Since the pandemic, there has been more demand for laptops used for working from home! Working from home has become a growing trend as companies have increasingly allowed remote work. Additionally, the great resignation had led to a whole new wave of entrepreneurs. With the Omicron variant raging, it doesn’t seem like the remote work trend will slow down any time soon. For those who are adapting to working from home it’s critical to have the right business laptop.
While the best laptop for working remotely will obviously vary depending on personal preferences, here are some of the key factors we’ll look in determining what’s important:
- Cost – If you are working from home, it definitely makes sense to invest in a good laptop since you’ll be spending a good portion of your day with it. But everyone has different budgets, usage needs, and expectations. Therefore, we included a variety of laptops in this article, from higher end to budget friendly options.
- Key Technical Specifications – these include factors such as CPU, RAM, storage and other features. All of the laptops we chose can have adjusted technical specifications depending on your need. But we generally went with the mid-tier to higher-tier selections because we thought would be best suited for working from home long term.
- Display – For at home setups, it may make sense to have a large external monitor if you are working for long hours. We chose mostly 13 inch laptops due to its superior portability compared to 15 inch laptops. However, most of the 13 inch laptops we discuss in this article also have a 15 inch option (with the exception of the Razer Book 13). We also included two 15 inch laptops in the list.
- Weight – Weight may seem like less of a factor if you work from home, but it becomes very important if you value mobility. For example, if you travel a lot for work, attend various meetings in-person, or like to work from different places, then having mobility will be necessary.
- Battery Life – This might be less important for those working from home since the laptop can be always plugged in. But if you travel often or like to work from a coffee shop, then it’s important to have a laptop that can last for the majority of the work day without a charger.
- Webcam – Having a webcam is now important for working from home because so many meetings take place online these days. Whether it’s Zoom or Microsoft Teams, online meeting platforms have become more advanced. The good news is you don’t necessarily need a 4K quality webcam. Having a standard webcam will likely be sufficient for most people.
Summary of Best Laptops for Working from Home
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to many that the Apple Macbook is in this list. Macbooks have been consistently rated as the top laptop, with good reason. Macs have amazing performance, consistency, and longevity amongst laptops. While there are several versions of the Macbook, the Macbook Pro is considered the premium version amongst the Macbooks.
First released in 2021, the 14 inch Apple Macbook Pro weighs 3.5 pounds. Supercharged with the Apple’s M1 Pro Chip, the performance of this computer is top notch. This laptop is for those who need power performance, such as heavy video editing or intense graphics design. Or simply for those who want a premium laptop that’ll last. The model we recommend includes 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. Ports on the Macbook 14 Pro include:
- 3x Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports
- 1x 3.5mm headphone jack
- 1x HDMI Port
- 1x MagSafe 3 Port
The Macbook Pro 14 comes with a retina display and also includes a 1080p web camera. The Magic Keyboard is backlit and comes with the Touchbar and Touch ID. It is comfortable to type on. Battery power is said to be 17 hours of web surfing, more than sufficient to power through a normal work day.
One advantage of the Mac ecosystem is connectivity to all Apple devices. For example, items in your Macbook can be easily interconnected to your iPad, offering transferability agmonst devices. As with most Macbooks, the main drawback is the lack of ports and the cost. Also, for those who rely on Microsoft Excel, Macbook’s version of Microsoft Excel has more limited functionality than windows.
Razer is known for their gaming laptop. However, they released the Razer Book 13 in 2020, an ultrabook focused on productivity and work. Despite being Razer’s first ultrabook, it is one of the best laptops for working from home.
The Razer Book has an aluminum quality build that gives it a premium feel, and weights 3.09 pounds. The specific model we recommend comes with the Intel Core i7-1165G7, 16GB of ram, and 512GB of storage. One notable aspect of the Razer Book is that it comes with a variety of ports:
- 2x Thunderbolt™ 4 (USB-C) Ports
- 1x USB Type A
- 1x HDMI Port
- 1x MicroSD Slot
- 1x 3.5 MM Headphone/Microphone Combo Port
Display is 13.4 inch upgradable to a 4k touchscreen and comes in a standard 720p webcam. The keyboard utilizes the RGB backlighting just like Razer’s other gaming laptops. Keyboard feedback is good but the “Enter” and “Backspace” are notably smaller compared to its peers.
Battery life is strong and estimated to be approximately 13 hours. The Razer Book also has an edge on cooling as well due to its gaming roots. Although a newcomer to the ultrabook space, the Razer Book is a great choice for those who want a premium laptop to work from home.
The Dell XPS 13 has been one of the top 13 inch laptops for the past few years. The laptop weighs merely 2.91 pounds. The model we recommend is priced at $1,399, comes with the Intel Core i7-1195G7, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. Ports include:
- 2x Thunderbolt 4 ports
- 1x MicroSD card reader
- 1x 3.5mm Headphone/Microphone Combo Jack
The Dell XPS 13 has a high quality sleek design, with a beautiful machine-milled aluminum chassis and the Dell logo on the cover of the laptop. The 13.4 inch gorgeous infinity display is a great feature as every little bit of real estate helps. The screen is built with Corning Gorilla Glass, which is impact and scratch resistant. The webcam is the standard 720p. Battery life is estimated to be approximately 13 hours. The Dell XPS 13 is considered to be on the more expensive end and the main drawback is the lack of available ports. Users may have to use a docking station if additional ports are needed.
Ever since Microsoft got into the business of creating laptops, they have been a popular choice. The Surface Laptop 4 combines performance at a bit of a better price than the Razer Book 13 and Dell XPS 13. The model we recommend comes with the Intel Core i7-1185G7, 16GB ram, and 512GB of storage. Ports include:
- 1x USB-C
- 1x USB-A
- 1x 3.5 mm headphone jack
- 1x Surface Connect port
The Surface Laptop 4 has a 13.4 inch touchscreen display, but the bezels are slightly thicker than its peers, which may be a factor to consider for those who like infinity screens. The webcam is the standard 720p. Microsoft claims this laptop has up to 17 hours of battery life.
The laptop has a simple design with the Microsoft logo on the cover of the laptop. Overall, this is a great ultrabook that balances budget for performance and is a great contender for those who want a great laptop but easier on the wallet.
The Asus Zenbook 14 is considered more of an affordable laptop compared to its peers, but is still a powerful machine, weighing only 2.58 pounds. Don’t let the cheap price fool you, as the model we recommend comes with the Intel Core i7-1165G7, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. Ports include:
- 1x USB 3.1 Gen2
- 1x USB-C 3.1 Gen 2
- 1x USB 2.0
- 1x HDMI port
- MicroSD Card Reader
- 1x Audio Jack
The Asus Zenbook 14 has a screen size of 14 inches that comes with a standard 720p webcam. The keyboard is backlit but otherwise pretty standard. Battery life is great with a lasting up to 13 hours.
For a laptop that is cheaper than the options above, the Asus Zenbook 14 definitely will be a solid choice for most. It’s lightweight for a 14 inch laptop and has competitive technical specs with ample ports. The sleek design also gives it a premium feel despite it’s more economical price than its peers.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is an affordable laptop with a 15 inch display weighing only 3.74 pounds. The model we recommend comes with the Intel Core i3-10110U, 12GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. Ports include:
- 1x USB 2.0
- 2x USB 3.1
- 1x HDMI
- 1x SD card reader
Lenovo IdeaPad 3 has a 15.6 inch screen. Display quality is not great, and battery life is also shorter compared to its peers at approximately 7 hours. The plastic chassis also gives a lower quality feel compared to aluminum. Although it’s not overly heavy for a 15 inch laptop, you do lose mobility due to its size. Nonetheless, it can get the job done for regular users.
Considered to be one of the best budget laptops out there, the Acer Aspire 5 combines an economical price with good functionality for the amount of money spent. It is however relatively heavy at 5.4 pounds. The model we recommend currently costs $519.99, comes with the Intel Core i3-1115G4, 8GB of ram, and 512GB of storage. Ports include:
- 1x USB 2.0
- 2x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A Ports
- 1x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C Ports
- 1x Headphone Jack
The display is 15.6 inches with a HD display coupled with a backlit keyboard. The webcam is the standard 720p for laptops. Battery life is at the shorter end at approximately 8 hours. The outer cover is sandblasted aluminum, which gives it a nice feel for a budget laptop. As noted, the Acer Aspire 5 is heavy and you will lose some mobility if you choose this laptop. However, it is overall a good laptop as it has good functionality and aesthetics for a budget laptop.
Major Considerations when Buying a Laptop for Working Remotely
We went over some of the key considerations in the beginning of the article. Now that we have introduced the best laptops for working from home, let’s dive into the details of each of the criteria to consider for picking a laptop. When looking for a laptop for working from home, certain criteria usually will triumph others. For example, unless your job involves music or sound editing, the speakers for your laptop are less important compared to if you were to buy a laptop for entertainment. We’ll take a deep dive at cost, key technical specifications, display, keyboard, weight, battery life, webcam, and operating system below.
This is perhaps one of the first things people look at when shopping for a laptop. As previously mentioned, if you’re looking to work from home in the long term, it definitely makes sense to buy a laptop that’ll enable you to work at full productivity. You’re going to lose a lot of precious time if you buy a cheap laptop that causes you constant issues.
A reasonable range to spend is between $500 and $1,500. Premium laptops like a souped up Macbook Pro could cost more and budget laptops like the Acer Aspire 5 will cost less. Of course, everyone’s budget and needs are different. A high resolution video editor will have different needs than a copywriter who just needs basic functions. It is critical to pick the right laptop for you, and not just go solely on price.
Key Technical Specifications
Having enough process power, RAM, and storage is critical for smooth operations working from home.
We recommend getting an i7 processor and 16GB of ram for your laptop. The minimum we’d recommend is at least an i5 processor with 8GB of ram. It’s relatively rare to need 32GB ram or an i9 processor, especially if you are using a 13 inch laptop. If budget is a primary concern, then an i3 processor and 4GB of RAM could potentially work, but you are sacrificing functionality for price and it’s best to go this route only if your work can be fulfilled with mostly basic functions.
For storage at least 256GB is recommended, and 512GB is recommended. If you work with large files frequently you may need even more storage. For example, people who regularly store 4K videos in their computer may need 1TB or even 2TB of storage. Alternatively, if your work is mostly word documents and excel files a 256GB SSD may be sufficient.
The graphics card required would again be highly dependent on your line of work. A basic graphics card is usually sufficient unless you are doing design or high resolution video editing.
While this is somewhat dependent on personal preferences, I believe a 13” inch laptop is a better choice for working from home due to its mobility and price point. Although a 15 inch laptop is generally only a pound or so heavier, it’s larger frame makes it more difficult to carry around, especially if you move around a lot for work or have meetings. While interactions may be limited because we are still in a pandemic, it is good to retain mobility for when in person meetings return.
If having a big screen is essential, an external monitor can be used at home. A 15 inch can be considered if having a larger screen outside of home is crucial.
Additionally, a 4K display is unlikely to be necessary unless your line of job requires high quality video editing.
A keyboard is an important aspect of the laptop since you’ll be typing on it a lot. Thankfully, most modern laptops have well-designed keyboards.
One thing to note is that just like how an external monitor can be used, an external keyboard can also be utilized for your work from home laptop.
The weight of a laptop is critical if you value mobility. If you travel for work, or like to switch up the scenery by working in a coffee shop, you want to have a lightweight laptop to be able to stay mobile. A good 13 inch laptop usually weighs around 3 pounds and can be carried around with relative ease. While a 15 inch laptop gives you extra real estate on your screen, you do sacrifice some mobility due to its size and weight. 15 inch laptops can weigh around 4 to 5 pounds, and while that’s only an extra pound or two from a 13 inch laptop, it’ll make a difference in when you travel.
Battery life is especially important if you can’t always access a power source. For example, if you’re in a packed coffee shop or commuting, it’s not always possible to keep your laptop plugged in. Therefore, you’ll be relying on your laptop’s battery power. Having a battery that can last at least 6-8 hours is important if you won’t always be near a power source. Fortunately, most laptops today can last 6-8 hours, unless you have intense processing needs that drains the battery.
During the pandemic, webcams have become an important tool due to the widespread shut down around the world. As some businesses have now increasingly adopted online meetings and collaboration, having a webcam for your laptop is crucial for a work for home setting. Thankfully, there’s no need for a 4K webcam as the standard 720p in most laptops work just fine.
Buying a Macbook or Windows laptop is a very heated and popular question that has been around for a long time. It is up to personal preference, but there are a few advantages and disadvantages of each. Mac computers are said to have better security than pc computers, last longer, and have overall better quality. But they are usually more expensive and might be supported by less business applications.
From a work perspective, a point of consideration might be how much you utilize Microsoft Office suite, especially Microsoft Excel. The excel version for mac computers does not have pivot tables, keyboard shortcuts, and has a weaker version of VBA than pc computers.
But ultimately, both modern Mac and Windows laptops are pretty good, and you can’t really go wrong with either.
There are a ton of business laptops to choose from these days. Working remotely is a growing trend so choosing the best business laptop is critical. The bottom line is that everyone’s best laptop is different; you’ll need a laptop that fits in your budget and has the combination of processing power, battery life, and portability to satisfy your needs. Below is a summary of the laptops we went over in this article.
M1 Chip, 16GB Ram, and 512GB Storage
- Macbook Pro ($1,699) – the premium laptop that is great for designers as well as those who need strong processing power from the M1 chip. Considered the top of the line and one of the best business laptops by many. Drawback is the lack of ports and the price.
Intel i7 Processor, 16GB RAM, and 512GB Storage
- Razer Book 13 ($1,499) – The first premium ultrabook from a company known for their gaming laptop. However, it’s a great laptop with strong performance, a touch display, ample ports, and a solid cooling system. Downside is the cost and slightly smaller “Enter” and “Backspace”
- Dell XPS 13 ($1,469) – One of the best premium laptops in the market, the Dell XPS 13 has great performance and also has an infinity screen with touch display. Downside is the cost as well as the lack of ports.
- Surface Laptop 4 ($1,299) – Microsoft’s laptop that has good performance, and a very long battery life at 17 hours. However, there is no 4K option for the display.
- Asus Zenbook 14 ($1,199) – This is a great laptop that is more economical compared to its peers without sacrificing much performance. Downside is there there is no touch display.
Intel i3 Processor, 12GB Ram, and 512GB Storage
- Lenovo Ideapad 3 ($539.99) – A budget 15 inch laptop where you sacrifice in the processor department. Although it’s light for a 15 inch laptop, the battery life is relatively short at 7 hours.
Intel i3 Processor, 8GB Ram, and 512GB Storage
- Acer Aspire 5 ($519.99) – A budget 15 inch laptop where you sacrifice in the processor department. Also heavier at 5.4 pounds. However, the price is good and you get good performance for the money spent.