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8 best phones for kids to buy in 2022

The best mobile phones for kids (both smart and more analogue), chosen by real parents.

By Mumsnet HQ | Last updated Mar 24, 2022

Child playing on phone

Deciding when is the right time to allow your child a phone is a huge decision for most parents. You want them to be safe and contactable as they become more independent but with that you’re handing them all sorts of freedoms that come with their own concerns too. You’re definitely not alone if you’re finding it all a bit of a minefield. But once you’ve made the decision to go for it, choosing the right model is the next hurdle to jump, and the array of phones out there is mind-boggling. 

To help you choose, we’ve put together a guide to the best phones for kids, as chosen by Mumsnetters, from the products they’ve bought and rated highly themselves. We also took notes on which models didn’t cut the mustard for various reasons. Browse our shortlisted models, with pros, cons and all you need to know to find the right phone for your child. 

Here are the best kids' phones to buy in 2022.

1. Best overall phone for kids: Motorola Moto G10

Motorola Moto G10

Price: £119.97 | Buy now from Amazon

“All the kids I know have cheap-ish smartphones. Lots of them seem to have Motorola ones or older iPhones. I agree that it's ridiculous for a child to be carrying around several hundred pounds worth of breakable, loveable and steal-able kit.” - FurryCushion

A firm favourite with reviewers, this Motorola Moto G10 comes with a 6.5 inch HD display and a quality 48MP quad camera, helping your child to get really good shots every time.

It also has an excellent processing speed so they won’t need to wait while it chugs into action, and we love that it's water repellent so it should fare well should they get caught in a light shower. Although, please note that it is not waterproof or made for large volumes of liquid!

The phone promises over two days of battery life – so there’s no need to worry if they forget their charger for an overnight stay. The pearl colour will also be a big hit with style-conscious teens too – you can buy a clear case on Amazon so the phone is still protected while getting the full effect of the finish too.

For an affordable phone that can keep up with day-to-day use, Mumsnetters recommend getting a trusty Motorola.

Pros

  • Great battery life
  • Robust
  • Fast processing speed

Cons

  • Pricier than some

Tech spec

  • Weight: 175g
  • Size: 16.52 x 7.57 x 0.92 cm
  • Screen size: 6.5"
  • Storage: 64GB
  • GPS: Not specified
  • Camera: Yes
  • Operating system: Android

2. Best budget phone for kids: Alcatel Pixi 4

Acatel Pixi phone

Price: £83.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“I got my daughter an Alcatel Pixi from EE for school.” - Maz99

Getting your child set up with their first phone needn’t cost the earth and if you can spend just a little more and shop carefully you can get some really great features without breaking the bank. The Alcatel Pixi 4 is about as cheap and cheerful as you’re going to get for a decent smartphone under £100 and there are lots of good refurbed models available for even less. It has an Android operating system and 3G connectivity, with 4GB of internal memory, a slim yet premium design, and dual cameras. 

On the downside, it’s quite slow and adding apps such as Facebook and Skype are likely to cause lag. Still, for the price, what you get is fair and it’s great as a first phone that isn’t offering ‘too much’ for a first-time user. You can always add more memory with an SD card, too. 

For a functional, no-frills option, opt for the Pixi. 

Pros

  • Good price for a smartphone
  • Easy to sell on after
  • Slim design

Cons

  • A little slow to use

Tech spec

  • Weight: 150g
  • Size: 7.11 x 0.76 x 10.16 cm
  • Screen size: 4 inches
  • Storage: 4GB
  • GPS: Yes
  • Camera: Yes
  • Operating system: Android

EE PAYG deals

Just select your budget – it can be anything from £10 to 20+ – and pick the bundle that’s right for you. If this is your child's first phone, you could start them on the following tariff:

  • 5MB, unlimited texts, 500 mins – £10 per month

3. Best touchscreen phone for kids: Huawei Y7 2019

Huawei phone

Price: £179.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“My 15-year-old daughter recently got a Huawei smartphone, after great reviews and me refusing her an iPhone. Loves it. Well worth considering if you want to stretch to a smartphone.” – Circular

If looking cool is a must (when isn't it with teenagers?) and you have a bit of money to spend, take a look at the Huawei Y7. Mumsnetters have been buying this one for their 14-year-olds (and older) as it comes with studio-quality lighting effects for all their photos. Older kids will appreciate this feature far more and will have already proved that they can handle the responsibility – or not, as the case may be. 

The screen is a really generous size and easy to read, and the battery life is good – both things that are useful for enthusiastic new phone users. 

This high-tech phone also lets them use their face as a password, as well as their fingerprint, so they’ll never get locked out. In fact, it has all the features you would expect from more expensive Apple or Samsung smartphones without the hefty price tag. Get a cheap pay as you go SIM or opt for an affordable monthly contract.

Pros

  • Brilliant camera effects
  • Good price for the features and spec
  • Easy to use
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Reviews suggest it can be a bit laggy

Tech spec

  • Weight: 168g
  • Size: 158.92 x 76.91 x 8.1 mm
  • Screen size: 6.26 inches
  • Storage: 32GB 
  • GPS: Yes
  • Camera: Yes
  • Operating system: Android

4. Best first phone for kids: Nokia 5.3 Phone

Nokia 5.3 phone

Price: £149.99 | Buy now from Argos

"The Nokia 5.3 gets good reviews for a budget first phone. It shouldn't cost more than £150." - CruelAndUnusualParenting

This Android-powered touchscreen phone may not be the cheapest option compared to more basic models, but it is great value for money. It looks modern, has a decent quad camera so your kids can snap their own pictures (rather than clogging your camera roll), and comes in a sleek, dark green version if your child is wanting something a little more standout.

The battery-life is high too – you should get two days of use out of the phone when it's fully charged. Reviewers love its quality and functionality for the cost, making this a great entry-level option for a first smartphone.

Pros

  • Long battery life
  • Great camera
  • Sleek design

Cons

  • You may want something more basic if your child is younger
  • Some reviewers report it freezing from time to time

Tech spec

  • Weight: 185g
  • Size: H164.3 x W76.6 x D8.5mm
  • Display: 6.55 inches
  • Storage: 64GB
  • GPS: Yes
  • Camera: Yes
  • Operating system: Android

Carphone Warehouse SIM only deals

From £6 per month you can get:

  • 1GB of data
  • Unlimited minutes
  • Unlimited texts

5. Best smartphone for kids: WileyFox Swift 2

Wileyfox smartphone

Price: £159.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“I definitely recommend getting a Wileyfox smartphone. They are brilliant and my hard-to-please 11-year-olds love them. It has all the features they need but can be customised by parents. Excellent quality and value for money – especially if you team it with a £6 monthly Goody Bag PAYG deal from GiffGaff.” - CrystalGlitz

Preteens don’t need jaw-droppingly expensive smartphones (no matter what they tell you). Instead, try them on the iPhone-inspired Wileyfox Swift 2. It looks the part, comes with 32GB of storage – plus 128GB of expandable memory – and comes in a cool, gold colour (perfect for those teens who are conscious about having a nice looking phone).

The screen is made from Gorilla Glass, which is 10 times tougher than normal glass, so the phone should survive the odd drop. It has fingerprint scanning too, so they won’t be able to lock themselves out of the thing. 

For a reliable – yet chic – iPhone alternative, look no further. Suitable for ages 11+.

Pros

  • Large, clear screen
  • Robust
  • Stylish 

Cons

  • Notification LED is very bright. Not one for taking to bed with them

Tech spec

  • Weight: 170g
  • Size: 7.2 x 0.88 x 14.3 cm
  • Screen size: 5.2 inches
  • Storage: 32GB
  • GPS: Yes
  • Camera: Yes
  • Operating system: Android

Giffgaff Goody Bags

Giffgaff Goody Bag deals start at just £10 per month. For this, you’ll get:

  • 10GB of data
  • Unlimited UK calls and texts

6. Best basic phone for kids: Nokia 105

Nokia 105 phone

 Price: £18.49 | Buy now from Amazon

“Try them with a festival phone like the Nokia 105. Basic but functional.” - AuntieStella 

“I work in the mobile phone industry and have done so for over 10 years. I constantly see parents shelling out loads of money on expensive phones for their children. Those same parents end up coming back into the store, having to spend even more money on insurance excess fees or, even worse, a full repair cost of hundreds of pounds. It happens because the children getting the phones don't understand the value of them and, as a result, aren't careful with them. Always start them on a cheap pay-as-you-go mobile. They’re perfect.” - RibenaMonsoon

Remember the good old days when everyone had a trusty Nokia 3310? Well, the Nokia 105 is as close as you’re going to get to that old faithful these days. It doesn't have 3G connectivity, or a camera, but it does come with Snake pre-loaded onto it, and it’s still just as addictive. 

If you’re not sure about your child having a smartphone, you can easily find ‘basic’ phones still and the great news is they are so cheap these days, so you won’t have to worry too much about them losing it and, just like its 00s predecessor, they'll have to try very hard to break it. You might have to explain what 2G is to them but we think they’ll like the simplicity of this phone. And did we mention that it has SNAKE on it?

If they’ve asked for a phone, but you’re not convinced they’re ready, this Nokia is the ideal compromise.

Pros

  • So cheap you won’t be cross when they lose it
  • Robust
  • No internet if that’s not your bag
  • Snake!

Cons

  • A distinct lack of street cred
  • No internet or camera

Tech spec

  • Weight: 73g
  • Size: 11.19 x 4.92 x 1.44 cm
  • Screen size: 1.77 inches
  • Storage: 0GB
  • GPS: No
  • Camera: No
  • Operating system: Simbian 9.1

7. Best iPhone for kids: iPhone 8 (reconditioned)

iPhone 8

 Price: Around £120 | Buy now from Amazon

“I'd recommend maybe just hopping up a grade or two with an iPhone and get a reconditioned one. Online sellers come with a year guarantee and will fix without quibble. DD has a nice iPhone 8 which was about £200.” - Beamer

If only an iPhone will do, make it a reconditioned one, so there aren’t <quite> so many tears when they inevitably lose it or it gets nicked at school. Once they’ve seen that happen a few times, kids generally have a better appreciation for the sense of not dropping £500 on the brand new, latest model.

There are lots of iPhone 8s on the market and it’s a great model with waterproofed casing, dual speakers and a much snazzier camera than the previous iPhone. 

On these reconditioned models, Amazon Renewed promises that there will be no visible scratches or other damage when the phone is held 30cm away, and that the battery will exceed 80% capacity compared with a new model. The accessories may not be original but will all be compatible, and it comes with a one-year guarantee if it isn’t as expected.

Sulky teens hoping for an iPhone 12 might pout about a 8, but they are welcome to save up for several years to buy one. If you’re shelling out for a phone for them, you can be confident that this one is a decent model that won’t let them down and yet isn’t quite covetable enough for it to be stolen within seconds of them showing it off at the school gate. 

Pros

  • An iPhone at a fraction of the price
  • Robust and waterproof’
  • Great camera

Cons

  • Packaging may be generic and accessories may not quite match
  • No separate headphone jack

Tech spec

  • Weight: 138g
  • Size: 13.8 x 6.7 x 0.71 cm
  • Screen size: 4.7 inches
  • Storage: 64GB
  • GPS: Yes
  • Camera: Yes
  • Operating system: iOS 

8. Best flip phone for kids: Jitterbug Flip Phone

Unishing phone

Price: £21.24 | Buy now from Amazon

“No, they do not need an iPhone. My son got a basic flip-flop phone that we got free from our cellphone company when he started high school (and not before).” - LiveOutLoud

If you’re looking for something robust that won’t get a scratched screen (or accidentally butt-dial you during Geography), a flip phone is a great choice. This Jitterbug model in snazzy red is actually aimed at the older market, for elderly people who find it difficult to press tiny buttons and perhaps don’t want too many frills. But those characteristics also make it the perfect choice for a first phone for kids, particularly if you’re starting them a little younger and don’t want to give them a full-on smartphone yet. 

It might be basic but it does what it sets out to do really well, with nice chunky buttons that are easy for little fingers to use, and an ergonomic hand set. It also has a few handy little functions like a calendar, calculator, alarm, FM radio and video/MP3 player. 

Obviously, it doesn’t have internet access but you might want to avoid this anyway for a younger child, and while it’s a nice-looking phone its nickability is low. Plus, at £24 plus your PAYG, if they do lose the phone, you’re less likely to lose your rag. Everyone’s a winner.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Chunky buttons
  • Very cheap
  • Robust

 Cons

  • Pretty basic
  • No internet
  • Camera is rear only

Tech spec

  • Weight: 30g
  • Size: 6.9 x 9 x 2 cm
  • Screen size: 1.8 inches
  • Storage: 32GB
  • GPS: No
  • Camera: Yes
  • Operating system: None

What age should a child get a phone?

Like so many parenting decisions it depends on the child. The average age is apparently 10 years 3 months these days, but many parents wait until the last term of year six or the start of secondary school.

Having said that, a phone is not a must for secondary. If they’re getting two trains there and back it might give you peace of mind, but if their school is a short stroll from your house you’d be forgiven for wondering what exactly it is they need a phone for. Weigh up the pros (safety and contactability) against the cons (exposure to potential bullying and the whole of the internet if it’s a smartphone). 

There may be other factors at play too. Perhaps if you are separated from your child’s other parent, it’s an easy way to contact them when they’re at ‘the other house’. Or maybe they do a lot of after school activities and payphones are no longer in evidence where you live. 

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 do I choose the best phone for kids?

First, decide on 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:

  • 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 truly unsuitable. 
  • Look for phones that are more robust with toughened screens, rubber casing etc. 
  • Don’t buy anything too expensive. It’s just asking for it to get nicked or broken. 
  • A tracker is useful - not so much for tracking your child as for tracking the phone when they lose it. 
  • A model with good battery life is a must so it makes it through the school day.

What is the most child-friendly phone?

For its robustness, excellent battery life and intuitive design, we would choose the Motorola Moto G10 phone as the best all-round phone for a child. 

 How we chose our recommendations

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

We then went to the Mumsnet Talk boards to ask real parents 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.

From there, we collated both lists to come up with a shortlist of phones that had both won industry awards and accolades as well as those that had won 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

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.