Chromebooks are increasing in popularity as more people work or attend classes remotely. Although they aren't powerful computers that can handle demanding workloads like video editing or 3D rendering, they're more than adequate for those who can access their work or class material online through a web browser. Because Chrome OS is a lightweight operating system designed to run on lower-end hardware, Chromebooks also tend to be more affordable than Windows and macOS laptops, making them a great option for students or those on a tight budget.
We've just started reviewing laptops and have tested more than 47. Below you'll find our recommendations for the best Chromebooks. You can also see our recommendations for the best laptops under $300, the best laptops under $400, and the best laptops under $500.
If you're looking for a Chromebook that can easily handle all your school assignments or work, look no further than the Acer Chromebook Spin 713. It's a 2-in-1 convertible laptop with a 360-degree hinge, meaning you can flip the screen around and use it as a tablet for media consumption. It feels well-built, and it's easy to carry around, thanks to its thin and light design. The power adapter is very portable, and the laptop's battery lasts over 12 hours of light productivity.
The screen is 13.5 inches and very sharp. Its 3:2 aspect ratio gives you more vertical space, so you don't have to scroll as much in landscape mode, and it also makes the screen feel less narrow when using it as a tablet in portrait mode. It gets bright enough to combat glare in most settings, though you'll still struggle a bit outdoors in broad daylight. The keyboard is comfortable to type on for extended periods, and the touchpad tracks decently well.
Performance-wise, even the lowest-end model with an Intel Pentium Gold CPU is more than capable of handling simple tasks like web browsing, text formatting, and video playback. If you tend to have lots of browser tabs or applications open at once, it's best to go up to an Intel Core i5 or a Core i7 with 8 or 16GB of memory. All in all, this is a well-rounded Chromebook that should satisfy most people's needs.
The best media consumption Chromebook we've tested is the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5. It's a 13.3 inch tablet with a kickstand built into the back cover and a detachable keyboard. This form factor is great for media consumption as you can detach the keyboard to make the device easier to hold as a tablet, and it also takes up less space, which comes in handy in tight spaces. It supports pen input if you want to take notes or draw, but unlike the keyboard, you have to buy the stylus separately or find a bundle that includes one.
This tablet's star feature is its OLED screen. It produces deep, inky blacks, making it fantastic for watching content in the dark, and it also gets bright enough to combat glare in most indoor settings. The speakers get reasonably loud, but they sound slightly unnatural and lack bass, so you're better off with a good pair of headphones. Make those wireless headphones, though, because this laptop doesn't have a 3.5mm headphone jack, and there isn't a USB-C adapter in the box.
If you want to get some work done, the SoC can handle simple tasks like web browsing and text formatting; however, don't expect to run anything demanding. Also, it isn't the best option for extended work sessions as the keyboard feels tiring to type on, and the touchpad doesn't track particularly well. On the upside, it has a great webcam for video calls, and its battery lasts over 10 hours of light productivity or seven hours of video playback. Overall, this is a versatile Chromebook that should please most people.
If you find the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 (2021) too expensive and don't mind compromising a bit, we recommend the Lenovo Chromebook Duet (2020). It's also a Chrome OS tablet with a kickstand and detachable keyboard, but it has a smaller 10.1 inch screen. Its compact size makes it even easier to carry around, and its battery lasts nearly seven hours of video playback, enough time to get you through a couple of full-length movies or TV show episodes.
As for the viewing experience, this model has an IPS panel with a low contrast ratio, meaning it can't produce deep, inky blacks like the Duet 5. However, it still looks incredibly sharp because it has a pixel density as high as an Apple MacBook with a retina display. Unlike most cheap Chromebooks, it has full sRGB coverage to produce saturated colors, and it gets bright enough to combat glare in most indoor settings. Its thick bezels are a little distracting, but they provide a place to hold onto when in tablet mode.
Unfortunately, the speakers sound bad as they're treble-heavy and don't get very loud. There's a USB-C audio adapter in the box for wired headphones, but you can't use it while charging the tablet since it only has one USB-C port, so you're still better off with wireless headphones. Overall, although there are some compromises, this is still a very decent media consumption device, and it's much easier on the wallet than the Duet 5.
Looking for a cheap Chromebook for school or work? Take a look at the Lenovo Chromebook C340 15 (2020). This 2-in-1 convertible feels well-built with a mix of aluminum and plastic, and it's easy to carry around thanks to its thin and light design. The battery life is amazing, lasting a little over 12 hours in light productivity workloads, so you don't have to worry about leaving the charger at home.
Although its Intel Core i3 CPU is getting a little old, it's still very capable and powerful enough to provide a smooth experience on Chrome OS. However, you can only get a maximum of 4GB of memory, so you have to be mindful of the number of applications or Chrome tabs you open at once. The keyboard feels comfortable to type on for extended periods, and although the touchpad is on the smaller side, it's responsive to all movements and gestures. The webcam's video quality is passable, though the microphone sounds staticky.
Like most budget laptops, it doesn't have the best display as it doesn't get very bright and looks washed out. Images and text look decently sharp, and you get plenty of space for split-screen multitasking. Overall, this is a well-rounded and versatile Chromebook, and since it's a 2020 model that Lenovo has already discontinued, the price will likely keep falling, so you can potentially find it for cheaper.
May 02, 2022: Verified accuracy of picks; no change in recommendations.
Apr 11, 2022: Removed 'Larger Alternative' category. Replaced Acer Chromebook 315 (2020) with Lenovo Chromebook C340 15 (2020) as the 'Best Cheap Chromebook' for consistency and moved Acer Chromebook 315 to Notable Mentions.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best Chromebooks to buy for most people. 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 of our Chromebook reviews, 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.