Best budget laptops 2024

A silver laptop with a black frame around the screen sat on a white desk next to a pot of pencils and some books.
Credit: HP

A silver laptop with a black frame around the screen sat on a white desk next to a pot of pencils and some books.
Credit: HP

Owning the best budget laptop is an excellent way to give you more freedom, no matter where you are or where you're going.

While looking for the best gaming laptops or high-end laptops in general can be easy, it is also very expensive. Looking for the best budget laptops or the best budget lightweight laptops, on the other hand, is a little harder because of the competition at that level.

If you specifically want something for gaming, then have a look at the best gaming laptops under 300. If you want a more general option though, then our list of top picks based on features, specs, and reviews, has you covered and then some. Let's begin...

Best budget laptops

  1. HP 14 (2023) - a great choice from HP
  2. Microsoft Surface Laptop Go - a top Microsoft pick
  3. Dell Inspiron 16 7635 - an excellent 2-in-1 option
  4. Acer Chromebook Spin 513 - an Acer special
  5. Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 - best option from Lenovo
HP 14 (2023) product image of a silver laptop with a black frame around the display which features an orange and blue watery pattern on the display.
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Credit: HP

1. HP 14 (2023)

Best budget laptop from HP

Processor: Ryzen 3 3250U - RAM: 16GB - Storage: 1TB SSD - Display Size: 14 inches - Display Resolution: 1920x1080 - Weight: 1.45kg

We're starting with the HP 14 as it's a pretty powerful little thing, especially as it costs a smidge under 500 most of the time.

For the price, you get quite a lot though, For example, this laptop packs in 16GB of RAM and a Ryzen 3 3250U for a fair bit of speed and power. You'll be able to enjoy a lot of different programmes as a result, without them struggling. It even has a 1TB SSD, which means you'll be able to store plenty of shows, or even a couple of low-impact video games too.

Along with all of that, it also has an anti-glare coating on the screen to make it far easier to use when you're out and about, or just next to a window on a train, and it comes with Windows 11, meaning you're up-to-date with the latest operating system.

So if you're looking for a laptop that can do a lot but won't cost a lot, then the latest HP 14 for 2023 is an excellent choice.

Reasons to buy:

  • Packs in plenty of power for the price
  • Useful extra features, like the anti-glare screen

Read More: Best budget laptops for graphic design

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go product image of a dark grey and black laptop with the Windows home screen on the display.
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Credit: Microsoft

2. Microsoft Surface Laptop Go

Best budget laptop from Microsoft

Processor: Intel Core i5-1035G1 - RAM: 8GB - Storage: 128 SSD - Display Size: 12.4 inches - Display Resolution: 1536x1024 - Weight: 1.1kg

As the makers of Windows, it would make sense that Microsoft has manufactured a great budget laptop, and the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go proves just that.

It features an ultra-light frame for a full-size laptop, weighing just 1100g, and features some sleek looks that are in keeping with other Microsoft laptop models more than double its price. Its port selection is pretty good with USB-Cs, USB-As and a headphone jack all represented to give you decent options for connectivity.

Its 12 or so-inch display offers you something a little more compact and it's also a touchscreen, which makes the Surface Laptop Go a 2-in-1 of sorts as you can tap away until your heart's content. 400 nits of brightness should make this panel pretty sharp, even if its resolution isn't quite full HD at 1536 x 1024.

A 10th-gen Intel Core i5 processor keeps things chugging along nicely for basic productivity tasks, be it watching content on Netflix or writing up an essay on Microsoft Word.

8GB of RAM also ensures you can have a myriad of Chrome tabs open whilst you work, as well as engage in some more intensive tasks if you wish, thus making it an excellent budget option overall.

Reasons to buy:

  • Microsoft's own, so works smoothly with Windows
  • Decent multitasking potential

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Dell Inspiron 16 7635 product image of a black foldable laptop with an image of astronauts on the display.
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Credit: Dell

3. Dell Inspiron 16 7635

Best budget 2-in-1 laptop

Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 7530U - RAM: 8GB - Storage: 512GB SSD - Display Size: 16 inches - Display Resolution: 1920x1200 - Weight: 1.1kg

If you want a laptop that doubles as an amazing tablet, and you should because it's a useful niche, then good news because this Inspiron 16 7635 is your answer.

This amazing 2-in-1 device not only has a great screen with a 1080p resolution, plenty of power from its Ryzen 5 7530U CPU, and a good amount of storage at 512GB, but it comes with a stylus too. This means you can use it for design tasks and creative hobbies, as well as note-taking and general work as well.

Along with that, it has a great webcam, comes with Windows 11, and is good for just about any job you could need it for. If you want to get anything done when you're on the go, then absolutely get this Dell laptop.

Reasons to buy:

  • A lot of power for a good price
  • The webcam is great for meetings or family video calls

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Acer Chromebook Spin 513 product image of a silver and black foldable laptop with an orange scooter on the display.
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Credit: Acer

4. Acer Chromebook Spin 513

Best budget laptop from Acer

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c - RAM: 4GB - Storage: 64GB eMMC - Display Size: 13.3 inches - Display Resolution: 1920x1080 - Weight: 1.2kg

If you're hunting for an amazing mid-range Chromebook that'll fit your budget nicely, then the Acer Chromebook Spin 513 is a superb choice.

Intriguingly, this particular Chromebook packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c processor inside, which means it's Arm-based. With this, it'll provide you with some snappy performance for basic tasks and, as it runs ChromeOS, everything is kept nice and simple.

In addition, the fact the Spin 513 is an Arm-based Chromebook means it needs less cooling and is, therefore, one of the thinner budget laptops out there. This helps its looks to no end, as this particular Chromebook looks rather stylish indeed.

Its Full HD IPS panel should offer you some brilliant colours and viewing angles, and 300 or so nits of brightness mean the 13.3-inch panel should also be pretty sharp, too.

Battery life of over 13 hours also means the Acer Chromebook Spin 513 should comfortably last two working days, meaning you won't have to think about charging it up all too often.

Reasons to buy:

  • Incredibly light, and therefore portable
  • Surprisingly fast for a Chromebook

Read More: Best laptops for illustrators

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 product image of a black laptop with white backlit keys and Windows on the display.
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Credit: Lenovo

5. Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5

Best budget laptop from Lenovo

Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 5500U - RAM: 16GB - Storage: 256GB SSD - Display Size: 14 inches - Display Resolution: 1920x1080 - Weight: 1.6kg

Lenovo also makes some of the best budget laptops, and the IdeaPad Flex 5 is a great example of that.

It's a good choice if you're after the convenience of a two-in-one machine, so you can fold the screen over and use it as a tablet, as well as a normal laptop. You'll find it features a 14-inch Full HD display which gives you a load of screen real estate to play with as a nice middle ground.

In addition, its AMD Ryzen 5 5500U processor will. be convenient for productivity tasks such as writing emails, searching the web, or planning an essay, and offer you some beefy performance for any slightly more intense tasks you wish to engage in.

The IdeaPad Flex 5 also features a generous selection of ports with USB-As, a USB-C, HDMI, a headphone jack, and an SD Card reader all represented, giving you a good blend of current and legacy offerings to connect to.

A quoted 9-hour battery life also means this laptop can go the distance and will last for a full working day before needing to be charged up fully as well.

Reasons to buy:

  • Solid battery life for something so small
  • The 2-in-1 design comes is highly versatile

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

As with a lot of other tech, with laptops, some questions can arise time and time again, so we're here to help you make the most informed buying decision by answering some of those burning questions.

Are cheap Windows laptops worth it?

This all depends on what your perceptions of 'cheap ' are. The 'cheap' Windows laptops we've listed above all clock in for around £500/$600 as this is the bottom line for getting a serviceable mid-range Windows laptop with a great all-around performance, a good display, and usable storage.

You could, of course, go for something cheaper, but you risk poor performance and stingy storage. For Windows laptops especially, spending a little more can get you a fair amount more.

How much should I spend on a budget laptop?

If you're after a decent affordable Chromebook, then up to around $400 will get you something powerful enough for day-to-day work and something well-built with a good port selection.

For a Windows laptop, it'll be closer to $500-$600 for something rather serviceable, given they need better specs to run a more demanding and complete operating system compared to ChromeOS. The internal specs of a Windows laptop may also be higher with larger amounts of storage and a better processor, which will cost more than some Chromebooks.

Is 4GB RAM enough?

For more basic tasks, 4GB of RAM will be enough. The laptops we've listed above mainly have 4GB or 8GB which can allow you to partake in some more intense tasks such as editing an HD video or some photos and will generally give you a little more to work with in terms of capacity.

Is 256GB storage enough for a laptop?

In short, yes. For more affordable laptops at lower price points, 256GB is plenty to work with for storing documents, photos, and the occasional video.

As you get more expensive though, and 512GB and 1TB options become available, you're always better to get too much storage than too little.

Of course, if you ever need more storage that you want to keep externally, then you can purchase one of the best cheap hard drive enclosures for storing your HDDs and SSDs.

What is RAM used for?

In short, RAM (or Random Access Memory) is used to run all your laptop's tasks and functions and store important and temporary data that can be accessed quickly.

For more information on what RAM is used for, manufacturer Crucial has a useful breakdown of the functions of the component, and what computer memory is, too.

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