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If you’re shopping for the best smartwatches for kids, durability needs to be a priority. Children are known for being rough on items and you don’t want a watch that’s damaged within days of purchasing it. Parental controls and safety features are also critical especially if you’re selecting a watch that supports talk and text functionality. Battery life is also important since a watch that must be recharged frequently throughout the day is less likely to get used than one that can go a few days before charging. You also want a watch that’s easy to use and age-appropriate.
After reviewing countless customer reviews for the best smartwatch for kids, we nominated the TickTalk 3 Smartwatch as our Top Pick. Keep reading to learn more about our picks and how they stack up against the best smartwatch on the market.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: A smart watch that makes younger kids feel grown-up thanks to access to a built-in camera that also shoots video, a calendar, fun games, and a splash-proof design that makes this safe for daily use.
Sometimes it makes sense to give a child a “training” watch before you spend your hard-earned money on a more expensive — and fragile — upgrade. The VTech KidiZoom DX is a fun smart watch that is incredibly pared-down, making it ideal for much younger kids ages four to nine. The watch is rated ideal for children from ages four to nine and features a simplified kid-friendly interface that is perfect for younger children. While it doesn’t offer phone or messaging capabilities, you do get a fun camera that supports recording videos too. If your kids like texting, you should check out the best smartwatch for texting.
The KidiZoom DX comes with three activities, plenty of games, three action challenges, and a motion sensor. You’ll get access to more than 50 watch face designs as well. The splash-proof design means this pick is safe for use when washing hands, but shouldn’t be submerged in water. Other key features include a calendar and calculator to help children work through simple math problems. Note that this pick includes a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and comes with a micro USB cable to recharge and transfer photos and videos. You might also be interested in our best hybrid smartwatch buying guide.
Award: BEST QUALITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: A straightforward smartwatch that’s ideal for middle schoolers or teens thanks to its ability to pair with Apple and Android devices, robust fitness, and health tracking, and app support.
For parents thinking about getting a smartwatch for an older kid that’s in middle school or high school — but who doesn’t want to opt for some of the pricier options out there — the Pebble Time adult smartwatch is a great pick. It pairs via Bluetooth with both Android and Apple devices, making it easy for your kids to use it. It does support push notifications from your phone for calls, texts, calendar events, emails, and more. This is one of the few robust third-party watches that specifies that AT&T iPhone users can access sending replies along with app support for features that are often not available to iPhone users.
For more active kids, they’ll appreciate the stopwatch and activity trackers that not only tracks steps, calories burned, and distance but sleep records. This watch is also water-resistant for up to 30 meters, meaning it’s safe for occasional exposure but not full submersion in water. You also have access to over 8,000 apps through the Pebble app store including music players. You’ll also get an always-on color display and a durable glass lens, and magnetic charging through the included USB cable. Professionals will also love the best smartwatch for business which offers up to 12 hours of usage.
Award: BEST FOR PRESCHOOLERS
WHY WE LIKE IT: A pink dual-camera training smartwatch for tiny tots that offers 55 customizable watch faces in a splash-proof design and a durable case and strap that can stand up to whatever little hands through their way.
VTech is a trusted brand especially for creating durable products designed for younger rough and tumble kids. The Kidizoom DX2 is an upgraded smartwatch version of their original beginner’s model that features a dual camera that supports video recording as well as taking selfies. There’s also a voice recorder to save voice messages. The large watch face offers plenty of real estate for preschoolers who are still perfecting their fine motor skills to select functions and interact with the device.
You’ll get access to 55 customizable watch faces too. Just like with other Kidizoom watches from VTech, this age-appropriate smartwatch comes with activities, educational games, and functions preloaded onto the device. However, keep in mind this watch doesn’t support phone and text or even WiFi access. Parents can download videos and pictures using the included USB cable, which can also be used to recharge the watch when the battery is low. Another impressive model is the best rugged smartwatch for avid outdoors and adventure-seekers.
Award: BEST FOR EXERCISE
WHY WE LIKE IT: A simple fitness tracker with a five-day battery life that is water-resistant to 50 meters, the ability to challenge friends to step competitions, limited messaging support, and parental controls.
For kids that don’t need a more traditional smartwatch, the Fitbit Ace 2 is a great choice. This water-resistant, durable smartwatch is more of a fitness tracker than a true smartwatch but it can serve as a great way to get kids moving and spend less time glued to a screen. This fitness tracker can last up to five days before it needs to be recharged and comes in a streamlined, durable design that can stand up to whatever your child throws its way. Along with tracking step goals, you’ll get water resistance up to 50 meters, making it safe for use while swimming. You’ll also be able to track sleep to encourage better bedtime routines.
Kids will love the step challenges where they can play against friends to beat scores and earn points while tracking their progress. And kids will also get one-hour active minutes goals which parents can customize in the app. The Fitbit Ace 2 works with Fitbit’s proprietary app, allowing parents to manage their child’s accounts, view child activity, and approve connections. The Ace 2 supports limited messaging support within the Fitbit ecosystem with connections. They’ll also have a wide array of clock faces to choose from and the bands can be swapped out — although additional bands require a separate purchase. And if you’re a clinical worker, consider the best smartwatch for nurses that offers hands-free support so that you don’t need to glance at your phone between patients.
Award: BEST FOR TEENS
WHY WE LIKE IT: A kids smartwatch with calling notifications, an impressive 45-day battery life, and an enhanced fitness tracker with built-in GPS to follow runs and location services.
Parents of teens who aren’t interested in buying some of the pricer watches from Apple or Samsung will like the Amazfit Bip Fitness smartwatch. This smartwatch for teenagers is in line with watches designed for adults since it focuses on more enhanced smart features, data tracking, and app support that you would expect from a traditional smartwatch. We like that this kids smartwatch with calling support is available in nine colors. Most impressive is that for a standard smartwatch, you get a battery that can last up to 45 days on a single charge.
You’ll have access to all-day heart rate monitoring along with activity tracking for steps and exercise with four-sport modes. Although you can’t make calls, you do get push notification support for calls, texts, apps, and more. Social media fans will appreciate that they can access key apps like Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp straight from their watch. The GPS also works with GLONASS to support dual-mode positioning. Note that actively using the GPS modes will shorten the expected battery range. And for training purposes, we recommend the best fitness smartwatch that also features sleep and fitness tracking, heart monitoring, blood oxygen levels, and ECG sensors.
Award: BEST FOR SCI-FI FANS
WHY WE LIKE IT: The best smartwatch for 10-year-olds obsessed with the Dark Side that comes with a camera and a Galactic Voice Changer to sound like Darth Vader and sound effects to play lightsaber noises.
Looking at the VTech Star Wars First Order Stormtrooper watch’s colorful design, you can almost hear the Imperial March playing in the background. This is the best smartwatch for 10 year olds who side more with the Dark Side than the Jedi Order. Menacing stormtroopers cover the watch band and can also be selected as the watch face if you prefer. And thanks to the built-in camera with 20 Star Wars photo effects, kids can also take funny photos and pose with a posse of stormtroopers and save that picture for posterity.
As if that’s not enough, this VTech adventure watch comes with a voice recorder and a Galactic Voice Changer. Using the tool, kids can make themselves sound like Darth Vader. And a built-in motion sensor also lets kids recreate iconic sounds from the Star Wars galaxy including lightsabers, droids, and Starships. There’s also a reality game where kids can try to find droids, a built-in pedometer to track steps, and 30 Star Wars-themed clock faces to choose from. However, as cool as this watch is, it doesn’t support messaging or phone calls. For running aficionados, we recommend the best smartwatch for running which has more tracking features.
Award: BEST BATTERY LIFE
WHY WE LIKE IT: A simple activity tracker that’s water-resistant for up to 50 meters with enhanced parental controls and a replaceable battery that lasts up to one year and doesn’t require frequent recharging.
Whether you have a child who’s forgetful or you just want to avoid having to find a port for one more cord so you can charge a watch, you’ll appreciate the Garmin VivoFit Jr 2 smartwatch. We like that this pick comes with a replaceable battery that’s designed to last for a year before it’s time to swap it out for another. This is another fun Star Wars-themed pick, but this time you’re on the side of the Resistance. This pick is perfect for kids from ages four to seven thanks to the stretchy silicone wristband which can be swapped out for other styles if you prefer.
You’ll get a swim-friendly watch that’s rated safe for depths of up to 50 meters and tracking for steps, movement, and sleep. Parents will like that the VivoFit Jr 2 comes with progress tracking features for chores lists, rewards as incentives for activity time, and task timers. Kids can also beat daily activity goals and participate in challenges and unlock new step icons. There’s also access to an alarm clock. However, unlike more robust watches geared towards adults from Garmin, this pick lacks any smart functionality. But bicycle users will absolutely love the best smartwatch for cycling that offers you enhanced safety features with a live track, group live track, live event sharing, incident detection, and assistance.
Award: BEST ON A BUDGET
WHY WE LIKE IT: An inexpensive smartwatch for youngsters with a camera that can store up to 50 pictures, and comes with preloaded interactive games and activities to ease them into a technology that’s here to stay.
For first-time smartwatch wearers, it’s completely understandable that a parent would be reluctant to buy an expensive model. And especially when that child is in that preschool stage, durability and affordability make more sense. The PlayZoom kids smartwatch is the perfect starter watch for parents trying to appease little ones who want a watch just like theirs. This cheap smartwatch comes with a built-in camera in the bezel and can store up to 50 photos which can be downloaded to a computer or device via the included USB cable.
Along with taking pictures, kids can also record video. You’ll like that there are preloaded activities and games, along with time management tools that parents will like. Children can also choose from 10 fun watch faces including analog and digital clock screens and six backgrounds to customize their watch. Remember though, that this watch doesn’t support text or talk and doesn’t connect to WiFi or cellular networks. You might also enjoy the best smartwatch with camera.
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Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: The best smartwatch for kids with GPS tracking that supports voice and video calls for individuals or groups, along with robust parental access and an IP67 water resistance rating.
If the idea of buying a smartwatch with enhanced features for a young child feels a bit ridiculous, we understand. For parents of very small children, the simplified tech that’s durable with plenty of parental controls is more appropriate. So we nominated the TickTalk 3 as our Top Pick because it offers a wide array of features that will have your little ones feeling like big kids while providing more security for parents. This is one of the best smartwatches for kids with GPS tracking through the accompanying parental control app. The real-time locator runs on 4G/LTE networks and offers accuracy to within 10 to 100 feet depending on whether you’re tracking with WiFi, GPS, or LTE.
However, the device doesn’t work with Sprint or Verizon networks, making it an issue for a wide swatch of U.S.-based consumers. Aside from tracking, the TickTalk 3 is a durable smartwatch that can support two-way voice calling and WiFi calls with a contact list capacity for up to 53 preset contacts. And parents can turn on the Firewall setting to prevent unwanted calls from unknown people from getting through. You’ll also get two-way video calls, text and voice messaging support, and access to preset texts such as “I’m on the school bus” along with support to create additional customized text responses. Other standard features that mimic traditional smartwatches include a do not disturb mode, a reminder list, and a dial pad which can be disabled through the parental controls app on your cell phone. If you’re an iPhone user, our best smartwatch for iPhone buying guide has some additional options.
Award: BEST FOR PARENTS
WHY WE LIKE IT: Robust parental controls give helicopter parents peace of mind against dangers by limiting contacts and accessing enhanced trackers that even allow for creating safety and danger zones on a map for alerts when kids wander off.
The Tencent kids smartwatch offers some of the best parental controls we’ve seen from researching this product category. It’s a true smartwatch that supports text and talk along with other standard functions and app support that you would expect with a traditional watch, but with enhanced parental controls to give even the most attached parent peace of mind for kids wanting independence. One of the things we like most is that this Tencent watch allows for parents to create a limited contact list of up to 21 individuals including space for up to five families and 16 friends. The QQ watch automatically synchronizes the contact list too.
More importantly, parents can call the watch in two modes, one of which is the monitoring mode that allows them to listen to a child’s surroundings. The GPS tracker not only allows you to track your child’s location but supports creating a boundary for safe and dangerous zones on a map. When a child leaves a safe zone or enters a danger zone, parents can be automatically notified. Aside from that, your child will have access to standard functions like an alarm, weather, a camera, and a step tracker to log movement. If you’re an athlete, consider the best fitness smartwatch which has a variety of tracking capabilities to help you meet your fitness goals.
Buying a smartwatch for a child, especially younger ones can feel overwhelming. To create our guide, we focused on the following key features — durability, OS compatibility, functionality, parental controls, battery life, ease of use, and safety. All of our picks that supported notifications or text and call support work with both Apple and Android devices. However, we did note that some watches don’t work on all cellular networks. This was especially true for people relying on Verizon and Sprint networks.
Durability is a key feature since children aren’t necessarily known for being gentle with items. For the most part, our recommendations were more focused on watches designed for younger users. So, you saw more oversized watch designs and rounded corners that enhanced durability. But we also looked at functionality. For watches aimed towards younger users, we saw standalone devices with streamlined interfaces and limited activities such as extra games that made it easier for kids to navigate through the screens and access functions. For watches designed for older people, they featured navigation and functionality similar to what you would expect when shopping for a watch for an adult, like a physical activity monitor and notifications. Additionally, you can check out our guide on the top smartwatches that let you text to communicate easily with your child.
Parental controls are a critical feature that is usually included with smartwatches that allow children to make phone calls or send messages — even if only within an internal ecosystem like Fitbit. We didn’t find parental controls on watches that lacked phone and messaging features. Parental controls ranged from limiting contact lists to robust tracking systems, stealth audio monitoring, and zone creation with alerts. Along the same lines, safety features for watches that support calls and text almost always include an SOS emergency call option that allows a child to instantly call a pre-programmed contact with the touch of one button.
Battery life is another issue that can impact how useful a child’s smartwatch will be for them. In some cases, charging cables were unnecessary because a watch featured a replaceable battery that could last for a year. The most common built-in battery range was from five to seven days and in one case we found a watch with a long-lasting battery that could last 45 days on a single charge.
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