Getting headphones for a kid is a different task than getting headphones for an adult. Kids headphones get smaller dimensions, simplified controls, well-thought-out features for comfortable use and crucially, from an aural safety point of view, built-in volume limiting. Luckily, these headphones are more affordable than ever. Some limit audio to as low as 85 decibels, which is safe for a child to listen to for up to eight hours. Other options, like the Noot Products K11 are foldable for easy travel, while others still boast further clever tricks to make them kid-friendly, like cute designs and durable build quality.
Noot Products K11 Foldable On-Ear Headset
These headphones will fit all children aged three and up. Their foldable design makes them ideal for chucking in school bags, for storing in hand luggage and even for compact storage at home. Sound-wise you're looking at 40mm drivers and noise cancellation capabilities.
Available in three colors, kids will love the squishy, cushioned ear cups and lightweight design. The 3.5mm cable is a good length at five feet and boasts a tangle-free nylon braided design.
JBL JR 300BT Kids On-Ear Wireless Headphones
Kids will like JBL's range of junior headphones for their bold and funky colors, lightweight design, and easy-to-use controls. You'll also like the Safe Sound technology, which limits the volume to child-friendly levels.
These Bluetooth-enabled headphones can be used up to 15 meters away from the audio source, giving fidgety kids the freedom to move around. Battery life is decent at 12 hours, and there's a fast charge option for impatient music-lovers that gets one hour of battery life for 10 minutes of charge. Overall these are fabulous headphones, even if there's no microphone to help your child take calls or a 3.5mm jack for wired connection.
CozyPhones Kids Headphones
CozyPhones offers an entire menagerie of animal-themed headband-style headphones, as well as branded options from the likes of JoJo Siwa, Paw Patrol, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
The fun designs belie some clever functionality. The soft, stretchy fabric means the headphones stay in place, are super-easy to wear, and can even double as a sleep mask. You can roll these up to fit in a rucksack or handbag, remove the electronics to wash them, and the volume limitation means you can leave your child with their fave headband knowing they are not going to break the 90-decibel barrier. One of the downsides to some though is that these headphones aren't wireless.
Mpow CH1 Kids Headphones
Ideal for younger children up to three years old, these are volume checked to the lower 85-decibel limit. And they boast a durable design that can be stretched and twisted by curious hands with a yank-proof cord. As they are not wireless, they come in at a lower cost.
With whimsical panda-themed designs, these headphones are available in pale blue or pink. The earmuffs are soft, the headband is adjustable, and there is a 3.5mm AUX output port to hook up a second pair of headphones for listening with a parent, sibling, or buddy.
Puro Sound Labs BT2200 Kids Over-Ear Wireless Headphones
At the opposite end of the market in terms of cost and age range are Puro's BT2200s, which are perfect for older kids who will appreciate a better build quality and sound. Although still volume limited, these cans boast noise cancellation functionality, meaning those 85 decibels should sound a little stronger, without fear of damage.
Design-wise they have a sleek look that will appeal to kids who've grown out of needing accessories to be cute but still offer youth-friendly touches of comfort like cushioned ear cups and headband. The 18 hours of playback battery life should be appealing, too, as should the ability to answer calls via Bluetooth.
iClever Kids Cat Ear Headphones
Available in a range of pastel shades, these sweet headphones boast silicone cat ears — the kind of touch a younger child reluctant to wear headphones could be persuaded by. With safe volume limits, there is the option to set the decibels to 85, or if you're somewhere with a lot of ambient sounds, this can be increased to 94 to combat it. Be careful when using this, though, since there's no child lock to prevent your young kid from going that loud on their own.
The cushioned ear pads promise no clamp-like pressure and swivel, so there's room to compensate for wiggly wearers. The built-in microphone allows for hands-free calling, and the cord is designed to stay tangle-free.
LilGadgets Untangled Pro Children's Wireless Headphones
The Untangled Pros strike a balance between a chunky kid-friendly design and more sophisticated looks and should last your child from four years old through to tweenager age. They have SoftTouch breathable mesh material on the headband and polycarbonate ear pads. With Bluetooth wireless tech, they can handle voice calls and boast a range of around 30 feet.
They excel on the social side of things though, with the ability to daisy chain multiple sets of headphones together thanks to the built-in SharePort technology, supported by the bundled cables. We can imagine many a sleepover's audio provided via Untangled Pros.
Depending on the age of the child and how much you want to spend, you've got options when it comes to children's on- or over-ear audio solutions. Our top pick, the Noot Products K11 won't break the budget, leaving more money for music downloads.
For school-age children, you might want to consider wireless. Although you do have to factor in being organized enough to ensure you've charged them up when your kid wants to use them, cutting the cables frees kids up.
Meanwhile, toddlers will appreciate the cute and fun designs on offer from the options aimed at younger children, which might entice them to sit still quietly for five minutes so you can finally finish that cup of coffee before it goes cold.