REFERENCE LIST: All my headphones and earphones under 200 dollar

Micro reviews of all IEM's and headphones I've tested

Bart Breij
Jan 29 · 15 min read
Some of the 4 and 5 star headphones and earphones

If you're following me on Medium, you've seen me test and review different affordable audio in different categories, such as earphones, truly wireless earbuds and (Bluetooth) headphones. In this complete list, I'd like to show you how I rate ALL of my tested budget headphones and earphones.

I wrote this list as my reference list for my earphones and headphones collection. I'll keep it updated as I buy and research more budget audio.

  • Current: 135 items tested and reviewed
  • Last update: June 21, 2019

I've separated my collection into five ratings. Please take note: price is always taken into consideration!

  • ***** FIVE Stars: Excellent. Always one of the best choices you can make, for their price and in general, incredible value for money
  • **** FOUR Stars: Recommended. Great products — recommended for their price and in general
  • *** THREE Stars: Worth it. Worth your consideration; good for their price
  • ** TWO Stars: Disappointing. May please some people, but probably not us, looking for great audio quality for great prices
  • * ONE Star: Trash. Please avoid and look further

To keep this list, well… a list, I'm not going into too much detail on each item. I'll give the top tiers some more attention and love than mid and low scoring audio. If you have any questions regarding which item whatsoever, please ask me.

Search fast in this list, for Bluetooth, earphone or a brand name? Use ctrl+f (Windows) or cmd+f (Mac)

Alright — here we go. This is my reference list on all my headphones and earphones under 200 dollar I've tested and rated:


FIVE STARS: Excellent

Always one of the best choices you can make, for their price and in general, incredible value for money

  • OKCSC ZX1 ($75): Looks like a monster, sounds phenomenal. This open back headphone has an incredibly textured bass, amazing detail and astonishing soundstage and instrument placement. The tonality of vocals and instruments is bright but crazy lifelike. This should be illegal for this amount of money. (Read more)(Buy on AliExpress)
  • Tranya T3 ($50): The most detailed sounding true wireless earphone under 100 dollar — with a deep, rumbling bass, clear mids and vocals, impressive instrument placement and a sparkling sense of spaciousness; powered up by great battery life and a powerful charger. (Read more) (Amazon US)(Amazon EU)
  • RevoNext QT2s ($45): Proper bassy, full and with mids and highs that ooze with detail; this earphone is engaging and uplifting. The QT2s delivers a better, more flexible cable than its predecessor QT2. (Buy on AliExpress)
  • OneAudio DJ Studio Wireless/ OneAudio A2 ($35): The most well rounded cheap Bluetooth headphone I have the pleasure to own. Sounds crisp, clear and balanced for every music genre; blocks outside noise with noise cancelling-like quality and even comes with a detachable gaming mic. (Read more)(Buy on AliExpress)
  • OneOdio Elysium ($25): Confusingly written OneOdio here, this is THE affordable Bluetooth on-ear headphone for bass lovers. Turn up the highs in an equalizer, and the Elysium delivers enjoyable vocals and instruments added to the fast-pacing, uplifting bass. Sounds fuller and more engaging than all Beats, Sony's, House of Marley's, Fresh 'n Rebels, Philips and JBL's up to 150 dollar. (Read more)(Buy on AliExpress)
  • QCY QS1/ QCY QS2 ($20-$25): This set of true wireless earbuds sounds detailed, clear and smooth; well suited for all music styles. Also available as the QCY QS2, with a bigger charging case that holds battery life even longer. Unbeaten value. (Read more)(Buy QS1 on AliExpress)(Buy QS2 on AliExpress)(Buy on Amazon)
  • Koss KSC75 ($20): These clip on-ear open back headphones are just as amazing as they were in 2004. Airy, warm, clear and perfectly tuned. Entry level audiophile-qualities for everyone. (Buy on Amazon)
  • Senfer DT6 ($25): This earphone has amazing soundstage and detail, delivering a nice combination of bass, a warm and bright sound without ever becoming tiresome. (Buy on AliExpress)
  • KZ ATE ($10): Warm, smooth and entertaining: it doesn't have to cost more than 10 dollar to discover and enjoy new details in the music you've listened to for years. A friend to all, especially those who don't need tons of treble. (Read more)(Buy on AliExpress)

FOUR STARS: Recommended

Great products — recommended for their price and in general

  • Sennheiser HD58X Jubilee ($150): This open back Sennheiser sounds on the darker side of neutral. It delivers great vocal nuances, a warm bass and it has a great build quality. The soundstage is somewhat small. Ideal for long non-fatiguing listening sessions. (Buy on Massdrop)
  • Philips SHP9500 ($80): A detailed, balanced sounding open back headphone, very well suited for music and Netflix (Buy on AliExpress)
  • Bosshifi B8 ($70): Full, open and quite natural sounding closed back headphones with a bit of boosted bass (Buy on AliExpress)
  • 1more E1026BT Stylish TWS ($65): The most balanced, yet fairly warm and detailed sounding true wireless earphones to get for this price. (Read more)(Buy on AliExpress)
  • Mifo O5 ($65): This true wireless earphones looks classy, has a great battery life and a relaxed sound tuning, to give you entire workdays of easy listening (Read more)(Buy on AliExpress)
  • Sabbat E12 ($60): The sound on these true wireless earphones depends heavily on which of the 7 predeliverd ear tips you choose. In the best scenario, it offers a sweet supportive bass with great soundstage and highs. (Read more)(AliExpress)
  • Creativa Arvana Live! Series I ($60): This plastic wired headphone delivers an addictive, warm, soothing sound you’ll love listening to for hours. (Buy on Amazon)
  • OKCSC M2 ($60): The same sensational sound as the five star OKCSC ZX1, with better looks, but also more pressure on your head. (Buy on AliExpress)
  • TaoTronics TT-BH047 ($50): Great affordable active noise cancelling headphones that combine a smooth sound with comfort and above average noise cancellation (Amazon US)(Amazon EU)
  • August EP650 ($50): Workfloor heroes: this warm sounding Bluetooth headphone blocks outside noise tremendously (Read more)(Buy on Amazon)
  • Tin Audio T2 ($45): Great tonality, clarity and detail — this earphone can be worn two ways; sounds even better with an amp (Buy on AliExpress)
  • Edifier W800BT ($40): Balanced and non-fatiguing sound and near 40 hours of battery life! A pleasure to work with (Buy on Amazon)
  • Superlux HD688b ($40): Balanced and clean; these open back headphones are good for music and great for movies (Buy on Amazon)
  • Moondrop Crescent ($30): The most balanced, neutral sounding wired earphone on a budget. Maybe too ‘dry’ for some, but great nonetheless. (AliExpress)
  • OKCSC M6 ($25): An amazingly detailed sounding open back headphone for the money, with even better tonality than the Koss KSC75! Unfortunately the build quality is tacky. (Buy on AliExpress)
  • OneOdio DJ Studio Pro ($25): With its ultra thick pads, the wired version of the OneOdio DJ Studio headphone is hugely comfortable and more bassy, but also less balanced than its five star wireless sibling. (Buy on AliExpress)
  • TRN V80 (€25): Bright and detailed earphones, with an addictive supportive bass (Buy on AliExpress)
  • KZ ZSN ($20): Earphone manufacturer KZ hit the jackpot with this one. The ZSN sounds crystal clear and hugely detailed, has an amazing soundstage, misses a bit of bass slam. (Read more)(Buy on AliExpress)
  • KZ ZSR ($20): Thumping, detailed and allround: these earphones deliver a party on your head (Read more)(Buy on AliExpress)
  • Anomoibuds Capsule ($20): Fun and engaging sounding truly wireless earphones, that sync with video on Android and iPhone, for an amazing price (Read more)(Buy on AliExpress)
  • Tiso i4 ($20): Bass lovers rejoice; this set of ultra affordable true wireless earphones is for you (Buy on AliExpress)
  • Haylou GT1 ($20): Bass-boosted, fairly balanced sounding true wireless earphones in a lovely small charging case (Buy on AliExpress)
  • QianYun Qian69 ($10): Classic flat earbuds with an impressively airy, detailed, yet smooth warm sound. (Buy on AliExpress)
  • QianYun Qian39 ($5): Classic flat earbuds with an addictive bass, high volume, warmth and great instrument placement (Buy on AliExpress)
  • QianYun Qian25 ($5): Convincing vocals, bass, warmth and a fair amount of detail on the cheapest of Qian's classic flat earbuds. (Buy on AliExpress)

THREE STARS: Worth it

Worth your consideration; good for their price

  • Bose QuietComfort QC25 ($180): Non-fatiguing, friendly tuned headphones with great noise cancelling —did you know you can make it wireless for $30 without losing sound quality? (Amazon)
  • Urbanista New York ($170): Bass monster Bluetooth headphones with versatility and cool clean looks; average noise cancelling (Amazon)
  • Sony WH-CH700N ($150): Sub par noise cancelling, but these Bluetooth headphones compensate with engaging sound with an above average soundstage (Amazon)
  • Sony XB950N1 ($130): If you only care for bass and not how weird broad it looks on your head, these noise cancelling headphones may well suit you (Amazon)
  • 1more Triple Driver ($70): Natural sounding earphones with a boosted bass — great when they were first released, now passed by competitors (Buy on AliExpress)
  • TaoTronics TT-BH060/ Boltune 5.0 ($65): The strongest noise cancelling on any headphone below 75 dollar. Sound quality is less impressive, comfort is great. (Amazon US)(Amazon EU)
  • Domax M1/ Teeline M1 ($65): Super comfortable active noise cancelling headphones, even for bigger ears. Decent noise cancellation and a smooth warm sound. (Amazon US)(Amazon EU)
  • ISK MDH9000 ($60): A tank for the workspace. This wired headphone is really sturdy, comfortable to wear for hours and has a smooth bassy sound. (Buy on AliExpress)
  • Fitfort L2/ Hiearcool L2 ($55): Decent active noise cancelling on these headphones with great comfort and looks and comprehensive warm sound — the Bluetooth connection isn't steady enough for on the move-use. (Amazon US)(Amazon EU)
  • Mpow H5 ($55): Don’t buy these over-ear headphones for their active noise cancelling, because it’s weak. They deliver a fun and engaging sound though. (Amazon US)(Amazon EU)
  • ZhiYin Z500 ($50): Bass monster earphones need double flange tips to give you a true stadium-vibe (AliExpress)
  • Artiste DC1 ($50): Not the most detailed, but fun sounding earphones with a thump (AliExpress)
  • Overdrive Lucid Cube ($50): Should you pay double for this OneOdio Elysium with different, smelly earpads and a sound that is even more bassy? No, you probably shouldn't. (AliExpress)
  • Sennheiser HD201 ($45): Plastic-y and uncomfortable — however, this sound leaking Sennheiser headphone sounds really clear when amped (Amazon)
  • OneAudio A3 ($45): Comfortable, lightweight active noise cancelling headphones, countering surrounding sounds with white noise and decent, if a little short of engaging, sound (AliExpress)
  • Zero Audio Carbo Tenore ($40): These earphones lack all the bass in the world, however soundstage and instrument separation are top level (Amazon)
  • Edifier HD840 ($40): The friendly sound signature of a Bose QuietComfort, on wired headphones way cheaper (Amazon)
  • Ausdom M05 ($40): Much hyped on release; this Bluetooth headphone sounds balanced with a boosted bass, although a bit closed in (Amazon)
  • TRN IM1 ($40): Clear vocals and instruments, good sub bass; these earphones are maybe lacking in warmth (AliExpress)
  • Sabbat X12 Pro ($40): Truly wireless earbuds in various designs, lacking a bit of bass, but with good battery life and crystal clear sound, even in phone calls (Buy on AliExpress)
  • Mpow T6 ($40): Bassy and airy sounding truly wireless earphones that go way deep in your ear canal — something you may or may not like. (AliExpress)
  • Tronsmart Encore Spunky Buds ($40): Truly wireless earphones ideal for sporting thanks to their earhooks and dominant and pumping bass. Not too detailed sounding. (AliExpress)
  • Cowin KY02 ($35): Comfortable true wireless earphones that are surpassed on sound quality, controls and audio latency by many competitors. Vocals sound a bit canned (AliExpress)
  • QCY J1 ($25): Have a lot of hair? Good. This balanced and spacious sounding Bluetooth headphone may actually be comfortable then (AliExpress)
  • Yersen FEN-2000 ($25): Meticulous instrument placement, yet these earphones are sometimes piercing bright (AliExpress)
  • Alwup UPC630 ($25): No allrounder. Crystal clear and razor sharp, these earphones are great for classical music (AliExpress)
  • Tennmak Pro ($25): These earphones deliver a nice soundstage and bass (AliExpress)
  • Bluedio TM ($20): Incredibly sturdy and good looking budget Bluetooth headphones with 20+ hours of battery. Sounds balanced but a bit tinny (Read more)(AliExpress)
  • Xiaomi Redmi Airdots ($20): True wireless earphones with a clear sound and great video synchronisation even on iPhone, if a little short on bass and detail (AliExpress)
  • KZ ED16 ($20): These unbalanced bright earphones deliver a great stage-like sound (AliExpress)
  • KZ ZS5 ($20): Still good in vocals, bass and highs, now surpassed by other KZ earphones with more detail and tighter bass (AliExpress)
  • KZ ZST ($15): Thumping bass (with the right fit, which isn't really easy on this one) and sparkling highs on these earphones (AliExpress)
  • QCY QY8 ($15): Balanced and versatile sounding Bluetooth sports earphones (AliExpress)
  • KZ ES4 ($15): Bass monster earphones with still plenty of detail in instruments and vocals (AliExpress)
  • Nicehck EP10 ($15): Repressed male vocals, but otherwise an engaging bassy earphone (AliExpress)
  • CCA C04 ($15): Blunt and bassy; great for Beats lovers — like a KZ ES4 without the highs (AliExpress)
  • KZ ZSA ($15): Small and bed proof earphones; a less outspoken and more serious KZ (AliExpress)
  • Bluedio TE ($15): Fun, bassy sounding Bluetooth earphones for sports (AliExpress)
  • VJJB K4S ($15): Fun thing: these bass heavy earphones come with different tips and explanation for experimenting (AliExpress)
  • GGMM C700 ($15): Made from steel and to be worn cable down: comfortable earphones (AliExpress)
  • TRN V20 ($15): A bit narrow in sound; these earphones still deliver great bass, detail and vocals for the price (AliExpress)
  • Ausdom TW01 ($15): True wireless earphones that offer value for money, yet do nothing better than better 20 dollar offerings (AliExpress)
  • EZaudio D4 ($10): Great for the money — if you have eartips to press over the bass vent of these earphones. Otherwise a bit skinny sounding (AliExpress)
  • Einsear T2 ($10): Full, fairly detailed but also a bit ‘crowded’ sounding earphones (AliExpress)
  • Rock Zircon ($10): Don’t care about soundstage? Consider these uplifting bass blasters for your next earphone (AliExpress)
  • DIY IE800 Swing ($10): Very bright and very bassy earphones… and little in between. Surprisingly good for hiphop (AliExpress)
  • Generic Bluetooth headphone CHS02 ($10): Looks like a toy, uncomfortable too, but these Bluetooth headphones sounds quite balanced and fun (AliExpress)
  • Generic headphone model ‘Pulsar’ ($10): The wired version is quite okay too
  • TRN H1 ($10): Comfortable earphones to wear even under helmets or in bed, delivering even a warm and airy sound. (AliExpress)
  • RY4S ($10): Clear sounding classic flat earbuds, aiming for a warm-neutral sound, lacking a bit of bass oomph (AliExpress)
  • Fengru EMX500 ($10): These classic flat earbuds which can sound a little harsh in the highs, but offer incredible instrument placement (AliExpress)
  • Remax RM-303 ($10): Classic flat earbuds with an intriguing cold sound signature, offering detail and good instrument placement (AliExpress)
  • UiiSii HM7 ($5): For you or the kids —these earphones have a smooth sound nobody will oppose (Read more)(AliExpress)
  • KZ EDR1 ($5): These ultra cheap earphones still deliver a surprising amount of detail (AliExpress)
  • KZ ATR ($5): The ‘tighter’ version of the ATE earphones isn't bad, it just misses its spark (AliExpress)
  • KZ ZS3 ($5): Thick bass makes an engaging sound; good earphones for bassheads on an extreme budget (AliExpress)

TWO STARS: Disappointing

May please some people, but probably not us, looking for great audio quality for a great price

  • Bowers & Wilkins P5 Series II ($200): Wired or wireless; these on-ear headphones look and feel phenomenal; but sound tinny with a lack of detail
  • Apple AirPods ($150): Yes, these truly wireless earbuds made for iPhones are practical. They also sound tonally off, with emphasis on weird frequencies and lack detail — have you seen the QCY QS1 yet?
  • JLB E65BTNC ($130): Best noise cancelling on over-ear headphones under $150, held back by tinny and boring sound
  • Fresh ‘n Rebel Clam ANC ($130): Amazing looking and build; these Bluetooth headphones have average noise cancelling and are too bass heavy
  • JBL E50 BT ($60): Harsh highs and a muffled bass on this Bluetooth headphone, with congested mids in between
  • Nicehck P3 ($50): These gem-like looking earphones don’t offer the detail or spark expected for this price
  • Xiaomi AirDots ($50): Clear, vocal-centered truly wireless earbuds, ruined by questionable touch controls and pairing. They're stylish though (Read more)
  • Bluedio T7 ($50): Active noise cancelling headphones with two settings of noise cancellation — neither which works good. Sound quality is a bit tinny but rather good… unless there's any noise cancelling involved.
  • Bluedio T6 ($45): Noise cancelling Bluetooth headphones for a great price; with average noise cancellation and a warm sound with tinny mids.
  • Whizzer TP1 ($45): True wireless earphones with a giant, premium looking AirPods-like design, but terrible connectivity between the two earpieces and a dull, flat sound.
  • SoundMagic E10 ($40): WhatHifi’s years long winner of budget earphones lacks detail and depth — buy a $5 UiiSii HM7 and save your money
  • KZ ZS10 ($40): KZ earphones with a big soundstage, but also a weird treble peak making music sound artificial — or even unlistenable
  • BGVP DS1 ($40): These earphones look good, but have repressed and congested mid tones: rock and male vocals sound bad
  • Apple Earpods ($25): The actual reason why you should browse this list. Not entirely bad for 25 dollar, but with accents on strange frequencies and an artificial, boosted sound.
  • Tiandirenhe TD08 ($20): These earphones sound real engaging in instrumental pieces; but are horrible for vocals: what’s up with this tuning?
  • UiiSii CM5 ($20): Smooth and soundstage-y, these earphones unfortunately lack punch and versatility
  • Nisheng 3D TWS ($15): Completely generic branded earphones with a fair if a bit congested sound on high volumes, yet completely muddy sound on lower volumes.
  • DZAT DF-10 ($15): Wood earphones — nice! Unfortunately with a wonky cable and an excessive amount of bass
  • 1more Piston ($15): Loved in India, these clean sounding earphones are also boring sounding — without bass and detail
  • Mitone MITHP302 ($15): This airport impulse buy may not even disappoint you. This headphone is tempered by distant vocals though
  • Baseus D01 ($15): Sounds muddy yet pleasantly warm. All is ruined by terrible comfort on this Bluetooth headphone
  • QCY QY50 ($15): Hard plastic pressing tight on your head? A warm yet congested sound? Not an ideal Bluetooth headphone
  • Superlux HD381 ($15): Looks like something from the 80ies, sounds full of ambiance but very colouring — and thus genre specific
  • Sony MH1c ($15): A favourite earphone of a certain audio YouTuber; but while the sound is balanced, full and well rounded, the cable, buttons and connectivity on this one are absolutely horrible
  • Sony MDR-EX15LP ($10): Way better cable than the MH1c; the balanced sound of the MH1c is now destroyed by tinny vocals
  • MEMT X5 ($10): The flatter and more boring sister of the Rock Zircon earphone
  • Awei 920BL ($10): It’s bass only on this Bluetooth sports earphone with handy magnetic earpieces
  • Awei T11 ($10): It’s bass only on this Bluetooth sports earphone with handy magnetic earpieces — with just a slightly different design
  • Yincrow X6 ($10): Classic flat earbuds that sound a bit flatter than its competitors, with near-harsh highs and underrepresented bass.
  • OneAudio Earhook In-Ear ($5): Full, quite okay sounding earphones with deep tips — unfortunately, they don’t come with them…
  • VE Monk Plus ($5): Above average soundstage on this earbuds; below average clarity and shabby build quality
  • QKZ DM1 ($5): You want cheap gold looks and a thumpy bass on your earphone? Here you go
  • Nisheng 3D ($3): These earbuds come with an Earpods-like earpiece, and sound like Apple Earpods without the boost. Also without any excitement
  • Shini SN-Q140 ($2): Two dollars gets you warm, sweet sound - really! Well, when you press these on-ear headphone clips firmly to your ear, that is…

ONE STAR: Trash

Please avoid and look further

  • Rose North Forest ($25): These earphones are unbalanced, shouty and have a horribly build quality — avoid
  • Bluedio T-Elf ($20): True wireless earphones that sound quite good, but keep reconnecting when being charged. Absolutely unusable.
  • DFOI Airbuds ($20): These true wireless earphones have a bass that is so overwhelming, that it pushes away all other frequencies.
  • JT-T2C ($15): It's not that these sporty true wireless earphones sound totally bad — it's that they can't connect and pair properly all the time.
  • TRN V60 ($15): Oops — TRN forgot to tune their second earphone
  • Dodocool T01 ($15): Sony WH-CH900N knockoff Bluetooth headphones without the noise cancelling; has weird frequency peaks and dips
  • Salar S11 ($15): The shape is so bad, you can’t get the most out of the okay sound on this Bluetooth headphones
  • QKZ DM9 ($5): Boomy bass earphones
  • Xiaomi Piston Fresh Edition ($5): These hot cakes-selling earphones sound downright muddy
  • Philips Bubbles ($5): These coloured blurbs of earbuds at least come with an audiojack splitter. That's nice
  • Generic Bluetooth sport earphone ($5–10): This Bluetooth sports model earphone you see everywhere, with all brand names on it? Avoid like hell — it hurts your ear and your hearing

Last update: June 21, 2019
-
Added: Tranya T3 (*****), 1more E1026 Stylish TWS (****), Mifo O5 (****), Haylou GT1 (****), TaoTronics TT-BH047 (****), QianYun Qian69 (****), QianYun Qian39 (****), QianYun Qian25 (****), Sabbat E12 (***), Cowin KY02 (***), Ausdom TW01 (***) TaoTronics TT-BH060 (***), Domax M1/ Teeline M1 (***), Fitfort L2/ Hiearcool L2 (***), Fengru EMX500 (***), RY4S (***), Remax RM-303 (***), Bluedio T7 (**), Whizzer TP1 (**), Yincrow X6 (**), Bluedio T-Elf (*), DFOI AirBuds (*), JT-T2C (*)
-
Reconsidered: Sennheiser HD58X (***** → ****), Moondrop Crescent (*** → ****), RevoNext QT2s (**** → *****), KZ ZSN (***** → ****)


Disclaimer: affiliate links

Planning to buy one of the headphones or earphones listed? Please consider doing it via my buying links. These are affiliate links from AliExpress or Amazon, from which I'll gain a little percentage of the price. I only put links on products I truly recommend. Buying a product via such a link won’t cost you extra, yet it will support me a bit in my research on affordable audio. ❤

I’d also love to hear from you what you’ve chosen. Please share in the comments!

Other articles I've written:

Bart Breij

Written by

Always on the hunt for the best budget audio, mainly from China. Visit my profile to see other articles.

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