Getting a great laptop doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. There are tons of great sub-$1,000 options out there, whether you need a mobile business machine, a portable gaming powerhouse, or something in between. Here are our top picks.
How We Test
To evaluate whether a laptop is worth your hard-earned money, we run industry-standard performance benchmarks such as Geekbench and 3DMark as well as a variety of real-world tests that we’ve developed in our labs. This includes the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which surfs the web at 150 nits of brightness until a laptop runs out of juice, as well as a custom spreadsheet test that measures a laptop’s processing power. For more on our process, see this page on how we test laptops.
Looking for even more great values? Be sure to check out our roundups of the best laptops under $200, the best laptops under $500, and the best gaming laptops under $1,000.
Best Overall: Dell XPS 13
No matter how you configure it, the Dell XPS 13 is the best laptop for your money. Even if you opt for the $899 configuration of Dell’s flagship notebook, you’ll still get a stunningly slim chassis, a gorgeous 1080p InfinityEdge display, and solid internals that include an 8th Gen Intel Core i3 processor and a battery that can last well above 12 hours.
Key Specs: Intel Core i3-8130U; 4GB RAM; 128GB SSD; 13.3-inch, 1080p Infinity Edge display; 2.67 pounds
Best Chromebook: Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA
The best Chromebook you can buy will still run you less than $500. The Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA packs fast Core m3 performance into a sleek design that you might mistake for a premium MacBook at first glance. Factor in a bright, responsive 1080p touch display (perfect for using Android apps), a satisfying keyboard and all-day battery life, and you’ve got the best Chrome OS notebook for work, play or a mix of both.
Key Specs: Intel Core m3-6Y30; 4GB RAM; 64GB flash storage; 12.5-inch 1080p display; 2.6 pounds
Best Ultrabook: Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
If you’re seeking premium looks and portability on a budget, look no further than the Asus ZenBook 13. This beautiful, blue-tinted laptop has one of the best designs we’ve seen from a recent notebook, and backs up its eye-catching looks with strong Core i5 performance and more than 9 hours of battery life. The colorful display and loud speakers don’t hurt, either.
Key Specs: Intel Core i5-8250U; 8GB RAM; 256GB SSD; 13.3-inch 1080p display; 2.7 pounds
The Dell G7 15 is proof that you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars for a good portable gaming experience. The $849 version of this affordable powerhouse packs an Intel Core i5 processor and an Nvidia GTX 1050 GPU, which is perfect for running mainstream games on decent settings (a more powerful GTX 1060 config costs just $1049). The G7 15 also stands out with long battery life and a refreshing white and blue design that’s a far cry from the overly aggressive, red-and-black looks of most gaming notebooks.
Key Specs: Intel Core i5-8300H; 8GB RAM; 1TB hard drive; Nvidia GTX 1050; 15-inch 1080p display; 6.3 pounds
Best 2-in-1: Microsoft Surface Pro
Microsoft’s Surface Pro is still the detachable to beat, thanks to its slim and versatile design that’s a joy to use whether you’re drawing with your Surface Pen in tablet mode or getting work done with a Type Cover keyboard attached. The $999 version of this 2-in-1 gets you a Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, which is more than enough power for staying productive on the road. The hybrid’s gorgeous PixelSense display is just icing on the cake.
Key Specs: Intel Core i5; 8GB RAM; 128GB SSD; 12.3-inch, 2736 x 1824 display; 1.7 pounds
Best Workstation: Dell Precision 3530
If you need desktop-level power on a laptop budget, the Dell Precision 3530 is for you. This business powerhouse features a durable, MIL-STD 810G-tested design, a secure fingerprint reader, and enough battery life to last through a full work day and then some. And with a Core i5 processor and 15-inch anti-glare display in the machine’s $929 configuration, you’ll have plenty of muscle for getting work done on the go.
Key Specs: Intel Core i5-8400H; 4GB RAM; 500GB hard drive; 15.6-inch, 1366 x 768 display; 4.48 pounds
Best Business: Lenovo ThinkPad E580
The Lenovo ThinkPad E580 is a no-nonsense work laptop that packs everything you need for running a small business or putting together a presentation, without all the bloat (and cost) of enterprise-level notebooks. The E580 packs a best-in-class keyboard with Lenovo’s signature pointing stick, a ton of ports for accessories and monitors, an optional fingerprint reader and strong overall performance no matter how you configure it. You can get the E580 for just $699 with a 15-inch 1080p display and an Intel Core i5 processor, which are specs you’ll rarely find at such a low price.
Key Specs: Intel Core i5-7200U; 4GB RAM; 500GB hard drive; 15-inch, 1080p display; 4.7 pounds