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Best tech for students working from home

Make it easier for you and your kids to get work done while keeping the peace.

Joshua Goldman Managing Editor / Advice
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
Expertise Laptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and drones Credentials
  • More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.
Joshua Goldman
4 min read
Lenovo Chromebook

Lenovo's Chromebook C340-11 is a good entry-level two-in-one for students. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Many families are still balancing work and keeping their kids' education on track due to school closures from the coronavirus. While you might have been able to get by with a single family computer at home, the current situation may demand buying something to supplement it. Or maybe you're just in need of some accessories to make what you've got do more. Either way, we're here to help. 

If you're simply looking for new laptop suggestions, however, here are our best laptops for 2020. If you're looking for a specific style of laptop, here are our best gaming laptops15-inch laptopstwo-in-ones and Chromebooks, as well as the best choices for college studentscreatives and MacBook Pro alternatives for the Windows set. Plus, if you just want pure power or battery life, our rankings of battery life and performance are for you. Need to stay as low as possible on price? Check out our picks for budget laptops and budget gaming laptops.

Read more: Online education classes for every age and grade


Many school districts switched from iPads and Windows laptops to Chromebooks. The best part about this is you can get a good, reliable one for your kids for less than $200 such as this Asus. They also make great secondary or tertiary computers for this reason. If you're not sure how they differ from a Windows PC or MacBook, here's our breakdown of what Chromebooks can and can't do and basic Chromebook buying advice. Here are some additional Chromebook deals, all for less than $400 each, or you can check clearance site Woot, which regularly has great Chromebook bargains.

In need of an iPad? If you want to buy a new one, here's where you can find the best prices on iPads. You can, however, find better deals on refurbished or renewed models direct from Apple as well as Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy and Gazelle. And, in case you're concerned, buying a refurb iPad is a great idea. What's most important is that the model you buy supports the apps you need. Apple has a list of all the models that support the current version of iPadOS. You should also pay attention to the warranty that comes with it


A small multifunction printer comes in handy for printing everything from worksheets to coloring pages. This one from Brother might be more than you need, but it's our top pick for a home printer and it supports wireless printing -- important for Chromebook and iPad users who can't install drivers or easily directly connect by a cable. 

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

My Nest Mini is getting a workout this week (which is more than I can say for myself). It's doing the usual things like keeping track of my shopping lists, setting timers, playing music and reminding me what day of the week it is. But it's also answering many of my kids' schoolwork questions as well as keeping them entertained while I get work done. There are more than 30 kid-friendly options from quizzes and trivia to games like freeze dance and musical chairs, though a family favorite is Mad Libs.

Read our Google Nest Mini review.


The biggest downside to working on a Chromebook (or any laptop really) is screen space. Getting your student something larger will make classwork so much less painful. Most of our top picks for monitor upgrades are either out of stock or being sold for much more than their original prices. However, a smaller, 22-inch version of one of our choices, the ViewSonic VX2776-SMHD, is still available for the moment at a reasonable price. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Everyone needs headphones

Puro Sound Labs PuroQuiet Kids Bluetooth Headphones

My house has essentially become an open office and, like every open office I've worked in, headphones have been crucial for my whole family. The PuroQuiets are essentially adult headphones sized for a child's head with built-in volume limiting to help active noise canceling and to protect hearing. They're great, but they're also expensive. For less expensive options, check out the $30 iClever Bluetooth volume-limiting headphones. We haven't tested them, but they are well reviewed on Amazon

Read our Puro Sound Labs PuroQuiet Kids Bluetooth Headphones review.

Nuklz N

If you have a younger student or one new to typing, having a full-size keyboard with easy-to-read print can help reduce the frustration of finding keys. This is a simple, inexpensive one from Nuklz that just needs an open USB-A port to work and can be used with Windows, Mac or Chrome. Plus, if you're connecting to a laptop, an external keyboard means they're less likely to spill things on the actual laptop keyboard. 


Workspace in short supply? LapGear's desk fits a 15.6-inch laptop and has a bar at the bottom to keep your laptop from sliding forward off the top. Its phone holder works well for holding pencils, too.  

Watch this: Great online education and distance learning services for kids stuck at home

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