When looking for the best budget laptop on the market, there are lots of things to consider. So much, in fact, that it can get very confusing.
There are many laptops out there that are well below the $600 price range but before you decide on the right one for you, you need to know what to look for and how to make your choice.
Knowing these things will enable you to find the best cheap laptop on the market that will suit your needs.
First, you need to decide what operating system you prefer: Windows, Mac or Chrome? Windows generally has the largest range of laptops on the market, selling from as low as $150. The size of the laptop will determine the functionality and price of the laptop. If you want something that is portable and fairly cheap, you’d be better off choosing a laptop between 11 and 14 inches.
What is your price range? You can get Chromebooks and low-end window systems between $150-250 but if you have more money to spare, a $350-600 budget will get you a laptop with recommended specs such as Intel Core i5 or AMD A8 CPU, 4 to 8GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive.
It is important to look at the specs of a laptop. The best cheap laptops should have at least an Intel Core i5 processor. A RAM of 4GB is recommended for casual use and smooth multitasking. Laptops with an SSD is preferable as it is faster.
A display of full HD/1080p is optimal. Also, don’t ignore the battery life. Look for a laptop that provides at least 8 hours of battery. These specs may change with the type of laptop you decide to get.
The types of laptops available all have slightly different functions and specs. The classic notebook can come in either very budget-friendly prices or high-performance for gaming. Ultraportable/Ultrabooks are designed to be light and thin for portability.
Chromebooks run under Google’s operating software, but only run Chrome web-based apps that don’t work too well offline. 2-in-1 laptops can be detached or rotated to become a tablet as well as a laptop.
Current trends in technology include: USB C and Thunderbolt 3 are one of the latest emerging technologies that manufacturers are starting to integrate into their laptops. The design has become of major importance and there is a large focus on producing thin and attractive laptops. 2-in-1 laptops are currently very popular and most brands are coming out with their own versions. Wireless charging is also a rising trend that Dell has introduced.
So, what are the current, best value laptops on the market right now? Let’s find out.
13 Best Budget Laptops of 2018
Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM 15.6-Inch
Best Budget Laptop Under $500
The Acer Aspire E15 has some very up-to-date specs for a budget laptop. It’s on a Windows 10 system and comes with a 7th generation Intel Core i3 with a 2.4GHz clock speed that handles multi-tasking very well along with light gaming, AC Wi-Fi which is the fastest available chip on the market, a full HD, 1080p display and it keeps up with current trends by including a Type C USB port.
4GB RAM is perfect for casual use and can be easily upgraded to 8 or 12GB if needed. 1TB HDD is more than enough space. It also claims to have 12hr battery life.
- Lots of storage space
- Great at multitasking
- Up-to-date specs
- Strong performance
- Large amount of bloatware installed
ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02
Cheap, Durable and Best Value for Money
The Asus Chromebook has an 11.6-inch display with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. The processor is a 1.6 GHz Intel Celeron with 4GB RAM and a small storage space of 16GB of flash storage. The best features of this Chromebook include: it is designed for wear and tear, it has a great battery life and it is very inexpensive.
A Chromebook like this is best for those looking to get their child a laptop, for those who travel a lot, and it’s a great laptop for students on a tight budget.
- Impressive battery life: 10 hours
- Low storage space
- Sluggish/slow performing multiple tasks
CTL J5 Chromebook
Best Budget Laptop for Students
The CTL J5 Chromebook runs on a 2.48 GHz Intel N3060 Braswell Processor, has 4GB RAM and 32GB eMMC with optional Google Drive storage. The display is a 1366 x 768 resolution, 11.6-inch display. It has 2 USB ports, an HDMI port, and a micro SD slot. It claims to have 10 hours of battery life.
The difference between this Chromebook and the others mentioned is that the CTL J5 is a 2-in-1 convertible. This Chromebook has been built for school-use and is water and drop resistant making it the best, simple 2-in-one laptop for students with the functionality of a Chromebook and a tablet into one.
- Durable (water and drop resistant)
- Versatile (can be used as a Chromebook and a tablet)
- Responsive touch display
- Smooth performance
- No backlight on keyboard
- Large, clunky design
ASUS Chromebook Flip C213SA-YS02
Another Great Choice for School
The ASUS Chromebook Flip C213SA-YS02 is an excellent budget laptop that will cater to all your needs.
With a 360-degree hinge, you can enjoy the ASUS Chromebook Flip in both tablet and laptop modes. Access to the Chrome Store means you will be able to download and access all your favorite Google apps on the go.
With a 12-hour battery life, the ASUS Chromebook Flip will follow you from work or school to home with ease.
The lightweight yet strong build protects the Chromebook from minor falls or slips, so you can rest easy during life’s small accidents. The liquid resistant keyboard design will protect from spills and water damage if you get caught in the rain.
- Ultra-lightweight at 2.7lbs
- 360-degree flip design for maximum usage potential
- Takes time to power up or switch between users
Lenovo IdeaPad 320
Powerful Yet Cheap Laptop With CD/DVD drive
The Lenovo IdeaPad 320 is laden with the latest generation Intel processor, a massive 1TB of memory and a 15.6-inch display with HD resolution.
The anti-glare technology ensures you can watch or browse uninterrupted in any environment while still enjoying crisp HD visuals.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 320 is one of the few newer laptops that still have a CD/DVD drive so you can write CD/DVDs or open games, movies, classes, and more.
At 4.84lbs, you can carry the Lenovo IdeaPad 320 practically everywhere. With 1 DC port, 1 Ethernet port, 1 HDMI port, 1 headphone/microphone combination jack, 1 USB 2.0 port, and 1 USB 3.0 port, you can be sure to seamlessly connect in a variety of ways to your Lenovo IdeaPad 320.
- 1TB hard drive to never run out of space
- Multiple ports for connectivity
- Average battery life of 5 hours
Dell Inspiron 15.6″
Powerful Budget Laptop From Dell
Running on the powerful 7th generation Intel Core i3-7100U Dual-Core mobile processor at 2.4 GHz, you will speedily run through all programs, software, and apps with ease.
The LED backlight touchscreen allows for an immersive, intuitive, and interactive experience for users, no matter what you’re working on, reading, or watching.
The Dell Inspiron comes with one USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports, one HDMI port, one Ethernet LAN port, a combo audio jack, and Wi-Fi plus Bluetooth 4.0, assuring you can connect nearly anything directly to your budget laptop.
The massive 1TB of storage ensures you can save all your HD movies, music, shows, documents, photos, and more with no worry of running out of space.
- Massive 1TB hard drive
- Heavy at 5.07lbs
- Larger size than some competitors
Samsung Chromebook 3 XE500C13-K04US
Thin, Travel-Friendly Chromebook
The Samsung Chromebook combines features of durability, drop and spill resistance with an attractively thinner design than some of the other durable Chromebooks on the market. It runs on a 1.6 GHz (up to 2.48 GHz) Intel Celeron processor with 4GB of RAM which is not the fastest, but it runs smoothly enough. It has a 16 GB SSD and an integrated Intel Graphics Card. The 11.6-inch screen with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels is fairly standard for these cheap Chromebooks.
It is very portable, weighing 2.5 pounds (1kg). There is adequate connectivity: 2 USB ports, an HDMI input, an audio jack and a micro SD reader slot. The battery on this laptop lasts up to 10 hours while streaming YouTube videos. This laptop is another great one for students and those who are out and about a lot.
- Thin design
- Fairly smooth performance
- Not enough storage
HP Pavilion x360
A Great Performance 2-in-1 Budget Laptop for College Students
The HP Pavilion x360 is a 2-in-1 Laptop that provides great performance for the price. Its performance and specs are comparable to, and exceed, those of the Asus Transformer Book Flip and the Dell Inspiration. It runs on a 64-bit Windows 10 Home system, powered by a 7th Generation Intel Core i5-7200U processor with 8GB RAM and 1TB hard drive storage. The screen resolution is 1366 x 768 pixels, which is not so good for a laptop ranging about $600.
It is very functional, with 2 USB ports, an HDMI port, a headphone jack, Bluetooth connectivity and built-in microphones. For performance, it runs fairly fast and smooth during basic web browsing and video streaming and has a battery life of up to 10 hours.
The keyboard has adequate spacing and a textured finish that feels nice to the touch. This could probably be one of the best affordable laptops for college students because of its 2-in-1 functionality and satisfactory specs.
- Lightweight and thin design
- Convertible design
- Good quality audio
- Not the best screen resolution quality
Lenovo Flex 11 Chromebook
Low Budget Laptop Designed for Students
The Lenovo Flex 11 Chromebook is an excellent budget laptop to suit every level of budget. With a useful 360-degree hinge allowing easy flips between notebook and tablet modes, you can adapt to almost any situation seamlessly.
The 10-hour battery life will follow you all day, no matter what you get up to. At 3lbs, this lightweight and compact design will fit in nearly any bag or carrying case to aid portability.
The touchscreen capacity delivers an immersive and interactive experience to users, whether you’re watching shows, gaming, writing notes, or surfing the internet.
- Super small and easy to carry
- 10-hour battery life
- Only 1 USB 3.0 port
- Fans can be loud
- Low storage capacity
HP Stream 14-AX040WM
Budget-friendly laptop for streaming, light-gaming, and personal use
The HP Stream is a 14-inch, 1366 x 768 resolution display powered by a 1.6GHz Intel Celeron Processor with 4GB RAM and 32GB eMMC SSD. This laptop also comes with one year of Office 365 Personal and access to 1TB of OneDrive storage for free. It’s a great laptop for home and office use and can even be used for light gaming, streaming videos and simple photo editing.
- Great battery life
- Free 1-year subscription to Office 365 Personal
- SSD helps with laptop speed
- Low-quality speakers
- Low-quality display
- Low storage/hard drive space
Asus F556UA-AB32 15.6-inch
Best Fully Featured Windows Laptop for the Money
The Asus f556UA-AB32 is a Windows 10 laptop with a full HD 1080p display. It runs on the 5th generation 2.3GHz Intel Core i3-6100U processor with 4GB RAM and 1TB of HDD. It has connectivity to HDMI, USB Type C, AC Wi-Fi and an SD card reader.
This laptop comes close to the Acer E15 in regards to performance and features for the price. It is one of the best affordable laptops that can easily handle everyday tasks, streaming, and web browsing.
- Lots of storage space (1TB HDD)
- Good, solid performance
- 1080p Full HD display
- No SDD: hard drive is slightly slow
Budget 2-in-1 Laptop Tablet Hybrid
The ASUS ASUS T102HA-D4-WH Transformer Book can go from notebook to tablet in seconds. The all-day 11-hour battery life will carry you through anything life throws at you while keeping up with your busy pace.
With an immense 128GB Solid State storage, you will be sure to never run out of space when downloading and storing all your HD shows, movies, music, documents, and more.
The tough yet supple magnesium alloy body of the ASUS ASUS T102HA-D4-WH Transformer Book weighs in at a mere 1.7lbs with the keyboard attached and is an impressive 0.6 inches thin.
Functionality has met its match with the notebook and tablet modes accompanied by a stylus and touchscreen capacity.
- Super lightweight at 1.7lbs
- Incredibly thin at 0.6 inches
- 128GB memory
- Can freeze when charging
Lenovo IdeaPad 120s
Value Laptop with Great Features
With a 14-inch screen, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of memory, and weighing in at 4.41lbs, the Lenovo IdeaPad 120s is a low-range laptop best for educational purposes or minimal exertion users.
The HD screen ensures you can watch your movies or shows with crisp, bright colors and details.
Running on Windows 10, you can be sure to enjoy the latest Windows software and updates to keep your Lenovo IdeaPad 120s running smoothly and keeping the virus detectors up-to-date.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 120s is perfect for everyday tasks, classes, or meetings while running on a powerful and reliable processor with extraordinary HD graphics. You can be sure to enjoy the Lenovo IdeaPad 120s in all your daily needs with the adaptable and portable size.
- HD screen resolution
- Fans get loud
There is an array of choices when it comes to budget laptops. These can range from classic notebooks under the $500 price range that provides great performance and display or Chromebooks at value prices well below the $300 price range for personal and office use or durability for on the go with impressive battery life. Which one you choose from this list will depend on your preferences and your needs, but you can rest assured that no matter what you choose, it won’t hurt your wallet or your budget.