If you prefer over-ear headphones to other types, we already know you prioritize sound quality above all, as you should. And with so many options on the market, it can feel near impossible to make a choice.
That’s especially true if you’re on a budget because then you have to worry about finding budget headphones that don’t sacrifice sound quality for a reduced price. Don’t worry – we’ve made it our mission to find you the best over-ear headphones under $200 and covered the basics of buying them.
|Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro||No||9.5 oz||Wired|
|V-Moda XS||Yes||9.9 oz||Wired|
|Jabra Elite 45h||Yes||13.4 oz||Wireless|
|Sennheiser HD 450BT||Yes||18.4 oz||Wireless|
|Beyerdynamic 990 Pro||No||13.4 oz||Wired|
The 5 Best Over-Ear Headphones Under $200 in 2021
Now that you have an overview of our top picks, let’s get into their details!
1. Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro – Best Overall
It’s unbelievable how much the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro packs in terms of both build and sound quality at such a low price point. Impressively, it has identical construction to the much more expensive DT 770 Studio, featuring the studio headphones look.
Firstly, let’s talk about build quality. These headphones are very comfortable with just the right snug fit that doesn’t hurt your head and thick padding covered by super-soft velour. The padding is replaceable and removable (just in case you’re concerned), and the headband is removable as well. Finally, the cable is durable and long (3 meters), which gives you room to move.
Secondly, these headphones’ sound profile is unbelievably rich and balanced, so it’s great for musicians or anyone looking to take a step towards being an audiophile. And if you want to enhance the sound quality further, drive them with a DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) and headphone amplifier or both, especially with their 80 ohms of impedance.
However, there are a few downsides to note regarding these headphones. For instance, the cable is non-removable. Also, the ear cups are plasticky, but again they aren’t too flimsy. You should also note that when these headphones produce sounds equally, the bass sound isn’t the strongest. Yet, overall, these issues are relatively trivial when put into perspective.
- Extra comfortable
- Replaceable ear pads and headband
- Durable, long cable
- Rich and balanced sound
- Ideal for musicians and starter audiophiles
- Non-removable cable
- Plastic ear cups
- Bass sound could be stronger
For musicians and those looking to delve into the world of audiophilia, the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro is the set of headphones for you with unbelievable comfort, durability, and sound quality.
2. V-Moda XS – Most Durable
It’s hard to top V-Moda XS’s durability when you examine its robust construction. This one was tested against the MIL-STD-S10G standard (US military specifications that assess a tech product’s durability), so it allows for 1 million cable bends, and 10 flat headband bends.
If you delve into these wired headphones’ construction quality, you’ll notice the earcups have replaceable metal plates, and the 3.55mm microphone cable is removable and sturdy too. Moreover, these headphones are lightweight and so collapsible that you can fit them in the palm of your hand, which is rare to come by with over-ear headphones.
Compared to other headphones, these headphones provide a more snug fit, which, in turn, enhances the sound quality through passive isolation. Not to mention, the sound quality isn’t at all undermined when using the dual input located on the left earcup; it enables you to daisy-chain your headphones with somebody else’s.
Speaking of which, the sound profile is consumer-friendly and noticeably bass-heavy, so it emphasizes bass over other frequencies. Still, if that’s not your preference, we understand because it may subdue the highs slightly.
Still, we don’t particularly like the lack of volume controls in these headphones, but you can adjust it through your device. Also, they aren’t waterproof, but unless you wanted workout headphones, that shouldn’t be a problem.
We also have to give you a heads-up that with bigger ears, the small ear cups might apply a little too much pressure on the ears, so we’d venture these are better suited for people with small ears.
- Replaceable parts
- Snug fit
- Dual input
- Consumer-friendly sound
- No volume controls
- Not waterproof
- Not suited for big ears
V-Moda XS is a pair of headphones for those who value durability above all, and it’s lightweight, collapsible, and has good sound quality.
3. Jabra Elite 45h – Best Battery Life
If you’re looking for a budget wireless pair of headphones, the Jabra Elite 45h is precisely what you need with an impressive 50 hours of battery life, and if it dies, another 15 minutes of USB-C charging can get it going for 15 more hours.
Besides, the Jabra Elite fits your head comfortably and securely. It’s foldable and made of faux leather, memory foam, and plastic that doesn’t break easily. Overall, it’s build quality is quite robust! And with how light it is, you can wear it for hours.
Furthermore, the headphones are compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri voice controls. There are also Bluetooth 5 connectivity, 40 mm drivers, and various handy control options to give you the sound experience you deserve.
Moving on to sound quality, these headphones are great sounding for their price, as the sound is weighty, balanced, and detailed. They don’t emphasize any frequencies, and the low and mid ranges are detailed. Moreover, the audio performance is upbeat and energetic.
Nevertheless, the bass sounds are a little detached, and the call quality could be better with voice echo, among other inaudible sounds. And also, some sound leaks out.
On another note, since the highs are a little too high, perhaps these aren’t for sensitive ears to treble sounds. As for construction, the plastic is somewhat too rigid and the padding too thin. However, with the very low price, we’re more than willing to let pass these nitpicks.
- Long battery life
- Comfortable fit
- Various controls
- Detailed and balanced sound
- The bass sound is slightly off
- Not the best call quality
- Some sound leakage
- Not for sensitive ears
The Jabra Elite 45h are wireless headphones with long battery life, a good fit, balanced sound, and more. If you’re looking for the most extended battery life at the lowest cost, this is it!
4. Sennheiser HD 450BT – Best Wireless Headphones
Yet another set of wireless headphones, the Sennheiser HD 450BT, offers quite a satisfactory set of features for a reasonable price. Its battery life lasts 30 hours, which is less than the Jabra Elite but still long. It’s also sturdy and light!
Moreover, we appreciate these headphones for their noise-canceling abilities. Thanks to their ear pads’ tight seal, they provide good noise isolation and secure the headphones in a tight fit, so you don’t have to worry about background shatter or low-range street noises.
Another favorable feature here is the aptX low latency Bluetooth, which is uncommon considering the price range. Also, the headphones have a 2.5mm audio jack and can be folded, which is ideal for portability’s sake.
In terms of performance, the Sennheiser headphones provide a smooth, rich, and easy-listening balance, and by using the controls, you can adjust the sound to be either heavy on bass or treble.
On the downside, the button layout is crammed with physical buttons rather than touch, gesture, and voice-control, but that doesn’t undermine the user experience. For music fans, some of you might not like the unclear sounds in the mid-range.
And although we love the noise canceling, we have to warn you that if you’re looking for loud street noise cancellation, you’ll need to extend the budget because this is as good as it gets in the mid-range.
- Good battery life
- Light and sturdy
- Impressive noise canceling
- aptX low latency support
- Smooth and rich sound quality
- Busy button layout
- Not the clearest mid-range sound
- Won’t block loud noises
If you’re looking for a pair of wireless headphones, Sennheiser HD 450BT is an option to consider. It’s sturdy, light, collapsible, boasts excellent noise-canceling under $200, and more.
5. Beyerdynamic 990 Pro – Best Sound Quality
Where the open-back Beyerdynamic 990 Pro stands out is the sound quality, as it’s got a decent soundstage and produces clean, neutral, and accurate sound without much alteration. Hence, the lows aren’t overly emphasized, for example, and are given just the right amount of attention, and the mids and highs are given great detail.
As for construction, these headphones derive their excellent comfort from the memory foam padding covered with velour, and they have a 3.5mm cable. Nonetheless, they’re plastic-made, except for a metal band, but there’s enough flexibility. As long as you handle them with care, you’re good.
On another note, the headphones have a heavy coiled cable, so if they’re plugged into your phone, secure your phone in place to avoid the coil pulling your phone off the table, or better yet, plug the headphones into your computer. Lastly, unfortunately, the headphones aren’t collapsible.
- Decent soundstage
- The lows aren’t overly emphasized
- Detailed mids and highs
- Feature memory foam with velour for comfort
- Not very durable
- Irreplaceable cable
- Can’t be folded for portability
With over-ear headphones, you’re typically after good sound quality, and that’s precisely what the Beyerdynamic 990 Pro provides, along with impressive comfort.
What to Look for in Over-Ear Headphones
Now that you’re well acquainted with the best over-ear headphones under $200, here’s precisely what you should consider when choosing a pair of over-headphones in general.
Since over-ear headphones are the largest type of headphones, they typically have larger drivers in the ear cups and, consequently, better sound quality.
Therefore, if a pair of over-ear headphones don’t offer good sound quality, what’s the point, really? Naturally, the more expensive they are, the better the sound quality.
If you want to hear bass sounds more than anything, opt for dynamic drivers that displace plenty of air, thus providing you with a bassy soundstage. However, if you care more about the minute sound details, which can make or break some games, you want a more extensive frequency range than the standard 20 Hz to 20 kHz.
As for soundstages, on the one hand, open-back headphones are ideal for wide-open sound. On the other hand, closed-back headphones with a secure fit are your go-to if it’s important to you that your gunshot sounds, explosion sounds, or so don’t bother your roommates, as they trap sounds inside the earcups.
Good sound quality is also heavily reliant on good noise-canceling. Realistically, don’t expect complete noise isolation with over-ear headphones; however, noise cancellation certainly helps tune out most background noises to a minimum, which is something a true audiophile will appreciate.
It certainly makes a difference to have comfortable headphones, even more so if you like to stream for hours on end because that’s when the headache typically kicks in.
With this type of headphones, their large size allows for the weight to be distributed equally, making them extra-comfortable. They also provide room for padded ear cups, memory foam, leatherette, and velour, which further ups their comfort.
You’re probably rolling your eyes at us for yet again mentioning the large size of over-ear headphones, but it so happens to be relevant here too, as it follows that they have the largest batteries and thus, should last the longest.
Make sure to check whether a pair of over-ear headphones can fold or not because collapsible ear cups are easier to store, which is more important than you think than buying an inherently bulky headphone type that’s not travel-friendly, to say the least.
Built-in Microphone/Control Module
If you want to answer phone calls, activate Siri or Google Now, and manage your music playlist without pulling out your phone, you need headphones with control modules and mics.
If a pair of headphones are intended to have workout earbuds, they should be water-resistant so that sweat doesn’t damage them.
Tip: Bluetooth technology, active noise cancellation, and other quality-of-life features are indeed tempting but rather challenging to come by in budget headphones.
We sincerely hope that our guide has led you to the best over-ear headphones under $200, but if you’re still hesitant, we’d earnestly urge you to consider the Beyerdynamic DT 770. Whether you’re a musician or just entering the realm of audiophilia, these headphones are there to deliver a rich and balanced sound, comfort, durability, and more.
However, choosing headphones is, after all, very subjective. When a budget limits you, you certainly have to be willing to make compromises, and it just all burns down to what you’re compromising and what you’re prioritizing. Is it comfort, sound quality, battery life, or something else? From there, you’ll quickly find what aligns with your needs.