Best Tablets for $300 or Less

These devices are cheaper than a brand-new iPad—and they may have everything you want

Someone using a stylus to draw on a tablet.
Photo: Apple
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A premium tablet can cost about $1,000 these days (see the iPad Pro), but that doesn’t mean you have to be a big spender to purchase a model that meets your needs.

In 2019, for example, Apple released a high-performance 10.2-inch iPad priced at $330. It’s a good option for consumers who want access to the iOS App Store and Apple’s magnetic Smart Keyboard without having to pay for iPad Pro-level security features, such as Face ID facial recognition.

But there are even less expensive alternatives out there, including an iPad from 2018 and models made by Amazon, Lenovo, and Samsung. In fact, we found one solid option priced below $100.

All the tablets in our ratings are graded by our testers on nearly 240 data points. Those on the list below are more than adequate for web browsing and watching episodes of “Glow” on Netflix.

As an added benefit, you can expand the limited storage on many of these tablets quickly and inexpensively by using the built-in micro-SD card reader. (No such luck if you’re dead set on buying an iPad.)

Apple iPad 9.7 (32GB) - 2018
Apple iPad 9.7 (32GB) - 2018

    Apple iPad 9.7 (32GB) - 2018

    If it’s iOS or nothing for you, the sixth-generation iPad, released in 2018, with 32 gigabytes of storage, is currently on clearance at many retailers. It’s worth taking a moment to hunt around for online deals—we’ve seen this model priced as low as $280 as of a week ago. Our testers liked a lot about it, including a generous 10.3 hours of battery life while web browsing or 9.3 hours while watching video.

    Unlike the other tablets on this list, however, you can’t easily expand the memory, and if you plan to download a lot of video for offline viewing (for example, before taking a long flight), you may find yourself constrained by only having 32GB of space.

    Still, anything under $300 is a great price for the highest-rated tablet on this list. There’s a reason Apple tops our reader surveys in both customer satisfaction and predicted reliability—the company makes a quality product.

    Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 (2019) Wi-Fi
    Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 (2019) Wi-Fi

      Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 (2019) Wi-Fi

      Priced around $200, this 8-inch tablet impressed our testers with its ease of use and versatility, earning a recommended rating. It’s lightweight, and the battery life—longer than most at 13.7 hours (web) and 13.1 hours (video)—will get you through the day or a long road trip.

      The display is bright and crisp, and the tablet handles everyday tasks such as web browsing and email with ease. The model has more storage—32 gigabytes—than many of the tablets on this list, but it still might not be quite enough if you plan to download of a lot of video for offline views. If you find yourself needing more, you can always—like with any of the Android tablets on this list—expand that storage with a microSD card.

      Lenovo Tab 4 8 (TB-8504F) (16GB, 2GB RAM)
      Lenovo Tab 4 8 (TB-8504F) (16GB,...

        Lenovo Tab 4 8 (TB-8504F) (16GB,...

        This 8.1-inch Android tablet sells for $130 and earns high marks from our testers for its display, ease of use, and versatility. The screen offers very wide viewing angles, which makes it good for sharing a slideshow with colleagues or a movie with friends.

        Slim and compact for its size, the tablet weighs only 0.8 pounds. And it will provide nearly 11 hours of web browsing and more than 15 hours of video watching before you need to plug it in.

        Amazon Fire HD 8 2018 (16GB)
        Amazon Fire HD 8 2018 (16GB)

          Amazon Fire HD 8 2018 (16GB)

          If you’re willing to overlook some shortcomings, the $60 Amazon Fire HD 8 is a steal. The display is admirably good, and if you’re already on the hook for a $119-per-year Amazon Prime subscription, the tablet will provide you with easy access to content including movies, music, and books.

          Our testers found the 8-inch display to be bright and legible, even under intense light. The microSD card slot allows you to expand that 16 gigabytes of storage with a memory card. As for battery life, the Fire HD 8 clocked in at 10.6 hours in our web-browsing tests and 7.9 in our video-viewing tests.

          Keep in mind, though, that the model uses a customized version of the Android operating system known as Fire OS. The biggest downside? You don’t get access to apps like Gmail and YouTube via the Google Play store. Instead you have to settle for the generic alternatives offered in Amazon’s app store.

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          Jake Swearingen

          I write about electronic doodads, geegaws, and gimcracks. Before joining Consumer Reports, I was a technology writer at New York magazine. During my off hours, I enjoy time with my wife and daughter in Bayonne, N.J., working on my baking and BBQ skills. Follow me on Twitter (@JakeSwearingen).