With every passing season, it seems like more and more tablets come on the market, with kids taking to them younger than ever. So how do you decide which one is right for your kids?
We have compiled, ranked and compared our top 12 tablets for kids. Whether you are on a budget, craving robust privacy and parental controls, or want the very best quality and are willing to pay for it, read on to see our recommendations for the best tablets for kids.
Apple iPad Air 2
Coming in at the top of the price chart is the iPad Air 2. The latest offering from the trusted folks at Apple features the fastest tablet processor ever, fancy new touch id and sensor technology and a host of other features. But do kids care about any of that stuff? Probably not. Tell me about the games!
The iPad Air 2 offers some of the most robust parental controls out there. The “restrictions,” as they are called, enable you to block or allow access to almost every feature or program of the iPad Air 2. Don’t want your kid to have access to the camera? A few clicks, and boom. Don’t want them to be able to purchase apps, even though they would need your password for that anyway? Done.
The iPad Air 2 has up to 10 hours of battery life, long enough for plenty of backseat movie-watching on those long family car trips. Really the only negative to the Air 2 is the hefty price tag. Sure, some of the more technical and advanced features might be wasted on your youngin’, but things that matter, like battery life, durability, and content, are all present.
Cost runs from $414 refurbished – 829 new.
Apple iPad mini 2
The Air 2’s smaller and nimbler sibling, the iPad mini 2, is a worthy contender. The screen is not that much smaller at 7.9 vs 9.7 inches and might actually be easier for younger children with small hands to use. Many of the same features are present here, but the technical features like chips and processors are slightly slower than the Air 2.
The lower but still not that low price point of $269 makes this a great choice for parents with younger kids. Be sure to get a hefty screen protector and warranty, though, because these tablets are mighty strong but not invulnerable. A prolonged assault from a rampaging 5-year-old might just do the mini 2 in given enough time and hard surfaces.
We recommend the mini 2 for parents with a lower budget or who want a smaller tablet that their young kids can more easily hold and manipulate. A strong alternative to the iPad Air 2.
Cost runs from $264 refurbished – $449 new.
Tesco Hudl 2
In a somewhat surprisingly third place is the underdog Tesco Hudl 2. With an 8.3-inch full HD screen, it is slightly smaller than the Air 2 and bigger than the mini 2. The Hudl 2 claims an impressive 2 GB of RAM, a quad-core processor and up to eight hours of battery life—all for around $99.
The eight color options is also a nice bonus when compared to Apple’s usual limited color selection. The Hudl runs the latest Android operating system
Nevertheless, the Tesco Hudl 2 is an impressive, beautiful tablet that is our favorite tablet for kids for less than $200. If Apple products are out of your price range or you think they might get bored of it after a few weeks and don’t want to waste your money, consider the Hudl 2.
Cost $99 or less.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
Coming in just below a cool $400, you would expect the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 to offer everything cheaper Android tablets, like the Hudl 2, do and more. And for the most part, it delivers. A bigger 8.4-inch display, more battery life, an 8-megapixel camera and a host of other bells and whistles make this one of the premier Android tablets on the market.
If you want the best Android tablet on the market that can rival Apple’s iPad Air 2, then look no further. The Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is the latest in a long line of Samsung tablets, and that experience has paid off. It runs smoothly, looks beautiful and is one of the thinnest and lightest tablets available. This makes it ideal for kids when watching movies or playing games because they can hold the tablet for hours on end without getting tired.
If you are looking for a high-end tablet for your kid, the decision is really between operating systems. If Android is your choice, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is the perfect tablet for kids and will allow them to watch their favorite movies and use their favorite educational apps at lightning speed.
Cost runs from $246.99 refurbished – $399 new.
Asus Google Nexus 7 2013 edition
Asus has long been a player in the lower-end tablet market but often gets overshadowed by the big players like Samsung, Sony, and Apple. But their Nexus 7 2013 edition is a strong contender in the crowded budget tablet space. The Nexus has 10 hours of battery life, a huge 16 GB of storage and a 1920 x 1200 crystal clear 7-inch screen.
The Nexus has advantages that other tablets like the Nook and Kindle lack, such as the ability to access the Google Play store instead of just Amazon apps, as well as having the hardware under the hood to run the latest intensive games that the Nook struggles to keep up with. The Nexus makes a great choice if your kid is a savvy gamer or wants more options than the Amazon’s limited selection can offer.
While not as comfortable for reading as it could be, the Nexus earns a high spot on our list despite the higher price tag with its excellent hardware and app flexibility.
Cost runs from $79.99 refurbished – $149 new.
Kindle HD 6
The latest Kindle suffers from a few problems, with the biggest being storage. The 8 GB standard Kindle HD 6 really only allows the user to put 4.5 GB of content on the device out of the box. While a 16 GB version is available, if you purchase the smaller version and want to expand your storage, choices are limited.
Aside from the limitation that all Amazon tablets cannot access the Google play store, the Kindle HD 6 is a strong contender if your child is a budding bookworm. A great device for reading, as all Kindles has been, makes this tablet a great buy. The $100 price doesn’t hurt either.
Cost runs from $84.99 refurbished – $99.99 new.
The Nexus 9 is an updated and more decked out version of the Nexus 7. With a bigger screen, slightly more battery life, a faster processor and all around better hardware, the Nexus 9’s higher price is understandable.
Yet we don’t see many advantages over the Nexus 7 that apply directly to kids and their usage. The access to apps is the same, along with the restriction abilities and ease of use.
We suggest the Nexus 9 only if the Nexus 7 was appealing to you, but you want to spend more to get the best quality and will share the tablet with your kid. The juicy specs are largely wasted otherwise.
Cost runs from $239.99 refurbished – $319.99 new.
The Kindle 7 HD
The bigger brother to the Kindle 6 HD, the Kindle 7 HD has all the same problems and blemishes its younger sibling does, and it tries to hide those with a bigger screen and not much else. I don’t see much point in the Kindle 7 HD unless the 1-inch in screen size is a must-have and worth the extra $30.
The limited storage, restriction to only Amazon’s unique but sparse app store, and the pounds of pre-loaded junk you have to delete make this tablet a hard one to recommend for kids or adults.
The saving grace of the Kindle 7 HD is that the regular version isn’t weighed down with some of the fluff and filler that the special Kids edition has, which we review below. The standard edition allows you to shop for your own case that fits your needs and works just fine for kids of all ages without a bright, bulky plastic shell.
Cost runs from $40.49 refurbished – $129 new.
Asus VivoTab Note 8
In a world filled with generic Android tablets, the VivoTab Note 8 stands out for one reason and one reason only: storage. And tons of it. At 32 GB standard, the VivoTab Note 8 gives you the ability to download a veritable pantheon of movies and shows for your kids if you aren’t going to have access to WiFi.
This massive amount of storage makes this tablet a great one if you take a lot of camping trips, car drives, boating trips or any other situation where WiFi access is limited or unavailable. The downside to all this storage is the VivoTab Note 8 has one of the worst batteries, often lasting only a mere six hours. Consider a backup battery or portable charger to keep the good times rolling and your tablet powered.
Cost runs from $119 refurbished – $222.21 new.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Kids
On the surface, the Galaxy Tab 3 Kids edition appears to be an amazing tablet custom made for kids and parents alike. It’s big features are separate modes for parents and kids and easy to use restrictions on apps all designed to let the tablet function for both parent and child without the need for a second one.
The problem comes in the actual execution of such a novel idea. The child is easily able to access the adult mode, often simply by pressing the home key.
The pre-programmed kids content on the tablet is also sub-par and difficult to delete. Limited storage and frequent crashes complete the picture to make this tablet less than ideal for kids. For a similar price, the iPad mini 2 offers much more speed, usability, and better experience without the dual mode gimmicks.
Cost runs from $99 refurbished – $229.99 new.
Amazon Fire HD Kids Edition
For an extra $49.99 more than the regular Kindle, you can get a special “Kids Edition” of the Kindle 6 HD, which comes with some added bonuses, like a free one-year subscription to Amazon FreeTime, a sturdy case, and a two-year warranty.
While this sounds great, many users have reported bugs, problems and difficulties with this special edition. A point of contention appears to be Amazon’s FreeTime app, which ends up displaying every book downloaded, including ones you didn’t want your child to read or aren’t appropriate for them. Other problems persist with the FreeTime app, which obstruct an otherwise decent presentation.
The Kindle HD Kids Edition has the same problems the standard edition does but just adds an unnecessarily gaudy plastic shell and more annoying pre-loaded content to the mix. You are better off buying the standard edition and colorful case to avoid the extra headaches.
Cost runs from refurbished $69.95– $149.99 new.
Kurios Kids Tablet
With a sub $100 price point, the Kurios Kids tablet may seem like a great deal on the surface, but, in this case, you definitely get what you pay for. With little to no access to anything other than the 60 pre-loaded apps, many of which are just free trials of paid full versions, the Kurios is a tablet that your kid will soon outgrow or put down in frustration.
One of the slowest tablets on the market, the Kurios struggles to even run the apps it comes with at times. Kids have low attention spans, and while the educational apps are for the most part fun and creative, the lag and crashes while competing for math problems or vocabulary lessons can turn a kid off in an instant.
Our suggestion is to pay slightly more for a much more powerful and versatile mid- range tablet above because it will last you and your child much longer than the Kurios. The Kurios Kids tablet is a great choice if your budget is super strict, but we feel that you can get more bang for your buck by paying up a bit.
Cost runs from refurbished $56.39– $149.99 new.
Did your pick make the list? What tablets would you recommend for kids? Tell us in the comments!