The best phone for children comes in all shapes and sizes, from one-button touch-to-call security devices to combat-tested Samsung phones with fall protection, to the cheapest iPhone if you want them on your iCloud family storage plan.
It is still a difficult choice when you shop for the smallest person in your life. We are here to help you find a phone for your child, pre-teen or teen, regardless of age. We are experts in telephony for children, as well as we can choose the best phones in the US and the best phones in the UK for adults.
We have taken into account important aspects such as parental control, sustainability, functional limitations, GPS tracking and costs.
The best phones for children will be very simple devices that are primarily intended to open a communication line with the parents. For teenagers, we went ahead and strived for cheap, simple phones that call and send text messages and without too many functions for your children to get into. For high school students, we include affordable smartphones with a good balance between value and function while maintaining solid parental control via Android and iOS.
Since newer iPhones and Android phones with the latest operating systems (such as iOS 11.4 and iOS 12 beta) have sufficient built-in parental controls, parents should do well to choose these phones for teens and pre-teens at their own discretion. All details that parents need to enable parental control of iPhones can be found here. Parental control details via Android are available here.
For the little ones:
Cellular function only in the US.
The Republic Wireless Relay is an incredibly simple communication device that is intended for children only. It works just like a walkie-talkie, so your child does not have to navigate in complex menus to reach you.
The relay connects via 4G LTE and WiFi, and it includes built-in GPS, so you can determine the location of your child via the corresponding app on your own phone. The design of the Relay is sturdy and water-resistant, so that it can play a day with your child.
The Relay is still at an early stage, so new features such as music and a voice assistant are not there yet and it takes a while for the transmission to complete. The connectivity of mobile network is also limited to the US, but WiFi works internationally.
For $ 149, the Relay comes in a bundle. It is also available separately for $ 99 or in a package of three for $ 199.
View the relay here
LG GizmoPal 2
Portable means hard to lose
IPX7 water resistance
Verizon users in the US have a tempting option for their children in the LG GizmoPal 2. This is a wrist communicator that your children can handle. It has a colorful design, simple controls and handy water resistance. It also offers GPS tracking so you can check in at your child's location or find the watch if you lose it.
Parents can set up four authorized phone numbers to call the GizmoPal 2, and the screen will show who is calling. Parent can also set the GizmoPal 2 to automatically answer their calls, which can be useful in cases where their child is playing and does not notice the call.
The GizmoPal 2 is compatible with iOS and Android and costs $ 79. For a newer model Verizon also sells the LG Gizmo Gadget for $ 149.
See the LG GizmoPal 2 here
Nokia 3310 3G
Cheap but not thin
Long battery life
Good balance of functions
Still pricey for a function phone
No assessment of water resistance
Nokia's iconic 3310 is back, and with its combination of a very long battery life, simple features and durability, it will be a great choice for your pre-teenagers. The Nokia 3310 3G is made of plastic, so your child does not have to be too careful about dropping it. They also do not have to remember that they have to charge it every day, because the battery can go on standby for almost a month.
The Nokia 3310 3G has everything your child needs to stay in touch while calling and texting is available. You do not have to worry about this when you surf the internet. In addition, they can take photos to show what they are planning at school or with their friends.
The Nokia 3310 3G costs $ 59 in the US. A non-3G Nokia 3310 is also available in the UK for £ 49.99.
See the Nokia 3310 3G here
See the Nokia 3310 here
Blu Tank Xtreme 2.4
Robust, water-resistant design
Storage for music and camera
2G GSM providers only
Little color options
If your child wants a phone that does not look too childish, the BLU Tank Xtreme 2.4 is a good option. It is incredibly affordable and robustly built so that your pre-teen can be a bit nonchalant. The frame of plastic and rubber must occasionally be handled, and an IP65 rating means that it can occasionally shake off a splash of water.
The BLU Tank Xtreme 2.4 has the basic talk and text your child needs to stay in touch, and it has a battery that lasts for a long time, so you do not have to remind them of charging the battery. Availability is limited to the US, although British users may be able to use this phone on the 900 and 1800 GSM bands.
See the Blu Tank Xtreme 2.4 here
Very easy to use
Pricier than others
The same qualities that make the Jitterbug Flip a good choice for seniors, make it a good choice for your children. It is incredibly easy to use, with basic functions for calling and texting and, as well as a simple camera. The user interface sticks to large, easily readable text and the buttons are easy to press. The battery can also be kept for a long time.
The Jitterbug Flip is only available in the US and the service is sold by GreatCall. With $ 74 the Jitterbug Flip is a bit more expensive than the other, but you can be sure that it is a simple phone that your child can get used to.
See the Jitterbug Flip here
Full smartphone functionality
Great budget option
Functions vary by model
The Moto E5 is not just a telephone, but a family of affordable phones with different functions. Despite their difference, they all make fantastic budget choices for your teen. Although many Android devices with a limited budget can be run on outdated hardware or software, the Moto E5 is up-to-date with recent processors and Android 8.0 Oreo.
The Moto E5 Plus is available to Sprint customers in the US for $ 288, and features a large battery, 6-inch screen and dual camera settings. The Moto E5 Play is a bit toned, making it more budget-friendly for $ 99. In the UK, a standard Moto E5 and the Moto E5 Plus will be available in the near future. Apart from the basic Moto E5, all others have a water-repellent layer that prevents your teenagers from ruining their phone.
View the Moto E5 here
Galaxy S8 Active
If you want to make your teen a very capable smartphone, but afraid they might destroy him and waste a lot of money, then the Galaxy S8 Active is your place. It has all the performance that a flagship Android phone requires, but it is solidly built.
The Galaxy S8 Active screen is sharp, the camera is great and the battery is forgiving if your teen forgets to charge it overnight. All of this is packed in a chassis with an IP68 and MIL-STD-810G classification. In other words, it can handle a lot of negligence. We threw a screen first on a five-foot stone floor and the screen was fine.
The Galaxy S8 Active is available in the US on Sprint, AT & T and T-Mobile for $ 850. Customers on other networks and in the UK can instead watch the Galaxy S8 and one of the best Galaxy S8 cases .
See the Galaxy S8 Active here
Affordable iOS device
Good performance and functionality
May lose support in the future
Not robustly designed
The iPhone SE may not be the latest iPhone, but is still supported by Apple with the latest iOS 11 updates. Despite his age, he still performs admirably with the A9 processor from Apple and offers your child all the smartphone functionality they might need. The advantage of his age is that it comes at a very low price for an Apple device.
One of the biggest disadvantages of giving an iPhone SE to your teen is that it is not built to be incredibly durable. Fortunately, this is a problem that can easily be solved with an affordable iPhone SE housing.
See the iPhone SE here
iPhone 7 or iPhone 8
Good deals available on iPhone 7
Many cases available
Not inherently robust
If the price is not a major concern and you are planning to buy a case (or your teen has proven that he is not reckless), the iPhone 7 or iPhone 8 provides great options. Your teen should not be restrained by a lack of capabilities (or style) on these newer devices, while you can be sure that parental controls on iOS are sufficient to monitor your teen's use.
Although the upfront price will be higher, software support for these newer iPhones should take longer, so you do not have to worry about a quick upgrade. As an added bonus, the iPhone camera's are great, so you get to see lots of beautiful photos of what your teen is doing.
View the iPhone 7 here
View the iPhone 8 here
Moto Z2 Play
Cool Moto Mods
A bit pricey
The Moto Z2 Play fits nicely in the middle as a choice for teenagers. It offers mid-range hardware for an average price. The screen is protected by Gorilla Glass and the inside is protected against splash water with water-repellent nano-coating.
A battery of 3,000 mAh and fast charging ensure that your teen's phone gets power when it needs it. Moto Mods also gives your teen options for improving the functions or their phone, such as adding a more advanced camera or doubling the battery.
The Moto Z2 Play is available on most networks in the US with a suggested retail price of $ 399, but deals are likely to be available. In the United Kingdom it sells £ 379.
See the Moto Z2 Play here