The best laptop 2024: top portable picks for all budgets

best laptop MacBook Air (M2, 2022) with the screen open
(Image credit: Future / Apple)

If you're on the hunt for the best laptops you can buy in 2024, then you've come to the right place. On this page you'll find a wide range of laptops that will suit a large range of needs and budgets - and every single one has been tested by our laptop experts here at TechRadar.

As well as using the laptops as our day-to-day devices, we also put them through a wide range of benchmark tests, and only the very best performing laptops make it onto this page. You can read more on how we test laptops, which lists all the ways we put laptops through their paces during our reviews.

Since joining TechRadar in 2014 I've reviewed hundreds of laptops, and my choice for the best all-round laptop you can buy in 2024 remains the MacBook Air (M3), which is available in both 13-inch and 15-inch models. This standout in the best MacBook category merges a sleek, contemporary design with an impressive screen, stellar performance, and exceptional battery life. 

However, if you don't fancy a MacBook, I've included a huge range of other options, from Windows 11-powered laptops, to budget Chromebooks, powerful gaming laptops and everything in between. With a new generation of artificial intelligence-enabled laptops hitting the market, there has never been a more exciting time to buy, so read on for our top picks.

Recent updates

This page has been updated as of 24/06/2024 with an overhauled look that should make it easier to find the best laptop for your needs.

The best laptop overall

Apple's latest MacBook Air is the best laptop money can buy right now


Processor: Apple M3
Screen size: 13.6-inch
RAM: 8GB - 24GB
Storage: 256GB - 2TB
Battery life (TechRadar test): 14 hours and 19 minutes
Size: 11.97 x 8.46 x 0.44 inches (304 x 215 x 11.3mm)
Weight: 2.7 lbs (1.24kg)

The Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) is the best laptop overall you can buy right now. The design remains thin, light and stylish, and it's packed with Apple's latest M3 chip, giving this slimline laptop excellent performance for day-to-day tasks - and it even does a great job of handling more intensive workloads like editing videos. A new lower price for the entry-level model means this is an easy recommendation for people looking for a brilliant all-rounder of a laptop, but be warned: the base model’s specs - especially the 8GB of memory and 256GB SSD storage - feel a bit outdated in 2024.

Reasons to buy

You want the best laptop in the world: The new MacBook Air 13-inch is now the laptop we'd recommend to pretty much anyone thanks to a great design, excellent performance and relatively affordable price. 

You want a laptop for traveling with: The stylish thin and light design, plus the long battery life, makes this an excellent laptop for going out and about with. 

You want power - but not too much: The new M3 chip powering the MacBook Air is great at day-to-day tasks, as well as video editing and AI.

Expert Verdict
Managing editor Matt Hanson
Expert Verdict
Matt Hanson

💻 The MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) is easily the best laptop money can buy for most people, though we recommend boosting the memory and storage space when ordering. That makes it more expensive, but far more future-proof. Read the full review: Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (M3)

The best budget laptop

The best affordable laptop around


Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen2
Screen size: 13.3-inch
Storage: 128GB
Battery life (TechRadar test): 16 hours 20 minutes
Size: 12.04 x 7.35 x 0.28 inches (305.86 x 186.74 x 7.23mm)
Weight: 2.24lbs (1.02kg)

The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook is the best ultra-low price laptop you can buy, and it's a brilliant follow-up to the original IdeaPad Duet. While it’s been out for a while, Chromebooks don’t date as quickly as Windows laptops, and it's still one of the best Chromebooks we've used. If you're a Chromebook skeptic, the IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook just might convert you. It can be used as both a laptop and a tablet thanks to its detachable keyboard, while also boasting an impressively long battery life. You're simply not going to find a Windows 11 laptop that can outlast the over 16-hour battery life the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook offers – especially at this price. It’s a particularly good choice for students who want something reliable, flexible and affordable.

Reasons to buy

You want an OLED Chromebook: An OLED display on a Chromebook is uncommon, so if that's what you're looking for, this is the best choice. 

You need long battery life: It's possible to squeeze over 16 hours of battery life out of this Chromebook if you make the right adjustments in settings.  

You want a more robust system than Android or iOS can offer: As powerful as Android and iOS have become, mobile operating systems are still far more restricted than Windows, macOS, or Linux OS.

Expert Verdict
John Loeffler
Expert Verdict
John Loeffler

💻 The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook packs a punch with outstanding battery life, a gorgeous display, and a new form factor that improves on last year's model – as long as you're looking for a laptop more than a tablet. Read the full review: Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook

The best for Windows 11

The best Windows 11 laptop in 2024


Processor: Intel Core Ultra 7
Screen size: 14.5-inch
RAM: 16GB - 64GB
Storage: 512GB - 4TB
Battery life (TechRadar test): 9 hours 35 minutes
Size: 12.59 x 8.5 x 0.74 inches (320 x 215.98 x 19mm)
Weight: 3.97lbs (1.80kg)

When it comes to making the best Windows laptops, Dell is the company to beat. Its XPS 13 series have made regular appearances in this guide over the years, and its brand-new XPS 14, which ups the screen size while keeping a slim and light design that XPS laptops are famous for, continues that fine tradition. Packing a svelte look that puts other laptops - including MacBooks - to shame, and cutting-edge hardware from Intel and Nvidia, the Dell XPS 14 offers you the best Windows 11 experience in a laptop. It's a powerful performer that will easily handle any day to day tasks, and even more intensive creative workloads as well. 

Reasons to buy

You want a powerful Windows 11 laptop: The Dell XPS 14 comes with some of the best mobile hardware out there.

You want good battery life: The Dell XPS 14 doesn't quite reach MacBook Pro-levels of battery life, but it easily beats most Windows 11 laptops when it comes to lasting power. 

You want the best Windows 11 laptop: The solid, stylish and lightweight design, excellent performance and stunning screen makes the Dell XPS 14 the best Windows 11 laptop out there.

Expert Verdict
John Loeffler
Expert Verdict
John Loeffler

💻 The Dell XPS 14 is a fantastic new entry into the storied XPS lineup, and it gives the MacBook Pro 14-inch its strongest competition yet thanks to its gorgeous OLED display, powerful processor and GPU. It's not cheap, however, and there are some design quirks that many might not like. But overall, there are few Windows laptops that can compete right now. Read the full review: Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook

The best value laptop

The best value laptop in the world


Processor: Intel Core i5
Screen size: 14-inch
Storage: 512GB
Battery life (TechRadar test): 6 hours 37 minutes
Size: 0.71 x 12.9 x 8.8 inches (18 x 327.7 x 223.5mm)
Weight: 3.75lb (1.7kg)

As long as you keep your expectations in check, the Acer Aspire 5 remains the best cheap laptop you can buy in 2024. Its design is lightweight yet doesn't feel cheap, its large screen size is comfortable to work on, and you can even configure it to come with an Nvidia GPU. Don't mistake this for a gaming laptop however. But, the GPU can help make the Aspire 5 punch above its weight when it comes to video editing. For the price, you'll pleasantly surprised.

Reasons to buy

You want a cheap laptop: The Acer Aspire 5 is a no-frills laptop that does the job well for a lot less than other Windows 11 laptops.

You want a very portable laptop: This budget laptop is impressively light without feeling cheep and tacky, and that means it's comfortable to carry around with you throughout the day. 

You don't want a Chromebook: There are cheaper Chromebooks out there, but due to the limitations of ChromeOS, they aren't for everyone. The Acer Aspire 5 is cheap, but also runs Windows 11.

Expert Verdict
Expert Verdict
Cliff Joseph

💻 Acer’s hype pitches the Aspire 5 almost as mobile workstation for video-editing work - in fact, this 14-inch model is an affordable entry-level laptop that provides respectable performance and battery life for the price. Read the full review: Acer Aspire 5 (2022)