Which Amazon Fire Tablet Is Best for You?
Amazon’s Fire tablets are seductive. Most of us already use Amazon, and the Fire tablets are some of the only high-profile, affordable tablets around. Their prices seem too good to be true—and in some ways, they are—but Fire tablets are also completely functional, capable devices. To help you decide if a Fire tablet is right for you, we reviewed every model. These are our unfiltered recommendations.
Updated in July 2019 with the latest Fire tablets. Be sure to check out our guides to the Best Tablets and Best Alexa Speakers.
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The Best Fire Tablet
Fire HD 10
The Fire HD 10 is the speediest and most well-rounded Amazon tablet. It has a larger screen with more pixels (1080p) than its siblings, making it a better slate for watching videos. (Read our Fire HD 10 review.) And, like the Fire HD 8, you can shout commands at Alexa from across the room. On the inside, it has a little more processing power than the smaller Fire tablets and 32 GB of internal storage (upgradeable to 64 GB), with a MicroSD slot if you need more space.
I recommend picking up the official magnetic standing case to keep it propped up for video binge-watching, or invest in Amazon's Show Mode Dock, which turns it into an Echo (Alexa) speaker with a screen.
The Fire HD 10 costs $150 at Amazon
The Best for Travel
Fire HD 8
With a travel-friendly size and a price tag below $100, the 2018 Fire HD 8 is our favorite all-around Fire tablet. (Read our Fire HD 8 review.) It’s portable enough to take with you anywhere, and its screen won’t torture your eyes when you watch Netflix. It’s an ideal size for kids under 10 but old enough to not drop it constantly.
The HD 8 has most of the benefits of the larger Fire HD 10, including hands-free Alexa, stereo sound, and 9- to 10-hour battery life. I recommend picking up Amazon’s magnetic stand-up case if you plan on watching movies or TV or a Show Mode Dock if you want to use it like an Alexa speaker.
The Fire HD 8 costs $80 at Amazon
The Best Fire Tablet For Kids
Fire HD 8 Kids Edition (2018)
In the past year, Amazon released updates to both of their kid tablets, the Fire 7 Kids Edition (2019) and the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition (2018). We still think the HD 8 is a much better device thanks to its larger, sharper HD screen, Dolby stereo sound, and dual speakers. But the updates to FreeTime Unlimited, which include Audible books and Spanish-language content, apply to both versions.
We recommend the tablet for kids under 7. If your kid's hands are especially tiny, they'll appreciate the Fire 7's smaller size and new puffy case with included stand.
The Fire HD 8 Kids Edition costs $130 at Amazon
Avoid the Fire 7
The Fire 7 is Amazon’s cheapest tablet, and it has a tantalizing $50 price. But if you're making more demands on your Fire tablet than a 3-year-old who loves Carl the Super Truck, you should probably cough up a little extra and buy an HD 8. Like we said in our Fire 7 review, the 7-inch screen will feel somewhat cramped and its screen resolution is noticeably pixelated. You won’t love the mono speaker, which is easily blocked by a single finger. Its battery also lags behind the other two tablets, and the 8 GB of internal storage is pitifully small, mandating a MicroSD card from the get go.
Amazon Sells Older Fire Tablets. Don’t Buy Them
Only buy one of the "7th Generation" or "8th Generation" Fire tablets. For some reason, Amazon still sells many of its older Fire tablets, but you should stick to the tablets we talk about in this article (also listed here). Its newer models will get software updates longer and may have other small improvements that aren’t noticeable at first.
It’s a pain, but if you're buying an old device you should also cross reference the latest update available for the tablet you’re going to buy (find it on this sheet) with the latest version of Fire OS to see how up-to-date your software will be.
What’s WIRED About All Fire Tablets
A Faucet for Amazon Content: If you subscribe to Amazon’s Prime service, you can listen to all the included music, movies, TV, and books while also shopping for all the items you can get with its free two-day shipping or browsing your free Amazon photo storage. You can do most of the same things from an Android tablet or iPad, but the Fire OS interface is crafted specifically to deliver Amazon goods, with swipeable pages for each type of media Amazon sells.
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Built ‘Good Enough’: Physically, Amazon’s Fire tablets are made of cheap-ish plastic, but they’re designed with enough care that the build quality won’t bother you too much. They are also some of the best-quality tablets for kids, encased in a rugged bumper, and all have MicroSD slots so you can add extra storage. (We recommend this 64 GB MicroSD card.)
Cheap: Did we mention the price? They all cost $150 or less, which is a price that would have legitimately shocked you just a few years ago. They offer high value for the price. You can also to get them with Amazon lock-screen ads, which will lower your price by $15.
What’s TIRED About All Fire Tablets
Non-Amazon Content is Lacking: The greatest strength of these tablets is also their greatest weakness. If you aren’t an Amazon Prime subscriber, and plan to get your video, audio, or books from Amazon, the Fire tablet line is far less compelling. They do have Alexa, so that could be a plus, but again, that’s tied deeply into Amazon’s content library.
You can download third-party apps like Netflix on Amazon’s Appstore, but the selection is far more limited than the apps available on Apple's iPad or the Google Play store on standard Android tablets. Tech-savvy users have found ways to add the Google Play Store or sideload apps, but these devices are built to serve up Amazon first and foremost.
Old Tech: The tech inside these tablets is very old. They all run on processors that would have impressed 4+ years ago, but show their age today with small fits of lag and a general lack of power. Since many of the apps are built with weak processing power in mind, you don’t notice it too much. The operating system is also several years old, which could hide some of the weakness. Amazon’s latest Fire OS is a modified version of Android Nougat, which first came out in 2016. Amazon keeps updating its tablets to some degree, but not nearly as often as it should.
Short Warranties: Only the Fire HD 10 comes with a full one-year warranty. Oddly, the smaller devices come with 90-day warranties.
Special Offers: In the last year, Amazon's Special Offers lockscreen ads have gotten more overt. We recommend you pay the extra $15 to buy a Fire tablet without them.