If you're shopping for a laptop, a $1,000 budget can get you a lot, as many premium laptops start around that price range. You can get an exceptionally well-built laptop with a metal chassis, like an Apple MacBook Air, a 2-in-1 convertible, or even a gaming laptop with a powerful CPU and GPU. Mobile workstations are generally more expensive, but if you're okay with some compromises, you can get a gaming laptop as an alternative.
We've tested over 60 laptops, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best laptops under $1,000 you can buy. See our recommendations for the best laptops, the best Chromebooks, and the best laptops for business.
The best laptop under $1,000 we've tested is the Apple MacBook Air 13 (M1, 2020). Even though it's a model from 2020 and there's a newer M2 MacBook Air, we still recommend this model because it's an incredible value. Its build quality beats anything in its price range, and it provides the best user experience with a sharp display, a comfortable keyboard, and a large haptic touchpad. It's very portable thanks to its thin and light design, and its battery lasts around 13 hours of light use.
Performance-wise, Apple's M1 SoC has enough processing power to handle light tasks like web browsing, text formatting, video playback, and even the occasional photo editing and gaming session. There's a fingerprint sensor built into the power button so you can log in quickly and get to work. The webcam's video quality is excellent even though it's only 720p, and voices sound clear through the microphone. It only has two USB-C ports, so you'll likely need dongles or a dock, and unfortunately, it only supports one external display.
If you prefer working on Windows, go with the LG gram 17 (2021). It sports a sharp and bright 17-inch display that's well-suited for multitasking, and its keyboard includes a Numpad for those working with lots of numbers. The keyboard feels comfortable to type on for extended periods, the touchpad is large and responsive, and there are many ports for peripherals and external displays. You'll need a pretty big bag to carry it, but thankfully, it weighs only 3.1 lbs.
For under $1,000, you can get this Intel Core i7-1195G7 model with 16GB of memory and 512GB of storage. Yes, Intel 11th Gen. is now two generations behind the latest CPUs; however, the Core i7 is still very fast and more than capable of handling general productivity tasks. As for the battery, it lasts around 13 hours of light use and charges over USB-C. It has a fingerprint sensor built into the power button, meaning you can log in quickly.
Our pick for the best Chromebook under $1,000 is the Google Pixelbook Go (2019). It's a 2019 model, but as most Chromebooks are usually more budget-friendly laptops with a cheap plastic build, this remains the best option if you want something high-end. It's very portable thanks to its thin and light design, and it feels sturdy with its magnesium alloy chassis. The battery life lasts around 13 to 14 hours of light use, so you likely won't need to charge it on a typical 8-hour school or workday.
You can configure the Pixelbook Go up to an Intel Core i7 CPU, although for most people doing light work like web browsing, text formatting, and video playback, the base Core M3 or the mid-range Core i5 is likely more than powerful enough. Also, the Core i7 comes with a 4k display, which will drain the battery significantly faster. The keyboard feels comfortable to type on and doesn't cause fatigue, and the touchpad is large and responsive. It only has two USB-C ports, one of which is for charging, meaning you'll probably need a dock if you want to plug in multiple peripherals or external displays.
If you want a compact device for watching videos, TV shows, or movies, get the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 (2021). It's a 13-inch Chrome OS tablet with a kickstand and detachable keyboard. You can take the keyboard off to make the device easier to hold as a tablet or to save space, like on an airplane with small tray tables. You can snap the keyboard back on when you need to type something out, although the keyboard itself feels cramped and isn't ideal for typing a long essay.
Its OLED display is the main reason we recommend it. It looks sharp, gets bright enough to combat glare, and like all OLEDs, it produces deep, inky blacks. The display supports pen input if you want to take notes or draw, but you have to buy the stylus separately. Unfortunately, although the speakers get reasonably loud, they don't have much bass and sound slightly unnatural, so you're better off with headphones. The battery lasts around eight hours of video playback, enough time to get through some TV show episodes or movies.
Get the Lenovo Legion 5 Gen 6 15 (2021) if you're looking for something for gaming. It's a little over $1,000; however, it's well worth spending more, and since it's an older model from 2021, it'll likely get deeper discounts as newer models come out. Currently, for slightly more than $1,000, you can get this AMD Ryzen 5 5600H and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 configuration with 8GB of memory, 512GB of storage, and a 1080p 120Hz display. 8GB of memory isn't ideal for gaming, but remember that it's user-replaceable, so you can just add more later on. You can find cheaper configurations if you don't mind buying from a third-party seller; just keep in mind that the GPU is the most important component for gaming, so allocate most of your budget toward the best GPU you can get.
Jan 19, 2023: Replaced the Lenovo Yoga 7i 14 (2021) with the LG gram 17 because the LG is better overall. Added the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 (2021) as a Notable Mention.
Nov 22, 2022: Replaced the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2021) with the Lenovo Legion 5 Gen 6 15 (2021) because the Legion 5 has better performance and is on sale for under $1,000.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best laptops you can get for under $1,000. We factor in the price (a cheaper laptop wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no laptops that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you prefer to make your own decision, here’s the list of all the laptops we've tested, sorted by price from low to high. Keep in mind that 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.