What is the best tablet under $100?

Three kids lying on bed looking at tablet.
(Image credit: Getty)

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

Lenovo Tab M8 (HD) tablet playing Netflix

(Image credit: Lenovo)

Lenovo Tab M8 (HD)

Lenovo’s 8-inch tablet is a terrific tool for a fantastic price.


Screen-size: 8-inch
Resolution: 1280 x 800
RAM: 2GB / 3GB
Storage: 16GB / 32GB
Weight: 10.7 oz
Ports: Micro USB, 3.5mm headphone jack

Reasons to buy

Good performance for price
Excellent battery life
Physical headphone jack

Reasons to avoid

Speakers not the best
Micro USB not USB-C

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.

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.

Jon Stapley
TTR Contributor

Jon Stapley is an experienced writer and journalist who covers tech, photography and more. As well as contributing to TopTen Reviews, he has written for Digital Camera World, Black + White Photography magazine, Creative BLOQ, Wex Photo Video, Amateur Photographer, Trusted Reviews and plenty more.