Best laptops for kids in 2021

The best laptop for kids may not sound like something they need at first blush, if they use a hand-me-down tablet or smartphone that might feel good enough for their digital needs. However, once they reach school age, you will quickly find that computers are part of the curriculum almost immediately and familiarity with a laptop can be a real advantage for them.

Now the best laptop for kids definitely presents some unique challenges due to their perhaps slightly less careful handling of the laptop and at least initially rudimentary needs. That caused us to weigh durability a little more heavily than for most and ideally, it won’t be too expensive in case anything should happen to it. Now for slightly older children or those that are abundantly careful, those are less relevant, so we aren’t eliminating all laptops that don’t fit those criteria. Regardless of your child’s needs after hours of researching and reviewing these laptops, we are sure that one will be the right fit — at least, after you make one big choice.  

That one big decision is the operating system (OS) and, in most cases, you should probably go with Chrome OS. Google’s OS is easy to use, secure, and the most popular choice in schools today, so it should be familiar to kids and will help them to further excel in class. Modern Chromebooks, including those we have selected here also support Android apps and feature touchscreens, expanding the capabilities of these laptops and making them easier for kids to use. There are certainly some limitations to Chrome OS, for example, high-end gaming and video production are two categories that aren’t well served, still, a Chromebook is a great fit for most kids.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

If you have a gamer on your hands or your child is interested in some more intensive tasks that require specific software, like videography, game development, music creation, or things along these lines, then Windows 10 or macOS laptops are going to be the better fit. For younger kids, these operating systems will typically be more than they need, but for older kids or teenagers who have started to explore these topics in school already, it can be worth it. In virtually all cases, we would recommend Windows 10 over macOS at this stage as there simply aren’t any truly affordable macOS laptops. And with the exception of app development for iOS or macOS, there is nothing that cannot be achieved on either OS.

Once you have determined which OS is right for your child the hard work is over. Here are the best laptops for kids based on our reviews — each of these is an excellent option for your child.

Dell Chromebook 3189

(Image credit: Future)

1. Dell Chromebook 3189

Best overall laptop for kids


CPU: Intel Celeron N3060


Storage: 32GB eMMC

Display: 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768 touch screen

Dimensions: 12 x 8.2 x 0.8 inches

Weight: 3.2 pounds

Reasons to buy

+Excellent size for kids+Good speakers+Solid battery life+Extremely durable

Reasons to avoid

Dim screenPoor multitasking performance

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