As with all things pertaining to small people, finding the best toddler headphones is an exercise in compromise. They want The Wheels on the Bus, we want to expose them to Simon and Garfunkel as early as possible; they want to blast it, we don’t want them to damage their delicate, still-developing ears.
- When it’s time to unplug, crack open one of our best children’s books for readers (or simply listeners) of all ages
- Take a look at our pick of the best outdoor kids’ toys, for when the sun is shining and the great outdoors is calling
The solution? Our pick of headphones for toddlers, with sound-limiting technology, jazzy designs and comfortable earpieces to offer long-lasting tuneage and peace of mind (not to mention peace and quiet) for you.
Our best pair comes courtesy of Puro Sound Labs, (opens in new tab) whose premium headphones have a high-end look and sound while still limiting the volume, making for some thoroughly toddler-friendly cans. For the rest of our picks for all ages, all logistical needs, and all tastes, keep reading below.
These headphones might look hilariously grown-up on little heads, but the elegant design means that these headphones have serious longevity over bright novelty ones that’ll look cute now, but that they might tire of in a few years. It’s this long-lasting minimalism, plus the presence of a built-in sound limiter, that makes these not just our best headphones for toddlers, but our best headphones for kids of all ages. Granted, they’re more expensive than the average offerings, but for careful kids these headphones offer rich rewards: a leap up in sound quality even over Bluetooth, comfortable wear, and of course that stylish design.
Move over Dre – there’s a new must-have pair of headphones in town. These awesome unicorn headphones (also available in monkey, robot and bee designs) are the stuff that colour-loving kids’ dreams are made of, but they’re not all glitz and glamour, because life with toddlers is far from it, and their durable waterproof design with comfortable hypoallergenic cushions anticipates most eventualities. Best of all is their battery life: even when used wirelessly over Bluetooth, BuddyPhones cite up to 24 hours of use, making these a great one for keeping kids occupied on a long journey, and reviewers loved the BuddyCable that lets up to four children listen in on one device, too.
If the phrase “careful kids” in our first product description made you laugh out loud and then weep bitterly for all your possessions ruined by toddler rampage, these JVC headphones might be right up your street. As well as being beautifully bright and cheerful in the first instance, these headphones can be tailored to your toddler’s interests with included sticker packs, making them a truly customised pair. But don’t be fooled… that easygoing exterior hides a tank-like construction that reviewers say is strong enough to withstand even Godzilla-level rages from the most determined tantrum-throwers.
Running with the notion that Zs are way cooler than Ss, these Kidz Gear headphones market themselves to a surprisingly wide range of ages. Their charms are roughly in line with those of the Puro Sound headphones in our top spot, and while you might not get quite the same sound quality, you also won’t be left with quite the same bill. They’re relatively inexpensive, can expand to fit heads from two years to twelve years old, and their refined design in a range of bright colours gives them lasting appeal and a sense of customisation. The only potential issue is the separate volume limiter, which they may try to “lose” so be sure to keep a close eye.
Toddlers are incredibly talented at getting in a tangle, so any solution that gives them one less tool to do it with is a win by us. As well as nixing a strangulation hazard, which may be a boon for nervous parents, these wireless headphones are compatible with nearly all Bluetooth devices and, quite amazingly, feature something called the SharePort, which allows other kids to piggyback of these phones’ wireless signal, so they can all listen to a single device at the same time. How clever is that? With 12 hours of battery life, six bright colours to choose from, and suitability for four years and up, these are great all round.
You’ve heard of fat rascals and the Little Rascals, but Snuggly Rascals? It might seem like a contradiction in terms, but in fact it’s an absurdly adorable and somewhat ingenious alternative to traditional headphones for kids. Rather than a hard plastic over-head band like most ‘phones, this set is a soft fleecy headband that fits around your child’s head and over their ears, secured with velcro for a custom fit that’s never too tight or too loose. Testers were impressed that you couldn’t feel hard speakers through the fabric but that music was still decidedly listenable, and you can even remove them to wash the headband.