If you know a child under the age of 10 chances are they want a pair of Beats headphones. That said, most of us fall into the camp that believes spending $200 pair of headphones isn’t the best investment to make, regardless of if they’re the best headphones for kids.
If your kid is anything like I was at the unsullied age of five, there’s a good chance that she’ll get more enjoyment out of having a story read to her than seeing an unfathomably expensive piece of metal tossed in her direction. Plus, let’s face it, kids are messy, reckless, and unpredictable, so give them a pair of headphones that can keep up with their pace of life.
What you should know about the best headphones for kids
Just like you, we want to keep your kids’ ears safe; each pair of headphones features volume-limiting ear protection that caps volume at 85dB, 35dB below the human pain threshold. It’s cautioned that humans of all ages remain below the 85dB limit to preserve hearing, but this is particularly important for children who are still developing.
Though kids may be irked by the 85-decibel limit, it benefits their developing ears in the long run.
Now that safety has been addressed, it’s worth noting that wide array of options afforded to the headphones for kids market. Like the general consumer market, there are headphones for niche purposes, as you’ll see with the durable Puro Sound Labs JuniorJams, and headphones for the typical listener, like our best all around pick: the JLab Buddies.
Who are these for?
Our article title doesn’t leave much to the imagination. The best headphones for kids are, well, marketed toward kids; all of the products are whimsically styled, more appealing to younger listeners, and feature volume-limiting protection. Though some listed best headphones for kids are more durable than others, they’re all made with children in mind, meaning they can all take a drop… or twenty.
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The best headphones for kids are the JLab JBuddies
These are for ages two and up, making the JLab JBuddies more accessible to kids than the Lego Road Repair Truck kit. Although the headphones cost twice as much as the Lego set, they don’t pose as a potential agony-inducing floor hazard. In fact, these—as are all of the listed headphones for kids—are outfitted with a volume limiter, which prevents the headphones from exceeding an 85dB output.
Kids of all ages will enjoy the eight different pairs of 3-D character stickers that can be mixed and matched. We know that you’re busy chauffeuring your kid from soccer to piano practice and the JBuddies make transport easy with the ability to fold up, halving their size to 5.5 x 4 inches. If some water or juice happens to spill onto the JBuddies during an abrupt stop, don’t worry. These are decked out with spill-resistant materials to protect any kid-prone vulnerabilities.
Aside from all of that, these are comfortable at just 6.4oz and expand or retract as your child’s noggin does. If anything happens to the JBuddies, just give JLab a call and the customer service team will help you so long as it’s within their jurisdiction of the one-year warranty. Between the volume limiter and the pinch-free hinges, JLab has your kids protected.
If your child is a budding music aficionado, invest in the Sony MDR-222KD
Maybe your kid is too sophisticated for 3-D character stickers or at least feels that he’s too old for stickers. In that case, check out the Sony MDR-222KD headphones for kids. These look like run-of-the-mill adult headphones but are still fitted for smaller craniums (8+). These are the lightest headphones on the list at an insanely light 1.76oz. Removable foam ear cushions are reminiscent of retro Walkman headphones, providing a comfortable fit.
Internally, the MDR-222KD headphones for kids are rocking 13.5mm drivers with neodymium magnets to provide a clear listening experience. Highs won’t be fatiguing but they’ll be reproduced more clearly than the previously discussed JBuddies. What’s more, these feature a volume-limiting resistor cable which, unlike the KidJamz, can’t be toggled on or off. Assisting in the volume limiter is a high impedance requirement that is cause for low volume outputs.
Despite the Puro Sound Labs BT2200 Kids price tag, they're a great-sounding investment for older kids.
Don’t want your kid tripping over wires? Pick up the Puro Sound Labs BT2200 Kids
Okay, these are a lot to spend on a pair of headphones regardless of age. But the Puro Sound Labs BT2200 Kids are the Bluetooth headphone investment to make and allow for the standard 30-meter range. Not only do they also feature volume-limiting ear protection at 85dB, but they boast 40mm drivers, an 18-hour battery life (200-hour standby), and a durable, aluminum construction.
The aluminum holds up over time and is a style that your kid will appreciate for years to come, rather than having to buy a new pair because they’re “for babies,” or something of that nature. Ample synthetic leather padding on the ear cups attenuates 82 percent of ambient noise at 1kHz, which further protects kids’ ears by making them less inclined to bump the volume because of a loud environment. Like others listed, the Puro Sound Labs Kids are travel-friendly and fold flat for storage in a bag or around the neck.
Puro Sound Labs Kids BT2200 Kids
Alright, since these are aimed towards older kids, chances are that they have a phone; the Puro Sound Labs Kids come with a microphone to streamline the calling process. Yes, these are expensive and many parents would struggle to purchase ~$80 headphones for their kids (which makes complete sense, by the by); however, looking at them as an investment makes it worth it. Instead of making five to a bajillion trips to Target for headphones that inevitably break or conk out, just make a one-time purchase and you’re done
Strapped for cash? Go with the MEE Audio KidJamz KJ25
For the price of a few gallons of gas, MEE Audio presents the KidJamz KJ25. As far as value is concerned, these are some of the best headphones for kids. According to MEE Audio these are ideal for kids ages 4-12; they also come in three color varieties: black, pink, and blue. Like all others listed, they include a built-in 85dB volume limiter to protect your youngins’ ears. If your children absolutely insist on hearing above the 85dB threshold—though we don’t recommend it—the volume limiter can be disabled with a switch on the ear cup.
MEE Audio KidJamz KJ25
At just 3.8oz, these won’t place too much pressure or weight on listeners’ ears. Plus they can be bent any-which-way and be no worse for the wear. This flexibility pairs well with the tangle-resistant cable that prevents kids trapping themselves in a tangled mess. If the KidJamz happen to malfunction, MEE Audio supplies a one-year warranty that has the headphones for kids covered.
As a durable alternative, go with the Puro Sound JuniorJams
These feature an aluminum build and weigh in at just 5.3oz. Plus, the JuniorJams come in four colorways (blue, green, pink, and purple), so there’s bound to be an option that pleases your kid. Aside from being durable, the JuniorJams are one of the best headphones for kids and provide up to 22 hours of playback time. No matter how long the road trip, the headphones will keep your kids preoccupied, hopefully lessening the number of times that you hear, “Are we there yet?”
Puro Sound JuniorJams
Like the Puro Sound Labs Kids, the JuniorJams are Bluetooth-enabled, which means that there are fewer potential tripping hazards within your child’s reach. Plus, if you have multiple kids they can daisy chain the headphones together to listen simultaneously. Unfortunately, the limit is set to two headphones, but any more than that would likely come a wiry mess. Also, though the JuniorJams are pricey at $69.99, Puro Sound provides a one-year replacement warranty. If on the off-chance that they do fail, Puro Sound Labs has you and your children covered.
Next: Best Cheap Headphones
Why you should trust us
Not only is this site our nine-to-five, but Adam, Chris and Lily each have multiple years of reviewing consumer audio products. We’ve kept tabs on the ever-changing world of audio, giving us the ability to parse apart the gimmicks from the gems. As frequent visitors of SoundGuys already know, Chris wears his hatred for all things Bluetooth like a lovesick teenager wears his heart on his sleeve. The Bluetooth products listed? They’re damned special. Adam, a SoundGuy for nearly three years, has heard everything from pristine highs to vacant lows. Then there’s Lily with countless hours clocked in at a radio station working in a professional studio environment and reviewing audio products on her own time prior to joining SoundGuys.
We want you and your kids, nieces, nephews, and so on to be happy with your purchase and to be able to listen safely with any of the listed best headphones for kids—none of our writers see a dime from partnership deals or referral purchases—and nobody here is allowed to benefit from steering you towards one product or another. While this site does make money from referrals, the individual writers are paid based on their work, regardless of whether or not people clicked that “buy” icon. They will never even know if anyone did, though the site going under might be a good hint.
How we picked the best headphones for kids
Although we’ve directly reviewed a vast array of products here at Sound Guys, we haven’t gotten around to all of them. After all, we’re only human and are inherently subjective. To counteract our unavoidable bias, we do quite a bit of research by perusing online forums, reading other reviews (PCMag, CNET, etc), conducting Twitter polls and more. Regarding headphones for kids, we know that safety comes first and foremost which is why we made sure that every option features volume-limiting ear protection at 85dB.
In short, this list is the running conclusions of thousands of hours of use from a growing list of contributors over many years. This is a living document, and it’s updated every time a new model knocks an existing one off their pedestal.
Disclosure: We may receive affiliate compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page. Even though we may receive compensation, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on each product. See our ethics policy for more details.