Hunting down cheap MacBook Air deals has only recently become a feasible option for creatives in search of a decent design laptop. Originally launched in 2008 as the world's thinnest notebook, the Air languished unloved for much of the last decade and looked to be on the way out until 2018, when Apple finally gave it a proper update and it became once more a must-have machine.
Its fortunes reversed, the MacBook Air has now completely edged the standard MacBook out of the game, and improved specifications mean that it's a serious choice if you want a lightweight laptop for design. And its most recent update in the form of the M1-chipped MacBook Air has made it an even more attractive proposition, giving you near-MacBook Pro-level performance in a lighter form factor and at a cheaper price. What's not to like?!
Huge improvements to the MacBook Air range over the past few years mean that if you're not adamant to buy the very latest model, you can find a light Apple laptop at a price you'll love. And if you still have a soft spot for the old-school MacBook, it's still available if you look around, with excellent discounts to be found. Read on to discover the best prices available right now.
- Browse MacBooks Air deals at Apple.com
Still not sure which device is right for you? Don't miss our comprehensive guide to the best laptops for graphic design and the best laptops for video editing. And for more Apple savings, see our guide to the best Apple deals in 2021.
MacBook Air M1 deals (2020)
If you're serious about having a 13-inch MacBook for design then naturally you're going to look at the new M1 MacBook Pro, right? Well, just hang on a minute, because honestly you might be that little bit happier with the M1 MacBook Air. You can find out exactly why we love it in our MacBook Air (M1, 2020) review, but here's a quick look at the facts.
Previously the underpowered option in the MacBook range, the MacBook Air has had some serious work done over the past few years, and in its latest incarnation it's almost as powerful as the equivalent M1 MacBook Pro, for a much lower price. The main differences are that the M1 in the Air only has a 7-core GPU, as opposed to the 8-core GPU you'll find in the Pro, and of course the Air doesn't have a Touch Bar.
But with the same amount of memory and storage, the same 16-core Neural Engine and the same (low) number of Thunderbolt ports, there's not much else to differentiate them. The screen resolution's the same and both offer a wide P3 colour gamut, although the Pro screen's slightly brighter.
Lighter than the M1 Pro but almost as capable at coping with tough design tasks, it also has a battery that'll keep going for two days of work without needing a recharge. Basically, in terms of bang for your buck, this is by far the best Apple laptop of any stripe available right now.
Cheap MacBook Air deals (2020)
The MacBook Air (2020) enjoyed a brief spell as the top cut-price alternative to the 13-inch MacBook Pro, until Apple spoiled things by releasing the M1 model above. It featured quad-core processors for the first time, and graphics performance also had a significant upgrade in the form of Intel Iris Plus Graphics.
Other significant improvements over previous models include the introduction of a Magic keyboard, making typing a lot more pleasant There's also a storage bonus in the form of a 256GB SSD as standard, rather than 128GB, and there' s 8GB RAM as in the 2019 version.
The base configurations of the of the 2020 MacBook Air come with intel Core i3 or i5 processors, but if you pay a little more to upgrade the specs then you can get yourself a really decent machine, with a Intel Core i7.
Still sleek and super-portable, the 2020 MacBook Air doesn't look quite so shiny and attractive next to the new M1 model, but this means that you should be able to get your hands on it for a sweet price if you shop around. Check below for the best prices in your area right now.
Cheap MacBook Air deals (2019)
The next-newest MacBook Air arrived in mid-2019 and replaced the 2018 model, providing a small update rather than a substantial upgrade. It brought in Apple's improved third-generation butterfly keyboard, added True Tone technology to the Retina display and shaved $100 (£100) off the price. One minor downside was a slightly slower model of 256GB SSD, however this probably helped keep the price low.
Beyond that the 2019 MacBook Air is much the same as the 2018 model, with an 8th generation Core i5, 13-inch Retina display, Touch ID, a Force Touch trackpad and a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports. The entry-level model comes with 8GB RAM and a 128GB SSD, making it fine for basic use, but if you're planning on using it as a portable design platform you'll probably need to pay extra for more memory and storage.
The 2019 MacBook Air comes in three colours – Space Grey, Gold and Silver, and retains the thin wedge design that Air has always been known for, giving it a very desirable look and feel. Take a look at the best prices in your territory using the widget below.
Cheap MacBook Air deals (2018)
The MacBook Air used to have a reputation as the black sheep of the MacBook family, with a low-res screen and lacklustre performance. Then the 2018 MacBook Air turned up and suddenly it was a must-have machine once more.
With an 8th-generation Core i5 processor, 13-inch Retina display, Touch ID and a Force Touch trackpad, the 2018 MacBook Air was a force to be reckoned with, and for the first time it was an actual cheaper alternative to the MacBook Pro. It came in three colour options – Space Grey, Gold and Silver – and while its entry level spec made it just a little lightweight for proper design work, with extra memory and 256GB of storage it became a serious option for creatives.
It's worth noting that the 2019 MacBook Air update was a minor refresh, adding only a True Tone display and updated butterfly keyboard – although Apple did reduce the price by $100 (£100), which may have been because it introduced a slightly slower SSD.
It's getting on a bit now, but if you can find one on offer you'll still be pleasantly surprised by what this MacBook Air can do.
The best MacBook deals (2017)
Now completely superseded by the revitalised MacBook Air range, the old-school MacBook is nevertheless well worth seeking out in its final 2017 form. Slim and lightweight (it comes in at just under a kilo), it doesn’t have any fans and runs completely silently, and can manage 10 hours or more of battery life, making it a brilliant light machine for working on the go, travel and carrying into meetings.
Designed to draw as little power as possible, with a lower performance M3 CPU in its basic configuration, the MacBook is better suited for word processing, email and web browsing than graphic design and video editing.
However it still looks the part. It has a 12-inch Retina display and the four colour options: Rose Gold, Space Grey, Gold and Silver colours that the MacBook Air is available in. One point well worth mentioning is that the entry-level model has a generous 256GB of SSD storage.
Note that Apple discontinued the 12-inch MacBook in 2019, but this has made for some really impressive third-party deals on the discontinued line, and refurbished MacBook models occasionally appear on Apple's own refurb store, so be sure to keep an eye on it if you're thinking of buying one. Bear in mind, too, that while Apple doesn't sell the 12-inch MacBook any more it continues to support it, so you can still buy one without worrying that it will soon become useless.
MacBook Air deals: The cheapest on the market?
Typically, the MacBook Air is the cheapest Apple laptop on the market, and with the release of the M1 MacBook Air it's now a serious contender in the performance stakes; if you're after an Apple laptop for design but can't quite afford a MacBook Pro, this model's almost as good for a much more reasonable price.
The 2020 MacBook Air brought in a new Magic keyboard and some welcome inner improvements. Although it was quickly overtaken by the M1 model, it's really decent and affordable option to consider for designers and artists and worth looking for at a reduced price.
The previous 2019 and 2018 MacBook Airs had been more slow, incremental changes, although the 2019 MacBook Air also brought with it a price cut. Apple has done this again with the 2020 and M1 models, with the starting price of $999 / £999 making it even cheaper than the 2019 model – which launched at $1,099 (£1,099). And all these newer MacBook Airs also mean that you can now pick up fairly recent models for less.
MacBook Air deals: Where to find the deals?
It's worth considering Apple's official refurb store, where Apple sells its older models at a discount of up to 15%. They have new batteries and screens, so you won’t see any scratches and they look as good as new, plus you get a year’s warranty. Stock availability varies, but it’s a great way to find some brilliant deals on Apple's laptops, including the 12-inch MacBook that Apple no longer lists on its front-facing store.
There's also some great savings to be had on the latest hardware as well, with some excellent recent Apple laptop deals. To make things easier, we've scoured the internet to find the best cheap MacBook Air deals and MacBook deals – so if you’re in the market for a new Apple laptop then you’re in the right place.
Our system checks the prices of every MacBook model at all major, reputable online retailers, so you can be sure that the deals you see here are the very best you’ll find.