The best gaming laptops are powerful enough to play the latest and greatest games nearly as well as the best gaming PCs, yet portable enough to take with you wherever you go.
Finding the best gaming laptop for you can be tricky, and the search used to be an undertaking fraught with compromises: you could get a lightweight laptop with anemic performance, or a powerful machine that pushed the boundaries of what can really be called a laptop.
But gaming laptops have improved a lot over the past few years, most notably thanks to more powerful and efficient GPUs from Nvidia and AMD. Plus, now Intel Arc GPUs are entering the market, bringing some much-needed competition. Now you can get gaming laptops that are slim and light yet capable of running even demanding games at high settings. Pick up one of our picks for the best gaming mouse or the best wireless gaming mouse, and your gaming experience may feel even more comfortable.
We've tested and reviewed dozens and dozens of gaming laptops from the top manufacturers, and we use that research to compile this regularly-updated list of the best gaming laptops on the market. Read on to find one that's right for you!
Back to school with the best gaming laptops
Summer is here, which means it's time to be thinking about beaches, barbeques and back to school sales. The best gaming laptops are always in high demand as school starts up again, so it pays to start shopping as early as possible. Whether you’re heading off to college or going back to school, you’ll want a great laptop suitable for both work and play, and gaming laptops are excellent for demanding coursework like video editing and game development.
Many of our favorite picks are currently on sale making now the ideal time to buy some of the best gaming laptops. Be sure to follow our back to school guide for all of your shopping needs this season.
What are the best gaming laptops right now?
Our pick for the best gaming laptop is the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14, which packs class-leading battery life and a powerful GPU into one of the slimmest and lightest gaming laptop designs we've ever held. It's extremely rare that a gaming laptop lasts more than a few hours, but the 2022 Zephyrus holds out for over 10 hours while browsing the web, all while looking and performing great in the process.
For budget-conscious shoppers, we recommend more affordable gaming laptops like the Dell G5 15 SE. The Acer Nitro 5 is also one of our favorite budget gaming laptops, and we're currently in the process of reviewing the latest model to see if it's still good enough to make this list. Stay tuned!
If money is no object, the Alienware Area 51m is our favorite high-end gaming laptop. This portable monster can be outfitted with up to an Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 graphics, and has a ton of RGB customization options that make it truly deserving of the Alienware name.
The best gaming laptops you can buy today
The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022) is a great gaming laptop, delivering a potent blend of performance, portability and power efficiency.
We've long been fans of the Zephyrus G14 because it has the chops to run most games at solid framerates, the efficiency to be used as a work laptop in a pinch, and a slim, compact chassis that's more portable than most gaming laptops.
The 2022 model we reviewed has a better, brighter screen than its predecessor, with good speakers and an AMD CPU/GPU combo that delivers solid gaming performance. It also sports a built-in webcam, something earlier models lacked.
While it can't match the outlandish 11-hour battery life of its predecessors, the brighter screen is worth it. And while the webcam is nothing to get excited about, at least now the other folks on your Zoom calls will get to see your face.
Read our full Asus ROG Zephryus G14 (2022) review.
Considering an older model? They're still great; read our full Asus ROG Zephryus G14 review from 2020 to see why.
The first 14-inch Razer laptop in years, the Razer Blade 14 offers powerful components and excellent performance in a compact and lightweight package. It could use a few more ports, and the keyboard feels a bit cramped, but these are common problems for thin 14-inch laptops.
If you're looking for a compact, powerful gaming laptop, the Razer Blade 14 will serve you well — just make sure to carry the power adapter with you, as you'll be lucky to get 90 minutes of battery power when playing the latest games.
Read our full Razer Blade 14 (2021) review.
The Alienware m15 R4 is a sleek and functional gaming laptop, powered by an impressive Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 GPU. While this machine can easily run you $2,500 (or more), in return, you'll get a streamlined and relatively lightweight device with a slick white chassis and an RGB keyboard. With a fast CPU, lots of hard drive space and a surprisingly good touchpad, the m15 R4 is a suitable tool for both work and play.
If you pick up this laptop, be aware that the fan can get very loud, and that the battery life isn't really long enough for sustained productivity or gaming. Those (and the price) are about the only drawbacks, though. This machine can run the latest games at demanding settings, and thanks to its cutting-edge hardware, it's sure to last you for years to come.
Read our full Alienware m15 R4 review.
The Razer Blade 15 Advanced does exactly what you’d expect a Razer laptop to do: it looks great, offers plenty of ports and runs games beautifully. It’s also as expensive as you’d expect a Razer laptop to be; you could easily spend $3,000 on a higher-end model.
The Blade 15's uncomfortable keyboard, unresponsive touchpad, and unintuitive screen refresh rate are less than thrilling, but these don’t do much to detract from an otherwise excellent product — particularly if you’re willing to bring some of your own peripherals to the party.
The Alienware m15 R4 is similarly priced and scoped, and both offer great gaming performance in a slim package, though the Razer Blade 15 Advanced is just a bit lighter and a bit smaller.
Read our full Razer Blade 15 Advanced review.
The GE76 Raider is, objectively, the definition of top-of-the-line, eschewing portability and battery life to deliver raw, uncompromising power for a very particular niche. You’d be hard pressed to find more performance in a package you can technically take with you, and when paired with a monitor this machine is a desktop replacement that truly lives up to the name.
The model we reviewed retails for around $3,400, and for that you get the latest Intel Core i9 CPU, a GeForce RTX 3080 GPU, 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD for storage. The Raider's 1080p display looks nice and can run games remarkably smoothly thanks to its 360Hz refresh rate, but it's probably best used primarily plugged into a nicer TV or monitor. At nearly 7 pounds, this 17-inch gaming behemoth isn't exactly fun to tote around.
Read our full MSI GE76 Raider review.
If you're looking for a premium gaming laptop with great performance — and an especially killer display — the Acer Predator Triton 500 is an excellent choice. The latest Triton 500 stands out with its 15.6-inch 1080p screen, which not only looks great, but packs a blistering 300Hz refresh rate for playing the top PC games at the fastest framerates possible.
The laptop's Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super GPU can handle the latest AAA titles at high graphical settings, and its 10th Gen Core i7 CPU blows through everyday productivity tasks with ease. There's also its elegant black design, which packs in plenty of ports for connecting peripherals and external monitors. While its performance comes at the cost of battery life and heat, the Triton 500 is a great premium buy for folks who want great performance and an even greater display.
Read our full Acer Predator Triton 500 review.
The Alienware x14 is a gaming laptop we’ve looked forward to reviewing ever since our brief hands-on time with it back in January 2022. Gaming laptops have become thinner over the years, but this slick and futuristic device has to be the thinnest we’ve ever seen. In fact, if you ignore the Alienware logo, the laptop almost looks like a business notebook. Can such a thin machine actually deliver a satisfying gaming experience?
The short answer is yes. With its cutting-edge 12th gen Intel Alder Lake processor and Nvidia RTX 30 series GPU, the Alienware x14 is a proper gaming laptop capable of running modern titles. Thanks to a few innovations like vapor chamber cooling and Smart Fan control technology, this laptop is capable of achieving high performance while remaining relatively cool.
While the x14 isn’t as impressive as a big, beefy gaming laptop like the Razer Blade 17 in terms of screen size and performance, its comparatively lower price will make it accessible to more folks. And of course, its eye-catching design makes it more appealing than the typical monochrome laptops.
The FHD display is great, but it doesn’t present games at their very best. Because of this, you may want to opt for a rig like the 4K OLED-equipped Razer Blade 17 if you care deeply about display quality in your gaming laptops. But if you're all about gaming on the go and prize portability over power, the Alienware x14 is a great choice.
Read our full Alienware x14 review.
If you’re after an affordable but well-specced gaming laptop, the Dell G5 15 SE 2020 is well worth your consideration. Its distinctly un-flashy name hides a very capable machine clad in a rather neat if unassuming chassis, for less than $1,000. And despite its price, it can keep up with some of the more expensive gaming laptops, especially at 1080p. You can expect very playable frame rates in the likes of Shadow of the Tomb Raider when running at max settings.
Dell has opted to go with an all AMD configuration, with a Ryzen 5 4600H or 4800H taking care of processor duties, and the Radeon RX 5600M handling the graphics. With up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD space, the Dell G5 15 SE 2020 is a very capable gaming laptop. You'll have to pay $1,049 for the best specs, but that price also gets you a speedy 144Hz refresh-rate display. A plastic build might not scream ‘premium’ but it still looks rather sharp and could even pull double duties as a powerful work machine if needed.
Read our full Dell G5 15 SE (2020) review.
Like all of Alienware's gaming laptops, Alienware m17 R2 is expensive. However, for the price points of the fancier m17 R2 models, you'll get top-of-the-line GeForce RTX GPUs, Core i9 CPUs and more storage space than a U-Haul facility.
What differentiates this laptop from the others we've listed is its best-in-class battery life, clocking in at roughly 4 hours. For RTX-carrying hardcore gaming laptops, hitting the 4-hour mark is an accomplishment. Plus, at under 6 pounds, the m17 R2 isn't impossible to lug around in a backpack, making it an option worth investigating for traveling gamers who demand ultra-high graphics on the go.
Read our full Alienware m17 R2 review.
OK, it’s not a gaming laptop per se, but the Dell XPS 17 can come with a decent gaming spec. Its lower-end specification comes with a 10th Gen Core i5-10300H CPU and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, which can run games but isn’t exactly a gaming beast. But opt for a model with the Core i7-10875H and the GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card, and you’re looking at a machine that will run modern games at 1080p resolution with relative ease.
And with the Dell XPS 17, you’re getting a rather neatly designed and portable big-screen laptop that doesn’t scream gaming machine; it’s quite the opposite in fact, sporting a premium design that’s up there with the likes of the 16-inch MacBook Pro. The downside is such a specification in such a premium body will cost you a fair bit of cash, with the top-spec XPS 17 going for $2,792.
But for that money, you’re getting a machine for work and play and anything in between. And you also get a rather high-end 4K touchscreen display with the virtually bezel-less InfintyEdge design.
Read all about it in our full Dell XPS 17 review.
How to choose one of the best gaming laptops
Power or portability? You’ll need to consider what type of gaming and where you’ll be doing it before you decide what’s the best gaming laptop for you. Do you plan to mostly play triple-A demanding games at home and on a desk, but have the scope to occasionally move your machine, then a chunkier and more powerful gaming laptop, like the Alienware Area 51m might be best. But if you plan to carry your gaming laptop around a fair bit, say for LAN parties, then a thinner and lighter laptop like the MSI GS65 Stealth Thin could be for you.
Display: These days there’s a wide range of display choice for gaming laptops. You can get a standard 60Hz 1080p panel that might come with built-in anti-screen-tearing features like Nvidia’s G-Sync. But if you’re willing to pay more, you can get gaming laptops with high refresh-rate displays, often sitting at 144Hz. But the latest machines can hit 240Hz, with those on the cutting-edge sporting 300Hz displays. HIgh refresh-rate displays are great for people who play fast-paced games such as Overwatch or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. But if you mostly plan to plug in an external monitor, then you might be better off saving money by going for a 60Hz Full HD screen.
Budget or high-end? If you don’t want to break the bank by paying for a gaming laptop, then a budget machine, like Acer’s Nitro 5, could be for you. It won’t run the very latest games at the best frame rates, but will be more than capable for decent 1080p gaming. For example, if you're pondering which is the best Age of Empires III civilization to start with, you won't need a massively powerful machine for the game. But if you want a real monster of a gaming laptop that’ll easily chew through the most demanding games, then a laptop like the MSI GT75VR Titan is worth checking out, but do be prepared to pay quite a bit for a high-end laptop.
Gaming only, or work as well? The good thing about gaming laptops is they have plenty of power for professional tasks as well, such as video rendering or CAD work. As they can be an expensive purchase, it might be worth looking at getting a machine that can pull double duties as a gaming and work laptop. Machines like the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 or the Razer Blade Pro 17 are good examples of this, offering a form-factor that’s slim enough to easily take them to work, yet also have a powerful enough specification for triple-A gaming.