The Best Headphones for Kids of 2019

By TJ Donegan, December 05, 2018, Updated January 18, 2019

These days, we're more connected than ever, and kids are using headphones all the time. Whether they're watching cartoons in the car, listening to music on their phones, or playing video games in the basement, it's important for your kids to have headphones that won't damage their young ears.

(If you're looking for headphones for the adults in your life, check out our article on the Best Headphones.)

If you're shopping for headphones for your kids, the safest option is a pair that limits the maximum volume. Out of nine models we tested, the best ones are the Puro BT2200 volume-limiting wireless on-ears (available at Amazon for $87.18). They're a bit pricier than most, but they're well-built, sound great, and have effective wired and wireless volume limits—when used properly.

Here are the rankings for the kids' headphones that we tested:

  1. Puro Sound Labs BT2200 Kids Headphones
  2. Sakar Hello Kitty
  3. JLab Audio JBuddies Studio Over-Ear
  4. LeapFrog Headphones
  5. Cozyphones Kids Headphones
  6. LilGadgets Untangled Pro Premium
  7. Kidz Gear Wired Headphones for Kids
  8. LilGadgets Connect+ Premium
  9. AmazonBasics Volume Limited On-Ear Headphones for Kids

For more info about the pros and cons of each pair of headphones, read on.

— Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Updated January 18, 2019

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Puro Hero 3 Best Overall
Credit: / TJ Donegan

The Puro BT2200 headphones look good, sound great, are durable, are well-designed, and have effective volume limits.

Puro Sound Labs BT2200 Kids Headphones

Product Image - Puro Sound Labs BT2200 Kids Headphones
  • Best of Year 2017

Where To Buy

$87.18 Amazon Buy

Puro Sound Labs BT2200 Kids Headphones

Best Overall

If you're looking for a high-quality pair of volume-limited headphones, the Puro BT2200 is the way to go. Though they're the priciest of the pairs we looked at, that's because they have the best combination of comfort, build quality, and sound quality. They are a bit too big for a toddler, but they should fit school-age children and up quite well.

In our tests, the BT2200s played at about 82-84.6dB(a) when used wirelessly at full volume, with about 12 hours of battery life. And because they run off their own internal power when in Bluetooth mode, there's no risk of them being overpowered. When used wired with our standard source (an iPhone 7 Plus with the Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter), they topped out right at the 85dB(a) threshold, assuming you plug the volume-limiting cable in the right way.

Our one issue is that the cable can easily be plugged in the wrong way (I did, the first time). This pushed the max volume to 96-100dB(a) in our tests, which could cause damage. The cable does have "Headphones→" written on it so you know which end is which, but these should really be designed so the cable only plugs in the correct way.

Why should you buy volume-limiting headphones?

Even cheap earbuds can dangerously exceed the levels recommended by health experts. Noise-induced hearing loss can start showing up in even young children, and it can have long-term impacts on their academic performance.

Worst of all? Many volume-limiting headphones are capable of exceeding their advertised limits with nothing more powerful than an iPhone. To sort out the good from the bad, we put 9 models through the ringer in our state-of-the-art audio lab. If you want to dig into the nitty-gritty of how we tested, why, and what a $25,000 dummy wearing kids' headphones looks like, I highly recommend you read our full report. If you just want to know what to buy, here's what you need to know:

Experts recommend a max volume of 85dB for no more than 60min/day. For adults, noise exposure is considered hazardous after 8 hours at 85dB(a). An iPhone's earbuds can easily average 105dB at full volume, which can be hazardous after just a few minutes.

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is permanent. NIHL is cumulative, may not become apparent until years later, and it may affect up to 1.1 billion people. Caution is key—we don't know exactly where the "safe" threshold is.

Volume-limiting headphones are not a guarantee of safety. We used an iPhone 7 Plus for our tests, but anything more powerful—like an amp—could drive even the best wired models we tested above recommended levels. Your best bet is to go wireless if possible, or just turn the volume to about 60% of the max.

Sakar Hello Kitty

Product Image - Sakar Hello Kitty
  • Editors' Choice

Sakar Hello Kitty

Best Value

These kids' headphones are made by Sakar and are identical to other versions, except with Hello Kitty branding. Though we can't guarantee all 14 variations of this model are identical, we tested this model and a model with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle branding (now off the market) and they performed similarly.

This Hello Kitty version was within 0.1dB(a) of the Ninja Turtles model and both were below the 85dB(a) threshold when used properly. Beyond the volume-limiting and the basic branding, it's important to know that these are cheap and will probably break at some point— but the same could be said of almost every pair in this roundup. If you're cool with that (or know your kids will break them anyway), these headphones are a good, affordable option.

JLab Audio JBuddies Studio Over-Ear

Product Image - JLab Audio JBuddies Studio Over-Ear
  • Editors' Choice

JLab Audio JBuddies Studio Over-Ear

The JLab JBuddies Studio Over-ear headphones are the new kid on the block when it comes to kids' headphones, but they were among our favorites with an attractive, folding design. They are designed for kids ages six and up, and feature soft padded ear cups that pull down far enough to accommodate even adult-sized heads. The braided, tangle-free cable is non-removable, but that also means there's no way to circumvent the volume limits.

Speaking of which, the JLab Studio Over-ears were very effective at limiting volume levels during our testing. With industry-standard pink noise, the sound level for these headphones averaged at 80.9dB(a), which was well below the recommended levels. During more casual use, the headphones we used registered a bit louder, but they only got up to about 84.9-89dB(a) with an iPhone, which isn't bad at all. If you're looking for a great pair of headphones that will work for a child as he or she grows older, these are a solid pick.

LeapFrog Headphones

Product Image - LeapFrog Headphones
  • Editors' Choice

LeapFrog Headphones

Though these are marketed as working primarily with LeapFrog's line of tablets and other devices, these are standard over-ear headphones like all the rest on this list, which means that they'll work with any audio source that has a headphone jack. They're well-built, comfy, and a bit bigger than the other models on this list, so they'll be a bit loose on a toddler, but will fit an older child or a preteen well.

These are marketed as having a maximum volume of 85dB, but in our tests they output around 88dB(a), with certain songs pushing them up to 90 or 91dB(a) for short stretches. That's a bit louder than the ideal value, so you'll want to set volume limits on whatever device you're using so they fall safely within the recommended levels. Still, for a good pair of all-around headphones for a slightly older child these aren't a bad bet—if you take precautions.

Cozyphones Kids Headphones

Product Image - Cozyphones Kids Headphones

Cozyphones Kids Headphones

And now for something completely different: the Cozyphones. These uniquely-designed headphones have thin drivers that are inserted into a stretchy, fabric headband. The concept is neat, but the fabric felt very warm after just a few minutes and older kids may just not want to wear them.

In our lab testing, these also proved to be just too loud for our liking. They hit between 93-95dB(a) in our tests, which is above our preferred threshold of 85dB(a). That may be fine for short bursts, but it's too close for our comfort and we think there are better options available on this list.

LilGadgets Untangled Pro Premium

Product Image - LilGadgets Untangled Pro Premium

LilGadgets Untangled Pro Premium

These super-popular wireless headphones are a bit cheaper than the Puro BT2200 Bluetooth model that was our favorite overall, and they're not a bad alternative. Even though we have some reservations about the wired version (the LilGadgets Connect+ Premium), these were much better. They're still more flimsy than the Puro BT2200s, but they seem comfy and well-built.

In our tests, these did a great job of keeping noise to the recommended level—when used wirelessly. With Bluetooth, we observed sound levels of 83-87dB(a), which is close enough to the mark. The issue is that the included wire doesn't do enough (if anything) to limit volume, and in wired mode these got up to 92.4-96dB(a). That's a bit too loud according to the experts, so if the battery runs out or you need to use the wire, you'll want to set hard volume limits on your device.

Kidz Gear Wired Headphones for Kids

Product Image - Kidz Gear Wired Headphones for Kids

Kidz Gear Wired Headphones for Kids

Kidz Gear makes two of the most popular kid-friendly headphones on the market, and this wired pair is affordable and available in a number of fun, bright colors. They're also quite flimsy and mostly made of plastic, but the biggest issue is that they don't have a built-in volume-limiting cable. Instead, these headphones rely on an adapter to do the heavy lifting.

The main problem is that the adapter is small and easy to lose. It's even easier to remove intentionally. And while these tested below the recommended level with the adapter (hovering between 82-85dB(a)), they were way too loud without it, topping out at around 108dB(a). Unless you plan to watch your kids like a hawk all of the time, these aren't the best option for safe listening.

Credit: / TJ Donegan

The kids headphone market is a mess, with multiple companies selling re-branded versions of the same headphones.

LilGadgets Connect+ Premium

Product Image - LilGadgets Connect+ Premium

LilGadgets Connect+ Premium

The LilGadgets Connect+ Premium headphones were probably the most intriguing pair of headphones we tested in this group. These are affordable, well-reviewed on Amazon, and they feel like they're well-built, with a removable cable and two ports so you can hook up a second pair of headphones. In our tests, they were too loud to be used at full volume (94-96dB(a)), but generally these seem like a decent pick if you can lock in lower volume limits.

Where these get real fishy is when we compare these to the other models pictured above: the Snug Play+ and Nenos Children's Best headphones; they are identical, despite being from ostensibly different companies. This is because many manufacturers, particularly in China, let you purchase products like this in bulk, apply your own branding, and sell them through a service like Amazon.

The problem with that model is it's very difficult to get customer service issues resolved in a timely manner, there's no guarantee the company you're buying it from has done any actual safety testing, and there is usually a wide variance in build quality. Our advice? Play it safe and go with one of our better picks above.

AmazonBasics Volume Limited On-Ear Headphones for Kids

Product Image - AmazonBasics Volume Limited On-Ear Headphones for Kids

AmazonBasics Volume Limited On-Ear Headphones for Kids


While we love Amazon's house brand AmazonBasics for many things, these are not the best choice if you want headphones for your kids. They're flimsy, they have mediocre sound quality, and they don't limit volume nearly enough in our tests—even with something as simple as an iPhone.

In our tests they produced between 95 and 100dB(a), which is well above the recommended levels. They weren't as loud as even stock Apple or Samsung earbuds, but they could easily be unsafe if used improperly for long stretches of time.

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