A woman wears headphones on a train. The best headphones under $200 are as easy on the ears as they are on your wallet.

There's a wide range of options when it comes to headphones, from $10 bargain earbuds to $450 audiophile cans. It can be hard to narrow down the choices, but if you're able and willing to spend between about $100 to $200, you will be shopping in a sweet spot of performance and affordability.

More on Headphones

The best headphones in some categories cost a bit more than the pairs on this list, but every model below performed well in our labs, and most are among the top-scoring models in Consumer Reports testing. (And, if your budget is smaller, we've also identified some good performers for $50 or even less.)

Like everything we include in Consumer Reports ratings, all these headphones were purchased at retail, the same way you might buy them.

If you’re a Consumer Reports member, you can peruse the details on all the headphones we've tested in our ratings of more than 180 models.

1MORE Quad Driver

1MORE has been making waves over the past few years by providing high-end performance at midrange prices. And the 1MORE Quad Driver, which recently dropped down to $170, is one of the company's most appealing headphone models.

The in-ear Quad Driver is among the best portable headphones in CR's ratings. Our testers say that the sound is very similar to what the company's E1001 Triple Driver delivers but features a more even bass and treble. Both models are worthy options, but if you're looking for the best, you may want to shell out the extra money for the slight boost in audio quality that the Quad Driver delivers.

The Quad Driver has an integrated microphone and volume, music playback, and call connect/disconnect controls that pair with iPhones (these features may not work on every device). It comes with nine pairs of earpieces in various shapes and sizes to help you find a good fit, and other extras like a mini-plug-to-1⁄4-inch-plug adapter, a mini-plug-to-airplane-jack adapter, a removable shirt clip, and a carrying case.

Quick Take

1MORE Quad Driver stereo headphone

Price: $170.00

Sound quality
Unlock Stereo Headphone Ratings

Marshall Monitor Bluetooth

These days, Marshall puts out more than iconic British guitar amps. The company makes some impressive headphones as well, starting with the over-ear Marshall Monitor Bluetooth headphones. They sound great, but what really sets them apart is the price.

At $125, they're among the best-performing wireless home/studio-style headphones in our tests, and they cost less than half of what you'd pay for some comparable models, such as the $350 Monster Elements Wireless Over-Ear. If you want over-ear headphones with the convenience of Bluetooth, this pair is a steal.

The Monitor Bluetooth headphones come with a detachable audio cable, so you can use the headphones without draining the rechargeable battery, and the ear cups fold in for easy storage and travel.

Quick Take

Marshall Monitor Bluetooth stereo headphone

Price: $125.00

Sound quality
Unlock Stereo Headphone Ratings

Grado Prestige SR80e

The Grado Prestige SR80e is a perennial favorite among music fans looking for a bargain on top-notch sound. For just $100, the SR80e's outstanding audio quality is hard to beat.

These on-ear home/studio style headphones are built for the audio-focused listener, with a fairly large profile and a long, sturdy cable that limits their portability. Their open-back ear cups—a design choice intended to create an uncongested soundstage—aren't meant to block sound from bleeding in and out, so they’re best for a quiet environment where you won't bother any neighbors.

In addition to the SR80e, Grado could also make this list with its $200 SR225e, which scores even higher than the SR80e in our tests. Like Grado's other products, both of these models are handmade in Brooklyn.

Quick Take

Grado Prestige SR80e stereo headphone

Price: $100.00

Sound quality
Unlock Stereo Headphone Ratings

JLab Audio Epic Air

True wireless earphones, which don't even have a cord connecting the left and right earbuds, take the convenience of Bluetooth headphones to a higher level. And one leader in the category is the JLab Audio Epic Air at $130. It puts out great sound and is one of the best wireless, portable headphones in our ratings, true wireless or otherwise.

The Epic Air uses ear hooks that wrap around your ears to keep the earphones secure. Our testers say they work well for people with medium or large ears. But if you have small ears, the ear hooks might not fit right, and the body of the headphones may be too big for smaller ear bowls.

According to JLab, this model is water-resistant. These headphones provide around 7 hours of battery life, which is on the low side for Bluetooth headphones in general but pretty high for true wireless models. The Epic Air’s charging/carrying case has a built-in rechargeable battery that will let you charge the earphones up to four times when not in use. It also has integrated touch volume, music player function, and call connect/disconnect controls.

If you're concerned about fit or you want a lower price and slightly better battery life, check out the Optoma NuForce BE6i. The BE6i is a Bluetooth model, though with a cord connecting the two earbuds, it isn't truly wireless. It's rated for 8 hours of playtime, and the sound quality is just as good as the Epic Air's. At $80, it beats out models that cost more than twice as much, making it one of the best buys in the headphone market.

Quick Take

JLab Audio Epic Air stereo headphone

Price: $130.00

Sound quality
Unlock Stereo Headphone Ratings

Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC

Noise-canceling headphones can be expensive, but there are some great budget options in the category. The over-ear Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC, which costs around $180, is high on the list.

The headphones deliver fantastic noise canceling, and they can be used wired or wireless through Bluetooth. The headphones provide high-quality sound, though it doesn't match the best headphones in our ratings. The HD 4.50 BTNC has an integrated microphone and volume, playback, and other controls that work with paired Bluetooth devices.

Home/stereo-style headphones like this model aren't particularly easy to slip into a bag or pocket, but you do get a carrying pouch and the ear cups fold back for storage. You can use the free Sennheiser Cap Tune app to make equalizer adjustments. And in addition to Bluetooth, the headphone can pair with your phone through WiFi using Airplay for Apple devices and DLNA audio for Android devices. WiFi network streaming may produce higher-quality audio than using a Bluetooth connection, though CR doesn't test this feature in headphones.

There are some trade-offs, though. Users with smaller heads or narrower faces may find that they can't get a good earpad seal around the ears. That can affect sound quality, especially when the noise-cancellation feature is turned off. When the ear cup seal is suboptimal, our testers find that the bass loses some impact and depth, and the midrange sounds a bit congested, too.

Quick Take
Unlock Noise-canceling Headphone Ratings