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10 best kids' headphones: ear-safe options for kids of all ages

We’ve explored the world of kids’ headphones, putting several to the test to help you find a pair that’s safe and comfortable for your child. Here’s our pick of the best.

By Lucy Cotterill | Last updated Jan 2, 2024

If your children regularly use devices such as iPads, smartphones, tablets or laptops, investing in a high-quality pair of headphones can be a sensible purchase. Whether they’re used for school work, gaming or long car journeys, headphones can improve your child’s concentration, keep them calm and limit distraction from noises around them.

When buying headphones for kids, it’s important to find a pair specifically designed for small ears. While it can be tempting to pick up a cheap pair that’s easy to replace if they got lost or broken, you should ideally look for headphones that limit noise levels to protect your child from hearing loss. Most kids’ headphones will limit volume to a level of 85 decibels (dB), which is considered to be the safe recommended limit by the World Health Organisation.

If your child is a fidget who doesn’t like to sit still, you may want to opt for Bluetooth technology, allowing completely wireless audio. Comfort is also key, so you should consider the type of headband, the weight of the headphones and the amount of padding on the ear cups.

Much like with our guides to the best family board games and the best online tutoring options, we've scoured the Mumsnet forums to hunt for the top options for the best kids' headphones, which we've then cross-referenced with consumer reviews and tech expert recommendations.

Related: Looking to stock up on an excellent kids' tablet to go with their new headphones? Check out our Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Review here.

POGS Kids' Bluetooth Headphones (The Ghecko)
What we like
  • Choice of four colours

  • Light-up feature

  • Robust headband can withstand frequent use

  • Noise-cancelling

  • Cushioned on-ear design

  • Two headsets can be linked to share audio on one device

  • Choice if wired or wireless use

What we don't like
  • Would be great to see a carry case included for the price

  • Wireless battery life isn’t as long as some other wireless headphones

Key specs

Price on writing: £50 | Age: 3+ | Sound limit: 85dB | Wireless: Yes | Connection type: Bluetooth, AUX cable or 3.5mm blade plug (universal connection) | Weight: 131g | Battery life: 12 hours

What Mumsnet users say
Caspianberg · Tried & Tested
We bought POGS cordless headphones for 2-year-old for on plane. They are really good and he wore [them] happily.
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Our verdict

As parents, we know that kids don’t always handle their possessions with complete care. If you’ve previously bought headphones only to find that they snap, break or stop working just months after purchase, the POGS Kids' Bluetooth Headphones (The Gecko) are definitely worth considering.

Built to last, these came out on top of our best kids' headphones list because they can survive all manner of scenarios, including being twisted and dropped. With an adjustable padded headband and hypoallergenic ear cushions, they offer a secure fit that won’t get sweaty or uncomfortable during extended use.

A versatile option, children choose between wireless use or switch to wired if the battery starts to run low. There’s also an AUX cable included making it ideal for those who love to play on their Switch, PS4 or Xbox games consoles as well as a POGLink cable that allows two children to watch their favourite films together. We love the option to personalise the headphones with Doodas (deely bobber style accessories sold separately).

Read next: Discover the best books for eight-year-olds according to Mumsnetters.

iClever Kids Headphones with Cat Ears
What we like
  • Three LED light modes

  • 94dB volume limiter

  • Compact, folding design

  • Standard 3.5mm jack compatible with most devices

  • Comfortable over-ear cushions

  • Easy pause and play buttons

What we don't like
  • The wired design won’t work with some of the newer iPads and iPhones which don’t have a 3.5mm jack

  • Older children may prefer a more ‘grown-up’ design

Key specs

Price on writing: £17 | Age: 3+ | Sound limit: 94dB | Wireless: No | Connection type: Wired | Weight: 170g | Battery life: N/A

What Mumsnet users say
PaulMorel · Recommended
My kids love their headphones from iClever. Kids love it because it has a cat ear design.
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Our verdict

If you’re on a limited budget or want to pick up a cheap but safe pair of kids' headphones for travel or online learning, these iClever headphones are the best kids' headphones to buy on a budget.

With excellent sound quality (capped at a maximum of 94dB), they feature an easy-to-use microphone and a multi-function control button, with an adjustable headband to ensure a secure and comfortable fit.

While the cute cat ears won’t be appealing to all kids, Kawaii fans will love the three light modes that add a bit of fun, with a choice of static or flashing and pulsing glows.

These headphones aren’t wireless, so are more suited to seated activities like watching videos, plane journeys or doing homework, but the cable with a 3.5mm jack is compatible with most devices. It’s worth noting that if your child has one of the newest iPads and iPhones, you'll need to use a headphone jack adapter or opt for a pair of wireless headphones, like the POGS Kids' Bluetooth Headphones, instead.

Snug Play+ Kids Headphones with Volume Limiting for Toddlers

Best kids' headphones for younger kids

What we like
  • Noise-limiting technology

  • Huge range of designs

  • Audio-sharing tech

  • Soft and comfortable ear pads

What we don't like
  • Not wireless

Key specs

Price on writing: £16 | Age: 3+ | Sound limit: 93dB | Wireless: No | Connection type: Wired | Weight: 200g | Battery life: N/A

What Mumsnet users say
minipie · Recommended
We have a pair of the Snug Play+ and a pair of JVC Tiny ones. The Snug Play+ ones are way better and very comfy (I’ll happily wear them at times, I have quite a small head!)
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QuestionableMouse · Tried & Tested
I have these and they're brilliant.
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Our verdict

Some of the best kids' headphones for younger children, we love the huge selection of designs on offer from Snug. Whether they’re obsessed with dinosaurs, robots, monster trucks, have a passion for pineapples or even love llamas, you can be certain to find a pair to suit your child’s personality.

Not only are the Snug Play+ Toddler Headphones highly recommended by thousands of happy parents, but they also feature a unique design - a sharing port that allows two headphones to listen to the same audio at once, which is great for car journeys where siblings want to watch the same film or play the same travel game.

Read next: Looking for more toy inspirations for kids of all ages? Check out our guides to the best toys for four-year-olds, best toys for five-year-olds, six-year-olds and seven-year-olds.

Puro Sound Labs BT2200 Volume Limited Kids’ Bluetooth Headphones

Best kids’ headphones for travel

What we like
  • Available in a choice of six colours

  • Noise limited to 85dB

  • Lightweight yet robust

  • Excellent sound quality

  • Easy Bluetooth pairing

  • Superior comfort

What we don't like
  • Costly

Key specs

Price on writing: £80 | Age: 3+ | Sound limit: 85dB | Wireless: Yes | Connection type: Bluetooth | Weight: 150g | Battery life: 18 hours

What Mumsnet users say
jaundicedoutlook · Recommended
Puro Sound make some excellent volume limiting headphones that don’t look like children’s headphones and have Bluetooth. I think they’re a little more than £50 but under £100. Definitely recommended.
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Our verdict

While they certainly don’t come cheap, Puro Sound Labs headphones are the best kids' headphones on our list for travel (on land and in the air) thanks to their wireless design, comfortable padded headset and ear cups and long battery life. The battery charges quickly, with around 18 hours playtime, but these headphones also come with a 3.5mm audio cable to keep the audio going when the battery runs low.

Noise limited to 85dB, they also come with impressive background noise isolation, making them ideal for loud environments as well as long-haul plane journeys or road trips with the family.

The Puro Sound Labs T2200 Volume Limited Kids’ Bluetooth Headphones are available in a variety of colours and are made from robust aluminium that can fold flat for easy storage - even if you’re limited to hand luggage.

Read next: Discover the best phone for kids and Nintendo Switch games for kids for more tech inspiration for little ones.

BuddyPhones PlayTime Volume-limiting Bluetooth Child Headphones

Best kids’ wireless headphones

What we like
  • Comes with stickers for fun personalisation

  • Foldable and adjustable headband

  • Choice of three colours

  • Can be used as wired or wireless headphones

What we don't like
  • Stickers could be more robust and need an adult to apply

Key specs

Price on writing: £45 | Age: 3+ | Sound limit: 75dB/ 85dB/ 94dB | Wireless: Yes | Connection type: Bluetooth & 3.5mm audio cable

Our verdict

These brightly coloured, robust and durable BuddyPhones come with three volume-limiting settings, making them some of the best kids' headphones for toddlers. They offer dual connectivity, allowing your child to easily switch from wireless Bluetooth connectivity to wired headphones if the battery starts to run low.

During travel or in loud environments, the volume can be increased to 94dB, ensuring children can hear clearly over any significant background noise.

While they may wear off with time, we love the embossed stickers which can be used to personalise the headphones, which also come in four vibrant colours.

Read next: Discover the best lego sets for kids.

JBL JR 460NC On-Ear Headphones

Best noise-cancelling headphones for kids

What we like
  • Choice of three colours

  • Noise limited to 85dB

  • Noise-cancelling to avoid the impact of background noise

  • Comfortable padded headband

  • Good battery life with fast charging

What we don't like
  • Costly

  • Noise-cancelling is not as effective as on adult headphones

Key specs

Price on writing: £70 | Age: 6+ | Sound limit: 85dB | Wireless: Yes | Connection type: Bluetooth | Weight: ‎200g | Battery life: 20 hours

Our verdict

JBL headphones and earbuds are beloved by Mumsnetters and these stylish JBL JR 460NC On-Ear Headphones with a ‘grown-up’ design sit on the ear, with larger padded cups that are more comfortable over longer durations.

They offer superior sound quality while limiting volume to a safe 85dB for younger listeners. The built-in microphone makes chatting with friends easy, while the noise-cancelling settings reduce the impact of background noise to allow them to focus on the homework (or gaming) task at hand. They're not the cheapest on our list, but the range of features alone make them some of the best kids' headphones for older kids in particular.

Kids will love the freedom of this completely wireless design with 20 hours of playtime and super-fast charging.

Related: Looking for the best tech for your kids? Don't miss our guides to the best games consoles and the best kids' camera.

JLab JBuddies Play Kids Gaming Headset
What we like
  • Retractable boom microphone

  • Affordable price tag

  • Volume limited to 85dB

  • Wireless on Bluetooth devices

  • Good battery life

  • Adjustable sizing for ages six to 16

What we don't like
  • Requires included AUX cord for gaming on Switch, Xbox or PS4

  • Some reviewers were disappointed by the overall build quality

Key specs

Price on writing: £30 | Age: 6+ | Sound limit: 85dB | Wireless: Yes | Connection type: Bluetooth | Weight: 150g | Battery life: 22 hours

Our verdict

If your child loves gaming and would happily spend hours playing online with friends on their laptop, they’re going to need a pair of the best kids' headphones with a few key features: strong battery life, enhanced comfort and, ideally, a retractable boom mic.

The JLab JBuddies certainly fit the bill, with a 22-hour battery life that won’t stop the action mid-game. With volume limited to 85dB, you can be confident your child’s hearing is protected during play, while the audio is crisp and clear to ensure a fully immersive experience.

It’s worth remembering that these wireless headphones require Bluetooth, so while they can be used completely wirelessly for PC gaming, playing the Switch, XBox and PS4 require connection via an AUX cord.

Read next: Find the best kids' smartwatch according to Mumsnet users.

JVC Tiny Phones Kids Stereo Headphones with Volume Limiter
What we like
  • Noise-limiting technology

  • Lightweight

  • Budget-friendly

  • Choice of colours

  • Stickers for personalisation

What we don't like
  • Some reviewers found the stickers lifted off or became damaged fairly quickly

Key specs

Price on writing: £12 | Age: 3+ | Sound limit: 85dB | Wireless: No | Connection type: N/A | Weight: 133g | Battery life: N/A

What Mumsnet users say
catcatcatcat · Tried & Tested
JVC kids headphones. I got some for my 2yo from Morrisons - they came with stickers too so she could decorate them herself. Did us well to the US and back.
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Our verdict

While at the lower end of the price scale, JVC’s Tinyphones Kids’ Stereo Headphones are still packed with loads of useful features. They have the all-important volume limiter to protect tiny ears, are available in a choice of five different colours and even come with stickers so your child can personalise them to their heart's content.

Weighing in at just 133g, they’re also a super lightweight option for children who might feel restricted with a heavier pair, making them among the best kids' headphones for popping into a school bag.

The downside? They’re not wireless, but this does mean that they are always ready to use at a moment’s notice.

Read next: Discover the best toy cars and the top-rated dinosaur toys for 2024.

JLab Go Air Pop True Wireless Earbuds
What we like
  • Small-fit ear pods

  • 32 hours playtime

  • Slim, portable case

What we don't like
  • Not noise limited - better suited to older kids and teens

Key specs

Price on writing: £18 | Age: 3+ | Sound limit: None | Wireless: Yes | Connection type: Bluetooth | Weight: 35.4g (earbuds + case), 3.7g per earbud | Battery life: 32 hours

What Mumsnet users say
W0rriedMum · Tried & Tested
We have the JLab JBuds ... and they're great. My DC has had them for well over nine months - no issue with battery charge or quality.
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Our verdict

While not strictly kids' headphones, the smaller-sized JLab Go Air Pop True Wireless Earbuds are well suited to older children or teens who may struggle to achieve a secure fit from other in-ear headphone designs. They’re available in a choice of five colours too, from traditional monochrome shades to the less subtle pink or teal.

These slim-fit earbuds come in a compact, portable case, making them ideal for listening on the go. They also come with impressive battery life - up to 32 hours of your teen's favourite music, podcasts or audiobooks before they need quickly charging up again via USB.

There are no noise-limiting features on these earbuds, so you need to trust your child to use them responsibly. For that reason, we wouldn't recommend these headphones for younger children (who are less likely to find them comfortable too).

Related: Find more toy inspiration for kids of all ages with our guides for the best toys for eight-year-olds, toys for nine-year-olds and toys for ten-year-olds.

How do I choose good headphones for kids?

There are four main considerations when buying kids’ headphones:

  • Wired or wireless?: Safety-wise, wireless headphones are a great choice for children as it means no wires to get tangled up in or damaged. However, wireless headphones are usually more expensive than their wired counterparts, plus you need to remember to charge them or they can’t be used. The battery life of wireless headphones can vary greatly, but is usually around 15 to 20 hours. Some headphones have wired and wireless capabilities.

  • Noise-limiting technology: A must-have for kids’ headphones. This means that sound is limited to a level of around 85dB which is the safe recommended limit according to the World Health Organisation. This is an important way of reducing the risk of hearing damage in children.

  • Cost: While sound quality will undoubtedly be better in more expensive headphones, it’s possible to get a decent pair of kids’ headphones with all the important features without breaking the bank. If you’re on a tight budget, we recommend the iClever HS20 Kids Headphones which are durable and well-priced with noise-limiting technology.

  • Comfort: Fit is particularly important when buying headphones for children. Most headphones have an adjustable headband to help fit small heads and most have large cups which sit over the ear (kids don’t typically like using earbuds and these aren’t recommended for young children). Alternatively, options such as the Onanoff BuddyPhones with padded headbands and cushioned on-ear pads are super comfortable.

Are noise-cancelling headphones safe for kids?

Some of the best kids' headphones feature active or passive noise-cancelling features. This is technology that reduces ambient sound, helping you focus specifically on the audio you’re listening to. It’s a good feature to look for if you live in a particularly noisy environment or if your child struggles to concentrate due to outside distractions.

Active noise cancellation makes use of specific technology including microphones which actually analyse the noise in your environment and then counter it by producing their own mirrored sounds, thus eliminating the distracting effect. Passive noise cancellation is little more than physically blocking out a noise by placing a physical obstruction in or around the ear.

While most people experience no particular change when using active noise-cancelling headphones, some report a slight hissing sound or perhaps temporary dizziness. However, overall noise-cancelling is a good option if it causes children to reduce the overall volume of the sounds they're listening to. What’s more, by reducing ambient noise, noise-cancelling headphones may contribute to an overall lowering of stress hormones, which can have a positive effect on health.

Which headphone is good for kids?

We believe the best kids' headphones are the POGS Kids' Bluetooth Headphones (The Ghecko). For the ultimate in durability, versatility and clear sound quality, these noise-cancelling headphones really pack a punch, while combining all the essential elements needed for safe listening for kids.

Read next: Amazon Fire 7 Kids vs Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids: Which is the best kids' tablet?

What is the noise limit for kids' headphones?

Around 85db is the safe noise limit for kids' ears, according to the World Health Organisation. Any louder increases the risk of hearing impairment. The best kids' headphones (particularly those for younger children) feature inbuilt volume limitation.

What are the best headphones for 11 year olds?

If your 11-year-old is into gaming, the JLab JBuddies Play Kids Gaming Headset is a good, affordable option at just £23. They feature adjustable sizing and volume limitation to 85dB without compromising on the quality of the audio. If you're looking to splash the cash, we also like the JBL JR On-Ear Headphones for noise-cancelling, wireless listening.

Can a 9-year-old wear headphones?

Yes, though it is recommended that they wear headphones with an in-built volume control to prevent any hearing damage.

Are Bluetooth or wired headphones better for kids?

Wireless headphones can be a great choice for children who fidget, move about a lot or forget they're wearing headphones and get tangled up/haul their smart device off a table. They can be more expensive and do need to be charged, however.

What is the best alternative to AirPods for kids?

We like the JLab Go Air Pop Trust Wireless Earbuds as a great alternative to AirPods for kids. They're suitable for kids aged three and over, boast an impressive 32-hour battery life and cost just £22, which is a lot more reasonable than most AirPods. Unfortunately they do not feature noise-limiting technology so are not recommended for younger children.

How we chose our recommendations

Because we know that there’s nothing like a real recommendation from a real parent, we first headed to the Mumsnet forums to find out which headphones discerning Mumsnet users had bought for their families.

We then did some research across the wider web, looking at which kids' headphones had won accolades or been featured in ‘best buy’ lists across expert review sites and trusted tech publications, and what customers' reviews said about them. Having collated all that information, we chose the best kids' headphones we thought would make the best buys in several interest categories.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.

About the author

Lucy Cotterill is a mum of two and Content Writer at Mumsnet, specialising in baby/child and lifestyle product reviews and round-ups. Having written product reviews on her own blog Real Mum Reviews since 2012, Lucy loves to research and explore the pros and cons of baby products, scrutinising reviews and consumer feedback to help parents make confident purchases that benefit their families.