The 9 Best Laptops for Kids in 2020

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Our Top 3 Picks for Best Laptops for Kids

Lenovo Chromebook Duet
Extreme-budget choice
A 2-in-1 for less than $300 is obviously a great deal, and Lenovo has somehow managed to pack in multiple features buyers wouldn’t expect at this price. The handy kickstand, detachable keyboard, fast bootup, and one year of free Google One for extra storage makes this a great option for your young ones.
Best laptops for kids overall: ASUS Chromebook C202
Best overall (and for elementary students!)
This one makes the absolute top of our list because of the lengths ASUS has gone to to make it incredibly durable. Its rubberized edges, spill-proof keyboard, easy-grip pads, and light weight make it seem as if it was built specifically for kids.
Acer Chromebook Spin 11
Best for schoolwork on the go
The functionality of a Chromebook means it can be taken anywhere and the user doesn’t have to worry about bringing flash drives or exterior storage devices. Parents don’t have to worry about hackers or malware, plus it has a great webcam and sound quality for online classes.

It seems like the pandemic has an end in sight. Hooray! We’ve seen over the past few months how our tech devices are more important than ever to keep us connected in this century, even for our children. Laptops for children used to be luxury that only affluent families would get. Now, they’ve become absolutely necessary for schoolwork, regardless of your income bracket.

Luckily, laptop prices have decreased drastically from the past, where a good laptop could set you back $1000 or more. Nowadays, you can find brand new laptops for under $300. Our list of best laptops for kids has suggestions for everyone, whether you’re going the extreme budget route that still serves your child’s basic remote learning needs, or your child needs one that can handle every heavy task they’ll throw at it.

The Best Laptops for Kids by Category

Best laptop overall (and for elementary students): ASUS Chromebook C202

Best laptop for kids overall: ASUS Chromebook C202
Designed to be easily transported, withstand drops, and repel spills. Great for rough-and-tumble children!

Kids use their devices everywhere. Whether they’re in the kitchen, family room, bedroom, bathroom, on the back deck, up in a treehouse, or going to their friend’s house, they’ll often want to take their devices with them, which means it needs to be one tough piece of technology.

This Chromebook is designed to be easily transported, withstand drops, and repel spills. ASUS claims it can be dropped from 3.9 feet without damage or disruption. To minimize dropping accidents though, there’re a couple of well-placed grip pads to help small hands hold on tight.

The display is quite crisp, making it perfect for Netflix on the go, and the 10-hour battery life means the kids can watch more than a few episodes. Its rubber edging won’t win it any awards for style, but it’ll make parents feel better about paying for a device their child is likely to not be very gentle with.

Specifications
  • Screen size: 11.6”
  • Weight: 2.65lbs
  • Memory: 4GB

  • Storage: 32GB
  • Battery life: 10 hours
  • Operating system: Chrome OS
Pros
  • Rubber edging helps prevent damage from dropping
  • Spill-resistant keyboard
  • One free year of Google 100GB Cloud storage (offer expires 31 Jan 2021)
Cons
  • Keyboard doesn’t last as long as the rest
  • Not great for multitasking
  • Google’s software update support ends in June 2022

Best extreme-budget laptop for kids: Lenovo Chromebook Duet

Available for less than $300, this slim device is quite stylish. Although the kids probably won’t care about the dapper-looking fabric-style exterior, if you’re sharing this device with your family, the adults in the house will love it.

It functions as both a Chromebook and a tablet, making it functional for a variety of uses that your various family members might require. The battery life is great, it’s only half an inch thick, and the screen is bigger than you’d get with a traditional tablet. The touchscreen is compatible with a stylus too, meaning detailed digital artwork can be completed on this device too.

Packing all of these features into a slim, compact computer that rings in at less than $300 means you’re getting some serious bang for your buck. Plus, Lenovo has been a trusted brand in the technology industry for many years. It’s truly a great price for a great piece of tech.

Specifications
  • Screen size: 10.1”
  • Weight: 0.99lbs
  • Memory: 4GB

  • Storage: 64GB
  • Battery life: 10 hours
  • Operating system: Chrome OS
Pros
  • Cool, convenient kickstand
  • Free one-year trial of Google One for extra storage
  • Fully detachable keyboard
  • Google’s software update support ends in June 2028
Cons
  • Cramped keyboard
  • Not great for multitasking
  • Limited ports — no spot for headphones, and only one USB-C output

Best laptop for kids for schoolwork on the go: Acer Chromebook Spin 11

Acer Chromebook Spin 11
The flexible hinge means it can be used like a typical laptop, to stand up for better display (like a tablet), to fold up into “tent” mode, or be flattened out onto a table or surface.

The Acer Chromebook Spin has a unique hinge that allows it to be used as a typical laptop, to stand up for better display (like a tablet), to fold up into “tent” mode, or be flattened out onto a table or surface. It connects to wifi and Bluetooth quicker than you’d expect, so you can start work right away. Plus, the frame is strong and durable enough to be used by kids who are sometimes not as careful as they could be with their devices.

Specifications
  • Screen size: 11.6”
  • Weight: 2.76lbs
  • Memory: 4GB

  • Storage: 32GB
  • Battery life: 10 hours
  • Operating system: Chrome OS

Pros
  • Great webcam with a wide-angle lens and high dynamic range (HDR)
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Carrying case included
  • Google’s software update support ends in June 2026
Cons
  • Can become sluggish after the 3-month mark
  • Not comfortable to hold onto when in tablet mode
  • Touchscreen function loses efficacy more quickly than other models

Best laptop for multimedia editing: MacBook Pro

MacBook Pro with Apple M1 Chip
More suitable for junior/senior high-schoolers, and kids going off to college.

Yes, this laptop comes with a HEFTY price tag, but if money isn’t an issue, the MacBook Pro is the answer to your kids’ multimedia editing issues. Most elementary- and middle-schoolers won’t learn or be tasked with heavy and intensive multimedia editing projects, so this is more suitable for junior/senior high-schoolers and kids going off to college.

It’s available in a couple of different models with different specs, so you can choose the right one for your kids’ projects. With its large display, improved keyboard, and awesome mic and speakers, it’s perfect for anyone of any age who wants to make or edit videos.

Plus, parents can easily set time restrictions on the device, link the MacBook to their own device and keep an eye on the browser history, and limit the download or use of certain apps. The ability to link Macs together is something that shouldn’t be overlooked.

And speaking as a MacBook Pro user here whose previous MacBook lasted her nearly 7 years, and current MacBook Pro is in its 6th year and still functioning well with no repairs made during its lifespan, they make for a good investment when taken care of.

If budget is a concern though, you could try the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex (which we recommend below as best for digital art projects), which is about half the price of the MacBook Pro. Though still expensive as compared to other laptops on our list, tasks like multimedia editing and digital art drawing take up heavy processing power. This unfortunately also means higher costs.

Specifications
  • Screen size: 16”
  • Weight: 8.23lbs
  • Memory: Up to 64GB

  • Storage: From 256GB
  • Battery life: 11 hours
  • Operating system: Mac OS
Pros
  • Large screen with slim bezels
  • Speaker system with force-cancelling woofers
  • Three separate mics for recording
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Bottom becomes uncomfortably warm
  • Not especially durable when banged about

Best laptop for digital art projects: Samsung Galaxy Book Flex

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex
2-in-1 capabilities allow the user to use tablet mode for drawing and laptop mode for finishing, editing, and emailing said digital art.

Equipped with the latest and fastest wifi capabilities (Wi-fi 6 is especially useful for families with multiple devices using the net all at the same time), nearly perfect display, and rich sound, this Samsung 2-in-1 is an expensive but fantastic option for your kids’ digital art needs.

If you want to support your kid’s dreams of becoming an illustrator, this machine is worth its price tag. The 2-in-1 capabilities allow the user to use tablet mode for drawing and laptop mode for finishing, editing, and emailing said digital art. It’s easy to draw on and has amazing specs for artists’ use, yet also offers the other features necessary to get through school, such as a proper keyboard for word processing. Its shiny Royal Blue aluminum casing is pretty cool too.

Specifications
  • Screen size: 13.3”
  • Weight: 3.99lbs
  • Memory: 8GB

  • Storage: 512GB
  • Battery life: 20 hours
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Home
Pros
  • FHD QLED display is beautiful and battery-efficient
  • Trackpad acts as a wireless charger
  • Wi-Fi 6 capability is great for multi-device use in the household
Cons
  • Bluetooth pen is too thin for comfortable long-term use
  • Glossy finish means lots of glare and reflection
  • Hinge is a bit flimsy

Best laptop for streaming videos: Microsoft Surface Go 2

Microsoft Surface Go 2
The built-in kickstand makes it easier than most tablets to prop up somewhere for video viewing, and the 2-watt stereo speakers are better than any other tablet and even most laptops in this price range.

The Surface Go has been a favorite of Microsoft fans for a while, but its latest version is even more appealing. It has smaller bezels than its predecessor, clearing even more space for the touchscreen. The built-in kickstand makes it easier than most tablets to prop up somewhere for video viewing, and the 2-watt stereo speakers are better than any other tablet and even most laptops in this price range. Plus, it’s still lightweight enough to carry around for use anywhere.

The Surface Go is good for schoolwork too. It’s particularly suited for students or schools who don’t use/aren’t fans of Google’s suite of online programming but prefer Office products instead. While it’s technically only a tablet, and the keyboard (sold separately) must be attached in order to do any word processing, it’s a great middle-ground between traditional tablet and standard laptop.

Specifications
  • Screen size: 10.5”
  • Weight: 1.2lbs
  • Memory: 8GB

  • Storage: 64GB
  • Battery life: 10 hours
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Home
Pros
  • Can insert a SIM card and use mobile cellular data
  • Intel Core m3 processor provides great power for watching videos and more
  • Great speakers and volume control
Cons
  • Limited ports
  • Keyboard/Type Cover must be ordered separately
  • Windows Store doesn’t have as much to offer as Google’s PlayStore

Best laptop for middle school students: Lenovo Yoga C740

Made to work quickly and easily, the Lenovo Yoga is a great device for impatient kids who are unfamiliar with new technologies. Learning to use digital art programs will be a breeze, converting it to tablet-form is quick and easy, and artists will find the touchscreen responds to a stylus almost perfectly.

Many middle-schoolers enjoy gaming, and while this Lenovo doesn’t have the most powerful of gaming graphics, it’s more than suitable for playing teen favorites like Fortnite and Minecraft.

Plus, the keyboard is uber comfortable for long bouts of typing, is backlit, and looks extremely sharp. The device is a bit heavy to carry and draw at the same time, but it’s super slim and slides easily into a backpack or tote bag.

Key features
  • Screen size: 15.6”
  • Weight: 4.19lbs
  • Memory: 12GB

  • Storage: 256GB
  • Battery life: 10 hours
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Home
Pros
  • Fingerprint scanner for extra security
  • Privacy shutter on webcam
  • Touchscreen is very responsive, works well with a stylus
Cons
  • No HDMI port — not great for sharing projects at school
  • Touchscreen smudges easily
  • Heavy to hold while drawing

Best laptop for high school students: Dell XPS 13

Dell XPS 13
Pricey, if you’re buying tech for your high school student, you’ll want it to last as long as possible (into college for sure) and will therefore have to pay more for longevity.

Yes, the price of this is high, but if you’re buying tech for your high school student, you’ll want it to last as long as possible (into college for sure) and will therefore have to pay more for longevity. The Dell Power Manager offers the user multiple settings to choose from, based on their usage, that will control the battery life. This is a feature unique to Dell that can really help prolong the overall life of the device.

The entire computer is made from one block of aluminum, therefore making it one of the most durable laptops you can buy. The 2.25mm webcam HD webcam is fantastic and will give your kids super sharp images during online classroom meets, video calls with friends, and more.

Plus, the 4K-display makes this screen perfect for watching movies and gaming — favorite activities of many teens.

Specifications
  • Screen size: 13.4”
  • Weight: 4.5lbs
  • Memory: 16GB

  • Storage: 512GB
  • Battery life: 11 hours
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Pro
Pros
  • Incredibly durable
  • Vibrant screen and HD webcam great for video calls/classes
  • No bezels means a huge, vibrant screen
Cons
  • Gets hot when plugged in and sitting on your lap
  • Not enough ports
  • Expensive

Best heavy-duty laptop: Microsoft Surface Pro 7

This laptop can be used for word processing, for drawing/artwork, for playing games, or for watching movies and TV shows, all at peak performance. And although it’s technically impossible to do all of those things at once, the powerful processor (Intel Core i5-1035G4 CPU) and satisfactory memory (8GB) work together to create a powerhouse of a multitasking device.

Just as with the Microsoft Surface Go, however, the keyboard (which Microsoft calls its Type Case) must be ordered separately. Although other Bluetooth keyboards will work with the Surface Pro 7, it’s highly recommended that you use the Type Case as it acts as a cover that protects the tablet screen. Otherwise, the screen has no protection at all.

On the plus side, the Type Case has a keyboard that’s exceptionally comfortable to type on and has soft-touch wrist rest. Plus, it comes in some very cool colors like Cobalt Blue, Ice Blue, Poppy Red, and Burgandy Red.

Specifications
  • Screen size: 12.3”
  • Weight: 1.7lbs
  • Memory: 8GB

  • Storage: 128GB
  • Battery life: 10.5 hours
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Home
Pros
  • Multitasks with ease
  • Well-priced
  • Fun, colorful, comfortable keyboard
Cons
  • Keyboard sold separately
  • Screen is easily damaged without Type Case
  • Unimpressive battery life

A Guide to Buying the Best Laptops for Kids

What to Consider When Buying Laptops for Kids

Durability/Age of the User

If your elementary-aged child will be the primary user of the new device, and you want it to last as long as possible, consider buying a laptop or Chromebook that you know is solidly built. Unfortunately, young ones are more likely to drop or otherwise damage their computers and this makes it necessary to check that the device you’re considering is going to be able to withstand these accidents as much as possible. Purchasing extra protection, such as extended warranties and even specialty cases, is always a good idea. 

Battery

Battery life is important for any device but especially for children who may be carrying it to school, to a friend’s house, or even to work in a coffee shop. If the device is being shared between siblings, it may not be plugged in until the end of each day, and if you plan on using the device while traveling, the long car, train, or airplane rides can make charging difficult. Look for laptops with battery lives of at least 8 hours. 

Screen Size

The ideal screen size is different for every person and family. The standard laptop size is around 13” (this doesn’t include Chromebooks or tablets) which is perfect for most people. However, if your child is planning on doing a lot of detailed computer work or gaming, you may want to look at a larger size. If they’re going to be transporting the device to school and back, a smaller screen, something around 11”, may be the way to go. It’s important to keep in mind what the device will be used for before making a decision. 

Weight

If you have young, small kids, or even older teens who are overloaded with books and homework, choosing a lightweight device is important. The heavier it is, the more likely your young one will drop it or your teen will have trouble carrying it in their backpack. Luckily, devices these days are made as lightweight as possible, so finding one that suits your family’s needs shouldn’t be difficult.

Usage and Format

Does the rest of your family use Apple products? Then maybe a MacBook is your best bet. Does your child’s school require them to submit all of their work via Google Drive? Then consider a Chromebook. Do your kids have specific tasks or interests that involve digital artwork, gaming, or media editing? Then perhaps a specific laptop or 2-in-1 is better suited to their needs. 

Parental Controls

You want your children to be as safe and as smart online as possible, but their security is ultimately on your shoulders. Look for devices that have built-in parental controls or where these controls are easy to install. Make sure you fully understand the abilities of the device so you know what your kids might use it for. Educate them about the dangers of the internet and teach them about online security, but still monitor their usage as much as you can.

FAQ on Laptops for Kids

Is a laptop better than a tablet for schoolwork? 

Yes. While tablets are great for communication and playing games, laptops have better processing speeds and are more versatile for children. However, if your child’s school prefers they do their work via Google’s array of online programs (Docs, Sheets, etc.), it may be just as easy for them to work with a Chromebook. It’s always a good idea to check with your child’s school to see which type of device they suggest.

When should a child get a computer? 

There is no set age that is best for introducing children to computers. The most important aspect of using a computer is that a child understands the responsibility of computer ownership and is taught computer literacy — how to disseminate information on the internet, personal privacy, and learning about phishing scams. It’s important to monitor what your child is doing online and keep an open dialogue around what is being watched and absorbed.

How do I ensure my child isn’t distracted on the laptop?

While everyone gets distracted, it’s important for children to stay on task as much as possible while on the computer. There’re many add-ons available for laptops that can do everything from blocking distracting websites (TikTok, YouTube, Netflix etc.), to tracking how much time is being spent on certain websites, or to creating checklists that can help a child feel less overwhelmed with their work. 

What security features are needed on a laptop? 

Most computers now come with built-in antivirus software and anti-malware programming. If your laptop does not have these programs built in, there are free ones available, such as Avira Free Antivirus or Bitdefender Antivirus. If your child has a habit of downloading unknown files, creating a user account with basic privileges for them may be the way to go. It’s also possible to block downloads from the web browser itself. 

What’s the difference between Chromebooks and laptops? Which is better?

Essentially, a Chromebook is a type of laptop that runs on Google’s operating system. It is locked into the Google Store, so if you’re looking for an app or program that is not built through Google, it’ll not run on a Chromebook. All documents, photos, and videos are stored online in Google Drive.

Since everything is web-based, Chromebooks also offer security that you won’t find with others. It’s nearly impossible for hacking to occur, and users won’t lose any documents since everything is saved on Google Drive. Plus, Chromebooks are much smaller and more lightweight than laptops. If you’re already a Google Suite user, enjoy their apps, and do not store many files, it’s not a bad device.

On the other hand, laptops that run Windows or Mac operating systems have more versatility and can download any program or app. Many laptops have faster processing speeds than Chromebooks. Also, Chromebooks don’t have a dedicated Caps Lock key, which might be a source of annoyance if you use that often.

Overall, if the device is going to be used for email, playing games from the Google store, and browsing the internet, the Chromebook is a good choice. If you’re looking for a system that can run multiple programs, store files, and install various software, you want to look for Windows or Mac laptop instead.


Final thoughts

Shopping for and purchasing a laptop for your child can be extremely overwhelming and it’s important to do as much research as possible before making your final decision. Knowing your child’s needs and interests can help you narrow down which devices might be right for you. If you’re well educated on the best brands on the market too, your choice should become even easier. 

While the ASUS Chromebook C202, Lenovo Chromebook Duet, and Acer Chromebook Spin 11 are our top best laptops for kids choices, any of the laptops, Chromebooks, and 2-in-1s listed above are quality pieces of technology. Wherever you purchase these devices from, be sure to understand the return policy and check out extended warranty options so you can be sure that if the one you choose isn’t quite the right fit, you’re not stuck with it forever. Most sellers are understanding and willing to help out in such instances, but knowing what you’re getting is important.

Whatever device you choose, continue to check that the device is functioning well and that your child is using it properly. Ask frequent questions about their usage so you know whether they’re engaging in safe online activity and enjoying their experiences.

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