stars. We hope you’ll find a pair of headphones on our list to make your everyday music listening experience more fulfilling.
Listed below are our top 7 best headphones under $$. With this list of recommendations, you’ll be able to eliminate some of the mystery and confusion of the headphone shopping process.
The Audio Technica ATH-M50x headphones are highly recommended and extremely durable. They aren’t wireless, but they have excellent sound quality. These headphones can be folded compactly and stored in a handy carrying case.
They may not look as high-end as other headphones at a comparable price point, but they have professional grade audio capabilities. The audio quality is good over a wide range of frequencies and are as good as much more expensive studio monitors.
Customers had near universal praise for the sound quality of these headphones. One associated complaint was that they revealed the quality of the music player they were attached to. Poor music players produced poorer sound quality with these headphones. Another problem customers mentioned was the lack of noise cancelation.
We rated the Audio Technica ATH-M50x headphones 5 stars out of 5.
The V-Moda XS headphones are designed and built with durability in mind. They are of military-grade construction and many of their essential parts are replaceable, so this pair of headphones will last a long time. Each pair comes with a 2-year warranty.
These headphones will collapse down for easy transport. They are extremely lightweight and won’t compress your ears, causing discomfort after wearing them for a while, like other headphones can.
In terms of sound quality, the headphones fit close to your head, so you won’t miss much. The quality is overall excellent, though the higher frequencies could sound better.
Customers loved the portability and durability of these headphones. Some said the sound quality wasn’t as good as other headphone brands, but they still liked the V-Moda XS headphones for travel. Others said the earcups were a bit too tight, but they still enjoyed using these headphones.
We rated the V-Moda XS headphones 4.5 stars out of 5.
The V-Moda Crossfade LP2 headphones are sleek and stylish. They come with a convenient carrying case and work well with mobile devices. These headphones are exceptionally comfortable for long periods of time. The cord is coated in Kevlar for durability and while they aren’t strictly noise canceling, they do block out some ambient sound.
The sound quality is overall good at a wide range of frequencies without overlap. The closed ear cups will immerse you in your music without sharing it with the world around you. The cushioning of the ear cups will mold around your ears to provide some degree of soundproofing.
Customers were extremely happy with the soundproofing ability of these headphones, as well as with the quality of the sound. They commented they were able to listen to music from their phone and enjoy great sound quality. Some customers also loved how well-constructed these headphones are.
Other customers said they recognized that these headphones were not made for studio recording or mixing, since the sound quality was not quite at such a high level. Nonetheless, they recognized these were great headphones for the average music listener on the go.
We rated the V-Moda Crossfade LP2 headphones 4.5 stars out of 5.
The Bose SoundLink On-Ear Wireless headphones are lightweight and comfortable. They come with a handy carrying case, so you don’t have to worry about them getting tangled up in your bag. Fortunately, this pair of headphones is also wireless.
They can connect to your Bluetooth devices quickly and can be connected to two devices at once. They’re made almost entirely of plastic, which means they aren’t as durable as some of the other headphones on this list.
These headphones are Bluetooth equipped, but they also have an audio port, if you would rather connect through a physical cord. The battery for these headphones should last up to 15 hours.
In terms of sound quality, Bose has an excellent reputation. This pair of headphones relies on the mid and treble frequencies while going lighter on the base.
Customers loved the sound quality and comfort of these headphones. They thought the Bluetooth feature worked well. Some customers missed the noise canceling feature of other Bose headphones, but most were satisfied with these.
We rated the Bose SoundLink On-Ear Wireless headphones 4.5 stars out of 5.
The Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 headphones are mostly made of plastic and come with a carrying pouch. They allow the user to have control over their music without having to touch the music player. They have Bluetooth functionality and are said to have connectivity up to 100 feet away from the music player.
The battery lasts up to 24 hours. While they are marketed as noise canceling headphones, they don’t eliminate ambient noise as completely as other noise canceling headphones.
As for sound quality, the low frequencies can be muddy while the mid and high frequencies were comfortable to listen to.
Customers were overall happy with the performance of these headphones, though they mentioned the noise cancelation feature tends to dampen the low frequency sounds of the music. Some customers complained that these headphones grip your head hard, and cam become uncomfortable after hours of wear.
We rated the Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 headphones 4 stars out of 5.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7 headphones are ergonomically designed and come equipped with an excellent microphone and above average sound quality. These headphones are great for PC gaming but might not be ideal for outdoor or commuting use.
The audio is balanced to provide optimum voice quality and block out some of the background noise. If you’re a gamer, you can balance the volume between your chat and the sound in the game. The cushioning on the ear cups is breathable so you can wear them for long periods of time, and the batteries should last up to 24 hours.
Customers were extremely complimentary of the sound quality of the headphones and the built-in microphone. They thought these headphones were comfortable and easy to use.
Reviewers cautioned that console gamers wouldn’t get as much out of them as PC gamers, even though they’re marketed for both. They said this headset doesn’t balance game and chat audio as well as marketed for the console gaming crowd.
We rated the SteelSeries Arctis 7 headphones 4 stars out of 5.
The Sennheiser HD 598 headphones are stylish and lightweight. They have velvet ear cup cushions and open backs, so they’re not noise canceling. They have a locking mechanism for the cable, so they won’t come loose unexpectedly.
The audio quality of these headphones is top-notch. They’re engineered to provide minimal distortion and precise tone quality. These are headphones made for a bona-fide music enthusiast. While they can be used with almost any device, they won’t work as well with your portable devices.
Customers raved about the balanced and immersive sound quality of these headphones. They also praised them for being comfortable enough to wear for long periods of time.
There are some caveats, though. Customers said these were not good headphones for working out, since they don’t clutch your head as hard as other headphones would. Nor are they great for travel. Due to the open back, people around you will be able to hear your music unless you have the volume extremely low.
We rated the Sennheiser HD 598 headphones 4 stars out of 5.
Now that you know our recommendations, you have a better idea what you want to look for when shopping for a new pair of headphones. But how do you choose which pair is right for you?
You want to find the headphones that suit your lifestyle. Perhaps you need a durable pair that will stand up to the abuse of being jostled around while you work out. Maybe you need a noise-canceling pair to wear while you commute to work on public transportation.
Luckily, you can assess headphones you see in the store using several important criteria. These criteria will help you determine the quality of the headphones and how well they will fit your lifestyle.
Some of these criteria include the following:
If you use your headphones while being active, you may opt for wireless headphones. Be aware, you may sacrifice some sound quality for the convenience of not getting tangled up in your headphone cord.
Headphones that block out ambient sound won’t always provide great sound quality for your music. Factor this in if the quality of your music is more important to you than whether you can hear street noise around you.
Over-ear headphones might be great if you don’t like the fit or feel of earbuds, but if you have a small or narrow head, over-ear headphones may not fit you as well. Earbuds might be a better choice for you.
Armed with the suggestions in our list of best headphones under $200, as well as our handy buyer’s guide above, you will be able to find the right pair of headphones for you. You’ll be surprised to discover aspects of your music you may have missed before!