What are the best tablets for kids?
There’s no shortage of tablets aimed at children, but should you grab a cheap one, or hold out for a more multi-purpose (and more expensive) model, is the question.
Kids’ tablets tend to be lower spec, and therefore cheaper (and less powerful), than ones aimed at grown-ups, so while they may work well for a while, they have something of a limited lifespan.
We’ve rated and ranked the best kids’ tablets you can buy, which we have summarised for you below. Each of the tablets below has been rigorously tested, and you can read the full review via the link against each of the following, if you scroll further.
- Best overall: Apple iPad Mini 2
- Best durable tablet: Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition
- Best viewing experience: Amazon Fire 10 HD Kids Edition
- Best value: Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition
- Best for versatility: Kurio Smart
- Best for younger kids: LeapFrog Epic
If you can afford it iPad Mini 2 is the best overall kids’ tablet and one of a select few that’ll remain useful as they get older. If you’re on a tighter budget the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is a durable tablet full of features. Find out more below.
How we test kids’ tablets
Every kids’ tablet we test goes through our standard set of benchmark, screen and battery tests. All the tablets are then given to a child (or children) in the target age bracket, which inevitably gives it a much better durability test than we ever could. The kids use that tablet day to day for at least two weeks, ensuring it gets past the novelty period, any issues are discovered, and all real-world uses are explored.
Related: Best tablet 2020
1. iPad Mini 2
- Great screen (for a kids tablet)
- Premium design
- Good battery life
- More expensive than the competition
- Lack of Touch ID
The iPad Mini 2 may not be the newest tiny tablet from Apple, but it’s still worth considering given its flexibility and size.
The Apple tablet is however an expensive investment and it’s not exactly built to be thrown all over the place, but if you invest in a decent tough case like the iSpeck iGuy it can be made kid-friendly. If you have a little extra cash to burn, it’s also got a decent stock of toy add-ons, like the educational OSMO starter kit.
The iPad Mini 2’s iOS operating system also has a host of parental features that actually make the iPad Mini more suitable to hand over to your kids. You will be able to restrict the Safari web browser from showing adult content and the ability to install apps. Additionally, you can disable access to explicit content if you don’t want them to listen to music, podcasts with rude words or more adult-themed TV shows. And there are settings than enable parents to manage their kids’ overall screen time, or time on specific apps.
With access to the App Store there’s a wealth of child-friendly games, apps and ebooks to buy and download. If you can afford to spend a little more, the iPad Mini is a tablet both parents and children can use, though it’s probably better suited to slightly older children.
Read our full iPad Mini 2 review
2. Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition
- Tons of top-quality content
- 2-year no-quibble warranty
- Sturdy case
- Good battery life
- No screen protector
- No offline video viewing
Amazon once again makes the best dedicated tablet for kids, adding a sturdy bumper case and lots of content to its Fire HD 8 slate. Buy this tablet and you’ll not only get an impressive 12-hour battery, decent 8-inch display and 32GB of storage, but also a 12-month subscription to the Fire For Kids service that packs in books and TV shows aimed at children.
We’d have liked to see an included screen-protector along with that bumper case, though, and none of the Fire For Kids video can be stored offline. Still, this is an excellent tablet.
Read our full Fire HD 8 Kids Edition review
3. Amazon Fire 10 HD Kids Edition
Best viewing experience
- Great screen
- Dedicated kids software
- Durable case
- Could be too large for some kids
- Only available in 32GB
Like other Fire Kids Edition tablets this is pretty much just a normal Fire tablet packaged alongside a durable case and a few software tweaks. It has the same 1080×1200 10.1-inch panel, 32GB storage and plastic build as the standard model.
What Amazon has added is a rubbery protective case in either blue or pink and a year of access to its dedicated Prime for Kids service, which lets your children download, watch and play age-appropriate content from Amazon’s vast library.
Read our full Amazon Fire 10 HD Kids Edition review
4. Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition
- Rugged case
- Masses of children’s content
- Great no-quibble 2-year warranty
- Can’t watch video offline
- Battery life could be better
- No screen protector
We reviewed the Amazon Fire 7 tablet and were pretty impressed. The tablet is cheap, compact and offers reasonable – if not stellar – performance.
With the Kids Edition, Amazon has bundled the original tablet with a chunky blue or pink case, access to Fire For Kids Unlimited content store and, most importantly, a two-year accidental damage warranty.
It’s an all-in-one package for which you pay a premium but it’s definitely worth the money if this will be your children’s primary entertainment device.
The tablet has a 7-inch, 1024×600 IPS screen, which is good enough for most content – although we did find reading smaller text a bit of a chore. Battery life is only OK: you can expect around eight hours of modest usage, although this will halve if you’re playing a game.
The Fire for Kids app is excellent, with a store full of content that you can trust will be suitable for children under eight years old. Here you can also set time limits on certain activities. If you want to encourage your child to read, for example, you set a target for the amount of time spent reading.
You get a full year of access to the store, after which it will cost £3.99 per month if you don’t have Amazon Prime, or £1.99 per month if you do. This can be changed to a set of four children for £7.99 and £4.99 respectively.
As far as one-stop-shops go, the Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition is a terrific choice, but it is undoubtedly expensive.
Read our full Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition review
5. Kurio Smart
Best for versatility
- Detachable keyboard
- Runs on Windows 10
- Free year of Office 365
- Motion sensor
- Below average camera resolutions
- No USB Port
The Kurio Smart breaks the trend for children’s tablets, taking the form of a Windows 10-powered slate with a detachable keyboard. Arguably it offers the best compromise of any tablet on our list, being as adept at work as it is for play.
Design-wise this tablet is distinctive, with bright blue and white plastic featuring heavily. When it comes to features, though, it’s basic. Neither the tablet nor the dock include a full-size USB port. On the plus side, there is an HDMI connector, for doing homework on a larger screen.
The built-in screen has a 1280×800 pixel resolution and while this shows itself in a bright panel with responsive touch controls, it will prove frustratingly low for anyone with ambitions of multi-tasking.
It isn’t particularly powerful either. The quad-core Intel Atom processor will be pushed to its limits with only a few web browser tabs and open applications, but it will easily handle a few basic games and meet most children’s needs.
Battery life is excellent; in long-term testing with a child who uses it every day, we’ve found it lasts between six and seven hours on a single charge, although you should still carry the power supply with you when possible.
Read our full Kurio Smart review
6. LeapFrog Epic
Best for younger kids
- Perfect size for small hands
- Squarely aimed at the youngest tablet users
- LeapSearch browser offers expert curated pages
- Enables multiple user profiles
- No accidental damage cover included
- Screen quality could be better
- Pricey own-brand apps
The LeapFrog Epic is ideal for children under five. It offers a robust design and a very simple, Android-powered user interface. It’s basic, though, so its lifespan will be limited, both in terms of it entertaining a child beyond a certain age and its technical capabilities too.
First-party LeapFrog apps are available for the device, but these are quite expensive and we actually found that side-loading the Amazon Appstore was a better bet with this device.
The 7-inch screen has a resolution of just 1,024×600. This is incredibly low, and the actual quality of the panel isn’t great either, displaying fairly muted colours.
On the plus side, is the ability to create multiple user profiles for several children – something that became a standard part of Android tablets a couple of years ago.
With five hours of battery life, it will easily see younger children through only one sitting, but we’d advice regularly charging it anyway.
Read our full LeapFrog Epic review
How to buy the right kids’ tablet
The children’s tablet market isn’t huge, so picking a slate that’s right for your child is actually fairly difficult. While some manufacturers have started to market budget tablets as child-friendly, and other brands pitch products directly at children, they don’t always offer the best deal.
To help any parent on the market for a kid-friendly tablet, we’ve sifted through the top-rated tablets to bring you six options that are sure to delight any child.
Aside from cost, the primary criteria for choosing a kids’ tablet should be its build quality. Not only does it need to have a decent chassis surrounded by a slightly rugged material, but an official, IP-certified splash-proof rating – such as IP52 – will be a welcome addition too.