PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A laptop is arguably the most important back-to-school purchase you’ll make this year.

With so many designs and functions now, how do you know which one is best? Which ones are worth the money?

Consumer Reports says the best place to start is your child’s age.

Come September, even the youngest students can expect some keyboard time in the classroom.

Consumer Reports says a good choice for first-fifth graders is a low cost Chromebook.

“Chromebooks are lightweight laptops that run Google’s Chrome operating system. For younger kids, parents can set up supervised user accounts that restrict content on the web,” Consumer Reports’ Glenn Derene said.

One Chromebook to look for is the Acer C-720-2848.

It costs just $200 and Consumer Reports says it lasts more than ten hours on a charge.

However, serious homework demands a serious computer.

For high school and middle school students, Consumer Reports says the $600 Lenovo IdeaPad U430 Touch is a good choice.

“It’s a lot of laptop for the money. It’s got a powerful processor, a decent sized hard drive, and it was a very good performer in our lab test,” Derene said.

At about four pounds, it won’t weigh down a backpack either.

Speaking of being weighed down, college-bound students have loads of gear.

But for taking notes, is a laptop or a tablet a better choice?

Consumer Reports says Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 offers the best of both.

It costs $1,000 and $130 for the keyboard accessory.

“It’s technically a tablet, but it’s got a full Windows operating system. So, it allows you to switch back and forth between a touchscreen friendly mode and one that’s more like a conventional mouse and keyboard,” Derene said.

For creative thinkers, the Surface Pro 3 comes with a pen that lets you write directly on the screen.

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