Two girls sharing kids headphones

5 Best Kids Headphones for Travel in 2023

Whether you are looking for an inexpensive pair of kids’ headphones for travel, to leave at school, or a lightweight pair to take on a road trip, we’ve got the best kids headphones in 2023.

As full-time travelers and full-time homeschoolers, our kids use their headphones a lot. We started researching kids’ headphones when our oldest entered Kindergarten.

As part of her class list, she was required to bring in headphones to leave at school. We did not want to spend a lot, but we wanted something safe, with volume-limiting, that would be comfortable and hold up to the rigors of daily use.

Remote learning brought greater urgency to having good kids headphones with a microphone. As we planned our two-month cross-country road trip we began to prioritize collapsibility and weight.

Here are our top picks for the best kids headphones for each situation- from school to travel. In this article, we’ll cover the pros and cons of each set of over-ear and on-ear headphones that we recommend.

This article may contain affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. All our recommendations are our own and are in no way influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative.

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Are the Headphones for Travel, School or More?

How your kids will be using the headphones affects which elements are most important to you. If they are only using them for watching videos on road trips, then you may not need a microphone. If remote schooling or chatting with friends and family while on the road is part of your plan, a microphone is essential.

For our kids, headphones need to fill a lot of roles- they have used them for remote learning, travel, catching up with family on Facetime, and in venues with live music to protect their ears. We’ve even used them when watching fireworks!


What Age Are These Kids Headphones For? Can I Use Them for My Toddler?

These recommendations are generally aimed at grade school-age children. However, we’ve used headphones since our youngest was 3, including for remote classes with her preschool. Most kid’s headphones have a volume limiter that makes them safe even for young kids, but you’ll want to prioritize that feature for toddlers.

These headphones are for on-ear and over-ear models. There are a few in-ear headphones that include volume-limiting features, but they are not common and are generally recommended for ages 7 or older. As our oldest child reaches 9, we are exploring these options.

1. Our Top Pick: JBuddies Pro Wireless Over-Ear Kids Headphones

πŸ… Best Kids Headphones for Travel and Remote Learning

When choosing headphones that must work for remote learning and travel, you need the holy grail of comfort, functionality, durability, and collapsibility. We have tried a lot of pairs of headphones to find one that we feel hits the mark for all of these qualities.

These are the headphones both of our kids are using on our Family Year Out. (What’s a Family Year Out?) They have survived over two years of full-time travel- repeatedly being stuffed into backpacks and pulled out on trains, planes, and more. We are just starting to see wear in them.

two girl sharing headphones and watching a show on an ipad while traveling.
Our girls using the sharing port on their JBuddies Pro in a hotel in Seattle

The JBuddies Pro Wireless Headphones by JLabs are the headsets we are currently using.

I was worried initially how they would fit, as they are targeted for 8 years and older, but they fit comfortably on our 4-year-old at their shorter setting and have plenty of room to grow for our almost 7-year-old.

We are using them with the cords to keep things simple, but you also have the option to use them wirelessly with Bluetooth.

These are the headphones we include in our detailed packing list for full-time travel.

Buy Now: JBuddies Pro Wireless Headphones


Pros of JBuddies Pro Wireless

-Volume Limiting

Built-in volume switch toggles between the max volume of 85dB (recommended) – or 95dB for louder environments. The switch is hidden behind the fabric in the earcup to be accessed by parents only.

-Ergonomic Over-Ear Design

These headphones are shaped like an ear, not just round, so they fit over kids’ ears but are not overly large. And the over-ear design and soft cushions mean they stay comfortable longer.

-Wireless and Wired

With the longest playback time we have found, these Bluetooth headsets offer 35+ hours of wireless listening and only an hour for a full charge. Plus they come with a cord for when you run out of battery life.

The batteries are rechargeable with the included USB power cord that fits into a USB C port of your computer or adapter (not included).

-Share Port

There is a second port on the left side for connecting a second pair of headphones. The sharing feature can be used while the main headset is either wireless or wired. Our kids love to connect their headphones so that they can both watch the same program at the same time on one iPad.

-Light Weight and Collapsable Design

These headphones fold up to make them more compact for travel. When headphones don’t collapse well, they take up a ton of room in the kids’ backpacks. Also, kids should only be carrying approximately 10% of their body weight, so when you have 4-5 pounds to work with, every little bit counts!

Cons of JBuddies Pro Wireless:

-Only Two Colors

Currently, these headphones only come in black with blue highlights or black with pink highlights. With two girls, I bought two pink versions, so they wouldn’t argue over who got which color.

-No Storage Bag

With two cables to keep track of, having a protective case or even a bag would go a long way toward not losing parts and keeping them organized.

-Moving Parts and Collapsable Design

Moving parts means more to wear out or break. These are sturdy and well-built, we are really happy with how long they have lasted under tough conditions.

Buy Now: JBuddies Pro Wireless Headphones


2. Amazon Basics Kids Headphones

🌱 Best Beginner Set of Kids Headphones:

This is where we’d recommend starting if you need a very basic set of headphones for a younger child or you’re just not sure how much you’ll be using them.

Amazon’s Amazon Basics Volume Limited Wired Over-Ear Headphones for Kids with two ports for sharing are a great introduction to kids’ headphones.

They have all the features we look for- they are very affordable, and have volume limiting, a microphone, a share port, and lots of colors to choose from.

This is what we got when our oldest daughter needed to bring a pair of headphones to leave at Kindergarten. Since they were going to live at school (in the classroom), we wanted something inexpensive that we wouldn’t worry about. This is also what we used when remote learning first started.

Both kids liked the headphones, but they did not survive a full year of school. With two kids, we went through three pairs of these in less than a year.

These headphones are currently no longer available, but keep an eye on them- they have been very popular and it may just be a temporary supply issue.

Buy Now: Amazon Basics Volume Headphones

Pros of Amazon Basics:

-Affordable

These were the most affordable of the headphones we tried. Our oldest needed a pair at home and a pair for school, but we did not want to worry about them or stress about whether the kids were being too rough with them.


-Volume Limiting

These have a max volume of 94dB, which is on the high side for kids’ headphones but still considered safe.

-Wired but Detachable

These headsets have a detachable fifty-one-inch braided cloth cord with a built-in mic and volume control. So when we misplaced a cord, it was easy to swap in another.

-Includes a Share Port

These headphones taught us the benefits of a shared port. At the time, the girls would share an iPad to watch a show or video. With the shared port, they could both be on headphones and we would not have to listen.

-Fun Colors

These headsets come in lots of fun colors, so the girls got to pick out the color they wanted and it was easy to tell them apart.

Cons of Amazon Basics:

-Fidgety Volume Control

The volume control did not work with all platforms or devices and would jump from muted to the loudest setting when trying to adjust.

-Low Durability

The ear cushion covers for the headsets started to come off after prolonged use and there was no way to fix them. The cords also began to fall apart where they connected to the jack.

-Lack of Availability

These headphones are currently not available on Amazon and there is no date for them to return.

Buy Now: Amazon Basics Volume Headphones

3. Yusonic Kids Headphones

🌱 Best Alternative Beginner Set of Kids Headphones

This alternative has a lot of the same features as the Amazon Basics, plus some, at a similar price point.

The Yusonic Kids Headphones have all the great features of the Amazon Basics, with a few improvements including more options for volume limiting and sound isolation.

We haven’t tried these personally, but reviews indicate that these headphones are more durable than the Amazon Basics.

Buy Now: Yusonic Kids Headphones

Pros of Yusonics:

-Volume Limiting

The detachable cord has a mic, on/off button, and volume limiting switch to toggle between 85dB and 93dB.

-Collapsible Design

These headphones easily fold down for storage or travel.

-Fun Colors

They are available in a wide array of fun colors.


Cons of Yusonics:

-Exposed Volume Limiting

The volume limiting control is too easily accessible to kids.

Buy Now: Yusonic Kids Headphones


4. LilGadgets Untangled Pro Kids Bluetooth Headphones

πŸŽ“ Best Kids Headphones for Remote Learning

These headphones are a great combination of durability and functionality. They have higher-quality sound and have stood up well to the rigors of daily remote learning. These also come in fun patterns which make them very kid-friendly.

Headphones protect the girls hearing in a loud restaurant in Memphis with live music

LilGadgets’ Untangled Pro Bluetooth Headphones are designed for ages 4 and up. After three pairs of the Amazon basics, we wanted to try something at a higher price point to see if there was a noticeable improvement in materials, sound, features, and durability.

We got a pair for our 6-year-old and she picked out a set with a fun pattern that she loves. We were very happy with what we found.

Buy Now: Untangled Pro Bluetooth Headphones

Pros of LilGadgets Untangled:

-Volume Limiting & Passive Noise Reduction

The Untangled Pros are volume-limited to 93dB. This is higher than standard, but they also offer passive noise reduction with their padded fixed ear cups, bringing outside noise down by 13dB. This means in theory, that you will not have to turn up the volume as much to hear clearly.

-Wireless and Wired Options

These Bluetooth headphones have a 12-hour listening battery life and 180 hours of standby time. They also have a 30-foot range (typical) from the device they are connected to, should you need it.

They also come with a cord with an on/off button and mic if you prefer to not rely on the wireless feature. You can also use the cord if the battery dies on longer trips or travel.

We love having the option of removing the cord, as it makes them easier to use for general noise protection. We have used these at restaurants with live music and even at fireworks to protect our daughter’s hearing.

-Includes a Share Port

There are two 3.5 headphone jack ports in the headset, so with Bluetooth on, you can connect multiple headsets to share a movie or show.

-Fun Colors and Patterns

These headsets come in an array of colors and designs including fun kid-friendly patterns.

Cons of LilGadgets Untangled:

-Non-Collapsible Design

While the rigid design is solid and well made, it does not collapse and takes up more room when not in use, which makes it tricky for long-term travel.

-Higher Pricepoint

These were the most expensive kids’ headphones we tried, at over $50.

-Short Battery Life

Other headsets we have reviewed have longer battery life and charge in half the time. We mostly used the cord with these, so battery life was not often an issue for us.

Buy Now: Untangled Pro Bluetooth Headphones


5. JBuddies Studio On-Ear Wired Kids Headphones

πŸ€Έβ€β™‚οΈ Best Mid-Range Headphones for Younger Kids

These headphones are a step up from the Amazon basics, with better sound quality and passive noise isolation. They are wired and the cord does not come out, so there are no parts to lose or come unplugged. These are lightweight and collapsable, making them a good candidate for travel headphones.

School in a hotel: wearing JBuddies Studio (blue) and LilGadgets Untangled (pattern) headphones

We bought the JBuddies Studio Wired Kids Headphones by JLabs to replace the Amazon Basics for our younger child. We wanted to spend a little more and get something that was better made and would hold up to daily use.

These have the mic for video chats with her school and FaceTime with family. These are supposed to be for ages 6 and up, but we found they fit E great at age 3 and were very comfortable. She loved the blue and pink ones!

Buy Now: JBuddies Studio Wired Kids Headphones


Pros of JBuddies Studio:

-Volume Limiting

These headphones have a max volume of 85dB, so we did not have to worry about damaging young ears.

-Wired with Braided Cord

The headphones come with a built-in braided cloth cord with an L-shaped jack. We did not have to worry about finding the cord when it was time for school and while they would be in knots by the end of the day, with the cloth cord they would come out easily.

The downside to this is when we use them to protect her hearing, we still have the cord attached.

-Light Weight and Collapsable Design

We were really happy with the construction of these headphones. They are really light and easily adjustable. The headphones fold in to make them more compact for travel.

Cons of JBuddies Studio:

-Wired and L-Shaped Cord

While the L-shaped cord is great for little fingers to push in, without damaging it, we found it hard to get it past some of the more puffy protective tablet cases we were using.

-No Share Port

While we could plug these into the other headphone’s share port, this pair does not have one of its own.

-No Storage Bag

Especially for kids, having a place to store these out of the way and to keep the cord from getting tangled up would be very handy.

Buy Now: JBuddies Studio Wired Kids Headphones


Choosing The Best Travel Headphones for Kids: Top Features to Consider

Here are some of the top features you’ll want to consider when choosing the best pair of kids’ headphones for your family.

Volume Limiting

This is perhaps the most important feature for young ears. It can also be confusing to know what is the safest way for little kids and toddlers to use headphones. There are two main factors that contribute to hearing loss with headphones- loud volumes and loud volumes for extended periods of time.

The industry standard for volume limiting is 85dB, but this is also based on a listening time of eight hours. It is continuous high volumes that can damage little ears. It is also important to take the background noise into account.

If you are traveling, whether in a car, train or plane, there can be a lot of background noise that will easily exceed the 85dB max volume of a headset.

Some headphones give you the option of switching between 85dB and 95dB so that you can adjust the sound for the current environment. This is best if it is controlled by the parent, meaning the parent knows how to change it, but the kid doesn’t.

Also, if you are on a long trip, with lots of headphone time, it is best to take breaks, at least every two hours, of ten minutes or more.

Microphone

If your child is doing home learning, talking to friends in school chats, or FaceTiming with family, having a headset with a microphone is key. Bluetooth headphones will have a built-in mic.

If you have a corded headset, the mic and on/off button will be on the cord, closer to one side. It is important that the microphone is at the end nearest the headset to work properly.

Durability

This is important for any product, but especially for kid’s products. Kids can be rough on their belongings- they often do not know their own strength. Durability is often hard to judge when online shopping, where images are curated and limited.

Comfort

Headphone comfort is important for heavy daily use or long trips. Headset padding at the ears makes extended use more comfortable, and quality materials will also help with noise isolation.

Over-ear tends to be more comfortable than on-ear headsets for long hours of use. Padding at the top of the headset where it sits on the child’s head is also important. Lighter products will alleviate some of the need for padding, but not all.

Size, Weight & Collapsibility

If you are using headphones for travel, all three of these are important. The right balance of these will depend on the individual. For travel, we went with the over-ear headset (slightly larger) that was light and collapsable. Our favorite headset for home learning does not collapse and is on-ear, but has lots of great padding.

Wired or Wireless

The advantage to wired headphones is their simplicity- you don’t have to worry about losing the cord, or charging the headphones. However, many headsets actually have detachable cords, which can be a blessing or a curse. If you have a younger child, you may want to choose a wired pair for ease of use and affordability.

Wireless headphones offer a cordless experience that many kids prefer. We also love that we can leave the cord at home if we use the headphones in a live music venue to protect the kids’ hearing.

Battery Life

If you are choosing a wireless headset, find one with good battery life and fast charging. Battery life can range from 6 to 35 hours, with 12 hours being typical. Full charging can take an hour to three, but most have a fast charge, where 10 minutes will get you an hour or more of listening.

There You Have It: The Best Kids Headphones for Travel or Remote School

Our list of the best kids headphones for learning and travel is based on a lot of time buying and trying! These are headphones our kids have used, and we can personally recommend them.

Are there other headphones for kids out there that you think should make our list? We would love to hear from you!

Kids headphones are one of our top road trip supplies, check out our list of what you should consider packing! Don’t miss our tips for enjoying a road trip with kids!

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