What makes a good kids headphones? It's become a common question from parents who are raising children in the digital age. After all, kids tend to develop an early affinity on watching videos on the web, tuning into audio books or listening to music via laptop or tablet.
Unlike adults, kids don't have a definitive feel on what audio equipment works best for them. So, it's a parent's job to make relevant considerations. For example, a volume-limiting feature is something that adults rarely look into for themselves, but are consequential for children. This feature alone can reduce the risk of long-term hearing damage.
When traveling with kids, essentials include entertainment (books, tablets), snacks, comfort items, and any necessary medications for a smooth journey. Read here for more information on baby travel essentials that will make travel easier.
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What features to Look for When Buying a Kid’s Headphone?
The best headphones for kids are those that are comfortable and safe, but not necessarily expensive. In fact, the top-of-the-line noise cancelling headphones for adult don't immediately make them just as good for children. Toddler headphones will have different key priorities, namely:
Offers Safer volume
Your kid's sensitive little nears don't yearn for that extra bass. As matter of fact, sound quality matter less. As a parent, it's best to look for on ear headphones that have volume-limiting features. This can be built-in or set through parental controls.
Experts suggest that a headphone volume should go no higher than 85 A-weighted decibels (dBA)—because prolonged exposure to sounds at or above 85 dBA can cause noise-induced hearing loss. As standard, check if the unit complies with this guideline and if it has safety measures in place that will enforce such limit.
In many situations, noise-cancellation is an essential feature in children's headphones. For one, it can help create a focused and quiet environment, which will help kids concentrate better on studies and homework. On the flip side, this feature can also be beneficial when traveling. It can minimize the noise coming from engines or other ambient sounds that can strain or prevent them from relaxing during your excursions.
Lightweight headphones are more comfortable for kids, especially for extended use. They also offer a better or more dynamic fit in most cases. Additionally, these headphones tend to be travel-friendly and are easy to store.
Best Overall Kids Headphones: Belkin SoundForm Mini
Belkin is a trusted brand by audiophiles, so it's only fitting that they have something marvelous for kids too. On that note, Belkin SoundForm Mini delivers on many fronts as the brand's only kids headphones. It has a volume-limiting feature by default and is carefully designed to meet the comfort and aesthetics that are relevant to kids.
Kids can also have fun customizing their unit with the stickers that come with the package, which can also come in handy for parents since these little decors can make the duo-tone headphones standout when bunched together with other headphones at school.
SoundForm Mini are wireless Bluetooth headphones by default, but the option to switch to a wired connection is also available. Without the wire, connectivity is supported up to 30 feet away and the battery life is not too shabby at around 30 hours per charge. Lastly, we love the compact size of the Belkin SoundForm Mini, especially when we need one on the go.
Best Noise-cancelling Kids Headphones for Travel: Puro Sound Labs PuroQuiet
Puro headphones are interestingly not as childish-looking as its peers, which creates its own appeal. But more importantly, it's has a built-in volume-limiting feature that ensure music do not exceed the 85 dBA threshold.
On top of this, Puro Sound Labs PuroQuiet has an ANC (active noise-cancelling) switch that lessens ambient sounds and helps stabilise the audio for kids without having to turn up the volume amid busy environments.
The metallic design gives the unit a classier feel but the overall build itself appears sturdier compared to its plastic counterparts. Thus, we're more confident to recommend these headphones for travels and some light outdoor activities.
Good Budget Headphones for Toddlers: Onanoff BuddyPhones Explore+
Our best budget-friendly headphones are the Onanoff BuddyPhones Explore+.
Most notably, sound is capped at 85 dB, which makes it a safe audio device for your kids at any environment. It also makes for a great pair for those who prefer wired headphones. Plus, the kid gets an assortment of decorative stickers to customize their gear.
The unit looks and feels durable, but beyond that, it packs a decent clamping force that keeps the headphones comfortably in place even on the go.
Lastly, the BuddyCable system is a nice touch, especially for something as cost-efficient as the Explore+. Basically, this means the stackable audio jack or splitter can host up to 4 headphones or buddies if you may. Great for travel, particularly with their sibling in tow.
Best Kids Headphones with Microphone: Onanoff BuddyPhones School+ Wireless
The BuddyPhones School+ headphones with BeamMic's smart technology features passive noise cancellation, cable sports and an in-line microphone and answer call button.
The built in microphone is essential for studies and remote learning, and School+ is an inexpensive unit that delivers quality audio input and output for kids. The design is one of the most colorful from this list, but it's not too outlandish either.
We tested the audio and were happy with the quality it brings to the table as a complementary device for online learning and communication. Furthermore, the audio is hard capped at 85 dB, ensuring that the volume limiter is always on for your kid.
Best Budget Wireless Headphones for Kids: JLab JBuddies Studio
JLab JBuddies Studio represents one of the more affordable options in the market when it comes to wireless kids’ headphones. We generally like its quality audio performance but are too keen on the performance of the built in mic.
The fit in incredible and some younger listeners might appreciate it more that the device does not appear as a designated children's headphones at first glance.
When it comes to audio, there's a hidden control in the ear cup for parent-only access, that allows sound to go up to 95 dB max volume. While we understand the thought behind this, we much prefer a stronger noise cancellation mechanic that will negate background noise instead of ramping up the volume.
Best Headband Headphones for Toddlers: Alpine Muffy Baby
Alpine Muffy Baby is perfect for your little nugget who needs noise-cancelling protection when loud places and activities can't be avoided. These hybrid headphones are recommended for toddlers up to 36 months.
The headphones themselves are thoughtfully designed, but we also loved the soft headband that comfortably holds both ear guards in place. It's smooth and easy to adjust. Overall, Muffy can be most useful when traveling or when taking the toddler outdoors.
What is a Safe Headphone Volume for Kids?
Hearing damage is difficult to deal with because there's no way to biologically reverse it. Therefore, the onus is on parents to protect the sensitive ears of their young ones during the early stages of their development.
With this in mind, it's important to note that any sound at or above 85 decibels can cause permanent hearing damage. By large, this is a standard that kids headphones manufacturers follow and enforce in their products in the form of volume-limiters. This can be capped automatically or triggered via parental control or switch.
Are Noise Cancelling Headphones Safe for Kids?
Noise cancelling headphones are generally safe to use for kids, especially if the kids themselves are accustomed to it. However, we recommend only using it in safe and controlled environments. These ensure that kids are safeguarded when their hearing is partially blocked by the device.
Conclusion: Which Headphones are Safe for Kids?
Headphones that are hard capped at 85 decibels can be safely recommended for kids. However, volume-limiting is just a start and it's still up to you to effectively manage your kid's usage of audio devices.
When choosing the best headphones for kids, it's important to remember that comfort and safety should be prioritized over sound quality, which is exactly how we valued the products that made it to our list of best kids headphones.
Additionally, this catalog should help you find the best audio devices for specific activities like traveling, online learning or general entertainment. On the other hand, if you need more tips on choosing the best travel gear for your kids, don't forget to explore the website and bookmark our blog for updates.