When it comes to gadgets for home theaters, picture gets most of the press—4K, 8K, HDR, OLED, deep blacks, and popping colors. It sometimes feels like people skip over the A in A/V and then try to play catch-up when they realize even the best TVs don’t have good built-in audio. But sound matters, so we’re going to talk about some sound matters. Once you experience a truly great soundscape with your favorite films, shows, or games, you’ll never want to go back. Multi-speaker systems replicate the theater experience best, but can be harder to set up in smaller spaces and get very expensive very quickly. Plus, the ground-shaking T. rex steps that get your heart racing might also get your neighbors racing to file a noise complaint. So what’s the answer when space, wallet, or society conspire to deny you the sonic stimulation you so richly deserve? The best wireless headphones for TV, that’s what.
While 10-20 years ago, it would have been silly to suggest a pair of headphones could give you an immersive sound experience with your TV, technology has blessed us with a world of personal listening devices that are tech’d, tuned, and tested to bring the best out of Netflix, Blu-ray, Xbox, etc. Plus, isn’t versatility important? Nobody wants to be tethered to a device without the ability to walk to the kitchen to pop another bag of corn in the microwave while simultaneously staying in your program’s audioverse. To that end, we selected a variety of gear that really brings out the best at your behest. For cinephiles, gamers, and even multi-users, the best wireless headphones for TV offer some compelling, versatile sound experiences at competitive costs.
How we selected the best wireless headphones for TV
First of all, naturally, we removed all wired headsets from contention. Generally, wired headphones offer better sound than wireless, but that gap is not nearly as wide as it once was. We considered Bluetooth headsets, as well as those that use their own base stations/wireless protocols. Options up and down the budget spectrum were assessed, though none of these headsets hit $1,000 and most are under $500. The list below is an amalgamation of first-hand reviews, recommendations by trusted colleagues, and the consensus of the audio-video press, delineated into categories that can guide you toward cans that can—wireless headphones for TV that fit your unique situation and needs.
Things to consider before buying wireless headphones for TV
Before even considering wireless headphones for TV, you’ll want to think about your reasons for choosing them over other sound options. If you live alone in a home that shares no walls with other people, the pull of wireless headphones is more for their versatility outside of using them with your TV and you’ll likely want to get a pair that uses Bluetooth for its connection, as it will allow you to pair the headphones with a phone or computer as well as with your TV. If this aspect of the headphones doesn’t appeal to you, you can achieve better sound with a multi-speaker system and comparable sound with a high-quality soundbar.
However, if privacy for yourself or consideration for a coinhabitant or neighbor are chief considerations for your sound set-up, headphones are the best choice. Even headphones that are not considered “noise-canceling” will isolate your ears and allow you to experience blow-me-away booms without bothering anyone but those in close proximity. As for what is lost in the transition from multi-speaker/soundbar to headphones, the good news is that it isn’t much. The richness of the sound may falter a bit compared to a more powerful system, but multi-channel, deep soundscapes can be replicated within headphones quite adeptly, using multiple small speakers within the headphone earcup.
The last thing to consider is what your most common TV uses are. If you’re into 4K Blu-rays, cinema-quality sound spec compatibility is really key for a good pair of headphones. DTS (formerly Digital Theater Systems, now just an acronym with no nym) has DTS:X—a sound setting that allows greater “location” within the soundscape. For example, let’s say a character in a movie on one side of the screen shoots a bullet toward a character on the other. DTS:X-compatible headphones receiving a DTS:X signal will do a much, much better job of placing the sound of the gun going off, moving the bullet sound across the headphones, and producing the impact in the correct place on the other side.
Dolby Atmos, a competing sound spec, does essentially the same thing, treating sounds as “objects” assigned a spot within a 360-degree sphere around the listener. Headphones that create these sorts of soundscapes, that can simulate height as well as horizontal motion, will seem much more immersive than simple 5- or 7-channel speaker systems (much as those settings will sound better than simple stereo). Meanwhile, if you’re a gamer, very specific placement of sounds is useful for competitive 3D games, giving you a better clue of where to move your avatar to mow down your enemies. Additionally, a quality microphone for communicating with online teammates, as well as good blending and delineation between game audio and voice channels, helps the gaming experience.
Can wireless headphones replace a multi-speaker sound system?
Replace is a tough word to use. The truth is, if your living situation allows a high-end multi-speaker system and you can afford one, that is what is going to produce the very best, most impressive sound experience. However, not everyone has the ideal circumstances that allow this. And while they won’t stand up to the top of the line, a really nice pair of headphones designed for TV viewing are going to be better than a mediocre multi-speaker system (or an incomplete multi-speaker system). More importantly, you can use and enjoy a pair of headphones in literally any case: small apartment, busy family home, or by yourself in your gigantic mansion. The sound quality will be high and enveloping. Some people, especially those with hearing issues, may find headphones easier to calibrate for comfortable bass, treble, and volume levels without losing ambient or background sound. Headphones are not a replacement, they’re an alternate experience, and one that may be better for your particular needs.
What else can I do with my wireless headphones?
Some of these wireless headphones use their own wireless signals through a unit that is plugged into your wired inputs on your TV. Headphones that use their own system, rather than the more universal Bluetooth, tend to have much lower latency. Latency is the delay between a signal being sent and received. When listening to music, latency can be annoying—it can make moving through tracks seem sluggish, for example—but it doesn’t really ruin the listening experience the way audio that doesn’t sync with a TV can. However, these plug-in receivers are not going to be as portable or adaptable to different listening situations as a Bluetooth unit will.
With a Bluetooth headset, feel free to pair it with your phone or laptop and take it with you on the go. For the plug-in receiver sets, you’ll likely end up using the headphones almost exclusively with your TV. However, a good pair of headphones is going to be useful for movies, streaming, and gaming. While some features relevant to the specific use may not be available in all units, everything we reviewed performs “above average” in all of these categories, which will be the three most common signals coming out of your TV.
The best wireless headphones for TV: Reviews & Recommendations
It’s unlikely you’ll be disappointed with any of the wireless headphones we’ve selected. Even the budget set is quite nice and certainly a huge upgrade if you’re only listening to the built-in sound of your TV’s speakers. The most important thing to note is the exclusive features that each headset has, as the “general sound” and “general use” of all these units is strong. Regardless of which wireless headphones for TV you choose, your ears will thank you for your service to their joy.
Best overall: Yamaha YH-L700A
Why it made the cut: With features on features, the Yamaha YH-L700A pairs excellent quality sound with modes of listening that make it excellent for TV, gaming, music, and work.
- Over-ear Bluetooth headphones
- Simulated 3D sound with optional head-tracking
- Active noise-canceling plus Ambient Sound mode
- Listening Optimizer and LIstening Care equalization modes
- Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX Adaptive
- Up to 34 hours of battery life
- Dedicated app for iOS and Android
- Includes carrying case, USB-C cable, audio cable, and flight adapter
- Clear, crisp sound
- Versatile 3D Sound Field mode sweetens stereo sound signals significantly
- Bluetooth and wired options allow use in the maximum number of set-ups
- Excellent noise-canceling
- Cinema audio settings aren’t as true-tuned as units rated for Dolby Atmos
- Cups can get quite warm around the ears
- Head-tracking feature doesn’t improve sound experience much
Yamaha is a bit of an old-school name in audio, but the company’s top-tier headphone is packed with the newest technology. What caused this set to edge out our others is its jack-of-all-trades mentality along with great sound and low latency from its high-quality Bluetooth 5.0 connection (featuring the advanced resolution aptX Adaptive codec for compatible Android devices, plus AAC for iPhones). Additionally, The YH-L700A’s seven selectable Sound Fields (among other features we’ve extensively reviewed) can transform any input into an approximation of 3D sound, improving any broadcast or stream even if higher-quality audio options aren’t available.
The noise-canceling on this pair is quite adept, featuring a range of dynamic filtering modes that are easy to implement. In addition to active noise-canceling, which analyzes and counteracts—as much as possible—environmental sound, Listening Optimizer adjusts equalization on the fly based on the noises around you, boosting levels when the environment would normally pierce through. This is great for rambunctious kids or city noises if you’re an urban dweller. “Listening Care” ensures that important sonic cues aren’t lost at lower volume levels by re-juggling the equalization to pop what needs to pop, and it also differentiates between primary sound and background noise. The Yamaha YH-L700A ends up offering one of the most impressive low-volume listening experiences available.
The headset itself is comfortable, though the ear cups can make quite a warm seal. Luckily, if you overheat and have to run a small fan, the ANC can reduce the whirr while it’s cooling you down. Battery life is robust, reaching 34 hours at less-taxing use. Though being Bluetooth does reduce what these earphones can achieve, the use of aptX Adaptive, a next-gen codec for wireless audio, ensures the best quality sound with the lowest latency possible over the Bluetooth protocol. And Bluetooth does open up a ton of possible uses other than with your TV, such as while walking or exercising, public transit, or computer workstations.
Don’t forget that for the highest-quality sound settings, like those with Blu-ray or the best streams, you’ll need to use the wired connection option on these bad boys, as Bluetooth simply doesn’t have the bandwidth necessary to give you those richest soundscapes. The nice thing about this set though is that even in lower quality settings, like pure stereo, the 3D modes really add some space and area to the sound in your head, giving a “2.5D” experience. Taking below-average sound and making it sing, that’s the makings of a best in class. If you want to know even more about our favorite set, check out the in-depth review.
Best with transmitter: Sennheiser RS 195 RF
Why it made the cut: Sennheiser is a name synonymous with quality headphones, and these are no exception thanks to their clariy, comfort, and consistent signal via a dedicated transmitter.
- Over-ear sound-blocking headphones with transmitter/dock
- Three listening presets, including speech mode and music mode
- Optical digital (Toslink) and analog inputs (L/R RCA or 3.5mm) on transmitter/dock
- 330-foot line-of-sight range
- Up to 18 hours of battery life
- Customizable selectable sound profiles
- Incredible clear sound
- Able to sweeten dialog or music
- Nearly no audio lag thanks to RF technology
- Long battery life with charging dock
- No Bluetooth compatibility / device-bound
- Somewhat bulky construction
- Not cheap
Sennheiser can be trusted. While some may quibble over what the very best headphones on the market are, Sennheiser’s name is always in the conversation. And it may come as little surprise that a company that makes what we consider to be the best all-in-one soundbar on the market understands how to pair audio with video. So when it comes to headphones built to work with television, the venerable German brand also sets a gold standard.
The sound quality is really strong, focusing on clarity rather than volume. Sennheiser often markets these particular headphones to customers with hearing issues because of their ability to isolate certain elements of sound, such as dialog, to help listeners who otherwise would need to jack the volume up to hear the characters speaking. The benefit for users who don’t have hearing issues is that you can fully customize the sound levels of not just volume, bass, and treble, but the sweetening of certain elements, and save those settings as a selectable preset.
However, while these are wireless headphones, they’re not portable. The transmitter/dock that connects to the audio source isn’t meant to be taken on the go and there’s no Bluetooth compatibility. The wireless is instead RF (a radio signal) created by the transmitter/dock. While that limits the devices that it can be used with, it means there’s almost no latency (lag) between the source signal and the sound in your head, so every spoken word and dramatic sound will sync up with the screen. Additionally, there is up to 330 feet of range, even though this set is designed to live with your audio source. If that’s not a dealbreaker, those who want precise, impressive sound inside comfortable, noise-dampening headphones can rest assured that Sennheiser stands above the rest.
An important things to note about the Sennheiser RS195 RF is that it’s not always easy to get. While there is new-in-box product out there, including on Amazon, the high quality and desirability of these now-discontinued headphones mean that there are times when their secondary-market price can be higher than their original MSRP. Despite this, they are still recommended due to their incredible performance, just keep that price in mind. If you want a cheaper alternative, the step-down model, the Sennheiser RS 175 RF, is also sometimes available on Amazon, again with a potentially inflated cost.
Best gaming: Astro A50 Wireless Gen 4
Why it made the cut: Game soundscapes have come a long way from 8-bit beeps and boops, and so have headsets like this specifically calibrated one that gives you 3D sound and maybe even a competitive advantage.
- Two models: One compatible with PS4 and PS5, and the other with Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S
- Both models compatible with PC and Mac
- Over-ear headphones with transmitter/charging dock
- Dolby Audio compatible / Dolby Atmos available with Xbox model
- 3D sound compatible with Windows Sonic
- Customization software available with Xbox One, PC, and Mac
- 15 hours of battery life
- Built-in auto-mute-when-lifted boom mic
- Nearly no lag on wireless sound
- Supports lower-end surround sound modes (5.1)
- Included mic is strong quality, for communication while gaming
- Dolby Atmos support with Xbox version
- No universal version
- Battery life could be longer
- Command Center software has some issues on Windows 11 (though this will probably get fixed)
Gamers know the power of great headsets. Competitive games test your eyes, your hand reflexes, and even your ears. The higher the quality of your sound, the more easily you can pinpoint the location of the enemy from his gunfire sounds. Then you can dominate him easily, and isn’t that what it’s all about? And you don’t have to spend hundreds (though you easily can).
The Astro A50 comes in two models. Both offer compatibility with PC and Mac, but you need separate versions for the Xbox family of consoles and the PlayStation family. The Xbox version offers an advantage over the PlayStation with Dolby Atmos 3D sound support (the feature requires you sign up for a subscription but there’s a voucher included that gives you some time for free). Both Astro A50 headsets give you great clarity and placement and communicate quickly with the base station, resulting in nearly no lag—key for gaming. The mic is a flip-down boom-type that auto-mutes when flipped up, meaning you don’t have to stare at it if you’re using these headphones to listen to some streaming media through your console instead of playing a game. In a competitive gaming headset space, there are better wired options out there, but no better wireless options than the Astro A50.
Best noise-canceling: Jabra Elite 85h
Why it made the cut: Fit and filter are important for noise-canceling and the Jabra Elite 85h has those covered.
- Over-ear Bluetooth Headphones
- Four choices of color
- Active noise canceling
- SmartSound audio adjusts in response to ambient sounds
- 36 hours battery life
- 5 hours of battery charged in 15 minutes via USB-C
- High-quality on-cup 8-microphone array for calls
- Optional 3.5mm cable
- Superior noise-canceling
- Excellent built-in microphone array
- Multiple color choices for the fashion-conscious
- Water-resistant for additional use outdoors
- Sound quality overall not as good as competitors
- Bluetooth connection can occasionally result in some slight lag
- Lacks support for some higher-end codecs for music
Noise-canceling is very important for some users and is the feature they most consider when purchasing a new set of wireless headphones. The Jabra Elite 85h has some of the best active noise-canceling on the market, using an algorithm to analyze your environment and then generate counterwaves that remove the outside world’s noises and letting you get lost in the movie or music. Connection is via Bluetooth 5.0, which means there can sometimes be lag, but typically the delay is not bad. Though perhaps not particularly important to many TV users, the Elite 85h has one of the most impressive built-in microphone sets, coupled with filtering technology, and pairing this with a phone results in some incredibly muffle-free calls, a rarity with wireless headsets (and handy if you’re on the phone with a friend/client while you watch the YouTube/TikTok they just sent you).
The Jabra Elite 85h comes in a variety of professional finishes if aesthetic choices are also part of your decision-making process when it comes to new headphones. And this does mean they’ll look good in the office, where that noise-canceling shines as you sit in on video calls/presentations. These headphones are also all-stars in a noisy household, giving the user a little slice of their own world amongst the chaos. Battery life is up to 36 hours, which is a lot of series binging. For those who need the sanctity of discreet sound, Jabra offers the best experience and an oasis for one.
Best cinephile: JVC Exofield Personal Home Theater System
Why it made the cut: Truly focused, the JVC Exofield Personal Home Theater System is not just a set of headphones, but also a sonic processor, meaning you get the truest cinema-spec sound beamed straight to your head.
- Over-ear headphones with set-top processor
- Reproduces 7.1.4-channel theater audio within headphones
- DTS:X and Dolby Atmos compatible
- Supports Up-mixing of 2-channel and 5.1-channel material to 7.1.4 channels
- App with customization options calibrates your experience
- 12-hour battery life
- Theater sound in headphones
- Amazing range and dynamic sound
- Offers sound that is simply not attainable on other headphones
- App, once it works, offers amazing customization and calibration
- Most expensive item on our list
- Difficult to set up and optimize
- Difficult to connect components in a way that maximizes all of them
The JVC Exofield Personal Home Theater System is designed to do only one thing, and it does that thing very well: producing a theater-style multichannel soundfield within headphones. The vast majority of headphones on our list cannot process true object-based sound, but rather offer extremely high-quality stereo sound that, while lovely to listen to, is not going to have the depth or location that the Exofield offers. Using a 2.4GHz/5GHz dual-band Wi-Fi connection to transfer full-fidelity cinema sound between the set-top unit and headphones, the Exofield system brings realism and surrealism in the way it delivers a spacious, immersive experience through its 40mm drivers. The main drawback of this incredible piece of technology, other than it requiring space on or in your credenza, is that it is finicky to set up and to communicate with other devices.
Set up is a bit arduous, involving taking measurements, and it can potentially error out, forcing you to restart the process. The choice of marrying many of the options to an app could backfire in the future if an update breaks the software or the app gets delisted and you need to download it to a new device. Setting up the transmitter correctly—patching through the right inputs/outputs (don’t forget those HDMI cables) to ensure all your components work correctly on your screen—can be a difficult task, though, usually, a unit like this assumes the end-user doesn’t need much handholding when it comes to A/V. IT’s just important to consider how plug-and-play things truly are when buying a nearly-$1,000 audio system. While the sound is amazing and near-flawless when optimized, offering a surreal experience of over a half-dozen points of sound inside headphones, getting there may be a battle; a battle that’s absolutely worth it if you’re a cinephile. The bass kicks, the dialog sparkles, and you’ll hear elements within your movie soundscapes that were literally inaudible on TV speakers.
Best value: Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2
Why it made the cut: It always feels good to stretch a dollar and the Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 is the best choice if the idea of a “pound-for-pound” champion—rather than the baddest headphones on the planet—rings true for you.
- Over-ear headphones with Bluetooth wireless
- On-demand active noise-canceling
- Optional 3.5mm cable connection
- 33 (Bluetooth 2) or 330-foot (Bluetooth 1) range
- Up to 24 hours of battery life
- 3 hour charge time (via micro-USB)
- Excellent sound for the money
- Comfortable and cool styling
- Bluetooth means it can be used not only with TV but also with other devices
- Battery life is long and strong
- Active noise-canceling isn’t a strong point
- Charge time could be quicker
- May experience slight lag with Bluetooth
Money comes and goes, but great sound is forever, or so they say. OK, maybe we’re the only one saying it, but that doesn’t make it less true. If you don’t want to spring for one of our more expensive choice but you still want great sound, the Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 is one of the best options on the market. While it doesn’t reach the richness of the Yamaha YH-L700A or Sennheiser RS 195 RF above, the sound quality is strong. With a price-point comparable to the more popular but less impressive Beats headphones, you’ll get much better sound at different ranges than Beats, which are so heavy on bass that an action movie may be unbalanced and overwhelming.
Despite being a Bluetooth device, the latency isn’t bad, and any lag is usually short enough to be imperceptible. Battery life is impressive, measuring a full day, and while charging time isn’t particularly quick, it’s not laborious either at 3 hours. These headphones feature active noise-canceling, a program that digitally filters outside noise to offer a better listening experience. Sadly, this is one of the Backbeat Pro’s weaknesses. The ANC isn’t particularly sophisticated and really can only remove consistent sounds, like a droning fan or device hum. Quick or piercing sounds will still make their way through. However, given the comfort, versatility, and sound quality at a more-than-reasonable sub-$200 price point, the Backbeat Pro 2 is hard to fault for this slight shortcoming.
Best budget: Anker Life Soundcore Q30
Why it made the cut: While its sound can’t compare with its competitors, the Anker Soundcore Q30’s price blows them all away, making them a great backup set or quick replacement.
- Over-ear Bluetooth Headphones
- 40 hours battery life
- 4 hours of battery on a 5-minute charge
- EQ app allows for customization
- Low price
- Excellent battery life
- Features some noise-canceling via pre-sets
- Anker is known for good customer support
- Sound is budget-level
- Needs app for best calibration
- Ear cups are very small
Sometimes, the dollar is almighty. If you’re looking to get serviceable wireless headphones for under $100, the answer is the same as it often is in the budget tech space: Anker. A company that started with batteries and has expanded into almost every accessory even remotely connected to computers/smartdevices, Anker is known for low-price products that don’t feel low-price, coupled with helpful and hassle-free customer support. The Anker Life Soundcore Q30—a slightly older model than the current Q35 that saves you $50—is exactly what you expect from the company: a solid if unspectacular headset that includes a few surprising features but mostly, most importantly, understands the assignment.
The surprising feature here is a form of noise-canceling. While not nearly on the level of the Jabra Elite 85h above, there are three presets that can determine how ambient sound is filtered. Fiddling through these can definitely improve your listening experience. Additional customization and equalization (EQ) is available by pairing the headphones with a phone or tablet and using an app. For TV, these headphones aren’t going to blow you away. They don’t support multichannel audio, so you’ll only be able to listen in stereo. But if $100 is your budgetary ceiling, the Anker Life Soundcore Q30 is a serviceable, portable option to listen to your TV’s audio solely between your own ears.
Q: Are Bluetooth headphones good for watching TV?
Bluetooth, as a technology, is great because it’s versatile and tons of devices have it. Overall, the best sound is not going to come from Bluetooth headphones, but from headphones that use their own plug-in units to connect their wireless signals. However, that doesn’t mean that Bluetooth isn’t “good.” A quality Bluetooth headset can absolutely blow you away with the level of quality it’s capable of, but that’s great engineering compensating for the specific issues with Bluetooth, rather than the innate quality of Bluetooth itself.
Q: How can I listen to my TV with wireless headphones?
Typical, you’ll either plug in a small unit to your TV (or receiver) that sends the wireless signal to your headphones over a dedicated protocol, or you’ll connect with Bluetooth. The former is capable of faster, bolder signals and thus higher-quality sound, but the latter can still impress in a good set.
Q: How can I listen to TV without disturbing others?
If roommates, family, or apartment neighbors are a concern when watching TV, you’ll want to prioritize noise-canceling headphones. Not only do these types of headphones seal out noise from the world when you are listening to your music, they stop noise from your headphones from bleeding out beyond your ears.
Q: How do you connect wireless headphones to a non-smart TV?
If your TV is not innately Bluetooth compatible, you can buy a Bluetooth transmitter that plugs into the aux input on your TV. There are several that are solid, but we recommend the Aisidra 5.0, which can work both as a transmitter and receiver, not only turning your “dumb” TV into one that is Bluetooth compatible but also turning your wired headphones into Bluetooth-capable wireless headphones.
Q: How can I connect my headphones to my TV without Bluetooth?
Most of the sets we sell have an option to use a wired connection in lieu of wireless, so there’s also that option. As for the non-Bluetooth headphones, they’ll come with a small box or dongle that connects to the TV or audio receiver that will send all the audio to your headphones. It’s a relatively simple set-up, and the included instructions will walk you through the steps.
Q: How do I know if my TV has Bluetooth?
To confirm if your TV has built-in Bluetooth, check the box (if you still have it) for a Bluetooth symbol, or look up your model of TV online. “MODELNUMBER Bluetooth” should be a good enough Google search to get you the answers you need.
Q: How do wireless headphones work for TV?
Modern TVs all produce sound digitally, so most wireless headphones are simply going to convert that digital information into a wireless signal that will be picked up by your headphones. This will either be done by a standard built-in Bluetooth transmitter or through a proprietary plug-in unit that establishes a dedicated connection.
Q: What are the best wireless headphones for TV?
See above! We can recommend any of the sets in this article, and “best” may end up being a matter of budget and your particular use profile.
Final thoughts on the best wireless headphones for TV
There are a lot of choices to make once you’ve made the choice to get a set of the best wireless headphones for TV. Remember to adjust your headphones out of the box, both by changing the headphones’ settings and your TV or receiver’s settings to find the sweet spot for your ears. Everyone can be different and the “default” settings—whether it be the picture on a screen or the sound emanating from it—are not always the ideal. Happy listening.