The 12 Best Laptops Under $500 in 2022
If you’re shopping for a laptop on a budget, you can find some great options for under $500. The best laptops under $500 won’t leave you unsettled because you didn’t pay a premium price.
Often, laptops under $500 come with compromises, so it’s essential to shop smart. In this category, you’ll typically find Windows machines with Intel Core i3 or i5 processors or low-powered Chromebooks.
There are value-priced notebooks that include full-HD displays, solid performance, and long battery life, plus all the ports you need. You can even get a laptop with a touch screen in this price range, though it will be on the smaller side.
The lineup of laptops under $500 we’ve rounded up below highlights some quality machines that can help you get things done without hurting your wallet too badly.
What are the best laptops under $500 right now?
The Acer Aspire 5 earns its place at the top spot of the best laptops under $500 page due to its strong 8th Gen Core i3 performance, bright 1080p display, and long battery life, all for an affordable price. Although the Aspire 5 is much thinner than its sibling, the Aspire E 15, the Aspire 5 boasts enough room for a battery that lasts nearly 9 hours on a charge.
It doesn’t feature a DVD writer, but it still has a decent number of ports. The display emits an impressive 276 nits of brightness, which gives the screen some decent contrast. It even has an aluminum hood. To top it off, the bezels on the display are surprisingly narrow for a laptop this cheap. The Aspire 5 is one of the best cheapest laptops currently available.
A wild card to throw into this list, we have the Microsoft Surface Go 2. Unlike the other laptops, it’s a hybrid device able to pull double duties as a road warrior laptop and a Windows 10 tablet. On the surface, the Surface Go 2 doesn’t look that much different from its predecessor, except in one neat upgrade where Microsoft slimmed down its bezels to fit a 10.5-inch display, rather than 10-inch display; that screen still delivers bright and punchy colors.
The Microsoft Surface Go 2 comes into its own when the optional Type-Cover accessory is added into the mix. That takes the entry-level $299 Surface Go 2 tablet up to $359, but in the process turns it into a dinky laptop that’s surprisingly capable. But to keep things below $500, you have to put up with an Intel Pentium Gold processor, only 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage. That’s hardly a mighty set of specs, but it should be enough for people who want a 2-in-1 device for reasonably lightweight productivity tasks.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 (2021). It’s a portable Windows laptop with good build quality and a battery that lasts over nine hours of light use. Its 15.6-inch screen gives you plenty of space for multitasking, gets bright enough for use in most settings, and it’s flicker-free, which helps reduce eye strain on long school or workdays. The keyboard is reasonably spacious and includes a Numpad on the right side, though it feels a bit tiring to type on for extended periods as the keys require a fair amount of force to actuate.
It’s AMD Ryzen CPU is more than powerful enough to handle general productivity tasks like web browsing, video playback, text formatting, and spreadsheets. Its port selection includes two USB-As, a full-size HDMI, and a USB-C port, although you can’t use the latter for video output or charge the laptop. It has a fingerprint sensor built into the power button so you can log into Windows quickly.
Between its reasonable price and superb keyboard, the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 is a nice all-arounder. Thanks to the Intel Pentium Gold 7505 processor, this Chromebook is equipped to handle web browsing, editing documents, and other simple tasks. However, according to our review, it can “feel taxed by demanding tasks.” For example when the tester opened up multiple tabs, he noticed some lag in performance.
The port selection is a nice combination of old and new: It has two USB-C ports, a single USB-A port, a 3.5mm combo audio jack, and a microSD card reader. The 13.3-inch 1080p IPS touchscreen is a big perk at this price point, too.
If you’re looking for a good budget laptop and don’t mind the idea of a hybrid tablet/Chromebook, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet could be for you. Currently $245, you can get both the tablet and the detachable keyboard, rather than needing to pay for them separately as is the case with the Microsoft Surface Go — though that hybrid Windows 10 machine does offer a more premium experience. Sporting a 2.0GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio P60T, ARM G72 MP3 GPU, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of eMMC storage space, the 10.1-inch tablet doesn’t come with a lot of power or storage.
But that doesn’t matter as it’s a Chromebook, which mostly uses web-based services that do all the heavy lifting away from the Lenovo Chromebook Duet. And a low spec means it won’t chew through battery power. It also has an impressively sharp and bright 1920 x 1080 display that works just as well for binge-watching YouTube as it does for zipping through emails and browsing the web.
The Asus Chromebook Detachable CM3 cloaks itself in the guise of a tweed-bound journal. However, lift the cover and you’ve unlocked a versatile 2-in-1 laptop that happens to include a stylus in case you did want to do some journaling.
While the Detachable CM3 isn’t the most powerful of Chromebooks, its vibrant display and convenient form factor make it an excellent content consumption and web browsing device that can easily slip into any bag. While it’s pricey for having a MediaTek processor inside, the CM3 makes up for it with nearly 12 hours of battery life and a durable chassis. It’s easily one of the best laptops under $500.
The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (2020) is a well-built 2-in-1 convertible laptop with a 360-hinge, meaning you can flip the screen all the way around and use it as a tablet. It has a thin and light design that makes it easy to carry around, and the battery lasts over 12 hours of light productivity. Its 13.5-inch screen is very sharp and gets bright enough to combat glare, even outdoors in broad daylight. The keyboard feels comfortable to type on over extended periods, and the touchpad has decent tracking.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t have an IR camera or fingerprint sensor for biometric login, so you’ll have to type in your password every time. The Core i3 model with 4GB of memory provides a smooth Chrome OS experience; however, it’s best to opt for an i5 or i7 model with more memory if you tend to have many applications running simultaneously; just expect to pay a little more.
The HP Chromebook x2 11 is one of the best 2-in-1 machines you can buy, considering its cheap price. The rear plate, which transforms into a kickstand that holds up the tablet for hands-free use, connects to the back of the tablet via magnets. As for the performance, it’s about what you’d expect out of a Chromebook: zippy enough for everyday tasks like browsing the web and so on.
The x2 11 is powered by a Snapdragon 7c processor, which is better than the MediaTek chips you’ll find in most Chromebooks. That said, the Intel Core i3 in Windows machines is simply more powerful by default. This HP also packs 8GB of RAM, which helps with web browser performance, among other tasks.
Depending on which model you go for, for under $200, you won’t find a better Windows laptop than the HP Stream 11. The Stream boasts a portable, 11-inch chassis, weighing in at 2.5 pounds and measuring just 0.7 inches thick. While our particular model sports a dull, black paint job, the HP Stream 11 is still adorable given its petite size.
For the price, you shouldn’t expect much out of the Stream 11, but its Intel Celeron N4000 processor with 4GB of RAM was able to handle 10 Microsoft Edge tabs as well as a 1080p YouTube video. The system also lasted a solid 9 hours and 19 minutes on our battery test. While its keyboard can be a little cramped, it offers decent key travel. If you’re on a tight budget, the HP Stream 11 is one of the best cheapest laptops to go with.
If you’re looking for something compact that you can use for media consumption or web browsing on the go, get the Microsoft Surface Go 3 (2021). It’s essentially a mini Microsoft Surface Pro, a 2-in-1 Windows tablet with a built-in kickstand and a detachable type cover keyboard. You have to buy the keyboard separately, but it’s worth it as it’s a pretty good keyboard, and it helps protect the display from scratches. The display is a 10.5-inch IPS panel that looks very sharp and gets bright enough for use in most settings. The thick bezels around it look outdated; however, they provide a place to hold the device when using it as a tablet and house an excellent 1080p webcam. There’s also an IR camera, meaning you can log in via Windows Hello.
The Intel Pentium Gold model with 4GB of memory is fine for simple web browsing, emails, and video playback, but don’t expect to edit a 4k video or play AAA games. The battery lasts about seven hours of light productivity or a little over three hours of video playback, so you’ll likely need to keep the charger close by.
Acer’s Spin 311 is exactly what many people expect of a Chromebook: Small, inexpensive, and capable enough to handle work and light play every day. The keyboard is excellent for a Chromebook of this size and price; the battery life is solid, too, and although performance isn’t great, it’s enough to handle light, day-to-day tasks.
For students, children, or anyone looking for an extremely portable machine that gets the essentials right, the Spin 311 is one of the best Chromebooks for kids that can also compete with some of the best Chromebooks of comparable price.
If you’re looking for a ridiculously cheap Chromebook, you won’t find anything better than the Samsung Chromebook 4 ($229). It survived a whole 10 hours and 36 minutes against our battery test, making it the best laptop under $500 with the longest battery life. With curved edges and a silver hue, the Samsung Chromebook 4 looks a lot like the many MacBook copycats we’ve seen over the years.
The Intel Celeron 3000N processor and 4GB of RAM driving the Samsung Chromebook 4 provides decent power for multitasking, especially at this price.
It can be tricky to weigh up how much one can expect from a laptop that costs less than $500. You’re not going to get the bleeding-edge performance or a super premium design. And you might have to make a few compromises on the display, such as how well it handles colors and how bright gets. We hope this guide has helped you decide which laptop under $500 you should go for.