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.
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 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.
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.
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.