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Published Sep 21, 2023 4:00 PM

With the rise of remote work, our homes have become our new workplaces, and the trusty laptop has emerged as an indispensable tool in this shift. Laptops for working from home seamlessly blend power, performance, and portability. Whether you’re a remote professional, a digital nomad, or simply someone seeking to optimize their home office, your laptop choice can make a world of difference. With this in mind, we’ve meticulously curated a selection of laptops catering to various needs. From sleek and lightweight 2-in-1 laptops designed for on-the-go productivity to robust workhorses equipped to handle demanding tasks, our recommendations empower you on your work-from-home journey. We’ve considered factors like processing power, display quality, connectivity options, and ergonomic design to help you choose from the best laptops for working from home to complement your work style so you can achieve peak productivity while enjoying the comforts of home (offices).

How we chose the best laptops for working from home

Your desk space is a valuable commodity, so our laptops for working from home 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 models suitable for a range of remote work needs and users to develop a comprehensive list of the best laptops for working from home.

The best laptops for working from home: Reviews & Recommendations  

Let our comprehensive reviews help you narrow your options when choosing the next work-from-home laptop that will top your workspace.

Best overall: MacBook Air 15-inch

Stan Horaczek

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Specs

  • Processor: M2 chip
  • RAM: 8GB to 24GB
  • Screen size: 15 inches

Pros

  • Powerful M2 chip
  • Great build quality and design
  • Light and portable 

Cons

  • Cannot upgrade or expand after purchase

The Apple MacBook Air 15-inch is our top overall choice for the best work-from-home laptop due to its amazing performance, sleek, professional design, best-in-class display, and stellar battery life. The 15-inch screen is comfortable to use all day long yet lightweight and portable for those days when you need to be in the office or fancy a change of scene. Even if “home” is a dorm room, it’s still a great MacBook for college students tight on space and time to finish assignments.

It’s a more affordable option than the MacBook Pro, another great Mac for business. According to Apple, its impressive battery lasts up to 18 hours, which will easily get you through a full day of work and keep going for movie night, too. It delivers great sound with a six-speaker sound system and is worth the upgrade from the 13-inch MacBook Air for that extra-screen real estate.

One downside for those who like a multiple monitor setup: you can only attach one external screen to this laptop. However, the price is fair for an exceptional machine that delivers performance in a sleek design that will easily handle most work tasks in your home office.

Best premium: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 (2023)

Lenovo

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Specs

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-1355U
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Screen size: 14 inches

Pros

  • Good battery life
  • Great keyboard
  • Lots of ports

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No micro card or SD slots

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 is a premium business-grade laptop with great performance, but you will pay for the quality as it comes in at a high price point. However, prices have been seen to fluctuate wildly, including on the Lenovo website, so it’s worth watching to see if you can get a deal. Incredibly lightweight and slim, it looks great and is ultraportable, allowing you to work where you like. The touchscreen is responsive, and there are options to increase the memory and storage to 32GB and 2TB, respectively. This is a machine that can last for years to come. All your important work files will be secure thanks to upgraded security features like a fingerprint reader and a webcam with face recognition. 

Best for content creators: MacBook Pro 16-inch

Apple

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Specs

  • 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: 16.2 inches

Pros

  • Amazing performance and speed
  • Great battery life 
  • Beautiful display

Cons

  • Pricey

A long-time favorite of creatives and content developers, the Apple MacBook Pro 16 features a beautiful large display to really showcase design work. The M2 Pro or M2 Max processors offer lightning speed and capability for exceptional 4K playback, high-level video editing, and photo manipulation without delays or stutters. It’s a very comfortable and responsive laptop with a great keyboard, webcam, and speakers to handle all your corporate tasks with ease wherever you choose to work. For those who regularly handle advanced creative tasks like 3D modeling, graphic design, or even audio production, the MacBook Pro is a clear winner.

Best for gamers: Asus ROG Strix SCAR G834JY

ASUS

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Specs

  • Processor: 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13980HX Processor 2.2 GHz (36M Cache, up to 5.6 GHz, 24 cores: 8 P-cores and 16 E-cores)
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Screen Size: 18 inch

Pros

  • Excellent gaming display and performance
  • Huge screen
  • Great speakers

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Loud fans

While you’re on the hunt for a new work laptop, there’s no reason why you can’t opt for a device that also ranks among the top gaming laptops available. After all, if you’re working from home, it’s convenient to be able to close down your work applications at the end of the day and open up your favorite games to unwind. The Asus ROG Strix SCAR G834JY delivers desktop gaming performance, so you may even forget it’s a laptop. This large, sturdy laptop is on the heavy side, so it may not be the best choice if you want portability. However, as a desktop-based laptop, it will power you through meetings, deadlines, research, and file management without slowdowns. Once you clock off, it will transform into a gaming powerhouse (though you’ll probably want to add an extra monitor to your battlestation). The battery life is only passable, but it shouldn’t be an issue as you’ll likely be connected to power throughout the day in your home office. It has a distinctive design made of sturdy plastic with a soft touch feel. 

Best budget: Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 Laptop

Dell

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Specs

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-1255U
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Screen size: 14 inches

Pros

  • Versatile design
  • Long battery life
  • Great price

Cons

  • Screen brightness is disappointing

The Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 converts from a tablet to a laptop for versatility for a range of tasks. It’s lightweight at around 3.5 pounds, so if you work in a hybrid role, you can easily bring it with you to the office. The display’s brightness could be better, with some colors appearing muted or faded. This could be an issue with glare if you like to work outdoors or on the go. The 1080p webcam is serviceable for all your video conferencing meetings. If you’re looking for an affordable and dependable laptop for working from home, the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 should meet your needs.

What to consider when buying the best laptops for working from home

When selecting a laptop for working from home, consider these factors: 

Performance

Prioritize a laptop with sufficient processing power and RAM to handle your work tasks efficiently, whether it’s office applications, creative software, or data analysis.

Display

A high-resolution, quality display with good color accuracy and comfortable viewing angles is essential for prolonged work hours. Consider the size that best suits your workflow.

Portability

Depending on your needs, choose between a lightweight machine for easy mobility between the office, a co-working space, or even a cafe and your home or a more substantial laptop with enhanced features.

Battery life

A long-lasting battery is crucial for uninterrupted work. Aim for a laptop that can last through your typical workday without frequent charging.

Connectivity

Ensure your new laptop has the necessary ports (USB, HDMI, etc.) and wireless capabilities (WiFi, Bluetooth) to connect with peripherals and maintain efficient communication with the office, colleagues, and clients.

Upgradability

Some laptops allow you to upgrade components like RAM and storage, which can be beneficial in the long run and help increase the longevity of your home office purchase.

FAQs 

Q: How much does a laptop for working from home cost?

A laptop for working from home will cost you between $1,000 and $3,500. Check if your employer can reimburse you for the purchase. If not, you may be able to write it off on your taxes.

Q: What should I prioritize when selecting a laptop for remote work?

Factors like performance, display quality, battery life, and ergonomics for an efficient and comfortable work-from-home experience should be on your list.

Q: How much RAM do I need for remote work?

Aim for at least 8GB of RAM for general office tasks. If you work with resource-intensive applications, consider 16GB or more.

Q: What screen size is ideal for working from home?

This varies based on personal preference and whether or not you want portability in your laptop. Typically, 13 to 15 inches is suitable for most tasks. Larger screens offer better multitasking or graphic-heavy capabilities.

Q: What about security features for remote work laptops?

Security features like biometric authentication (fingerprint or facial recognition) and a trusted VPN for added security will give you peace of mind that your work and contacts are secure.

Final thoughts on the best laptops for working from home  

Our choices represent quality laptops suitable for a range of needs and remote work demands. Our favorite overall best laptop for working from home is the MacBook Air 15. We chose it for its super fast and reliable performance, premium build quality, lightweight design, and pleasing aesthetics. It also offers an amazing display and impressive battery life, making it a top choice for your next laptop purchase. 

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.