The 9 Best Laptops for Kids of 2021

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Lenovo Chromebook C330 at Amazon

Sleek, simple to use, and lightweight, this Lenovo Chromebook is a great choice for families.

Best Budget: Tanoshi Scholar at Amazon

Perfect for schoolwork and academic enrichment, this pick has a detachable keyboard and touchscreen functionality.

Best Netbook: HP Stream 14 at Amazon

Lightweight and nimble, made for work on-the-go. This choice fits the bill! Perfect for schoolwork and entertainment.

Best for Tweens: Asus L210 Laptop at Amazon

Reviewers praise this choice as affordable, easy to use, and able to handle whatever task a modern tween can throw at it.

Most Versatile: Microsoft Surface Go 2 at Amazon

Helpful option for families who may want the versatility of a tablet for streaming and the functionality of a laptop.

Best for Teens: Apple MacBook Air at Amazon

Worth it for older, more responsible teens, especially those that have art-inspired work or will be using the laptop for a few years.

Best for Family Use: Acer Swift 3 at Amazon

Best as a family computer that’ll get a lot of use by everyone, which helps to compensate for the high cost.

Best for Toddlers: Leapfrog 2-in-1 at Amazon

There are five learning modes so kiddos can focus on ABCs, numbers, games, music, and sending messages.

Best for Little Kids: Lenovo Chromebook 3 at Amazon

While it may not support high tech computing needs, for younger kids or simple desires, this laptop is perfect.

While pencil and paper are still school supplies, these days, so is a laptop. Whether your kid is just starting school, learning virtually, or a high schooler with tons of homework, there will come a time in their academic life when a laptop will be helpful. 

There are so many laptops on the market. It can be tricky to find the right one for your budget, needs, and family lifestyle. To help you narrow down your choices, here are the best laptops for kids (and their families) currently on the market. 

Best Overall: Lenovo Chromebook C330

Pros
  • 360-degree flexibility

  • Affordable

  • Long battery life

Cons
  • Not suitable for intense gaming use

  • Requires a Google email

Sleek, simple to use, and lightweight, this Lenovo Chromebook is a great choice for families. The Chromebook rotates 360-degrees, so your kiddo can use it in the tent, tablet, stand, or laptop mode. For younger kids that are used to tablets, this computer has a touchscreen, so there’s a smooth transition from one device to the next.

The built-in webcam is perfect for Zoom calls or remote learning and the Chrome operating system is easy to use with Google classroom. Parents praise this choice as a laptop with high-end features at an affordable price. 

Operating System: Chrome OS | Screen Size: 11 inches | Touchscreen: Yes | Storage: 64GB

Best Budget: Tanoshi Scholar

Pros
  • Well-built and sturdy

  • Affordable

  • Made for kids

Cons
  • Limited storage capability

  • Two color options: purple & blue

Specifically made for children, this affordable laptop is crafted with kids in mind. Perfect for schoolwork and academic enrichment, this pick has a detachable keyboard and touchscreen functionality. It arrives preloaded with apps for distance learning like Google Docs, learn-to-code apps, and other gaming apps.

With a focus on privacy, the Google Family Link app is also pre-loaded and there’s a sliding webcam cover for additional safety. 

Operating System: Android | Screen Size: 10 inches | Touchscreen: Yes | Storage: 32GB

Best Netbook: HP Stream 14

Pros
  • HD Screen detail

  • 14 hour + battery life

  • Preloaded with some apps

Cons
  • Limited storage capacity

  • Requires extra steps for Google classroom access

The word “netbook” is often interchangeable with the term “notebook” or “laptop,” making for confusing terminology. They’re usually lightweight and nimble, made for work on the go. This choice fits the bill!

Perfect for schoolwork and entertainment, the 14-inch screen will be appreciated if your kiddo will be streaming shows after school. The Microsoft-based system may be helpful for older students and the computer comes with access to Office 365 programs for one year. 

Operating System: Windows 10 | Screen Size: 14 inches | Touchscreen: No | Storage: 64GB

Best for Tweens: Asus L210 Laptop

Pros
  • Lightweight

  • 12 hours of battery life

Cons
  • No touchscreen

  • Number pad can be hard to use

At less than one inch thin and a mere 2.3 pounds, tweens will have no trouble toting around this pick. They’ll love the 180-degree lay-flat hinge feature, which is super helpful for group projects or working in collaborative settings.

When homework gets harder, there’s a backlit keyboard and an innovative 6-inch number pad. Reviewers praise this choice as affordable, easy to use, and able to handle whatever task a modern tween can throw at it. 

Operating System: Windows 10 | Screen Size: 11.6 inches | Touchscreen: No |Storage: 64GB

Most Versatile: Microsoft Surface Go 2

Pros
  • Sturdy, high-quality screen

  • Appropriate for casual tasks

  • Touchscreen

Cons
  • Type cover keyboard sold separately

  • Limited battery life

Perfectly portable, this versatile option can be used as either a laptop or tablet. If you want the “type cover” keyboard, it’ll need to be purchased separately, but it’s a seamless connection. Additionally, this tablet works with a surface pen and mobile mouse, both sold separately.

This is a helpful option for families who may want the versatility of a tablet for streaming and the functionality of a laptop. 

Operating System: Windows 10 | Screen Size: 10.5 inches | Touchscreen: Yes | Storage: 64GB

Best for Teens: Apple MacBook Air

Pros
  • 15 hours of battery life

  • Reliable and long lasting

  • High-speed processor

Cons
  • Expensive investment

  • Only runs macOS

The lightest, fastest MacBook available is expensive but worth it for older, more responsible teens, especially those that have art-inspired work or will be using the laptop for a few years to come. With up to 15 hours of battery life, this innovative powerhouse of a machine boasts a new M1 processor that’s super fast and the lack of a fan makes this a silent computer.

Light and portable, the high resolution and bright display stands out among other options. Since MacBooks last a long time and tend to hold their value, this could be a wise investment for teens. 

Operating System: Mac OS | Screen Size: 13.3 inches | Touchscreen: No | Storage: 256GB

Best for Family Use: Acer Swift 3

Pros
  • Lightweight

  • Sharp display

  • Excellent performance

  • Built-in Alexa

Cons
  • Expensive

  • 11 hours of battery life

An award-winning option, this laptop is a high-functioning machine with a high price tag. It’s used best as a family computer that’ll get a lot of use by everyone, which helps to balance out the high cost.

Lightweight with moderate battery life, the family-friendly machine has an embedded fingerprint reader and the convenience of Amazon’s Alexa built into the computer. Reviewers note the excellent performance and well-made construction as stand-out features of this machine.

Operating System: Windows 10 | Screen Size: 14 inches | Touchscreen: No | Storage: 512GB

Best for Toddlers: Leapfrog 2-in-1

Pros
  • Preloaded learning games

  • No internet required

Cons
  • Limited capabilities

  • Can only use preloaded apps

For toddlers that want to be like mom and dad, this affordable laptop toy is a great option. Made with a flippable screen, the laptop toy easily converts from a laptop with the keyboard to tablet mode. There are five learning modes so kiddos can focus on ABCs, numbers, games, music, and sending messages.

Customizable, parents can program the Leapfrog with your child’s name so it’s easy to master spelling. Choose between two color options, green or pink, and your toddler will stay busy for hours. 

Operating System: N/A | Screen Size: 10.04 inches | Touchscreen: No | Storage: N/A

Best for Little Kids: Lenovo Chromebook 3

Pros
  • Touchscreen

  • Simple interface

  • Affordable

Cons
  • Limited storage

  • 10 hours of battery life

An amazing machine for younger kids or adults with limited processing needs, this laptop is portable, affordable, speedy, and works well. Simple to use, power this laptop on and it’s ready to go. The touch screen makes it extra easy for young learners, especially if they’re tracing letters on the screen or more adept at touching rather than typing or clicking a mouse.

While it doesn't support high-tech computing needs, it is perfect for younger kids who don't need extra frills and features. 

Operating System: Chrome OS | Screen Size: 11.6 inches | Touchscreen: Yes | Storage: 4GB

Final Verdict

The Lenovo Chromebook C330 (view on Amazon) is a versatile option that is lightweight, affordable, and able to keep up with your kiddo.

For a premium laptop that will last for years to come, the MacBook Air (view on Amazon) is really unbeatable. It features an incredibly fast processor, long battery life, and a totally silent fan.

What to Look for When Buying Laptops for Kids 

Chromebook Vs. Laptop 

The difference between a Chromebook and a laptop is all based on the operating system. Chromebooks are laptops running on Google’s Chrome operating system. A Google email is preferred but if your child doesn't have one, they can use any email to log in through Google. Chromebooks tend to be lightweight, less expensive, and easy to use but will need workarounds or web-based versions of Microsoft Office programs.

Laptops can run on a variety of operating systems, including the Microsoft Office Suite. They typically can be costlier, have more memory and programming capability, and run Microsoft programs without workarounds. Unlike Chromebooks, programs have to be downloaded from the internet or purchased separately instead of using an app store. Laptops are ideal for working off and online and can last for quite a while.

Processing Power

While most kids won’t need a ton of processing power to do their everyday work, nearly all new computers will be able to hold up to the demands of modern school kids. For a new laptop, look for processor speeds to be between 3.50 to 4.2 GHz. For older kids, gamers, or those with lots of demands, the higher end will be more desirable. 

Storage

With so much of your kids' work being stored virtually, laptop storage has become less of an issue. Even so, for most kids and families, 256GB of storage will be plenty for any age kid, especially if you don’t have a ton of stored videos, photos, games, and music. So much material can easily be offloaded to the cloud or a backup drive if needed.

For a good gauge, check how much storage and usage you have on a current laptop to guide your needs for a new one. 

Why Trust Verywell Family? 

Maya Polton is a former marketing manager and current freelance writer who covers food, home, and parenting. She’s also the mom of an 11-year-old son, 8-year-old son, and 4-year old daughter. With two parents working from home and two out of three kids attending virtual school for most of the school year, Maya’s become an unofficial expert in computers, Zoom, Google Classroom, Seesaw, and more. Her two boys love their Chromebooks (although in an ordering snafu only one has a touchscreen--oops) while her and husband appreciate their MacBook computers for work. 

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