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The best tablets for kids in 2022


Are your kids spending too much time on games? What are they watching on their tablets — and is it age-appropriate? How can you ensure they don’t access content that isn’t suitable for children? Such questions can haunt a parent considering buying their child a tablet, but they needn’t do so. Tablets aren’t just for adults now, and there are plenty of mobile slates out there intended for kids, with built-in tools to help you keep track of what they’re doing and when.

The Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition is our pick of the bunch, as it’s durable and it comes with age-appropriate content you can keep track of. But it’s not the only option. Read on for the entire lineup of great tablets you won’t be afraid to give to your kids.


Simon Hill / Digital Trends

Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition (2021)

The best

Pros

  • Decent 10.1-inch screen
  • Curated age-appropriate content
  • Worry-free 2-year warranty for damage
  • Granular, smart parental controls
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Locked into Amazon ecosystem
  • Some content requires internet
  • Fire OS can be buggy

Why you should buy this: Created especially for kids, it’s durable, affordable, packed with age-appropriate content, and comes with a two-year free replacement program.

Who it’s for: Young children with parents on a budget.

Why we picked the Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition:

If you’re looking for a tablet that’s safe and fun for young kids, the Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition ticks all the boxes and then some. The parental controls are excellent, allowing you to define exactly how much screen time your kids can have, as well as what they can and can’t access, with Amazon Parent Dashboard allowing you to give kids access to apps like Netflix, YouTube, and more.

It comes with a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids Plus, which offers access to thousands of curated books, movies, TV shows, apps, and games that are suitable for children based on their age. It costs $3 per month thereafter. You can also set up multiple profiles with tailored content to suit each child’s age.

The tablet itself features a 10.1-inch 1080p Full HD strengthened aluminosilicate glass screen, 32GB of expandable storage, an impressive 12 hours of battery life, and USB-C charging.

You also get a chunky protective case available in Sky Blue, Aquamarine, or Lavender. If your little angel does manage to break the tablet, there’s no need to worry because Amazon offers a no-questions-asked two-year replacement warranty that covers accidental damage.

If you don’t mind a smaller screen, the older Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablet is also an excellent buy for just $70, with the same storage and battery life and an 8-inch screen with 1280 x 800 pixels.

The Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition won’t suit older kids, but it’s ideal for youngsters getting their first tablet. It’s a complete solution that’s quick and easy to set up and has everything your child could want out of the box. For the money, this is the best kids’ tablet around.

Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition (2021

Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition (2021)

The best

LeapFrog LeapPad Academy

LeapFrog LeapPad Academy

The best tablet for preschoolers:

Pros

  • Tough, kid-friendly construction
  • 16GB expandable storage
  • Easy to use parental controls

Cons

  • Battery life isn’t the best
  • Only suitable for very young children
  • No color options to choose from

Why you should buy this: This tough tablet features great parental controls and plenty of educational apps and games to help your kids learn and develop.

Who it’s for: Very young children and parents looking for an educational option.

Why we picked the LeapFrog LeapPad Academy:

The strength of the LeapFrog brand has long been in creating educational software that’s tailored for different developmental ages, but is still 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 LeapPad is aimed at children aged between three and eight, and it’s easy to tailor your child’s experience to match their age. We think it’s best suited to the lower end of that age range. You (or your child) can customize the home screen and there are over 2,000 games, puzzles, apps, ebooks, and more to choose from in the LeapFrog App Center. The tablet comes pre-installed with 20 educational apps and creativity tools to get started with. You also get a free three-month LeapFrog Academy trial which engages your child in an interactive learning program. It’s worth noting here that you can’t download apps from the Google Play store.

Parental controls are intuitive and easy to use, allowing you to select which apps can be accessed and choose time limits for use. You get 16GB of onboard storage, expandable up to 32GB with a microSD card (not included), and around six hours of battery life, enough to keep little ones busy on road trips or commutes without running out of juice. The tablet allows you to save up to 24 activities to Favorites that your child can then play offline, great when you’re out of Wi-Fi range.

The LeapPad has a chunky protective bumper but only comes in one color: Bright green. There’s a built-in stylus that’s perfect for budding artists, a shatter-safe LCD screen, and a sturdy kickstand for hands-free fun.

Sadly, the tablet seems to suffer from being a bit slow and laggy, which can prove frustrating for wee ones and adults alike.

Overall, the Leapfrog LeapPad 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.

LeapFrog LeapPad Academy Kids’ Learning Tablet, Green

LeapFrog LeapPad Academy

The best tablet for preschoolers:

Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Pro

Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Pro

The best tablet for 5- to 9-year-olds

Pros

  • All the benefits of the Fire HD 10, with a few bonuses for older kids
  • Amazon ecosystem
  • Excellent parental controls
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • Limited app selection
  • Not particularly powerful

Why you should buy this: This great-value tablet offers everything kids need, and it gives parents plenty of control.

Who it’s for: Elementary school kids with parents looking for the best tablet under $150.

Why we picked the Fire HD 10 Kids Pro:

This 32GB tablet, while boasting all the same specs as the Fire HD 10 Kids Edition, is a good choice for slightly older kids. The parent controls, Kids+ subscription, and other features all remain intact, along with the high-quality 10.1-inch screen, but there are several additional options here that make the Pro version better for kids that are growing up fast.

First, while the Pro version includes all the Kids+ content, it also has a separate Amazon-run digital store with a wide variety of apps created specifically for age ranges anywhere from 6 to 12 years old. Kids cannot buy the apps on their own — instead, they can send their parents specific requests for apps, and parents can choose to authorize a purchase or not. When the time comes, parents can also authorize specific non-store apps like Minecraft or Zoom when they believe it’s appropriate. The dual cameras are also suitable for voice and video chatting.

Second, the included case for the Fire HD 10 Kids Pro is still made for kids, but the Pro model comes with a slimmer version that’s friendlier for kids who have more control. Parents can also choose a bundle that adds a sleeve, headset, and screen protector for a more complete package of options.

If you’re on a tighter budget, the Fire HD 8 Kids Pro is still a great option, with a smaller 8-inch screen, 2GB RAM, and up to 12 hours of battery life, plus the same access to Kids+ content and the Amazon-run digital store for kids, all for $70.

Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Pro

Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Pro

The best tablet for 5- to 9-year-olds

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite

The best tablet for 10- to 12-year-olds

Pros

  • Not as “childish” as kid tablets
  • Capable and versatile
  • Long battery life
  • Multiple profiles for kids and adults

Cons

  • Limited storage options for media-loving kids
  • Parental controls may take time and effort to set up

Why you should buy this: Slim, stylish, powerful, and packed with useful features, this tablet will open up a world of possibilities for your kids.

Who it’s for: Older kids who need something more powerful.

Why we picked the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite:

As your kids head toward middle school, they’re going to want a more grown-up tablet, and they’re reaching an age where they can be trusted with it. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite could be ideal. It’s one of our favorite Android tablets because it’s very light and portable, it has a wonderfully sharp and colorful 10.4-inch screen, and boasts an impressive 11 hours of battery life. It’s also not limited, like Amazon’s offerings — you can enjoy the full range of Android apps and games on your Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite.

You can set up separate profiles for every family member since this is a tablet that adults will probably want to use as well. You can safeguard access with the fingerprint sensor. Samsung also offers a comprehensive Kids Mode, or if you want to install alternative parental controls, you’ll find a wealth of options in the Play Store.

This tablet will serve equally well for watching movies, gaming, reading, or even doing homework. It also has two speakers tuned by AKG with Dolby Atmos support, a decent 8-megapixel main camera and a 5MP front-facing camera, 64GB or 128GB storage, and a handy headphone jack — and it comes in a choice of gray, pink, or blue.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite will require a little more setup work than some of the others on our list. You’ll want to snag a case, set up profiles, and sort out your parental controls. It’s also more expensive, but it’s the kind of tablet that any middle schooler would be delighted to own.

Then again, you may have a good idea about just how your tween is likely to treat a new tablet and balk at spending several hundred dollars when responsibility is still coming in careful stages. If that’s the case, there are other options. We specifically recommend the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite as an alternative. It’s a very similar tablet as far as usability, with less storage space and a little less power for around $130 less than the Tab S6 Lite, making it a great choice for parents looking to save.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite

The best tablet for 10- to 12-year-olds

Apple iPad (2021)

Apple iPad (2021)

The best tablet for teens

Pros

  • Extremely capable
  • Vast range of apps and games
  • Long battery life
  • Great value

Cons

  • Definitely one for the older kids that can be trusted
  • On the more fragile side

Why you should buy this: A fantastic design, plenty of power, and the best tablet app library make this a truly tempting choice for teens.

Who it’s for: High school kids who want the best.

Why we picked the Apple iPad (2021):

Apple’s 9th-generation iPad is one of the best tablets available, with no real weaknesses, and it has everything your teen needs to work and play. Plus, it’s more affordable than the latest Air model. The slim tablet may look identical to last year’s iPad, with the same screen, but this time around, it boasts a more powerful A13 Bionic chip, ensuring it performs flawlessly while multitasking and gaming. Battery life is great, the camera is good — with the selfie camera upgraded to a 12MP ultrawide — and Apple’s Center Stage is included for selfies and video calls. What else? The new iPad has more storage space, available in 64GB or 256GB options, and it sports Touch ID, too.

For families already invested in the Apple ecosystem, this tablet makes a lot of sense and may even be something to look at for younger kids if you have the budget. You can use Family Sharing to give everyone access to any apps, books, movies, or music that you’ve purchased.

Apple’s parental controls, called restrictions, allow you to dictate what your child can access on the iPad, and you can restrict content by age rating. There are plenty of parental control apps if you want to maintain a tighter grip. There’s also support for the Apple Pencil, which could be ideal for the budding artist in your life, though you do have to buy it separately for $100.

If you want something that can serve as a laptop for your young student, and money is no object, then you might look at adding the Smart Keyboard for an extra $159. If your teen loves gaming, the best Apple Arcade games justify the $5 per month subscription.

However, if your kid is a teenager, there are a lot of great first or replacement tablet possibilities for you to explore. A Surface Go 2, for example, is a much more affordable alternative that offers a Windows interface over iOS (or upgrade for more power from the Surface Pro 7). On the other hand, if you want a tablet that can act even more like a laptop or desktop replacement, you may want to pair the excellent iPad Pro with a few choice accessories — but keep in mind that’s an expensive purchase.

Apple iPad 9th Generation (2021)

Apple iPad (2021)

The best tablet for teens

iPad Mini (2021)

Adam Doud/Digital Trends

iPad Mini (2021)

The best iPad for kids

Pros

  • Just as capable as the large iPads
  • Great battery life
  • Small size makes it easy to carry

Why you should buy this: It’s a smaller iPad fit for smaller people.

Who it’s for: Kids who are ready to upgrade to an adult tablet they’ll be able to use well into their teens.

Why we picked the iPad Mini (2021):

While the iPad is an excellent device, it’s a little larger for kids who are still growing and want a more accessible tablet for playing games. The new iPad Mini is an ideal alternative, offering most of the iPad benefits with a smaller 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display that’s more comfortable for kids and boasts improved clarity and vividness. The new iPad Mini is powered by the A15 Bionic, Apple’s latest chip, and with 4GB of RAM, this tablet can handle anything from serious multitasking to the latest games.

The battery’s a bit smaller than that in the 9th-gen iPad, but Apple promises all-day battery life. The 64GB model is fine for kids and helps keep the price down. It works with Bluetooth keyboards and the first-generation Apple Pencil if kids like drawing — and it’s likely to last for years if well taken care of.

On that note, we do advise that you pick out a durable case so that the various accidents of childhood don’t put the Mini out of commission early. Check out the best iPad Mini cases for your protective options.

Apple iPad Mini 6th Generation (2021)

iPad Mini (2021)

The best iPad for kids

Research and buying FAQ

What age is appropriate for a tablet?

There are a lot of opinions on this, and they vary considerably. A few general rules can help parents who aren’t sure what to aim for. First, a tablet often goes well with education. Is your kid at a level where access to a tablet could help them learn concepts or do research?

Second, technological exposure is so pervasive these days that learning how to use mobile devices shouldn’t be a concern no matter what devices your kids may have, so there’s not really anything akin to “starting them early.”

Third, many parents feel comfortable with a “family-owned” tablet device with proper protections that can be shared among everyone — something that helps maintain family time while still providing some tablet benefits. This is a flexible solution that can work for many years with the right ground rules.

Do kids even need a tablet?

Not necessarily. But a tablet does provide a useful way to play games and interact with learning apps and various journeys of discovery. The key is careful monitoring and diligently restricting screen time to make room for other healthy activities. Tablets may start to become especially useful as kids start moving up in grade school (this is also based on what their friends have and use, of course, but that’s a different issue). For older kids, everything that a tablet can do can usually be done on a smartphone as well, which may make a common-sense transition later on.

We generally recommend avoiding any kids’ tablet with its own operating system instead of Android, iOS, or Windows, especially tablets that have a cartridge system. There aren’t many built-in apps or games, so you have to fork over even more money to add entertainment to them.

Are kid-friendly tablets safe?

Kid-friendly tablets are about as safe as any other smartphone, computer, or laptop. Since all of these devices connect to the internet, your kid will also have access to social media, email, YouTube, and other websites and apps that are out there. It’s not possible to always sit next to your child and supervise their tablet usage, but you can see what they’re doing on the tablet without actually watching them. With parental controls, it’s possible to limit activities and app access as well as screen time to whatever purposes you feel are safe (more on this with the question below), as well as some monitoring options to see what your kids are doing.

For younger kids, the Leapfrog Epic has entirely contained ecosystems on proprietary platforms. This is probably the only option where it’s worth buying a separate platform that isn’t Android, iOS, or Windows because it’s limited to exclusive Leapfrog content appropriate for young children.

How do I kid-proof my existing tablet?

Amazon Fire tablets for kids are a perfect choice for this type of parental control. Amazon provides extensive parental control options and a kid’s plan designed for kid-focused content, making it an ideal option for younger kids. When your kid starts to grow out of those kinds of restrictions, you might want to get them a standard tablet and install third-party parental controls. We have an excellent guide to the best parental apps for mobile devices.

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