Back to school is a bloody hard time for parents, not just getting kids out of the holiday vibe but making sure you have all the pens, glue, paper, books, bags and “stuff” they require. For many parents there’s also a new need – Laptops.

Now there are loads of laptops out there, countless in fact, but for many the budget won’t stretch to a MacBook or HP Envy Convertible.

So I’ve had a good look at all the laptops at the low end of the budget range, and found five worthy of your consideration.

Importantly, it should be noted, these laptops are for school use. They’re not for gaming, so if your kids are expecting to play Minecraft, let alone Fortnite on these, squash those expectations like a bug – and explain that that’s not what you’re buying.

If some of their mates have fancy gaming laptops, so be it – not everyone can afford that, nor does everyone want that.

These five laptops are made specifically to suit the school needs of your kids.

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i

A windows computer with the benefit of that 2-in-1 design, which means it’s a laptop but also tablet when you want.

I don’t really see kids loving the tablet part of these, but in “tent” mode you can sit the laptop up and use the tablet screen as a “TV” for watching YouTube or Netflix etc. So that’s an added benefit to schooling if you want!

But, aside from that, it has decent speakers and a 720p Web cam so if we have to go back to home-schooling it will do the job.

Price: $597

Web: Officeworks

HP Chromebook 14

One of two Chromebooks I’m recommending, a Chromebook is NOT running windows. When you boot it up, it’s basically the Google Chrome browser.

While that sounds like madness, you’ll find most schools operating in a Google environment, Google accounts, Google Classroom, they use Google Docs or Microsoft Office on the web.

The best way to know if a Chromebook will suit your child is firstly to ask the school, but secondly, download Chrome onto your existing computer, and see if the kids can access all their schoolwork!

A really nice silver finish, outstanding battery life – a great looking laptop for the price.

Price: $547

Web: Officeworks

Acer 14″ Swift 1 Notebook

This one is a cracker for the price. Under $400, a Windows Laptop with a really slick modern design and gold colour.

15 hour battery, backlit keyboard – there’s some great features here.

It’s not powerful enough to do much more than what would be expected in primary school or very early high-school – but for the price – a stunner.

Price: $396

Web: Officeworks

IdeaPad Slim 3 14″ Chromebook

Likewise this Lenovo IdeaPad – a good size 14 inch screen, running Chrome only but that’s all you really need let’s be honest.

I love the look of it, doesn’t look at all cheap, so if you’ve decided a Chromebook is the go, then 2021 has presented some great options.

Price: $347

Web: Officeworks

Asus 11.6” BR1100 Flip 2-In-1 Notebook

This may be the pick of the bunch to be honest. Not because of style, or power, or size.

In fact, this is small – 11.6 inch screen. But it’s rugged, will survive a school child’s beating and has features built in for teachers to see if the battery is going flat. 11 hours battery life, running Windows 10 Pro, backlit keyboard and it feels really light in the hand (and backpack!)

Price: $697

Web: Officeworks

Just a few ideas for you. In reality, there isn’t a bad laptop out there, but – if you try and push a laptop past it’s performance boundaries, they will all feel sluggish and unsuited.

Use them for what they are intended, and you’re on a winner.