The best budget tablet is something more and more of us are looking for at the moment. With prices of fuel, food and other basic goods rocketing right now, due largely to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, many of us are having to tighten our belts. And so whether you're looking for a cheap tablet for work, your kids' education or just entertaining the family with Netflix and Disney+ shows, the hunt for the best cheap tablet has become much more important.
The good news is that you don't need to spend a fortune to get a decent model. So help you out, we've gathered together the best budget tablets below, at a range of price points.
Whether you want to spend less than $50, less than $100, less than $150, or less than $200, you'll find the best cheap tablets for your needs. (Please note that prices change all the time, so the widgets on this page automatically pull in the best prices available for each tablet on the day you're reading this - and in your local currency.)
Admittedly, these low-cost models won't match up to the specs of the absolute best tablets, nor will they feature the best tablet camera. But for surfing the web, listening to music and watching streaming video, they still do a great job.
The best budget tablets
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If you're looking to spend under $50 on a tablet, here's our top pick. Despite its low price, the Amazon Fire 7 is a solid, reliable device that's perfectly good for browsing the internet and streaming video. And if that's all you need, why spend any more?
There are, of course, a few reasons why you might want to. Firstly, like all Amazon tablets, this runs Amazon's own operating system, FireOS, rather than Android. So you won't be able to run apps from the Google Play store, although Amazon does strive to present suitable alternatives.
Plus overall, this is pretty basic tablet. The seven-inch screen is small (some phone screens are aren't much smaller). The resolution is lower than HD (1024 x 600) and the brightness limited, so watching videos outside is not a great idea. The sound from the mono speaker is a bit tinny, too. And the whole system runs on the slow side: don't try to open too many tabs when browsing.
That said, for this price, you really won't find anything comparable. And if you don't need your tablet to do anything special, it represents truly excellent value.
The Lenovo Tab M10 FHD Plus is a step up in price from the sub-$100 devices on our list, but you can see what you're getting for the money.
The most obvious difference is the size, which means you get a lovely 10.3-inch IPS screen with HD (1200 x 1920 pixels) resolution. And that makes this budget tablet a good choice for watching TV and movies.
The 8MP (rear) and 5MP (front) cameras are much better quality too. Plus while there's just 2G RAM, the more advanced processor means you still get faster and smoother performance than on the cheapest tablets. And unlike Amazon's tablets, this one runs Android, so you can use all the Google apps you love.
The Amazon Fire HD 8 costs a little more than Amazon's cheapest tablet, the Fire 7. However, if you can afford the extra few dollars it costs, you will get a lot more for your money.
Firstly, there's a larger (8 inch) screen with HD resolution (1280 x 800). You'll get a more powerful processor, to make everything run more smoothly. And you'll also enjoy much longer battery life: 12 hours to the Fire 7's seven hours.
It's still a basic tablet overall, with no Android apps, and a processor that's too limited for gaming. But if you mainly want a tablet for watching movies and surfing the web, it'll do everything you need to.
If you can stretch to just under $200, the Lenovo Yoga Tab 11 is the best budget tablet on the market today.
The screen is large and beautiful. This 11-inch IPS LCD display boasts 2K resolution (2,000 x 1,200 pixels) resolution, up to 400 nits of brightness, and a refresh rate of 60Hz, making it good choice for both streaming video and playing games. And there's an included kickstand to make both more comfortable.
Audio is also good quality for a cheap tablet. The Octa-core processor and 4GB of RAM keep the system running pretty smoothly. And the 8MP front and rear cameras are far superior to most of the cheaper tablets on this list.
Maybe you don't want to buy from Amazon for moral and political reasons, or because you've had a bad experience from the company. Or perhaps the Fire 7 is simply out of stock right now. In which, the best tablet under $50 is this one from Walmart's own brand, Onn.
Most of the specs are roughly comparable to the Fire 7. But the battery life is less good, averaging four hours, there's no Alexa, and the screen produces an image that's a little dimmer than its Amazon rival. On the flipside, it does run Android and so you can get access to Google apps.
As with the Amazon Fire 7, the best alternative to the Fire 8 HD under $100 comes from the Onn brand of budget tablets.
Again, we rate Amazon's 8-inch tablet more highly because of its better display (and let's face it, at this price level, the main reason you'd want a tablet is for entertainment). The battery life is also less impressive, at nine hours to the Fire 8 HD's 12. But once again, the Onn tablet wins out if you'd rather run Android and use Google Play Store apps (and are willing to sacrifice Alexa in the process).
Want a tablet for your young children? Then your main concern will be them breaking it. In which case, you want the Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition. It not only comes with a great protective case, but also a two-year worry-free guarantee: so if it breaks, you can return it and Amazon will replace it for free.
This tablet is not only nice and cheap, but you get a free year's subscription to Amazon Kids+, which gives your kids access to thousands of apps, games, books, videos, audiobooks, and educational content from PBS Kids, Nickelodeon, Disney, and more.
Of course, that means you're on the hook in 12 months time to continue the subscription (starting at just $4.99 per month plus tax) or incur the wrath of your family. Your call!
If you're not bothered about running Android apps, and just want a tablet for browsing the web and enjoying entertainment, the Amazon Fire range is the best value in town. And the Amazon Fire HD 10 is a fantastic option if have just under $150 to spare.
Yes, that's almost three times the cost of the cheapest Fire tablet, but you are getting a lot more. Its 10.1-inch IPS LCD screen provides an excellent picture, at Full HD resolution (1920 x 1200 pixels). The Octa-core processor makes everything run more quickly than cheaper Fire tablets. You have a microSD card slot to expand memory up to 1TB should you need it. And battery life is up to 10 hours after one full charge.
On the downside, the front and rear cameras are a bit limited, so if those are a priority, or you want to run Android, you'd be better off with the Lenovo Tab M10 Plus, the previous entry on our list.
The best tablet under $200 for kids is the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition. It comes with the same protective case and worry-free guarantee as the 7-inch version (number 5 on our list). Plus, for the extra money, you get much-improved specs.
They include a better screen: not just an inch bigger, but with much better resolution (1280 x 800 pixels to the Fire 7 Kids' 1024 x 600). You also get twice the storage, and the option of adding a microSD card, sold separately, for up to 1TB more. The quad-core processor makes everything run faster too. And perhaps best of all, the battery runs for up to 12 hours; a good five hours longer than the Fire 7 Kids'.
A drawing tablet isn't the same as a normal tablet. Most fundamentally, it's not a standalone device: you need to connect it to a computer. And its basic purpose is to allow you to draw with a stylus, in a way that's similar to drawing on paper. They're most commonly used by artists, but they're also popular for other activities involving a digital pen (for example, see our roundup of the best drawing tablets for photo editing).
Our favorite drawing tablet for those on a budget is the XP-Pen Artist 12. It has a lovely 11.6in screen, boasting Full HD resolution (1920x1080), 72% NTSC Color Gamut and 178° viewing angle. And it comes with its own digital pen, offering 8,192-levels of pressure sensitivity. You get a pen holder, eight replacement pen nibs, a cleaning cloth and a drawing glove. All this, for such a low price, represents excellent value.