Jabra Elite 75tSource: Daniel Bader / Android Central

Best Headphones Under $200 Android Central 2020

Not all great headphones have to be super expensive. And not all cheap headphones have to be bad. Sometimes you have to find the middle ground. The Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 is a perfect example of this with superb sound quality, long battery life, and are super comfortable to use for long periods.

Best Overall: Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2

Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2Source: Plantronics

The Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 are by far the best value when it comes to headphones in this price range. They have physical media controls that are super solid, long battery life with up to 30 hours on a single charge, and are ultra-comfortable for long term use.

In terms of sound quality, the BackBeat Pro 2 offer a rather neutral mid-range and treble, with a modest bass boost to give it an overall warmer sound signature. Making it suitable for more bass-heavy genres such as EDM, hip-hop, or rap, but with the neutrality of the mid-range and treble, they're versatile enough to be good in all genres.

For comfort, the BackBeat Pro 2 are decent. The ear cups and headband are super soft and comfy, not causing any discomfort or fatiguing, at least in the short term. For people who have bigger heads (like me), the BackBeat Pro 2 can cause some discomfort after several hours of usage, forcing you to take a break.

The only real downside is the lack of USB-C for charging as these use Micro-USB. Not only do they use Micro-USB, but there's no fast charging capability, which means you're looking at around 3 hours to charge them from 0 to 100%.

Pros:

  • Great comfort
  • Long battery life
  • Great, bass-boosted sound
  • Tactile and responsive media controls

Cons:

  • Micro-USB for charging
  • Not fast-charging capable

Best Overall

Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2

Great for all genres

The BackBeat Pro 2 feature 30 hours of battery life and a solid sound signature, making them suitable for nearly all genres of music.

Best True Wireless: Jabra Elite 75t

Jabra Elite 75tSource: Daniel Bader / Android Central

The Jabra Elite 75t's biggest advantage over other true wireless earbuds is comfort. With the Elite 75t, it's unlikely you'll experience discomfort or ear fatigue, even after several hours of usage. The earbud comes with several ear tips in the box, and as long as you can find a size that fits your ears, you shouldn't experience any issues with discomfort.

Sound quality can be excellent once you EQ the sound. The out of the box sound is rather bass-heavy and can sound overly bassy for some. If you're a bass head, you'll absolutely love the sound. The dynamic range and soundstage are better than most truly wireless earbuds but don't compare whatsoever to over-ear headphones, as expected.

Battery life is excellent for a true wireless earbud. The actual earbud gets up to 7.5 hours of battery life on a single charge. When you add the included charging case, you'll get an additional 20.5 hours, giving you a total of 28 hours of battery life. The case charges over USB-C, but it doesn't have wireless charging of any sort, which is a bummer but not a dealbreaker.

Pros:

  • USB-C for charging
  • IP55 water and dust resistant
  • Great, bass-heavy sound
  • Excellent comfort

Cons:

  • Can be overly bassy for some

Best True Wireless

Jabra Elite 75t

Long-lasting true wireless

The Jabra Elite Active 75t offer great sound, long battery life, and can be used independently to increase battery life.

Best Wired Buds: 1More Triple Driver

1More Triple DriverSource: 1More

The 1More Triple Driver is the best-wired earbud around for its price range. One of its best characteristics is its sound. The bass gets super low and will give you just the right amount of thump and rumble. The mid-bass is neutral, so kick drums, bass guitars, etc. will be very smooth and even. Finally, the upper bass is slightly overemphasized, which can create a feeling of boominess and sometimes muddiness. The mid-range is fairly even and neutral here as well, and the treble is slightly recessed, making the 1More Triple Driver a somewhat warmer sounding earbud.

Comfort-wise, they're excellent. No issues with ear fatigue or the earbud feeling like they're adding too much weight to the ear. It comes with several sizes in the box, which is great for those who need different sized tips. Being a wired set of earbuds, you'll also get the standard in-line controls to control volume, play/pause, and manually summon the digital assistant of your choice. And the best part of all? You don't have to worry about battery life or charging since they're not wireless.

The only real downside to these is that while the earbuds themselves feel premium, the cable leading up to the earbuds are a bit flimsy and seem prone to breaking really easily.

Pros:

  • Premium design
  • Solid, warm sound signature
  • Superb comfort and fit

Cons:

  • Non-detachable/flimsy cable

Best Wired Buds

1More Triple Driver

No batteries required

The 1More Triple Driver are wired earbuds that are super comfortable, sound great, and don't require pairing or batteries.

Bose SoundLink On-EarSource: Bose

If you're looking for comfortable on-ear headphones, look no further than the Bose SoundLink On-Ear. Due to its on-ear design, you won't have issues such as your ears getting warm like some over-ear headphones. Though, as with most on-ear headphones, you'll have a good amount of sound leakage with the SoundLink. In louder environments, it probably won't be much of an issue. But, if you're in a quiet environment like a library, it's probably best to use the Soundlink at lower volumes.

For sound quality, the SoundLink offers a pretty neutral sound signature, as expected with most Bose products. The bass has a small bump throughout the entire region, giving you a slightly warmer sound overall. The mid-range is excellent and neutral. The treble is where the SoundLink falls apart since it's highly uneven and recessed. This means you'll lose some detail and brightness in lead vocals and instruments, snares, and hi-hats.

In terms of battery life, you'll get 15 hours of battery life, which is decent for an on-ear headphone. Fortunately, the SoundLink has fast charging capability, giving you 2 hours of listening time in a 15-minute charge. Overall charging will still take 3 hours, though. The charging cable is Micro-USB as well.

Pros:

  • Quick charging capable
  • Superb comfort
  • Excellent sound quality

Cons:

  • Micro-USB for charging
  • Sound leakage at higher volumes

Best Wireless On-Ear

Bose SoundLink On-Ear

Comfortable on-ear tunes

The Bose Soundlink On-Ear headphones are super comfortable whether you're using them for 30 minutes at a time or several hours.

Best Wireless In-Ear: Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless

Jaybird Tarah ProSource: Daniel Bader / Android Central

The Jaybird Tarah Pro are a solid all-around pair of in-ear earbuds. They're not true wireless, so you don't have to worry about a charging case or two separate sets of batteries (the buds and the case). And, with a wire in between, you can easily let them dangle around your neck.

Sound quality-wise, the Tarah Pro does well. Bass is neutral and extends very deep. The mid-range is decent with a slight recess in the mid-mids, and the treble is, for the most part, neutral with a slight boost in the mid-treble giving the Tara Pros a slightly brighter sound.

In terms of battery life, the Tarah Pros last up to 13 hours on a single charge. Charging them from empty will take roughly two hours. Unfortunately, they use a proprietary charging cable, so you'll have to remember to have it when they die. For comfort, they are excellent — no issues with ear fatigue or heaviness from the earbuds.

Pros:

  • Superb sound quality
  • Solid battery life
  • Great comfort

Cons:

  • Proprietary charging cable

Best Wireless In-Ear

Jaybird Tarah Pro

Superb sound quality

The Jaybird Tarah Pros sound fantastic, have a great battery life, and are super comfortable for long listening sessions.

Best Open-Back (Wired): Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro

Source: Beyerdynamic

If you're looking for the best bang for your buck, at-home listening headphones, the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro are the right pair of headphones for you. They are a set of over-ear open-back headphones, which means they're staying at home. This is because open-back headphones don't try to isolate sound and will leak sound like crazy. However, they make up for it by being super comfortable. Since they don't have to try to isolate sound, the ear cups are made out of very soft leather.

However, they sound fantastic. The DT 990 Pro have a very balanced sound. The bass response is perfect for an open-back headphone. They don't get as deep as other closed-back headphones but is well balanced. The mid-range is also neutral and free from imperfections. The treble is also relatively neutral, with only an over-emphasis in the mid-treble region, which adds quite a bit of brightness on certain tracks. Some people won't be a fan of that. And of course, being open-back, they have excellent dynamic range and soundstage.

These are wired headphones, so you'll need to make sure you have a device with a 3.5mm audio jack. Fortunately, unlike some other open-back headphones, you won't need an amp for these, and most gadgets will be able to drive them without much issue. But an amp would definitely help.

Pros:

  • Open-back, natural sound
  • Comfortable for long-term use
  • No amp required

Cons:

  • Treble can be fatiguing for some

Best Open-Back (Wired)

Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro

Open back goodness

The DT 990 Pro from Beyerdynamic offer great dynamic range and soundstage. While you're restricted to at-home use, the sound quality is totally worth it.

Best Wireless Over-Ear: Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC

Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNCSource: Sennheiser

The Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC have excellent sound quality. The bass and mid-range are superb and neutral all around. When it comes to the treble, it's a bit recessed but, overall, it's evenly balanced, giving the 4.50 BTNC a darker sound signature overall. The ANC for the 4.50 BTNC is good, but it affects the sound massively. Unfortunately, we recommend leaving the ANC off if you want outstanding sound quality.

Battery life on the HD 4.50 BTNC is excellent. With ANC enabled, you get 19 hours, and with ANC disabled, you get whopping 25 hours. When it comes to recharging them, it'll take you a solid 2 hours to recharge them if they're completely dead.

An important part of any (closed-back) headphone is how much sound they leak. Fortunately, the HD 4.50 BTNC don't leak too much sound and are perfect for an office environment, even if the guy in the next cubicle is only a few feet away.

Pros:

  • Great, treble forward sound
  • Low sound leakage
  • Long battery life

Cons:

  • ANC effects the sound tremendously

Best Wireless Over-Ear

Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC

Excellent sounding wireless headphones

The Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC deliver an overall great sound that has minimal leakage, and excellent battery life.

Best Wireless Neckbud: Sennheiser HD1 In-Ear

Sennheiser HD-1 In-EarSource: Sennheiser

The Sennheiser HD-1 In-Ear offer a solid neckbud experience. They offer 10 hours of battery life, which is plenty to get you through your day. It takes just under 2 hours to fully recharge them if you deplete the battery completely.

In terms of sound quality, the HD-1 In-Ear perform decently. The low- and mid-bass are neutral and flat, giving you the right amount of thump and rumble. The upper-bass, however, is over-emphasized, making them slightly more boomy and sometimes muddy. The low-mids are also over-emphasized to compensate for the upper-bass boost. However, the mid-mid range and the upper-mids are slightly recessed, forcing most lead vocals to take a backseat. Treble is mediocre at best. The low-treble is recessed, causing you to lack detail in the region, while the mid- and upper-treble are boosted, giving you a slightly more sibilant and sometimes piercing sound. It's a modified, somewhat V-shaped sound that might take some time getting used to.

However, the HD-1 In-Ear are super comfortable. You won't have any issues with the buds falling out of your ear or have any ear fatigue. The part that goes around your neck is also substantial. It's made out of sheepskin and is fairly light. You'll have a hard time even noticing it's even there.

Pros:

  • Low sound leakage
  • Superb comfort
  • Good battery Life

Cons:

  • Sound is bass-heavy

Best Wireless Neckbud

Sennheiser HD-1 In-Ear

Neck tunes

The Sennheiser HD-1 In-Ear are super comfortable, with great battery life. It enables you to always have earbuds on your person.

Bottom line

Great headphones don't have to be expensive, and cheap headphones don't have to sound awful. There are a ton of mid-range options available that are really good and have solid features. If you're looking for a great pair of over-ear portable headphones, the Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 are a no brainer. They feature great battery life with up to 30 hours on a charge, great sound quality, and excellent comfort for long listening sessions.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Peter Cao loves his headphones. Good luck trying to catch him without some sort of headphones on. His hobbies include listening to vinyl and playing video games.

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