After researching more than 40 kid's tablets, we bought 12 of the best models on the market today. We put them through a series of extensive side-by-side tests, where we evaluated each tablet's features and overall performance. We assessed their display and camera quality, parental controls, durability, battery life, and preloaded content to determine the level of entertainment and took note of what stood out. Our tech experts comparatively analyzed each one in the lab and also put them in the hands of parents and kids. Whether you need a device for a preschooler or a growing tween, our thorough review has a recommendation for best overall, as well as one to fit your family's budget.In the ever-growing world of electronics, there are a lot of exciting new products hitting the market all the time. If you're interested in a STEM experience for your child, check out our reviews of robot kits and electronics for kids. We've also written a kid-specific review of drones under $100.
$69.99 at Amazon
$139.99 at Amazon
$139.99 at Amazon
$299.00 at Amazon
$249.00 at Amazon
|Pros||Ideal for little hands, content, quality case||Excellent display quality, no ads, exceptional content, parental controls are advanced, great amount of storage||Awesome preloaded content, long battery life, great display||Customizable parental controls, download apps on App Store||Great speakers, Galaxy apps or Google Play Store available, battery life|
|Cons||Muffled speakers||Costly, can be difficult to navigate at first, may be too large for some kids to hold||Download App Store, thin case||Expensive, does not include an SD slot||No case|
|Bottom Line||An Amazon tablet with top tier kid's content and parental controls that are hard to beat for the price with a smaller display for younger children||A durable, top of the line option that's packed with kid's content and a big screen that's great for watching movies but bulky for tiny hands||An app-packed tablet with a long-lasting battery and more fragile case partially made of plastic||This tablet doesn't offer preloaded content but has a fully-featured app library, great customizable parental controls, and a nice camera||A solid tablet with no preloaded kids content but has access to the vast Google Play Store library in addition to having a solid camera|
|Rating Categories||Amazon Fire HD 8-In...||Amazon Fire HD 10-I...||Amazon Fire HD 10-I...||2021 Apple 10.2-Inc...||Samsung Galaxy Tab...|
|Preloaded Content (20%)|
|Parental Controls (15%)|
|Specs||Amazon Fire HD 8-In...||Amazon Fire HD 10-I...||Amazon Fire HD 10-I...||2021 Apple 10.2-Inc...||Samsung Galaxy Tab...|
|Screen Size||8.0 inches||10.1 inches||10.1 inches||10.2 inches||10.5 inches|
|Resolution||1280 x 800 IPS||1920 x 1200 HD||1920 x 1200 HD||2160 x 1620 IPS Retina||1920 x 1200 (WUXGA) TFT|
|Storage||32 GB||32 GB||32 GB||64 GB or 256 GB versions available||32 GB, 64 GB, or 128 GB versions available|
|Expandable with MicroSD?||Expandable up to 1 TB||Expandable up to 1 TB||Expandable up to 1 TB||No||Expandable up to 1 TB|
|Camera||2MP front, 2MP rear||2MP front, 5MP rear||2MP front, 5MP rear||12MP ultra wide front, 8MP wide rear||5MP front, 8MP rear|
|Recommended Age||3 to 7||3 to 7||6 to 12||N/A||N/A|
|Manu Battery Life||Up to 12 hours||Up to 12 hours||Up to 12 hours||Up to 10 hours||7040 mAh|
|Measured Video Battery Life||8 hours 22 minutes||9 hours 1 minute||10 hours 17 minutes||5 hours 24 minutes||7 hours 17 minutes|
|Operating System||10th Gen||11th Gen||11th Gen||iPadOS 15||Android 11|
|Stated Warranty||2-year worry-free guarantee||2-year worry-free guarantee||2-year worry-free guarantee||Limited 1-year||Limited 1-year|
|CPU and RAM||Quad-core 2.0 GHz with 2 GB of RAM||Octa-Core 2.0 GHz with 3 GB of RAM||Octa-Core 2.0 GHz with 3 GB of RAM||A13 Bionic chip with 64-bit architecture||(2x2.0 GHz + 6x2.0 GHz) Octa-Core with 3 GB of RAM for 32 GB version and 4 GB of RAM for 64 GB and 128 GB versions|
|Included Trial Content Subscription (with Credit Card)||1 year of Amazon Kids+||1 year of Amazon Kids+||1 year of Amazon Kids+||None||None|
|Available Case Colors||Pink, Blue, or Purple Kid-Proof Case with built-in stand||Sky Blue, Aquamarine, or Lavender with built-in stand||Black, Sky Blue, Doodle, or Intergalactic, with built-in stand||Silver or Space Grey tablet color (no case included)||Gray, Silver, or Pink Gold (no case included)|
|Included Case Material||Foam||Foam||Sides made of Silicone (back made of plastic)||Case not included||Case not included|
Best Overall Kids Tablet
Amazon Fire HD 8-Inch Kids
The Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids scores a few points behind the Fire HD 10 and offers a better price point. Both tablets offer loads of kid-specific content and provide top-notch parental controls and time limits. If you feel like your child is watching too many videos, you can have them read for an hour before unlocking games or other non-educational content, which is consistent among Amazon's kid's tablets. The HD 8 and HD 10 offer excellent durability, even in the hands of a kiddo. The Amazon Fire HD 8 is a great choice for all sizes of hands, as it is lighter and slightly smaller than the Amazon Fire HD 10. The foam case on the Amazon Fire HD 8 is 1.0 inch thick and quite dense, making it nearly unbreakable, although we found that the case muffles the speaker sound on both the Fire HD 8 and 10 models. Another benefit of the Amazon Fire HD 8 is the one-year subscription to the content on Amazon Kids+, included on all of the Fire Kids tablets. With this subscription, you'll receive access to a plethora of kid-friendly books, games, tv shows, movies, and educational apps.
Ultimately, our testing indicates that the camera quality and battery life fell short when comparing the Fire HD 8 to the Fire HD 10. When fully charged up, the Fire 8 lasted eight hours and 22 minutes; this is a little less than the Fire HD 10, but it will still provide enough juice for longer road trips. The camera quality of the HD 8 also exhibits a warmer tone in its picture quality which makes the photos appear vibrant and inviting. Based on our testing, this tablet is suited for children of all ages, though due to its smaller size, excels when placed in smaller hands. Despite the smaller screen size, this device does not sacrifice quality.
Also Exceptional, With a Larger Screen
Amazon Fire HD 10-Inch Kids Edition
If you're on the hunt for a kid-friendly tablet that all ages can enjoy, the Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition is an exceptional option. The 1080p full HD video playback brings cartoons and nature shows to life. The screen resolution is amazing and boasts vivid colors and crisp audio quality. With up to nine hours of continuous video streaming capability, it provides long battery life. It also has excellent storage capacity and holds hundreds of games and videos, making long road trips a little easier to manage. It comes with a broad array of ad-free games and videos. The parental controls are highly customizable and accessible, allowing you to access them from your Amazon Parent Dashboard or the unit itself. Best of all, if you are concerned about placing an expensive piece of technology in a child's hands, know that this device comes with a sturdy protective case.
While the case on the Fire HD 10 Kids should help it withstand the occasional drop, it is quite bulky; its overall dimensions are 10.5 inches wide, 8.1 inches in height, and 1.0 inch thick. The case does slightly muffle the speaker and it's not the easiest to hold while reading in bed, but the stand sets it up perfectly for watching videos. For kids accustomed to Apple or Android operating systems, it may take a bit more time to get used to. Also, the kid's version of the Fire HD 10 Kids costs more than the adult version; however, it includes the case and a year of Amazon Kids+. Overall, this is our top recommendation and one we appreciate for its customization, storage, and durability.
Best Bang for the Buck
Amazon Fire 7-Inch Kids
The Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition is a great purchase for the value shopper. The screen is almost just as detailed and vivid as the Fire 10, and it comes with the same one-year Amazon Kids+ subscription and customizable parental controls. Some of the other 7-inch tablets cost a little less, but their picture quality, camera quality, and screen sensitivity are not nearly as good. The dense foam case of this model also makes it one of the sturdiest cases in our review. It was also the only case in the Fire Kids line that did not muffle the speakers' sound.
This unit may feel small if your child likes to watch many videos, but it's undoubtedly a good size for younger children who find the Fire 10 too big or cumbersome to handle. It is a little challenging to read some children's books on the smaller screen, and we often found ourselves zooming in and out a bit to see the text properly without squinting. The color choices for the cases are limited to blue, pink, and purple - just like the Fire 8. A more gender-neutral array would be refreshing. We also found that this model was not quite as speedy as the other Amazon tablets. Overall, there is not much else we don't like about the Fire 7, and we'd choose this model over any of the other 7-inch models. For those seeking a bargain, this is a great choice.
An Excellent Choice for Older Kids
2021 Apple 10.2-Inch iPad
As your kid gets older, child-specific tablets can become limiting. The 2021 Apple 10.2 Inch iPad is a tablet that grows with your child; it can easily fit in with any age group and be shared amongst the whole family. The App Store is readily available on the home screen and is always changing with the times, frequently adding new content. So when your child is 11, they won't have to play the same old games as when they were eight. It offers an exceptional amount of versatility and includes everything that a standard iPhone would, and features parental controls and time limits, restricted access for iTunes and App Store purchases, and the use of built-in apps. If you have a teen or tween, the iPad doubles as a research tool for school projects and even offers a digital book store and news app preloaded on the home screen. Parents can also hide explicit content on the web via content rating configurations, which can be found on the screen time page of the tablet's settings. The iPad features some of the best camera and display quality in our test fleet, and it's easy on the eyes — something that can't be said for the other kid-specific models.
Unfortunately, the iPad does not come with a protective case; expect to pay extra if you want one. It also does not come with preloaded content; nevertheless, there are thousands of age-appropriate educational and gaming apps to choose from in the App Store. The iPad's battery life is average; it drains quicker than the top Amazon models and is better suited for shorter day trips. Overall, the Apple iPad is ideal for those who want a highly customizable tablet and a versatile model that will grow with your child through the years.
Why You Should Trust Us
This review was spearheaded by our Senior Research Analyst, Austin Palmer and Senior Review Editor Elizabeth White. Austin is a parent who has extensive testing experience with a variety of electronics, ranging from electric scooters to smartwatches. As a parent with another on the way, he thinks critically about the importance of play and cognitive thinking in children. Elizabeth has worked as a software quality assurance specialist. She has
also spent several years working in daycares and youth camps, lending her expertise in helping build a summer curriculum. Both experiences have come into play when helping determine the best user experience for children of all ages. In addition to Austin and Elizabeth's experience, we surveyed other parents from our team, determining any specifics they would like to see in their quest for the perfect tablet.Our testing of kid's tablets is divided across six metrics:
- Preloaded Content tests (20% of overall score weighting)
- Durability tests (20%)
- Battery Life tests (20% weighting)
- Parental Control tests (15% weighting)
- Display Quality tests (15% weighting)
- Camera Quality tests (10% of overall score weighting)
After researching dozens of models, we bought and tested 12 children's specific models, pitting them side by side. These tablets were in the hands of both children and adults to fully test the differences in user experience. This year we included more popular options for the whole family like the Apple iPad and the Samsung Galaxy A8 to see how they stood up against our past award winners. We also looked at options that offer a great value to help you keep your wallet full and kiddos happy!
Analysis and Test Results
On a long road trip or flight, a tablet can be a saving grace as well as an educational tool. After extensive in-house testing, we rated each contender across specific metrics. Our in-house test team determined these important metrics: display quality, parental controls, durability, battery life, preloaded content, and camera quality. Each one is discussed in-depth and can help you determine which is best for you and your child's needs.
As with many electronic devices, you typically get what you pay for. Each user is also different and likely will be more interested in features that a particular model offers. When considering all metrics, the Amazon Fire 7 Kids offers great all-around value for its price, although you can certainly find value in each product. Others may find the Fire HD 8 Kids the best value option if they are willing to stretch their dollar a little further in exchange for a longer battery and better display quality. Included subscriptions, free-trial periods, and preloaded apps could be a big factor in value, so it is recommended to consider what content your child will most likely use when making a value-based decision.
Perhaps the most important quality you want in a tablet (for children or yourself) is a high-quality screen that is also responsive to touch. The Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids has some of the best display quality in this review. Animated movies are bright and detailed, and we feel these tablets are using advanced technology rather than something from the early 2000s.
The Fire HD 10 Kids has a 1920 x 1200 Full HD screen. While it's not the highest resolution option out there, this is more than sufficient for a kid's tablet that a discerning parent might also occasionally use. While the Fire HD 8 Kids is an excellent option for all ages, the screen size is 1280 x 800 HD and is well suited for smaller hands, as it's lighter and features a smaller screen size.
If you're only looking at the specs, you might think that the Amazon Fire 7 Kids is equivalent to the Android models that all have 1024 x 600 screens, but the Fire 7's picture quality is still better, though not quite as good as the Fire HD 10 and 8. Many of the Android models received lower scores due to older-looking display qualities with stronger blue light and poor viewing angles. The Apple iPad has a perfect display quality, with a resolution of 2160 x 1620 IPS Retina. This tablet had excellent brightness and contrast, which you would certainly hope for in a modern tablet.
Children are sponges and constantly absorb information from what they see. Thus, the content that they consume matters. We spent hours diving into the preloaded content of each tablet, exploring the educational content that is offered. We also analyzed the built-in advertisements and the age-appropriateness of each tablet's preloaded content. One of the main selling points of these child-focused devices is that they come with age-specific content and/or give you access to this content via a subscription app. As in the case of the Amazon Fire models, you pay more for the "kids" version, but it includes a year of their Amazon Kids+ app, which is the most comprehensive content platform in this review. You set your child's age and have access to a seemingly unlimited number of games and videos tailored to their age range.
If you already pay for Amazon Prime, Netflix, or other streaming apps, you may be reluctant to pay for yet another service, but in some instances, it may be worth it. While there is a lot to choose from on the Amazon Kids+ app, it didn't feel like we were getting much more than what is already available on Prime Video, and there are usually many children's books available in Prime Reading. The benefit of the subscription apps is that they usually include ad-free viewing and no in-app purchases, which we prefer for our child's development and our wallet.
The Apple iPad does not come with any preloaded kids-specific content. However, via the App Store, you have access to anything and everything that your child could want. One of the advantages of this is that you can customize the content your child has on their tablet right from the start, versus having content set up for them that you might want to get rid of later on. On the other hand, the disadvantage of no preloaded content is having to upload the content yourself or allowing your child to do it.
There's nothing more nerve-wracking than putting an expensive device into a three-year-old's hands. Even the likelihood that an older child will drop their tablet is high, so having a sturdy case is key.
One of the main characteristics that distinguish the models in this review from other non-kid tablets is the included case. To calculate the durability of the tablets, we carefully measured the thickness and coverage of each case. We also judged each case by its material and used it to assess its protective qualities.
The Amazon Fire tablets received the highest scores for durability, with the Fire HD 10 Kids and Fire HD 8 Kids tied for first place. The Amazon 7 Fire Kids came in a close second. All three cases are made of foam and are nearly an inch to an inch and a half thick. We felt far more comfortable dropping these products on the ground than we would with an Apple iPad, which did not come with a sturdy case. While it is still possible to crack the screen — say, on the corner of a table — it's our hope that these cases should protect against most falls, even when dropped face-down.
For anyone heading on a long road trip without enough plug-in options in the car or plane, having enough battery life to last for at least a day-long trip is important.
Have you ever woken up and realized that you didn't charge your phone overnight? If you plan on staying home or are around an outlet most of the day, this may not be an issue, but let's be honest - nobody wants to have their tablet plugged in all the time. You might want to save yourself the hassle of constantly charging your tablet and purchase one with high battery life. As such, it's important to compare battery life across the board.
We tested each battery by running videos continuously, measuring how long they would last with sustained use. Long weekend family road trips or more at-home time might translate to your kid "plugging in" and not surfacing for hours. The Fire HD 10 Kids had the longest battery life in our tests, lasting up to nine hours. The Fire HD 8 Kids was a close second, lasting eight hours and 22 minutes. Thus, we find these tablets are perfect for long flights and road trips. The Apple iPad is on the lower end of the spectrum, lasting nearly 5.5 hours, which is relatively standard for most tablets.
For this metric, we evaluated time limits, customization, and how easily we could access adult content. We also assessed the user-friendliness of each control feature. Digital devices are a largely unavoidable part of our current lives, and developing good habits early on is key to keeping kids active between media breaks.
A pre-set time limit can take some of the difficulty and constant pressure out of enforcing it — the device shuts off when they've reached the limit! When put to the test, the parental controls of the Amazon Fire 10, 8, and 7 easily trumped the competition. We can set limits for the total time used daily and the time of day, and then also "insist" that they read or listen to a book before they've "earned" access to unlock the "fun" stuff.
The Apple iPad also has extremely customizable parental controls, which can be accessed in settings under "screen time". You can block specific apps and web content when customizing your child's restrictions; parents can restrict just about anything on their child's tablet for any amount of time.
For years, tablets have notoriously had low-resolution cameras, and the latest crop of models is no exception. The standard currently seems to be around the two megapixels (MP) mark, which, compared to the 12 megapixel (and up) cameras found on most smartphones today, is laughable in its quality. It seems as though manufacturers are assuming that the most you'll be doing with your device is a video call with the camera facing out, and for that, a two MP usually suffices.
The Fire HD 10 Kids, and Fire HD 8 Kids took slightly better photos than the Amazon Fire 7 Kids model, although all three had two-megapixel cameras for both front and rear.
Testing determined the Apple iPad has the best overall camera quality. This is especially true for the front camera, which is 12 megapixels and has an adequate rear camera of eight megapixels.
Testing the camera quality also allowed us to see how easy it is to get content off the devices and compare the resolution of the photos. All of the Amazon models can share directly to the Amazon Photos feature via Bluetooth to another device, or via email. The Apple iPad allows you to share photos via airdrop, messages, email, and any downloaded social media apps.
It can be a daunting task to find a tablet that can stand up to the regular use of a child while also offering excellent screen quality and features. You don't want the device to break easily and you also don't want to spend an arm and a leg. Luckily, we've researched, purchased, and tested each tablet side-by-side, bringing you our in-depth results. We hope our research will help you gain confidence in your next purchase and bring a smile to your child's face.
— Austin Palmer & Elizabeth White
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