The best cheap tablets in 2024

The best cheap tablets are good enough to let you browse the web, watch videos and play games in comfort, without costing you an arm and a leg.

Sure, the priciest of the best tablets can cost upwards of $1,000 and come with a slew of premium features, but you don't need to spend that much to get a great slate that will last you for years to come. 

While all but the cheapest iPads are outside the price range of someone looking for an affordable tablet, there's a smorgasbord of slates from Amazon, Samsung and other companies that will give you plenty of value for not a lot of money.

We've tested and reviewed dozens of tablets from top manufacturers to find the best options for those on a budget. We use our hand-on experience and testing to hand-pick this list of the best cheap tablets you can buy right now, so I think you'll find something you like!

Written by
Alex Wawro
Written by
Alex Wawro

Alex Wawro is a lifelong journalist who's spent over a decade covering tech, games and entertainment. He oversees the computing department at Tom's Guide, which includes managing laptop coverage and reviewing many himself every year.

The quick list

In a hurry? Here's a brief overview of the tablets on this list, along with quick links that let you jump down the page directly to a review of whichever slate catches your eye.

The best cheap tablets you can buy right now

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The best cheap tablet overall

iPad 2021

(Image credit: Future)
The best cheap tablet for most

Specifications

Display: 10.2-inch (2160 x 1620 pixels)
CPU: A13 Bionic
RAM: 3GB
Storage: 64GB, 256GB
Size: 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.29 inches
Weight: 1.07 lbs (Wi-Fi), 1.09 lbs (Wi-Fi + Cellular)

Reasons to buy

+
Bright screen
+
Speedy performance
+
Good battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Dated design with big bezels
-
Nowhere to store Apple Pencil
Buy it if

✅ You need an iPad: This is the cheapest iPad you can buy new, as Apple bumped the price up by over $100 starting with its 2022 successor. While this 2021 model is a little old, it's still a great basic iPad.
✅ You're invested in Apple's ecosystem: If you own other Apple products, this is the only tablet on this list that will play nice with their many sharing features. So if you want to quickly share files to your tablet or take advantage of your Apple app library, this is the cheap tablet to buy.

Don't buy it if:

❌ Money is tight: This is the cheapest iPad you can buy new, but it's not the cheapest tablet on this list. If you need to save money, you can get other slates on this list for less than half as much.

❌ You dislike Apple products: You're paying a premium for this tablet vs. others on this list, and if you aren't already invested in Apple's ecosystem or you don't already like Apple products it's hard to justify the added expense. 

The bottom line

💻 The Apple iPad (2021) is the cheapest iPad you can buy, and still a great choice even several years on. While its design is a little dated and its not as fast as the latest iPads, it's still a great value starting at $329.

What you need to know
The 2021 Apple iPad is a solid all-around tablet that runs just about any app from Apple's App Store with ease. The 2021 model is recommended for those on a budget because it's the last one Apple sold at a starting price of $329, before jacking the price up over $100 with the $449 2022 model. Admittedly, the newer iPads have a sleeker design with thinner bezels and no headphone jack, but the newer design and speedier processor aren't necessarily worth the extra cost.

Design: The 2021 Apple iPad looks like an iPad, albeit with a slightly thicker, chunkier design than the most modern iterations. Its thick bezels may be an eyesore, but if they bother you just remember you're saving over $100 by accepting them. This is also the last iPad Apple sold with a headphone jack, so if you like plugging in your own cans this is probably the best iPad to buy. 

Display: The 10.2-inch (2160 x 1620 pixels) Liquid Retina display on the 2021 iPad is bright and colorful, making everything you do on it look good. It does reflect a lot of light though, so don't expect a great experience using it outside in direct sunlight.

When we tested the iPad 2021 in our lab we found the screen’s brightness maxes out at 494 nits in the center of the display, but it gets significantly less bright near the top and bottom, delivering an average maximum brightness of 473 nits across the whole panel. That’s a bit worse than its predecessor or the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7, a more expensive Android tablet.

Performance: Apple put an A13 Bionic chip inside the 2021 iPad, the same chip that drives the iPhone 11 family of devices. When the tablet was new I noticed almost no lag when playing the latest games, noodling around in apps, or editing photos. Even now, several years later, you should expect respectable performance.

Battery life: Apple advertises the iPad 2021 as lasting up to 10 hours on a full battery but, as is often the case, the company is commendably conservative in their battery life promises. In our tablet battery test, which tasks the slate with endlessly surfing the web over Wi-Fi with its display set to a brightness of 150 nits, the iPad 2021 lasted a good 11 hours and 59 minutes. 

12 hours of tested battery life is nothing to sneeze at, and it means you can count on being able to carry the iPad 2021 through a day of work or school without needing to plug in.

Read the full review: Apple iPad 2021

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Ratings scorecard
TestNotesHow it stacks up
Battery life11:59 tested battery life★★★★☆
PerformanceSpeedy, good for browsing and gaming★★★★☆
DesignThick bezels, headphone jack still present★★★☆☆
DisplayBright, colorful 10.2-inch panel★★★★☆

The best cheap Android tablet

Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 on a desk

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best cheap Android tablet

Specifications

Display: 10.4-inch, 2000x1200 pixels
CPU: 8MP (front), 5MP (rear)
RAM: 3GB
Storage: 32GB
Size: 9.7 x 6.2 x 0.3 inches
Weight: 1.1 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent battery life
+
Facial recognition
+
USB-C charging
+
Thin bezels

Reasons to avoid

-
Screen is a little dim
-
Underwhelming performance
Buy it if

✅ You need a cheaper iPad: The Galaxy Tab A7 doesn't lag far behind the iPad 2021 despite costing $100 less. If you want an iPad-like tablet and don't mind using Android, the Tab A7 is a strong choice.
✅ You're invested in Samsung's ecosystem: Samsung designs its Galaxy devices to play well with each other, so if you already own Galaxy devices this tablet will complement them well.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You prize performance: The Galaxy Tab A7 is speedy enough to browse the web and play some simple games, but it's far from a beast. If you're annoyed by slowdown or want to use the most demanding games and apps, you'll want a more expensive tablet.

❌ You value screen quality: The screen is more than good enough for casual use, but in our testing the Galaxy Tab A7's display proved to be dimmer than the competition. This can make it hard to see details at off angles, and the resolution is a little underwhelming.

The bottom line

💻 The Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 is one of the best cheap Android tablets you can buy, delivering great battery life and decent performance in a slick, elegant slate that's $100 cheaper than the cheapest iPad.

What you need to know
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 is one of the best cheap Android tablets you can buy because it delivers decent performance in a premium, elegant design for not a lot of money. 

The Tab A7 wasn't built to compete with the best tablets on the market, but with nice thin bezels and useful features like facial recognition, it's competitive with the 2021 iPad despite costing $100 less.

Design: Weighing 1.1 pounds and measuring 9.8 x 6.2 x 0.3 inches, the Galaxy Tab A7 looks and feels like an iPad. But it's a hair cheaper, and it comes with some features the iPad can't match, like expandable storage.

You get nice thin bezels and a premium-feeling aluminum chassis that does bend a bit if you really try, along with USB-C port for charging and a microSD card slot and headphone jack, two things the modern iPad doesn't offer.

Display: The 10.4-inch (2000x1200 pixels) display on the Tab A7 is more than good enough for browsing the web or watching movies. It's a lower resolution than the iPad and it doesn't get as bright, but you'd have to set them side-by-side to notice.

Performance: The Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 (SM6115) processor and 3GB of RAM inside the Tab A7 provide enough speed for everyday activity, but be ready to notice some sluggishness when flipping between apps or running anything demanding.

You should be able to enjoy browsing the web, getting work done and even some light gaming, but don't expect anything graphically demanding to run well.

Battery life: Samsung's Galaxy Tab A7 lasted just over 13 hours in our battery rundown test, which is longer than Apple's iPad lasted in the same test. 

While it's not the longest-lasting tablet on this list that's still a great score, one that should give you confidence that you can carry the A7 to a day at work or school without having to worry about bringing the charger.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Tab A7

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Ratings scorecard
TestNotesHow it stacks up
Battery life13:13 tested battery life★★★★★
PerformanceDecent but not fast★★★☆☆
DesignLightweight, elegant design★★★★☆
DisplayReasonably good 10.4-inch 2K display★★★☆☆

The best cheap Windows tablet

Microsoft Surface Go 2

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best cheap Windows tablet

Specifications

Display: 10.5 inches, 1920 x 1280 pixels
CPU: Pentium Gold, 8th Gen Intel Core m3
RAM: 4GB, 8GB
Storage: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.9 x 0.3 inches
Weight: 1.22 pounds (1.75 pounds with type cover)

Reasons to buy

+
Lengthy battery life
+
Bright, vivid screen
+
Great webcam

Reasons to avoid

-
Unimpressive performance
-
Type Cover requires adjustments
Buy it if

✅ You love Windows: Windows is more touch-friendly than it's ever been, and if you want a cheap tablet to browse the web and write emails but prefer Windows over more traditional tablet operating systems like Android, the Surface Go 2 is a great choice.
✅ You need to use peripherals with your tablet: The Surface Go 2 only has a single USB-C port, but since it's a Windows machine it can make use of a much broader variety of accessories than any other tablet. 

Don't buy it if:

❌ You value simplicity and ease of use: Windows is better than its ever been in many ways, but it's still Windows. Even when running in the simplified S mode, it can be a little frustrating to navigate and find things if you're not familiar with Windows 10 and 11.

❌ You value screen quality: The 10.5-inch screen on the Surface Go 2 is solid but not amazing. It gets brighter than the Tab A7 higher up this list but otherwise can't compete with a similarly-priced Android or Apple tablet in terms of display resolution and image quality. 

The bottom line

💻 The Microsoft Surface Go 2 remains our top recommendation for the best cheap Windows tablet despite its age, because it offers a compelling blend of versatility and portability for $400. Other tablets on this list can be had for less money with better features, but none of them offer the utility of Windows.

What you need to know
The Microsoft Surface Go 2 remains our top recommendation for a cheap Windows tablet because it offers all the functionality of Windows in a sleek, portable slate. It offers better battery life than either its predecessor or successor, which is why we continue to recommend it despite its age. 

While the newer Surface Go 3 ships with a faster processor and Windows 11 instead of Windows 10, our testing reveals it's nearly identical to the Go 2 in terms of display quality and performance, while actually offering worse battery life.

Design: The Surface Go 2 looks a lot like its larger siblings in Microsoft's Surface lineup, sporting a silver magnesium shell and reflective Microsoft logo on the back.

At 9.7 x 6.9 x 0.3 inches and 1.22 pounds (1.75 w/ optional Type Cover attached) the Surface Go 2 is slightly smaller and heavier than an iPad. It's nice that the Surface Go Type Covers are available in an Ice Blue (seen here), Poppy Red, Platinum and Black. But we wish Microsoft also offered similar striking colors for the Surface Go's chassis.

Display: The 10.5-inch (1920 x 1280 pixels) display on the Surface Go 2 delivers a solid mix of brightness and color for the price. Our testing reveals it maxes out at an average of 408 nits of brightness, which is good for a tablet, though not quite as bright as something pricier like an iPad Air.

Performance: Don't expect speedy performance from the Surface Go 2, which comes with either a weak Pentium Gold processor or a slightly more powerful Intel Core m3 chip. Neither is particularly new or powerful, but it's enough for basic tasks like browsing the web and working with documents or spreadsheets.

Battery life: The Surface Go 2 lasted over 11 hours (11:39) in our battery rundown test, which was a watershed moment for the Surface tablet line. It's good enough to get within spitting distance of the battery life of tablets that cost nearly twice as much, like the iPad Air or the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8.

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Go 2

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Ratings scorecard
TestNotesHow it stacks up
Battery life11:39 tested battery life★★★★☆
PerformanceAcceptable for basic tasks★★☆☆☆
DesignSlim, elegant design★★★★☆
DisplayDecent 10.5-inch display★★★☆☆

The best cheap Amazon tablet

Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus tablet streaming

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best cheap Amazon tablet

Specifications

Display: 10.1-inch, 1920 x 1200-pixel
CPU: 2.0GHz octa-core CPU
RAM: 3GB
Storage: 32GB, 64GB
Size: 9.7 x 6.5 x 0.4 inches
Weight: 1.1 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent battery life
+
Bright, colorful display
+
USB-C and wireless charging

Reasons to avoid

-
Lackluster app selection on FireOS
-
Middling speakers
Buy it if

✅ You're invested in Amazon's ecosystem: Amazon's Fire tablets are great for one thing, and that's engaging with Amazon products. If you mostly plan to stream Prime Video and read Kindle books, this is a great tablet for that.
✅ You prize battery life: The Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus is only outstanding in one regard, and that's its 14+ hours of tested battery life. 

Don't buy it if:

❌ You value versatility: Amazon Fire tablets are handicapped by limited app selection and Amazon's FireOS. You can use this tablet to browse the web or write emails, but you won't have access to a lot of useful Google Play Store apps.

❌ You like to play games: There are loads of games to download from the Amazon Appstore and play on your Fire tablet, but the selection pales to what's available on any competing tablet from Apple, Google or Microsoft. 

The bottom line

💻 The Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus is one of the company's top-tier tablets, and we recommend it as the Amazon Fire slate which hits the sweetest spot between price and performance. You can do better if you splurge for the larger, more powerful Fire Max 11, but you're paying at least $50 more for moderate upgrades.

What you need to know
The Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus is a lightly upgraded version of the company's existing Fire HD 10 tablet, and until the debut of the Fire Max 11 it was the biggest, beefiest Amazon tablet you could buy. 

While we do like the larger, beefier Fire Max 11 well enough, we still recommend the Fire HD 10 Plus to those hunting for a great cheap tablet because it's relatively cheap ($179 to start) for what you get. You can pay a small fee to remove lockscreen ads (which we recommend) or to double the storage to 64GB, which might not be worth it when you consider this slate has a microSD card slot and can support up to an additional 1TB of storage via microSD card.

Design: Measuring 9.7 x 6.5 x 0.4 inches and weighing just over a pound makes the Fire HD 10 Plus an easy slate to tote around, and the upgrade to Plus brings with it a soft-touch finish that might feel a little more comfy in your hands than the usual anodized aluminum tablet chassis. 

There's a single USB-C port for charging, and the upgrade to the Plus model also brings with it the option of wireless charging, since this tablet is Qi certified and can charge via supported wireless charging pads.

Display: The 10.1-inch, 1920 x 1200-pixel display on the Fire HD 10 Plus is a pleasant surprise at this price. It gets nearly as bright and colorful as an iPad screen despite costing nearly half as much, so you can count on whatever you're doing looking good.

Performance: The Fire HD 10 Plus packs a 2.0 GHz octa-core processor and 4GB of RAM, which is more than enough to handle what you can do within FireOS. Flipping between menus and loading up webpages is plenty snappy, but don't expect graphically demanding games to run well on this tablet.

Battery life: The Fire HD 10 Plus lasted for 14 hours and 2 minutes on our battery rundown test, making it one of the longest-lived tablets on this list. While the difference between 11 hours and 14 hours of runtime may seem minor, don't discount how annoying it can be to own a tablet that's constantly running out of juice. 

Remember, great battery life means greater peace of mind, whether you're toting the tablet on a long flight or digging it out from between couch cushions every other weekend. 

Read the full review: Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Ratings scorecard
TestNotesHow it stacks up
Battery life14:02 tested battery life★★★★★
PerformanceDecent but not fast★★★☆☆
DesignLight, comfy design★★★★☆
DisplaySolid 10.1-inch (1920 x 1200) display★★★☆☆

The best cheap Chrome tablet

Lenovo Chromebook Duet

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best cheap Chrome tablet

Specifications

Display: 10.1 inches, 1920 x 1200 pixels
CPU: 2.0GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio P60T
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 64GB, 128GB eMMC
Size: 9.64 x 6.66 x 0.71 inches (docked)
Weight: 2 pound (docked)

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent battery life
+
Sharp, colorful screen
+
ChromeOS tablet optimizations
+
Keyboard included at no charge

Reasons to avoid

-
Cramped keyboard
-
Hinge is a bit flimsy
Buy it if

✅ You like ChromeOS: If you've used Chromebooks in the past and like using ChromeOS, you may feel more comfortable using this tablet vs. a competitor like the iPad or Surface Go 2.
✅ You want a cheap portable PC: The Chromebook Duet offers all the features of a PC running ChromeOS in a slim, portable tablet. It effectively offers similar functionality as the Surface Go 2 for less, and it's an even better deal when you consider the Duet's keyboard is included at no charge.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You have unreliable Internet: ChromeOS is heavily dependent on having reliable access to the Internet. Without Internet access this tablet will be a lot less useful since you won't be able to access websites or use web apps, and ChromeOS has limited ability to run apps locally while offline.

❌ You dislike Google or Chrome: As a Chrome tablet the Duet really only shines when you log into your Google account and take full advantage of its online features. If you don't like using Google or Chrome, you'll hate using this tablet.

The bottom line

💻 The Lenovo Chromebook Duet is the best cheap Chrome tablet for most people because it offers a compelling mix of features for under $300. The fact that the detachable keyboard is included at no charge gives this slate an edge over similar 2-in-1s like the Surface Go 2, which requires you to pay extra for a keyboard.

What you need to know
The Lenovo Chromebook Duet is a solid Chrome tablet that delivers decent performance and good battery life for $249, or less if you can find it on sale. While a tablet like the iPad or Galaxy Tab A7 may offer a better screen or a better selection of touch-friendly games to play, no slate can match the versatility of this Chrome tablet without a keyboard attached. 

The fact that Lenovo throws in a detachable keyboard with every Duet at no charge is the killer feature that elevates it onto this list, as it means you can effectively get a nice Chrome tablet that doubles as a productivity device in a pinch for under $300. You won't be playing the latest PC games or doing serious video editing on this Chrome tablet, but you can use it to knock out some emails or edit documents in a pinch, and that's great value. 

Design: Without the keyboard attached, the Duet feels like a solid  tablet that's about 0.3 inches thick and weighs just over a pound. This makes it easy to use on the couch or in the car, as ChromeOS is nearly as touch-friendly as Android or iPadOS. Plus, the kickstand on the back, while somewhat weak, is nice to have when using it on an airplane or at your kitchen table. 

Connect the detachable keyboard and you get access to a viable (albeit cramped) keyboard and trackpad, which expand the Duet to be about 0.7 inches thick and just over 2 pounds. In this configuration you can use it to get some work done, though you want to