- Our choice for the #1 spot on our list of best laptops for DJing is the new M2 MacBook Air, thanks to its speedy processor, Retina display, and superb battery life.
- There are over 11,230 DJs currently employed in the United States, and if you want to become one of them, you better have a good laptop!
- The price range for DJ laptops varies based on your needs – your laptop can be affordable or “high-end.”
- Many laptops for DJs offer built-in DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) for you to create your mixes with, and most DAWs are beginner-friendly or have accessible tutorials available.
Your dreams of becoming a world-famous DJ like Diplo or David Guetta may not be as far-fetched as they seem. Today, there is a multitude of opportunities for aspiring DJs that turn pipe dreams into tangible realities. You don’t need to spend tons of money or get a fancy record deal to do it, either!
To create an at-home studio, you are going to need a computer. This is where all the magic happens; the second you get an idea, you need immediate access to a program to execute it. Most modern laptops are more than capable of creating a quick beat or remix via a DAW.
The best laptops for DJing have a variety of price ranges, and your selection will also vary drastically on a person-by-person basis. Therefore, consider your budget, the realistic amount of DJing you can do, and your current skill level before committing to one of these laptops. We’ve made it easy to pick out a DJ laptop that works for you by breaking down our top five favorites in 2023:
- Best Overall: Apple MacBook Air
- Best Budget Option: ASUS VivoBook S14
- Best Multi-Use Option: Razer Blade 15
- Best Portable Option: Samsung Galaxy Book Pro
- Best Performance: 16.2-inch MacBook Pro (2023)
#1 Best Overall DJ Laptop: 13-inch MacBook Air
- Features the M2 chip, a next-generation 8-core CPU, up to 10-core GPU, and up to 24 GB of unified memory
- 18 hours of battery life
- 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display (over 500 nits of brightness)
- 1080p FaceTime HD camera, three-mic array, and four-speaker sound system with Spatial Audio
The 13-inch MacBook Air earns the top spot thanks to its ease of use and the powerful performance you get for the price. Beginners often want all the perks of the MacBook Pro despite having minimal experience with the tech at hand. You can save a few hundred dollars by purchasing its smaller sibling, the MacBook Air.
Apple’s line of computers is a wonderful choice for most musicians. It comes with a DAW (Garage Band), and Apple offers an upgraded version (Logic Pro) at a relatively affordable one-time fee ($200). Many DJs swear by Logic Pro as their preferred music-making software; you might join them once you’ve tried it.
The MacBook Air is the most lightweight offering of Apple’s laptop computers. There are a few technical differences between the Macbook Air line and the MacBook Pro line, but most users consider the bulkiness of the computer above all else. You want your rig to be as portable as possible while traveling the world playing gigs.
The most recent models feature the impressive M2 chip. Issues like overheating and fan noise will be less common because these chips can handle your DAW.
These MacBooks are also significantly cheaper than the MacBook Pro, making it possible for you to have a higher budget for creation. Think of all the sample clearances you could afford with the hundreds you’re saving on your laptop!
|The paper-thin MacBook Air is a great option for traveling DJs.||It’s a bit fragile compared to the MacBook Pro due to its small stature.|
|You can operate the same programs on the MacBook Air as the Pro at a fraction of the cost.||It lacks the most common ports, such as USB and HDMI.|
|The MacBook Air features a long, healthy battery life despite its petite size.||There are limited hardware upgrades available. Forget about upgrading it after you buy.|
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Best Budget DJ Laptop: Asus VivoBook S14
- 14” Full HD NanoEdge bezel display
- 11th generation Intel Core i5-1135G7 Quad Core Processor
- 8 GB DDR4 RAM
- ASUS AI Noise-Canceling Technology
One of the best laptops for DJing, if you’re on a budget, is the Asus VivoBook S14. Many DJs err on the side of caution regarding the Mac vs. PC debate. It’s difficult to avoid, especially as you expand your network and connect with mentors who have been in the industry for decades.
But a true DJ pro is not restricted to just Macs. A solid Windows system is equally sufficient. Most people are familiar with Asus laptops as a great option for work-from-home jobs or schoolwork, but these laptops have incredible capabilities for DJs that are less spoken on.
Of course, you get all the benefits you’d normally receive from the latest Windows OS. However, you also get some missing features from a MacBook Air, making these laptops rank closely together.
For example, the VivoBook S14 has many ports like USB and HDMI, whereas modern Apple models notoriously lack them.
This isn’t your pick if your DJ set requires intensive graphics, but, otherwise, it’s a great pick for the middle of an average consumer’s budget range. Anything under $1,000 is a considerable deal for the value you would receive from this laptop.
|It comes with a price tag of under $1,000, establishing a reasonable budget for many consumers.||It may not have as many potential upgrades as the other laptops on this list.|
|Despite its compact size, the computer can run many of the most popular DAWs.||You may not be able to get crystal-clear audio recordings unless you use an external microphone.|
|ASUS offers a range of colors for this model, allowing you to choose something that fits your aesthetic preferences.||The colors projected onto the computer’s screen are not as crisp as on some of the more expensive models we’ve picked.|
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Best Multi-Use DJ Laptop: Razer Blade 15
- 15.6-inch display
- 12th Gen Intel Core i7
- 4.8 GHz of Turbo Boost
- 50% faster than the previous generation
- Next-Gen Vapor Chamber Cooling
- Built-in HDMI 2.1 port, Thunderbolt 4 USB-C port, and UHS-III SD card slot
Razer’s gaming laptops have taken over the industry, creating a new gold standard for portable PCs that can pack a punch. However, despite being classified as a “gaming laptop,” its use should not be so restricted. Razer also makes some of the best laptops for DJing.
This multipurpose laptop is visually stunning, adding to its overall appeal and hefty price tag. Thinking about DJing from a performance standpoint, you need to consider the aesthetic value of everything you take into the booth.
The RGB glow from this laptop will wow everyone at the venue or function you’re DJing at. Unfortunately, getting ahold of customer support is a bit tricky.
If you’re a beginner with many questions or an issue arises, you may have to put in some effort to resolve it. That is just one small hiccup that comes along with a smaller company like Razer. Still, the benefits outweigh the negatives.
It has an impressive 16GB of RAM and a minimum of 1TB solid-state drive. Couple that with a 14-core 12th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, and you have a true DJing beast. When you’re not at the club, you can fire it up for a gaming session, thanks to its powerful RTX 3070-Ti graphics.
This isn’t an “affordable” option by any means; however, you get more than what you pay for when it comes to this laptop’s features. If you’re a full-time DJ and a part-time gamer, you could even combine your hobbies into one convenient location while ensuring your investment still withstands the test of time.
|This laptop is extremely powerful and can operate complex programs (such as your favorite DAW and video game) without causing much of a ruckus.||It is the most expensive option on our list, costing over two grand to reap all its benefits.|
|The machine is visually stunning; this computer takes the cake if aesthetics are important to you.||It is chunkier than the other options since it is known as a gaming laptop.|
|You can guarantee that your purchase will last a long time, even if you use the laptop heavily.||Customer service is tricky to reach, so you may have to work harder to resolve any issues.|
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Best Portable DJ Laptop: Samsung Galaxy Book Pro
This Samsung laptop is best compared to an Apple MacBook Air. Its impressive portability, Dolby Atmos capabilities, and a large stock of available ports make it an enticing option. When you take into consideration its superb battery life of up to 20 hours, it is no wonder that this is one of the best laptops for DJing.
Aside from the obvious, there aren’t many other differences between the Galaxy Book Pro and the MacBook Air. If you’re dead set on staying on the PC side of the debate, this tiny-but-mighty laptop will ensure you can continue using Windows OS.
The lightweight machine is also beneficial to Samsung phone users. You can connect many of the devices’ features, creating a streamlined workflow for your performances.
It’s a bit more expensive than its MacBook Air counterpart before any upgrades are even considered, so your preference largely depends on your opinion on Mac vs. Windows.
The 11th-generation Intel processor makes it lightning-fast. Plus, it offers great solid-state storage (minimum of 256GB), allowing you to keep your mixes and DAWs operating with little fear.
|If you play many gigs, this portable DJ laptop slides right into any of your bags.||Its unreliable webcam might create friction if you need a multipurpose laptop.|
|Its speedy SSD and CPU allow it to load most programs quickly.||The touchpad can be finicky.|
|The laptop is incredibly durable, which may be surprising considering its physical appearance and lower price tag.||You may need an external microphone to record original sounds, not simply mixing with samples.|
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Best Performance DJ Laptop: 16.2-inch MacBook Pro (2023)
- 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display
- M2 Pro chip (12 CPU cores, 19 GPU cores, and up to 32GB unified memory)
- 1080p FaceTime HD camera, three-mic array, and a six-speaker sound system with Spatial Audio
- Up to 22 hours of battery life
- Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity
We’ve already mentioned the MacBook Air as one of the best laptops for DJing. But you can’t forget about the more upgraded Pro version. The new MacBook Pro is a powerhouse with a 12-core M2 processor, 16GB of unified memory, and a 512GB solid-state drive.
You definitely won’t need to worry about your computer freezing up in the middle of a DJing set. Apple’s MacBook Pro line is used by creatives worldwide across nearly every imaginable work field.
Artists, musicians, filmmakers, and writers swear by the MacBook Pro. However, it’s also extremely popular among DJs because their job often blends these skill sets.
The only plausible downsides to choosing the MacBook Pro over the MacBook Air are its size and cost. It is significantly more expensive and larger than the cheapest MacBook Air, but you can use these aspects to your advantage if properly strategized.
|This is one of the most powerful computers on the market for DJs.||The MacBook Pro is considerably heavier than a lot of the other options.|
|You can rely on its ample storage space to host all your files and programs.||It is expensive, costing several hundred dollars more than the MacBook Air.|
|MacBooks last a long time; you won’t need to buy another for several years if you are sure to take care of it.||Issues like water damage might seem minor, but they can create big problems on any Apple product, including MacBooks.|
|The multi-purpose computer makes it a sound investment for DJing and any other pursuits.||Apple is known for frequently updating its models, so the MacBook you buy brand new might be “old news” a year after you purchase it.|
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How to Pick the Best DJ Laptop in 2023: Step-by-Step
Choosing a DJ laptop in 2023 is relatively simple when you consider the following:
- Your budget
- Your needs
- The computer’s performance
Let’s break these down into some more detail.
The first thing you must consider is your realistic budget for a laptop. Realistically take inventory of how much DJing you’ll be doing.
If you’re a beginner, you likely won’t need the most expensive option from our list. However, if you’re an expert with a smaller budget, you can still get a lot out of the more economically-friendly laptops that have been listed.
Are you a touring DJ? The size of your laptop is considerable as a traveling DJ. Every airline has different requirements for the size of your carry-on, and you might not be flying with the same airline every time you play a set.
You want your DJ laptop to be lightweight but durable! Otherwise, make sure your chosen laptop is compatible with your favorite DAW.
The Computer’s Performance
All of the best laptops for DJing are high-performing, but some are miles ahead of others. More complex DJ sets require a heavy-duty laptop that can operate large programs without getting overwhelmed.
Any visual graphics should be considered, too; not all DJ laptops are meant to provide complicated visual effects.
What to Know Before Buying a DJ Laptop in 2023
You’d be surprised at what qualifies as a good DJ laptop nowadays. Many people might already have a good DJ laptop without realizing it.
DJ laptops don’t require super high-end specs like a gaming PC might. You really only need something that can create a good mix without overloading.
It is important to have a sturdy laptop that is lightweight enough to travel the world while you play sets. Most DJs have stopped playing solely with vinyl, and many don’t use vinyl anymore at all.
Instead, DJs are evolving with technology, with several choosing to completely convert to laptop DJing full-time. You can use the laptop you own to begin your DJing career if it meets a few specific criteria.
As long as it’s sturdy with a big, clear screen, and plenty of battery life, you should be ready!
Using DJ Laptops: What’s It Like?
Modern DJing is a vastly different beast from a few decades ago. Digitization has enabled people to become expert DJs by pressing simple buttons.
Your laptop can do all the heavy lifting, powering through your carefully curated mixes without missing a beat. But don’t forget to keep your best music backed up to an external hard drive so you don’t lose anything.
If you miss that old-school record-scratching feel, you can hook up a plethora of portable DJ equipment to your laptop to take it to the next level. Companies like Pioneer, NuMark, and AKAI make DJ controllers that you can plug into your laptop with a USB cable.
If you’re serious about your DJing skills, one of these devices is a must-have accessory for your laptop.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock.com.