Shopping for a laptop can be challenging. New models are released every year from over a dozen major manufacturers. While some companies are more reputed for producing higher-quality products, even the best laptop brands sometimes release models that have design flaws or too many compromises. Also, there are often complaints of poor quality control, inadequate after-sale customer support, and other issues associated with a particular manufacturer. As you may have guessed, there isn't really a best laptop brand, as it depends entirely on your needs and preferences, though quite a few, like Apple, ASUS, Dell, and Microsoft, stand out.
We've bought and tested over 105 laptops, including models from over a dozen brands, and below are our recommendations for the best brands for laptops. The order in which these laptops appear in the article doesn't represent any ranking; they're listed alphabetically. For more options, check out our recommendations for the best laptops, the best business laptops, and the best gaming laptops.
Acer, a Taiwanese company, was founded in 1976 as Multitech and later renamed Acer in 1987. Though known for making affordable, budget laptops for a long time, the company currently has one of the widest selections of models, with multiple laptop lineups like Aspire, Swift, Nitro, Predator, Concept, and more. Acer is one of the biggest Chromebook manufacturers, producing popular models like the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (2020). It's also among the first to produce gaming Chromebooks like the Acer Chromebook 516 GE (2022).
Our pick for the best Acer laptop is the Acer Chromebook Spin 714 (2022), a 2-in-1 convertible Chromebook. It has a bright, sharp 14-inch screen, a spacious keyboard, and an outstanding 1080p webcam. It supports pen input and comes with a stylus that you can dock into the side of the laptop for transport. Performance is excellent, and battery life is amazing at over 13 hours of light use. The biggest drawback is availability. You can still get the Core i5 model with 8GB of RAM, but other configurations are hard to find.
There's a newer 2023 version, which we haven't tested but expect will perform similarly. The upgrades include a faster Intel 13th Gen CPU and a higher resolution 1440p webcam. See the 2023 model on Amazon or at Best Buy. If you prefer a Windows laptop or need more processing power, the Acer Swift 14 (2023) is a great alternative. Its Intel H-series processor can handle significantly more intensive tasks, but its battery life takes a hit, lasting only six to seven hours of light use.
Apple is one of the most recognizable electronics companies in the world. Apple products have become synonymous with exceptional build quality, and the company is well-known for its amazing customer support. Since 2020, Apple has been producing its own ARM-based processors for their MacBooks instead of relying on Intel chips. This change has made MacBooks among the most powerful and power-efficient laptops on the market. Another advantage of MacBooks is their integration with other products in Apple's ecosystem, supporting features like Continuity Camera, Airdrop, Handoff, etc. Gaming isn't great on MacBooks due to the lack of compatible games and Apple displays' slow response time; however, there's some progress, as Apple has released a tool that'll help developers create a macOS version of their games.
The best Apple laptop we've tested is the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (M3, 2023). This premium mobile workstation has almost everything you'd want on a laptop: a sturdy build, a thin and light design, plenty of processing power, and long battery life. It has a sharp Mini LED display, a comfortable keyboard, an easy-to-use haptic touchpad, and tons of ports. What's new in this generation of the MacBook Pro 14 is the base M3 configuration, which can be a great option if you don't need the Pro/Max chips' processing power but still want the 'Pro' features, like the display and up-firing speakers. The larger Apple MacBook Pro 16 (M3, 2023) is also a good choice if you want more screen space; just expect to pay more.
Of course, we can't talk about Apple without mentioning the ever-popular Apple MacBook Air 13 (2022) and the newly released Apple MacBook Air 15 (2023). They're essentially the same laptop; you just get a larger 15.3-inch screen and better speakers on the 15-inch model. These ultraportables are great for light productivity tasks like text processing, web browsing, and video playback. Port selection is pretty limited, as you only get two USB-C/Thunderbolt 3s with support for a single external monitor.
To know more, check out our recommendations for the best Apple laptops here.
Founded in 1989 by four members who had worked at Acer, ASUS, also known as ASUSTek, is one of the largest laptop manufacturers in the world. It's also one of the best gaming laptop brands and often sponsors Esports events and players. ASUS makes a wide range of laptops, including ultraportables, mobile workstations, gaming laptops, and Chromebooks. ASUS often experiments with new form factors and features, like dual-screen laptops, touchpads with an integrated Numpad, a customizable dial (like the ASUS ProArt Studiobook Pro 16 OLED (2021), and 2-in-1 gaming tablets like the ASUS ROG Flow Z13.
The best ASUS laptop we've tested is the ASUS Zenbook 14 Flip OLED (2023), a 2-in-1 ultraportable with a gorgeous OLED display. It's available with Intel 13th Gen P-series CPUs, which are fast enough to handle general productivity tasks and more demanding workloads like photo editing and programming. It has a great keyboard, a large touchpad, and numerous ports, including two Thunderbolt 4s and an HDMI. You get Wi-Fi 6E wireless connectivity and a facial recognition IR camera for quick logins.
For gaming, we recommend the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022). This 14-inch gaming laptop has a powerful AMD Ryzen 9 CPU and an AMD Radeon discrete GPU to provide smooth gameplay at 1440p. Its 120Hz IPS display has a fast response time to deliver a clear image and supports FreeSync variable refresh rate to reduce screen tearing. It gets hot and loud under load but is otherwise a great device. Unfortunately, this model is hard to find because it has been discontinued. ASUS has announced a new 2024 model with an AMD Ryzen 9 8940H CPU and NVIDIA 40-series GPUs (up to an RTX 4070), which we'll review when it's available.
Dell is an American company founded in 1984 by Michael Dell. The company makes desktops, laptops, workstations, monitors, and a wide range of computer peripherals. It's one of the largest laptop manufacturers, with well-known brands like XPS, Precision, Latitude, and Inspiron. In 2006, Dell acquired Alienware, now considered one of the best gaming laptop brands on the market. High-end Dell laptops like the XPS, Precision, and Alienware models often have unique designs that stand out among the crowd and generally provide a great user experience. A common criticism of Dell is its use of proprietary parts, which make repairs and upgrades challenging for the average user.
Like other laptop brands in this article, it's hard to say which laptop is best from a specific manufacturer, as it depends entirely on your use. For general productivity like web browsing, text processing, spreadsheets, and video playback, we recommend the Dell XPS 13 Plus (2022). This sleek ultraportable feels exceptionally well-built and is easy to carry around. It's available with Intel 12th Gen CPUs, which are plenty fast for light productivity tasks. Its port selection is very limited, as it only has two USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports, and its battery life is pretty short at around six hours of light use.
Also worth mentioning are the Dell XPS 15 (2023) and the Dell Alienware m16 R1 (2023). The former is a better option if you need more processing power for demanding tasks like video editing and 3D graphics, while the latter is a mid-range gaming model. Both laptops are available with NVIDIA 40-series discrete GPUs. The m16 is a new addition to the Alienware lineup; it has tons of configuration options, including a 480Hz FHD+ display and a mechanical keyboard with ultra-low-profile CherryMX switches.
HP, also known as Hewlett-Packard, is an American company founded in 1939. As one of the oldest tech companies in the world, HP has produced a wide range of products, including calculators, digital cameras, personal digital assistants, scanners, printers, desktop computers, and laptops. It’s currently among the top three laptop manufacturers in market share. Its varied laptop lineup includes popular brands like ENVY, Spectre, Pavilion, EliteBook, ZBook, Victus, and OMEN. HP also makes many Chromebooks, offering both budget-friendly and premium models like the HP Chromebook 14 (2021) and the recent HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook.
The best HP laptop we've tested is the HP Spectre x 360 14 (2023), a premium 2-in-1 convertible designed for general productivity. In summary, this model prioritizes the user experience over raw performance. Its Intel 13th Gen CPU can handle tasks like web browsing, text processing, and spreadsheets just fine, but don't expect to do anything intensive like video editing. It has a nice sharp screen with stylus support, a great keyboard and touchpad, and a wide port selection. Battery life is excellent at around 13 hours of light use. You get a fingerprint sensor and a facial recognition camera for quick logins.
If you're looking for an HP gaming laptop, we recommend the HP OMEN 16 (2022). This 16-inch laptop has Intel 12th Gen CPUs and various NVIDIA GPUs, from an entry-level GTX 1650 to a powerful RTX 3070 Ti. There are also multiple display options, including a QHD panel with a 165Hz refresh rate. The keyboard feels great to type on, and there are many ports, including an Ethernet port for a stable internet connection when gaming online. Battery life is short at around seven hours of light use or a little over an hour of gaming, so you'll have to play with the laptop plugged in most of the time.
Lenovo is a Chinese company and one of the largest laptop manufacturers in the world. Lenovo's current laptop lineup is vast and includes popular brands like IdeaPad, Legion, Yoga, and ThinkBook. The company is often at the forefront of new technology and experiments with more unique form factors and features, like laptops with an e-ink display on the lid, dual-screen laptops, and ultrawide laptops with a 21:9 display. Lenovo's laptops are often among the best value models you can get, whether you're looking for a cheap Chromebook or a premium mobile workstation. A source of frustration with Lenovo is its tendency to give the same product multiple names, confusing the average consumer.
The best Lenovo laptop we've tested is the Lenovo Slim Pro 7 14 (2023), a budget-friendly 14-inch mobile workstation. It feels sturdy and provides an excellent user experience with its sharp display, tactile keyboard, and large touchpad. You can configure the laptop with an AMD Ryzen 5 or 7 CPU paired with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 discrete GPU. The Ryzen CPUs and the RTX 3050 aren't the most powerful on the market, but you're still getting a fair amount of processing power for the price. The main downside is that you can only get 16GB of soldered RAM.
Lenovo is no stranger to the gaming scene and produces some of the best gaming laptops on the market, like the Lenovo Legion Pro 5 Gen 8 16 (2023). This 16-inch model is available with powerful AMD CPUs and NVIDIA GPUs, up to an RTX 4070 running at a TGP of 140W, so it has tons of processing power to provide a smooth gaming experience. You can get the laptop with a 165Hz or 240Hz QHD+ display; both have a fast response time and VRR support to reduce screen tearing. Unfortunately, the laptop is a little bulky, and its battery lasts an hour or so when gaming.
For more about the brand's laptops, check out our recommendations for the best Lenovo laptops here.
Microsoft is well-known as the creator of the Windows operating system. Although it has made computer peripherals since the 1980s, its Surface line of personal computers is relatively young, with the first device released back in 2012. Microsoft has popularized the 2-in-1 tablet form factor with its Surface Pros, and it often makes devices with unique features, like the Surface Laptop's Alcantara-covered keyboard deck and the Surface Book's detachable display. Microsoft has a relatively small lineup, focusing almost solely on productivity and media consumption devices. Its laptops are usually well-built and provide a great user experience, but they're more expensive than similar models from other brands.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 (2022) is our pick for the best Microsoft laptop. This premium ultraportable is available in a 13.5-inch or 15-inch size, so you can choose based on your preference. It provides an amazing user experience with its sharp 3:2 display, comfortable keyboard, and responsive touchpad. The webcam is excellent despite its 720p resolution, and there's also an IR camera for quick logins via facial recognition. You can configure it with an Intel 12th Gen Core i5 or i7 CPU; both are fast enough for general productivity tasks. Unfortunately, its port selection is limited, and the battery lasts only around eight hours of light use.
Another device worth mentioning is the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 (2021), a 2-in-1 tablet PC. Its versatile form factor allows you to detach the keyboard to save space or make the device easier to hold, and you can pop the keyboard back on when you need to type something out. You can also take handwritten notes or draw with a stylus, although you'll have to buy the pen separately, and the same goes for the keyboard. It has a sharp, bright 120Hz display, an excellent 1080p webcam, and clear-sounding speakers. Battery life sits around seven hours of light use, which isn't a lot but still decent for a tablet.
Nov 17, 2023: Minor text changes to provide information about the M3 Apple MacBook Pros and to add the Lenovo Legion Pro 5 Gen 8 16 (2023) as a gaming alternative to the Lenovo Slim Pro 7 14 (2023). No change in recommendations.
Oct 18, 2023: Small text changes to add the Dell XPS 15 (2023) and the Dell Alienware m18 (2023) as other noteworthy Dell laptops. Replaced the HP ENVY x360 15 (2023) with the HP Spectre x360 14 (2023) because the Spectre has Thunderbolt 4 and significantly longer battery life.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best laptop brands and the best laptops available to buy for most people, in various price ranges, from the seven biggest laptop brands.
If you prefer to make your own decision, here's the list of all of our laptop reviews, sorted by price from low to high. Most laptops are available in various configurations, and the table only shows the results of the model we tested, so it's best to see the full review for information about other variants.