If you’re considering swapping your Windows or Mac laptop for a Chromebook, it’s because you like the idea of a machine that’s more affordable, and lightweight. But with so many to choose from, at a range of different prices, which is the best Chromebook for you? Don’t worry – we’ve tested hundreds of the best budget laptops on sale, and have you covered with this extensive list.
Running on Google’s Chrome OS, Chromebooks are heavily dependent on the cloud. In other words, a lot of your most-used apps, like Google docs for word processing, will run online. Documents and photos, too, with primarily be stored online in your Google Drive account. There are advantages and disadvantages to this of course, but you can set things up so that things are available offline too, and the focus on the cloud means that hardware like processors and RAM don’t need to be as powerful. In other words, while there are some exceptions, Chromebooks tend to be cheaper and more nimble.
With the ability to run Android apps, there’s plenty of opportunity for work and play too, with lightweight gaming an option as well. As long as you’re not expecting the same full-fat PC gaming experience (or a video-rendering powerhouse), a Chromebook could be the ideal choice for someone looking for a simple, fast, and cheaper machine, for standard PC tasks.
There are, of course, plenty of options out there. Too many, in fact. Narrowing down the best ones can be a tricky process, so we’ve decided to do the legwork for you. Below, you’ll find a range of the best Chromebooks across various budgets from different brands, and we’re sure one of them will fit the bill perfectly for your needs.
If you’re looking for something a little more powerful? Check out Stuff’s guide to the best premium laptop.
What’s the best Chromebook?
Before we jump into the full list of the best Chromebooks, here’s a quick peek at our three top picks:
- Best budget Chromebook: Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (buy now)
The Acer Chromebook Spin 311 is the second-cheapest pick on our list, blending portability, affordability, and just enough power to suit casual users’ needs. And all without blowing a mighty hole in your bank account.
- Best Chromebook for purists: Google Pixelbook Go (buy now)
If you’re a Google fan an want the Apple-like experience of owning a machine where the hardware and software has been designed by the same company, then Google’s own Pixelbook Go is the best choice. Its superb keyboard and battery life don’t hurt either.
- Best premium Chromebook: Asus CX9 (buy now)
The Asus CX9 is pricey, but can match even high-end Windows laptops for raw specs and power. With a Full HD touchscreen, Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, it’s up there with the most powerful Chromebooks ever made.
The best Chromebooks you can buy today:
1. Google Pixelbook Go
Google’s own Pixelbook Go is the choice for purists who want a machine/hardware combo designed by the Chromebook mothership itself. With a premium build and a superbly comfortable, satisfying keyboard, there’s plenty to love about Google’s own offering.
Its 13.3in screen means it’s an easily portable machine, while an Intel Core i5 processor — despite being an older 8th Gen version — paired with 8GB of RAM, makes for a speedy experience. Forged from lightweight magnesium and barely weighing 1kg, you’ll hardly feel it in your bag, and it’ll last up to 12 hours per charge too, with a 20-minute fast charge providing up to two hours of use in a pinch. Just keep in mind you’re paying a premium in a class of laptop best known for budget models.
2. Acer Chromebook Spin 311
Acer’s Chromebook Spin 311 is one of the cheapest laptops out there, making it an ideal choice for those on a very tight budget. While obviously not the most spec-rammed machine on our list (it’s got a MediaTek 8183 processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage), it’s hard to argue with its tempting price tag.
If your needs are basic (read: word processing, simple apps, browsing and emailing), then this little 11.6in machine could be the perfect wallet-friendly solution. It’s unlikely to handle the latest AAA Android games, mind, but if you know what you’re after, it’s definitely in the running for bargain of the year.
3. Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5
Lenovo’s 2-in-1 option is a superb mid-range Chromebook with a detachable keyboard for converting it to a tablet in an instant. A compact 13.3in screen still offers plenty of room for touchscreen shenanigans, and its Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 processor and 8GB of RAM combo should comfortably handle any task you throw at it.
While it might not have quite the same raw punch as, say, an Intel-powered Chromebook, its power-sipping chip makes for an incredibly impressive battery life, with up to 15 hours of use available per charge.
4. Acer Chromebook 314
Acer’s Chromebook 314 is even cheaper than the company’s own Spin 311, and you’re unlikely to find another laptop from a known manufacturer cheaper than this without scouring auction sites. Naturally, it’s got the power of a sewing machine engine compared to the V8-like alternatives of more expensive Chromebooks on this list. But if you’re really after the most basic of tasks like emailing and browsing, its lightweight processor, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage should be enough — especially as you can rely on the cloud for most of your needs.
5. Asus Chromebook CX9
Simply put, the CX9 is one of the most powerful Chromebooks out there, and its specs match that of a high-end Windows PC, hence its lofty price tag. With an 11th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD drive for speedy storage, it’ll give even “proper” laptops a run for their money.
If you want one of the top Chromebooks out there then feel free to drop the cash on this no-compromise, touchscreen experience. Just bear in mind that you could get a similarly-specced Windows machine for around the same price, with all the Windows apps and features thrown in for good measure. If your heart’s set on Chrome OS though, you’re in for a treat.
6. Asus Flip CX3
With an Intel Core i3 processor, the CX3 is at the more powerful end of the convertible Chromebook spectrum. With a 14in screen that can flip around on itself for a tablet-like experience, it’s also got the advantage of being stylus-compatible (Asus Pen support), which is good news for doodlers, notetakers, and digital artists.
Its 10-hour battery life isn’t the best on this list, but if you’re set on a tablet-like Chromebook experience, then it’s definitely worth a look.
7. HP Chromebook X2
The HP X2 is similar to Lenovo’s Duet 5, powered by the Same Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. It’s also got a detachable keyboard and built-in stand for transforming tricks. Where it sets itself apart though, is its screen.
It’s an 11in, pixel-packed Quad HD (2160 x 1440p) display, making it one of the sharpest Chromebook experiences around. From reading text to waching Netflix, it’s a superb pick for ravenous content consumers. With dual Bang & Olufsen speakers and a respectable 11 hours of battery life, it’s got plenty of other positives going for it too.
8. Acer Chromebook Spin 713
The Spin 713 is at the higher end of transforming Chromebooks, with a 13.5in Quad HD display that’s able to flip around for touchscreen tricks. With an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, it’s far from a slouch in the specs department either.
Its display is compatible with certain styluses for creatives looking to get their digital juices flowing, while a built-in HDMI port, USB-Type C port and Thunderbolt 4 place it up there with some of the more premium specced-out rivals on this list.
Now, if you prefer Windows, you can read our guide to the best cheap laptops.