Best tablets for kids in 2021
The best tablets for kids are durable, affordable, and versatile. Finding the right one for your needs can be tricky because every kid is different, but in general we look for decent screen quality, excellent battery life, good parental controls, and solid durability (accidents happen!) at a reasonable price.
To help you decide which tablet is right for you, we tested all of the top devices in our lab and in the real world. In general, Amazon tablets are great for kids and anyone on a tight budget. If you can afford to pay a bit more, iPads are excellent tablets for students and creative kids. And if your kid wants an Android tablet, there are some great options from Samsung that compete effectively with iPads yet cost significantly less.
What are the best tablets for kids?
Right now, we recommend the Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids slates as the best tablets for kids ages 3-12. They run on Amazon’s custom FireOS, which has good parental control options, and both the Fire HD 10 Kids and the Fire HD 10 Kids Pro come with a one-year Amazon Kids+ subscription, a colorful kickstand case, and a comprehensive, no-questions-asked 2-year warranty that covers accidental damage. Each tablet costs $199 and they’re both effectively identical to the $150 Fire HD 10 — the only difference is they’ve been packaged to appeal to parents. The HD 10 Kids is aimed at kids ages 3-7, while the Pro is targeted at older kids ages 6-12.
If you’re willing to spend a bit more, you could give the kid a more powerful iPad or Android tablet, which both offer access to a bigger app store (and thus a broader variety of games and apps) than Amazon tablets. We recommend the base iPad as the best Apple tablet for kids, since it’s the cheapest Apple slate (starting at $300) yet still offers premium build quality and the full iPad experience. If you’d rather give them an Android tablet, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab A7 (starts at $229) is a great choice because its versatile, well-built, and offers excellent battery life.
To keep your spending between $50-$100 and still deliver a great tablet for kids, we recommend the Amazon Fire HD 7 or Fire HD 8. They’re smaller and less powerful versions of the Fire HD 10, but they’re more than good enough for media consumption and they offer the same robust parental controls as all Amazon tablets.
The best tablets for kids you can buy today
The Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Pro (2021) is the best tablet for kids overall. It’s effectively the same, hardware-wise, as the Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet: it has the same octa-core processor, 3GB of RAM and vivacious 1,900 x 1,200 display. The big difference is that it’s designed specifically for use by older kids ages 6-12, so it comes with a one-year Amazon Kids+ subscription, a colorful kickstand case, and a comprehensive, no-questions-asked 2-year warranty that covers accidental damage.
If you’re in the market for a kid-friendly tablet, few competitors can match what the Fire HD 10 Kids Pro offers for $199, particularly with that generous extended warranty. Sure, it has all the same weaknesses as every Fire tablet — most notably, no access to the Google Play Store — but if you’re planning to give this to a kid anyway, that’s less of an issue. Amazon also sells a variant aimed at younger kids, the Fire HD 10 Kids, with the same $199 price tag.
Read our full Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Pro (2021) review.
The Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids is effectively a version of the Fire HD 10 that’s tailored for kid-friendly use — specifically, kids ages three to seven. The Fire HD 10 Kids is a great tablet for kids because it sports a bright display, a durable kid-friendly design, and excellent battery life. Plus, the detailed built-in parental controls give you a lot of control over what a child does on the device, with little risk of them going astray.
Sure, the lack of Google Play Store apps limits what you can do with this tablet, but that’s hardly a problem if you’re planning to give it to your 5-year-old so they can have something on which to watch videos. If you want a durable, affordable tablet tailored to young children, the Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids is a great choice.
Read our full Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids review.
If you want to give your kid an Apple tablet, the plain ol’ iPad is a great choice because it offers good performance, a great screen, and the most affordable price tag of any (new) Apple tablet. And if you’re willing to splurge on a 1st Gen Apple Pencil, the base iPad is a great canvas for kids who want to try their hand at a little digital artistry.
Also, iPadOS 14, which ships on the iPad 8, gives you Scribble handwriting to text translation, which makes the Apple Pencil a more versatile tool. We just wish Apple would update the iPad’s design (the big bezels are aging) to allow for an easier way to store the Apple Pencil — especially since the iPad doesn’t work with the excellent 2nd Gen Apple Pencil, which is limited to the iPad Air and iPad Pro.
Read our full Apple iPad 2020 review (10.2 inch).
If you’re looking for a great sub-$100 slate you can give to a child, the $50 Amazon Fire 7 tablet is a great choice. It delivers pretty good performance thanks to its snappy quad-core 1.3 GHz processor, which helps a child navigate apps and browse the web faster than you’d expect from a tablet this cheap.
Just don’t expect any frills that come with more expensive tablets. The Fire 7 tablet’s sub-HD screen is not sharp enough for anyone used to an iPad, and its lock screen is filled with ads unless you pay extra. Still, it’s a great pick for kids looking for a media consumption device. Plus, Amazon tablets have some of the most comprehensive parental controls of any tablet on the market, and they work just as well on the Fire 7 as they do on the Fire HD 10 Kids tablets higher on this list.
Read our full Amazon Fire 7 review.
Apple’s iPad Air (2020) borrows a lot of what we like from the iPad Pro, at a more affordable price, and it’s a great tablet to give an older kid if you’re willing to pay the $599+ asking price. It’s smaller and lighter than the base iPad with super-thin bezels you’ll recognize from the iPad Pro, as well as support for the $300 Magic Keyboard, which (if you’re willing to pay the extra cost) makes the Air a decent device for writing papers. On top of that, Apple’s blazing-fast A14 Bionic chip helps future-proof this tablet with enough speed for demanding apps and multitasking. Oh, and they managed to put Touch ID in the lock button.
Plus, its 10.5 hours of battery life will be enough to last a kid through at least a full day of use, and its screen is bright and colorful enough to make videos look brilliant. It’s also great for Zoom calls and remote learning, thanks to its 7-megapixel webcam. We only wish the Magic Keyboard wasn’t so expensive: it’s hard to feel great buying a keyboard for nearly the same price as the entry-level iPad.
Read our full iPad Air (2020) review.
If you want to give a kid an Android tablet, the Galaxy Tab A7 is a great choice because it’s a decent iPad competitor that costs nearly $100 less. It’s a great tablet to give an older kid, and it’s also great to share among a family because Android lets you set up multiple profiles and set parental controls on a per-profile basis, ensuring you can filter and control what kids of content your kid(s) can access.
Plus it’s got endurance to spare, lasting 13 hours and 13 minutes on the Tom’s Guide battery test. Oh, and it’s also got an iPad Pro feature that Apple makes you pay a lot for: facial recognition to unlock the device. And just like Apple’s pricier tablets, the Galaxy Tab A7 charges over USB-C, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble replacing lost or damaged charging cables. And while it’s not as fast as the iPad and its screen isn’t as bright, neither is a serious problem at this price — especially when Samsung gives you true Android with the Google Play app store, and not the watered-down Amazon Fire tablet experience.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 review.
The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is a bit more expensive than the Galaxy Tab A7, but if you’re willing to spend the extra cash, it’s a great Android tablet for kids, especially kids who like to draw. This excellent tablet has a ton of battery life — lasting over 12 hours on a single charge — and offers a sleek design with a bright screen and solid sound.
And if you have an older kid with an artistic bent, the S-Pen stylus, which offers low-latency drawing, is included by default. Plus it snaps to the top of the Tab S6 Lite, so a child is (hopefully) less likely to lose it.
Performance-wise, though, the Tab S6 Lite is a little underwhelming, especially when multitasking. But if a kid is primarily going to use the tablet for media consumption and doodling, the Tab S6 Lite is a great choice — and don’t forget it has Android’s multiple user profiles and parental controls, which are more robust than what you’ll find on Apple’s tablets.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite review.
The Amazon Fire HD 8 is a solid Amazon tablet that, with an MSRP of $90, sits between the Fire HD 7 and Fire HD 10 Kids in terms of price and potential. If you can afford to spend more than the $50 price tag of the HD 7 on a kids tablet but want to keep your spending below $100, the HD 8 is a good choice: its bright screen and epic 13+ hours of battery life make it great for consuming content, and its reversible USB-C port is a feature we wish was in the cheaper Fire 7 tablet.
Of course, it has all the same weaknesses as Amazon’s other tablets: you have to pay extra to remove ads, and you can’t easily access the full Google Play Store. But if you just want a good tablet for kids that’s primarily intended for consuming content in Amazon’s ecosystem, the Fire HD 8 is a great value. Just be aware you won’t get the kid-friendly add-ons that come with the Fire HD 10 Kids tablets, including the free year of Amazon Kids+ and the 2-year no-questions-asked warranty.
Read our full Amazon Fire HD 8 review.
How to choose the best tablet for kids
Still not sure which tablet is right for the kid(s) in question? Here are some important things to consider.
Screen size: Tablets come in a variety of screen sizes ranging from 7 to 10 inches. If you expect your kid to be watching a lot of videos, they’ll want the biggest, nicest screen possible, so consider the Fire HD 10, the iPad, or the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7. But if you just want a tablet a kid can use to browse the web and read ebooks, a smaller display, like those on the Fire 7 or Fire HD 8, will be more than enough for your needs.
Budget: You can spend anywhere between $50-$800 on a tablet for kids, or more if you splurge on extras like a stylus or keyboard cover. If you can afford the higher end of that spectrum, the $599 iPad Air or the $350 Galaxy Tab S6 Lite are great tablets for older kids and families because they have great specs and offer the full range of iOS/Android apps. Younger kids might be better served by the $200 Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids or HD 10 Kids Pro tablets, since they come with kid-friendly extras like durable cases and 2-year warranties. If your budget is in the $50-$100 range, the $50 Fire HD 7 or the ~$100 Fire HD 8 are good, no-frills Amazon Fire tablets that offer decent performance and Amazon’s in-depth parental controls.
Age: How old is the person you’re buying this tablet for? Obviously if it’s for you and your family, buy whatever you like, but if you’re getting a tablet for a specific child, there are a variety of kid-friendly options depending on their age. For those ages 3-7, the Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids offers decent performance, great parental controls, and a colorful drop-resistant case. The Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Pro offers effectively the same benefits for the same price, but it’s aimed at older kids in the 6-12 range. And if the person you’re buying for is older than that, they should be well-served by the standard Amazon Fire HD 10, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7, or the basic iPad.
How we test tablets
First, we run as many benchmarks as that tablet will allow, to see how fast they are in ways that can be compared directly against competitors. We say “will allow” as some tablets, like Amazon’s Fire slates, have trouble with side-loaded Android apps. We then use colorimeters and light meters to measure how colorful and bright these tablets’ screens can get. After that, we put them through our in-house battery test, which times how long it takes — while surfing the web with brightness at 150 nits — to drain a tablet of a charge.
After that, we do the same things you do — browse the web, watch YouTube, play games, compose emails — and then a lot more. We also try and write some (or all) of our tablet reviews on the tablets we’re testing, especially if there’s a keyboard attachment available.