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Updated January 2023
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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
Best of the Best
Tonies Disney Princess Toniebox Audio Player Starter Set
Tonies
Disney Princess Toniebox Audio Player Starter Set
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Most Comprehensive
Bottom Line

A player and character set with 4 figurines including a creative audio character and a set of popular Disney princesses that was durable, intuitive, and fun in our tests.

Pros

Pink toniebox made in the USA. Features ears on top for adjusting volume and a port for headphones. Runs for 7 hours on one charge. Includes a charging pad, Creative Audio character, and Elsa, Ariel, and Cinderella Tonies.

Cons

Songs may not be the same as those in the movies.

Best Bang for the Buck
Tonies Toniebox Audio Player Starter Set with Playtime Puppy
Tonies
Toniebox Audio Player Starter Set with Playtime Puppy
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Best for Beginners
Bottom Line

A more affordable player and character set that works with other characters purchased separately.

Pros

Toniebox available in different colors. Made in the USA with durable and padded material. Comes with Playtime Puppy Tonie character that plays nursery rhymes and classic children’s songs like the Wheels on the Bus. Includes a charger.

Cons

May have issues connecting to WiFi.

Tonies Playtime Puppy Audio Play Character with Playtime Songs
Tonies
Playtime Puppy Audio Play Character with Playtime Songs
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Toddlers' Favorite Songs
Bottom Line

A figurine that works with the Toniebox and plays popular nursery rhymes and tunes that young children can sing and dance along to.

Pros

Playtime Puppy Tonie character is an add-on to the Toniebox. Made of durable plastic. Connects to the top of the Toniebox magnetically and plays kids’ songs for 52 minutes. Made in the USA and hand-painted. For ages 3 and up.

Cons

Users can’t skip through songs.

Tonies Chase Audio Play Character from Paw Patrol
Tonies
Chase Audio Play Character from Paw Patrol
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Popular TV Character
Bottom Line

A Tonie figurine in the form of a beloved animal hero from a hit television show for kids.

Pros

Comes with a Chase Tonie character from the Paw Patrol television show and movie. Sturdy, hand-painted, and magnetic. For placement on top of Toniebox. Plays songs and 2 stories for 53 minutes. For ages 3 and up.

Cons

Toniebox sold separately.

Tonies Buzz Lightyear Audio Play Character from Disney’s Toy Story 2
Tonies
Buzz Lightyear Audio Play Character from Disney’s Toy Story 2
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Simple Yet Solid
Bottom Line

An add-on for the Toniebox featuring a main Toy Story character that plays songs and stories.

Pros

Buzz Lightyear Tonie character from the Toy Story movies. For ages 4 and up. Plays 1 story and 4 songs for 27 minutes. Audio focuses on friendship, cooperation, and determination. Connects to the top of a Toniebox magnetically. Hand-painted in the USA.

Cons

Does not play songs and music for as long as some other Tonies.

HOW WE TESTED

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

51
Models
Considered
78
Consumers
Consulted
8
Hours
Researched
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Buying guide for Best Tonieboxes

When you as a parent feel like your kids are spending far too much time staring at screens, having a screen-free piece of tech may sound appealing. When it’s as cute and as easy to use as an audio reader from Toniebox, it may feel like a lifesaver on days when you need some calm, quiet playtime.

At its heart, a Toniebox is a small, box-shaped audio speaker. The magic of Tonieboxes comes from the characters and stories they can play with controls that are easy for children to use. 

Rather than having your child try to operate a cassette tape, streaming audio, or audio CD, the Toniebox starts playing the desired story when the child places the Tonie figurine associated with the story on top of the Toniebox. You need to create a Wi-Fi connection for the Toniebox when you purchase it. The Toniebox can then connect with its host server. It automatically downloads and plays the selected story from the cloud.

Kids can’t make purchases through the Toniebox. Instead, you purchase access to the stories by buying a particular Tonie figurine. The child then chooses the story to have the Toniebox read aloud by selecting the figurine associated with the story.

Best Tonieboxes-Toniebox with phone
German inventors Marcus Stahl and Patric Faßbender purposefully made the design of the Toniebox as low-tech as possible.

How to buy the best Toniebox

Colors

Tonieboxes are available in several different colors, so kids can find their favorites. The primary color options are blue, gray, green, pink, purple, and red. The color of the Toniebox does not affect the way the audio plays or the functionality of the box.

Materials

The Toniebox has a soft, cushioned feel to it with no sharp corners, as the speaker is inside a padded material that doesn’t come loose. The exterior fabric is water-resistant.

It’s made for children to be able to handle it safely and sit with it in their laps comfortably. It feels like a chunky building block. All Tonieboxes consist of the same durable materials.

Size and weight

Each Toniebox is the same size, measuring 4.7 inches on all sides, creating a cube. The Toniebox weighs about 21 ounces.

Controls

All Tonieboxes have a pair of pointy “ears” that extend out of the top of the box. These work as the volume controls for the audio speaker, rather than using traditional buttons that kids may struggle to operate. 

To fast-forward through the story or to skip songs that are part of the Tonie, children can tap the sides of the Toniebox rather than using buttons or switches.

To use Toniebox, you need to connect the unit to a Wi-Fi source. The Toniebox can remember up to six different Wi-Fi sources, so once you set up a Wi-Fi connection at your house, at Grandma’s house, or at the babysitter’s house, the Toniebox should remember it and make the connection automatically next time.

Playback options

Every Toniebox ships with a standard headphone jack. Kids can either play the audio through the main speaker at the heart of the Toniebox, or they can connect headphones. There is no option to make use of wireless headphones through a Bluetooth connection.

Battery

All Tonieboxes include charging stations when you purchase them. Plug the charging station into a standard outlet and place the Toniebox onto the charging station to begin charging the battery.

A Toniebox can take up to three hours to create a full charge the first time you use it. You should be able to fully charge it within a couple of hours in subsequent charging sessions. With a full charge in the battery, you should receive up to seven hours of continuous playback.

There is no option to remove the internal battery or to make use of alkaline batteries.

Best Tonieboxes-Did You Know-1
Did You Know?
Tonieboxes first became available for sale in Germany and Austria in 2016. They did not appear in the United States until 2020.
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Key extra features for Tonieboxes and Tonies

Tonies

The Tonie is a figurine measuring two to three inches in height that the child can grab and attach to the Toniebox to start playing a story or some music. When the child places the Tonie character on top of the Toniebox, the Tonie remains in place thanks to a magnetic connection. To stop the story or music, the child simply removes the Tonie.

The Tonies consist of sturdy materials and feature hand-painted details, so they look great. Tonies often look like cute animals or favorite characters that your children know well.

Unfortunately, if the child loses the Tonie, the ability to play the story or music is no longer possible.

Tonies come in three main types:

  • Creative: Some Tonies allow you to create and upload your own recorded audio content, such as parents reading a favorite story or singing a favorite song. 
  • Story: The majority of Tonies come with their own stories that the Toniebox plays aloud. Some stories also include songs.
  • Music: Some Tonies only play music where kids can sing along. Some music Tonies play lullabies and bedtime songs instead.

Tonie characters

Some Tonie characters are generic, such as puppies, kitties, pigs, or squirrels. These characters are part of the story, so it’s easier for kids to remember which story goes with which Tonie.

Other Tonies consist of popular characters, such as Eloise, Arthur, Blue, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Daniel Tiger. Some well-known book series, like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, have Tonies available, too.

Licensed characters from movie and TV franchises, such as Despicable Me, are available. Multiple Disney movie characters are also available as Tonies, such as those from movies like Cars, Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Frozen.

MyTonies app

The best way for parents to control their Tonieboxes is by downloading and using the free MyTonies app. This app is available for both iOS and Android devices.

Parents can manage the Wi-Fi connections for the Toniebox, see the Tonies they purchased previously, set volume limits, and record their own audio when using a creative Tonie.

Best TonieBoxes - Did You Know-2
Did You Know?
In the company’s 2021 annual report, it claimed it was selling one Tonie figurine every two seconds
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How much do Tonieboxes cost?

Beyond the cost of the Tonieboxes, you have costs for other accessories and items.

Inexpensive

The least expensive items are the Tonies, which cost $10 to $15 apiece. This purchase includes a small figurine and the story that goes with it. Replacement charging stations fit in this price point, too, and they cost about $15.

Mid-range

Accessories for Tonieboxes fit in the mid-range price point. Specially designed headphones that work with Tonieboxes are available in a range of colors with Tonie characters on them and cost about $30. Carrying cases and bags available in multiple colors with various Tonie characters printed on them range from $15 to $40.

Expensive

The Tonieboxes themselves are the most expensive items in the Toniebox world. The majority of Tonieboxes ship with at least one starter character and story. These boxes typically cost $100 to $160, depending on the number of characters and stories included.

Best Tonieboxes-Did You Know-3
Did You Know?
Through the end of 2021, the company reported selling more than 3.5 million Tonieboxes worldwide and more than 40 million Tonies throughout its history.
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BestReviews

Tips for troubleshooting Tonieboxes

Although the Toniebox toy is pretty easy to set up and use, you may experience occasional issues. Whether the Toniebox is not playing audio or you simply can’t control it, you can try these troubleshooting tips.

  • Volume problems: If you have no sound from the Toniebox, pinch the larger ear on top of the box to increase the volume. If a child bends or pushes the ear, it could suffer damage, causing a volume malfunction. 
  • Limiting volume: If you prefer to use a quieter maximum volume with your Toniebox, you can create a volume limit setting in the app.
  • Blue flashing light: A blue flashing LED on the Toniebox indicates it’s trying to find a Wi-Fi connection. The light turns green when the Toniebox finds a successful connection. If you’re struggling to make a connection to Wi-Fi, check the app.
  • Missing content: If your child turns the Toniebox upside-down while it’s charging and pinches both ears for 10 seconds, it may erase all stored content and restart the Toniebox. To restart the Toniebox without erasing content, take it off the charger before turning it upside-down and pinching both ears.
  • Toniebox speaks the name of an animal: When you hear a type of animal spoken aloud while Toniebox is operating, this is an error code. Look up the animal name in the app or on the Toniebox website to determine the error that’s occurring. 
  • Toniebox won’t operate when disconnected from the charging station: Most of the time, this problem occurs when the Toniebox’s battery is not fully charged. However, it also could indicate a defective battery, a defective charging station, or a defective charging port.
Child playing with Toniebox
More than 600 different Tonie characters are available from the company.

FAQ

Q. How does the Toniebox work?

A. The Toniebox doesn’t make use of screens or buttons, so it may confuse some people as to how to operate the machine. However, the box has other ways of increasing volume and fast-forwarding through stories and songs. Learning the different means of controlling the box only takes a little practice for kids and parents. The MyTonies smartphone app offers parents some control options, too.

Q. Does the Toniebox need new batteries?

A. The Toniebox has a rechargeable battery, so you simply charge it through the charging station. There’s no need to change out the batteries.

Q. How long do Tonie stories last?

A. Each Tonie story or music collection lasts anywhere from 15 to 50 minutes. Remember, some Tonies have stories only, some have music only, and some have music and stories together. A story may only last five or 10 minutes on a particular Tonie, with the remainder of the runtime consisting of songs, for example. The product description for each Tonie should list its total runtime.

Q. Can a child use any headphones with the Toniebox?

A. Most wired headphones work with Tonieboxes, but wireless earbuds or headphones do not. As long as the wired headphones can plug into the standard headphones jack on the box, they should work. Using headphones allows kids to listen quietly without disturbing others. Remember that the entire Toniebox design functions as a speaker when headphones aren’t in use.