Editor’s Note: The products in our gift guide were curated by our team of editors and writers. We relied on testing scores from third-party sources like Consumer Reports, Wirecutter and Reviews.com to inform our picks, as well as products we’ve used and written about ourselves.
Don’t get overwhelmed when shopping for tablets for your kids this holiday season. This curated list rounds up the five best tablets for kids on the market. Whether you’re shopping for an accident-prone toddler or a precocious preteen, we have a tablet that’s perfect for your child.
Get right to the gifts
- Amazon Fire 7 Kids Editon Tablet
- Samsung Galaxy Kids Tab E Lite
- Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0
- Apple iPad (10.2-Inch, Wi-Fi, 32 GB)
- Apple iPad Mini (64 GB)
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Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet
Best for the youngest tykes
Durability: The Fire 7 has a two-year guarantee that states “if it breaks, return it and we’ll replace it for free.” Also, it comes with Amazon’s “Kid-Proof Case” made of BPA-free EVA foam.
Longevity: Your child may outgrow this tablet relatively quickly. But the shorter lifespan is offset by the less-expensive cost. The Fire 7 bills itself as a tablet for ages three and up, but in reality it’s geared more toward the younger set. Most pre-teens would find this tablet looks too babyish, but it could work well in households with younger kids of varying ages.
Functionality: Battery life lasts up to seven hours. The Fire 7 comes with one free year of “Freetime Unlimited” to stock up on tons of games, books and apps for children ages three through 12. The downside is you will lose access to all that content if you choose not to renew after the first year.
Parental controls: The Fire 7 Kids Edition has stringent parental controls, so you don’t have to worry when your little ones are online. Kids are not able to access social media and all in-app purchases require approval.
Games/educational value: Parents can set educational goals, which blocks other entertainment on the tablet until pre-set learning goals are met. ABC mouse, a popular educational website for the six and under crowd, is easily accessible on this tablet.
Extra credit: The Fire 7 goes on sale often, so you can get a great bargain if you’re patient.
Samsung Galaxy Kids Tab E Lite
Best for kids under 10 years old
Durability: Similar to the Fire 7 Kids Edition, this tablet comes with a rubber bumper case.
Longevity: This tablet can grow with your child for a few extra years because you can turn off “kid-mode” and use it like a regular tablet.
Functionality: With 20 kid-friendly pre-loaded apps, this tablet is easy for kids to use right out of the gate. Has a 2 MP rear-facing camera and the battery lasts up to nine hours on a single charge.
Parental controls: Yes. Ads and in-app purchases aren’t allowed. Plus, you can set screen time limits and manage the app categories that your child can access.
Games/educational value: Samsung exceeds in this category by offering content that aligns with STEM and Common Core curriculum.
Extra credit: Free three-month subscription to Samsung Kids for access to learning apps geared toward children under eight years old.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0
Best for families on a budget
Durability: Definitely invest in a case for this tablet since it doesn’t come with one. This tablet combines kid-friendly dimensions of a lightweight and slim build with a more advanced interface.
Longevity: The Samsung Galaxy Tab A is great for tweens, teenagers and beyond. This tablet can also be used as a phone if you don’t want to invest in that separate piece of tech yet for your kid.
Functionality: The Galaxy Tab A has the best battery life on our list at 14 hours. Similar to a Netflix account, this tablet allows each user to have their own login, so apps and settings are specific to each family member. Plus, the Tab A has an easy to understand set-up guide. Includes a 5 MP rear camera and a 2 MP front camera.
Parental controls: You can activate kid’s mode just like the Samsung Galaxy Kids Tab E Lite, so it’s easy to set limits on screen time and app purchases.
Games/educational value: Can download Microsoft® Office® office products such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel.
Extra credit: Open tabs side by side — you can look at Instagram while catching up on emails.
Apple iPad (10.2-Inch, Wi-Fi, 32 GB)
Best for budding artists
Durability: Get a case and a screen protector pronto. Apple’s thin, durable glass screen is beautiful, but vulnerable to cracks if dropped.
Longevity: This tablet easily has the highest level of longevity on this list. As one of the most advanced pieces of tech on the market, this newest iPad could easily be used for five years or longer, depending on how often you like to update your tech.
Functionality: Very intuitive to use, especially if your kids are already familiar with the iPhone. The Apple Pencil compatibility makes this tablet ideal for drawing and taking notes, but be prepared to drop some extra funds for these accessories. This tablet has up to 10 hrs. of battery life, an 8 MP rear camera and a 1.2 MP front camera.
Parental controls: Parental controls are available, but they will require you to do about 20 minutes of set-up before handing off the tablet to your child. You can also create an Apple ID for your kid(s) if you plan on sharing the device.
Games/educational value: With over 200,000 educational and reference apps in the App Store, your child will never run out of learning opportunities. Here’s a list of 55 of the most popular and free educational apps on a variety of subjects.
Extra credit: With the biggest screen on our list, this is the tablet to have if your child needs a larger working space for creating, gaming or learning.
Apple iPad Mini (64 GB)
Best for students on the go
Durability: Similar to the full-size iPad, you’ll want to fortify this tablet immediately.
Longevity: Historically, Apple hasn’t updated their mini line as often as their full-size iPads and phones, which makes this model likely to be their leading mini model for a few years running.
Functionality: Small size makes this tablet ultra-portable, and it’s compatible with Apple Pencil for jotting down notes on-the-go. Up to 10 hours of battery life. 8 MP rear camera and a 7 MP front camera.
Parental controls: Same as the iPad.
Games/educational value: Similar to the regular iPad, there are plenty of games and educational apps.
Extra credit: Apple’s “True Tone” display automatically adjusts to your lighting conditions, which is great for night-owl readers.
For more gift guide ideas, check out our other categories as well: