As a parent, you’ve probably noticed that teenagers are inseparable from their cell phones and headphones. Whether they’re grooving to music, chatting with pals, binge-watching shows, or tuning into podcasts, these gadgets are a teenage must-have for blocking out the world.
Headphones aren’t just about entertainment; they provide the personal space and independence that teenagers crave. While it’s essential to keep an eye on your teen’s phone usage, gifting them a top-notch pair of headphones for their music or other audio adventures could earn you the “Parent of the Year” title. We’ve put together a list of the 15 best-selling, highly-rated headphones for teens available today!
While teens are only concerned about being able to listen to their favorite music or shows, parents need to be concerned with the safety of the headphones their kids are using. Here are some important points to consider and discuss with your teen:
- Hearing Health: Don’t let eye rolls deter you from talking about safe headphone usage. Listening at high volumes can lead to permanent hearing damage, so this chat is vital.
- Safe Driving: If your teen is old enough to drive, emphasize the need to avoid headphones while in the driver’s seat. They must hear emergency sirens and stay fully alert while driving.
- Stay Aware: Teens should understand that wearing headphones can limit their awareness of their surroundings. Stress the importance of situational awareness, especially in crowded or potentially risky situations.
- Courtesy Matters: Beyond safety, teach your teens the etiquette of headphone use. Encourage them to use headphones respectfully when interacting with others.
Now that you’ve had these discussions with your teen, it’s time to embark on the exciting journey of shopping for headphones!
15 Best Headphones for Teens at Any Budget
Over Ear Headphones
For serious audiophiles, when only the best sound will do, traditional over-ear headphones are a must. There are several options available that each have their own perks. Price range varies based on brand and features, but with headphones you usually can bet on getting what you pay for! Below are some of the best selling and most popular over ear headphones available now!
1. Apple Airpods Max
For most teenagers when it comes to headphones there are Apple headphones and ear buds and every other brand. These are not going to be cheap, but style and performance come at a cost. Airpod Max are noise cancelling so it is easy to be locked into your music. One charge can last up to 20 hours so you can rock out to your favorite tunes during a hike or a long day and your headphones will be going strong. These headphones easily switch between multiple devices like a MacBook and an iPhone.
Airpod Max headphones are loaded with high end technology. Each ear cup has a position sensor, optical sensor, accelerometer, as well as a gyroscope. The headphones come with a slim case, and weighing under a pound, these are easy to take with you or put in a backpack. These headphones are very comfortable due to a mesh cover and a custom fit of on-ear memory foam. One of my favorite features of these headphones is that they can be set in transparency mode. What this means is that even with headphones, your teen can hear and exist in the world around them.
2. Beats Solo3 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones
The popularity of these Beats headphones hasn’t waned since coming on the market. The Beats Solo3 wireless over-ear headphones are the gold standard for top quality sound. Available in multiple colors and finishes, these sleek styled headphones connect to cell phones wirelessly through builtin Bluetooth and offer an impressive 22 hours of battery life.
Pure Adaptive Noise Cancelling (Pure ANC) dampens environmental noise, although it is not totally noise-cancelling. With stellar sound quality and a comfortable over-ear fit, the Beats Solo3 headphones are a great purchase if you’re looking for high quality.
|Beats Solo 3|
3. Sony WH1000XM4 Noise Cancelling Headphones
The Sony WH1000XM4 over-ear headphones are top of the line for good reason. Their sound quality and noise-cancelling ability have long been considered the best on the market. The Sony M3 headphones are wireless thanks to Bluetooth connectivity and have built-in Alexa, so Amazon users can use the familiar service with headphones on.
Battery life is also superior, at up to 30 hours and uses a USBC charging cable for fast recharging. Controls on the right ear cover make skipping songs, answering calls, and controlling volume a breeze. If your teen wants top of the line, these headphones are it!
4. Skullcandy S6CRW-K591 Crusher
For good sound quality, consider the Skullcandy S6CRW-K591 Crusher headphones. This option comes in 4 different colors. It’s also foldable for easy portability and storage. The included travel bag is great for taking to the gym, school, or anywhere else.
The 40 hour battery life makes it easy to listen for extended periods without worrying about charging. Charging is done with the included USB cord. It also has a rapid charge mode with gives you 2 hours of listening time with only 10 minutes of charging.
Comfortable to wear for long periods, the Skullcandy Crushers also have good sound quality. Adjustable sensory bass allows you to customize your listening experience. The microphone is another good feature.
Overall, this product is quite good. The sound quality measures up to most others, but unfortunately these aren’t built as well as the Beats and Sony products above.
5. Anker Soundcore Life Headphones
These headphones made by Anker are a really good option if your teen likes to listen to music for hours on end. The battery life averages 30 hours with the Active Noise Cancellation on and 60 hours with it off. But what I like most about these headphones is that if she forgets to charge them until she goes to use them, they only need to be charged for 5 minutes to get 4 hours of playback. Yes, I speak from experience.
They are also a really good option if you want to get said teen good headphones without breaking the bank. It is a great value for what you get. They are comfortable to wear and because the fit covers the ear, they do a good job at noise cancellation.
There is memory foam on the ear cups that makes them easy to wear for hours. They are lightweight and easy to fold up and throw in a backpack. These headphones are wireless (Bluetooth range of 5.0), but they come with an AUX cord that connects to a phone. Really, this is a great pair of headphones.
|Anker Soundcore Life |
6. zihnic Headphones
These highly rated headphones are popular for good reason! They have a great, comfortable feel and somehow manage to be soft, strong, and flexible all at the same time. Hence they are easy to wear for extended periods of time. Personally, I love the immersive listening experience they provide. You won’t be distracted by background noise with these!
Additionally, they fold up compactly into a small carrying case. I also find it convenient that you can control the volume and skip songs with a simple tap to the ear piece. Plus, there is a built-in microphone for hands-free communication.
You’ve got to love the freedom of movement with wireless headphones! With that said, it is also nice that you can add the wire to continue listening after the battery dies. These Zihnic headphones offer 14 hours of playtime after a 2.5 hour charge. And with Zihnic, you get a 12-month warranty, 100% customer satisfaction, and 24/7 customer support. You can’t beat that!
7. iJoy Wireless Headphones
If you are looking for an economical pair of headphones, look no further than the iJoy Wireless Headphones! These headphones offer quite a bit for what you pay. The noise cancellation is pretty good. Your boy won’t be able to hear distracting noises like traffic, but he will still be able to hear you (although he might ask “what” a few times).
I really like that you can adjust them to fit your head; it makes wearing them so much more comfortable. The sound is loud and clear. And the battery has a life of about 8 hours.
I also like that you can load songs onto a SD card and insert that into the headphones to listen to; you don’t even need another device. Another unique feature of these headphones is that there is a setting for FM stations. So if your teen listens to games that are broadcast on the radio, these would be perfect for him. These are great headphones for those of us that are on a budget.
Earbuds are relatively new to the headphone market but are increasing in popularity by the day. These are designed to fit inside the ear canal, with no wires attached. Separate charging cases ensure hours of use with Bluetooth connectivity.
8. Apple AirPods (3rd Generation)
The original earbuds are the Apple AirPods. If your 13-year-old has an Apple device, these AirPods connect wirelessly to provide clear, crisp audio. These are also compatible with “Siri” so that users can que up Siri at any point to ask a question.
Phone calls can also be completed with these thanks to a built-in microphone. A quick, double tap of the AirPods will skip a song forward or press play. These are popular for a reason, as teens have come to love the sleek, simple design! As a warning these don’t work as well with Amazon music.
The Apple AirPods 3 have up to 6 hours of battery life with a single charge. Using the charging case these can be used for up to 30 hours before returning to a charging station. These ear buds are excellent quality, and the sound is fantastic. The AirPods are really easy to set-up and switching between devices is simple.
|Apple AirPods 3|
9. Samsung Galaxy Buds
The Samsung Galaxy Buds are designed to work with any Android-powered phone or IOS phone, however some features are limited when paired with an iOS device. Similar in style and functionality to the Apple AirPods, the Samsung Buds offer great sound quality with a unique “Ambient Aware” mode. This is perfect for turning on when you still want to be able to hear your immediate surroundings.
The Samsung Buds come with three adjustable ear and wingtip sizes, and they are also water resistant. The earbuds charge in an included case that also doubles as wireless charger! They have 6 hours of battery life once charged, with an additional 7 hours of battery life in the case. Another benefit to these buds is that they can be worn and operated individually. So, if your teen wants to keep one ear open, they’re able to interchange the buds.
|Samsung Galaxy Buds|
10. TOZO T12 Wireless
If your teen is wanting some earbuds but the price point of Apple AirPods or Samsung Buds are too high, consider the TOZO T12 Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds. These headphones are highly rated and waterproof up to a meter deep for 30 minutes. These ear buds can even be used in the shower without an issue!
The included case is wireless charging capable with an extra nine hours of battery life for the earbuds to recharge after use. It also has an LED digital screen to show power level. The sound quality is superior with great sounding bass, especially for working out. These lower cost earbuds are perfect for the teen who wants the discreet look of ear buds without the name brand price!
11. Jabra Elite Earbuds
Teens will love these earbuds for several reasons. They are comfortable, but are snug enough that they won’t easily fall out. The sound quality is awesome, helped by the fact you can adjust the Active Noise Cancellation level. Kids can listen for about 5 1/2 hours on one charge (the case has about 25 hours of a charge).
Teens will also love the free Jabra Sound+ app they can download for free. This app lets them choose how much of the outside world they want to escape. Parents will love this app because they can also access HearThru on the app. This lets them be aware of what is going on around them – sounds like traffic, construction, and horns. Another cool feature the app offers is “Moments,” which has 3 different settings which can be set to their preferences . . . no fiddling with settings to get it just right.
|Jabra Elite Earbuds|
Popular with fitness buffs, the earphones below are still considered wireless, but are designed to better fit earlobes with a connecting wire that wraps behind the head. Most are water resistant to be able to withstand sweat and rain showers. If your teen or tween is an athlete, consider getting them one of the sets below!
12. Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earphones
If your kiddo wants top-of-the-line fitness earphones, consider Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earbuds. These earbuds are all the rage right now and for good reason. Not only do they look cool, but they sound pretty amazing as well. Each ear piece has volume and track controls so you can choose to use one or both earbuds at a time. The battery lasts for up to 9 hours of listening time. These exercising earbuds are both sweat and water resistant, which is great for kids.
These earbuds for kids have adjustable ear hooks so they will fit just right. They come in 6 colors (black, ivory, moss, navy, cloud pink, and glacier blue). Bluetooth capability gives lots of options for listening to music and talking on a cell phone. Extended range allows you to go farther without losing connectivity.
Here are a couple things to note about these Powerbeats. While they are compatible with both Apple and android products, these tend to work better with Apple. Also, the earbuds need to be put in the charging case correctly or they won’t charge completely.
13. Bluephonic Bluetooth Wireless Headphones
The Bluephonic Bluetooth headphones feature Silent ComfortX noise reduction technology, providing stellar sound quality while dampening outside noise. Memory foam tip ear inserts ensure a custom fit to your teen or tween’s ear, while the ear hooks mold to the lobe for extra security. No matter how hard you run, jump, or play, these headphones will stay put!
Bluetooth technology enables users to be 33 feet away from the connected device and still be able to take calls and change songs. The sound quality on the Bluephonic headphones is comparable to the pricier Beats headphones of the same style. These headphones are a bargain for the price and made a perfect gift for my 10 year old.
14. AfterShokz Bone Conduction Headphones
You may not recognize the AfterShokz brand, but that doesn’t mean you won’t fall in love with their wireless Bluetooth headphones! In fact, they have been awarded several distinctions; they received the reddot award in 2016, the Good Design award in 2016, and were named England Athletics official headphones.
As a runner, I’m grateful to find sweat-resistant, lightweight headphones! Also, with a unique open ear design, you can still hear what’s going on around you while listening to your music! The audio comes out around your cheekbones so you can stay aware of your surroundings. In my opinion, this is an important safety feature for anyone running, walking, or biking around busy roads so you can hear traffic.
There are a few more things you may want to know about the AfterShokz Titanium Bone Conduction headphones: they come in plenty of color schemes to go with any one’s style preferences. And you can play up to 6 hours of music on a single charge. Take my word for it, you won’t regret this purchase!
15. Bose SoundSport Pulse Wireless Headphones
Bose has long been a front runner in headphones. I can remember my dad purchasing a set with their patented noise-cancelling technology and being blown away by the sound quality. Years later, that same sound quality is available through the SoundSport Pulse Wireless Headphones. These headphones connect to any Bluetooth-enabled device and have an added fitness component as it also tracks your pulse!
The data works with multiple fitness apps, including the Bose Connect App. StayHear tips ensure proper fit into your ear, while a cord secures the two buds together behind your neck. This set comes with a few different earpieces to ensure a custom fit. These also have a built-in microphone so that you can answer phone calls while in use. The sound quality on these headphones is excellent, but the battery life isn’t great.
|Bose SoundSport Pulse|
What is Bluetooth?
Bluetooth is the wireless technology which shares information between devices. It allows you to play music on a device (phone, tablet, computer, etc.) while listening to the music on separate headphones or speakers. In other words, you can use your phone to play music on your earbuds.
Are earbuds or headphones better?
Depending on your lifestyle and hobbies, earbuds or headphones might be better for you. Earbuds are typically easier to use when exercising, while headphones are more comfortable when using for longer periods and for activities such as gaming. Those with excessive ear wax often find it better to use headphones.
What are the advantages of using wireless headphones or earbuds?
Wireless earbuds and headphones give you a lot more freedom of movement. Because you aren’t tethered to a device with a wire, you can exercise and do a variety of other activities more easily with wireless. Typically, wireless products also have a high quality of sound.
My pick for best headphones for teens or tweens would be the Sony WH1000XM3 Noise Cancelling Headphones. While these are certainly a splurge, I would also consider these an investment. While lower cost options may sound good enough, there is no substitute for the quality and durability these headphones offer. I have no doubt that if my teen or tween were to purchase these headphones, they would still be using them as full-grown adults!