The best laptops under $500 in this guide are pretty impressive and give you great value for money! Sure, you don't always get absolutely everything you're after - and if it's some hardcore gaming you will be doing then perhaps you'll need to invest a little bit more, but for those who are using a laptop for study, work or every day browsing, there are plenty of laptops under $500 that have everything you need.
We've got options from the very best brands including Asus, Acer, Lenovo, HP and more, and we've broken down the pros and cons of each to help you make the right investment.
While some come in at the higher end of the under $500 price point, there are plenty that are also well below $500 that are great for those who are on a tight budget but don't want to compromise on quality.
Check out our full round-up below to find one that's right for you.
The best laptops under $500 for 2023
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The best cheap laptop for most people, right now, is the stunning Asus VivoBook 15. Not only does this laptop come with a capacious display that, thanks to tiny bezels, seems far bigger than it actually is, but backs up those looks with a strong all-round hardware and software showing. You get a full-fat version of Windows 10, of course, and that is powered by a combination of Intel Core i3 CPU, Intel UHD 620 GPU, 4GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD NVMe. Oh, and for those who find themselves taking more video calls and meetings than before, the VivoBook 15 also delivers an integrated webcam.
Solid battery life, a decent selection of ports, and an included 1-year warranty complete the package. For the money, this is a great system, and in T3's eyes one of the very best laptops under $500 on the market today. See how it compares to our number 2 pick in our Asus Vivobook 15 vs Acer Aspire 5 head-to-head.
There's plenty of reasons why the Acer Aspire 5 sits so high in our best laptop under $500 buying guide, and its affordable cost is just the first. It also delivers a really strong and capable all-round specification, including an AMD Ryzen 5 4500U, Intel UHD 620 GPU, 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. This is combined to deliver zippy performance in all light and medium computing tasks, and when combined with the Aspire 5's 15.6-inch, 1080p IPS LCD screen, delivers plenty in terms of entertainment and gaming clout, too.
Battery life tops out at a respectable 10 hours, too, and it has a strong selection of ports as well, meaning you can hook it up to a larger monitor or TV. You also get an integrated HD webcam, which is perfect for video meetings. Overall, the Acer Aspire 5 is a really strong all-round laptop that delivers great value.
If you are looking for a cheap laptop for light computing experiences and don't need a large screen, then the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is a great choice. It's compact 11.6-inch screen makes it incredibly bag-friendly, as it's one of the best lightweight laptops around too, weighing only 1.12 kilograms.
This system is a Chromebook, meaning that it runs Google's online-focussed operating system, which is designed to be used while online. Google's G-Suite of services like Google Calendar, Google Docs and GMAIL are perfect partners. Despite its budget spec, this OS means that it runs very fast and with built-in HD Audio and a crisp 11.6-inch screen, it still offers plenty when it comes round to web-browsing, video streaming and basic image editing. Overall, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is a basic system for lightweight computing needs, but that's precisely what many people need. After all, what's the point in spending £700 on a system when you're not going to use its full power?
Microsoft’s Surface laptops are consistently excellent, and the Microsoft Surface Go 2 is one of the best 2-in-1 laptops right now, as well as being an excellent laptop under $500 in general. It takes everything that was good about the original – its sleek design, its excellent build quality, its go-anywhere do-anything versatility – and makes it even better.
The screen is bigger and has a higher resolution than before, and the specification has been improved for better performance. The bigger screen doesn’t mean a bigger device, though: the bezels around the display are smaller so Microsoft has been able to make the screen bigger without also making the Surface Go bigger. As with its predecessor, it looks and feels like a much more expensive machine.
With a very respectable five hours of active use between charges it’s good for on-the-go computing, but remember that the sticker price doesn’t include the Type Cover keyboard, which you'll need if you’re going to be doing a lot of typing (at time of writing, that’ll set you back just under $100).
To see how this system compares to our number one choice of best laptop under $500, be sure to check out T3's Asus Vivobook 15 vs Microsoft Surface Go 2 comparison feature.
Often spending so little on a laptop means you’re restricted to clunkier computers with thick bezels, that’s not the case here. The Acer Swift 1 only weighs 1.3kg and it’s super slim, making this a super-portable PC that you can take with you anywhere whether that’s to uni, the library or to a cafe.
Considering how cheap it is, you get a lot for your money including a decent 14-inch Full HD screen, long-lasting battery life and there’s even a fingerprint scanner to keep it secure.
You do lose out somewhat on performance because the internal hardware is basic, but for light everyday tasks that won’t matter. Just don’t expect to use this for hardcore gaming or intricate video editing.
Simply one of the best Chromebooks we've ever laid eyes on (look at that display, for instance), the Asus C433 will get you around the web and run Android apps with aplomb. You don't need to worry about being disappointed if you pick this as the best cheap laptop for you.
Chrome OS is the same here as it is on any other Chromebook, and it's getting better all the time, as are the web apps that run in your browser. Now that Android apps are supported as well, you can run the mobile versions of programs like Spotify and Microsoft Word as well. With a big, bright 14-inch screen and enough power to do everything you need to do, the Asus C433 is a fine choice. The display can flip over into tent and tablet modes as well, making this laptop even more appealing.
If you really don't want to spend much money at all but do want to land a stylish, lightweight laptop under $500, then you should definitely consider the HP Stream 14, which retails for a bargain price point. You get a solid all-round spec for your money, with an AMD 2.3GHz CPU, 4GB of RAM, 64GB eMMC storage, and 14-inch 1920 x 1080 resolution screen partnered with a Windows 10 S operating system. The HP Stream 14 also comes with a 1-year subscription to Office 365 and a 1TB OneDrive account, too, so you're set for office and study. The system also features a built-in webcam, meaning video meetings and calls are sorted, as well as MicroSD card reader.
If you like the sound of 2-in-1 laptop functionality and have under $500 to spend on a laptop then the Asus VivoBook Flip is a great choice.
You get solid core specs, which include an Intel Pentium Silver N5030 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD for storage, as well as a full-fat version of Windows 10 Home and one year free of Microsoft Office 365, too.
The reason you'll opt for this laptop, though, is its 14-inch rotating screen with 360-degree metal hinge, which can flip all the way over to provide a slate experience. This means this system can act as both a laptop and a Windows tablet.
The fact that the display is a touchscreen also means you can use a digital stylus on it, which will be great for illustrators. Importantly, the Flip does not come with a stylus, though, which is disappointing but understandable at this price.
Throw in a good battery, thin design and in-built webcam, and you've got a strong all-round package – but one with a 360-degree rotating party piece.
With the sort of discounts that we're currently seeing across the web, the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is available for just about around $500, and you get plenty of decent specs and a fine design style and build quality in return for your cash. We don't think anyone is going to be disappointed if they purchase this.
With an Intel processor, plus plenty of RAM and storage, this is one of the best Chromebooks on the market at the moment in our eyes. It also comes from a brand name you can trust – you know that this is a laptop that will still be going strong several years down the line (especially with Chrome OS on board).
If you any more reasons to pick this as your next laptop, the Acer Chromebook 713 offers a good selection of ports for your computer peripherals, and decent battery life as well – you can expect to get a full working day away from a power socket. This is worth noting, and it's something Chromebooks are known for more generally.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14-inch laptop delivers a slim and lightweight laptop (1.5kg) that comes with a flexible, rotatable, Full HD touchscreen display. This means this laptop can offer both a laptop and tablet mode, which is good in terms of value for money. It also comes with Dolby Atmos audio, too, which means that it is good for those users who like to stream movies, TV shows and music from their laptop.
It's powered by an AMD Ryzen CPU and comes with a perfectly acceptable 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD storage drive. The system does, though, come installed with a copy of Windows 10 S as an operating system, which is a stripped down version of the full OS. It's something to consider as, if you do want a full-fat version of Windows 10, then you'll have to install it yourself.
For casual and more lightweight computing, though, the Flex 5 is a good fit, and crucially it rings in for under $500. It's one of those cases where you don't have to make too many compromises to save yourself some serious cash.
How to buy the best laptop under $500 for you
Buying a new laptop can be a daunting task – even more so when you're trying to shop under a specific price limit, as we are here. A lower price range often means less powerful components, but it doesn't mean you have to settle for a cheap, throwaway product.
With very decent components continuing to drop in price, affordable laptops are boasting far more powerful specs, so your money goes further. It's not going to be a portable gaming beast or a media powerhouse, but you'll have enough grunt under the hood for surfing, editing documents and video streaming.
Apple MacBooks are out of the question at this sort of price, but fortunately, Windows 10 has evolved to run very well indeed on less high-end hardware. We've also included a couple of our favorite Chromebooks in the list (just remember Chrome OS requires everything to be done on the web).
Down at this end of the market, prices fluctuate regularly, and retailers will often throw in special deals to tempt buyers, so don't be surprised if some of these prices go up and down – spend some time comparing prices to figure out who's offering the best cheap laptop for you.
Bear in mind that you're not going to be getting the most powerful or the most feature-rich of laptops, but we think you'll be pleasantly surprised at what you can bag at an affordable price point.
From vibrant displays to surprisingly robust CPUs, our list of the best laptops under $500 has plenty of choices to offer buyers with less money to spend. Design and build continue to get better and better as well.
So as you browse around the various deals and offers that retailers have made available, take a look at some of our helpful tips and advice on buying a new laptop, then dive straight into our very best picks. Enjoy browsing!
What is the best laptop under $500 right now?
Right now, our choice for the best laptop under $500 is the excellent Asus VivoBook 15, but that might not be the best cheap laptop for everyone. For that reason, we've covered a range of options in this guide to suit every kind of person and every type of environment.
Whether you’re looking for a laptop to help you work efficiently from home, or just to use to tune in to a Zoom chat, there’s a laptop under $500 for you. (Note: Chromebooks are often very low priced, and it's worth heading to our best Chromebooks guide if you think that might be a good option for you.)
All of these machines offer great value for money and will cope comfortably with web browsing, Office applications, Zoom calls and online shopping. If you need your PC to do some seriously heavy lifting – such as playing the most demanding games at their maximum settings or making your own animated movies – head to our general best laptops and best gaming laptops guide instead.
Dell is one of the biggest laptop makers in the world and has a suite of systems that retail at affordable price points. Be sure to scope them out in our best Dell laptops if you like the brand.