The Best Tablets for KidsBy Nick Schmiedicker
When it comes to finding the right tablet for your kid it's hardly even a competition. If you want the best one, you should get the (available at Amazon). It's affordable, comes packed with features that are great for education and play, and has an absolutely killer 2-year damage guarantee policy that nets you a free replacement, no questions asked.
That doesn't mean there aren't participation trophies to hand out. We researched over 20 tablets to pick the best, which is good news if Amazon doesn't quite match what you're looking for. Just be careful: a cheap tablet can cost you hundreds of dollars in extra content if you're not careful.
While we strongly recommend the Fire, there are other great options out there. Each of our finalists come with a protective bumper case, feature robust parental controls, and have some small offering of pre-installed apps and games for kids. But only one can be the best.
Editor's Note Since publication, Amazon has released a new version of our top pick, the All-New Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet for $99.99. We'll update our rankings as soon as we get a unit in for review.
Updated July 19, 2017
Amazon Fire Kids EditionBest Overall Best Value
While it doesn't have the same brand association as, say, LeapFrog or PBS Kids, Amazon has gone above and beyond to make sure the Fire Tablet for Kids has everything parents and kids could be looking for.
It has a kid-proof case to protect against drops and bumps and whatever else a kid might do. And believe me, I tried tossing it around myself; it really works. The parental controls are robust and let you control your child's screen time. You can set daily limits, or even set educational goals that will block access to games and cartoons until your kid spends some time learning new things.
Which ties into the Fire for Kid's killer app: Amazon FreeTime. You'll get 1 year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited when you buy the tablet. (After that it's $2.99 a month for a single child if you're a Prime member.) It's a subscription for kids (ages 3-12) with thousands of kid-friendly books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games. Better yet, they all come from brands like Disney, Nickelodeon, Sesame Street, PBS Kids, and more.
But far and away, the best feature that's unique to the Fire Tablet for Kids is the 2-year worry-free guarantee. Doesn't matter if your kids are destructive, messy, or both. If the tablet breaks, Amazon will replace it for free—no questions asked. Ideally, you'll never need the replacement, but let's be real—it's good to have. Add it all up, and the Fire is easily the best tablet for your kids.
LeapFrog makes a mind-boggling number of tablets, and the Epic is the top one. It's also the only one with the features that can go toe-to-toe with the impressive Fire Tablet for Kids: a bumper case, pre-installed educational software, and extensive parental controls. So what else is there to make the Epic worth a purchase?
For starters, there's "Just for Me Learning." An intuitive software that personalizes games and apps based on right or wrong answers in the educational games. Rather than a neat tray of icons, the customizable home screen is an interactive world filled with animated characters, weather, and prompts for learning games. It's a nice touch that makes the Epic truly feel like it was designed for kids first.
These features aren't revolutionary, but they are a great way to make sure your kids actually use the tablet you buy for them. Still, the Epic costs a lot more than the Fire and lacks the worry-free guarantee.
PBS KIDS Playtime Pad
As far as educational content goes, the tablet from PBS Kids has it where it counts. It comes preloaded with 25 educational games and 120 PBS Kids video clips, songs, and music videos. And if that's not enough, the tablet also has access to the Google Play Store where you can find even more great content for your kids.
It's a great all-around tablet, with direct access to a plenty of material that your kids will be familiar with, like Daniel Tiger and The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! If you want something cheaper than the Fire, I'd highly recommend taking a look at the PBS Kids Playtime Pad. You might not get a free replacement guarantee, but it's still an amazing value.
Samsung Galaxy Tab E Lite Kids Edition
The Samsung Galaxy Tab E-Lite Kids Edition is similar to the other tablets I checked out, but it doesn't really bring anything new to the table. It has the bumper case to help with inevitable drops, parental controls to help limit content, okay battery life, and a healthy selection of apps and games.
The biggest difference is the three-month subscription to Samsung Kids, a service filled with educational content from DreamWorks Animation, Sesame Street, National Geographic, and others. Unfortunately, that just doesn't stack up to the 1-year free membership for Amazon FreeTime—especially when you factor in the tablet itself is about $30 more expensive.
NeuTab Kids Tablet
There's a reason the NeuTab is the cheapest option on our list (at the time of publishing), there just isn't much going on here. It has some of the basic features of other tablets on our list, but nothing that impressive. It also runs on an older version of Android, so you can expect slow load times for everything and it has limited storage capacity.
I know the low price tag is tempting and your toddler might not notice how slow it takes for a game to load. But anything you get for your kids tablet, you're going to have to deal with, too. So, do yourself a favor: Spend a little bit more and make both your life and your child's life easier.