Welcome to our pick of the best cheap laptops available right now. First off we want to get one thing clear, cheap doesn't always mean poor quality. There really is that sweet spot of affordable and great quality when it comes to selecting your next (or first) laptop. And getting the best deal on a great quality, budget laptop is all about being clear about what you need it for.
Here we've done all the time-consuming research to bring artists and designers the best cheap laptop options, no matter what your budget and requirements. The right laptop for you can make the difference between pain-free, powerful processing and a sluggish machine that takes an age to function as you want it to. An easy to use touchpad will help you create beautiful illustrations, while a dazzling display will show off your favourite media in all its glory.
For more specific needs, don't miss our round ups of the best laptops for graphic design and the best laptops for photo editing. And don't forget to bookmark our Amazon Prime Day 2020, where we're sure to see some incredible offers on quality laptops.
Here are the best cheap laptops you can buy in 2020...
The best budget laptops available now
01. Acer Swift 1
Plenty of ports and metal body mean durable quality
Processor : Intel® Pentium® Silver N5000 | Graphics: Intel® UHD Graphics 605 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 256Gb | Display: 35.6 cm, full HD
You will be able to take on your everyday computing needs with ease with this laptop, and boasting the best battery life of all these laptops, you won't have to stop to recharge for a second.
Its fingerprint scanner is a nice security addition, and for the average price of a Chromebook, you get Windows 10, and access to all your favourite apps and programs – from Microsoft Office to Photoshop Elements. Perfect for school, college and university students, its metal body is durable, weights a slight 1.3kg, and has an array of ports for all uses.
02. HP Pavilion x360
A beautiful hybrid laptop with aspirations
Processor : Intel® Core™ i3 | Graphics: Intel® UHD Graphics | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB | Display: 14-inch
As with most of these laptop choices, there are a few models to chose from within HP's Pavilion x360 range – starting from the asking price of $399.99 / £399.99 all the way to just under a grand. But we think the entry level iterations are a cracking choice as a everyday-use laptop and great value for money.
For the HP Pavilion x360 14, you'll get Windows 10 Home 64, 4GB of RAM and 128GB storage, and an 11.6-inch HD touch display. You'll also get a beautifully design hybrid laptop that's fun to just hold, and flip backwards or forwards to use as laptop of tablet. The HP Pavilion x360 is more robust than sleek, so if you like a laptop that doesn't feel like it's going to fall apart, at 0.8-inches thick and weighing in at 1.6 kg, this is the laptop for you.
03. Acer Aspire 3
Massive storage for everyday use
Processor: Intel Core i3 | Graphics: Intel® HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 1TB | Display: 15.6-inch, HD
The Acer Aspire 3 A315-51-31RD, is a special laptop. Not only will it serve you well for all your everyday computing needs, but with its 1TB (1,000GB) storage, it'll hold all the documents and media files you're likely to use on it. It even comes with a 2TB hard drive, but with that comes a higher asking price.
It comes with a large keyboard and a compact number pad, and a medium-sized touchpad. It's all-plastic body is smooth and all-black, with thin bezels. It's also got an 180 degree hinge offering welcome flexibility, for the more robust user. And with HDMI, ethernet, and two USB ports, it's a great, affordable allrounder laptop.
04. Surface Go 2
Microsoft's ultra-portable laptop
Processor: 8th Gen Intel® Core m3 Processor | Graphics: Intel® UHD Graphics 615 | RAM: 4GB / 8GB | Storage: 64GB / 128GB | Display: 10.5-inch
The Microsoft Surface Go 2 is a beautifully portable 10.5-inch laptop that does what it does brilliantly. This is a laptop for browsing, not high-end 3D modelling, but with the higher end iteration going up to 8GB RAM and 128GB storage, it will handle several tabs, media players and websites running at the same time easily.
The lower end Surface Go 2 comes in at just under $400/£400, but does not come with the Surface Go Type Cover (which, for $129.99, we would say is essential to get). You'll get 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, and around eight hours of constant use from a fully charged battery. Running Windows 10 Home, and weighing in at around 544 grams, all of this makes this a reliable, ultra-portable laptop for everyday needs.
05. Acer Aspire 5
Thin, light and a total bargain
Processor: Intel® Core™ i5 | Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® MX250 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB | Display: 15.6-inch, full HD
Representing the more mid-range level of laptops in the list, the Acer Aspire 5 is a great laptop if you want a future-proof laptop, whose components won't go out of date soon, under the $500/£500 mark.
This is a durable budget laptop that will see you through all the doc-opening, web-browsing and email-answering you want. And with its sizeable screen, and a weight of 2.20kg (4.85 pounds), the Acer Aspire 5 is quite a large laptop, but certainly not too heavy to carry around for everyday needs.
The best laptops for a bit more money
06. PixelBook Go
The best Chromebook for everyday use
Processor: 8th-generation Intel Core m3 | Graphics: Full HD | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 64GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, LCD touchscreen
The diminutive sibling to Google's higher-end Pixelbook, the Pixelbook Go starts around under the $700/£700 mark, which is definitely at the higher end of budget laptops. However, for sheer class and ease of use, due the stellar components that you get, this is a great bargain, and one of the best entry level Chromebooks out there.
Of course, being a Chromebook, this will work on Google Chrome OS operating system, running cloud-based applications and storing a lot of data online, so a solid internet connection for its user is essential. Its design is slim and light, its frame made from magnesium alloy with a matte finish, and it weighs in at 2.3 pounds and is 0.5-inches thin. On top on that, it offers a back-lit keyboard, and a 1080p front-facing camera, two elements that you won't find on most of the laptops here.
07. Apple MacBook Air
The cheapest Apple MacBook out there
Processor: Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 6000 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB – 256GB SSD | Screen: 13-inch (1440 x 9000)
This is the most expensive laptop that we've featured here, but if you've got a little bit more to spend, and you want that money to reflect increased specs and flawless design, this is the MacBook Air is a great choice. It's also the cheapest option you'll get if you head over to the Apple store.
That makes it well worth mentioning here, considering the brilliance of Apple's pre-loaded programs, which have helped to make Apple products the go-to devices for creatives all over the world for the last couple of decades. This iteration has an upgraded processor and more RAM than previous versions, as well.