For households with kids who share a desktop computer, flexibility is crucial. And when it comes to meeting the needs of work and school assignments, you may end up competing with one another for time if you have just one home school computer. In this article, we’ll help you find the best laptop for home schooling so you can free up your other devices and keep everyone happy.
Here are the devices that we’ll be reviewing:
- HP Stream 11 laptop
- HP Chromebook 15t notebook
- HP Chromebook x360 12b notebook
- HP ENVY 13t laptop
- HP Spectre x360 13t laptop
But first, let’s look at some key questions that may inform your decision and impact your search for the best home schooling computer.
Do you need a laptop for home schooling?
Home schooling, particularly for younger students, requires just as much focus and attention as any other learning environment, such as public school. That means a good home school computer is vital to their educational success. Some households are able to split time or make schedules to help make sharing a desktop PC work
, but that’s not always possible.
When your desktop PC setup simply can’t handle everyone’s needs, laptops can be a life saver. Laptops promote independence, reduce the hassle of sharing a single device, and even help spread wear and tear across multiple devices instead of just one.
What is the best laptop for home school students?
Here are our picks for the 5 best home school laptops you can buy today.
1. HP Stream 11 laptop - highly affordable and secure
The affordable and highly secure HP Stream 11 Pro G5 notebook
comes loaded with 4GB of dedicated RAM and 32GB of eMMc storage. It also boasts Windows 10 Home in S mode, a configuration that offers a number of potential advantages compared to other devices.
These are useful features for any user, but particularly for younger learners. S mode limits exposure to harmful software and overall vulnerability. It also provides an extremely smooth user experience compared to similarly priced devices, thanks to a streamlined build and cloud optimization.
In addition to its efficiency and a price tag below $500, the HP Stream laptop is extremely lightweight and portable. It’s only 0.66 inches thick and weighs just 2.3 lbs, so it’s a breeze for anyone to carry around the home, even little tykes. Plus, even with its 11.6-inch high definition (HD) display, this is the lightest and most compact build on our list.
It also ships with a robust battery life and high estimate for video playback life of up to 9 hours and 15 minutes, which is more than enough to keep students occupied. The streamlined loadout means that it’s no power hog either, and it has both ENERGY STAR® certification and an EPEAT® Silver rating.
2. HP Chromebook 15-inch notebook - premium features at a low cost
The HP Chromebook 15t
is competitively priced, with the boost of a 15.6-inch Full High Definition (FHD) display and optional touch screen. It also has dual speakers with premium audio by Bang & Olufsen and HP Audio Boost. With all those features, this is a versatile multimedia laptop. It’s a shoo-in as one of the best computers for home schooling for its price point along with plenty of screen space for complex visual assignments.
Built around Google’s efficient Chrome OS, Chromebooks
are optimized for high-speed cloud functionality. This particular HP Chromebook features 4GB of RAM and 32GB eMMc storage, which are complemented by an Intel® Pentium® Gold 4417U processor and Intel HD Graphics 610. It’s also customizable, in case you need a different configuration for your particular situation.
This laptop model is great for bigger workloads and smaller budgets, especially those who stream a lot of media or want to support creative hobbies and classwork. While the 15-inch display places a big emphasis on visuals, it’s still an extremely portable device that weighs just 3.99 lbs and measures only 0.70 inches thick.
For users who want a streamlined, affordable device that doesn’t sacrifice performance, this HP Chromebook is one of the best home school computers around. The starting configuration is priced under $500 and even allows you to pick from two exterior finishes (mineral silver or cloud blue). It also performs well in terms of energy efficiency with both ENERGY STAR certification and an EPEAT Silver rating.
3. HP Chromebook x360 convertible laptop - flexible features with touch functionality
The HP Chromebook x360 convertible notebook
also offers a comparable hardware loadout without breaking the $500 price point. The included Intel Celeron processor and Intel UHD Graphics 600, plus 4GB of RAM and 32GB of eMMc storage, provide strong local performance on top of the seamless cloud-based computing. It also boasts a 12-inch diagonal HD+ touch display with dual speakers featuring audio by Bang & Olufsen.
This HP Chromebook was designed for flexibility and varying work styles with its touch functionality and easy convertibility. Convertible laptops feature a foldable display that allow you to work in either tablet mode or clamshell, or stand mode in-between, great for streaming and presentations, to emphasize the display.
Like most Chromebooks, this one’s also light and easy to move around at 2.98 lbs and 0.68 inches thick. Your home schoolers won’t be restricted to just a desk or table top, and they’ll love using this laptop during long trips, in waiting rooms, and anywhere else they happen to be.
If you want more options from the HP Chromebook line, check out our guide of the Top HP Chromebooks for Educators and Students
. These laptops are great candidates for young students, mixed media users, and others who do most of their school work online. Plus, most are incredibly affordable.
4. HP ENVY 13t laptop - slick design built for collaborating
For older students or bigger workloads, the HP ENVY 13t laptop
balances its sleek look with top-tier performance features. It comes with Windows 10 Home 64 and a 10th Generation Intel Core™ i7 processor, making it either a great starter laptop or a fantastic upgrade from an older device.
The opening configuration comes with integrated Intel UHD Graphics, but you can customize it to include a dedicated NVIDIA® GeForce® MX250 for improved graphics performance. It also has 8GB of RAM and a high ceiling for local storage for up to a 1TB PCIe® NVMe™ M.2 SSD or an efficiency boost from Intel Optane™ memory
This HP ENVY laptop includes many of the great collaboration and multimedia features you need as well, like Bang & Olufsen audio and quad speakers with HP Audio Boost. And it ships with touch screen functionality on the 13.3-inch diagonal BrightView display with WLED-backlit multitouch-enabled edge-to-edge glass. For the best visual output, upgrade yours to 4K resolution.
Even with a mid-sized display, it’s actually the thinnest model on our list at just 0.57 inches. It’s also one of the lightest at only 2.59 lbs. This HP ENVY is highly secure as well, thanks to an integrated fingerprint reader, HP BIOS recovery, and a built-in privacy camera kill-switch for the HP Wide Vision HD camera.
5. HP Spectre x360 13t laptop - pure performance and functionality
At the top of our list for performance and functionality, we have the HP Spectre x360 13t laptop
. Its great hardware loadout starts with a 10th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, integrated Intel Iris Plus Graphics with options for dedicated upgrades, and a 13.3-inch FHD display that you can upgrade to 4K. Those features alone make it a great choice for students (or anyone) with visual or data-heavy workloads.
There’s plenty of speedy local storage, too, with options ranging from a 512GB SSD up to a beefy 2TB SSD. The same goes for memory. The intro-level Intel Core process comes with 8GB of onboard RAM, but you’re able to upgrade to 16GB depending on processor choice.
Overall, you’re looking at one of the faster, better laptops out there with this HP Spectre. Plus, it’s still energy efficient with configurations offering both ENERGY STAR certification and EPEAT Silver rating.
As one of the top-performing convertible laptops on the market, you may think it’s packing some weight, right? Nope. It’s only 2.88 lbs and 0.67 inches thick, making it just as portable as it is powerful.
Older students need more robust options
Looking for laptop recommendations tailored to the needs of slightly older students? You can find an overview of options in our article Best Laptops for College Students
. Getting your high schooler set with a laptop that will take them into college is a great way to set them up for success.
This list features a similar range of price points and an even wider variety of traditional laptop configurations to consider, including several devices we’ve covered as well as others tailored for aspiring creative or technical professionals. You can also check out the list at the end for articles tailored to specific majors.
Tablet or laptop for home school?
Tablets have similar advantages
as laptops because they make learning less restricted to a single space, but they have their drawbacks, too. The biggest issue is performance, because creating complex or visually-intense assignments is only really possible on beefier laptop builds.
However, a tablet can be a strong supplement to your home schooling routine. Or you can consider one of the convertible options in our list, given that they provide the best of both worlds with laptop-to-tablet functionality
Making your choice
Choosing the best laptop for home schooling comes down to the details, so it’s best to make comparisons and check reviews before you commit. But with our list as your guide, you and your students are certainly off to a strong start.
About the Author: Dwight Pavlovic is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Dwight is a music and technology writer based out of West Virginia.