Finding the best laptop is key for staying productive, keeping in touch with friends and colleagues or just having fun with games and apps. And with so many laptop options available for every budget and use case, we've done the work to make sure you find the right one for your needs.
Laptops come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes, from ultraportable notebooks perfect for working on the road to beastly gaming machines that can handle AAA games cranked to the max. Some of the best laptops are 2-in-1s, meaning they pack touch screens and can be folded into a tablet for maximum versatility.
- Here are the best laptops under $500
- Our picks for the best gaming laptops
- Need a better camera? Here are the best webcams
If you love Chrome, check out our best Chromebooks page to see the top alternatives to PCs and Macs.
What are the best laptops right now?
The best laptop right now is the new Dell XPS 13 2020, which improves on Dell's gorgeous signature laptop design with 10th Gen Intel power and an even more immersive screen that has virtually no bezel at all. If you opt for the 1080p model, you'll get epic battery life, as the XPS 13 lasted 12 hours and 39 minutes on our web surfing battery test.
The 13-inch MacBook Air is the best laptop overall for macOS fans. It offers an improved scissor switch keyboard for a more comfortable and reliable typing experience. And this Apple laptop is powered by a more modern 10th generation Intel Core processor, so you now get up to twice the performance as before.
The Alienware m17 R2 and the Razer Blade Pro 17 are among our best laptop choices for gamers. The HP Elite Dragonfly has one of the most gorgeous designs and displays (not to mention epic battery life) that we've seen from a laptop, for those seeking a true premium powerhouse.
See all of our best laptop picks below.
The best laptops you can buy today
1. Dell XPS 13 2020
The best laptop you can buy
Display: 13.4 inches; 1,920 x 1,080-3,840 x 2,160 | CPU: 10th-Generation Intel Core i3-i7 | GPU: Intel UHD to Intel Iris Plus | RAM: 8GB-16GB | Storage: 256GB-2TBGB SSD | Weight: 2.64 pounds
It's hard to improve upon near-perfection, but the Dell XPS 13 2020 manages to make the best laptop you can buy even better. Dell's latest flagship PC comes outfitted with Intel's latest 10th Gen processors, which make multitasking between apps and even doing some light gaming a breeze. The laptop's Infinity Edge display now sports a screen-to-body ratio of 91.5%, with virtually no bezel to get in the way of your favorite movies and TV shows.
There are also some smaller improvements that make the Dell XPS 13 2020 better than its predecessors. The notebook's comfortable keyboard is now edge-to-edge, and the touchpad is 17% larger, making it much easier to crank away at work documents for long stretches of time without getting cramped up. Factor in some small material changes that make its gorgeous aluminum design even more of a delight to use and hold, and the Dell XPS 13 2020 easily stands out at the top of its class.
Read our full Dell XPS 13 review.
2. Acer Aspire 5
Best laptop under $600
Display: 15.6 inches; 1,920 x 1,080 | CPU: Intel Core i3 | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 128GB SSD | Weight: 3.76 pounds
The Acer Aspire 5 proves you don't have to spend a lot to get a great laptop. This notebook includes a full HD display that's fairly bright, so it's great for surfing the web, doing quick photo edits and watching videos on YouTube, Netflix or Disney Plus. And it has all the power you need for everyday tasks and light multitasking, thanks to an 8th generation Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD. It's all wrapped up in a fairly light 3.8-pound package.
The most pleasant surprise with the Aspire 5 is its battery life. This laptop lasted nearly 9 hours on our web surfing battery test, which is very good for a 15-inch system. There are a couple of things we don't like about this budget laptop; while the lid is a premium aluminum, the rest of the machine is made of plastic. You also shouldn't expect to play the latest games. But overall the Aspire 5 is the best Windows laptop under $600.
3. MacBook Air 2020
The best MacBook for the money
Display: 13.3 inches; 2,560 x 1,600 | CPU: 10th-Generation Intel Core i3-i5 | GPU: Intel Iris Plus Graphics | RAM: 8GB-16GB | Storage: 256GB-2TB SSD | Weight: 2.8 pounds
The MacBook Air is the best MacBook for most people because it delivers on value. For $999, you get a vastly improved Magic Keyboard that ditches the controversial butterfly mechanism for a much more reliable and comfortable scissor mechanism. The result is a much more pleasant typing experience with more travel.
The other big upgrade is 10th gen Intel Core processors. This is Intel's Y Series chips and not its more powerful U Series CPUs, but you get up two twice the performance of the previous MacBook Air along with faster graphics. Plus, the MacBook Air now starts at 256GB of storage, which is double the previous amount.
The MacBook Air should last you through a good part of your day, too, thanks to its long battery life. This laptop lasted a long 9 hours and 31 minutes on our web surfing test, which is nearly 50 minutes longer than the typical system. Add in fairly bright Retina display and robust speakers and you have a winner.
4. Google Pixelbook Go
A solid Chromebook with great battery life
Display: 13.3 inches, 1080p or 4K | CPU: Intel Core i3 / i5 / i7 | GPU: Intel UHD 615 GPU | RAM: 8GB / 16GB | Storage: 64GB / 128GB / 256GB | Weight: 2.3 pounds
The Google Pixelbook Go isn't just more affordable than the original Pixelbook -- it's also better in almost every way. This highly portable Chromebook stands out with a slim, lightweight design that weighs in at just over 2 pounds, as well as a rubberized, easy-to-grip chassis that comes in sleek Just Black and Not Pink variations. The quiet, comfortable keyboard doesn't hurt either.
The Pixelbook Go stands out with its long battery life, as we saw it last well over 11 hours on our test. Couple that with solid performance, a bright and colorful display and a responsive touchscreen, and you've got one of the best Chromebooks yet for those willing to dip into the premium range. Just be aware that the Pixelbook Go is a bit short on ports, and doesn't fold into tablet mode like its bigger Pixelbook brother does.
Read our full Google Pixelbook Go review.
5. HP Envy 13t
A true MacBook killer for Windows fans
Display: 13.3 inches; 1,920 x 1,080-3,840 x 2,160 | CPU: 8th-Generation Intel Core i7 | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 630 to Nvidia GeForce MX250 | RAM: 8GB-16GB | Storage: 256GB-1TB SSD | Weight: 2.59 pounds
The HP Envy line of laptops has long offered excellent design and high-performance specs, and this model is easily able to go toe to toe with the likes of the Dell XPS 13 and MacBook Pro. Safe to say, if you're in the market for an Ultrabook, then it's worth considering the HP Envy 13t. That's especially true if you need slightly boosted graphics performance and are willing to pay for the upgrade to the GeForce MX250. This is one of the most attractive notebooks we've gotten our hands on, with a razor-thin chassis that makes the Mac look dated.
Of course, the laptop is pretty impressive spec-wise, too. The base model comes with an 8th-Gen Intel Core i7 processor, and you can even upgrade it to offer a dedicated graphics card for light gaming and video editing. For those uses, there's also an option for a 4K display.
6. Asus Chromebook Flip C434
The best Chromebook 2-in-1
Display: 14 inches; 1,920 x 1,080 | CPU: 8th-Generation Intel Core m3 | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 615 | RAM: 4GB-8GB | Storage: 64GB | Weight: 3.19 pounds
Google's Chrome OS has been getting better and better over the last few years, and you can even run many Android apps on it now, making it pretty versatile. If you want a laptop to take advantage of all those improvements, then the Asus Chromebook Flip C434 is the best laptop in its category, thanks to its sleek design and relatively powerful specs.
Chrome OS is a lightweight operating system, so the Flip's Intel Core m3 processor and 4GB of RAM should be more than enough to provide smooth and speedy performance. As its name suggests, the touch-enabled Flip C434 can flip into both laptop and tablet modes, making it perfect for Android apps. The laptop comes with a nice selection of ports, too, including a USB 3.1 port, two USB-C ports, a headphone jack and a microSD card slot.
7. Alienware m17 R2
A gaming beast in a slim frame
Display: 17.3 inches; 1,920 x 1,080 | CPU: 9th-Generation Intel Core i5-i9 | GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti to RTX 2080 | RAM: 8GB-16GB | Storage: 256GB-4TB SSD | Weight: 5.8 pounds
The Alienware m17 R2 is an absolute beast of a laptop and should offer more than enough power for the majority of gamers, while looking great in the process. If you want a gaming laptop that's unassuming enough for a coffee shop while still featuring a distinct design with attractive customizable RGB lighting, the R2 is the way to go.
The base model of the m17 R2 comes with an Intel Core i5 processor and Nvidia GeForce 1660 Ti, but the machine can be upgraded to include a Core i9 chip and an RTX 2080 graphics card. That's all within a sleek, 0.8-inch thin chassis that packs a comfortable keyboard and solid battery life for a gaming notebook. Safe to say, with a laptop this powerful, you'll see that frame rate skyrocket.
Read our full Alienware m17 R2 review.
8. Microsoft Surface Pro 6
Still the detachable 2-in-1 laptop to beat
Display: 12.3 inches; 2,736 x 1,824 | CPU: 8th-Generation Intel Core i5-i7 | GPU: Intel UHD 620 | RAM: 8GB-16GB | Storage: 256GB-1TB | Weight: 1.70-1.73 pounds
If you like the idea of a 2-in-1 but want a detachable display instead of a foldable one, then the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 is easily the way to go. The device offers powerful specs for the money, plus you can use the display in tablet mode, leaving behind the bulk of a keyboard and touchpad. That also makes the Surface Pro 6 one of the most portable Windows 10 devices out there, though you'll have to pay an extra $160 for Microsoft's Type Cover keyboard if you want the full laptop experience.
While the Surface Pro 6 is ultraportable, it doesn't sacrifice too much on performance. In the base model, you'll get an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. There are some great upgrade options, too, including the ability to get up to a huge 1TB of storage. Microsoft's newer Surface Pro 7 offers better performance and packs a USB-C port, but its battery life isn't as good as its predecessor.
9. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
The ultimate productivity laptop
Display: 14 inches; 1,920 x 1,080-3,840 x 2,160 | CPU: 8th-Generation Intel Core i5-i7 | GPU: Intel UHD 620 Graphics | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 256GB-1TB SSD | Weight: 2.40 pounds
The Lenovo ThinkPad has long been the best laptop for folks with serious productivity demands, and the 7th-gen ThinkPad X1 Carbon should be no exception. The laptop not only offers all the specs you would expect from a flagship laptop, but also has a sleek and slim aluminum chassis, making this machine perfect for those that need something to take to and from work or school.
Around the laptop, you'll get plenty of ports, including two Thunderbolt 3 ports, two USB 3.1 ports and an HDMI port. While there's no Ethernet port, you can get an adapter from Lenovo. You'll also get Lenovo's best-in-class keyboard and a stunning HDR-ready display.
10. Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch)
The best keyboard on a MacBook
Display: 16 inches, 3072 x 1920 | CPU: Intel Core i7 or i9 | GPU: AMD Radeon 5300M or 5500M | RAM: 8GB - 32GB | Storage: 512GB - 2TB SSD | Weight: 4.3 pounds
The MacBook Pro finally has a good keyboard again, and it's glorious. Apple's new 16-inch MacBook Pro ditches the company's shallow Butterfly switches for its new Magic Keyboard, which offers a softer feel and delightfully deep travel. This is the change we've been waiting for on MacBooks for years, and Apple finally delivered on it in a big way.
But a great typing experience isn't the only reason to pick up the latest MacBook Pro. The new model's bigger 16-inch display is one of the most immersive you can find on a Mac, with slim bezels and gorgeous colors. It also boasts the best speakers we've ever used on a laptop. Factor in blazing performance with up to an Intel Core i9 CPU and a nearly 11-hour battery life, and you've got the ultimate MacBook for power users.
Read our full MacBook Pro (16-inch) review.
11. HP Elite Dragonfly
The ultimate business laptop
Display: 13.3-inch touch-screen display, 1920 x 1200 or 3840 x 2160 | CPU: 8th-Gen Intel Core i3 / i5 / i7 | GPU: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB / 16GB / 32GB | Storage: 128GB / 256GB / 512GB / 1TB / 2TB SSD | Weight: 2.5 pounds
The HP Elite Dragonfly is the rare laptop that comes along and sets a new standard for the entire category. This 2-in-1 laptop's design is one of the most stunning we've ever seen on a laptop, with an incredibly thin edges that measure just 0.6 inches in thickness and a deep blue coat of paint that looks refreshing, mesmerizing and classy all at once. And while the Dragonfly is wonderfully light at 2.5 pounds, it also feels impressively sturdy, has an oleophobic coating to prevent fingerprints and uses recycled ocean-bound plastics to help the environment.
Performance and features-wise, this beauty is a beast. Its stunning 13.3-inch display looks gorgeous for movies and TV shows and crushed our color and brightness tests. Its 8th-gen Intel CPU can handle everyday workloads without issues, and its keyboard is one of the most pleasant we've ever typed on. There's also its incredibly epic battery life of more than 12 hours, which beats favorites such as the MacBook Air and XPS 13. The Dragonfly is on the expensive side with a starting price of $1,629, but those who are willing to pay a premium will be rewarded with one of the best laptops on the market.
Read our full HP Elite Dragonfly review.
12. Lenovo Yoga C930
A stunningly versatile 2-in-1
Display: 13.9 inches; 1,920 x 1,080-3,840 x 2,160 | CPU: 8th-Generation Intel Core i5-i7 | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB-16GB | Storage: 256GB-1TB SSD | Weight: 3.04 pounds
The Lenovo Yoga C930 is easily one of the best laptops of the past year or so, and if you're looking for a laptop to rival our top pick, the Dell XPS 13, this could be it. The laptop is super sleek and light, features a convertible design with an included stylus, and has very solid specs under the hood.
One of the best things about the Yoga C930's design is the hinge, which actually doubles as a kind of soundbar, and the result is relatively good sound quality. Spec-wise, the base model of this 2-in-1 is pretty powerful, thanks to an Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM, but if you need more, there are some great upgrade options.
13. Razer Blade Pro 17
A gaming laptop powerhouse for work and play
Display: 17.3 inches; 1,920 x 1,080 | CPU: 9th-Generation Intel Core i7 | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 to RTX 2080 Max-Q | RAM: 16GB-64GB | Storage: 512GB-2TB | Weight: 6.06 pounds
Most gaming laptops are a little bulkier than their productivity-focused counterparts, but the Razer Blade Pro 17 proves that this doesn't necessarily have to be the case. This laptop may not be superlight, but it is relatively slim and stylish, and it should fit in most backpacks for easy carrying. The Razer Blade Pro 17 comes in at only 0.78 inches thick, which is pretty slim.
Like with any gaming laptop, the emphasis here is on ultrapowerful specs, and the Razer Blade Pro 17 doesn't disappoint. The laptop offers an Intel Core i7 processor with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 in the base model, and that already-powerful graphics card can be upgraded to an impressive RTX 2080 Max-Q. Factor in impressive speakers and blazing transfer speeds, and you've got an excellent machine for both work and play.
How to choose the best laptop for you
Performance: If you only need something basic for surfing the web, consider a Chromebook or a cheap Windows laptop with an Intel Core i3 processor and 4GB of RAM. If you plan on getting more intensive work done, consider starting specs such as a Core i5 CPU, 8 to 16GB of RAM and a 256GB to 512GB SSD.
Graphics and gaming: Most mainstream laptops feature integrated graphics, which can handle lightweight titles such as Minecraft and Overwatch but aren't ideal for intensive AAA games or heavy visual work. For that, you'll want a laptop with a discrete graphics card, such as an Nvidia GTX 1660 or 2080 on the higher end.
Size: Consider how mobile you want your laptop to be. Machines such as the Dell XPS 13 and HP Elite Dragonfly are feather light with slim designs, while gaming notebooks such as the Razer Blade Pro and Alienware 17 have more heft to them (but offer big power in exchange).
Operating system: Laptops typically come in three flavors: Windows 10 (most mainstream PCs), macOS (MacBooks) and Chrome OS (Chromebooks). Windows 10 is the most common operating system, while macOS is more ideal for folks already tied into Apple's ecosystem. Chrome OS is a lightweight operating system built to allow for cheap, fast systems, though it has gotten a bit more robust over the years with support for full Android apps.
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 laptops
To find the best laptop, 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 4 (CPU performance), as well as various 3DMark to measure graphics capabilities. We also run a file transfer test to measure how fast a machine's hard drive is, as well as a custom battery test that has as machine browse the internet over Wi-Fi until it runs out of juice.
When testing dedicated gaming laptops, we run benchmarks for popular games such as Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Hitman 2 and Far Cry: New Dawn.