10 Best Budget Laptops for Designers
If you’re looking to buy a budget laptop as a creative — Here’s my list of the top 10 best affordable laptops for you.
A laptop is one of the must-have gadgets for every kind of creative activity nowadays.
Although it is best to invest in a high-end laptop, it is a given that not all creatives have the budget to afford it.
That’s why in this article, I will feature the best budget-friendly laptop available on the market today.
Which budget laptop is best for creatives?
Fortunately, there are various brands that are offering high-functioning laptops at a very affordable price.
Some of those brands are Lenovo, Apple, Asus, HP, Acer, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung.
And to give you the best laptop deals for creatives, I created a list of the top 10 budget laptops every designer needs.
Take note that you can buy these laptops for under $1000, and some of them are even below $500, so rest assured that you can afford them.
Whether you’re a PC or Mac user, I included something for you.
Additionally, you’ll be able to enjoy amazing features without spending more than your budget.
So without further ado, let’s dive in with the best affordable laptops for creatives.
Please note: as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, at no extra cost to you.
Top 10 Budget Laptop for Designers
- Lenovo Flex 5 14" — Best overall
- Apple MacBook Air — Best for Apple users
- Asus Vivobook 15 — With great specs
- HP Pavilion x360 — Best for editing
- Acer Chromebook 14 — MacBook Air alternative
- Microsoft Surface Go 2 — Best 2-in-one
- Dell XPS7390 13" — Best display
- Acer Swift 3 Thin & Light — Best Windows
- Lenovo Chromebook Flex — Best everyday
- Samsung Chromebook 4+ — Best portable
Things to consider when buying a budget laptop
What are the most important considerations for a graphic designer when buying a laptop?
Just like any other equipment or gadget, it is important to know the factors to consider when buying a laptop.
Here are the 7 points to look for before purchasing a budget laptop:
- Processor Power (CPU)
- Operating System (OS)
- Storage Drive
- Display Type and Size
- Battery Life
Since you’re here because you’re looking for the best affordable laptops available today, the price is one of your top priorities when buying one.
Actually, the definition of “budget laptops” may vary based on one’s budget.
Some creatives consider a laptop affordable when its price doesn’t exceed $500, but some view it as budget-friendly when it is below $1000.
Before buying a laptop, it is very important to take a look at your budget first to avoid overspending.
You don’t have to worry because I will give you my reviews of the best budget laptops to help you decide which one is right for you.
Processor Power (CPU)
Since the CPU, or processor, is the one that controls the functions of the computer, it is best to have a fast, powerful processor.
It is necessary for a graphic designer to look for an affordable laptop that can smoothly run complex design software.
To check if a certain laptop can assist you with your needs as a designer, you can simply search for the requirements of the specific software that you are using.
For example, if you’re a creative who uses Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and others, you must look for a laptop that meets the requirements of Adobe Software.
Operating System (OS)
One of the most important things to consider for a budget laptop is your preferred operating system.
Are you a designer who uses a PC or Mac for your creative work?
This is a necessary question to answer before buying a laptop.
Macs have several advantages, including that the monitors tend to be very color accurate due to their high display quality.
However, PC advantages include the ability to run more general software, which could make a difference if you plan to use your laptop for business or personal work.
Fortunately, regardless of whether you’re a PC or Mac user, I included the best budget-friendly laptop for you, so check out this list.
Of course, as creatives, RAM and memory must be taken into account.
RAM is the one that allows you to run multiple applications and software at the same time.
And if you’re going to ask me how much RAM you need as a graphic designer, I would suggest going for an affordable laptop that has the maximum RAM.
In that way, you can seamlessly run your software, and you’ll be able to create your designs without being bothered by the lag.
As a creative, you have two types of storage drives to choose from: either a hard disk drive (HDD) or a solid-state drive (SSD).
Even though hard drives can be cheaper and have more space, they can be hard to use on laptops.
Solid-state drives, on the other hand, are lighter, faster, and more durable than hard drives, but they are also more expensive.
Most laptops come with solid-state drives, but if yours doesn't, you can buy one and put it in your computer to make it faster.
Display Type and Size
In order to have a better view of the designs that you are working with, it is ideal to look for an affordable laptop that has at least a 15-inch display.
Although it's a given that the larger the display, the more expensive it is, it’s important to choose a laptop that is convenient to use.
Most laptops nowadays have this 2-in-one feature where you can easily convert your laptop into a tablet.
It is ideal for designers because you can work on your designs even if you’re away from home.
Most budget laptops on my list have this 2-in-1 feature, so it’s just a matter of personal preference now.
As a graphic designer, it is a given that it requires a lot of focus and time to create a great design.
So it is important to look for a budget-friendly laptop that can also last a long time without charging.
In that way, you can work without interruption, and it is also ideal for on-the-go creativity.
Additionally, I would suggest going for a budget laptop that can last at least 10 hours of continuous usage.
Looking for the best all-in-one laptop at an affordable price? Then the Lenovo Flex 5 14" is perfect for you.
The best overall budget laptop for creatives.
This is the best budget laptop to buy if you want a high-functioning laptop without breaking the bank.
This budget laptop from Lenovo is thin, light, and stylish, which is perfect for on-the-go designers.
It includes a digital pen, and its screen is very soft and comfortable to use, ideal for making creative work.
The Lenovo Flex 5 14" also has a 10-point, 14-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS touchscreen, which makes it more convenient and preferable to use.
This laptop’s 3600 hinge lets you use your 2-in-1 touchscreen laptop in whatever mode works best for you.
Additionally, you can be sure that your work won’t be interrupted since this laptop has up to 10 hours of battery life, plus it is fast charging.
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5
Graphics: AMD Integrated Graphics
Display: 14″ FHD (1920 x 1200) IPS touchscreen
- Great performance
- Comes with fingerprint
- Dim display
As for the second laptop on my list, I included the MacBook Air, which is the best budget laptop for Apple users.
The most affordable Apple laptop for graphic design.
This laptop is perfect for graphic designers since it doesn’t lag, meaning you can work on your designs without interruption.
If you’re a fan of Apple products and need a laptop that is both affordable and high-quality, the MacBook Air is definitely the one for you.
It has a very impressive battery life, which can last up to 18 hours, meaning you can work on your designs for the whole day without being bothered about charging your device.
This laptop also has amazing performance, which is perfect for professional editing and even gaming.
The MacBook Air can support tasks like memory-hogging multitab browsing and opening huge graphic files quickly and easily.
It also has 8 GB of memory, which makes your entire system speedy and responsive, so you can work on your designs smoothly.
CPU: Apple M1
Graphics: Integrated 7-core /8-core GPU
RAM: 8GB — 16GB
Display: 13.3-inch LED-backlit display with IPS technology
Storage: 256GB — 2TB SSD
- High quality
- Great value
- Exceptional battery life
- No boot camp
- Limited port selection
As a designer, I know that good specs are one of the most important things to consider before buying a laptop.
The best budget laptop with great specifications.
That’s why I feature the Asus Vivobook 15 for designers who are looking for a budget laptop with the best specs.
This budget-friendly laptop is best for students or start-up designers, but also for professionals.
The Asus Vivobook 15 is one of the most affordable laptops on Amazon, and it comes with amazing specifications.
It is also perfect for those creatives who want to have a compact laptop that fits every designer’s needs.
This budget laptop is powered by an Intel Core i3 processor to help you get things done with the least amount of fuss.
There’s also an 88 percent screen-to-body ratio, so you can see more of your creations thanks to the new frameless NanoEdge four-sided display.
CPU: Intel i7
Display: 15.6 FHD
Storage: 128GB SSD — 1TB HDD
- Great battery life
- Excellent keyboard
- Superior performance
- Poor display
If you are a video or photo editor and are looking for an affordable laptop for editing, the HP Pavilion x360 is a must-buy laptop for you.
The most affordable laptop for video and photo editing.
As a creative, you will be able to work seamlessly because this laptop is great for running your editing apps like Adobe Software.
The HP Pavilion x360 has 8 GB system memory and a 128GB solid-state drive (SSD), which is perfect for advanced multitasking like editing videos and photos.
It is one of the most budget-friendly laptops that is ideal for running creative software and applications.
This low-cost laptop has an HDMI output, which can expand your viewing options.
Some of the special features of the HP Pavilion x360 include a built-in media reader, wireless connectivity, and a built-in HD webcam, which is very impressive for its price.
So if you’re looking for a cheap laptop that is perfect for editing, the HP Pavilion x360 is a must-buy laptop for you.
CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i3
Graphics: Intel UHD
Display: 14 Inches UHD
Storage: 128GB SSD
- Great build
- Excellent performance
- Poor battery life
- Lacks of power delivery
If you are not a fan of Apple and are looking for the best alternative to the MacBook Air, then the Acer Chromebook 14 is for you.
The best budget MacBook Air alternative for creatives.
This is one of the most affordable laptops available today, and it can provide almost the same functionality as the Apple MacBook Air.
Apple is indeed a great brand for designers, but some creatives don’t prefer using this, that’s why I included the Acer Chromebook 14 in my list.
This laptop is made with a 100% aluminum chassis with symmetrical, perfectly rounded corners, and a classic hairline finish, which makes it very stylish.
Its 14" Full HD IPS display boasts 41% more pixels than an HD display, making photos, videos, games, and presentations vivid and text sharp and legible.
The Acer Chromebook 14 is one of the best laptop deals on the market since it can last up to 12 hours, which makes it perfect for in-demand designers.
Additionally, this budget laptop also has an ultra-thin frame, making it easy to slip into a purse, backpack, or briefcase, making it ideal for freelance artists.
CPU: Intel Celeron N3160
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 400
Display: 14-inch FHD
Storage: 32GB SSD
- Great battery
- Excellent audio
- Sturdy aluminum build
- Dim display
- No SD memory reader
Since we are talking about the best budget laptops for designers, I will not miss featuring one from Microsoft.
The best 2-in-1 budget-friendly laptop.
The Surface Go 2 is one of the most affordable laptops available on the market today, yet it can provide you with a 2-in-1 function.
This laptop can handle every task on your to-do list throughout the day, including sketching, creating presentations, and doing graphic and logo design.
It features a new 10.5" PixelSense Display with a touchscreen that’s perfect for eBooks, web browsing, and especially for doing your creative work.
What’s more impressive about this laptop, aside from its affordable price, is its amazing accessories.
The Surface Go 2 accessories include a sleek and compact keyboard, a better and faster digital pen, and a light and portable mouse.
So if you’re looking for a budget-friendly laptop with a lot of accessories included, consider buying the Surface Go 2 now.
CPU: Intel Pentium Gold 4425Y
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615
RAM: 4GB — 8GB
Display: 10.5” PixelSense Display
Storage: 64GB — 128GB SSD
- Light built
- Impressive audio
- With a face recognition camera
- Slightly pricey
- No keyboard cover
Graphic designers definitely need a laptop that has a great display, which is why I also included the Dell XPS7390 13" in my list.
The best budget laptop with best display.
You are able to get a better view of the designs that you are doing without going over your budget.
This laptop has up to 2.5 times more performance than the previous generation and is powered by new 10th generation Intel 10nm processors in an 8% thinner form factor.
The Dell XPS7390 13" is one of the most affordable laptops that comes with a great display, which makes it perfect for every creative need.
It also has an extremely long battery life that can last up to 17 hours of continuous usage.
This is also one of the best 2-in-1 laptops, which means you can use it as a tablet depending on what best fits your needs.
So if you’re wondering which budget laptop has a very good display, it’s definitely the Dell XPS7390 13".
CPU: Core i5–1035G1
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics
RAM: 8 GB
Display: 13.3 1080p, 4K
Storage: 256 GB
- Great built
- Excellent performance
- Noisy fan
- Uncomfortable keyboard
If you’re specifically looking for a must-buy Windows laptop at a very reasonable price, look no further, because the Acer Swift 3 is the one for you.
The best Windows budget laptop for professionals.
In addition to its affordability, this is also a lightweight laptop, so you can take it with you whenever you have outside work to do.
The Acer Swift 3 is a new class of ultra-light laptops that is made for the digital performance you need on the go.
It combines the 10th Gen Intel Core performance with the responsiveness that doesn’t falter when you unplug.
This budget laptop comes with a battery life optimized to last a long time, which makes it convenient to use for creating designs.
One of the best features of the Acer Swift 3 is the embedded fingerprint reader, which is a quick and secure way for Windows Hello to verify your identity without a password.
It also has an intelligent personal digital assistant, which can help you stay on schedule for tasks and meeting schedules and sync with multiple devices.
CPU: Intel Core i3 — i7
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620
RAM: 4GB — 8GB
Display: 3.5-inch FHD
Storage: 128GB — 256GB SSD
- USB-C supported
- Great performance
- No SD card reader
- Not upgradeable RAM
If you’re an in-demand creative that is looking for the best budget laptop for everyday use, the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3 is a must-have laptop for you.
The best everyday laptop for work from home designers.
This laptop is perfect for designers working from home who need a laptop that can be used for a long period of time.
Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3 has an IPS touch display and stunning colors, so you are guaranteed to have a better view of every detail of your designs.
You can enjoy the responsive performance you’re looking for with an Intel processor, ample storage, and a long battery life that helps you get everything done.
Its high-bandwidth RAM allows you to smoothly run your games and editing apps, as well as multiple programs and browser tabs at the same time.
Additionally, this touchscreen budget laptop can be charged quickly using just your Google login, giving you access to all of your cloud-based designs and more.
So, if you ask me what the best everyday laptop is for designers who work from home, I’ll recommend the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3.
CPU: Intel Celeron N4020
Graphics: Integrated Intel UHD
Display: 11.6″ HD IPS
Storage: 64GB eMMC
- SD card reader
- Great build quality
- Poor display
- Weak performance
If you’re looking for the best budget portable laptop to use for your professional work, then the Samsung Chromebook 4+ is a great choice for you.
The best portable budget laptop for creatives.
This laptop is very convenient to use, which makes it perfect for on-the-go designers.
The quality of Samsung meets the accessibility of Chrome OS. Immerse yourself in the content you love on 15.6 inches of truly maximized screen space.
Its all-new light and compact design allows you to stream, work, create, and play on a fast, secure device that you can take with you wherever you go
This Samsung laptop’s quality matched the accessibility of the Chrome OS.
Allow yourself to create amazing designs with the Samsung Chromebook 4+’s 15.6 inches of truly maximized screen space.
This is a lightweight and compact, budget-friendly laptop that lets you stream, play, create, and work seamlessly.
Lastly, the Samsung Chromebook 4+ can last up to 10 hours of usage on a full charge and can be quickly recharged with a USB-C charger.
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 600
RAM: 6 GB
Display: 15.6 FHD
Storage: 64 GB
- Comfortable to use
- With USB type-A, USB type-C (2)
- No HDMI port
- Insufficient storage
If you’re going to ask me what the best affordable laptop is, I will definitely recommend the Lenovo Flex 5 14" since it is the best overall budget laptop.
On the other hand, Mac users, also have the choice of purchasing the Apple MacBook Air, which is the most budget-friendly Apple laptop.
However, if you’re a photo or video editor who wants the best, affordable laptop that can run editing software, the HP Pavilion x360 will be a wise choice for you.
How to choose the best budget laptop?
In this article, I also included the things to consider when buying a laptop at an affordable price.
Some of these are the OS, CPU, RAM, storage depth, display type and size, and battery life.
These things need to be taken into consideration for you to be sure that you’re getting the best quality, even at a low price.
Now that I’m done giving you my top picks, which do you think is the best budget laptop for designers? — Don’t forget to leave a comment.