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Our Top (and Only) 3 Picks for Best Kids Smartwatch with GPS
Every parent eventually has to deal with their children reaching an age when they’ll be more independent. Whether it’s taking the bus alone, playing with their friends, or visiting the library, we have to get used to not being by their side.
But we don’t expect them to be out of your mind just because they’re out of sight. Especially not when the World Health Organization reported that nearly 40,000 children around the world were victims of homicide in 2017. Not exactly what any parent wants to hear when they’re sending little Timmy off to the first day of school, right?
Still, giving your child freedom doesn’t mean that you can’t look for other ways to keep an eye on them. You could give them a phone, of course, but personally, we would rather not. Do you really want your 12-year-old to be glued to her phone making TikToks, chatting up strangers on the internet, or whatever it is that kids secretly do these days that would give us a heart attack if only we knew?
Luckily, there’s an even better alternative in the form of a GPS smartwatch. It allows you to track your kids’ locations, offers calling and texting functions so you can get in touch with them quickly, and tells the time. Anything else is a bonus. You’re getting it for your peace of mind, not to entertain your child after all.
Because our children’s safety is at stake — and therefore, our sanity — we scoured hundreds of reviews on Amazon to find the best kids smartwatch with GPS that would give us the peace of mind we need.
We had extremely strict criteria for our picks. The GPS smartwatch tracker had to:
- Have received a significant number and percentage of recent reviews that rated it highly in all aspects.
- Be accurate. What’s the use of a GPS tracker that puts your child 4 miles away from where they actually are, or have issues working indoors?
- Have updated technology. This is why we didn’t choose any smartwatches that still used 2G cellular networks, as many network providers are phasing out 2G.
The result is a list of the 3 best smartwatches with GPS that can pinpoint the exact location of your kid to ensure their safety at any given point of the day. Based on all the research we’ve done and reviews we’ve read, these are the only kids smartwatches with GPS that we would recommend you to buy for your kids.
- Our Top (and Only) 3 Picks for Best Kids Smartwatch with GPS
- The Top 3 Best Kids Smartwatches with GPS
- A Guide to Buying the Best Kids Smartwatch with GPS & FAQ
- Final thoughts
The Top 3 Best Kids Smartwatches with GPS
Verizon has taken GPS tracking and packaged it in a super cute kids smartwatch. The tracker allows you to receive accurate information about your child’s whereabouts at all times. Connect it to your smartphone to get these updates.
Your child can engage in two-way calls or send messages to up to 10 selected contacts. This also means you’ll have to factor in a monthly contract, which usually starts at $5 a month from Verizon.
There are multiple fitness and fun features as well! Your kids can use the hopscotch tracker, play around with the voice-changing mode, count their steps, and receive inactivity reminders. It can also withstand being dropped into a pool (up to a meter deep) for up to 30 mins, as long as all its covers are tightly closed.
While the Verizon Gizmowatch offers less features than many smartwatches on the market, including our runner-up, the battery life seems to hold up better, and the GPS locator seems to be more accurate.
The bad thing is that if you’re not a Verizon user, it can be difficult to set up and there seems to be an additional activation fee. The best bet is to go to a physical Verizon store and ask for assistance in setting it up. And since it only works with Verizon, it most likely can’t be used in other countries.
It’s designed to help kids between 3 and 12, and is available in the traditional blue and pink colors. There’s also a Disney edition with a Mickey Mouse watch face and wrist band.
- Allows admin users to set GPS boundaries and check the location
- Includes features like a step tracker and inactivity reminders
- Two-way voice calling and messaging
- No games
- IPX7 waterproof rating
- Comes in a pink or dark blue strap
- There’s a Disney edition of the watch
The TickTalk 3 Kids Smartwatch is a feature-packed GPS-enabled smartwatch perfect for kids. It combines video, voice, and Wi-Fi calling, and has a large bright touchscreen interface that is intuitively designed for the younger ones. The icons are vivid and large enough to make navigation simple and straightforward.
It includes a calendar, stopwatch, pedometer, and an alarm clock. The fact that it offers text messaging is another reason why it’s a great communication tool that lets you stay in touch with your kid. It doesn’t have any games, so that’s one distraction your child won’t be getting.
The LBS (Location-Based Service) technology, which works by tracking mobile phone signals, allows you to track your kid’s whereabouts when GPS (which uses satellite connections and radio waves) and Wi-Fi signals aren’t available.
Want to know what’s happening around your child? There’s a Super Hearing Feature that allows you to hear what’s going on on the watch end without the user knowing that you’re listening in. This is only restricted to the Admin user (the first person to pair the watch to the app on their phone), so you don’t have to worry about others tracking your child.
A solid plastic shell and an IP67 waterproof rating enhances the overall durability. You can swap out the wristband with other colors sold on Amazon.
Since the device uses a 4G signal, you have to pair it with a SIM card to enable the communication and GPS functions. If you’re in the U.S., the device supports AT&T and T-Mobile, though you’ll have to add on a $25-$35 plan per month, as it works only on a regular smartphone plan with talk, text and data.
Alternatively, you can choose the Red Pocket pay-as-you-go plan, which runs on either AT&T or T-Mobile’s networks, and cost $10 per month. TickTalk 3 provides a free SIM kit from Red Pocket. The device is not compatible with Verizon or Sprint’s networks.
If you’re outside of the U.S., you can pick your own local carrier. Just make sure that it’s a GSM carrier, and you get a regular smartphone plan, and not a wearable, watch, digits, tablet or tracking plan.
The battery life is a concern though. Many reviewers report that the battery is drained quickly and barely lasts a few hours, even with little usage. Some have also reported that the location tracker is inaccurate, and the watch overheats.
However, we still recommend it as a runner-up as we like that it can be used in other countries, and if it works as it’s meant to, it’s a great smartwatch with GPS for your kids.
- Two-way voice/video calling, and text messaging
- Silent listening function
- Can be used in other countries
- No games
- Has an SOS mode
- IP67 waterproof rating
The Kids Connect KC2 is a simple brick cellular phone and GPS locator that offers two-way calling and texting for up to 15 pre-programmed numbers. You can secretly monitor who’s around your child with the voice monitoring function, set up a geo-fence so that it alerts you when your child goes out of bounds, and see their location history too.
It’s our budget choice because the phone itself costs half as much as our other two choices. However, you’ll need to get wireless plans that range from $15-$45 per month directly from the KidsConnect website, as their SIM cards and plans are tied to their tracking platform which enables you to monitor your child.
One area of frustration can be programming new numbers into the phone. It seems that every time you want to add a new number into the phone, you’ll have to reprogram all the numbers. Setting up the device can be difficult as well.
We’ve read most of the Amazon reviews for it, and it seems that if you call their helpline, the owner of the company Mike Dean will personally answer and walk you through resolving your issues. We see him commenting on many of the negative reviews and offering to help as well.
- Allows admin users to set GPS boundaries and check the location
- Two-way voice calling and messaging
- SOS emergency feature
- No internet connectivity, apps or games
- Voice monitoring
A Guide to Buying the Best Kids Smartwatch with GPS & FAQ
Why Do You Need a GPS Smartwatch for Kids?
Imagine this: your 10-year-old has to go to school, which is a mile away, and then attend extracurriculars for another two hours. During this period, you’ll have no contact or idea about their exact coordinates.
While you wouldn’t have been able to do anything about it 30 years ago, short of calling the school or their friends’ houses (and heaven help your nerves if your kids aren’t in school or at their friends’ houses), it’s now easier than ever to track your kids without having to give them a phone that they may not be mature or responsible enough to handle. Hence, we recommend getting a kids smartwatch with GPS that has the basic functions you need, but no internet connectivity, apps or games to distract them.
GPS stands for Global Positioning System, which is a method of tracking someone’s or something’s location by a satellite. This gives you real-time updates of exactly where your kids are. You can also set up boundaries for your kids, with the device alerting you whenever they stray beyond the defined perimeter.
GPS locators need a mobile or data plan to work, which is why all the devices that we’ve recommended come with monthly subscription plans. This increases the lifetime cost of these devices, but if the very worst happens and your child goes missing, you’ll be able to track them in no time. In fact, even if the watch is damaged or removed, you’ll still have a record of their last location.
Basically, these gizmos are a technology miracle that lets you set aside your “ambiguous paranoia” and keep your child protected at all times.
Features to Look for in a Good Kids GPS Smartwatch
Let’s review some of the most significant features to ensure you’re buying the best kids smartwatch with GPS.
No matter how feature-rich the device might be, if the battery life is short, it’ll defeat the whole purpose of buying a GPS smartwatch in the first place. Make sure the model you choose can last at least one entire day without having to be charged.
Smartwatches have real-time tracking abilities, so you know exactly where your child is at any given time. Additionally, the GPS tracking system can be very accurate and efficient — provided the smartwatch runs on a reliable network.
Try to look for devices that have an SOS emergency feature that allows your child to call for help with the push of a button.
Different devices offer different forms of SOS. For instance, some may directly dial 911, while others will notify selected emergency contacts that have been programmed into the watch. Whenever the kid pushes the button, the watch will automatically call every number alternatively in rounds until somebody answers.
Style and Comfort
Style is undoubtedly an important consideration, especially since you’re buying the device for kids. If a child doesn’t like the color, or if it feels uncomfortable on the wrist, they may refuse to wear it.
The smartwatch should be a reflection of your kid’s personality. Also, make sure that the wristband is adjustable and doesn’t cut into the skin.
You can exercise some control over your children’s talk-time and digital play-time through a GPS smartwatch. Most models have parental control called ‘class mode’ or ‘school mode’ that can turn off the watch during specific hours of the day, especially when they are at school.
The appeal of investing in a kids’ smartwatch with GPS is strong. You’re able to track your child’s movements throughout the day without having to breathe down their neck. So not only do the kids remain blissfully unaware, you get greater peace of mind as well.
These gizmos provide good value for money, offering all kinds of options to suit your preferences.
The Verizon Gizmowatch takes the top position on our list with its rare combination of functionality, durability and accuracy. While our runner-up, the TickTalk 3 Kids Smartwatch, offers incredibly useful features, it seems to work only for some and not others. We really like the KidsConnect KC2 as well, if your kid isn’t opposed to wearing it on a lanyard around their neck and looking “uncool”.
Nevertheless, the choice is yours to make. Each one of the above options will help amp the safety of your child, letting you rest a little bit easier. We hope we’ve been a help to you with this guide.