Best kids smartwatch 2022

Ticktalk 4 Lifestyle
Ticktalk 4 Lifestyle (Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

Kids love gadgets as much as adults (maybe even more), so it's no surprise the idea of having their own smartwatch gets them excited. Finding the best kids smartwatch to get for your child can be daunting with so many choices on the market. 

Aside from wading through all the options, it's also important to consider privacy, durability, and cost when searching for the best kids smartwatch. One watch that does a great job of these core features is the TickTalk 4. Sure, you may think that any cheap Android smartwatches would work, and it might, but kids smartwatches have a lot of safety features that can make them a better option. There are many choices out there, so let us help you find the best kids smartwatch for your child.

Only the best for the children

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(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)
Best Overall

Reasons to buy

+
Step tracking has been added
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Much improved battery life
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Added dedicated GPS for location tracking
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iHeartRadio Family is included
+
The display is much better than the previous version
+
Secure calling and messaging

Reasons to avoid

-
Still no geofencing
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The watch is really thick
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Location reporting can still be hit or miss

When the TickTalk 3 was on this list, it was a good watch but missing some essential features — with the TickTalk 4, many were resolved. The newest version of the kids smartwatch fixed one of the most significant issues I had from the TickTalk 3: poor battery life. In the design overhaul, more space was made for a larger battery, additional cellular antennas, and software changes helped extend the battery life to a full day without issue.

The TickTalk 4 also adds another camera, so your child can take photos of things much more accessible than only being able to use the selfie camera. You'll also find dedicated GPS paired with Wi-Fi and cellular data for better location monitoring. Step tracking has been included to make being active more fun, along with free iHeartRadio Family, which was a favorite feature during the TickTalk 4 review, because kids can stream family-friendly music while playing. The watch works with GSM cellular carriers, so no Verizon, and the company has partnered with the prepaid carrier Red Pocket Mobile for service if you choose.

All of this is kept secure in a very well-designed and easy-to-use parental companion app. The watch can only communicate with contacts that you add. This includes messaging, calling, SOS contacts, and video chats. The watch design is a bit on the bulky side, but it is very durable and customized with Chums. These are rubber icons like rainbows, guitars, skateboards, and more, to the watch strap. The only missing feature that I would like to see on the TickTalk 4 is geofencing.

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)
Runner-up

Reasons to buy

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Good call quality
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Watch software is easy to use
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Great safety features

Reasons to avoid

-
Missing a Do Not Disturb mode
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Locked to Verizon
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No Wi-Fi

The GizmoWatch 2 from Verizon is a great watch that gets a lot of things right. Starting with the style, it comes in two color options — blue or pink — and has a durable squarish plastic case. There are two buttons on the side to offer a few actions when pressed. One of them is if either button is pressed, the parent-designated emergency contact is called.

The screen on the watch is vibrant and gets bright enough to be visible in most lighting conditions. Your child can select from seven different colorful themes to give their watch a bit of personality. There's also a fun jumping game and step tracker for the kids to earn rewards from that you can set in the parent's app.

From the parents' side, through the GizmoHub, which acts as the companion app, you can control nearly every aspect of your child's watch. This is also where you get to set up who the watch can call, be called, or message. There's no camera, but your child can make standard phone calls and send preset messages, emojis, or voice messages.

The Gizmowatch 2 has a built-in GPS, which can locate the watch and set up geofences. Doing so will send you a notification when the watch leaves the designated area. Your child can manually ping you their location from the watch, or you can always check in from the app.

While a lot is going for the watch, during our GizmoWatch 2 review period we did find that it does have its downfalls. Verizon Wireless has great coverage for a lot of people and will work fine. But if you don't get good Verizon coverage — too bad, because you can't use any other carrier. The other main feature lacking from the GizmoWatch 2 is Wi-Fi. The addition of this feature would help in low cellular connectivity.

If you are in an area with good Verizon coverage and don't mind that you can only use that carrier, the GizmoWatch 2 is a great smartwatch for kids that offers fun features for them and the safety features you want.

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)
Best for ease of use

Reasons to buy

+
Very easy to use
+
Geofencing support
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Durable
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No extra stuff

Reasons to avoid

-
Only works on Gabb Wireless
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No Wi-Fi

At first glance, the Gabb Watch might be mistaken for the GizmoWatch 2. That would be understandable, because these are the same device from a hardware perspective in nearly every way. In my time reviewing the Gabb Watch, I found that the watch performed very similarly to its doppelganger.

Instead of being locked to Verizon directly, the Gabb Watch is sold and supported by Gabb Wireless, an MVNO of Verizon. So this way, you get a device that is created, managed by, and connected through the same company — and that has its advantages. However, the Watch has the same lack of Wi-Fi as the GizmoWatch 2.

This is mainly because Gabb does a great job of continually supporting the software for the Watch. The interface of the device is very easy to navigate and understand. Plus, the lack of extra apps and features doesn't distract and clutter up the display. 

The Gabb companion app brings a nice suite of parental control features, as well as the ability to set up geofencing areas called Safe Zones to notify you if your child enters or leaves the designated area. You'll even be able to set reminders and tasks for your child to help them stay on track.

Spacetalk Adventurer kids smartwatch

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)
Best for health tracking

Reasons to buy

+
Great looking, durable hardware
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Heart rate monitoring
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Excellent battery life
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Snappy performance

Reasons to avoid

-
No Wi-Fi
-
Lacks video calling
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Messaging can be confusing

The Spacetalk Adventurer is a kids smartwatch that looks nothing like the others on this list. On the surface, the watch has a more mature design, but not so much that younger kids wouldn't enjoy it. The display is sharp and easy to read, and navigating the watch's interface is smooth and responsive.

A unique feature of the Adventurer is the inclusion of a heart rate monitor. You'll be able to check on your child's activity by seeing how many steps they're taking and see a history of their heart rate measurements, all from the well-designed Spacetalk companion app. Even with all the heart rate tracking, the Adventurer gets excellent battery life and is able to make it through a typical day of use easily. 

It is disappointing that at this time, even though there is a front-facing camera, there is no option for video calling. Though not a major issue, messaging on the Spacetalk Adventurer can be a bit confusing because there are two messaging apps. During my review period, I'd carry on the same conversation dispersed across both apps — making it challenging to keep it all straight. Again, not a deal-breaker, but worth noting.

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)
Best Fitness Band

Reasons to buy

+
Doesn't need recharging with 1+ year battery life
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5 ATM Water resistance
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Activity challenges, sleep tracking, and task reminders
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Adjustable band fits small wrists well

Reasons to avoid

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No GPS geofencing
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No Communication options
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The screen is very small

Garmin makes some of the most impressive fitness smartwatches on the market today, and not to leave the kids out of the fun, Garmin has the Vivofit Jr. line of fitness bands. The newest in that family is the Vivofit Jr. 3, and it has some great features for the little ones.

The band can join in with the rest of the family using Garmin fitness products in friendly challenges to encourage kids to be more active. There's even the ability to sync with nearby friends for a bit of fun competition as well. By getting at least 60 minutes of activity in a day, your child can earn points that translate into turns in a fun game that's in the companion app on your phone.

The game is themed to match the fitness band itself. When we reviewed the Vivofit Jr 3, my son loved the games for his Marvel's Black Panther-themed track. But there's also Iron Man, Disney Princesses, Little Mermaid, and some Garmin designs of Digi Camo, Lilac Floral, The Mandalorian, Baby Grogu, or Blue Stars. 

The device's battery lasts up to a year and is replaceable, so you never have to charge it. You can also set reminders on the Vivofit Jr. 3 for your child to earn digital coins to redeem for rewards that you set within your companion app.

The Vivofit Jr. 3 is water-resistant to 5 ATM, tracks steps, and can track sleep automatically. While this device may not have the full gamut of features found in the TickTalk 4 or the GizmoWatch 2, it is still a fun way for your child to get active and be responsible.

Source: VTech (Image credit: VTech)

VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX3

Best Toy Smartwatch

Reasons to buy

+
Long battery life
+
Entertaining games and watch faces
+
Includes a pedometer
+
Can communicate with other DX3 watches.
+
No cellular or Wi-Fi

Reasons to avoid

-
Getting pictures off of the watch can be tedious

Instead of a tool for connecting to a smartphone, VTech created an experience that is mostly a toy, but partially useful. Amid all the games and onboard camera tricks, you'll find a functional calendar for appointments, a voice memo app, and several other tools that work well with the smartwatch aesthetic. This is a great way to get kids thinking about using technology for more than entertainment, without completely pulling them away from the shiny world of fun things.

Smartwatches are already luxury accessories, and for kids, they become little more than toys. VTech's Kidizoom Smartwatch for kids has a few games and lets them take photos from their wrist and have some fun with the photos. There's even a flashlight that works as a flash for taking pictures. 

It's a fun way for a kid to emulate their smartwatch-wearing parent without needing to be tethered to a smartphone, and it includes some tools that could be useful. Calculator apps let children explore math on their own. The new DX3 picks up a feature to let it communicate with other DX3 owners with photos or preset messages all without Wi-Fi or cellular connectivity.

There's plenty of fun to be had here. Still, the need to regularly charge the watch to use it and the availability of actually useful apps could become tools for teaching children how to care for their hardware and use it properly. 


Just like the grown ups, but made for kids

If you are looking for a watch your child will enjoy using, that will also give you some peace of mind — you can't go wrong with the TickTalk 4. It's a well-built piece of technology with its own style and has some wonderful features. Since it has a SIM card in addition to Wi-Fi connectivity, you and your child will be able to communicate as needed. You will also benefit from creating GPS location tracking and location history to monitor your child's location. While the device isn't cheap, it is a great all-in-one communication device for your child that will be much harder to lose than a phone.

There could be some refinements, such as it would be helpful if there was a keyboard on the watch. Though tiny, it would be helpful in situations where the canned responses weren't enough and voice dictation is inappropriate. While it would be nice to see geofencing added in, there are so many other great features like the dual-camera setup and iHeartRadio Family streaming. So, whether you want to ensure your child is where they should be and be able to talk to them, there are options for that. If all you want is to introduce your child to some wearable tech, then there's that too.