Most kids don't need an expensive laptop with the latest and greatest processor, graphics card, or maxed-out specs, like a large hard drive or several gigabytes of RAM. Sturdy build quality and stellar battery life are the two most important qualities to look for when shopping for a kid-friendly laptop. However, there are hundreds of options to choose from, and sifting through them is about as difficult as helping your son or daughter with their math homework. Shop our picks for the best kid- and parent-approved laptops, and discover exactly which model is best for your child's needs and your budget.

Learn More About Our Top Five Picks:

1. Acer Spin 1 Laptop — Check Price

Best Overall

Acer

Pro: It's durable, lightweight, and easy to carry around

Con: It has a small hard drive

Bottom Line: The Acer Spin 1 is an affordable and portable pick that gives you the best of both worlds, because it's easy to switch between laptop and tablet modes.

Most 2-in-1 laptops sacrifice performance and build quality for a lower price, but not the Acer Spin 1. It has a sleek, premium-feeling metal design, a colorful touchscreen, and a responsive trackpad, all for a fair price usually under $350. Weighing under 3 pounds and measuring less than an inch thick, the laptop is small and light enough for your child to fit in their backpack.

Plus, it features a kid-friendly keyboard with smaller keys and a bright 11.6-inch screen. Its hinges bend back a full 360 degrees for tablet- or tent-modes, which are perfect for watching Netflix or doing some doodles on the touchscreen. Battery life is so-so — you can expect about 8 hours of use. As for storage, it comes standard with 32 GB of space, but you can pay extra for a 64 GB model or purchase a microSD card.

Performance-wise, this kids laptop is powerful enough to juggle multiple open tabs in Google Chrome and compose Word documents and spreadsheets. We also appreciate its wide selection of ports — on its sides you'll find a USB 3.0 port, a HDMI out jack, a USB 2.0 port, and a 3.5-millimeter audio jack.

2. Dell Inspiron 11 3000 LaptopCheck Price

Best Budget Buy

Dell

Pro: It gets incredible all-day battery life

Con: It has a low-resolution display

Bottom Line: The Dell Inspiron 11 3000 offers the performance, build, and battery life you would want in a budget laptop.

Don't have a lot to spend? We hear you! If all you need is a basic, no-frills Windows laptop that just works, the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 is a solid choice. You can pick from two models — a 2-in-1 with a touchscreen that can be used as a tablet or laptop, or a less expensive one without a touchscreen. Both have a 11.6-inch display, which seems cramped because of its lower resolution, but what this laptop lacks in display it makes up for in portability and a killer battery life. It's packed with a big battery that can give you over 12 hours of use — an impressive feat for a $200 laptop.

The computer features a decent Intel Celeron N3060 processor, 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage, loud speakers, a headphone jack, a 720p HD webcam, two USB ports, a MicroSD card slot, and a HDMI out jack. The laptop has a mostly plastic — but sturdy — build, and your kids will love the bright color options. We're big fans of the blue, but there are white and black models, too.

3. MacBook Pro 13" Laptop — Check Price

Best Splurge

Apple

Pro: It has a premium build

Con: It lacks common ports found on other laptops

Bottom Line: If you want to make your son or daughter's year and don't mind spending the money, the MacBook Pro is one of the most powerful laptops you can buy.

If your child is advanced or needs a powerful machine for editing photos or video using applications like Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, or Final Cut, the MacBook Pro is a good choice. Plus, you may enjoy using it every once in a while, too! Although its price may be difficult to swallow, this MacBook Pro (the model without the touch bar) delivers desktop-grade performance and a great operating system, and it's packed with one of the most vibrant displays in a notebook.

The sleek, lightweight computer delivers more than enough processing power for writing papers, watching Netflix, or general web browsing. It's easy to use, dependable, and incredibly secure, and it has an exceptional 9-hour battery life. A plethora of protective cases is available to ensure that your kids won't break the sleek notebook, either. Our biggest complaint is its lack of ports. There's no longer an HDMI port or SD card slot, and you'll need a dongle or hub to charge your Lightning cable mouse, trackpad, Bluetooth headphones, and iPhone.

More: Our Breakdown on Apple's Entire Line of MacBooks

4. Acer Aspire 5 LaptopCheck Price

Best for Home Use

Acer

Pro: It includes a powerful processor and graphics card

Con: The keyboard isn't backlit

Bottom Line: The Acer Aspire 5 is one of the most reliable budget laptops you can buy.

Considering its powerful processor, large solid-state drive, gorgeous display, and impressive NVIDIA GeForce GPU, the Acer Aspire 5 is arguably the best budget laptop you can buy, but it comes with one caveat — it's big and heavy. We still think it's a great laptop for kids, especially if they plan to use it at home, but its large size and 5-pound weight may be too cumbersome for some littler kids.

On the plus side, the computer has a fantastic trackpad and a comfortable keyboard that'll come in handy for some school papers. You son or daughter can even ask Alexa for help, too, because the smart assistant is built-in! Additionally, the Aspire's screen is bright and large, making it a great pick for watching videos or playing Fortnite — your kid can put its powerful NVIDIA graphics card to good use. It comes with three USB ports (one is the newer Type-C port), an HDMI jack, and an Ethernet port, and it offers 8 GB of RAM.

5. ASUS Chromebook Flip C302CA Laptop — Check Price

Best Chromebook for Kids

ASUS

Pro: It includes accidental damage protection

Con: There are no USB Type-A ports

Bottom Line: ASUS' Chromebook Flip is a great-looking and performing 2-in-1 computer.

As its name suggests, the ASUS Chromebook Flip features a 12.5-inch touchscreen display that flips thanks to a 360-degree rotating hinge. This Chromebook is equipped with 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of storage, and a battery that lasts up to 9 hours on a single charge, so performance is quite smooth. Weighing less than 3 pounds, it's lightweight and portable, but the computer is a little pricey for a Chromebook. One the plus side, this one is one of the few models which supports Android apps, so you can tap and swipe your way through your favorite apps and use it like any other Android tablet. Just like the newer MacBooks, this one has just two USB Type-C ports on each side of the laptop, so you'll need to use dongles for connecting older USB Type-A peripherals and to charge most smartphones.

We're big fans of its all-aluminum chassis, it looks and feels premium, and it should survive even the clumsiest of kids. In the unfortunate event that your son or daughter manages to break it, the laptop comes with one year of accidental damage protection, so ASUS will replace it. Most other laptops have a warranty that doesn't cover accidental damage.

Read More: Other Chromebooks to Consider


More of Our Top Picks:

Just because they didn't make our top five doesn't mean they're not the laptop for your son or daughter! These next two notebooks offer a variety of features that may be exactly what you're looking for — from a touch screen pick, a colorful and affordable option to match your child's backpack, to a powerful gaming pick that you may even get some use out of, too!

6. Microsoft Surface GoCheck Price

Best Tablet-Laptop Hybrid

Microsoft

Pro: Its screen is bright enough for outdoor use

Con: Its keyboard feels slightly cramped

Bottom Line: It's a lightweight and stylish 2-in-1 slate that lets you be productive or have fun on the go.

The Surface Go is a compact Windows 10 tablet PC hybrid that's worth your attention. It weighs a little over 1 pound, and it packs a sharp and vibrant touchscreen that's even bright enough for outdoor use. Like other Surface tablets, it has a durable magnesium body, and it's compatible with the Surface Pen — a must-have accessory for crafty kids.

Although this hybrid laptop starts out at just under $400, we think parents should splurge for the bundle that includes the Type keyboard cover and glass trackpad. You can opt to buy just the tablet itself, but we think the keyboard is necessary if your child wants to use it for schoolwork. Microsoft also sells Alcantara-covered keyboards, which is a fancy fabric found in exotic cars, but that material isn't kid-friendly and doesn't handle spills well.

During our test with the Surface Go, we found that it's powerful enough to handle a steady stream of apps without slowing down. Microsoft claims that the Surface Go is capable of delivering up to 9 hours of video playback between charges, but we averaged between 6 and 7 hours of screen-on time with the device before needing to recharge it. Overall, the Surface Go is a compact and versatile laptop that's perfect for work or play. It's affordable and stylish, and you (and your kid) won't be disappointed!

7. Dell Inspiron 15 7000Check Price

Best Gaming Kids Laptop

Dell

Pro: It supports virtual reality

Con: Its fan is loud

Bottom Line: The best and most affordable gaming laptop you can buy.

If you're shopping for a teen who wants to use their laptop for work and for play, the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 is a great gaming laptop on the cheap. Dell's design approach is more subtle, and it isn't as in-your-face as other gaming laptops, so it won't be distracting to other students. Weighing a little over 6 pounds, the computer isn't that portable, but most gaming laptops aren't. Plus, you'll want its large 15-inch screen for a better gaming experience.

While it doesn't have the best battery life (you can expect about 6.5 hours), and it has a loud fan (which can be distracting and annoying at times), it's packed with an impressive graphics card, a powerful processor, and a speedy solid-state drive. Plus, the computer comes at a fair price that's less than $1,000.

8. HP Stream LaptopCheck Price

Best for a Colorful Finish

Pro: It's great for doing the basics

Con: It has a below average battery life

Bottom Line: This is a colorful and easy-to-use laptop that won't break the bank.

The HP Stream is a bright little laptop that's colorful and comfortable to use. It runs Windows 10, and it's powered by a 1.6 GHz Intel CPU with 4 GB of RAM and 32 or 64 GB of storage. It comes in blue, purple, and gray colors with either an 11- or 14-inch screen.

You should be able to get around 8 hours of battery life, which is a little below average in comparison to other mini laptops. Rest assured, though — the HP Stream has a solid design and provides everything you need to accomplish basic tasks, like quick photo editing and internet browsing, for a fair price of just $200.

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