Which First Kid’s Phone: Pinwheel Phone VS. Gabb Phone


It took us a year to decide which first kid’s phone our girls would start with, Pinwheel Phone vs. Gabb Phone. We wanted it to be safe for them and a great way to learn phone etiquette and how to have a phone in general.

First Kids Phone Pinwheel versus Gabb

We were deciding between Gabb and Pinwheel. (Troomi wasn’t quite yet available, but I’ll share what I know). Keep reading to find out what we’ve tried, and what we liked best. And check out the summary table further down for an quick comparison.

Pinwheel Kids Phone

We started buying one kid with Pinwheel phone as our first kids phone. We were very happy with it. In short, my favorites are, GPS location, no web browsing, no social media, whitelisting contacts, scheduled downtime, caregiver portal with call and text history, and vetted apps.

text and call history pinwheel phone stored in caregiver console

Pinwheel service is separate from your cellular service, but that allows your Pinwheel phone to work with most all providers and you to select the one you want.

apps on pinwheel can only be added via caregiver console

I have a more comprehensive post on Pinwheel if you want to read more details (or shop this link to automatically have a discount added to your Pinwheel order).

Gabb Phone

We were offered a Gabb phone to test it out for 3 months with another kiddo. Since it was the other phone we were considering originally, I wanted to test it out.

Gabb phone screen

Gabb doesn’t have social media, 3rd party apps or an internet browser. It does allow for calls and text messages (you can upgrade to group messages). And Gabb has a parent app that allows you to locate and / or ping your child’s phone.

Gabb’s rate includes cellular service with their network. So, you aren’t able to have your Gabb phone on your preferred network.

One of the big things we noticed with Gabb is that we could not authorize contacts. Because of this, there were a lot of spam calls and texts and some of them were borderline inappropriate. There was nothing we could do about these calls or texts. We had no way to mark them as spam or stop them from coming through to our daughter.

Gabb phone screen with messages and spam

There also was no way to remotely check the call or text history remotely if you suspect some bullying, misbehaving or harmful messages. These text messages can also be deleted from the Gabb phone, so even if a parent wants to spot check messages, kids can delete them and a parent will never know.

The other big drawback for us is that we couldn’t schedule downtime for contacts or the phone in general. Phones already don’t go into bedrooms, but I like the option to schedule the phone to not be available for texting after a certain time. Kids can be sneaky, so I like to be able to remove that temptation. (As an adult, I even use screen time on my own phone to tell me to stop using it).

For us, the Gabb phone wasn’t a good fit, but I really like the idea of the Gabb Watch for younger kids and the Gabb phone might work for you and your family. If you want a discount code for Gabb, use code RAYS.


I don’t have personal experience with Troomi. But, when I researched, they use their own cellular provider. They offer a couple different options with just call and text or upgrading from that all the way to having a safe browser.

Troomi is intriguing to me, but we decided to not go that route because many of the apps only work (intentionally on their part) on WiFi. As we like to travel and our kids run cross country and some apps require communication while not connected to Wifi, we decided that wasn’t a good option for us.

FeatureGabb PhonePinwheel Phone
GPS LocationYesYes
Web BrowserNoNo
Addictive GamesNoNo
App StoreNoNo
Social Media (tik tok, instagram, snapchat, etc)NoNo
Select Phone CarrierNoYes
Caregiver PortalNoYes
Image Permissions By ContactNoYes
Schedule DowntimeNoYes
Approved ContactsNoYes
See messages / call log remotelyNoYes
Add pre-approved/screened appsNoYes
Ability to add BarkNoYes
Add tasks from your phone to theirsNoYes
Music StreamingNoYes
First Kid Phone Pinwheel versus gabb pin

If Gabb is right for you, use discount code RAYS to save.

If Pinwheel is right for you, shop this link to automatically have a discount added to your Pinwheel order.

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