All our testers were big fans of these headphones. The Gecko has lots of brilliant features at a fair price point. The noise limiter gave us great peace of mind, as it doesn’t go above the WHO recommendations. And our testers didn’t ever mention the volume wasn’t loud enough, even on busy trains. These headphones fold up nice and compactly, too, so we were able to lob them in our bag and they survived to tell the tale.
OK, so after begging for days, you’ve finally caved and got them their most-wanted piece of tech – perhaps a fancy smartwatch or a Nintendo Switch, maybe even a tablet or a smartphone. Kudos to you, you could’ve just got them a Tamagotchi.
But as the days wear on, you’ve quickly come to realise that these gadgets just won’t stop bleeping and blooping. The noise these tech ‘must-haves’ create is deeply, well, annoying, and your poor ears can’t take any more of Yoshi shouting out his own name in that high-pitched voice. Kids’ headphones to your rescue…
Because children’s and teenagers’ ears are different to adults’, you can’t just sling them a pair of your cans to shut their devices up, we’re afraid. For one, their ears are smaller, but they’re also still developing. If children are exposed to loud sounds, it can cause irreparable damage to their hearing, and maybe even permanent hearing loss.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends 85dB as a safe maximum noise level for children for up to eight hours – that’s around the volume of heavy traffic. Some devices can go to 136dB when on maximum volume. Ouch.
But kids’ headphones, more often than not, have a volume limiter on them, so developing ears stay safe. In our round-up, we’ve listed the maximum volume on all headphone entries, so you know they’re definitely child-proof.
The best kids’ headphones come in all sorts of designs – in ear, on ear, wireless and wired. When choosing one for your child or teen, think about how they’ll use them. If they’re using them with an Apple device, they’ll probably want wireless headphones. Plus, they won’t get tangled up, but you do need to remember to charge them. Folding headphones, on the other hand, are handy if you travel a lot, or your teen is using them when they’re out and about.
How we tested
We spent a solid four weeks testing headphones for kids and teens. During testing, we tried different headphones at home for playing and homework, and while out and about in the car and on trains. Our ideal headphones are lightweight and comfortable, with a noise limiter, natch. Sound quality was important, as well as the headphones being appealing to the wearer, whatever their age. Now, let’s make some noise (up to 85dB) for our best kids’ headphones.
The best kids’ headphones for 2023 are:
- Best kids headphones overall – POGS the gecko wireless kids’ headphones: £49.99, Pogsheadphones.co.uk
- Best headphones for teens – JBL JR 460NC on-ear headphones: £69.99, Amazon.co.uk
- Best kids headphones for value – Belkin soundform mini: £29.99, Argos.co.uk
- Best kids headphones for gamers – JLab JBuddies play kids gaming wireless headset: £22.99, Amazon.co.uk
- Best kids headphones for younger children – Tonies headphones: £24.99, Tonies.com