Laptops still remain one of the most useful and versatile tech products you can buy but we don’t all have a thousand pounds to spend on one. Budget laptops might be more limited in what they can do but you can pick up a bargain with one of these cheap models.
It’s possible to get a pretty solid laptop without spending much, especially if you’re smart and buy something during the current sale season. You can even get Intel Core i3 devices with touchscreens and SSDs, and we’re constantly keeping an eye on the best prices.
If your budget does stretch just a little bit higher, we’d recommend you look to our best budget (sub-$500/£500) laptops chart; otherwise, here’s a selection of models below $500/£300 that will suffice for casual tasks and get you out of a tight spot.
Some will be available for a lot less and occasionally, perhaps with an additional voucher code, you might get one for under $100/£100. Just be prepared for very basic specs.
Best places to buy budget laptops
There are loads of places where you can pick up a cheap laptop including the following:
And in the UK:
You can also go direct to manufacturers:
There are loads more good deals on all kinds of tech on our main deals site.
Best budget laptop deals in the US
Lenovo Ideapad 3i
($150 off + Microsoft 365)
This deal at BestBuy is a great chance to get a decent laptop for not much money at all.
The IdeaPad 3i is full-size and has a 256GB SDD, plus you get three months of Microsoft 365 bundled in as well as other offers.
From: Best Buy
($100 off + Norton 360 Deluxe)
The Asus E410 is still the best budget laptop you can buy, and at under $150 in Best Buy’s sale, it’s superb value for money.
Despite the low price you get six months of Norton 360 Deluxe as well as other offers!
Dell Inspiron 3511
($220 + Norton – 360 Deluxe)
This is a great price for a Dell laptop with a Core i5 processor and 256GB SSD.
BestBuy is also bundling 6 months of Norton 360 Deluxe with LifeLock Identity Advisor worth $29.99.
Acer Aspire 5
With its reliable performance and robust build, the Acer Aspire 5 is a fantastic laptop for productivity. It features an Intel Core i5-1135G7 CPU, Intel Iris Xe graphics, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of PCIe SSD storage.
You can also get the Core i3 models at bargain prices.
HP Chromebook x2 11
The capable Chromebook x2 is a great all-rounder for everyday use, and it’s much more appealing after this significant discount. However, do be aware that there’s only 64GB of storage.
Best budget laptop deals in the UK
We’re not sure we’ve seen a laptop worth considering this cheap ever before. Granted, the Coda 1.1 has a small 11.6in and basic specs such as an Intel Celeron processor but it could make for a bargain to do things like simple school homework.
Asus VivoBook E510MA
(£80 off + Microsoft 365)
This full-size Vivobook is already cheap and you can save even more and get a year’s subscription to Microsoft Office 365 included too. A bargain if ever we saw one.
Asus CX1500 Chromebook
This full-size Chromebook with a Full HD screen is now well under £300 making it a value buy. It’s got an Intel Pentium processor and 64GB of storage.
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 1i
This already cheap laptop from Lenovo is now under £150 bringing you basic specs but plenty of ports and in a stylish and portable design.
Lenovo IdeaPad 3i 17
17.3in budget laptops are very rare so this is a good chance to get a big screen laptop for under £300.
It’s got an Intel Celeron processor and a 128GB SSD so it’s best used for basic tasks.
How to find a great deal on a budget laptop
We review budget laptops all year round, and our favourite model right now is the Asus E410, which offers a great all-round experience, despite anticipated weaknesses such as poor maximum display brightness. While the most affordable SKU can be picked up direct from Asus for £229.99, a more powerful version can be had from the likes of Currys, running on Intel Pentium silicon, instead of a Celeron chipset.
The very fact that various SKUs exist of most laptop lines means you need to be careful of what you’re buying: that laptop you just read about in that glowing review may not necessarily be the same laptop you’ve just found at a bargain price. Check for things like screen size and resolution, processor model, and amount and type of RAM and storage.
For many people, those cheaper options will be more than enough for their needs, but it always helps to have some idea of what to look out for in the first place. This way, if you see a great laptop deal we haven’t mentioned here, you’ll be able to work out whether or not it’s a good buy.
Key things to look out for are the processor, memory and both type of storage and amount of storage. At under $500/£300, you’re unlikely to find anything higher than an Intel Core i3/AMD A-series or Ryzen 3 processor; if you do find a Core i5, snap up that laptop right away. You won’t find a better deal.
You’ll also see Intel Pentium and Celeron processors listed, and these are less powerful options often found in older models and Chromebooks/CloudBooks, but still more than capable if your needs are basic. By that we mean you’re looking for something that’s good for homework, replying to emails, browsing the web or social media, and watching the odd video.
These setups come with integrated graphics, and you shouldn’t expect to find a dedicated graphics card at this price. Your laptop will be more than capable of playing YouTube and movies, plus some casual games, but if you’re really after something capable of higher-fidelity gaming we’d recommend upping your budget to £500+ and going for a Core i5 as the bare minimum.
We’ve got some more options on slightly pricier laptop deals here.
At this price, you’re most likely to find 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, although at the budget end of the market you often find solid-state storage is swapped out for a traditional mechanical hard drive. The upside to this is more storage space; the downside is they are slower, a little noisier and more fragile.
The size of the screen and the overall design of a laptop are going to be purely personal choices. You’ll find everything from 11in to 15.6in screens at this price point; a handful with Full HD (1080p) displays but most with HD (720p) screens. Smaller laptops are typically going to be more readily portable, but it’s easier to get stuff done on a larger screen; especially if you’re wanting to watch videos, play casual games or work with spreadsheets.
Chromebooks, with which your children may well be familiar from school. The difference between these and traditional Windows laptops is the operating system that’s installed on them; with Chromebooks instead using Chrome OS. You’ll also find CloudBooks, which run Microsoft’s pared-back Windows 10 S.