Kids love headphones that allow them to be entertained or do schoolwork uninterrupted. However, the design, size and volume of adult headphones won't work for smaller heads and little ears. Fortunately, there are headphones made especially for kids.
To help parents choose, we tested both the Onanoff BuddyPhones Explore+ and JLab JBuddies Studio headphones. While our adult testers analyzed the headphones for safety, durability and functionality, our kid testers weighed in on their appeal, comfort and ease of use. Our testing process focused on real-world use to help you make an informed selection.
Sound quality is a top concern when choosing headphones for both adults and children. Most kids aren't audiophiles yet and don't mind not having an immersive listening experience. However, the sound kids' headphones produce should be crisp and clear.
Anyone can damage their hearing by listening to headphones at high volumes. However, sounds that are too loud can be especially damaging to kids' ears. For this reason, the noise output of kids' headphones should not exceed 85 decibels. This is a common feature of well-made headphones for kids.
Most kids' headphones have an over-the-ear design. Earbuds (also called in-ear headphones) are available, but they aren't practical for most kids. They also aren't safe for young kids who tend to put small objects in their mouths. They may feel uncomfortable in small ears.
Anyone who wears headphones puts comfort at the top of their list of priorities. It's especially important for kids. Children aren't likely to wear headphones that pinch, rub or irritate their ears. The best headphones for kids have nicely cushioned ear cups, padded headbands and an adjustable design to optimize comfort.
While the appearance of headphones isn't their most important aspect, many youngsters prefer a pair that's colorful or adorned with fun graphics and characters. However, some kids' headphones resemble those made for adults. These may appeal to kids who want to feel grown up. A quality set should offer appealing aesthetics, notable sound and a comfortable fit.
The Onanoff BuddyPhones Explore+ Headphones outpaced the JBuddies Studio headphones for their outstanding features. Not only do they produce clear sound and are comfortable to wear, but they're available in bright colors and come with stickers kids can use to decorate them.
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Fun colors, good sound and comfort features put the Onanoff BuddyPhones Explore+ at the top of our list. These headphones impressed us before they were unboxed thanks to the peek-a-boo window that provides a clear view of the product.
Once opened, the headphones are simple to set up and connect to Bluetooth. The sound is clear and the controls are easy for kids to adjust. We love that the ear cups and headband are nicely cushioned and that the headphones can easily be adjusted for a precise fit. They also fold for storage. Although it's somewhat thin, a bag for carrying and storage is included.
We were also impressed with the sound that's clear but doesn't exceed 85 decibels. The inline microphone is adequate for kids. We like that these headphones come with a BuddyJack so multiple kids can listen at once. In addition to being available in several colors, BuddyPhones come with stickers for the ear cups.
While a good value, we have some concerns about longevity from frequent use by a child. The included cable is also somewhat flimsy. These are common concerns with products in this class.
With a similar price and sound quality, the JLab JBuddies Studio Headphones are worthy contenders. They're lacking some of the features of the BuddyPhones but still offer notable comfort. The adult-like appearance is great for kids who like the look of tech.
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JLab JBuddies Studio Kids' Headphones are another quality set with decent sound, consistent audio quality and a maximum volume of 85 decibels to protect young ears. Although they don't come in a peek-a-boo box, they're easy to set up and connect to Bluetooth and have kid-friendly controls. We also like that they get long battery life per charge.
The appearance of these headphones is not as whimsical as the colorful options and ear cup stickers of the BuddyPhones. However, the techy appearance isn't a deal-breaker.
We like that the padding of the ear cups makes them comfortable to wear, even though they lack cushioning on the headband. Despite a few concerns about durability and longevity, the price point makes them a good value for the cost.
Although the BuddyPhones Explore+ and JLab JBuddies Studio headphones are similar in price, durability and sound quality, we give the BuddyPHones Explore+ a slight edge for their extremely comfortable fit that includes a padded headband and fun color options. The BuddyJack function is another great feature for kids who love to share their listening experience with siblings or friends. However, kids who prefer headphones that have a more adult appearance are likely to prefer the sophisticated looks of the JBuddies.
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Jennifer Manfrin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.