The 8 Best Laptops For Working From Home

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When you're working remotely, the right tools are paramount for productivity. All of the best laptops for working from home should have two things: a built-in webcam for video conferencing and reliable internet connectivity. (All of the laptops listed below have both.) Beyond that, the necessary specifications will differ based on personal preference and industry-related needs.

When you're shopping, here are the most important terms you'll come across:

  • Operating system: An operating system (or OS) is the primary software that your computer uses to run basic functions. Some of the most popular include Microsoft Windows, Apple macOS, and Chrome OS. The operating system can make or break your work experience, so be sure to choose one that is compatible with your work needs and one that you're familiar with — or don't mind learning.
  • Display size: This is how big your screen is; it's usually measured diagonally in inches. A larger screen is more immersive, but not as portable.
  • Processor: Also called a microprocessor, a processor is a small chip that lives in your computer and responds to basic instructions. Different brands utilize different types, which function at varying speeds. You can check the popularity and price of common processors here.
  • Drive: This is how your computer stores long-term data, and it's measured in gigabytes (or GB). Computers can have hard disk drives (HDD) or solid state drives (SSD), but the latter are more commonly used in laptops because they're smaller and lighter.
  • RAM: Random-access memory (or RAM) is essentially temporary storage that's necessary for whatever processes you have running at the moment. For the most part, the more gigabytes of RAM you have, the faster your programs, media, and games will run.

With all of that in mind, here are eight of the best work-from-home laptops for all different needs ⁠— and many are less than $300.

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1. The Overall Best Windows Laptop For Remote Work

For those who prefer Windows — specifically Windows 10 — this HP laptop is a great machine. It has a powerful solid state drive and plenty of RAM to handle media and work projects (or multitasking between the two). The built-in webcam and quality audio are ideal for video calls, and reviewers say the keyboard "feels fantastic." Finally, the metallic silver ash exterior is sleek and futuristic.

  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • Display size: 14 inches
  • Processor: Intel Core i3
  • Drive: 128 GB SSD
  • RAM: 8 GB

One reviewer wrote: "This was an emergency 'work from home' purchase. It has been doing a wonderful job so far [...] For work and streaming video meetings, it performs just as well as the Macbook. My transition to this machine felt seamless."

2. The Overall Best MacBook

The Apple MacBook Air is a best-selling laptop on Amazon for several reasons: For one, despite the faster CPU performance and True Tone retina display, it's extremely thin and lightweight. For another, it offers wide stereo speakers (with plenty of bass) and a built-in webcam (for HD video). Finally, features like a fingerprint scanner, three exterior color options, and a backlit Magic keyboard make it a super popular choice. And if you need a larger drive, it's also available in a 512-gigabyte version.

  • Operating System: macOS
  • Display size: 13.3 inches
  • Processor: Intel Core i7
  • Drive: 256 GB SSD
  • RAM: 8 GB RAM

One reviewer wrote: "In my opinion, the 2020 MacBook Air is a perfect laptop. It has physical keys that are a pleasure to type on, a beautiful screen, an optimal size, good pricing, and a quad-core processor."

3. The Overall Best Chromebook For Most People

The Acer CB3-532 Chromebook is a best-seller on Amazon because it's highly reviewed, relatively affordable, easy to use, and fast. In addition to its large LED Gorilla glass display (which resists scratches and delivers a vivid picture), this one also has Bluetooth connectivity, a built-in webcam, an SD media reader, and faster Wi-Fi capabilities than many competing options. Finally, it has a battery life of roughly 12 hours and is very lightweight for portability. However, its drive is on the smaller side so it might not be the best option if you need to store lots of files, and the Celeron processor will be less powerful than Intel's i3 and i7 CPUs.

  • Operating System: Chrome
  • Display size: 15.6 inches
  • Processor: Intel Celeron
  • Drive: 16 GB SSD
  • RAM: 2 GB

One reviewer wrote: "Great plug and play laptop. Does everything needed for a casual computer user and the Chromebook OS takes away all the hassle you normally get with Windows. Feels sturdy and all the buttons and keyboard are solid. Nice work, Acer!"

4. The Best Cheap Laptop (Renewed)

If your work-from-home schedule is temporary or you're looking to save some money, you might consider a renewed laptop. This Acer Flagship is refurbished in a certified factory and shows no signs of wear, which is why — at less than $200 — it's a steal. Among its ample remote-friendly features, you'll find a fast processor, long battery life, immersive multimedia capabilities, a built-in webcam, and a screen that minimizes glare in the sunlight (that's also large).

  • Operating System: Chrome OS
  • Display size: 15.6 inches
  • Processor: Intel Celeron
  • Drive: 16 GB SSD
  • RAM: 2 GB

One reviewer wrote: "Works perfect. Wife runs her business from home and needed a laptop that could open multiple tabs at once and not have any stuttering or downtime. Very happy with this product!"

5. The Best Cheap Laptop For Teachers Or Students

The Lenovo 100E Chromebook is considered one of the best laptops for schoolwork, whether you're in the classroom or at home. It's portable yet rugged thanks to its drop-resistant design and water-resistant keyboard. It also has an anti-glare webcam and 4 gigabytes of RAM for multitasking. It comes with G Suite for papers and reading as well as Google Classroom. It has a smaller screen, but it's also very portable.

  • Operating System: Chrome OS
  • Display size: 11.6 inches
  • Processor: MediaTek MT8173C
  • Drive: 16 GB SSD
  • RAM: 8 GB

One reviewer wrote: "The Chromebook comes configured with all the Google Classroom apps that our school uses, so setup is minimal [...] So far everything has been incredibly easy and stable."

6. The Best Gaming Laptop For Work & Play

The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 gaming laptop is my personal pick; I use it to both game and work a fully remote schedule, and it blows every other laptop I've used out of the water. It's extremely fast and has plenty of storage thanks to its 1-terabyte hard disk drive and 8 gigabytes of RAM. It also offers a comfortable backlit keyboard, fast Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities, a huge anti-glare LED display, and a clear built-in webcam, all of which make working (and playing) much easier.

  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • Display size: 15.6 inches
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-7300HQ
  • Drive: 1 TB HHD
  • RAM: 8 GB

One reviewer wrote: "This is an excellent laptop for the money. If you are in need of a gaming laptop at a budget price without it looking too shouty when you take it to class or work, this fits the bill nicely."

7. The Best Laptop For Artists And Designers

For artists and designers, the Acer Spin 3 offers multiple features that standard laptops don't — like a 360-degree hinge, a rechargeable stylus, a 12-hour battery life, and tons of memory for media. As a result, you can effortlessly create and showcase your projects. The HD webcam helps you to stay connected with your coworkers while you're at home, and the dual speakers and microphones sound great from either end.

  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • Display size: 14 inches
  • Processor: Intel Core i7
  • Drive: 512 GB SSD
  • RAM: 16 GB

One reviewer wrote: "If you are a graphic designer, web designer, audio engineer, or just like a fast computer, this is perfect. It will handle all the [necessary] programs running at once, all the while syncing Gdrive server, running tabs in Chrome, and transferring between multiple file explorer windows."

8. The Easiest-To-Use Laptop

Finally, if you're seriously missing your job's IT department, this Lenovo Chromebook is the way to go. With its streamlined interface, high-definition touchscreen, easy syncing, and built-in virus protection, it's designed to be as simple and user-friendly as possible. Just log in with your Google account and enjoy a 10-hour battery life, clear audio, fast Bluetooth, reliable Wi-Fi, and a built-in webcam at a great price. Get it in pink or gray.

  • Operating System: Chrome OS
  • Display size: 11.6 inches
  • Processor: Intel Celeron
  • Drive: 64 GB SSD
  • RAM: 4 GB

One reviewer wrote: "I am not a 'techie.' My old computer was only 8 years old and I was quite irritated that it was no longer going to be supported/updated. One of the selling points of that computer was that it had 'lifetime' antivirus included [...] I love it."