The 7 Best Kids Audio Players of 2022
The world of children’s audio has come a long way since the days of sitting on the floor with a Fisher-Price record player. Today, it is difficult to find such simple entertainment that children can use independently and safely, while allowing them to rest from their screens.
Enter kids music players and kids audio players. In recent years, we’ve been inundated with options for these screenless entertainment options. From Toniebox to Yoto Player, they all seem to have their strengths, which makes them a daunting choice when trying to choose the best one for your child. That’s why we decided to dig deep and extensively test all of the top-selling music players and audio players for kids to find out which really is the best and why.
It was a tough choice. Almost every drive we tried had their own strengths, but the robust book library and dynamic usability of the Yoto player (available on Amazon) made it our favorite pick and earned it the best overall slot.
For our best value winner, we chose the Mini Yoto (available on Amazon) based on its ability to perfectly combine portability and affordability.
It’s a rare list, however, where there’s something for everyone. Depending on your child, you might find one of our other recommendations might suit their needs better. Read on for what we liked and didn’t like about each.
Here are the best kids audio players we’ve tested, listed in order:
- Yoto player
- Yoto Mini player
- Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition
Other kids audio players we’ve tested
How We Tested Kids Audio Players
The appeal of these portable speakers is simplicity. Were they easy to use? Could children understand them without the help of an adult? The easier any of these gadgets were for kids to use, the higher they ranked in our tests.
We enlisted the expertise of our 7-year-old son and a few of his friends, aged 3 to 8. They tested the players for ease of use and user experience and gave us their unbiased, unfiltered feedback.
To complete, we also consulted the parents. An informal survey told us that parents wanted an audio player that, first and foremost, kids could use on their own with minimal adult help and supervision. If there’s anything we’ve learned in our research, it’s that parents are desperate for technology that they deem safe and that doesn’t require a ton of setup, monitoring, security features, or troubleshooting. .
Hello, my name is Janelle Randazza and I’m a parenting editor at Reviewed, where I’ve reviewed everything from water guns to kids’ bikes.
As a child of the 80s, I looked everywhere for a modern upgrade on the portable tape recorder I had as a kid, as a screenless way to give my son independent access to media. These screenless audio players have been a long time coming. I was excited to try them out and finally find the perfect player for my child.
Beyond the initial setup, kids needed to be able to use these music players and storytelling devices themselves. Once the adults set things up, we gave the audio players to the kids and observed how easy it was for them to use them and work on each of their features.
The durability is also high. Since these players are going to get a lot of use, they needed to withstand drops, spills, and all kinds of hard knocks that little kids can throw at them. To test this, we dropped each of our dining table to a height of 2 feet 7 inches. Because we also have a real 7-year-old at our disposal, each player also received a few unintended extra drops in real-life situations. We then monitored for cracks and played the fixtures immediately afterwards to determine durability.
Content was also important. No matter how cute or durable an audio player might be, it needed easy access to a variety of interesting content that keeps kids engaged. We not only scoured each company’s website to see what they had to offer, but we also requested and ordered comparable tier content to ensure the level playing field when determining tier levels. interests of children.
Finally, we rated based on ease of portability, both around the house and for long car and plane trips when we’re desperate for ways to keep our kids entertained. Each of these audio players has been tested in the car for battery life and content offerings over distance during car journeys of varying lengths.
What you need to know about buying a kids audio player
Audiobook players for kids vs music players for kids
In truth, many of the audio players we tested are dual-purpose, but some do a better job than others. If your child is a bibliophile, you’re going to want the Yoto for its illustrious and ever-growing literary catalog. If you’ve got an audiophile, the Jooki is essentially a traveling jukebox that downloads kids’ Spotify playlists as easily as you could hope. If you have a child who loves trivia and is just learning to read, the Storypod may be your best bet.
Check battery life
An 8 hour charge might sound great, but for my family it’s about a 12 hour ordeal to visit family. Since our child will be listening (or forgetting to turn off their device) during this travel time, we need a device with more than 10 hours of battery life. Nothing is worse than an audio player that dies in the middle of a story. Trust us on this one.
Consider content selection
One of the things that made picking a winner difficult was that content selection is really subjective. For my family, we wanted content that was a bit older and with longer stories to entertain our son. We recommend that you visit each product website and search for content by age. If this is a device that you only want to entertain your child until they can read on their own, your selection may differ.
However, know that kids who love to read love to be read to, so finding a kids audio player that will keep your 10-year-old reader engaged is a good investment in their love of reading.
Children will likely enjoy these audio players much longer than expected, so we recommend checking out what content is available for their upper age range.
Are you going to travel with it?
Much of our testing was for travel and portability. When our child is at home, books and Legos can always occupy him. When we’re on the road, we really need good screen-free entertainment. If your main goal is to find something to occupy a young child when they wake up in the middle of the night, you might want to consider a figure-based audio player. However, those of us who like to travel light will have different preferences.