Best College Laptops
Best Laptops for College (Photo: CC BY isriya)

When it comes to choosing a laptop for college, what you want is something powerful, lightweight and portable with a long-lasting battery.

This is a tool that will be very beneficial to your success in college and is what you'll be doing most of your work on so it is important that your system is up to date. If your laptop is more than a few years old, you may want to consider upgrading to a more powerful notebook. You don't want an outdated computer to slow you down when it comes to college work.

As you begin shopping for college supplies, one question that typically comes up is, "What are the best laptops for college students?"

Why have a laptop for college?

  • Makes doing homework easier and more convenient.
  • Computer labs in college are really busy at certain times.
  • Able to take down course notes by computer, if that is your preferred method.
  • Work on campus in your own space.
  • Essentially, it enables you to get work done anytime, anywhere.

Benefits of Having a Good Laptop for College

Any tool that helps you become a more organized and efficient student in college is a wise investment.

When you buy a good laptop for college, you ensure you have a device that will last you through all four years of college.

Speed, power and portability and three combinations of what to look for in a college laptop.

Using a Laptop in College
Using a Laptop in College (Photo: CC BY johnloo)

Common uses of a laptop in college:

  • Taking notes in class
  • Doing homework
  • Writing college essays
  • Surfing the web and doing research
  • Reading eTextbooks
  • Networking and social media
  • Storing and playing music and media
  • Storing all college work

Students with certain interests and those in certain majors may also have other common uses for a laptop that include video gaming, photo editing, video editing and design work.

What makes a Good Laptop for College?

Laptop Size - Think Portability

Unless you are in a design-related major, go for a 13 to 14-inch laptop. These are better for on the go because they generally weigh less than 5 lbs. This is something you will be carrying with you all over campus, so if you can get one that weighs between 3-4 lbs., even better.

Battery Life - Long-Lasting

Try and get a laptop for college with a battery that lasts 6 hours or longer. This should be enough to get you through a full day of classes.

Why battery life is important for a laptop in college:

  • You don't want to have to carry a power cord around.
  • The popular study spots (coffee shops and libraries) get crowded near the power outlets. You can focus better away from the clutter and distractions of a congested study area by being unplugged with a long-lasting battery.

Good Keyboard - Comfort and Functionality

Laptop Keyboard
Laptop Keyboard (Photo: CC BY ian d)

Having a comfortable keyboard is important because you’ll be writing many papers in college. There are different styles of keyboards that can vary based on how big the laptop is. If having a good keyboard is a major concern for you, go into to your local Best Buy and test out keyboards on models you are considering and see what works well for you.

  • A backlit keyboard is preferable as at times you will be working in a dark or dim environment.
  • If you press down on the keyboard and you see a lot of flex, consider another model.
  • Spacing of the keys is also something to consider; go with something that feels comfortable with your typing style.

How to Buy a Good Cheap Laptop for College

Student Discounts on Laptops

Buying a College Laptop
Buying a College Laptop (Photo: CC BY camillomiller)

By being a student you are eligible for special student pricing and discounts on laptops. This is a very useful option for getting a cheap laptop for college.

Special college student discounts are available from the following manufactures:

College Laptop Coupons, Deals and Offers

At times, laptop manufacturers and stores like to offer coupons and deals on laptops.

Check for current deals on laptops at the following websites:

Recommendations on the Best Laptop for College

Best Laptops for College - Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports College Laptop Recommendations:

  • Laptops with solid-state drives because they are faster and more reliable than traditional hard drives.
  • Laptops with at least 8GB of memory. You can get by with 4GB for basic web browsing and word processing, but anything beyond that you'll want more for a college laptop.
  • Consider a gaming laptop for college. While they may be a little more expensive, they're powerful enough and built well to last you through all 4 years of college.

“Four years is kind of a long time, so you want something that will last.”

Dustin Downs, PC Analyst

Best 2 in 1 Laptop for College

Microsoft Surface Pro

Microsoft Surface Pro

Best Apple Laptop for College

Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch

Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch

Best Portable Laptop for College

LG Gram 13

LG Gram 13

Best Gaming Laptop for College

Asus ROG Strix

Asus ROG Strix Gaming Laptop

Best Budget Laptop for College

HP Pavilion

Best Budget Laptop for College

Best Big Screen Laptop for College

Dell Inspiron 17

Dell Inspiron 17

Best Laptops for College - Best Buy

Best Buy provides a running list of the best laptops for college providing reviews and opinions on each model.

View Top Selling College Laptops

About the Author:


Ted Reimers

University of Washington Graduate and Publisher of
Has worked with companies like Microsoft, Adobe, HP and Sony on campaigns specifically designed to help and promote the latest technology and tools to assist students in college.