Best Affordable Laptops 2023

Best Affordable Laptops 2023

The best affordable laptops sold today are leaps and bounds more advanced than their predecessors. In years past, laptops that sold for under $1,000 were often very underpowered. Not anymore. The best affordable laptops—like our best overall, the HP Pavilion Plus 14-Inch—can offer solid performance and storage space, all for under $1,000. Not only do they look good, but they can perform well and remain relatively lightweight and portable. You may have to make some sacrifices, but you can still get a smart and effective laptop at a very approachable price.

These affordable laptops offer more than enough computing strength to power typical school and work needs. Some of these models make excellent picks for a secondary laptop. For example, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 OLED is a perfect travel companion, and the Acer Nitro 5 is a great fit if you want an affordable gaming system.

To pick the best affordable laptops, we combined extensive personal and hands-on experience with in-depth research. Whatever your needs, one of these affordable laptops will be perfect for you.

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CPU: Intel Core i5-1235U| RAM: 16GB | Graphics: Nvidia MX550 | Storage: 256GB SSD | Display: 14-inch | Resolution: 2,240 x 1,400 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Battery: Up to 10 hours | Weight: 3.1 pounds

Best for: General web browsing, productivity and casual gaming.

The versatile HP Pavilion Plus packs quite the punch at a reasonable price. It has the latest 12th-generation CPU from Intel, with 10 cores and 12-threads for multi-threaded performance; entry-level Nvidia graphics for esports and light gaming; and a sharp 2K display. (For $250 more, you can bump the display to OLED and add a step-up Core i7 CPU and more powerful GeForce RTX 2050 graphics card—a great deal if it’s in your budget.) This model can do a bit of everything very well, making it a great affordable laptop for just about anyone. The weight is an appealing 3.1 pounds, light enough to carry around all day if you’d like. This model’s clean, utilitarian design gives it a professional appearance, and it would fit in as well in office meetings as it would in a student dorm. The Pavilion Plus has a high-resolution 5-megapixel webcam for easy web conferencing, and a dual-speaker Bang and Olufsen audio system.

The battery lasts about eight hours, nothing extraordinary but enough to get through much of a day. Plus, the laptop has fast charging so you can get up to 50{fa54600cdce496f94cc1399742656d2709d9747721dfc890536efdd06456dfb9} battery in just 30 minutes of charging. It also has two USB Type-C 10Gbps ports, giving you the option of external monitors and high-speed external drives. It has no Thunderbolt support, however.

Pros:

  • Solid performance at an affordable price
  • Attractive 2K display with OLED option

Cons:

  • No Thunderbolt ports
  • Mid-range CPU

CPU: Intel Core i5-1230U | RAM: 16GB LPDDR5 | Graphics: Intel Iris Xe | Storage: 512GB SSD | Display: 13.4-inch | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,200 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Battery: Up to 12 hours | Weight: 2.6 pounds

Best for: Everyday web browsing, office use and watching movies.

Considering the Dell XPS 13 is ranked as our best laptop overall, it’s amazing to see it find a home as one of the best affordable laptops. This might be an entry-level configuration for the XPS 13, but it’s no slouch either. It still has a 12th-generation Intel Core i5 CPU, which is plenty fast for everyday tasks, plus 16GB of DDR5 memory and 512GB of speedy SSD storage. All of this comes packed inside a lightweight 2.6-pound chassis.

The 13.4-inch display is 1,920 x 1,200, giving you a little more vertical room for scrolling than on a standard 1080p display, and it supports touch inputs, so if you can interact with your fingers as well as the touchpad. The keyboard is comfortable and well-spaced, making it great for typing over long periods, and the touchpad is large and responsive. It supports the latest generation of Wi-Fi 6E wireless connectivity for high-speed networking, and Bluetooth 5.2. It also has Thunderbolt 4/USB4 ports, and it includes a USB Type-C to Type-A adapter in the box should you want to connect any legacy accessories.

Pros:

  • Great performance
  • Bright and crisp display
  • Light weight

Cons:

  • Lacks a dedicated GPU for gaming
  • No 4K display option

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5800U | RAM: 16GB LPDDR4X | Graphics: Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti | Storage: 512GB SSD | Display: 14-inch | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Battery: Up to 12 hours | Weight: 3.3 pounds

Best for: Video and photo editing on a budget.

The Acer Swift X is an impressive affordable laptop, with a great selection of components and an attractive display, making it a great laptop for everyday creative tasks. Its Ryzen 5800U CPU has solid multi-threaded performance for demanding video editing. That’s backed up by 16GB of RAM and an Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti, powerful enough for accelerating 3D design and video transcoding and casual gaming. It even has support for the latest Nvidia ray tracing and deep learning super sampling technologies.

The 14-inch display on this laptop is only 1080p. But the battery lasts up to 12 hours—more than enough for a full workday. As part of Acer’s thin-and-light Swift line, the Swift X weighs 3.3 pounds, making it light enough to take around with you wherever you go. It also supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2, and it has Amazon Alexa built-in.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and portable design
  • Good performance from last-gen CPU and GPU
  • Very attractive price

Cons:


CPU: Intel Core i7-1255U | RAM: 8GB LPDDR4X | Graphics: Intel Iris Xe | Storage: 512GB SSD | Display: 14-inch touchscreen | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,200 | Battery: Up to 12 hours | Weight: 3.3 pounds

Best for: Tablet and laptop work and play.

The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i is a fast and versatile device that works just as well as a tablet as it does a laptop, giving you a tool for all occasions. It has a sturdy build quality, so whether you’re holding it in tablet mode, or typing away at a desk, there won’t be any unexpected flex or bending, and it can stand up to a few knocks and bumps if you take it on the road. Performance out of the Intel Core i7-1255U processor is more than enough for everyday office tasks and web browsing, and with the integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics, you can even do a little lightweight gaming.

The touchscreen is bright and responsive, able to deliver up to 400 nits of brightness. That makes it usable outside on brighter days, and it means that movies and TV shows you watch on the 14-inch HD screen will really pop off the screen. Battery life is plenty for a full workday, although if time away from a socket is important for you, there are better candidates at this kind of price.

Pros:

  • Solid build quality
  • Great performance for everyday tasks
  • Bright and responsive touchscreen

Cons:

  • Higher battery life available in competitors

CPU: Apple M1 with 8-core CPU | RAM: 8GB DDR4 | Graphics: Apple M1 GPU | Storage: 256GB | Display: 13.3-inch | Resolution: 2,560 x 1,600 | Battery: Up to 18 hours | Weight: 2.8 pounds

Best for: The performance of Apple processors without the high price tag.

The MacBook Air M1 may no longer be the fastest Apple in town, but it still delivers tremendous power—whether you’re editing video, browsing the web or running 3D simulations. Even with the Apple MacBook Air 2022 now available with the M2 processor, this M1 version of the MacBook holds fast as the MacBook standard for $1,000 or less. It comes with a responsive and fast keyboard, and a quiet, fanless design appropriate for use in quiet spaces. The battery is impressive, lasting up to 18 hours, making this laptop a great choice for getting through the day with battery to spare—and the best choice of any laptop if battery longevity is your priority at this price.

At just 2.8 pounds, the MacBook Air slots into a backpack without weighing you down. The built-in 720p webcam’s quality disappoints, though. Also, this laptop might not be the best choice if you need to connect a lot of peripherals: It comes with just two USB Type-C ports for Thunderbolt 4/USB connections—and one of those is for charging. It’s also not a great choice if you need a lot of storage inside, since this configuration comes with a 256GB SSD.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Extensive battery life
  • Amazing performance for the money

Cons:

  • Limited ports
  • Poor webcam quality

CPU: Intel Core i5-12500H | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti | Storage: 512GB SSD | Display: 15.6-inch | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Battery: Up to 9 hours | Weight: 5.1 pounds

Best for: Playing esports and older AAA games at high frame rates.

The Acer Nitro 5 is a staple gaming laptop that consistently delivers value and performance with each generation, and the latest edition with its Intel Core i5-12500H and Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti is no different. At its mid-range price-point it delivers excellent power for esports and lower-settings AAA gaming, and its 1080p 144Hz display is fast and bright enough to deliver a smooth, and vibrant gaming experience. The overall machine is attractive and well put together, with a sturdy frame and hinge, and eye-catching RGB backlighting for each of the laptop keys. The battery can last up to nine hours, although when gaming one or two hours is more likely to be realistic.

If you have an external gaming controller or other device, this laptop has plenty of ports to do so. It has three USB 3.2 Type-C ports, three USB 3.2 Type-A ports, and a dedicated USB Type-C charging port, so you can always keep your laptop powered even while gaming with all your accessories and peripherals attached. If you want to game on a bigger external display, you can use the HDMI output, or for the highest resolutions and refresh rates, the Thunderbolt 4 port.

Pros:

  • Excellent performance for esports and lightweight gaming
  • Impressive array of USB ports
  • Fast and bright display

Cons:

  • Unimpressive battery life

CPU: Intel Core i3-1115G4 | RAM: 8GB DDR4 | Graphics: Intel UHD | Storage: 256GB SSD | Display: 15.6-inch | Resolution: 1,366 x 768 | Battery: Up to 7.3 hours | Weight: 4.1 pounds

Best for: Low demand office work and web browsing.

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3i delivers might be an older machine, but there are good reasons to pick it over newer releases. To start, its super low price makes it incredibly affordable. This model achieves this low price with its less powerful, last-generation CPU and a sub-1080p display. On-board storage is fairly typical with a 256GB SSD, and it has Wi-Fi 6 connectivity for fast networking. This model is best used for lightweight office work and web browsing, but you can still enjoy 720p movies and TV shows.

The battery can last about seven hours in mixed use, so keep a charger handy if you’re planning an all-nighter, but this is a good fit for an ultra-budget Windows laptop. Typically, at this price you’re relegated to Chromebooks and dramatically underpowered machines, but this Lenovo laptop proves otherwise.

Pros:

  • Good performance for day-to-day use
  • Very affordable price

Cons:

  • Unimpressive battery life
  • Poor choice for demanding applications

CPU: Qualcom Snapdragon SC7180 | RAM: 8GB LPDDR4X | Graphics: Qualcomm Snapdragon 7C GPU | Storage: 128GB eMMC | Display: 13.3-inch OLED | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Battery: Up to 12 hours | Weight: 2.2 pounds

Best for: Lightweight productivity work on the go.

Chromebooks still offer some of the best low-cost laptop solutions and the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 OLED is a great example of that. It’s a little expensive for a Chromebook, but what you get is well worth it if you want a high-quality display to take with you on the go. The Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC gives this Chromebook impressive performance when combined with the lightweight Chrome OS, and with a 1080p, OLED display, you’ll be able to enjoy whatever you’re viewing, whether you’re working, or relaxing with a movie on a commute.

The Chromebook Duet has up to 12 hours of battery life, giving you plenty of juice for a full workday. It charges fast too, so you’ll never be without power if you have a few minutes spare to plug it in. This 2-in-1 comes with a keyboard, so you don’t have to buy anything extra, and in the 13.3-inch form factor, there’s plenty of space for comfortable and fast typing. At just over two pounds, you can easily carry this around all day and forget it’s there. It has 128GB of storage, which you can augment via a USB drive or with cloud storage. If you’re looking for a way to respond to emails on-the-go and do some light web browsing, this is one of the best affordable laptops around.

Pros:

  • Very lightweight
  • Includes keyboard
  • Bright and vibrant OLED display

Cons:

  • Only runs web-based services and apps, or Android apps

Best Affordable Laptop Deals You Can Buy Today

In addition to our picks above, we’ve corralled the best affordable laptop deals you can buy now.

Lenovo Flex 3i Chromebook 15

Chromebooks are still some of the best ultra-affordable laptops, and the Lenovo Flex 3i embodies that idea, with its surprisingly nippy Celeron N4500 CPU and 4GB of RAM. That wouldn’t go far on Windows, but with Chrome OS, the system stays responsive. Add in a 1080p touchscreen, and this Chromebook becomes an effective travel companion for work and play. Get 23{fa54600cdce496f94cc1399742656d2709d9747721dfc890536efdd06456dfb9} off and save $329.


The Asus Vivobook 16’s core components include an AMD Ryzen CPU7 5800H processor, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, enough computing oomph to handle web browsing or video editing. Plus, you get Wi-Fi 6. The display is just 1,600 x 768 display, though, which won’t be as sharp or detailed as other screens. But for the price, you can save $100 and buy this otherwise-capable model from Best Buy for $680.


Microsoft’s Surface Pro 9 is its best release yet, with a powerful Intel 12th generation processor and a 2K display that looks crisp and clear on this compact 13-inch screen. It has an extensive battery life and is very lightweight when in tablet mode, letting you take it with you wherever you go. Save $100 and pay $1,000 at Best Buy (price is for the Surface Pro 9 only, keyboard sold separately).


This Dell Inspiron is a great mid-range laptop, with a high-end AMD Ryzen 5825U processor, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. Save $300 and buy it now at Best Buy for $700.


This HP Envy is a great 2-in-1 that works just as well as a tablet as it does a laptop. Inside sits has a 12th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. The battery life is this laptop’s real selling point, though: It can last up to 17.5 hours between charges. Save $300 and buy it at Best Buy for $750.


The MSI Delta is an impressive gaming laptop that makes the most of its slightly older hardware. Its AMD Ryzen 5800H isn’t the newest chip on the block, but it still is plenty fast. Especially when it’s paired with the AMD RX 6700M mobile graphics chip, which will let you hit high frame rates in all your favorite esports games. That means you get to take full advantage of the 240Hz 1080p display, for a smooth gaming experience. Plus, this stacked model has 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. Save $400 and buy it now for $1,000 at Best Buy.


What To Consider When Buying An Affordable Laptop

Buying a laptop can be a big decision, filled with choices about components and what to get inside. And even more so when it comes to affordable laptops. Unlike big budget spenders who can splash the cash to get whatever they want, budget shoppers need to prioritize what’s important for their computing needs. That doesn’t mean making major sacrifices, though, as the best affordable laptops can all be excellent options. But you do want to focus your money where you can to get the kind of laptop you want and need.

Think you can stretch your budget a little? Consider some of the best laptops overall, too.

What You Use It For

Before you buy an affordable laptop, you need to consider what you’re actually going to use it for. If you’re not a gamer or content creator, you don’t need to buy a laptop with a discrete graphics card. By skipping discrete graphics, you can save money or spend it on a configuration with other features, like a better CPU, more storage or a better screen.

Will you be doing any photo or video editing? You want at least 8GB of RAM and the best CPU you can afford. Better still if you can bump up to 16GB of RAM. Want your laptop for working on-the-go? Pick a lightweight laptop with a full-size keyboard so you can throw it in your backpack.

CPU

The processor—also called the central processing unit (CPU)—is the heart of any computer. The CPU is the core component driving general computing tasks, since it moves data around and makes all the important calculations.

Picking a CPU isn’t as easy as just getting a laptop with the best CPU available. For one, the best available CPU is often overkill for your needs. Plus, small variations exist among processors, with fine print which is hard to translate to real-world impact. The best thing you can aim for is to make sure the CPU is current or at most one generation back. For Intel, you’d be looking at 12th generation systems, with some 11th generation models still in play at a lower cost. For AMD, consider Ryzen 5000 or later. Ideally you want at least four cores, but if you’re only planning on using the laptop for lightweight tasks like email and web browsing, you can get away with two cores.

Graphics

You only need a discrete graphics card if you’re planning on using the laptop for gaming, video capture or 3D design work. Otherwise, the integrated graphics should be enough, and it will help your system achieve greater battery life. Both Intel and AMD have integrated graphics.

If you are a gamer, mobile graphics like the Nvidia GeForce GTX 3050 and GeForce GTX 1650 are much better than the MX450 or equivalent, so try to find one with a full-scale mobile GPU rather than those limited options if you want to play anything outside of esports games.

Display

The display is a key component in any laptop and it’s often one area that sometimes suffers in affordable laptops. At the least find a 1080p screen, as anything less than that can look a little fuzzy at 13-inches and above. The systems with less than a 1080p display tend to cost less, but that may not be a compromise you’re willing to make.

Brightness and color saturation make a big difference too, so check individual reviews for laptops to make sure that you’re getting something that looks good. If you’re looking to game on this laptop, try to find one that has a 120Hz or higher refresh rate, as that can make your games look and feel much smoother.

Battery Life

Battery life is important in any kind of laptop, as laptops stop being quite so versatile if you can’t use them away from a charge point. Still, most laptops provide at least 10 hours of mixed usage, while the best can go over 20 hours. Laptops priced under $1,000 often have more prosaic battery life estimates hovering at 10 hours or less. Treat those estimates as a guideline but not set in stone, as many factors—including screen brightness and choice of activities—can impact a laptop’s battery life. Make sure whatever laptop you choose can handle how long you want to be untethered. If it’s for work or school, you want at least eight hours of solid use to get you through the day.

2-In-1 Designs

Increasingly we’re seeing sub-$1,000 laptops with touchscreens and 2-in-1 designs. Such designs typically have a hinge which allows you to safely reposition the screen in tent mode or flip it all the way around into tablet mode, for example. Such laptops work with a stylus, but the stylus is often an extra-cost.

Other Features

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are standard in almost all laptops, even affordable ones, but the better laptops using the most recent CPUs will offer more recent generations of those technologies, such as like Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.

For connecting wired accessories like external drives, mouse and keyboard, and external displays, you’ll want a decent array of wired connections. High speed USB Type-A and USB Type-C ports will help you with all of your peripherals, and some laptops allow USB Type-C charging for added convenience. Look for a laptop with multiple USB 3.1 or 3.2 ports, to get the maximal speed possible, particularly important for connecting external storage.