Kids younger than ever are mastering computer skills, and not just to watch videos on YouTube. As computers continue to play a larger role in our everyday lives, children are learning how to use the internet, word processing, coding, and other everyday computer skills, and applying those skills in various aspects of their education and recreation.

When purchasing a computer for your child, we recommend buying a laptop in lieu of a desktop. Kids will benefit from the portable nature of laptops, especially when it comes to schoolwork. They can tote their laptop along to school with them, to the library, or to a study group at a friend’s house. And you will benefit from the lower price point of the laptop when compared to a desktop model.

Key features to focus on when shopping laptops for younger kids are security controls, size, and ease of use. Younger kids aren’t going to be editing videos or using complex applications, so save the extra features for the older siblings. Older kids may need a faster machine with additional storage space for their school work and gaming hobbies.

We’ve selected the top eight models that we believe are the most kid friendly based on a variety of needs. Remember to keep in mind what your child will ultimately be using the laptop for and that should guide you to what best meets those needs at your price point.

Best for the Basics

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Image: samsung

The Good

Reasonably priced • Solid security • Slim and portable

The Bad

Not many bells and whistles

The Bottom Line

If you are looking for the basics, go with the Chromebook 3.

1. Samsung Chromebook 3

  • Storage: 32 GB
  • Memory: 4 GB
  • Features: 11.6 inch LED-backlight HD widescreen display, headphone/microphone combo jack, Google Chrome operating system, lithium battery, ports – one HDMI, two USB

$299 from Amazon

Basic laptop needs for kids include homework, surfing the web, and Netflix on an HD screen. The Samsung Chromebook 3 features all of the above at a reasonable price.
The Chromebook 3 also comes stocked with built-in security applications to protect against attacks, along with free updates that are provided automatically. Additional protection comes in the form of a water-resistant keyboard.
Weighing in at 2.54 pounds and measuring only 0.7 inches thick, this slim and lightweight laptop is easy for little hands to tote around from school to home. With a full charge, the battery life can last you up to 11 hours for a long road trip or busy school day. You can also recline the laptop 180 degrees to share a video with a classmate.
We recommend going with the 32 GB model, which is only about $8 more than the 16 GB model on Amazon.
Amazon user jdwylic says:

“I bought this for my son for school as they use the Google classroom daily. I am posting this review after 6 months of use so that I could give a good review of usage. It has been a good device and we are not having any issues. It holds a charge and is easily portable. Software is easy to use and functions without delays.”

Best Education Focus

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Image: amazon

The Good

Reasonably priced • Education focused • Built to withstand drops and spills

The Bad

Touchscreen comes at additional cost

The Bottom Line

The Dell Chromebook 3180 bundles the basics with a focus on education.

2. Dell Chromebook 11 3180

The Chromebook 11 3180 bundles the basics with a focus on education.

  • Storage: 32 GB
  • Memory: 4 GB
  • Features: 11.6 inch hi-def non-touch LCD screen, USD card reader, Corning Gorilla Glass screen, spill-resistant keyboard, Google Chrome operating system, Dell Activity Light, ports – one HDMI, 2 USB

$168 from Amazon

The Dell Chromebook 11 3180 features all the necessities for a school laptop at a reasonable cost. The Chromebook G Suite for Education comes standard with the Chromebook, and includes apps designed for education. The Dell Activity Light changes colors to grab teacher’s attention without their students having to yell out and interrupt class.
The Chromebook 3180 is built to withstand common student mishaps – spills on the keyboard, being tossed into a backpack, being scratched with a pencil. The screen is made of Corning Gorilla glass, which, according to Dell, has 10-times higher scratch resistance than standard glass screens. You can also flip the screen 180 degrees for easy viewing.
The battery life is advertised at 10 hours, so you won’t have to worry about the laptop running out of juice in the middle of a class.
Dell offers a cheaper 16 GB model for about $180, but we recommend the 32 GB version for improved performance. Adding a touchscreen will result in an additional cost (about $90 for the 32 GB version).
Amazon customer Opticraze says:

“Excellent Chromebook and the touchscreen is a big plus. This is being used by my 9-year-old daughter for homework and other uses.”

Best for Beginners

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Image: amazon

The Good

Pre-loaded apps • Parental controls • Easy to use

The Bad

Low memory and storage

The Bottom Line

The Tanoshi 2-1 is the ideal laptop for beginners – both parents and kids.

3. Tanoshi 2-1

  • Storage: 32 GB SSD
  • Memory: 4 GB
  • Features: 10.1-inch HD detachable touchscreen tablet, full kid-size keyboard, parental controls, runs on Android 7.0 Nougat, camera, USD card reader, ports – HDMI, 2 USB

$199.99 from Amazon

The Tanoshi 2-1 is designed for the younger age group. Consider the Tanoshi 2-1 if you are shopping for your child’s first laptop.
Parents will love how easy the parental controls are to set up. You can monitor activity — manage screen time, website permissions, and app installs — through the Google Family Link app installed on your smart phone. You can also easily view search history and browsing history, set up any searching to use Google’s SafeSearch feature, and set a bedtime for the laptop.
Little learners will love all the pre-loaded, educational apps from Android that come standard with the laptop, including coding apps like Scratch Jr. and Nancy Drew Codes and Clues.
The laptop includes two cameras – one on the front and one on the back – and a headphone jack. The 2-in-1 also allows the young learners the ability to detach the keyboard and turn the laptop into a tablet.
The storage and memory won’t keep pace with some of the other models we’ve highlighted, but the price tag and special feature make this a perfect fit for starters.
Amazon customer Doan T. says:

“Finally, an Android based kid friendly laptop/tablet that gives me peace of mind that my kids are *safe* exploring the internet and applications! I’m happy that I can control screen time, apps, and websites in almost real time, approving or denying permission from my phone. Future buyers of Tanoshi: It is critical that you install the “Family Link” app from google on your smartphone so that you can monitor your child’s activities.”

Best Kid-Proof Laptop

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Image: amazon

The Good

Rugged design • Spill-proof keyboard • Standard with classroom requirements

The Bad

Memory and storage on the low end

The Bottom Line

This Asus Chromebook C202SA is built to take a licking and keep on computing.

4. ASUS Chromebook C202SA

The Asus Chromebook C202SA is built to take a licking and keep on computing.

  • Storage: 32 GB
  • Memory: 4 GB DDR3
  • Features: Reinforced rubber guards, easy grip handles, spill-resistant keyboard, 2.65 pounds, 11.6 inch HD anti-glare display, 180-degree hinge, Google Chrome operating system, HD webcam, ports – one combo audio jack, 2 USB 3.0

$269 from Amazon

The Asus Chromebook C202SA was designed with kids in mind. It features a protective guard on the outside and a keyboard that is water resistant. As an added measure, the Chromebook comes with easy grip handles to prevent dropping. To test the protective features, Asus dropped the Chromebook from a height of 3.9 feet – think a classroom desk – and everything continued to function as expected.
The Chrome operating system that runs the Chromebook is standard in most school districts, as are the Google apps that come standard with the Chromebook. With up to 10 hours of battery life, there’s no need to fight for an outlet in the classroom to keep the Chromebook charged.
The 180-degree hinge allows you to place the laptop on the ground, which makes it easy for group learning or to share the screen when siblings want to watch their favorite YouTuber together.
The storage and memory on the Chromebook is on the lower end – to be expected with the price tag – but each purchase does include 100 GB of Google Drive storage space.
Amazon customer C. Gallagher says:

“We gave this Chromebook to my son last Christmas, and it’s been an excellent first computer as he transitioned into middle school this Fall. Other mom friends have asked me if an additional case or sleeve is needed, and I always tell them to save their money – this is an extremely sturdy laptop, and my son takes it to and from school in his backpack a couple times a week with no extra case. The ONLY con to this product is that the keyboard doesn’t light up – something I’m used to on my MacBook – but it doesn’t seem to bother my son.”

Best Versatility

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Image: amazon

The Good

Cool spin feature • HD display

The Bad

Low memory

The Bottom Line

The features on the Spin 1 will have your head turning.

5. Acer Spin 1

The features on the Spin 1 will have your head turning.

  • Storage: 32 GB
  • Memory: 4 GB DD3L
  • Features: 11.6-inch Full HD multi-touch widescreen LED-backlit IPS display, Microsoft Office 365 Personal one-year subscription, Windows 10 Home operating system, multi-touch screen, HD webcam, ports – HDMI, 3 USB

$399.99 from Amazon

The 360-degree spin feature on the Acer Spin 1 allows you to view the screen at four different angles, so your kid can comfortably type a paper (notebook mode), use the stylus pen to draw (tablet mode), or watch a movie on Netflix (display or tent mode).
The ultra-thin stylish design is complemented by a full HD widescreen display backlit by LED lighting. The stylus pen, which comes included with most models, can be used with Windows Ink software to draw, write or make edits on the screen. The Spin also features a multi-touch screen that supports 10-finger touch technology.
A 1-year Office 365 Personal subscription is also included with the purchase.
Some customer reviews complained about lack of storage on the device – just 32 GB – so you may not be able to load anything new or use the laptop for gaming without purchasing some extra storage. You can also spring for the more expensive model – about $100 more – with additional storage.
What can be loaded onto the Spin will look great, and you should have no issue watching videos, visiting websites, or using the features that come standard with the Windows 10 Home operating system.
Amazon customer Arelis says:

“Great Laptop! Very convenient and fast! Low storage but other than that it is wonderful. The different modes are so useful and fun! The pen is great and it comes with the batteries needed for it. Battery lasts up to 9 hours and charges with an hour and a half!”

Best High-End

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Image: AMazon

The Good

Apple quality and ease of use • Intuitive technology

The Bad

Price tag

The Bottom Line

If you can afford it, your kid will have the coolest laptop.

6. Apple MacBook Pro

  • Storage: 0.256 terabytes
  • Memory: 8 GB
  • Features: Mac Operating system, Touch Bar, retina display featuring True Tone technology, 13-inch monitor, Force Touch trackpad, Siri, headphone jack, 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports, built-in webcam

$1,799 from Best Buy

If you trust your kid to take care of their laptop, and have the pocket change to spring for an expensive model, the Apple MacBook Pro is the way to go. Apple products are known for their quality and ease of use, but that is just part of the reason why.
For starters, the MacBook Pro will never slow you down due to high-performance memory and storage. Everything you view on a MacBook Pro will pop with sophisticated retina technology and LED backlighting.
We included a more expensive model because of its Touch Bar feature, which eliminates the need for function keys. Using intuitive technology, the Touch Bar resides at the top of the keyboard and lets you control the system based on what you are doing – volume controls when watching shows, emojis and predictive text when you are talking to friends, and more. A fingerprint sensor can also help you prevent any unapproved purchases.
Most schools use Chromebooks or Windows-based computers for students, so the Mac operating system might take a little getting used to. But like all Apple products, it is designed to be intuitive, and it will be beneficial to be familiar with Apple technology as higher education and business continue to be more Mac-friendly.
Best Buy customer Dilari says:

“My son has wanted this for awhile. After checking all reviews I decided to purchase it. He absolutely loves it. Perfect size and lightweight. He said he is very happy with this item. He likes the touchbar, speed and clarity. Has everything offered that he needs.”

Best for Gaming

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Image: best buy

The Good

Fast • Durable • Decent price for a gaming laptop

The Bad

Might need to add memory • Short battery life

The Bottom Line

With the Legion, it’s game on for older kids looking for more than the basics.

7. Lenovo Legion Y530

  • Storage: 1 TB
  • Memory: 8 GB
  • Features: 15.6-inch full HD display, Windows 10 operating system, Harman/Kardon speakers, HDMI output, HD webcam, backlit keyboard, 3 USB ports

$929.99 from Best Buy

The price tag on the Lenovo Legion Y530 is a bit higher than most of the laptops we’ve highlighted, but if you are purchasing a laptop for gaming, expect to pony up a few extra bucks.
The Lenovo Legion has the right speed, graphics, and memory to provide a seamless experience playing games geared towards kids or teens — think Fortnite and Minecraft. When your kid takes a break from gaming to focus on school work, the sought-after gaming features translate into high performance speed, graphics, and memory for word processing and streaming educational videos.
The backlit keyboard will help for anyone trying to sneak in a few extra minutes of gaming during bedtime – a positive or negative based on perspective.
Some higher end Lenovo Legion models are available for more advanced gaming, but purchasing the enhanced models isn’t necessary unless your child is playing games like Call of Duty. You also don’t get much battery life, a common refrain for gaming laptops.
Best Buy customer Broken says:

“This computer is more than what I expected. The screen is very good and colorful. For watching movies it is also very good! If you are looking to getting into gaming but you aren’t willing to spend much money on a 1.5k gaming computer then this is the laptop I would recommend. It is good for starters and it can handle a lot of games at either high settings or medium.”

Best Tablet Turned Laptop

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Image: amazon

The Good

Security protocol • HR camera • Lightweight

The Bad

Basic accessories sold separately

The Bottom Line

Transform this tablet into a perfect laptop for your kids.

8. Microsoft Surface Go

  • Storage: 128 GB
  • Memory: 8 GB
  • Features: High-resolution 10-inch PixelSense Display, lightweight at 1.15lbs, Windows 10 in S mode, multi-tasking USB-C, fast-charging Surface Connect, headphone jack, HD camera

$519.99 from Amazon

It will take the purchase of a compatible keyboard (about $100) to transform the Microsoft Surface Go from tablet to laptop, but we think the features included with this device make it a worthy contender on this list.
The Surface Go security system includes Windows defender and customizable parental controls, as well as built-in parental controls: Only apps verified by the Microsoft store can be downloaded onto the laptop.
The lightweight tablet weighs in at 1.15 pounds, and its sleek frame should be no problem for little hands to handle. The laptop comes equipped with two built-in HD cameras, and it’s small enough to pull double duty so you don’t have to buy a camera for your little shutterbug. The Surface Go also uses Windows Hello technology that lets you log in using the camera, eliminating the chance of your kids forgetting their passwords.
Speaking of forgetfulness, the tablet boasts 9 hours of battery life, which will benefit those who have a hard time remembering to plug into the charger.
Accessories for the Surface Go – compatible keyboard, pen, and mouse – must be purchased separately.
Amazon reviewer Jorge Lu writes:

“If you need a PC to do light work and can live with a 10 inch display, you’ll love it. Or maybe you want a tablet that can be more than just that. I like the whole philosophy behind it, a device that you can take anywhere and use it in all your activities. After using it at work I can take the keyboard off and watch a movie or browse the web while listening some music or use a pen to do some digital painting as a hobby, It’s just so versatile. I think this is the closest thing to what Microsoft wanted to achieve with the Surface line. Even closer than the already great Surface Pro.

And there’s this premium feel to it. The magnesium body feels very solid, the kickstand doesn’t move if you don’t want to and if you pair it with the Alcantara keyboard it’s just a very different experience that you can feel. And yet it’s so light. You’ll have a disappointing experience touching a plastic laptop after using one of these.”