Working remotely from home is more common than ever before, requiring a high-quality laptop computer. In this article, our IT team will show you the best ten laptops for working from home and include a buyer’s guide to help you find the best option for you.
Finding a good laptop can be challenging since there are so many options and brands on the market. How can you tell which one is the best? Because both, Mac and PC computers come in a wide range of prices and features, it is easy to become confused but our buyers guide in this article will help you find your next laptop.
Best laptops for working from home – Our Top Picks
- The Apple MacBook Air M1 – Our Top Pick and Best Laptop for Working from Home
- The Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 – Top Performance ( Windows )
- The MacBook Pro Top Performance ( Apple OS )
- The Asus Swift 3 (Best Value Pick) – Affordable Laptop
- The HP Envy x360 ( Most Versatile / 2 in One )
- The Dell XPS 13 – Good Performance
- Microsoft Surface Pro 7 – Best Laptop / Tablet Combo
- Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 – Best Chromebook
- The Acer Aspire 5 – Budget Laptop
- The Levono IdeaPad 3 – Affordable Performance
Hardware Requirements (Minimum and Recommended)
Looking at the system requirements as a guideline is one of the simplest ways to navigate the world of laptops. Once you know which hardware requirements are necessary as a minimum and which are recommended, it will be easy to rule out laptops that will not be a suitable fit for you.
Brands love to brag about hard drive sizes and processors, but the fact is that you might not need that 1 terabyte storage drive if you only use Microsoft Excel and Outlook all day, so you might save money by purchasing a laptop with a smaller storage drive.
Here are some requirements recommended by our IT Desktop Support Group.
|Storage Capacity||256 GB||At least 512GB|
Intel Core i3 – for Light Duty Work
|Intel Core i5 – For normal / Average Use|
(for video / photo editing – i7 processor)
|Display||13 inches ( light )||15 inches|
|Battery||6 Hours||10 Hours|
|Weight||8 Lbs||5 lbs|
The 10 Best Laptops for Working from home and Remotely: Our IT Team Recommends
Most laptops have the same screen size, list specs, and similar features. Their prices range from hundreds to thousands. So, how do you find the best laptops for remote work? Corporate Shields IT professionals have spent 20 years studying laptops. We know what works for remote working and remote workers.
Our company has built hundreds of VPN systems to help people work from home. We did our research to help you find the top choices among hundreds of options.
1. The Apple MacBook Air M1 (Top Choice)
The newest MacBook Air is ideal for working from home remotely. Under the hood, it features the new Apple M1 chip processor developed by Apple. The Macbook Air is Apple’s least expensive, thinnest, and lightest laptop, making it among the best laptops for working from home, remotely, and traveling.
Compared to earlier versions prior to the introduction of the M1 processor, the new Apple MacBook laptops are more energy efficient and have a cooler touch. I own a 2019 MacBook Pro model equipped with an i7 Intelcore processor, and I can tell that this laptop gets quite hot.
The laptop’s temperature is acceptable during usual operation. When you begin working on CPU and graphics intensive projects and attach an external monitor, you will immediately hear the laptop’s fan kick in and the laptop will begin to heat up. At times, my 2019 MacBook Pro becomes too hot to use on my lap. This has been improved in new models with the M1 chip.
On the outside, the Apple “recipe” remains pretty much unchanged. You get Apple’s signature and a durable aluminum enclosure. The MacBook Air has a 13.3 inch Retina display using the latest LED technology. It delivers an impressive 2560 x 1600 resolution and almost a 100% color gamut with Dolby Vision support. There is a high-quality HD camera on top within the bezels, which is useful for online business meetings and video conferencing.
Apple is always at the forefront of innovation. The new Macbook Air supports the latest WIFI protocols, including WiFi 6 and Bluetooth five wireless networks.
- Processor: Apple M1 chip
- Display: 13.3 inch screen size
- Memory: 8 GB
- Harddrive Capacity: from 256 GB to 512 GB
- Weight: 3 pounds
- Battery Life: 20 hours of battery life
- The MacBook Air has an amazing battery life; long hours of battery life means you can work more and charge less.
- Impressive display quality. The MacBook Air features a vivid display for optimal clarity and resolution.
- A lightweight laptop and a thin design are great for those roaming between work and home.
- Versatile – The MacBook Air is powerful enough for video editors or people who enjoy editing photos.
- Great build quality.
- Quiet! – The MacBook Air has no moving parts or fans, so it is as quiet as an iPad.
- Quiet keyboard.
- Well, everything good does come at a price. But if you want the best…
2. microsoft surface Laptop 4 – Top Performance Laptop ( Windows )
If you want a high-performance “Windows laptop,” the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 is a fantastic option. In an effort to compete with Apple’s best-selling and most powerful MacBook Pro portfolio, Microsoft unveiled the Surface Book Laptops series.
The touch screen and keyboard are where the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 beats the MacBook Pro. The Surface Laptop and Apple’s Macbook Pro are fairly close in terms of performance and specifications, both are outstanding laptops, among the best laptops for remote work.
Aside from the operating system, the main difference between the two is that the Surface has a touch screen, large touchpad, and and a very quiet keyboard. As a result, this laptop is a little more versatile than a MacBook Pro.
- Processor: 10th Gen Intel Core i7
- Display: 13.5 inches
- Memory: 16 GB
- Harddrive Capacity: from 256 Gb
- Weight: 3 pounds
- Battery Life: 17 hours of battery life
- This is a great business and home laptop with incredible performance ready for “heavy” applications.
- Versatile – thanks to its touchscreen, touchpad, and keyboard.
- Use the Surface Pen with design applications.
- Long battery life—17 hour battery life.
- Very lightweight.
- I wish it had more USB C ports.
3. The MacBook Pro Top Performance Laptop ( Apple OS )
The MacBook Pro is part of Apple’s flagship products and is arguably their most popular product. The MacBook Pro series is a top performance laptop, and if your budget permits it, these machines will not disappoint. This laptop, like the Surface Book, delivers performance by comprising only the best hardware components.
Everything from the display to the processor, graphics cards, Wi-Fi, and solid-state drive is up to date. The MacBook Pros are dependable and are available in lower-cost versions. You can also pick up older models that are less expensive but still offer top levels of performance.
Bloggers, video editors, and photographers choose the Pro Laptops. Mostly because of their performance, but also because of the high quality of their displays.
- Processor: M1 Pro
- Display: 13, 14 and 16 inch screens available
- Memory: 8 to 64 GB
- Storage Capacity: from 256GB to 8TB
- Weight: 3 to 5 pounds (depends on the model).
- Battery Life: 17 to 21 hours (depends on the model)
- This is a light high performance model. Users love these laptops because of their ease of use, reliability, and performance.
- The image quality is unrivaled – the Macbook Pro features a Retina display.
- Integration with all your Apple products.
- Long battery life
- This level of performance comes at a price but you are getting the “cream of la creme”
- Older models lack the latest M1 CPU, which provides higher performance and uses less battery life but remain less expensive.
4. The Asus Swift 3 (Best Value Pick) – affordable laptop
The Acer Swift 3 is a great, affordable laptop laptop under $700 that features a powerful CPU and an amazing screen.
The notebook features an AMD Ryzen processor and a full HD monitor display. You get security features like Windows Hello for facial recognition and an integrated fingerprint scanner.
The battery life is adequate at almost 11 hours, but expect this number to decrease if you are streaming video or using power-hungry applications. Overall, this is the best low-cost computer for office work at home, and you get a lot of laptop for your money.
- Great value, affordable laptop – you get a great laptop for your money.
- Fantastic battery life.
- Built-in Alexa!
- Lightweight computer.
- It would be nice to get more memory, but this is an affordable laptop.
5. The HP Envy x360 ( Most Versatile / 2 in One )
The HP ENVY x360 is a very versatile laptop that can be used for anything from work to play. Remote working with this laptop is easy and a great option. This is a 2 in one laptop. Meaning you can use it as a regular laptop or flip it to use as a tablet and type or draw using the touch screen.
The HP ENVY x360 also comes with a stylus pen for drawing and taking notes which you can put away on the side of the laptop so it’s always within reach.
The keyboard features backlighting with different brightness settings to choose from, which is nice when remote working on dark rooms or areas with poor lighting.
One thing that really stands out about this machine is how light it is compared to other laptops. It weighs just 4.3lbs which makes it great for moving around the house or commuting between the office and home.
- Processor: Intel Core i7 1165g7 chip processor
- Display: 15 inch screen
- 7. Memory: 16GB RAM ( 32GB and 64GB available )
- Storage Capacity: from 512GB to 1TB SSD
- Weight: 4.3 pounds
- Battery Life: 8 to 10
- The HP ENVY x360 is a very versatile laptop it can be used as a tablet, to take notes and draw using the active pen.
- Light Laptop easy to carry around
- Fast processor and plenty of memory for multitasking.
- The active pen allows you to drawing when using design software.
- Be careful with the lid hinges, is nice to fold these laptops 360 degrees but those hinges are delicate.
6. The Dell XPS 13 – Good Performance
The XPS 13 is a very good laptop and a great option. Dell is known for offering affordable and reliable laptops, but the XPS models are built to deliver good performance. The XPS 13 series is Dell’s premium line of laptops.
The Dell XPS 13 is a high-end notebook and features high-quality components. This laptop is powered by the Intel Core i7-1185 G7 processor and has a 13.4-inch infinity-edge HD+ LED display.
You also get the latest technology, including WIFI six and Bluetooth 5.
The display has an anti-reflective coating aimed at reducing glare, and combined with Dolby Vision, the results are amazing graphics and a high-quality monitor display.
- Incredible battery life.
- Thin laptop, easy to carry and light.
- Powerful Intel Core Processor.
- Performance does come at a price.
7. Microsoft Surface Pro 7 – Best Laptop / Tablet Combo
The Microsoft Surface Pro is similar in quality to the Mac Air and other Mac computers. This is a high quality computer. This laptop features a high resolution screen, an Intel Core i5 processor, and a fast solid state drive ( 128GiGs)
- Excellent Battery Life.
- Light and slim at only 1.7 pounds
- Touch Screen.
- Everything good comes at a price.
8. Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 (Best Chromebook for Remote Work)
The Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 has a 13-inch Full HD display touchscreen. Under the hood, the Chromebook is powered by a 10th generation i3 Intel CPU.
The Intel UHD GPU is embedded in the chips and provides 2GB of memory and 64 GB of eMMC storage. This Chromebook boasts a 10-hour battery life. It supports WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5 connectivity devices and is a solid option for under $500.
- Chromebooks are secure computers.
- Great for web and online applications.
- Can’t install some businesses applications.
9. The Acer Aspire 5 – Best Budget Laptop for working remotely
The Acer Aspire 5 is a great option for most remote workers, and this laptop is affordable. Still, for your money, you get a nice HD display, an Intel Core 3 processor, 8 GIGs of RAM, and a 256 GB SSD storage drive. The Acer Aspire 5 delivers performance for the money.
For your money, you get the latest technology, including WIFI 6 and built-in Alexa. For remote work, having a good web camera is important, and this computer includes a built-in HD webcam.
- Great value, the Acer Aspire 5 is priced very competitive.
- The Acer Aspire 5 offers great battery life.
- Touchscreen laptop.
- Battery life is not as long as other laptops in this list.
10. Lenovo IdeaPad 3 -Great Choice
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 laptop is a mid-range laptop containing several handy features. The display quality is actually very good and is OK for indoor use.
The newest laptop runs a powerful AMD CPU-based Ryzen 5 55000U. You can expect between 7-8 hours of real-world use battery life on a single charge. This is a Windows 10 Home computer.
Buyer’s Guide – Things to consider when buying a laptop for working from home
The reality is that more companies have made the switch and now have fully remote departments. Not all laptops on the market offer the right features A laptop for remote work or for a digital nomad needs to include certain features, for example, a heavy laptop will not be a great traveling companion.
Some brands have clever ways of marketing their products, but a closer look at specifications like hours of battery life, the amount of RAM memory, and other factors will quickly give you an idea of the quality of the laptop.
If you are looking for a budget laptop, you might need to settle for lower specifications, but you can still find good laptops for working remotely.
If you are looking for a laptop for remote work, this Buyer’s Guide will help you identify the features and specs to look for.
How do I choose a good laptop for remote work, on the road or Working Remotely from home?
Weight in the factors below and prioritize what’s most important to you. If walking around the house with your laptop is important, lean towards a light laptop with good battery life. If you love fast PC computers, then focus on processors and memory.
On the other hand, if money is not a problem, any of the laptops on our list will have everything you’ll need to work from home and in the buyer’s guide that follows!
If you like working in the peace and quiet of a coffee shop, lean towards a long battery life and a good WiFi card. Also features like a headphone jack will come in handy when working in public places.
Size and weight
High-end laptops tend to be light compared to cheaper laptops of the same size, as good laptops use the best components and parts. However, you can still find inexpensive light laptops.
Laptops with bigger screens will tend to be heavier and bulkier. Companies like Apple have managed to find a great balance between size and weight, and their laptops offer great monitor size to weight ratios.
If you are planning on commuting with your laptop or walking around the house while working, consider the laptop’s size and weight.
The processor of a PC computer is the brain, the better the processor, the faster the laptop can perform its calculations. Better processors are faster but also cost more. This is one area where you can find yourself spending a lot of money if you are not careful.
You might not need the fastest and best Intel Core processors for a home laptop. Also, keep in mind the more powerful the processor is, the more battery power it will consume.
Staying in the middle of the CPU performance spectrum is recommended for a home computer. A mid-range CPU will be enough for word processing, email, and basic office tasks unless you are working on CAD design, video, or photo editing.
AMD processors are less expensive than Intel processors and are suitable for office work. Then there is Apple’s new M1 processor is designed to offer the best performance levels as efficiently as possible. M1 chips are the latest chip added for Apple’s Macbooks and MacBook machines.
RAM and Hard Drive Storage
Computer RAM or Computer memory is the amount of “quick access space” the computer has to server data to the processor. The faster the processor can access data from the memory storage, the faster the computer operates. So it makes sense to have as much RAM memory as possible to have as much data available to the process.
For example, suppose you own a small desk and are working on a big project. In that case, you will not have enough space to lay down documents that you often need access to. Still, suppose you own a large desk. In that case, you can have a large mess of documents lying around your desk and reference these documents quickly when needed while working on your project. The same can be said about computer memory.
The good news is that computer memory is now reasonably priced, and even a budget laptop can be purchased with adequate memory. If your budget allows, try not to go lower than 8GB of RAM.
This is one area where you may save money unless your profession requires editing images and videos. Many consumers are attracted by video card specs and buy laptops with pricey video cards that they will never use.
Today most laptops included integrated graphics cards good enough for the average computer user. You will see laptops with features like “integrated Intel XE GPU, INtel Iris XE graphics,” these are integrated graphics cards.
Integrated graphics cards help with battery life, but if you need a laptop with strong video performance, then laptops with a dedicated video card such as an Nvidia graphics card should be at the top of your list.
So, in short, laptops with processor integrated video cards will be less expensive, and laptops with a dedicated graphics card will cost more but will yield the best video performance.
A good webcam
Web cameras were once considered a commodity and, in some circumstances, a waste of money and space. A laptop without a camera is now obsolete.
We utilize cameras to record video, video calls, meetings, and other activities. A decent webcam is essential, especially if you work from home.
On a home laptop, you do not need a 4K camera. Even the best laptops for remote work can’t beat a high-quality external camera, but you don’t need that. Ensure that the laptop has an HD camera so that you can send high-quality photographs and video and participate in video meetings, that’s all you need.
Screen quality is important, and we recommend spending as much of your budget on a good quality display monitor. Why? Because this is what your eyes will be staring at for hours. Sure, a fast laptop is lovely, but starting a crappy monitor for hours can be painful and trying. Laptops for remote work don’t need to have the greatest monitor in the world, but it does help to have something with good resolution to avoid straining your vision.
Apple has nailed it with their Retina Displays, and the Macbook Pro models are known for offering stunning displays.
Speed and functionality
To understand whether a laptop is suitable for working at home, we have to consider the speed or features of the laptop. Your laptop doesn’t have to be the fastest on the market. It must have enough power to handle the job.
I recommend at least an i5 processor (later generation or most recent generation) with at least 8 GIGs of RAM. If you do some resource-intensive work like video editing, you’ll want at least 16GIGs of memory.
You will also want a USB mouse, an external display port, and a MicroSD card reader for working with pictures and videos.
You will also want at least two USB ports and the ability to connect an external display. If you deal with photos or want to transfer photos from devices like DSRL cameras, then an SD card slot or micro SD card reader should be considered.
A Long Battery life
You will appreciate battery life if you’re not hooked up to a power source all day. Long hours of battery life means you can work wherever you go, including in the yard, garden, balcony, coffee shops, or at the playground down the street.
A laptop battery that lasts a long time is important for a number of reasons. But what it means for you don’t have to worry about your battery dying while you’re in the middle of working on something important.
Another reason is that it means you don’t have to waste time charging your laptop battery. Having to wait for fir your laptop to be fully charged and ready before you can head out to your next meeting is irritating, to say the least.
This freedom allows you to work everywhere without worrying about energy sources. Six hours of battery life is my minimum.
TIPS: How to make your laptop battery last longer
There are a number of tricks and tips you can use in order to make your laptop battery last as long as possible. The first thing you should do is calibrate your battery. Many modern laptops have batteries that can be calibrated by going into the power settings of Windows 10 or Windows 11.
Sometimes it’s necessary to calibrate the battery by depleting it and then fully charging it multiple times. This makes sure your laptop knows exactly how much power can be stored in the battery.
Another tip is to turn down your display brightness while you’re on battery power. If you have your display brightness set at 100% while you’re on battery power, it will cause your laptop battery to use up its energy much faster than if you kept the brightness lower.
Unload bloatware and necessary applications. Those junky applications will not only slow down your computer but will also run in the background and consume battery power.
Lastly, showdown unnecessary applications and browser tabs. Multiple browser taps will consume a lot of power, especially if those taps are running videos or graphic-intensive pages.
Ask your employer about remote connectivity Options
Most businesses price what’s known as a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection for employees to securely connect from home or abroad. In short, your employer’s IT department will install a small software client on your laptop so you can connect to the company’s network and access servers, programs, and files. They also know the system requirements for running their VPN software.
What’s important here is to ask what type of method your employer is using for accessing your work remotely. Are they using a VPN? Then make sure you ask if the VPN client is compatible with Apple OS, Windows, or even Chrome OS.
Mac vs. PC
Much depends on the user’s tastes when it comes to Apple and Windows Operating System. Suppose you adore your iPhone and appreciate the innovations that Apple incorporates into all of its products. In that case, an Apple laptop will make you very happy.
Apple products are often more expensive than some Windows laptops, but you do get a lot of quality. In fact, the laptop I am using to write this article is a 2019 MacBook Pro, and it is still in perfect condition!
Which is better, Mac OS or Windows?
Windows users have to be more concerned about malware and computer crashes than Mac users. On the other hand, a Windows laptop will interact better with business apps, and your company may not support Apple products in some cases. But, once again, it is all up to you.
Apple products appeal to me because they are dependable, long-lasting, and high-performing. That is not to imply that you cannot find good Windows laptops like the ones on our list.
On the other hand, you will find a broader range of Windows laptops.
What are the three things to think about before purchasing a laptop to work from home?
Three things you should consider is the monitor display quality, performance and WiFi connectivity. When working long hours on your computer, having a nice monitor display helps aliaviate eye strain. A powerful laptop will let you multitask and handle heavy workloads, and a decent WiFi card will guarantee you can connect to wireless networks at high rates.
What sort of CPU should one look for in laptops for working remotely?
If you plan on doing a lot of multitasking and handling a great deal of work, aim for at least an Intel i5, and if your budget allows it, the Intel core i7 is a strong CPU. If your budget is limited or you only require a laptop for light duty work such as answering emails and working on online apps, a less powerful CPU will do.
How much does a good laptop cost?
You can expect to pay anywhere from 500 dollars to two thousand dollars for a good laptop, but how much you spend also depends on what you consider “good.”
For example, I like fast PC computers. I cannot deal with a slow computer, and you could say that I am a bit impatient, but when working on multiple applications and multitasking, I need speed and long battery life.
So I tend to spend money on laptops with large amounts of memory and the best processing power I can afford. A laptop with those specs will be more in the one to two thousand dollar range.
If you just want a lightweight laptop with good file storage and decent speeds, you can likely find a good laptop in the $500 to $1,000 price range.
Are Chromebooks worth it?
Chromebooks are great for people whose work is mostly done on web websites, using remote desktops or apps. These are secure, simple, and frequently, bargain laptops.
If you mainly work with web applications or websites, these Chromebooks can be a cost-effective option.
One Last Word
So which is the best laptop for working from home? The best laptop for working from home needs to have a good battery life, a good WiFi card, and be lightweight. That being said, consider the Mac Air or Pro if you want a really good laptop and your budget allows it. The Microsoft Surface is a fantastic Windows laptop if you prefer Windows over Apple OS.
If you are on a budget, consider the Acer Aspire.