Best Amazon Fire Tablet (2023): Which Model Should You Buy?

Amazon’s Fire tablets are some of the only extremely affordable high-profile tablets. The prices seem too good to be true — and in some ways they are — but the Fire tablets are also fully functional devices with reasonable capabilities. To help you decide if one of these plates is right for you, we’ve reviewed each model. These are our unfiltered recommendations. We’re listing Amazon’s base price, but we suggest you spend the extra $15 to get an ad-free model.

Be sure to check out our other buying guides, like the best tablets, the best iPads, and the best Alexa speakers.

Updated January 2023: We’ve updated the Fire HD 8, Fire HD 8 Plus, and Fire HD 8 Kids tablets to the latest models and added a new section for useful Fire HD accessories.

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The ultimate fire fighting tablet

The Fire HD 10 is the largest and fastest of Amazon’s tablets. Amazon updated it in 2021 (7/10, WIRED Recommends) with a brighter screen and 3 gigabytes of RAM. Along with it is the Fire HD 10 Plus, which bumps the RAM up to 4GB and adds wireless charging, which is worth the extra $30 if you plan to do more than watch movies and surf the web. And Amazon hopes you’ll do more, as there’s a “performance package” that includes a nice keyboard (no trackpad, though) and a one-year subscription to Microsoft 365. The Fire HD 10’s performance isn’t bad, as long as you don’t you need google apps. None of Google’s office apps work on the Fire HD 10, not even in the browser. (There is a workaround.)

The Fire HD 10 has a larger screen with more pixels (1080p) than its peers, making it better for watching videos. And like the Fire HD 8, you can call out Alexa commands from across the room. To use Alexa’s display mode, swipe down on the notification overlay and check the Display Mode box. You can then place your HD 10 on a stand (if you go for the Plus model, we like the official wireless charging stand) and it essentially becomes an Echo Show.

You can choose between 32GB or 64GB models (with a MicroSD slot on both, so you can add up to 1TB of storage down the road if you need more space). Whichever you choose, Amazon will show ads on the lock screen. To get rid of it, you’ll have to spend $15 more for the version without “special offers”.

Best value fire tablet

Amazon’s recently updated 2022 version of the Fire HD 8 (6/10 WIRED Review) has a faster processor and a slightly slimmer design, but it’s an incremental update. The processor upgrade is welcome and makes this more travel-friendly tablet almost as fast as our top pick. The big difference is the screen, which isn’t as nice as the Fire 10 HD’s screen. On this smaller model, pixels are often still visible and movies often feel flat.

Still, the HD 8 has most of the goodies 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 standing case if you plan to watch movies or TV, or, if you go for the Plus model, the wireless charging dock that turns your tablet into an Echo Show speaker.

The best fire fighting tablet for kids

Recognizing that “kids” covers a wide range of hand sizes and other factors, Amazon has two different Kids Edition Fire tablets. There is a regular kids edition and a ‘Pro’ model. The latter, aimed at older children, has a simplified case with slightly less padding. We think the 2022 Fire HD 8 Kids ($150) is the best device for younger kids, while the 2021 Fire HD 10 Kids Pro ($200), which is really big in toddler’s hands, better for older kids. The Fire 7 Kids ($110) is an even cheaper option for toddlers, though mine have always found the 7-inch screen size more challenging to use.

The Kids Edition versions are exactly the same as regular Fire tablets, except they come with a rugged case and a two-year hassle-free warranty, which means Amazon will replace the tablet for free if your kids break it. It also comes with one year of Amazon Kids+, offering access to kid-friendly movies, books, games and apps. It costs $5 per month after the first year (for Prime subscribers, $8 if you don’t have Prime). Be sure to check out our guide to managing Amazon Kids+ content.

The best budget firefighting tablet

Last year, Amazon updated 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, a paltry 16 gigabytes of storage remains, 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 version is the price, which jumps from $49 to $59.

We’ve recommended avoiding this one in the past because it’s underpowered and the small screen makes it less useful. After a few months of testing, it became clear that the processor is actually good enough – not fast, but good for web surfing and watching video. The screen, on the other hand, remains small. We still think you’re better off spending $40 more on the Fire 8, but if that’s out of your budget, the new Fire 7 will do the trick.

The best fire fighting accessories

Photo: Amazon

Get a cover

The Fire tablets are tough enough, but I found the screens to scratch quite easily. It pays to protect your investment with coverage. Amazon’s covers are nice – not too bulky and provide good protection – but they’re expensive. At $30, Fintie’s foil cases aren’t much cheaper, but often sell for more than $15 to $20; if you can get one at this price they are really worth it.

Get a keyboard to work

I won’t go so far as to suggest that the Fire Tablet can replace your laptop, but I found that I could do a good job on my Fire HD 10 when I paired it with Finitie’s ($50) Bluetooth keyboard. This is the same keyboard that Amazon sells as part of its productivity suite. It lacks a trackpad and the keys are a bit smaller, but otherwise it’s quite pleasant to type on. If you score a Fire HD 10 for $55 on sale, grab the keyboard for $55 (it’s often on sale for less) and use our guide to install the Google Play Store, and you’ll have a very usable working device for around $100. That’s hard to beat.

Amazon sells older fire tablets. Don’t buy them

Buy just one of the 11th or 12th generation Fire tablets. We suggest sticking with the models we talk about in this article (also listed here). Older Fire tablets 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 newer models. It’s a much better idea to wait for Prime Day or another sale, when you can pick up the new models for 30 to 50 percent off.

If you’re not going to be deterred from buying an older Fire tablet right now, be sure to cross-reference the latest available update for the tablet you’re going to buy (find it on this sheet) with the latest version of Fire OS, for to see how up-to-date your software will be. And keep in mind that Amazon is cutting off old devices from accessing its content.

What’s WIRED for all Fire Tablets

Amazon Content Faucet: If you subscribe to Amazon’s Prime service, you can consume all the included movies, music, TV and books, shop all the items you can get with free two-day shipping, and browse 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 built specifically to deliver Amazon merchandise, with swipeable pages for every type of media Amazon sells.

Made “good enough”: Physically, Amazon’s Fire tablets are made of cheap plastic, but they’re designed with enough care that the build quality won’t bother you too much. The kids editions are also some of the best quality tablets for kids, wrapped in tough armor and all have MicroSD slots so you can add extra storage. (We recommend this 128-GB MicroSD card for $17.)

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