Choosing the best tablet for your child can be kind of tricky. A kid’s tablet is often a child’s first introduction to technology.
The best tablet for kids will be durable, have good screen quality, excellent battery life, and—most important—have excellent parenting controls.
For these reasons, I tested six of the most popular kids’ tablets on the market today with the help of my 6-year-old and 4-year-old.
We tested each device for about a week and used criteria such as ease of use, app and game quality, and device quality, from audio and touchscreen performance to durability, to determine their worth. We found the Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids (11th Generation) (available at Amazon for $119.99) to be the best tablet for kids that we tried.
The Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids is easiest to use, the easiest to hold and transport, and it comes preloaded with oodles of games to keep your kids occupied. In several years of testing at Reviewed, the Amazon tablets continue to be our top picks for kids’ tablets.
Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition (11th Gen)
Display: 10.1-inch display
Storage: 32GB or 64GB
Battery life: 12 hours
The best thing about the Amazon Fire HD is how stocked it is with easily accessible, ad-free, and fun content. Each Fire tablet comes with one year of Amazon Kids+, which provides access to more than 20,000 apps, games, videos, books and other content from PBS Kids, Disney, and more (don't worry, it's not all downloaded on the tablet when you first get it). This is a stand-out feature that most other tablets we tested didn’t have.
In contrast, tablets on other operating systems can come with no pre-installed apps or games, and many free apps offered contain ads or require in-app purchases.
The Fire tablet also provides different accounts for parent and child, allowing for robust parental controls that allow you to limit your child's screen time and what they can play, as well as view all their recent activity.
We especially liked that the settings could be adjusted based on the age of the child using the tablet. Having the ability to set an age range for each child's individual account—as opposed to the overall device—was a big plus when siblings are sharing one device.
Our young kids figured out how to use the device right away—faster than their parents did, to be honest—and they were reading and playing games in just a matter of minutes. There are loads of books available through Amazon FreeTime, and we liked how easy it was for the kids to find appropriate reading material with just a quick search.
If you're planning to use the Fire HD 10 for watching movies or listening to music (parent-approved, of course), you'll be pleased with the quality of both the sound and the picture. And if your child is partial to art and design apps, they will be very happy with the crisp, bright colors of the display.
Also a plus: the squishy bumper case with built-in stand that is included with each Fire Kids edition, and the fact that it uses a USB-C connection instead of the micro USB ones that our older tablets use. The USB-C is much easier to plug into the device—there's no wrong way to insert it—and it charges a heck of a lot faster, which is always a plus when it comes to impatient children.
One last and pretty great plus: The Fire comes with a 2-year warranty while the rest of the devices we tested only have a 1-year warranty.
The Amazon Fire Tablet HD 8 is virtually identical to the 10 except for one big thing: screen size. It’s a noticeable 2-inches smaller than its bigger sibling.
Now, I’m not one to get involved in family dynamics, but if the younger child in my house got the smaller tablet and the older child the bigger one, the tantrum would be fierce. So take my advice and don’t let size be a consideration if you’re thinking about tablets for two kids. That said, the 8 is the perfect size for younger kids with smaller hands and heads—unless, of course, they have an older sibling with the 10!
It's also worth noting that the smaller screen size doesn't equal more hours of battery life. The HD 10 and the HD 8 last for about 10 to 12 hours without needing to be recharged.
The Onn Tablet is a fairly new-to-the-game device, a house brand of Walmart's that includes televisions and other electronics. It’s powered by Google Android and you use your child’s Google account when setting it up. There are multiple-steps involved in this process, which did give me pause as my 6-year-old didn’t yet have her own Google account when I began the testing. Once I figured that out it was fairly simple to use.
The Onn has a whole bunch of cute features that cater to younger kids. The home screen is more of a welcome screen, with different tabs that open up and tell the user a joke, the weather, and what apps were previously used. It feels very kid-friendly, and my 4-year-old preferred it over the other tablets, even though he knows the Fire tablets well.
Similar to the Fire tablets, the Onn also came preloaded with a bunch of apps spanning books to games to videos. It should be noted that the pre-loaded apps are not always the best apps in terms of quality—some leave a lot to be desired when it comes to design, usefulness, and creativity.
The tablet’s build quality feels less substantial than all the others we tested, but it also doesn’t come with a thick, foam cover like the Amazon Fires. This was the one tablet that suffered a very minor chip on the top corner. Kids drop devices, that’s a given. So definitely get a cover. But when it comes down to it, the Onn tablet is definitely the most affordable 10-inch kids tablet.
The LeapPad Academy tablet is the latest in a long line of tech devices created by LeapFrog, and is different from the other devices we tested in that it has its own operating system that is specially designed for LeapFrog. It does not venture into iOS or Android territory, though some Android apps are available to download.
This tablet is great for parents who don’t want their kids on YouTube or Netflix. There are no “browsers'' on the kid’s profiles; they instead can use LeapFrog’s proprietary LeapSearch app. There are categories like “Animals” and “Music,” some preloaded educational videos and an option to add websites that have been approved by grownups.
The parental controls are very good with the LeapPad. The device comes preloaded with 20 apps that are educational and fun, and both my 4 and 6-year-olds found them engaging. In order to access the more than 2,000 additional apps in LeapFrog Academy, you must subscribe. The first three months are free and then it’s $7.99 per month.
In terms of durability, the tablet feels very sturdy. The screen isn't flimsy and the included thick, green bumpers on the sides and corners give parents peace of mind.
If this review was about which tablet is best for anyone but kids, the iPad 2021 would win with flying colors. It’s lightweight and beautifully designed. The set-up and app installation process is seamless. There's even an Apple Pencil to help you draw on it. The tablet functions like a pro.
But when it comes down to usability, the iPad is just not made for kids. There are parental controls, so you can limit what your kid watches or plays. You can order kid-friendly cases to protect the precious and beautifully-rounded edges. But that’s it. And when considering what your kids will use the tablet for, there’s really no reason to opt for Apple except perhaps the fact that it can connect with existing Apple family plans.
Yes, the video and audio quality is top notch—great for watching a movie—and the touchscreen is very sensitive, but you can get close to perfection with the other devices for far less cost and worry.
Samsung used to make a Galaxy tablet that was just for kids; the Tab E Lite came equipped with a cushioned case and was pretty similar to the Fire. It appears that the tablet is now discontinued and instead Samsung users can add a kids profile to other Samsung products including their Galaxy Tab A7.
While the Samsung Kids profile is easy to download and navigate and it does offer different levels of protection, this tablet is really a device that’s for adults. Similar to the iPad, it comes with a stylus pen and a black leather case—neither of which make you instantly think of a child. And speaking of the case, it actually hindered performance. It was difficult to find the power and volume buttons at times, not to mention the headphone and power outlets.
My 6-year-old played with this tablet a few times, but she would always ask to go to the “Daddy side.” I think that says something.
Hi, I’m Georgia Kral. In my career as a journalist, I’ve reported on many topics, from restaurants and food to parenting and education. I live in Montclair, N.J., with my husband and two kids.
Our daughter is 6 years old and my son is 4 years old. They have both been using tablets and interacting with screens for years, a skill that was honed and mastered during the pandemic.
I tested each of the tablets for about a week. First, I set each one up, which includes charging, establishing accounts, and depending on the device, setting up a separate child account. I then downloaded apps and set up parental controls.
The ease of navigating the interface of the tablet, from how intuitively it worked (or didn’t work) to how difficult it was to set up the child’s account and restrictions, played a large role in where the tablet appears in the rankings.
Next, I checked the basics on how each device worked: I measured audio and video quality, touch screen sensitivity, battery life, ease of connecting with Bluetooth and WiFi, and quality of design.
Lastly, my kids performed their own tests. I gauged their interest in the pre-installed and downloaded apps, how easily they were able to navigate and use the tablet and how quickly they lost interest in it. I took notes each time they used a tablet and wrote about their experiences after each test.
What to Consider When Buying a Kids Tablet
Which Operating System it Runs On
An important consideration when choosing a tablet is the operating system it runs on, and what companies, if any, are already linked. For example, if the parents or caregivers use Apple products, a Samsung or other device that runs on Android software may not initially be as desirable. Along similar lines, the Amazon Fire tablets are linked with your Amazon Prime account, which makes managing them very simple if you use Prime regularly.
These considerations did not affect our rankings, as everyone uses different products in their lives. For me, I use Apple products: iPhone, MacBook, etc. And while the Android tablets gave me some pause, I was able to use them with little effort and enjoyed them more than just giving my children an iPad.
Does it Come with Preloaded Content?
Another consideration is whether you want a tablet that comes ready to use or one that needs to be set up with apps and content first. The Amazon tablets and the Onn came pre-installed with lots of apps, games, and more. Linking the Fires with my Prime account was also extremely simple. The Samsung, on the other hand, had the additional step of setting up the Kids portion of the device.
The Ages of Your Children
The age of your child also comes into play. An iPad or iPad mini is better suited to older kids who will be able to appreciate its quality and may be less in need of assistance when it comes to downloading apps. The Fire, Samsung, and Onn are good for all ages as the apps that are available span age ranges.
The Price of Your Device
And of course, the price is, of course, always a consideration. Do you really want your 3, 4, or even 5-year-old responsible for a $300-plus device?
Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you're confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we'll compare notes.