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Best Headphones for Kids That are Safe and Durable

Last updated: 3 months ago
8 min read

The best headphones for kids that are perfect for safely listening to music, watching cartoons, studying, or chatting over the internet.

Price Volume Limiter Best for ages
BuddyPhones Cosmos+ Best over-ear
Under $100
3 levels – 75, 85, 94dB
1-12 years
Under $100
85dB
3-16 years
Under $200
85dB
5-18 years
BuddyPhones Wave Best waterproof
BuddyPhones Wave
Under $70
3 levels – 75, 85, 94dB
1-8 years
BuddyPhones Play Best value for money
BuddyPhones Play
Under $50
3 levels – 75, 85, 94dB
1-8 years

You give your kid a pair of headphones to listen to music or watch cartoons, so you finally get some peace and quiet. You need to regenerate your batteries for tomorrow.

And the same headphones can be used for online classes or talking with friends. And best of all, they are perfectly safe, even for toddlers with sensitive hearing.

Unfortunately, you can’t give your kid just any headphones.

Most are unfit for the job and can also seriously injure their hearing. In fact, loud volume can permanently damage kids’ ears.

You have to be careful. So, we did some research and found headphones specifically made for kids.

They come with volume control, smaller sizes, and exciting colors. They’re perfect for a growing-up human that still needs to learn a few things.

Find the best headphones for kids below, and we’ll also tell you why.

Table of Contents

    Why Volume Limiting is Important

    Younger ears are more sensitive, so kids have better hearing. And while that’s great for playing and learning, it can be dangerous when they come in contact with modern technology meant for adults.

    Extended high-volume exposure is dangerous for adults. And even more so for kids, especially under 3-year-olds.

    Kids have more years of life to look forward to. Therefore chronic diseases have more time to foster and might be triggered by exposure in childhood.

    Hearing loss can start at a young age and can have a determinantal effect for the rest of their life.

    Kids with mild hearing loss do worse in school, and their condition usually worsens through life. In adulthood, issues can progress with age as they’re exposed to more harmful sources.

    The results of the RANCH (Road traffic and
    aircraft noise) the study has found that students attending schools around airports had worse
    reading comprehension and poorer recognition memory after adjusting for social-economic
    factors (Basner et al, 2017).

    Source

    For these reasons, it’s crucial to start early at protecting your kids from harmful sound exposure.

    Best Headphones for Kids

    BuddyPhones Cosmos+

    1st-place Best over-ear kids headphones
    BuddyPhones Cosmos+ review - blue headphones

    The most feature-packed wireless headphones for kids with 3 volume-limit modes, active noise cancelling (ANC), built-in and boom microphones, and long battery life.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth
    Driver size icon Driver size: 40mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 18-22,000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Connection: Wireless & Wired | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: Yes | Mic & Controls: Yes | AUX cable length: 1m | Impedance: 32 Ohm | Weight: 233g | Features: Voice limiter, detachable boom mic, foldable, colorful options
    • Great design your kid will love
    • Quality materials and sturdy, foldable construction
    • 3 volume limiting modes: 75, 85, 94dB
    • Active noise cancelling (ANC)
    • Detachable boom microphone
    • Massive battery life over 30h
    • Pricey

    BuddyPhones Cosmos+ review

    If you want one pair of headphones that can do it all, the BuddyPhones Cosmos+ are the best choice.

    These are suitable for 12-month-olds or early teenagers thanks to the adjustable headband. They’re among the best headphones for toddlers.

    You can use them for listening to music and video with quality drivers and comfy design, or use them for online lessons and chat.

    Thanks to Study Mode (hear-through mode) and a detachable boom microphone that extends right in front of the mouth, they’re one of the best kids headphones for school.

    To ensure perfect safety, you can toggle between 3 different volume control modes, as well as active noise cancellation (ANC), so they’re safe for an airplane too.

    Why active noise cancelling? It protects your kids’ hearing against engine noise exposure on an airplane.

    The only bad thing is their price. Around $100, they rank among premium kids headphones.

    If you don’t mind paying for the best over-ear headphones for your kids, then the Cosmos+ are the top choice.

    BuddyPhones Cosmos+ review

    Puro Sound Labs BT2200

    Puro-Sound-Labs-BT2200-review

    Smaller on-ear headphones for kids with a volume limit of 85dB and an adult-like design that keeps them relevant longer.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 40mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: On-ear | Connection: Wireless Bluetooth & wired | Back design: Closed-back | Battery life: 20h (18h21min) | Wireless range: 50ft (15m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: Micro-USB | Mic & Controls: Yes | Weight: 150g | Bluetooth codecs: SBC | Water resistance: No | Features: Volume limiter, 3.5mm port, foldable, music share
    • Stylish colorful design yet suitable for older kids
    • Durable aluminum build quality
    • Effective volume limit at 85dB (Bluetooth and wired)
    • Simple built-in controls
    • Music sharing cable
    • Can’t change the volume limiter
    • Somewhat pricey compared to alternatives

    Puro Sound Labs BT2200 review

    Strong, colorful design with attractive stickers get the attention of toddlers and pre-school kids, but what happens when they grow up a bit?

    Once your kid grows a bit older, 6 years+, they’ll look up to their friends for clues. And colorful headphones for toddlers won’t spark any interest. In fact, they might be ridiculed for it.

    This is where Puro BT2200 come in. They’re unassuming while still having volume control.

    They’re perfectly suitable for young as well as primary school kids. They come with wireless Bluetooth connectivity, a built-in mic, sound quality, and durable construction.

    For kids’ headphones that will stand the test of time, Puro BT2200 are a great choice.

    Puro Sound Labs BT2200 review

    Puro Sound Labs PuroPro

    Best kids headphones with volume control that look like adult over-the-ear headphones and come with active noise cancelling (ANC).

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 40mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20,000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Connection: Bluetooth & wired 3.5mm | Back design: Closed-back | Battery life: 38h+ | Wireless range: 40ft | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: Micro-USB | Mic & Controls: Yes | Weight: / | Bluetooth codecs: SBC | Water resistance: None | Features: Volume limiter
    • Super comfortable over-ear cups
    • Volume limited to 85 dB
    • Quality construction
    • Active noise cancellation with 2 modes
    • Large battery
    • Expensive
    • Kind of bulky for kids headphones

    If your kid is a bit older or dislikes childish headphones, then the PuroPro are a great fit.

    The Bluetooth headphones come with active noise cancellation (ANC – 2 modes), massive battery life of almost 40 hours, and plush over-ear earpads that fit an adult. Or use them as wired headphones.

    ANC makes them suitable for air traveling on a plane as it protects against ambient noise.

    Moreover, they look like adult headphones, but in reality, they’re limited to a max 85dB volume to protect hearing.

    Your kid can crank up the volume to the max without you worrying it will hurt their little ears.

    Puro PuroPro are a great choice if you want adult-looking Bluetooth headphones with all the features and a volume limiter.

    BuddyPhones Wave

    trophy Best waterproof headphones for kids
    BuddyPhones Wave folded headphones

    BuddyPhones Wave are fully waterproof on-ear headphones for toddlers that like to “trash” their things.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 4.2
    Driver size icon Driver size: 40mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: On-ear | Battery life: 24h (19h+ in test) | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: 2h – Micro-USB | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: n/a | Water resistance: IP67 | Features: 4 volume limiter modes, 3.5mm port
    • Great design your kid will love
    • Quality materials and sturdy, foldable construction
    • 3 volume limiting modes: 75, 85, 94dB
    • Active noise cancelling (ANC)
    • Detachable boom microphone
    • Massive battery life over 30h
    • Pricey

    BuddyPhones Wave review

    Water is the bane of all electronics, and if your toddler tends to spill liquids over things out of sheer cute clumsiness, then these are the best choice.

    With IP67 rating they’re protected against dust and water, and you can easily clean them under tap.

    You don’t want to spend top dollar on fancy kids headphones only to get them ruined by accident.

    Moreover, the BuddyPhones Wave come with 3 volume control modes, including Toddler Mode and a durable, foldable design for easier storage.

    You connect them with Bluetooth or 3.5mm like wired headphones. So, if the battery dies, your kid is never left without an option to listen to music safely.

    In case you want waterproof headphones for toddlers that can withstand bad treatment, get these.

    BuddyPhones Wave review

    BuddyPhones Play

    dollar Best budget
    BuddyPhones Play review

    These are an older model but already come with Bluetooth for wireless connectivity and 3 volume-limiting modes. And best of all is their low price.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 4.2
    Driver size icon Driver size: 40mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: On-ear | Battery life: 14h | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: 2h – Micro-USB | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: n/a | Water resistance: No | Features: Volume limiter (75, 85 & 94dB), detachable cable
    • Effective volume limiter with 3 modes
    • Plasticky but flexible
    • Colorful with stickers
    • Reliable wireless performance
    • Not water-resistant
    • An older model

    BuddyPhones Play review

    The BuddyPhones Play are on-ear budget headphones for kids with everything you expect from modern wireless headphones.

    You get Bluetooth, so you can easily connect them with a smartphone, a tablet, or TV. And you can use them as wired headphones too. The volume control ensures a safe listening volume for all ages. And a built-in microphone for calls.

    Once you don’t need them anymore, they fold for easier storage. And their battery life over 10 hours isn’t shabby either.

    BuddyPhones Play are cheaper headphones without ANC or extra-long battery, but most kids don’t need more.

    And the fact you can get them for under $50, depending on which model you buy, they’re fantastic value for money.

    (BuddyPhones Play cost around $40, the upgraded model with better battery Play+ is around $50)

    BuddyPhones Play review

    Honorable Mentions

    Puro Sound Labs PuroQuiets

    Puro PuroQuiets are similar to BT2200. The on-ears are noise cancelling headphones for kids with more features. PuroQuiets have a slightly longer battery life over 20 hours with ANC, and even more turned off. But they also cost more money, so consider them if you want active noise cancelling headphones for kids.

    LilGadgets Untangled PRO

    LilGadgets Untangled Pro

    LilGadgets Untagled PRO are wireless kids’ headphones that offer everything a kid would need. They work with all Bluetooth devices, have a built-in microphone, and over 10 hours of battery life. And they work as wired headphones too. The volume is limited to 93dB, which is a bit louder but still suitable.  

     

    What Levels of Noise are Dangerous for Kids (and for how long)

    There are a couple of scientific sources of recommended noise exposure. There is no max limit set in stone, but most research papers recommend staying under 80 – 85 dBA noise levels for 8 hours.

    Noise Exposure Recommendations for Kids

    Source 8-hour exp. 24-hour exp.
    WHO 80 dBA 75 dBA
    Neitzel&Fligor 83 dBA 70 dBA
    NIDCD 85 dBA 70 dBA

    Standards for kids are a bit higher compared to adults since younger ears are more sensitive.

    Sources:

    According to World Health Organization, the recommended exposure limit for recreational noise for children is 80 dBA for 8 hours.

    The 8-hour 83 dBA exposure limit is recommended by Neitzel and Fligor for the general population.

    And to completely eliminate the Risk of noise-induced hearing loss for the most vulnerable individuals, including children, maintain a 24-hour exposure limit of 70 dBA. (Neitzel & Fligor, 2017)

    What does That Mean?

    To protect your kids hearing, limit their exposure to noise under 80-85 dBA in 8 hours. Or even better, keep it under 70 dBA for complete peace of mind.

    This means it’s safe for a kid to listen to music and cartoons with volume-limited headphones under 80-85 dBA.

    General guidelines for kids headphones:

    • At max volume, they can safely listen for a couple hours but don’t let it happen for over 8 hours.
    • At 75% max volume, under 70 dBA, they can safely listen all the time.
    • At 85% max volume, under 75 dBA is safe for under 8 hours for toddlers.

    Be aware:

    • Don’t let kids listen at max volume with adult headphones.
    • Don’t let toddlers listen loudly for too long even with the best kids headphones.

    How Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Looks Like Under a Microscope

    This is how permanent hearing loss looks like in the inner ear.

    Healthy cells
    Damages cells

    Source

    To avoid hearing loss in your kids, keep the volumes low and never expose them to noise for too long.

    How to Set Volume Limiting on Your Device?

    If you’re using a smartphone, most give you the option to limit max volume. So even if your kid increases the volume to max, it stays in the safe range.

    How to Set Volume Limiting on iPhone

    Credit: Reddit

    Steps:

    1. Open Settings
    2. Tap on Music
    3. Tap on Volume Limit
    4. Use the slider to set max volume. There’s no indicator in dBA, but 60% – 70% should be generally safe.
    5. Use your regular headphones safely

    How to Set Volume Limiting on Android

    Some Android smartphones have the option to lower the volume, but not all.

    Credit: Reddit

    Steps:

    1. Open Settings
    2. Tap on Sound and Vibration
    3. Tap on Volume
    4. Turn on Volume Limiter by tapping on the 3 dots on the top right corner
    5. Once the Volume Limiter is enabled, set the max volume
    6. Listen to music safely

    P.S. Exact menu names and order might vary across brands.

    You can also try downloading the Volume Limiter app from Google Play and set it there.

    How to Choose the Best Headphones for Kids

    Here are the main requirements for quality kids’ headphones.

    Volume limiting

    Safety comes first. Effective volume limit is the main feature of headphones for kids. It protects them from long-term noise-induced hearing loss, as mentioned above.

    Volume control modes in BuddyPhones.

    There are a couple of types:

    1. Fixed to a specific max volume. Most common 85 dB and 95 dB (you can’t change it)
    2. Changeable Volume Modes. 3-4 modes with different max volume

    Audio quality is also important, but as long as it’s good enough for kids music and cartoons, you don’t need to judge it with adult standards.

    Durability

    You want headphones that will last for a long time.

    Look for signs of good build quality like:

    • Waterproof ratings: IP rating – the higher, the better
    • Foldable headband and ear cups that can be stored safely
    • Quality brands that invest in the longevity of their headphones

    Convenience

    Things like long battery life, wireless Bluetooth connectivity, and microphones all make the headphones useful.

    Getting Bluetooth headphones for kids is almost a no-brainer since wires are susceptible to accidents and tangling. Plus, if you have a newer phone, it doesn’t have a wired AUX output.

    Long battery life just means less charging and more carefree use.

    And microphones for making phone calls and online chatting are basically essential for any youngster nowadays.

    Price

    Since you probably don’t expect headphones for kids to last forever, you don’t want to spend too much.

    We all want the best for our kids, but that doesn’t mean you always have to buy the most expensive item.

    You might be asking yourself, “How much do I want to pay for headphones for kids?”

    Since kids won’t know the difference between good and bad sound quality, as long as the headphones are safe and come with the features you want, they’re good enough.

    General price ranges of kids headphones are:

    • $100- $150 premium top-of-the-line headphones
    • $50 – $100 are mid-tier
    • Under $50 are budget headphones

    Are Headphones Better Than Earbuds for Kids?

    There aren’t many safe earbuds for kids with volume control.

    Generally, headphones are easier to use for younger kids and come with more features like ANC, boom microphones, and volume control modes.

    Though we did find a couple of volume-limited earbuds for kids, but just with wires.

    LilGadgets BestBuds

    BestBuds are wired earbuds for kids with the max volume set to 73 dB, making them perfectly safe. They are designed to fit kids and come with a splitter cable, an in-line microphone, and a carrying case.

    Symphonized Kids

    These are similar to the popular Symphonized NRG earbuds. The wired buds are limited to 85 dB maximum volume and fit little ears. But they’re often sold out.

    FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

    Do Kids’ Headphones Need a Microphone?

    If you need kids’ headphones for making phone calls, online school, or just Skyping, then a microphone is necessary.
    Thankfully, most Bluetooth headphones for kids already come with a microphone that’s good enough for the job, and they don’t cost much money.

    What is a Good Brand of Headphones for Kids?

    The most known ones and specialized for kids’ headphones are BuddyPhones, Puro Sound Labs, and LilGadgets.

    Are Beats Headphones Good for Toddlers?

    No. Beats headphones are too loud and can induce hearing loss if left unsupervised. They might look cool but aren’t fit for a toddler who has extra sensitive ears. Get volume limited headphones instead.

    Are Wireless Headphones OK for Kids?

    Yes, Bluetooth technology has been proven safe and has no harmful effects on kids. At the same time, keep the volume and time of use limited. Prolonged exposure to noise can impact their hearing and learning ability.