The best business laptops make it easy to get work done and be more productive on the go. They're light enough to carry all day, with great keyboards and crisp, easy-to-read screens that are comfortable to look at during marathon sessions. Plus, they've got great battery life so you don't need to worry about carrying a charger around the office.
Once upon a time, if you wanted a laptop for business you were pretty much limited to Lenovo ThinkPads and HP EliteBooks. While these are still great for office workers and business mavens on the go, there's a a bumper crop of affordable ultraportables that are long-lasting, powerful, and svelte enough to slip into a briefcase. Many of these notebooks rank among the best laptops you can buy, and we've collected them here in one easy-to-read list.
Read on for our guide on the best business laptops you can buy.
The best business laptops you can buy today
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Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Nano is a great business laptop because it's powerful, long-lived, and easy to carry. Weighing in at just 2 pounds, the Nano is the lightest laptop on this list, but with a tested battery life of 12 hours it still has enough juice to last you through a day of work without needing a charger. You can also pay extra for 4G/5G connectivity, if you need to stay connected on the go.
Lenovo didn't sacrifice on performance or usability either. In addition to the standard suite of security features and durability ratings all ThinkPads have, the Nano's Intel 11th Gen Tiger Lake processors provide the speed you need for tons of productivity — and its keyboard provides a snappy and comfortable typing experience that lives up to the ThinkPad brand. You might want to pack a USB hub though, as it sports just two Thunderbolt / USB-C ports.
Read our full Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano review.
Apple revolutionized its laptops with the M1 chip, and the MacBook Air was one of the first devices to get one. This chip delivers better performance than the Air's ever seen, as well as incredible battery life: it lasted 14 hours and 41 minutes on the Tom's Guide battery test. Plus, the MacBook Air's webcam is clearer and more color-accurate than ever, thanks to signal processing, and the Magic Keyboard still delivers a great typing experience.
All in all, if you need a MacBook for business purposes, you'd be hard-pressed to do better than the M1-equipped MacBook Air. It's powerful, long-lived, and capable enough to handle everything from meeting presentations to coffee shop work sessions.
Read our full Apple MacBook Air M1 (late 2020) review.
The AMD-equipped Asus Zenbook 13 OLED is an excellent value, offering an eye-catching 1080p OLED display and exceptional 15-hour battery life in a slim, lightweight package for less than a thousand bucks.
The speakers aren't amazing, the webcam leaves something to be desired, and there's no headphone jack, but these are stumbling blocks you can work around. If you need a zippy little laptop to get work done with a great screen that will last you all day long, you can't do better than the OLED-equipped Asus Zenbook 13 at this price.
Read our full Asus Zenbook 13 OLED review.
Judging by the name, you might think that the Dell XPS 13 Plus is a bigger version of Dell’s iconic laptop. But it’s actually quite the opposite. This is as minimalist a design as we’ve ever seen from Dell.
There’s just two ports. There’s no headphone jack. And Dell even took away physical function keys, replacing them with a capacitive row. There’s not even lines to denmark the touchpad; the entire area beneath the keyboard is one smooth piece of glass.
But the XPS 13 Plus isn’t just a design statement. Dell managed to pack a 28W 12th gen Core i7 processor into this sleek 2.7-pound machine. And the result is a system that can outperform even the mighty MacBook Pro M2 on some tests. However, the short battery life and capacitive function row will give some pause. We also found the bottom gets a bit toasty when running at full power, so keep that in mind to avoid a scorched lap!
Read our full Dell XPS 13 Plus review.
Not interested in the Plus? Don't miss our Dell XPS 13 OLED review -- the base XPS 13 is still a great laptop that we recommend often.
If your business is on a budget and you want the best bang for your buck, the Acer Swift 3 proves that you can get great performance at a surprisingly low price. Packing AMD harware, this laptop offers plenty of battery life (11:09, which is not as good as some laptops on this list but better than others) in a lightweight design. Plus, it's got more ports than some of the laptops listed above it here: a USB Type-C, HDMI, and a USB-A.
The keyboard is also great for getting work done in an office, thanks to its quiet, satisfying keys. We just wish the Swift 3's display had more brightness and color, and that its speakers had a little more kick. But if you're looking to get things done on a budget, it's hard to argue with the value and performance provided by the AMD-based Acer Swift 3.
Read our full Acer Swift 3 (AMD) review.
The Surface Laptop 5 isn't a bad device. The spacious keyboard and tall screen are great for getting work done, and the fact that Microsoft improved the brightness this time around makes the Surface Laptop 5 more usable outdoors than its predecessor. The newly-added Thunderbolt 4 support is also welcome, especially if you like to use external displays, and the upgrade to a 12th Gen Intel CPU delivers clear improvements in performance benchmarks.
But those are the only meaningful upgrades Microsoft appears to have delivered over last year's model, and they don't do enough to keep the Surface Laptop 5 competitive with some other laptops on the market. You can generally get better performance and more useful features for your money from competitors like the Acer Swift 5 and Dell XPS 15 OLED.
So while the Surface Laptop 5 is still a very serviceable laptop, it's a disappointing step forward from Microsoft. This is the company that Windows built, and it would be great to see it take a leading role in designing the ideal Windows 11 laptop. It's a decent enough productivity laptop, but it could have been better.
Read our full Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 review.
If you need your business laptop to have a nice big screen, we recommend the XPS 15 because it's surprisingly slim and stylish for its size, with the same great performance and beautiful thin-bezelled design of its XPS siblings. The new XPS 15 is also made better by some smart design tweaks, such as bigger keycaps and a responsive touchpad that’s over 60% larger than that of the previous generation.
Plus, in 2021 Dell began offering the XPS 15 with a 3.5K OLED touchscreen option. If you can afford the extra $1k or so it costs (though you get a few upgraded components bundled in with that, in addition to the OLED screen) it's well worth the investment, as the OLED's deep, inky blacks, vibrant colors, and high contrast ratios really shine when mounted in the XPS 15's eye-catching InfinityEdge design.
Read our full Dell XPS 15 OLED review.
Not interested in OLED? Don't miss our Dell XPS 15 (2020) review.
The Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 is the latest iteration of Samsung’s 2-in-1 laptop for pros, and it's a great choice if you want an OLED-equipped ultraportable that transforms into a tablet (and comes with its own stylus).
This Windows 11 machine is large but light, featuring a gorgeous 16-inch AMOLED display and a spacious keyboard. Its 13th gen Intel Core CPU makes it fast enough to handle multiple open windows, and its Samsung Multi Control feature lets you connect to Galaxy phones and tablets.
Though a Windows laptop at its core, the Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 comes loaded with a slew of Samsung software. This could be good or bad, depending on how invested you are in the Samsung ecosystem. If you are, then you'll find that this 2-in-1 pairs nicely with your Samsung tablets and phones. Otherwise, all of these applications are effectively bloatware.
Also, the Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 lasted just under 8 hours in our battery life test. That's barely enough for a full day at the office, and a disappointing drop from its predecessor's 12-hour battery life. However, despite the drop in battery performance the Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 has a lot going for it and we highly recommend it to those who are in the market for a powerful, portable laptop that pairs nicely with Samsung devices.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 review
The Yoga 9i Gen 7 is an excellent 2-in-1 for business. The beefy 12th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and bountiful RAM allow for seamless multi-tasking, while the spacious keyboard lets you work comfortably for hours. The improved webcam and roaring speakers are also highlights. While the battery life on our configuration is less than the previous model, you should be able to get through most of an average workday.
The only major complaint we have with this laptop is that it makes for a somewhat awkward tablet. Yes, the touch interface is snappy and easy to use, but the laptop's size means you can't comfortably hold it in one hand as you would with smaller tablets. But it's entirely possible some folks will consider the Yoga 9i as a perfectly capable Windows tablet despite its size.
Minor qualms aside, this is one of the best 2-in-1 laptops we've tested and is one worth considering.
Read our full Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 7 review.
If you’re looking for a great all-around ultraportable laptop for under $1,000, then I think you need the HP Pavilion Aero 13 ($839 as reviewed).
That’s because the HP Pavilion Aero 13 offers a powerful AMD Ryzen 7 CPU backed by a bright, colorful 13.3-inch display along with a clicky keyboard and a superlight chassis, all for a great price. However, some people may not like the small keyboard deck and the lack of a microSD card slot.
But those are cons you could easily get over when you consider it delivers great performance in a lightweight laptop that's easy to carry and satisfying to type on. It’s easily one of the best laptops you can buy.
Read our full HP Pavilion Aero 13 review.
The HP Elite Dragonfly is another 2-in-1 laptop that's great for business because it's incredibly thin and light, with excellent battery life (12+ hours) and a nice comfy keyboard.
Plus, it offers a crisp, beautiful display and all the robust security features that the HP Elite line is known for, including a physical webcam privacy shutter and the promise of having passed 19 MIL-STD-810 tests, giving you some peace of mind when someone inevitably knocks it off a desk. The biggest potential pitfall is the expense, as this laptop's price can climb up into the $2k range if you kit it out with all the bells and whistles.
Read our full HP Elite Dragonfly review.
How to choose the best business laptop for you
Performance: If you only need something basic for tackling emails and surfing the web, you'll be fine with a mid-range CPU (think: Core i5 or an AMD A10) and 4-8 GB of RAM. However, if you want something that can tackle anything you throw at it (short of heavy-duty gaming and video editing) splurge for a Core i7 and 16 GB of RAM.
Graphics and gaming: Business laptops are rarely built to do much serious gaming, but if you just want to unwind with older or undemanding games like Civilization, you should be fine as long as you have at least a Core i5 CPU and 8 GB of RAM. For more demanding games, look into one of the best gaming laptops instead — a few have designs subtle enough to not look out of place in a boardroom.
Size: Consider how mobile you want your business laptop to be. Machines such as the Dell ThinkPad X1 Nano and HP Elite Dragonfly are slim and feather-light, whereas machines with larger screens (like the Dell XPS 15) are a bit bulkier and more painful to carry all day.
Whichever system you decide on, you may also want to pick up the best mouse for your particular work situation.
How we test the best business laptops
To find the best laptops, we run every machine through a rigorous suite of benchmarks and real-world tests to gauge how it will perform during everyday use.
We measure the average brightness and color quality of each laptop's display using our in-house light meter and colorimeter. For general performance, we run our machines through tests that include Geekbench 5 (CPU performance), as well as various 3DMark tests to measure graphics capabilities. We also run a file transfer test to measure how fast a machine's hard drive is, and a custom battery test that has the machine browse the internet over Wi-Fi until it runs out of juice.
And because we know everyone likes to play games sometimes, we run every laptop we review through the Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering Storm graphical benchmarking test to see how well it handles light gaming.
For more information, check out our how we test page for Tom's Guide.