BEST LAPTOPS FOR KIDS | AUGUST 2018

With 3-year-old toddlers owning their own tablets now and the increasing demands on students and tomorrow’s professionals to be computer savvy, it’s never too early to begin thinking about purchasing a laptop for your adolescent, pre-teen or teenager. With the hundreds of laptops out there, choosing the right one to match your budget and fit your kid’s needs can be challenging. Our researchers have done the legwork for you to find the best laptops for kids, based on age group and needs. Read more about our methodology.

Best Overall

87

Our top choice, the ASUS Chromebook Flip C302 offers enough computing power to meet the needs of most children, is very fast, lightweight and comes with an attractive design. It can be used either as a laptop or a tablet and, priced from $500 to $600, you won’t feel like you’re overspending relative to the durability and capability you get in return.

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Best Value

87

This touch-screen, 2-in-1 laptop is highly affordable, versatile and perfect for young ones who have not had a lot of experience with computers. Your child will be able to do homework, watch movies, browse the Internet and play simple games as well. At under $300, you can accept the low memory and RAM for the time being and upgrade when your child is a little older.

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Best by Category

Best Laptop for Young Children

87

The low cost, lightweight design, 10-finger touch screen display and versatility of the Acer Chromebook R11 Convertible stood out to our researchers. This 2-in-1 laptop provides enough features to make using it a fun and educational experience for your young child, while its minimalist design makes it easy to transport and its low cost will make it less painful to replace if your young child breaks it.

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Best Laptop for Tweens

83

The Samsung Chromebook Plus is a union of portability and performance. It offers the transportability of a tablet, while packing the computing punch of a laptop meant for school work and a little bit of fun too. It comes equipped with a 2.0-gigahertz processor, 802.11 ac Wi-Fi, a stylus and an amazing display screen, combining beauty, speed and functionality into one tiny, yet powerful, package.

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Best Laptop for High School Students

86

Because a high school student is likely to place more demands on a laptop than younger students, the Asus ZenBook is the perfect upgrade. At under $800, you will get an up-to-date laptop that your child won’t quickly outgrow. Its high-end Intel i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of internal space are more than enough for most high schoolers’ needs, whether that be homework, web browsing, gaming, photo editing or streaming music, movies and shows.

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Best Laptop for Gaming

84

The Acer Predator Helios offers tremendous value for computer gamers who want to stay around the $1,000 mark. It comes with a powerful processor, 16 GB of RAM, a strong graphics card, impressive speakers and a slew of ports, including a USB type-C, USB 3.0 and an HDMI output. Its red backlit keyboard makes a statement for heavy gamers.

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Laptops for Kids BUYING GUIDE

  • KEY CONSIDERATIONS

    Size

    A laptop should be small enough to accommodate the smaller fingers of children and lightweight for easy portability. In general, it’s best to pick a laptop that weighs four pounds or less and has an 11- to 13-inch monitor, especially for younger children.

    How Will it be Used

    Perhaps the most important question you need to ask before purchasing a laptop for your child is how will it be used? If the laptop will be used for schoolwork, the Internet and some light gaming, advanced software, a large hard drive and a lot of RAM will not be necessary.  A more powerful machine will be needed if it will be used to edit videos, create graphic designs and play sophisticated games.

    Age of Your Child

    Younger children will place fewer demands on a laptop than older ones. When buying a laptop for your high schooler, it may make more sense to spend a bit more to ensure it will continue to meet schoolwork demands and won’t become obsolete in a year. When purchasing a laptop for younger children, focus more on ease of use and durability.

    Strong Battery Life

    While your child will use the laptop to complete schoolwork, it will also be used to stream movies and songs, watch Netflix, go on social media and do many other things that will eat away at battery life. It doesn’t help that children are often not diligent in making sure their products are charged. A strong battery will be a big help.

  • PRICE BREAKDOWN

    Depending on the features you’re looking for and how up-to-date it is, a laptop can run from around $200 to over $2,000. When shopping for a laptop for your child, your best bet is to stay below $500 because your child will eventually outgrow it and you don’t want to overspend on something that might accidentally get broken. For high school students, spending a little more than $500 is warranted only if it will be used for advanced purposes that require a more powerful computer, such as high-level gaming, making music, editing videos and photos, and creating graphic designs.

FULL product reviews

We research hundreds of products in order to bring you a final, unbiased list of the very best. We also use a proprietary algorithm to score each product in terms of quality, value, and brand reputation. These subscores are then weighted to calculate our overall scores. Read more about how we calculate our scores.

2K products
considered
119K RATINGS
ANALYZED
26 research
hours

Best Overall

TOP PICK

ASUS Chromebook Flip C302

Nearly everything your child needs in a laptop is available in the Asus Chromebook Flip C302. It’s highly portable due to its lightweight and sleek design, it doubles as a tablet for convenient use, offers high-speed performance, strong battery life and Android app compatibility. Perhaps the best part of this touch-screen 2-in-1 laptop is that it provides value well above its price point. Unless it’s going to be used for heavy gaming, photo editing or video editing, this is more than enough computer and won’t hurt your wallet too much.

  • 87overall
  • 92quality
  • 50value
  • 83brand

Why We Recommend It

  • 2-in-1 touch-screen. The 360-degree hinge allows this Asus Chromebook Flip to be used as a laptop or tablet. Its lightweight design (2.65 lbs.) makes this function easy to enjoy.
  • Extremely fast. Countless reviews reference the lightning fast speed of this laptop. You will have very few issues running multiple programs or browsing multiple websites at once.
  • Good battery life. While the 10-hour battery life claim by the manufacturer may be a bit of an exaggeration, multiple reviewers confirm that it can withstand about eight hours of regular use before needing a recharge.
  • Runs Android apps from Google Play store. The functionality of this laptop can be improved by downloading and running apps from the Google Play store. This means you can watch Netflix, listen to music, play games and enjoy them whether you have an Internet connection or not.

Other Considerations

  • 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. If your child will be running sophisticated games or programs, or storing a lot of files on the hard drive, you will want to opt for a laptop with more memory and/or RAM.
  • No HDMI ports. A laptop without any HDMI ports can be a bit of a nuisance depending on what you need it for. However, an adaptor can be purchased to remedy this issue.

Best Value

TOP PICK

ASUS VivoBook TP200SA-DH01T

The ASUS VivoBook TP200SA-DH01T, an excellent entry-level 2-in-1 laptop, provides your child a great introduction to laptops. Its low price will ease your fears about it getting broken. It has enough RAM, internal storage and computing power to handle schoolwork and other basic duties. It can be used as a laptop or a tablet, its 360-degree hinge making it versatile. The VivoBook is thin and light enough to fit in your child’s backpack and offers enough battery power that you won’t have to worry about it constantly dying in the middle of the day.

  • 87overall
  • 90quality
  • 60value
  • 83brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Very affordable. For under $300, the Asus VivoBook offers enough computing power for newcomers to the laptop market. It can handle all of the necessary schoolwork and other basic activities, such as Internet browsing and watching movies. Most positive reviews refer to how good this machine is relative to the low price you’ll pay.
  • Versatile use. The 360-degreee hinge allows this 2-in-1 laptop to be used in several different ways. It can be used in tablet mode for casual use, in tent mode to give a presentation and in stand mode for watching movies and television shows.
  • Many ports. For a laptop of this size (2.6 lbs.) it comes with a surprisingly large amount of ports for added connectivity. The VivoBook comes with a standard USB 3.0 port, a USB 3.1 port with the reversible Type-C connector, a micro HDMI port, a USB 2.0 port, a microSD card reader and a combo headphone/microphone jack.

Other Considerations

  • Not meant for gaming: Though the 4 GB of RAM is acceptable for basic computing functions, it will prove insufficient for high-level gaming.
  • Wi-Fi only. You can only use a wireless connection to get on the Internet, as this laptop does not have a network port.
  • Low memory. A mere 32 GB of memory will eventually prove to be too little, though external storage devices are available.

BEST BY CATEGORY

Best Laptop for Young Children

why buy?

When considering a laptop for a child between 7 to 10 years old, choose one that's lightweight, durable enough to handle inevitable kid accidents and versatile to help with school work or allow them to watch their favorite movies. Touch screen laptops are especially great for young kids who may not be skilled typists yet. A smaller laptop to account for smaller hands is ideal.

Top Pick

Acer Chromebook R 11 Convertible

With a sturdy build and a highly responsive touch-screen, this 2-in-1 laptop is a perfect electronic companion for a young adolescent just beginning to get familiar with laptops. Its processor and Wi-Fi technology allows for fast and efficient use, its 11.6-inch 1,366x768 screen is clearly viewable from dozens of angles. It offers multiple ports for advanced connectivity, and the apps available at the Google Play store will help your child do homework, listen to music, play games, surf the web and stream movies and television shows with ease. And with more than 10-hours of battery life, it can be used all day long.

  • 87overall
  • 90quality
  • 62value
  • 83brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Great battery life. The manufacturer claims that the battery lasts up to 10-hours, but several reviewers report an even longer lasting battery. You can expect to be able to use this all day without having to recharge it.
  • Very fast. The combination of 4 GB of RAM, a 1.6-gigahertz Intel Celeron N3150 processor and the 802.11 ac Wi-Fi make this a relatively fast machine. According to several reviewers, multiple tabs and windows can be open while also streaming a movie without any hiccups.
  • Four modes of use. The 360-degree hinge offers four different ways to use the R11 Convertible, including notebook, display, tent and tablet.

Other Considerations

  • Can’t install software. The R11 Convertible does not allow software to be installed, and it does not run traditional Windows programs, such as Microsoft Office. There are, however, sufficient substitutes available in the app store.
  • Low internal memory. The 32 GB of memory leaves a little to be desired, but the laptop comes with ports to support external memory and all Chromebooks come with 100 GB of free Google Drive storage for two years.

Best Laptop for Tweens

why buy?

Children between the ages of 10 to 12 will need a more advanced laptop, though not at the same level as high school students need. They will want to run more sophisticated software, play more complex games and do a bit more with their laptops than younger children. You'll want a laptop that easily allows you to use parental controls to limit screen time and keep them away from certain types of websites.

Top Pick

Samsung Chromebook Plus

The Samsung Chromebook Plus is the ideal machine for people who want a laptop/tablet combo that allows them to work and play. The 360-degree hinges let you seamlessly go back and forth between laptop and tablet. It offers a 12.3-inch LED-backlit panel with a QHD display, a 3:2 ratio and 2,400x1,600 pixels, making it great for watching movies, editing photos and getting work done whether you’re indoors or outside battling sun glare. One of the things that separates it from other 2-in-1 laptops in its class is the stylus, which allows you to write and draw directly on your screen. In addition, the battery lasts for 10-hours.

  • 83overall
  • 87quality
  • 51value
  • 76brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Equipped with a stylus. You may think the stylus is somewhat gimmicky and unneeded, but for a preteen, it adds to the fun. The included stylus lets you take notes and make sketches right on the screen, which countless reviewers mention as a big positive for the machine.
  • Thin and lightweight. When closed, the Samsung Chromebook Plus is slightly over a half inch and the entire unit weighs a minuscule 2.38 lbs. This will easily fit in a book bag.
  • Sturdy construction. Most laptops in this price range are much flimsier than the Samsung Chromebook Plus. Its mostly metal design gives it a sturdy feel that makes you forget that you paid less than $500 for it. 
  • Lag-free performance. With a 2.0-gigahertz processor and 802.11 ac Wi-Fi, this laptop won’t move slowly when more than one window is open or more than one program running.
  • Fully supports Android apps from Google Play store. Download the same apps you would use on your phone so that to play games, watch movies and listen to music while offline.

Other Considerations

  • RAM is not upgradable. This laptop comes with 4 GB of RAM, and because its memory module is soldered to the motherboard, the memory cannot be upgraded. Combined with its 32 GB of internal storage, you may feel frustrated by the lack of memory.
  • Complaints about weak speakers. Reviewers consistently cite poor volume from the speakers, which may be a deterrent for heavy gamers and users of Skype and other forms of video communication. The volume is much better when using headphones.

Best Laptop for High School Students

why buy?

High school students need a fully capable laptop with enough memory to save music and photos and play P.C. games. You'll also want a laptop that will help with increasingly more difficult homework, so the software it comes with, such as Microsoft Office, is especially important. You must also give extra consideration to how your teen will use the laptop because it may be necessary to get one that can run photo editing, video editing or graphic design software as well. As with all age groups, parental controls are essential.

Top Pick

ASUS ZenBook UX330UA-AH54

When purchasing a laptop for your high school student, you need a laptop that your teen won’t quickly outgrow. The Asus ZenBook UX330UA-AH54 fits that bill and then some. Reasonably priced, the ZenBook provides users with a relatively modern processor and a full HD 13.3-inch screen. It offers a fair amount of internal memory and is lightweight, thin and easily portable. The battery is strong enough to last a full day, it has a durable build and comes with a diverse selection of ports, including a micro HDMI, a standard HDMI, USB-C port and an SD card reader.

  • 86overall
  • 91quality
  • 50value
  • 83brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Performs above its price point. You will find it difficult to find a better laptop for under $800. This ZenBook comes with an Intel i5-7200U 2.5-gigahertz processor, which means that as long as you aren’t editing 4K videos or playing super complex games, there’s nothing you can’t do on this laptop very quickly.
  • Fingerprint login for speedy startup. The ZenBook is equipped with a fingerprint reader that will save time when using your computer. Several reviewers mention this as a big help when trying to get things done quickly.
  • Battery lasts a full school day. If all you’re doing with this laptop is watching videos and browsing the web, you will get more than eight hours of uninterrupted use.

Other Considerations

  • No touch-screen or 2-in-1 capability. If you are looking for a laptop that can offer the same functionality as a tablet, this is not the one. It does not offer a touchscreen, nor does it convert, detach or rotate into a tablet.
  • Memory cannot be upgraded. The 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB hard drive is likely enough for your high school student to handle all of his or her needs. However, if more memory is needed, you will have to buy a better laptop or get an external hard drive, as the ZenBook is not upgradable.

Best Laptop for Gaming

why buy?

Computer gaming is a primary laptop function for children of all ages. For serious gaming, however, you'll want to pick a laptop with a larger monitor, a powerful processor, strong battery life, great graphics capability and ample storage space. Since its primary use is gaming, there's less of a need to worry about the laptop being lightweight because your son or daughter is unlikely to bring it to school regularly.

Top Pick

Acer Predator Helios G3-571-77QK

Kids who love computer gaming will be happy with the Acer Predator Helios. Its processor is up-to-date, its 16 GB of RAM is more than enough and its Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card comes with 6 GB of RAM, providing great value. The screen size is great for gamers, while the speakers are powerful enough to immerse one in the action. On top of it all, the power it packs also makes it usable for work, school and many other things outside of gaming.

  • 84overall
  • 88quality
  • 50value
  • 83brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Dual fans for extended gaming sessions. There won’t be any need to worry about the laptop overheating and slowing down because the dual fan system keeps the laptop cool throughout long gaming sessions. The cooling ability impressed reviewers.
  • Upgradable. From the memory to the graphics card and connectivity ports, the Predator is fully upgradeable.
  • High-end gaming performance. The Predator offers 16 GB of RAM, an i7 3.8-GHz Intel core processor, a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card and is VR-ready. Any game can be played on this machine without worry.

Other Considerations

  • Big investment. At around $1,000, this is an expensive laptop, so you’ll want to make sure that your kid actually needs a machine this powerful.
  • Complaints about the screen brightness. The Predator is equipped with a 15.6-inch, 1080p full HD screen, but several reviewers complain about a lack of sharpness in colors and some issues with the screen not being bright enough.