When shopping for a tablet for your child, hardware specs like a fast processor or several gigabytes of RAM aren’t the most important qualities to consider. Instead, durability, a long warranty, and parental controls are more practical features to keep in mind. Downloadable or pre-installed kid-friendly content is also essential.
We consulted with our former parenting editor, Latifah Miles, whose 8-year-old son has gone through three tablets. She gave us the scoop on the features she looks for when shopping for a kid-friendly tablet.
We also researched other publications, read parenting blogs, and scoured the internet for tablet reviews from parents to see which tablets they loved
Hands-down, the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is the best tablet for kids that you can buy. It’s our former parenting editor’s tablet of choice for its tough build, 2-year warranty, 10-hour battery, and robust set of parental controls. The tablet’s foam case — which comes in yellow, pink, or blue — protects it from drops and scratches.
Even better, the Fire HD 8 comes with Amazon’s 2-year “Worry-Free Warranty,” which covers accidental damage. So, if your child jams a candy bar into the charging port or drops the whole thing in the toilet and renders it useless, Amazon will replace it, no questions asked.
The tablet runs Amazon’s modified version of Android, so it doesn’t have the Google Play Store on it, but it’s much easier to use and navigate. You can change the user experience based on who’s using the tablet, whether it be a child, teen, or parent, which is a feature the iPad lacks. Parents are able to set preferences that limit usage, block purchases, and protect against age-inappropriate content.
“The tablet is super easy for my son to use on his own, and it limits the amount of apps he has access to,” Latifah Miles, our former parenting editor, said. “It offers plenty of parental controls, which stop him from racking up hundreds of dollars on in-app purchases.”
Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet
The iPad mini has a beautiful, high-resolution 7.9-inch display, an impressive 10 hours of battery life, and an operating system that’s superior to any other option.
While testing the iPad mini, we found that it is superbly crafted. It feels solid, but not heavy, and there are plenty of rugged cases to choose from that’ll keep it in one piece when your child inevitably drops it. Most importantly, Apple’s App Store has the widest selection of apps, games, and educational content in the business.
Despite all this, we don’t think an iPad is the best kids tablet. The iPad mini — which costs $384 for consumers and $299 for schools — has some settings to prevent access to explicit content, and prevent in-app purchases, but parental controls are harder to access and get set up than on Amazon’s tablets. This is a sentiment which with Wirecutter also agrees.
Apple iPad mini
If you’re a believer that bigger is better, you won’t be disappointed with this 10.1-inch tablet from Amazon. It’s 30% faster than our best overall pick, and offers 20% better battery life. Additionally, it’s one of the few kids’ tablets that uses the newer USB-C charging port. This comes in handy for kids because the tablet’s charging cable is completely reversible, making it easy to plug in and charge the device.
You’ve probably noticed that it sports a similar kid-proof pink or blue bumper case like Amazon’s other tablets. Besides its larger display, we also like that the Fire HD 10 Kids Edition’s case lets your child enjoy hands-free use via a built-in stand.
The tablet’s powerful front-facing speakers and its 1,920 by 1,200 resolution display make for a better video watching experience, too. As you’d expect from an Amazon tablet, this model features easy-to-use parental controls, and includes access to Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited service, which includes thousands of kid-friendly apps, games, and books. Even better, it’s backed by a 2-year worry-free guarantee.
Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition Tablet