Note: Our comparison table only shows our top 5 picks. You can find the other recommendations within this article.
Technology has not only gotten better but also cheaper. And when it comes to laptops, they have indeed improvised a lot in the last couple of years. Anyways buying a budget laptop can be a lot like gambling.
If you’re lucky, you might find a decent machine that’ll be able to run your applications, or you might get something that is slower than a snail. This is where we can help, and here we have listed 10 of the best budget laptops under $250.
We have tested each one of these notebooks in our lab, and they are totally worth the money. These budget laptops will be able to run programs like Google Chrome, MS Office, VLC player, Mozilla Firefox, etc.
You will also find some netbooks and Chromebooks under $250, and in case you don’t want one of those then there are some ordinary laptops available as well.
What To Expect From A $250 Laptop?
The first and most important thing in any laptop is performance. Even a $250 laptop should be able to handle simple programs like Google Chrome and MS Office.
Next thing is its build quality and battery life, both of them are important since you won’t be able to use a cheap plastic quality laptop for long and if we talk about its battery life, you should expect at least 5 hours of backup.
Also, note that you won’t get a workhorse, but it should be able to handle basic tasks pretty smoothly. In case your budget is even lesser then feel free to check out our guide of best laptops under $200 and $100. If you are expecting a brand new machine for such price, then you will have to settle with a Chromebook from Samsung or Acer.
Our Top Picks For Best Laptops Under $250
1. HP EliteBook 8470p Laptop Refurbished
Our best laptop under $250 originally sold for over a thousand bucks just five years ago. This refurbished version of the HP EliteBook 8470p has been a popular choice with many customers due to its 2.60GHz Intel Core i5 processor and a generous 8GB of RAM.
This would be a great sub $250 laptop for your core business users, essentially being one of the top-selling business/home laptops of yesteryear.
The refurbished EliteBook features the usual durable and rugged design of HP but can appear rather bulky to some users. And at nearly five pounds it's considerably heavier than other sub $250 laptops or Chromebooks.
A good quality backlit keyboard and trackpad make it more suitable for longer typing sessions. A 14-inch screen doesn’t offer full HD but it does use B&O dual speakers for a more immersive sound. The large 320GB HDD provides ample space to store your movie collection.
If you are looking for the most powerful laptop under $250, you will be hard pushed to beat the refurbished HP EliteBook 8470p. Bear in mind, however, the extra bulk and weight may make this more suitable as a desktop replacement rather than something to sit on your lap.
2. HP Lightweight Stream Pro 11.6
If you have been searching for a small, lightweight and wallet-friendly laptop, the HP Stream Pro 11.6 comes in at just over the $250 mark, with an 11.6-inch screen and a chassis that weighs only 2.58 pounds.
The HP Stream Pro has a solid keyboard with large trackpad, a bright anti-glare HD SVA WLED display and a decent six hours of battery life. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come in the choice of vivid colors of its predecessor, the HP Stream, instead just offering professional black.
This lightweight computer comes with a limited internal storage of only 64GB. More than enough for the OS, some apps and your data, just don’t expect to store your media collection on it. On the bright side, the faster solid state storage makes the Stream very nimble in operation.
An array of connections, including both USB 3 and USB 2, and a multi-format media reader (Micro SD, SDHC, SDXC) make it easy to connect more storage. In addition, the Stream Pro features a headphone/microphone combo jack, an HD webcam and the latest 802.11ac WiFi technology and Bluetooth 4.2 for extra connectivity.
If you can live with the limited internal storage, the HP Lightweight Stream Pro offers one of the quickest Windows 10 Pro laptops at this price range and in an ultra-portable package too.
3. ASUS Flip 2-in-1
The ASUS Flip 2-in-1 is a Chromebook with a 360-degree hinged lid. ASUS announced this computer as “the world’s first 10-inch convertible Chromebook”.
Despite offering eight hours of battery life and a decent 10.1-inch IPS HD screen, the extra hinged lid actually adds to the weight of this machine—and the cost too. At two pounds it’s lighter than your average laptop but nearly twice the weight of a 9.7-inch iPad Pro.
Chromebooks are normally much cheaper than laptops, but the dual-function nature of this machine puts it in a similar price range to many budget laptops.
Performance-wise, it works better as a traditional Chromebook with a pleasingly tactile keyboard which stretches almost to the very edges of the case.
Even people with larger hands won’t struggle to type on this keyboard, although the trackpad is rather small, understandable given the smaller form factor of the ASUS.
Using the Chrome operating system, this notebook/tablet combo is well suited to more lightweight tasks, with much of the work performed in the web browser.
The HD IPS is ideal for quickly flipping over the lid and streaming a movie when you have finished your work projects. Although the touchscreen can be unresponsive if you wanted to use for typing or browsing the web.
All in all, the ASUS Flip 2-in-1 is a pretty decent device for lighter users who want the added versatility of a tablet too.
If you haven’t used Google’s online services yet, things like Google Docs, Google Drive and web-based photo software are more than capable and they can also be used offline when you have no internet connection.
4. HP STREAM LAPTOP
When it comes to the best laptop under $250, we can never forget the HP Stream laptop since it’s not only an affordable option but is also currently one of the best looking laptops we've seen in this price range.
With 11-inch of anti-glare display and Intel Celeron N3050 processor, it’s a decent option for many who are looking for a portable yet budget laptop. It’s highly recommended to users that need a laptop for basic tasks like MS Office, VLC Player, Winamp, Google Chrome, etc.
If we talk about its exterior, it’s wrapped in a violet color round shape body with beautiful finishing and high-quality plastic. Its insides include 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB SSD, and battery with almost 11 hours of backup.
That being said, it comes with pre-installed Windows 10 Home and one year of free Office 365 subscription. While most of the laptops come with Windows 10 but not all of them offer free Office software. So overall, it’s a great deal for such price, and it’s a perfect combination of power and portability.
5. ASUS 14-INCH PREMIUM EEEBOOK LAPTOP
The ASUS EEEBOOK is a very light, sleek and compact laptop that comes with an Intel Celeron Dual Core processor and 4 GB DDR3 RAM. So if you are looking for a new slim, portable and stylish laptop for under $250, then this might just be the perfect choice for you.
For storage, it packs 32 GB SSD, and you will surely have to rely on cloud storing services for your big movies and games. Even though you can’t compare ASUS EEEBook with HP Stream laptop, both are great options for people on a tiny budget.
ASUS claimed that it could last up to 7 hours, but after testing its battery life thrice, we figured it could last for around 6 hours on medium settings.
As expected, it’s made of decent quality plastic, and honestly, you can’t ask for more. Overall, with its lightweight design, sleek body and proper specifications, it’s a good option for students as well as small business owners.
6. Toshiba CL45-C4330
The Toshiba Satellite CL15-B1300 is specially designed to be portable and powerful at the same time. It has been in the market for a while now but it isn’t much of a favorite laptop, and maybe that’s because of its 2 GB RAM which might be less for many users.
Its keyboard might not be all like you have expected, but that’s a very common issue in most of the portable laptops. This 11-inch laptop can handle plenty of applications like MS Office, Mozilla Firefox, Movie Maker, Skype, etc. but we recommend running a single app at a time to avoid heating issues.
Its Intel Celeron P4500 processor along with Mobile Intel HD GPU is good enough to handle most of the demanding tasks, but its 32 GB SSD might be an issue for most of the data lovers.
Anyways, thanks to free Cloud services offered these days; one can easily store their data on the cloud. Overall, it’s listed in many guides of best laptops under $250, and it’s a great budget-friendly option for small businesses and school students.
7. ACER TravelMate
Acer laptops are usually the best value machines on the market, and the Acer TravelMate is a renowned PC for users on the budget. Under the hood, it packs 4 GB of DDR3L SDRAM, Intel Celeron N3050 processor, and 32 GB of SSD storage.
Surprisingly, it features a display with 1366 x 768 resolution, and its glossy finishing plus narrow viewing angles make it one of the good laptops under $250. It’s also a good laptop for multitasking without any heating issues, and we highly recommend it to users that need a very portable laptop for essential apps.
Its hardware is highly geared towards the casual programs like browsing, word processing, watching videos and photo editing. As a bonus, this laptop ships with Windows 10 Pro. This will provide additional security and remote access features over Windows 10 Home editions.
It provides an amazing battery life of up to 12 hours. While being a budget laptop, its body is made of high-quality material. Overall, it’s a stylish budget laptop and provides good value at this price.
8. Asus Vivobook L203MA
The Asus VivoBook L203MA is yet another one of the best Asus laptops under $250 in our guide, and this one has some nice specifications for the price. It comes with relatively powerful hardware such as Intel Celeron N400 processor, Intel UHD Graphics 600, 4 GB DDR3 RAM, Windows 10 (S Mode) and a 64GB SSD.
However, these inexpensive laptops can be difficult to find since they sell out quickly. You'll want to act quickly when you find one.
Overall, it’s a lightweight (2.2 pounds) and nicely designed notebook. It has good battery life at 10 hours and can charge quickly. This 11.6-inch laptop is a great option for many and are also currently one of the best affordable notebooks. You can often find these for well under $250.
It comes in a black color, and with its matte finishing, it delivers the most premium and professional look. So overall, it has a LED HD display which makes it compelling to gamers and movie lovers who are looking for a new budget laptop. Just don't expect to run high-end games a machine with these specifications.
9. HP Stream Laptop PC 14-ax030nr
If you need a laptop that’s ready to use straight out of the box, with a suite of Office apps already installed, the HP Stream Laptop includes a one-year personal subscription to Office 365. At a cost of nearly $59.95 a year, that brings the cost of this laptop down to under 200 bucks.
For that price, assuming you use Office 365, you are getting a powerful notebook with a 14-inch HD backlit display and 4GB of RAM.
The 64GB of included flash storage is ultra-quick and adequate for most users’ needs. Much of your Office work is now stored in the Cloud anyhow, with 1TB of OneDrive storage included.
This 14-inch laptop comes in a small and lightweight design that is portable enough for you to carry anywhere with ease. With a battery life of about 10 hours, you won’t even need to take the power pack with you, ideal for those lectures at college.
The 64GB eMMC storage allows for Windows 10 to boot up in under 10 seconds and load applications much quicker than traditional mechanical drives.
The machine uses the Intel Celeron N3060 processor with 4GB of RAM, meaning it will cope with most of your basic tasks, including word processing, movie playback and photo collection viewing.
Overall, the HP Stream 14-ax030NR is a very portable and eye-catching computer which is suitable for entry-level users, although storage space could be an issue.
The inclusion of an Office subscription at this price makes the laptop an absolute steal.
10. ACER Aspire 1
Here comes one of the best Chromebooks under $250 from Acer. The Acer Apire 1 is an elegant and sleek device that might not be all powerful, but it surely is a solidly designed machine.
If you’re one of those people who love to show off more than anything, then this will be a perfect choice for you, and that’s the only reason we have listed it on the bottom of our guide.
I know budget users prefer power over looks, but there are ]users that can afford anything but still want a good looking secondary laptop for their basic tasks. It can be a fantastic choice for writers as it packs a very nicely built keyboard that offers a great writing experience.
This laptop ships with Windows 10 in S mode which includes extra security features and performance improvements. However there are restrictions that only allow approved apps from the Microsoft Store to be installed. This may or may not be a benefit to you depending on your needs. You can switch out of S mode, but note that once you've switched out you cannot turn it back on.
The 64 GB SSD offers quick boot, and it also boasts an Intel Celeron N4000 processor as well as 4 GB of SDRAM. Its built quality is very sturdy, and it can even take one or two accidental drops. While the device is the not among the most powerful ones, but it offers the battery life that can easily last for up to 9 hours on full brightness.
There are only a few brands that manufacture laptops under $250, and now you know all of them through our guide. In case you’d like to check out more budget laptop lists, then we have also compiled a list of best laptops under $400 as well as $300.
For such price, you will most find refurbished notebook or Chromebooks, and yes they will be able to get your casual work done with ease. Anyways, these $250 laptops can be used for daily activities like browsing, checking emails, social networking, etc.
And if you have something else that you’ll be doing on your new laptop feel free to let us know and we’ll tell you which one will suit you. Also, if you have any doubts or need additional clarification then feel free to let us know through comments.