The best tablets for teachers let educators stay mobile while remaining connected to the wealth of useful smart teaching tech available online. Some are even powerful enough to replace a laptop all together.
Sure laptops have a useful keyboard, but now most tablets have the option of a keyboard case -- plus these are more lightweight, feature built-in cameras and, in many cases, work with stylus pens for even more functionality.
So while a tablet can be useful in the classroom, as a screen to use from desk to desk showing students what they need to learn, it goes further. The best tablets for teachers are also wonderful remote teaching tools thanks to the built-in connectivity, cameras, and microphones and speakers to make video calls possible from anywhere. In the case of SIM-toting tablets, that can be literally anywhere as even a wifi connection isn't needed.
Some considerations before you buy include: How large you need the screen versus how portable you need it to be; how long you require the battery to last; what software system you work with; if you need a keyboard and powerful built-in audio; and will it all work on the systems at your place of education?
So all that in mind, to help make the choice easier, these are the very best tablets for teachers right now.
1. Apple iPad (2020): The best tablets for teachers top pick
The Apple iPad (2020) is the best tablet you can buy when it comes to getting a lot for your money. Yes, this isn't the newest nor the cheapest tablet, but for Apple, it's the most reasonably priced premium iPad. This powerhouse can even potentially replace a laptop thanks to all the apps available.
The 10.2-inch Retina display packs in a 2,160 x 1,620 resolution on the touchscreen for a clear and bright image. Behind that is the power of the A12 Bionic chip, not Apple's latest but still wielding more than enough power for most teaching tasks, including video classes. You also get a 1.2MP FaceTime HD camera for video calls, and an 8MP rear snapper for sharing class materials and even augmented reality experiences.
The built-in dual microphones and stereo speakers make this a package that can get you online and video chatting without anything else. It also will support the Apple Pencil for stylus needs, as well as the keyboard case for a portable layer of protection that doubles as a keyboard for more laptop-like needs.
The Touch ID keeps the tablet locked and secure when not in use and the battery is good for all-day use, so no need to carry a charger. With all the high-quality App Store apps available for the iOS system, this is a powerful tablet that will do it all from Google Classroom and Zoom to emails and word processing.
2. Samsung Tab S7 Plus: Best PC-style tablet
The Samsung Tab S7 Plus is a tablet that blurs the line between laptop PC and portable touchscreen device. This is largely thanks to the DeX mode that allows you to enjoy a desktop-style interface on the otherwise Android 10 operating system – including outputting to a TV – ideal for at-home use when a monitor isn't available.
This tablet packs in serious specs with a stunning 12.4-inch Super AMOLED display capable of HDR10+ and 120Hz, which all translates to life-like clarity and smoothness – perfect for video teaching. The camera supports this well too with an impressive 8MP selfie snapper that works well in all lighting thanks to HDR smarts.
The inclusion of the S Pen stylus is another big draw here, ideal for marking digital work, making notes, and drawing. You will have to pay extra for the keyboard case and this is already a pricey tablet, but as a genuine laptop replacement, with a 14-hour battery, it justifies the cost.
3. Amazon Fire 7: Best affordable tablet
The Amazon Fire 7 is a super affordable 7-inch tablet, making it a very practical option for many teachers. The build is rugged so it's ideal for the classroom, although the screen does lack the full HD resolution of some competitors. That said, at its size, the display does the job well enough – just don't expect an entire video classroom on that 1,024 x 600 screen.
This device runs Amazon Fire OS, which is Android-based, so there are lots of apps available, just not as many as Apple and Android devices offer. It is a great one-handed tablet that offers easy access to Kindle reading and comes with built-in Alexa voice assistant.
Battery life is relatively poor, and you'll need a charger nearby for any extended use over five hours. The 2MP cameras, in front and back, do a decent enough job of handling video calls and basic photography, but don't expect too much at this price.
4. HP Chromebook X2: Best tablet that doubles as a Chromebook
The HP Chromebook X2 is a great option for anyone who wants the freedom of a tablet without losing the functionality of their Chromebook – ideal for schools already supporting Google programs and hardware. The anodized aluminum tablet section is a 12.3-inch detachable display that sports an impressive 2,400 x 1,600 resolution and daytime capable 403 nits of brightness. It attaches to a leather-texture keyboard with trackpad and also comes with the HP Active Pen stylus accessory.
Audio is excellent thanks to built-in B&O Play sound onboard, which makes this very capable for video lessons, as does the 4.9-megapixel front-facing camera and built-in microphones. The 12-hour battery means no need to carry a charger and the Intel Core i5 processing makes it more than capable as a full computer, too. The only downside is this is heavier than some tablets – but then again it is a lot lighter than many laptops.
5. Lenovo Smart Tab M8: Best for battery life
The Lenovo Smart Tab M8 is another tablet that falls into the affordable category while remaining compact. As such, it features an 8-inch display that tops out at 1,280 x 800, but packs in lots of color and a daytime useable 350 nits of brightness. The design is attractive and the inclusion of a charging dock, which angles the tablet perfectly, makes this a useful tablet-top video classroom device.
Despite 2GB of RAM and a quad-core MediaTek processor, this device does struggle with more processor-heavy tasks. That is likely because it is throttled to help battery life, which is an impressive 18 hours -- making this one of the best, especially for its size.
While we'd like a newer operating system than Android 9, this may get an update and in the short term does just fine. Plus, it offers plenty of apps to make it a very useful tablet in the classroom and for remote learning.
6. Microsoft Surface Go 2: Best Windows tablet
The Microsoft Surface Go 2 is a tablet that also gives the full Windows 10 experience, allowing it to double as a laptop replacement – if you have the attached keyboard cover. This crams in the power with an Intel Core m3 processor backed by up to 8GB of RAM, making it capable of nearly any task a teacher could ask of it.
While the Touch Cover that features a keyboard and trackpad isn't included, the price of the tablet is relatively low for what you do get. Expect powerful performance, bright and clear 1,920 x 1,280 display, and an excellent 5MP front-facing camera with 1080p Skype HD video that's ideal for video teaching.
7. Apple iPad Pro: Best premium tablet
The Apple iPad Pro is one of the best tablets out there, bar none. This does it all and it does it in style. As such the price tag reflects that. You get all the premium build quality of an Apple tablet, that impressive app store, a full keyboard, and the ability to use a super sensitive and smart stylus in the Apple Pencil.
Expect super speedy performance, lots of storage space, even if you go for the smaller device, and everything shown off on an eye-wateringly good screen. This just works, it works well, and will do for a long time to come. And with the inclusion of Lidar sensors, this should be future-proof even for the coming advanced AR teaching tools of the near future.