Figuring out the best laptops for kids is a tricky task with needs ranging from schoolwork to gaming. It’s not just how a laptop will be used either. Is a laptop or tablet a better form factor for a child? Despite the evolution that computing form factors have taken over the years, I think it’s hard to beat a hardware keyboard attached to a screen.
I talked to elementary school principal Ray DeVore in Chula Vista, California about how laptops have remained important for kids in school. “We have utilized laptops for all students in grades transitional Kindergarten through 6 for the past four years at my site for online research, document and presentation creation and sharing, accessing Microsoft 365 or Google Classroom accounts and technology accelerators, virtual meetings and collaborative student activities,” says DeVore. “Laptops have supported all these uses seamlessly.”
Despite the helpful nature of a hardware keyboard, DeVore did point out the benefit of a laptop including a touchscreen too, especially for younger kids. “This allows students to navigate through app selection and the sign-in process as if it were a tablet, especially as they are in the process of learning how to use the touchpad mouse.”
From selling computers in a retail store nearly 20 years ago to covering technology for top publications for the last decade, I’ve seen a radical boost in capabilities for laptops, but by in large the devices have remained very familiar over time. The same things that are important to adults are generally important to kids too. Quick operation of common tasks, responsive input methods and battery life that lasts as long as possible. I tried to keep all those things in mind for these picks below while choosing the best laptops for kids. If you’re prepping for back to school, you may also want to check out the best headphones for kids and the best backpacks for kids.
Why Trust Forbes Vetted
I’ve written about technology and consumer products professionally for over a decade. Not only have I spent a number of years personally reviewing and evaluating products, but I’ve also worked at tech companies and in the retail space, and understand the intricacies that go into decisions behind the scenes. Being a parent for as long as I’ve been a professional writer has deeply informed my work curating the best and safest products for kids.
Forbes Vetted also has deep experience testing and reviewing both tech and baby and kids gear, from TVs to crib mattresses. We drew on the expertise of our editors in these categories as well as our overall experience with the brands and organizations in these arenas to produce this story.
How We Chose The Best Laptops For Kids
For this guide, I leaned on my excessive knowledge of the personal computing market to reach these product recommendations as well as talked to local parents and teachers to hear real-world anecdotal information. I also reached out to several elementary school employees to hear about their experiences with laptops for kids.
Since most name-brand laptops are sold with decent features and specifications, the most important consideration for younger kids is probably price. After cost, I considered a screen’s size and speed that will come into play while actually creating presentations or writing documents. While a 15.6-inch screen provides a little more space it also makes the laptop bigger and heavier and that might not be the best for smaller hands.
What’s The Best Laptop For A Kid?
The best laptop for a child will be one they can use do to the activities they need to do. If the laptop is for schoolwork, you’ll want to make sure the applications required are compatible with the laptop’s operating system. All of the laptops listed above will be able to handle video calls and create text documents, but if they are programming or editing content, you’ll want to focus on computers that are suited to those tasks.
Of course, Carlo Gucilatar, a computer support tech at an elementary school district in San Diego confirmed that, “students aren’t very careful with devices and so spending a ton of money for a student laptop isn’t ideal.”
What Should A Kid’s Laptop Have?
I’ve heard from plenty of people within elementary-aged education that touchscreens are a worthy feature to consider, even if touching the screen isn’t planned. Sometimes kids born into the touchscreen era just need to reach out and tap a button, rather than using the trackpad.
Should I Get My 7-Year-Old A Laptop?
A lot of schools issue students laptops or tablets to do their digital work. If a child doesn’t need to do work on a computer beyond school-related tasks, then there’s no reason to purchase a personal laptop for them. Modern laptops with Windows, macOS or Chrome OS do offer at least basic built-in parental controls, but you’ll still likely want to monitor their personal usage for digital safety.
What Is A Good Starter Laptop For A 10-Year-Old?
By 10 years old, a lot of kids have had years of access to laptops at school. Beyond price, you’ll really want to ask them what they want to use a laptop for. Gaming and editing videos will require more powerful devices to keep up with those tasks. If they will be using a laptop for more casual things, then nearly any name-brand laptop will serve as a good starter option.
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