To select the best kid headphones, we started by prioritizing safety because a child’s hearing is still developing. To that end, we specifically focused on headphones that featured a volume limiter — whether it was built-in or billed as a manual option. No one should be exposed to sustained loud noise, but especially for children, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that they not be exposed to more than 85 decibels. Beyond hearing protection, other core factors included ease of use, durability and enhanced functionality beyond audio playback.
This is why we selected Nenos Childrens Headphones as our top pick. It features a factory pre-set volume limiter, can be manually paired with another set of headphones to allow two children to watch or listen to the same content, and is designed to stand up to even the roughest wear and tear.
Top 7 Best Headphones for Kids Compared
#1 Nenos Childrens Headphones Headphones – Top PickWHY WE LIKE IT: A rough and tumble pair of headphones that are designed to stand up to whatever your child can throw at them. A factory pre-set volume limiter, protects your child’s hearing while you can easily pair an additional set of headphones with an auxiliary cable for shared media.
The Nenos Children’s Headphones are our top pick because they offer a factory preset volume limiter, multiple color choices, and a convenient flexible design all in one product. Best of all, you can manually connect these headphones with another pair by using an auxiliary cord for shared media access. The design features plenty of cushioning both on the ear cups and in the headband for a comfortable fit that’s ideal for prolonged use. If you prefer a lightning connection though, you’ll want to check out the best lightning cable headphones.
You’ll appreciate that the factory pre-set limiter takes the guesswork out of monitoring the decibel level on your child’s headphones. The simple and colorful design is ideal for younger children, specifically between the ages of three and eight.
#2 CozyPhones Fleece Headband Headphones – Honorable MentionWHY WE LIKE IT: Adorable characters and a headband style makes this a great easy to use choice for toddlers and preschoolers who might not appreciate traditional headphone designs. A volume limiter that controls sound up to 90 decibels addresses safety concerns while the comfortable design make these so cozy your child can sleep in them.
Not every child likes traditional-style headphones, which is why the CozyPhones fleece headband headphones are our honorable mention. Available in 19 colorful character styles, this headband features built-in headphones, a sturdy braided cord with a 3.5-millimeter jack, and most importantly — a volume limiter. Not exactly the best headphones for running, but kids will love them. The limiter is a factory preset for a maximum output of 90 decibels to protect your child’s ears. So, parents always have peace of mind that their child isn’t exposed to dangerously high noise levels.
You’ll appreciate that the actual speakers are only an eighth of an inch thick for a comfortable fit and low profile that won’t make the headband look bulky. The comfortable and flannel construction makes these headband headphones ideal for flights, road trips or even for little ones to wear them in bed.
#3 Mpow CH6 Over Ear Headphones – Best for SharingWHY WE LIKE IT: An easy volume limiting switch between 94 and 85 decibels guarantees that your child’s hearing is protected. Meanwhile, the ability to daisy chain an additional pair of headphones to the primary pair makes this ideal for playdates, long flights, and road trips.
If memorizing decibel level recommendations is confusing, you’ll like that the Mpow over-ear headphones take out the guesswork with an easy to use switch that lets you toggle between the higher setting of 94 decibels for noisy environments like flights and the WHO’s recommended 85-decibel level for regular usage. Mpow takes things a bit further by making these headphones family-friendly. In sharing mode, you can connect two headphones via the additional auxiliary jack in the right earphone. With this feature, two children can listen to the same media while only one set of headphones is directly connected to a media device.
Other features include an adjustable headband that will grow with your child, a foldable space-saving design, and a 90-degree angled 3.5-millimeter auxiliary jack to prevent cord damage. Choose from six colors to match your child’s style and personality. It has most of the features we love about the best headphones.
#4 Elecder i37 Kids Headphones – Best Value/Best for Active KidsWHY WE LIKE IT: For children who like to listen to music on the go, the Elecder i37 headphones are sweat-resistant, yet provide immersive sound and noise limiting functionality so that the outside world doesn’t disturb their listening experience. A bonus of multiple colorways makes this a stylish choice for your little one. Note: the newer models feature volume limiters.
The Elecder i37 Kids headphones offer strong sound fidelity and audio playback thanks to their 44-millimeter drivers and strong bass. You might find that you’ll want to borrow your children’s headphones thanks to the sound quality. Additional features like sweat-resistance and noise isolation make this ideal for using while playing in the park or during sports practice.
Kids don’t have to worry about the best Bluetooth headphones for working out. The auxiliary cord with a 3.5-millimeter jack measures almost five feet in length, giving you plenty of flexibility and movement. Meanwhile, the adjustable headband and foldable design make these an easy accessory to keep on hand while traveling or to leave in the car so that your kids are never without their headphones.
#5 iClever IC-HS14 Kids Foldable Headphones – Most DurableWHY WE LIKE IT: The iClever Kids Headphones are designed with children in mind thanks to a truly flexible headband that can be twisted in unbelievable ways. And a commendable 94-decibel volume limiter paired with a sturd construction and multiple colorways help to make this a solid investment, especially for kids that tends to abuse their stuff.
To say that kids can be rough on things is a bit of an understatement. If you’re not interested in buying multiple replacements for the same item, the iClever Kids Foldable Headphones are a smart and durable option. The flexible headband can be rolled, folded, and twisted without causing damage. And the braided nylon auxiliary cord is sturdy enough to stand up to what your child throws at it.
More importantly, the built-in volume limiter controls sound to a maximum output of 94-decibels. The adjustable headband and soft ear cups ensure a comfortable fit for your little one. You’ll also appreciate the lightweight design, coming in at just over six ounces.
#6 PeohZarr On-Ear Headphones with Microphone – Best For Tweens & TeensWHY WE LIKE IT: Older children will like that these headphones feature more functionality than some of the other options on our list. They’ll enjoy quality sound output thanks to the 40-millimeter drivers, and increased control from the audio, track selection, and phone controls available with these headphones.
The headphones you purchase for a preschooler aren’t the same as those for your older kids. Older children tend to be more responsible, and also need headphones that feature more functionality than simple audio playback. The PeohZarr On-Ear Headphones are designed to not just play sound but to answer phone calls, as well as control volume and track selection. They’ll appreciate the fact that these headphones are lightweight at less than seven ounces.
Other important features include a foldable design for easy storage, a 90-degree braided nylon auxiliary cable with a 3.5-millimeter jack. They’ll also enjoy the noise-isolating feature to stay focused while they study or read. These headphones are available in three colorways.
#7 Koss On-Ear Headphones – Best Budget/LightestWHY WE LIKE IT: A classic pair of headphones that fit a wide range of users and doesn’t feature complicated controls. A slim and lightweight design that’s perfect for minimalists and a factory pre-set volume limiter are ideal for hearing protection.
If you’re buying a pair of kids headphones for the first time, you might be reluctant to splurge on a pricier pair of over or on-ear headphones. In that case, the Koss Portable On-Ear Headphones are a smart and affordable first step for you to take with your little one. While these headphones lack the functionality and design aesthetic of the other models in our list, they do help your child get used to wearing headphones and to learn how to properly use electronics. Like other models, they feature an adjustable headband for the perfect fit.
But you’ll also like that the auxiliary cord is four feet long, with a 90-degree angle 3.5-millimeter jack to prevent breakage. Even though these headphones don’t offer a manual volume limiter option like some of the other models, the output is factory preset to 91 decibels. The Koss headphones are available in six colorways.
How We Decided
Buying headphones for your kids is a little different than shopping for a pair for yourself. While you might be more focused on enhanced features like Bluetooth connectivity and sleek designs, your priorities are going to be different when you shop with your child in mind. However, you should keep in mind that with this particular product, price shouldn’t be the primary factor in making your selection.
The biggest factor you need to prioritize for children’s headphones is to protect their hearing. A child’s hearing doesn’t fully form until well into their later teen years. Meanwhile, the incidence of hearing loss between the ages of 12 to 19 is on the rise. The WHO recommends that children should avoid exposure to sustained noise above 85 decibels. But not all headphones marketed as child-friendly are designed to limit noise above those levels. To that end, the majority of the headphones we reviewed feature a volume limiter that controls audio playback to within the safe ranges of 85 to 94 decibels.
The second factor we considered was durability. Children are notoriously rough on basically everything they touch, and headphones are no different. We focused on headphones that featured braided nylon cords with special attention to auxiliary jacks with a 90-degree angle. That 90-degree angle ensures that the cord won’t prematurely break at the jack from wear and tear. In addition to this, we also prioritized headphones with flexible headbands and folding designs for easy storage and decreased risk of breakage.
Enhanced functionality is another major consideration. This can range from controlling track selection and answering calls to pairing headphones for simultaneous playback options. Within our review, you’ll find plenty of options that feature enhanced functionality for older children, as well as one particular pair of headphones — the Mpow Over-Ear Headphones — that allow you to manually pair headphones with an auxiliary cable for a shared listening experience.
Finally, design matters too. Children — just like adults — have a favorite color, animal, or cartoon character. And that means it’s important to give them agency by selecting headphones that reflect their personality and interests. All of the headphones we featured on our list come in more than one color or style, which will give your little one a feeling of empowerment.
- Volume Limiter
In truth, we should all be protecting our hearing. But for children, this is especially important because their hearing doesn’t fully develop until much later in life. So, pay attention to the maximum decibels a pair of headphones can emit. As a parent or guardian, you can manually check the volume of your child’s headphones. But a better choice is to find a quality pair of headphones with a built-in limiter that prevents sounds from reaching dangerous decibel levels that could cause hearing loss. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), everyone should avoid listening to volumes higher than 85 decibels for prolonged periods beyond eight hours.
Children are notoriously rough on things. So, if you’re going to invest money in a pair of quality headphones, you want to make sure that they can survive being thrown into bags, being stepped on, tossed around, or even waterproof.
This is going to be based on personal preference, but the design is important. However, we should note that you can’t just buy a pair of headphones simply because they’re marketed as “kid-friendly” thanks to colorful designs or feature cartoon characters on them. Many of these headphones aren’t appropriate because of poor volume control. Whichever pair of headphones you opt for, you will need to keep hearing safety in mind with a volume limiter as a high priority feature.
- Added Functionality
While the core function for a pair of headphones is to listen to audio content, whether that’s music, television or audiobooks, these days headphones can do more than allow you to passively listen to things. Depending on the age of your child, and your interest to give them an enhanced pair of headphones, you can find headphones that will also allow you to answer calls or to control track selection so that their experience is seamless.
- Why is it so important for me to focus on volume limitation?
Hearing loss is a problem for all age groups, but it can be especially damaging in young children because it can negatively impact their academic performance. Children that suffer from noise-induced hearing loss may struggle in class, show lower participation rates, and ultimately even perform at a lower academic rate than their cohorts.
- How long should I allow my child to listen to music on their headphones?
For children, there’s always a concern about premature noise-induced hearing loss caused by excessive exposure to loud noises. And a common culprit is loud music. In addition to focusing on a volume limiter, make sure that your little ones aren’t listening to music on their headphones that are higher than 85 decibels for more than an hour each day.
- Is there a difference in decibel levels between in-ear versus over-ear headphones?
In-ear headphones may be all the rage but they can potentially expose your child to higher decibel levels. For example, the popular Apple earbuds can emit sound as high as 105 decibels when set to their maximum level. That is well above the WHO’s 85-decibel recommendation. This is why focusing on headphones that include volume limiters is so important.
- What’s the best type of headphones I should buy to ensure the volume is being limited properly?
Just because a product advertises that it has a volume limiter feature doesn’t mean that it’s controlling the volume precisely. One of the best ways to guarantee that a pair of headphones will control volume within the decibel levels as advertised is to opt for Bluetooth headphones. These types of headphones can offer more precise volume control — with a caveat. Often, wireless headphones come with auxiliary wires as an alternate listening method when the battery dies. When wired, Bluetooth headphones can lose volume-limiting precision.
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