- Overall, the best laptop for engineering students is the Dell XPS 13 for its great performance, small frame, and affordable price.
- Generally, engineering students require a combination of high performance and portability in their laptops.
- Because these laptops include top-tier hardware, you can expect them to come with large price tags.
- Some engineering fields, such as civil and aerospace, may need better performance for design work.
- Other fields, such as electrical, might save money on laptops with smaller processors or less memory.
The best laptops for engineering students feature the best hardware in the industry. Thus allowing them to run incredibly demanding programs. You can expect your computer to come with an i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and at least a TB of storage. Additionally, you’ll want your laptop to withstand harsh work environments. It’ll need to be durable, portable, and of a suitable size.
But with all these factors pitted against a wide variety of engineering fields and software, how do you know which computer is right for you? We’ve reviewed dozens of high-performance laptops to bring you the ideal model for any situation. After careful consideration, we’ve deemed these the top six laptops for engineering students:
- Best Overall: Dell XPS 13
- Best for Civil Engineering: Razer Blade Stealth 13
- Best for Mechanical Engineering: ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14
- Best for Electrical Engineering: HP ProBook 455 G9
- Best for Chemical Engineering: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9
- Best for Aerospace Engineering: MAINGEAR Vector Pro
#1 Best Overall: Dell XPS 13
Featuring an outstanding balance of power, ergonomics, and budget, the Dell XPS 13 is among the best overall laptops for engineering students, hands down. While the engineering spectrum has a wide range, all fields require multiple high-performing programs to complete their tasks. This aspect demands incredible processing and memory, which the Dell XPS 13 includes. This top-tier laptop comes with a powerful i7 Intel processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 2TB SSD. With these specs, you’ll have no problem running programs such as MATLAB or AutoCAD.
The XPS 13 packs all of this power into a tight, sleek body. At just 2.8 pounds and with a 13.4-inch screen, this laptop easily packs into a bag to tote around campus. Its touchscreen makes it ideal for taking notes or sketching designs. And with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1, you’ll have no issues connecting auxiliaries such as an external hard drive.
The one aspect we wish the XPS improved on is its battery life. Users love this power-packed laptop, but they’re constantly having to charge it. Fortunately, its Thunderbolt 4 charge system tops off the lithium battery in a short time. And at a mid-range price of $1,400, this is an easy issue to compromise on.
Check out the Dell XPS 13 on Amazon.
Best for Civil Engineering: Razer Blade Stealth 13
If you’re a civil engineering student and need all the performance while saving a little money, the Razer Blade Stealth 13 is ideal. While it’s slightly more dated than the XPS 13, you’ll still receive the power necessary to run large programs like Autodesk or Rhino. The Blade Stealth 13 features the same Intel i7 Processor and 16GB dual-channel memory, and while it has less storage, 512GB is still plenty.
The Razer Blade Stealth 13 is a little bulkier than its competition, but for good reason. With an anodized aluminum case, this engineering laptop is super durable. And that considered, it actually only weighs a few ounces more. It’s great for setting up shop anywhere you need to go.
Now, the Stealth 13 only comes with a 60Hz OLED touchscreen and a modest battery. However, if you’re not planning on heavy gaming, this is an easy trade for an affordable price. You can find this laptop for $1,149, about $250 less than the Dell. Now that’s a budget laptop!
Check out the Razer Blade Stealth 13 on Amazon.
Best for Mechanical Engineering: ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14
Working with smaller components, mechanical engineering students can save money with the less powerful but still capable ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14. This incredible laptop features 16GB of ram and 1TB of storage, which is ideal for large software. And while it comes with a less capable Ryzen i7 processor, it’s still powerful enough to handle mechanical projects.
With just enough capability in terms of specs to handle your workload, the Zephyrus G14 is also one of the best laptops for engineering students when it comes to affordability. At just under $700, this computer is nearly half the price of its competition. Even if this just gets you through school, you won’t regret this investment.
And because it’s not asking for so much power, you’ll find the ASUS battery lasting longer. Some users even claim as much as 10 hours of use. Be careful though; without a Thunderbolt port, this laptop charges slower than some.
Check out the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 on Amazon.
Best for Electrical Engineering: HP ProBook 455 G9
With excellent performance and featuring a convenient number pad, the HP ProBook 455 G9 is one of the best laptops for electrical engineering students. While you need a computer that can run multiple programs such as KiCAD and NI Multisim, you don’t need to go so far as accommodating huge design projects. This opens up the possibility of saving money on performance. The HP ProBook 455 G9 has all the storage and memory for your software but saves money by incorporating a Ryzen 5 Hexa Core.
However, because you’ll use more numbers and equations than students in other fields, a number pad is a necessity. The ProBook has a full number pad, which suggests that HP isn’t skimping on quality.
Of course, don’t expect to use this computer aggressively. With a smaller processor and an outdated charge system, you’ll have to be gentle with your G9 ProBook. But at a price of $729, you’re receiving an affordable laptop that meets the requirements for electrical engineering specifically.
Check out the HP ProBook 455 G9 on Amazon.
Best for Chemical Engineering: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9
With areas of expertise ranging from physics to biology, chemical engineering students need a versatile laptop like the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9. This computer packs in everything you could ask for – an Intel i7 Core Processor, 16GB of ram, and 512GB of storage. It has a Thunderbolt 4 charge system, Wi-Fi 6, and plenty of USB ports. And with a larger, 14-inch screen, you’ll have a comfortable time working on projects.
Where the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 beats the competition for chemical engineering students is in its portability. Even with premier specs and a larger frame, this laptop only weighs 2.49 pounds. Frankly, that’s almost unbelievable!
However, you’ll have to pay for a computer like this. With world-class design, you can expect to pay no less than $1,350. And that’s for a generation two years older than the other laptops on this list.
Check out the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 on Amazon.
Best for Aerospace Engineering: MAINGEAR Vector Pro
- Intel Core i7-11800H
- 32GB DDR4-3200MHz SODIMM RAM
- 1TB NVMe M.2 Gen 4 SSD
- 15.6 inches Full HD (1920 x 1080) LCD Display
Dealing with some of the most accurate calculations, aerospace engineering students need a powerful laptop, such as the MAINGEAR Vector Pro. This one’s top-of-the-line, and while it’s going to be an investment, it’ll be worth it. The Vector Pro comes with an Intel i7 Processor and two 16GB memory cards, which runs your programs without even trying. And its 1TB of storage space means you won’t have to compromise on anything. It’s also the largest laptop on our list. With a 15.6-inch screen, you’ll be able to see everything you’re working on. And at a 240Hz refresh rate, there will be no glitches in any design.
The MAINGEAR Vector Pro features an aluminum-magnesium chassis, a huge 4100mAH lithium battery, Wi-Fi 6, and Thunderbolt 4. It’s really the end-all of engineering laptops. But for the base model, you’re looking at $1,700 minimum. So you’ll have to decide if your work requires the best in the industry.
Check out the MAINGEAR Vector Pro on Amazon.
How to Pick the Best Laptops for Engineering Students: Step-by-Step
When choosing the best laptop for your engineering needs, there are three main considerations.
Let’s review each one of these aspects in more detail.
When looking for the best laptops for engineering students, you can’t compromise on performance. You’ll need to consider factors such as processors, RAM, graphics, and storage. They’ll drive the price, but high-end hardware results in smooth and accurate work.
Generally, you’re looking for a laptop with the following specs:
- Core i7 or higher
- 16GB of RAM
- 1TB SSD
If your projects require less design and rendering, you can compromise on some of these factors. For example, NI Multisim only requires a Pentium 4M processor and 1GB of RAM to run efficiently.
As a future engineer, you’ll find yourself working in challenging environments. As such, you’ll want a computer that is not only portable but also durable.
Generally, the more powerful your laptop, the more it weighs. This makes it essential to choose the right performance specs for your needs. Having excess storage, for example, can increase the overall weight by nearly three pounds in some cases.
Additionally, you want to purchase a laptop that can withstand heat, moisture, and vibrations. Ideally, your computer has an anodized aluminum frame and a spill-proof keyboard.
Because your work requires high-performance hardware to run serious programs, you can expect to pay over $1,000 for a laptop. The price fluctuates based on processing power, RAM, and storage. However, the price can also vary depending on additional features, such as a touchscreen or a number pad.
Because the cost has a direct correlation with performance, it’s increasingly important to know what tools you need to run. If you purchase a computer with more processing power than required, you’ll practically throw away money.
What to Know Before Buying an Engineering Laptop
There’s a fine line between the best laptops for engineering students and gaming computers. Both include the high performance needed to run the demanding programs utilized. So while some brands such as HP, Dell, and ASUS might brand toward professionals, you won’t go wrong purchasing Razer, Lenovo, or MAINGEAR.
However, gaming laptops often feature high frame rate capabilities, an aspect not necessarily needed for engineering. Unless you’re creating entire movies for projects, it’s unlikely that you need any more than 60Hz. Keep this in mind when purchasing a laptop, for higher Hz can drive the overall cost up.
Using an Engineering Laptop: What It’s Like
When testing the best laptops for engineering students, users first looked at portability. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 was by far the nicest to carry, weighing only 2.49 pounds. However, it was a little larger than others like the Razer Blade Stealth 13 and the Dell XPS 13, which packed easily packed into any laptop case. The MAINGEAR Vector Pro, being the largest and heaviest, takes some effort to bring along, but that’s a compromise for its performance.
The real test for the laptops came in terms of their capabilities. When running a demanding program such as Rhino, users felt the MAINGEAR ran seamlessly. It was quite a contrast to the HP ProBook 455, which struggled to perform at all. It’s a massive difference in processing power that some engineers need and others don’t.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock.com.