Can be used with or without cord. Auto shutoff helps battery life. 30-foot Bluetooth range works well for kids who move while listening.
Volume may be difficult for some kids to adjust.
Built-in volume limiter protects hearing. Cute character sits atop headphones. Good audio quality. Fairly affordable. Plush ear cups. Universal line-in jack.
Best for little kids, as its maximum volume is fairly soft.
Excellent sound quality and noise cancellation. Comfortable to wear. Flexible, nylon-wrapped cord withstands rough use.
Ear pads come off easily.
Solid joints for durability. Comfortable cushioning. Mic works well enough for children to talk on the phone.
Some of the plastic pieces feel flimsy.
Whether they're listening to their favorite songs over and over, enjoying an audio book, or watching that Spongebob episode on your tablet for the 50th time, it's good for kids to have their own headphones. Not only do kids' headphones allow children to have some me-time without interruptions, but they also give parents and other caregivers some much-needed quiet.
You might be wondering what differentiates kids' headphones from adult headphones and how to pick the right ones for your child. Read our full guide to kids' headphones and check out our favorite picks, and your kids will soon be rocking out to their favorite jams without disturbing the whole house.
Headphones generally come in two varieties: over-ear and in-ear. In-ear headphones are compact and lightweight but can be awkward to wear. Over-ear headphones tend to have superior sound quality and are easy to wear, but they are bulkier to carry around.
You might love your earbuds, but the majority of children don't love them, and they can pose a choking hazard for little ones. As such, the vast majority of kids' headphones are over-ear models. However, if your child does prefer in-ear models, you can find a small number of kids' earbuds on the market. You can also find some alternative styles of kids' headphones, such as soft headbands with integrated speakers.
Listening to headphones too loud is hazardous for people of all ages, but it’s even more so for those with delicate young ears. A quality set of kids' headphones should limit volume to a maximum of 85 decibels. This is the maximum volume deemed safe for children between the ages of three and 12. If a set of headphones doesn't feature a volume limiter and your child listens to them too loud, it could cause irreparable hearing damage. This is the main reason why kids shouldn't use headphones designed for adults.
Of course, a pair of kids' headphones isn't going to match the sound quality of your $300 Bose headphones, but you should still keep audio quality in mind. It’s true that kids probably won’t obsess over bass note booms or treble clarity, but that doesn't mean they should put up with low-quality audio. Avoid kids' headphones where the sound is tinny or distorted.
Obviously, kids' headphones are smaller than adult headphones, but not all kids are the same size. In order to provide a good fit, you should be able to adjust the length of the headband to fit children of different sizes. This should be simple enough for kids to do by themselves, as you might not always be around to adjust the size for them.
From scratchy clothes labels to seams that rub, plenty of children won't abide anything that's uncomfortable. That's why it's important that your chosen kids’ headphones are comfortable to wear. Both the band and the earpieces should be well-padded for comfort, and there shouldn't be any parts that dig in or are too tight. Headphones with large earpieces that sit around the ears rather than on top of them are generally more comfortable. Those that sit on the ears press on them, which can be annoyingly uncomfortable, especially when wearing them for long stretches of time.
Although we wouldn't recommend buying a sub-par pair of headphones just because they're emblazoned with your child's favorite cartoon character, kids are obviously more drawn to headphones with a fun design. What you can do, however, is opt for models that offer both quality and aesthetics. Make a shortlist of quality kids' headphones that have all the features you want from them, then let your child choose. Plenty of kids' headphones come in several colors, patterns, and designs, so you should find it easy enough to pick a pair that look great and sound great, too.
How much should you expect to pay for a set of kids' headphones? First off, we wouldn't recommend dropping a huge sum of money on kids’ headphones, as children often aren't too careful with their belongings, and you may well need to replace them in a year or so. If you're looking for basic wired kids' headphones, you can find some decent models between $10 and $20. Mid-range kids' headphones, including some basic wireless options, cost roughly $20 to $40. If you want high-end kids' headphones with excellent sound quality and a wide range of features, you'll need to spend around $50 to $100, though the majority of options cost less than $70.
Q. Is there a minimum age limit for kids' headphones?
A. Although there isn't usually a minimum age for a pair of headphones, you do need to be careful if a child under the age of three will be using them. While most kids' headphones are capped at 85 decibels, this is the safe volume level for children age three and up. Younger offspring shouldn't be listening to their headphones at full volume. Keep a close eye on your younger children to ensure they don’t turn the volume up above three-quarters of the maximum volume or use tape or a similar item to cover up the volume controls.
Q. What's the average battery life of wireless kids' headphones?
A. This varies between models, but it's rare to find wireless offerings with a battery life under 10 to 12 hours, which will see your child through a day trip or visit to the grandparents' house. Some boast a battery life of up to 24 hours.
Q. Can you find noise-cancelling headphones for kids?
A. Kids' noise-cancelling headphones aren't common, but you will find a small number on the market. For safety reasons, we wouldn't recommend kids walk around on the street wearing them, as they wouldn’t be as aware of potential hazards, including oncoming traffic.
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