The best cheap tablets 2024: top budget devices from Apple, Amazon, and more

Best cheap tablets: quick menu

The best cheap tablets don't need to offer much, but they need to get the job done in the easiest way possible. Whether you want a top model from Apple, Samsung, or even Amazon, you can still expect a great screen with long battery life for a decent price. No matter which bargain tablet you choose, you can watch your favorite streaming videos, browse the web, and even get work done. 

Of course, maybe you want a cheap tablet that doesn't ask you to make compromises. You can find worthwhile Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy tablets that still give you a large display, enough performance to run your favorite apps and games, and support for accessories like the Apple Pencil and the Samsung S Pen for real drawing and productivity.

You won't find the same multitasking power or professional-grade screens that you'll get with one of our best tablet picks, but these tablets are affordable enough that you can beat them up, hand them to your kids, and never worry if they can take the abuse. 

If you're not replacing a powerful laptop, you don't need to spring for the best iPads or best Android tablets – you can go with a cheaper tablet instead. All Apple iPad tablets can use the same apps, and every Android tablet, except for Amazon's special Fire tablets, can use Google's services like the Play Store for apps and Gmail for email. 

Quick List

The best cheap tablet in 2024 

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Below, you'll find full write-ups for each of the best cheap tablets in our list. We've tested each model extensively, so you can be sure that our recommendations can be trusted.

The best cheap tablet overall

The Apple iPad 10.2 (2021) best cheap tablet being used with an Apple Pencil

(Image credit: TechRadar)
The best cheap tablet overall

Specifications

Weight: 487g
Dimensions: 250.6 x 174.1 x 7.5mm
OS: iPadOS 15
Screen size: 10.2-inch
Resolution: 1620 x 2160
CPU: A13 Bionic
Storage: 64/256GB
Battery: Up to 10 hours
Rear camera: 8MP (wide)
Front camera: 12MP

Reasons to buy

+
Great looking screen
+
iOS 15 runs well on it

Reasons to avoid

-
Battery life still only 10 hours
-
No Face ID support

The new champion of the best cheap tablets, the Apple iPad 10.2 (2021), offers everything its older model did and more. That includes a gorgeous 10.2-inch screen with True Tone technology, so its colors and brightness automatically adjust to suit the light. That feature proves especially useful for outdoor use, where you might be faced with bright sunlight.

There's also the new and handy Center Stage feature when taking video calls, which means the camera keeps you in frame at all times. We found this made a big difference. iOS 15 (or 17, if you update to the latest version of Apple's OS) keeps things running well with easier-to-use multitasking features and the ability to place widgets anywhere on the screen.

Elsewhere, the battery life is the same at 10 hours. There's no Face ID, but for a cheap tablet, it's hard to fault how well the iPad 10.2 (2021) works. 

Read our full iPad 10.2 (2021) review

The best cheap Amazon tablet

An Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus best cheap tablet with its screen on, on a tiled floor

(Image credit: Future)
The best cheap Amazon tablet

Specifications

Weight: 465g
Dimensions: 247 x 166 x 9.2 mm
OS: Fire OS
Screen size: 10.1-inch
Resolution: 1920 x 1200
CPU: Octa-core
Storage: 32GB/64GB
Battery: up to 12 hours
Rear camera: 5MP (wide)
Front camera: 2MP

Reasons to buy

+
Reasonably priced
+
Excellent picture and sound

Reasons to avoid

-
Dated design
-
Restrictive software

The best of the Amazon Fire tablet range, the Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus might not be the cheapest, but it offers a lot for the price tag. This includes a 10.1-inch display with a 1920 x 1200 resolution, which we found made watching films or videos while on the move look pretty good (and with decent stereo speakers, it sounds good, too).

Battery life is about 12 hours, so you won't have to worry about finding a power source too often, either. Elsewhere, you've got a choice of either 32GB or 64GB of storage, depending on your budget, plus you can go for wireless charging for added convenience. Its lightweight build means it's ideal for extended use. We found the chipset and cameras were both a bit basic, but overall, the the Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus packs a lot in for the price.

Read our full Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus review

The best cheap Samsung tablet

Samsung Galaxy Tab A8

The Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 has an LED display which appears very crisp even on its home page. (Image credit: Future)
The best cheap Samsung tablet

Specifications

Weight: 508g
Dimensions: 246.8 x 161.9 x 6.9mm
OS: Android 11
Screen size: 10.5-inch
Resolution: 1920 x 1200
CPU: Unisoc Tiger T618
Storage: 64GB
Battery: 7,040mAh
Rear camera: 8MP (wide)
Front camera: 5MP

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable price
+
Great display

Reasons to avoid

-
Software crashes at low battery
-
Long charging time

The Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 is the South Korean firm's answer to Apple's best cheap tablet, which you've seen above. If you're looking for an Android-powered iPad rival on a budget, this is the slate you should consider. With Google's Android operating system providing plenty of flexibility, coupled with a large HD display, the 10.5-inch Tab A8 is great for movies and web browsing.

It also benefits from long battery life in our experience, so you can indulge in a movie marathon; just be aware that it can take some time to charge. It’s not the most powerful tablet around, and overall we’d give Apple’s cheapest iPad the edge. But for media and basic app use around the house, this is a strong choice.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 review

The best cheap small tablet

An Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus best cheap tablet with its screen on, resting on its box

(Image credit: Future)
The best cheap small tablet

Specifications

Weight: 355g
Dimensions: 202 x 137 x 9.7mm
OS: Fire OS
Screen size: 8-inch
Resolution: 880 x 1280
CPU: quad-core
Storage: 32GB/64GB
Battery: up to 12 hours
Rear camera: 2MP (wide)
Front camera: 2MP

Reasons to buy

+
Wireless charging
+
Can be used like an Echo Show

Reasons to avoid

-
Poor screen quality
-
Not swift, even with extra RAM

The 8-inch Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus is essentially the Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020), but just made a little bit better, so it's no wonder it's one of the best cheap tablets. It has more RAM at 3GB, supports wireless charging (so you can use it with an optional dock that brings it close to an Echo Show), and comes with a speedier charger than the standard Fire HD 8.

Beyond that, it’s much the same as its cheaper sibling. But that in itself makes it faster than the previous generation of the Amazon Fire HD 8, as well as giving you much more storage to play with.

The Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus still isn’t the fastest of slates in our tests, but it holds its own for what it costs, and if you want a small-sized tablet and smart display all in one, it’s a top choice – though for just the tablet part, you might want to consider the standard Fire HD 8 (2020) instead.

Read our full Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus review

The best compromise

An Amazon Fire HD 10 best cheap tablet with its screen on, on a book shelf

(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Future)
The best compromise

Specifications

Weight: 465g
Dimensions: 247 x 166 x 9.2 mm
OS: Fire OS
Screen size: 10.1-inch
Resolution: 1920 x 1200
CPU: Octa-core
Storage: 32GB/64GB
Battery: up to 12 hours
Rear camera: 5MP (wide)
Front camera: 2MP

Reasons to buy

+
Large screen for the price
+
Good battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Sometimes slow
-
Poor camera

With a decent sized screen and a resolution of 1920 x 1200, the Amazon Fire HD 10 (2021) is ideal for watching films while relaxing. That's its biggest strength, really, as we found it was occasionally slow when running basically any kind of software, and its rear camera is still only 5MP (albeit an improvement on the earlier model). Still, for messing around with friends, it'll do.

There's no wireless charging, but nor would you really expect that from such an inexpensive tablet. Given how cheap this slate actually is, though, it still delivers lots for your money, including good battery life, so you can have a movie marathon wherever you are, without needing to charge it up halfway through. This isn’t one for power users, but nor would we expect it to be, hence why we're calling it the best compromise option.

Read our full Amazon Fire HD 10 (2021) review

FAQs

What is the best cheap tablet?

The best cheap tablet on the market right now is Apple's iPad 10.2 (2021). For a decent price, it gives you a gorgeous 10.2-inch screen, great app support and handy video call features. If you're looking for an Android device, though, then we recommend the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8.

How to choose the best cheap tablet

There are always compromises on cheaper products, so in choosing one of the best cheap tablets, it's important to identify where corners have been cut, and whether those things matter to you. Equally, if anything in particular is very important to you, be it the battery, screen or anything else, make sure that the tablet you're considering performs well there.

There are also variables that apply no matter how much you're spending. For example, you might want something relatively small, light and portable, such as an 8-inch screen and a weight of under 400g.

Or maybe you want a big, immersive 10-inch display. Operating systems are worth considering too, with the options typically including Apple's iPadOS, Android, and Amazon's Fire OS.

You're not going to get a master of all trades at a low price, but it's very possible to find the balance you need.

How we test

In this best cheap tablets guide, we've only included tablets that we've fully reviewed. That means that we've used every entry extensively and delivered a final verdict on them. That process includes testing every key feature and using them as our main tablet, just like a typical buyer would.

This allows us to easily rank and compare different tablets, factoring in their specs, performance, price, value, age, screen quality, battery life, and any other factor worth considering.

With that information, we know exactly which ones to include and which to exclude, and whenever a new cheap tablet is released, we'll compare it to the other entries in this list before deciding if or where it should be placed.

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