Are you on the hunt for the safest and best cell phone for your kid and wondering which one to get — Pinwheel Phone or the Gabb phone? The Pinwheel Kids Phone and Gabb Wireless Kids Phone are some great smartphone options. But which one is best? Here is a detailed review of the pros and cons of both devices so you can make the best decision before you buy.
Be sure to check out these great discount promo codes for these phones offered in this article. Thanks for your support!
Are the Pinwheel Phones and Gabb Phones Worth it?
Before purchasing their child a kid-safe smartphone, one question that most parents have is — is it worth it? Couldn’t I just use that old iPhone or Android phone sitting in the cabinet, put a parental control like Bark on it, and call it good? While that might be a good option for your older teen, when it comes to a kid’s FIRST phone, opting in for a Pinwheel Phone or Gabb Wireless Phone is your best option, and not only because they are WAY more affordable. Here’s why.
What Parental Control Apps are Missing
The idea behind the Bark app operating on an android device or iOS smartphone is that it monitors your child’s activity, but it doesn’t completely block it. So while you can get alerts after the fact, and have insight into what your kids are experiencing, it doesn’t keep it from happening. It also has limited monitoring on more popular apps like TikTok and Snapchat, due to the app’s privacy policies with Apple.
While this might be a great option for your older teen who is more mature, and you desire to teach them how to have self-control and make wise choices when it comes to their screen time, I don’t see it as a safe option for younger kids.
Above all, establish a trusting relationship with your child
At the end of the day, you can’t keep your child from everything. That’s why it’s important to help them know what to do WHEN they experience something age-inappropriate, whether that’s on their friend’s phone or their own phone. The hope is that you give your child the tools to have self-control, be transparent, and be able to come to you with everything.
By establishing an open and honest relationship, they will feel free to come TO you, not run FROM you or hide what they experienced. That’s where Bark, the parental control app, is an incredible tool for parents when it comes to digital wellness. Check out my full review of Bark here.
Why a Kid’s Phone Is Better for Your Children’s Mind
But when it comes to younger tweens or even young teens, investing in a kid’s phone like Pinwheel or Gabb is well worth it. Parents can have more control and insight over their less mature child who isn’t quite capable of making safe decisions. If you pair this with having frequent conversations on topics like cyberbullying, depression, social media, internet browsing, and the negative impacts of too much screen time, you will be investing in the mental well-being of your child.
The Rising Importance of Establishing Digital Wellness in Your Home
Imagine not having to pick up the pieces of your struggling child, sending them to a therapist every week, and hoping they get out of the pit they’ve fallen into. That’s why digital wellness is so important and worth implementing in your home — perhaps one of the most important yet undervalued aspects of parenting.
Unhealthy tech usage from both parents and kids is causing many problems amongst families today, which is why I write about it so often.
Cyberbullying, explicit content, trafficking, suicide, neglect, unmet needs, and loneliness, are among a few of the rising issues that sometimes come with screen time, internet browsing, and social media. All the more reason not to stick your head in the sand and do your best to protect your kids from these avoidable circumstances.
After all, a healthy environment in the home begins with you, the parent. You have the responsibility to set your family up for success. Not only will it lessen the chances of your child developing a mental health disorder like depression or anxiety, but it will also give you peace of mind, knowing the digital world your child is entering isn’t taking them to places they should never have to experience.
Pinwheel vs Gabb – What’s the Best Phone for My Child?
One question that often arises before purchasing their child a phone is, which one should I get? There are now many safe options for kids’ phones. And while I will one day continue my reviews on more phones like Troomi or Techless, I’m going to stick to the two we have personally tried in our home — the Pinwheel Phone, Gabb Wireless Phone, and the Gabb Watch.
While I would highly recommend all of the above, I will lay out some more details on both phones so you can draw your own conclusion on what’s best for YOUR family.
But before I do that, be sure to get these great discounts on whatever phone you decide to get. I get a commission off of each purchase made, so if you enjoy this review article and wish to support my mission then be sure to use these links! Thanks so much for your support, it’s greatly appreciated and helps me keep doing what I love — helping families thrive.
Pinwheel Phone – get 10% off any purchase with this link.
Gabb Z2Phone and Gabb Watch – get $50 off using this link or code WORDBIRD
The Pinwheel Kids Phone Pros and Cons
My son, who’s now 11, loves his Pinwheel Kids Phone. It’s not a flip phone, but a smartphone, without the harmful side effects. It still has apps — check out the list in this full review of the Pinwheel Phone — but only ones that are therapist-approved. What’s also great is that I have full control over what apps are downloaded in my parent portal.
Even though I find the Gabb phone to be an incredible option, which I’ll explain later, I find the Pinwheel phone to be much more versatile than the Gabb Phone, especially for older kids.
Here are some of the benefits of the Pinwheel Phone:
- It only allows parent and therapist-approved apps – no social media or mindless game apps whatsoever!
- Safelist ONLY calls and text messages
- Loophole Prevention
- GPS Location
- Partnered with Bark for added protection (Monitors their phone use for you and only alerts when needed)
- Structure their day with modes – school hours, bedtime, homework, etc.
- Add tasks and chores from your phone to theirs
- Includes a calendar and calculator
- Has a camera so your kids can document memories themselves
- No internet access or internet browser
- Allows you to sort contacts to “emergency contacts” or “friends and family” with modes
- Allow you to set time limits that implement digital wellness
- Works with most major phone carriers
- Streams music
Not only that, they have a great library of healthy apps for you and your child to choose from that will benefit their lives, not put them in harm’s way. Also, parents have full control through their caregiver portal, accessed both by their smartphone or computer. Simply go to the app store and download the Pinwheel app on both your and your child’s phone. They will then walk you through a series of questions and prompts, all very easy to follow, any person can do it.
The Pinwheel Phone grows with your child
Pinwheel prides itself on being a phone that grows with your child. If you so desire, you can simply have their phone be a source of connection via text or call when they’re younger, and as they get older you can download more apps through the parent portal and give them more options. In the long run, you can save money, knowing you won’t need to upgrade to something more versatile.
Another great feature that Pinwheel offers is that parents can submit a request for an app to be allowed. They will then bring your request before their therapist counsel to see if it’s in alignment with their mission.
How much do the Pinwheel phones cost?
Pinwheel offers three types of phones for you to choose from. The Slim, Rugged, and Plus.
- Slim Price: $159 + $14.99/mo for Pinwheel Subscription
- Rugged Price: $249 + $14.99/mo for Pinwheel Subscription
- Plus price: $329 + $14.99/mo for Pinwheel Subscription
Don’t forget to use this link to get 10% off your purchase.
- Requires you to set up a carrier, but this can be a pro for some. We went with Mint Mobile and ended up switching all of our phones to this carrier as it’s extremely affordable
- Has limited phone case color options
- Slightly more expensive, depending on which phone you get
- All phones except the Pinwheel Plus are not compatible with AT&T or VERIZON
Read my full, in-depth review here.
The Gabb Wireless Kids Phone Pros and Cons
With a similar mission as Pinwheel in mind, Gabb Wireless is committed to bringing safe technology solutions to families.
Even though we love our Pinwheel phone and don’t feel the need to switch to the Gabb Phone, after reviewing it, I highly recommend it as a safe young kids phone option and the Gabb Watch for even younger kids.
I was given the Gabb Z2 Phone and Gabb Watch to review.
The Gabb Z2 Phone
The Gabb Z2 Phone works similarly to a smartphone but doesn’t include harmful features like social media, games, or internet browsing. In fact, it has a set amount of apps without the ability to download any more. There are a variety of colors to choose from for the phone case, making it fun for your child. It has the capability to take pictures or videos as well.
How much does the Gabb Z2 Phone cost?
The price of the Gabb Z2 Phone is $149.99 + a monthly contract fee, but by using this link you can get an extra $25 off.
The Gabb Watch is an exciting new product that doesn’t need to be paired with a phone but functions as one all on its own. It only allows 10 custom, safe contacts. Any other numbers will be blocked. It comes with its own number, with the ability to text and call the pre-approved contact list.
With GPS active tracking, you can also rest assured that your child is safe, and alerts you when your child has entered or left a “safe zone.” It also has an emergency button that when pressed, contacts the emergency contact immediately. A great feature for keeping your child safe! It has some fun themed designs like Star Wars and Mandalorian or offers a variety of different colors. It has a step counter capability and “lock mode” scheduling. It’s like a smartwatch but safe for kids!
Gabb Watch Price: $149.99 + monthly contract fee, but don’t forget to use code WORDBIRD at checkout to get $25 off and send me a little commission love!
Gabb Watch Lite
If you want the ability to keep track of your child with GPS tracking but don’t want the phone option, check out the Gabb Watch Lite!
- No Internet
- No Social Media
- No Games
- Unlimited Talk and Text
- Requires no sim card and comes ready to go with a reliable network
- Looks like a smartphone without the harmful features
- GPS Tracking
- No contract required
- Alerts you when your child has entered or left “safe zone”
- Easy setup
After I started up the phone, there were two text messages from spam accounts already in the messages. I bought this to their attention and they said they have really cracked down on spam. I do believe they have more safeguards in place and this is happening less and less.
- Doesn’t evolve with your child
- Isn’t compatible with Bark
- Doesn’t guarantee not selling your data
- Doesn’t have beneficial apps that benefit your child
- Doesn’t have the ability to stream music
- No remote management
- No custom modes
The Pinwheel phone has more features than the Gabb Phone, including: Safelist contacts, remote management, review text history, music streaming, finance and banking apps (Greenlight Card app, which is awesome for teaching kids money management). It’s compatible with Bark (parental control app), supports multiple carriers, doesn’t sell your data, spam call data, and has no streaming.
Some parents might want to get a phone that’s more simple, in which case, the Gabb Phone might suffice. But if you want to save money in the long run, like when your child is older and in need of something more extensive, the Pinwheel Phone evolves with your child’s needs. Here is an image of the main differences between the two, as well as a normal iPhone or Android device.