Best Amazon Fire Tablets

Amazon makes some of the most affordable tablets you can buy. CR helps you find the right one for your needs.

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Amazon Fire Tablets Photo: Amazon

If you’re looking for a tablet to use mainly to watch videos, read books, and consume other kinds of media, Amazon Fire tablets are hard to beat.

“You can get a lot of value out of them,” says Antonette Asedillo, who oversees CR’s tablet and computer testing. “The prices are budget-friendly, but the devices are reliable and work well for everyday tasks, such as watching videos or reading.”

Compared with Apple or Samsung tablets, which often sell for hundreds more, you do have to make some concessions, though.

The major downside is that Amazon Fire tablets don’t run Android’s stock operating system but instead run a version of Android called FireOS. That means you don’t get access to apps like Gmail and YouTube via the Google Play store. You have to settle for the generic alternatives in Amazon’s own app store.

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It also means you’ll be funneled toward buying content from Amazon.

The display quality and performance speeds are limited, too, but Asedillo says they’re acceptable for everyday tasks such as reading, web browsing, movie streaming, and standard game play.

On the other hand, if you’re already on the hook for a $119-per-year Amazon Prime subscription, Fire tablets provide you with easy access to movies, music, and books.

And FireOS has a good parental control system, called Amazon Kids, to help you manage content and screen time for your children. Available free on all Fire tablets, it also lets you subscribe to thousands of kid-friendly movies, TV shows, books, and apps via Amazon’s Kids+ service, which starts at $5 a month for a single account (or $3 a month for Prime members).

Last, Fire tablets go on sale on Amazon’s retail platform quite regularly (particularly the Fire 7 and Fire 8 HD). And you can score a discount anytime if you can put up with ads. Every Fire Tablet is available with a $15 discount if you buy a version that shows ads from Amazon on the lock screen.

What’s the best Amazon Fire tablet for you? That depends on just what you’re looking for. Here are the models that did well in our tests.

All the tablets in our ratings are graded on almost 240 data points. And like everything else we test at CR, they’re purchased at retail to make sure we’re using the exact same product you would.

Best Fire Tablet Overall

The 2021 Fire HD 10 is the highest-scoring Amazon tablet in our ratings.

The 10-inch screen is bright and crisp, though we found the color saturation to be a bit lacking. The viewing angle should be decent enough for one person, meaning it’ll usually stay sharp even if you’re not looking at it straight on. But you’ll need to fidget with it to find an angle that works for multiple people.

The 10-inch screen is also ideal for reading. Comic-book fans may especially be interested in the Fire HD 10 because it can display a single full page in almost the same size as the print original. Amazon owns Comixology, a digital retailer and subscription service with more than 75,000 comic books and graphic novels available for downloading.

This tablet boasts an impressive battery life, too. In CR testing it delivered 14.8 hours for browsing the web and 15.7 hours for watching movies.

Best Fire Tablet for the Value

This model—the cheapest tablet in our ratings—performs quite well in our testing, scoring better than competitors that cost twice or even three times as much. Its scores just miss the cutoff for an official CR Recommendation, but the Amazon Fire 7 has a lot going for it.

Our testers give the 6.9-inch screen middling scores but note that its reduced glare makes for easy viewing outdoors and in brightly lit rooms. The resolution leaves a bit to be desired in comparison with other tablets, but for $50 that’s a worthwhile sacrifice as long as you’re not expecting perfectly crisp images.

At 0.6 pound, the Fire 7 is significantly lighter than most tablets. The battery life is solid, too, delivering 8.8 hours of web browsing and 8.7 hours of movie viewing. One thing you probably won’t do with the Fire 7 is snap pictures. The 1.9-megapixel webcam and a 1.9-megapixel camera produce images and video that won’t be on a par with a lot of newer smartphones.

The 16GB of storage may be a bit tight if you plan to download a fair amount of media for, say, a long flight, and an entire season of a TV show may put you close to your storage limit. But you easily can expand the storage space with a 128GB micro-SD card for about $20. That’s more than enough for all but the most dedicated of digital pack rats.

Fire Tablet With the Sharpest Screen

For just $30 more, the Amazon Fire 8 HD gives you an 8-inch screen with higher resolution, which may make it a better choice for those who want to watch movies or have a little more space for digital reading.

At 15.8 hours, its battery life in our web-browsing tests is unusually high. It was great in our movie playback test, too, at 15.2 hours.

However, storage space is tight. The Fire HD 8’s 32 gigabytes call for an extra micro-SD card if you foresee yourself downloading movies for offline viewing.

Best Fire Tablet for Kids

One of the main appeals of a cheaper tablet is that if it breaks, you won’t be too heartbroken about it. The Amazon Fire Kids Edition is a Fire 7 tablet, and while it’s not as inexpensive as the regular Fire 7, it’s packaged with some extras to put your mind at ease.

This tablet comes with a thick case and a guarantee. The chunky case protects it from falls, but if it breaks in the first two years, just send it back to Amazon and it’ll give you a new one. There’s no limit within that two years on how many replacements you can get.

Note that the coverage doesn’t protect against loss or theft.

The tablet also comes with a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+, which gives you and your kids access to thousands of kid-friendly movies, TV shows, books, and apps. Better yet, Amazon’s robust parental controls allow you to create different profiles for different kids, setting hard limits on what each can look at, and when and how long the tablet can be used.

Though we haven’t tested other Kids Edition models, Amazon also sells Fire 8 HD and Fire 10 versions with rubber bumpers, the two-year worry-free guarantee, and the free year of Kids+.


Headshot image of Electronics editor Thomas Germain

Thomas Germain

I want to live in a world where consumers take advantage of technology, not the other way around. Access to reliable information is the way to make that happen, and that's why I spend my time chasing it down. When I'm off the clock, you can find me working my way through an ever-growing list of podcasts. Got a tip? Drop me an email ( thomas.germain@consumer.org) or follow me on Twitter ( @ThomasGermain) for my contact info on Signal.