The Best Kids' Headphones for Travel

Our top recommendation is Puro’s BT2200s Volume Limited Bluetooth Headphone set.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Best Kids' Headphones Tout

Amazon

Every parent’s main goal is to protect their child; when traveling, it’s also to occupy them. Fortunately, with volume-limiting features and designs made specifically for small ears, headphones for kids do both. 

“Good headphones made for kids limit the volume to 85 decibels (dB) max,” says Cher Zhao, M.D., a pediatric otolaryngologist at Mass Eye and Ear in Boston, Massachusetts. Continued exposure to noise above this amount can be damaging. (Normal conversation rings in at about 60 dB; an average airplane cabin hits about 80 to 85 dB.)

We rounded up some of our favorite kid-friendly headphones, keeping pricepoint, design, and functionality in mind. Our top pick is Puro’s BT2200s Volume Limited Bluetooth Headphones with Built-In Mic; they’re superb volume-limiters, they’re noise-canceling, they don’t skimp on audio quality, and they have a year-long warranty. Whether your child is looking to plug in on a short drive or your little ones need something durable for long-haul flights, we’ve got you covered.

Below, our list of the best headphones for kids.

Best Overall: Puro Sound Labs BT2200s Volume Limited Kids Headphones

Puro Sound Labs BT2200s Volume Limited Kids Headphones

Courtesy of Amazon

Why We Love it: High-quality sound and safety standards paired with a charitable mission make these headphones stand out. 

What to Consider: Almost $100 could be a lot to shell out depending on how often your child will use the headphones.

For Puro Sound Labs, business is personal: The founder's daughter (who is now one of the owners) was diagnosed with noise-induced hearing loss and Puro partners with an organization called KultureCity, which promotes disability inclusion and sensory accessibility. Puro’s BT2200s protect kids’ ears by limiting sound to under 85 dB and blocking out 82 percent of outside noise. They have 22 hours of battery life, come with a hard (read: won’t get squished in a bag) travel case and in fun, bright colors, and are comfortable with room to grow on little ears. To help you fend off iPad battles, these top-rated headphones have daisy chain sharing capabilities; a split cable allows two pairs of headphones to connect to one device.

Bluetooth: Yes | Volume Control: Yes

Best Budget: gorsun Bluetooth Kids Headphones with Microphone

gorsun Bluetooth Kids Headphones with Microphone

Amazon

Why We Love it: These are versatile headphones that come in a pack of one or two for parents looking to save cash without skimping on output.

What to Consider: Bluetooth pairing can be a bit slow, and the headphones run on the bigger side.

A quick Amazon search will reveal headphones for kids aplenty, many of which you might end up returning. Not these — they’re sturdy and hold up well over time, deliver solid sound quality for the price, and are soft on your children’s ears. The headphones also have fun removable animal ears should you want to use them and an adjustable headband. “I returned about five other pairs, but these did well on our trip,” one mom told us. “Every time I checked my daughter’s sound it was good and she seemed comfortable in them.” Available for purchase in a two-pack with 12 hours of battery life, you can’t go wrong at this price.

Bluetooth: Yes | Volume Control: Yes

Related: The Best Backpacks for Disney Vacations

Best for Little Kids: Onanoff BuddyPhones Explore+ Volume-Limiting Kids Headphones

Onanoff BuddyPhones Explore+ Volume-Limiting Kids Headphones

Onanoff

Why We Love it: These headphones have fun designs for little kids, are foldable, and have sharing capabilities.

What to Consider: The headphones are wired with no Bluetooth capabilities.

Onanoff BuddyPhones Explore+ are simple, but sometimes simple is best. Best suited for younger kids, each pair comes with name tag labels and four stickers to decorate the headphones. They limit volume to under that 85dB limit (some of the company’s more expensive wireless pairs allow for sound to be louder), the ear covers are made from a super soft leather fabric, and a built-in audio splitter allows up to four kids to connect to the same device. 

Bluetooth: No | Volume Control: Yes

Best for Older Kids: JLAB JBuddies Studio Over-Ear Bluetooth Headphones

JBuddies Studio Over Ear Bluetooth Headphones

 Best Buy

Why We Love it: The headphones have 24 hours of battery life on Bluetooth and the cord (if you prefer wired) is durable.

What to Consider: The headphones don’t come with a case and are not noise-canceling.

For kids ages 6 and up, JBuddies’ Studio Wireless headphones deliver a full day’s worth of battery life and simple-to-use features fostering budding independence. They’re versatile and can be used wirelessly, wired, or shared (two kids), and they keep listening comfortable with plush ear covers and a memory-foam infused headband. They’re not noise-canceling, but the padding on the ear covers is enough to drown out some background noise. The ear cups rotate inward and fold, and while this pick doesn’t come with a case, they’re durable and have thicker wires that aren’t easily damaged. 

Bluetooth: Yes | Volume Control: Yes

Related: The Most Comfortable Headphones for Traveling

Best for Long-Haul Flights: Happy Plugs Play

Happy Plugs Play

Happy Plugs

Why We Love it: These headphones come in aesthetically pleasing colors and have added perks like sustainable packaging and anti-microbial technology.

What to Consider: They’re best for children ages 4 and up and are pricier depending on how much use they’ll get.

These sleek headphones don’t scream headphones-for-kids, but with safe sound (under 85 dB), other safety features like the use of antimicrobial technology to help stop the growth of harmful bacteria, cool muted colors (light pink, gold), and superb sound quality, they’re a good pick for parents and kids alike. Happy Plugs’ Play also have one of the longest battery lives (25 hours) that we’ve seen and are made with vegan-friendly leather. They’re expensive, but with a hard storage case, audio-sharing capabilities, and long-lasting powers, they’re a good investment for families who travel frequently.

Bluetooth: Yes | Volume Control: Yes

Tips for Buying Headphones for Kids

Look for volume control

All good headphones for kids have volume control limits — meaning they limit the max volume to 85 dB. 

Cher Zhao, M.D., Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Boston

“The data shows that if you have prolonged exposure, more than eight hours a day to noises over 85 dB, you can cause permanent damage to the hair cells in the inner ear."

— Cher Zhao, M.D., Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Boston

Of course, you want to aim for much less than that — about an hour a day max for both kids and adults, Dr. Zhao says. For yourself, or for kids in loud places, think about a 60/60 rule: Loud noises for less than 60 minutes a day or at less than 60 percent of the maximum volume of a device.

Avoid earbuds

For kids, over-the-ear headphones are, in general, better than in-the-canal buds for a few different reasons. First, earbuds sit closer to the eardrum, increasing sound volume by 6 to 9 decibels, says Dr. Zhao. “Over-the-ear headphones put the source of volume farther away, so they’re a little safer in terms of noise damage.” Second: Buds can cause other issues like wax impaction or lead to outer ear infections, she says; you have to be more adamant about cleaning them (something no parent wants to do).

Prioritize comfort

Just as over-the-ear headphones are likely safer for kids, they’re also just more comfortable for smaller ears, says Dr. Zhao.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Are Bluetooth headphones safe for kids?

    In short, yes. Bluetooth devices do emit a low level of non-ionizing radiation. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notes that “routine exposure to non-ionizing radiation is generally perceived as harmless to humans.” While there is some data to suggest that non-ionizing radiation, when emitted in very high levels, may increase the risk of things like cancer, neurological disorders, cognitive impairments, or genetic damage, Dr. Zhao notes that “the data is very conflicting” and that there is “no long-term data to suggest cause.” The National Cancer Institute also states "there is currently no consistent evidence that non-ionizing radiation increases cancer risk in humans.” Bluetooth devices also emit anywhere from 100 to 1,000 times less electromagnetic non-ionizing radiation than cell phones, adds Dr. Zhao.

  • Should I get noise-canceling headphones for my child?

    Noise cancellation can be important because when you're able to cancel outside noise, you’re able to listen at a lower volume by a few decibels, says Dr. Zhao. When you don't have noise cancellation, you're tempted to increase the volume to drown out that external volume and as a result, you're listening at a louder volume. 

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Cassie Shortsleeve is a health, parenting, and travel journalist with more than a decade’s worth of experience writing for national publications including Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Parents, The Washington Post, and others. On top of her writing, she is a perinatal health coach and the founder of Dear Sunday Motherhood, an online platform for early motherhood. She is a mom to two.

Up Next: The Best Portable Speakers

Love a great deal? Sign up for our T+L Recommends newsletter and we'll send you our favorite travel products each week.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles