Best Headset Under $10: Panasonic vs Koss

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A head-to-head review of the Panasonic RP-HT21 and Koss KPH7G, two of the least expensive headphones in their lineup. Both headphones offer decent sound quality for under $10. I wanted to pick up an inexpensive set of headphones for my 12-year-old, who’s trashed some more expensive ones I’ve given her.

Annoyingly the closed-ear Bluetooth headphones she uses are too isolating. She doesn’t hear us when we call her and kids are apt to ignore you anyway; why give them an excuse. These old-school walkman-style earphones are on-ear and allow the user to hear more of the ambient world around them. Plus they’re less appealing to thieves (we’ve lived in New York City and San Francisco so street crime is real).

The Panasonic were the better performers in my audio testing. But the Koss’s lower volume output is much safer for younglings to wear (instead of damaging their hearing long-term with louder noise). In the end, I kept both but gave my daughter the Koss.