The best laptops under $500 aren’t easy to come by these days. As things currently stand, there simply is not a large selection of laptops that are both excellent in quality and well manufactured that can be purchased in that price range.

People who are interested in purchasing a new laptop at a reasonable cost are fortunate in that there are currently a number of wonderful options available to them. The selection of laptops with prices lower than $500 that we have compiled for you below features some high-quality machines that may assist you in getting things done without putting undue strain on your financial resources.

The majority of these devices, it must be said, do not offer the most cutting-edge levels of performance or the most cutting-edge levels of industrial design. But you can purchase yourself a dependable laptop for working while you’re on the move, or you can get a durable device that you can give to children with the confidence that even if (when) they damage it, they won’t have ruined anything that’s particularly expensive. Either way, you have options.

It is particularly impressive that 2-in-1 devices such as the Lenovo Chromebook Duet and the Microsoft Surface Go 2 can be purchased for less than $500. These gadgets combine the functionality of a tablet and a laptop into a single, compact design. You will, unfortunately, be required to make some concessions, but not quite as many as you may expect.

The best laptops for less than $500 in 2022
(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

The best laptops for back to school under $500

Now that summer has here, many of us are thinking about going to the beach, having a barbecue, and shopping for back-to-school clothes and supplies. Because the best laptops for less than $500 are always in high demand when school begins back up, it is important to get a head start on your shopping as soon as possible. You are going to need a fantastic laptop that can be used for both works and play if you are going to be attending college or going back to school after some time away.

Since many of our top recommendations are presently on sale, now is an excellent time to purchase some of the world’s finest laptops. You can satisfy all of your purchasing requirements for this season by adhering to our back-to-school shopping guide.

What are the best laptops for less than $500 right now?

It can be difficult to find a good laptop that costs less than $500, but we are gradually expanding our selection to accommodate more reasonably priced machines as they become available on the market as well as hybrid devices that combine tablet and laptop functionality and are offered at prices that are competitive.

The Lenovo Chromebook Duet is currently our top pick for the best laptop that can be purchased for less than $500. It is classified as a Chrome tablet, but it can also function as a laptop thanks to the detachable keyboard that is included in the package at no additional cost. And with a price tag that is less than $300, it shouldn’t put too much of a strain on your finances.

Additionally, the Microsoft Surface Go 2 comes highly recommended as it is a very capable successor to the first, more affordable Microsoft hybrid tablet. Despite the fact that its specifications won’t set the computing world on fire, it nonetheless provides the power necessary to complete some work while traveling. Additionally, the design and cover for the keyboard are extremely remarkable.

And if you have a preference for Apple products, the iPad 2021 with the Smart Keyboard is a surprise and practical low-cost alternative to a laptop. Because of Apple’s enhancements to iPadOS, users now have an experience that is more comparable to that of a laptop. Even though you won’t be able to complete a particularly wide variety of jobs with such a device, you will have access to one of the most impressive and carefully selected app stores available.

The best laptops under $500

1. Lenovo Chromebook Duet

If you’re searching for a nice cheap laptop and don’t mind the concept of a hybrid tablet/Chromebook, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet could be for you. It has an 11.6-inch touchscreen display and is powered by Chrome OS. You do not need to pay for the tablet and the detachable keyboard separately, as is the case with the Microsoft Surface Go; but, that hybrid Windows 10 machine does offer a more premium experience.

Currently, you can purchase both the tablet and the detachable keyboard for the price of $245. The 10.1-inch tablet features a 2.0GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio P60T processor, an ARM G72 MP3 GPU, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of eMMC storage space; nevertheless, neither the power nor the storage capacity is particularly impressive.

However, this is irrelevant because it is a Chromebook, which relies almost exclusively on web-based services to perform laborious tasks instead of the Lenovo Chromebook Duet. A low specification also means that it won’t eat up a lot of battery juice. It also has an astonishingly crisp and bright display with a resolution of 1920 by 1080, which works just as well for speeding through emails and browsing the web as it does for binge-watching videos on YouTube.


  • Display: 10.1 inches, 1920 x 1200
  • CPU: MediaTek Helio P60T
  • GPU: ARM G72 MP3
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB eMMC
  • Weight: 2 pounds (docked)

Read our full Lenovo Chromebook Duet review.

2. Acer Aspire 5

The Acer Aspire 5 is a full laptop that can be purchased for less than $500, and it is a wonderful small machine so long as you don’t plan on unplugging it very frequently. If you want to learn more, click here. It has a fantastic assortment of ports, a display that is 15.6 inches and has a resolution of 1080p, and a full-size keyboard that is easy to type on.

In spite of this, it is not the budget all-star that its predecessor was because of its disappointing battery life: it lasted less than 7 hours in our lab testing, and in real-world conditions, it regularly started to run low after just a few hours of streaming video. This is because the battery has a lower capacity than its predecessor.

The Acer Aspire 5 is an excellent value if you need a new laptop now for not a lot of money; nevertheless, many of its peculiarities may be difficult to ignore, particularly its poor battery life. If you need a new laptop immediately for not a lot of money, consider purchasing it. Having said that, it fulfills all of the requirements for your fundamental computing demands, including providing consistent performance and a large number of ports.

Read our full Acer Aspire 5 review.

3. Acer Chromebook Spin 311

The Acer Spin 311 Chromebook is exactly what many people anticipate from a Chromebook: it is portable, affordable, and powerful enough to do both light work and casual gaming on a daily basis. The performance isn’t outstanding, but it’s sufficient to do light day-to-day chores. The keyboard is decent for a Chromebook of this size and price; the battery life is also solid; and although the price is low, the Chromebook is a good value.

The Spin 311 is one of the best Chromebooks for kids and is also capable of competing with some of the best Chromebooks available at a price point comparable to its own. It is an excellent choice for students, children, or anyone else looking for an extremely portable machine that gets the essentials right.


  • Display: 11.6 inches, 1366 x 768
  • CPU: 2.0GHz octa-core MediaTek MT8183
  • GPU: ARM Mali-G72 MP3
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 32 or 64 GB eMMC
  • Weight: 2.65 pounds

Read our full Acer Chromebook Spin 311 review.

4. Apple iPad 2021 with Smart Keyboard

Okay, so the iPad 2021 is not quite the same thing as a laptop. However, if you pay an additional $449 for an Apple Smart Keyboard, you can transform the tablet into a hybrid laptop for less than $500. This is made possible by the fact that the keyboard is sold separately. To put it another way, it’s somewhat comparable to the Microsoft Surface Go.

This iPad is reasonably capable, so you should be able to use it for tasks such as checking and responding to emails, drafting documents in Word, and performing some basic photo and video editing. To be fair, it’s not exactly a powerhouse machine, but then again, very few of these laptops are. And although while the iPad OS has some restrictions, it is still able to handle a significant portion of the activities that people engage in on a daily basis. The standard iPad is a versatile piece of hardware that can be used for a variety of tasks, from casual work to intense recreation, thanks to the abundance of high-quality software available in the Apple App Store.

Even if it appears to be a little out of date in comparison to the more costly iPad Air 5, we wholeheartedly recommend giving this iPad serious consideration for use as a secondary tablet.

Read our fullĀ Apple iPad 2021 review.5. Microsoft Surface Go 2

To add a little excitement to this list, we have the Microsoft Surface Go 2, which is available. It is a hybrid device, which means that in contrast to the other laptops, it is capable of performing double duty as both a Windows 10 tablet and a road warrior laptop. On the surface, the Surface Go 2 doesn’t appear to be all that different from its forerunner, with the exception of a nifty improvement in which Microsoft shrunk its bezels to suit a 10.5-inch display, rather than a 10-inch display; the screen still provides vivid and vibrant colors.

When the extra-cost Type-Cover accessory is added to the mix, the capabilities of the Microsoft Surface Go 2 are unleashed to their full potential. This raises the price of the entry-level Surface Go 2 tablet from $299 to $359, but in exchange, it transforms the device into a teeny-tiny laptop that is surprisingly competent.

However, in order to keep the price below $500, you will need to settle for an Intel Pentium Gold processor, just 4 gigabytes of random access memory (RAM), and 64 gigabytes of eMMC storage. People who want a 2-in-1 tablet for moderately lightweight productivity tasks like web browsing, word editing, and sending out a healthy batch of emails should be able to get by with those specifications, despite the fact that they are not particularly impressive.

But if you don’t want to work while you’re on the road, you can load it up with movies and videos, as well as a few independent games, because it’s compatible with Steam, and use those to pass the time during a boring commute. In addition, the Surface Go 2’s battery life has been improved in comparison to that of its forerunner, thus it should be able to continue functioning for a sufficient amount of time even while disconnected from an electrical outlet.


  • Display: 10.5-inches, 1920 x 1280
  • CPU: Intel Pentium Gold 4425Y
  • GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 615
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB eMMC
  • Weight: 1.22 pounds (1.75 pounds with type cover)

Read our full Microsoft Surface Go 2 review.

How to choose the best laptop under $500 for you

When shopping for a laptop that costs less than $500, it might be difficult to determine what features and capabilities to look for. You should not expect cutting-edge performance or a particularly high-end design from this product.

You may also need to make some concessions with regard to the display’s capabilities, such as how well it handles colors or how bright it can get. However, this does not imply that you are forced to settle for a laptop that has a low-quality feel; rather, it indicates that you are seeking one that is within your price range. When looking for a laptop that costs less than $500, here are a few things you should bear in mind.

Do you prefer Windows or Chrome? If you have less than $500, your options for a computer are restricted to those that run Windows 10 or Chrome OS, as even the most affordable MacBook Air 2020 model will be out of your price range. As a result of this, you will need to consider whether a laptop running Windows or a Chromebook is more suitable for your requirements.

Chrome OS is a lightweight operating system that can run on even the most fundamental hardware. In spite of this, it nonetheless offers a comprehensive suite of capabilities and web-based apps that can be used to do a significant number of day-to-day computer chores. In addition to that, it is now compatible with Android applications.

On the other hand, Windows 10 necessitates a tad bit more processing power to ensure that it operates without any hiccups. However, it is compatible with an extremely wide variety of software, far more than anything Chrome OS can even hope to handle in the near future. In addition, Windows 10 is always being updated, which means that even years after you’ve purchased your laptop, you’ll still have access to the most recent and advanced software that Microsoft has to offer.

Clamshell or convertible: Laptops available for less than $500 often fall into one of two categories: the more conventional clamshell laptops or the more versatile 2-in-1 convertibles. Clamshell laptops are typically the most affordable of the group. They offer a standard laptop experience, complete with a keyboard and a screen that does not support touch input. Convertibles, also known as detachable, like the Microsoft Surface Go, are an option to take into consideration if you want a touchscreen device that can also function as a tablet.

You shouldn’t be satisfied with anything less than 1080p: Unless you are extremely pressed for funds, you shouldn’t be satisfied with the majority of laptops that have a display resolution of 1366 x 768. There is a large selection of inexpensive notebooks that begin with a display resolution of 1080p, which will make a significant difference when it comes to watching shows on Netflix or working on projects in Word for extended periods of time.

The best budget laptops in 2022

The most reliable low-cost laptops are capable of handling both routine work and casual gaming. They do not cost an arm and a leg, but they do not feel cheap either. They give an adequate performance, attractive screens, and battery life that is sufficient. They do not cost an arm and a leg.

They don’t all come in the form of drab, grey clamshell computers, either. You may acquire an affordable premium laptop from the likes of Asus or Apple if you are willing to spend a little bit more money. Many of the greatest laptops that cost less than $500 are Chromebooks or tablets that have keyboards that can be detached.

To determine which brands and models offer the most value for the money, we put dozens upon dozens of laptops from the industry’s leading manufacturers through our battery of tests and evaluations. Here is a rundown of some of the most impressive low-cost laptops currently available on the market.

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