The best laptop under $500 is more than just a compromise. Offering an impressive performance for not much more than bargain-basement laptops, it might just be the best portable purchase you’ve ever made. So, even if you’re not budget-conscious, it might be worth considering, especially if you aren’t looking for something with staggering specs.
While it’s true that most budget laptops are never to deliver that level of performance to rival many of the best laptops out there, the best laptop under $500 strikes that perfect balance between price and performance. It will meet your computing demands without burning a massive hole in your pocket, and just the ticket if you aren’t doing anything graphics-intensive or incredibly processor-hungry.
Whether you’re looking for a laptop for the kids, the best Chromebooks, an affordable gaming laptop or even an excellent 2-in-1 laptop, you’ve come to the right place. Finding the best laptop under $500 may not be as easy as you might think, but with our help, it’s hardly impossible. Here are our top picks.
Best laptops under $500 at a glance
- Microsoft Surface Go
- Acer Switch 3
- Dell Inspiron Chromebook 11 2-in-1
- Acer Chromebook 15
- Acer Chromebook R11
- Acer Chromebook Spin 15
- Microsoft Surface Go 2
The Microsoft Surface Go may not be the traditional laptop we’re all used to, but it will more than meet your computing needs in its compact and portable package. Not only is this device one of the best Windows tablets out there, but it makes for an excellent laptop alternative if you’re looking for the best laptop under $500. With a Windows 10 S mode out of the box, you’re getting a proper operating system that lets you use such apps as the mobile versions of Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop. If you’re computer needs go as far as word processing, sending emails, video conferencing, some light gaming, light photo editing and streaming Netflix, this device has you covered.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Go
The Microsoft Surface Book 2 is fairly expensive, but the Acer Switch 3 is a great alternative for far less money, making it the best laptop under $500 for fans of Surface Book 2’s features. This tablet is designed around basically the same concept as the Surface Book 2, even though it’s less adept because of its lower-power internals. For most tasks, however, it’s a plucky little machine. What this 2-in-1 laptop has over Microsoft’s ‘Pro’ and ‘Go’ models is that the keyboard is already included. Of course, the Acer Switch 3 comes in multiple configurations, with USB-C, 8GB of memory, an IPS touchscreen and an Intel Core i3 7100U processor coming with the more expensive option.
Read the full review: Acer Switch 3
Counted among the best Chromebooks is also a thrifty machine for anyone looking for the best laptop under $500. It’s easy to see how the Dell Inspiron Chromebook 11 2-in-1 exceeds expectations. While it is far from the most powerful Chromebook available, it’s exactly what people need it from it: budget-friendly, easy to use and able to hold up to abuse. The Dell Inspiron 11 2-in-1 is more than able to handle all your web browsing and document editing, and consider that it could be the best laptop under $500 which won’t shatter from a simple stumble.
Read the full review: Dell Inspiron Chromebook 11 2-in-1
With a shiny chassis as gorgeous as the most recent MacBook, this beautiful, 15-inch Chromebook makes an amazing impression with its battery life, lasting nearly 17 hours in our battery test. That’s crazy for a 15-inch laptop – Chromebook or not. But that’s not the end of it. It also has a few other aces up its sleeves, including its roominess, brilliant display and fast charging capability. Best of all, it’s the best laptop under $500 (you can find one under $200, in fact), so budget-minded shoppers will love the value.
Read the full review: Acer Chromebook 15
The Acer Chromebook R11’s design might not turn heads, but as far as the best laptops under $500 go, it’s chassis is still a minimalist beauty with its textured finish and an overall build that feels pretty solid. It’s got a few other aces as well – the battery life that lasts up to 10 hours, the vibrant touch display, the 2-in-1 design that lets you use it in tent and tablet mode, and those bright crispy speakers. That keyboard is endearing as well.
Read the full review: Acer Chromebook R11
Even if you’re used to powerful laptops that breeze through your photo and video editing demands, the Acer Chromebook Spin 15 will still impress you with its knack for multitasking without batting an eyelash. This lightweight laptop might not look like it could take on processor-hungry tasks at a time, but it does, making it great for relentless computer users who do more than their fair share of Internet browsing, mobile gaming and video streaming.
Read the full review: Acer Chromebook Spin 15
The Surface Go line proves popular with the more budget-conscious crowd, and its follow up, Surface Go 2, continues that tradition with its reasonable price and premium design. It also runs the full Windows 10 operating system, so it’s even more capable than other laptops or laptop alternatives out there as far as what applications you can use on it. Finally, it offers a slight bump in performance over its predecessor, giving users a sensible reason to upgrade if they’ve got the money. All those features combined with its portability make the Microsoft Surface Go 2 among the best laptops under $500.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Go 2