Shopping for a laptop can be daunting since there are many options to choose from. There are models designed for general productivity, media consumption, gaming, and demanding workloads like video editing and CAD. Additionally, most laptops have various display, CPU, GPU, memory, and storage configurations, making the choice even harder. To help you narrow down your options, we've put together a list of the best models at various price points and for different uses. We consider nearly every aspect of the laptop when choosing our recommendations, including the build, portability, battery life, overall user experience, and processing power, as well as the price and availability.
We've tested over 90 laptops, and below, you'll find our recommendations for the best laptops you can buy. You can also see our picks for the best Chromebooks, the best travel laptops, and the best business laptops.
The best laptop we've tested is the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (2023). This premium mobile workstation has a sturdy build, plenty of processing horsepower for demanding tasks, and all-day battery life. It also provides an excellent user experience with its sharp 120Hz Mini LED display, spacious keyboard, and gigantic, easy-to-use touchpad. The speakers are among the best on the market; the same can be said about the webcam. The display has full DCI P3 coverage and superb factory calibration, making it suitable for color-critical work like video editing. You get plenty of ports, including three USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI, and a full-size SD card reader. If you want more screen space and don't mind paying more, you can get the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2023). It's the same device but with better-sounding speakers and a slightly longer battery life.
A Windows alternative to the MacBook Pro 14 is the Dell XPS 15 (2023). Like the MacBook Pro, it's also a premium laptop that provides a great user experience. It's available with Intel 13th Gen H-series CPUs and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 40-series GPUs, up to a 4070. These CPUs and GPUs can easily handle demanding workloads. Plus, you can play more games than on a MacBook since there are more Windows games, and you'll have access to features like DLSS, ray tracing, and Frame Generation. There are a couple of downsides: it has a bad 720p webcam and fewer ports, and its keyboard gets uncomfortably hot under load. Also, you can only get this laptop with a 60Hz display.
If you only need a laptop for light tasks like text processing, web browsing, and video playback, get the Apple MacBook Air 13 (2022) instead, one of the best laptops for home use we've tested. Replacing the very popular Apple MacBook Air 13 (M1, 2020), this M2 model has a fresh new design, a better 1080p webcam, and a more powerful SoC. The main drawback is its limited port selection, as it's still limited to two USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports with support for one external display only, although the new MagSafe charging port frees up the USB-C you would otherwise use for charging.
A larger alternative would be the newly-released Apple MacBook Air 15 (2023). It's the same laptop as the 13-inch MacBook Air but with a 15.3-inch display and better speakers. The larger display makes multitasking easier, and you get more room on the keyboard deck to rest your wrist. Also, unlike the 13-inch model, you get an M2 chip with ten GPU cores without upgrading to the more expensive model with a larger 512GB SSD. This all comes with a price increase of $200 USD over the 13-inch model.
For Windows users, get the LG gram 14 (2023). Weighing only 2.1 lbs, this 14-inch ultraportable is even lighter than the Apple MacBook Air 13. It has a nice sharp display, a tactile keyboard, and a wide port selection that includes two USB-C/Thunderbolt 4s, allowing you to connect up to two 4k displays at 60Hz with a single cable. The main downsides are that it has a smaller touchpad and a dimmer display.
Our mid-range pick is the Lenovo Yoga 7i 16 (2023), a Windows 2-in-1 convertible. This well-built model has a 16-inch display, giving you plenty of room for split-screen multitasking. You can choose between an FHD+ or QHD+ panel; the latter looks sharper and gets brighter to combat glare. Don't worry about the higher resolution draining the battery; even the QHD+ model lasts around 12 hours of light use. The keyboard feels great to type on and includes a Numpad, which is great for those working with lots of numbers. You also get Wi-Fi 6E, a fingerprint sensor and facial recognition camera, and Thunderbolt 4 ports. It's available with Intel 13th Gen U- and P-series CPUs, which are plenty fast for general productivity tasks. The only complaint is that the webcam image has an unnatural tint, and the microphone picks up some background noise.
The Acer Chromebook Spin 714 (2022) is another mid-range option worth checking out. It's also a 2-in-1 convertible with stylus support, but it has a smaller 14-inch screen and runs Chrome OS. Its smaller size makes it more portable, but there isn't as much screen real estate. Performance is not a problem with its Intel 12th Gen CPUs, and battery life is amazing at over 13 hours of light use. Unfortunately, this model is getting harder to find because there's a newer version. While we haven't tested it, it looks largely the same design-wise. The upgrades include newer and faster Intel 13th Gen CPUs and a 1440p webcam, but it no longer comes with a stylus.
The best budget laptop we've tested is the Acer Swift 3 14 (2020). Acer's Swift models aren't exactly considered budget and are usually more expensive. However, this is an older model from 2020, so the price has decreased considerably, making it a great value. You can get it with an Intel 11th Gen Core i5 or i7 CPU and up to 16GB of memory and 512GB of storage. The Intel 11th Gen CPUs are a few years old but fast enough for general productivity tasks. The battery also lasts over 13 hours on a full charge. It has a nice FHD IPS display, a decent keyboard, and a wide port selection, including two USB-As, one USB-C/Thunderbolt 4, a full-size HDMI, and a headphone jack. The webcam is our only major complaint; its exposure is too low, and the microphone sounds staticky.
If you want to spend as little as possible, get the Lenovo Chromebook C340 15 (2020), a 15.6-inch 2-in-1 convertible with a sturdy build and long battery life. You can get this laptop with an Intel Core i3 or Pentium Gold CPU, both of which are getting a little long in the tooth but still powerful enough to provide a smooth experience on Chrome OS. That said, you can only get a maximum of 4GB of memory, so limit the number of applications or Chrome tabs you open simultaneously.
As with most budget-friendly laptops, the display is where Lenovo makes some compromises. Its IPS panel doesn't get very bright, meaning you'll have trouble with visibility in very well-lit environments, and due to its narrow color gamut, most content looks slightly washed out. Images and text look decently sharp, and there's plenty of screen real estate for split-screen multitasking. The keyboard feels great to type on, and while the touchpad is small, it tracks all movements and gestures well.
The best 2-in-1 tablet we've tested is the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 (2021). This versatile tablet form factor makes the Surface Pro one of the best laptops for home use. You can detach the keyboard to make it easier to hold or save space, like on a kitchen counter, and pop it back on when you need to type something out. Its 3:2 display looks sharp, gets bright enough to combat glare, and has a 120Hz refresh rate to make pen input feel more responsive.
Above the display sits an excellent 1080p webcam and a Windows Hello IR camera for quick logins. The keyboard feels good to type on, although you need to buy it separately, and the same goes for the stylus. The battery lasts only around seven hours of light use, but luckily, the power adapter is fairly compact, and you can also charge via its USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports.
As this is a model from 2021, there's already a newer version, the Surface Pro 9. It's essentially the same device but with faster Intel 12th Gen processors. The Surface Pro 9 is easier to find, but if you don't need the performance increase, you can save a good chunk of cash with the Surface Pro 8 since it's an older device and often on sale.
Our best gaming laptop pick is the Lenovo Legion Pro 5 Gen 8 16 (2023). This 16-inch model is available with AMD Ryzen 7000 CPUs, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 40-series GPUs, up to 32GB of RAM, and up to 1TB of storage. Performance is excellent; even the RTX 4050 can push high frame rates in demanding games. If you want to play all games at the display's QHD+ resolution, you'll have to upgrade to an RTX 4060 or 4070 model. Speaking of the display, you have two refresh rate options: 165Hz and 240Hz. Both support VRR to reduce screen tearing.
The build quality is great. It isn't the most premium laptop out there since it's more of a mid-range model, but it feels sturdy nonetheless. It has a great keyboard, Wi-Fi 6E, and tons of ports, including an HDMI 2.1 and Ethernet. The fans get pretty loud, but on the upside, neither the CPU nor the GPU throttles under load, so you'll get a consistent gaming experience when playing for an extended period. Unfortunately, this laptop and its power adapter are bulky and heavy, and the battery lasts less than five hours of light use.
If you want something more budget-friendly than the Lenovo Legion Pro 5 Gen 8 16 (2023), get the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022). It's usually more expensive, but since it's a model from 2022 and a newer one is available, you can often find it at a much lower price. For around $1,200 USD, you can get a model with an AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU, an AMD Radeon RX 6700S GPU, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of storage. This configuration is powerful enough to provide smooth gameplay in AAA titles at the display's native QHD resolution.
There's only a 120Hz IPS display; it has a fast response time to deliver a clear image and FreeSync support to reduce screen tearing. 1TB of storage isn't very much considering the size of modern AAA games, but the SSD is user-upgradeable, so you can swap it for a larger one later. The biggest downside is that it gets hot and loud under load.
Sep 21, 2023: Small text changes to include the Dell XPS 15 (2023) as an alternative to the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (2023). Replaced the Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 (2023) with the Lenovo Yoga 7i 16 (2023) because the Lenovo has Thunderbolt 4 and longer battery life and is available with a sharper, brighter QHD+ display. Replaced the Razer Blade 14 (2022) with the Lenovo Legion Pro 5 Gen 8 16 (2023) because the Lenovo has faster NVIDIA 40-series GPUs. Replaced the Lenovo Legion 5 Gen 6 15 (2021) with the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022) because the ASUS is better overall.
Aug 22, 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 Acer Chromebook Spin 714 (2022) with the Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 (2023) because the Acer is hard to find. Added the Acer Swift 3 14 (2020) as a budget pick and moved the Lenovo Chromebook C340 15 (2020) to a new 'Best Cheap' category because the prices are more in-line with their respective categories.
Jun 30, 2023: Added the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 (2023) and the Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 (2023) as Notable Mentions. Small text changes to include information about the Apple MacBook Air 15. No change in recommendations.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best laptops 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 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.