After researching more than 40 kid's tablets, we bought 13 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.
Screen Size: 10.1 inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1200 HD
REASONS TO BUY
Large screen with great picture quality
Plenty of storage for downloading videos and games
Advanced parental controls
REASONS TO AVOID
Bulky for smaller hands
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.
The case on the Fire HD 10 Kids should help it withstand the occasional drop, but it is rather bulky; its overall dimensions are 10.5 inches wide, 8.1 inches in height, and 1 inch thick. The case muffles the speaker a little, and it is not the easiest unit to hold while reading in bed, but the stand sets it up perfectly for watching videos. Kids accustomed to Apple or Android operating systems may find it takes a little more time to get used to. The kid's version of this tablet is also pricier than the adult version; however, it includes the case and a year of Amazon Kids+. All in all, the Fire HD 10 Kids is our top recommendation and one we appreciate for its customization, storage, and durability.
Year after year, the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids continues to impress us. This device comes loaded up with thousands of kid-specific apps, books, movies, and more — making it ready for a long road trip or flight. Extensive parental controls allow for content filtering by age, scheduled time away, and browser restrictions. 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 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 HD 8 offers excellent durability, even in the hands of a kiddo. The foam case on the Amazon Fire HD 8 is an inch thick and quite dense, making it nearly unbreakable. Should it break, Amazon offers an extensive two-year warranty. 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. Once the year is up, you'll have the option of continuing the subscription.
One thing to note about all of the Amazon Fire Kids tablets is that to download the Google Play Store; you will have to adjust the security and privacy settings on the tablet and then download and install several APK files specific to Android. After doing so, you will restart the tablet, and then the Google Play Store will be up and ready to go.
Ultimately, our testing indicates that the camera quality and battery life fell short compared to other tablets. When fully charged, the Fire 8 lasted eight hours and 30 minutes; this is less than the advertised 13 hours, 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, it excels when placed in smaller hands. Despite the smaller screen size, this device does not sacrifice quality.
The Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition offers all the great Amazon features at a fraction of the price. This compact 7-inch device is great for small hands and makes an excellent first tablet. The dense case keeps the screen protected, even with frequent drops. It also includes a handle that doubles as a stand. The screen is almost as detailed and vivid as the Fire 10 and includes the same one-year Amazon Kids+ subscription and customizable parental controls. Some of the other 7-inch tablets are priced slightly less, but their picture quality, camera quality, and screen sensitivity are not nearly as good. We are particularly impressed with the parental controls. Simply choose an age range and the content filters accordingly. It's fairly straightforward to choose what your kid can and cannot see.
If your child watches a lot of videos, the unit might feel too small. However, it's a good size for younger children who find other tablets too big or cumbersome to handle. It is somewhat challenging to read some children's books on the smaller screen, and we frequently had to zoom in and out a bit to see the text properly without squinting. The camera isn't the best in our lineup, producing pixelated photos. However, a young kiddo might not mind too much. It is also 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 tablet over any of the other 7-inch options. For those seeking a bargain, the Fire 7 is an excellent choice.
As your kid gets older, child-specific tablets can become limiting. The Apple iPad 10.9-Inch 10th Gen is a tablet that grows with your child, though 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 14, 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. It also has parental controls, time limits as well as restricted access for iTunes and App Store purchases. Browser settings allow you to specify no-go sites or filter by age range. 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 is among the best in our test fleet regarding camera and display quality, 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. We highly recommend putting a case on this tablet right away, especially if young hands are involved. 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. Though pricey, this quality device will grow with your child throughout the years.
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 top-ranked electric scooters to the best 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.Becca Glades joins the team as a mom with a background in software engineering. Her knowledge of technology allows her to dive deep into these devices and understand the ins and outs of how they operate. This team's experiences have come into play when helping determine the best user experience for children of all ages. In addition to this 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% weighting)
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.
It's typical to get what you pay for with many electronic devices, and kids' tablets are no exception. We also know that different models offer different features, and you may value a certain feature over another. Yet, there are still some affordable options that offer great performance. When considering all metrics, the Amazon Fire 7 Kids offers great all-around value for its price. If you're willing to stretch your dollar a little further in exchange for a longer battery and better display quality, the Fire HD 8 Kids is a great value. 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 2360 x 1640 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. After the initial year of Amazon Kids+, there's an option to continue the subscription.
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, and Becca Glades