The 3D glasses that come with your 3D TV work differently from the ones you end up throwing away at a movie theater. While it's the least expensive part of a 3D home entertainment system, a good pair of active 3D glasses may be the most important piece. If you plan on sitting in front of a 3D TV for more than an hour, having the most comfortable pair of 3D shutter glasses is the key to an enjoyable experience. Check out our articles on 3D glasses to add to your research arsenal.

The majority of 3D glasses on the market directly correlate to a specific TV brand. When you purchase a 3D TV, you should definitely keep this in mind. The TV may have great resolution at an affordable price, but you'll regret the entire purchase if you have to wear uncomfortable glasses for hours. Before you buy a 3D TV, make sure to try out the 3D glasses while you're still at the store.

Most Comfortable 3D Glasses

The Panasonic TY series has several different features for your comfort. The glasses are designed to fit right over a pair of prescription glasses. The side arms can adjust to the size of a child's face and extend to fit securely on much larger adult faces. They also have 7m/120-degree viewing. This means you can watch 3D content up to 7 meters away and turn your head up to 120 degrees. These glasses last up to 75 hours on one battery and automatically shut off when the shutters aren't in use.


The Panasonic TY Series 3D glasses are active-shutter glasses with rechargeable batteries. Your Panasonic VIERA 3D TV includes a USB terminal for charging the glasses, and only two minutes of charging gives you about three hours of use. At a full charge, the glasses last up to 30 hours. To conserve battery life, the glasses automatically shut off after a five-minute period of inactivity or if they are out of usable range.

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Best 3D Glasses Features

The Sony TDG series offers good 3D glasses that use active shutters. Using a lithium coin battery, the glasses remain active throughout your movie experience, for up to 100 hours. The shutters in the glasses also work for 3D PlayStation SimulView games, a unique feature that blocks out an entire section of the screen. Two players can play the same game on the same television but see a completely different picture.


The Sony TDG Series 3D glasses weigh 1.27 ounces and have a solid, thick rim that feels hard to break. When the glasses are on, you'll notice that the thick sides expertly keep out unwanted light, giving the illusion that you are inside of the movie. The lithium coin battery lasts up to 100 hours before you need to replace it, and a convenient LED shows you when the glasses need a new battery. The glasses save battery power by automatically turning off after a period of inactivity.

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Most Versatile 3D Glasses

Xpand is a company that manufactures 3D glasses to work with all brands of 3D televisions. Its active shutter glasses have an extremely long battery life of 250 hours, and you can even use them when you go out to a movie theater. They work well in small living rooms or large auditoriums. The 3D glasses come with a carrying case at purchase and include a cleaning cloth for keeping the lenses clear and scratch-free. More importantly, Xpand is a third-party company whose main focus is 3D glasses, so the cost tends to be significantly less than those the 3D TV companies offer.


Xpand was the first company to offer universal 3D glasses on the market. Compatible with most 3D TVs, the Xpand X Series 3D glasses provide you flexibility, regardless of which brand of TV you settle on. Whether the TV comes with glasses or not, the Xpand shutter glasses should be compatible.

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3D Glasses: Features and How They Work

How Do 3D Glasses Work?

Most 3D movie glasses that come with a 3D television use active shutters, meaning each lens rapidly opens and closes without you even noticing it. Giving each eye a different image creates an illusion of depth. All of the glasses in our lineup offer this technology. While you can purchase glasses similar to those used in movie theaters, they do not work for most 3D TVs. As the 3D experience has improved, companies have embraced active shutters.

Although the glasses are called active shutters, don't think of it in the same way as the shutters that open and close on your house windows. Instead, imagine the lenses have their own special light switch. Using liquid crystals that respond to voltage from the battery, the lens can move from completely dark to translucent. This tricks your eyes into thinking an image on the screen is closer than it is.

Inexpensive 3D Glasses

When you have a lot of people living in your household, there are special circumstances you should consider. For one, more people in the house means more glasses. Most companies only offer two glasses with each television purchase, so family night may require a larger investment. A 3D television already costs up to four times more than a basic television, so you'll want glasses that come with additional features to mitigate the cost.

A good choice for large families is a pair of glasses that comes with extra batteries. If the glasses run out of power at an inconvenient time, you can quickly switch out the drained battery for a new one. This also saves you an extra trip to the store to buy more batteries down the road. Depending on how often your family watches 3D entertainment, you may want to consider a rechargeable pair. These pairs tend to cost more up front but may save you money in the long run.

While most 3D TVs only work with compatible 3D glasses, some glasses are universal. This means they work no matter which TV brand you own. Universal 3D glasses can make a big difference in the long run. They often cost less than the manufacturer-specific versions, so they are a good choice if you have to buy several pairs for large viewing parties. Since they work with most brands, they also remain viable options if you upgrade to a different 3D TV in the future. Proprietary glasses that came with your old TV would be rendered obsolete.

Taking care of your 3D glasses is also important. You may have to purchase accessories like cases, cleaning cloths or other cleaning supplies. Some brands already come with these extras, meaning less money spent to protect the lenses and components.

Since your 3D TV and 3D glasses have to be compatible, we highly recommend trying out the glasses you will have to wear before you purchase a 3D TV. Local electronics stores conveniently have them on display for testing purposes. While trying out the glasses, you should assess how heavy they feel on your face, the tightness of the nose pads and the light exposure. You'll want 3D glasses that fit with minimal pressure and block out excess light. If you can't stand wearing them for 10 minutes, you're not going to watch a three-hour movie with them.

Comfort & Battery Life

The most important thing to consider when you purchase 3D glasses is how many features are tailored toward providing a comfortable experience. When you watch a movie, you want to focus on the plot and in-your-face special effects, not the itchy pair of heavy glasses on your face. The best 3D glasses are those that make you forget you're wearing them.

Comfort is subjective. We can provide you with features to look for, but whether the glasses are truly comfortable depends on you and your distinct facial structure. For this reason, adjustable 3D glasses are important to customizable coziness. Most 3D glasses are one piece of plastic with one distinct shape. An adjustable pair has side arms that you can make longer or shorter to fit better on your ears. This feature becomes more important the more people you have in your home.

Another feature to consider is whether or not the glasses are made to fit over your regular glasses. If you have trouble wearing contact lenses and need a prescription pair of glasses to watch a movie, you should consider a pair of 3D glasses that fits snugly and firmly onto the pair of glasses you're already wearing. Anyone who has worn glasses to a 3D movie in a theater knows what a struggle it is to wear those disposable glasses without having to constantly move them back into position.

With major streaming services now delving into the format, fans of 3D movies can expect hours of entertainment without having to leave their couch. Eventually, as 3D television series start to reach your screen, you'll be able to sit and watch content for a very long time, so you'll want to choose 3D glasses that give you the longest battery life. The longest-lasting 3D glasses work for up to 100 hours before you need to replace the coin-type lithium battery inside. In case you'd prefer not to buy batteries down the road, some companies now offer the choice of rechargeable glasses you can plug in after viewings. These glasses last for a much shorter time; usually no more than 40 hours total.

Another benefit is a pair of 3D glasses that automatically shuts off when it isn't in motion for an extended time. Anyone who has a large family knows how forgettable young kids can be. If they forget to shut off the 3D glasses when their program is over, it could mean several hours of wasted battery life. Some glasses come with sensors for when glasses aren't in use or have been sitting on the table for a long time. After a certain period, they shut off on their own, which means a longer life for your glasses and less money spent on batteries down the road.

Also make sure to consider how many people will be watching your 3D TV at once. A large viewing party could mean an extra investment you may not have been planning for. Compare the best 3D TV glasses to make the most educated decision.