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Best cheap laptops 2020: 10 options under $300

Best cheap laptops 2020: 10 options under $300

With today’s tech standards, even the cheapest laptops can bring enough to the table to be worthwhile — all you need to do is pick the right one for you.

Best overall

Samsung Chromebook 4

Fast speeds and 12.5 hours of battery life, plus the double last model’s storage make this our favorite laptop for under $300.

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A new laptop is always a big investment, one that you’ll likely need to make every few years to keep up with the ever-changing technology world. You might even put it off after an initial browse when you start to see how pricey a new laptop can get, and the sheer volume of how many options are out there. 

But you don’t always need to break the bank to get a suitable laptop. You’ll still have a huge range of products to choose from if you’re only looking to spend a few hundred bucks. And if you just need another device to check email on, browse YouTube, or pull up recipes, maybe a budget laptop is all you need.

Cheaper laptops may not have all the features of top-of-the-line computers, but you can still get reliability and the basic features that you’ll be using every day. 

Each individual will find different specs to be their priority. Depending on what kinds of tasks you’re hoping to accomplish with your new laptop, maybe a larger screen display is what you’re looking for. Perhaps if you’re the kind of worker who enjoys taking your laptop to the corner cafe, battery life is super important. Maybe you’re looking for a place to store all your photos and documents, in which case, more storage space is what you’ll have in mind. A commuter may value a lighter laptop over a heavier machine, for ease of transport. It’s all up to the individual, and just because you’re looking at a lower price point doesn’t mean you don’t have all of these options available.

What size laptop should you get?

This really comes down to two things: Personal preference and lifestyle. Personal preference is self-explanatory, really — do you like having a huge display, or do you prefer something more compact? Lifestyle is where practicality comes into play. If you’re traveling often and usually have your computer in some way, you’re going to want to go with something more light and compact (thin, 11-inch models will most likely be the best). But, if you’re a huge movie buff who doesn’t normally take their laptop on the road with them, spring for a 15-inch (and higher) screen with a bulky construction so you can have epic sessions. If you’re getting a laptop, you should probably “go big or go home,” as well.  

What am I losing by getting a cheap laptop?

Laptops in the $300-or-below price range are not going to be good . You won’t get a 4K resolution display or a refresh rate higher than 60Hz. RAM is going to max out around 8GB, which isn’t bad but also isn’t spectacular. You’re also unlikely to get more than 500GB of storage space.

In this price range, laptops are going to be best for web browsing, word processing, Zoom calls, and streaming. As long as you don’t expect more than that, you’ll be fine.

But are cheap laptops worth it?

You know the old saying: You get what you pay for. But thanks to the technology boom of the last few decades, a cheap laptop can actually take you pretty far and won’t break down immediately. It’s all about knowing which one to select.

Rather than just making a few purchase suggestions and sending you on your way, we’re going to equip you with some knowledge that’ll help you be a more informed laptop shopper. You know all that computer jargon of processor-this and gigahertz-that — we’ll explain it all in terms that anyone can understand.

Whether you’re looking for a machine for school, work, or fun, you can find a laptop that can handle the basics for less than $300. It may sound impossible in today’s world, and that’s why we’ve listed our favorites for you below.  


32GB storage • Reliable webcam • Excellent battery life

No touchscreen • Performance cannot handle too much at once • Chunky bezels

Fast speeds and 12.5 hours of battery life, plus the double last model’s storage make this our favorite laptop for under $300.

Samsung Chromebook 4

Fast speeds and 12.5 hours of battery life, plus the double last model’s storage make this our favorite laptop for under $300.

  • Processor:
    Intel Celeron N4000
  • RAM:
    4GB
  • Storage:
    32GB flash storage
  • Display:
    11.6 inch HD LED
  • Weight:
    2.6 pounds
Chromebooks are the go-to for affordable laptops, and the Samsung Chromebook 4 only improves on earlier models. This simple, reliable notebook will do the trick for work, school, or basic daily use.
The Intel Celeron N4000 along with 4GB of RAM provides reliable performance, and, at 32GB of storage, this model offers double the storage of the Chromebook 3, which itself was a well-loved affordable option. 
The Chromebook 4 has a slightly more modern design than the 3, and it charges via USB-C, which also serves to transfer data at speeds up to 5Gb/s and can connect to a 4K monitor. It includes a USB-A port as well.

Impressive display • 13 hours of battery life • Lightweight

Chunky bezels • No audio jack • Small display

This is a great intermediate between tablet and laptop for those who want the best of both worlds.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet

This is a great intermediate between tablet and laptop for those who want the best of both worlds.

  • Processor:
    MediaTek Helio P60T
  • RAM:
    4GB
  • Storage:
    64GB eMMC
  • Display:
    10.1 inches
  • Weight:
    2 pounds
With a colorful display, robust storage, and 13 hours of battery life, the Duet is our favorite Chromebook. It’s small and lightweight, yet powerful and reliable enough to handle heavy browsing.
This is a great choice for tablet fans who want something even lighter and more versatile — the keyboard will allow you to treat this as a laptop whenever you please. 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM are packed inside this two-pound machine, too.
While this has only one USB-C port, and is missing an audio jack, you’ll be able to connect to just about any accessory via Bluetooth. 

Lightweight • Good performance • Low price

Bad webcam • Low-res display • No USB-C port

Budget-conscious shoppers will love the bang they’ll get for their buck with this laptop.

HP Stream Pro 11

Budget-conscious shoppers will love the bang they’ll get for their buck with this laptop.

  • Processor:
    Intel Celeron N4000
  • RAM:
    4GB
  • Storage:
    64GB eMMC flash storage
  • Display:
    11.6 inches
  • Weight:
    2.37 pounds
The HP Stream Pro 11 is the best deal on our list. It may not be the latest product on the market, but it’s one of the best available for the price. 
At under 2.5 pounds and 11.6 inches, this laptop is highly portable, making it a great option for someone who travels often or has a daily commute. It sports a long battery life (13 hours and 15 minutes, the best we’ve found in our research) and pretty strong performance for the price point.
A microSD card reader, one USB 2.0 port, one USB 3.1 port, an HDMI port, and a headphone jack are included, but unfortunately there is no USB-C port.

Largest display for under $300 • Good performance

Slightly heavier than other models • Display is otherwise unimpressive

This is the largest screen you’ll find on a laptop under $300.

Acer Aspire 1

This is the largest screen you’ll find on a laptop that costs less than $300.

  • Processor:
    Intel Celeron N4020
  • RAM:
    4GB
  • Storage:
    64GB eMMC
  • Display:
    15.6 inches
  • Weight:
    4.19 pounds
If a bigger screen is important to your work life or personal browsing, the Acer Aspire 1 has the biggest display for its price point, at 15.6 inches. 
It’s a basic laptop, great for your home office or for the kids’ schoolwork. It’s typical of what you’d see for a laptop that’s less than $300, with 4GB RAM, 64GB of eMMC storage, but it is a bit heavier than other models (4.19 pounds). 
Wireless performance is good, and this laptop runs Windows 10. A comfortable keyboard and an attractive design sweeten the deal. The laptop includes two USB-A ports, a headphone jack, an HDMI port, and an Ethernet port.

Awesome display • Large storage capacity

Shorter battery life than other models • Runs warm

This is a great budget laptop for those who do video editing or any kind of visual work.

Chuwi HeroBook Pro

This is a great budget laptop for those who do video editing or any kind of visual work.

  • Processor:
    Intel Gemini Lake N4000
  • RAM:
    8GB
  • Storage:
    256GB SSD
  • Display:
    14.1 inches
  • Weight:
    3.06 pounds
If visual work or video editing is part of your daily life, this is the laptop for you. With a vibrant, 14.1-inch display and 256GB of SSD storage, the Chuwi HeroBook Pro seems like anything but a budget laptop. 
The laptop is lightweight at just over three pounds, and slim at 0.8 inches. The design is sleek and modern, lending the appearance of a much more expensive notebook. 
The display has anti-glare properties and unbeatable viewing angles for the price. While it’s not the biggest display we have on this list, it is one of the best (behind the Acer Aspire 1). 
Otherwise, performance and speed are great with this machine. Battery life isn’t the longest, however, as it lasts about nine hours. 

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