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 choose one of the best laptops under $300 depending on your specific needs.
How to Compare Budget Laptops
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:
- Internet Browsing
- Video Streaming
- Business Applications
- College Homework
- Entry-Level Gaming
- Advanced Video Editing
- Computer-Aided Design
- Gaming on Higher Settings
- C++ Programming
- Virtual Reality
We would highly recommend that you choose a laptop with a 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.
See Related Topic: 10 Best Laptops Under $350
|Type of Usage||Important Features|
|Internet Surfing||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.|
|Video Streaming||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.|
|Traveling||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.|
|Light Gaming||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 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.
Note that most laptops in this price range are not suitable for high-end gaming or other demanding applications. If you want a laptop to use for those purposes, see one of our related buying guides.
What to expect from a Budget Laptop 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.
The 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 larger displays will also weigh 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 for 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 research for days to select the best budget laptop for yourself and still end up making the wrong decision. Fortunately, we have already researched that for you. Here you will find the most reliable and powerful laptops that are available for under $300.
Our Top Picks for Best Laptops under $300
1. Acer Aspire 1
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 a 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 the $300 category.
2. HP Stream 14
The HP Stream 14 is one of the most popular laptops in the $300 price range. It has decent specifications and is specially designed for travelers. It’s available in two different sizes, 11-inch and 14-inch and there isn’t really a big difference in 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 the best laptop on 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. If you’re in need of an ultra-budget laptop with good battery life, then this is it.
3. ASUS Chromebook 15
This Asus Chromebook is a great-looking laptop with a large 15.6″ display. Even with the large display, this laptop remains physically small due to the very narrow display bezels (6mm). The antiglare display coating will also be welcome if you work outside or in environments with lots of bright lights.
The battery life is good at 10 hours. The battery life and lightweight (3.1 pounds) will make this a great laptop for traveling or other highly mobile uses.
With an Intel Celeron N3350, 32GB of solid-state memory, and 4GB of RAM, you’ll get good performance for basic tasks like document editing, email, and browsing the net.
Although it’s incredibly slim and light, you will still find all the usual ports necessary to connect on the go, including USB Type-C, micro HDMI, and a headphone jack. You also have a microSD card reader to pack up your photos and other important files when on the road.
Note that this is a Chromebook so you’ll be using Chrome OS rather than Windows. However, a Chrome operating system provides several benefits, such as enhanced security, lower cost, and better use of storage resources. Still, if you are wanting to use Windows applications, you should consider a different model.
This laptop/tablet combo offers the power you need when at home, but can also be just as portable as any tablet on the market. This will be ideal for typing up that essay, then watching a film on the go.
4. ACER CHROMEBOOK 14
For many people, a Chromebook is a viable alternative to a budget laptop. Preloaded with Chrome OS and all the Google apps you know from online, you can edit and download to convert any Microsoft Office files straight out of the box.
Without the demanding operating systems of modern laptops, Chromebooks tend to run much quicker, needing less power—you can get up to 12 hours of battery life from one charge.
An all-aluminum outer case gives the Acer Chromebook a premium feel, which is matched by its impressive internal components. An Intel Celeron N3160 processor featuring integrated HD Graphics and 4GB of RAM gives you all the power you will need on the go.
The 32GB of solid-state memory may seem limited but every Chromebook comes with 100GB of Google Drive storage for storing your documents online.
The other impressive feature on this Chromebook is the gorgeous 14-inch full HD IPS display, which offers an 88-degree wide field of view. Support for HDR imaging makes those photos clearer and Google Hangout video calls/conferences appear brighter.
As long as you can live with the Google ecosystem and all the Google apps, the Acer Chromebook 14 is one of the quickest laptops you can get under $300.
It even features the latest MIMO dual-band 802.11 AC Wi-Fi that boosts internet speeds up to three times faster than previous generations.
5. ASUS VIVOBOOK X540SA
The Max in the name of this Vivobook could mean the maximum savings offered by this laptop. The ASUS Vivobook MAX X5421SA is a low-cost laptop that features one of the largest HD screens on a laptop under $300.
Weighing almost five pounds and measuring in at 15 inches by 9 inches, it’s heftier than most of our other picks. The good news is that the extra size of the case allows for extra ports, with one USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, HDMI out, headphone/microphone combo jack, LAN (10/100), and even a VGA output.
Unlike the skinnier laptops, the ASUS also includes an optical DVD multi-writer in addition to the customary SD card reader.
What you gain in screen size, you lose a little in performance. Although it uses an Intel processor, ASUS has gone with a Celeron N3170 processor rather than the Core i-series which are typically recommended for Windows 10.
It offers an acceptable performance but don’t plan on doing more than basic gaming, despite having that glorious screen to play on. If you’re looking for a good solid laptop with a larger screen, the ASUS VivoBook MAX 541SA offers a great budget choice.
A respectable 4GB of RAM and 1TB HDD should provide enough space for most of your applications and media. Just remember it is bigger and more suited to home use, with the battery life too short to support longer trips when traveling.
6. HP CHROMEBOOK 14
The HP Chromebook 14 is one of the most efficient and convenient Chromebooks that’s available for under $300. There are also variants for processor and memory that you can choose using the product link. Its white design is very classy and it’s a great performer even for multi-tasking users.
It boasts a full HD 1080p screen and loud audio. We like that the display has adjustable backlighting so you can adjust it to lower eye strain.
While using it, you won’t have to worry about its battery life as it supports up to 10.5 hours. The quad-core processor is lightning fast. It’s a great device for casual activities and the 14-inch display works very well for browsing, documenting, and video streaming.
Not only that, but one can also run most of the Android apps on Google’s Chrome OS. You can also configure this laptop to boot into Linux if you’d like to try something different.
Since the launch of Chromebooks, we have been impressed with their portability, security, and reasonable price. Overall, this one an excellent little device that is able to perform anything you throw at it.
7. DELL I3552-3240BLK
The Dell i3552-3240BLK is one of the most affordable laptops we’ve seen. This 15-inch laptop is available for the price of netbooks and Chromebooks. Many users wish it had a touchscreen display but I don’t think Dell could possibly include that at this price point.
It’s a decent performer that includes an Intel Pentium processor and one has the option to choose between Pentium or Celeron processor.
Also, they have variants for choosing between HDD and SSD and I would personally take SSD any day. It’s not too heavy considering its size of 15-inch and it can be a useful device for tasks like browsing, YouTubing, Skyping, etc.
It has many exciting features like a big screen, a DVD burner, Windows 10, and an HDMI port. The storage space can potentially be an issue if you’re going with SSD. For your movies and other large files, you can get an external hard disk.
When it comes to its build, it’s a lot lighter than competing machines. The performance is decent for an entry-level laptop. You will have to consider how you will the device. If you’re looking for a high-performance PC, we suggest you look for something with better specifications.
Overall, it’s a solid choice in the price range. If you need a DVD burner, this laptop will provide great value for the price.
8. ACER CHROMEBOOK 15
The Acer Chromebook 15 is the first 15-inch Chromebooks on the list. I know many prefer to have a portable, sleek and small Chromebook as it gets real easy to carry around but to be honest here, it was due to the price, as mini laptops are cheaper than regular-sized notebooks.
The Acer Chromebook 15 delivers the best performance and long-lasting battery life (9 hours). It has hundreds of positive reviews online and has been upgraded drastically by Acer compared to previous models.
We love the large 15.6″ FHD screen (1920 x 1080). The screen can be viewed well from virtually any angle. The matte finish display really cuts down on reflections when working in bright environments.
Thanks to 4 GB RAM and a dual-core Celeron processor, you’ll be able to perform many everyday computing tasks. Normally we’d say a 16GB SSD is too small, but since Chrome OS stores most files in the cloud, you should be fine. Just be sure to have a fast Internet connection.
It’s very similar to a regular PC with a natural keyboard and a bigger touchpad. It charges quickly, and within 2 hours it reaches 100% from just 5%. As a bonus, the speakers and audio are fantastic for a laptop that’s this inexpensive.
If you are looking for an inexpensive laptop with a very nice display and great audio, you could do far worse than choosing the Ace Chromebook 15.
9. LENOVO FLEX 3 11-INCH
The Lenovo Flex 3 is one of the premium laptops of all time, and I know it costs over $500, but the 11-inch model is available for under $300. It’s highly recognized for its portable and 360-degree hinge design.
It packs decent specifications that will allow your regular programs to work smoothly and since its release last year, Lenovo has sold over a million laptops.
Like almost all latest laptops, this one also has an internal battery which is becoming an issue for many as they prefer classical removable batteries in their device.
I checked it at a local store, and it was like $50 extra, so I bought it from Amazon and waited for three days.
It’s a highly recommended laptop for school-going kids and my nephew has been using it for about 5 months now. He wanted a 2-in-1 laptop to show off at school and he is been using it pretty safely.
I know this isn’t for high-end programs but his schoolwork gets done just fine. Its elegant design and sleekness are what attracted me and one can quickly change its modes.
Overall, it’s a very light device and can be a perfect option for travelers as well. If you’d like to know more about it, you can check the full review video on my Vlog.
10. LENOVO THINKPAD T440
The Lenovo Thinkpad T440 is among the best ultrabooks under $300 (close to $200 for refurbished models). However, be aware that it’s a bit heavy for an ultrabook and lacks a touch screen display.
It’s designed to withstand drops and is extremely reliable and durable. When it comes to performance, it’s an average device and will handle most of the programs smoothly.
While we were testing it, we ran into some minor issues like connectivity but after using the correct drivers, issues were resolved. In case you want to upgrade its RAM then you’ll have to replace it entirely as it’s capable of handling only one chip.
It’s specially designed for people in business as well as for school kids. It’s very sturdy when it comes to its construction and can easily handle rough usage.
It includes Windows 10 which works perfectly on its 14-inch display and many people also buy it to use with Linux. It’s a good machine for basic browsing, school work, MS Office, emails, etc.
You can’t play games on it, and if you try to play some, it’ll get warm almost instantly. Overall, it might be a little slower notebook but is a solid choice for a cheaper (in price, not quality) laptop.
11. DELL INSPIRON 15 3000
The Dell i3558 is an impressive PC for those who need a high-end laptop for $300. It packs all the latest hardware including its battery and is among the lightest budget laptops.
When it comes to performance, it can perform poorly sometimes while you’re multi-tasking and features a decent display that is good from various angles.
Its speakers are pretty loud and compared to its specifications, you’re paying nothing. I won’t recommend this notebook to college students and gamers who require power as it’s not made to handle heavier tasks. Its battery life was pretty average, 4 hours which is acceptable but not as advertised.
I bought this for my wife last year, as I know her usage is nothing more than YouTube and a few movies and music. It works perfectly and exactly as described and sometimes I think she loves this laptop more than me, lol, just kidding.
But overall, we’re very much satisfied with it and had no issues whatsoever. It can be a perfect choice to replace your home desktop as it’s obviously more powerful and also comes with a sharp display.
12. ASUS TRANSFORMER BOOK (DETACHABLE)
The ASUS Transformer Book is one of the best convertibles of all time, and now it’s available in glossy pink color as well. It’s an excellent choice for girls as they usually are fond of this color and it has been designed nicely.
It’s one of the slim and lightweight laptops of the year and has already attracted many customers. Its design is way better than Microsoft Surface and it’s able to run anything you throw at it.
It’s a fantastic option for people who love to travel and it’s extremely portable and can be carried anywhere with ease. Its tablet itself costs more than $300 but you’re getting the entire package for less than that.
I recommended this to my dad and he’s been pretty happy with it so far. He mostly uses it for taking notes and some homework from the office.
Since it’s packed with a touch screen display it becomes very easy for him to use even while laying and I really didn’t expect that he’d like it so much. It can handle programs like MS Word, Excel, One Note, and Chrome pretty smoothly and regardless of so much multitasking it hasn’t frozen even once.
In case you will be using a screen touch lot, I’d suggest you buy a display guard before you start using it. Also if you’d like to increase the space, you can use an SD card of 64 GB as it will help a lot. Well, these are things I did for my dad and I hope you’ll do it as well.
13. LENOVO THINKPAD T420 (CERTIFIED REFURBISHED)
Many prefer to buy a brand new laptop and usually say no to refurbished one. In case you’re fine with that, you can get a high-end and robust performer for just under $300. With this, you will be using a Core i5 processor which is just impossible for such a price.
It’s an all-purpose laptop and can also handle many favorite games with ease. Its battery life is incomparable and features a ThinkPad patented keyboard for professionals.
The 14-inch laptop also boasts solid performance and loud sound that can’t be compared as well. It has been praised for its keyboard by many critics, and the only downside is its textured touchpad which doesn’t feel as smooth as it should.
It’s a little bit bulky and thick unlike most of the recently launched laptops but when it comes to performance, it has to be the king. As many say, it has a “REAL” keyboard which is mostly preferred by writers, coders, developers, and editors.
It provides an excellent value and you’ll even get a good price while reselling it. If you’re looking for an even more powerful laptop then I would recommend you switch its HDD to SSD and upgrade its RAM.
With these improvements, it will become a powerhouse that’ll be able to handle high-end applications effortlessly.
14. SAMSUNG CHROMEBOOK
The Samsung Chromebook was first released in late 2014 and is still known for being one of the best laptops under $300. It’s very light, slim, and features an excellent battery life. Recently Google has made massive changes to its Chrome OS, and now it’s more functional and straightforward.
These kinds of budget laptops are faster than ever now thanks to Chrome OS that doesn’t use much power. It’s a good option for people who’re mostly browsing the entire day, and it can also handle programs like Office and Google Docs.
Unlike earlier Samsung Chromebooks, this newer version has made a lot of progress, and it’s more cold, fast, and silent. Its keyboard might not be top class, but it gets the job done.
This ultra-slim Chromebook is packed with spiffy looks and is a fanless device that doesn’t get warm quickly. You don’t have to shut it down every time you’re not using it, and you can close it, and once you open it, it’s on instantly.
It features a comfortable touchpad, and after doing some tests on it, I’d say, it has been under-rated by many reviewers. So if you’re going to buy a new Chromebook, I would highly recommend that you consider this.
15. DELL INSPIRON I3552-4041BLK
If you’re looking for a laptop under $250, then the Dell Inspiron i3552-4041BLK is a pretty good choice. It’s designed for professionals and is currently among the best choices for thin laptops. It’s good for basic tasks like Skype, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
It’s available with SSD which makes it blazingly fast while browsing. We think it’s one of the best low-end laptops under $300 on the market. It could have gotten better with a touch screen display for extra 50 bucks, and I also wish it came with a Windows 10 re-installation disk.
It’s a decent PC that can run games like Minecraft, Counter-Strike, and Sims 3. It’s a good choice for casual gaming but certainly not the best gaming laptop for a top-notch experience.
When we talk about performance, it’s not the best but should get your work done, and it isn’t recommended for power users. We have tested some necessary applications on it like MS Office, Skype, Chrome, Firefox, and VLC Player, and they seem to work smoothly.
You will not face any serious issues with it but with time it might get a little slower, and you’ll have to format it to make it new again.
It’s recommended to people who need a lot of storage space and who don’t like to store their data in the cloud.
So these are the most reliable laptops under $300 we could find, all of these have good ratings, sales, positive reviews, and average specifications. After reading the reviews, you can probably tell why we chose them to be in our top laptops under 300 list.
If you’re still not sure about them and want a better one, then you can check our list of best laptops under $400 and $500 and see what suits you best. Also, if you need a laptop for playing games then check our guide of best gaming laptops for under $500. These notebooks are made for basic tasks and can last for up to 3 to 4 years with ease.
Top Tips: Regardless of the laptop you choose, you need to pick one with all of the specs that are important to you to make sure it is the right one for you. You need to choose the right operating system, core processor, GB RAM, and display for your needs.