The 8 Best Camcorders for Kids in 2019

Keep your children entertained with these great video cameras

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The Rundown

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Panasonic HC-V770 HD Camcorder

Panasonic HC-V770 HD Camcorder
Courtesy of Amazon.com
4.2

This camcorder from Panasonic is a little pricier than most other options on the list, but the extra investment pays huge dividends in quality. It has more professional features, meaning your children can use it for their projects and you can borrow it to record a wedding or professional event. The professional quality comes from an exclusive high-dynamic range feature that reduces bright spots for a professional look. HDR capture allows for dynamic footage regardless of lighting, and 20x Optical Zoom gets you closer to the action. Your kids can harness their creative powers with neat features like Full-HD slow motion, miniature effect, silent movie and time lapse recording.

The other premium feature on this camera is its advanced Wi-Fi functionality. It has NFC to connect to a tablet or smartphone in just one touch, where you can use the Panasonic Image app as a remote control for advanced features. You can also broadcast in real time, thanks to USTREAM Full-HD resolution. Many choose to use this feature as a baby monitor since the app gives a push notification to your phone or tablet if the baby starts to cry.

Best Zoom: Canon VIXIA HF R800

Canon VIXIA HF R800
Courtesy of Amazon.com
3.5

New camcorders are few and far between these days, but Canon released this VIXIA model in early 2017 to show that a mid-priced camcorder is still better than your smartphone for capturing great video footage. This camcorder especially excels at zoom. In fact, the VIXIA has up to 57x advanced zoom and SuperRange OIS. That means this camera is just as good capturing something right in front of you as it is capturing footage hundreds of feet away. Your kid will enjoy mastering 15 levels of Zoom Speed settings, allowing them to express their creativity. Dynamic Image Stabilization helps prevent camera shake, while horizontal, vertical and roll axis all result in distortion-free video. Kids don’t have the steadiest arm, so these features provide assurance that the final product will come out OK.

The camera also has a 3.2 Megapixel Full HD CMOS Image Sensor to capture high-resolution footage with natural color in 1080p and 35 Mbps bit rate, resulting in high quality footage. Other nice features include high priority mode to prevent loss of detail and high brightness areas. It also has zoom framing assist, slow motion recording and file lock function.

Best Design: YI 4K Sports and Action Video Camera (US Edition) Night Black

4.6

The design of the YI 4K camcorder is a welcome departure from the traditional (and dated) camcorder designs. Measuring 1.7 x 2.6 x 1.2 inches and weighing just 3.36 ounces, it’s much more pocket-friendly than the other designs. It records 4K/30fps (100mbps), 1080p/120fps, 720p/240fps video using its 155-degree wide-angle lens with a F2.8 aperture and has a 2.2-inch, 330ppi Retina touchscreen, viewable from 160 degrees to make taking and reviewing your shots a breeze. With built-in Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) with 3-axis gyroscope and 3-axis accelerometer, you’ll capture steady video even when the camera shakes.

With the accompanying camera app, you can easily edit clips, add filters and insert music, then share to social media networks in real time. Long story short, it’s a great stand-in for the GoPro HERO5, and at half the cost, a more realistic option for active kids.

Best for Sports: GoPro HERO7 Black

4.3

As far as kid-friendly cameras go, you can’t find anything much tougher than a GoPro — after all, they’re meant to be taken with you on action sports adventures like skiing, hiking, and biking. It’s great for kids, especially if they’re on the sportier side, because it’ll not only give you a rugged build but also simple, high-quality performance.

The HERO7 Black is a bit on the pricey side, but you get some great features. Central to the performance is a new GP1 chip that powers a super smooth optical image stabilization engine. This is hugely important for an action camera and is also an asset for young photographers who might not be able to get the steadiest shot. It can shoot 4K video at 60fps, and you can even capture stills at up to 12MP. The HERO7 Black also has some cool new functions like an 8x slow-motion video capture, a TimeWarp hyper-lapse shooting feature, and even some smart HDR SuperPhoto capabilities. It's waterproof up to 33 feet (adding to the durability factor) and if you pair it with any of the many GoPro cases, accessories, and grips out there, you’ll have a handy, rugged little camcorder.

Best Value: Sony HDR-CX405/B

Sony HDR-CX405/B
Courtesy of Amazon.com

This Sony camcorder is a tried-and-true handheld at a great price. It has a 26.8mm wide angle Zeiss lens that can record beautiful widescreen footage. It has 30x optical zoom and 60x clear image zoom, capturing nature or stadium entertainment from a distance in high definition. The camera has plenty of features, including Optical SteadyShot image stabilization and the ability to automatically create highlight footage in MP4 from clips captured at different times. The battery lasts for two hours and it works well in low light. This camera may not have the most advanced features, but the zoom and image quality make this a great mid-ranged option.

Best Budget: CrazyFire Underwater Camera

There are a few specs to look for when searching for a kid-friendly video camera. One is affordability — because accidents can and will happen — and the other is waterproof capability. This option from CrazyFire checks both of those boxes. For a little over $50, you’ll get a 5MP CMOS sensor for still photos and video recording capabilities up to 720p and 30 fps, which is pretty good for the price point. The body is rugged and waterproof, offering protection at up to 9.8 feet submerged. That makes for a pretty forgiving camera, no matter the conditions. 

The CrazyFire has an 8x digital zoom, a built-in mic, and a self-timer that can be set to two, five, or ten seconds. It’s powered by a pair of AAA batteries with a flash. There’s a two-inch tilting LCD screen and the package even comes with an 8GB micro SD card to get you up and running filming and snapping pictures. It can also accommodate up to 32GB microSDs for even more storage.

Best Waterproof: Campark ACT74 Action Camera

An action sports camera is a great option for kids because it’s durable, offers impeccable image stabilization, and usually comes with a decent set of protective and waterproof accessories. The problem is that the most well-known action cameras (like GoPros) tend to climb pretty quickly in price, which doesn’t make them a great option for accident-prone kids. This Campark option walks a nice line between affordability and features. At its core, there’s a Sony-manufactured sensor that is capable of recording 4K at up to 30fps. There are also time-lapse and slow-motion capabilities, which further adds to the camera's versatility.

The built-in Wi-Fi allows users to control the camera with the app and transfer files wirelessly, but there’s also a mini-HDMI to transfer files physically, too. The waterproof casing can protect the camera under 30 meters of water, making it perfect for watersports or just summer days. This pack comes with quite the spread of accessories including the waterproof case, two batteries, a handlebar mount, a fixed base, two helmet-mount systems, all the cabling you’ll need and more. It’s a great value for a starter pack for budding young filmmakers.

Best Compact: Hausbell HDV-5052 Infared Night Vision Camera

Hausbell HDV-5052 Infared Night Vision Camera
Courtesy of Amazon.com

This small and compact camcorder is perfect for kids who like playing outside at night. If they want to capture their adventures or film a zombie movie with their friends, then they will love the incredible backlight that captures clear footage even at night. The camera captures footage in 30FPS and has 16X zoom with a 5MP CMOS sensor. It comes with a nice black carrying case and a 32GB SD card to store the footage. Kids who use Snapchat will love the Real-Time Broadcasting. A Wi-Fi function controlled by a smartphone or tablet can be used as a remote to control real-time streaming of full-HD footage.

Tested by

How We Tested

We bought four top-rated camcorders for kids and our reviewers (and their families) tested them for 45 hours. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these camcorders, from their price to their durability. We’ve outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a Camcorder for a Kid

Durability - Let’s face it—kids drop things. If you’ve decided to place a camcorder in your child’s hands, you’d be wise to make sure it’s durable. Many options out there are waterproof to survive swims in the pool (both intentional and accidental), and some even float. Also, a rugged casing will protect a camcorder from bumps and bruises, and compact designs will fit tiny hands better to prevent drops in the first place.

Price - There’s also the possibility that your child might misplace the camcorder altogether, so you probably want to be fairly budget-conscious when buying the hardware. Luckily, there are lots of reasonably priced options out there. Of course, cheaper options will come with trade-offs (like lower video quality) but they’ll still appeal to your kid’s inner director.

Usability - For anyone dipping their toes into videographyespecially a child—a camcorder can be intimidating. With so many buttons and settings, it’s hard to know where to start. Many beginner camcorders keep it simple with just a few buttons and some even come with an accompanying app that helps you edit clips on the fly.

Test Results: Panasonic HC-V770 HD Camcorder (Best Overall)

4.2

What We Like

  • Great microphone

  • Wi-Fi capability

  • Easy to use

What We Don't Like

  • Not the best touchscreen

  • Video quality is lacking

Panasonic HC-V770
Lifewire / Jonno Hill
Panasonic HC-V770
 Lifewire / Jonno Hill
Panasonic HC-V770
 Lifewire / Jonno Hill
Panasonic HC-V770
 Lifewire / Jonno Hill

Our reviewers thought this camcorder was a reliable choice on a budget. It was easy to set up and has a number of different Wi-Fi-based capabilities, including the ability to control recording from your smartphone.

Test Results: Canon VIXIA HF R800 (Best Design)

3.5

What We Like

  • Portable

  • Easy to use touchscreen

  • Strong optical zoom

What We Don't Like

  • Noisy footage

  • Poor video quality

  • Confusing menu design

Canon VIXIA HF R800 Camcorder
 Lifewire / Jonno Hill
Canon VIXIA HF R800 Camcorder
 Lifewire / Jonno Hill
Canon VIXIA HF R800 Camcorder
 Lifewire / Jonno Hill
Canon VIXIA HF R800 Camcorder
Lifewire / Jonno Hill 

Our reviewers liked how portable and easy to use this budget camcorder was. Boasting a 23x optical zoom, the Canon allows users to capture objects far away. "The zoom took us a little further in than some competing products that cost even more," said one of our testers. Reviewers also noted the camcorder's downsides, such as poor video quality and loud grainy footage.

Test Results: YI 4K Sports and Action Video Camera (US Edition) Night Black (Best Design)

4.6

What We Like

  • Highly portable

  • Great video quality

  • Intuitive touchscreen

What We Don't Like

  • Only has basic features

  • Lens and screen get smudged with fingerprints

YI 4K Sports and Action Video Camera (US Edition) Night Black
 Lifewire / Vincent Holleran
YI 4K Sports and Action Video Camera
 Lifewire / Vincent Holleran
YI 4K Sports and Action Video Camera Night Black
 Lifewire / Vincent Holleran
YI 4K Sports and Action Video Camera
 Lifewire / Vincent Holleran

According to one of our reviewers, this camera was easy to use for both kids and adults: “Both my four-year-old daughter and my 60-something mother understood how to use it equally,” he explained, “and were capturing their own videos and photos within the first minute.” One tester also loved its portability and “excellent” video quality. On the other hand, one reviewer felt it was “basic” and slightly difficult to clean: “This camera requires a good share of cleaning of both the lens and the screen before and after each use,” he said. “Even after careful handling, both easily become covered in fingerprints.”

Test Results: GoPro HERO7 Black (Best for Sports)

4.3

What We Like

  • Great video stabilization

  • Waterproof

  • Easy to use

What We Don't Like

  • Short battery life

GoPro HERO7 Black
 Lifewire / Neo Ruiz
GoPro Hero 7 Black
Lifewire / Neo Ruiz 
GoPro HERO7 Black camera
 Lifewire / Neo Ruiz
GoPro HERO7 Black
 Lifewire / Neo Ruiz

Although this camcorder’s shorter battery life (of approximately an hour and a half) didn’t impress our testers, they still recommended it overall. One reviewer, who said he spends a lot of time doing outdoor activities and playing sports, reported that this camcorder was “very useful and handy” and that “the pictures and videos always come out great.” Other pluses, according to our testers, were its durability and the fact that it was waterproof.