You could be forgiven for assuming your search for the best tablet under $100 was a futile one. Is it even possible to get a decent tablet at that price? Turns out yes – while there of course will be compromises to make on features, screen size and everything else, there are some great, unfussy and reliable tablets that can be bought for less than $100 – and we’ve picked out the best one.
Or the best five – because we’ve in fact made five recommendations. First up is our pick for the overall best tablet under $100, one that we feel offers great features for the price and genuine value for money. However, we know that our pick may not be right for everyone, so we’ve also offered four alternative choices of great cheap tablets, with a slightly different set of pros and cons.
One thing to note is that we’ve made an effort to stick with reputable brand names for the best tablets. If you want to buy a tablet – any tablet – for less than $100, it is easier to accomplish than you might think. Type “cheap tablets” into Amazon and you’ll be absolutely inundated with a raft of sub-$90 Android tablets, made by brands you’ve never heard of, with names that are senseless strings of capital letters – a.k.a. the usual Amazon fare. Buying these kinds of electronics can work out for some, but it tends to be potluck at best, with little recourse if you end up with a faulty product. So, as far as possible, we’ve kept our picks to names you know and brands you trust.
At the bottom of the guide, we’ve also included some buyers’ advice on cheap tablets, including common pitfalls to watch out for and how to set realistic expectations on what you’re going to get for $100 or less (it ain’t an iPad Pro, that’s for sure). But all that’s for later – right now, let’s jump in and find out what’s the best tablet you can buy for under $100.
The best tablet under $100 is the Lenovo Tab M8 HD
With its metal construction and punchy, colorful screen, at first blush the Lenovo Tab M8 (HD) might not feel like a tablet you can buy for less than $100 – but indeed it is so. At launch it was priced around the $130 mark, but these days at outlets like Amazon and Best Buy it’s common to see it for a two-figure price in the $90s or even in the high $80s if you’re lucky.
With options of 2GB or 3GB of RAM, running Android 9 (Pie), the Lenovo Tab M8 isn’t about to win any awards for processing speed. You certainly wouldn’t try to edit 4K video or have a high-intensity gaming session on this thing, but for browsing, Netflix bingeing and playing simple tablet games, it’ll be great. And frankly, if that’s all you want from a tablet, there’s no reason you should be paying much more than this.
One of the reasons that the Lenovo M8 is our top pick is that in a fair few categories it punches well above what you’d expect for this kind of price. One thing worth singling out is the battery life, which really is excellent – some reviewers have managed to get as much as 23 hours of juice out of this thing. Naturally that was during battery testing, and if you’re actually using the tablet you can expect that number to shrink a little, but it’s still going to be more than enough for day-to-day usage.
Also, you can call us luddites for this if you want, but we appreciate a nice physical 3.5mm headphone jack in addition to the option of connecting via Bluetooth. It’s something that’s not too fashionable on tablets these days, but those of us who have taken care of our headphones for years will appreciate it. On that note, you will almost certainly want to use headphones if you’re streaming, as the built-in speaker on the Lenovo Tab M8 isn’t up to much.
Overall, as long as you’re aware of its limitations, the Lenovo Tab M8 is a fantastic choice of tablet for less than $100.
Other tablets under $100
Not sure if the Lenovo Tab M8 (HD) is right for you? No fear – we’ve picked out four great alternative tablets for under $100. Read on to compare our top picks.
Screen size: 8-inch
Storage: 32GB / 64GB (plus MicroSD slot)
Amazon’s Fire tablets are consistently some of the cheapest you can buy from a major brand, and the most recent Fire HD 8 model slides into our criteria with a retail price of $99.99. With generous battery life (Amazon claims 13 hours) and a punchy display, the Fire HD 8 is a good choice for streaming – especially if one of your services of choice is Amazon Prime Video. While you don’t have to be a Prime subscriber to use the Fire HD 8, it certainly does make the whole experience much slicker, with movies and books being readily served up for your consumption. While RAM is fixed at 2GB, storage options include 32GB and 64GB – though the latter will nudge the price up to $129.99. A microSD card slot also allows you to expand this still further.
- Good for streaming
- Alexa voice-assistant
- MicroSD slot
- Tied into Amazon app ecosystem
- Middling performance
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 7.0 (2016)
Screen size: 7-inch
Storage: 8GB (plus microSD slot)
A Samsung tablet for less than $100? It’s perfectly possible – if you’re willing to make a few compromises, naturally. For a start, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 7.0 made its debut in 2016, so you’re certainly not getting what anyone would call the latest model. With 1.5GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, it’s pretty basic as far as features go – though the latter can be expanded considerably thanks to the MicroSD card slot. Another thing to be aware of is that you’re not going to get this tablet brand new, as Samsung has long since discontinued it in favor of its newer models. However, if you’re willing to buy a renewed second-hand tablet you have plenty of options – Amazon lists several at the moment for $65. That price for a functional Samsung tablet is pretty amazing, and its HD screen means it’s still great for streaming.
- Cheap for a Samsung device
- HD screen
- Lightweight and portable
- Will need to buy renewed
- Low RAM
Screen size: 7-inch
We’re going to take a punt here and say that more than a few of you who are hunting for a tablet under $100 are doing so because you’re buying for a kid. If that’s the case, then we’d definitely recommend giving the Pebble Gear Kids Tablet a try – it’s a simple 7-inch device that can be bought in a variety of Disney themes, including Toy Story and (of course) Frozen. The tablet comes pre-loaded with Disney-themed games, apps and ebooks for kids to explore, and there’s access to the Gamestore Junior app library if you want to download more. The Pebble Gear Kids Tablet also allows you to set parental controls, with options including content filters and usage limits – as after all, it’s important the kids don’t spend all their time glued to the screen.
- Slip-resistant design
- Parental control options
- Disney theming available
- For kids only
- No MicroSD slot
Screen size: 7-inch
Storage: 16GB / 32GB
Amazon’s smallest current tablet, the Amazon Fire 7 is so diminutive that you may even be able to slip it into a jacket pocket. This is the 2022 refresh of a design that had been growing a little stale since 2019, and while there’s not much change to write home about, one welcome difference is the upgrade of the charging port from microUSB to USB-C. Not only does this make charging much faster, it also makes the port itself quite a bit more resilient, as anyone who has kept a microUSB device for a long time can probably attest. Once again, the Amazon Fire 7 requires the use of Amazon’s app ecosystem rather than the Google Play Store, which may or may not bother you. The tablet feels a lot in use like it’s made of cheap plastic, and that’s because it is, but hey – that’s how you get a price of $65 and a weight of eight ounces.
- USB-C charging port
- Pocketable dimensions
- Costlier than 2019 version
- No Google Play access
- No microSD card slot
Pros and cons of tablets under $100
The key advantage of buying a tablet under $100 is, of course, the low price. With flagship tablets such as iPad Air models getting pricier and pricier with every go-around, the tablet market can feel simply unreachable to some, and it’s important to remember that there is generally always accessible tech for those with less cash to spend – you just have to find it.
Cheap tablets have advantages of their own, too. They tend to be smaller and much more portable, with screens that are seven or eight inches in size being common. Carrying a big heavy tablet everywhere with you can be quite difficult, and if you just want something to use to watch movies on a flight or have with you to browse online without punishing your phone battery, a cheap tablet can be an excellent choice.
Cheap tablets can also be great to give to kids, and as we’ve seen, there are dedicated kid-friendly options out there, including Pebble Gear’s tablets and Amazon’s dedicated Kids’ models in its Fire range. If a tablet costs less than $100, you’re probably going to be much less bothered when your kid inevitably drops it, bashes it around or covers it in apple juice (indeed, kids’ tablets tend to be built a little tougher for this reason).
Naturally, when buying a tablet for less than $100, you have to be realistic. As we’ve seen, you’re not going to get the latest features and will have to compromise on more than a few things. Cheap tablets tend not to be much good for multi-tasking – both because of their small screens and their limited RAM. If you’re someone who likes to browse the internet while watching Netflix or YouTube, well, a sub-$100 tablet is not really the device to do that. Both applications will likely stutter and lag.
Also – you may have grokked this already from the composition of our list, but at the price, you have to be willing to go with Android as your operating system. At two-figure prices, there’s no real room for anything running iOS. If you hunt on the second-hand market, you might find a very old refurbished iPad for less than $100, but in all honesty you’ll get more for your money by sticking with an Android model.