- Our choice for the #1 Best Overall Cheap Laptop is the Acer Aspire 3 Spin.
- In the cheap laptop space, you have some excellent choices that can run as low as $200 or as high as $500.
- The cheap laptop space is filled with some great Chromebook options, which makes for a perfect computer if browsing is a top priority.
Whether it’s for work or personal use, laptops have become a central part of our online world. If you’re on the hunt for a new laptop, rest assured you don’t need to spend a fortune as there are plenty of budget-friendly options. Even as prices can fluctuate with sales and companies release new models regularly, you can still cut through the noise to find some outstanding yet inexpensive laptops that will work for you. Not everyone needs to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a laptop as sometimes several hundred dollars will get you exactly what you need.
Let’s take a look at the best cheap laptops on Earth today.
- Best Overall: Acer Aspire 3 Spin 14
- Best Overall: HP 14 Laptop
- Best Chromebook: Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i
- Best 2-in-1: Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5
- Best for Portability: Microsoft Surface Go 2
- Best for Gaming: Dell Inspiron 14
#1 Best Overall: Acer Aspire 3 Spin 14
- Ultra-responsive 14-inch IPS display
- Versatile 360-degree hinge easily transitions between laptop and tablet mode
- 720p HD webcam
- Includes Wi-Fi 6 and HDMI 2.1 ports
When you look for the best cheap laptops on earth, one model stands out, and that is the Acer Aspire 3 Spin 14.
Available for under $500, the value here is tremendous with a laptop that is made to help you be productive. The included Intel Core i3 processor is paired with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD to give you plenty of performance. Matched with a 14-inch IPS touchscreen at 1,920 x 1,200p resolution, you have a touchscreen that is going to look good for web browsing or streaming your latest binge obsession. Add in support for flipping, standing, and folding with the Aspire 3’s laptop body and you have a do-everything laptop solution for a very good price.
Weighing in at 3.4 pounds, the 2-in-1 body is 18.99 mm at its slimmest point, which makes it a truly portable option for carrying on the go. As a bonus for the price you also get support for Wi-Fi 6 and HDMI 2.1 so you are future-proofed with the latest laptop technologies. Other connected options include USB 3.2 ports, USB-C, a headphone jack, and a Kensington lock for extra peace of mind.
|Outstanding price-to-performance ratio||Slightly heavier at 3.4 pounds|
|Excellent features like Wi-Fi 6 and HDMI 2.1|
Check out the Acer Aspire 3 Spin 14 on Amazon.
Best Value: HP 14 Laptop
If you are looking for a sub-$200 laptop that delivers just enough performance to stream your favorite shows or browse the web, the HP 14 Laptop is the answer.
Running an Intel Celeron N4020 processor with 4GB of RAM and a 64GB hard drive, the HP 14 is a great first computer for schoolwork. The 64GB of memory is more than enough to save all sorts of schoolwork or download a few favorite movies for watching during some downtime. Best of all, the HP 14 can power through the day with 11 hours and 30 minutes of battery life on a single charge. Should you need a quick boost, HP Fast Charge technology can go from 0-50% in approximately 45 minutes.
The 14-inch display isn’t designed to win awards and with a 1,366 x 768p resolution, it’s below HD but this doesn’t take away from the overall value. Playing 1,080p and above content is still great to look at and the Intel UHD Graphics 600 card has more than enough power to ensure even 4K content will play smoothly.
One final bonus with the HP 14 is that it includes Windows 11 out of the box so you are running the latest software.
|Terrific budget laptop||Limited storage space|
|Plenty of power for web browsing||The screen resolution is outdated|
Take a look at the HP 14 Laptop on Amazon.
Best Chromebook: Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i
- Login with your Google account and you are ready to go
- 13-inch FHD IPS touchscreen
- Enhanced stereo speakers certified by Waves Audio
- Includes 128GB of storage and 8GB of RAM
As is the case with any Chromebook, all you have to do is log into your Google account on the Flex 5i and you are good to go. As a cheap laptop, this computer delivers a 13-inch FHD touchscreen with bright and vibrant colors that look good for both movie-watching and browsing the web. The touchscreen is responsive and reacts quickly to the touch, and as Chromebooks are ideal for a touchscreen experience, navigating through the IdeaPad Flex 5i is a breeze.
Enhanced stereo speakers pair wonderfully with the touchscreen courtesy of Lenovo’s Waves Audio technology, which includes a built-in amplifier. Plus, Lenovo designed the IdeaPad Flex 5i to limit the bezel space around the monitor so you do not get distracted while watching on the IPS display.
No matter what you watch or do with the Lenovo, this cheap laptop offers up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge.
|Very responsive touchscreen||Still too much bezel space|
|Enhanced speakers sound great||Real-world battery life is closer to 8 hours|
Check out the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i on Amazon.
Best 2-in-1: Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5
- 2-in-1 device powered by ChromeOS
- Up to 15 hours of battery life
- Utilizes Samsung OLED display with the 13.3-inch Full HD screen
- Crystal-clear audio with 4 speakers with smart amplifier technology
Even as 2-in-1 Chromebooks are plentiful these days, the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 has long been regarded as a best-in-class solution.
For right over $400, you have a fantastic value that offers up to 15 hours of battery life, which is a great way to start off IdeaPad Duet 5 ownership. When you add in a Samsung OLED display running a 13.3-inch 1,920 x 1,080[ resolution with 400 nits of brightness, you know you are in for a treat. It’s these two features that have helped the Duet 5 become a standout Chromebook, which becomes even more true when you factor in that it can be used as a tablet or laptop thanks to its detachable design.
Regardless of how you use the Lenovo Idea Duet 5, you can take advantage of four speakers that utilize smart amplifier technology, dual microphones, and a rear 8-megapixel camera. The front-facing 5-megapixel camera is great for video calls, which makes this a well-rounded Chromebook for both work and play. As a Chromebook, you can also take advantage of the Google Play Store to download additional apps that can vastly improve the overall Chromebook experience.
|Awesome battery life||Speakers sound good but not great|
|Fantastic OLED screen||Requires Android apps for many software downloads|
Take a look at the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 on Amazon today.
Best for Portability: Microsoft Surface Go 2
Coming in right around $500 when paired with a Type Cover keyboard, the Microsoft Surface Go 2 is a fantastic solution for portability.
Where the Surface Go 2 really shines is that it’s running full Windows 11 with a 10.5-inch touchscreen all while being powered by an Intel Pentium processor. The sum of all of these parts together lends to a computer that is incredibly portable without sacrificing any features you might need on the go. This means you can expect to be able to run Microsoft Word, Excel, or build a PowerPoint on the go just as you would from home without the Surface Go 2 skipping a beat.
Powered by a battery that can provide up to 10 hours of battery, you can expect to get through a whole day before recharging. Add in all-day battery life with a portable form factor that weighs only 1.2 pounds (without the Type Cover) and the Microsoft Surface Go 2 is one of the lightest cheap laptop options available. When you are finally done with work, you should have enough battery life left to browse, shop, or help the family with some homework.
|Full Windows 11 support||Requires additional keyboard purchase|
|Very portable||Screen might be too small for some|
Check out the Microsoft Surface Go 2 on Amazon.
Best for Gaming: Dell Inspiron 14
- 14-inch FHD anti-glare display
- Utilizes AMD Ryzen 7 5835U process with Radeon graphics
- Lightweight and portable
- Includes Wi-Fi6 technology for solid streaming
If you are willing to push the boundaries of what qualifies as a cheap laptop, at $600, the Dell Inspiron 14 is a standout choice.
Running an AMD Ryzen 7 5825U processor, there is plenty of horsepower underneath the Dell Inspiron 14 hood to get done with work and have enough power left over for play. Available with a 14-inch 1,920 x 1,200p FHD+ display, everything looks great on this laptop. This is especially true when you add in Dell’s 250-nit display with ComfortView Support so your eyes do not get fatigued if used for a long work or play session.
Speaking of play, the inclusion of AMD Radeon Graphics is why this laptop is a true diamond in the rough. Finding a cheap laptop that can game for under $600 is a true test of patience but the Dell Inspiron 14 should have you playing plenty of lightweight titles in no time.
Streaming games will be equally fun with the inclusion of Wi-Fi 6 technology so you have reliable transfer speeds to keep a constant stream running while playing with friends from all over the world.
|Great gaming performance for the price||Limited ability to play recent AA games|
|AMD processor is great for multitasking|
Take a look at the Dell Inspiron 14 on Amazon today.
How to Pick the Best Cheap Laptop: Step-by-Step
For anyone in the market looking for a great cheap laptop, there are four important considerations to start with.
- Operating system
- Body style
In the cheap laptop space, you are going to have to choose between a Windows computer and a Chromebook. Windows undoubtedly has more compatibility with different applications and is the default interface for many computers. Chromebooks are often less expensive and require less intensive hardware to run at the same performance level as a Windows machine.
If web browsing is your top priority, a Chromebook is a great choice. However, if using applications like Word or PowerPoint is most important for you, Windows is the best way to go.
Just as you have two choices for your operating system, with a cheap laptop you are likely to have three different options. The first two bounce between the traditional laptop model and the 2-in-1 that has the monitor portion bending back almost 360 degrees while remaining attached to the keyboard to create a writing space.
The third option is a different type of 2-in-1 where the screen and keyboard can detach from each other thereby creating a tablet as is the case with the Microsoft Surface Go 2. For many people, the idea of a 2-in-1 that detaches makes it easy to work during the day with a keyboard attached and then detach when it’s time to sit on the couch and binge Netflix.
Among this list of the best cheap laptops, you have screen sizes ranging from 10.5 inches to 14 inches. Choosing a laptop size can help determine how portable your new computer will be, and depending on the laptop you choose, it could lighten your load while on the go. The second consideration is that different resolutions can impact how much space you have to watch a movie or browse, so looking for a laptop that can display at least 1080p Full HD resolution is the right place to start.
No matter the price of a laptop, cheap or otherwise, finding one with all-day battery life should be a priority. Fortunately, many cheap laptops offer at least 8-10 hours of battery before needing to be recharged. This should be enough power to get you through a workday and into the evening where entertainment can take over. Chromebooks, in particular, offer standout battery life while being a cheap option because of their low-power operating system, so they are a great option if you value battery life above all else.
Using a Cheap Laptop: What It’s Like
Using a cheap laptop isn’t unlike using a more expensive laptop, you just have to temper your expectations of what these machines can do. These are not gaming powerhouses so don’t expect to play the latest AAA titles. You should also not look at these machines if you are a content creator and need to edit videos or photos on a regular basis.
Instead, these machines are perfect for being online all the time for browsing as well as watching your favorite shows or movies. As long as you don’t expect to play Cyberpunk 2077 on the Dell Inspiron 14, you are going to be absolutely okay with any of these cheap laptop options.
|Best Overall||Acer Aspire 3 Spin|
|Best Value||HP 14 Laptop|
|Best Chromebook||Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i|
|Best 2-in-1||Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5|
|Best Portability||Microsoft Surface Go 2|
|Best for Gaming||Dell Inspiron 14|
The image featured at the top of this post is ©SFIO CRACHO/Shutterstock.com.