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Looking for the best laptop for your budget? We'll help you easily find a top laptop that ticks the boxes, won't break the bank and will last the test of time.
One of the biggest decisions will be how much you want to spend. The good news is that we know, thanks to our independent lab tests, that if the best laptop for you is a good all-rounder for day-to-day tasks, it doesn't have to be a lot.
We award Best Buys to our top-performing laptops, and our cheapest Best Buy laptops cost less than £500. Plus if you're willing to compromise a little, you can still find a good laptop for as little as £200.
Models we've recently tested include the Apple MacBook Air M2 Chip (2022), Apple MacBook Pro 13-in (2022), Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2, Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 7, Samsung Galaxy Book 2 and HP Chromebook x2 11-da0502na.
See our expert pick of the best laptops below and keep scrolling to read our expert advice on how you can find the best laptop, whatever your budget.
We only recommend the best laptops that excel in our tough lab tests. Here are the best laptops that impressed us enough to make our expert pick, selected for a range of budgets. Our reviews also reveal the results of our annual laptop owners' survey - we uncover which brands develop the least faults and which ones owners would buy again.
Only logged-in Which? members can view our best laptop recommendations in the table below.
If you’re not yet a member, you can get instant access to our expert pick of the best laptops by joining Which? - you'll also get access to all of our online reviews, including laptops, desktop PCs, antivirus software and electric cars.
(Table updated December 2022.)
Cheap but not cheerful, and packed with slow processors, limited Ram, unpleasant keyboards and screens that are hard to make out. These are laptops to avoid.
Short on time? Watch our two-minute video for the most important laptop buying tips to help you buy the best laptop for your needs.
On a tight budget? Skip straight to our round-up of the best cheap laptops.
There are three major players when it comes to the software (operating system) your computer runs on. You can find out more in our guide to MacOS, Windows and ChromeOS, or look at our brief summaries below.
If you're buying an older model, particularly if you're buying refurbished or second-hand, check it's going to be compatible with Windows 11. See our free Windows 11 requirements checker.
New Microsoft Surface laptop and tablet - what you need to know about these MacBook and iPad rivals
See our Macbook reviews.
MacBooks are expensive, but you can cut the cost. See our top 5 ways to save money on a MacBook
Check out our expert Chromebook reviews.
In a nutshell:
This really matters if you’re planning on using a laptop for photo or video editing, or if you're a very heavy user, opening lots of programs and browser tabs. When looking at laptop processors, you’ll see two main specifications beyond the product name: clock speed (measured in Gigahertz or GHz) and number of cores.
Think of clock speed as the speed limit on a road and the number of cores as the number of lanes. As on a road, depending on traffic conditions – the tasks being done on your computer – a road might see a greater benefit from more lanes or a higher speed limit.
In the simplest way possible, more of both is better, and each of our laptop reviews will help you out by making it clear what sort of tasks a laptop is good for.
Think of Ram (Random Access Memory) like a desk and your hard drive like a filing cabinet. You pull files out of the cabinet and it takes a while, but once they’re on your desk, you can reach for them instantly.
The same is true of Ram; once you have loaded a file from the hard drive, it’s now in the Ram and can be accessed almost instantaneously.
The bigger the desk you have, the more items you can access more quickly - the same goes for Ram. Most mid-range laptops come with at least 4GB of Ram, and we’d tend to recommend 8GB for people who are heavy web users or usually have lots of documents and pictures open. You can manage with less, but you’ll have to rein in your use.
If you fill up your Ram, some of the things you’re working on will be moved back to the hard drive, making things feel a lot slower. Some cheap computers come with 2GB – this is usually fine on a cheap Chromebook, but some Windows laptops will struggle. Plus you need 4GB for Windows 11.
When you close a program or file, it is removed from the Ram and makes room for other things to be accessed immediately. This is part of the reason why closing programs you aren’t using can make your computer faster.
In a nutshell:
The graphic shows the four main screen resolutions you'll find on laptops and what they are often called.
A laptop’s screen is one case where bigger isn’t always better. If you want a longer-lasting battery and a more portable device, you may want to go for an 11, 12 or 13-inch display; most of these will weigh between 1kg and 1.5kg. The largest you're likely to see is 15 or 17 inches, with weight increasing to around 2kg to 3kg.
Most new models over £300 now have a Full-HD 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution display, and high-end models can have even sharper screens with even more pixels up to and beyond 4K Ultra HD. Generally, the higher the resolution, the sharper the picture.
Only cheaper laptops should have a lower screen resolution of 1,366x768. This is okay and usually usable, but these screens not only lack fidelity; their cheap nature means they're also lacking when it comes to how well colours are displayed.
We also test computer monitors - you can hook one up to your laptop to use as a second screen. See our guide to the best computer monitors to get the low-down on how to pick one.
In a nutshell:
Storage capacity determines how many things your PC can hold. Documents, photos, music, movies, programs – they all take up space.
Bigger is usually better, although solid-state drives (SSDs) are often more expensive for considerably less space. This is because they load much quicker and are completely silent.
We're also seeing a lot of cheaper laptops (including Chromebooks) carrying eMMC (embedded Multi-Media Controller) flash storage, which is slower than SSDs and gives you very little storage space.
A hard disk drive's storage capacity is measured in gigabytes (GB) or terabytes (TB, equal to 1,000GB).
If you cleared out all the stuff on your computer you don’t actually need, how much space do you think you’d have? How much do you have now? Check ‘This PC’ in the File Explorer window if you’re using Windows to gauge how big your next laptop’s storage needs to be.
Most laptops over £350 will come with at least 128GB of storage, with 256GB becoming common above £500.
In a nutshell:
Manufacturers often make heady claims about how long their laptops' batteries last. Our tests ignore the manufacturer claims and involve multiple battery rundowns while simulating web browsing and watching videos.
If you're buying a laptop that you intend to use when out and about, make sure the battery life is at least six hours based on our reviews. We've tested some models that last for more than 15 hours before they need recharging.
Battery stamina on large, desktop-replacement models won't be as crucial, as they'll almost always be near a power socket. But we still mark them down if they run out of juice in under four hours.
We have previously found that laptop battery life claims versus reality are seldom remotely comparable, so you should always take these claims with a pinch of salt and use our reviews as a place to assess how different laptops' batteries compare to one another.
Our in-depth battery tests give you the real picture when it comes to battery life on a laptop. Make sure you check our laptop reviews to find a great model that will last.
Argos, Currys, John Lewis and Laptops Direct are some of the most searched-for laptop retailers at the time of writing. We’ve included links to these retailers because of their stock availability, best value price, or warranty options.
As well as stocking a variety of laptops costing between £200-£3,000, Argos offers free, same-day, in-store collection at selected Sainsbury's stores, where you can bump up your Nectar points, too. Or, if you'd rather have your product delivered, prices start at £3.95.
Argos also offers free returns to any Argos store within 30 days of purchase. Most laptops come with a manufacturer guarantee of at least one year.
Currys stocks over 300 laptop brands including HP, Dell, Apple and Lenovo. Prices start at under £200.
Click & Collect orders are free, with options to have your laptop delivered to your car in the car park or a walk-in store service. Standard anytime day delivery is also free, and next day delivery starts at £5.
The Currys Price Promise ensures that if you find a product cheaper elsewhere, Currys will match the price or beat it, as well as match discount codes.
Most laptops come with a manufacturer guarantee of at least one year.
If you buy from John Lewis, you will receive a free two-year warranty on a range of over 200 laptops from a huge selection of brands, including gaming, 2-in-1, and home office models. John Lewis also provides a technical support service to answer your queries seven days a week.
Plus, if you find a product cheaper at a different high street store, you can make a price match request online, in store, or over the phone.
John Lewis also offers a variety of shipping options. Standard UK mainland delivery is free when you spend £50 or more (it's £3.50 on orders under £50). If you need your order quickly, next-day delivery will cost you between £6.95-£10.95.
Click & Collect deliveries will send your product to a select pick-up point (usually a Waitrose or Co-op), and are free for orders over £30 (orders under £30 come with a £2 fee). Alternatively, for £3.50, John Lewis' Collect+ service will send your product to a closer shop of your choosing, such as your local corner-shop.
This computing specialist sells thousands of both new and refurbished laptops, from over 30 brands, with prices starting from a couple of hundred pounds.
There's free delivery to most of the UK.
The 'No Quibble' policy at Laptops Direct entitles customers to a full refund for up to 14 days after purchasing. And there's expert technical support available over the phone, seven days a week.
When buying a laptop, make sure you're handing your money over to a reputable seller. Check the retailer's returns policy and pay attention to customer feedback and reviews.
For more details on shopping online safely and arranging refunds for faulty products, see our expert advice on shopping online.
Ready to shop right now? See our independent, expert laptop reviews.
Discover all you need to know about laptops with help from our expert advice. You can also use our handy guide on how we test laptops to find out more about our rigorous testing methods.