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The best cheap headphones you can buy: Expert tested

We went hands-on to test the best headphones you can find for under $200, so you can stay in the groove and keep some extra money in your pocket.
Written by Jada Jones, Associate Editor
Reviewed by Kayla Solino
Monoprice BT-600ANC | Best cheap headphones overall
The Monoprice BT-600ANC headphones lying on a desk
Monoprice BT-600ANC
Best cheap headphones overall
View now View at Amazon
Soundcore Space One | Best cheap headphones for commuting
Soundcore Space One headphones in Sky Blue on a wooden table
Soundcore Space One
Best cheap headphones for commuting
View now View at Soundcore
Edifier WH950NB | Best stylish cheap headphones
Edifer WH950NB headphones in Ivory on a wooden table
Edifier WH950NB
Best stylish cheap headphones
View now View at Amazon
Sennheiser Accentum | Best cheap headphones for music
A photo of the Sennheiser Accentum headphones ear cups
Sennheiser Accentum
Best cheap headphones for music
View now View at Amazon
Sony WH-CH720N | Best cheap Sony headphones
Sony WH-CH720N headphones laying on a MacBook
Sony WH-CH720N
Best cheap Sony headphones
View now View at Best Buy

Headphones are a staple in your everyday tech arsenal, and a reliable pair of over-ear headphones are your best friend on your daily commute. But many experts' top picks can cost you upwards of $600. Some of the best headphones from Sony, Bose, or Apple still sport a $330+ price tag, even with steep seasonal discounts.

 Still, there are many other affordable options for every kind of audio enthusiast, so keep reading to find some of the best budget-conscious headphones from fan-favorite brands, offering fantastic quality without the high price tag. 

What are the best cheap headphones right now?

My top pick for affordable headphones are the Monoprice BT-600ANC, and I love them for their impressive build quality, strong ANC, and all-day battery life. The BT-600ANC have noise-canceling on par with what you can get from Sony and Bose, and their design is modern, strong, and practical. 

The best cheap headphones of 2024

Pros & Cons
  • Sturdy build
  • Impressive noise cancellation
  • Fantastic battery
  • No companion app
  • One-size-fits-all sound
More Details

Monoprice BT-600ANC tech specs: Weight: 10 oz. | Battery life: 40 hours (ANC off) | Bluetooth: Yes (5.0) | Multipoint: Yes

The Monoprice BT-600ANC headphones are perfect for people looking for incredibly effective noise-canceling for a low price. These headphones can help with blocking out noises in the office, study hall, train, plane, or other public places.

The Monoprice BT-600ANC deliver a punchy, bass-forward sound that most casual listeners will enjoy. Their design closely resembles Sony's WH-1000XM4 headphones, offering a sturdy build, polyurethane leather accents, and large, oval ear cups.

These headphones have the best noise-canceling properties out of all the headphones I've tested on this list. Monoprice says the BT-600ANC can cancel up to 35dB of noise, which will eliminate noises like a running refrigerator, low whispers in close proximity, and distant traffic noises. For comparison, the Apple AirPods Max can reduce up to 26 dB of external noise, and the Sony WH-1000XM5 can reduce up to 30dB of external noise.

However. the Monoprice BT-600ANC do not have a companion app, so there's no way to tweak the headphones' EQ settings. Amazon customers consider the lack of a companion app the only downside to these headphones.

Review: Monoprice BT-600ANC

Pros & Cons
  • Comfortable
  • Punchy bass
  • Large, oval ear cups
  • No carrying case
  • Shallow ear cups
More Details

Anker Soundcore Space One tech specs: Weight: 9.3 oz. | Battery life: 55 hours (ANC off) | Bluetooth: Yes (5.3) | Multipoint: Yes

I recommend the Soundcore Space One headphones for anyone looking for a solid pair of headphones to take on their daily commute or on long traveling stretches. The Space One will best serve anyone who wants an affordable pair of headphones that don't skimp on the features, including adaptive noise cancellation.

When I tested the Soundcore Space One headphones, I found them to be a capable and comfortable pair of headphones for a low price -- and that include some software features that even their $400 peers lack. For the $100 price tag, these headphones sound great. With the right equipment, you can access high-resolution audio over a wired or wireless connection.

The Space One's build quality is well-made for their relatively low price. The plushy and thick headband and ear cup cushions also offer a great deal of comfort, and their relaxed fit is optimal for hours-long wear. Best Buy customers agree that the Space One are very comfortable, but their weak noise-canceling tech are a major drawback.

Unfortunately, you don't get a hardshell case to carry them in for storage and protection. Despite their comfort, the Space One sports shallow ear cups that can interfere with sound quality and can cause discomfort for some.

Review: Anker SoundCore Space One

Pros & Cons
  • Sleek design
  • Balanced sound
  • Long battery life
  • Lackluster companion app
  • Not great for voice calling
More Details

Edifier WH950NB tech specs: Weight: 10.4 oz. | Battery life: 55 hours (ANC off) | Bluetooth: Yes (5.3) | Multipoint: Yes

The Edifier WH950NB headphones will satisfy people looking for an alternative to Bose or Sony headphones. The WH950NB offer a sleek design, access to high-resolution audio, and effective noise cancellation.

The Edifier WH950NB headphones offer quality audio and a stylish design, with the materials comprising Oxford cloth, flannel, and hard plastic. You also receive a hardshell carrying case for safekeeping. When I tested the WH950NB headphones, I found they had a natural but full bass response. Amazon customers enjoy the sound quality, but warn these headphones are not for critical listening.

The WH950NB headphones deliver 55 hours of listening, Google Fast Pair, detailed EQ settings, multipoint connectivity, and access to Sony's LDAC Bluetooth codec. For $180, they're an affordable option for listeners seeking great sound quality and a pair of headphones that double as a statement piece in their everyday outfit.

The WH950NB's companion app, Edifier Connect, is more of a shopping experience than an app to personalize your headphones. 

Review: Edifier WH950NB

Pros & Cons
  • Lightweight
  • High-quality sound
  • Tight fit
  • No headphone jack
More Details

Sennheiser Accentum tech specs: Weight: 7.8 oz. | Battery life: 60+ hours (ANC off) | Bluetooth: Yes (5.2) | Multipoint: Yes

The Sennheiser Accentum are great headphones for budding audiophiles on a budget. They offer clear and detailed audio, and you don't need fancy equipment and access to other Bluetooth codecs for high-quality sound. However, if you're looking for strong noise-canceling abilities, these may not be for you since the ANC is weak. 

The Sennheiser Accentum are an affordable sibling to the company's flagship headphones, the Sennheiser Momentum 4, which we love for their clear, detailed, and vibrant sound. The Accentum's sound quality is definitely the headphones' major selling point, as their internal audio components are almost identical to the Momentum 4.

The Sennheiser Accentum headphones may be uncomfortable for people with larger heads and ears. Through my testing, I found that the headphones' small ear cups and tight fit weren't suitable for hours-long wear. Best Buy customers agree with me here; if these headphones are slightly uncomfortable to you at first, they'll become unbearable within a few hours.

Review: Sennheiser Accentum

Pros & Cons
  • Lightweight
  • Marathon battery
  • Cheap build quality
  • Weak ANC
More Details

Sony WH-CH720N tech specs: Weight: 6.7 oz. | Battery life: 50 hours (ANC off) | Bluetooth: Yes (5.2) | Multipoint: Yes

If you've always wanted a pair of Sony's flagship WH-1000 series headphones to experience Sony's signature sound and noise-canceling properties, you'll like the WH-CH720N. These headphones borrow some of the XM5's best audio and noise-canceling tech to offer a great listening experience for a lower price.

The WH-CH720N headphones are lightweight and comfortable. I wore them all day without any head, neck, or ear fatigue. Despite their small frame, these headphones have a bass-forward sound and deliver a warm and full audio experience. 

The WH-CH720N also feature Sony's DSEE technology that enhances the quality of compressed audio files, like the ones you listen to on Spotify or Apple Music. 

The WH-CH720N headphones have a plasticky build, so they do not feel like premium headphones. You're paying for what's inside the ear cups, not outside. Redditors say the build quality is the only major drawback about these headphones, but they do recognize that you have to cut costs down somwhere.

Review: Sony WH-CH720N

What are the best cheap headphones?

It can be easy to choose a pair of headphones solely because they fit into your budget. But it's important to consider a few factors before making a purchase. Sound is heavily subjective and varies from person to person, and you won't know how a pair of headphones sounds until you try them.

However, my top pick for the best cheap headphones are the Monoprice BT-600ANC for their full bass response, crisp sound, high-quality build, and impressive ANC. 

Consider your personal use cases and choose the headphones that best align with your lifestyle. The great thing about headphones is that they can last for many years, so once you find the pair that works best for you, you can hold onto them for a while.

Here's how all the headphones in this list measure up to each other.

HeadphonesPriceBluetooth versionBattery life
Monoprice BT-600ANC$1005.040 hours (ANC off)
Soundcore Space One$1005.355 hours (ANC off)
Edifier WH950NB$1805.355 hours (ANC off)
Sennheiser Accentum$1805.260+ hours (ANC off)
Sony WH-CH720N$1505.250 hours (ANC off)

Which are the best cheap headphones for you?

Even the best cheap headphones can all start to blend together after a while. To help you find the best headphones for your needs, consider these gentle suggestions. 

Choose these headphones...If you want...
Monoprice BT-600ANC Noise-canceling tech that can outperform the big names in the industry. For $100, the BT-600ANC cancel noise just as well as headphones that are much more expensive.
Soundcore Space One
Future-proof software features for a low price. The Space One offer all the best software features, some of which you won't find in headphones three to four times their price.
Edifier WH950NB
A stylish pair of affordable headphones. Usually, headphones in this category aren't as stylish as more expensive ones, but the WH950NB are an exception.
Sennheiser Accentum
Highly detailed and clear sound without needing extra Bluetooth codecs or fancy audio equipment. Although these headphones can access AptX codecs, you don't need them to get the most out of the Accentum's sound.
Sony WH-CH720N
The closest thing to Sony's flagship headphones for a quarter of the price. These headphones offer some of Sony's best technology, but you won't have to spend all your money on a pair.

Factors to consider when buying cheap headphones

I tested many over-ear headphones from popular and lesser-known brands. Aside from being less than $200, I considered other metrics to test a pair of cheap headphones, like sound, comfort, and use cases.

  • Price: Many popular headphones out there are expensive, carrying a $300+ price tag. However, through our extensive testing, we found plenty of headphones that perform well for $200 or less. 
  • Sound: Sound is a subjective metric, but there are internal audio components that affect sound quality, like driver size, diaphragm material, ear cup thickness, and ear cup material. These factors vary across the headphones in this list, but each pair delivers great sound that will satisfy both casual listeners and budding Hi-Fi enthusiasts.
  • Comfort: Comfort is another subjective metric, considering everyone has different ear and head shapes and sizes. If you have a larger head or ears, consider headphones with large, oval ear cups. If you have a smaller head or ears, consider headphones with smaller ear cups and a tighter headband. We tried our best to include a diverse selection of headphone sizes in this list to accommodate as many head and ear sizes as possible.
  • Use cases: Although most people want headphones to listen to music, you should also consider where you'll wear your headphones the most. If you spend most of your time wearing headphones in a quiet environment, you may not need strong noise canceling. If you plan to take your headphones on long traveling stretches or on your daily commute, you should consider headphones that offer effective noise-canceling properties. 

How I test cheap headphones

I spend lots of time wearing and testing headphones. Although the latest and greatest headphones bring hype and excitement, some people don't want to spend hundreds on headphones. To accommodate these people, I occasionally test headphones for less than $200 to test their efficacy in comparison to more expensive, mainstream consumer headphones.

To achieve this, I will wear affordable headphones in noisy and quiet environments to test their noise-canceling, wear them for hours on end to test their comfort, and try my hardest to drain their battery to see how long it lasts. In terms of sound, it's easy to tell when something sounds really bad. But good sound is highly subjective, and it's a metric you'll ultimately have to test for yourself.

Do all cheap headphones sound bad?

There are many affordable headphones out there that sound outright horrible. Their sound lacks bass, it sounds distant and tinny and overall gives a poor audio experience. But you shouldn't write off affordable headphones, you just need to know what you're looking for. There are plenty of cheaper headphones that have a robust, full, and enjoyable sound.

Still, you can't expect as much from cheaper headphones as you can from higher-end headphones. But you should invest in a well-built pair of affordable headphones so you can leave your expensive babies at home.

Is $200 a lot for headphones?

Everyone's headphone budget is different because everyone's headphone needs are different. Some people are audio professionals and choose to buy expensive headphones made for mixing and mastering music. Other people listen to music as a hobby and choose to invest in expensive headphones to achieve a higher-quality audio experience. To these people, spending thousands on headphones is worth it.

However, other people just want headphones to block out the world around them -- that's it. And this group of people likely don't want to spend as much on headphones, and that's okay. This list is for those people. There are other decent headphones out there for less than $100, but you're entering risky territory.

I used $200 as this list's price ceiling because headphones in this price range can have impressive internal audio components, durable build quality, and desirable software features.

Should I buy cheap headphones or expensive ones?

Although the headphones in this list perform well for their low price, headphone makers tend to skimp on the physical materials to give you access to higher-quality internal audio components. The only exception in this list are the Monoprice BT-600ANC, but their internal audio components are not as high quality as the affordable headphones from Sennheiser or Sony.

Usually, more expensive headphones are made of materials like leather, cloth, aluminum, or lambskin to keep the headband from breaking and the ear cups from peeling and cracking. Many of the headphones in this list use materials like plastic and synthetic leather, which won't last as long.

By wiping down your ear cups, storing your headphones in a case or dust bag, and keeping your headphones from bending in unnatural positions, you can make your cheap headphones last a few more years.

Are there alternative best cheap headphones worth considering?

These are not the only options available for you. If you're looking for headphones that are slightly more expensive or higher quality than these, here are some options in the $250 to $350 range.

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