The 5 Best TV Headphones
- Store-bought headphones; no cherry-picked units
- Retest after major updates
- Easily comparable results
- No ads; unbiased reviews
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 184 headsets and below are our recommendations for the best home theater headphones of 2018.
Best Budget TV Headphones: Logitech G433
The Logitech G433 are the best budget TV headphones that we've tested so far. They have a surprisingly well-balanced sound that's on par with much more expensive headphones, and they're wired, so they have practically no latency when watching videos.
They also have a casual design that you can take outdoors, and since they are primarily gaming headphones, they're also a great option for watching movies on your consoles if you plug them into your controller. Unfortunately, the provided audio cables are fairly short, so they won't have the convenient range of most home theater headphones. You may need an extension cord if you want to use them with your home theater setup.
Open-Back Alternative: Philips SHP9500
If you do not mind using wired headphones with your home theater setup, then the Philips SHP9500 are a good option. They have an open sound that's more immersive than the Logitech G433. They are also one of the best sounding budget headphones that we've tested, and they're comfortable to wear for hours.
They have a decent build quality, a well-balanced sound that caters well to both music and movies and they have zero latency since they're wired. Unfortunately, this also 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.
Best TV Headphones: SteelSeries Arctis 7
Of the 184 headsets we've reviewed, the SteelSeries Arctis 7 are the best TV headphones. The features that make them great for gaming also make them great for watching movies. They have a low latency wireless connection, a sturdy build quality and they're comfortable and breathable enough to wear for hours and not feel any fatigue.
Their dongle has a couple of 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 dock charging which makes the Astro A50 a bit more convenient, but the Arctis 7 are a lot cheaper for a similar if not better overall performance.
Easier-to-use Alternative: Sennheiser RS 185
If you want a more typical home theater headphone that you will strictly use for watching movies, then get the Sennheiser RS 185. They perform as well as the RS 165, but they are open which gives them a better sound quality but also a bit more leakage. On the upside, they have multiple connection options, including RCA inputs, not available on the 165.
They have a dedicated RF transmitter stand which gives them a couple of advantages over Bluetooth headphones. They immediately connect without requiring a pairing procedure, and the stand acts a charging dock, so you have a dedicated spot to rest your headphones when they're not in use. This makes charging the RS 185 very convenient, and they also have low latency which is necessary for watching a lot of video content. The SteelSeries Arctis 7 and Astro A50 perform a bit better overall but they are also more complicated to use since you may need a PC to adjust and set up the headphones.
More Versatile Alternative: Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2
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 sound better than the Turtle Beach Elite 800, delivering 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/transmitter that supports aptx-LL for watching movies, since their base latency is relatively high.
- Astro A50. A great gaming headset with a comfortable design and low latency. Multiple connection options and a convenient dock but much pricier than the SteelSeries Arctis 7. See our review
- Sennheiser RS 165. Good home theater headphones with a decent sound and a closed design. Cheaper than the RS185 but not as many inputs. See our review
- 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.
Questions & Answers
Some wireless gaming headphones have a parametric equalizer (to enhance certain frequency bands in treble, mid or bass) like the Astro A50 or the SteelSeries Arctis 7 if you're willing to customise them first with your PC. Check out our home theater recommendations to see how they compare to the RS 195.
Before asking a question, make sure you use the search function of our website. The majority of the answers are already here.