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The Yoto Mini on a bed of cute stuffed animals. Credit: Reviewed / Lisa Lawrence

The Best Kids' Audio Players of 2022

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The Yoto Mini on a bed of cute stuffed animals. Credit: Reviewed / Lisa Lawrence

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Editor's Choice Product image of Yoto Mini
Best Overall

Yoto Mini

This compact kids' audio player is portable, durable, and has the longest battery life of any player we tested. Read More

Pros

  • Super portable
  • Great Price Point
  • Excellent exclusive content
  • Easy to set up
  • Inexpensive blank content cards

Cons

  • Confusing controls
Product image of Storypod Starter Set

Storypod Starter Set

Our favorite pick for inquisitive kids! Read More

Pros

  • Interactive content
  • Cuddly design
  • Good range of content
  • Encourages learning

Cons

  • Bulky
  • Lost Craftie results in lost content
Editor's Choice Product image of Yoto Player

Yoto Player

This audio player is brimming with kid-friendly features, including an interactive pixel display, a clock, a nightlight, and more. Read More

Pros

  • Cool night light feature
  • Interactive pixel display
  • Doubles as a clock
  • Excellent exclusive content
  • Inexpensive blank content cards

Cons

  • A bit bulky
  • Large charging port
Product image of Lunii My Fabulous Storyteller

Lunii My Fabulous Storyteller

We love the transistor radio-style aesthetic and kids love the choose-your-own-adventure content. Read More

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Cute retro design
  • Interactive story-telling model
  • Lots of bilingual content
  • Easy controls

Cons

  • Outdated USB attachment
  • Glitchy app
Product image of Toniebox Playtime Puppy Starter Set

Toniebox Playtime Puppy Starter Set

With its fun, intuitive controls that include squeezing and tapping, this audio player is our favorite choice for the tactile child. Read More

Pros

  • Fun tactile design
  • Intuitive controls
  • Adorable Tonies
  • Excellent content selection

Cons

  • Large charging port
  • Inability to access content if Tonies are lost

The world of kids’ audio has come a long way since the days of sitting on the floor with a Fisher-Price record player. Nowadays, there are lots of great options for screen-free media entertainment for kids when you need them to take a little break from their tablets or the TV. When you look at the available options for kids' audio players, however, it can be a bit daunting.

They all have similarities in their ability to put kids in control of their music, audiobooks, and podcasts—but there is so much to consider when picking the right one for your child.

That’s why we tested the top-seller kids' audio players, to determine which one is truly best and why. It was a hard choice. Almost all of the players we tried had their own strengths but, based on its ability to perfectly blend portability, affordability, and dynamic usability, the Yoto Mini (available at Amazon) reigned as the ultimate winner as our favorite kids' audio player.

Here are the best kids’ audio players we tested, ranked in order:

  1. Yoto Mini
  2. Storypod
  3. Yoto
  4. Lunii
  5. Toniebox
  6. Jooki
  7. Amazon Echo Dot Kids' Edition

A child holds a blue Yoto Mini in his hands.
Credit: Reviewed / Janelle Randazza

The Yoto Mini is a tiny little powerhouse of a screen-free audio player.

Best Overall
Yoto Mini

Compact, portable, easy-to-use, and with unparalleled 20-hour battery life, the Yoto Mini is our absolute favorite kids’ audio player. It literally fits in your pocket and its cute, transistor radio-reminiscent design makes it a fun retro-looking player for a new generation.

This eye-catching audio player was up against some seriously stiff competition. What set it apart and made it our must-have choice, however, was its low price point, excellent choice of content, and the fact that it’s the most portable and the most versatile of all the audio players and speakers we tested.

Designed for kids ages 3 to 12, the Yoto Mini works with preloaded content cards that you can purchase separately. These cards include songs, podcasts, music, mindfulness meditations, and more. Stories range from the classics, like Magic Treehouse and the Roald Dahl cannon, to contemporary favorites like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Disney and Pixar stories, and almost everything written by Beverly Cleary. You can also easily and affordably use their blank cards to create your own content cards.

Once you play the cards while connected to Wi-Fi they are forever loaded into your Yoto, so you can access them even when you are far from the internet. If you lose the cards, never fear! They are also loaded onto your Yoto app, so you can play them via Bluetooth.

The Yoto Mini also delivers a lot of usefulness beyond its content card-reading function. When connected to Wi-Fi you can access a curated list of popular kid-friendly podcasts, many of which your child may already be a fan of. There are also Yoto-only offerings, like the Yoto Daily Podcast, evening meditations, and Yoto Radio. Also through the app are a monthly rotation of free stories that you can download to blank Yoto cards, load onto your device, and own forever.

Finally, the Yoto Mini also acts as a Bluetooth speaker, allowing your child to play any audio media through another device—be it your phone, their tablet, or the family computer.

The only flaw we found with the Yoto Mini is that the dials can be somewhat confusing. They aren’t labeled and take a bit of trial and error until you remember what each is for. The first couple of plays left our son frustrated when he wanted to turn up the volume and accidentally skipped forward, but he quickly mastered them. I, on the other hand, keep picking the wrong dial and have been banned from touching the Mini when our son is home.

Coming in at about $40 cheaper than almost all of the other devices we tested, this is an affordable audio player that is packed with value and has loads of potential to grow with your child.

Pros

  • Super portable

  • Great Price Point

  • Excellent exclusive content

  • Easy to set up

  • Inexpensive blank content cards

Cons

  • Confusing controls

How We Tested Kids' Audio Players

A child listens to a Lunii audio player
Credit: Reviewed / Janelle Randazza

We tested for durability, ease of use, and overall content.

Thankfully the key to the appeal of these portable speakers is simplicity, so we didn’t have to get too crazy in our testing. All we needed to do is have a few kids of varying ages. We were able to solicit the expertise of our 7-year-old and a few of his friends, ranging from ages 3 to 8. They tested the players for ease of use and for user experience and gave us their unbiased and unfiltered feedback.

To round things out, we also consulted parents. An informal poll told us that parents wanted an audio player that, first and foremost, kids could use themselves with minimal adult assistance and supervision. If there is anything we learned in our research, it's that parents are desperate for technology that they feel is safe and that doesn’t require a ton of setup, supervision, and troubleshooting.

The Tester

Hi, I’m Janelle Randazza, and I’m a parenting writer at Reviewed, where I've reviewed everything from water guns to kids' bikes. I’m also really tired of reading bedtime stories to my child and playing epic games of eye spy on our long car rides to visit family. A child of the 80s I searched far and wide for something to mimic the portable tape deck I had as a kid, but with modern upgrades, as a screen-free way to give my son independent access to media.

These screen-free audio players have been a long time coming. I was excited to try them out and finally find the perfect player for my kid.

The Tests

An array of kids' audio players
Credit: Reviewed / Janelle Randazza

There really is an option for everyone

Beyond the initial setup, kids needed to be able to work these audio players on their own—though we also scored more favorably for players that had an easy setup for parents as well. I took notes on how long setups took and frustration-levels during setup. If something struck me as unnecessarily difficult, I consulted reviews and reached out to other parents in Facebook groups to get their feedback. After setup, I gave the device to my son and watched him as he figured it out on his own, taking note of if he had lots of questions or any confusion with the device and how much assistance he needed from me when getting to know the audio players.

After things got rolling, we let his friends play with them as well and asked them what they thought of each one they played with.

Durability also ranked high. Since these players are going to get a lot of use, they needed to withstand drops, spills, and all sorts of hard knocks that little kids can put them through. To test we dropped each off of our dining table at a height of 2 feet and 7 inches. Because we also have a real 7-year-old at our disposal, each player got a few extra unintended drops in real-life situations as well. We then monitored for cracks and played the devices immediately after to determine durability.

The content was also important. No matter how cute or durable an audio player may be, there needed to be easy access to a breath of interesting content that keeps kids engaged. We not only perused each company's website to see what they had to offer, we requested and ordered comparable-level content to ensure that there was a level playing field when determining the children's interest levels.

Finally, we scored based on ease of portability, both around the house and for those long drives and plane rides when we are desperate for ways to keep our kids entertained. Each of these audio players was car tested for battery life and for remote content offerings on car rides of varying lengths.

What You Should Know About Buying a Kids' Audio Player

A child listening to a Storypod
Credit: Reviewed / Janelle Randazza

Storypod had the most interactive elements of all the players tested.

Check for battery life

Only in a dream world and on photo shoots do kids sit still while listening to music and audiobooks. In real life they walk around, they play with their toys, they take long car rides—and they like to have their audio players alongside them. While most of these allow for excellent battery life for all of these activities, consider if you want one of these players on airplane rides or along with them in waiting rooms, and for how long you think your audio player will need to go without a charge.

How long does it need to go without a charge?

An 8-hour charge may sound great, but—for my family—it's about a 12-hour ordeal to travel to visit family. Since our kid will either listen (or forget to turn off his device) during this travel time, we're a family that needs a device with over 10 hours of battery life. Nothing is worse than an audio player dying mid-way through a story. Trust us on this one.

Consider the content selection

A child plays with a dog Toniebox.
Credit: Reviewed / Lisa Lawrence

The Toniebox inspires kids to really listen to what they're hearing.

One of the things that made it tough to pick a winner was that content selection is really subjective. For us, we wanted content that skewed a bit older and had more long-form stories to keep our son entertained. We recommend you visit each product website and search for content by age. If this is a device you only want to entertain your child until they are reading on their own, your selection may differ.

Kids will likely enjoy these audio players for much longer than you anticipate, so we do recommend checking the content available for their upper age range.

Are you going to travel with it?

A large part of our testing was with travel and portability in mind. When our kid is at home, books and Legos can always keep him occupied. When we are on the road is when we really need some good screen-free entertainment. If you're main focus is to find something to occupy a young child when they wake in the middle of the night, you may want to consider a figurine-based audio reader. Those of us who like to travel light, however, will have different preferences.

What is most important: music, audiobooks, or podcasts?

If you’re most interested in music over audiobooks, you may select differently than we did. Do know, however, kids will likely enjoy these audio players for much longer than you anticipate, so we do recommend checking the content available for their upper age range no matter how old your child may be.


Other Audio Players for Kids We Tested

Product image of Storypod Starter Set
Storypod

The snuggliest of all the speakers we tried, Storypod is a soft, pillow of a speaker, with rounded and cushiony edges. It plays stories, games, trivia, and more by way of cuddly “Crafties,” which are knit figurines that include a preprogrammed content chip. Like the Yoto, once content is loaded onto Storypod it lives there forever, so this is another great choice for long car rides and is a perfect foil for the “are we there yet whines.” Unlike the Yoto, however, if a Crafty gets lost its content can't be replayed—so keep track of those guys.

What sets this speaker apart is not only the cuddly, perfect-for-bedtime feel and aesthetic, but the highly interactive content Storypod offers. There are certainly plenty of options for passive listeners, but for kids who want to dive in and be a more engaged part of the listening process, there are loads of knowledge-building Crafties with interactive quizzes and games. For kids who might not have the attention span to listen to long passages from books, this speaker will keep them engaged and entertained.

This is also a terrific audio player for early readers. Their quiz card sets and read-a-long books are reminiscent of the read-along book and record sets we had in the 80s and would be a great way to help establish pre-reading skills and encourage reluctant readers.

Both the speaker itself and the Crafties are bulkier than the competition, which may be a deterrent for some. And, while it’s portable, it was the heaviest of all that we tried. The overall design, however, makes it work, particularly for smaller kids or for kids who want a smart speaker with a bit of an ASMR, calming feel that’s just right for bedtime.

Pros

  • Interactive content

  • Cuddly design

  • Good range of content

  • Encourages learning

Cons

  • Bulky

  • Lost Craftie results in lost content

Product image of Yoto Player
Yoto

The original Yoto has all of the excellent features of the Yoto Mini, and a few standout features of its own that sets it apart. It has all of the same great content for kids ages 3 to 12 that the Yoto Mini has to offer, and it similarly works as a Bluetooth speaker for playing podcasts and music that haven't been downloaded onto Yoto cards. What it has that the Mini doesn't is a nightlight functionality and a big, bold digital clock face that transforms into a pixel screen that displays images while stories play.

The larger older sibling to the Yoto Mini, the Yoto has a modernist design vibe that makes it feel like a more permanent piece to have on a nightstand. The look and the content options of the Yoto makes us think this will still be the favorite of our son as he enters tweenhood.

The bigger charging port can be a bit bulky to take with you, making the Yoto feel less portable than the Mini. It’s also more expensive, coming in at just under $100. That being said, it still has a terrific battery life of 10 hours, which makes it just fine for traveling from room to room or for an overnight stay. While it didn't take the winning seat, we see this as a grow-with-them audio player that will keep kids entertained for years.

Pros

  • Cool night light feature

  • Interactive pixel display

  • Doubles as a clock

  • Excellent exclusive content

  • Inexpensive blank content cards

Cons

  • A bit bulky

  • Large charging port

Product image of Lunii My Fabulous Storyteller
Lunii

And now for something completely different! The Lunii is an interactive, choose your own adventure device, dressed up to look like a retro radio. Geared towards kids ages 3 to 10, the Lunii allows kids to choose between two child protagonists as they go through various scenarios and locations for a total of 48 different story options. Further setting the Lunii apart from the pack is it’s the only device with contained content, meaning there are no content cards, figurines, or pieces to lose—everything is either online waiting to be downloaded on the device or already stored within it. Given that the Lunii is super lightweight and portable, this is a great option for road trips and long flights.

We appreciated that this audio player was the only one we tested that was ready to go with zero setup required. The Lunii doesn’t require Wi-Fi to work and the chunky yellow buttons and dials were easy to figure out in seconds. All it took was a quick charge before our son was on the couch with a huge smile on his face as he experimented with being co-creator of different storylines.

A multilingual and multi-cultural storyteller, stories come in a selection of languages including English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Dutch. Parents can also download loads of fresh, interactive content through the Lunii online store, which is an app you download to your laptop or desktop. We felt that the stories could be hit or miss, but each has a preview you can listen to, to help you with your selections.

Unfortunately, an outdated USB-style attachment made us scramble for an old laptop to try to download fresh stories. We also found the desktop app a bit slow and glitchy. Neither of those are dealbreakers for us, but they are things to be aware of.

Pros

  • Lightweight

  • Cute retro design

  • Interactive story-telling model

  • Lots of bilingual content

  • Easy controls

Cons

  • Outdated USB attachment

  • Glitchy app

Product image of Toniebox Playtime Puppy Starter Set
Toniebox

The Toniebox and Lunii tied in their ranking. Colorful, cute, and easy to use, the Toniebox is a great choice for kids who love a tactile experience. A vibrant, squeezable, cloth-covered cube, Toniebox is fun to hold and fun to control for smaller kids. Volume is lowered or raised by squeezing rubbery ears on the top of the unit while tapping the sides of the Toniebox allows listeners to rewind or skip ahead.

The beautifully fashioned, namesake Tonies figurines activate content by way of a chip within the toy. Like the Yoto and Storypod, content is downloaded to live on the device when it's away from Wi-Fi. The cute Tonies are one of the greatest appeals of this device. They are intricately crafted figurines that had our young testers transfixed. Plus, the content offered by Toniebox is great, particularly for younger kids. Branding with favorite TV shows and movies—like Pete the Cat and Octonauts; and with partnerships with studios like Disney, Pixar, National Geographic, and Dreamworks—adds to the appeal.

We have very few complaints about the Toniebox, but the large charging port was not only bulky it has a peg sticking out that made it tougher to pack for travel than most. The other thing that we didn’t love is, if you lose one of the Tonies, you’ve lost the content of that Tonie until you repurchase it. Because the Tonies are so attractive to kids, we experienced little testers taking them for outings around the playroom. We can see this being a problem: It’s hard to keep your hands off of them, so we recommend storing them on a high shelf.

Pros

  • Fun tactile design

  • Intuitive controls

  • Adorable Tonies

  • Excellent content selection

Cons

  • Large charging port

  • Inability to access content if Tonies are lost

Product image of Muuselabs Jooki Player
Jooki

If you’re missing the days of the mixtape and want to expose your kid to that kind of magic, you’re going to like the Jooki.

Unlike all of the other players tested, the Jooki does not have any pre-loaded content. Instead, it allows you to create and upload either Spotify or MP3 playlists to “tokens” or figurines. The figurines are geared towards little kids, while the tokens are great for older kids. We like that the tokens are compact and portable and resemble keychain tiles. Like the other content-loading devices, you can play your Jooki anywhere, so you aren’t limited by a Wi-Fi connection.

The only real issue we had with the Jooki is there is only one shared C-port for charging and for adding headphones, so if you want to listen while charging, you should definitely make sure your kids' headphones have Bluetooth capabilities. Beyond that, we personally missed having some options for pre-loaded content, but the ease of being able to create and load playlists so easily really was fun for our testers.

This device is a sturdy little beast and truly feels indestructible. Our slightly older testers liked the look of the device and the independence it gave them. For the youngest users, we also took note that the speaker, the tokens, and the figurines were the most baby-proof of the lot and would be a good bet to stand up against curious, teething mouths.

Pros

  • Spotify partnership makes for excellent music content

  • Easy-to-customize

  • Key chain-style tokens

  • Well-priced blank content tokens

Cons

  • Same outlet for charging and headphones

  • No preloaded content

Product image of Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) Kids
Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) Kids

Does your kid ask why all the time? If so the Amazon Echo Dot+ Kids’ Edition may be the right audio player for your kid. Alexa is a treasure trove of information and with Alexa’s parental controls, and the kid-friendly Alexa skills and audio offerings, this audio speaker constantly gets high marks from reviewers.

Unfortunately, for my family, it was a whole world of frustration. After a week of trying to figure out how to add audiobooks that my son was actually interested in to his Alexa bookshelf, only to have Alexa repeatedly respond that she couldn’t find the title even after we purchased it, we gave up. A cursory view of complaints online confirms this frustration is not mine alone and there is no easy explanation on Amazon to help users experiencing similar frustrations.

Additionally, there seems to be a reliance on tablets and other display devices for setup and usage. Since the point is screen-free time, our family just wasn’t into this one. We don’t feel comfortable with having a live mic in our kids’ space. It can be turned off, but it doesn’t change the fact that we hate leaving our kid alone with big brother listening in.

That isn’t to say that the Echo Dot Kids’ Edition isn’t worth it. You get one year of Amazon Kids free with a purchase, which practically pays for itself. Free Time allows you to set up filters and time constraints so you can maintain control of your child’s audio intake. What’s more, should the Echo Dot break, Amazon will replace it for free for up to two years.

That being said, this is the least portable of all of the audio players and it lacks a visual element that most of the other players had either in content cards or characters, which is such a nice perk for pre-readers. After testing all of these audio players, it’s the only one we can't find a reason to recommend.

Pros

  • Free subscription to Amazon Kids

  • Alexa trivia, jokes, and more

Cons

  • Hard to add selected books and audio

  • Not portable

  • Lacks visual and tactile experience

  • Seems to require screen access to manage content

Meet the tester

Janelle Randazza

Janelle Randazza

Staff Writer, Parenting

@JanelleRandazza

Janelle Randazza is a writer/mother hybrid and taco enthusiast based out of Los Angeles, California.

See all of Janelle Randazza's reviews

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