The Best Phone to Gift Your Kids

The Best Phone to Gift Your Kids

Finding the best cell phone for kids can be tricky for many parents. There are so many options available and factors to consider. You may want some help narrowing your selection.

We're breaking down which phone models are suitable for kids in different age groups to make it easy for you. Here are some important things to think about when choosing a safe and useful device for your child.

Best Phones for Elementary Ages

Explore the top phones for kids under 12 years old:

Palm Phone
Gabb Phone
Pinwheel Phone

Best Phones for Elementary Ages

Elementary-aged children need easy-to-use devices. You don't need to worry about getting them something with wildly advanced features. Simplicity is best. Explore the top phones for kids under 12 years old:

Palm Phone

If you are looking for a basic phone for kids, the Palm phone could be a great choice. It has a minimalist design and straightforward features. You can download a handful of apps from the Google Play Store on the Palm phone. One important option is the Family Link app which lets you set parental controls.

The device is also durable and strong enough to endure drops, which is important for kids. There are even cameras on both sides. Children can have fun capturing memories with their families.

But, Palm phone cameras tend to have poor performance in low lighting. Some users have also complained about slow functioning and short battery life.

Gabb Phone

The Gabb Phone is another top pick for a younger kid's cell phone. Some of the pros of this device include:

  • No internet access
  • No social media apps
  • Easy GPS tracking
  • Call sound quality
  • Fingerprint scanner

These phones are compact and easy for small hands to hold. Kids will enjoy how much it looks like a real smartphone.

One downside of the Gabb device is that parents can't monitor calls and text messages. Some people dislike that you can't add any application you want. You must choose from preinstalled options instead.

Pinwheel Phone

Pinwheel is a brand that carries a couple of different phone models. They all look like smartphones. You'll need to choose one of their devices that is compatible with your carrier. Then you'll set up a caregiver portal that gives you full control over your child's new phone.

You can do the following from your parental account:

  • Monitor texts and calls
  • Manage apps
  • Oversee and limit screen time
  • Track GPS location

One of the major downsides of Pinwheel phones is their price. They tend to be more expensive than similar devices. Users don't have access to an app store or web browsing abilities.

Best Phones for Preteens

Kids can handle devices with more advanced features as they get a little older. They will also use their phones for new purposes. Preteens often start exploring social media and turning to the internet to study.

Check out our picks for the best phone for kids in their preteens:

Apple® iPhone SE

The third-generation Apple® iPhone SE is a great choice when buying a cell phone for kids. It is slightly smaller than standard iPhone models and has a relatively tiny 4.5-inch display.

Kids this age are learning how to care for their devices responsibly. They can benefit from the phone's durable glass. Another one of the biggest advantages of the iPhone SE is its lower price.

SE users can enjoy many of the same features and performance as other Apple smartphones. The phone's lightweight, thin design is great for kids on the go.

Color options include:

  • Red
  • Starlight
  • Midnight

The iPhone SE has a few cons too. Its battery life is pretty short. This phone also does not have night-mode photography.

Samsung Galaxy A32 5G

Another good option for preteens is the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G. It features fast charging technology and various storage options. These models have a 6.5-inch display, which is great for video calls with friends or doing homework.

Another important feature is its parental control features. Parents can easily activate "Samsung Kids" to check:

  • Daily screen time
  • Activity history
  • Contacts
  • Internet browsing history

Some reviewers don't like the phone's resolution and speakers. Its display is relatively lackluster compared to newer models. It also features only one loudspeaker with average performance.

Google Pixel 6a

The Google Pixel 6a is a budget-friendly option for the preteen in your life. It has a compact design and a 6.1-inch always-on display. This model is a great pick for a kid's phone. Users can download the Family Link app for various parental controls.

It also features an easy-to-use interface with three storage options, including:

  • 128 gigabytes
  • 256 gigabytes
  • 512 gigabytes

These smartphones have high-quality loudspeakers for comfortable listening. Though these devices are fast-charging, their battery life is not as good as some others. The Pixel 6a's display isn't very bright either.

Some users also find these phones a little fragile. This can be a major concern, especially for cell phones for kids. Invest in a durable phone case and screen protector when gifting a breakable phone.

Best Phones for teens

Learn more about our picks for the best smartphone models for teenagers:

Apple iPhone 13 mini
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
Google Pixel 7

Best Phones for Teens

As you look for a phone for your teen, keep some things in mind. They will probably need a durable model with long battery life. Many kids also want phones with high-quality cameras for capturing memories. It would also help to consider a model with the app and internet controls you want.

Learn more about our picks for the best smartphone models for teenagers:

Apple® iPhone 13 mini

Consider the Apple® iPhone 13 mini for your teen. It is the cheapest in the series and offers all the major features kids want.

The 13 mini has a 5.4-inch display. Teens like taking pictures and videos with their phones. They will appreciate how this model has two high-quality cameras on the back.

This phone has up to 17 hours of video playback. Some users feel this device's battery life is too short compared to other iPhone models. It may not be the best option for teens who want to play games or stream.

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G is another great option for teenagers. It has four different rear cameras with the following lenses:

  • Main
  • Ultra-wide
  • Macro
  • Depth

This model has a large 6.5-inch display. The phone's size is great for teens interested in streaming. It also has an impressive battery life that can last throughout the day. The loudspeakers are clear and support high volumes.

One complaint users have had about the Galaxy A52 5G is its average selfie camera. Others feel this smartphone's screen scratches too easily.

Google Pixel 7

Another top pick for teens is the Google Pixel 7. It has a 6.3-inch display. This phone is water resistant and features highly durable glass on both sides.

The Pixel 7 is available in three exciting colors:

  • Lemongrass
  • Snow
  • Obsidian

This phone has an impressive battery that can support more than 24 hours of life. A con of the Google Pixel 7 is its below-average quality cameras. Users have said their selfies are not sharp on this phone. The ultra-wide lens camera performs poorly in certain types of low lighting.

Choosing the Right Smartphones for Kids

 Operating System
GPS Capabilities
Battery Life

Choosing the Right Smartphones for Kids

Explore the following factors to choose the best kid's phone to gift your child:

Operating System

Younger kids need easy-to-use devices with simple operating systems. If your child already has a tablet or laptop, consider getting them a phone from the same brand. It can be beneficial to choose a device with a familiar interface. This system will also determine what kinds of apps the phone can run. Before you buy, look into the parental controls each phone supports.


Another important factor is the device's size. Consider how old your child is and what models will fit comfortably in their hand. How will your kid use their new phone? You may want a larger display if they are interested in streaming or creating content. If your child uses their phone for basic functions like texting and calling, you can go for a smaller model. Compact devices tend to be best for younger kids.


Color is by no means one of the most significant factors to consider. However, many playful options are available that kids of all ages may enjoy. You can also buy a phone case to add a pop of color and personality to your kid's new phone. A durable case will also help protect it while adding a stylish touch.


How will your child use their smartphone? Think of their daily schedule and extracurricular activities. Their main uses for the new device will help you choose the right model. Consider what storage, size and features are most important. If you have strict rules for your kid's cell phone usage, find a device that supports your priorities as a parent.

GPS Capabilities

For many parents, having their child's cell phone location is essential. Some devices have better GPS tracking technologies. Take a look at what options are most appealing to you. Smartphones can make it easy to watch your kid's exact location. This is useful for safety and supervision purposes.

Battery Life

Think about your kid's schedule when looking into which model is best. Consider how much battery life they might need to get through the day.

Some devices are better suited to endure a long and busy day away from home.


Your budget determines which models you'll choose from. A couple of factors that impact a device's price include brand name and features. Parents can save costs by buying used phones instead of brand-new options. Trading in an old phone can also help you pay for an upgrade.


Any technology kids use should be safe. Before buying them a new phone, look into what security features are most important to you as a parent. You may want to limit internet access or use parental controls.

By keeping these factors in mind, you'll be able to find a device that's the right fit for you and your child.

Keeping Your Children's Cell Phone Safe

Every phone for kids should support safety. Parents can monitor and manage their child's devices with the following:

Parental Controls

You can find various parental control applications in all major app stores. These apps let you turn on different settings to limit activities on your child's phone. They can also help you monitor your kid's calls and messages. You can ensure they only communicate with trusted contacts.

Location Tracking

Many parents value being able to look after their child's location. The top smartphone brands support different GPS tracking capabilities. Location tracking can bring you peace of mind. This is especially true if your kids travel for their activities. Plus, it can simplify pickup when you know exactly where to go.


A smartphone for kids is an investment. Parents buying one for their child want to be sure the device can endure some wear and tear. Some models are built for durability, while others are more fragile. It can be beneficial to read reviews about screen toughness and drop tests.

You can use your kid's phone as a lesson in responsibility and teach them how to keep it safe. Protective phone cases and care help a phone last longer at peak performance.

Best Phone Plans for Kids

While looking for good phones for kids, don't forget to look into plans that could help save you money. Some of the best plans for children include the following:

  • Tello: This prepaid service provider offers a few different plans. Each custom plan has low rates and no contracts. You can enjoy lots of flexibility and pay for only what you need. Tello has 5G capability and supports the use of any unlocked smartphone.
  • Mint Mobile: Mint mobile offers cell phone plans operating on the T-Mobile network. There are four different options available. If you have multiple kids, you can utilize The Modern Family Plan, which requires at least two lines. It supports high-speed data and starts at only $15 per month.
  • Visible: Visible is part of the Verizon network. You can pay for a $30 monthly plan for a single line. You can enjoy unlimited data and use any smartphone that is compatible with Verizon. If you want even greater service, you can choose the Visible+ plan.
  • Twigby: Another good option is Twigby. This pay-as-you-go provider is also part of the Verizon network. You can choose how many gigabytes of data and talk minutes you want per month and pay accordingly. You can customize your plan, and they offer a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.

Trade-In Your Used Phone at an ecoATM Kiosk Today

We'll take a look at your phone, and you may receive a cash payment.

Trade-In Your Used Phone at an ecoATM Kiosk Today

As you look into the best phones for kids this holiday season, consider selling your old phone. You may be able to use the money to pay for something new. At an ecoATM kiosk, you can sell and recycle your used device in person in under 10 minutes. We'll take a look at your phone, and you may receive a cash payment.

Give your old phone the opportunity for a second life by recycling it. Bring it to an ecoATM kiosk where you can make the environmentally-aware decision.

Are you interested in selling and recycling your used smartphone? Find an ecoATM kiosk near you today!