If you're looking for a laptop for work, your best bet is an ultraportable that's easy to carry around with a battery that lasts long enough to get you through the day. You'd also want to look at the quality of the display, keyboard, touchpad, and webcam, as they can significantly impact the overall user experience. A wide port selection will allow you to connect multiple peripherals or external displays without needing a separate dock. Of course, you'd want enough processing power to handle all of your tasks. We've put together a list of our recommendations to help you with your purchasing decision, which includes options for different operating systems and form factors, so you can find something that suits your needs.
We've tested over 55 laptops, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best business laptops you can buy. See our recommendations for the best laptops and the best Chromebooks, or you can check out all our laptop reviews.
The best laptop for work we've tested is the LG gram 17 (2021). It's a well-built ultraportable laptop with long battery life. Its 17-inch screen is great for split-screen multitasking, and due to its larger size, there's enough room on the keyboard deck to include a Numpad, which is handy for those working with lots of numbers. The keyboard feels great to type on for extended periods, the touchpad is large and responsive, and there are many ports for wired peripherals and external displays. The power button has a fingerprint sensor built-in so you can log in quickly. You can configure it with an Intel 11th Gen Core i3, i5, or i7 processor, up to 16GB of RAM, and 2TB of storage. The memory isn't user-upgradeable, so it's best to get more upfront if you tend to have lots of applications running simultaneously. Performance-wise, it's more than capable of handling productivity tasks like text formatting, web browsing, spreadsheets, and presentations. The keyboard gets a little hot under load, but the fans are quiet, so you don't have to worry about causing too much noise.
If you prefer a more compact laptop, get the Dell XPS 13 (2021). It's also an ultraportable Windows laptop, but its smaller size makes it much more portable. While you don't get as much screen space for multitasking, and you lose the Numpad, you're still getting a premium device with a comfortable keyboard, responsive touchpad, and enough battery life to get you through a typical workday. For something between 13 and 17-inch, you can check out the Dell XPS 15. Although we haven't tested it, it's a pretty safe choice as it's been around for some time, with only minor upgrades each year. It has a larger screen and more powerful H-series CPU options (Intel 11th or 12th Gen) for heavier workloads. NVIDIA discrete graphics is optional, so it depends on whether you need the extra graphical horsepower to do more intensive stuff like photo and video editing.
Our pick for the best upper mid-range laptop is the Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 (2021). It's an impressively well-built 14-inch laptop with a 360-degree hinge. You can open it into tent mode for presentations or media consumption or flip the screen around and use it as a tablet. It comes with a stylus if you want to take notes or doodle, and you can slip the pen into its slot to charge it. The battery lasts about nine hours of light use (with the 1080p display), so on long workdays, you may have to plug it in for a quick charge. One thing to note is that there are two color schemes, Mica and Shadow Black, and there are slight differences between them. The Mica model has an all-metal design with a traditional touchpad (mechanical buttons) and a capacitive fingerprint sensor, while the Shadow Black model has a leather-clad lid, a haptic touchpad, and an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor. Overall, it's a versatile and feature-rich 2-in-1 that most people will be happy with, regardless of which model you choose.
If you prefer a tablet 2-in-1 with a detachable keyboard, the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 (2021) is the one to get. You can detach the keyboard to save space or make the device lighter and easier to hold, and the kickstand lets you tilt the screen to an almost flat position to take notes or draw with a stylus. Due to its form factor, there isn't much space for a ton of ports or a bigger battery, so you'll have to get a dock and keep the charger close. Also, you have to buy the keyboard and stylus separately.
If you don't want to spend too much on a premium laptop but don't want to go too cheap, the Lenovo IdeaPad 5 15 (2021) is a good mid-range option. It has an aluminum chassis that feels sturdy, with a design that fits easily into any professional work environment. Configuration-wise, you can choose between an Intel 11th Gen Core i3, i5, or i7 CPU, with up to 16GB of memory and over 1TB of storage. The battery lasts long enough to get you through a typical eight-hour workday; however, you may need to plug it in for a quick charge if you perform more demanding tasks.
The 1080p display looks decently sharp and gets bright enough for use in most indoor settings; just make sure you get the IPS option, as TN panels tend to have worse viewing angles and color reproduction. The webcam is decent; the image looks a little underexposed, and the microphone sounds quiet, but it's usable. As for the keyboard and touchpad, the former feels great to type on and doesn't cause fatigue over extended periods, and the latter is small but tracks well. The power button has a built-in fingerprint sensor so you can log in quickly and get straight to work.
In the more affordable budget category, we recommend getting the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 (2021). It's very similar to the mid-range Lenovo IdeaPad 5 15 (2021) in design; however, it's available with AMD Ryzen 5000 series CPUs instead of Intel 11th Gen. The Ryzen processors are more than capable of handling most productivity tasks and provide a smooth desktop experience, and they're more power-efficient, giving you slightly longer battery life. Of course, there are some compromises, as the keyboard can cause fatigue over an extended period, and the touchpad doesn't register some movements or gestures at times.
The port selection includes a USB-C port, but it doesn't support video output or charging, so you'll have to rely on the HDMI port to connect an external display and use the proprietary power adapter to charge. The build quality is good even though there's a bit more plastic involved in the construction, and it's also thin and light.
On the Mac side, the Apple MacBook Air 13 (2021) is the best option for business use. It feels exceptionally well-built, is portable, and its battery lasts over 13 hours of light use. Its M1 SoC (System on Chip) has more than enough processing power to handle general productivity tasks, and it doesn't even require active cooling, so you don't have to deal with fan noise. The display is sharp, bright, and colorful, the keyboard feels great to type on, and the touchpad is large and responsive. The main downsides are that it only has two USB-C ports plus a headphone jack, and the M1 SoC can only output to a single external display. Currently, the newer M2 MacBook Air is available alongside the M1 MacBook Air. It has many upgrades, like a new design, a more powerful SoC, and a better webcam. However, it's more expensive. We haven't tested it yet; we'll update this article once we do.
If you need more ports or support for multiple external displays, go with the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (2021). It has three USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports, a full-size HDMI, and an SD card reader. You can configure it with an M1 Pro or M1 Max SoC, giving you more graphical horsepower than the MacBook Air if you need to do some photo or video editing for your business. It's significantly more expensive than the MacBook Air, but it may be worth it if you need the extra features and processing power. There's also the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2021) if you want a bigger screen for multitasking.
Sep 12, 2022: Verified accuracy of picks; no change in recommendations.
Jul 28, 2022: Minor structure change. Removed the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (2020)and the 'Best Chromebook' category. Added the Lenovo IdeaPad 5 15 (2021) as the 'Best Mid-Range Laptop'. Replaced the Acer Swift 3 14 (2020) with the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 (2021) because the Acer has a better webcam and is cheaper and easier to find in stock.
Jun 29, 2022: Verified accuracy of picks; no change in recommendations.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best laptops for small business you can get. 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 laptop 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.