I have five kids from ages 3 to 12. I can’t bring myself to buy them a cell phone. It’s a constant argument at home, especially with my 12-year-old, as he’s one of the only ones at school without one. However, as someone who is fully away of the social impact that the internet and social media can have, I’m waiting a bit longer than the average parent. Instead, we have a family phone, inexpensive tablets that they can play on the main floor only, and MP3 Players for our kids to listen to music.
For this review, I purchased 1 MP3 player for each one of my kids from the bestselling budget options on the market. These all came out between $25 and $35. I’m avoiding bias here by not accepting anything free from manufacturers. So, even though this is some type of best of list, there will be a couple of these MP3 players that I absolutely won’t recommend. If you’re thinking about getting an MP3 player for your kids, I’m hopeful that this type of review style will help you to make your decision.
What to look for
- Easy-to-Navigate Menu
Many of these inexpensive MP3 players have aging interfaces. So, look for an easy-to-use navigation system. Otherwise, the device is simply not practical.
- Lock Button (for younger kids): Volume or Menu
I bought one of these inexpensive MP3 players for my 3-year-old. Without a lock button she simply changes what I’ve put on for her over and over and turns up the volume all the way. Lock buttons are also useful when you’re exercising, mowing the lawn, and more as it prevents the menu from triggering.
Other than these options you may opt for an MP3 player that comes with a large amount of storage or an expandable SD card option. For me, 8GB (which all of these MP3 players in this price range have), is more than enough for all of their favorite music.
The 5 Best MP3 Players for Kids
|SanDisk Clip Jam MP3 Player
|Wiwoo B3 Mp3
|Hotechs 16GB 01LX
|See Amazon Price
|See Amazon Price
|See Amazon Price
|See Amazon Price
|See Amazon Price
By “best” here I’m simply stating that these are the MP3 players that consumers are purchasing right now. These are the top-selling options on the market in this price range. Several of these options are marketed under different names. This comes from them being imported and sold as such.
Wiwoo B3 Mp3 Player
Wiwoo has a couple of interesting options in this price range. I reviewed the Wiwoo B3 MP3 player. Wiwoo has a kid’s MP3 Player that has a similar interface at the same price point and uses a paw as a navigation menu. You can certainly go that direction if you’d like. you can see the specifications for this MP3 player as well as others in the table I’ve included in this post.
The Wiwoo B3 was easy-to-use, played every song I through at it, and had an easy-to-use menu. Moving down the menu is a bit odd as you need to press the forward button. This, in my opinion, would be better if it was the down volume button. To turn off the B3 you have to hold down the Play button. It took me a minute to figure this out. The B3 also seems to power down into a power saving mode after a bit of time.
Like all of the MP3 players on this list, Wiwoo has tried to include some earbuds with their MP3 Players. I say try because the earbuds themselves are actually terrible. I can’t imagine these fitting in my ears let alone one of my kid’s. That goes with most of the MP3 players on this list. So, just find a cheap pair of earbuds with multiple fitting options and go with that. The Wiwoo B3 also includes an armband which was actually pretty good.
The audio quality of the Wiwoo MP3 was good. Volume is supposed to be limited on this device; however, I was still able to turn it up above what I’d want my kids to have it at.
Overall, this MP3 player comes in 4 colors, sounds pretty good, has a decent menu, and is cheap around $25. We’d recommend it for even younger kids.
SanDisk Clip Jam MP3 Player
If your kid is old or responsible enough to not lose the SanDisk 8GB Clip Jam, it’s the one I’d recommend at this price point. The earbuds it comes with are terrible, but the design, menu, and audio quality are all exceptional.
For design, the Jam comes with a clip that allows you to easily secure it to your pants, pocket, or shirt. It’s a great option for exercising. I like the smaller .96″ screen on the Jam better than the 1.44” TFT LCD Clip Sport version. You can get this model in 5 different colors, and it has 8GB along with an expandable built-in micro SD card slot.
Out of all the models I reviewed, the menu of the Sandisk Clip Jam was the clear winner. It’s intuitive, easy-to-use and not something you really have to think about. I can’t say that about the other models. The screen is bright, doesn’t try to turn itself into a pixelated MP4 player, and doesn’t pause when you select an item. Win.
Like many of the models the Jam includes FM radio. Unfortunately, I didn’t have that great of an experience with getting good reception on any of them. This was especially the case indoors. If you live in a relatively populated area and plan to use it outside, it’s likely your reception will be better than what I got. Still, it’s radio, so expect it to be a little fuzzy.
For around the same price as many of these other models, the SanDisk Clip simply feels proffesional. No amateurish menu here, no delay when you press the button, and everything is intuitive. I probably wouldn’t buy it for my 3 year-old as it’s pretty small, but my 8 year-old I would.
AGPTEK A26 vs SanDisk Clip Jam
Looking for an alternative to the SanDisk Clip Jam? Many people look to the AGPTEK A26. It’s one of the top sellers on the market. So, certainly, some people have found good reason to go with this model rather than the SanDisk Clip Jam. However, I didn’t really find them.
One of the reasons you might want the AGPTEK A26 instead of the SanDisk (since they are both similarly designed) is that the A26 has Bluetooth 3.0-4.1. Unfortunately, this functionality was nearly useless. It was hard to connect, didn’t sound great, and didn’t always stay connected. If you’re buying this for Bluetooth, go elsewhere.
Both the AGPTEK and SanDisk MP3 players include earbuds. I’d consider both of these so bad that they’re simply throw away options.
I felt that the audio quality of the AGPTEK and SanDisk options were both very similar.
This is where the SanDisk really sets itself apart from the AGPTEK. Truly all we want is for the menu to be intuitive. The A26’s isn’t as clear and it occasionally pauses between commands. It wasn’t as terrible as AGPTEK’s A01 model, but it wasn’t as good.
Considering that the A26 is just $1 to $5 more than the SanDisk Clip Jam, we’re guessing that most of you would prefer to go with the more time-tested product and interface.
Hotechs 16GB 01LX
So, along with the Wiwoo options, the Hotechs 01 LX seems to be the only fairly good alternative to the SanDisk Clip Sport and Jam. At around $10, a slightly larger design, and more color options, it’s a decent option for your kids. It also comes with 16GB so it’s a bit larger than other options in its same price range. As I mentioned above, 8GB was plenty of space for my kids, so this was a less important feature for me personally.
One huge plus to the Hotechs MP3 is that I found the earbuds to be completely usable for my kids. Alternatively, you might have to spend another $10 to get a pair for your kids. If you’re buying this for a toddler, you might prefer to go with some volume fixed headphones instead anyway. That being said, this was a big plus for me.
The menu was terrible to get to know. However, once I figured it out it was ok.
I couldn’t figure how to get back to the “main menu” from Music and Sound options at first. Instead, I had to shut it down to be able to scroll back through the main menu applications. After a while, I figured out that if you held the menu button it would take you back.
There’s also not an intuitive way to reach the dropdown list of songs. At first, this meant I was skipping through my music to find what I wanted. I figured out if I pressed the menu button a few times I’d see a drop-down list. Then, I could use the skip button to move down that list and ultimately had to press menu again to select the song I wanted. Phew. That was far too difficult.
Once I figured it out it was fine. But, don’t expect young children to be able to figure this out without showing them how.
It would be good if the navigation instructions were in the instruction manual; however, the instruction manual is limited at best.
Most MP3 players come with a radio option. This was true with the Hotechs 01LX. Believe it or not, the signal for this model was better than other options listed.
The audio quality for this device was good. Put a good pair of earbuds with it, and you shouldn’t have a problem.
Overall, the menu is less intuitive, but it was responsive. So, if you’re willing to learn how the menu functions and save $10 on the MP3 player and perhaps another $10 on the earbuds, this is a solid option for your kids. Another note, my 12-year-old son figured out this menu quickly and had no issues with it.
AGPTEK 8GB A01 MP3 Player
I’m reviewing this MP3 player last because I’d simply not recommend it. The design is clunky, the menu is old fashioned, the earbuds are throw away, and it’s heavy just for the sake of being heavy. This model comes with an armband as well, but it was so small, I couldn’t actually get it past my forearm.
If there’s one thing that was pretty good with the AGPTEK AO1 it’s that it gives you 45 hours of music playback on a 1 to 1 and a half hour charge.
Features include a lock button, recording, Micro SD Expansion, and compatibility with MP4 video files.
Overall, I’d just avoid this one. There’s not a lot to like about it compared to the other options on this list.
So, Which is the Best MP3 Player for Kids?
I like the Hotechs for an inexpensive option, the SanDisk as the most practical and intuitive of the options, and the Wiwoo is just fine. I’d avoid a lot of the other no-name brands out there. Older menus and hardware seem to be placed in these, and you won’t be satisfied with their performance.