/>
X
Why you can trust ZDNet ZDNet independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNet Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNet's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNet nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNet's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.

Close

The 5 best tablets for kids: Not just for entertainment

What is the best tablet for kids? The iPad is ZDNet's top choice, but that doesn't mean there aren't alternative kids tablets that don't come close. I compared pricing, display size, and battery life and leveraged my own personal experience testing and watching kids with tablets to come up with this guide on the five best tablets for children.
jason-cipriani-author.jpg
Written by Jason Cipriani, Contributing Writer on
Reviewed by Elyse Betters Picaro

Tablets are a multipurpose gadget that has quickly become an indispensable tool for many. It doesn't matter if you've replaced your laptop with an iPad Pro, or you're using a tablet as you note and sketch pad with a dedicated stylus, tablets can handle it all. Another area where tablets have excelled is with kids. Not only are tablets a staple in most classrooms, but they're also a great education and entertainment tool for kids at home. 

Parents are naturally hesitant to spend hundreds of dollars on a device that their kid(s) will surely put its ruggedness to the test. But the good news is, you don't have to spend a fortune to get a decent tablet that offers plenty of educational content, with a healthy side of entertainment options. 

Below you'll find a selection of tablets that are best for kids in 2022, starting with my top pick: Apple's iPad. 

iPad (ninth generation) | best kids tablet
Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Display: 10.2-inch Retina display | Processor: A13 Bionic | Storage: 64GB or 256GB | Biometrics: Touch ID | Colors: Silver, space gray | Cameras: 8MP rear, 1080p video. 12MP FaceTime camera with Center Stage | Weight: 1.07 pounds | Dimensions: 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.29 inches | Connections: 3.5mm headphone jack, Lightning port | Battery life: 10 hours

You might be thinking Didn't he just admit that parents don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on a tablet? And you're right. I did. But hear me out. From its release until now, Apple's iPad is unmatched in the value it provides for the price. The entry-level iPad I've featured here is commonly on sale for around $300, down from its standard price of $329. I agree, it's a lot of money to trust a young child with, but there are plenty of rugged cases to protect your investment. 

Apple's iPad is easy to use, has best in class performance and has thousands of accessories and apps to enhance the experience. On top of wide industry support, you're getting a lot of tech in exchange for the asking price. The 10.2-inch display looks clear and sharp, and the cameras can be used for FaceTime calls or used for augmented-reality apps to help your child learn more about their surroundings. 

The iPad can be paired with a keyboard and Apple's Pencil, further expanding its functionality. You don't have to buy Apple's dedicated keyboard for the tablet — any Bluetooth keyboard will work. 

Read the review: Apple iPad (2021) review

Pros

  • Solid performance backed with long battery life
  • App support for days
  • Wide education adoption

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Accessories add up, too
  • Storage limited to 64GB or 256GB
Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition
Image: Amazon

Display: 7-inch display | Processor: Quad-core 2.0GHz | Storage: 16GB or 32GB | Memory: 2GB | Colors: Blue, purple or red | Cameras: 2MP rear and 2MP front-facing camera | Weight: 15.1 ounces pounds | Dimensions: 6.4 x 7.9 x 1.1 inches | Connections: 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C port | Battery life: 10 hours

Amazon just refreshed the Fire 7 tablet with a faster processor, longer battery life and a USB-C port. The price of the base Fire 7 tablet went up from $49.99 to $59.99 in the process, but it's still an extremely affordable tablet that's perfect for young kids to use and abuse. 

In fact, if you opt for the Kids Edition that I've highlighted here, the price does go up to $109, but for that you get a two-year worry-free guarantee. If something happens to the tablet — your toddler throws it off the couch and the screen cracks, for example — Amazon will replace it, no questions asked. On top of the replacement plan, you'll get a protective case and a year subscription to Amazon Kids+ which provides parental controls and access to age-appropriate apps, games, books and videos. 

The Fire 7 isn't the fastest tablet. It's actually pretty slow, at times. But it's more than capable of doing exactly what it's designed to do, which is to provide a basic and affordable tablet experience for all ages. The refreshed Fire 7 tablet is available to order right now, as a stand-alone tablet or as part of the Kids Edition bundle. But it won't ship until the end of June.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Kids Edition has a lot of perks
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Performance will be an issue
  • Amazon's Appstore is hit or miss
Amazon Fire HD 10
Image: Amazon

Display: 10.1-inch display | Processor: Octa-core 2.0GHz | Storage: 32GB or 64GB | Memory: 3GB | Colors: Black, denim, lavendar, olive | Cameras: 5MP rear and 2MP front-facing camera | Weight: 16.4 ounces | Dimensions: 9.73 x 6.53 x 0.36 inches | Connections: 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C port | Battery life: 12 hours

The Fire HD 10 is another one of Amazon's tablets that combine affordability with versatility. With the 10.1-inch display, you're getting a lot more screen without adding a lot to the overall cost. The Kids Edition version of the Fire HD 10 comes with all of the same perks as the Fire 7 Kids Edition, including a protective case, a two-year worry-free guarantee, and a year subscription to Amazon Kids+. You can get the Fire HD 10 Kids Edition for $199, or pick up the standard Fire HD 10 for $149. 

Either way, you get Amazon's largest tablet with a 1080p display. It has a USB-C port for faster charging, and up to 12 hours of battery life. Performance isn't going to be on par with an iPad, but in my experience testing, it's better than the Fire 7. If your child is older and needs more of a laptop-like experience, Amazon sells a productivity bundle that includes a Bluetooth keyboard designed specifically for Fire HD 10. 

Amazon's Appstore has a respectable list of apps available, with staples like Zoom, Microsoft 365 apps and Facebook readily available. But you won't find any of Google's apps listed due to Fire OS, the operating system all Fire tablets run, not being certified by Google. 

Read the review: Fire HD 10 review

Pros

  • Larger, better-looking display
  • Battery life
  • Still affordable

Cons

  • Performance is good, not great
  • Amazon's Appstore is hit or miss
Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite
Image: Samsung

Display: 8.7-inch display | Processor: MediaTek MT8768T | Storage: 32GB | Colors: Gray | Cameras: 8MP rear, 1080p video. 2MP front | Weight: 13 ounces | Dimensions: 8.37 x 4.91 x 0.31 inches | Connections: 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C | Battery life: 10 hours

If you'd rather have a true Android tablet with full Google support, then look no further than the Galaxy Tab A7 Lite. Samsung's low-end tablet has an 8.7-inch display, 32GB of storage and runs Android 11 out of the box. That means you or your kids will have access to the Play Store, which comes with access to YouTube or YouTube Kids. 

The Tab A7 Lite, like the Fire tablets, isn't going to impress you with performance, but it's going to be more than capable of streaming shows, playing child-friendly games or even used as an eReader. 

You can expand the 32GB of storage via the microSD card, which is a nice feature to have that in turn keeps the overall cost low. 

Read: Samsung launches Galaxy Tab S7 FE, Galaxy Tab A7 Lite

Pros

  • Full Android support
  • MicroSD Card Support
  • Under $200

Cons

  • Performance 
  • Battery life 
  • Display is just okay
Lenovo Tab P11 Plus
Image: Lenovo

Display: 11-inch display | Processor: MediaTek Helio G90T | Storage: 64GB or 128GB | Memory: 4GB or 6GB | Colors: Slate grey | Cameras: 8MP front and 13MP rear | Weight: 1.1lbs | Dimensions: 10.2 by 6.4 by 0.3 inches | Connections: USB-C, microSD | Battery:  Up to 15 hours

Lenovo's Tab P11 Plus is a great looking tablet that's not overly expensive, and has battery life that will keep your child entertained for hours. It has an 11-inch 2K display that looks fantastic, and it runs Android 11 out of the box. 

My favorite part about the Tab P11 Plus is its battery life. Lenovo touts up to 15 hours of video streaming, and my tests have confirmed that's accurate. 

One downside to the Tab P11 Plus is that it lacks a headphone jack, so if you want to keep your kids cartoons or games quiet, you'll have to invest in some sort of kid-friendly Bluetooth headphones. 

Read the review: Lenovo Tab P11 Plus review

Pros

  • Long battery life
  • Full Android
  • Great display

Cons

  • Keyboard not included 
  • Performance 
  • Cameras

What is the best tablet for kids?

Apple's base iPad is the best tablet for kids that money can buy. It offers the complete package of performance, battery life, app availability and widespread accessory support. 

Kids tablet

Price

Display size

Battery life

Apple iPad

$329

10.2-inches

10-hours

Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition

$109

7-inch

10-hours

Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition

$199

10.1-inch

12-hours

Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite

$129

8.7-inch

10-hours

Lenovo Tab P11 Plus 

$259

11-inch

15-hours

Which is the right tablet for your kid?

Picking the right kids tablet for you comes down to a couple of questions you need to ask yourself. First and foremost you need to have a set budget in mind. Once you know a dollar amount you're willing to spend, then you can begin to narrow down or widen your search. After you know your budget, you'll need to decide if you want a tablet that's made by a specific company. 

Choose this kids tablet…

If you need...

Apple iPad

The best all-around tablet your kid can grow with

Amazon Fire 7

A tablet that is cheap

Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite

An Android tablet that has access to the full Play Store 

Lenovo Tab P11 Plus

A tablet with long battery life

Amazon Fire HD 10

An affordable tablet with a large display

How did we choose these tablets for kids?

I've used an iPad as some form of a laptop replacement since the original iPad was released. Because I've constantly had a tablet on hand, my kids naturally grew up using the same devices I did. Over the years, I've been fortunate enough to test every tablet on this list plus many more that aren't. 

The list of my five picks comes from my personal experience testing and, more importantly, watching my own kids test these very tablets. I've reviewed all of these tablets in some form for various outlets, and have read more reviews about these tablets than I want to admit. 

I tried to limit the choices to devices that are affordable, or in the case of the iPad, has a tradeoff that makes the higher price tag worth the cost. 

Should I pay for insurance for my kids' tablet?

It's not a bad idea to get some sort of protection plan for any of your gadgets, but especially when it comes to a tablet you're giving to a young child. If you opt for one of Amazon's Kids Edition tablets then it comes with a two-year protection plan included in the price, with no deductible to replace a broken device. Apple Care and Asurion also offer protection plans for the iPad or tablets from competing manufacturers, respectively. 

How do I video call on an Amazon Fire tablet?

There is a front-facing camera on all Fire tablets, allowing you to video call using the Zoom app that's available in the Amazon Appstore, free of charge. Alternatively, you can also use the Alexa app to video call other Fire tablets or Echo Show devices. 

Can my kids use YouTube on Amazon's Fire tablets?

Not officially. Amazon customizes the base version of Android and turns it into Fire OS, forgoing any sort of Google certification in order to make Google's apps available on the tablets. So you won't find the official YouTube app available in the Appstore, but you can use Amazon's Silk browser to access the YouTube website or try any of the unofficial apps to gain access to the video platform. 

Are there alternative tablets for kids worth considering?

Absolutely. While I limited the list of options to five up above, there are countless other tablets available that are sure to be a good fit for your budget and child. For example, Apple's iPad Mini is smaller than the standard iPad and easier for a young child to hold and manage. However, it's a lot more expensive. The Surface Go 3 and the Chromebook duet are both solid options as well, but run full operating systems in the form of Windows 11 or Chrome OS, respectively, making them more geared towards older kids who are familiar with using a computer. 

Related

Best early Amazon Prime Day 2022 deals on tablets
Amazon Kindle - Basic with Back Light

Best early Amazon Prime Day 2022 deals on tablets

Tablets
The 5 best outdoor cooking gifts for dad in 2022
Placeholder product image alt text

The 5 best outdoor cooking gifts for dad in 2022

Yard & Outdoors
The 5 best credit cards for online shopping in 2022
Best Credit Card for Online Shopping

The 5 best credit cards for online shopping in 2022

Credit Cards