Every once in a while, there comes a pair of headphones that captured the imagination of the masses and had them reaching for their wallet.
Cat ears, flashing LEDs, and booming speakers — these are not the usual features we often associate with an audiophile’s top-of-the-line headphones.
Today, we are talking about something different and possibly you would have never thought exists — Cat Ear Headphones.
How did cat ear headphones come to existence? Who had thought of such ingenious yet bewildering concept?
To begin, let’s go back to 2014. An animé artist named Wenqing Yan was working on an animation where she started designing cat ear headphones. This was where the seed was planted. Together with her co-founder and then best friend, Victoria Hu, they sought to make these cat ear headphones a reality and set the wheel in motion.
They started a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo with the goal to reach $250,000. Eventually, the campaign became a huge success, hitting the goal way out of the park with a funding of $3,429,046.
— Wenqing Yan (@Yuumei_Art) May 9, 2014
However, the story didn’t just end there. Raising the fund is just one part of the puzzle. Manufacturing the product at scale is a whole different monster. This is where the partnership took a big downfall.
Through her written account Looking Back, Looking Onward on DeviantArt.com, Yan chronicled the events that took place from the conception of the idea up until earning her success.
Long story short, they went through a legal battle. Although it did not come to a redressed ending, Yan was left to push the product forward.
After learning about the whole situation, Brookstone reached out to Yan with a partnership proposal at hand, particularly to help Yan in the production of the headphones. For Yan, it was a no-brainer deal. Brookstone had the capacity to deliver on the promise of high-quality production, while cat ear headphones already had the attention of major media outlets.
Fast forward to October 30, 2015, the first pair of Axent Wear Cat Ear Headphones was finally shipped to the backers.
Alternative Names For Cat Ear Headphones
Some people prefer to call it neko headphones. In Japanese, neko means cat. Those less inclined toward the Japanese language often call it the kitty ear headphones.
With the successful launch of the Axent Wear Cat Ear Headphones, it is a corollary that a truckload of competitors wants to dip their toe into this new market. Each brings its own unique selling point to the table, like being children-friendly or having a sleeker design.
We searched for the 10 best cat ear headphones and break them down to help you find the one you need. Let’s get right into the details.
The OG of all cat ear headphones. Without the help of Brookstone, we will never know if the cat ear headphones market is valid. The first official version is the Brookstone Wired Cat Ear Headphones. They later released an upgraded version, the Brookstone Wireless Cat Ear Headphones, with plenty of awesome features.
Both have the same core features such as:
Both the wireless and wired sets have the same type of adorable cat ear design that is the cornerstone of the Brookstone Cat Ear Headphones. These are speakers that can broadcast music outside of the headphones. You can still hear the music within the ear cups while music is played through the speakers.
LED lights can be found on both of the cat ears and also as a ring-shaped on the ear cups.
The LED lights and speakers are powered by internal batteries that need to be charged. It is rechargeable via USB and can last you 5 hours of playtime upon full charge.
However, the Brookstone Wireless Cat Ear Headphones has these additional features:
You can pair wirelessly to any mobile or desktop via Bluetooth. It comes with an attachable cable so if you want to save battery life and extend the playing time, you can choose to go wired.
The wired set has 3 different model that had a different color each. This means that you are restricted to one color per headphones. The wireless version, however, has no such limitation. You can change up to 7 different colors on the fly.
The colors available are:
If you love the wireless set but somehow wants the flexibility to remove the cat ear, Brookstone got you covered with this – Brookstone Wireless Headphones with Removable Ears. The removable cat ears have a more subtle and rounder look. It also still can double as a speaker.
- »Great build quality
- »A big brand (Brookstone) that is behind the headphones
- »A variety of versions that cater to different needs
- »Speakers function
- »The most expensive out of the all the cat ear headphones
MindKoo has been designing affordable headphones and speakers for a while and consistently getting good reviews. Their recent offering, the MindKoo Unicat MH-6 wireless headphones, are probably one of the best cat ear headphones under $30.
But despite having a bargain-basement price tag, you’ll be surprised by the decent sound quality and solid build quality.
In terms of connectivity, the Bluetooth 4.2 guarantees a faster connection and a power-efficient use of your device — up to 5 hours when the LED’s turned on and up to 8 hours when turned off.
But if you’re intending to make calls with it, forget about it. It’s terrible.
If you’re looking to buy your kid with a pair of cat ear headphones, the cutesy glowing cat ear design would be a great choice.
The MindKoo Unicat MH-6 wireless cat ear headphones come in six vivid color combos. But each can emit only one color light, unlike the Brookstone Wireless cat ear headphones.
The headphones have an adjustable headband which makes it perfect for heads of all sizes. They are foldable and the well-padded ear cups are rotatable for extra convenience.
Best of all, the volumes are optimized to be kid-friendly (not more than 85 decibels) so you don’t have to worry about your kid cranking up the volume.
- »Good wireless connection
- »Adjustable headband, rotatable ear cups
- »Terrible call quality
The SoundBeast Bluetooth cat ear headphones have A-OK sound quality. They have glowing lights on the cat ears and ear cup exteriors that can be set to blink or remain steady.
The headband is foldable and the ear cups are rotatable for easy safekeeping. Note, however, the build quality is quite a bit fragile than most of their counterparts.
They also come with a 3.5mm audio jack for wired listening, in case the headphones’ battery gets exhausted or the audio source doesn’t have Bluetooth support.
The common gripe about this pair is the unreliable Bluetooth connection that disconnects more often than expected. The good news is, SoundBeast offers a 1-year warranty on all its products to keep you protected.
- »Foldable headband
- »1-year warranty protection
- »Poor build quality
- »Unreliable Bluetooth
If glowing lights aren’t your thing, the American Jewel Cat Ear Headphones could be the perfect choice.
This simple yet snazzy pair of headphones has a thin metal frame that connects the glittering ear cups to the cat ears. Their lightweight stick-like headband makes them less restricting to your head but more prone to breakages.
They might be too loose at first sight, the metal frame is adjustable to suit any sort of head size. If the elegant metal frame wasn’t enough to convince you, these headphones are also available in various sparkling colors.
These are wired headphones with decent sound that you can even use it for conference calls (if your office culture allows for some fabulous looking headphones 😜).
- »Decent sound
- »Adjustable metal headband
- »Prone to break
You’ve probably seen pop singer Ariana Grande on TV or in one of her concerts wearing cat ear headphones. They are the Brookstone Limited Edition Ariana Grande Wireless cat ear headphones.
These premium headphones share the same specs with the aforementioned Brookstone Wireless cat ear headphones, except they have Ariana’s signature on their ear cups.
Like the regular pair, the Limited Edition Ariana Grande headphones can flash various colors and last up to 5 hours of use on a single charge. They also have external speakers right on the cat ears.
However, the headphones have some tendencies to just shut off out of the blue.
If your daughter is a huge fan of the pop star, this pair of headphones might just be the gift that she have been waiting for.
- »Versatile wireless headphones
- »Decent sound quality
- »Comfortable ear cups
- »Sudden dropouts
Although they’re a little pricier than most choices on this list, the Censi Moecen Wireless cat ear headphones are something you’d want to consider regardless of the price tag.
These headphones don’t have the flashy flickering LED lights of the Brookstone headphones, but they have the most durable build among other items on this list.
The tiny cat ears are adjustable. And you can remove them altogether when you feel like it. To put the cherry on the top, the Censi Moecen cat ear headphones are IPX4-rated. This means that they are sweat/water-resistant.
The Bluetooth connection works pretty well, too. And did I mention that they can last up to 10 hours of use?
- »Durable build quality
- »Good noise reduction
- »Great battery life
- »Removable cat ears
- »Audio cable doesn’t have mic
The Mix-Style NEKOMIMI cat ear headphones have a solid sound and build, suitable for the sloppy user and savvy audio buff. But unlike the Censi Moecen’s, the cat ears of these headphones are built into the headband.
You might expect them to have those fancy LED lights and external speakers with their $50 price. But this is not the case. The Mix-Style NEKOMIMI headphones are all about durability.
These headphones aren’t designed for calling since they don’t have a mic. The inherently loud sound volume (115db) also explains why they’re intended for music listening only. Even so, it’s no longer safe, especially for kids, to use headphones with over 100db volume for over 15 minutes.
- »Adjustable headband
- »Available in various colors
- »Loud volume
- »No mic
iClever has done a great job at making one of the most child-friendly and top-rated headphones for kids. You can see that in the various child friendly features that the iClever Kids Cat Ear Headphones have.
The iClever Kids wired headphones are a pair of over-ears headphones that is duly designed for kids aged 3 to 12 years old. They are also made of food-grade silicone. They can twist them, bend them, or stretch them without breaking them. They’re really safe for your rug rats.
The cat ears have flashing LED backlights which makes it even more appealing. The LED lights are changeable too.
The drivers have a volume-limiting technology to ensure the sound is within the acceptable volume levels. Meanwhile, the well-cushioned ear cups provide a comfortable experience for your kid.
And best of all? They’re really cheap.
- »Volume-limiting support
- »Comfortable ear pads
- »Flexible headband
- »Could be loose for some
The final pair on the list that has LED lights, the Barsone cat ear headphones, is a great budget choice. And like the iClever Kids headphones, these wired headphones were carefully crafted for children as well.
They are compact, and they fold easily so it’s so easy to carry them around. The ear pads are comfortably padded, but the headband isn’t as durable the other cheaper headphones here.
The sound volume that goes as high as 85db is just within the recommended degree of loudness. Like the Mix-Style, these headphones don’t have a mic too.
They aren’t fancy in any way. But given the $15 price tag, you’ll surely get more bang for your buck.
- »Foldable headband
- »Lightweight and compact
- »Volume-limiting support
- »No mic
- »Less durable
The iClever BoostCare Cat Ear headphones are one of the best cat ear headphones in the market, designed for kids 3-12 years old. In the iClever line of headphones, the BoostCare Cat Ear model is the most popular and top-selling.
Like the iClever Kids headphones, this wired pair is made of food-grade silicone, and they’re lightweight, durable, and extremely comfortable to the ears. These are different from the iClever Kids in a way that they don’t have LED lights.
The headband is adjustable. The cords are tangle-free. The sound is subpar but just right for the kids. The driver uses a volume-limiting technology to keep the sound at bay.
No LED Lights
The key difference between the iClever Kids headphones and the iClever boostCare is that the boostcare version had no LED lights. For parents who don’t want their kids to be distracted by the LED lights, this will be great.
- »Volume-limiting support
- »Adjustable headband
- »No LED lights on the Cat Ear
- »No mic
- »Subpar sound
Young’uns in their formative years are in a critical stage of their lives where they start discovering their capabilities. It’s also the best time for parents to expose their potentials. And according to UNICEF,
If you’re a parent and you have a daughter who has a knack for music, it would make much more sense to give her any sort of remarkable present that would help shape her potentials. Age-appropriate headphones wouldn’t be a bad gift at all.
Most headphones on this list are kids-friendly so you have plenty of options.
Kids-friendly Cat Ear Headphones:
People with obsessive interests in animé and manga, or what the Japanese people commonly call as Otaku, often gravitate towards anything cute and nice-looking.
As an anime or manga fan, you had certainly seen those adorable nekomimi characters. If you are a certified otaku and you love music too, I’m sure you would love to have those faux cat ears, let alone cat ears on headphones.
Christmas is just around the corner. If you have no idea at all what to give to your niece or godchild or anyone, any pair of cat ear headphones couldn’t be a better Christmas present.
Scouting the best cat ear headphones out shouldn’t be as hard as the best all-around headphones.
To wrap it up, the best cat ear headphones we have on the list would be the Brookstone Wireless Cat Ear Headphones. They are versatile; they have the industry’s sole color-changing LED lights and handy external speakers with great sound; they have premium build quality.
The runner-up would be the Censi Moecen. They don’t have the fancy LED lights, but they sure have the most durable build; they have removable cat ears and good noise reduction; they are sweat-proof, too.
For budget headphones, the iClever Kids would be my top pick. For under $20, you get a pair of flexible headphones with LED lights and volume-limiting speakers. The best option for the kids as they are made of food-grade silicone.
Whether you want a wired or wireless pair, with or without LED lights, removable or non-removable cat ears, we hope this list helps you on your way to getting your purr-fect set of cat ear headphones.
Have you made your choice? We’d love to hear the best cat ear headphones for you!