Suitable earbuds are notoriously difficult to find. They require a precise fit in order to deliver good sound. And they’re smaller than regular headphones so it’s hard to know if they’re really durable. And you want to make sure that you’re not wasting your money. At this price-point you’ll find that the best earbuds under $200 are everything you need, plus a few extras.
This simplified reference is your one-stop buying guide to help you decide on your next set of earbuds. We’ll familiarize you with important points to consider, provide several competent options, and review the top three choices in detail. We’ve taken the guesswork out of finding the best in-ear headphones under $200.
Things to Consider Before Buying Earbuds
- Fit. Proper fit is the most important aspect of obtaining good sound from a set of earbuds.
Buds that are too loose allow sound to leak. Not enough to bother those around you, but enough to affect your sound quality. Buds that are tight pinch your ears and cause lots of discomfort.
Thankfully, several eartips are usually included with your purchase so you have a chance to find the one that fits.
- Durability. In-ear headphones are considerably smaller than their full-size counterparts. This makes them extremely easy to transport but isn’t necessarily good for durability since they tend to get shoved in the bottom of people’s bags.
To get the most out of your earbuds make sure to check cords and any joints. Cords should be thick enough not to kink up when they get tangled. The joint connecting the cord to each earbud should feel secure; it shouldn’t feel like it will become frayed if it’s used often. The joints around the plug should also appear secure since this area is especially prone to twisting during use.
Top 6 Earbuds Under $200 Complete Chart
Top 3 Best Earbuds Under $200 Reviews
The SIE2i, or SoundSport, is an all-around superb set of earbuds. They are used for workouts as easily as they are for relaxing on the couch. SIE2i fits well, has proved incredibly durable, and has no problems delivering Bose’s signature sound.
You’re guaranteed to achieve perfect fit with the SoundSport. The earbuds are angled comfortably and have a small earhook that balances them in place. This combined with a dual sized cable give you lots of options.
A short cord comes standard but a longer extension is included in the box. Both are thickly braided and stay free of tangles. Even when the SoundSport is pulled from the bottom of a gym bag it doesn’t come out tightly bound. Still, we suggest housing them in the included pouch.
No matter which length of cord you choose though, the earbuds themselves stay in place. Tough workouts in the gym, long sweaty runs outside, and bumpy train rides were no match for the SIE2i.
Listening to these is more than enjoyable. They’re balance is suitable for a wide range of tastes. There’s enough bass and treble accents to reinforce Bose’s focus on middle tones. Strict bassheads may prefer something else for rap and dubstep, but they’re without a doubt entertaining to the rest of us.
We especially like the clarity SIE2i brings to Bose’s specific sound. No distortion is evident at high or low volumes. Music is completely immersive; there’s quite a large soundstage in spite of the in-ear form. Vocals are crisp and clean in both musical pieces as well as podcast type formats.
The outstanding fit, durability, and sound make Bose’s SIE2i SoundSport a great value.
Audio-Technica gives us with near audiophile sound at a budget most of us can afford.
At first glance these look like your typical in-ear headphones. The buds are a bit more shallow and wider but that’s hardly noticeable. Inside though, you find two drivers inside each bud. Essentially, you’re listening to four speakers instead of just two.
The resolution is absolutely breathtaking; much more realistic than its price-point would suggest. Bass is more pronounced than in the Bose but still not overbearing. Vocals and high notes are clean and satisfying.
The ATH-CKR10 shows us that you don’t have to spend massive amounts of cash on realistic sound.
The W10 brings Westone’s professional quality to the general consumer.
The W10 comes with a full complement of accessories including cleaning tools, and tips of differing sizes and shapes. No company comes close to offering such a large assortment.
Listening to the W10 we found perfect tonal balance. We were pleasantly surprised to hear definite sub-bass tones, given the price-point. Westone equipped the W10 with an incredibly wide range, But they do distort at very high volumes.
Purists will appreciate the affordability of the W10 by Westone.