The best lightweight laptops will be thin, supremely portable and still pack a punch, at least enough to see you through your basic needs. As these laptops are most often used by those who are regularly on the move, they're often designed to have long-lasting battery life, too.
Still, ultrabooks and other lightweight laptops can be pretty expensive, so we've made sure to include machines at a variety of price points in our guide. Primarily, our top picks are ultrabooks, which are classified as laptops with an Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processor, an SSD, and a thickness of up to 1.5cm. However, we couldn’t skip out on some of the lightweight non-ultrabook models out there that offer excellent computing power for their size.
We consider anything up to 1.3kg to be lightweight, and all of the laptops in this guide are under that weight - barring one or two slightly heavier models that deserved an honourable mention. Beyond assessing their weight, specs and prices, we and our sister sites have tested the laptops in this guide (find out more about how we test laptops) to ensure you can choose the best lightweight laptop to meet your needs.
Whether you're a student heading back to school, a creative on the move or a hybrid worker, we've included laptops for various different use cases below. You may also be interested in reading a more in-depth guide to the best laptops for gaming or the best business laptops. Or, if you're studying, check out our picks of the best laptops for students.
The best lightweight laptops: available now
There's a reason the Dell XPS 13 is a top pick among reviewers for the best lightweight laptop out there. With 11th-gen Intel processors and up to 16GB of RAM, this ultrabook seems to defy the odds on many fronts, given its lightweight nature. Higher configurations even pack enough power to manage photo editing and 4K video editing tasks if you're often on the move.
The Dell XPS 13 weighs just 1.27kg, and is complimented by a wonderfully designed keyboard, trackpad and fingerprint reader as well as a bright and beautiful touch screen, or you can opt for the more pricey OLED screen version. You'll be hard-pressed to find an all-rounder lightweight laptop quite as good elsewhere.
Our one big criticism is the battery life, which is important if your lightweight laptop will be travelling around with you often While Dell boasts a battery life of up to 8 hours and 12 minutes, it measured at 7 hours 41 minutes on the PCMark 10 Battery Life.
Read more about why this laptop is our top pick in our Dell XPS 13 review.
One of the lightest laptops on this list, the Surface Laptop Go 2 is our choice for the best budget option, with even its highest configuration costing less than £800.
In its 1.1kg frame is a machine built for speed, and on test, the Surface Laptop Go 2 was fairly capable and handling basic tasks on creative software - which is about the level we'd expect from a lightweight laptop. What really lets it down is that low res screen, which makes graphic design and detail-oriented video editing a difficult and disappointing experience.
Of course, if you can stretch the budget a little more for at-home use of the Surface Laptop Go 2, you have the option of getting the Microsoft Surface Dock (£189.99) which can support an additional two displays; either one 4K and one 1080p, or two 1080ps, both at 60Hz.
Realistically, this laptop is built for word processing, web browsing and other fairly simple tasks, which comes through even in the 3:2 aspect ratio choice. It's also worth noting that unlike its tablet siblings, the Surface Laptop Go 2 isn’t compatible with Surface Pens.
For more information, check out our full Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 review.
If you're an Apple fan wanting an M2 chip, need to be lightweight but can't quite stretch the budget to the MacBook Pro 13-inch, the MacBook Air M2 2022 will tick all of your boxes.
Apple's most portable laptop line is a natural choice for this list, but the 2022, M2 model is also one of our favourite lightweight laptops out there, weighing just 1.24kg. Plus, as far as lightweight laptops go, the most basic Apple MacBook Air configuration isn't the most expensive out there, but you get a lot of bang for your buck versus some of the competition in terms of design, power and display.
Having ditched the iconic wedge-shaped design of previous MacBook Air models, the M2 model is just 11mm thick, which is a phenomenal feat of design when you consider this is also one of the more powerful machines on our list, capable of editing 4K video and using Photoshop’s AI tools. In fact, generally, the M2's Neural Engine worked wonders on test, and there's no performance loss versus previous models despite the lighter, slimmer frame and larger screen.
As with most laptops on this list, the MacBook Air doesn't do so well under sustained high pressure, and without the MacBook Pro's fans it can get a bit hot under the hood. You can read our full Apple Macbook Air (M2, 2022) review for a full rundown of the pros and cons.
The largest in the latest set of lightweight laptops from LG, the LG Gram 17 (2021) is the new and improved version of 2019's LG Gram 17, which we rated highly for its super-thin, super-lightweight design and impressive performance when handling creative software.
With its large 17-inch display and 16:9 aspect ratio, the LG Gram 17 is a great choice for creatives of all creeds, from music producers to writers and digital artists. While its larger screen makes it a little less easy to stash away and a tad heavier (1.34kg) than some of the other laptops on this list, it does make for a less frustrating experience when you don't need to scroll around so much.
Specs-wise, it's a pretty capable machine, too, which considering the fairly lofty price tag, makes sense. It's got an impressive battery life, too.
While we've yet to have our hands on the LG Gram 17 (2021) for a review yet, you can read our review of the LG Gram 17 (2019) here.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 is our choice for the best lightweight laptop for business on account of its fantastic battery life and its great performance. In fact, it's actually also our favourite overall business laptop.
One of the lighter laptops on this list, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 weighs in at just 1.12kg, but still has enough room for the latest 11th gen Intel Core CPU and Intel Iris Xe graphics, and can be fitted with up to 32GB of RAM. It also houses some great built-in security features, making it a great choice for business users who like to move around.
If you want to use this laptop as a creative, it's worth noting that it only comes with integrated graphics, so if you need to complete graphic intensive jobs like animation or 3D rendering, you'll perhaps be better off elsewhere.
The HP Elite Dragonfly G2 is the lightest laptop we've included in this list, with some spectacular specs and features housed in its small 0.99kg frame. It's another laptop we like a lot as a business device, as once again it lacks the dedicated graphics found in creative laptops, however it's incredibly versatile in other areas.
With its 2-in-1 form factor (complete with a 4K touch display), powerful11th-gen Intel Core chips and Intel Iris Xe graphics, this is a laptop that can handle a lot but can also keep going for a while - our sister site Techradar got almost 11.5 hours on test when using it for video playback.
The Acer Swift 3 is an affordable lightweight laptop that is excellent for multi-tasking and easy to use over long periods thanks to its great keyboard and trackpad, which is why we think it's the perfect lightweight laptop for students.
While budget-friendly may feel synonymous with low-quality, the Acer Swift 3 is left wanting in only a few areas - namely the webcam and speakers - which can be resolved by peripherals if they are really bothering you. Plus, the laptop has an excellent array of plugs and ports, so you'll have plenty of real estate for external mice, keyboards and webcams without needing a dongle.
Plus, this laptop comes in multiple configurations, so if you do need something with a little more power behind it, you can tweak your selection before buying.
OK, so we're kind of cheating by including the Asus ROG Flow Z13. Without its keyboard folio, it's just 1.2kg, but with it, the weight bumps up to 1.53kg - so not quite as light and portable as some of the others included in this list.
However, it's an excellent piece of kit for gamers on-the-go, so much so that it even ranks among the best gaming laptops we've tested, despite its lightweight nature.
It does, however, suffer from slightly weaker performance than some of its competition. Still, with the ROG Flow Z13, Asus is taking the 2-in-1 form factor in gaming to new heights. It's superbly built, and on-test we were impressed by the quality - though we wished it was a little more ergonomic.
Read our full Asus ROG Flow Z13 review for more of our takeaways.
While the Asus Zenbook 13 is the heaviest laptop on this list at 1.34kg, we felt it deserved an honorable mention for its fantastic battery life and 13.3-inch OLED display, both of which mean it's an ideal companion for long days on the move.
Backed by pretty powerful components and slick design, the Asus ZenBook 13 can easily compete with the MacBook, especially as it offers flexibility with its components, allowing you to choose between an AMD Ryzen 5000 series processor, or Intel 11th gen CPU.
You can also opt for up to 32GB of RAM and up to 1TB of SSD storage, making it fantastic both for multitasking and storage. We'd have liked to see better GPU performance, but the AMD Radeon integrated graphics just can't match the Intel Iris Xe's. Still, as it's our favourite mid-range lightweight laptop, we think it's great value for money nonetheless.
The best lightweight laptops: frequent questions
What's the best lightweight laptop?
The best lightweight laptop for you is going to depend on a variety of factors. If you're a student and are just looking for something cheap and easy to use that you can stash away between home, lectures and the library, you'll be perfectly happy with the Surface Laptop Go 2 or the Acer Swift 3, which are cost-effective and capable machines.
If you're looking for something powerful and highly capable, you're looking at the Dell XPS 13 or the MacBook Air (2022, M2), which come with much higher price tags to account for the greater capabilities.
Ultimately, your best bet is to identify what needs you have in a new laptop, whether it's value, performance and speed, storage, design or even software, and use resources like our buying guides to help you make the most informed decision you can.
Can lightweight laptops be powerful?
The short answer is yes, absolutely. However, it can sometimes come at a cost. Take, for example, the MacBook Air (2022, M2), which is one of our favourite laptops on this list. While the M2 chip makes for a powerful MacBook Air model and its tiny frame houses an incredibly impressive component set, it can't fit fans, so it can become very hot after sustained use.
Your experience with a powerful laptop is always going to be better with a larger, heavier machine, but if you need something more portable, we're confident some of our top picks can take you there.
What's the benefit of a lightweight laptop?
Lightweight laptops are supremely portable and great for running small to medium-sized tasks when you're away from your desk. If you frequently move between home and your office, school or local café, it's likely you'd be able to appreciate a smaller, easier to carry machine.
With technology advancements allowing for ever-smaller but still powerful machines, lightweight laptops have become an increasingly viable option for students, businesses and creatives alike to help support more flexible and varied work and life.