Which tablet is best for kids?
Most kids’ tablets are made to provide entertainment, be learning platforms or both. Look for the entertainment to learning ratio you want your child to have. Tablets made for kids typically include parental controls so adults can set limits and boundaries to keep their kids safe from exposure to unwanted sights, sounds and topics.
Younger kids are delighted with tablets that are essentially toys while older kids want tablets that are more computer-like. If you want your child to have a choice of more than 10,000 hours of kid-friendly activities, the Samsung Galaxy Tab Kids Edition, an Android-based WiFi tablet, is a great choice.
What to know before you buy a kids’ tablet
First, decide if you want a tablet that connects to the internet or one that does not. Those that don’t connect are limited to the content that is built-in. Some tablets allow online content to be downloaded and used later without having to maintain a full-time connection. Less expensive kids’ tablets can access the web but have no way to download from it. Tablets that don’t provide online access are seen more as toys than tablets.
Tablets focused on entertainment provide access to many different choices and levels of music, videos and games. Most music requires monthly subscriptions to fee-based services. Kids’ tablets typically have small screens with low levels of resolution, and video-watchers would rather have larger screens with sharper images. Gamers may rather have gaming-only devices.
Kid’s tablets that run standard tablet apps will cost more than those that come with lean suites of pre-chosen apps. Social media apps will show up on tablets made for older kids.
What to look for in a quality kids’ tablet
Parental controls are the number one reason for buying a tablet that is made specifically for kids. Look carefully at kids’ tablets to see which parental controls will give you the type and level of control you want.
- Set access limits: Parents get to determine what things kids can access and what things they cannot. Parents choose whether kids can go online, what they can do there and what sites to block.
- Set content limits: Parents use tablets with this feature to limit their children to watching and streaming video and music that has certain content ratings. This allows parents to block access to offensive and obscene material.
- Set time limits: Most kids’ tablets allow parents to set limits for total screen time allowed per day. Better ones allow the setting of time limits on a more detailed level, such as permitting defined time limits on videos, music, books and learning or allowing access only during certain times of day.
- Allow or deny camera access: If you want to disable the camera, look for a kids’ tablet that has this feature.
- Set purchase access: Kids’ tablets with this feature allow parents to set in-app purchase levels as low as they want, all the way to zero.
The younger the child using a kids’ tablet, the more you’ll want a device that can take a beating without breaking. Sturdy, rubberized bumpers all around protect against drops and shatterproof glass is a must.
How much you can expect to spend on a kid’s tablet
The less a kid’s tablet looks and acts like a regular tablet, the cheaper it will be. Small-screen tablets that play some games and run some educational apps cost $75 or less. Most popular kids’ tablets cost between $100-$200 and are aimed at a pre-teen target. These still have a toy-like look because they are still built to withstand abuse, but they do nearly everything a regular tablet would. Above $200, there is little difference between a kids’ tablet and a tablet for adults.
Kids’ tablet FAQ
What about passwords and PINs?
A. You should look for tablets that can allow you to set and reset important login credentials through their own smartphones or computers.
Other than parental controls, what is the point of a kids’ tablet?
A. One idea behind kids’ tablets is that kids are likely to get started using expensive electronics long before they have learned the importance of handling them carefully and gently. The other is that kids just starting to use tablets have little or no need for all the things a full-fledged tablet is capable of doing.
What’s the best kids’ tablet to buy?
Top kids’ tablet
What you need to know: Samsung gives children their choice of more than 10,000 hours of kid-friendly activities.
What you’ll love: You set time limits for your kids, so they interact only with content you trust. This Android device’s 8-inch screen has a native resolution of 1280 x 800. This 1.3 pound WiFi device is built ruggedly, so it stands up to harsh and sometimes careless use by kids, and the lithium-ion battery is included.
What you should consider: The camera is not very impressive.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon.
Top kids’ tablet for the money
What you need to know: Amazon’s latest kid-friendly tablet comes with a massive entertainment library of thousands of videos, music and games.
What you’ll love: An 8-inch HD display and 32 GB of memory are wrapped inside this kid-proof case with a parent dashboard. It comes with one free year of AmazonKids+ which gives your kids access to over 20,000 apps, games, books, videos and educational content from PBS Kids, Disney, Nickelodeon and more. The 12-hour battery life is excellent for a kids’ tablet, and a USB-C cable and 5W power adapter are included. The 2-year worry-free replacement guarantee makes this a great bargain.
What you should consider: Some wish the display was brighter.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This WiFi kid tablet is the best for making learning fun outside of school.
What you’ll love: Parental controls let adults set boundaries and limits for kids’ online activities with the LeapSearch browser. The 7-inch, multi-touch LCD screen is shatterproof and surrounded by a rugged frame. The learning apps on this Android device with 16 GB of memory get kids on their way to developing their reading, math and science skills. This tablet comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and a free trial of the LeapFrog Academy’s interactive learning programs.
What you should consider: The 7-hour battery life is not enough for some.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.