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Successful business laptops offer optimal performance with a powerful processor and ample RAM to multitask smoothly, run multiple software applications, and easily complete complex tasks. Your choice of a business laptop can significantly impact your productivity, efficiency, and overall success in your career. With stakes that high, take your time to compare various models and assess your professional needs. Look for lightweight and portable machines with great battery life to last all day and through long commutes, and that can handle all your daily tasks while keeping your important and confidential records secure. Whether you need your computer to create and edit presentations and videos, write reports, or attend video meetings with colleagues or clients, these are the best business laptops to help you get work done.
How we chose the best business laptops
Our business laptop recommendations are based on extensive research. We surveyed peer recommendations, critical reviews, and user impressions to create a list of contenders and then put them through their paces. We considered a wide variety of laptops suitable for a range of needs and users to develop a comprehensive list of the best business laptops in 2023.
The best business laptops: Reviews & Recommendations
Do your homework before purchasing, and you’ll score the best business laptop deal for your needs and unique specifications. Our reviews can help you narrow down your options.
Best overall: HP EliteBook 840 G9
- Processor: Intel Core i5 1235U (12th Generation)
- RAM: 16 GB
- Screen Size: 14 inches
- Impressive performance
- Great battery life
- Good camera
We chose the HP EliteBook 840 G9 as our best overall business laptop due to its performance, battery life and design. The longevity is incredibly impressive. You’ll be able to do a full day of work and even stream shows in the evening or catch up on emails without worrying about finding an outlet to plug in. This makes it a particularly good choice for those who travel for work or who need to move between offices with their machine.
With a high-resolution, AI-enabled webcam and decent speakers, the HP EliteBook 840 G9 is made for video conferencing. HP’s Wolf Security bundle includes BIOS and AI-based malware protection to keep your boss happy and your files secure. Just make sure you don’t click on any Phishing email tests. You’ll also have a fingerprint sensor and Windows Hello-enabled webcam to add an additional layer of protection.
Its Intel Core i7 processor upgrade option allows for some creative work like photo and video editing as well as intense spreadsheet curation. That’s increasingly crucial in a time when slide decks have gotten very elaborate. And while it’s not a gaming laptop by any stretch, it can run some older titles when you have downtime.
This laptop performs reliably and looks great with a sturdy, yet sleek chassis, and the keyboard has a pleasant feel with audible but not annoying clicks. That’s crucial if you work in public or in an open office scenario. Ultimately, this machine offers all of what you need without a lot of what you don’t. It will provide years of reliable work in a package that’s easy to lug around.
Best budget: ThinkBook 15 Gen 4 (15” Intel) Laptop
- Processor: 12th Generation Intel Core i3-1215U Processor
- RAM: Up to 16 GB
- Screen Size: 15.6 inches
- 4K display
- Excellent price
- Long battery life
- No Thunderbolt port
- Dull focus on camera
While it will never match the low entry point of a Chromebook or a Linux laptop, the ThinkBook 15 Gen 4 (15” Intel) laptop comes in at a very affordable price point at retail, but you can typically find it even cheaper during semi-regular sales. This model stands out as an excellent budget-friendly choice for a business laptop. The 15.6-inch display offers ample screen real estate for efficient multitasking and is bright and well-saturated. The Intel Core i3 processor is plenty powerful to handle everyday business tasks without drawing excess power from the battery. While not the most powerful, it provides commendable performance for its price range.
The laptop’s build quality is sturdy, instilling confidence in its longevity. It lacks some high-end features, but its affordability and inclusion of essential ports make it a solid option for budget-conscious professionals seeking reliable business performance. At 3.74 pounds, it’s not the daintiest machine, but unless you’re constantly lugging it around, that shouldn’t be an issue.
Best battery life: HP Elite Dragonfly G3
- Processor: Intel Core i7-1255U
- RAM: 16 GB
- Screen Size: 13.5″ diagonal WUXGA+ touch display
- Long battery life
- Lightweight and thin
- HDMI, USB-A, and Thunderbolt 4 ports
The HP Elite Dragonfly is a stellar business laptop with remarkable battery life. Starting at just 2.2 pounds, its sleek, lightweight design exudes professionalism while housing a powerful processor that tackles business tasks with ease. The 13.5-inch 1920 x 1280 touchscreen offers vibrant visuals and supports productivity on the go. Security features like facial recognition and fingerprint sensor ensure data safety. The standout feature is its exceptional battery life, perfect for long workdays or travel, and its connectivity with HDMI, USB-A, and Thunderbolt 4 ports. Although the price might be higher, the laptop’s durability, performance, and, most importantly, its extended battery longevity make it an excellent investment for professionals seeking a reliable and enduring business companion.
Best MacBook for business: Apple MacBook Pro 14
- Processor: M2 Pro (10-core CPU, 16-core GPU or 12-core CPU, 19-core GPU), with optional M2 Max with up to 12-core CPU and 38-core GPU
- RAM: 16GB to 96GB
- Screen Size: 14.2 inches
- Amazing performance and speed
- Great battery life
- HDMI and SD Card ports
The Apple MacBook Pro 14 solidifies its position as the ultimate MacBook for business. Its M2 Pro chip delivers astounding performance, seamlessly handling demanding tasks. The 14.2-inch Retina XDR display offers brilliant visuals and precise color accuracy, enhancing productivity. The redesigned keyboard ensures comfortable typing during long work sessions, while the Thunderbolt 4 ports provide versatile connectivity options. The macOS ecosystem streamlines workflows, and the laptop’s sleek aluminum build exudes professionalism. While relatively pricey, its power, display quality, and software integration make it a top-tier choice for business users who value performance and the seamless Apple experience.
Best 2-in-1: Microsoft Surface Pro 9
- Processor: Quad-core 11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 Processor/i7-1185G7
- RAM: 8GB, 16GB, 32GB
- Screen Size: 13-inch touchscreen
- Excellent webcam
- Good performance
- Two USB-C ports plus Thunderbolt 4 support
- Battery life is only passable
- Accessories are expensive
The Microsoft Surface Pro 9 cements its status as the premier 2-in-1 business laptop. Its versatile design effortlessly transforms from a tablet with a kickstand to a laptop, accommodating various work scenarios. The 13-inch touchscreen is vivid and responsive, ideal for digital note taking and presentations. Powered by Intel processors, it handles professional tasks smoothly. The detachable Signature Keyboard enhances productivity, and the compatible Surface Slim Pen 2, offers precise input for creative tasks, although both must be bought separately, which increases the cost. While battery life could be more substantial, the laptop’s portability and Windows 11 ecosystem integration, along with its adaptability to different work modes, make it an exceptional choice for business professionals seeking flexibility and performance.
What to consider when choosing a business laptop
Every business is different. Whether you’re coding, making spreadsheets, or just pretending to do work so your boss won’t bust you slacking, your needs will vary. Here are some basics to consider when evaluating business laptops you can haul to work.
It’s tempting to just pull the most powerful computer off the shelf and head on home with it. But, the key to true laptop happiness comes in finding a balance. You want a processor that can handle tasks easily, but going for something too powerful will likely increase the size and weight of your machine in service of tasks you may not be doing in the first place. You’ll want as much RAM as you can muster since that will help with your multitasking. You might be able to get away with 8GB RAM, but 16GB is a much nicer floor, especially if you’re the type to keep a ton of tabs open while you work.
Three pounds may not sound like much, but you likely don’t want to go all the much heavier than that if you can. That’s especially true if you’re going to be lugging your computer back and forth to work every day. Laptops are generally pretty thin these days, unless you dabble in the gaming laptop world where they can get fairly chunky.
Look for laptops with long battery life to make sure your new machine will have enough juice to last the day without needing frequent charging. Many laptops will provide estimated usage times on a single charge, but it’s important to know that those don’t always translate in the real world. The specs may promise 18 hours of battery life, but that’s likely with minimal workload and a dim screen. Use battery life promises as a guideline, but don’t take them as gospel.
A sturdy and durable build is essential for a laptop that can withstand the rigors of daily business use. A metal chassis makes a computer more durable, but it also feels better when you type or move the machine around.
Keyboard and touchpad
Comfortable typing and precise touchpad navigation are essential for extended work sessions. You likely won’t find much in the way of variety when it comes to layout and key feel. But, this is also where you could consider going for a 2-in-1 computer like the Surface Pro 9 which will allow you to ditch the keyboard completely and use it as a tablet should the need arise.
Adequate ports, including USB-C, HDMI, and Ethernet, ensure seamless connectivity to various devices and networks. Smaller laptops tend to skimp hard on ports. If you’re going to go with one of those models, we recommend a USB hub to expand connectivity. In addition, a business laptop should support WiFi at the least, but will be most efficient if it also features Bluetooth for peripherals such as keyboards, mice, and headphones.
Look for features like biometric authentication (fingerprint or facial recognition) and hardware-based security to protect sensitive business data. Some business laptops also include a standardized locking port for Kensington and other physical locks that prevent thieves from running off with your machine if you’re using it in a public space.
Q: What makes a business laptop different?
Although you could use your personal laptop for work, a dedicated business laptop will help keep your files and personal details separate from your work programs and help keep proprietary information secure. Business laptops are often more powerful and help you efficiently move between tasks and can run memory-heavy programs with ease.
Q: What screen size do I need?
Although a larger screen is often preferred for handling multiple applications, business laptops need to be portable so a screen size of 15-16 inches is both comfortable to use and easy to travel with.
Q: How much memory is enough?
Although 8GB should be sufficient for many work tasks, the more software programs you want to run, especially memory-intensive programs like photo or video editing, consider 16GB or more.
Q: How much should I spend on a business laptop?
Although you can spend more, you can find serviceable business laptops for between $1,200 to $2,500. Look out for sales, discounts and special offers but also be clear on the product specifications you don’t want to skimp on to get the right laptop for you at a great price.
Final thoughts on the best business laptops
Our favorite overall business laptop is the HP EliteBook 840 G9. We chose it for its professional aesthetics, robust performance, and comprehensive security features. It offers exceptional speed and efficiency for demanding tasks and prioritizes security with features like biometric authentication, privacy screens, and enhanced data protection. With versatile connectivity options, a comfortable keyboard, and long battery life it’s a reliable, secure, and powerful business laptop.
Why trust us?
Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.
Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.