Even though most students aren’t learning virtually this year, they’re likely still using electronic devices for classroom listening and speaking activities. Investing in a good pair of student headphones can dramatically improve their experience by making it easier for students to focus while using technology.
Although we sometimes use the words “headphones” and “headsets” interchangeably, there is a difference. Headphones do not have a microphone and are best for listening-only activities. Headsets, which come with a positionable boom microphone, are designed for both listening and speaking.
Whichever style you need, here are our top picks for the best student headphones and headsets.
(Just a heads up! WeAreTeachers may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. We only recommend items our team loves!)
Best Budget Headphones: Sony MDR-ZX110
For those looking for a basic, quality pair of on-ear headphones, the ZX-110’s 30-millimeter driver unit offers good sound for a bargain price. The 3.5-millimeter headphone jack lets kids plug and play with most standard devices.
User Review: One parent who bought these for her third-grader was pleased with how comfortable the headphones were and how well they held up: “My daughter said she wants to still use these next year since they’re so comfortable, especially while she’s wearing her glasses. Honestly, one school year is what I’d hope to get from these at this value. I’m kind of excited they’re still going strong!”
Price: Under $10 without mic/Under $30 with mic
Buy It: Sony MDR ZX-110/Amazon
Best Wired Headphones for Younger Students: GumDrop Droptech B1
These basic wired headphones are a great choice, especially for younger students. Constructed of durable plastic, they can withstand a drop test of four feet. The six-foot tangle-proof braided cord is chew-resistant, and the ruggedly constructed earphone pads easily wipe clean. A 3.5 millimeter headphone jack makes the GumDrops compatible with most devices. Additionally, the plug-and-play design gives students (and teachers or parents) a hassle-free hookup. Color choices include black, blue, or red.
User Review: One parent attested to the durability of this model: “My nine year old, who has destroyed about five over-ear headsets and 10+ pair of earbuds, has not destroyed this [pair] yet. Fingers crossed.”
Price: Under $20
Buy It: GumDrop Droptech B1/Amazon
Best Wireless Headphones for Younger Students: Lilgadgets Untangled Pro
If your younger student is ready to cut the cord, these Bluetooth-enabled headphones will give them the freedom to go wireless. A built-in microphone allows students to speak and listen. These headphones are constructed of polycarbonate covered in SoftTouch mesh, making them both durable and comfortable. The battery lasts for 12 hours and can be recharged with an included USB cord. An added bonus? A built-in SharePort feature that allows multiple headphones to be connected to one device without a splitter. Students can choose from six colors and four patterns.
User Review: One kindergarten teacher expressed her satisfaction with her purchase: “I was looking for headphones to use in my classroom with iPads. These are perfect! They fit the students comfortably. They work great and they are well made. I am placing an order for 4 more sets!”
Price: Under $55
Buy It: Lilgadgets Untangled Pro/Amazon
Best Wireless Headphones for Older Students: Sony WH-CH510
For older students wishing to go wireless, this affordable set pairs easily with Bluetooth-enabled devices and includes a built-in microphone that can be connected to Siri or other voice assistant technology. A 30-millimeter driver unit improves audio performance, and the quick-charging, long-lasting battery gives students 90 minutes of playback on just a 10-minute charge. It runs for 35 hours on a full charge (although many reviewers reported much longer battery life). The on-ear cups swivel flat for easy storage and portability in the classroom.
User Review: One parent who purchased these for her son said that the WH-CH510’s “feel more durable than a lot of the headphones out there. I feel like, if you’re on a budget or just not wanting to spend hundreds on a pair of headphones—if you’re a child, teen or adult—these work really well. I’m so glad we found these. I’m extremely happy. And our picky son is happy, too.”
Price: Under $40
Buy It: Sony WH-CH510/Amazon
Best Wireless Earbuds: Earfun Air True Wireless Earbuds
Another wireless possibility for older students who are ready for earbuds is this more reasonably priced pair that has dual 6-millimeter composite drivers for impressive sound quality. It also has noise-canceling technology, and each earbud has two built-in microphones to ensure voice clarity. Bluetooth 5.0 provides a stable connection and easy pairing with Bluetooth-enabled devices. At less than half the cost of a pair of Apple AirPods, the Earfun earbuds might be a wise first investment for a damage- or loss-prone teen.
User Review: Many reviewers raved about the value of these earbuds in relation to higher-priced competition: One user said, “These are fantastic substitute for AirPods. If your not a brand snob or an audiophile, save yourself $100 and just buy these over Apple’s version.”
Price: Under $70
Best Budget Headset: Logitech H111 for Education
A great choice for teachers looking for an affordable, durable headsets for the classroom. The “for education” model is equipped with easily sanitized leatherette headphone covers for cleaner, safer classroom use, and it’s drop-tested to withstand falls from standard school desk heights. In addition to full stereo sound, this headset features a noise-canceling microphone that rotates so kids can wear it on the left or the right. It also has a 3.5 millimeter audio jack that easily plugs into Chromebooks, iPads, and other devices. Plus, it has a 3-year warranty, so schools don’t need to replace these headsets after a year of wear and tear.
User Review: Most users praised this budget option for the value. “Cheap, reliable, decent sound for the price, a quality mic. If you need an inexpensive headset, look no further.”
Price: Under $15
Best Noise-Canceling Headset: GumDrop Droptech B1
For a list price within a few dollars of the GumDrop DropTech Headphones (see above), this model comes with a unidirectional, noise-canceling microphone. The headset version also comes complete with all the student-friendly features like rugged, easily cleaned earpieces and tangle-free, chew-proof cord ,as well as three color choices.
User Review: One teacher testified to this headset’s value in the classroom: “I’ve used this headset … when kids have to record themselves for a project that they are creating. The over-the-ear headset is PERFECT for students who need to concentrate on their script and focus on their presentation!”
Price: Under $20
Best Headset for Comfort: Microsoft LifeChat LX-3000
If you are a Windows user and want to stay in the Microsoft family, this headset offers clear digital sound and a built-in unidirectional pivoting boom microphone with acoustic noise cancellation. In addition, students will feel comfortable with padded, leatherette over-ear headphone cups and an adjustable headband.
User Review: Many users remarked about how comfortable these headphones were to wear for extended periods of time, as well as the audio quality. One reviewer said, “Great quality. Sound is great. Microphone captures your voice well and everyone can hear you perfectly.”
Price: Under $40
Looking for teacher headsets? Check out our roundup of a dozen of the best here.
Have your own recommendations on the best student headphones? Let us hear them by leaving a comment below!