Kids Tablets to Buy (or Avoid)

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Tablets are great for keeping children entertained for hours, but you can't simply hand your new iPad off to Junior and hope for the best. If not monitored properly, your little one could accidentally buy a lot of expensive media and apps, or stumble upon a minefield of inappropriate online content. Fortunately, there are tons of kid-friendly tablets on the market that offer robust parental controls, age-appropriate apps and oftentimes a durable rubber frame that will survive your toddler's slippery hands.

Some kids tablets offer the type of premium performance that mom and dad have come to expect, while others are best left in timeout. After playing with just about every children's slate out there, here are the ones you should buy and avoid.

Amazon Fire Kids Edition (BUY)

Amazon's Fire Kids Edition bundles the company's 7-inch budget tablet with a new protective bumper and a year's subscription to Amazon's FreeTime Unlimited for just $89 for the 8GB model or $99 for the 16GB version (recommended). FreeTime Unlimited gives you more than 10,000 books, videos, educational apps and games curated for children. Plus, a two-year guarantee promises to replace your Fire HD if your child destroys the tablet.

Apple iPad mini 2 (BUY)

Why splurge on the $399 iPad mini 4, when you can pick up the mini 2 for just $246? Given that the only real differences between the two are the gold color option and the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, that's a great price. Otherwise, your little one will be able to enjoy the same robust app and game selection; sharp Retina display; and long battery life. You can put the extra dough you’ll save toward content and a sturdy case.

Fisher Price Learning Tablet (New and Noteable)

Built by Fisher-Price in partnership with nabi, two leading names in educational toys and tablets, the Learning Tablet comes complete with 35 apps and games that are designed to help children 3 and up learn. The preloaded content includes Storybook Rhymes volumes 1 to 6, Wings Learning System and a slew of videos that help kids get familiar with shapes, numbers, letters and phonics. The Android-powered, 7-inch slate also includes full access to the Google Play store and 16GB of storage.

Amazon Fire HD 6 Kids (BUY)

With its long-lasting battery (8 hours and 40 minutes), fast performance and best-in-class parental controls, the Amazon Fire HD 6 Kids Edition ($119) makes a good case for its slightly premium in price. The tablet comes with Amazon's confidence-inspiring warranty, which offers two years of no-questions-asked returns, as well as a year of access to Amazon FreeTime Unlimited for kid-friendly content.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8-inch (BUY)

If you want to treat your little one to one of the most jaw-dropping tablet displays on the market, Samsung's Galaxy Tab S2 (8-inch) is worth a look. This tablet's 8-inch, 2048 x 1536-pixel display is ideal for cozy movie nights, and the slate's robust Kids' Mode ensures that all content your child gets his or her hands on is age appropriate. The Tab S2 8-inch can run you up to $400, but its premium price brings with it one of the best screens on any tablet.

VTech InnoTab Max (Avoid)

At first glance you might not know the VTech InnoTab Max is a tablet to avoid. But if you pick it up and spend any time with it you'll notice the cheap construction, sluggish performance and low-resolution 7-inch display. The camera quality is poor and the promised 6 hours of battery life is shorter than the average tablet. Plus, the kid-friendly content is expensive and limited. Only get this for a kid you'd ordinarily give a lump of coal.

Fuhu Nabi DreamTab (AVOID)

Fuhu typically delivers some of the best kids' tablets on the market, but its new Fuhu Nabi DreamTab needs a bit of refinement before it's ready for your youngster. While the Dreamworks-themed DreamTab sports the robust parental controls, fast performance and kid-safe design Fuhu is known for, the tablet has a disappointingly short battery life (less than 6 hours) and is cluttered with too many apps that do the same thing. Unless your kid absolutely swears by characters like Shrek and Kung-Fu Panda, you're better off sticking with Fuhu's more solid Nabi 2. 

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 Kids (AVOID)

Samsung's $249Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 Kids tablet has all the makings of a solid children's slate, but the competition simply does things better. While the tablet's colorful design and equally colorful interface will catch Junior's eye, the device's sub-HD display and lack of a kid-friendly browser are a bit disappointing. If you're seeking something equally colorful inside and out, you're better off with the Amazon Fire Kids' Edition.


LeapFrog LeapPad Platinum (AVOID)

From a purely educational standpoint, the LeapFrog LeapPad Platinum isn't the worst tablet around. However, your children won't have access to as much content as they would if they were on a more full-fledged tablet. This device also suffers from short battery life, a low-resolution display and sluggish performance.

Kurio Xtreme 2 (AVOID)

A $100 tablet with a grippy bumper, motion-controlled games and a handful of educational apps sounds nice on paper, but the Kurio Xtreme 2 has too many asterisks holding it back. The device's parental controls are OK, but they're missing a setting to stop Junior from making in-app purchases. The tablet also has a relatively dim display, and its performance is sluggish compared to most other tablets.    

Author Bio
Henry T. Casey
Henry T. Casey,
After graduating from Bard College a B.A. in Literature, Henry T. Casey worked in publishing and product development at Rizzoli and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, respectively. Henry joined Tom's Guide and LAPTOP having written for The Content Strategist, Tech Radar and Patek Philippe International Magazine. He divides his free time between going to live concerts, listening to too many podcasts, and mastering his cold brew coffee process. Content rules everything around him.
Henry T. Casey, on
Add a comment
  • Mike T. Says:

    Dear god people. He's only recommending what he thinks is the best tablet for your kid. He doesn't control how much they charge for them, and what does it matter when you go out and spend $2000 in a laptop from Apple. Don;t drink the Apple kool-aid and just buy the Amazon Fire tablet for your kid. It's by far the best deal and best tablet on the chart.

  • ryan j Says: would honestly give a young child a $300 ipad?? what are they going to do with it?! or the full on android samsung?? everyone simply ignore the 1st 2 ad-sponsored entries. start with #3 = #1 and read down. *sigh* ... ads

  • GirlMom Says:

    We have the Leap Pad Epic and had the Platinum. My now 5 year old is still happy with it for the most part. She gets a little impatient at times as it is sluggish, but it keeps her entertained for the time allowed to play with electronics. I've also heard the Kids Kindle is great from a mom of a 2 year old so I will be looking into whether that would be something for her to transition into once she's outgrown the LeapPad. I agree with most comments and would not spend more than $100 on a kids tablet.

  • Wendy Says:

    The leappad epic seemed like a really good deal. All the leappad, educational days along with android aps! Made to survive kids! Sounds great. Unfortunately, the charger port stops working after a few months time. Bought one for each of my kids (2). Had to send one back for a replacement because it stopped being able to talk to a computer. ALL THREE stop having a tight fit on the USB port after about a month or so, meaning that when you plug it in to charge, the charger is loose and wiggling in the port. Which then means that the tablet isn't charging. You have to find the "sweet spot" which can take forever, and then the slightest movement will lose it and you have to start all over. Very frustrating. Currently looking for a more reliable tablet.

  • LilyT Says:

    I had a Kurio and I liked so I disagree😐

  • Trish Says:

    My sister in law bought my 17 month old a funtab powered by android and I HATE it! I want something better. For his age do you think the fire is ok?

  • Keasha Says:

    Cool think you can give me a free one I need a cool kid learning tablet for for my 9 year old she what's one pleas

  • Roy l Says:

    If you're in the UK look at the jellipad. It's a great little tablet for kids, my son loves it and it doesn't break the bank like an ipad!

  • Naomi Sawyer Says:

    I purchased a tablet for my Granddaughter and she will not put it down... WE love this tablet so much we have to buy all our Grandchildren on for their birthdays

  • ricki jigs Says:

    i've been doing a lot of looking about an the high end tabs are the best .. the cheaper ones are slow u can't really do much with them .. my little one is about to turn 3 an its a iPad air 2 or tab s2 for her. gonna but a smash case for it an she can only have limited time on it so i can't see it getting damage .. the amount of second hand cheap tabs on ebay an gumtree tell u its a waste of money to get the cheaper one cas its limited an they try to sell it an upgrade . just stop being cheap ass's .... u get what u pay for ... same with everything unless u can't afford thats fine..

  • Tootles Says:

    You're not recommending kids' tablets here, you're recommending parents' tablets. What youngster cares if a display is HD or not, or if it's running the latest version of Android, or whatever?

    I sure as hell wouldn't spend hundreds on a tablet for any child of mine. It would be broken in no time - be better off giving them an A13 *if* they really think they need one.

    But here's the big thing: kids don't need tablets. They need air and exercise and books. Giving a child a tablet is just a way of trying to shut them up, and that's not good parenting at all.

  • 90866 Says:

    Why do you recommend samsung tablets i own one but i made a experiment which processor is fast i tried the ipad but it was faster than the samsung tablet and its battery life sucks and has problems charging because i always have to charge the tablet on the wall like a mountain

  • Christopher Says:

    So pretty much anything other than Android I'm guessing. Apple fan boys shouldn't be aloud to give reviews. Thanks for wasting my time because I don't have $200 to spend on my kids tablet. Smh. Try expanding your horizons buddy.

  • Kaitlyn Says:

    Kind of feeling like the author's not really interested in helping us so much as grabbing a quick buck from ad-rev.

    A pretty disappointing waste of time.

  • Teresa Says:

    So basically you recommend us to buy adult tablets for our kids.... Very insightful.

  • Koallo Says:

    How much did Amazon pay you for these reviews?

  • Momof3 Says:

    I got the clicknkids tablets it's not the newest one but my kids love them. They are not on here but they are well worth the $70 I paid. You can use a memory card in them and they have where you can set time limits and a program that is only kids and can have more than one kids profile. The nice thing is you can go to the adult section too and everything is password protected and the kids can not play games or get on the Internet without you allowing it. You can pick games to put on their profile and that's all they can do and for the kids just learning to read or need a little help it comes preloaded with a looney tunes phonics game. My 3 year old and 11 yr old love theirs and my 1 yr old likes using it to. I like that I can set a limit to how long they can play.

  • Marian Says:

    I am looķing for a child's tablet my gran son US onelý 3 he got a odreny for christmass he don't like it he eater the ph he can get his progems up Much easer onely he has ti have pration on his hip one leger shoter he has preys deas his hip has wore awry and he won't be allowed the ph in hosptal I just if he bad one it would help as he w/o t be abel get around and that won't suit I dot have a lot as I am atting a nother hosptiaĺ and he has sisters have have a nny thing tat might ë suit pleas

  • MissEm Says:

    Not very helpful, considering, I don't even have a $300 tablet, let alone buy one that expensive for my child! How about something in the $100 range? What's a real pain in butt, is they do not you wether you can use a wifi hotspot, bc if you take your tablet out of the home, which is when we use ours the most, is that the kid tablets are preprogrammed and you can'taccess tthe permission page, and if u can't access the permission page, you can not access your wifi outside of your own home, so it'sbasically no use to us, bc he rarely uses it at home

  • JUNIOR Says:

    What about the leapfrog EPIC 7.. You missed that 1.. I heard it was great but its not on this list..

  • Melissa Kennedy Says:

    I don't have children but I would like to get my niece a tablet for Christmas. She is 12 at the moment. My problem is that a lot of the tablets for kids are pictured with very young children. Are they good for older children or will she think it's for babies?

  • JoanL Says:

    Pretty unhelpful article, at least for my needs. I'm looking for something for my 11 year old granddaughter. She wants to design on a pad and needs word processing help as well.

  • Nikki Says:

    Looking for an inexpensive tablet for my 3 year old, something for him to have fun & learn. All you pushed were expensive tablets & their hd display, web browsers? Not helpful at all, sorry.

  • Amanda Says:

    I was looking for advice on a tablet that I could "child proof" for an older kid. This article did not answer that question at all.

  • Andrea Says:

    No Mention made of the Leap Frog 2 tablets.What is your opinion for a 5 year old?

  • MaryHS Says:

    This article needed to mention word-processing abilities. My 4th grader's teacher has them composing on a computer so it doubles as typing practice. But there's no computer at after-care.
    Which of these actually lets kids WORK?

  • W. A. L. Says:

    Amazon fire HD kids review inaccurate. The $99 version is NOT the HD version at all the 7 inch kids fire HD is different in many aspects so not sure which was reviewed

  • Tablet 4 Kids Says:

    What an interesting advice. will definitely refer to this in the future

  • Elisabeth Says:

    my 4 and 6 y/o grandkids play on our phones all the time or Mario on Wii. can they play anything that interesting on the new kindle fire? I can not figure this out. am 71 and not tech savy. any help would be appreciated. thanks

  • Denise Says:

    I'm sorry but I'm a bit confused. At the top you say you wouldn't want to hand your IPad to your child and hope for the best but yet the ones you suggest to buy are the expensive tablets I wouldn't hand over and why is it all the kids tablets on here are listed as avoid?

  • Michael Says:

    My son was very indifferent about the tablet we got for him. He ended up continuing to ask to play on mine and my wife's phones. We ended up getting him his own and that worked out really well for him. is a good place to get one.

  • lulu Says:

    No mention of the beast the Nexus 7? Better than all of these and for way less.

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