We maintain a list of some of the best laptops you can buy, and they're certainly excellent machines. But most of them have something in common: they're fast performers with fans that can speed up and create a ton of noise. That's what makes a fanless laptop so attractive.
Take away the fans, and a modern laptop has no moving parts and thus produces no sound — unless you want to play some tunes or watch a video, and then your speakers don't have to overcome the noise of spinning fans. Apple's MacBook Air M2 is the epitome of the fanless machine, providing excellent performance while running silent. But it's not the only one – check out our list of fanless laptops for some other excellent choices.
Apple MacBook Air M2
Fanless but still incredibly fast and long-lasting
- Incredibly thin
- Upgraded webcam and speakers
- Shockingly good performance
- Battery life stomps the competition
- Screen and keyboard are world-class
- Worryingly hot internal temperatures
- Still only supports one monitor
Why you should buy this: It's a fanless and completely silent laptop that doesn't compromise performance.
Who it's for: Anyone who doesn't want to give up performance for silence.
Why we picked the Apple MacBook Air M2:
Of all the laptops on this list, the MacBook Air M2 is just one of two that offer full-power CPUs. It's fanless, yes, and so completely silent, but it doesn't force you to give up performance in exchange. The Apple M2 chip is faster than many Intel 12th-generation Core and AMD Ryzen 6000 options, especially in creative tasks, and it provides all the performance a demanding productive worker can ask for.
The MacBook Air M2 is also one of the thinnest laptops you can buy today at just 0.44 inches, and it's light at 2.7 pounds. Its 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display is bright, colorful, and offers excellent contrast, and the laptop has one of the best keyboards and touchpads around. With a rock-solid chassis and elegant design, the MacBook Air M2 is a fanless laptop that requires no compromises.
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1
A well-built fanless detachable tablet
- Solid construction
- Well-built keyboard folio
- Thin and light
- Intel 12th-gen CPUs
- Limited ports
- Folio lacks propped angle
Why you should buy this: It's a detachable tablet with fast, fanless performance.
Who it's for: Anyone who wants a fast and quiet tablet that converts to a laptop.
Why we picked the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1:
Dell has joined the detachable tablet market with the XPS 13 2-in-1, a machine that enjoys Dell's usual tiny bezels in a well-designed and well-built tablet. The XPS Folio is also well made and offers a viable laptop-like experience. The XPS 13 2-in-1 also utilizes Intel 12th-gen CPUs — in this case, a 9-watt version that promises superior battery life to go with fast productivity performance.
As a tablet, the XPS 13 2-in-1 is thin at just 0.29 inches and light at 1.6 pounds, although the Folio adds some thickness and weight. Of course, it's fanless like the rest of the machines on this list, making it equal to dedicated tablets like Apple's iPad. We can't forget the 13-inch 3:2 3K (2880 x 1920) display that supports Dell's active pen.
Lenovo ThinkPad X13s
Fanless thanks to Windows on ARM
- Solid battery life
- Quality display
- Excellent keyboard and touchpad
- 5G WWAN option
- Attractive aesthetic
- Performance lags Intel and Apple
- Some flexing in the keyboard deck
Why you should buy this: It's a ThinkPad with an ARM CPU that's long-lasting and runs cool.
Who it's for: Anyone who wants a fanless, long-lasting Windows laptop.
Why we picked the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s:
The ThinkPad X13s is the first of the ARM-based laptops on this list, specifically running with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3. This is the latest Windows on Arm CPU that offers the best performance so far, with excellent battery life. It also runs cool, allowing the laptop to run without fans. It's not as fast as the Intel and Apple laptops on the list, but it's fast enough for productive tasks.
As its name implies, the ThinkPad X13s is a member of Lenovo's business-class Lenovo lineup, and it sports the same solid and comfortable black-on-black design. The 13.3-inch 16:10 Full HD+ display has solid colors and contrasts and provides a suitable image for professional users. The Qualcomm chipset provides optional 5G WWAN always-connected internet support.
Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3
An affordable fanless tablet
- Good enough productivity performance
- Excellent battery life
- Surprisingly good display
- Folio kickstand and keyboard included
- Strong value
- Keyboard is too cramped
- Limited to Wi-Fi 5
Why you should buy this: It's an incredibly affordable fanless detachable tablet.
Who it's for: Anyone who wants a detachable tablet that's quiet and doesn't cost a lot.
Why we picked the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3:
The other laptops on this list are expensive premium laptops costing $1,000 and more. Some users are looking for a fanless machine that can be used in quiet environments, but they don't want to spend a lot of money. That's where the $300 Chromebook Duet 3 comes in.
This affordable detachable tablet uses the Qualcomm 7c Gen 2 CPU that's slower than the processor in the ThinkPad X13s, but that's OK. Chrome OS is a lightweight operating system that's far less taxing on the CPU and uses a lot less RAM and storage. The Chromebook Duet 3 provides solid productivity performance and excellent battery life and offers an 11-inch 2K IPS display with an unusual 15:9 aspect ratio that works well in tablet mode. The included two-part rear cover and detachable keyboard are functional, although the keys are a little smaller than usual.
Microsoft Surface Go 3
A fanless and affordable Windows tablet
- Excellent build quality
- Superior display for a budget machine
- Great Active Pen support
- Small and light
- Surprisingly good real-world performance
- Can get expensive
- Mediocre battery life
- Keyboard and touchpad are cramped
Why you should buy this: It's a Windows 11 detachable tablet that's fanless and less than $500.
Who it's for: Anyone who wants a Windows 11 laptop that's quiet and affordable.
Why we picked the Microsoft Surface Go 3:
Like the Chromebook Duet 3, the Surface Go 3 is less than $500 and thus one of the more affordable laptops on this list. It costs more once you add the excellent Type Cover keyboard and Surface Pen 2, but it's still less than the rest of the pack. It runs on an Intel Core i3-10100Y that's not as fast as the other Intel CPUs but still provides decent productivity performance.
What's great about the Surface Go 3 is its awesome build quality and excellent typing and pen experience. The display is a 10.5-inch 3:2 display running at 1920 x 1280 resolution, and it provides an excellent image for productivity users. Battery life isn't as good as the best on this list, but it's enough to make the Surface Go 3 a great second laptop for use without disturbing the people around you.
If you're interested in thin and light laptops but would love one that can game as well, check out our list of the best thin and light gaming laptops.
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