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The best Amazon Fire tablets in 2021

Best Amazon Fire tablets
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The best Amazon Fire tablet for you can be tricky to find, because Amazon sells its cheap, durable tablets in a variety of (sometimes similar) sizes and configurations. 

While each offers some subtly different strengths, they all excel at allowing you to enjoy your Amazon content on the go. All Fire tablets run on Amazon's Fire OS, a custom version of Android, and it does a great job of serving up your Kindle ebooks, Prime Video offerings, and Amazon Music playlists in an easy-to-navigate format.

However, they all share similar weaknesses, most notably the fact that all Fire tablets lack easy access to the Google Play Store. That means it's effectively impossible to install a number of popular Android apps, including Google apps like Gmail, unless you sideload them — and that's a big ask for many Fire tablet owners.

Even so, a new Amazon Fire tablet can be well worth the investment if you need a cheap, durable slate for browsing the web and consuming media. The more invested you are in the Amazon content ecosystem, the more value you'll get out of a Fire tablet. Here, then, are the best Amazon Fire tablets you can buy right now.

What are the best Amazon Fire tablets?

Right now, we recommend the Amazon Fire HD 10 (2021) as the best Amazon Fire tablet for most people. With stellar battery life, good performance, and a vibrant screen for a starting price of $150, the Fire HD 10 is nice enough that you'll feel good about keeping it by the bed or packing it on your next trip, but cheap enough that if a kid breaks it or TSA loses it you won't be too heartbroken.

If you just need something cheap and portable to browse the web, the $50 Amazon Fire 7 is a great choice. The sub-HD screen is smaller than that on the Fire HD 10, with a lower resolution, but it's still more than good enough for reading ebooks and watching videos. And with such a low price tag, it's a great to hand off to kids.

However, if you can afford to spend a bit more and want something more kid-friendly, consider the Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids or the Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Pro. Both are effectively Fire HD 10 tablets, but they cost about $50 more and come with some kid-friendly extras like a colorful, drop-resistant case w/ kickstand, a free year of Amazon's Kids+ entertainment service, and a comprehensive 2-year warranty. The only significant difference between the two is that the Fire HD 10 Kids is aimed at children ages 3-7, while the Fire HD 10 Kids Pro is meant for older kids ages 6-12.

Best Amazon Fire tablets: Amazon Fire HD 10 (2021)

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

1. Amazon Fire HD 10 (2021)

The best Amazon Fire tablet for most people

Specifications
CPU: 2.0GHz octa-core CPU
Camera Resolution: 5 MP (rear) 2 MP (front)
Display: 10.1-inch, 1920 x 1200-pixel
Storage: 32GB, 64GB
Ports: 1x USB-C, headphone jack, microSD
Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.5 x 0.4 inches
Weight: 17.8 ounces/1.1 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Stellar battery life+Sharp and bright screen+USB-C charging
Reasons to avoid
-Speakers aren't that strong-Still lacks Google apps

The Amazon Fire HD 10 is a great all-around tablet, and the 2021 model Amazon just released features incremental upgrades over the 2019 model like a brighter screen, 1GB more RAM and a smaller, lighter design. 

With stellar battery life, good performance, and a nice screen for a starting price of $150, we think the Amazon Fire HD 10 is the best Amazon Fire tablet for most people. 

Its biggest flaws, though, are those endemic to the Amazon Fire tablets in general. Most notably, Amazon's Fire OS is still app-challenged, missing the Google Play app store — which means you can't get the full YouTube experience, for example, and you'll miss out on a lot of great apps not available on Amazon's app store.

Read our full Amazon Fire HD 10 (2021) review.

Amazon Fire 7 (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

2. Amazon Fire 7

The best Amazon Fire tablet for those on a budget

Specifications
CPU: Quad-Core 1.3 GHz processor
Camera Resolution: 2MP (rear), 2MP (front)
Display: 7 inches, 1024 x 600 pixels
Storage: 16GB, 32GB
Memory: 1GB
Ports: headphone jack. microUSB, microSD,
Dimensions: 7.6 x 4.5 x 0.4 inches
Weight: 0.6 pounds (10.1 ounces)
Reasons to buy
+Fast for its price+Hyper affordable +Finally, hands-free Alexa
Reasons to avoid
-Lots of Amazon ads-Low-res display

For a lot of customers, price makes the big difference, so Amazon could have coasted when it comes to the $50 Fire 7 tablet. Fortunately, the most recent iteration of the company's cheapest slate packs a snappy quad-core 1.3 GHz processor, which helps you navigate apps and browse the web faster than you'd expect from a tablet this cheap. And while previous Fire tablets made you tap to activate Alexa — which made no sense, it's meant to be summoned with your voice — the Fire 7 finally added voice triggers for the digital assistant.

Just don't expect any frills that come with more expensive tablets. The Fire 7 tablet’s sub-HD screen is not sharp enough for anyone used to an iPad, and its lock screen is filled with ads unless you pay extra. Still, it's a great pick for anyone seeking a cheap media consumption device.

Read our full Amazon Fire 7 review.

Best Amazon Fire tablets: Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Pro

(Image credit: Future)

3. Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Pro

The best Amazon Fire tablet for tweens

Specifications
CPU: 2.0GHz octa-core CPU
Camera Resolution: 5 MP (rear) 2 MP (front)
Display: 10.1-inch, 1920 x 1200-pixel
Storage: 32GB
Ports: 1x USB-C, headphone jack, microSD
Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.5 x 0.4 inches
Weight: 17.8 ounces/1.1 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Vibrant screen makes cartoons pop+Tenacious battery outlasts the competition+Comprehensive 2-year warranty
Reasons to avoid
-No native Google apps-Dull audio compared to the competitors

The Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Pro (2021) is basically the same, hardware-wise, as the excellent Amazon Fire HD 10 (2021). It’s got the same octa-core processor, 3GB of RAM and vivacious 1,900 x 1,200 display. The big difference is that it's designed specifically for use by older kids ages 6-12, so it comes with a one-year Amazon Kids+ subscription, a colorful kickstand case, and a comprehensive, no-questions-asked 2-year warranty that covers accidental damage. 

If you're in the market for a kid-friendly tablet, few competitors can match what the Fire HD 10 Kids Pro offers for $199, particularly with that generous extended warranty. Sure, it has all the same weaknesses as every Fire tablet — most notably, no easy access to the Google Play Store — but if you're planning to give this to a kid anyway, that's less of an issue. 

Read our full Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Pro (2021) review.

Best Amazon Fire tablets: Amazon Fire HD 8

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

4. Amazon Fire HD 8

The best sub-$100 Amazon Fire tablet

Specifications
CPU: 2.0 GHz quad-core processor
Camera Resolution: 2MP (rear), 2MP (front)
Display: 8-inch 1280 x 800-pixel
Storage: 32GB, 64GB
Memory: 2GB
Ports: headphone jack. USB-C, microSD,
Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.4 inches
Weight: 0.8 pounds (12.5 ounces)
Reasons to buy
+Fantastic battery life+Bright screen+USB-C port+Good selfie camera+Great for Amazon content
Reasons to avoid
-Still no Google apps-Pay to remove Amazon ads-Slow Silk browser

The Amazon Fire HD 8 is a great tablet for certain needs. Its bright screen and epic 13+ hours of battery life make it great for consuming content, and its reversible USB-C port is a feature we wish was in the cheaper Fire 7 tablet. On top of that, this $90 tablet is good enough at everything else — decent audio, OK performance —  for its price that I can't deny how many will find it a great value.  I also found its front camera surprisingly crisp when I snapped some selfies while writing the review, as more expensive laptops have much worse webcams.

That being said, anyone who wants the completeness of the Google Play Android app store or the iPad's iOS app store might feel a little ticked off at Amazon. The lack of Google's own apps, which you need to sideload to use, is frustrating to folks who don't like to use inferior web-based versions of those apps. 

Read our full Amazon Fire HD 8 review.

Best Amazon Fire tablets: Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids

(Image credit: Future)

5. Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids

The best Amazon Fire tablet for young children

Specifications
CPU: 2.0GHz octa-core CPU
Camera Resolution: 5 MP (rear) 2 MP (front)
Display: 10.1-inch, 1920 x 1200-pixel
Storage: 32GB
Ports: 1x USB-C, headphone jack, microSD
Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.5 x 0.4 inches
Weight: 17.8 ounces/1.1 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Durable build+Great parental controls+Bright and sharp display
Reasons to avoid
-Lack of Google Play Store apps-Poor sound quality-Underwhelming performance

The Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids, like the Fire HD 10 Kids Pro listed above, is effectively a version of the Fire HD 10 that's tailored for kid-friendly use. It costs as much as the Fire HD 10 Kids Pro ($199) and offers basically the same features, but aimed at children ages three to seven rather than older kids. 

Like its siblings the Fire HD 10 Kids sports a bright display, a durable kid-friendly design, and excellent battery life. Plus, the detailed built-in parental controls give you a lot of control over what a child does on the device, with little risk of them going astray. Sure, the lack of Google Play Store apps limits what you can do with this tablet, but that's hardly a problem if you're planning to give it to your 5-year-old so they can have something to watch videos on. If you want a durable, long-lasting tablet tailored to young children, the Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids is a great choice.

Read our full Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids review.

How to choose the right Amazon Fire tablet for you

Still not sure which Amazon Fire tablet is right for you? Here are some important things to consider.

Screen size: The Amazon Fire tablets come in a variety of screen sizes ranging from 7 to 10 inches. If you expect to be watching a lot of videos, you'll want the biggest, nicest screen possible, so consider the Fire HD 10. But if you just want a tablet to browse the web and read ebooks, a smaller display, like those on the Fire 7 or Fire HD 8, will be more than enough for your needs.

Budget: While all of the Amazon Fire tablets are more affordable than anything Apple makes, there's still a wide price range of $50-$200, or more if you splurge on extras. If you can afford the higher end of that spectrum, the $150 Fire HD 10 is probably the best choice for you. But if you'd rather spend $100, or $50, the Fire HD 8 or Fire 7 (respectively) are decent tablets that should meet your needs.

Age: How old is the person you're buying this tablet for? Obviously if it's for you, buy whatever you like, but if you're getting a cheap Amazon Fire tablet for a younger person, there are a variety of kid-friendly options depending on their age. For those ages 3-7, the Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids offers decent performance, great parental controls, and a colorful drop-resistant case. The Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Pro offers effectively the same benefits for the same price, but it's aimed at older kids in the 6-12 range. And if the person you're buying for is older than that, they should be well-served by the standard Amazon Fire HD 10.

How we test Amazon Fire tablets

Before we start reviewing a new Amazon Fire tablet, we send it to our lab, where it gets run through a series of tests that help us measure its capabilities. 

First, we run as many benchmarks as that tablet will allow, to see how fast they are in ways that can be compared directly against competitors. We say "will allow" as Amazon's Fire slates have trouble with side-loaded Android apps. We then use colorimeters and light meters to measure how colorful and bright these tablets’ screens can get. After that, we put them through our in-house battery test, which times how long it takes — while surfing the web with brightness at 150 nits — to drain a tablet of a charge.

After that, we do the same things you do — browse the web, watch videos, play games, compose emails — as we use the tablet like we own it, for a week or two at least.

Alex Wawro

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. He currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.