Grab this Lenovo laptop for your young ones to get some serious school work done.

Best overall

Lenovo Ideapad 100s

Lenovo Ideapad 100s

See at Lenovo

Gone are the days that buying a super-cheap laptop meant compromising on the overall experience. This sub-$200 notebook from Lenovo is absolutely perfect for the kids while still offering the best of Windows 10. It's superbly made and will stand up to plenty of hard use, has a great keyboard and a bright display. It's also small; at 11.6 inches it can fit inside any school bag and has ample battery to make it through a full day without the charger. We wish laptops were this good when we were in school.

Bottom-line: Well made, extremely well priced and perfect to throw in a school bag.

One more thing: Lenovo also offers a version of the 100s with a larger display if you'd prefer.

Why you should get a Lenovo Ideapad 100s for your school-bound kids

A great laptop at a great price that'll handle frequent hard living.

It'd be easy to describe the Ideapad 100s as the modern incarnation of a netbook. But there's one big difference here; this is a good laptop. Steve Jobs famously said that netbooks weren't better at anything when introducing the iPad for the first time, and he was mostly right. But that was then. The compromise on experience is no more when buying a cheap, small laptop.

Compact, well built and packing a trademark great Lenovo keyboard

Sure, you do have to compromise on hardware, which is why you only get 32GB of internal storage. But this is no stripped down Windows experience; this is full Windows 10 and it runs great even on low-end hardware such as this. That alone, is testament to how far Microsoft's operating system has come in recent times.

What you're getting in this neat, well-built package is a laptop that's absolutely perfect for school work, at home or in class. Despite costing so little it's still packing a first rate keyboard, something Lenovo does very well. The trackpad is a little small, but it's manageable, and you can always throw in a little travel mouse for good measure.

The Ideapad 100s is a terrific example of the breadth of the Windows 10 ecosystem. You can get a laptop as good as this for a crazy low price and it's a top quality product all around. Not only that, but it's tough enough to withstand those frequent trips to school and some, shall we say, less than careful handling.

A close second

Dell Inspiron 11 3000

Dell Inspiron 11

See at Dell

The Inspiron 11 3000 is very close to the Lenovo Ideapad 100s, it just costs a little more and looks less 'grown up,' which is good or bad depending on your outlook. But for the most part it's on par with that in the Lenovo and there are equally wild color choices to get the kids excited.

That means you'll still get great battery life, a decent display and a tough build quality that can take the kind of abuse that kids deal out. And at 11 inches it'll fit in their bag just great.

Bottom line: On par with Lenovo's Ideapad 100s, but a little pricier and more childish looking.

One more thing: There's a 'big boy' version with a 15-inch display and a 500GB hard drive if you're OK with spending a little more.

Something bigger

HP Stream 13

HP Stream 14

See at Amazon

HP's low-cost Stream laptops have always been designed to stand out in a crowd, and this one is no exception. But it's not just about the fetching blue color scheme, the HP Stream is a great option for those looking for a cheap laptop with a larger display that some of the others here.

A great 13.3-inch display is paired with a nice keyboard, plenty of ports and a solid build quality that's perfect for getting that important school work done.

Bottom line: More screen real estate without a massive increase in price

One more thing: HP still does smaller screen versions of the Stream if you're attracted to it but want a more compact option.

Best overall

Lenovo Ideapad 100s

Lenovo Ideapad 100s

See at Lenovo

Gone are the days that buying a super-cheap laptop meant compromising on the overall experience. This sub-$200 notebook from Lenovo is absolutely perfect for the kids while still offering the best of Windows 10. It's superbly made and will stand up to plenty of hard use, has a great keyboard and a bright display. It's also small; at 11.6 inches it can fit inside any school bag and has enough battery to make it through a full day without the charger. We wish laptops were this good when we were kids.

Bottom-line: Well made, extremely well priced and perfect to throw in a school bag.

One more thing: Lenovo also offers a version of the 100s with a larger display if you'd prefer.