Whether you’re after a laptop for working from home or need a laptop that can withstand travel and on-the-site duties, picking the right laptop for your business isn’t something to go into lightly. While you can, validly, just choose one of the best laptops and call it a day, are there special qualities that you need in a business laptop that you wouldn’t in others? Or, do average laptops overemphasize some traits that can safely be ignored for business? Our investigation into the best business laptops will sort out these issues as well as give you some great recommendations for your next laptop.
- Best overall:
- Best for small business:
- Best for travel:
- Best for business and personal use:
- Best budget:
A great laptop is a great laptop is a great laptop, and our general laptop buying guide can help you get started in all of the decision making steps you need to pick out a quality laptop. That being said, there are some qualities that you might wish to focus more (or less) on when picking out the best business laptop for you or your organization.
Security is a huge factor for your business laptop, especially if you own your own business. But, even a worker that is grabbing a laptop for somebody else’s business doesn’t want to be the one that causes a security breach. Look for features like thumbprint logins to deter others from getting into your data. A low angle of view on the screen will make it harder for those sitting next to you in the coffeeshop or on the plane to read the contents on your screen. Finally, some laptops have built-in security and come with advanced security software out of the gate.
While you may think of local storage as something most critical to gaming laptops, you can also use up quite a bit of storage in certain industries. For example, if you are into video manipulation or sound editing, you’ll likely want programs (and video files) stored locally. On the other hand, if you mostly write documents, save some money by getting a cheaper hard drive and bank on using the cloud more.
Webcam and mic
A good webcam and mic on your laptop will help you stand out in videoconferencing situations and make you the Zoom hero. While the pandemic is slowly but surely becoming a distant memory, professionalism in online calls is still expected and — should you want to work from home — having a good setup can be a big factor in making your plea to avoid the office. To stay private, try to find webcams with a physical shutter.
For those of you that run your own business and typically do all of your business in person, it can be tempting to limit how much you think about this category. While that’s a valid position to take, it might be worth considering what other business opportunities can be achieved if you allow for virtual conferencing with potential clients in the future.
Hardware, graphics, and more
For many categories of laptops, we pride the beautiful screens, expansive memory, and more. In so many ways, however, the hardware, graphics, and other peripherals of your business laptop might very well be considered extras. Consider what you really need. For a lot of basic software, 8GB of RAM will likely cut it. Sure, getting more is nice, but you don’t necessarily need to spend an arm and a leg for it.
On the flip side, if you’re doing fancy video editing or computationally expensive work, getting something better is worth your time. If you expect to use a locally-run LLM for your business in the next year or two, for example, a laptop with 32GB and a fancy graphics card could very well be the best business laptop for you. The important thing here is to gauge your expectations based on the predicted needs of your business. Unlike our everyday laptops, which are used for such a wide variety of things that it is nearly always better to get a bit extra, business laptops have a well-defined purpose.
A final thought to get entered into your mind before you start shopping for your laptop, is how much you’re willing to pay for it. It’s business, so you can go one way or the other on this. One school of thought will say that you should invest highly in your business, never skimping on the details. Plus, depending on your situation and tax laws, you might even be able to write off your purchase. The other school of thought will keep the mantra “every dollar saved is a dollar earned” and want to spend less. That’s valid too, and something we support. Whatever you choose, however, it is best to have a budget in mind before you start looking at laptops to buy so you don’t get swayed too heavily by what you see. Most people will spend between $500 and $2,500 on one of the best business laptops, but your purchase might fall on either side of this depending on where you fall on the willingness to pay spectrum.
The following laptops were chosen for their ability to support a wide variety of businesses. As you can tell from the previous categories, there is a lot of variety in the needs, wants, and preferences for various businesspeople. In choosing these laptops, we looked at the most common situations for laptop owners to face and chose the right laptop to match. These laptops all come from the best laptop brands and are considered high-quality laptops in their own right.
|Short battery life
|Large, comfortable keyboard
|Lightweight (under 3 pounds)
The Dell XPS 13 Plus is a laptop with a high-quality chassis and lightweight design that can be used anywhere. It has a large, comfortable keyboard that stretches the full width of the laptop’s base. The keys give a satisfying click and have an impressive 1mm travel distance from press to tap, making this a great laptop for typing up documents and one of the best laptops for writers. However, the insides are possibly where you’ll find most of your happiness with the XPS 13 Plus, as you can tune its hardware to your qualifications quite nicely. Those need large amounts of storage can get up to 2TB if they so desire, but if you’re relying on the cloud you can go 512GB. If you predict that your business will want locally run LLMs in the future or you want to use intensive video editting software, try the 32GB of RAM edition, otherwise the 16GB should be more than plenty.
For a more intense overview of this laptop, our Dell XPS 13 Plus review touches everything from getting used to the haptic feedback in the mousepad to the specifics of its ports. One of the few downsides of this laptop is its battery life. While our review has more details, you can expect to get around six hours, plus or minus, on a single charge. While that’s good on a four-hour work week, you’ll want to keep your charger handy if you’re burning the midnight oil.
|16GB or 32GB
|512GB – 2TB SSD
|Inherent virus protection
|Apple ecosystem integration
If you run a small business, you likely want your business gear to integrate well with the rest of your life. There are no set on-the-clock, off-the-clock hours (unless you set healthy boundaries, that is), so having your phone and your laptop work well together seamlessly is a no brainer. For most, that means getting one of the best MacBooks. And of these, we find the MacBook Pro 160-inch to be highly powered and ready to help you through whatever business needs you have.
Another big bonus to a MacBook, even if you use an Android smartphone, is how virus resistant they are. While it may have reached meme level coverage in the past, the macOS is more secure than Windows, even in the current year, with only 6% of all malware breaches occurring on macOS. With on-site protection like fingerprint login, the whole system is quite secure and will make you feel safe having your most important financial documents inside.
|512GB or 1TB SSD
|Built-in security factors
|No USB-A or HDMI ports
|Very tough, can handle travel
|Handy dictation toolbar
For traveling purposes, you should highly consider getting a Lenovo laptop, as they are usually built with both security and toughness built in mind. For security, this laptop allows login via fingerprint or facial recognition, based on images taken from the webcam. This webcam can be quickly toggled on and off via the F9 key for added privacy as well. This laptop, like all ThinkPad laptops, comes with ThinkShield software, which is a suite designed around business security.
In business and travel situations, you’ll like the ability to quickly tap a dictation button for speech-to-text document creation. The noise-cancelling mics included in the laptop will help get the words right and have you sounding like a star in your next 1080p video meeting. If you run into adverse weather conditions or have a tendency to carelessly through your laptop in your bag, you’ll additionally have less to worry about with the Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 Gen 2, as it is built with more than 200 quality checks in mind so it has high-quality durability.
While this is the very new second gen, you can check out our Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 Gen 1 review to get a more in-depth idea of what to expect from the machine.
|Great for productivity and gaming
|144Hz refresh rate
|Low price to quality ratio
Sometimes you need to work and sometimes you need to blow some steam off. The HP Victus 16 provides the best of both worlds, and on a budget, no less. This version of the HP Victus comes with an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H CPU and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics card for a fantastic AAA gaming experience on the go.
But it isn’t all about gaming when it comes to business. Our HP Victus 16 review highlights the laptop’s ability to handle highly computational creative tasks, but also makes the interesting observation that this laptop looks like a business laptop and wards off the potentially unprofessional gamer vibes that, say, an Alienware laptop might put off.
|Somewhat older model
|Quality keyboard with numpad
If you want a decent Dell laptop that’s good for business, but won’t cost you a ton, check out the Dell Inspiron 15. It isn’t much for special features, but has a standard chassis, and clears the minimum qualification checks to be a functional laptop. It will provide a good typing experience, has a numpad for when you need to tackle that Excel sheet, and has a large trackpad for convenient selection.
Most important to the Dell Inspiron 15 is its highly customizable hardware. Even at max settings, which includes 16GB or RAM and a 1TB SSD hard drive, this laptop is only a hair over $500. If you’re willing to sacrifice more storage and power, this laptop can drop substantially below the $500 mark, making it the best business laptop for the dollar conscious.
If you like that latest and the greatest, you might take issue with the fact that this laptop model is pushing three years old, give or take. If that’s the case for you, themodel might be more to your liking. It’s still budget, but is less customizable. You’ll get a better processor, but have to pay extra for worse RAM and storage.
|8GB or 16GB
|256GB – 1TB SSD
This article is managed and created separately from the Digital Trends Editorial team.
- Our 5 favorite laptop deals in Best Buy’s ‘3-Day Sale’ — from $159
- Best Buy laptop deals: Cheap laptops starting at $159
- 7 best 2-in-1 laptops in 2024: tested and reviewed
- Best Buy’s deal of the day is $220 off an HP 15-inch laptop
- 5 gaming laptop deals worth buying before the end of the month