The Independent's journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission. Why trust us?

16 best kids’ headphones for noise-free screen time

The best earphones for gaming, music and learning

Zoe Phillimore
Wednesday 06 December 2023 17:44 GMT
<p>We tried different headphones at home for playing and homework, and when out and about </p>

We tried different headphones at home for playing and homework, and when out and about

Our Top Picks

If you say “turn it down!” to your children more often than you’d like, it’s time to opt for some kids’ headphones. These headphones are designed specifically for children, both in size, functionality and tech, to ensure your youngster can listen into what they like, comfortably and safely.

Kids and teens have delicate ears, much more so than an adult’s. What’s fine for us grownups just isn’t suitable for the wee ones (even if they are grumpy teenagers who think they know better). If children are exposed to loud sounds, it can cause irreparable damage to their hearing, meaning potential permanent hearing loss. 

The experts at the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommend 85dB as a safe maximum noise level for children for up to eight hours. That’s around the level of heavy traffic. Some headphones can go up to 136dB when on max, which is ear-splitting – and damaging for kids. Rest easy then with kids’ headphones, which, more often than not, have a noise limiter on them meaning kids can’t rack up the volume too much.

As well as the “boring” safety stuff, look at designs of kids’ headphones. There are on-ear, in-ear, wireless, wired, bone conducting headphones, those that light up, ones that have virtual assistants… it’s noisy out there in the world of kids headphones.

If you’re using headphones with an Apple device, go wireless to ensure they’re compatible. The bonus is that you don’t have to worry about untangling wires, too. But don’t forget to charge them. Some headphones will come with carry cases to protect them on the go, and some fold down small enough to cram into school bags or hand luggage.

How we tested

A selection of the kids’ headphones we sampled

We’ve spent months testing kids’ headphones, both at home and on the go. Busy car journeys with back-seat wars breaking out, Roblox at home, a bit of home learning – we’ve thoroughly put kids’ headphones through their paces. Sound quality and comfort were the priorities for us, while our helpful testers were more concerned with “the aesthetics”, so we factored that in too. Here’s a heads up on the best ones.

The best kids’ headphones for 2024 are:

  • Best kids’ headphones overall – POGS the gecko wireless kids’ headphones: £49.99, Pogsheadphones.co.uk
  • Best budget buy- PowerLocus bobo headphones, £18.99, Amazon.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: £19.99, Argos.co.uk
  • Best kids headphones for younger children – Tonies headphones: £19.99, Tonies.com

POGS the gecko wireless kids’ headphones

Best kids headphones 2023
  • Best: Overall
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Mic: Yes
  • Active noise cancellation: No
  • Colourways: Blue, green, yellow, pink
  • Noise limit: 85dB
  • Why we love it
    • Lightweight
    • Durable
    • Hypoallergenic
    • Can be daisy chained

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.

We’re told the cups are super comfortable, and they’re made from hypoallergenic fabrics too. Pairing them is a breeze, and although the buttons on the cups (for controlling them) are fairly small, our four-year-old tester had no issues.

If you have multiple children tuning into the same device, you can daisy-chain them together with the anti-tangle cord included in the box. The gecko headphones come in a range of stylish hues, which are fun without being too out there, so even the coolest of tweens and teens will be chuffed with them.

Back to top

PowerLocus bobo headphones

PowerLocus-kids headphones-indybest
  • Best: Budget buy
  • Wirelss: Yes
  • Mic: Yes
  • Active noise cancellation: No
  • Colourways: Blue
  • Noise limit: 74dB, 85dB or 94dB
  • Why we love it
    • Carry case
    • Adjustable sizing
    • LED lights
  • Take note
    • Adjustable noise limit not great for younger kids

The PowerLocus bobo headphones come with a hard-shell carry case as well as a headphone jack splitter for kids who want to share their audio. We think that these are perfect for growing tweens, as the adjustable headband fitted our six-year-old tester and adults too. It also has folding, rotating ear cups, to adjust to growing kids. You can adapt the noise limiter, selecting either 74dB, 85dB or 94dB. It is easy to do this at the click of some buttons on the cups, so probably best left to responsible-ish children (if such a thing exists) – with great power comes great responsibility. The buttons on the cups can control volume, skips tracks, answer and end calls, and activate Siri or Google Assistant.

While tactile enough for little fingers to navigate, they take a while to get the hang of. The real selling point for our tester though, was that the ear cups have multi-coloured LED lights – disco-tastic.

  1. £18 from Amazon.co.uk
Prices may vary
Back to top

Belkin soundform Inspire wireless over-ear headphones for kids

Belkin-kids-headphones-indybest
  • Best: For home learning
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Mic: Yes
  • Active noise cancellatio: No
  • Colourways: black, white/lilac
  • Noise limit: 85dB
  • Why we love it
    • Quick charging
    • Sound engineered for kids
    • Two-year warranty

With a boom mic, we thought these headphones were perfect for kids while doing home learning, or perhaps more realistically, gaming. Whether they’re gaming or working, the headset has 35 hours of battery life to keep them going all day and then some. There’s also a USB-C port for fast charging, or they can go wired and connect directly to their device. To protect young ears there’s a volume limiter with an 85dB limit on it and they’ve been engineered to deliver the crispest audio possible, specifically for kids.

Our tester liked the colourway – subtle with a flash of colour. And they said they were lightweight and comfy to wear – the padded ear cups seemed to be sweat-free. These headphones come with a two-year warranty, which is good to know if you have heavy-handed kids.

  1. £39 from Belkin.com
Prices may vary
Back to top

OTL Technologies Harry Potter TWS wireless earphones

OTL Technologies-kids-headphones-indybest
  • Best: For Harry Potter fans
  • Wireless : Yes
  • Mic: Yes
  • Active noise cancellation: No
  • Colourways: White
  • Noise limit: N/A
  • Why we love it
    • Sleek design
    • Lightweight and compact
    • Charge case
  • Take note
    • No noise limiter
    • Easily lost

These headphones are best suited for teens rather than younger kids. For a start, there isn’t a volume limiter on them, which means they need to be used judiciously. They also are clearly designed to look like Apple’s AirPods, but with a Harry Potter twist. So as with the tech giant faves, they’re fairly easily lost or damaged – best to keep them in the case. But in the right hands, these are a great little shout. Small enough to fit in a kids’ pocket, with enough battery life in the charge case to recharge the ear buds three times over – perfect for forgetful teens.

They’re discreet and comfortable to wear, with the controls handled by one button on the ear pieces. From this multifunction button you can control music skipping, the volume and call accepting/rejecting. Altogether a more grown-up proposition in the headphone world – and we won’t judge adult Potterheads who opt for them too.

  1. £29 from Amazon.co.uk
Prices may vary
Back to top

Yoto headphones

Yoto-kids-headphones-indybest
  • Best: First headphones
  • Wireless: No
  • Mic: No
  • Colours: Orange
  • Noise limit: 85dB
  • Why we love it
    • Great for young kids
    • Durable
    • Comfortable
  • Take note
    • Perhaps a bit simple

This little pop of colour is a great option for a kid’s first headphones. They’re designed for kids aged three and over, and as such will protect developing ears with the noise limit. The cups are smaller than most others on this round-up too. We liked the braided cable, which makes it more durable if kids are fidgeting or dancing around while listening. You can also daisy chain two headphones together – we found this stopped back-seat car drama for a precious few moments.

Our tester said the cups were comfy on their ears, and they didn’t seem to mind them being on even after an hour or so of use. As parents we appreciate the bag they came in – keeping the headphones and cables together, it was easy to chuck them in hand luggage or a change bag.

  1. £24 from Yotoplay.com
Prices may vary
Back to top

Puro Sound Labs BT2200-plus headphones

Puro Sound-kids headphones-indybest
  • Best: Premium headphones for kids
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Mic : Yes
  • Colourways: Black, blue, green, pink, purple, teal
  • Noise cancellation: No
  • Noise limit: 85dB
  • Why we love it
    • Good colour choice
    • High-end design
    • Carry case
    • Great quality audio
  • Take note
    • Higher price point

Almost too good for kids, these headphones feel very swish. They come in a hard-shell carry case and look sleek and grown-up. Inside the case are two different-sized ear cups – on ear and over ear, so you can find the perfect snug fit for your child. We thought this was great for kids as they grow, making it a more palatable investment. Despite the noise limiter, these have the engineering worthy of adult headphones.

They’ve been designed to deliver the crispest audio and have full dynamic bass, meaning Taylor Swift or Metallica are going to be pin-sharp and won’t have kids frustrated by the volume limit. The snug cups offer passive background noise isolation too, which is handy when on noisy aircraft, cars or if rowdy siblings are around.

  1. £154 from Onbuy.com
Prices may vary
Back to top

JBL by Harman JR 460NC on-ear headphones

JBL by Harman.png
  • Best: For teens
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Mic: Yes
  • Active noise cancellation: Yes
  • Colourways: Blue, pink, white
  • Noise limit: 98dB
  • Why we love it
    • High spec
    • Easy-to-use buttons
    • Active noise cancellation
  • Take note
    • Bit pricey

These headphones have fairly large cups and are perhaps more well-suited to older kids and teens. This is also because they’re high spec and boast functions that a teen would probably get more use out of, such as the integrated mic in the cup and 20-hour battery life.

If you have forgetful kids who don’t remember to charge their headphones, you can get a full charge on these in just two hours. As well as being wireless, you can use them wired, if your battery life is waning.

Our tester liked the soft, tactile material on the cups, and the chunky, easy-to-use buttons. The active noise cancellation meant our tester wasn’t tempted to turn up the volume when background noises increased, keeping their precious ears safe. You can switch this mode on and off at a click of a button on the cup – great if they’re crossing roads or someone is trying to get their attention.

  1. £69 from Amazon.co.uk
Prices may vary
Back to top

Belkin soundform mini, pink

Belkin mini.png
  • Best: Value
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Mic: Yes
  • Active noise cancellation: No
  • Colourways: Black, blue, pink, white
  • Noise limit: 85dB
  • Why we love it
    • Can be personalised
    • Great battery life
    • Good value
  • Take note
    • Headband not cushioned

Kids will be drawn to these brightly coloured headphones. And once our testers realised they come with stickers to personalise them, they were even more keen. The cups on the headphones are a brightly coloured version of the headband. We went for pink, so the cups were neon pink, and you can buy them in blue (£19.99, Argos.co.uk) and black too (£19.99, Argos.co.uk).

These cups are cushioned well and very soft, but the headband isn’t. Our testers didn’t really clock this, but it’s worth noting for those that do mind.

An integrated mic meant they could chat with callers (mostly grandparents, if we’re honest) while roaming free and make the most of the wireless connection. The 30-hour battery life is one of the best we tried, and our tester was grateful for it. These headphones are great value and feel surprisingly premium for the price.

  1. £29 from Argos.co.uk
Prices may vary
Back to top

JLab Jbuddies play kids gaming wireless headset

JLab JBuddies play gaming wireless headset.png
  • Best: For gamers
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Mic: Yes
  • Active noise cancellation: No
  • Colourways: Black, blue, pink
  • Noise limit: 85dB
  • Why we love it
    • Quick-mute button
    • Comfortable
    • Volume control on the cord

Designed for kids aged six and up, mini gamers will love these shrunken gamer-style headphones. With a retractable boom mic that has a quick-mute button (great if your parents are shouting “It’s dinner time” for the 57th time in the background), these are ideal for multi-player gaming. We liked the almost retro look on the adjustable cups – something our tester was oblivious to, but we appreciated them looking a bit cooler than some other gaming headphones out there.

Both the cups and headband are cushioned, meaning our tester didn’t get earache, no matter how long they played. Speaking of endless use, the battery life is 22 hours, which should be more than enough for even the most avid user.

The JBuddies play are wireless, but if your child prefers to be hooked up, there’s a wire to plug them in with a volume control on the cord – a nice touch, we thought.

  1. £29 from Amazon.co.uk
Prices may vary
Back to top

Tonies headphones

Tonies headphones.png
  • Best: For young children
  • Wireless: No
  • Mic: No
  • Active noise cancellation: No
  • Colourways: Red, blue, pink, purple, grey
  • Noise limit: 85dB
  • Why we love it
    • Super cute
    • Comfortable
    • Anti-tangle cord

Cute and lightweight, these headphones are great for younger kids – certainly our five-year-old tester was keen on the red pair we went for. The fully padded headband and small cups made wearing these lightweight headphones comfortable, and they were very easy to use – just plug in and go.

As parents, we liked the anti-tangle cord, too – and the fact it detached from the headphones. Of course, they’re made by Tonies but you can use them with any device that has a headphone jack.

With a noise limiter of 85dB, we felt really at ease with these headphones, knowing our younger children couldn’t get up to too much mischief.

  1. £19 from Tonies.com
Prices may vary
Back to top

StoryPhones storytelling headphones for kids, Minnie Mouse

Onanoff Storyphones storytelling headphones for kids.png
  • Best: For screen-free entertainment
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Mic: Yes
  • Active noise cancellation: No
  • Colourways: Pink, blue
  • Noise limit: 94dB
  • Why we love it
    • Entertainment system in one
    • Can be daisy chained
    • Comfortable
  • Take note
    • Expensive

We were dumbstruck by the genius of these headphones (which are so much more than a set of headphones, by the way). They have “shields” on the cups, which connect to wifi and download stories to the headphones, so your child can listen to the audio wherever they go.

You can even record your own stories on to shields, but StoryPhones has a huge library to choose from – our tester loved the Toy Story stories. There are also relaxing tracks for quiet time.

You can also use these as wired or wireless headphones with other devices and even daisy-chain them together. Comfort wise, they’re padded on the headband and on the soft, round cups.

Back to top

JLab JBuddies studio wireless over-ear folding kids' headphones

JLAB JBuddies studio wireless over ear folding kids headphones indybest.jpeg
  • Best: For tweens
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Mic: Yes
  • Active noise cancellation: No
  • Colourways: Blue, purple
  • Noise limit: 85dB
  • Why we love it
    • Budget friendly
    • Good functionality for the price

These headphones are a great midway point between younger kids’ headphones and ones for teens. They’re also very reasonably priced and have a good range of functionality.

We liked that you can daisy-chain them together, using the cable included, so our kids could watch each other game (why is this even a thing?) and we didn’t have to listen to it. Win-win. These headphones also have an integrated mic for chatting to friends (invariably while gaming).

The buttons on the side are tactile enough for older kids, though under-fives will find them tricky (and that goes for most of the wireless headphones in this list).

The whopping 24-hour battery life is a big perk. We also liked that these headphones fold, so you can shove them into a bag for going back and forth to school.

  1. £29 from Amazon.co.uk
Prices may vary
Back to top

BuddyPhones pop fun wireless headphones

BuddyPhones pop fun wireless headphones.png
  • Best: For personalising
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Mic: Yes
  • Active noise cancellation: No
  • Colourways: Green, yellow, blue, white
  • Noise limit: 94dB
  • Why we love it
    • Eye-catching colours
    • good sound quality
    • Breathable
  • Take note
    • Noise limit needs to be overseen

Our mini tester loved these bright, but not garish headphones. The cans are small, so perfect for young children. While our tester enjoyed the stickers to customise the headphones, we liked that the fabric on the cans was mesh and didn’t become sweaty like some others can. The fact they fold up makes them practical too, as does the 24-hour battery life.

The volume limiter on this set is adjustable, so you can have them loud at 94dB, or lower at 85dB. We didn’t find the need to rack up the volume on them too high, though, as the sound quality was pretty decent.

Back to top

MyFirst headphones bone conduction wireless headphones

MyFirst headphones.png
  • Best: For those with hearing loss
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Mic: Yes
  • Active noise cancellation: No
  • Colourways: Grey, green
  • Noise limit: 85dB
  • Why we love it
    • Safe
    • Can be used in swimming pool
    • Customisable
  • Take note
    • Take a bit of getting used to

These are one of the first bone-conducting headphones for children. If you’re not familiar with bone-conduction headphones, let us fill you in. These sit on your cheekbone, not in or on your ear. There are several benefits to this. One is that you can then still hear environmental sounds – great for kids walking to school. The next benefit is that people with hearing loss can use them and hear the audio playing. One school of thought is that they reduce hearing damage, but the jury is still out on that one.

Although the colours are muted, there are stickers included and our tester loved customising their set. The headphones do take a bit of getting used to, but we’re told they work great once you do. They’re lightweight and comfortable, with soft pads on the cheekbones.

The buttons on these headphones (to control them) are small – better for more dexterous kids. But these headphones are definitely the most lightweight option we tried. They’re even water-resistant, too.

  1. £89 from Myfirst.tech
Prices may vary
Back to top

POGS elephant on-ear wired headphones

POGS elephant on-ear wired headphones.png
  • Best: Wired headphones
  • Wireless: No
  • Mic: Yes
  • Active noise cancellation: No
  • Colourways: Blue, green, yellow, pink
  • Noise limit: 85dB
  • Why we love it
    • Great value
    • No pairing necessary
    • Comfortable
  • Take note
    • Requires headphone jack in device

The elephant headphones have most of the features of our overall best, the Pogs gecko, except these ones are wired. The main benefit of this is that you don’t have to think about charging them. Plus, there’s no hassle in pairing the headphones – you can just take them wherever you’re going without a second thought. Hugely handy if you have a child who likes to switch devices, or if you’re going on a flight.

You can daisy-chain them together, and they don’t need to be the same make (there’s a cable included in the box to do this). The headphones themselves are adjustable and well-padded. Our fussier tester happily wore them for a lengthy train journey without complaint. They’re also very durable, and fold up, so you can take them with you on the go.

Back to top

Belkin soundform nano wireless earbuds for kids

Belkin nano.png
  • Best: Earbuds
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Mic: Yes
  • Active noise cancellation: No
  • Colorways: Blue, pink, white
  • Noise limit: 85dB
  • Why we love it
    • Affordable
    • Good quality for the price
  • Take note
    • Not for littler one

If your teen has been asking you for AirPods, but you’re not sold on the idea, these might be the solution. The earbuds are truly wireless, meaning they’re not connected to a device or each other. They come with a case, which when nestled in, they’re charging (you then charge this outer box separately). The headphones themselves hold five hours of charge, and the box another 19 hours.

These are no doubt better for older kids, as the controls are quite fiddly, requiring you to tap them the right amount of times to play/stop/control the volume and take calls.

The sound quality of these is very decent for the price, and we were relieved there was a noise limiter. A tween and teen will feel very grown up with them, and your wallet won’t feel as light as it would if you forked out for Apple’s version.

  1. £29 from Belkin.com
Prices may vary
Back to top

The verdict: Kids’ headphones

After thorough testing, POGS’ the gecko wireless kids’ headphones take the top spot. We’ve put them in pole position because they’re just that darn good – and they stay perfect even with the heaviest-handed kids, getting chucked around the back seat of the car, lobbed in bags, being sat on. Our very fussy children are happy to wear them for hours on end, and never complain about these headphones not being loud enough despite the volume limiter on them. After something a bit less pricey? PowerLocus’s bobo headphones are an excellent choice – fun, functional and features aplenty.

Compare the best mobile phone deals to accompany kids' headphones

Love music? We’ve rounded up the best karaoke machines for adults and kids

Voucher Codes

TUI Discount Code
£100 off all bookings over £1000 - TUI discount code
ASOS Discount Code
Extra 30% off sale items - ASOS discount code
Travelodge Discount Code
5% off all bookings with this Travelodge discount code
The Body Shop Discount Code
20% off everything with The Body Shop discount code
The Perfume Shop Discount Code
15% of all orders with The Perfume Shop birthday discount
Domino's Voucher Code
Get 40% off mains, sides, and desserts - Domino's voucher code

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in