If you want to immerse yourself in your favorite movie or TV show, your home theater headphones should be comfortable to wear for hours and have the lowest possible latency. They should also have enough range so that you can comfortably sit on your couch while still enjoying a lag-less viewing experience. Sound quality, isolation, and leakage are also important based on the content you’re going to be watching and your home environment.
So far, we've reviewed 166 headsets and below are our recommendations for the best home theater headphones of 2018.
Best TV Headphones: SteelSeries Arctis 7
TV Headphones in this price range have the lowest latency for watching movies and videos. They’re well-built, comfortable and have a good range. They also have a good audio reproduction that is suitable for watching movies and listening to music or podcasts.
Of the 166 headsets we've reviewed, the SteelSeries Arctis 7 are the best TV headphones. The features that make them great for gaming also make it the best home theater headphones. They have a low latency wireless connection that's optimized for watching video content and gaming. They're also comfortable with breathable earcup pads so you can wear them for hours and not feel any fatigue.
Their dongle has a couple connection options including a line in so that you can use a regular audio jack plugged into your TV or speakers. However, they do not have an optical input or a dock which makes the Astro A50 a bit more convenient for home theater use but the Arctis 7 are a lot cheaper for a similar if not better performance.
Easier-to-use Alternative: Sennheiser RS 165
If you want a more typical home theater headphone that you will strictly use for watching movies, then consider the Sennheiser RS 165. They're a lot easier to use than some of the gaming headphones on this list and come with a dedicated RF transmitter stand.
This gives them a couple of advantages over Bluetooth headphones as they immediately connect with their stand without requiring a pairing procedure. Plus, the stand acts like a charging dock which lets you have a dedicated spot to rest your headphones when they're not in use. They also have low latency that's better suited for watching videos, although the SteelSeries Arctis 7 and Astro A50 perform better in that aspect. However, they're a bit more complicated to use than the RS 165 and may require some setup with your PC.
Best Mid-Range TV Headphones: Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2
Mid-Range TV headphones perform similarly to the higher tier TV headphones but do not have the same comfort level or build quality. They typically have a bit more latency and do not offer as many connection options as the more expensive models but should still be comfortable and practical enough for watching long movies.
If you're looking for a more versatile pair of headphones that you can also use outdoors with your phone, then the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 are your best option. They're practical and sturdy Bluetooth headphones that perform well for most use cases. They deliver an exciting bass-rich sound that's good for movies and music and they have an excellent wireless range.
Unfortunately, they require a Bluetooth dongle or transmitter that supports aptx-LL for watching movies, since their base latency is relatively high. You could also consider the Turtle Beach Elite 800 as they are Bluetooth and come with a dedicated dock with a low latency connection but, unfortunately, they do not sound as good.
Best Budget TV Headphones: Philips SHP9500
Budget TV headphones are typically wired since there are very few RF or low latency wireless headphones at this price range. They should still be comfortable to wear for long periods of time and have a good enough sound so that movies and music are accurately reproduced.
The Philips SHP9500 are the best budget TV headphones we've tested. They are one of the best sounding budget headphones and they're comfortable enough to wear for hours. They have a well balanced, open sound that caters well to music and movies. They also have zero latency since they're wired. Unfortunately, this means that unless you have "1/8" or "1/4" TRS extension cord or sit relatively close to your TV, the SHP9500 may be slightly limiting.
- Bose QuietComfort 25. Wired and comfortable noise canceling headphones. A bit too expensive for what they offer. See our review
- Logitech G930. The best alternative to the Sennheiser RS 165 if you have a home theater setup compatible with the USB transmitter. See our review
- Oppo PM-3. Great wired sound quality and a long cable is included in the box. A bit too expensive for this use case. See our review
- Sennheiser HD 700. A good critical listening headphone with a long, low latency wired connection for watching movies. Not as convenient as the wireless designs. See our review
- Jaybird X2. Versatile Bluetooth headphones. Strickly Bluetooth design can be limiting for this use case. Relatively high latency. See our review
- Polk Audio UltraFocus 8000. Great, wired sound quality with a rich and deep bass that's good for action movies. Limited range due to a wired connection. See our review
- Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. Excellent and well-balanced sound quality. Multiple cables included in the box. Limited range due to the wired connection. See our review
- Plantronics Backbeat Pro. The previous iteration of the Plantronics Backbeat lineup. Versatile headphones for most use cases. Requires aptX/aptX-LL enabled Bluetooth transmitter for the best viewing experience. See our review
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best home theater headphones to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (a cheaper headphone wins over a pricier one 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 is the list of all our reviews for headphones that are good for Home Theater use. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones for watching movies. Personal taste, media content, home environment, and listening habits will matter more in your selection, especially if you have a lively home or wish to not disturb anyone around you with leakage.