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 skyrocket your iTunes bill, 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.

Apple iPad mini 2 (BUY)

Why splurge on the $399 iPad mini 4, when you can pick up the mini 2 for just $269? 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.

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.

Amazon Fire Kids Edition (BUY)

Amazon's new 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 $99. 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.

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 ($150) 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.

LeapFrog Epic (BUY)

The 7-inch LeapFrog Epic tablet gives kids an interactive virtual world as a UI and 31 free fun, educational games. Wrapped in a protective bumper, this slate is a little on the heavy side, and it's sluggish performance may teach kids a lesson in patience. However, the Epic lasts longer than competing kids tablets, so you won't have to charge it as often.

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 $200 Galaxy 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 HD 6 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.    

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 Nook (New & Notable)

The Galaxy Tab S2 Nook takes the already great, Android tablet Samsung made and adds Barnes & Noble impressive parental controls. You can also set up profiles for each family member and get easy access to the booksellers 4 million e-books, as well as videos, apps and games. That's particularly good for kids because B&N features a huge library of enhanced children's books.

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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
  • 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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