Best Kids Headphones of 2018 – A Complete Parental Guide!

Girl wearing a headphone

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Niche products are seemingly popping up every other day, from the downright ridiculous to some extremely brilliant products.

Specialized kids headphones will probably fall somewhere in between the two extremes, not exactly a new invention but very important when you consider their benefits.

We’ve listed 5 great kids headphones, both wireless and wired, in different price categories. So let’s take a look!

Click on each product to go straight to the review on this page.


Why Headphones for Kids?

Normal headphones (for adults) all have one similar characteristic, packing as much power as possible in that tiny frame, head thumping bass, loud volume, etc.

As wonderful as that is for adults they can be quite damaging to your hearing and that effect is more pronounced when it comes to kids and sadly most parents don’t even have a clue or pay too much attention to that.

Headphones for kids, on the other hand, are specially made to limit those effects, thereby minimizing the chances of your kids suffering from Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). A permanent condition which isn’t easily noticeable (the damage is usually done by the time effects are noticed) as it is cumulative.

Parents as well have something to gain by buying the kids headphones, specifically, no more having to listen in on that loud gaming noise or whatever cartoon your kids are into at the moment.

Also, if you and your family are frequent travelers then headphones will come in handy in keeping the kids occupied for the duration of the journey whether it be by road or air (while most airplanes have headphones available they are adult sized and will be a poor fit for children).

What Makes a Good Headphone for Kids?

There are several factors you should consider before settling on which headphones will be a good fit for your kids and if this is your first time at the rodeo then you’re going to need some direction on what to look at.

With that in mind, I’ve outlined a few pointers on the most important specifications for headphones for kids;

Volume Limiter

As mentioned above loud music is damaging to your hearing, for adults, the expert opinion on noise tolerance before damage starts to occur is 85dB for about 8 hours.

For kids, the time before noise-induced hearing loss starts to occur is severely reduced to just an hour at the same 85dB.

Now given that most “normal” headphones easily go above 100dB (even the really cheap ones, stock Apple earbuds average 105dB) that means kids can only listen for a few minutes before damage starts to occur (actual numbers are about 15 minutes of listening at 100dB for adults) (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2015/ear-care/en/).

The good news is kids headphones come with built-in volume limiters reducing the maximum volume to 85dB making them infinitely safer audio devices.

As with everything, specific manufacturers have better limiters than others and you will need to note how the specific limiter in the headphone you choose works as some can be easily removed or tampered with and therefore require some adult supervision.

Bear in mind that volume limiters aren’t guaranteed to protect your child from hearing damage but they will reduce the risk. Always tell children to listen at moderate levels and educate them repeatedly on the possible dangers, while continuously monitoring your child’s listening behavior.

Size Matters

Obviously, kids have smaller heads than adults. This makes it difficult to get the right fit for a child with “normal” headphones, resulting in discomfort and a constant need for readjustment, which would probably lead to a few tantrums, especially when traveling.

As a result, it’s always better to go straight for the kid headphones. The fit is always better and more comfortable for them plus the sound quality is significantly improved by a better fit.

Durability

Kids being kids, the headphones you buy will obviously be subjected to some form of abuse or other.

If you want to avoid buying a new pair every other month, you need to make sure you buy something durable.

Now, this isn’t to say that you need to buy steel-reinforced headphones, different materials have different durability levels and sometimes the design will influence how strong the actual headphones are rather than just the materials used.

Checking the durability of the headphone also means looking at things like the cable (if there is one), how strong it is, if it’s replaceable, etc.

Design

Most kids are attracted to colorful, playful designs and you see it in just about everything they own.

The same will probably apply to the headphones they want and as an adult bear in mind that what’s important to you, sound quality, etc doesn’t rank that high in your child’s mind.

In fact, most children will abandon that highly rated, super expensive quality set you bought them in favor of some cheap headphone they saw on the storefront just because it has their favorite cartoon character or color on it.

In other words, this factor shouldn’t be taken lightly if you want your kids to love the headphones you’ve bought for them.


Puro Sound Labs BT2200

1ST PLACE

The Puro BT2200 seems to be a headphone built to fight the idea that all kids headphones should sport various cartoon/game characters to appeal to their target market. It’s also made with an unusual attention to detail that you don’t see very often in this niche.

Puro Sound Labs BT2200 Premium Kids Headphones, Volume Limiting Bluetooth Wireless Headphones for Children, Girls and Boys (Blue)

Pros
  • Effective volume limiter (85dB).
  • Trendy design and several color options to go with.
  • Durable.
  • 12 hours of battery life.

Cons
  • Noise limiter in wired mode needs a special cable (which can be inserted incorrectly).
LEARN MORE

Design, Fit, and Durability

The aluminum made BT2200 is, at first glance, not your typical kiddy headphone.

The solid colors it comes in are elegant (black, blue, white, gold and purple) and will likely have a certain appeal to the pre-teen to teenage kids out there.

The classy feel of the headphone is even more pronounced by the lack of wires with the controls neatly lined on the right earcup, a volume up/down button, a play/pause button that doubles for Bluetooth pairing as well and a switch to slide the headphones on and off.

Because of the aluminum construction, this is a really strong, durable set of headphones that will hold up to most types of abuse kids will throw at it.

Aluminum means it’s also lightweight enough to sit comfortably on the head of a toddler if need be.

Another plus in the comfort stakes is the soft ear cushions that exert minimal pressure on the ear meaning kids can keep them on for several hours at the very least.

The earcups can easily be folded inwards to fit the headphone into a hard carrying case that comes with them.

A cable for when the battery runs out is also included, so these can be used as a wired headphone too (a special 5mm volume limiting cable is included for use in wired mode).

Sound Quality and Volume Limiter

The volume limiter in Bluetooth mode is probably one of the best volume limiters you will ever find, working to keep the maximum volume below 85dB with serious efficiency (Bluetooth range on the BT2200 is 9 meters and is pretty stable).

In wired mode, the special 5mm cable also works wonders. However, it does have a slight flaw to it that renders it useless if unrealized.

Simply put, if you plug it in wrong it will be completely useless in limiting volume. The headphone will still work though, meaning you might not realize it’s plugged in wrong and volume will easily hit 100dB when that happens.

So you do have to be vigilant and make sure you plugged it in right or check the kids don’t trick you and plug it in the other way.

Moving on to sound quality, the sound is very well-balanced and polished, showing an attention to detail that is lacking in a lot of kids headphones.

The 40mm custom dynamic drivers do a good job of delivering incredible highs as well as solid mids and a bass that doesn’t overpower.

The great fit of these headphones also comes into play here, providing the listener with a tight seal and therefore reasonably good isolation.

VIEW ON AMAZON

CozyPhones for Kids

MOST COMFORTABLE

Cozyphones is, at this point, fairly well-known for their headband style headphones (check our review on their sleep headphone for adults). The kid version of the Cozyphone is a fun and lighthearted headphone that should especially appeal to toddlers and preschool age kids.

CozyPhones Kids Headphones Volume Limited with Ultra-Thin Speakers & Super Comfortable Soft Fleece Headband - Perfect Children's Earphones for School, Home and Travel - MYSTIC UNICORN

Pros
  • The headband design is ultra comfortable.
  • Great for use when traveling.
  • Washable headband means no need to worry about hygiene.
  • Fun designs for the younger kids.

Cons
  • Volume limiter is, at 90 dB, over recommended listening levels.
  • Electronics tend to shift around inside of the headband.
LEARN MORE

Design, Fit, and Durability

The headband design that Cozyphones champions has, at the very least, one thing going for it, it’s very comfortable.

For kids, especially the young ones, this is a very big deal because the moment they are slightly uncomfortable they become a problem.

As well as being comfortable, the headband design allows the headphones to come in many different designs and color combinations (from animals to cartoon characters), something which most kids find fun and relatable.

The speakers are inside the headband and as they’re not secured for when you need to wash the headband, they do tend to move around sometimes.

Connecting the speakers to whatever device will be in use is a braided 52-inch cord. The good thing is because it’s braided the cord won’t break easily but given the target market for this headphone, expect it to break at some point.

Sound Quality and Volume Limiter.

The volume limiter for the Cozyphones is a kind of on the iffy side of things. That’s because it’s set at 90dB whereas recommended listening levels for kids are set at 85dB by most experts.

However, the fact that it cannot be tricked or removed like other limiters in wired headphones is a big plus.

In terms of sound, the Cozyphones are fairly good. They don’t perform like Hi-fi headphones of the Sennheiser ilk but they’re not meant to and that’s okay.

VIEW ON AMAZON

LilGadgets Connect+ Pro

LilGadgets is one of the more well-known manufacturers of kid headphones, with several offerings available for your pick.

The Connect+ Pro was manufactured to supplement their popular Connect+ (for toddlers) and is mainly targeted at kids six and over.

LilGadgets New Connect+ Pro Premium Volume Limited Wired Headphones with SharePort for Children/Kids (Blue)

Pros
  • Built-in Shareport.
  • Compact headphone with an extendable headband so fits a wide range of head sizes.
  • Several color options available.
  • Good sound quality.

Cons
  • Volume limiter is set at 93dB above recommended safety levels.
  • Durability concerns when it comes to the cable.
  • Poor seal and noise isolation.
LEARN MORE

Design, Fit, and Comfort

A compact headphone that catches the eye with its bright colors, the Connect+ Pro is definitely an attractive headphone.

The headphone is well formulated to cater to both boys and girls with the wide variation of solid colors that cover even the ear cushions, black, blue, lime-green, pink and purple.

While it’s rated as an offering for kids six and over (by the manufacturer), in truth the headphone is compact enough to fit even toddlers, with the extendable headband meaning older kids can fit easily as well.

The soft ear cushions are comfortable and the clamping force is minimal, this, however, means there’s very little passive noise isolation.

The grey wire/cable on the Connect+ Pro is nylon reinforced, however, it does seem like it could break at some point, so durability is a concern there.

The headphone is reinforced with metal, specifically the extenders on the headband. So as long as the cable is working, these headphones should be fine.

A shareport is built into the other earcup so kids can share the same device if need be.

Sound Quality and Volume Limiter

The volume limiter on the Connect+ Pro is built into the headphone which saves parents from having to check whether it’s been removed or not.

However, that said, at 93dB, the limiter is set above recommended levels of noise for kids meaning when at maximum volume it should only be used for a short time.

In terms of sound quality, the Connect+ Pro is one of those headphones that surprise the listener with the level of detail it possesses for a children’s headphone.

The 40mm internal drivers used are well worth their weight and produce a balanced crisp sound across all the main sound frequencies.

VIEW ON AMAZON

iClever Kids Headphones

SAFEST OVERALL

The iClever Kids Headphone is an incredibly cute headphone that will appeal to plenty of young kids out there.

iClever BoostCare Kids Headphones, Wired Over Ear Headphones with Cat Ears, 85dB Volume Limited, Food Grade Silicone, 3.5mm Jack (HS01), Pink

Pros
  • Volume limiter is set at 85dB and inbuilt, hence very safe.
  • Adorable and eye-catching.
  • Made of flexible silicone, which is really durable.
  • Comfortable.
  • 4 different color options available

Cons
  • Lights might not work for very long.
  • Poor seal and noise isolation.
LEARN MORE

Design, Fit and Durability

An over ear headphone with the headband sporting a pair of cat ears on top of it, the iClever headphone is adorable, to say the least.

The fact that the ears have a backlight that flashes will probably be an even bigger reason for the kids to fall in love with this headphone, particularly the toddlers and those of preschool age.

The four color options (blue, purple, solid pink, and black and blue) gives you some flexibility when choosing your kid’s favorite. However, if your child doesn’t like cats, then this is probably not the best pick.

Made with silicone materials, specifically food grade silicone, this is an extremely flexible headphone and it’s surprisingly durable because of it.

The tangle-free cord is strong and does stand up to some vigorous use probably because of the silicone material used there as well.

The one durability problem seems to be the lights which can suddenly stop working with no explanation; however, that doesn’t affect how the rest of headphone works so can be ignored.

The ear cushions are comfortable and cover the ears really well, however, the lack of good clamping power means the noise isolation isn’t that good.

Sound Quality and Volume Limiter

The inbuilt volume limiter on the iClever is set at 85dB making this probably one of the safest pair of headphones you can get your kids and saving parents and supervisors the need to check on noise levels.

Sound quality is fairly on par with other average headphones in this niche and while it isn’t anything to shout about, it’s not bad.

The only problem with sound will probably be the lack of a tighter seal as the resulting poor noise isolation will limit what your child can hear in noisy environments.

In other words, this is probably not the best headphone for travelling, especially on noisy airplanes and trains.

VIEW ON AMAZON

LilGadgets Untangled Pro Premium Bluetooth Headset

RUNNER-UP

The second offering from LilGadgets on this list, the Untangled Pro Premium is another trendy choice for the kids.

LilGadgets Untangled Pro Premium Children's / Kid's Wireless Bluetooth Headphones with SharePort (Blue)

Pros
  • Wide range of color options available
  • Shareport built into the headphone.
  • Can be used in both wireless and wired mode.
  • Durable.
  • 12 hour battery life and auto shut off feature.

Cons
  • Volume limiter is set at 93dB (above recommended levels).
LEARN MORE

Design, Fit and Durability

A refreshingly retro look sets the Untangled Pro Premiums apart from the rest of the competition when it comes to this niche.

The wide range of color options available (black, white, pink, green, blue and purple) brings a modern touch that offsets the retro feel brought by the grey soft-touch breathable mesh material padding the headphones completely, from ear cushions to headband.

The breathable mesh is comfortable and doesn’t put pressure on the ears even with the clamping force of the headphones providing a tight seal meaning kids don’t have to blast the volume to hear anything.

The headband is made of metal and is strong and able to withstand serious abuse from the young ones.

A strong battery means these headphones will last for up to 12 hours when fully charged as well as 180 hours of standby time.

An auto shut off feature will save your battery in case your kids forget to turn off the headphones.

But should the battery run out while they use it, a standard 3.5mm cable is included to turn the headphones into a wired version.

A shareport is also built into the other earcup so kids can share one device without any trouble.

Sound Quality and Volume Limiter

For a kid headphone, the Untangled Pro Premium has a very well-balanced sound signature, the bass, mids and highs are fairly even, although the highs can be pitchy at times.

The volume limiter is built-in in both wireless and wired modes and does its job quite well. The problem though is that like its cousin, the limit is set at 93dB, which is higher than the recommended safety levels for kids.

The only good thing here is that your child won’t have to put the volume on maximum to hear anything even in loud environments due to the noise isolation provided by the good seal.

VIEW ON AMAZON

The Best Pick

After carefully rating all the headphones on this list using all the important factors needed for a kids headphone, the BT2200 comes out slightly ahead.

While all headphones listed here are really good and excel in many different areas, the Puro Sound Labs BT2200 is the best all-round.

When it comes to sound quality it blows the competition out of the water, it’s a really durable headphone with the LilGadgets Untangled Pro Premium possibly on par with it in that regard and the iClever not too far behind.

The only flaw on the Puro BT2200 is the volume limiter in wired mode which for some reason isn’t inbuilt and can be tricked.

So if you’re looking for a premium headphone for the kids, one that is incredibly durable then the Puro BT2200 is the best choice.

The LilGadgets Untangled Pro Premium comes a worthy second overall and is a viable option for any parent whose kid wants the cool factor to go with their gadgets.

Blue Version of the Untangled Pro Premium

Our son wearing his personal favorite!

The Cozyphone for Kids is also worthy of mention here but is probably best for when you want to send the kids to sleep or when travelling as it is really comfortable and its cuteness will charm any child.

For the safest overall, the iClever Kids Headphone is the clear winner, its volume limiter is set at 85dB and cannot be changed or overridden in any way, so if your kid is one of the many who will try to “game” you into listening at high volumes then this is the best option for you.

Again we cannot stress this out enough. No headphone is completely safe at protecting your child’s hearing. The specialized kids headphones are a helpful tool and an important step in the right direction. The most important part is that you as a parent create continuous awareness with your child of the dangers of overexposure to loud sounds.

If you’re still unsure about anything related to our guide, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below. I’ll be happy to help you out.


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