The 10 Best Laptops For Kids in 2019

Buying a laptop for a kid can be a tricky thing.

On the one hand, today’s youngest generations are “naturals” when it comes to technology. Many kids live in cyberspace for a great deal of their life, for better or worse. Elements like media creation, ability to game, interactive multimedia (and maybe even VR), as well as more basic usages like school and communication are all important.

On the other hand, you don’t want your kid to have unbridled access to everything a computer can offer you. You want to be able to protect your kid from sites you don’t want them to see, from spending too much time online, and from falling prey to some form of malware or computer virus.

A third tricky element is the longevity of your choice. Some brands of computer are known for just working for a few years, while others can last the better part of a decade. What your kid will need a laptop will also change considerably as they grow. And they are kids, so you’ll want something that can survive being dropped or spilled on once or twice (or that isn’t that expensive to replace if it is).

We’ve considered all of those elements when constructing our ranking. And have tried to err on the side of presenting a varied display of some of the “best” laptops for kids. After all, the laptop that will be best for your kid will depend a great deal on their interests, their age, and what they’ll be using the laptop for.

Our methodology included the following elements:

  • Cost (1/5): While this will certainly depend on the options you opt for, we’ve ranked all the laptops we’ve considered by their current best price for the specs we specify in our writeup.
  • Durability(1/5):You can always get a protection plan. But what we’re looking for here is the general sturdiness of the build, features that support sturdiness, and well as reviews regarding how sturdy the laptop is.
  • Design(1/5):We’re talking both looks and functionality here. 2-in-1 devices that can become tablets, as well as particularly sleek or stylized laptops scored higher in this metric.
  • Gaming and Media Creation (1/5): we looked at both raw computing power, graphics abilities, sound, and screen size as well as limitations that may come with having a given operating system.
  • Security and Parental Controls (1/5): we looked at built-in functionality that supports parental controls, the range of ways in which a kid could mistakenly “mess up” a computer, as well as operating systems that are generally more or less secure.

1. 2017 Refurbished MacBook Air


While a great deal of what we talk about below could also be said for a new MacBook Air, there are nearly always a glut of 1-2 year-old factory refurbished MacBook Airs available that offer close to the most current specs and are several hundred dollars more affordable. We love Macbook Air’s for their sleek design, light weight, and — compared to many of the computers we looked at in our ranking — strong computing power. While a MacBook Air isn’t a hardcore gaming or media creation machine, it should have no trouble running most games and you can edit photos or movies on them. Additionally, Macs are known for lasting quite a long time and being relatively secure (in a cyber security sense). This is a great choice for a kid in middle or high school that just may last them through their college years.

Pros:

  • A good bit more affordable than a brand new MacBook Air
  • Strong media creation and gaming specs when compared to other “kid’s” laptops
  • Apple computers generally last longer than PC’s
  • Apple computers are generally secure if you perform regular recommended updates
  • Good looking

Cons:

  • One of the most expensive laptops in our ranking
  • Must set-up parental controls (they aren’t the default)
  • Not as resilient to drops or spills as other ranked laptops
  • Likely “overkill” for younger children
  • May still need to be replaced in a few years due to computing power

Cost Score: 92/100
Durability Score: 99/100
Design Score: 99/100
Gaming and Media Creation Score: 97/100
Security and Parental Control Score: 98/100
Total Score: 97/100

Check prices for MacBook Air on Amazon

2. Tanoshi 2-in-1


This relative newcomer to the laptop (or should we say 2-in-1) space is Tanoshi. On the opposite end of the spectrum as a MacBook Pro, the Tanoshi 2-in-1 runs on the Android operating system, meaning that most kids won’t be able to inadvertently “mess up” their computer by error or customization. Build-in parental controls that allow parents to control what the child is seeing from their phone area particularly unique offering for this laptop. The fact that it’s a 2-in-1 is also a plus as kids can use the tablet to watch shows or for greater portability. With a price point that’s one of the lowest we surveyed, you’ve gotten your money’s worth if the Tanoishi 2-in-1 works for a year or two for your kid. We recommend this as a first laptop or for kids who are younger than middle school.

Pros:

  • Only laptop surveyed with built-in parental controls accessible from the parent’s phone.
  • Low price point
  • A detachable screen turns into a tablet
  • Kid-friendly Android operating system
  • Access to many apps though not very customizable

Cons:

  • Not much more of a gaming or media creation machine than a phone
  • Cannot access common iOS or Windows programs
  • Not a well known brand

Cost Score: 96/100
Durability Score: 94/100
Design Score: 98/100
Gaming and Media Creation Score: 93/100
Security and Parental Control Score: 99/100
Total Score: 96/100

3. Lenovo Legion Y530


If you’re willing to look at some higher-tier “kid’s” laptops, and particularly if your kid is into in-depth media creation or gaming, you’ll want to take a hard look at the Lenovo Legion 530. With a slightly higher price point than a refurbished MacBook Air (#1 above), you get a ton more computing power. The Legion Y530 is truly a gaming laptop, and quite a bit more powerful than most desktops. With 1TB of default hard drive space, you should be able to install many games, download tons of movies, or just have storage for years to come. While many feel that PCs don’t last as long as Apple computers, this often comes down to a greater need to install an antivirus and maintain your computer. As with many gaming laptops, a flashy design will likely greatly appeal to some kids. While we don’t recommend this computer for all kids by a long shot, of the gaming and media creation PC’s we surveyed, it had by far the best specs. And it wasn’t the most expensive surveyed. This is a great option for kids going to college in a few years or who want a more powerful PC.

Pros:

  • By far the most computing power and storage of surveyed laptops
  • Slim profile for a “gaming” laptop
  • Enough storage to last for years
  • Well-known brand
  • Many protection plans available

Cons:

  • One of the most expensive laptops surveyed
  • Not as resilient to drops or spills as other gaming laptops
  • No built-in parent controls (you would need to set them up)
  • Likely “more computer” than is needed for younger children (or even most children)

Cost Score: 91/100
Durability Score: 96/100
Design Score: 98/100
Gaming and Media Creation Score: 99/100
Security and Parental Control Score: 95/100
Total Score: 95.8/100

4. Acer Predator Helios 300


The second (and only other) “gaming” laptop in our ranking comes in at a slightly higher price point than the Lenovo Legion. With that said, it still offers a great deal for its specifications when compared to comperable PCs. As with the Lenovo Legion, almost any media creation or gaming activity a kid could want to do can be done on this high-powered laptop. While some users do report that PCs aren’t as secure or dont’ last as long as Apple computers, this is typically remedied by just keeping your antivirus up-to-date. With perhaps the flashiest design of those surveyed, some kids will naturally gravitate towards this PC. Additionally, it’s one of the sturdiest laptops we surveyed when looking at the frame. High quality specs make this a great option for kids that are into gaming or media creation. A child in late high school that takes care of this PC will should have no trouble keeping it working through college, when it will then likely still be quite a high-powered computer.
Pros:

  • Some of the best specs of all laptops surveyed
  • Perhaps the “sturdiest” of all laptops surveyed
  • Flashy design that will attract some kids
  • Enough memory to last for years
  • High-quality screen and sound.
  • Well-known brand

Cons:

  • Not quite as much computing power as the Legion (#3 above)
  • More PC than is needed for most kids
  • The most expensive option surveyed

Cost Score: 90/100
Durability Score: 99/100
Design Score: 98/100
Gaming and Media Creation Score: 98/100
Security and Parental Control Score: 95/100
Total Score: 96/100

5. Dell Inspiron 11.6″ HD Chromebook


This Dell Chromebook comes in as one of the most affordable offerings in this year’s ranking. And compared to the only more affordable option that ranks higher (the Tanoshi), provides a great deal more computing power as well as access to more typical computer programs. While Chromebooks don’t have access to the full suite of programs available to Windows or iOS laptops, they are known for being pretty “fool” (or child-)proof. While kids will be able to download certain gaming apps, or play games based in an internet browser, parental controls are easy to set up, and the amount that kids can download to “mess up” the computer is limited. Two additional features include the durability of the frame, as well as the HD screen for video use. For kids who don’t need more extreme gaming or media creation, this Chromebook is a great budget option for nearly all other computing tasks.

Pros:

  • One of the most affordable laptops surveyed
  • HD Screen for Video Watching
  • Hard to customize or inadvertently “mess up” the computer
  • Easy to use parental controls
  • Well known brand
  • Great for basic tasks

Cons:

  • Must be online to access most programs (as with all Chromebooks)
  • Many Windows or iOS programs unavailable
  • Limited computing power for gaming or media creation
  • Limited memory (again, mostly cloud-based)

Cost Score: 99/100
Durability Score: 99/100
Design Score: 90/100
Gaming and Media Creation Score: 93/100
Security and Parental Control Score: 98/100
Total Score: 95.8/100

6. Microsoft Surface Go


The Surface Go is the slightly more portable and less powerful version of the 2-in-1 Surface Pro that many businesses love. Some of the top selling points of this model for kids is that it’s lightweight, it can transform into a tablet, it’s an operating system most parents know, it’s plenty of computing power for most routine school, life, and entertainment purposes, and it’s built by a well-known brand. It’s also on the lower end of the price spectrum of laptops surveyed. If you need an all-purpose laptop with access to almost all of the most common programs, but without heavy gaming or media creation capabilities, this could be a great fit. Another way to think of this device is that it’s just slightly more of a “full computer” than an iPad. Some areas in which the Surface Go is lacking include a relatively small hard drive, which over the years can present an issue, as well as no built-in parental controls other than what comes with the Microsoft OS(which is a pretty decent solution).

Pros:

  • A “2-in-1” that can turn into a tablet
  • Solid computing power for most routine tasks
  • One of the more affordable options surveyed
  • Well-known brand
  • Portable

Cons:

  • Relatively small hard drive
  • Relatively small screen
  • Not a good gaming or media creation device
  • Not as resilient to being dropped or spilled on as other laptops

Cost Score: 93/100
Durability Score: 95/100
Design Score: 98/100
Gaming and Media Creation Score: 96/100
Security and Parental Control Score: 95/100
Total Score: 95.4/100

7. Acer Chromebook Spin 11


Another great Chrome OS-centered option is the Acer Chromebook Spin 11. If you don’t already know, Chromebooks run on Chrome OS, which is like a pared down version of Windows of iOS. Another difference is that typically many of the programs you run aren’t available if you aren’t on the internet. Most things are saved “to the cloud” which allows Chromebooks to be more affordable and to get by with less storage. So this isn’t a PC for a hard core gamer or a kid that is into media production. For kids who want to play a few app-based games, or games in the browser, who want to watch videos, and perform basic computing tasks, this can be a great option. One feature we love is that the screen “spins” and flips around back to create a tablet. This Chromebook is slightly more expensive than some of the others in our ranking, but it also has a more durable frame and a good bit more computing power than some of its peers. This can be a great “middle ground” for parents that want their kid to have a decently fast computer for basic tasks that lasts several years.

Pros:

  • More affordable than many laptops surveyed
  • Long battery life
  • Turns into a tablet
  • Durable frame
  • Automatic updates take care of most security
  • Limited ability of kids to customize or “mess up” the computer
  • From a well-known brand
  • Automatic back-ups

Cons:

  • Not a good choice for gaming or intense media creation
  • Many apps require access to the internet to function
  • More expensive than most other surveyed Chromebooks
  • Some apps you know from Windows or iOS aren’t available

Cost Score: 95/100
Durability Score: 94/100
Design Score: 98/100
Gaming and Media Creation Score: 93/100
Security and Parental Control Score: 95/100
Total Score: 95/100

8. Asus Transformer Mini T102HA


The Asus Asus Transformer Mini T102HA is a direct competitor with the Microsoft Surface Go. It’s exceedingly light, portable, can function as a tablet or a laptop, and runs the full Windows operating system. While this isn’t the right choice for a kid who is really into gaming or media creation, the Transformer Mini is a small fully-functional PC that has a little more computing power (with it’s quad CPU cores) than the Microsoft Surface Go. It comes in at a similar price as well, albeit not quite as well-known of a brand. What this will mean in your kid’s day-to-day life with the laptop is that they can multitask a bit more. The machine can likely handle a higher number of tabs open while a video is playing, or they may be able to do some media creation and editing. For school purposes, this is a great choice for a machine that can work for middle schoolers and up. Yes, you’ll get more computing power and features with a pricier machine, but the Transformer Mini fills a niche with slightly more power than competitors and a modest price.

Pros:

  • Slightly more computing power than it’s competitor the Microsoft Surface Go
  • Very light and portable
  • Functions as a tablet or a laptop
  • Relatively low price compared to all laptops considered for ranking
  • Good “middle ground” general purpose computer

Cons:

  • Not a ton of built-in parental controls
  • By no means a powerful computer by processing standards
  • Not good for gamers or media creation
  • Less robust frame

Cost Score: 94/100
Durability Score: 92/100
Design Score: 98/100
Gaming and Media Creation Score: 95/100
Security and Parental Control Score: 95/100
Total Score: 94.8/100

9. Acer 15.6” Chromebook


This widely available Chromebook is one of the most popular budget laptops around. No, it isn’t a 2-in-1, and no you won’t be able to game or create media even as well as you can on your phone. But it’s one of the most affordable mainstream laptops you can get and works well for routine school tasks, watching videos or browsing the web. Because it’s Chrome OS, you won’t have access to all of the applications you may be used to on iOS or Windows, but you will have security taken care of if you opt into auto updates, and there’s less room for a kid to inadvertently “mess up” the computer through customization or following a bad link. One definite trade off that occurs in most Chromebooks is that most programs are not available when you aren’t online. But for many, that’s not nearly as much of a problem as it was a few years ago.

Pros:

  • Good for school work, basic browsing of web, watching videos
  • One of the most affordable laptops surveyed
  • Chrome OS takes care of most choices you may have on other computers
  • Durable frame

Cons:

  • Not a very powerful computer
  • Not suitable for media creation of gaming
  • Limitations of Chrome OS

Cost Score: 97/100
Durability Score: 92/100
Design Score: 92/100
Gaming and Media Creation Score: 94/100
Security and Parental Control Score: 98/100
Total Score: 94.6/100

10. Lenovo IdeaPad 80E3007FUS Laptop

Similarly to the Acer 15.6” Chromebook (#9), the Lenovo IdeaPad 80E3007F services a definite niche among laptops that may be a good fit for kids. One of the major selling points of this laptop is the price, which was the second most affordable of all laptops surveyed for the ranking. Despite being on the lower end of price, the laptop looks stylish and is lightweight for its size. Just like all of the other Chromebooks in the ranking, you aren’t going to want to go for this laptop if you are trying to use it for gaming or media creation. But for internet browsing, watching video, and basic work or school tasks, the Lenovo IdeaPad is plenty powerful. Chrome OS, which runs on the computer is a blessing or a curse depending on who you ask. Some of the best components for kids include the fact that it’s known to be a secure operating system as long as you update regularly. Additionally, large amount of customization aren’t possible, so there’s little room for a kid to “mess up” the computer by inadvertently messing with settings. While this ideapad isn’t the right fit for everyone, for many it’s a great budget choice for their kid.

Pros:

  • One of the most affordable options we surveyed
  • Chrome OS can be a good operating system for kids
  • Perfectly capable of basic web browsing, school work, and watching videos
  • A well-known brand
  • Sleek design

Cons:

  • Low computing power
  • Besides design, not regularly distinguishable from competitors
  • Not for gaming or media creation

Cost Score: 98/100
Durability Score: 90/100
Design Score: 92/100
Gaming and Media Creation Score: 93/100
Security and Parental Control Score: 95/100
Total Score: 93.6/100

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