How to Choose Your Kids’ Headphones
While Bose, Beats, and Sennheiser are the names to know for high-quality adult headphones, kids’ headphones are made with different needs in mind. They need to be kid-proof but also fit correctly and be able to limit the volume levels.
While it may be tempting to buy adult headphones for a child, they are really not the best option. Children’s headphones are specially designed to fit smaller heads and ears. When shopping for kids’ headphones it is generally best to look for over-the-ear headphones rather than earbuds. Earbuds are not a good choice for children because the earpiece is usually too large for little ears. If you happen to find a smaller earbud you should know that it will not grow with the child and would need replacing sooner than headphones would. Over-the-ear styles also do not collect as much dirt and grime as earbuds and are infinitely more durable.
We think that one of the most important factors for kids’ headphones is durability. They need to be able to survive being shoved in backpacks, dropped to the floor, yanked by the cord, and other typical wear and tear. While high-quality adult headphones do aim for durability the expected amount of abuse doesn’t equal the potential severity of damage a child can do.
Another important aspect to consider is volume. Experts recommend that children’s headphone limit volume to a max of 85 decibels. This level is acceptable for up to 8 hours of listening in a 24 hour period. Quality headphones with clear sound will allow for the volume to be lower without sacrificing sound quality. Many headphones may claim to limit volume to the recommended 85 decibels but it pays to do your homework. Reviewers have found that some claiming this feature do not actually offer it, or it is easily bypassed. With these factors in mind, we have some recommendations.
Kids’ Headphones Recommendations
On the cheaper end of the spectrum is the JLab JBuddies Studio headphones. A great deal at $30, these headphones offer cushioned earpieces and headband that can fold for easier transportation, fits ages 6 and up, and limits volume to a safe level that is not easy to bypass.
An inexpensive option for younger children is OnAndOff Buddyphones at $33 from Amazon. This set comes in a variety of colors with both folding and non-folding options, some versions even come with stickers for customization. Along with volume limits, it also offers a built-in headphone splitter. Made with young kids in mind, these headphones have a reputation for durability.
Fuhu’s Nabi headphones, $66 on Amazon, these headphones are larger than the other two mentioned so far and are best for older kids. The main drawback for these headphones is the volume limiting is done via a switch that can easily be turned off. To make this a bit easier for parents to monitor there is a visual cue, a white light that indicates that this feature is turned on. Nabi headphones fit around the ear thereby offering better sound quality to those that just sit on the ear. They also have a richer, clearer sound.
Finally, we have the Puro BT2200, which sells on Amazon for $110. Like all the others on this list, these headphones do a great job of limiting volume to the recommended 85 decibels. Unlike the others, these headphones are wireless, Bluetooth connected. Bluetooth headphones have their pros and cons. On one hand, you never have to worry about the cord breaking but they will need to be charged after 18 hours of use. Considering the CDC recommends not listening to music for more than 8 hours at a time, this shouldn’t be that big of a deal. The headphones rank high on durability, largely due to their aluminum construction, and, as expected with the higher price tag, the sound quality is also better as well.
No matter which kids’ headphones you choose, make sure to keep durability, volume capping and the fit in mind.