We’ve spent the past several years evaluating the best headphones for students for remote learning, and while kids are back in school, one of the residual effects has been more online learning (and social!) opportunities. Whether kids are doing virtual live tutoring, taking enrichment classes online, or heck, just playing games with remote friends to destress, there’s still a need for good headphones.
With that, we’re happy to present our picks for the best headphones for students of all ages.
– This post has been updated for 2022 –
There are a lot of factors we’ve considered to recommend the best headphones for students including:
– background noise cancelling (hello, working parents in the other room)
– durability, of course, because an 8-year-old can be hard on their tech! (Let alone a teen.)
While there are a couple of high-end picks here for teens (or at least the ones who take good care of their tech!), you may be surprised at how affordable headphones the best headphones students can be, and how much you can get for your money.
So, we’ve narrowed down our list to 6 options, for students of all ages with all kinds of needs. We hope it’s helpful for you as you do your back to schooling shopping this year.
This post contains affiliate links and some purchases may generate a small commission that helps support our team. This never impacts our independent recommendations.
6 of the best headphones for students of all ages
1. Best headphones for students: Our top pick for kids
For several years, we’ve been recommending the Puro Sound Labs Kids’ Headphones and not just because they come in 8 fabulous colors.
What edges them to the top of the pack? A combo of volume-limiting control, noise-cancellation and comfort. We also appreciate the 22-hour battery life, which means your kid can successfully get through multiple days of tutoring or online classes without remembering to charge every night.
In fact, the New York Times chose the best pair of headphones for children and this was their clear winner as well — and we can say these are even great for middle schoolers and younger teens, not just elementary kids.
Plus, the Puro Sound Labs headphones block 82% of background noise, a definite help for kids trying to focus on their lesson or online homework, not the loud construction crew on the street outside.
($99 at Amazon)
Note that if battery life is a big concern for you, the new PuroQuiets from Puro Sound Labs offer 35 hours of play time, or 23 hours while using active noise cancellation. They’re $129 and recommended for young kids through tweens.)
2. Best headphones for students: Our top affordable headphones for teens
We had a lot of factors to consider in recommending the best affordable headphones for students who are little older— price, comfort, sound quality, and of course, style. Ultimately, we landed on the Anker SoundCore Noise-Cancelling Headphones as our best overall affordable headphone pick for teens.
What’s great about these wireless headphones is that for just around $60, they reduce background noise by 90% and offer up to 40 straight hours of playtime even in wireless noise-cancellation mode. That is a lot of hours. The Anker SoundCore headphones also fold up easily and come in a protective case so kids can just toss them in their backpacks if they’re coming and going.
Fans unanimously say that the value far surpasses the price, and some reviewers even compare them favorably to brands like Bose — not surprising considering how fantastic a whole range of Anker products have been for us.
The built-in mic is great for participating in online calls and classes, and teens will love the hybrid sound functionality for music when they’re not using them for school, too. (We hear the kids like the music.)
($59.99 – $64.99 on Amazon)
3. Best Headphones for Students: Our top high-end headphones for teens
While the rest of this list focuses heavily on affordability, if your budget allows, we cannot say enough wonderful things about Sony’s WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones with Mic These are the headphones that I have described as being so good, I waited a whole year for them to go on sale on Prime Day — and they often do drop in price, so keep an eye out.
They are super comfortable, whether you’ve got a small middle schooler or a fully grown 18-year-old, the noise-cancelling is just spectacular, and they offer a full 30 hours of battery life without needing a charge. If you do run out of juice mid-lesson though, it’s amazingly fast to recharge — in just about 10 minutes you get 5 more hours of playback. That’s a lifesaver for online classes.
In fact the noise cancelling is so good, both my daughter and I wear them even without listening to anything, just to tune out the noise of the world sometimes.
They’re super spendy for sure, but this is a case where you get what you pay for. If your budget allows, they really the best headphones for students who can handle the responsibility of taking good care of them.
(Currently $348 Amazon but check for sales!. Please note that a newer model Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones is now available for $398.)
4. Best Headphones for Students: Most durable for young kids
If you’ve got a younger kid who tends to break things, then you definitely want to factor durability into your choice. For you, we’d recommend Onanoff’s BuddyPhones Play headphones as the best headphones for students like yours. They are built just for those kids who may drop them, spill water on them, or ride over them with their bike. Maybe all three (though hopefully not at once)/
It’s nice that they have four distinct listening modes, each with different levels of noise cancellation — especially StudyMode, which enhances spoken audio content so that kids can hear teachers’ voices or educational video narration more clearly over any background noise at home. And a built-in BuddyJack system lets siblings or friends listen to one device together if they’re sharing a screen.
What kids may love best though is that they come in 4 fun colors, and include fun decals that give kids a chance to customize their own look.
($29.99 at Best Buy)
5. Best headphones for students: Our top affordable earbud with noise-cancellation
If you have teens you can trust to keep up with a set of earbuds, then Urbanista London earbuds are a solid alternative to AirPod Pros. You know we love Apple products generally, even for kids, however these are far more affordable in-ear headphones, and offer comparable benefits for online school.
The battery life is 25 hours, which is plenty long to get through a school day, but if they don’t, the case is a charging source in itself, able to power the earbuds through four more full recharges.
Plus they offer both background noise cancellation and ambient sound modes, which we know have helped our teen focus on their work while younger siblings run around.
These earbuds are slightly more expensive than some — though still half the price of AirPod Pro. But I’ve found when it comes to earbuds, even more than with headphones, quality matters a whole lot; a scratchy, poor Bluetooth connection from a cheap pair isn’t just annoying, it can really impact how much your kids can learn — or miss learning.
When you’re shelling out a fortune on SAT or AP tutoring, you want to make sure your kids hear every single word.
($79.20 on sale right now on Amazon)
6. Best headphones for students: Most comfortable (and cute!) headphones for preschool, kindergarten, and early elementary
Without a doubt, CozyPhones are our pick for the best headphones for students when comfort is a key factor, as it is for lots of wiggly little kids. They’re essentially a fun fleece headband with flexible headphones built in. For a younger kid who is a little extra when it comes to their personal style, CozyPhones seriously deliver. And hey, they’re sure to cheer up any online class or virtual playdate with friends, but they’re also nice and comfy for car rides, plane travel, or falling asleep listening to a bedtime podcast made for kids
They are safe too: they use volume limiting technology, and they can even be washed to keep them (relatively) clean. The only downside —they are wired only, so if all of your child’s devices don’t work with a stereo plug, definitely grab a lightning to 3.5mm stereo audio adapter ($13.99) like this one.
($17.99 and up on Amazon)