These days, it’s surprisingly commonplace – and arguably necessary – for kids to have computing devices. Generally speaking, those devices are rugged and cheap tablets. However, there comes a time when that just won’t cut it for school work and even play.
Your kid will need a real laptop with a keyboard and large screen that’s also robust enough to bang out book reports and research homework with ease. Luckily for you, we’ve done the research (and even the testing in most cases) to determine the best laptops for kids.
Below, you’ll find laptops that are ideal for kids for myriad reasons, from low prices to ruggedized frames and even parental controls. We may not have tested or reviewed every product recommended below, but we’re experts when it comes to good laptops, and notebooks for kids are no exception.
1. Dell Chromebook 11 3180
The best introductory laptop for kids
CPU: Intel Celeron N3060 | Graphics: Integrated (320MHz) | RAM: 2GB – 4GB | Screen: 11.6-inch HDF (1,366 x 768) non-touch – HD (1,280 x 720) touch | Storage: 16GB – 32GB eMMC
The latest entry-level Chrome OS laptop from Dell is, by our measure, the current best option for a kid’s first laptop. This Chromebook’s 11-inch frame may be tiny, but so is your little one. What’s more important are its classroom tools, like an activity light that allows kids to digitally raise their hands, plus it’s got a ‘kid-proofed’ sealed, spill-resistant keyboard and rubberized sides.The amazing price is noteworthy, too. Plus, Chrome OS is historically easy for parental controls as well as malware protection.
Read the full review of a predecessor: Dell Chromebook 11
2. Lenovo IdeaPad 120S
The top Windows laptop for young kids
CPU: Intel Celeron N3350 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 500 | RAM: 2GB | Screen: 11.6-inch HD (1,366 x 768) | Storage: 64GB eMMC
Good amount of storage
Not quite as ruggedized
If you’re more used to Windows 10 or your child prefers it, we find the Lenovo 120S to be among the most impressive at this rock-bottom price range. The laptop is mildly ruggedized to survive slips and spills, and even features a USB-C port for a bit of future-proofing. Finally, trust that this device will be free of bloatware that could otherwise distract your kid. That’s enough in our book to recommend this laptop to nearly every parent – especially for Windows 10 families.
Read the full review of a predecessor: Lenovo IdeaPad 100S
3. Acer Chromebook 15
Perfect for when they hit double-digits
CPU: Intel Pentium N4200 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 505 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS | Storage: 32GB
Hefty weight and dimensions
When your kids approach or enter double-digit years, they might require something more robust to support them through larger projects (and sharper streaming). Acer’s latest 15-inch Chromebook will bring serious sophistication to your kid’s computing experience, from its design to its features, like a full HD display, fast USB 3.0 connections and an HDR webcam. However, this laptop is ideal for adolescents on account of its larger size and lack of kid-proof features in exchange for a more luxury experience at an excellent price.
Read the full review: Acer Chromebook 15
4. Asus Transformer Mini T102HA
For the tablet-starved tike or teenager
CPU: Intel Atom x5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 2GB – 4GB | Screen: 10.1-inch HD (1,280 x 800) LED | Storage: 64GB (up to 192GB with micro SD)
Everything is included
Many form factors
If your kid basically demands a tablet, but you would like to see him or her master the traditional computer as well, this Windows 10 tablet set is the most impressive we’ve seen yet, especially for the price. This tablet brings plenty of power and ports to the table, not to mention a fingerprint sensor, stylus and keyboard cover – all in the box. Topping it off is a whopping 11 hours of promised battery life. If your kids are just too used to tablets to leap for a traditional laptop, then this here is the best option given the price.
Read the full review: Asus Transformer Mini T102HA
5. MacBook Air
Kid’s first secondary (or post-secondary) laptop
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 6000 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch WXGA+ (1,440 x 900) LED | Storage: 128GB – 512GB SSD
Cheapest MacBook ever
Still holds up
Not the latest parts inside
There comes a time when your little one won’t be so little anymore, and therefore requires a laptop to match. However, we know parents aren’t made out of money. With that in mind, the MacBook Air is an excellent choice for secondary, or post-secondary, school kids for its amazing battery life, fantastic operating system and fine portability. Plus, MacBooks are famous for outliving most Windows laptops for far longer, and this one in particular is often discounted quite heavily.
Read the full review: MacBook Air