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7 best kids’ headphones for learning and TV time

·7-min read
As well as making sure the sound isn't too loud, they shouldn't be worn for too long either (The Independent)
As well as making sure the sound isn't too loud, they shouldn't be worn for too long either (The Independent)

From homeschooling during the last year, to long journeys and flights, and for a moment’s peace from the fifth repeat of Paw Patrol, kids’ headphones are essential for many different arrangements.

When choosing a pair of headphones for your child there are a few things to consider. Firstly, make sure they have volume restrictions to protect delicate young ears.

All the pairs featured here are limited to a maximum of 85dB, considered by the World Health Organisation to be a safe limit. Medical experts also recommend restricting daily use to no more than two hours.

Consider if you want Bluetooth or a wired connection – there is no longer the price penalty for Bluetooth there once was, so it’s a case of weighing up the simplicity of a wired connection (no charging needed, no faff pairing) versus the freedom of Bluetooth.

The other things to consider are whether your child needs a microphone to take part in lessons, and what sort of design would they like. Some are very much designed for kids, while others are more of a scaled-down version of a grown-up pair.

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How we tested

We listened to both music and speech, and the mic on a Zoom call, and were really impressed with the sound quality across the board.

The best kids’ headphones for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Puro Sound Labs puroquiet over-ear active noise cancelling headphones: £102.26, Amazon.co.uk

  • Best for simplicity – JBL Jr310BT: £44.99, Jbl.com

  • Best budget buy – JLab jbuddies over ear folding headphones: £14.99, Amazon.co.uk

  • Best quiet pair – BuddyPhones school+ headphones: £26.90, Amazon.co.uk

  • Best eco-friendly headphones – Planet Buddies colour and swap headphones: £21.99, Currys.co.uk

  • Best for features – Groov-e kidz wireless DJ style Bluetooth headphones for kids: £24.99, Groov-e.co.uk

  • Best for crisp sound – Yoto headphones: £24.99, Yotoplay.com

Puro Sound Labs puroquiet over-ear active noise cancelling headphones for kids

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

  • Sound limit: 85dB

  • Microphone: Yes

A fantastic pair of headphones, the PuroQuiets might be the most expensive here, but they’re packed with features and feel worth every penny. Sound quality is spot on and the mic is faultless. They’re also the heaviest here (at 170g) but are perfectly comfortable with swivelling ear pads and 3.2cm adjustment on each side (and will lie flat in the hard case they come with).

Supplied with a cable as well as being wireless, they can also easily be connected with another headset for shared audio, charge in less than three hours to provide up to 35 hours of playback (with ANC off), and have a range of nearly 10m. We can’t fault them.

Buy now £102.26, Amazon .co.uk

JBL Jr310BT

Best: For simplicity

Rating: 8/10

  • Sound limit: 85dB

  • Microphone: Yes

A well-respected audio brand, JBL makes two pairs of headphones for kids – the Jr310, with or without wireless Bluetooth connection. We tested the Bluetooth version, and loved their simplicity. The design is styled on grown-up models, but in playful colours, and the sound quality is precise and enjoyable; the mic is crisp but picks up a fair amount of background noise.

Comfy to wear, they’re light at 110g and extend by 3.2cm on each side. With a quick charge function giving two hours of battery life in five minutes, fully charged, they’ll last for 30 hours. Just two buttons on the headphones control on/off, playing, pausing and answering a call if paired with a phone.

Buy now £44.99, Jbl.com

JLab jbuddies over ear folding headphones

Best: Budget buy

Rating: 8/10

  • Sound limit: 85dB

  • Microphone: Yes

A smart, solid design, JLab aims the fit of these at kids aged six and over, and the padding makes them really comfortable to wear. Considering the price, the sound quality is superb, and the mic is brilliantly clear and doesn’t pick up much background noise. Another set weighing 110g, they extend by 2cm on each side, and fit an adult as well as they do a child. One button on the cable controls play/pause, answer/hang up, and skip forward/backward. For faff-free listening, these are impossible to fault.

Buy now £14.99, Amazon.co.uk

BuddyPhones school+ headphones

Best: Quiet pair

Rating: 8/10

  • Sound limit: 85dB

  • Microphone: Yes

These are really light (90g), well made and comfortably padded. Not the largest headphone pads featured here, they adjust by 3cm on each side. The microphone is great at cancelling out background noise, the clearest here and despite all headphones featured here limiting sound output to 85dB, these are the quietest and softest at full volume.

Nice additional features include an extra lead to easily share the audio, a carry case, and customisable stickers for the headphone pads.

Buy now £26.90, Amazon

Planet Buddies colour and swap headphones

Best: Eco-friendly headphones

Rating: 9/10

  • Sound limit: 85dB

  • Microphone: Yes

A new kids’ eco brand, Planet Buddies raises awareness of endangered animals through its range of headphones, a wireless speaker and a tablet cushion, and uses no single-use plastics in its products or packaging.

The colour and swap headphones come with 24 character cards featuring endangered animals and crayons, so kids can customise the headphone ear pads. The square shape gives good coverage over the ears, and the band extends by 2.5cm. They’re supplied with 1.2m-long cord with volume control and a mic, and they weigh just 110g. Great for when we can travel again, they fold neatly into a hemp carry bag. And the sound quality? More than sufficient, for both music and speech, and the mic was crisp and picked up quiet voices.

Buy now £21.99, Currys.co.uk

Groov-e kidz wireless DJ style Bluetooth headphones for kids

Best: For features

Rating: 9/10

  • Sound limit: 85dB

  • Microphone: Yes

With no padding on the headband and weighing 125g, the Groov-e headphones aren’t as comfortable as some of the others, but they more than make up for that with all their features – built-in mic, optional cable, audio sharing port, adjustable by 3.7cm – and at a brilliant price. The sound quality can’t be faulted but the mic could be crisper and clearer.

Three buttons control play/pause, on/off, volume and skipping forwards/backwards, and they paired easily. Full charge (in 2-3 hours) promises 7.5hrs of playback and we loved the snug feel of the headphone pads.

Buy now £24.99, Groov-e.co.uk

Yoto headphones

Best: For crisp sound

Rating: 8/10

  • Sound limit: 85dB

  • Microphone: No

A clean, crisp design and a warm deep sound, for both music and speech, make these fuss-free headphones a no-brainer. They fold up neatly into their cloth carry bag, and feel really durable without seeming bulky. They extend by 3cm on each side and weigh 150g. Not wireless, they have a 1.3m-long cord and two or more pairs can be connected together for shared listening.

Buy now £24.99, Yotoplay.com

The verdict: Kids' headphones

For exceptional quality and longevity, the puroquiets from Puro Sounds can’t be beaten – they’re proper grown-up headphones, as happy helping with homeschool as they will be if and when you take a family trip, and you may well find yourself borrowing them from your child. There’s a glut of well-priced, dependable models featured here, and our best cheaper alternative is the school+ model from BuddyPhones.

Voucher codes

For the latest discounts on kids’ headphones and other tech offers, try the below links:

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