Last Updated: 7/28/2020
I will keep updating this post over time, so make sure to pin it and check back whenever you need to buy your kids a new Chromebook, laptop or tablet!
One of the most frequently asked questions in our Facebook group is, “what is the best Chromebook, laptop or tablet for kids?” We also hear a lot of permutations of the question such as the following.
- What is the best budget chromebook?
- Should I buy a chromebook or a laptop for my kids?
- What is the difference between a chromebook and a laptop?
- What touchscreen chromebook is best?
Having a masters in engineering and a bachelors in computer science, I LOVE discussing technology options and finding the best devices for all of you! I’ve pulled the absolute best Chromebooks, laptops and tablets for kids (at various price points) from the numerous recommendations received in our Facebook group, as well as some of my favorite tech resources.
Table of Contents
- Screen Resolution vs Screen Size – What’s the Difference?
- Best Chromebook for Kids
- Best Laptop for Kids
- Best Tablet for Kids
- How to Prepare for Distance Learning & Virtual Online School
Screen Resolution vs Screen Size – What’s the Difference?
Before I reveal the absolute best Chromebooks, laptops and tablets for your kids, I want to clear up something that tricks a lot of people. The physical size of your laptop or Chromebook monitor (15.6″, 13.3″ etc.) tells you how large the screen is. If a laptop has a 15.6″ monitor, that means that if you measure the screen diagonally (from one corner to the other), it is 15.6 inches. However, the screen resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels, 1366 x 768 pixels, etc.) tells you how many pixels can be displayed on the screen.
Does screen size affect resolution?
No, screen size does NOT affect resolution. You can’t figure out the resolution by looking at the screen size. Let’s say you are considering two laptops.
- Laptop A has a 15.6″ monitor with a 1366 x 768p resolution.
- Laptop B has a 13.3″ monitor with a 1920 x 1080p resolution.
The higher the resolution, the more you are able to see on your screen at the same time. So even though laptop A’s monitor is physically larger (15.6″ diagonally), you actually can’t see as much on it’s screen at the same time as you can with laptop B’s monitor. People get confused by this ALL the time. They assume that if a screen is physically larger (15.6″) that you will be able to see more on it (without scrolling) than if your screen is physically smaller (13.3″). In many ways, the screen resolution is as important (and arguably more-so) than the screen’s physical size.
What does a higher screen resolution do for you?
Why does this matter? Let’s say that your child is reading a digital book in one window and writing an essay about it in another. With laptop B there is more screen real estate, which means that your child can view both windows simultaneous. Also, your child won’t have to scroll as much and will be less frustrated. I personally will never buy a computer with a 1366 x 768 screen. It slows down my productivity far too much. Now that we understand the difference between screen resolution and screen size, let’s take a look at the best Chromebooks, laptops and tablets for kids!
Best Chromebook for Kids
The best Chromebook for your kid depends on what matters the most to you and your kids. Therefore, I’ve separated my recommendations into categories, so that you can pick the best machine for your family.
Chromebook with the Biggest Screen
The Asus C523 is an awesome deal for kids who need a big screen. It even won a PC magazine editors’ choice award. The Asus C523 has a 15.6″ anti-glare screen, which is the same size as many full-sized laptops. It also has a touchscreen, and a 180 degree hinge, which means that you can fold the keyboard away and use it as a tablet. Kids LOVE that feature!
Rugged & Spill Resistant Chromebook
When talking about the best Chromebook for kids, many parents want to know which one is the most rugged and spill resistant, while still being budget-friendly. The Asus C202 has a spill resistant keyboard and is reinforced with rubber guards to protect against minor drops, while still being reasonably priced. Definitely an awesome choice for our more rambunctious kids!
The Google Pixelbook Go Chromebook is the best of the best, but with a price tag to match! It is ultra lightweight (barely two pounds), super thin (13 mm) and has a touchscreen. While the screen is 13.3 inches, the resolution is 1920 x 1080 pixels! Remember when we spoke about the difference between screen size and resolution above? This baby has a high resolution that you often don’t even find on 15.6″ laptops!!! It also has a 12 hour battery life (which is longer than any of the other Chromebooks on this list.) Plus, it has 8 GB of RAM, making it the fastest and most powerful Chromebook on this list.
Best Laptop for Kids
Unless it’s important to you to have a touchscreen or 180 degree hinge, I highly recommend buying a full laptop. You will generally get a more functional, powerful machine.
Best Touchscreen Laptop for Kids
If you want the power of laptop, but with a touchscreen (which kids LOVE), then my top pick is this HP Touchscreen Laptop. It has a fast AMD Dual Core Ryzen 3 3200U processor with 8GB of RAM, making it more powerful than most Chromebooks. Yet, it still has a touchscreen and the ability to use a stylus with the screen.
Best Budget Laptop for Kids
Are you willing to forgo the touchscreen and the ability to turn your Chromebook into a tablet? If so, I absolutely would get this Acer Aspire A515 over the similarly priced Asus C523 Chromebook above. The Acer costs around the same as the Asus Chromebook, but the Acer is a much more solid machine. The Acer Aspire A515 has the 1920 x 1080p screen resolution that I love, along with a better processor and specs. That means it will run faster and more smoothly, even when you open multiple programs simultaneously.
Best Small Laptop for Kids
If you want something more portable than the 15.6″ budget laptop above, this Lenovo IdeaPad has a 14″ monitor! It still has a 1920 x 1080p display, like the budget laptop, but packed into a 14″ monitor. The Lenovo IdeaPad also has twice the RAM, a faster processor and a hard drive that is double the size of the budget pick.
Best High End Laptop for Kids
You know that I couldn’t put together a list of laptops and not include an Apple MacBook Air. While the price tag is definitely higher, this laptop is worth it! Remember how I keep talking about the importance of screen resolution? Well, guess what? This Apple MacBook Air has a super portable 13.3″ monitor but a whopping 2560x1600p resolution (which is the highest resolution of ANY machine on this entire page!) If you have room in your budget, BUY THIS ONE!!! Make sure to add on AppleCare+, because then you will sleep better at night, knowing that Apple will fix any problems for years to come!
Best Tablet for Kids
If you want something even more portable than a Chromebook, here are my top picks for tablets for kids!
Best Mini Tablet for Kids
The Apple iPad Mini is my favorite mini tablet. There are fantastic accessories that make this tablet almost as functional as a Chromebook! For example, you can get this Apple smart keyboard that allows you to type on the iPad. There is also the Apple Pencil that allows you to draw or write directly onto the tablet! If you opt for any Apple product, you definitely want to pick up the AppleCare+ warranty because it is worth every penny to know that Apple with fix any problems that you run into.
Best Tablet / Laptop All-In-One for Kids
If you are torn between a tablet and a laptop, you should get the Microsoft Surface Pro 7. It has a workhorse processor (the Intel Core i5) and Windows 10 Home, both comparable to a laptop. It even has 8 GB of memory and a 128 GB SSD hard drive, also just like a laptop! However, it can be used as a laptop OR a tablet. I love that it comes with a keyboard and stand (rather than making these extra add-ons that you have to buy separately). So, if you want the power of a laptop, but the ability to use it as a tablet as well, this one is for you!
Most Rugged Tablet for Kids
I love that Amazon’s Fire HD 8 Kids Tablet comes with a built in kid-proof case. If your kids manage to break it, Amazon stands behind it 100% and will replace it for free with their 2 year worry-free guarantee. The only negative of Amazon’s Fire HD 8 Kids Tablet is that there are less apps available for it than the iPad. Ultimately, I think this is a better pick for younger kids, but older kids will probably not be happy with this as their main tablet.
Best Large iPad for Kids
If budget isn’t a factor, the absolute best tablet is hands-down the Apple iPad Pro 11-inch. This tablet has the biggest screen, the best specs, more apps available than you can dream of and even up to 1TB of storage space!!! The Apple Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil both work with the iPad pro as well, which are fantastic accessories for increasing the functionality of the tablet for your kids’ schoolwork. Definitely make sure to pick up AppleCare+ so that you have Apple’s warranty!
Best Chromebook, Laptop & Tablet for Kids (Distance Learning & Back to School)
Which Chromebook, laptop or tablet did you decide on? Make sure to drop a comment below or in our Facebook Group to let me know!
How to Prepare for Distance Learning & Virtual Online School
You guys and gals send me the best messages (thank you! I LOVE getting to know you!!!) You’ve made it clear that you want help getting organized for whatever this school year may bring. Whether you are starting your school year off this fall with distance learning or not, you want to be prepared for if / when our schools go virtual again. Distance learning is not easy. Virtual online school is a challenge for kids, parents, teachers… EVERYONE! Therefore, this week we will be focusing on what you can do to get your kids (and home) ready for “back to school” (whatever that may look like this year!)
In addition, here are all of our previous (free!) virtual camps, in case you missed any:
- “Back to Basics” Life Skills Camp
- DIY Craft Camp
- Cooking Classes for Kids
- Science Experiments for Kids
- Kids Entrepreneurship
- World Traveler (Kids Geography Camp)
Don’t forget to join our Facebook group to see our live classes and follow us on Pinterest, so you won’t miss a thing! You definitely need to follow Hannah at Inspired Sparks too, because she is posting all kinds of awesome videos to teach kids about science, crafts and cooking.