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- Kids using headphones with the volume turned up too loud put themselves at risk of acquired hearing loss.
- Any headphones you consider buying for your child should have a noise-limiting feature that caps the volume at safe levels.
- The BuddyPhones Wave headphones are our top pick thanks to their three different maximum volume settings, which make them suitable for use with toddlers, preschoolers, and older kids alike
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines limit adult workers to a maximum eight hours of exposure to noise up to the 90-decibel level, while the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends a maximum 85-decibel level for that duration of exposure.
If organizations that create nationwide regulations for adult hearing protection think that around 85 to 90 decibels should be the limit when it comes to adult noise exposure, 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-cancelling 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. Does she watch shows in bed and need a pair that will easily stay in place while she’s lying down? Is he a genuine audiophile who needs top quality sonic equipment? Does she share media with a sibling or friend all the time? Does he 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 being the actual gear guy on this one.
Here are the best kids’ headphones you can buy:
- Best kids’ headphones overall: BuddyPhones Wave headphones
- Best headphones for siblings: Snug Play+ Audio Sharing Headphones
- Best comfortable kids’ headphones: CozyPhones Headband Headphones
- Best noise-cancelling kids’ headphones: ALTENG Noise Cancelling Headphones
- Best low-cost kids’ headphones: Noot Products K11 Kids Headphones
- Best high-quality kids’ headphones: Puro Sounds Labs BT2200 Kids Headphones
Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.
The best kids’ headphones overall
Why you’ll love them: 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 75 decibels, a safe limit for toddlers, at 85 decibels, a safe maximum for kids in general, or at 94 decibels for 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 she grows from toddler to preschooler to plain old kid.
The Waves are water resistant and durable, so the occasional spill or drop isn’t going to end the music. Their battery lasts up to 10 days with a full charge even if your kid uses them for two hours a day, 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.
Most Amazon shoppers give these Bluetooth-enabled kids’ headphones five stars, as did a mom named Sarah who loved the “age-appropriate settings” and how “easily [they] fold up” when not in use. A reviewer named Tammy noted “how clear the sound is” and reported that her son loves his BuddyPhone Waves. I can add that my son also loves these headphones, which are a go-to in our house.
A gear tester from SoundGuys called them an “easy way to protect your child’s hearing” and praised their durability and build quality, but she did note the sound quality was diminished at the lower volume limit setting.
Pros: Multiple volume limit settings, soft and comfortable ear cups, water resistant
Cons: Diminished audio quality at lower volume limits
The best headphones for siblings
Why you’ll love them: The Snug Play+ Audio Sharing Headphones have a built-in port, so you can connect another pair of headphones and 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 in to 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.
With more than 1,500 reviews posted at present, Amazon reviewers have given these headphones a solid 4.2-star overall rating. A dad named Chris called the materials “top notch” and said “the sound is great,” while a mom named Dawn said they were “great headphones” that fit any budget.
A few buyers did report issues developing over time, though, with audio shorting out in some units after extended use.
Pros: Multiple headphones can be linked together, low price, multiple colors available
Cons: Not durable enough over time
The best comfortable kids’ headphones
Why you’ll love them: 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 kids head.
The headband and the slender design of the speakers allows a child to wear his 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
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.
With more than 1,300 reviews on Amazon, the CozyPhones Headband Headphones have a 4.1-star overall rating. A mom named Brittany speaks for many when she calls them “perfect toddler airplane earphones,” saying “they are soft, they stay on” and reporting that she is regularly asked about them by other parents.
A writer from HeadphonesLab called them “lightweight and comfortable” but said that “DJs and audiophiles will most likely look elsewhere,” 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 noise-cancelling headphones for kids
Why you’ll love them: The ALTENG Noise Cancelling Headphones create a quiet, calm environment even amidst lots of background noise, helping a child study, relax, or sleep.
Most kids’ headphones block some background noise though passive noise reduction, also known as simply covering the ear. The ALTENG Noise Cancelling Headphones use active noise cancelling technology to block as much as 85% of the background noise. This technology works by continuously monitoring external sounds and then producing opposite sound signals, effectively cancelling out the noise.
These headphones are perfect for use on noisy flights, at concerts or firework displays, or anywhere else a surplus of sound is likely to bother little ears. They can be used during study time, during naps, or any other time your child could benefit from some peace and quiet.
As for the sound the headphones produce themselves, it is crisp and clear and safely limited to 85 decibels. The noise cancellation can be switched off if preferred, and the headphones can be used to make phone calls thanks to a built in microphone.
One customer said the “sound deadening was excellent” and loved having the ALTENG Noise Cancelling Headphones along during a series of trans-Pacific flights. Another reported that her “kids were in their own little bubbles” when using them on a plane.
A writer from HeadphonesCompared called them “durable and child friendly,” saying they do not “break when twisted or bent.”
Pros: Effective active noise cancelling technology, safe sound limit, rugged construction
Cons: Too large for most toddlers, only available in black
The best low-cost headphones for kids
- noot products
Why you’ll love them: What’s not to love about Noot headphones that work fine yet cost about 10 bucks?
FYI, 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, because they cost less than two fancy cups of coffee.
Now, you can’t expect $11 headphones to be the best on the planet, and these aren’t. But their 40mm stereo drivers deliver decent audio quality, while 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.
With nearly 1,300 reviews on Amazon, the Noot Products K11 Kids Headphones have a respectable 4.2-star average rating.
One buyer is direct and candid with his sentiments, saying: “Let me be clear – the sound quality is not even close to what any audiophile would want to use, or even a regular person, but for small kids who watch cartoons and listen to a bit of music, these are perfectly satisfactory.”
Another reported that an entire classroom full of kids “think they are so comfortable.”
A number of shoppers did lament the lack of a noise control option, calling them too loud, so make sure you monitor the volume for your child.
Pros: Very low price tag, rugged design, broad size adjustment range
Cons: No volume limit feature
The best high-quality headphones for kids
- Puro Sound Labs
Why you’ll love them: 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 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 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: They cost about a hundred bucks when they’re not on sale.
Hundreds of customers have reviewed the Puro Sound Labs BT2200s and have given them a collective four-star rating. Most of the complaints had to do with fit, with some calling them too tight and others saying they slipped off. As for audio quality, customers are nearly unanimous in their praise, with one mom speaking for many when she called them “wonderful headphones [she] would highly recommend” thanks to their excellent quality.”
Pros: Excellent sound quality, good passive noise reduction, safe noise limit feature
Cons: Expensive, some connectivity issues