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. Also see: Best new tablets coming in 2016.

Best kids tablets: buying guide

Age appropriate

The best tablet for your child will depend on their age. LeapFrog and VTech make tablets which are well suited to young children from around 3-6. When kids reach around 6 or 7, they no longer want what they see as a 'toddler's tablet' and will start asking for something a bit more grown up.

They'll no doubt already know what a 'proper' tablet should be like because they've borrowed your iPad or Android tablet. That's one reason we've included the iPad mini 2 in this list: it's a lot cheaper now than when it first launched, but it remains the most expensive option here. If an iPad becomes available as a hand-me-down, that's great: your child will be over the moon even with an old one. 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, and disable Safari (to prevent web browsing) and restrict music, videos, apps and games to the appropriate age level, so they're actually quite a good choice for kids.

Where's the Tesco Hudl?

Aside from VTech and LeapFrog, there isn't a massive amount of choice for kids' tablets. Tesco has discontinued the excellent Hudl 2, and since it's almost impossible to find now, even on ebay, we've had to remove it from the list below. Samsung never made a successor to the Galaxy Tab 3 Kids, which is a shame as it was a good - if overpriced - tablet for little ones.

This leaves only Amazon, which sells a Kids Edition version of its £49 Fire tablet. It costs twice that price, but includes a foam case, a two-year warranty that covers accidental damage, plus a year's subscription to Fire for Kids which gives them access to a fairly good range of apps, games, videos and books. Parental controls are also excellent.

Best kids tablets: How to choose

If you're not going for one of the options we've already mentioned, you'll have to go for a standard tablet (probably running Android) intended for adult use. Then you'll have to lock it down (or not) to ensure they don't see things in apps or online that you'd rather they didn't. Also see: How much screen time is healthy for children?

The advantages of a specially designed kids' tablet include a 'safe' web browser (or no internet access) and games and pre-loaded apps which are appropriate for kids. What they don't tend to 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.

And that's why we rate Amazon's range of Fire tablets. These are fully fledged tablets with a great feature called Fire for Kids (even those which aren't specifically the Kids Edition). 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.

Specifications

It's best not to dwell too much on specs. They rarely tell you how good a kids' tablet is. Two things you should consider are 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 Amazon Fire is a good choice all round. Its 7in screen is just the right size for small hands.

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.

A third important aspect is storage. If the tablet you're considering has no micro-SD card slot, you'll have to start deleting apps, music, photos and more when the internal storage is full. It pays to get as much storage as you can, but it's still important to have a microSD slot. Memory cards are cheap and even if a tablet doesn't let you install apps on it, you can still use it for photos, videos and music.

See also: 28 best tablets you can buy in 2016.

9 best kids tablets 2016 UK: What's the best tablet for children?

1. Amazon Fire

Amazon Fire
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 26 April 16
  • RRP: £49.99 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. For some people it's well worth paying double for the Kids Edition version as you get the bumper case and the great warranty. 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.

2. Amazon Fire HD 6

Amazon Fire HD 6
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • 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.

3. Kurio Tab 2

Kurio Tab 2
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • 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.

4. Amazon Fire HD 8

Amazon Fire HD 8
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 2 June 16
  • RRP: HD 8 from £129.99 inc VAT ($149.99), HD 10 from £169.99 inc VAT ($229.99)

Unless you’re reading this review because you’ve spotted the HD 8 or HD 10 in a sale, they’re not great value at full price. They’re fine for casual users and once you’ve got to grips with the interface, they’re pleasant to use and have some useful features – especially for kids. Performance could be better, but it’s good enough for most people, as is the screen – despite the relatively low resolution. The lack of Google apps will put off some, as will the sheer amount of advertising throughout, but Amazon customers – particularly those who subscribe to Prime services will find it all quite useful. However, unless you really need a bigger screen, the 7in Fire is much better value at only £49

Read our Amazon Fire HD 8 review.

5. LeapFrog Epic

LeapFrog Epic
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • 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.

6. LeapFrog LeapPad Platinum

LeapFrog LeapPad Platinum
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • 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.

7. iPad mini 2

iPad mini 2
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 16 December 13
  • RRP: £239 inc. VAT

The iPad mini with Retina display is a fabulous tablet. The screen is excellent and more than worth the minimal weight gain. Performance is also excellent, and the 64-bit processor makes this much more future-proof than the original iPad mini. The higher price (compared to the original cost of the iPad mini) may be frustrating, but it’s arguably better value than the iPad Air as well as being more portable. If you can afford it, you won’t be disappointed.

Read our iPad mini 2 review.

8. LeapPad3 and LeapPad Ultra XDi

LeapPad3 and LeapPad Ultra XDi
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • 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.

9. VTech InnoTab Max

VTech InnoTab Max
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • 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.