Picking up one of the top laptops for kids allows your child to work and play on something that’s perfectly suited to their needs.
Whether at the kitchen table or at school, a laptop – rather than an all-in-one computer – means that they’re able to take their studies (and YouTube binging) on the go.
With so many laptops out there, though, it’s not always clear which are a good fit for younger ages. So, we’ve done our research and ranked some of the best ones to consider.
Of course, it’s worth considering a tablet, too. Which might prove more durable, especially for younger children. If you think that might fit your needs better, we have a dedicated guide that you can find here.
Our priorities for this list are durability, performance and affordability – so, you won’t find any high-end MacBook models or ultrabooks here. These aren’t intended as powerhouses, but, instead, as useful machines for young users.
Acer Chromebook Spin 513
1. Best overall
This is the ideal Chromebook for the majority of younger users, offering solid specifications and an affordable price tag.
- Exceptional trackpad
- Stylish design
- Comfortable keyboard
- Slow storage
- Limited screen brightness
The Acer Spin 513 is a perfect option for younger users doing schoolwork, or really anyone who needs a fairly cheap laptop for emails, web browsing and watching videos.
It feels very sturdy, despite being mostly plastic and both the keyboard and trackpad are a delight to use. This one comes with a touchscreen display and it can be folded over and used like a tablet, which is especially handy when running Android apps in ChromeOS.
Acer Chromebook 516 GE
2. Best for young gamers
If your child is begging you for a laptop, there’s a good chance they want to play some games. The Chromebook 516 GE offers an affordable entry point.
- 120Hz 16-inch screen
- Attractive design
- Solid performance
- Relies on streaming services
It’s no secret that kids love games, as do adults, if we’re honest with ourselves. If your kid is pestering you for a laptop, there’s a good chance that they want to fire up some Minecraft or Roblox – in addition to their schoolwork, of course.
The problem is, gaming laptops can run into the thousands, as well as being too heavy and cumbersome for a child to deal with on a daily basis.
The Acer 516 GE is a Chromebook that’s designed for cloud gaming (think Netflix but for games) – it offers snappy performance and gaming-focused styling, all while remaining relatively affordable and lightweight.
Asus Vivobook 14
3. Windows 11 on a budget
The full Windows laptop experience at a Chromebook price makes this a perfect starting point for most kids.
- Low asking price
- 14-inch 1080p display with metal lid
- Office 365 bundles are available
- Intel Celeron processor isn’t very powerful
- Only 64GB storage built-in
The Asus Vivobook 14 is an incredibly cheap laptop and it should be sufficiently durable thanks to its robust metal lid. It’s surprisingly stylish and lightweight too, for a budget option.
Arguably the best part is that the Vivobook runs Windows 11, in a price range normally reserved for Chromebooks, meaning it will be compatible with anything your child might need to do for school. What’s more, it often comes bundled with Office365, so your kid can get on with their homework straight away.
Acer Chromebook Spin 311
4. Rugged and cheap
The Chromebook Spin 311 is astonishingly cheap and has a rugged build quality that won’t disappoint.
- Solid and comfy keyboard
- Good battery life
- Rugged construction and hinge design
- Massive bezels on the screen
- Some touchpad annoyances
The Acer Spin 311 offers tremendous value for money. The keyboard is great and the flexible hinge design lets you use it as a chunky tablet. The screen is pretty solid too, albeit on the smaller side with large bezels.
It’s not the prettiest thing in the world but its rugged exterior will stand up to the inevitable knocks and tumbles that a kids laptop will be subjected to. Unlike some of the options on our list, this one has plenty of ports so you can connect it up to all manner of peripherals.
Lenovo Ideapad Duet 3i
5. Affordable 2-in-1
If you’re looking for a budget two-in-one device, the Ideapad Duet 3i might be a perfect choice.
- Well priced
- Lightweight and portable
- Runs Windows 11
- Not the fastest performance
- Screen is on the smaller side
This two-in-one tablet and Windows 11 laptop is stylish and exceptionally well-priced. It comes with the keyboard cover in the box, unlike Microsoft’s Surface equivalents, and at a much lower price, too.
It’s compact, lightweight and has decent battery life, making it a great pick for kids.
If you don’t want to choose between a tablet and a laptop, the Duet is an excellent middle ground. It even supports stylus input, so it could be an excellent choice for arty offspring.
How to choose a kids laptop
Choosing a laptop for a kid is no easy task, there are so many options both on the hardware and software side. Hopefully, you’ve spotted something suitable in our recommendations, but to help ensure that you’re getting the best machine for the job, here are a few things to think about before committing.
How old are they?
This is an important one as it’ll change your priorities drastically. For younger kids, we think durability should be a primary concern as the laptop will no doubt be getting knocked about a bit. We think it’s often wise to consider a cheaper device as it will lessen the blow when it eventually breaks. Performance isn’t likely to be a top priority, these days any laptop can handle web browsing, YouTube playback and word processing tasks.
If you’re shopping for an older kid, then performance will become more of a concern. Ideally, you want a device that will last a while and if they are showing an interest in things like graphic design, video editing or gaming then it’s important to find a device that will allow for these activities. In this case, you might be best looking at our guide to the best laptops for students instead.
Chrome OS vs Windows
It’s crucial to figure out which operating system will be best suited to the work your child needs to get done. Windows is one of the most popular operating systems in the world and, as such, it offers the greatest level of flexibility and is compatible with pretty much any software you can imagine. The downside is that Windows requires a bit more horsepower to run and so Windows laptops tend to be more expensive and have shorter battery life than their Chromebook counterparts.
Chrome OS is a simpler operating system that is based largely around Google’s Chrome browser. Chrome OS can run smoothly on lower-spec devices, meaning you can get snappy performance from cheap hardware. It also has the benefit of being able to run Android apps, which makes touchscreen Chromebooks very versatile devices. If your child will need to run any special software for school or a hobby, though, there’s a good chance it won’t be compatible.
How much should you spend?
When it comes to laptops and Chromebooks, there is a gigantic spread of price points. As you might expect, the more you spend, the more capable of a machine you will get. In our guide, we have focused on the cheaper devices as the majority of kids will only really need the basics.
However, if you’re buying for older kids or are looking for a device that can be shared among adults and children, then you’ll likely benefit from spending a little more. You might want to check out our guide to the best laptops or best Chromebooks available for more premium options.