Don't trust your little one with your new iPad Pro? Why not buy a tablet designed just for them?
The best kids’ tablets are a great way of introducing your little one to technology. It’s not just another source of entertainment: a tablet can expand your child’s world, giving them access to thousands of apps designed to make education both fun and enriching. From language learning and science quizzes to spelling puzzles and “edutainment” games, the app market is awash with programs designed to delight and educate your child – and give you some peace and quiet.
READ NEXT: The best laptops for kids
But which tablet is the best for your child? There are all sorts of child-centric devices on the market these days, and it can be a daunting task to choose the best tablet for your little ones. Don’t worry: we’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to. Below, you’ll find our regularly updated list of the best kids’ tablets you can buy, from cheap and cheerful devices to high-priced iPads for your child’s school journey. Whatever your budget, you’ll find something here that fits your child’s needs.
How does Expert Reviews test kids’ tablets?
Starting out, testing kids’ tablets is exactly the same as testing any tablet. We usually begin by testing CPU and GPU processing power by downloading the Geekbench and GFXBench applications from the Google Play, Apple App Store or Amazon Appstore. These tests provide us with benchmark results that allow us to accurately compare the tablets’ performance to the competition.
Next up, we use DisplayCal software and a display colorimeter to test the quality of the display. Here, we record how accurately the display reproduces colours, the strength of both contrast and black level, as well as maximum brightness. For the battery life, we set the tablet to aeroplane mode and lock the brightness at a set point to ensure consistency. We then run our standard looping video and note the timecode at which the battery finally died.
Beyond these general tests, we look at what kind of child-friendly features and design approaches have been implemented, noting things like non-toxic and drop-resistance cases or included subscriptions to kids’ services. Finally, we look at the parental controls offered by the tablet, specifically to what degree parents are given control over the content their child has access to, and how easy the dashboard is to navigate.
How to choose the best tablet for your child
What can my child use their tablet for?
Just like regular tablets, children’s tablets come with a wide selection of apps, games and educational resources. The exact choice of apps available will depend on the operating system but can include everything from music-making programs and creative skill-builders to digital painting and language learning, and new apps are becoming available all the time.
When should I buy my child a tablet?
There are tablets suitable for children as young as primary school age, but only you can judge when your child is ready to handle a tablet – and, most importantly, when you feel comfortable giving them one. Some tablets are designed to grow with your child as they get older, adapting to their changing wants and needs. The latter will set you back more but will be worth the investment if it saves you buying a brand new tablet a year or two down the line.
Is it safe to give my child a tablet?
As technology keeps advancing, cyber threats have never been more common. The good news is that tablets are generally much safer than mobile phones or laptops, so they’re the best first piece of technology for small hands.
The tablets we’ve chosen all include features designed to keep little ones safe and include parental controls for added peace of mind. Even the least tech-savvy parents can be confident that their child won’t get into trouble online.
What else do I need to look out for?
Tablets aren’t cheap, and durability is crucial. The best kids’ tablets are designed to withstand any drops, bumps and falls, so you don’t need to worry too much about damage, but if you’re still worried, a specially designed case will protect your child’s tablet even more.
Consider storage, too: a bigger capacity will add to the price, but it means you can install more apps – without having to constantly clear out old ones to free up space – and may even extend the lifetime of the tablet.
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The best tablets for kids
1. Amazon Fire HD 10 (2021) Kids’ Edition: Best kids’ tablet you can buy
Price when reviewed: £210 | Check price at Amazon
Amazon’s latest big-screened childrens’ tablet is its best yet. The screen is 2in larger than the Fire HD 8 Kids’ Edition, it’s thinner and lighter than the previous model and the 1,200p resolution display is 10% brighter, too. It also comes with a bit more RAM (3GB) and supports Dolby Atmos Audio.
You’re paying a bit more for the kids’ version of the Fire HD 10, but that extra cash comes with a kid-proof case (with kickstand), a two-year worry-free guarantee that covers accidental damage and a 12-month Fire for Kids Unlimited subscription, which offers thousands of hours worth of entertaining and educational content across videos, games, apps and ebooks. It also comes with 32GB of storage – although if your child needs more space, it also supports microSD cards up to 512GB in capacity.
Read our full Amazon Fire HD 10 (2021) review for more details
Key specs – Screen Size:10.1in ; Operating System: Fire OS ; RAM: 3GB; Storage: 32GB (expandable up to 512GB via microSD); Camera: 2MP; Weight: 716g
2. Apple iPad 10.2in (2021): Best Apple tablet for your kids
Price when reviewed: £319 | Check price at John Lewis
It may not be the latest in Apple’s range, but the 2021 10.2in iPad is still a fantastic tablet, and it’s much cheaper than its 2022 successor. It’s fast enough for pretty much anything your little one cares to throw at it, with a hexa-core A13 Bionic chip. Software-wise, the tablet is upgradable to the newest iPadOS version, so you can benefit from all the latest features for enhancing the desktop-replacement experience.
If you go down that road, the iPad also works really well as a cheap(ish) laptop, too. All you need is one of Apple’s Smart keyboards (or any cheaper alternative) and you’ve got yourself a thin and light improvised notebook with a fantastic high-resolution 10.2in display and outstanding battery life – perfect for homework.
Read our full Apple iPad 10.2 (2021) review for more details
Key specs – Screen Size: 10.2in; Operating System: iPad OS; RAM: 3GB; Storage: 64GB; Camera: 8MP; Weight: 487g
3. Amazon Fire 7 Kids’ Edition: Best cheap kids’ tablet
Price when reviewed: £115 | Check price at Amazon
If you’re put off by the price of the Amazon Fire 10 tablet at the top of this list, then let me offer a much cheaper solution. Simply put, the cheapest (and still usable) tablet you can buy these days is Amazon’s 7in Fire tablet. It’s not the prettiest of devices, and it certainly doesn’t perform as well as some of the Apple tablets on this list, but for a fraction of the price, you really can’t do much better.
Like the more expensive 10in model, the Fire 7 Kids’ Edition comes with a bumper case, two-year guarantee, added parental controls and one year of Fire for Kids Unlimited with a selection of apps, games and videos for your little ones. If your child is a bit older, and perhaps less accident-prone, then you can pick up the regular model for only £65.
Read our full Amazon Fire 7 review for more details
Key specs – Screen Size: 7in; Operating System: Fire OS; RAM: 2GB; Storage: 16GB; Camera: 2MP; Weight: 429g
4. Apple iPad mini 6 (2021): Best Apple tablet for smaller hands
Price when reviewed: £549 | Check price at Amazon
It may be quite a bit more expensive than the rest of this list, but Apple’s sixth-gen iPad mini is the definitive mini-tablet. It’s got a gorgeous anti-reflection IPS display with a stunning 1,488 x 2,266 resolution for crystal clear images. The design style and build quality of the latest iPad mini are, as always, impeccable. That said, you’ll probably want to invest in the optional folio case to add a bit of protection against accidental drops.
The small screen size makes it ideal for little hands, and at a mere 293g it’s ultra-portable too. The ultimate companion for children on long car journeys, it can be packed full of games, learning apps, and ebooks. If you’ve got Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, you’ll have 64GB worth of storage to download your child’s favourite kids’ shows and movies for offline viewing.
Read our full iPad mini 5 (2021) review for more details
Key specs – Screen Size: 8.3in; Operating System: iPadOS; RAM: 4GB; Storage: 64GB; Camera: 12MP; Weight: 293g
5. Amazon Fire HD 8 (2022) Kid’s Edition: Another great-value Amazon tablet
Price when reviewed: £150 | Check price at Amazon
Amazon’s newest tablet, the Fire HD 8, is perhaps its most well-rounded offering yet. With a faster processor, more RAM, an extended battery life and quicker USB-C charging, the new Fire HD 8 is a remarkable step-up from its predecessor, which struggled to earn a recommendation last time around. Still, it’s largely similar to the other Amazon tablets on this list and while the Fire HD 10 has a bigger screen and the Fire HD 7 is quite a bit cheaper, it doesn’t quite sit at the front of the pack on this occasion.
Regardless, if your child is after a tablet with an 8in screen, the most up-to-date internals and software that’s simple to use, then the Fire HD 8 is still a remarkable choice. If you’re tempted by the new “Plus” model, I would suggest saving your money and buying the regular variant instead – the more expensive version merely adds extra RAM and wireless charging.
Read our full Amazon Fire HD 8 (2022) review for more details
Key specs – Screen Size: 8in; Operating System: Fire OS; RAM: 2GB; Storage: 32GB or 64GB; Camera: 2MP; Weight: 355g
6. Apple iPad Pro 9.7in (refurbished)
Price when reviewed: From £153 | Check price at Backmarket
If the above iPads are a bit out of your buying budget, and you’re keen to stick with Apple’s ever-popular tablet range, then it might be worth looking at buying a refurbished device instead. It’s getting a bit long in the tooth, but the iPad Pro 9.7in (originally released in 2016) now offers the perfect blend of affordability and features – pair it with a keyboard and you have a makeshift laptop, too.
Miraculously, it’s also still completely up to date when it comes to Apple’s own tablet software, iPadOS, too. Match Apple’s slick operating system with the still rather nippy A9X processor, and you’re looking at a real bargain if you buy secondhand.
Read our full iPad Pro 9.7in review for more details
Key specs – Screen Size: 8in; Operating System: iPadOS; RAM: 2GB; Storage: 32GB, 128GB or 256GB; Camera: 12MP; Weight: 437g