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(Pocket-lint) - 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, and it not always being clear which are actually good fits for younger ages, we've tested, reviewed and ranked some of the best ones to consider. 

Our priorities for this list are durability, affordability and performance - 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. 


What are the best laptops for kids?

  1. Acer Chromebook Spin 513
  2. Asus Vivobook 14 
  3. Acer Chromebook Spin 311
  4. Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook
  5. Microsoft Surface Go 3.

Our Top Pick: Best Kids Laptop

Pocket-lintBest laptop for kids 2020 Affordable computers to help them learn photo 16

Acer Chromebook Spin 513

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For

  • Exceptional trackpad
  • Stylish design
  • Comfortable keyboard

Against

  • 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.

Kids laptops we also recommend

While the Acer Chromebook Spin 513 is a superb Chromebook option, it's not necessarily the right laptop for every child. That's why we've also selected the following laptops for you to also consider. 

AsusBest laptop for kids 2020 Affordable computers to help them learn photo 15

Asus Vivobook 14

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For

  • Low asking price
  • 14-inch 1080p display with metal lid
  • Office 365 bundles are available

Against

  • Intel Pentium processor isn't very powerful
  • Only 64GB storage built-in

The Asus Vivobook 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 full Windows, 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.

Pocket-lintBest laptop for kids 2020 Affordable computers to help them learn photo 17

Acer Chromebook Spin 311

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For

  • Solid and comfy keyboard
  • Good battery life
  • Rugged construction and hinge design

Against

  • 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.

LenovoBest laptop for kids 2020 Affordable computers to help them learn photo 14

Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

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For

  • Well priced
  • Long battery life
  • Lightweight and portable

Against

  • Magnetic components pop off too easily
  • The only port is a single USB Type C

This two-in-one tablet and Chromebook 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 superb battery life making it a great pick for kids. The only things we aren't so keen on are how easily the magnets disconnect and that the device only has a single USB-C port. This means you can't use wired headphones and charge at the same time unless you have a hub of some sort.

Pocket-lintBest laptop for kids 2020 Affordable computers to help them learn photo 13

Microsoft Surface Go 3

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For

  • Affordable starting price
  • Fantastic vivid display
  • Clever design and kickstand

Against

  • Keyboard cover not included
  • Performance could be better

The Surface Go 3 is without a doubt the most premium-feeling recommendation on our list. The aluminium housing looks sharp and the Alcantara finish on the keyboard cover is simply luxurious on the hand.

The starting price is surprisingly low too, though you'll need to consider the cost of the keyboard cover, as it's not included. If your kid needs the full Windows suite and the option of using it as a tablet appeals, then the Surface Go 3 is one of the finest options out there.

Other products we considered

When trying to figure out what we believe to be the best kids laptops on the market, we spent hours running all sorts of applications and using the devices in a range of situations. We consider a number of factors when it comes to recommending devices - and also when a new device enters our top five selections. It's not all judged on our testing, either - we also try to factor in consumer reviews, brand quality and value.

In all of our roundups, there are also many products we test that don't make the final cut. Since they may be the right fit for some people, however, we've listed them below.

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.

More about this story

Every product in this list has been tested in real-life situations, just as you would use it in your day-to-day life.

Buying a laptop can be a big investment, so we've used all the options on this list extensively to see how they hold up in the real world. We've tested real-world performance in productivity apps, rather than just benchmarking, and given you all the data you need to help with your buying decisions.

Of course, pricing is a big factor, as is build quality, reliability and battery life. Being sufficiently rugged, too, can help a laptop stand up to the daily knocks a child will put it through.

As with any roundup, it's not possible to deliver a list that works for every child, but we lean on the experiences and opinions of the wider Pocket-lint team - as well as thoroughly assessing the areas above - in order to do our best in this regard.

What we always tend to avoid when compiling these picks are needless spec comparisons and marketing lines; we just want to provide an easy to understand summary that gives you an idea of what each gaming laptop is like to use. Our verdicts are concise, but this is purely in the interest of brevity. Rest assured all the things on this list have been fully tested.

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Writing by Luke Baker.