Kids love tablets, and with so much child-friendly content available that can be both entertaining and educational, it’s easy to see why.
The best tablets for kids are a great way for kids to learn how computers work, as they boast their touch-screen user interfaces and often simpler operating systems.
And if you buy a kids tablet, you get comprehensive parental controls to help you stop junior from browsing adult-oriented websites or making in-app purchases.
Some of the best tablets overall double as great kids tablets, thanks to their durability and strong parental controls. We tested a bunch to give you an idea of which are the best tablets for kids to buy right now.
What to consider when buying a tablet for kids
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.
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 Fire tablets all came pre-installed with lots of apps, games and more.
I have a Prime account and linking it with the tablet was extremely simple. The Samsung, on the other hand, had to be registered first before the Samsung Kids portion of the device could be enabled.
10 best tablets for kids 2021:
|Amazon Fire 7||7” touchscreen||8.7 x 6.3 x 1.0 in|
|Leapfrog Epic||7” touchscreen||10 x 7.2 x 3.5 in|
|Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition||8” touchscreen||8.7 x 6.3 x 1.0 in|
|Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S5e||10.5" touchscreen||0.22 x 6.30 x 9.65 in|
|iPad Mini 2||7.9" touchscreen||5.28 x 7.87 x 0.28 in|
Amazon’s Fire line has been around for ages, and has quite rightly cornered the market when it comes to cheap and cheerful tablets.
The Fire 7 is one of the cheapest tablets around and comes in a range of bright colors, which makes it the ideal choice for school kids and teenagers looking for their first smart device.
You’ll want to get to grips with the parental controls before handing it over to very young children and don’t expect cutting-edge performance or exceptional battery life for the price, but it really is hard to think of any other tablet which can match the Fire 7 when it comes to price and sheer volume of content.
- Amazing value
- Great selection of content
- Underpowered tech
- Disappointing stamina
The strength of the Leapfrog brand has been in creating educational software that’s tailored for different developmental ages but is still a lot of fun for kids. The company usually limits devices to its own platform, but this is an Android tablet (and it’s better for it).
The Epic is aimed at children between ages 3 and 9, and you get a tailored experience with apps and content to match your child’s age. We think it’s best suited to the lower end of that age range.
Kids can create their own home screens and there are apps, games, and other content that’s very well-designed, though you don’t get many full apps with the tablet — you’ll have to pay extra for the best ones.
The chunky protective bumper comes in green or pink. It also has a built-in stylus attached with a cord, which is ideal for budding artists. The parental controls offer all the depth you could want.
Sadly, this is another kids’ tablet with a poor-quality screen – the resolution is 1,024 x 600 pixels. It’s also slow and laggy, which can prove frustrating for wee ones and adults alike.
Overall, this is still a solid choice for young children, especially since it has come down in price. The durable design and the educational software elevate it above some of the competition.
- Great parental controls
- Plenty of educational apps
- Clever “growing” software
- Rugged design
- Poor screen
- Weak processor
With its durable chassis, powerful parental controls and rich content library, the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is one of the best tablets for kids.
The best child-friendly tablet at any price, Amazon’s Fire HD 8 Kids Edition combines robust parental controls with a durable design, two years of accidental damage protection and a huge free library of popular age-appropriate content.
And, unlike on the non-Kids Edition of this same tablet, there are no advertisements on the lock screen.
If you’re looking for an entertainment and educational tablet for your child, the Amazon Fire HD 8 for Kids is one of the best cheap tablets out there. The cost isn’t outrageous, and you save even more with FreeTime Unlimited.
The two-year Worry-Free warranty has the potential to save you a lot of money in repair or replacement costs. And, because the protective case is removable, the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition doesn’t have to look like, or function only as, a kids’ device.
- Durable design with two-year accidental-damage protection
- Robust parental controls
- Tons of free, age-appropriate content
- Long battery life
- Soft speakers
4. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S5e – The best Android tablets for kids
With that slim, metallic body and minimal bezels around the screen, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e feels and looks positively luxurious. It’s surprisingly light and easy to handle, though you’ll need to invest in a case to protect it.
The stunning, 10.5-inch AMOLED screen adds to the impression of a high-end tablet and the 2,560 x 1,600-pixel resolution ensures that everything looks sharp.
As this is an AMOLED screen, you’ll also enjoy deep blacks and strong contrast. Whatever your kids are doing on this tablet, the screen will delight, and it’s flanked by four speakers which make for a more immersive gaming or movie experience.
Inside, there’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 processor and 4GB of RAM, which provides plenty of power for graphically demanding games. This tablet also boasts all-day battery life and a 13-megapixel main camera.
The big draw here compared to the rest of our list is the presence of full-fat Android. This isn’t Amazon’s forked Fire OS, this is Android 9.0 Pie with Samsung’s elegant One UI over the top, which means you have access to the biggest app store around in Google’s Play Store. There are a lot of apps and games in the Play Store that you won’t find in Amazon’s Appstore.
Samsung also offers a special Kids Mode, which allows you to set up time limits, restrict contacts and apps, and direct your children to a curated app store with educational offerings for kids from toddler age up to around nine or 10 years old. It’s not quite as comprehensive or adjustable as Amazon’s parental controls are, but it’s likely enough for most people.
- Very slim and stylish
- Sharp screen
- Long battery life
- Full access to Google’s Play Store
- Expensive and fragile
5. iPad Mini 2
The iPad Mini 2 may not be the newest tiny tablet from Apple, but it’s still worth considering given its flexibility and size.
The Apple tablet is however an expensive investment and it’s not exactly built to be thrown all over the place, but if you invest in a decent tough case like the iSpeck iGuy it can be made kid-friendly.
The iPad Mini 2’s iOS operating system also has a host of parental features that actually make the iPad Mini more suitable to hand over to your kids. You will be able to restrict the Safari web browser from showing adult content and the ability to install apps.
Additionally, you can disable access to explicit content if you don’t want them to listen to music, podcasts with rude words or more adult-themed TV shows. And there are settings than enable parents to manage their kids’ overall screen time, or time on specific apps.
With access to the App Store there’s a wealth of child-friendly games, apps and ebooks to buy and download. If you can afford to spend a little more, the iPad Mini is a tablet both parents and children can use, though it’s probably better suited to slightly older children.
- Great screen (for a kids tablet)
- Premium design
- Good battery life
- More expensive than the competition
- Lack of Touch ID
With a 7-inch screen, chunky rubberised casing, and custom Android tweaks, the Kurio Tab Connect is similar in a lot of ways to the Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablets – though if you shop around you might be able to get the Kurio device even cheaper.
Kurio installs its own suite of parental controls on the tablet, making it easy to limit your children to the apps and the sites you want them to be using.
Underneath though this is just Android, which means a whole host of educational apps, games and tools are available, all through an intuitive, kid-friendly interface.
You don’t have to go hunting for apps as soon as you turn on the device though, as Kurio pre-installs a decent selection in advance.
The tablet also supports multiple profiles, so if you have more than one kid using the Tab Connect, they can keep their stuff separate (handy for easing sibling tensions).
- Smart Android customisations
- Rugged and robust design
- Quite bulky
Amazon’s latest kids tablet is this large-screen offering, which offers a crisp IPS 1080p screen that’s great for playing games and watching movies on, and also provides plenty of display real estate for kids who are just starting to find their love of reading.
Like several of Amazon’s other tablets, the Fire HD 10 is available in a ‘Kids Edition’ package which slaps a massive rubber bumper on for protection and allows you to enable controls which prevent your children from viewing questionable content.
The catch is that the Fire HD 10 is quite expensive, and that massive screen means an equally massive footprint, which some younger users may find too unwieldy.
The Fire HD 8 might be a more palatable alternative for smaller hands. You also get a year of Fire For Kids Unlimited, which provides free age-appropriate content for your precious ones.
- Amazing screen
- Comes with Fire For Kids Unlimited
- Quite bulky
If your kid is in school, chances are they’re using a Chromebook. The Acer Chromebook Tab 10 is a great way to give your kids access to all the same Chrome OS and Android apps they’re using in class on a tablet-shaped device.
It features a 9.7-inch, 2,048 x 1,536 resolution screen in a slightly bulk package designed to survive the hard knocks at school.
Unlike most of the kids tablets we’ve gone over so far, the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 also comes with an included Wacom EMR stylus, allowing kids to pen notes and draw pictures.
- Google Play Store onboard
- Can withstand plenty of knocks
- Screen could be better
- Camera is disappointing
The Kurio Advance is a typical budget tablet, elevated by its well-thought-out software. The dedicated interface provides parents with a high-level of control, while remaining simple enough for anyone to setup in a few minutes.
We had a few niggles with the hardware itself, particularly the slow power button, but at this price it delivers what you would reasonably expect. The real problem it faces is the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids, which currently sells for the same price, with a better display, more storage, and a longer battery life.
But, if you prefer to live outside the Amazon eco-system and have access to Google Play, then the Kurio is a good alternative.
- Amazing battery life
- Comfortable design
- Decent performance
- Solid speakers
- Running old Android 7.1
10. Lenovo Tab 4 8
Lenovo’s new 8-inch tablet is a good option for slightly older kids, ones with more experience with technology that don’t need the training-wheels of a tablet made for younger tots.
Unlike Amazon’s Fire tablets, the Tab 4 8 offers a true Android experience, so you can use Google’s apps without the annoyances and risks involved with side-loading.
It also offers good battery life and performance, and a bright, colorful display. For $20 extra, you can get Lenovo’s Kids Pack add-on, which includes content curated just for kids, parental controls, options for scheduling and limiting play time, a protective bumper case, stickers and a blue light filter.
- Good battery life
- Decent performance
- Bright and colorful display
- Great value
- Front camera could be better
How we test the tablets for kids
Tablets straddle the line between mobile and home computing. For many people, they’ve become laptop replacements; for others, they’re entertainment gadgets to keep the kids quiet in the car.
Since we test dozens of tablets on every operating system available in the US each year, we have different approaches to testing them.
First, we analyze physical design including display size and quality, controls, ports, and storage.
For Android tablets, we run Basemark 3.0 on Chrome to check web browsing speed. We also run Antutu and Geekbench to take a look at processor performance. GFXBench tests 2D and 3D graphics performance, and we launch and play high-end games (currently, Asphalt 8 and PUBG Mobile) to check frame rate, control fluidity, and jitter.
For Amazon’s Fire tablets, which are based on Android, our testing protocol is a bit different since Fire OS doesn’t have access to the Google Play store to download the same benchmarking apps. We test system performance here with 3DMark and Antutu, and use Basemark 3.0 in the Silk browser to test speed. Gaming tests remain the same.
Apple’s iPads are compared extensively with previous models, more so than to other tablets. We start with roughly the same tests we use for Android tablets. For benchmarks on iPadOS, we run Basemark 3.0 to test Safari browser performance, Geekbench to check processor speed, and GFXBenchmark to look at 2D and 3D graphics performance.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes.
If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.