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Best laptops for kids in 2021: top picks for primary school and beyond

On the hunt for an easy-to-use, safe laptop for your child? From online learning to interactive apps, gaming and more, these top 10 recommended by Mumsnetters can do it all.

By Tammy Jacks | Last updated Oct 7, 2021

two children using a kids laptop and tablet

While most children have returned to school for the start of the 2021 academic year, online learning is becoming ever more prominent in children’s education. And let’s face it, sharing your laptop all the time just isn’t practical, whether it’s for homework, school projects or gaming at the weekend.

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When it comes to laptops for kids, there are a variety of suitable options out there from netbooks to Chromebooks and fully-fledged laptops equipped with the latest features to ensure a fast, efficient user experience. No matter what you’re looking for, there’s bound to be a laptop to suit your family’s needs.

Here are 10 of the best laptops for kids - tried and tested by parents. 

1. Best overall laptop for kids: Asus E406MA 14 Inch HD Laptop

Asus e406ma laptop

Price: £169.99 (used) | Buy now from Amazon

“We bought an Asus E406MA 14" at Christmas for £160 on a deal on Amazon. It's been brilliant - has gotten my Year 10 daughter through all her online schooling. It's light, the battery lasts for 14 hours, and it's quiet as it has no fan. Been used for MS Teams, Zoom calls, SMHW, Google Classroom, YouTube, got MS Office installed. Can't rate it highly enough!” HappySonHappyMum

Secure, simple to use and a great all-rounder, the Asus E406MA has an impressive number of features and is incredibly durable given its affordable price tag.

It comes with Windows 10, which you can upgrade to Windows Pro or Windows S Mode for increased security. S Mode only allows apps from the Microsoft store and uses Microsoft Edge for safe browsing, according to Microsoft. This laptop also comes with Microsoft Office 365, giving your child instant access to MS Teams, Word, PowerPoint, Excel and more.

Pros

  • Lightweight at just over 1kg
  • Good value for money
  • Impressive 14-hour battery life
  • 64 GB eMMC storage to play games, stream Netflix or listen to music
  • Made with Asus Cooling Technology
  • Nano Edge premium screen display - excellent screen resolution

Cons

  • Slower game processing due to 4GB RAM
  • Touchpad is very sensitive which takes getting used to

Key specs

  • Processor (CPU): Intel Celeron
  • RAM: 4G
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Screen resolution: 1366 x 768 pixels
  • Screen size: 14 inches
  • Weight: 1.3kg

2. Best budget laptop for kids: Asus E203 11.6 Inch

Asus E203 laptop

Price: £176.08 (used) | Buy now from Amazon

“I spent £200 on an 11-inch Asus E203 netbook for my son at the beginning of lockdown. It's been more than able to handle everything necessary, including video calls and a CAD programme for D&T. The only downside is the screen is not as sharp as a Mac, but it's absolutely fine for online learning and it has a real keyboard to type properly. Battery life is brilliant.” Xiaoxiong

If you’re considering a netbook (also referred to as a notebook) for your child’s first laptop, you’ll appreciate that they’re lighter, slimmer and easier to navigate with a simpler set of tools than the average laptop.

The Asus E203 from the VivoBook series wins a spot on our list because it’s easy to set up and use within minutes. Possibly the biggest bonus of this netbook is its price point. It offers a decent amount of RAM and storage space without burning a hole in your pocket. But if you need more storage space, you can always buy a 128GB mini-SD card.

Pros

  • Featherlight at just 900g
  • Good quality webcam for video
  • Has a multi-touch trackpad which allows two fingers to scroll, flick and expand images
  • Has built-in Bluetooth connectivity for smartphone pairing
  • Handles video calls and design software like CAD programs well
  • Charges quickly
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Screen resolution could be sharper
  • Slightly slower processing speed
  • Can take time to connect to Wi-Fi hotspots

Key specs

  • Processor (CPU): Intel Celeron
  • RAM: 4G
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Screen resolution: 1366 x 768 pixels
  • Screen size: 11.6 inches
  • Weight: 900g

3. Best first laptop for kids: BIGMAC Windows 10 10.1 Inch Portable Computer

BigMAC Windows 10 laptop

Price: £199 | Buy now from Amazon

Affordable and versatile, many Amazon reviewers agree that the BIGMAC Windows 10 netbook is an ideal entry-level laptop for kids. It may be small, but it’s packed with great features including a webcam for video conferencing, an optical mouse and charger, and a long-lasting lithium battery. It has Windows 10 software installed which includes MS Teams, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.  

A great feature is the full-size island-style keyboard, which simply means it has larger square keys - ideal for smaller hands. Children can choose between six colour variations including dark pink, light pink, green, black, blue and white.

Pros

  • Lightweight at just over 1kg
  • Easy to lift and carry
  • Sleek, minimal design in bold colours
  • Customised large capacity battery 6,000Mah
  • Comes with additional TF memory card for up to 256GB of extra storage
  • Can store over 20,000 photos and 9,000 songs

Cons

  • Only 2GB RAM versus the standard 4GB
  • Some feel it works more like a tablet than a laptop
  • May take a while to pair with Bluetooth speakers
  • Not robust

Key specs

  • Processor (CPU): Intel Core i7
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Storage: 32GB
  • Screen resolution: 1280 x 800 pixels
  • Screen size: 10.1 inches
  • Weight: 1.2kg

4. Best laptop for school children: Asus 14 Inch Touchscreen Chromebook

Asus c433 laptop

Price: £381.60 | Buy now from Amazon

“We spent £400 on an Asus Flip Touchscreen Chromebooks for our children. The Google operating system syncs with their school needs well and everything saves automatically every time it's adjusted, so they can't lose their work.” Lougle

Made with a Chrome OS operating system, this nifty little Chromebook can run multiple web applications and has all the necessary features to make schoolwork a breeze.

While it carries a slightly heftier price tag, many users feel it’s worth the investment as it has plenty of storage space and efficient processing capabilities, plus it’s made with a 360-degree ErgoLift hinge to hold the screen securely at an angle. This lifts the laptop, allowing your child to type for longer while keeping the laptop cool.

Pros

  • Feels nice and sturdy at 1.5kg 
  • Large trackpad for easy navigation 
  • Backlit keyboard

Cons

  • Lid can be difficult to open
  • Screen display is a little muted

Key specs

  • Processor (CPU): Intel Core M
  • RAM: 4GB (can upgrade to 8GB)
  • Storage: 64GB (can upgrade to 128GB)
  • Screen resolution: 1080p full HD pixels
  • Screen size: 14 inches
  • Weight: 1.5kg

5. Best laptop for children’s homework: Microsoft Surface Laptop Go

microsoft go laptop

Price: £549 | Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

“Our school has suggested that the children get a Microsoft Surface Go or Pro plus one of those pen things which I can't work!” GU24MUM

Hailed as the ‘everyday, everywhere laptop’ the Microsoft Surface Go is a lot lighter and smaller than some of the competition around this price point. It comes with Windows 10 S Mode which means you can only install applications on it directly from the Microsoft store, but it’s simple and free to upgrade to Microsoft Pro.

The laptop is made with a built-in HD camera and uses a powerful 10th generation Intel Core i5 processor, which helps the laptop complete more tasks without freezing. It works well with a Microsoft Go Pen to write notes on the screen’s white board (and erase them using the back of the pen), drag and drop desktop items and open or close documents.

Pros

  • Lightweight and portable at just over 1kg
  • Super responsive touch screen and wide keyboard
  • 13-hour battery life
  • Can run multiple programs at once
  • Brighter screen which can be used outdoors

Cons

  • Limited selection of ports
  • No backlight on keyboard (not ideal for late-night homework)
  • Can only support light gaming 
  • Only five to six hours battery use after continuous use

Key specs 

  • Processor (CPU): Intel Core i5
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Screen resolution: 1600 x 900 pixels
  • Screen size: ‎‎12.45 inches
  • Weight 1.11kg

6. Best 2-in-1 laptop for kids: Dell Inspiron 13-7380 13.3 Inch Laptop

Dell Inspiron laptop

Price: £709 | Buy now from eBay

“My DH just got DD a Dell 7380 13" 2-in-1 laptop. It opens-up like a regular laptop, has a touch screen and folds over like a tablet. It's well made and extremely fast. She's over the moon with it.” MissConductUS

Definitely not a budget option, this high-end, 2-in-1 laptop has both tablet and laptop features, which makes it a great long-term investment for your child’s school career. Known for its fast-processing and powerful internal storage and memory, the Dell Inspiron is surprisingly slim and compact.

It comes with a built-in microphone, webcam and touchscreen, plus a wide keyboard and crystal-clear on-board graphics, perfect for school art, biology or science projects.

Pros 

  • Feels sturdy with full metal cover 
  • Lid can be pushed back 180 degrees 
  • Laptop can be folded and propped up 
  • Made with air vents to keep laptop cool

Cons

  • Limited battery life
  • Quite pricey for a child’s laptop

Key specs

  • Processor (CPU): Intel Core i7
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 256GB
  • Screen resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Screen size: 13 inches
  • Weight: 2.5kg 

7. Best gaming laptop for kids: Dell Latitude E6430 14 Inch Laptop

Dell Latitude laptop

Price: £233 | Buy now from Amazon

“It was a Dell E6430 and has Windows 10. It's been great.” iloveredwine

If your child is into gaming after school or at the weekend, you’ll want to consider a laptop with Windows 10 Pro, as it offers the best safety features when downloading apps and games. Windows 10 Pro is built into this laptop with a firewall, anti-virus and regular threat monitoring software, and has a family setting to block inappropriate content. You can also switch to Windows S mode for added protection.

The Dell E6430 laptop offers all this and more. Regarded as a high-performance laptop, it feels well made and has a stunning screen display. True to Dell form, it boasts impressive performance specs which deliver fast web browsing and smooth streaming or gaming. Overall, it’s a great choice for both work and play.

Pros

  • Solid and durable
  • Large screen for gaming
  • Responsive, wide keyboard and touchpad

Cons

  • Not lightweight
  • Port layout is a bit impractical (stereo jack is too far back)
  • Battery only lasts four to five hours

Key specs

  • Processor (CPU): Intel Core i5
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Screen resolution: 1366x768 pixels
  • Screen size: 14 inches
  • Weight: 3.4kg

8. Best Windows laptop for kids: Lenovo ThinkPad T440 14 Inch Laptop

lenovo thinkpad

Price: £259.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“I have a Lenovo brand running Windows 10 as that was recommended and it seems quite robust.” EverythingChanges321

Although the Lenovo ThinkPad is not specifically designed for children, it’s still a popular ultrabook for younger users as it’s slim, has fast Intel processing and a built-in SSD, which is the new generation of storage devices. Plus, it’s a highly rated Windows 10 laptop, offering a more controlled and safer online experience.

This ultrabook has enough processing power to run all Windows applications and pairs with smartphones and tablets thanks to the SugarSync function for cloud storage and easy file sharing.  

Pros

  • Includes an easy-to-use touchscreen
  • Made with durable materials
  • Ideal for on-the-go use
  • High resolution display
  • Full-size keyboard 
  • White backlit keyboard 
  • Fingerprint reader for biometric security

Cons

  • Limited battery life
  • Screen is a little dark when not plugged in

 Key specs

  • Processor (CPU): Intel Core i5
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 240GB
  • Screen resolution: 1366 x 768 pixels
  • Screen size: 14 inches
  • Weight: 2.32kg 

9. Best lightweight laptop for kids: LG Gram 16Z90P 16 Inch Ultra-Lightweight Laptop

LG Gram laptop

Price: £888.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Gram for gram, this is one of the lightest laptops you’ll find with a large, practical 16-inch screen that’s the same size as the Apple MacBook Pro, yet sits at half the price. Consumers love the minimal, straight-lined design and the fact that it has twice the resolution of full HD with crystal clear imagery.

The LG Gram offers good power and processing speed too thanks to the Intel Core i5 processor, backed by 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. It also features a practical, full-size keyboard and precision trackpad.

Another highlight is that it’s installed with voice-enabled Alexa, which means children can say what they want to do and it’ll set reminders, timers and alarms, and keep track of the calendar and appointments.

Pros

  • Super slim and lightweight
  • Up to 22 hours, all-day battery life
  • Biometric power button to switch on and log in
  • Pairs easily with smartphones

Cons

  • Sound quality could be better
  • Flat topped keys not ideal for everyone
  • No touchscreen 
  • Pricey

Key specs 

  • Processor (CPU): Intel Core i5
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 512GB
  • Screen resolution: 2560 x 1600 pixels
  • Screen size: 16 inches
  • Weight: 1.19kg

10. Best large screen laptop for kids: Lenovo IdeaPad 3 17.3 Inch Laptop

lenovo ideapad

Price: £428.65 | Buy now from Amazon

“I have a Lenovo IdeaPad and it has served me well so far.” Sleepismysuperpower1

If you’re on the lookout for a laptop under £500 but with a large screen, the Lenovo IdeaPad won’t disappoint. The 17-inch display is more than big enough for younger users, and has sharp screen display and anti-glare features.

The IdeaPad comes with the Windows 10 S operating system and is powered by Intel Pentium Gold processing, ensuring fast, efficient and safe browsing. It’s a good buy if you plan to share the laptop with your child as Lenovo laptops are easy to set up, have plenty of SSD internal storage and are great for everyday computing.   

Pros

  • Lightweight, despite a large 17-inch screen
  • Has built-in Dolby audio for music streaming
  • Can shift from quick mode to quiet mode
  • Includes a webcam privacy shutter

Cons

  • Short battery life (three to four hours) when running multiple programmes
  • Screen could be brighter
  • Not the lightest laptop around

Key specs

  • Processor (CPU): Intel Pentium Gold
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 128 GB
  • Screen resolution: ‎720p HD ready pixels
  • Screen size: 17 inches
  • Weight: 2.2kg

How do I choose a laptop for my child? 

Since children don’t need that much computing power and tend to use a laptop for online learning and schoolwork, as well as some entertainment in the form of games, movies and approved social media, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on one. If you’re a MAC fan, expect to spend upwards of £1,000 on a laptop. All laptops on our list fall within the range of £150 to £800.

Besides durability, you’ll want to focus on getting a laptop that’s easy to navigate, has a long battery life, is light enough to carry around, and has enough RAM and storage to manage multiple school projects and uninterrupted streaming and browsing. A wide keyboard and backlighting are nice-to-haves but not essential. However, built-in parental controls and safety features such as virus protection are important.  

As we mentioned in our reviews, Windows 10 is a useful operating system for child-orientated laptops, thanks to the S Mode function which prevents apps from being installed unless they’re available on the Microsoft store. This means you can block apps or games based on their safety score and ratings.

As far as Chromebooks go, they’ve come a long way since their launch in 2011. Most are pre-installed with the Chrome OS operating system, which is cheaper to run than Windows and has lower hardware requirements so you can get away with as little as 16GB of storage. Chromebooks sync well with Google apps such as Google Docs, Google Drive, Google Sheets and Google Assistant, plus they’re compatible with Android apps and Chrome OS games and have parental control features.

Internet Matters suggests doing the following before buying your child’s laptop:

  • First consider how the laptop will be used. For instance, does your child need to sit and type for long periods or is the laptop more for research purposes and watching videos?
  • Talk to your child about what they’d like to do on it
  • Have a discussion with your child’s teacher about what your child needs to support their learning.

Is a 2-in-1 laptop good for kids? 

A 2-in1 laptop, also known as a hybrid laptop, is essentially a notebook (which is a lighter laptop) and a tablet in one. If you think your child currently needs a tablet and a laptop or might need both in future, a 2-in-1 is a good option as it’ll save you money in the long-run.

However, if you’re not bothered about having a tablet, a 2-in-1 laptop may not be worth investing in, because for the same money you’ll be able to purchase a more powerful standard notebook or heavy-duty laptop. 

Here are some features of a 2-in-1 laptop to keep in mind:

  • Some have detachable keyboards or ones that fold around the device

  • Most have touchpads

  • Most come with Windows 10

  • They’re lightweight, sleek and portable

  • Some aren’t as powerful as regular laptops  

What is the best laptop for kids?

Most reviewers agree that the Asus E406MA 14 Inch HD Laptop meets children’s needs, and is the best value for money given its extensive list of features and functions. It feels solid and robust even though it’s super lightweight, has an impressive battery life and charges quickly. Parents appreciate that it’s quiet and comes with a Windows 10 operating system, making it safe and reliable for long-term use.

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How we chose our recommendations

Most of our recommendations for the best laptops for kids came from Mumsnet users themselves. We searched the Mumsnet forums for posts about which laptops, particularly for schoolwork and gaming parents really loved. We also looked at other reviews to see which laptops, Chromebooks and netbooks performed well across the board.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.