Shopping for one of the best tablets for kids in 2020? We don't blame you, they are the ultimate 'quiet time' weapon, and as useful for education as they are for entertainment. You'll know that if you’ve ever tried to pry an iPad or Amazon Fire Tablet from a four-year-old's fingers. Tablets for children have another marvellous benefit, which is they're not your tablet, so that remains safe and intact.
The good news is that there's never been a better time to buy a tablet for your child, and you don't need to spend as much money as you might think. If you're not sure which tablet to buy, then read on, because we have the answers.
What is the best tablet for kids?
Our favourite tablet for kids at the moment is the Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition thanks to its combination of usability and a very cheap price. More details on this great all-rounder tablet for children can be viewed below.
How to choose the best kids' tablet for your child
Our priorities are very different when we're buying for children of course. Processing power matters much less than parental controls and long battery life, and exterior design doesn’t matter when it's going to spend all its time in a protective case, covered in crumbs.
For younger children we think parental control options are paramount: it's all too easy for a child to stumble upon content that's utterly inappropriate on popular sites such as YouTube.
If you’re considering an Apple, Android or Amazon (rebranded Android) tablet then the choice of apps isn't an issue, but with proprietary tablets the selection is much more limited and sometimes much more expensive.
It's worth thinking about what your child is likely to want in a year from now, not just today: a child that's quite happy with Peppa Pig clips now may well be a proficient platform gamer just months later. A tablet that can't grow with your child is a tablet that'll end up gathering dust.
Without any further ado let's find the best tablets for children of all ages.
Our pick of the best tablets for kids to buy today
1. Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition
Incredible value for money, but never pay the full price
Reasons to buy
The Fire 7 Kids Edition is currently £99.99, but don't pay that: Amazon seems to cut its price for every sales promotion from Prime Day and Black Friday to We Haven't Had A Sales Event For Two Weeks Day. At nearly £100 it's good value; at nearer £70 it's a steal. We have two in the house, and they're in constant use.
What makes the Fire 7 so good isn't just the price, it's the Amazon ecosystem. It comes with a year of Amazon Fire for Kids, which means your children can download tons of apps and content from the likes of Disney without paying anything. The parental controls are excellent and the provided case is nice and tough (and in the unlikely event that you break the case, Amazon will send you a new one for free).
2. Apple iPad
The latest grown-up iPad is great for children and teenagers too, but as it’s Apple it’ll cost you
Reasons to buy
At £319 the iPad isn't cheap – you can buy three Kindle Fires for the same cash – but it’s hands down the best tablet for anybody of any age unless you want to spend even more on an iPad Pro. Apple's family sharing makes it easy to manage kids' apps and subscriptions, the already decent parental controls will get a massive upgrade with the imminent iOS 12, and if your child is older and studying or about to study at university you can get an educational discount.
£319 sounds like a lot, but it's actually £80 less than the iPad Mini. That has more storage but the bigger iPad is more powerful, and we can't think of many reasons to want a smaller, more expensive iPad when the normal one is so good.
One thing the iPad isn't is tough. Our resident 4-year-old scratched our iPad's supposedly tough glass in seconds, and we've lost track of the smashed iPad screens we've had over the years. Replacing iPad screens isn't cheap and the results are often disappointing, so a really good, child-proof case isn't an optional extra: it's essential.
3. ASUS ZenPad 3S 10
Require a kid-friendly device with adult performance features? This tablet gives you the best of both worlds
Reasons to buy
Why purchase a device for the adults and a device for the children when the Asus ZenPad 3S 10 is great for both? Unlike the first two products in this list, we wouldn’t call this device particularly 'kiddified'.
It doesn't come with a protective case and it doesn't come with any parental controls or child-friendly apps installed. So why is it on our list of the best tablets for kids? The good thing is, the installation of these functions is perfectly possible with the Android platform. And with the hi-res display, your children won't have any complaints when watching their wonderful programs in the back of the car either!
This is a great tablet for children who don't want their kids spending hours in front of tech as you can completely control what goes on it and it has the added bonus of Mum and Dad being able to use it when the little nippers are in bed.
4. Apple iPad Mini 2019
Is your mini-me hankering after an iPad Mini? Find out why it’s not a bad shout after all
Reasons to buy
Now that Apple has remembered about the iPad Mini, it's actually a decent device for those with small hands who want a bit of premium hardware to play around with. The A12 Bionic chip inside this 7.9-inch tablet is going to cope with everything your kids can throw at it and then some.
This being Apple, it's expensive of course – this is going to cost you significantly more than an Amazon tablet, but then you might consider the extra software slickness and choice of apps worth the outlay.
It really depends how old your kids are and exactly what they want to do with their tablet, but if they're more about video watching and app usage and less about scribbling with crayon all over their devices, the new iPad Mini is worth a look.
5. Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition
How about the most upgraded version of the Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablet?
Reasons to buy
The HD 8 is an inch larger diagonally than the HD 7, and it doubles the internal storage, ups the speakers from mono to stereo with Dolby Atmos support and gets another 4 hours of its battery. As with the 7, don't pay the RRP: wait for Amazon to discount it.
It also offers 4 more hours of battery life to give 12 hours in total – great if you're planning on a long-haul trip to Disneyland in the near future! As an added bonus, the screen is a higher resolution, which means if you want to take it away for half an hour (good luck with that!) to catch up with your own telly, you can do so without compromising on picture quality.
As with the Amazon Fire 7, parental controls and a year of Fire For Kids Unlimited is included too. If your kids have already got a tablet and you are looking to upgrade, this feature-rich option is a great buy.
6. 7-inch Kids Tablet PC Ainol Q88 Android 4.4
If you know your kids are gonna wreck the device in 5 mins, give this cheapie a go.
Reasons to buy
It may be the cheapest on our list but in terms of what you get for your money, it's a very good-value buy. Coming with its own coloured case, this 7" kids tablet arrives primed and ready to be dropped and drooled over while providing children with a safe and controlled platform on which to access their favourite apps, videos and programs.
It comes with 8GB of available storage and a further 64GB is available to purchase if necessary. As mentioned, it is a little basic when it comes to resolution and performance power, but it's more than adequate for the kids. If you have younger children and you've been toying with the idea of getting them a tablet, try this one.