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The best business laptops in 2021

best business laptops: Business woman working on a laptop in an office
(Image credit: Jacob Lund / Shutterstock)

Picking the best business laptops for your firm can be one of the most important investments you make. These handy devices can help you or your employees remain productive, whether you're working from an office, or working from home (like many of us still are).

So, what makes a great business laptop? It needs to be thin and light enough to be easily portable, while also looking sleek and professional, so when you take it out in meetings or in front of clients, it doesn't show you up.

The screen should be large enough to display documents on, and the keyboard should be comfortable enough to use for a whole work day.

When it comes to performance, it should offer enough power to be able to run office apps and display presentations, while more demanding jobs, such as video editing, should also be accommodated in higher-end models. A good selection of ports is important as well, so you can plug in your peripherals without needing a dongle.

All this power shouldn't come at the expense of battery life, however, so the best laptops for business should also comfortably go an entire work day without needing to be plugged in.

If you want more detailed advice, we also pick out the best laptops for video editing. If you're a student, then our best student laptops guide can also help.

The best business laptops in 2021

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 packs a lot of power in its stylish package.

(Image credit: Lenovo)

01. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9

The best business laptop overall

Specifications
CPU : 11th gen Intel Core i5 - i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe
RAM: 8GB - 32GB
Screen: 14-inch, 16:10 (1920 x 1200p) - (3840 x 2400), touchscreen
Storage: 256GB - 1TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Great performance+Fantastic battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Only integrated graphics

The Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 9 is our pick for the best business laptop overall. Lenovo make excellent laptops for business use, and this new model is a great example of that. It's thin and light, with an excellent battery life, which makes it perfect for business people who travel a lot for work.

It packs the latest 11th gen Intel Core CPU and Intel Iris Xe graphics, has some great built-in security features and can be fitted with up to 32GB of RAM. The build quality and after sale support means this is a laptop you can confidently use for work day in day out as well. 

However, for creatives, you may want to bear in mind that it only comes with integrated graphics. This means for graphic intensive tasks like 3D rendering and animation, or CAD use, this may not be for you.

Acer Swift 3 with its screen open

(Image credit: Acer)

02. Acer Swift 3

The best budget business laptop

Specifications
CPU: up to Intel Core i7-8565U
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce MX150, Intel HD Graphics 620 or AMD Radeon Vega 8
RAM: 4GB – 8GB
Screen: 14-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) ComfyView IPS – 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080)
Storage: 128GB – 1 TB HDD, 16 GB Intel Optane Memory
Reasons to buy
+Superb keyboard and trackpad+Excellent performance
Reasons to avoid
-Looks a little plain

The Acer Swift 3 is a fantastic business laptop for people who want to keep costs down. It's one of the most affordable Windows 10 laptops out there, but it doesn't skimp on performance. In fact, it can go toe-to-toe with more expensive laptops, even though some of its hardware is showing its age a bit.

The keyboard and trackpad are both comfortable to use, and while the chassis is a little plain, it feels robust enough that you won't worry about carrying it around with you.

The 14-inch 1080p screen means working on this laptop doesn't feel cramped, and it offers enough power to handle pretty much any day-to-day office task you require of it. For heavy-duty use, however, you'll want to splash out on something a bit more capable.

MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020)

(Image credit: Apple)

03. MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020)

The best Apple laptop for buisnesses

Specifications
CPU: Apple M1 chip 8‑core CPU
Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645
RAM: up to 32GB
Screen: 13-inch Retina display with True Tone
Storage: 256GB – 4TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Larger capacity SSD+Great keyboard 
Reasons to avoid
-Lack of ports

The MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) is by far the best business laptop Apple has made, so if you have your heart set on using a MacBook for work, this is the one to get.

At the end of last year, Apple gave its iconic MacBook a major refresh, packing it with a new Apple-designed M1 chip, rather than the Intel-powered hardware of previous models, and it gives the 13-inch MacBook Pro a real power boost. 

Best of all, the MacBook Pro 13-inch now has the longest battery life ever seen in a MacBook. This thing is seriously impressive when it comes to battery, and means you can work on it all day without needing to plug it in.

As is usual with MacBooks, it also has a gorgeous Retina screen, while offering a sleek and stylish design that Apple is renowned for. The Touch Bar, a slim touch display that runs along the top of the keyboard, is a great feature, as it displays context-sensitive buttons and shortcuts that change depending on the app you're using. With the right apps, it can be a real boon to your productivity. Read more with our MacBook Pro 13-inch M1 review.

LG Gram 17 (2021)

(Image credit: LG)

04. LG Gram 17 (2021)

A great ultra-light business laptop

Specifications
CPU: 11th-generation Intel Core i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 16GB LPDDR4X
Screen: 17-inch WQXGA (2560 x 1600) IPS LCD
Storage: up to 2TB NVMe SSD
Reasons to buy
+Excellent battery life+Very light
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive compared to competitors-Subject to screen glare

If you're after a large screen business laptop that remains thin and light enough to easily carry around, then the LG Gram 17 is the device for you. Packed with some of the latest mobile tech around, including 11th generation Intel processors and Iris Xe graphics, 16GB of RAM and speedy SSD storage, this is a great performing business laptop.

It also comes with an excellent array of ports, including two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports. Battery life is also phenomenal, easily lasting around 12 hours on a single charge.

Best of all, it's also incredibly light. You honestly won't expect a laptop with a 17-inch screen of feeling this light, which is a credit to LG's engineers. That doesn't mean the LG Gram 17 feels thin or flimsy, however.

Gigabyte Aero 17 (2021)

(Image credit: Gigabyte)

05. Gigabyte Aero 17 (2021)

The best business laptop for creatives

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i9-10980HK
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Max-Q 8GB
RAM: 64GB
Screen: 17.3-inch UHD 4K OLED, HDR400, 100% Adobe RGB, Pantone-certified
Reasons to buy
+Gorgeous display+Plenty of ports
Reasons to avoid
-Gets hot

The Gigabyte Aero 17 (2021) is one of the most powerful business laptops you'll find at the moment, combining a 10th generation Intel Core i9 processor with 8-cores, along with the Nvidia RTX 3080 graphics card. This makes it a brilliant business laptop for people working in a creative industry that needs to handle lots of graphically intensive workloads.

Perhaps its biggest selling point is the stunning 4K HDR screen, with 100% Adobe RGB coverage, and which is Pantone-certified as well. This ensures your creative work is going to look its very best, and keeps the colours as accurate as possible.

It also packs loads of ports, so you should be able to plug in your memory cards and any peripherals without having to worry about using adaptors. It may be overkill for many people, but if you want cutting edge performance, this is the laptop to get.

See our Gigabyte Aero 17 review for more information.

Dell XPS 15

(Image credit: Dell)

06. Dell XPS 15 (2020)

A great flagship business laptop from Dell

Specifications
CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti
RAM: 8GB – 64GB
Screen: 15.6" FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge Non-Touch Anti-Glare 500-Nit – 15.6" UHD+ (3840 x 2400) InfinityEdge Touch Anti-Reflective 500-Nit Display
Storage: 256GB – 2TB M.2 PCIe NVMe
Reasons to buy
+Amazing speakers+Beautiful display
Reasons to avoid
-GTX 1650 Ti is a little weak

Dell has proved once again that it is the top dog when it comes to making slim, stylish and utterly desirable Windows 10 laptops with the XPS 15. Take this laptop out in any office or meeting, and you'll get a lot of appreciative looks.

Dell has packed the XPS 15 with some of the most powerful mobile components you'll find in any laptop right now, so it'll easily handle pretty much any task you need to use it for. You can also configure it with a discrete GPU, and while the Nvidia GTX 1650 Ti won't be ideal for playing games, it's great for photo and video editing.

All this power is packed into a stylish body that's thin and light - making it ideal for photographers who are often working out and about. Its screen is bright and vibrant, and at 15.6-inches.

It's backed up by a comfortable keyboard and excellent speakers, plus Dell's famous build quality and support. It's expensive, but worth it.

MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

(Image credit: Apple)

07. Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

Another great business laptop from Apple

Specifications
CPU: Apple M1
Graphics: Integrated 7-core /8-core GPU
RAM: 8GB – 16GB
Screen: 13.3-inch (diagonal) 2,560 x 1,600 LED-backlit display with IPS technology
Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD
Dimensions: 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.63 inches (30.41 x 21.24 x 1.61cm; W x D x H)
Reasons to buy
+Silent to use+Amazing battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Fanless design could impact performance

The MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is yet another Apple laptop that's excellent for business use. A lot of this is thanks to its powerful Apple-designed M1 chip - based on the same tech as the one powering the more expensive MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020). 

This means it's the first time ever the more affordable MacBook Air can go toe-to-toe with the MacBook Pro when it comes to performance in many areas.

Its fanless design also means that it is pretty much completely silent when in use. As with previous MacBook Airs, it features a gorgeous thin and light design that makes it easy to carry around with you, which makes it a great choice for businesses people who like to travel a lot. The fanless design means it can't quite keep pace with the MacBook Pro 13-inch in heavy use cases (as the hardware doesn't want to overheat, so performance is lowered), and it doesn't come with a Touch Bar, but for day-to-day use, the MacBook Air is a great affordable alternative to the MacBook Pro 13-inch.

Also read: MacBook Air (M1, 2020) review

Asus ZenBook 13 (2021) with screen open showing Windows 10 desktop

(Image credit: Asus)

08. Asus ZenBook 13 (2021)

A stunning business laptop

Specifications
CPU: 11th-generation Intel Core i3 – i7 / AMD Ryzen 5000
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics / AMD Radeon
RAM: 8GB - 32GB
Screen: 13.3-inch, OLED 1080p, 400 nits
Storage: 256GB - 1TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Gorgeous OLED display+Excellent battery life
Reasons to avoid
-No headphone jack

The Asus ZenBook 13 is a business laptop that can easily go head-to-head with any Apple MacBook when it comes to pure design and power. Unlike Apple's laptops, you can choose between an AMD Ryzen 5000 series processor, or Intel 11th gen CPU, and these are some of the best processors you'll find in laptops in 2021

It also has an absolutely stunning 13.3-inch OLED screen and one of the best battery lives around.

You can configure it up to 32GB of RAM and up to 1TB of SSD storage, which makes this a brilliant laptop for working on, especially if you want to multitask, or store lots of large files, and that means it's a great choice for creatives looking for a classy business laptop.

Matt Hanson

Matt has been a technology journalist for well over a decade, writing for publications such as T3, MacFormat and Creative Bloq. He's a senior editor of TechRadar, Creative Bloq's sister site, where he can be found writing about and reviewing laptops, computers, monitors and more. He often writes for Creative Bloq, helping creatives find their perfect laptop or PC.