Our comparison table only shows our top 5 picks. You can find the other recommendations within this article.
There are hundreds of best laptops under $300 available on the market. When your budget is in this price range, you have plenty of options to choose from. That is why it can be difficult to choose one in this price range. Don't worry. We're here to help. We'll break down how to chose one of the best laptops under $300 depending on your specific needs.
Before you decide, you need to think about how you will use the laptop. These laptops will often have lower-end processors, limited RAM and data storage capacity, and smaller displays. The usage we recommend for budget laptops in this price range are:
We would highly recommend that you choose a laptop with an Intel Celeron or Core i3 processor (or better) and at least 4 GB of Memory. For data storage, we recommend 128GB minimum for a Windows laptop and a minimum 32GB SSD for a ChromeBook.
In the table below, we describe the most important specifications to consider, depending on how you will primarily use the laptop.
Type of Usage
This is a great fit for a laptop under $300. You can get by with a less-powerful processor, like a Celeron, and less memory. A large display is not required. A ChromeBook can be a great option for this type of usage.
A larger and brighter display will be a benefit. If possible, look for a dedicated graphics processor. However, this can be difficult to find in the $300 price range.
Business and Students
Processor, graphics and memory are not the primary consideration. Most laptops in the $300 price range will be fine. Data storage might be needed if you are storing many files and not using a ChromeBook (where files are mostly stored in the cloud). Students may want something smaller and lighter than for office usage.
Portability is one of the most important aspects of a good travel computer. You'll want to consider smaller displays and lightweight devices. The processor and RAM are not so important, However, data storage might be a consideration if you aren't using a ChromeBook. Also, battery life is very important since the laptop will often be used away from an outlet.
For light gaming, you'll want to get the best display and graphics processor you can find for your budget. Battery life may not be a concern if gaming is your primary usage for the laptop.
Other features may not be absolutely required, but are still valuable to some people. These extra features will usually require tradeoffs in other specifications in order to keep the laptop price low. You'll need to prioritize what's most important to your specific usage.
Touch screens are especially useful when you are using a convertible laptop as a tablet. Laptops with a writing stylus can be used for artist sketches or classroom note-taking. Fingerprint readers can be a security advantage if you are frequently using your laptops in public places.
Budget laptops in this price range are decent performers, not extremely fast, but also not too slow. Mostly they are preferred for basic tasks like working on MS Office, browsing, watching movies, casual gaming and video chatting.
We have listed these laptops according to their specifications, sales, positive reviews, value and build quality. These notebooks can be used for casual tasks by college students, businessmen, graphic designers and video editors.
Some of them might have some heating issues, and if that happens, we suggest you start using a decent cooling pad. Other than traditional laptops, you might also find some netbooks and Chromebooks in our list of best budget laptops under $300.
As we've discussed already, budget laptops under $300 will typically have lower-end processors and limited RAM and data storage capacities. This is fine, depending on your usage.
Display size will vary from 11" to 15.6". However, note that the larger displays are not also the best in terms of resolution or graphics quality. The laptops with the larger displays will also weight more and have a larger physical size.
Battery life will also vary significantly. However, laptops in this price range will often have relatively good battery life because the components are less power-hungry. It not rare to find laptops with over 10 hours of battery.
Some of the laptops also have fast charging capability. Removable batteries can be a benefit, but it's rare in this category and the extra batteries can be expensive.
You can also look for used or refurbished laptops under $300. They will often provide higher specifications for the money. It's common for refurbished laptops to be practically as good and new and include a warranty.
You could do research for days to select the best budget laptop for yourself and still end up making the wrong decision. Fortunately, we have already done research that for you. Here you will find the most reliable and powerful laptops that are available for under $300.
The Acer Aspire 1 is a lightweight, stylish and affordable laptop that can be useful for a wide variety of basic computing tasks.
With an unassuming design, the first thing you will notice is the bright 14-inch FHD widescreen display which features LED backlighting, HD resolution and is powered by Intel HD graphics. An advantage of the Aspire 1 is that it has a 1080p display, which is higher resolution than some of its competitors.
The integrated graphics may struggle with anything but lighter gaming. However, it's perfect for media streaming when paired with the high resolution display.
The 4GB of fast DDR4 RAM is paired with a 64GB eMMC SSD for fast response times. It ships with Windows 10 so you'll have good compatibility with Microsoft applications. The Intel Celeron processor will have no trouble with everyday tasks like word processing, streaming movies or managing your photos.
This Acer Aspire 1 features the latest Wi-FI AC standard along with an integrated webcam for making calls home when on a trip. Other connection options include Bluetooth 4.2, both a USB 2.0 and 3.0 port, HDMI out and a microphone/headphone jack combo.
If you want to try Linux, Ubuntu has drivers for this laptop's hardware. Just be aware that 64GB might not be enough storage capacity to dual-boot between Linux and Windows. This can be easily solved with an external drive or USB stick.
It's not perfect, but overall we think the Aspire 1 is the best value for the price. That's why we've rated it as our top choice in the best laptops under $300 category.
The HP Stream 14 is one of the most popular laptops in the $300 price range. It has decent specifications and is especially designed for travelers. It's available in two different sizes, 11-inch and 14-inch and there isn't really a big different of price between them so you can choose whichever is more convenient.
It's a portable mid-size laptop that is made for people who need the device for casual work like browsing, checking emails, video chatting, social networking, etc. I wouldn't recommend it to those who have to run bulky applications. However, one can effortlessly run MS Office and other average programs.
This model is available in Aqua Blue which we find quite attractive. It has been improved drastically compared to previous models, and we believe this is best laptop in the list under $250.
The Stream at multi-tasking as well as running relatively demanding applications. The only downside of this device is its limited storage space. However, you can always use the memory card for extra space. The keyboard is responsive with good feedback. We highly recommend this laptop for writers or students who need to write a lot for homework assignments.
If the laptop seems a bit sluggish out of the box, consider removing the bloatware that ships with it. It may take a few hours, but it will reward you with much higher performance and will free up valuable data storage space.
Overall, although it has limits on speed and space, it still a great laptop for many uses.