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Best phones for kids: top child-friendly Samsung, Motorola, Google and Apple handsets

Buying your child's first phone? Here's our pick of the best phones for kids, as recommended by parents.

By Gemma Lumley | Last updated Jun 1, 2023

Child playing on phone

Deciding on the right time to give your child a mobile phone can be tricky. Their friends all likely have one and a phone can be helpful when the time comes for a little more independence and freedom. However, they can also become addictive and leave your child open to cyberbullying. 

Much like when you're choosing between the best kids' laptops or tablets, talking to your child about the responsibilities and pitfalls of technology and discussing the use of parental controls and tracking apps is vital. Then, once you’ve agreed, it’s time to choose the right device. 

Voice phone or smartphone? Camera or no camera? The best kids' phone will provide reassurance for both you and your child, have a long enough battery life to last a full day of playing in the park or chilling at a friend's house, and offer an abundance of user-friendly features. It should also be affordable (or worth the extra cash if it’s particularly high-end) and come with a decent warranty. 

To help you choose, we’ve put together a guide to the best phones for kids, as recommended by Mumsnet parents and their children, as well as trusted tech experts and consumers across the web. 

Here are the best phones for kids in 2023.

Best phones for kids at a glance

1. Best overall phone for kids: Motorola Moto e30 32GB Mobile Phone

overall best

RRP: £99.99 | Buy now from John Lewis

Key specs

Processor: 1.8GHz Octa-core UNISOC processor | Display: 6.53 inch IPS display | Storage: 32GB | Camera: Front camera 8MP; rear camera 48MP; second rear camera 2MP; third rear camera 2MP | Operating system: Android 11 Go Edition | Weight: 198g | GPS: Yes | Battery life: 1,000 hours (up to 40 hours of talk time)

What we like

  • Excellent value for money
  • Impressive battery life 
  • Easy to use
  • Two-year guarantee

What we don’t like

  • Takes around 90 minutes to recharge

What Mumsnet users say

“My Year 7 son has a Motorola - it’s massive, has amazing battery life and is very robust. Think it cost around £100.” NichyNoo

“They both have Motorolas which are really good.Greenfields124

Our verdict

The affordable Motorola e30 is the best smartphone for kids who are new to technology but want the look and feel of a ‘grown-up’ phone. Both Mumsnet parents and consumer reviewers are impressed by the long battery life and how easy the phone is for children to use. It also has a large 6.53-inch screen, which is great for games and videos.

If your child loves taking photos and they've been coveting one of the best kids’ cameras, the e30 is an excellent option as it has a 48MP triple camera system that will take fantastic images even in low light. 

For younger children, parents will be grateful for the family settings, which allow limits on screen time and a pre-approval step, ensuring apps that are downloaded are age-appropriate or that in-app purchases are restricted.

Read next: The best board games for the whole family

2. Best budget phone for kids: Nokia C21 Plus Smartphone

budget phone

RRP: £109.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Processor: Octa-core processor | Display: 6.5 HD | Storage: 2GB  | Camera: 13MP dual camera with HDR | Operating system: Android 11 (Go Edition)| Weight: 198g | GPS: Yes | Battery life: Two to three days from a single charge

What we like

  • Long battery life 
  • Large, colourful screen
  • Fast movement between apps

What we don’t like

  • Low memory capacity

Our verdict

The Nokia C21 Plus is an easy-to-use, robust phone at a great price. It has a large, bright HD screen that displays games and videos at their best. It has a simple yet effective camera, plus downloading apps is quick and they open up fast too. 

Consumer reviewers love the long battery life and the sleek look and feel of the phone. Kids will be delighted to have a proper ‘grown-up’ phone, and you can keep an eye on what they are up to with the built-in GPS. One word of caution - the internal memory on this device is low, meaning the capacity for a large camera roll will be somewhat limited. 

Read next: The best games consoles for kids

3. Best basic phone for kids: Nokia 105 Sim-Free Mobile Phone (4th Edition)


RRP: £19.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Processor: N/A | Display: 1.77 inch | Storage: 4MB | Camera: No | Operating system: S30+ | Weight: 73g | GPS: No | Battery life: Several days

What we like

  • Durable and robust
  • No smart features - a huge plus for some families 
  • Super affordable

What we don’t like

  • Very basic due to lack of smart features 

What Mumsnet users say

“Nokia 105 is talk, text and FM radio. It doesn't have a camera. The battery lasts for days.” IShouldBeWriting

“Both my sons had a Nokia dumb phone and it was fine. Indestructible, used for emergencies and no social issues that others are citing.ExcusesExcuses

Our verdict

The Nokia 105 (4th Edition) is an old-school phone with very basic features but it's incredibly robust and has a battery life of several weeks. It also has a radio and pre-loaded games like Snake that even the most tech-savvy of teenagers will enjoy. 

With no smart capabilities or camera, this phone is simply just for texts and calls. It’s great for reassurance when your child first starts walking home from school or playing without supervision in the park. It’s also ideal for teenagers who need a break from social media. 

An alternative if you're wanting your child to have some independence without getting caught up in the world of Snapchat, Instagram and the like, you can't go far wrong with this basic device.

Related: Boost your child's learning with the best online tutoring services as ranked by Mumsnetters.

4. Best SIM-free phone for kids: Xiaomi Redmi 10 2022 64GB Mobile Phone

blue phone

RRP: £159 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Processor: MediaTek Helio G88 | Display: 6.5 inch LCD | Storage: 64GB | Camera: Front camera 8MP; rear camera 50MP; second rear camera 8MP; third rear camera 2MP; fourth rear camera 2MP | Operating system: Android 11 | Weight: 181g | GPS: Yes | Battery life: Two days

What we like

  • Excellent camera
  • Affordable 
  • Fast charging

What we don’t like 

  • Some reviewers complain of a low volume during calls 

What Mumsnet users say

“The Xiaomi ones are really good value. They can be a bit big to hold though.Stokey

“Another option is something like a Xiaomi - some spectacular phones for less than £100, and 5G phones starting at £139.” FixTheBone

Our verdict

The Xiaomi Redmi 10 is a great value phone with a high-quality camera, super-quick and convenient charging time, plus a sleek and lightweight look and feel. It’s a brand that isn’t well known in the UK, but consumers have found themselves impressed with the high-tech features and durability of its phones at a relatively low price. 

If your child likes to listen to music or watch movies on their phone, they will be delighted with the sound quality coming from the dual speakers. In addition, the Redmi 10 has Adaptive Sync, a premium feature that means the functionality is fast and glitch-free. 

5. Best first phone for kids: Motorola Moto G32 Smartphone 64GB

Motorola Moto G32 Smartphone 64GB

RRP: £169.99 | Buy now from John Lewis

Key specs

Processor: 2GHz Octa-core MediaTek processor | Display: ​​6.5 inch IPS LCD | Storage: 64GB | Camera: 50MP triple camera system | Operating system: Android 12 | Weight: 184g | GPS: Yes | Battery life: Up to 36 hours

What we like

  • Great screen for videos and games
  • Tough silicone case is included in the price
  • Excellent value 

What we don’t like

  • Screen might be a bit bright 
  • More basic phones have a better battery life

Our verdict

The Motorola G32 has a large 6.5-inch full HD screen to make watching videos and playing games even more fun. However, you may find dimming the screen is a good idea for younger children nearer bedtime. The battery life is impressive, between two to four days with average use, and it's super quick to charge from flat. 

This phone has a good camera that produces impressive images in everything but low light. The video quality is good too - only professional vloggers would need anything more. In addition, reviewers have found the speed and functionality of this phone comparable to Samsung at a third of the price. 

We think it would make an excellent gift – especially when given alongside a pair of the best kids’ headphones.

6. Best Android phone for kids: Samsung Galaxy A13 64GB


RRP: £179 | Buy now from John Lewis

Key specs

Processor: Octa-core | Display: 6.6-inch Infinity-V Display, FHD+ technology | Storage: 64GB | Camera: 50MP | Operating system: Android 11 | Weight: 198g | GPS: Yes | Battery life: Up to 40 hours (up to 19 hours of talk time)

What we like

  • Good value for a Samsung phone 
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Three-year guarantee

What we don’t like

  • No zoom on the camera 

What Mumsnet users say

“We just got my 10-year-old the Samsung A13 which has a big screen so it’s good for playing games.LethargeMarge

Our verdict

The A13 is the best Samsung phone for kids as it has many impressive features, is robust and durable, and comes with a three-year guarantee. It’s an entry-level Samsung, so it’s affordable yet looks sleek and feels lightweight. 

The camera and video quality are impressive and easy to set up and use. It has excellent reviews thanks to the superb 6.6-inch screen, which has an ultra-crisp and bright display for watching films and playing games. Reviewers think it’s great value for money too. 

7. Best iPhone for kids: Apple iPhone SE (2022)

apple iphone

RRP: £449 | Buy now from John Lewis

Key specs

Processor: Apple A15 bionic processor | Display: 4.7 IPS LCD | Storage: 64GB | Camera: 12 MP main camera; 7 MP front camera | Operating system: iOS 15 | Weight: 144g | GPS: Yes | Battery life: Audio playback: up to 50 hours, video playback: up to 15 hours, streaming video: up to 10 hours

What we like

  • Robust - water-resistant and toughened glass 
  • Excellent HDR camera
  • High tech without being overly complicated

What we don’t like

  • Expensive 

What Mumsnet users say

“Get the 2022 SE. We bought the 2020 SE when it came out for our child and it was great. We just upgraded her to the new version. I like the SE because it’s really designed to last a few years. It’s also plenty sturdy, though I would get a good case for it and buy a pack of screen protectors because kids are kids.” Ponderingwindow 

Our verdict

If your child is keen to get an iPhone, you may find yourself galling a little at the price. The SE (2022) model, however, is the best Apple phone for kids - a fab starter iPhone for older, less clumsy kids and teenagers, with easy-to-set-up parental controls for peace of mind.

It has all the fantastic features you’d expect from an iPhone including a superior camera, fast processing speed and a bright, clear screen - all without costing the earth. It also comes in a compact handset ideal for smaller hands to hold.

While it’s pretty durable, it’s still expensive compared to other phones on our list. The one-year guarantee is helpful but doesn’t cover accidental damage, so a tough case and screen protector are recommended. 

iPhones can be used seamlessly with smart speakers, which kids love, and if other family members have iPhones, tasks like sharing photos and apps are super easy.

8. Best phone for teens: Google Pixel 6a

Google Pixel 6a

RRP: £299 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Processor: Google Tensor | Display: 6.1" full HD+ OLED touchscreen | Storage: 128GB | Camera: Main: Dual 12.2 MP / 12 MP, front: 8 MP | Operating system: Android 12 | Weight: 178.4g | GPS: Yes | Battery life: With ‘Extreme Battery Saver’ mode, you can stretch the battery life up to 72 hours

What we like

  • Vast storage 
  • Water- and dust-resistant 
  • User-friendly
  • Great camera 

What we don’t like

  • Expensive 

Our verdict

The Google Pixel 6a is a 5G phone well suited to kids who love taking photos as the image and video quality are very impressive. It’s an expensive phone, and a protective case and screen cover are advisable, but it does have a two-year manufacturer's warranty to protect against accidental damage. 

Teenagers will be delighted with the sleek and modern look of this lightweight and compact phone. The screen is pin-sharp and bright, which is ideal for gameplay and watching YouTube videos. In addition, the 6a is easy to set up and is both fast and intuitive to use. 

9. Best kids' phone for data storage: iPhone 11 128GB

iPhone 11 128GB Mobile Phone

RRP: £489 | Buy now from John Lewis

Key specs

Processor: Hexa-core (2x2.65 GHz Lightning + 4x1.8 GHz Thunder) | Display: 6.1-inch Liquid Retina IPS LCD | Storage: 128GB | Camera: Dual 12MP Wide and Ultra Wide cameras | Operating system: iOS 13 | Weight: 194g | GPS: Yes | Battery life: Video playback up to 17 hours, video playback (streamed) up to 10 hours and audio playback up to 65 hours

What we like

  • Trusted brand
  • Robust and hard-wearing
  • Excellent duel HDR camera
  • 128GB of storage means plenty of space for running apps like TikTok and Snapchat as well as loads of photos and videos

What we don’t like

  • Can buy 256GB if your child needs even more storage
  • Costly
  • Quite large so better suited to older children and teens

What Mumsnet users say

“Got the 11 yesterday after smashing my X. Battery and camera seem better, no complaints except that it’s much bigger and I have small hands!” ShyTown

“I bought an 11 with the biggest memory recently. I figured that would do enough for me and I'd rather have more memory than most of the other gimmicks.” Palosverdesblue

Our verdict

If your teen loves taking photos, recording videos and using storage-hungry apps such as TikTok and Snapchat, they may find that some phones run out of space quite quickly. While there are other large-capacity handsets available, an iPhone offers a fairly seamless experience (especially if they have other Apple devices) and can use the Cloud for additional backups. 

With 128GB of storage (and even a 256GB available if you feel they need even more), the iPhone 11 may not be the latest model, but comes with ample space for all your child’s phone needs.. 

It also comes with everything else you’d expect from a high-quality iPhone, including a large liquid retina LCD display, dual 12MP camera with portrait modes and a powerful processor that makes streaming Netflix and catching up with their favourite YouTubers a breeze. 

What age should a child get a phone?

According to Ofcom, 91% of children have a smartphone by age 11, with many parents waiting until the last term of Year 6 or the start of secondary school to purchase one.

Offering peace of mind for parents, it can be reassuring to know that your child has a phone stored away in their school bag, but make sure you fully weigh up the pros (safety and ease of contact) against the cons (exposure to potential bullying and the murky depths of the internet if it’s a smartphone) before investing. 

A smartphone isn’t the only option. The Nokia 105 will allow you to keep in touch with your child without giving them access to a camera or the internet. If school allows, you could also consider a GPS smartwatch such as Spacetalk or Xplora

Don’t simply bow to pressure if you think your child isn’t ready though. It’s worth remembering that Bill Gates didn’t let his kids have smartphones until they were 14. And if anyone knows about the pitfalls of the internet, it’s Bill!

How to choose the best kids’ phone

First, decide whether you’re going for a smartphone or a good old-fashioned mobile. That will narrow it down a lot. And think about whether you want pay-as-you-go or a contract, and see what’s on offer with both. 

Here are a few more things to consider:

  • Parental controls: If you’re buying a smartphone, look for models that have parental controls on them so you can ensure they won’t be exposed to anything genuinely unsuitable.
  • Durability: Look for phones that are more robust with toughened screens and rubber casing. If a tough case and screen protector don’t come with the phone, you’re able to buy both separately.
  • Price: Kids’ phones vary dramatically in terms of price, with the most expensive phones Look for phones with a warranty; if it’s a top-of-the-range iPhone, you need to consider insurance. 
  • Battery life: A model with good battery life is a must to make it through the school day. The more a phone offers (camera, video, gaming apps, sports trackers), the quicker the battery life will dwindle.

The best phone plans for kids

The best phone deals for kids will give them enough freedom to enjoy their phones without costing you a fortune. Choose the number of minutes, texts and amount of data you’re paying for, then add limits and buffers to stop your little darling from using more data than they should and generating a massive bill. Here are the different types of plan you can get. 

Wi-Fi only

This is the cheapest option and means you don’t need to buy a SIM card. However, they won’t be able to send standard texts or calls (though iMessage, FaceTime and the Android version of those will work), and they can only use the phone with a Wi-Fi network. 


This is a good option if the phone will only get minimal use or your teenager can’t be trusted not to go over their data allowance. If your child is paying for their phone from pocket money or a Saturday job, this is an ideal way to teach them about paying bills - it doesn't require a credit check. However, PAYG is not good value if it’s a feature-packed smartphone and lots of data is needed. Take a look at giffgaff for this type of deal. 

SIM only

This type of contract is ideal for children and teenagers who have inherited a parent’s old phone or received a brand new phone as a gift. You choose the bundle of call minutes, texts and data that suits you and the length of time you want the plan to last. For example, a 30-day plan will be more expensive than a 12-month one, but an initial shorter term makes sense as you can test how much your child uses their phone and adjust the plan bundle accordingly. Tesco Mobile will give you an idea of the deals available. 


A phone contract will tie you into the same minutes, texts and data bundle price for a minimum of two years. This is a big commitment. However, if you have an older teenager and you are investing in a high-end phone for them, a contract where you spread the cost of the phone and the plan is an affordable way to do it. 

Suppose parental controls are the most crucial aspect of your decision to give your child a phone – then, look at Parentshield. Mumsnet user annababbie is thrilled with her decision to use the service: “We gave our children our old iPhones and got Parentshield SIM cards for them both. Absolutely brilliant. I cannot recommend them enough.” 

How to track your kids

A phone with GPS is vital if you want to track the location of your kids. If their phone is in their pocket and they are concentrating on playing with their mates, they will likely forget to check their phone and you’ll inevitably panic. 

Many apps, such as Snapchat, have tracking capability, but be aware that other people can track them too! Happily, there are more appropriate apps available. Take a look at this advice from Mumsnet user daisyjgrey:

“I have an app called Find My Kids. You have that on your phone and you download the paired app on the child's phone called Pingo. It will show you where your child is, their movement in real time and how much battery their phone has left. It also has a messaging function and an override so that if she's panicking or needs me urgently, she can press a button and an alarm goes off on my phone with her location, even if my phone is on silent. I thought it would need a bit of work convincing her to have it but she had zero problems with it.” 

What is the most child-friendly phone?

For its durability, impressive battery life and user-friendly design, we think the affordable Motorola e30 as the best phone for kids right now. 

How we chose the best children's phones

Expert recommendations 

To find the best phones on the market for teens and tweens, we first scoured all the most recent reviews to see what tech industry experts were saying and what was new to the market and assessed them against our criteria for what we’d choose for our own kids.

Phones tried and tested by real parents

We then sought out parents' advice on the Mumsnet forums to discover what they had bought for their children and at what stage, and found out how those phones had fared and whether they were still happy with those purchases some time on. We also made sure we made notes on any models that hadn’t impressed Mumsnetters too.

Celebrated products

From there, we consulted in-depth reviews on technology sites and cross-checked our picks with other best buy lists to ensure we were presenting you with only the very best options. We then developed a shortlist of phones that had won industry awards, accolades and applause from real parents, and we chose the phones that we felt represented the best choices and the best value for money.

Why you should trust us

Mumsnet has been helping parents make their lives easier since 2000, and, in that time, we've investigated, tried and reviewed thousands of products.

We strive to provide honest and independent advice you can trust, and we spend hours scouring the Mumsnet forums and online bestseller lists to find amazing products that real parents love.

As a mother keen to provide her children with intuitive and robust phones with great features and safety protocols, and who also appreciates value for money, our writer Gemma was determined to find the best phones for kids available in the UK.