Best Electronic Pets

Updated June 2021
Header Image
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

51 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
102 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best electronic pets

Kids tend to be fond of animals, but it isn't always possible to have pets at home due to working patterns or allergies. Enter the electronic pet. Sure, it's not the same as a real pet, but your child will have an animal companion without the mess or responsibility of a real animal. Of course, electronic pets aren't just for people who can't have flesh-and-blood pets. They're fun toys in their own right.

You'll need to think about the child you're buying for and figure out which electronic pet they'd like best. Consider what type of animal they'd prefer and what level of interactivity they'd enjoy. There are other factors to think about, too, such as whether they'd like a plush pet or if they’d be satisfied with a plastic one.

We've done our research on electronic pets, and all the information you need to make an informed purchase is presented here. In fact, we've also listed our five favorite electronic pets for you to consider.

Get emails you’ll love.
Learn about the products you’re wondering if you should buy and get advice on using your latest purchases.
Content Image
Some electronic pets express

Key considerations

Animal type

Perhaps the first factor to consider is what type of animal you'd like the electronic pet to be. Some children might be happy with any species of electronic pet, whereas others might have a specific animal in mind. You don't want to disappoint your dog-loving child by gifting her with an electronic cat, for instance.

Dogs are perhaps the most common electronic pets, possibly because they're the animal most associated with following commands and performing tricks (which many electronic pets can do). Cats are another popular option, which makes sense since dogs and cats are the most common household pets. You can also get more unusual animals, some of which wouldn't be suitable as pets in real life. This is a great option for children who fantasize about owning a monkey or hippo, or even a dinosaur.

Ultimately, you know the child you're buying for best, so you should be able to figure out which animal they'd like the most (or you can just ask, if it isn't a surprise gift).

Size

Electronic pets range in size from compact pets small enough to cling to your finger to cats and small dogs of a realistic size. It's easy to imagine that an electronic pet is bigger than it really is when looking at a photo because there's often no frame of reference. As such, you should always double-check the dimensions listed, since the recipient would likely be disappointed if they were expecting a relatively large electronic pet but received a tiny one. Of course, larger isn’t always better. You'll find some large electronic pets that are as well as some excellent small ones.

Interactivity

Some electronic pets, especially those designed for younger kids, are limited in terms of interactivity. They might perform a sound or movement when you press a button or clap your hands, but they don't seem to really interact with the user. More complex electronic pets can mimic sounds or motions. Some can "learn" voice commands and hand signals, which makes them more interesting for older children. To avoid disappointment, we recommend that you investigate the level of interactivity provided by an electronic pet before buying it.

Content Image
Did you know?
Some electronic pets come with a remote control, which can provide your child with greater control over its actions.
STAFF
BestReviews

Features

Power source

Many new models of electronic pets have built-in rechargeable batteries, which you can charge using a standard micro USB cable. Older and more basic models use standard batteries, such as AA or C. There are pros and cons to each.

Rechargeable models save you money in the long run, as you never need to buy batteries. These pets are also more eco-friendly, since you won't have any old batteries to throw out. However, they generally need to be recharged regularly, which can interrupt play.

Standard batteries tend to last for months and can be switched out as soon as they run down, so there's no need to stop playing. Don’t forget to factor in the added expense and remember to buy batteries in the first place if they're not included.

Outer material

Some electronic pets have plush exteriors that make them cuddly and more realistic. However, plush does pose a problem in terms of keeping it clean. If the fluffy outer layer isn't removable from the internal electronics of the pet, you won't be able to wash it effectively. Electronic pets with hard plastic exteriors don't look like real animals, but they can easily be wiped clean.

Follow mode

Using an infrared sensor or similar technology, some electronic pets actually follow their owners around, adding to the fun. In follow mode, kids can feel like they have their own loyal pet. Of course, there are limits to where these pets can follow. For instance, electronic pets can't go up or down stairs, and they may not perform well on some outdoor surfaces.

Content Image
Did you know?
Some electronic dogs come with a leash so kids can walk them.
STAFF
BestReviews

Electronic pet prices

Inexpensive: Basic electronic pets cost $20 to $40. These are generally designed for younger children and don't do all that much. They may talk or make noises and move around a little, but they don't usually have many interactive features.

Mid-range: Electronic pets in this price tier cost roughly $50 to $100. You can find some excellent options that are either extremely lifelike or have many more interactive features, such as the ability to learn commands or follow their owners.

Expensive: High-end electronic pets can cost as much as $100 or $200. These are the most advanced options on the market. They can perform a wide range of sounds and movements, and most can learn commands or be programmed via an app.

Content Image
Did you know?
Some advanced robotic pets are programmable via an app or using a computer, giving pet owners a window into coding.
STAFF
BestReviews

Tips

  • Find out how many sounds and movements your chosen electronic pet can perform. Kids are more likely to get bored of those that carry out the same sounds and motions over and over.
  • Check for touch sensitivity. If your child wants a realistic electronic pet (perhaps because you aren't able to have a real pet), they may enjoy owning a touch-sensitive model that moves or makes sound when petted.
  • Compare charge times and run times. When choosing a rechargeable electronic pet, find out how long it takes to charge and how long it will run for once charged. For example, you may find undesirable a pet that charges for 12 hours but only runs for 4 hours.
  • Consider how durable your chosen electronic pet is. Think about whether it can stand up to the amount of wear and tear your child is likely to inflict on it. Electronic pets designed for younger children should always be more durable than those designed for older kids, as the latter tend to be more careful with their belongings.
Content Image
Some electronic pets speak English, whereas others simply make animal sounds. Your choice should depend on whether you want a realistic electronic pet or just one that's fun to play with.

FAQ

Q. How do I know if an electronic pet is suitable for my child's age group?
A.
All toys have a minimum age limit on them, making it easy to check whether a toy would be safe for your child. If an electronic toy is marked for ages eight and up, you'll know it isn't suitable for a child of five.

Perhaps a larger issue is making sure the toy isn't too simple for your child to enjoy. Some toy makers list a recommended age range on their products. An electronic pet recommended for ages three to six would probably be too babyish for a nine-year-old.

Q. Are electronic pets safe?
A.
As with all products, there are some dodgy electronic pets on the market that aren't safe and shouldn't be sold. However, the vast majority are completely safe for kids. If you're concerned about safety, choose a toy made by a well-known manufacturer, as you can be fairly certain of its safety. (Of course, product recalls do happen, so if something seems unsafe, double-check it.) All toys for sale in the U.S. should comply with ASTM International and CPSIA safety standards.
 

Q. What sorts of movements can electronic pets make?
A.
This depends on your chosen pet. Some can only wriggle or shake, which might be funny to little kids but can quickly become tiresome for older children. Others have a much wider range of motions, such as being able to walk or roll on wheels, wag their tails, move their heads, and jump. It's a wise idea to carefully check what kinds of motions an electronic pet can make before buying it.

Other Products We Considered
The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
Our Top Picks