The best MacBook 2022: the best Apple laptop for you

The best MacBooks available, from Air to Pro, M1 and M2 options, ranked in order

MacBook Pro 2021 14 inch and 16 inch models side by side
(Image credit: Future)

If you're on the hunt for the best MacBook, you're in the right place. There are quite a few models to pick from though, so we've done some detailed research and testing to bring you our own list of the best Apple laptops on the market right now. No matter your needs or budget, you'll be able to find the best MacBook for you right here.

All of the below MacBooks can be customised and configured to better suit your budget and the sort of power you're looking for – that's something to remember when you're shopping, that the spec you see listed doesn't have to be the final one that you order. 

For those thinking about school, college or university, check out our best MacBook for students (opens in new tab) guide. We've also got carefully curated guides to the best laptop (opens in new tab) overall, should you not be 100 per cent fixed to Apple and macOS just yet.

If you're looking to save money on your MacBook purchase, it's also worth checking out the best Black Friday deals, as T3 will be bringing you the very best offers as they land. 

The best MacBook for most people is the MacBook Air (M2, 2022). The hero MacBook for 2022, this silent operator (there's no fan) delivers M2 power in a stunning design that's slimmer and lighter than the rest. 

The best affordable MacBook is the MacBook Air (M1, 2020). It's got the older design language, but is still highly capable, and will cost you a good chunk of cash less than anything else in Apple's stable. 

The best premium MacBook is the MacBook Pro (14-inch, 2021). Highly configurable with Apple's top-tier M1 Pro/Mac options, this is the MacBook with higher power, a better screen, and the all-new design language. 

The best MacBooks you can buy today in 2022: The top 3

Why you can trust T3 Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Apple MacBook Air M2 2022 reviewT3 Best Buy badge

(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)
The best MacBook for most people

Specifications

Screen size: 13.6 inches, 2560 x 1664 pixels
Processor: Up to M2 10-core
RAM: 8GB / 16GB / 24GB
Storage: 256GB / 512GB / 1TB / 2TB
Colours: Space Grey, Silver, Starlight, Midnight

Reasons to buy

+
New M2 silicon is great (and silent)
+
Amazingly thin and light
+
New Midnight colour

Reasons to avoid

-
Costs more than the M1
-
Doesn't have the Pro battery life
-
Some heat and throttling in this design

The second MacBook to bring Apple's M2 silicon to the fore, except in a fanless design for silent operation. There's also all-new looks and a 13.6-inch form-factor, making this the best Apple laptop for most people.

As said in T3's full MacBook Air M2 review: "the all-new Air with M2 silicon is a revelation: redesigned, reinvigorated, revolutionary. It's super powerful, has excellent battery life, and aside from some heat due to no fan cooling and the inclusion of a notch on that new screen, it's a laptop that's hard to fault."

We're pleased to see that the webcam has been given an upgrade to 1080p, which is important to more people than you might think, while macOS absolutely flies along on this Mac. If you don't do much beyond everyday computing tasks, we'd wholeheartedly recommend it, but even if you do it's capable at 4K video editing tasks without bother.

The M2 MacBook Air is cheaper than the larger 14- and 16-inch Pro models, plus you do miss out on some features: there's no HDMI slot and no SDXC card reader, for example, while throttling means you'll get more pro use from those 2021 models. However, most aren't going to need that, so we think the Air M2 is the ideal balance, if you're ok with its new higher asking price. 

MacBook Air M1 2020 reviewT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Future)
The best affordable MacBook

Specifications

Screen: 13.3 inches (2560 x 1600 pixels)
Processor: M1
RAM: Up to 16GB
Internal storage: Up to 2TB
Colours: Space Grey, Silver, Gold

Reasons to buy

+
Compact and lightweight
+
The most affordable MacBook

Reasons to avoid

-
Uses the older M1 chip

There isn't really a budget MacBook, per se, but the 2020 MacBook Air is now the only Mac laptop you can buy for under the four-figure mark. That'll be really important for a number of people who can't fork out the extra. You may be able to find one for even less refurbished if you're lucky. 

Either way, the 2020 MacBook Air may feature the older design, but it's still perfectly capable thanks to the decent M1 processor under its hood, and while the webcam is only 720p (annoying) there's no notch on the screen to get in the way (preferable). 

The MacBook Air is certainly no slouch even on two-year-old hardware, able to cope with the majority of day-to-day computing tasks with ease, as we cite in our MacBook Air M1 2020 review. It really is an impressive bit of kit from Apple.

MacBook Pro 2021T3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Future)
The best premium MacBook experience

Specifications

Screen: 14.2 inches (3024 x 1964 pixels)
Processor: M1 Pro or M1 Max
RAM: Up to 64GB
Internal storage: Up to 8TB
Colours: Space Grey, Silver

Reasons to buy

+
Packed with performance
+
Reasonably compact and light

Reasons to avoid

-
It's going to cost you a packet

As you'll know from reviews including T3's 14-inch MacBook Pro review, the M1 Pro and M1 Max chipsets available in the 2021-release 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models are hugely impressive in terms of both performance and battery life (even more so than 2022's M2, actually). It's this power that makes the 14-inch MacBook Pro the best premium option, ideal for those looking for extra performance credentials. 

There have been aesthetic changes as well as the under-the-hood improvements compared to the older MacBook Pro models: the Touch Bar has gone (it lives on in the 13-inch 2022 Pro model though), the display has got a notch (just like the MacBook Air M2 above), and it's hard not to fall in love with this iconic, well-sculpted design.

We think the 14-inch model just slightly edges out the 16-inch model in terms of the balance between power and portability – it's a little lighter and a little smaller if you need something that you can carry around. The starting price is also significantly lower on the smaller model, which might be another reason for going for the 14-inch edition.

For even more information on this top-rated MacBook Pro be sure to check out T3's should I buy the Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch feature.

Best MacBooks you can buy 2022: The best of the rest

MacBook Pro M2 2022 reviewT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)
The most compact Pro MacBook

Specifications

Screen: 13.3 inches (2560 x 1600 pixels)
Processor: M2
RAM: Up to 16GB
Internal storage: Up to 2TB
Colours: Space Grey, Silver

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to carry around
+
Impressive speeds 
+
Has a fan for cooling (unlike M2 Air)

Reasons to avoid

-
Starting to show its age
-
Touch Bar still present
-
Older design

The 2022 13-inch MacBook Pro was the one to introduce Apple's M2 silicon, which seemed like a bit of a strange choice. So although it reads a lot like the 13-inch MacBook Air on paper, thanks to the cooling fan installed inside, it can push this M2 chip harder for longer. It's also slightly heavier than the MacBook Air, a little more expensive, and with slightly better battery life. Plus, it's still got the Touch Bar that's been cut from the other MacBooks.

Taking all of that into consideration, this is perhaps the MacBook to get if you want the best performance in the smallest possible form factor (or are a Touch Bar lover). While it's a little on the dated side in visual terms, it can still hold its own with the best laptops in the business when it comes to demanding tasks like video editing – see our M2 Pro MacBook Pro review for more details.

The screen might be smaller than the other Pro models but it's still a fantastic display (without a notch!), and of course that smaller screen makes it easier to carry around. Like the MacBook Air, you get just two Thunderbolt 4 / USB 4 connections on the side with the now ubiquitous USB-C shape – so to connect up lots of peripherals you'll need to invest in a dock or hub as well.

MacBook Pro 14-inch 2021T3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Future)
The best premium MacBook

Specifications

Screen: 16.2 inches (3456 x 2234 pixels)
Processor: M1 Pro or M1 Max
RAM: Up to 64GB
Internal storage: Up to 8TB
Colours: Space Grey, Silver

Reasons to buy

+
The highest levels of power
+
Looks and feels superb

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the most compact option

For some people this final entry on our list will actually make sense turned on its head as the number one option. But then it's also the most expensive, given it's the biggest and most powerful MacBook going. 

If you really want to go all-out on a MacBook Pro then the 16-inch top-spec model fits the bill: as you can tell from our 16-inch MacBook Pro review, it's a stunner in terms of both its looks and its performance, though bear in mind that this larger version is not as easy to carry around as the 14-inch edition. 

The price rises steeply as you start to configure the 16-inch model – it maxes out at 64GB of RAM and a huge 8TB of internal storage. Despite all of this power, the laptop stays impressively quiet and cool even when faced with more demanding tasks, while battery life is still decent too. 

The 16.2-inch, 3456 x 2234 pixel resolution screen is absolutely gorgeous from any angle too – and, like the 14-inch model, the brightest you'll find in the MacBook line-up. External monitors and other peripherals can be connected through one of the three Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports. There's also HDMI out, an SDXC card slot, and a 1080p webcam to ensure all your comms and connectivity are on point. 

To get more information on this top-rated MacBook be sure to read T3's should I buy the 16-inch MacBook Pro feature.

Mike Lowe
Tech Editor

Mike has been writing about consumer technology for 15 years and is T3's Tech Editor. As a phones expert he's seen hundreds of handsets over the years – swathes of Android devices, a smattering of iPhones, and a batch of Windows Phone products (remember those?). But that's not all, as a tech aficionado his beat for T3 also covers tablets, laptops, gaming, home cinema, TVs, speakers and more – there's barely a stone unturned that he's not had a hand on. Previously the Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint for a full decade, he's also provided work for publications such as Wired, The Guardian, Metro, and more. In addition to his tech knowledge, Mike is also a flights and travel expert, having travelled the globe extensively. You'll likely find him setting up a new mobile phone, critiquing the next MacBook, all while planning his next getaway... or cycling somewhere.

With contributions from