Buying a gaming laptop isn't easy as there are tons of options these days, with new models coming out every year sporting increasingly more powerful CPUs and GPUs. On top of that, a CPU or GPU might perform very differently from one laptop to another due to their power draw and the chassis' thermal limitations, making the buying decision even harder. To help you, we've narrowed down the best laptops and configurations that'll give you the smoothest gaming experience for various price segments. The list is short for now, but it'll grow as we review more laptops.
We've bought and tested over 60 laptops. Below you'll find our recommendations for the best gaming laptops you can buy. You can also see our recommendations for the best laptops, the best laptops for college, and the best Windows laptops.
The best gaming laptop we've tested is the Razer Blade 14 (2022). It's the one to get if you have the cash to burn and want the most premium model you can get. It's a compact 14-inch laptop with an Apple MacBook-esque design, and it feels incredibly well-built as it sports a full aluminum chassis. It has a great keyboard with per-key RGB backlighting, plenty of ports for your peripherals, and a fast Wi-Fi 6E wireless adapter for low-latency online gaming. The battery only lasts about an hour or so when gaming, so you'll need to keep the charger close.
There are three configurations, and all have the same AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX CPU, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of storage. We recommend going with the base model with a 1080p 144Hz display and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU or the mid-range model with a 1440p 165Hz display and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti. Both will provide smooth gameplay, so it's just a matter of resolution. The top-end option has an RTX 3080 Ti to push higher frame rates; however, it's significantly more expensive than the mid-range option, so it's not the best bang for your buck.
If you don't want to spend too much on a premium gaming laptop like the Razer Blade 14 (2022), go with the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022). It sports a powerful 8-core AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU, and you can choose between an AMD Radeon RX 6700S or 6800S GPU. Both GPUs can push high frame rates to provide smooth gameplay, even in AAA games running at the display's native QHD resolution. As for the display itself, it has a 120Hz refresh rate and a fast response time to deliver a clear image in fast-moving scenes, and it supports FreeSync to reduce screen tearing. The laptop is only available with 1TB of storage, which isn't very much considering modern AAA titles typically take up more than 100GB each; however, the SSD is user-upgradeable, so you can just put in a larger drive.
The keyboard feels comfortable to type on and provides satisfying tactile feedback, and there are plenty of ports for peripherals and external displays. Its 720p webcam is decent if you want to stream, and it supports Windows Hello facial recognition, meaning you can log in quickly. As for battery life, its 76Wh battery lasts through an entire day of light use, but for gaming, you can expect it to last only a little over an hour, so you'll need to use it plugged in most of the time. It gets hot and loud under load, although you can change the fan and thermal profile at the cost of some performance loss.
Another option is the HP OMEN 16 (2022). It's a great alternative if you want a larger 16-inch screen or prefer an Intel/NVIDIA system. It has a better port selection, including an Ethernet port and Thunderbolt 4 support, and it's more upgradeable than the ASUS as you can replace both memory modules, and there are two storage slots, whereas the ASUS only has one user-replaceable memory module and one storage slot. The display doesn't get very bright, so it might not be the best option if you often use the laptop in very well-lit settings.
Our budget pick is the Lenovo Legion 5 Gen 6 15 (2021). It's an affordable model that you can configure with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H or Ryzen 7 5800H CPU, and you have tons of GPU options, from an entry-level NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 to a powerful RTX 3070 with ray-tracing and DLSS support. We recommend getting the 165Hz 1080p or 1440p panel for the best visual experience, as they have the fastest response time and support variable refresh rate to reduce screen tearing. If you choose to go 1440p, it's best to pair it with an RTX 3070 GPU to get the most out of it.
The memory and storage are user-upgradeable, so if you're short on cash, you can get a cheaper configuration and upgrade it later. It has a sturdy build, a great keyboard, and many ports, including six USBs, an HDMI, and an Ethernet port. It's bulky, so it isn't very portable, and sadly, you'll need to bring the charger because the battery lasts about an hour when gaming.
If you want something cheap, get the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2021). Like our budget pick, it's also a 15.6-inch laptop with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H or Ryzen 7 5800H CPU, and GPU options range from an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 to an RTX 3060. The GTX 1650 can only push around 60 fps at 1080p, so if you want to keep the laptop for a while, it's best to get a better configuration with an RTX 3050 or 3060, as the GTX 1650 might not be able to handle newer AAA titles. There are only 1080p display options; we recommend getting the 120Hz or 165Hz panel. Again, the important thing is to spend as much of your budget on the best GPU and display as possible since you can upgrade the memory and storage yourself later on.
Though entirely plastic, this laptop feels surprisingly sturdy, especially for a model in its price range. It has a comfortable and tactile keyboard, and the webcam is pretty good if you want to stream. Its port selection includes three USBs, an HDMI, and an Ethernet port. Unfortunately, you can't charge the laptop via USB-C, so you'll have to use its proprietary charger. The fans are very loud under load, but the noise isn't annoying as it just sounds like heavy airflow.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best gaming laptops to buy. 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.