Is now the right time to upgrade your child’s tablet to the best laptop for kids? You’ve come to the right spot, as we here at TechRadar gathered all the best ones we could find in 2020 to make your laptop shopping a tad easier. And, much like with all our buying guides, we handpicked each one to make sure they meet a set of requirements.
The best laptop for kids will usually take the form of a rugged laptop, something that will survive a few bumps while in the backpack or even a drop. They might also take the form of an affordable tablet, whether that one of the best laptops alternatives out there or a 2-in-1 hybrid laptop that’s powerful enough for school and entertainment. If you’re looking for one for a younger kid or for a child who isn’t used to a Windows or macOS environment, you’d want something that’s incredibly secure or maybe simple enough to use – the best Chromebooks can tick both those things off the requirements’ list. And of course, the best laptops for kids must also be affordable, as you don’t want to get them something premium and pricey only to have it destroyed, stolen or even replaced later on.
These are our top picks for the best laptops for kids, all of which we tested and reviewed ourselves. With this list, we’ll go through all the devices with rugged frames, rigid parental controls and budget-friendly price tags. You should be able to find the best laptop for kids that your own kids will love.
Best laptop for kids at a glance:
- Google Pixelbook Go
- Microsoft Surface Go
- Dell Inspiron Chromebook 11 3181 2-in-1
- Acer Chromebook Spin 11
- Acer Chromebook 15
- MacBook Air
1. Google Pixelbook Go
The best mainstream Chromebook
CPU: Intel Core m3 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 615 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch Full HD – 13.3-inch 4K Ultra HD Molecular Display | Storage: 64GB – 256GB
Amazing ‘Hush’ keyboard
Rare 1080p webcam
No biometric login
The best laptop for kids must be secure, simple to use and can outlast them past naptime. Google Pixelbook Go ticks off all those requirements and then some, with its astounding battery life and Chrome OS environment. Google rounds those out with an incredible keyboard and a 1080p webcam. This is the Google Pixelbook of your dreams, minus that steep price tag. And, while the kids might enjoy watching their favorite cartoons and playing casual games on that sharp display, you’ll also love using this for that occasional work email you have to squeeze in between spending time with them.
Read the full review: Google Pixelbook Go
2. Microsoft Surface Go
CPU: Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 | RAM: 4GB – 8GB | Screen: 10.5-inch 1,800 x 1,200 PixelSense touch display | Storage: 64GB eMMC – 128GB SSD
Light and easy to hold
Not as powerful as the iPad
The Microsoft Surface Go is perhaps Microsoft’s best release of 2019, as its meets that large demand for a budget Surface device, while also being among the best Windows tablets for anyone who wants to do a bit of work on the go. Much like its more expensive cousins, it’s portable and elegant. At the same time, it has a price tag that’s a bit more affordable for regular users. If you’re looking for the best laptop for kids, or you just want to consume some media while traveling, then you can’t go wrong with the Microsoft Surface Go.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Go
3. Dell Inspiron Chromebook 11 3181 2-in-1
CPU: Intel Celeron N3060 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 400 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 11.6-inch, HD (1366 x 768) touchscreen | Storage: 32GB-64GB eMMC
Not very powerful
A Chromebook make for the best laptop for kids because it’s practically mistake proof, and the Dell Chromebook 11 2-in-1 is a fine example of that. Drop it, and it’s fine. Download any malicious software? Well, you can’t! It’s one of the most secure environments for your kids to use a computer, made better by parental controls that you can set yourself. If your kid needs a very affordable laptop to get some schoolwork done, you won’t want to miss out on this excellent device. It even transforms into a tablet for a bit of light gaming post schoolwork.
Read the full review: Dell Chromebook Inspiron 11 3181 2-in-1
4. Acer Chromebook Spin 11
CPU: Intel Celeron N3350 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 500 | Screen: 11.6-inch HDF (1,366 x 768) touch | Storage: 32GB eMMC
When your kids have finally graduated to a proper laptop for writing up papers for class, but you still want to get them something that won’t break the first time it gets dropped, then the Acer Chromebook Spin 11 might just be the laptop for you. It’s powerful enough to get through the kids’ daily schoolwork, and it’s a 2-in-1 so they can flip its comfortable keyboard around to turn it into tablet mode for playing Android games or watching their favorite shows in their downtime. The display is a bit dim, and it’s unlikely to blow you away as far as performance, but it’s cheap, solid and reliable. What more can you ask for from the best laptop for kids?
Read the full review: Acer Chromebook Spin 11
5. 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 double-digit years, they’re going to need something a bit more robust to support them through more demanding projects, as well as sharper streaming. Acer’s latest 15-inch Chromebook is, therefore, the best laptop for kids – or yours, at least – bringing serious sophistication to your kids’ computing experience and needs, from its design to its great features like a full HD display, fast USB 3.0 connections and an HDR webcam. Keep in mind that this laptop is ideal for adolescents, as you’re swapping its lack of kid-proof features for a larger size, a more luxurious experience and a great price tag.
Read the full review: Acer Chromebook 15
- This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Lenovo IdeaPad 120S
6. 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
The 2015 MacBook Air might not be the newest kid on the block, but it’s still among the best laptop for kids who love the macOS environment – unlike the 2018 model. We know that parents aren’t made of cash, but it’s the cheapest Apple laptop out there, and the 2015 MacBook Air is available at bargain prices, especially in third-party websites. It also has excellent battery life, an operating system that’s smooth and easy to navigate, and a form factor that’s light and thin. The best Macs are famous for outlasting Windows laptops – and this one might just last your kid throughout high school and possibly even college.
Read the full review: MacBook Air