What kid doesn’t want to be a high-tech spy? And what piece of real-life technology better embodies that dream than a smartwatch? The best smartwatches for kids should be fun and encourage a healthy interest in technology at a young age (because yes, technology can and should be healthy). Better yet, they can also give parents peace of mind while keeping kids active. What’s not to like?
The best smartwatches for kids
The best smartwatch for kids should be fun and exciting for the child who wears it. At the same time, though, they should also tick boxes for parents. For one, smartwatches can offer an incentive to exercise and generally stay active. They also remove any excuse your child or teen might have for not answering your messages.
Below, we take a look at the best smartwatches for kids you can buy in 2021. Many of these have other handy features that both parents and kids will approve of.
Verizon GizmoWatch 2: The best smartwatch for kids (and parents)
As the name suggests, the GizmoWatch 2 is more of a smartwatch than a fitness tracker.
With its rounded, square design, the GizmoWatch 2 looks a little like an Apple Watch, though a fair bit larger and with a blue or pink strap. Like the Apple Watch, it also comes with a bright, colorful, 1.4-inch screen. It is water-resistant, and the battery will last 2-4 days depending on usage.
The GizmoHub app is designed to be installed on a parent’s phone, and from there, they’ll be able to set up location alerts, to-do lists, step goals, “quiet times,” and more.
Parents will likely also appreciate the opportunity to track their child’s location. The child can call and message a total of ten contacts (including parents), and other users can be set as guardians. That’s useful if both parents want to be able to track their kids.
The device is easy to use and useful for parents, giving it potential to be the best smartwatch for kids where security and communication is the chief concern. Keep in mind that the health tracking features are a bit basic, however, and that many features are more for the parents’ benefits.
VTech KidiZoom DX2: The best cheap smartwatch for kids
The VTech KidiZoom DX2 is a smart and colorful smartwatch designed for users aged 4-12. It comes with activity challenges, customizable watch faces, augmented reality games, not one but two cameras, and a voice recorder. This has the potential to be the best smartwatch for kids who want an entertaining toy. It also has some health-tracking features and logic games, making it an educational tool.
That said, parents who are looking for a communication tool and a way to track their kids should look elsewhere: this is a toy first and foremost.
Little Tikes Robot Smartwatch: A robot friend for kids
The Little Tikes Robot Smartwatch wins major points for being a watch that looks like a robot… what’s not to like?
Again, this can be the best smartwatch for kids who are just looking for a fun toy. Other than the fun design, there’s a stopwatch, timer, reminders, calendar, built-in pedometer, two cameras, and learning games. The robot himself is called “Tobi” and has lots of fun expressions, complete with pop-out arms. He even has Tamagotchi-style features that let you feed and care for the robot.
The rugged design and waterproofing make this a fantastic entry-level smartwatch for kids.
Fitbit Ace 3: The best fitness tracker for kids
The Fitbit Ace 3 builds on the success of the Ace 2. It has a bright screen, easy integration with the Fitbit app, and a durable design. The screen, though bright, is also black and white and not particularly eye-catching. This makes it a better choice for slightly older children. However, the three different colors and fun strap options (including a Minions design) help mitigate the otherwise basic aesthetic.
The Ace 3 gets a lot right. It has impressive battery life (up to eight days), a solid heart rate sensor, 50-meter water resistance, robust activity tracking, sleep tracking, and some nifty features like a bedtime reminder. The best part is the encouragement offered by the different targets, which help to gamify healthy habits. It does lack some of the features found on grown-up models, though. There’s no GPS, for example, and no stair count, either. Still, we consider this the best fitness tracker for kids who are trying to get more active.
Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3: The best customizable fitness tracker for kids
The Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3 is another fitness tracker you should consider for your kids. It has one ace up its sleeve compared to the, um, Ace: a color screen. This makes a big difference for kids and helps to encourage active engagement with the targets and “missions.”
Even better are the fun straps that, once again, feature characters from TV and movies (the Black Panther design is one of our favorites).
The Vivofit Jr. 3 also comes with its own mobile app, which is a bonus (though this can be a limitation if your child doesn’t have a phone). It’s also a shame not to see a heart rate monitor here.
Honorable mention: Apple Watch SE
Credit: Eric Zeman / Android Authority
Apple Watches now have a family mode called Family Setup that lets users set up and manage a device for another user. This is great for those that don’t have iPhones but live with someone who does. It’s also useful for kids hoping to get their hands on the watch.
In our review, we called the Apple Watch SE the “smartwatch most people should buy.”
The Apple Watch SE is still only really suitable for older children, though. This is thanks to a somewhat overstuffed user interface. However, the beautiful display and large selection of third-party apps will make any kid lucky enough to get one extremely happy. Likewise, parents will be able to find apps that mimic the features of the other devices on this list. This certainly makes a case for the Apple Watch as the best smartwatch for kids, although the price is still comparatively high and the UI is far less kid-centric.
Check out our full review to learn more about the Apple Watch SE.