Your kid is getting older you're considering getting them a cell phone. With ever-advancing technology, it's important to decide what you want your child to have access to, while still considering the best deals. In this article, I'll tell you about the best phones for kids.
What Do Kids Need In A Cell Phone?
Kids don't always need all the bells and whistles on their cell phones, but there are some things that are absolutely necessary!
You'll want your kid to be able to make calls and send texts. These are the most basic and useful functions to have. Fortunately, nearly every cell phone these days can make calls and texts. Most cell phone plans include unlimited calling and texting too.
You might not want to put a $1,500 flashy cell phone in the hands of your kid, and it's not necessary to buy anything too extravagant. Cell phones can easily be lost or broken, then you're $1,500 in the hole.
Parental controls are useful if you want to monitor your child's cell phone use or restrict them from accessing certain websites or apps.
iPhones have built-in parental controls through Screen Time. Screen Time lets you restrict purchases, set limits for apps, block adult websites, and much more.
Although Androids don't have similar comprehensive, built-in parental controls, you can set some up in the Google Play Store. Additionally, there are many third-party parental controls apps that you can download on your Android.
An Entertainment Device
One of the under-appreciated aspects of smartphones is that they give you and your child access to a variety of educational apps. These apps can improve memory, teach skills, and more.
Smartphones also give your child access to video streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu. Both of these streaming services have “just for kids” content that's both entertaining and educational.
The world is becoming increasingly technological, so it's always a good idea to get a head start.
Best Phones For Kids
Our picks for the best phones for kids are a mix of older iPhone and Samsung models, as well as some budget Androids for parents looking for a more basic starter phone for their child.
We'll also include some carrier-specific choices, exclusive to major wireless carriers, so you can get the best deal on a reliable phone for your kid.
|Phone||Display||Camera||Storage||Battery (Talk Time)||Starting Price|
|iPhone SE 2 (2nd Gen)||4.7 inch||12 MP||64 GB||Up to 15 hours||$8 / month|
|iPhone 12 Mini||5.4 inch||Dual 12 MP||64, 128, 256 GB||Up to 50 hours||$29 / month|
|Google Pixel 3a||5.6 inches||12.2 MP||64 GB||Up to 32 hours||$12 / month|
|Samsung Galaxy S9||5.8 inches||12 MP||64, 128, 256 GB||Up to 22 hours||$19 / month|
|LG Tribute Empire||5 inch||13 MP||16 GB||Up to 15 hours||$8 / month|
|Moto G7||6.2 inch||12 MP||64 GB||Up to 25 hours||$8 / month|
|iPhone 7||4.7 inches||12 MP||32, 128, 256 GB||Up to 14 hours||$13 / month|
iPhone SE 2
The iPhone SE is one of the recent available iPhone generations that we think is great for kids. The device features a lot of the newer Apple technology while remaining at an affordable price—starting at around $399.
The SE features the all glass design with a 4.7 inch screen size, a 13 hour battery life, and the A13 chip. The A13 is the fastest chip available for smartphones and allows for a faster, more enjoyable user experience. You won’t have to worry about splashes either as the phone is completely water and dust resistant.
You can choose from 64, 128, or 256 GB of storage. This phone has all of the great features your kids will enjoy while featuring parental controls on things like screen time and web restrictions.
iPhone SE Highlights
The iPhone SE has a 4 inch display, 12 MP camera, 64 GB of internal storage, and a 13 hour battery life.
iPhone 12 Mini
The iPhone 12 Mini is the smallest and most affordable device from the newest line of iPhones. It houses the new A14 processor, and is one of the first iPhones with the ability to access 5G networks.
If your child is a budding tech enthusiast, the iPhone 12 Mini is one of the fastest and most powerful cell phones ever created. Thanks to Apple's Ceramic Shield display, its screen is also four times more durable than any previously released iPhone.
The iPhone 12 Mini requires a pretty serious investment. Starting at $699 for the 64 GB storage variant, you probably won't find another cell phone on the market with this level of functionality for the price. Check out our iPhone SE 2 vs. iPhone 12 Mini article to find out more details about how cutting edge this device is!
iPhone 12 Mini Highlights
The iPhone 12 Mini has a 5.4 inch, Super Retina XDR display. It's battery supports wireless and Qi charging, and can withstand up to 50 hours of audio playback. It comes in 64, 128, and 256 GB storage variants.
Google Pixel 3a
The Pixel 3a starts at $399 outright or $12.50 a month, which is an incredible price for such a new phone.
Google Pixel 3a Highlights
This cell phone has a screen size of 5.6 inches, a 12.2 MP camera, storage of 64 GB, and a battery talk time of up to 32 hours. The Pixel 3a is also not waterproof, but is resistant to splashes.
Samsung Galaxy S9
The Samsung Galaxy S9 is the oldest Galaxy S model available on most carriers. It's a bit more expensive than some of the other Androids we'll recommend, but we wanted to mention this phone because of all the great features it includes.
Additionally, cheaper Android phones probably won't last as long as the Galaxy S9. This phone's display uses Gorilla Glass 5, making it incredibly resistant to scratches and cracking. It's also rated IP68, making it completely dust-resistant as well as water-resistant when submerged up to one and half meters for up to thirty minutes.
This is really a phone you'd buy for your child that they'd be able to use into their teenage years, which it is certainly capable of doing.
The Galaxy S9 starts at $599.99 outright from AT&T, Verizon, and Virgin Mobile. It has a screen size of 5.8 inches, a 12 MP camera, 64 GB, 128 GB, or 256 GB of storage, and battery talk time of up to 22 hours.
Samsung Galaxy S9 Highlights
The Galaxy S9 has a 5.8 inch screen display, a 12 MP camera, and up to 22 hours of battery life. In terms of storage, the device offers 64, 128, or 256 GB of storage space to fit all of your child’s needs. This device is waterproof up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes, making it great for kids.
LG Tribute Empire
If you're looking for a very cheap phone for you kid, the LG Tribute Empire is a great fit. This phone starts at just $49.99 and will be a serviceable starter phone at that price.
LG Tribute Empire Highlights
This phone offers a 5 inch display, a 13 MP camera, 16 GB of storage space, and up to 15 hours of talk time. The LG Tribute Empire is not waterproof or water resistant, so you’ll have to be careful to keep the device dry.
The Moto G7 is regarded as a great phone for a great price. Costing around $229.99, the device offers a long battery life and impressive performance. The standard G7 also features a 12 MP camera, a 6.2 inch screen display, an all glass design, and 64 GB of storage.
Motorola has a water resistant cover on all of its phone, including the G7, meaning it’s resistant to splashes and spills but would’ve survive being submerged under water.
The Moto G7 allows your kids to enjoy all of the features of a high end device without the high end cost. Similar to other devices, you’re also able to set parental controls on the phone to ensure the user experience you want for your kids.
Moto G7 Highlights
The Moto G7 has a 6.2 inch display, 12 MP camera, 64 GB of internal storage, and up to 25 hours of talk time.
The iPhone 7 is the oldest iPhone still available on most wireless carriers. The age of this iPhone isn't necessarily a bad thing. The iPhone 7 is compatible with iOS 14, and it will be compatible with future iOS updates for the next few years.
Since it's an older phone, you'll be able to purchase it at a great price. The 32 GB variant starts at just $249 outright or $13 / month.
As we mentioned above, the iPhone has a lot of great parental controls. You can also use the Find My app to track your child's location to make sure they got off the bus or got to soccer practice on time.
Apple also excels at providing variants of their phones with different amounts of storage space. If you're someone who takes a lot of photos and videos, you'll want to choose an iPhone 7 with 128 GB or 256 GB. However, if you're just getting this phone for your child to make calls, send texts, and play some games, the 32 GB variant should be fine.
We believe the iPhone 7 is the best starter iPhone for a child because it doesn't cost much but still lets your child do all the amazing things iPhones can do.
iPhone 7 Highlights
The iPhone 7 features a 4.7 inch display as well as a 12 MP camera. The device offers 32, 128, or 256 GB of storage space and a battery life of us to 14 hours. It’s also waterproof up to about 3 feet for 30 minutes. These features all lend to a perfect beginner phone for children that can sustain some potential damage.
Why We Don't Recommend Flip Phones
Many people believe that flip phones are the ideal phones for children. We couldn't disagree more.
Flip phones are overpriced, cheaply made, and difficult to use. Texting with the A9 keyboard is incredibly tedious, and your child's phone calls won't sound as crisp because flip phones don't support Voice over LTE, sometimes known as LTE calling.
We recommend getting your child a smartphone because they're easier to use, last longer, have parental controls, and support educational apps. In some cases, a smartphone is cheaper too!
Make Your Pick!
Making the right choice for your kid's first phone can leave you feeling uncertain. We hope this article has given you the information you need to make your decision.
Looking for a phone recommendation from a carrier we didn't mention? Leave us a comment below!