Amazon’s Fire tablets are some of the only high-profile, ultra-affordable tablets out there. The prices seem too good to be true—and in some ways they are—but the Fire tablets are also fully functional, reasonably capable devices. To help you decide if one of these boards is right for you, we’ve reviewed each model. These are our unfiltered recommendations. While we’re listing Amazon’s base price, please note that we suggest spending an additional $15 to get the ad-free version.
Be sure to check out our other guides, like the best tablets, the best iPads, and the best Alexa speakers.
Updated June 2022: We’ve spotted the new Fire 7 and Fire 7 Kids tablets, upcoming Prime Day deals, and refreshed pricing and links.
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Wait until the premiere day
If you’re planning to buy a new Fire tablet right now, you should hold off. As Prime Day approaches (July 12-13), Amazon’s line of tablets will be least 30 percent off. Of course, these panels are already affordable compared to others on the market, but you can save even more. It’s worth the wait.
The best Fire Tablet
The Fire HD 10 is Amazon’s largest and fastest tablet. Amazon refreshed it this year (7/10, WIRED recommends) with a brighter screen and 3 gigabytes of RAM. Alongside it, there’s the new Fire HD 10 Plus, which bumps the RAM to 4GB and adds wireless charging, which is worth the extra $30 if you plan to do more than watch movies and browse the web. Amazon hopes you can do more, too, because now there’s a “productivity bundle” that includes a nice keyboard (no trackpad) and a year’s subscription to Microsoft 365. Work on the Fire HD 10 isn’t bad, so long as you don’t need Google applications. None of Google’s office apps work on the Fire HD 10, not even in the browser.
The Fire HD 10 has a larger screen with more pixels (1080p) than its siblings, which makes it better for watching videos. And, like the Fire HD 8, you can speak commands to Alexa from across the room. To use Alexa’s display mode, swipe down on the notification overlay and check the Show Mode box. After that, you can place your HD 10 on the stand (if you opt for the Plus model, we like the official wireless charging stand) and it essentially becomes an Echo Show.
You can choose between 32 gigabyte or 64 gigabyte models (with a MicroSD slot on both, so you can add up to 1 TB of storage if you need more space). Whatever you choose, Amazon will show ads on your lock screen. To get rid of it, you’ll have to spend $15 more for the version without “special offers”.
Best value Fire Tablet
The 2020 version of the Fire HD 8 is probably one of the best tablet values out there. The travel-friendly size, combined with a processor upgrade and a Plus model ($110) with 3 gigabytes of RAM and wireless charging, makes the Fire HD 8 series almost as capable as its bigger brother. It’s portable enough to take anywhere, and its screen won’t strain your eyes while watching Netflix. However, the screen is not quite a bit just as nice as the one on the larger Fire HD 10, which boasts a higher pixel density.
Still, the HD 8 has most of the benefits of the HD 10, including hands-free Alexa, stereo sound, USB-C, and nearly 12 hours of battery life. I recommend getting Amazon’s magnetic stand-up case if you plan to watch movies or TV, or, if you go for the Plus model, the wireless charging station, which turns your tablet into an Echo Show speaker.
The best Fire Tablet for kids
Recognizing that “kids” covers a wide range of hand sizes and other factors, Amazon now has two different Kids Edition Fire tablets. There is a regular edition for children and a “Pro” model. The latter, aimed at older children, has a simplified case with a little less padding and an option for parents to install apps from a dedicated store for kids. We think the HD 8 ($140) is the best device for younger kids, while the 2021 Fire HD 10 Kids Pro ($200), which is really big in the hands of small children, it is better for older children. The new Fire 7 Kids ($110) is an even cheaper option for toddlers, though mine has always had a harder time using the 7-inch screen.
The Kids Edition versions are exactly the same as regular Fire tablets, except they come with a rugged case and a worry-free two-year warranty, meaning Amazon will replace the tablet for free if your kids break it. It also comes with one year of Amazon Kids+, which offers access to kid-friendly movies, books, games and apps. It costs $5 a month after the first year ($8 for Prime subscribers, if you don’t have Prime). Be sure to check out our guide to managing Amazon Kids+ content.
The best affordable Fire Tablet
Amazon has finally refreshed its smallest Fire tablet, the 7-inch model. The 2022 version has a slightly more powerful processor, double the RAM and longer battery life. It also charges via USB-C. Unfortunately, that leaves a measly 16 gigabytes of storage, although the supported SD card size has increased to 1 terabyte, so if you want more storage (and trust me, you do), you can add it. Also for this release is the price, which jumps from $49 to $59.
We’ve recommended avoiding this one in the past because it was underpowered and the small screen makes it less useful. We haven’t had a chance to test the new model yet, but based on the new specs, the Fire 7 now has enough power to keep up with Fire OS. Still, we think it’s better to spend $30 more for the Fire 8. If that’s out of your budget, though, the new Fire 7 will do.
Amazon sells older Fire tablets. Don’t buy them
Buy just one of the “10th Generation” or “11th Generation” Fire tablets. We suggest you stick to the models we talk about in this article (also listed here).
Older Fire tablet models won’t receive software updates for as long as the current generation. You’ll also miss out on the faster processor and more RAM in the newer model. A far better idea is to wait for Prime Day or another sale when you can get new models for 30 to 50 percent off.