These are the best kids tablets you can buy right now. We've tested and reviewed 10 of the best tablets for kids and we'll explain what to look for when choosing a children's tablet.
New entries: Kurio Tab 2 and Amazon Fire
Best kids tablets: Price
The list you'll find below includes some relatively old tablets. That's because there isn't a massive amount of choice, and it's possible to pick up older tablets for a bargain now. Models such as the original Tesco Hudl cost £120 when launched in 2014, but you can buy a refurbished model from eBay for under £40 now. That's exceptional value for a proper Android tablet with the Google Play Store and all of Google's apps.
Tesco has also discontinued the excellent Hudl 2, but we've kept it at no. 2 in our chart because it's a fantastic kids' tablet. It's also fairly easy to find them for sale on ebay. Just don't get into a bidding war and pay over the odds. Remember, too, that they won't come with a warranty unless they explicitly state that they do (it won't be a Tesco warranty).
At the top end, you could buy your child an iPad for £319 (for the iPad mini 4) or even an iPad Air 2 for £399. The issue is that iPads don't have great parental controls. They're also quite fragile. But, they have the widest selection of apps and games, many of which are free. You can buy child-proof iPad cases, too, and disable Safari (to prevent web browsing) and restrict music, videos, apps and games to the appropriate age level.
Best kids tablets: design and features
You have a basic choice when it comes to choosing a tablet for your kids. You could go for a standard tablet intended for adult use and try to lock it down (or not) to ensure they don't see things in apps or online that you'd rather they didn't.
While we're in lecturing mode, we should also point out that parents should be keenly aware of the amount of screen time their kids are exposed to. For more on this see: How much screen time is healthy for children? Health risks of too much kid screen time.
The alternative to a standard tablet is one designed for use by kids. These tend to have a 'safe' web browser (or no internet access) and games and apps which are appropriate for kids. What they don't have is a wide choice of the latest games. The LeapPads, for example, are great tablets, but your kids might be frustrated when they can't get the same games or apps their friends have on Android or iPad.
A good in-between option is Amazon's range of Fire tablets. These are fully fledged tablets with a great feature called FreeTime. You can set up password-protected profiles so you can give each child access to only the books, games and apps you want them to see. Plus, you can set different time limits for reading and playing. The fact that the range starts from just £49 is why we think the Amazon Fire is one of the best choices for kids right now.
Plus, Amazon agrees. It has just brought out a Kids Edition of the £49 Fire for £99. We'll add the review to the chart below as soon as we can. (The previous generation review is there, though.)
Best kids tablets: specifications
It's best not to dwell too much on specs. They rarely tell you how good a kids' tablet is. What you should consider is battery life and screen size.
Many kids tablets last around half the time of an iPad - around five or six hours. They can, of course, use their tablet while it's charging, but it's worth avoiding any that don't charge over USB as this makes it awkward to power them on long car journeys.
Younger kids might struggle with a 10in tablet, which is why the Fire HD 6 is a good choice. Its 6in screen is just the right size for small hands.
If you want a bigger screen - or a proper Android tablet - then you do do a lot worse than the Tesco Hudl 2. This has a great 8.3in screen. It has great parental controls, and a child-friendly web browser. You'll probably want to budget for a case to protect these tablets, though, which will bump up the price a bit. (Tesco has now discontinued the Hudl 2, but it's worth tracking down if you can find one at a decent price on ebay or elsewhere.)
Rather than looking at processor speeds and RAM, read our reviews to find out if a tablet is fast enough to keep up with your kids. Gigahertz ratings aren't a helpful guide in this respect.
Storage can be important though. If the tablet you're considering has no micro-SD card slot, you won't be able to expand the internal storage. And with games, music, videos and apps using up quite a bit of space, it pays to get as much storage as you can. That's why a tablet with a card slot is so valuable. MicroSD cards are cheap and easily available.
See also: 28 best tablets you can buy in 2016.
13 best kids tablets 2016 UK: What's the best tablet for children?
12. Vtech Innotab 3S
- Reviewed on: 13 February 14
- RRP: £99.99
It may be a slow and potentially costly system, especially if you go down the cartridge route, but the children we gave it to really liked it. Kids eh?
Read our Vtech Innotab 3S review.
11. Apple iPad mini
- Reviewed on: 24 June 13
- RRP: Wi-Fi: £269 (16GB), £349 (32GB), £429 (64GB)
The iPad mini is a premium small tablet, with a price to match. It's a shame Apple couldn't have included a Retina screen and newer processor - expect the iPad mini 2 to get those updates when it launches later this year. This Wi-Fi only model also lacks GPS. It's not cheap by any stretch, especially if you want more storage spare or the 3G/4G cellular version, but it's great value compared to a full-size iPad. You can save a chunk by buying a Nexus 7, Nook HD or Kindle Fire HD, but if you must have an iDevice, it won't disappoint.
Read our Apple iPad mini review.
- Reviewed on: 14 December 14
- RRP: £109.99
The VTech InnoTab Max is best suited to children ages 3-6, and includes some fun, creative games plus an excellent messaging feature that kids love. The kid-safe web browsing needs some parental monitoring but is more expansive than rival Leapfrog's. We did find the InnoTab Max frustratingly slow to load, and the photo quality is as averagely poor as with all kids tech, but it's a good choice for a child's first computer. Check out the latest, best online prices: we've seen the InnoTab Max for under £55.
Read our VTech InnoTab Max review.
9. Tesco Hudl
- Reviewed on: 10 February 14
- RRP: £99 inc. VAT
The Tesco Hudl is a budget tablet with a nice design and good build quality. Key specifications are better than the price tag suggests such as the processor and good quality 7 in screen. A microSD card slot and Micro-HDMI port are two reasons to opt for the Hudl over Google and Amazon alternatives.
Read our Tesco Hudl review.
- Reviewed on: 6 October 14
- RRP: £89.99 inc. VAT
The specially built-for-kids LeapPad3 and LeapPad Ultra XDi are similar in specs and functionality. The larger, 7-inch, Ultra XDi has twice the storage as the 5-inch LeapPad 3 but younger children may prefer the 3's smaller size and weight. We think their upper-age range is six or seven rather than Leapfrog's claimed nine, but our eight-year-old tester still enjoyed her time with both. While the hardware is cheaper than normal tablets note that the software can be more expensive. The advantage of Leapfrog software is that, while not as cheap as normal mobile apps, it has been built by educational PhDs with both fun and learning in mind. With its white-list web browsing it's safer online than most adult tablets, although it's limited in its scope from that point of view. The LeapPads are bestsellers every year and the latest models build on an award-winning and popular formula without any huge leaps forward in terms of design or functionality. Check out the latest, best online prices: we've seen the LeapPad3 for under £50, and the Ultra XDi for £75.
Read our LeapPad3 and LeapPad Ultra XDi review.
- Reviewed on: 20 December 13
- RRP: £199 inc VAT
This is one of the better kids’ Android tablets we’ve seen but with a street price of £150, it’s not cheap. Yes, you get Android Jelly Bean and access to Google Play, but the sluggish performance and poor cameras combine with the missing user profiles and imperfect screen-time management to outweigh those advantages. The new Kindle Fire HD costs £119 (or £139 if you want 16GB of storage) and has a much better kids’ mode with user profiles and great screen-time management. The price doesn’t include a child-friendly case, but these are sure to appear now that the FreeTime feature has been added.
Read our Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Kids review.
- Reviewed on: 14 July 15
- RRP: £99.99 inc VAT
If you’re after a tablet for your kids – or grandkids – the LeapPad Platinum is a decent choice. It’s completely locked down, designed specifically for kids and therefore will withstand the odd knock or drop. Kids will love the pre-loaded content, which is generally good quality, but they’ll be asking for more apps before long, and the choice is much more limited than on an Android tablet or iPad. The best alternative is Amazon’s Fire HD 6 which is a better-specified tablet but doesn’t have a stylus or case. If you can stretch to £119.99, the Kids Edition of the HD 6 comes with a foam bumper case, a “worry-free” guarantee and a year’s subscription to Fire for Kids Unlimited, making it a good deal.
Read our LeapFrog LeapPad Platinum review.
- Reviewed on: 28 September 15
- RRP: £119.99 inc VAT
The updated software and interactive home screen are welcome, but the hardware is disappointing for the money. You don’t get many games included, and there’s limited educational value in what’s bundled. Amazon’s new £99 Kids Edition Fire tablet is arguably a better deal as it has better hardware, a better warranty (with accidental damage cover) and a year’s subscription to kids’ content thrown in.
Read our LeapFrog Epic review.
4. Kurio Tab 2
- Reviewed on: 3 November 15
- RRP: £99.99 inc VAT
The Tab 2 is almost great. It combines a proper Android tablet with child profiles and some decent apps. However, the software could be slicker and the screen better quality. It’s pretty good value if you can find it for under £80, though, but at the recommended £99, you’re better off with Amazon’s Fire Kid’s Edition which comes with a year’s subscription for Fire For Kids and a two-year warranty that covers accidental damage. It may lack Android and Google apps, but it has a much better screen.
Read our Kurio Tab 2 review.
- Reviewed on: 17 October 14
- RRP: £79 inc VAT (8GB); £99 inc VAT (16GB)
It isn't perfect, but the HD 6 is really good value. Performance is well above the level you'd expect at this price, as is the quality of the screen. Some might find the 6in screen too small, though, so it's worth trying to track one down before buying.
Read our Amazon Fire HD 6 review.
2. Tesco Hudl 2
- Reviewed on: 26 October 15
- RRP: £99 inc VAT
One of the best budget Android tablets to date, Tesco has done the unthinkable and stopped selling its Hudl 2. It's still a great deal where available, but be warned that many people are selling it at almost double its £99 price at Tesco - just because they can. If you can find one, and even with the complaints about charging and cracked screens, we can still recommend the Hudl 2. Tesco will continue to support its tablet, and the great screen, decent processor and microSD card slot make this an excellent tablet.
Read our Tesco Hudl 2 review.
1. Amazon Fire
- Reviewed on: 15 December 15
- RRP: £49 inc VAT
It's certainly not perfect, and the lack of Google apps will still put some people off, but the Fire is excellent value at under £50. The latest Fire OS is so Android-like that it's easy to use, and the Fire for Kids app makes it possible to limit what you kids can do and how long they can use the tablet. There are some sore points: the poor cameras, the sluggish performance at times, and the long charging time. But at this price it's hard to complain. And you certainly won't find a better tablet for the same money.
Read our Amazon Fire review.