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 display, keyboard, touchpad, and webcam quality, 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 your tasks. We've compiled a list of recommendations to help you with your purchasing decision, including options for different operating systems and form factors, so you can find something that suits your needs.
We've tested over 85 laptops, and below, you'll find our recommendations for the best laptops for work you can buy. See our recommendations for the best laptops, the best lightweight laptops, and the best laptops for graphic design.
The best business laptop we've tested is the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (2023). It has a sleek, professional design and feels incredibly well-built. It's also compact and lightweight, making it easy to carry around, and its battery lasts easily through a typical eight-hour workday with plenty to spare. Performance is outstanding; it can easily handle tasks like spreadsheets, presentations, text processing, and even demanding tasks like video editing. The display is sharp and bright, the keyboard feels spacious and tactile, and the touchpad is gigantic and responsive. The Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2023) is also worth considering if you want more screen space. It's the same device but with better-sounding speakers and a slightly longer battery life. It isn't as portable, though, and it's more expensive.
If you find the MacBook Pro 14 too expensive, the Lenovo Slim Pro 7 14 (2023) is a great alternative that costs significantly less. You can configure it with an AMD Ryzen CPU paired with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 discrete GPU, which aren't as powerful as the MacBook Pro 14's M2 SOC but still more than adequate for business use. It has a nice keyboard with much more key travel than the MacBook, and its battery lasts nearly 10 hours of light use. However, its display doesn't get as bright to combat glare, and there's no Thunderbolt 4 support. Also, you can only get this laptop with 16GB of soldered RAM.
Our best upper mid-range pick is the LG gram 14 (2023). Its thin, compact design is incredibly light at only 2.1 lbs, making it a great choice for those traveling for work. You can configure it with an Intel 13th Gen Core i5-1340P or i7-1360P CPU. These processors are less powerful than the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (2021)'s SoCs, but they are more than fast enough to handle general productivity tasks like text processing, spreadsheets, and presentations. Battery life sits around ten hours of light use, and if you do need to charge the laptop, you can do so over USB-C, so you don't need to lug around a proprietary charger.
As for the overall user experience, it's great. You get a sharp, colorful 16:10 display, a spacious tactile keyboard, and a reasonably large touchpad. Its wide port selection includes two USB-C/Thunderbolt 4s, allowing you to transfer files quickly and connect up to two 4k displays at 60Hz with a single cable. The webcam's video quality is good, although the image is a little underexposed, and there's also a facial recognition IR camera for quick logins. The RAM is soldered onto the motherboard, so make sure you get enough for your needs upfront.
Finally, for Mac users, we recommend the Apple MacBook Air 13 (2022), also one of the best laptops for work we've tested. It's a sleek, portable laptop with a gorgeous display, plenty of processing power, and long battery life. The downside is that it only has two USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports and can only support a single external display. Another option is the Apple MacBook Air 15 (2023). It's the same device as the 13-inch model but with a 15.3-inch display and better speakers. It's still very portable even though it's a larger device, but the battery life is shorter at around eight hours of light use.
For a more modest mid-range model, check out the Lenovo Yoga 7i 16 (2023), a well-built 16-inch 2-in-1 convertible. It's available with Intel 13th Gen U- and P-series CPUs, which are plenty fast for general productivity tasks like text processing and spreadsheets. The battery lasts around 12 hours of light use and charges quickly over USB-C. Speaking of ports, you get two USB-As, two USB-C/Thunderbolt 4s, an HDMI, and a MicroSD card reader. There's Wi-Fi 6E wireless connectivity, and biometrics include a fingerprint sensor and a facial recognition camera.
This laptop sports a large 16-inch display, so you get plenty of room for split-screen multitasking, and since it's a 2-in-1, you can flip the screen around and use it as a tablet. You can choose between an FHD+ or QHD+ panel; we recommend the latter, as it looks sharper and gets brighter to combat glare. The keyboard feels great to type on for extended periods and includes a Numpad, which is great for those working with lots of numbers. The only complaint is that the webcam image has an unnatural tint, and the microphone picks up some background noise. By the way, the display supports pen input, but depending on the model, you may need to buy the stylus separately.
The best laptop for small business use we've tested in the budget category is the Acer Swift 3 14 (2020). It's a sturdily built 14-inch Windows laptop with a battery that easily lasts through a typical workday. The keyboard feels a little cramped but still decent to type on, and the touchpad is on the smaller side but reasonably responsive. The display looks sharp and gives you just enough room for split-screen multitasking. It isn't the brightest display, so glare may be an issue in well-lit settings.
Additionally, port selection is great; you get two USB-As, one USB-C Thunderbolt 4, an HDMI, and a headphone jack. You also get a fingerprint sensor for quick logins. Unfortunately, the webcam's video quality is bad; the image looks underexposed, and the microphone sounds staticky. At the time of writing, the Lenovo Yoga 7i 16 (2023) we recommend above is on sale, making it cheaper and a much better value than this Acer laptop. That said, it's a much bigger device, so it isn't as portable.
Our cheap pick is the Lenovo Chromebook C340 15 (2020). This 15.6-inch Chromebook is portable, and its battery lasts easily through a workday. The display looks decently sharp and provides enough room for multitasking, and since it's a 2-in-1, you can flip the screen around and use it as a tablet. It doesn't get very bright, though, meaning visibility may be an issue in well-lit settings. You can configure this laptop with an Intel Pentium Gold or Core i3 CPU; both are powerful enough to provide a smooth experience on Chrome OS. The downside is that you can only get a maximum of 4GB of memory, so it's not the best for heavy multitasking.
If you're new to Chrome OS, know that you can't install any x86 applications, so ensure you can get your work done through the Chrome browser or Android apps. If your company requires x86 applications, it's best to go with one of the options above. There are Windows laptops in this price range, but they're usually small 10- or 11-inch devices that provide a significantly worse user experience because Windows requires more powerful hardware to run smoothly than Chrome OS.
If you like the 2-in-1 tablet form factor, get the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 (2021), one of the best laptops for business and personal use we've tested. You can detach the keyboard to save space when consuming media or make the device easier to hold, and the built-in kickstand lets you tilt the screen to an almost flat position to take notes or draw with a stylus. Plus, unlike the Lenovo, the stylus supports tilt, making it suitable for digital artists and creators. The trade-off is that you have to buy the keyboard and stylus separately, increasing the overall cost of the device.
The keyboard feels very comfortable, especially for a type cover keyboard, and the webcam is among the best on the market. Battery life sits around seven hours of light use, although that's to be expected, as there isn't much space in a tablet form factor to fit in a big battery. There's a newer Microsoft Surface Pro 9 with faster Intel 12th Gen CPUs; however, they're usually more expensive, so it's up to you whether you need the extra processing power.
Sep 05, 2023: Replaced the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (2021) with the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (2023) because the M1 model is no longer available. Replaced the Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 (2023) with the Lenovo Yoga 7i 16 (2023) because the Lenovo has a better display and keyboard, longer battery life, and Thunderbolt 4 support.
Aug 08, 2023: Moved the Acer Swift 3 14 (2020) to the 'Best Budget' category and the Lenovo Chromebook C340 15 (2020) to the 'Best Cheap' category. Added the Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 (2023) as the 'Best Mid-Range' pick.
Jul 14, 2023: Minor text changes to include the Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 (2023) as an alternative to the Acer Swift 3 14 (2020). Added the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 (2022) and the ASUS Zenbook 14 Flip OLED (2023) as Notable Mentions.
Jun 14, 2023: Replaced the LG gram 17 (2021) with the LG gram 14 (2023) because the gram 14 is more portable and available with newer, faster CPUs. Added the Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 (2023) and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 (2023) as Notable Mentions.
May 16, 2023: Added the Dell Precision 5570 (2022), Acer Swift 14 (2023), and the Dell XPS 13 Plus (2022) as Notable Mentions. Minor text changes to include the Acer Chromebook Spin 714 as an alternative to the Acer Swift 3 14 (2020).
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best laptops for small business use 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. 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.