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The Best Budget Laptops of 2023


August 15, 2023

A functional, reliable laptop is a must for many people, including students. But what if you don’t have a ton of money to spend? You need to find the best budget laptop.

You’re in luck! You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a great laptop. You can find budget laptops at a great price from known and trusted brands like Microsoft, ASUS, Dell, and HP that have everything you or your student needs to succeed.

Here are our top picks for budget laptops, including our Best Budget Laptop 2023 pick at the end.

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Finding the Best Budget Laptop: What to Look For

Our Criteria

First, our criteria. Price is, of course, important when shopping for a budget laptop, but it’s not the only factor to consider. We’re not compromising on performance, because a bargain is not a bargain if it doesn’t do what you want. We need a laptop that still delivers! Our main priorities:


“Budget” is relative, but here we’re looking at laptops below $700. We wanted to give you an idea of how much budget laptops cost, so we’ve included prices that were in effect when this post was written. Just keep in mind that retailer prices are subject to change.


8 GB of RAM is the “sweet spot” and provides ample processing power for basic student tasks. We’re also including picks with 4 GB and 16 GB for more options.


With so many options for affordable and reliable cloud storage, having a ton of storage on your device isn’t as crucial as it once was. Most students should be fine with 128 GB or 256 GB of storage. We’re also including picks with 64 GB of storage and 512 GB for more options.

Screen size

There is no ideal screen size – it depends on what you need or want. Screens 12” or below are best if portability is your main concern. Screens around 15” or higher are best if you value versatility and like to multi-task with multiple windows or programs open at once or you’re doing close-up work like digital art or photography.

Battery life

A good battery life – meaning 10 hours, minimum – is important, as students may go several hours without being able to recharge.

Not so important

We also looked to save money on things that aren’t so important for students. For example, super-fast processors and excellent graphics cards are necessary for gaming, heavy-duty video editing, mining bitcoin, and so on. But they’re not necessary for most students, whose main tasks are taking notes, writing papers, browsing online, and streaming music and video. Since these add cost without necessary functionality, they weren’t a consideration in our selections.

Best Budget Laptops of 2023

Best Budget Laptop for Portability:
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 3


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The Surface Laptop Go 3 is a portable, productivity-focused 2-in-1 that’s both a laptop and a tablet. It features a detachable keyboard and touchscreen you can take notes on with the Surface Pen, plus an integrated kickstand for propping up. The display is small, at 10.5”, which can limit multitasking, but that also means it’s incredibly portable so you never have to be without it.

How it’s different: This is the most portable of all the laptops listed here, with the smallest screen (10.5”) and lowest weight (1.2 lb).

Microsoft Surface Go 3 budget laptop
  • Price: $579.99 as configured
  • Processor: Intel Core i3 – Wifi
  • Memory: 8GB RAM
  • Storage: 128GB SSD
  • Screen: 10.5” touchscreen with Surface Pen for writing and drawing
  • Weight: 1.2 lb (544 g)
  • Operating System: Windows 11
  • Battery Life: Up to 11 hours with typical usage        

Get more info and configure your Microsoft Surface Go 3.

Best Budget Laptop for Google Users:
ASUS Chromebook CX1


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Like the Surface above, this Chromebook is super portable at just 2.73 lb with a 11.6” display. The difference is that it’s made for Google users who primarily use Google applications, which come pre-installed. Worth noting: the RAM is low, at 4 GB, so this is best for anyone who will mainly be taking notes, writing papers, and researching online. The storage is also relatively low at 64 GB, but if you primarily work off the cloud (Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, etc.), then that should be sufficient. In short, if you’re a Google guy or gal, this is a great option for you. It lets you do everything you need for an unbeatable price.

How it’s different: This is the only one to feature ChromeOS and is the lowest price ($269.99); it also has the least memory (4 GB RAM) and least storage (64 GB).

Asus Chromebook budget laptop
  • Price: $269.99
  • Processor: Intel Celeron N4020 Processor 1.1 GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Storage: 64 GB eMMC
  • Screen: 11.6”
  • Weight: 2.73 lb (1.24 kg)
  • Operating System: Chrome OS, with Google apps included; edit, download, and convert Microsoft Office files in Google Docs, Sheets and Slides
  • Battery Life: Up to 13 hours

Get more info and get your ASUS Chromebook CX1.

Best Budget Laptop for Power and Versatility:
Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 Laptop


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Dell’s 2-in-1 laptop is our pick for power and versatility because you have all the functionality of a laptop plus the convenience of a touchscreen tablet. The full-size keyboard folds back when you want to use it as a tablet, which you can write and draw on. With excellent storage and more memory than our other picks here, you can do more with this laptop, whether that’s at home, at school, or beyond.

How it’s different: This one has the largest display (16”) the most memory (16 GB RAM), and the most storage (512 GB) of the computers listed here.

Dell Inspiron - Best Budget Laptops
  • Price: $649.99 as configured:
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 7530U
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Storage: 512 GB SSD
  • Screen: 16.0” touchscreen with optional active pen
  • Weight: 4.40 lb (2.00 kg) starting weight
  • Operating System: Windows 11 Home, English
  • Battery Life: Approx. 10 hours

Get more info and get your Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1.

Best Budget Laptop 2023:
HP 15-fc0047nr


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This is our overall pick for the best budget laptop in 2023. It’s a great all-round laptop from an excellent brand at a great price. It has a generous 15.6” display and full keyboard with integrated numeric keypad, great battery life, and enough memory and storage to handle your needs as a student.   

HP best budget laptop
  • Price: $299.99 (on sale) as configured:
  • Processor: AMD Athlon™ Silver
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Storage: 256 GB SSD (upgrade)
  • Screen: 15.6”
  • Weight: 3.52 lb
  • Operating System: Windows 11 Home
  • Battery Life: Up to 12 hours

Get more info and get your HP laptop.

Erin Danly is a freelance writer whose work focuses on marketing content and verbal branding for B2B and B2C clients. Before turning to writing, she was a pastry chef and a psychology lab manager at Columbia University. Erin lives with her family in Mt. Pleasant, SC.