The Best Phones for Kids in 2023

Find the perfect smartphone for your child

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For better or worse, kids are embracing technology from a young age. If you’re thinking about purchasing a phone for your child, it’s a big decision—while you want them to be able to contact you at any time, having a phone is also a big responsibility. 

Luckily, several phones cater to kids, giving parents a reliable and affordable option for their children. The best phones for kids should be durable but easy to use, especially for younger kids. 


Best Mini Smartphone

Unihertz Jelly Pro Phone

Unihertz Jelly Pro

Courtesy of AliExpress

What We Like
  • Inexpensive

  • Small and compact

  • Simple design that's easy for kids to navigate

What We Don't Like
  • Shorter battery life

  • Tiny size also makes it easier to lose

The Unihertz Jelly Pro is billed as the smallest 4G-enabled smartphone in the world, but it's also a perfect beginner device. It's just slightly larger than a pack of gum, which might be inconvenient for adults, but small hands are sure to love the fun size of this phone. The touchscreen is receptive, and the buttons fit well into kids' hands. Despite its small size, the phone still offers fast performance and everything you'd want in a kid-friendly smartphone. Thanks to 4G support, kids can enjoy quick texting and downloads from major networks. 

It's simple to use for texts, calls, or downloading apps from the Google Play Store, but it also stands out for its music. With its portable size and 16GB of built-in memory, there's plenty of space for downloading all your favorite songs. With the included Bluetooth, you can also pair the phone with wireless headphones. However, it's worth mentioning that the battery life isn't as long as some of the other models reviewed here, so you might find yourself frequently reminding your kids to plug in their chargers before bed.

Screen Size: 2.45 inches | Resolution: 240 x 432 | Processor: Quad Core 1.1GHz | Camera: Dual 8MP and 2MP | Battery Life: 12 hours

Best Wearable

Gizmo Watch 2

4.9
Gizmo Watch 2

Verizon

What We Like
  • Supports calls and texts for up to ten programmed contacts

  • Water-resistant

  • Bright, simple display screen

What We Don't Like
  • No Wi-Fi connectivity

  • Only compatible with Verizon

If you're looking for a way for your child to keep in touch but don't think they're ready for a phone, the GizmoWatch 2 is a fantastic alternative. The GizmoWatch is a smartwatch linked to Verizon's 4G LTE network, which parents can use to program ten trusted contacts or 20 for messaging. Kids can then call or text their contacts straight from the watch, with the eye able to handle incoming and outgoing calls. There's no Wi-Fi connectivity, but since this watch is aimed at younger kids, that's probably a good thing.

The comfortable and durable watch is available in both pink and blue, with a colorful screen that's easy to use. The watch is waterproof, making it great for active kids. Parents will also enjoy the parental controls and safety features, which include a GPS locator and ongoing reminders. These are set up via the companion app parents use on their phones.

As a bonus, the GizmoWatch 2 is also a fitness tracker, where parents can create rewards when kids meet their step goals. Kids have about four days' worth of battery life per charge.

Screen Size: 1.4 inches | Resolution: 300 x 300 | Processor: Quad-core 1.2GHz | Battery Life: 96 hours

Best Value

Google Pixel 4a

4.5
The Pixel 4a is our pick for best value Android.

Amazon

What We Like
  • Excellent camera

  • Great OLED screen

  • Solid performance

  • All-day battery

  • Incredible value

What We Don't Like
  • No 5G

  • Bland design

The Google Pixel 4a is one of the best value phones you can get for kids. It comes at an affordable price while offering fast performance, an attractive screen, and a battery that lasts all day. The camera is also great, allowing your child to snap great shots with minimal effort. The long-lasting battery will help you keep tabs on your child without worrying about them running out of juice. The phone works on most major carriers and offers speed connectivity even though it doesn't come with 5G. It's enough to keep your child connected without spending too much.

Screen Size: 5.81 inches | Resolution: 2340x1080 | Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G | Camera: 12.2MP rear and 8MP front | Battery: 3,140mAh

What to Look for in a Phone for Kids

We’ve reviewed the best phones for kids, considering the price, internet access, size, features, and battery life. Our picks encompass many features and functions based on your budget or how much autonomy you want to give the young ones in your life. Plenty of guides are available on setting effective online boundaries for your kids, and buying one of the best phones for kids can make all the difference when trying to meter their screen time.

Wearable

Consider a wearable phone explicitly designed for kids if you have a younger child. Since these phones are worn like watches, young children are less likely to lose them. Most wearable phones can only send and receive calls from pre-approved numbers, so you don’t have to worry about whom your kid is talking to when you aren’t around.

Battery Life

Unless you want to remind your kid to plug their phone in every night, a decent battery is critical. Look for a phone that supports fast charging over USB-C, too—if it’s within the budget. When just a few minutes of charging can add hours of battery life, you never have to worry about being unable to contact your kid.

Feature Phones vs. Smartphones

Feature phones are less expensive than smartphones and can help insulate your kid from problems like cyberbullying via apps. Some feature phones include built-in MP3 players and FM radios if you want your kid to have some entertainment options. If you go with a smartphone, familiarize yourself with the available parental controls first.

About Our Experts

Katie Dundas is a freelance journalist focusing on smartphones, photography, and Apple products.

Andrew Hayward is a Chicago-based reviewer specializing in reviewing phones, tablets, and other mobile devices and has reviewed hundreds of phones to help give you the best recommendations.

FAQ
  • When should kids get their first phone?

    Surveys have shown that average parents are getting kids their first phone around ten years of age. However, many parents prefer to wait until their children are older, such as when they start high school or learn to drive. It’s a personal choice for you and your family to make.

  • Should you give your kids a smartphone?

    This is a personal decision, as internet access means kids can potentially be exposed to about anything. However, kids need to learn how to use the internet safely, so weigh the pros and cons. If you’re going to let your children have internet access on their phones, consider installing parental blockers and regularly talking to them about the importance of internet safety.

  • Can you install parental controls on your child’s phone?

    Many phones designed for children to use come with specific apps and parental controls that you can use to monitor your child’s location, who they communicate with, and what information they can access. If your child has a smartphone, it’s possible to limit access to adult content, but know that children always have a way of finding things they shouldn’t—make sure you talk to your child often about internet safety. You may also want to look at our roundup of the best parental control routers to keep your home network child safe.

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