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The best cheap tablets 2020: the top budget options

Best cheap tablets 2019
(Image credit: Apple; Amazon; Lenovo)

If you’re planning to buy one of the best budget tablets then, well, your options are limited. Most of the best tablets – such as the iPad Pro 11, which tops our best tablets list, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6, which tops our best Android tablets list - are decidedly expensive.

But it’s not so much that budget tablets are bad, as just that not many are being made. That does mean there are fewer that you’ll need to consider though, making it easier to choose one.

And to make things even easier we’ve crafted this guide, highlighting the very best options, including the likes of the iPad 9.7 (2018) and the Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019).

All of our picks come complete with specs, pros, cons and key features, so you can see at a glance whether each tablet sounds right for you.

You shouldn’t go too wrong with any of the options below though, as while they’re ‘cheap’ they also offer a lot for the money, and scored well in our reviews.

But make sure to check out our best cheap iPad deals and best cheap Android tablet deals pages too, to make sure you're getting the best price for your new slate.

Best cheap tablets 2020 at a glance:

  1. Apple iPad (2018)
  2. Lenovo Tab 4 8 Plus
  3. Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019)
  4. Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.5
  5. Amazon Fire HD 8 (2018)
  6. Amazon Fire 7 (2019)

Best cheap tablets 2019: Apple iPad (2018)

(Image credit: Apple)

1. Apple iPad (2018)

The best cheap tablet you can buy right now

Weight: 469g | Dimensions: 240 x 169.5 x 7.5mm | OS: iOS 13 | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: Apple A10 Fusion | Storage: 32GB/128GB | Battery: 8827mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.2MP

Good screen quality
Powerful for the price
Apple Pencil costs extra
Design unchanged

The iPad 9.7 (2018) is the best cheap tablet you can buy right now.

It may not be the newest entry-level iPad on the market (that's the new iPad 2019), but the iPad 2018 still has an awful lot going for it - not to mention a lower price tag.

You get a display, plenty of power under the hood for your apps and games, plus it's been updated to Apple's newest software - iOS 13 - ensuring it's right up to date with the latest features and security patches.

Read the full review: iPad 9.7 (2018)

Best cheap tablets 2019: Lenovo Tab 4 8 Plus

(Image credit: Lenovo)

2. Lenovo Tab 4 8 Plus

The best cheap Android tablet around

Weight: 300g | Dimensions: 210 x 123 x 7mm | OS: Android 7.0 | Screen size: 8-inch | Resolution: 1200 x 1920 | CPU: Snapdragon 625 | Storage: 16GB/64GB | Battery: 4850mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 5MP

Strong performance
Premium design
Easily scratched
Camera isn't great

In a sea of slates and smartphones, crafting a device that has enough personality to stand out and enough quality to be worth caring about is a difficult proposition.

With the Tab 4 8 Plus, Lenovo has succeeded in producing something with a flavor of its own, and something that makes the mid-range Android tablet market worth attention once again.

If you already have an Android device, commute regularly and want something a little nicer than an Amazon tablet, this is the obvious next step.

Read the full review: Lenovo Tab 4 8 Plus

(Image credit: Amazon)

3. Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019)

A decent, big screen, cheap tablet

Weight: 504g | Dimensions: 262 x 159 x 9.8mm | 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: 2MP | Front camera: 2MP

Large, clear screen
Dependable battery life
Divisive software
Only okay speakers

The Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019) is the latest and best of Amazon’s big tablets. Having a 10.1-inch 1200 x 1920 screen makes it a good budget option for media in particular, especially if you have an Amazon Prime subscription.

It’s built to last too, and has decent battery life, so this is a slate you can happily take with you wherever you go – as long as the size isn’t an issue.

Its biggest issue is the same issue all Amazon tablets have, namely the software, which is big on pushing Amazon products and services, and lacks access to the Google Play Store. But if you can live with that then the Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019) is a strong cheap choice.

Read the full review: Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019)

(Image credit: Samsung)

4. Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.5 (2018)

Samsung's best budget tablet

Weight: 529g | Dimensions: 260 x 161.1 x 8mm | OS: Android 8.1 | Screen size: 10.5-inch | Resolution: 1200 x 1920 | CPU: Snapdragon 450 | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 7300mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 5MP

Has a headphone jack
Long battery life
Design a little bulky
Can be sluggish

The Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.5 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 iPad rival on a budget, this is the slate you should consider. With Google's Android operating system providing plenty of flexibility and a large HD display, the Tab A 10.5 is great for gaming, movies and web browsing.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.5 (2018)

(Image credit: Amazon)

5. Amazon Fire HD 8 (2018)

If you live on Amazon you'll want a Fire

Weight: 363g | Dimensions: 214 x 128 x 9.7mm | OS: Fire OS | Screen size: 8-inch | Resolution: 800 x 1280 | CPU: 1.3GHz quad-core | Storage: 16GB/32GB | Battery: up to 10 hours | Rear camera: 2MP | Front camera: 2MP

Decent value
Improved speakers
Few meaningful upgrades
A little slow in places

The Amazon HD 8 was rebooted for 2018 with a slightly updated look, better front facing camera and a larger storage option. They are useful upgrades and ensure it remains in our best budget tablet list. 

It's no tablet king, but it does what it sets out to well. Its crazy low price tag means it's perfect to hand off to the kids without the fear that they're wielding an expensive bit of kit around.

It may be too small for some, and the cameras aren't up to much, but the Fire HD 8 gives you the core tablet experience for not very much outlay, making it a budget tablet worth buying.

Read the full review: Amazon Fire HD 8

(Image credit: Amazon)

6. Amazon Fire 7 (2019)

Amazon's latest 7-inch slate is a very cheap, very basic tablet

Weight: 286g | Dimensions: 192 x 115 x 9.6mm | OS: Fire OS | Screen size: 7-inch | Resolution: 1,024 x 600 | CPU: 1.3GHz Quad-core | Storage: 16GB/32GB | Battery: up to 7 hours | Rear camera: 2MP | Front camera: VGA

Affordable
Durable build
Disappointing non-HD screen
Poor battery life

Notice the lack of 'HD' in the name of the Amazon Fire 7, compared to the other Amazon slates on this list? That's because the screen quality of the tablet is, well, not HD.

That's a compromise you'll have to make if you're wanting Amazon's latest super-cheap device, as it won't grace your eyes with a stunning display or slick performance. However there is enough power under the hood to get you through basic tasks, like streaming content or shopping.

It's also great as a Kindle device, if you want your Kindle to also come with Alexa and the internet and the best books of all, movies.

Read the full review: Amazon Fire 7 (2019)