8 Ways to Get a Free Laptop

Cheerful elderly lady with credit card smiling and using laptop while sitting at table and doing online shopping at home

8 Ways to Get a Free Laptop

Key Points

  • Compudopt is an organization that provides free computers to people in need through a raffle system.
  • PCs for People offers free computers and discounted internet access to low-income individuals.
  • FreeCycle is a grassroots organization that facilitates the giving and receiving of donated goods, including laptops.
  • With Causes offers a program called Need A Helping Hand? that distributes free laptops based on need.
  • The On It Foundation provides free computers to households with children on a public school lunch assistance program.
  • EveryoneOn provides free laptops and internet service to underserved communities.
  • SmartRiverside offers free laptops to California residents who meet certain income requirements and complete a computer training course.
  • Craigslist can be a potential source for finding a free laptop through the free section or by making a request post.

In the modern world, it’s pretty hard to get anything done without some kind of computer. Sure, phones are great for some things but a laptop will always be superior. Laptops, however, are expensive and many people are priced out of affording one. Luckily, there are plenty of methods for getting a laptop at reduced or no cost. Here are eight ways to get a free laptop.

1. Compudopt

Compudopt is an organization dedicated to creating equal access to education by providing technology to those in need. Started in 2007 by Jonathan Osha, Compudopt receives computers and other technology donations from large corporations and gives them away to people unable to afford or otherwise access a computer. The organization also offers programs for accessing affordable Internet, online digital skill-building workshops, as well as other tech programs for both students and adults.

Unlike other free computer programs, Compudopt functions as a raffle. All you have to do is visit their website, click under the Computer Giveaway section, and register. From there, you will be entered into a giveaway for a free computer. To be eligible, you must have a child and no access to a working computer at home.

While the giveaway is not a guarantee, the program is continually raffling off free computers with more than one winner picked for each distribution. Either way, Compudopt features a wide variety of charitable programs to get people the technology they need.

2. PCs for People

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PCs for People has provided over a quarter of a million computers to people in need.


Founded in 1998, PCs for People is a non-profit organization created for the sole function of providing computer and internet access to people with low income. Since its inception, PCs for People has grown into a national enterprise with nine physical locations and an online presence in all fifty states. By intercepting computers before they reach the landfill, PCs for People has been able to distribute over a quarter of a million computers to people in need.

Eligibility for a computer from PCs for People requires a photo ID as well as proof of enrollment in some type of government assistance program. If you aren’t enrolled in any type of assistance program, don’t worry. You are still eligible if you can provide proof that your current household income is either 200% below the federal poverty line or up to 60% of your area’s median income.

Once you qualify, you can visit one of the PCs for People’s nine physical locations or their online shop for the computer of your choice. Beyond that, PCs for People offers a deeply discounted internet provider for eligible people.

3. FreeCycle

FreeCycle is a grassroots non-profit organization that facilitates the giving and receiving of donated goods in your local area. Started in 2003 as an email group by Deron Beal, FreeCycle has grown into a massive donation network with nearly eleven million members worldwide. FreeCycle cuts out the middleman, reduces landfill waste, and helps get perfectly good items to the people who need them.

To use FreeCycle, sign up for free on their website, join your local town group, or invite friends to form a friend circle. From there, make a post requesting the item you’d like to gift or receive, such as a laptop. Wait for the fish to bite, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get a response. From there, you can arrange a location and time for pickup.

While using FreeCycle to get a free laptop may seem like a bit of a gamble, if you are active on the site, chances are you will find a laptop. What’s nice about FreeCycle is you don’t need to have a low income or be without access to the internet to find a computer. Freecycle doesn’t require any forms with your personal information or income level either. Just sign up for a FreeCycle account and request a laptop.

4. With Causes

The With Causes charitable network was started with the express purpose of using all available resources to help the underserved. Eschewing promotion or other charity ‘big business’ tactics, With Causes offers creative but effective programs to help lift people out of poor circumstances. One standout program by With Causes is Need A Helping Hand?, which focuses on distributing free laptops.

Need A Helping Hand? might be the simplest way to get a free laptop on this list. To qualify, visit the website and fill out the brief, one-page form with a detailed reason why you need a laptop. If accepted, the organization will let you know within thirty days.

The benefit of using this program is that there is no income or other personal information required to apply. If you make a convincing enough case for why you need a laptop, chances are you might get one. Plus, if your first request isn’t successful, you can apply again every thirty days.

5. The On It Foundation

Teenage with glasses studying at home using a laptop
To qualify for a free laptop from The On It Foundation, you must have a child on a public school lunch assistance program.


Another non-profit organization that provides free computers is The On It Foundation. Founded in 1999, The On It Foundation seeks to facilitate increased education and career opportunities through technology. For eligible recipients, On It provides refurbished computers as well as computer training classes, ongoing support, and other services.

To qualify, you must belong to a household with at least one child on a public school lunch assistance program. If eligible, you apply by writing a letter to the foundation requesting a computer. The letter has to contain information about the student as well as some kind of verification of the student’s lunch assistance program to be accepted.

If you have a child on some kind of lunch assistance program, The On It Foundation is a surefire way to get a free laptop. If a computer isn’t immediately available, The On It Foundation will put you on a waiting list till you can receive one.

6. EveryoneOn

EveryoneOn is a non-profit organization that seeks to create opportunity by providing technology to underserved communities. What began in 2012 as a public awareness campaign called Connect2Compete has grown into EveryoneOn, which provides free laptops and internet service to Americans in need.

For a free computer from EveryoneOn, you must meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • A child on some kind of school lunch assistance program
  • You receive any kind of public assistance
  • You are a senior citizen
  • You are a veteran, or active member of the military
  • You have a disability

If you don’t meet a single one of those requirements, don’t give up hope just yet. You can enter your zip code on EveryoneOn and see what offers are available to everyone.

7. SmartRiverside

SmartRiverside is a non-profit organization that provides various tech services and programs to people in California. Started in 2006 to bridge the digital gap for underserved Riverside residents, SmartRiverside now provides a variety of tech literacy, coding, and computer donation programs for California’s underprivileged.

To apply for a free laptop, applicants must be residents of California and make under forty-five thousand dollars a year. Once accepted, applicants are required to attend a free eight-hour computer training course before receiving a computer.

Though it has the most requirements of any method on this list, SmartRiverside has a proven track record for getting technology to those who need it. Even if you don’t qualify for its free laptop program, SmartRiverside offers a host of other programs. These include coding workshops and a speaker outreach program to spark kids’ interest in technology.

8. Craigslist

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Craigslist allows users to both advertise and request free items such as laptops.


Founded in 1995 by Craig Newmark as an email service detailing upcoming local events, Craigslist has grown into one of the largest websites of all time and a mainstay of the internet. Craigslist functions like the classified section of a newspaper, featuring freebies, great deals, and other unique opportunities daily.

While finding a free laptop on Craigslist might seem like finding a needle in a haystack, it is possible if you check the site daily. Search the free section for your local area, and if you’re not finding anything, you can always make a post requesting a free laptop. A good samaritan might just appear to meet your laptop needs.

Craigslist might be the least reliable way to find a free laptop, but if you play your cards right, it can lead to success. It is the only method on this list that requires no personal information or other signups. If you’re really in need of a free laptop and you’ve exhausted all other options, Craigslist can make it happen.

8 Ways to Get a Free Laptop FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How can I get a free laptop?

You can get a free laptop by applying to several different charitable programs that give out free laptops.

Can I get a free laptop without filling out a bunch of forms?

Yes, though it is definitely more of a numbers game. One way to get a free laptop without volunteering your personal information is by using Craigslist or FreeCycle. 

My child needs a laptop for schoolwork, how can I get one for free?

If you have a child in need of a laptop, you’re in luck. There are a number of organizations such as EveryoneOn or PCS for People that specifically give laptops away to students.

What if I make more than the income level required to get a laptop from one of these organizations?

While most of the laptop giveaways by non-profit organizations are for the underprivileged, there are still options. Besides groups like Craigslist or FreeCycle, the non-profit EveryoneOn has a page that offers deals on technology for anyone.

What is the best way to get a free laptop?

It depends on your needs and your status. If you have any kind of disability, receive government assistance, or live below the poverty line, there is a bunch of organizations that will directly cater to your laptop needs.

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