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Which is the best iPad for kids this holiday season?

Your kids need the right tools to grow up comfortable with advanced technology. The best iPads for kids can nurture your child's passions, whether they're big or small.
Written by Lena Borrelli, Contributing Writer on
Reviewed by Emery Wright

iPads are one of Apple's most popular devices today, merging advanced technology with easy usability that keeps us coming back again and again. iPads come in many forms and a variety of models that evolve from one year to the next. It can be hard to tell them apart, much less decide which one to buy.

That's where we come in. We studied the specs and features of each iPad to find the very best iPad for your child. If you are in the market for a new kid's tablet, these are the top iPads you can gift your child this holiday season. 

Also: What are the best phones for kids and which location tracking?

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Extra-long battery life
  • Different colors
  • Reliable performance
Cons
  • Price increase from previous model
  • Need dongle to charge Apple Pencil
More Details

Tech Specs: Screen size: 10.9 inches | Capacity: 64 GB, 256 GB | Colors: Blue, pink, silver, yellow

We still consider the original iPad as the best overall iPad for kids. Available with 64 gigabytes of memory, you get a 10.9-inch screen that offers great visibility. The excellent Liquid Retina display offers a resolution of 2360 x 1640 pixels, and it incorporates Apple's True Tone technology. There are both front and back cameras for excellent photography, plus the extra safety of Touch ID to secure your personal data. It is compatible with Wi-Fi 6 and works with both the Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard Folio for extra convenience.

Read more: Apple iPad reviews

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • M1 processor
  • Great battery
  • Sharp images
Cons
  • Too little storage in base model
  • More expensive
More Details

Tech Specs: Screen size: 10.9 inches  | Capacity: 64 GB, 256 GB | Colors: Space gray, blue, pink, purple, starlight

The iPad Air is Apple's most lightweight iPad model, so it's easy to carry and transport. Plus, it doesn't sacrifice on quality or abundance of features. It packs the same memory as other iPad models, offering a choice of 64 or 256 gigabytes. 

The 10.9-inch Liquid Retina screen uses True Tone and has a display resolution of 2360 x 1640 pixels, just like the flagship iPad. The iPad Air features the Apple M1 chip for fast processing, front and rear cameras for all your photography needs, as well as an anti-reflective coating for consistent visibility.

Read the review: Apple iPad Air review

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Reliable performance
  • Great for travel
  • Long battery life
Cons
  • Pricey
  • Awkward button placement
More Details

Tech Specs: Screen size: 8.3-inch | Capacity: 64 GB, 256 GB | Colors: Space gray, pink, purple, starlight

If you want the smallest iPad available, the iPad Mini is for you. With an 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display, it's the perfect size for little hands that need something more compact to handle. Memory options remain the same, but this model also incorporates an A15 Bionic chip and Touch ID for better performance. For your display, you also receive a display resolution of 2266 x 1488 pixels, and sound is excellent with landscape stereo speakers.

Read the review: iPad Mini review

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • M2 chip
  • Apple Pencil feature
  • Excellent display
Cons
  • Mediocre front camera
  • Most expensive
More Details

Tech Specs: Screen size: 12.9 inches | Capacity: 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB | Colors: Space gray, silver

The iPad Pro is Apple's most powerful iPad, so it's a great fit for older children. It employs the Apple M1 chip for super-fast processing. It has a 12.9-inch display, making it the biggest iPad, and it boasts professional-level cameras and a LiDAR scanner for easy content management. The all-day battery life helps your children complete their tasks without trouble, and they have the option of connecting to an Apple Pencil for easier navigation. 

Read the review: iPad Pro review

What is the best iPad for kids?

We love the original iPad as the best iPad for kids. It's the most affordable model, and it comes with a medium-sized screen that's easy to manage and see. 

This is how the original iPad compares to the other iPad models.

Best iPad for kids

Starting cost

Display size

Colors

iPad

$449

10.9 inches

Blue, pink, silver, yellow

iPad Air

$599

10.9 inches

Space gray, blue, pink, purple, starlight

iPad Mini

$459

8.3 inches

Space gray, pink, purple, starlight

iPad Pro

$799

12.9 inches

Space gray, silver

Which is the right iPad for kids for your family?

Here we offer our expert recommendations to help you find your family's best iPad for kids. 

Choose this iPad for kids...

If you want...

iPad

A well-rounded tablet for the whole family

iPad Air

To splurge for a lightweight tablet

iPad Mini

The perfect device for little hands

iPad Pro

An advanced iPad for older kids

How did we choose these iPads for kids?

In search of the best iPads for kids, we considered several factors.

  • Screen size: Older children that work with multiple windows and use their iPad regularly may need a larger screen size than smaller children. Consider which size would be most comfortable for your child's intended use. 
  • Age: Your child's age can affect your decision, too. Some children may be fine with younger screens, but you may find that the smaller screens are not sufficient for your older children. Keep in mind your child's age when choosing the best iPad for kids.
  • Cost: For the most part, Apple offers set pricing for its products, although we included lower prices when available. 

What is an iPad?

The iPad is a device created by Apple. It is basically Apple's version of a tablet with a touchscreen and signature features like the M1 chip and Touch ID. 

How many iPad models are there?

There are four iPad models: The original iPad, the iPad Mini, the iPad Pro, and the iPad Air. 

How much does an iPad cost?

An iPad ranges in cost from $449 to $799 but can cost more, depending on the options you choose. 

Are there alternative tablets for kids worth considering?

Apple isn't the only company producing high-quality tablets suitable for children. In searching for the best tablets for kids, we also found these great options from Amazon, Samsung, and Lenovo that may be worth your consideration.

You can also check out our review on the best tablets, the best computers, and the best laptops, if you need more shopping advice this year.

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