5 Best Kids Headphones Tested: Safe Volume & Still Good Sound
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Do you have a child who likes to listen to music? If so, maybe it's time she got her own headphones to get.
But which one should you choose? And are headphones always safe? We horen so much about hearing damage…
One of the most important things to look at is preventing hearing damage.
There are 5 great options in this list, but if we could only recommend one it would be this JBL JR310BT. It comes in fun colors and can take a lot, plus it's suitable for most ages so good for sensitive ears and it grows with you too.
We've tested a ton of kid's headphones, of which we only recommend 5 pairs in this article.
We look at the best headphones for kids, so you can make the best choice!
Here are the best picks in a quick overview. Then I'll take a look at what to look for and look at a comprehensive review of each of these models.
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What we discuss in this comprehensive post:
- 1 Kids Headphones Buying Guide
- 2 Top 5 Kids Headphones Reviewed
- 3 Safe volume levels
- 4 Conclusion
Kids Headphones Buying Guide
Not every family is the same, but in general there are a number of reasons for buying a pair of headphones for children:
- For nice at home (or on holiday) so as not to be disturbed yourself, for example if you leave them on the iPad
- For school for children with concentration problems
- For the Chromebook to be able to do homework or take video lessons at home
- When your child gets older and likes listening to music or wants to play games with it
Most of these differences are also in the age of your child, and that is why we also look extra at what age these recommendations are suitable.
Some headsets just don't fit a 4 or 5 year old, and even if they do, they are quickly too heavy, like the JBL for example.
In addition, cute stickers are probably not at all what an 8-year-old is looking for, but they already want to look for better sound quality.
But for each of the choices, the decisive factor has been that they can safely limit the volume.
And that is surprisingly rare in headphones aimed at children…
Why volume limitation and a safe volume level?
Safe volume and sustainability are very important and it can be a jungle to find both.
After reading a bit more about noise levels and hearing damage, we started looking for children's headphones that were especially safe, after which we looked at which one is also fun and easy to use.
85 decibels is a "safe" volume level for your child, and is what the World Health Organization recommends.
Many headphones aimed at children say they are below this, but in the end many of the claims made by manufacturers turn out to be wrong.
When testing, they often look at the 85 decibels of music or the audio of a movie, but underlying noise can ensure that children's headphones sometimes reach a much louder level.
So this is really a point of attention if you want to let your children listen to their favorite music or video SAFELY.
In addition, you cannot place this responsibility on the child. They are much less able to recognize and respond to these kinds of risks.
If they are in the middle of a movie and there is suddenly a lot of noise (for example, daddy is going to vacuum) they will undoubtedly turn up the volume.
To prevent dangers, it is therefore important that there is a volume limit on the device you purchase.
Wireless or wired?
Are you going for one with wire or without? A wire can be handy because you don't have to charge the headphones.
Making sure your headphones always have a battery is not something you can leave to your child, so you are on it all the time.
Wireless is just much easier, so you can't accidentally knock your iPad over.
There is also always a digital volume limiter in a wireless headset, so it can also be safer.
The wired headsets on this list solve this with a built-in limiter.
And The Buddyphones even have a cord that can come loose if it is pulled.
The fit is also something you want to pay attention to when purchasing the headphones.
For this article we only have over-ear headphones viewed. These stay in place much better than earplugs or in-ear headset.
You want to make sure that the model you choose is not too heavy for your child, so pay attention to the age group that is indicated because it responds to this.
There is another reason (important) that you want to choose a good fit.
Like a over-ear plugging headphones in properly blocks out quite a bit of outside noise, which means there's less reason to crank up the volume.
ANC: Active Noise Canceling
ANC either active noise cancellation is increasingly found in headphones.
It is a fairly new technology that listens to the sounds of the environment with the help of a microphone and then converts them into a wave that is the exact opposite of the sound from the outside. (Helicopter headphones have been using this principle for ages).
This is very useful for children who have trouble concentrating at school, or if there are a lot of distractions at home (for example, a young brother or sister who doesn't do homework yet but watches television around the same time).
There is another advantage! Because there is less noise from the outside, the volume of the headphones does not have to be, you guessed it, so loud.
This is also a very good piece of technology that can protect your child's developing eardrums.
Make it your own
The nice thing about children's headphones is that they are of course especially for kids. This means that the design and execution are in line with what children like.
Some models come in a number of color options, so no problem choosing your child's favorite color.
For the younger kids there are also fun options such as headphones that come with stickers - so they can make it their own.
Especially with young children, things sometimes break… that is why it is important that these, often expensive, items can take a beating.
Many children's headphones are made of sturdy material so that they can take a lot.
The models for slightly older children often look a bit more stylish because they are not made of that hard plastic, but they are therefore not resistant to the clumsiness of young children.
Top 5 Kids Headphones Reviewed
Here are the 5 that passed the tests well:
Affordable, no built-in volume control but good limitation.
The Onanoff Buddyphones are quite innovative.
The detachable wire provides extra safety and makes them ideal for even the youngest music lovers.
It comes loose when you pull it or hook it behind something, for example if they run away with the thing still on their head!
oh and why is it called Buddy phones?
Because you can share the device with several headphones that link together through the great click system of the wire.
This is a real godsend and great for families with siblings…
For toddlers up to 4 years, these Onanoff Buddyphones are the nicest set, also certainly fun for toddlers and just the youngest school-age children.
Unfortunately, the sound quality isn't nearly as good as top choice JBL, or even the cheaper Trust Sonin, and the small size means the BuddyPhones are really only suitable for toddlers.
A big advantage is the battery life, these headphones last up to 24 hours and they are water resistant.
The BuddyPhones also have a built-in microphone, perfect for when grandpa calls.
In addition, the headphones are also made of a sturdy polypropylene and can therefore really take a beating.
It has parental control and four settings that influence the sound, such as 'study mode' that adjusts the sounds in reading books and makes the voices clearer.
Fortunately, there is now a volume limitation of a maximum of 85 decibels, which means that they have now conquered a place in the list of child-safe headphones.
Affordable, built-in volume control and in-wire volume limiter for instant control over safe listening levels for your kids.
That's the Trust Sonin.
They are the cheapest headphones yet offer safe volume levels, so perfect for parents on a budget, with children between the ages of 4 and 8 years.
It's a bit less portable than the JBL, for example, plus the design is more aimed at slightly younger children in particular and it's wired (the reason for the extremely affordable price!).
That makes it less suitable for school children to take to school, but more of a good budget option for toddlers and for older children for home use.
Here you can see how they fall on the ears of an older child:
One of the most striking features of the Trust Sonin Kids Safe Headphones are the following advantages over other brands:
- Integrated volume limiter and in-line volume control (in the wire!)
- Cute color scheme and design (which will appeal to preschoolers and younger ones especially school children will appeal)
- Adjustable in size for a secure and convenient fit to older children
- Low price
- High safety standards and company credibility
- The best volume limit in this price range
An excellent aspect of the Sonin Kids Safe Headphones is to limit the decibel output.
This is what you want for your child because different audio sources such as tablets, iPhones, Chromebooks and other laptops and computers that each have their own volume setting, and then suddenly switching can be way too loud for your child's safety.
The long cord is handy, and it has in-line volume controls so you can easily change the volume just by adjusting the dial.
You can also adjust the length of the headband to fit their head properly, which is important because they can be shared between siblings and provide added value by still being usable as your child grows.
In terms of appearance, these headphones have a lot to offer to be attractive and fun for kids to use, including a sheet of colorful stickers that your kids can peel off and allow them to creatively decorate and personalize their headphones.
Price is an important consideration for any parent, even on a budget you want to make sure the products you give your child are safe.
And even if you're on a bigger budget, these Trust headphones are a serious competitor to the other more expensive models on the list, based on the value they offer.
One of the few wired headphones with the correct built-in volume limiter!
The JBL JR310BT is foldable, Bluetooth and the safest in terms of volume limitation with a very good quality sound.
Suitable for younger and older children and will appeal to most children from the age of 6.
Plus it's not that expensive at all. Not the cheapest, but that's why we also reviewed some budget options.
These JBL kids headphones are definitely at the top of the list. We get that if you have some younger kids you might want to go with one of the others.
For you toddler or toddler, the ear cups can be a bit large, for example, here you see them on an older child, which is the main target group:
Great wireless bluetooth performance so you're never bothered by cords if it's inconvenient (plus Bluetooth has its own volume level limiter too!) and the sound quality is really good.
Everything you're probably looking for in a pair of headphones.
- It is super foldable so that it can easily be carried in a school bag or children's suitcase
- It is a Bluetooth headset with a microphone so you can connect it to any Bluetooth device and slightly older children can also make phone calls or participate in an online class
- Great for school as the battery is the best we've seen with 30 hours of playback!
- Children's sensitive ears are protected by JBL Safe Sound volume limitation of max. 85 dB according to standard EN 71-1
- Perfect size and adjustable straps make it suitable for ages 6-14 (although it may not appeal to teens who prefer the tougher Pogs)
- It comes with 4 stickers so your younger children can personalize it, which is especially nice if you give brothers and sisters one each.
Music is nicely balanced and even with some ambient noise you can hear everything clearly, without turning them up at their loudest.
That is super handy when you want to give them to your child for school, for example, when they want to use them to improve their concentration.
The disadvantage is that it is not waterproof, so you have to watch out on a rainy day on the street.
By far the top choice in most age categories and you certainly don't have to leave it for the price.
The ultimate wireless kids' headphones, safe, strong and packed with fun and comfortable features. These are the headphones your tweens and teens will love the most.
That's why we added it to the list. Many parents have seen this or heard about it from friends and everyone is curious if this is a good buy.
In terms of quality, none can compete with this Pogs The Gecko.
While my personal top pick is the JBL because it's just a little more affordable, you sacrifice some ease of use.
These Pogs may be slightly more expensive, but you get noise canceling and fast charging of the wireless headset in return.
Pogs has named this headset “The Gecko” because the wireless Bluetooth connection allows your kids to climb around like a gecko, even with the headphones on.
Plus, like a gecko, these headphones have the flaky texture of gecko skin and very long life. You can listen to music wirelessly for 12 hours with only 2 hours of charging.
The best part is that even with 10 minutes of charging you can already use the headset for an hour, but this is according to the company itself, we have not tested that.
Perfect for children who have forgotten to charge and you auto to go to grandpa and grandma in Drenthe.
However, if you really forget to charge, you can always use the included QuickSafe cable instead.
The noise level is limited to a safe 85dB to protect children's hearing.
It feels very durable and is made with super strong materials to survive the toughest use of non-toxic materials and BPA free, BFR free and RoHS compliant.
Another nice feature is the special cable that Pog has designed to enjoy music together by connecting multiple headphones.
They also have noise-isolating and hypo-allergenic ear cushions to keep outside noise to a minimum with the help of noise canceling, so you can keep the volume low.
Finally, they are still foldable and very lightweight.
Many customers who have bought them indicate that it is nice and quiet because you hear little of the music, but also that the children are less bothered by parents and may have visitors when they are talking or have music on themselves.
Sometimes it turns out to be a search for how to pair (press for 5 seconds until another light starts flashing) but once set it will already pair itself with your device.
This one has one of the largest ranges we've seen. Up to 15m.
This allows them to play in the garden or a little further away from the picnic, for example, without having to take their phone with them.
These PowerLocus Buddy headphones mainly have a cute design. It's all the rage at the moment and the cat ears also light up.
That's why we also had to test a pair with cat ears to recommend a good one. There are so many cheap brands in the market selling cat eared models but not safe at all.
There is a solid volume limit on this one. Still loud enough for them to like it but hearing loss is gone.
It can play for about 8 hours and charges in 2,5 hours. That is slightly less than the Pogs, but it is also a bit cheaper.
The volume limit is safe to 85db and fully complies with standards.
The ears can also be turned off, so that it does not emit continuous light. This is nice in the car if you drive at night and otherwise you can no longer see the road properly.
A very nice set and a bit cheaper than the Pogs. The battery lasts a little less and the sound is less. Clearly aimed at younger school kids and the Pogs at really music loving teens.
Safe volume levels
As we mentioned earlier, there are volume levels that can cause hearing damage, for both adults and children.
That happens faster than you might think.
Some people expect hearing damage to be caused by a single loud sound or the like, but you also get it from being exposed to loud sounds often and for a longer period of time, such as… music through headphones.
And children's ears are of course extra sensitive to this. That is why it is important that the headphones cannot exceed a maximum of 85 dB.
|How loud?||When hearing damage?||Where?|
|120db||direct||concert mp3 player|
|110db||direct||concert mp3 player|
|100db||after 5 minutes||concert mp3 player|
|95db||after 15 minutes||concert mp3 player|
|92db||after 30 minutes||concert mp3 player|
|89db||1 hour later||passing heavy truck|
|86db||2 hour later||for moving train|
|83db||4 hour later||traffic noise|
|80db||8 hour later||city noise|
It is also good to take a break every now and then. Then the hairs of the eardrums can 'rest' for a while.
So during those long car rides it's a good idea to sometimes take off the headphones and just have a nice chat.
It is sometimes difficult to tell if you are within safe volume levels when using headphones.
That is because subjectively it does not sound as loud as, for example, a loudspeaker because it does not receive the spatial and physical signals such as bass vibrations.
Even with the same sound pressure that reaches your eardrum, it can therefore sound less loud.
And as a result, many people set the volume of headphones a lot higher than, for example, that of the speaker.
If there is also a lot of noise in the area, the volume knob will reflexively go up a bit and that can have quite bad consequences.
Hearing protection in headphones for children
You want to pay close attention when purchasing children's headphones. Although many manufacturers say that their products can't go louder than 85dB, unfortunately this is not always true.
Therefore, do enough research before you buy one.
Active vs Passive Volume Limiting
Passive volume limiting means wired headphones. Active volume limitation can be found in wireless models.
If you want to learn more about exactly how this works, we recommend this article .
Built-in limiters of bluetooth
Many modern devices such as iPhones have built-in volume limiters. This literally limits the audio output to a safe listening level and can often be adjusted manually as well.
Bluetooth headphones can also have this integrated hearing protection and are therefore a popular feature in children's headphones.
Volume limitation of devices
There is also such a thing as a hardware volume limiter that can be part of a pair of headphones.
It is located in the cable between the audio source and the headphones. A software volume limiter is built into, for example, the smartphone, tablet or headphones themselves.
Headphones come in many shapes and sizes and what will appeal to a toddler or preschooler, an 8-year-old child no longer has any eye for.
Hopefully this guide has helped you and you now know what your child needs in a good pair.
Always something to do for the holidays or rainy day?
Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.
Joost Nusselder, the founder of Speelkeuze.nl is a content marketer, father and loves trying out new toys. As a child he came into contact with everything related to games when his mother started the Tinnen Soldaat in Ede. Now he and his team create helpful blog articles to help loyal readers with fun play ideas.