How to Choose Headphones for Watching Movies

How to Choose Headphones for Watching Movies

Do you like watching movies from the comfort of your home? We provide a rundown of the features to look for in the best headphones for movies.

It’s late in the night and you’d like to watch a movie to unwind. Unfortunately, the rest of your family is deep asleep and they’d obviously appreciate that you don’t disrupt their peace and quiet. But then again, there’s nothing more frustrating than watching a thriller film with poor sound quality. The best way to go about this problem is to invest in quality headphones.

With the right headphones, you can still engage in movie watching on full blast without causing any noise. Whether your roommate is studying for an exam or you have neighbors who will file noise complaints the minute you turn on your home theatre, a nice set of headphones will come in handy.

The problem is that the market is filled with tons of headphones, which makes finding the right set a cumbersome task. If you’re looking to purchase the perfect headphones for movies, read on to learn what you should be looking for.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Sennheiser HD419 Panasonic RP-HTF600S Sennheiser RS 185 RF Golzer BANC-50
ATH M50X HD419 RP-HTF600S Sennheiser RS 185 RF Golzer BANC-50
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Weight: 2.1 pounds Weight: 7 ounces Weight: 8.8 ounces Weight: 3.3 pounds Weight: 6.9 ounces
11.4 x 10 x 4.1 inches
8 x 3.7 x 9.4 inches
9.1 x 7.3 x 4.1 inches
9.3 x 5.9 x 11.6 inches
8.8 x 7.8 x 2.6 inches
  • Powerful low-frequency range
  • Nice stereo imaging and separation
  • Great price for what’s offered
  • Decent sound quality above the average for the price range
  • Affordable
  • Durable and comfortable
  • Long cable
  • Well-balanced sound
  • Durability
  • Very comfortable
  • Good sound quality
  • Reliable wireless with good range
  • Active noise cancelling
  • Built-in microphone
  • HD sound
  • Overemphasized bass
  • Isolation could be better
  • The cable is changeable and looks a little weak
  • Not portable
  • Large and bulky
  • Cheap looking
  • Little to none sound isolation due to the semi-open design
  • Lower frequencies could be a bit muddy
  • Could have used more durable materials
  • Not comparable to high end gear
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Like many other gadgets, headphones are available in a range of styles, colors, and configurations. The design that one picks is a highly personal decision. While some people prefer to wear the insert-style headphones, which usually go into the ear canal, others find this design a bit irksome.

Other designs that you can choose from are over-ear or on-ear headphones. The problem with the latter designs is that they feel uncomfortable for those who like to wear earrings and eyeglasses. Here is a guide to help you find a fitting design.



There are two main types of over-the-ear headphones: closed and open. Closed headphones are designed to cover your ears; hence, helping to seal in sound while also blocking external noises.

Although these headphones work efficiently in delivering quality sounds, they might block out sounds that you want to hear such as when your baby is crying or the doorbell being rung. Also, users of closed headphones complain that their ears become too hot when they wear them for a long time.

The open headphones are designed with openings on their ear cups. This way, you’ll be able to watch your movie and also hear external sounds.


On-ear headphones are basically lighter than over-the-ear types. Instead of pressing on the sides of your head, these headphones press on your ears. A majority of people find these earphones more comfortable. Another plus of on-ear headphones is that they don’t cause your ears to get hot, making them suitable for long listening sessions.

Like over-the-ear headphones, these ones also come in open and closed versions. Some of them are even foldable and they’re equipped with carrying pouches.


Also referred to as in-ear monitors, these headphones will fit snugly inside your ear canals. Most in-ear headphones are fitted with foam or rubber tips, which come in different sizes to provide a secure fit for different users.

In-ear headphones are the best for passive noise-isolation. People often hear the terms noise-insolation and noise-cancelation being thrown around, but they don’t understand the differences. A noise-canceling headphone will have its own microphone, which serves to capture the external atmosphere and then produce a sound wave to actively cancel it out.

In contrast, passive noise headphones work by creating a seal around or inside your ears, which them blocks out external sounds.

Sound Quality

As is the case with speakers, headphone manufacturers tend to stress on specific parts of the audio spectrum, and you may like one sound over another. Whenever possible, always test your headphones before purchasing them.

If you’re buying online, check to see if the manufacturer offers return policies. This way, you can return or exchange them if the set you had purchased doesn’t please you.

AUDIO-TECHNICA ATH-M50X is the best example of a nice stereo imaging and separation for the great price.


Your preference for headphones is as much about your lifestyle as it is about your budget. Headphones for movies can serve other uses such as listening to music when working out. However, the lines have become really blurred.

Large-sized headphones, which were initially designed for home use, are now used on the go. Similarly, small-sized headphones that were designed for portability are now used for home use.

Small – When portability is paramount

Ideally, all headphones are easy to carry. However, we use the terms “small” and “lightweight” to refer to models that are foldable and easy to tuck away. Other headphones that fit this description are earbuds, which come equipped with microphones and on-cord controls to adjust volume.

Although small headphones are convenient when it comes to portability, they force you to compromise sound quality for comfort.

Big – When sound reigns supreme

If the small headphones are not your cup of tea, you can go for larger models resembling earmuffs. They consist of two earpieces connected using adjustable headbands. Most of these headphones are corded, with cables extending to between 3 and 8 feet.

This allows you to connect them to an audio source like a TV or receiver. Nonetheless, there are a few models that are foldable. SENNHEISER HD419 is a good example of a bulky headphones.

Wired or Wireless

One of the biggest factors that buyers have to consider when purchasing headphones are whether to go for wireless or stick to the conventional wired models. Each type has its fair share of merits and drawbacks.

For instance, these headphones perform differently when it comes to audio quality. Diehard audiophiles strongly believe that wired headphones deliver the most authentic sounds. This is somewhat true; the sound quality of wireless headphones will depend on the strength of the signals.

So, while wired headphones can handle about 2304 kbps, the wireless models can only handle 768 kbps, and this depends on the output ratio.

PANASONIC RP-HTF600S has a long cable and a well-balanced sound, but SENNHEISER RS 185 RF has a reliable wireless connection with a good range.

Features to Look For

Apart from the design, sound quality and size, some headphones come equipped with extra features. These are as follows:

Noise canceling

You can choose between active and passive noise-canceling headphones. Active types have microphones for measuring the ambient noise in their surroundings. They then generate opposite sound waves to get rid of that noise, allowing you to listen only to the sounds of the film you’re watching.

Conversely, passive noise-canceling headphones depending on the materials they are fabricated from to block external noises. They work in almost the same way as earmuffs, which means they only lessen the noises on the outside.

GOLZER BANC-50 has an active noise canceling and HD sound.

Volume control

Another handy feature to look out for is volume regulation, especially if you intend to have your toddler use them as well. With this feature, you can ensure the volume is at safe levels. Most headphones with this capability keep the volume at 85 dB or less. However, volume-limiting headphones are not designed for kids only. They’re also suitable for adults concerned about their own hearing.

Things to Avoid

Knowing what features to look for does not guarantee to get the best set of headphones. You should also know the possible mistakes you could make. Also, there are certain red flags you should watch out for.

Splurging too much money

Purchasing headphones to watch movies is not an affair that should break your bank. In fact, you should spend as little as you can if you’re not sure of the headphones’ performance. People often assume that if a product is highly-priced then it’s automatically high-quality. The truth is, not all expensive headphones work well. Always read online reviews to determine whether the headphones work as advertised.

Considering fashion before function

Another mistake you should avoid is purchasing headphones based solely on how they look. If you want headphones that you can use to watch movies for a long time, you should focus more on performance rather than looks. Test them


Headphones tailored to watching movies differ vastly. This is because they all have different features. You can get headphones for as little as $5. However, such headphones offer very low sound quality. If you prefer full-size headphones, you’ll spend between $50 and $250. One of the best headphones for watching movies is the Audio-Technica ATH-M50X and Sennheiser HD419.


What is bone conduction technology?

If headphones are described as bone-conducting, it means that they deliver sounds directly to your inner ear canal by causing vibrations in the bones in your head. This is a significant feature for persons who wish to hear the sounds well but not drown out noises in the background.

Are protective cases necessary for movie headphones?

A quality set of headphones is likely to set you back a couple of dollars. So the least you can do to protect your investment is buy a protective case. A case keeps your headphones well protected, especially if you decide to travel with them.

How can I tell if the headphones are durable?

The durability of any set of headphones is closely tied to its weight. Although convenient, small, lightweight headphones will snap in half a minute they are sat on or dropped. If you’re purchasing fold-ups, ensure that the hinges are sturdy.


On the surface, headphones are one of the simplest gadgets. Simply plug them in, and play the film you wish to watch. But if you want to get the best performance, you’ll need to do a little research. Some of the most crucial aspects you should take into account when choosing headphones for movies are design, size, and sound quality. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to [ ( or].