- Headphones you consider for your child should have a noise-limiting feature that caps the volume at safe levels.
- The BuddyPhones Wave Headphones are the best kids’ headphones in our opinion, thanks to their three different maximum volume settings.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends that around 85 to 90 decibels or dB – or about as loud as a leaf blower – should be the limit when it comes to adult noise exposure. So it’s safe to say that kids shouldn’t be exposed to sounds louder than that, either.
That’s why the majority of the kids’ headphones on our list have maximum volume control features that prevent the audio from reaching dangerous levels. Most of them also have plenty of other cool features, too, from wireless connectivity to active noise-canceling technology to audio sharing ports.
When choosing the best headphones for your kid, first make sure you are considering pairs that will fit. Many are designed for bigger kids and won’t fit a toddler properly, while some pairs are small enough for your two- or three-year-old but won’t fit onto an elementary-aged child. Next consider price, because there are kids headphones that cost 10 bucks and some that cost 10 times more. And as you consider price, think about the kid(s) who will be using them and gauge the likelihood that they’ll be damaged, lost, or destroyed and will need replacing.
Finally, look at the special features of each option and consider what makes them a good choice for your child specifically. Do they watch shows in bed and need a pair that will easily stay in place while they’re lying down? Are they a genuine audiophile who needs top quality sonic equipment? Do they share media with a sibling or friend all the time? Do they drop things or spill drinks on a daily basis?
On this list, you’ll find kids’ headphones perfect for all of those young user profiles and more. I’ve tested many of them second hand – my son is the actual gear guy on this one.
Here are the best kids’ headphones:
- Best overall: BuddyPhones Wave Headphones
- Best for shared listening: Snug Play+ Audio Sharing Headphones
- Best for comfort: CozyPhones Headband Headphones
- Best on a budget: Noot Products K11 Kids Headphones
- Best high-end kids’ headphones: Puro Sounds Labs BT2200 Kids Headphones
The BuddyPhones Wave headphones have three different maximum volume settings so they adapt to suit kids of different ages.
Lots of kids’ headphones have a noise-limiting feature, but the BuddyPhones Wave headphones have three. You can set the maximum volume at 75dB, a safe limit for toddlers, at 85 dB, a safe maximum for kids in general, or at 94dBfor temporary use in noisy environments like planes, trains, or out on the streets. That means one pair of headphones can serve kids of different ages or can serve the same kid as they grow from toddler to preschooler to plain old kid.
The Wave headphones are water-resistant and durable, so the occasional spill or drop isn’t going to end the music. Their battery lasts up to 18 hours with a full charge, and the soft, hypoallergenic ear cushions ensure comfort even with such extended use. They can be used for calls thanks to a built-in microphone, which can also help during study sessions thanks to a StudyMode setting that uses the mic to pick up and clearly transmit audio to the young wearer’s ears. An included cable also lets you plug in another pair of headphones to share the audio, so that two kids can listen to audio or a video.
My son also loves these headphones, which are a go-to in our house.
Pros: Multiple volume limit settings, soft and comfortable ear cups, water-resistant
Cons: Diminished audio quality at lower volume limits
The best kids’ headphones for shared listening
The Snug Play+ Audio Sharing Headphones have a built-in port, so you can connect another pair of headphones so siblings or friends can enjoy audio simultaneously.
Remember back in the day when you and your sibling or buddy had to press your heads together to share a set of headphones? Or when you had to split up a pair of earbuds, holding the other ear shut in a vain attempt to hear the show you were watching or song that was playing? Well, those days are gone, thanks to the, “why didn’t they think of that before?” addition of an audio-out port on the Snug Play+ Audio Sharing Headphones.
These headphones allow a second pair to be connected, outputting the audio they are getting into this second pair. Using the port, two kids can share the same iPad, computer, radio, or DVD player without disturbing anyone else in the room or the car.
The 40mm drivers produce decent sound quality, which is limited to 93 decibels. That’s a bit louder than ideal, but still safe, and you can always tell the kids to turn it down, of course. The Snug Play+ headphones come in multiple color options, and they’re pleasantly inexpensive.
Pros: Multiple headphones can be linked together, low price, multiple colors available
Cons: Not durable enough over time
The best kids’ headphones for comfort
The CozyPhones Headband Headphones use slender little speakers tucked into a soft, comfortable headband that stays in place in any position.
One of the most common issues with kids’ headphones is simply keeping the things properly positioned on their ears. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve seen a pair of headphones slipping off my son’s head, I’d be ready to roll my change. With the CozyPhones Headband Headphones, that ubiquitous over-the-head band design is gone. Instead, these earphones are held in place by a soft, warm headband that wraps around your kid’s head.
The headband and the slender design of the speakers allow a child to wear their CozyPhones when lying down or walking around, both of which usually preclude other headphones from staying in place. As the fleece headband is nice and warm, they’re also a great choice for use during colder weather. While the audio quality doesn’t match that of other options on our list, the unique design and functionality of these headphones still makes them a great choice.
There are more than a dozen styles of headband to choose from, including a smiling lion, purple monster, ninja turtle, and many more. And when your kid isn’t listening to audio, the speakers can be removed and the headband enjoyed simply as a garment.
A writer from Daily Dot called them “a well-thought-out, well-designed, quality product” but said that “no one is going to buy CozyPhones because they’re looking for superior sound quality and booming battery power,” the actual audio quality being somewhat lacking.
Pros: Stay in place well, warm and soft headband, lots of styles to choose from
Cons: Audio quality only average
The best kids’ headphones on a budget
Noot headphones work great and are incredibly affordable, making them a solid choice if your kid is a bit clumsy or careless.
Kids aren’t the most graceful creatures on Earth. They drop things, they spill things, they step on things, and so on. They’re also not the best at remembering where they left their stuff. So don’t be surprised if at some point your kid’s headphones end up crushed, soaked, cracked, or lost. If said headphones were the Noot Products K11 Kids Headphones, then it’s really no big deal.
Now, you can’t expect budget headphones to be the best on the planet, and these aren’t. But their 40mm stereo drivers deliver decent audio quality — suitable enough for watching cartoons or listening to nursery rhymes. The cushioned ear cups do a good job of creating passive noise reduction. The long braided nylon cord resists tangles and is strong enough not to break even after a number of drops or snags.
One major downside to these headphones is the lack of volume limit. You’ll have to closely monitor the volume on your child’s devices so they don’t damage their hearing.
Pros: Very low price tag, rugged design, broad size adjustment range
Cons: No volume limit feature
The best high-end kids’ headphones
The Puro Sounds Labs BT2200 Kids Headphones deliver audio quality that rivals or surpasses most headphones designed for adults.
My son has a pair of Puro Sounds Labs BT2200 headphones, and I swear if the things were just a bit bigger, I’d probably use them as often as my own fancy adult-sized headphones. They feature dynamic 40mm drivers that deliver deep bass, rich mids, and clear highs, with audio clarity that makes listening to music, playing a game, or watching a show a pure pleasure.
As they feature excellent passive background noise reduction thanks to the padded ear cups and noise limiting at 85dB, they work well even in noisy environments without putting a kid’s hearing at risk.
As they feature excellent passive background noise reduction thanks to the padded ear cups and noise limiting at 85 decibels, they work well even in noisy environments without putting a kid’s hearing at risk.
My son would likely use these headphones almost exclusively save for the fact that we experience intermittent issues pairing them to devices via Bluetooth connection. This is easily solved by use of a cord or by going through the whole forget and re-pair process, but it can be a bit of a frustration.
In terms of audio quality, however, the BT2200s are peerless in the kid headphone category. You’ll pay for that quality, however, so if your kid isn’t the most careful with their belongings, you might want to opt for a more budget-friendly pair.
Pros: Excellent sound quality, good passive noise reduction, safe noise limit feature
Cons: Expensive, some connectivity issues
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