The Best Virtual Pets

You may remember virtual pets as the craze of the late 90s with top-sellers like Tamagotchi, but these digital creatures are still alive and well today. If you’re looking for a way to get all the fun and responsibility of a real pet on a smaller scale, these pocket pets can help teach your child about pet companionship in a fun way. There are more options than ever, so we narrowed down the best of the best to help you find the right virtual pet for your needs.

What to Look For

When narrowing down the best virtual pets, we considered durability, overall features, fun factor, and price. For example, if you want a classic design with practical features, the Tamagotchi Bandai America Candy Swirl brings all the perks of the 90s into today’s world. If you want something a bit more colorful, Pixicade Pets VIP lets you draw a virtual pet and bring it to life on your mobile device for hours of creative fun. Read on to see all our top picks and find the virtual pet that’s right for you.

Tamagotchi Bandai America Candy Swirl

Back to basics

This classic design gives modern kids a throwback to when this virtual pet was first made.
Best Original Design

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If you want equal parts 90s nostalgia and nonstop entertainment, this is the virtual pet for you. This Tamagotchi features the same original programming as it did in 1997, with a few practical updates. For example, the speaker is much louder than the 90s version, so you won’t have any issues hearing what’s going on with your pet. It comes with all the same in-game functions, like feeding, cleaning, healing, and more. Best of all, it comes in 44 different versions with various color schemes to suit your preferences. Whether you’re a millennial or you’re buying it for someone of a younger generation, this toy has classic cool that never goes out of style.


  • Comes in 44 exterior print options
  • Same programming as the original design
  • Includes plenty of in-game functions
  • Louder than previous models


  • Buttons aren’t labeled

Top Secret Toys Giga Pets Puppy Virtual Pet Toy

Don't break the bank

This virtual pet works to teach the responsibilities of pet ownership in a fun way without costing an arm and a leg.
Best On A Budget

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If you’re looking to get a virtual pet, but you’re working with a tight budget, this affordable toy from Giga Pets is a bargain worth buying. It has the same charm it did back in the good old days, but with updated graphics, components, animations, and even a translucent shell. You can attach the keychain to your backpack or purse and play it throughout the day. Feel free to feed, train, and play with your pet to bond and help them grow. You can choose from traditional pets like dogs and cats to outlandish creatures like unicorns and dinosaurs. Whatever you fancy, this virtual pet toy has it on a budget.


  • Great price
  • Four different pet/color options
  • Larger speaker for louder sounds
  • Compact design
  • Comes with a keychain


  • Batteries die quickly

Pixicade Pets VIP

A work of art

Create, draw, and bring your pets to life with this innovative virtual pet experience.
Best For Smartphone

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If you’re thinking of getting a virtual pet for someone with an artistic eye, look no further. This creative pet experience from Pixicade Pets allows them to draw up their own creation and bring it to life on a smart device. It even comes with an instructional book on how to draw for those who are looking to learn. Rather than spend time bonding with a pet on a screen, they can literally create their own and watch it come to life in a fictional world. Together you can explore different places, gain different accessories, and play mini-games. It even comes with all the materials you need, including stickers, markers, and a step-by-step guide. For creative kids, this virtual pet is a work of art.


  • Encourages artistic creativity
  • Allows users to explore different worlds on the app
  • Includes a guide on how to draw pets
  • Comes with stickers and markers
  • Allows you to pick a personality for your pet


  • It’s not compatible with all kinds of phones and tablets

Tamagotchi Pix Floral Pink

In living color

This pink virtual pet has plenty of features and an updated screen that's perfect for young girls.
Best For Girls

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If you’re looking for a virtual pet specifically for a girl, nothing says girl power like this floral pink pet device from Tamagotchi. Although this is the same company from the 90s, this modern Pix version is new and improved. Unlike previous models, it has a color screen, a built-in camera for taking photos, and 100 different creatures to grow and collect. You can even raise eggs differently to get different results and bond with your pets to grow them all in their own unique way. Together you can explore the real world and discover new creatures to love and care for, and for girls, this pink version is a sure hit.


  • Color screen
  • Includes a camera for photos
  • The pink, flowery color scheme is perfect for girls
  • Able to collect up to 100 creatures


  • Pricier than the original Tamagotchi

Digimon Digivice Virtual Pet Monster

Battle it out

This monster-themed virtual pet game lets you train and fight against other monsters to grow.
Best For Boys

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Virtual pets for boys can be few and far between, but this action-packed device from Digimon is full of the excitement that boys crave. You may recognize Digimon from the anime, toys, or video games it’s been a part of over the years, but the whole franchise started with these virtual pets. With this Digimon device, you can hatch eggs, train your pet, and battle other monsters in the game to grow in experience. Much like Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh!, these devices revolve around both battling and bonding, a combination that makes for exciting gameplay. For boys, it doesn’t get much more entertaining than this.


  • Allows you to train and fight against other monsters
  • Comes in 25 different color options
  • Two new exclusive eggs
  • Updated features from the original version


  • The battery life could be better

Frequently Asked Questions

Do all virtual pets have the same functions?

Not necessarily, but most have similar functions since they all involve taking care of the pet. For example, many virtual pets require food, water, cleaning, etc. On most virtual pet games, you can check up on your pet, make sure they’re happy and healthy, and even discipline them if they misbehave. These games simulate real-life pets, so their functions tend to mimic reality.

When were virtual pets invented?

Virtual pets were first released in 1995 when PF Magic created Dogz. Their popularity increased when Tamagotchi and Digimon come onto the scene in 1996-1997. While Digimon bordered on anime in theme, Tamagotchi focused more on realistic pet-like creatures and saw long-lasting popularity.

About the Author

Mitchell is a proud dad of two rescued feral cats, and he is very fond of their curious nature. He knows that it takes some time for cats to open up to their humans, and he knows exactly how daunting it can be to be a first time cat owner. He hopes to share his expertise and his experiences with his own cats with other cat owners so they can give their pets happy, healthy lives.

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