We have already rounded up all the best Chromebook options available, but when it comes to the best student Chromebooks, that’s a different set of options. Education Chromebooks are designed to withstand the use and abuse of a classroom full of kids, as well as being carried around in an overstuffed backpack. Reinforced hinges and ports are the norm, as are water-resistant keyboards and all-day battery life. There are many great options to choose from, but the best Chromebook for students overall is the ASUS Chromebook Flip C214. Here are some of our other trusted favorites to consider.
These are the best Chromebooks for students of all ages
The ASUS Chromebook Flip C214 is the best Chromebook for students because it provides an excellent experience in a compact, durable package. The 11.6-inch screen is easy to see in a wide array of angles — even in the Florida sunshine — and the zinc alloy hinge allows you to rotate the screen around 360 degrees into tent or tablet mode as needed. A 2-in-1 Chromebook lets your student interact with lessons and content however they want: with the keyboard and mouse or directly with the touchscreen.
There’s also the option for a C214 with a built-in stylus, which is a great inclusion for those who have problems touching smaller touch targets accurately or those who like to doodle in tablet mode. I’ve adored the usefulness of a stylus for precision tapping in tent/tablet mode and when I’m reading webcomics while eating powdery snacks, which is what I use it for most often.
The C214 lasts about 10 hours on a single charge, meaning it should last the whole school day and some homework before you need to seek out a charger. Like most modern Chromebooks, the C214 uses a 45W Power Delivery Charger, meaning even if your kid loses or breaks the in-box charger, you can find a replacement charger easily and affordably.
There are also USB-C ports on each side of the C214, along with one USB-A port and a microSD slot to help expand the 32GB of storage the C214 comes with. The microSD slot on the side of this model is recessed, helping avoid accidental ejection, but the edges are sculpted so that a clothespin edge is the perfect size for inserting and ejecting cards. As a nail-biter, this small joy speaks to the attention to detail ASUS has taken with the rugged, reliable C214.
Yeah, there’s only 32GB of internal storage here and only 4GB of RAM, but 4GB of RAM is enough for schoolwork, research, and Twitch streams — I mean homework!! 32GB of storage could get cramped when installing tons of Android apps, but for most elementary and middle-schoolers, it should be more than enough. The corners of the Chromebook have rubberized edges, and the outer shell is covered with non-slip textures that are scratch-resistant. The keyboard is spill-resistant, and the ports are reinforced, too, so hopefully, it should be able to withstand a few years of chaos with your child.
The only real problem with the ASUS Chromebook Flip C214 is that it came out in 2019 — it’s now three years old. We’re due for a replacement model, but with an AUE date in June 2027, the C214 will still last you 4-5 years before it loses updates, and by then, chances are your kid will be ready for something more powerful.
Dell is a manufacturer long-known for making school-tailored computers — my schools’ computer labs and libraries were filled with Dells back in the day — and the Dell Chromebook 3100 2-in-1 is one of the most popular and durable Chromebooks on the education market today, which is part of why they’re so gosh-darned popular with schools that they were severely back-ordered.
The 3100 2-in-1 has two USB-A and USB-C ports — one on each side — as well as a microSD slot and headphone jack. While the extra USB-A port isn’t necessary, spares are always appreciated when they can fit basically the same size chassis. There’s no stylus option here, which is a bummer, but performance is decent, and there is an 8GB RAM configuration that I highly recommend getting if your kid has been having issues with Meet or Zoom crashing on their old school-issued laptop. There was an option for 64GB of storage, too, but that configuration seems to have vanished, which is a bummer.
While you can indeed save a few dollars opting for the clamshell version, I recommend most users get a 2-in-1 Chromebook, and for studious children, a 2-in-1 is darn near required. Tablet mode is great for using away from classroom desks or in the car, and tent mode turns the 3100 into a digital art easel. It’s absolutely worth the extra cash.
Like the ASUS C214, the Dell 3100 is now three years old, but Dell hasn’t announced its successor yet, so I’m not expecting to see another option released in the near future.
Acer’s had several generations of the CP311 over the last several years. The latest one is a great option for parents that want their child to have a Chromebook with a long support life ahead of it and enough power for distance learning — or for full-time adult work, as I worked full-time on this Chromebook for a month. This Mediatek-powered Chromebook can handle a Google Meet call and six to ten tabs at a time, as we noted in our review, so it’s perfectly suited to students who know how to take care of laptops.
This isn’t as rugged or rough-and-tumble as the ASUS C214 or Dell 3100, but that also means you don’t have to pay for all that extra kid-proofing and durability testing. While most Chromebooks have a decent level of durability, there’s no replacement for buying an Education model, so be sure your kid won’t do anything like throw their laptop or stick crayons in the USB-C port.
That last bit is especially important because, unlike most Chromebooks from the last two to three years, the Spin 311 (3H) only has one USB-C port and one USB-A port. I usually prefer Chromebooks with USB-C ports on each side of the laptop so that you can charge from either side, but it’s easy enough to get by on just one. Unfortunately, there’s also no microSD card slot, so you’ll need to figure out the storage level you’ll need before buying since there’s no expanding it.
For this reason, I highly recommend grabbing the 64GB option, especially since few 11.6-inch Chromebooks have 64GB options. In addition, more internal storage is extremely important when it comes to Android apps, as most can’t properly utilize external storage due to quirks in Chrome OS’s permission structure.
The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook is the best value in Chromebooks today because it offers up just about all the features you’d want in a mid-size Chromebook without costing a whole semester’s worth of allowance. This laptop is physically less than an inch bigger than the ASUS C214, but it has a much larger 13.3-inch 1080p touchscreen, a backlit keyboard, and nice loudspeakers. You also get a more powerful Intel Core i3 processor instead of a Celeron, and you get more internal storage for running Linux apps or downloading Disney+ movies for when you’re bored in study hall.
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 to keep the tunes going while you work. The port configuration here is a match to the C214 — two USB-C ports, one USB-A port, a microSD slot, and a headphone jack — but you’ll need to be more gentle on this laptop if you want it to last you its full eight years of Chrome OS updates.
The battery here should last you a whole school day and homework, and charging it back up shouldn’t take too long with the in-box 45W PD charger. Not many families have Wi-Fi 6 routers — and even fewer schools do — but you should still get better Wi-Fi stability with it, and the same can be said of Bluetooth 5.0 for your headphones or Bluetooth mouse.
The Flex 5’s successor, the Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebook is out and available for purchase, but it’s got slightly lower battery life due to having more power in the same body, in addition to sharing 85% of all other parts and specs. Availability for the Flex 5i also continues to fluctuate at such a pace that it’s next to impossible to find the 8GB version.
If you absolutely need all the power you can get in a Chromebook but don’t have buckets of money to spend on a new laptop, turn your attention to the Acer Chromebook Spin 713. This Chromebook has a 11th Gen Intel Core i5 processor, capable of handling you need to throw it, along with 8GB of RAM so that you can multitask all the live-long day, and a 256GB NVMe SSD. That’s important because it’s faster and longer-lasting than the eMMC storage most Chromebooks use.
Another benefit of the Spin 713’s powerful internals is that it’s on the list of Steam Alpha-approved Chromebooks. Plus it can handle any game streaming services like Stadia, GeForce Now, or Xbox Game Pass. This power also means that the Spin 713 is perfect for those who want to install Linux apps, which is good news for STEM kids who might need to run CAD software or a programming IDE. Many IT professionals and programmers use a Chromebook because they’re low maintenance but can still do everything they need.
So the Spin 713 has all of the juice that you would need, along with a great backlit keyboard. But what about port selection? Well, Acer nails it here too as the Spin 713 sports dual Thunderbolt 4 ports for faster charging and transfer speeds. Oh, and there’s a full-size HDMI port, 3.5mm audio jack, and even a microSD card reader. The only downside here is that the Spin 713 only has a single USB-A port on the right side.
Then, of course, there’s the feature that you’ll adore every single day whether you’re working hard or hardly working: the 13.5-inch touchscreen, which gets to a bright 450 nits — so you can use it outside more easily — and features a 2K resolution, so videos and classroom handouts alike will look absolutely stunning. The screen is a 3:2 aspect ratio, which means you’ll see further down a webpage at one time, especially when split-screening your research paper and that Twitch stream— I mean TED Talk! That boring, educational TED Talk…
One of the more surprising releases of 2021 was the HP Chromebook x2 11 with its 2K display and ultra-premium design. But instead of opting for a traditional Chromebook design, we have yet another option in the Chrome OS tablet category. As the name suggests, the x2 11 sports an 11-inch display with an incredible 2160 x 1440 resolution capable of reaching up to 400 nits of brightness.
Powering the x2 11 is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7c platform, the same chip found in Acer’s Chromebook Spin 513 from 2020. Unfortunately, this is where things start to get a bit frustrating, as Qualcomm’s chipset just can’t keep up with multitasking on Chrome OS. Even with 8GB of RAM, the SD7c and eMMC storage are definitely holding back this tablet from reaching its potential.
That being said, the Chromebook x2 11 is the perfect companion device for pretty much anyone. HP even includes a USI stylus in the box that magnetically attaches to the side and charges while it’s attached. It’s something that we’re still hoping to see from more Chromebook makers, but HP definitely nailed it here.
HP even goes so far as to include a detachable case and keyboard cover in the box, but these really aren’t much to write home about. They’re serviceable for most, but the x2 11 is better served as a couch device to sit back and enjoy some movies or to pick up your favorite book. As noted in our review, the overall design is almost perfect, but the questionable performance means you should make sure you find a sale before springing for the Chromebook x2 11.
When the original Chromebook Duet was released, it became an instant hit that has managed to stick around on store shelves and is actually still available. But what it did is make everyone realize that Chrome OS on a tablet could actually be good, as opposed to the experiment that was the Google Pixel Slate.
Considering that people kept buying the Duet, Lenovo likely didn’t feel much pressure to rush another option to the market and instead took its time. What we got is the new Chromebook Duet 3 and Duet 5 series of Chrome OS tablets. And while the Duet 3 is just fine, our favorite current Chrome OS tablet is the Duet 5.
It’s powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 platform, a step above the aforementioned Chromebook x2 11. While the base model sports 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage, that model isn’t easily available, and that’s a good thing. Instead, you’re more than likely to find some pretty great deals on the model with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. Not only will you want the extra RAM with this mobile-first chipset, but the SSD storage is just generally faster and more reliable than eMMC.
Just like with the Chromebook Duet, Lenovo ships a detachable keyboard and kickstand case, but stops short of including a USI stylus in the box. We really would’ve liked to see Lenovo go the extra mile here, but there are some pretty great options available if you don’t have one.
Aside from the “missing” USI stylus, our biggest gripe with the Duet 5 is the included keyboard. It’s just a bit too flimsy to use on anything other than a desk, which should be fine for most, but is definitely something to keep in mind. There’s also the potential that you’ll run into power limitations with the Snapdragon 7c Gen 2. In our review, we found the Duet 5 was more than capable for most workloads. But if you have a tendency to use a bunch of tabs and have different apps open, you might be better serviced by a Chromebook with a traditional processor.
A Chromebook that held a place of honor in both this roundup and Best Chromebooks for much of 2019 and into the first half of 2020 was the Lenovo Chromebook C330, my beloved run-and-gun. The battery lasted all day, there were just enough ports for what I needed, and it was lightweight enough that it wasn’t a chore to carry it around all day in my gear bag. The Lenovo C330 is still selling for almost list price 3.5 years later, but we can get the same performance for less in the HP Chromebook 11a.
HP uses the MediaTek 8183 processor that succeeded the C330’s 8173, you’ve got updated ports with a microSD card slot over full SD, and we’ve ditched the HDMI port so that it’s one less thing for your kid to break. While this isn’t as battle-tested as HP’s EE Education Editions, it’s still a tough little Chromebook that should be able to stand up to a bit of wear and tear from going to and from school. Mediatek’s processor is easier on the battery, so you should get a full school day and then some out of a single charge.
There’s only one USB-C port here, but one is all you really need unless your child likes to jam crayons into ports. The design here isn’t groundbreaking, but the Indigo Blue color contrasts all the black and silver Chromebooks above.
What makes the best Chromebook for students?
When picking a Chromebook for a student, you may be tempted to go with a non-touch model, but fight this urge! Touchscreen Chromebooks aren’t actually much more expensive these days. They are far easier to interact with, especially for students who play educational games or use artistic apps to doodle away their boredom. Styluses like the one on the ASUS Chromebook Flip C214 are great for art apps — and for people who tend to fat-finger their touch targets as I do — but it’s alright to skip it if you don’t think you need the extra (easy to lose) piece.
Now actually isn’t the best time to buy education Chromebooks — the new models from Lenovo, Acer, and HP haven’t gone on sale yet, so the two-year-old models are still being sold at regular price — but if you need one right now, the Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook is a great option for older kids. The ASUS C214 will serve younger kids well. Chromebooks were in short supply for most of last year, but supply has rebounded and stabilized, at least for now. That means that we might actually get some student Chromebook deals this back-to-school season after no real Chromebook sales last year.
11.6 inches is the standard size for Chromebooks — education and regular — because it’s small enough to be easily portable while still being big enough to get your work done on. While 13-14 inch laptops make sense for teachers that stay in one room most of the day, for students lugging laptops between periods, smaller and lighter is better. Of course, quality 14-inch touchscreen Chromebooks will also strain your wallet, but if you want something larger than a standard spiral notebook, head on over to our best Chromebooks guide for those recommendations.
Why use a Chromebook for students in the classroom?
There are several reasons, so many schools use Chromebooks in the classroom, and each one is just as important as the next.
- Powered by Google — Google is a household name for technology, and school districts know the company will be around to offer support for the life of the product.
- Ease of use — Chrome OS is a lightweight system that’s easy to find your way around, even for younger users and parents that aren’t tech-savvy.
- Security and administration tools — Chrome OS is designed with security at the forefront (since Chromebooks are also aimed at the Enterprise space), and a G Suite administrator can lock things down to meet the needs of a school system’s IT policies.
- Price — Chromebooks designed for classroom use can be bought in bulk for hundreds of dollars less than other devices like iPads and Windows laptops.
- Parents can provide a Chromebook, too Because they are inexpensive and easy to use, parents can provide a Chromebook for a child who isn’t in a 1:1 school program or during the summer recess.
School systems are notoriously cash-strapped and understaffed, yet they are responsible for shaping the next generation through their formative years and beyond. School officials have told me that this can be the most frustrating part of their job because sometimes they can’t provide teachers and other hands-on educators with the tools they need to teach our children. Because Chromebooks are inexpensive to buy and support, they are a welcome option for frustrated, underfunded school districts.
Chromebooks provide a gateway to everything a student needs to learn and everything a teacher needs to guide them in the classroom. A consumer may take for granted little things, like automatic updates and the ability to sign in to any device and have your profile available, which means more time to dedicate to studies instead of administration.
Chromebooks also work seamlessly with Google’s educational software: Google Classroom, G Suite for Education, and even Google’s consumer applications like Gmail or Google Keep. With these apps and services, students and teachers can work online or offline, seamlessly syncing with Google’s servers.
It’s tough to tell if you’re working with an app that stores its data in the cloud because the experience is so good, but you’ll know it did when you pick up a completely different Chromebook, and everything is just as you left it. This is great for students, allowing them to get back to work after they spill water all over their Chromebook and have to be issued a new one.
Chromebooks and Google’s educational application suite are simple to use, well integrated into inexpensive Chromebooks, and are the perfect foundation for education.