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The best cheap tablets in 2020

Best cheap tablets
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The best cheap tablets will give you the most bang for your buck with a smooth-performing operating system, which will most likely be Android or FireOS. You'll also have easy access to your favorite apps while you get to enjoy a satisfactory, portable experience.

For under $200, you can get some of the best tablets around, such as the Amazon Fire 7. It's a heavy hitter for the price, according to our Fire 7 (2019) review.

But of course, when you're purchasing a cheap tablet, you'll have to make some trade-offs. The question is, which features are you willing to sacrifice? We've laid out the pros and cons of the best cheap tablets we've reviewed; this way, you can get an easy-to-digest overview on which affordable tablet is the best for you.

If you want a kids-friendly tablet, consider getting the Amazon's Fire HD 8 Kids Edition, which packs a sharper screen, a protective case, free kid-friendly content and a 2-year no questions asked return policy. With a bit of trickery, you can even get Google Play on a Fire Tablet (though there are some issues involving security).

You can actually get a tablet under $200 with USB-C charging from the Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019) tablet, which also has a kids edition. We also reviewed the $64 8-inch Onn tablet, which offers pure Android, but has its own limitations.

What is the best cheap tablet?

The best cheap tablet is the Amazon Fire HD 10.

The Amazon Fire HD 10 is a tablet that can definitely hold its own in today's market. Not only does the Fire HD 10 finally charge over USB-C, but the tablet's octa-core processor makes it snappier and speedier than previous Amazon Fire tablets, which felt a little behind the curve. Add in more than 13 hours of battery life, and you've got one of the best tablets out there.

But if Amazon tablets aren't your speed, there are plenty of other best cheap tablets on this list that could better suit your needs.

The best cheap tablets you can buy today

  1. Amazon Fire 7
  2. Amazon Fire HD 10
  3. Amazon Fire HD 8
  4. Lenovo Tab 4 10
  5. Lenovo Tab 4 Plus, 10-inch
  6. Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition
  7. Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition
  8. Lenovo Yoga Tab 3

Amazon Fire 7 Best cheap tablets

The best cheap tablet you can buy is the Amazon Fire 7 because it's super duper cheap and it's actually reliable. 

1. Amazon Fire 7

Best cheap Amazon tablet overall

Snappy despite its price
Super cheap
Hands-free Alexa
Short battery life
Sluggish performance

Our best cheap tablets list has to begin with the Fire 7, which Amazon offers at the low, low price of $50. Its price might make you think it's an unreliable device, but its sturdy-feeling case will make you think otherwise. It's also quite bright for its price. We just wish it had the Google Play store and a higher-resolution display.

See our full Amazon Fire 7 review.

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019) best cheap tablets

The Amazon Fire HD 10 is one of the best cheap tablets around thanks to its fantastic battery life, crisp display and decent performance. (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

2. Amazon Fire HD 10

Best cheap tablet with USB-C

Fantastic battery life
Bright, crisp display
Decent performance
USB-C (finally)
No Google apps

The new Fire HD 10 (2019) proves that Amazon can make a fantastic tablet that's still one of the best cheap tablets, provided you pay a little more. From its fantastically long battery life to its sharp, bright display to its USB-C charging port, this slate competes with the much more expensive iPad ($329). If only it included the Google Play store or Google apps.

See our full Amazon Fire HD 10 review.

Amazon Fire HD 8 best cheap tablets

Surprise, surprise, the Amazon Fire HD 8 ranks among the best cheap tablets for its decent performance, bright display and great value.

3. Amazon Fire HD 8

Best value tablet

Decent performance
Bright display
Great value
No native Google apps
Less battery life than before

Amazon gives you more bang for less buck with the 2018 Fire HD 8 tablet; it offers 16GB of local storage, which is twice as much as 2016's model. Its 9-plus hours of battery life is OK, but the 2017 model lasted almost 2 hours longer.

See our full Amazon Fire HD 8 review.

Lenovo Tab 4 10 best cheap tablets

If you're looking for an android tablet, the best cheap tablet you can buy is the Lenovo Tab 4 10, especially because it boasts long battery life.

4. Lenovo Tab 4, 10-inch

Best Android-based tablet

Long battery life
Good rear camera
Good performance for price
Haptic feedback
Display could be better

The long-lasting Lenovo Tab 4 10 is one of the best cheap tablets you can buy with a 10-inch screen. Not only is its performance decent for its price tag, this slate lasts over 11 hours, beating the Amazon Fire HD 8. Since it comes rocking Android 7.1 Nougat, you can split its screen between two apps to make the most of its size. And that means you get the real Google Play store — enough for it to be the best cheap tablet that actually runs an unfiltered version of Android — and you can get real Google apps, like YouTube. 

See our full Lenovo Tab 4 10 review.

best cheap tablets: Lenovo Tab 4 Plus, 10-inch

(Image credit: Lenovo)

5. Lenovo Tab 4 Plus, 10-inch

Best cheap 10-inch tablet

Amazing battery life
Vivid display
Sharp cameras
Great performance
Running old Android 7.1

The Lenovo Tab 4 Plus is the successor to the Lenovo Tab 4.

This 10.1-inch tablet provides an eye-catching, vivid display, features a comfortable design that is easy on your hands and has superb battery life. However, the downside is that you get an older version of Android. At the same time, the Tab 4 10 Plus is a highly rated media tablet for the price, especially since you also get a nice pair of cameras and solid speakers. No wonder it has 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

See our review of the full 10-inch Lenovo Tab 4 Plus.

Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition best cheap tablets

The Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is the best cheap tablet to get if you need something for your kids. It even sports a durable design with two-year accidental-damage protection.

6. Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition

Best cheap durable tablet for kids

Durable design with two-year accidental-damage protection
Robust parental controls
Tons of free, age-appropriate content
Long battery life
Soft speakers

It's not the cheapest kid-friendly Amazon tablet -- that's the Fire 7 Kids Edition-- but the $129 Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is, dollar-for-dollar, the best option available. It gives your child speedier performance and a brighter display, as well as a whole five hours of additional battery life. Sometimes it pays to spend a little more.

See our full Fire HD 8 Kids review.

Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition best cheap tablets

If you need something a little bigger for your kids, the Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition is easily the best cheap tablet at 10 inches. (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

7. Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition

Best cheap tablet for kids overall

Extensive parental controls
Included 2-year warranty
Impressive battery life
Overload on Amazon content

If you want to get your kid something a little bigger and stay under $200, we recommend the Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition. Its battery lasted an epic 13 hours and 29 minutes and it's packed with a ton of parental controls as well as a 2-year warranty, like its predecessor. Its 10-inch display is super bright, at 411 nits, and offers decent color, covering 103% of the sRGB color gamut. It's by far among the best cheap tablets for kids.

See our full Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition review.

Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 best cheap tablets

Need a tablet that can double as a projector? The best cheap tablet for you is the Lenovo Yoga Tab 3. It also has awesome battery life.

8. Lenovo Yoga Tab 3

Best cheap tablet with long battery life

Class-leading battery life
Accurate, 8-inch display, Built-in kickstand
Mediocre performance
A bit bulky

If you prioritize battery life, the Yoga Tab 3's 15 hours of life might make it the best cheap tablet for you, even though its $170 price tag is on the high-end of the budget field. The Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 may not have the most powerful processor inside, but it does make watching videos for hours easy, thanks to the built-in kickstand. The bright, 1280 x 800-pixel screen and front-facing speakers are nothing to sneeze at, either.

See our full Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 review.

How to choose the best cheap tablet for you

If you're a huge Amazon consumer, and perhaps you've got a Prime account, an Amazon tablet such as the Amazon Fire HD 10 is a perfect fit for you because you'll have easy access to all your favorite Amazon features, including Audible, Prime Video, Amazon Photos and more. 

If you're not a big Amazon shopper, perhaps Amazon tablets aren't the best pick for you because you won't be utilizing many of the pre-installed apps on the tablet.

Perhaps you'll prefer having access to the Google Play store so that you can download all of your favorite Android apps and games. In that case, perhaps you'll want to opt for the 10-inch Lenovo Tab 4 Plus, which has an impressive 13 hours of battery life. You'll get all the features similar to any other Android-based phone, but on a bigger, more interactive screen.

How we test the best cheap tablets

To offer our readers a thorough and exhaustive review of the tablets that come through our labs, we dive into testing battery life, display quality, performance, audio quality and more. If there is a camera or two, we give it a whirl through real-world testing to give our readers the best description of what they can expect from our tablet review unit.  

For performance, for example, we use the Geekbench benchmark to test the tablet's processing power. We also measure tablets' graphics capabilities using the 3DMark benchmark. 

We sift through the tablets' software to see what pre-installed apps and programs you'll get to play around with -- or delete -- once you get the best cheap tablet for yourself.

We also compare tablets with other competitors, such as MediaPad M5 Lite vs. iPad: Why Huawei Almost Beats Apple, to give our readers a better perspective on which tablet would be the best slate for their needs.