ASUS Chromebook Flip C214Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

Best kids Chromebook Android Central 2021

You'll have a few different priorities when buying the best kids' Chromebook than you would for an adult. Smaller, lighter-weight laptops might be preferable for younger children, and older kids might want a larger screen or need more powerful components for gaming (or homework). No matter what age, there's an extra emphasis on ruggedness, dependable performance, and battery since we need to at least get through the entire school day on a single charge. The single best Chromebook for kids is the ASUS Chromebook Flip, which offers durability, portability, and adaptability that should last your child for years.

ASUS Chromebook Flip C214

Best kids Chromebook overall

Asus Chromebook C214 HeroSource: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

The 11.6-inch ASUS Chromebook Flip C214 has been our favorite students Chromebook since it first debuted because it has everything a parent could want in their child's Chromebook. It's small and light enough for younger kids to carry easily, especially with its anti-scratch non-slip coating. It's been tested 20 ways to withstand the chaos of a child, and it's a touchscreen 2-in-1, so your kid can interact with the C214 the way it wants, whether that's as a laptop, a tablet, or a drawing easel with the built-in stylus.

The stylus isn't available on every model — you'll want the model that ends with -S — but I highly recommend it so long as a stylus model is available. It's quite useful for art, but more importantly, if your kid tends to miss touch targets while tapping the screen, the stylus should add some extra precision.

Styluses are coolSource: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

I believe all Chromebooks should be 2-in-1s, but it's extra important for kids for two reasons. Firstly, if it's a 2-in-1, it's almost certainly a touchscreen, and touchscreens are useful for kids who just want to tap the screen instead of using a mouse or trackpad. Secondly, a 2-in-1 means the laptop can flip over into tablet mode when your child doesn't need a keyboard. As a handy note, it can also fold into either tent or stand mode (like a built-in tablet stand) so that your kid isn't craning over a tablet in their lap.

No matter which model of the C214 you get, the C214 comes with 4GB of RAM and only 32GB of storage. I wish there were at least a 64GB model available — microSD cards can add extra space for downloaded files, but you can't use them to store apps the way you would on a phone.

The ASUS C214's battery typically lasts 10 to 12 hours on a single-use — long enough for a full school day plus homework — and when it comes time to charge it, you have a USB-C port on either side of the laptop. So even if your child somehow breaks one of these reinforced ports, you still have another to keep the laptop working. The edges of the laptop are rubberized, and the keyboard is spill-resistant, as well.

Pros

  • Durable, drop-resistant build
  • Spill-resistant keyboard
  • Built-in stylus (on some models)
  • 360-degree hinge
  • Great battery

Cons

  • Limited storage options

Auto Update Expiration Date: June 2026

Best kids Chromebook

ASUS Chromebook Flip C214

ASUS Chromebook Flip C214 - Ruggedized and Water Resistant Chromebook

Rough, tough, and ready to learn

With a spill-resistant keyboard, a durable 2-in-1 design, and a battery to outlast a full school day, the C214 is perfect for kids of all school ages.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet

Most versatile kids Chromebook right now

Lenovo Chromebook Duet is made for comicsSource: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

There have been several Chromebook tablets over the last five years — including several education models made specifically for classrooms — but the Lenovo Chromebook Duet is the first Chromebook tablet that feels like it gets everything right. The screen looks lovely whether you're watching science experiments on YouTube or reading e-books for class, the battery can go all day and then some, and the kickstand and keyboard come right in the box for when you need to use the Duet as a laptop instead of just as a tablet.

As a 10-inch tablet with a 10-inch keyboard, the included keyboard might be a bit cramped for older kids for extended typing. Still, for younger children with smaller hands, the Duet is a good size as a tablet that can occasionally pull double-duty as a laptop. I will say that the Duet isn't as durable as most laptops on this list, so you'll want to be sure your kid is responsible enough not to drop it or throw it. There's 4GB of RAM here and 64GB or 128GB of internal storage, which is important since the Duet lacks the microSD slot standard on most Chromebooks.

That's right, folks, there's only one port on the Duet — a single USB-C port — so you'll also want to invest in some Bluetooth headphones to go with it since the Duet's speaker is a bit on a quiet side. It's also worth mentioning that the charger in the box here is a 10W USB-A charger, so you'll likely want to swap that out for an 18W Power Delivery charger instead. You'll get 12 hours out of the battery on a single charge, but charging will still go significantly faster with a PD charger.

Pros

  • Bright 1080p screen for comics and videos
  • Kickstand and keyboard included
  • All-day battery life
  • Great storage for a Chromebook

Cons

  • Keyboard can feel cramped for some
  • Not durable
  • Slow charger in-box
  • No microSD slot
  • Only one port

Auto Update Expiration Date: June 2028

Best for versatility

Lenovo Chromebook Duet with keyboard and kickstand

Lenovo - Chromebook Duet - 10.1"

The best tablet experience on a Chromebook so far

Great as a tablet and even better as a compact Chromebook, the Duet is great for kids that might not need a heavier laptop yet.

Acer Chromebook 512

Bigger screen, lower budget

Acer Chromebook 512 C851 LifestyleSource: Acer

One of the most popular premium Chromebooks on the market today is the Acer Chromebook Spin 713, and a large part of that popularity rests with the screen. The Spin 713 is one of the very few Chromebooks to have a 3:2 aspect ratio, which many users adore because it allows them to see more of a webpage at one time. The Google Pixelbook used 3:2 as well, and joining that esteemed club is the Acer Chromebook 512, which is far from premium ultrabook status, but it is a Chromebook that can stand out amongst a tidal wave of 11.6-inch student-oriented laptops.

The Acer Chromebook 512 isn't a touchscreen 2-in-1 like our beloved ASUS C214, but it's still ruggedly built and capable enough for your child's homework or afterschool educational games. Likewise, the Celeron N4020 isn't the fastest chip on the block, but it's good for casual computing and sips battery so that this laptop can last from the morning alarm clear through to dinnertime without needing to be tethered to a wall charger.

While it may not be a 2-in-1 like many of the other Chromebooks in this list, the Acer Chromebook 512's hinge can still fold flat, meaning that if you're curled up in bed reading (like me), you can still be sure to find a comfortable angle. The lack of touchscreen is a slight bummer, but it helps Acer shave costs down further and deliver a parent-friendly price to this portable, durable laptop.

Pros:

  • Ruggedized design
  • Slightly larger display
  • Plenty of ports

Cons:

  • No touchscreen
  • No 8GB option

Auto Update Expiration Date: June 2026

Bigger screen, lower budget

Acer Chromebook 512

Acer Chromebook 512

Need a little extra space?

The 3:2 aspect ratio is one many pros swear by for productivity, and now it's available on an ultra-portable kids Chromebook.

Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook

A great kids Chromebook for older children

Lenovo Flex 5 ChromebookSource: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

If you trust your child to take care of their laptop and not drop it off the bed, you can get a 2-in-1 Chromebook with a bigger, crisper screen, a backlit keyboard, and a more powerful processor for about the same money as the ASUS C214. Meet our new best overall Chromebook, the Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook, a Chromebook that checks all the right boxes without overloading the laptop or its price tag.

This Chromebook may not look like much on the surface, but she's got it where it counts, kid.

Despite being less than an inch bigger than the C214, the Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook sports a 13.3-inch 1080p touchscreen under its unassuming gray lid. This laptop hasn't been ruggedized and life-proofed like the C214, but the Lenovo Flex 5 is as perfect for an older kid as it is for many adults. You get a comfortable, evenly-backlit keyboard for late-night procrastinated projects and a pair of big, front-facing speakers on either side of it to keep the tunes going while they do.

You can get either a Celeron or a 10th Gen Intel Core i3 — and really, you should get the i3 model if you can swing it — and while there's sadly no 8GB option for the RAM (only 4GB), you can get a model with 64GB of internal storage or even 128GB if you're willing to hunt for it. You get two USB-C ports, a single USB-A port for plugging in flash drives or older USB peripherals, a microSD card to expand the storage, and a headphone jack for when you don't have time to pair Bluetooth headphones.

Most schools likely won't upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 until your kid has already graduated out of it, but the Flex 5 supports it if you need it. The Bluetooth 5.0 should help give some extra stability when using Bluetooth headphones or a Bluetooth mouse. The battery will last the school day, but it'll probably want a charger once your child gets home.

Pros

  • Crisp 1080p touchscreen
  • Loud upward-facing speakers
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Headphone jack
  • Multiple storage options

Cons

  • Not as durable
  • Few 8GB RAM models

Auto Update Expiration Date: June 2028

Best for older kids

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 Render

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5

Everything a teen could want

The best Chromebook for everyone is also great for middle or high schoolers with its bigger screen and backlit keyboard.

Acer Chromebook Spin 713

For when performance matters the most

Acer Spin 713 ChromebookSource: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

If your middle/high kid is obsessed with having the latest and greatest specs on their laptop, the Acer Chromebook Spin is a Project Athena certified Chromebook. Project Athena is a program started by Intel working with manufacturers to produce laptops that will be fast, powerful, and reliable. This one has a 10th Gen Intel Core processor, at least 8GB of RAM, and SSD storage rather than the eMMC most Chromebooks use.

In short, it's a powerhouse, and it's available for hundreds less than any other Project Athena Chromebook.

This is a Chromebook with a good selection of ports, two USB-C ports, a USB-A and HDMI port, and a microSD card slot to add on more room if you need it. The keyboard is backlit, and the trackpad is nice and wide, though it could've been a bit bigger given all the extra space around the keyboard you get, thanks to the 3:2 aspect ratio on the 13.5-inch screen. You also get a 2K screen for a crisper look on videos and small text while reading digital textbooks.

This is a more expensive Chromebook, to be sure, but with it getting Chrome OS updates until June 2028, this is a laptop that could potentially last your child through high school and all of college. Also, as the 713 is brand new, it's not as widely available yet. As such, it does not see much in the way of discounts or sales yet.

Pros

  • Powerful futureproof specs
  • Bright 3:2 screen for productivity
  • Good selection of ports, including HDMI
  • A lot of updates

Cons

  • Not as durable
  • More expensive
  • Limited availability

Auto Update Expiration Date: June 2028

Best powerhouse

Acer Chromebook Spin 713

Acer Chromebook Spin 713

Phenomenal Chromebook power, surprisingly reasonable price

All power comes at a price, but Acer won't empty your wallet just to get a quick-as-a-whip laptop with a 2K touchscreen and an Intel i5.

HP Chromebook 11a (11a-na0060nr)

Best value kids Chromebook

HP Chromebook 11a Blue LifestyleSource: HP

If you don't want to spend a lot of money on a Chromebook for your kid because you worry they might break it, HP's Chromebook 11a will give you the best bang for your buck and the best combination of features for (or under) under $220. The 11a is a spiritual successor of the Lenovo C330, one of my favorite Chromebooks ever. Battery lasts all day, the MediaTek 8183 processor is perfect for casual computing and educational Android games — and because it has a touchscreen, those games are easier to interact with.

Despite the low price point, this Chromebook still has an Auto Expiration Date of June 2028, meaning that if your kid doesn't break it, it could last them clear through grade school and then become a spare family computer once your child graduates to something bigger (or the school starts issuing Chromebooks instead). The Indigo Blue also stands out amongst a sea of budget black and silver Chromebooks, and the texture should make it pleasant to hold while carrying it from the kitchen to the couch for a few dozen rounds of Tetris reading over those class notes for tomorrow's test.

While the Hp Chromebook 11a isn't certified for mil-spec durability the way its EE (Education Edition) cousins are, it's still a tough little Chromebook that should handle the wear and tear of being used by a younger child. There's only one USB-C port here, which is a bummer because, for kid's Chromebooks, you usually want a spare. That way, if they break the port on one side, the Chromebook isn't dead. However, I get the cost-savings of limiting ports (and limiting things the kid can break.

Auto Update Expiration Date: June 2028

Pros:

  • Affordable and durable
  • Still has a touchscreen
  • Dependable keyboard
  • June 2028 AUE date

Cons:

  • No higher storage/RAM options
  • Only one USB-C port

Best value

HP Chromebook 11a Blue Back

HP Chromebook 11a (11a-na0060nr)

If you just need the essentials

Don't trust your child with a Chromebook yet? This blue variety is a good device to get them used to taking care of a laptop.

Bottom line

There are many good Chromebooks out there for younger users, but the ASUS Chromebook Flip C214 is the best blend of durability, dependability, and wide availability. The optional built-in stylus is a great addition for kids who will be sketching or doodling on their Chromebooks, and the 2-in-1 form factor means the keyboard can be folded out of the way when all they're doing is watch videos or tapping away at some Android game.

For older students that might need something a little less rough-and-tumble and a little more robust, there are a couple of options, including my favorite Chromebook for adults, the Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook, which is the laptop I am writing this guide on right now. It's hard to understate how useful a backlit keyboard is when you're more productive at midnight than you are mid-afternoon, and a Chromebook with louder speakers is a rare thing to find, especially at these prices.

But the best Chromebook for one child may not be the best for another, so you need to assess what's most important in a laptop for your child: durability, power, or value. Only you know what your child needs, so discuss some options with them before you go out and spend hundreds on a laptop.

Don't trust your kid with a laptop yet? Here's how to buy the absolute cheapest Chromebook without buying a dud.

Now and then, someone comes to me after their kid broke their laptop (again), and they just want to spend as little money as possible to get the kid online. And while recommending a Chromebook under $150 hurts my soul a tiny bit — there are $250 Chromebooks out there that will last six years and have a touchscreen, after all — there's a few easy-to-remember rules for buying a throwaway laptop for a child who tends to throw their things.

  1. If it doesn't have USB-C, don't pay more than $100. If it has a proprietary charger, it's almost certainly an older model because pretty much every Chromebook released in the last two years has used USB-C Power Delivery to charge. A Chromebook without Power Delivery will take longer to charge, and more importantly, it means that if your kid loses/breaks the in-box charger, it will cost more to replace it.
  2. Check the expiration date! Yes, Chromebooks come with one. It's called the Auto Update Expiration date, and Google has them listed for every single Chromebook model. When this date passes, a Chromebook is no longer guaranteed to receive Chrome OS updates so that it won't be as secure. Ideally, your kid won't be doing anything too sensitive, but it's still a good idea to get a Chromebook with at least four years left before its AUE date.
  3. Check local sales for deals. Retailers like to put cheap Chromebooks on sale for even lower values so that they can boast bold claims like "Chromebooks for less than $100." A Chromebook might sell out at the national (online) level, but a local store might still have a few left, so check your local ads to see if they've got anything down into "if he breaks it, oh well" territory.
  4. Keep an eye out for education models. Chromebooks designed for the classroom have to meet certain standards, especially when it comes to durability. As such, while education models might be more expensive when new, older, and refurbished, education-model Chromebooks are more likely to survive the abuse of a rambunctious child. If you can find one in your budget, it's always worth upgrading when kids are the intended users.

It's hard to keep up with the Chromebooks in this price segment — prices are a roller coaster, older Chromebooks tend to go in and out of stock frequently — but these four tenets should help you navigate the Chromebooks available where you are and help you get your kid back on track.

Or at least get them away from your computer before they break that, too.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Author:

Ara Wagoner themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing help and how-to's, she's running around Walt Disney World with a Chromebook. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco. If you see her without headphones, RUN.

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