If you have kids who are screaming for an iPad, Kindle Fire, or other techie tablet, you are not alone.  Experts estimate that tablets will be the #2 asked-for item this season, lagging only behind clothing.  If you are determined to skip the holiday sweater in lieu of a Galaxy Tab, be sure to read these expert tips for getting just what you want.

Hold off.  Yes, the date of December 25th is looming, but if you are looking to buy a model at launch during the holidays, you may find yourself disappointed.  Not only are the chances good that the item will sell out time and again, you may find that the first version has glitches to be worked out. Your best bet is to wait for a model that has proven itself already, or you could just wait a few months until that “new” release isn’t so new.

Consider your needs.  Do you know which tablet won’t display Flash?  Are you concerned about specifications like screen size and the ability to plug into your TV?  If you have a very unique requirement for your tablet, you’ll want to research until you find the very best option.  Don’t rush to get the most popular or the most affordable; they could potentially let you down.

Look for add-ons.  The cost of tablets won’t vary too much from retailer to retailer this year (especially the Apple products, which have very stringent pricing rules.)  You can get a good deal, however, by carefully watching the “extras” that get thrown into a tablet bundle.  Keep your eye out for stores that give accessories, extended warranties, or even gift cards to the store when you snag that new tablet.  While the base price won’t offer much flexibility, the goodies can make a pretty sweet deal.

Be age-appropriate.  If the loudest advocate for a new tablet is coming from someone under 10, you may want to reconsider getting a full-blown tablet option.  There are many Kid-sized electronics that mimic the more exciting features of a grown-up product including the LeapFrog “Leappad” and the VTech Innotab.  Remember that children lack the discipline to care for items in the same manner as an adult, and any care they may show in the beginning of their ownership is likely to dwindle with time.  Save that extra $200-300 and get a kiddie tablet until they can show they can handle the real thing.

Is an iPad on your hot list this year?  Will you be getting a competing brand like Dell’s Streak 7?  Be sure to take your time and get all the gritty details about the candidate of choice.  You’ll likely be using this gadget for a very long time.

Linsey Knerl

Linsey Knerl

Linsey Knerl is a homeschooling mom of 5 and a freelance blogger and writer. You can read more about her at www.the1099mom.com