Finding a laptop for less than $1,000 isn’t as hard as it used to be, but finding a good laptop for less than $1,000 is still tricky. In that price range you have to be careful, because each manufacturer prioritizes different features over others in order to keep costs down. Some might offer a powerful CPU on the cheap, but skimp on build quality. Others might spring for a sleek, solid chassis and settle for a sub-par processor. It’s about finding the right balance for your needs.
It should be noted that there are a number of laptops that sell for the marketing price of $999, such as the Google Pixelbook, but those don’t really match the spirit of this category. If you’re willing to spend $1,000 or more, then you should check out our list of best 2-in-1 laptops and our best overall laptops list for some great, if premium, options. And if you have an even tighter budget, then we have a selection of the best laptops under $300.
The laptops listed below are well south of a thousand and prove you don’t need to break the bank to get a decent computer.
At a glance
|Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UA||Best laptop overall||4 out of 5|
|Acer Aspire E 15||Best value||4 out of 5|
|HP Chromebook x2||Best Chromebook||4 out of 5|
|Dell G3 Gaming Laptop||Best gaming laptop||3 out of 5|
|Surface Pro 6||Best 2-in-1 laptop||4 out of 5|
|Dell XPS 13||Best stealth budget laptop||4.5 out of 5|
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UA
The best budget laptop
If you’re willing to compromise a bit on a more premium build quality design, the Asus ZenBook UX331UA is an excellent choice. It’s our pick for best laptop under $1,000. It starts at just $800, and for that price you still get a 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD.
The upgrade to 8th-generation Intel Core processors is probably the most meaningful update in the newest model and brings it up to speed with the other laptops in this price category. Those 8th-generation processors offer a substantial performance boost, even during everyday use, and they’re also more efficient when you’re not pushing the CPU to the max.
Acer Aspire E 15
The best value
Available for as little as $350, the Acer Aspire E 15 comes well under our $1,000 threshold, but while its price tag may be lacking, its hardware certainly isn’t. Available with 8th-generation i5 CPU, a 1080P display, up to a terabyte of storage and even a discrete MX150 graphics chip if you’re willing to pay a little more, it’s an impressively capable laptop.
Able to offer basic gaming ability with solid battery life despite the use of a full HD 1080P display, this laptop offers a lot for your money. It doesn’t look the most modern, with chunky bezels and thick plastic in places where more expensive hardware might trim the fat a little, but for what you pay you get a lot.
You might find greater performance or a prettier shell in other entries on this list, but none offer as much bang for buck as the Acer Aspire E 15.
HP Chromebook x2
The best Chromebook
Speaking of saving money, maybe you don’t quite need all that extra horsepower. If you just need a device for checking email, writing papers, or reading Reddit while on the go, the HP Chromebook x2 is a compelling Chome OS 2-in-1. Starting at just $600, the Chromebook x2 is very Surface Book 2-like in it’s tear-off display and stable keyboard base.
Chrome OS is a little limited compared to Windows 10 (in that you’ll only be able to run web apps and the occasional Android app), but there’s no need to pay for a full Windows machine if you don’t need to do much more. The Chromebook x2 is the best, in our opinion, but if you want more options check out our best Chromebooks list.
The Chromebook x2 performs well during everyday use, has a battery that will see you through a workday and then some, and it’s a thin and light laptop that won’t weigh you down or take up too much room in your backpack.
Dell G3 Gaming
The best gaming laptop
Just a few years ago it would’ve been unthinkable that you could find a laptop under $1,000 with graphics card powerful enough to run the latest games without turning the detail settings way, way down. The Dell G3 Gaming is something of a novelty in that regard. Starting at just $800, it features a fast 45-watt Intel Core i5 processor, a 256GB SSD, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card. During our time with the G3 Gaming we were consistently impressed by its robust gaming performance — even if we were underwhelmed by its display quality.
At this price range, you simply won’t find a better gaming laptop. The G3 Gaming is without peer when it comes to gaming performance on a budget. If you have more money to spend, then you should head over to our best gaming laptops list.
Surface Pro 6
The best 2-in-1 laptop
Sometimes a typical laptop just doesn’t cut it. If you need a reliable stylus or a mobile workstation with a creative side, the Surface Pro 6 is your best bet under $1,000. Starting at $900, the latest Surface Pro features an 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage space. It’s a solid performer, and the touchscreen and active pen — which will run you an extra $100 — make this one of the best digital drawing surfaces around.
As a 2-in-1 with best-in-class handwriting recognition and Windows Ink, it’s a versatile mobile workstation with features you won’t find elsewhere, at least not at this price. For that reason, it’s hard to beat if you’re looking for something ultra-mobile and stylus-friendly.
Dell XPS 13
The best stealth budget laptop
Including the XPS 13 feels a bit like cheating. The quad-core option the majority of people will opt for — and the one we recommend — starts at $1,100. However, if you don’t necessarily need the extra multitasking power that comes with those two extra cores, there’s the Core i3 model, which currently sells for $900.
That model comes with the same fantastic build quality, trimmed-down bezels, and excellent keyboard you’d get with the higher-end models. So, while the ZenBook UX331UA is a better performer for the money, if you want a budget laptop that doesn’t look or feel like one, this entry-level XPS 13 is a great way to go.
Read our full Dell XPS 13 review