Headphones can be a great addition to your home theater, whether you're looking to simplify your setup or if you want to enjoy movies and TV shows without disturbing those around you. Unlike many headphones designed for casual use, dedicated TV headphones tend to offer audio settings like surround sound and bass control to help you get the most out of your content. They also usually have wireless designs to eliminate audio cables running from the couch to your TV. While Bluetooth wireless headphones can have high audio lag, which can cause your audio and visuals to fall out of sync with one another, many dedicated TV headphones use specialized docks and transmitters to ensure low latency and reduce annoying lip-sync issues.
We've tested over 630 pairs of headphones, and below, you'll find our recommendations for the best TV headphones. See our recommendations for the best wireless gaming headsets, the best audiophile headphones, and the best wired headphones.
The best wireless headphones for TV we've tested are the Astro A50 Gen 4 Wireless 2019. While they have a gamer-centric look, their base station ensures a low latency connection, so your audio and visuals stay in sync. They also have over 17 hours of continuous battery life, and they're equipped with an auto-off timer to help conserve battery life when you're not using them.
These well-built and comfortable headphones have a well-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box, making them well-suited for most kinds of audio content. That said, if you prefer a different sound, you can use their companion software to create custom EQ presets that you can then select using their onboard EQ preset cycling button. Their passive soundstage is quite alright, so your audio sounds open and natural, although it still seems like it's coming from inside your head rather than from speakers placed in the room around you.
Unfortunately, the boom mic isn't detachable, and they have a bulky design. They struggle to block out background noise, which could be frustrating if you watch TV in a noisy environment. However, if you're looking for comfortable wireless headphones and don't mind their gaming design, they're a solid choice.
The best home theater headphones specifically designed for this purpose that we've tested are the Sennheiser RS 175 RF Wireless. They have a specialized receiver dock that directly plugs into most TVs and lets you use them wirelessly with low audio latency. They're decently well-built and comfortable enough for binge-watching a couple of episodes at a time.
Thanks to their efficient control scheme located on the ear cups, you don't have to get up from the couch to adjust the volume or activate features like additional bass or surround sound. Although some users may find their sound profile is a bit bass-heavy by default, it doesn't completely overwhelm dialogue. Their extra thump and boom can also help make sound effects in action sequences seem a bit more immersive. Their continuous battery life is around 24 hours too, and they use rechargeable AAA batteries.
Unfortunately, their build quality is just satisfactory as the plastic elements used in their design feel low-grade and a bit cheap. They're also prone to inconsistent audio delivery, and you may especially notice a drop in bass if you wear glasses or have thick hair. That said, they're specifically designed for watching TV as they offer a low-latency experience and can be easily adjusted on the fly.
The best Bluetooth headphones for TV that we've tested are the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 Wireless 2016. While Bluetooth headphones often have high audio lag, these support the aptX-LL codec, which allows them to provide a low latency connection suitable for watching TV or movies. You need a Bluetooth adapter or transmitter that supports the codec to take advantage of it, however.
They have a comfortable, fairly breathable fit, with well-padded earcups. Their battery provides more than 30 hours of continuous playback, so they can last you through a few binge-watching sessions without running out of power, and in a pinch, you can use them passively. Their sound profile is well-balanced, with some extra low bass that adds thump and rumble to music and sound effects.
Unfortunately, while they have an ANC feature, it struggles to block out bass-range noises like the rumble of bus and plane engines, so they aren't ideal for isolating you from distractions during your commute. That said, if you're looking for headphones for watching TV and like the freedom of a wireless design, these are a solid choice.
If you like to customize your headphones' sound to your preferences, consider the Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless. While they leak more audio at high volumes than the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 Wireless 2016 and their continuous battery life doesn't last as long, they have a more robust companion app that offers a parametric EQ and presets to help customize their punchy, boomy sound to your liking. They also support aptX-LL codec, which offers a low-latency audio experience suitable for watching movies or TV. Although their latency is higher than the Plantronics, it still falls within good levels, so you shouldn't notice a delay when watching videos. These over-ears have a comfortable fit and very well-built design, which is great if you like to binge-watch your favorite shows. Their active noise cancelling (ANC) system can block out a good amount of ambient noise like traffic outside your window.
Go for the Plantronics if you're looking for headphones with a longer continuous playback time. However, if you like to tweak the way your headphones sound, try the Sennheiser instead.
The best headphones for watching TV under $100 that we've tested is the Logitech G433 Gaming Headset. These over-ear headphones designed for gaming have a wired design, ensuring that you can enjoy a movie or TV show with virtually no latency. They have a comfortable, reasonably breathable fit that shouldn't cause much fatigue, even if you wear them for long periods.
Their default sound profile is neutral, with a very accurate mid-range response that ensures voices are present and clear. If you prefer a different sound, you can customize them with an EQ and presets in the G HUB companion software. This software also gives you access to virtual surround sound features, although we don't test them currently. The 6.5-foot audio cable is long enough that you don't need to sit right next to the TV, and it's detachable, so you can replace it if it gets damaged.
Unfortunately, they aren't ideal for use outside a fairly quiet room since they do a poor job isolating you from ambient sound. They also leak a lot of audio, so you might bother people nearby if you use them with the volume cranked up. That said, their comfortable, wired design makes them a good choice for watching TV, and they offer quite a few customization features for a budget-friendly price.
If you prefer headphones with an open-back fit, try the Philips SHP9500. While they leak more audio than the Logitech G433 Gaming Headset and don't block out any background noise, they can create a more spacious and open passive soundstage, which can help immerse you in your audio. These headphones have a fairly neutral sound profile that can reproduce dialogue and instruments clearly and accurately. Although they lack a bit of thumpy low-bass, they have a small bump of extra boom to help emphasize sound effects. They also have a very comfortable fit that doesn't feel too heavy on your head, and they feel decently well-built.
Check out the Logitech if you want closed-back headphones that leak less audio and can be customized via an EQ and presets. However, if you want a more spacious passive soundstage that open-back headphones can create, consider the Philips instead.
Oct 22, 2021: Replaced the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless with the Astro A50 Gen 4 Wireless 2019 as the Astro have lower non-Bluetooth latency and are more comfortable.
Aug 24, 2021: Checked that picks still represent the best recommendations and that the products are in stock.
Jun 25, 2021: Added the Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless as the 'More Customizable Alternative' since they have low latency using aptX-LL codec.
Apr 27, 2021: Checked the availability of recommended products and updated the text. No changes to product picks.
Feb 26, 2021: We've verified updated the text as well as checked for product availability. There has been no change in our picks.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best headphones for movies and TV for most people to buy. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here are all our headphone reviews, sorted by their latency with aptX-LL. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones for watching movies or TV shows. Personal taste, media content, home environment, and listening habits will matter more in your selection, especially if you have a lively home or wish not to disturb anyone around you with leakage.