If you’re considering swapping your Windows or Mac laptop for a Chromebook, it’s because you like the idea of a machine that’s more affordable, and lightweight. But with so many to choose from, at a range of different prices, which is the best Chromebook for you? Don’t worry – we’ve tested hundreds of the best budget laptops on sale, and have you covered with this extensive list.
Running on Google’s Chrome OS, Chromebooks are heavily dependent on the cloud. In other words, a lot of your most-used apps, like Google docs for word processing, will run online. Documents and photos, too, with primarily be stored online in your Google Drive account. There are advantages and disadvantages to this of course, but you can set things up so that things are available offline too, and the focus on the cloud means that hardware like processors and RAM don’t need to be as powerful. In other words, while there are some exceptions, Chromebooks tend to be cheaper and more nimble.
With the ability to run Android apps, there’s plenty of opportunity for work and play too, with lightweight gaming an option as well. As long as you’re not expecting the same full-fat PC gaming experience (or a video-rendering powerhouse), a Chromebook could be the ideal choice for someone looking for a simple, fast, and cheaper machine, for standard PC tasks. That said, the new Chromebook Plus program promises more PC-like specs and higher-quality displays for not a lot more cash than a typical Chromebook model.
There are, of course, plenty of options out there. Too many, in fact. Narrowing down the best ones can be a tricky process, so we’ve decided to do the legwork for you. Below, you’ll find a range of the best Chromebooks across various budgets from different brands, and we’re sure one of them will fit the bill perfectly for your needs.
If you’re looking for something a little more powerful? Check out Stuff’s guide to the best premium laptop.
What’s the best Chromebook?
We think the Google Pixelbook Go (check price) is the best Chromebook for most people. It’s the only Chromebook that comes from Google itself, so if you’re looking for the purist Chromebook experience, this is it. We love its premium build quality and how satisfying the keyboard is to type on, while the lightweight magnesium chassis means it tips the scales at just 1kg.
Other best Chromebook recommendations
Before we jump into the full list of the best Chromebooks, here’s a quick peek at our three top picks:
The Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (buy now) is the second-cheapest pick on our list, blending portability, affordability, and just enough power to suit casual users’ needs. And all without blowing a mighty hole in your bank account.
The Google Pixelbook Go (buy now) if you’re a Google fan and want the Apple-like experience of owning a machine where the hardware and software has been designed by the same company. For that, Google’s own Pixelbook Go is the best choice. Its superb keyboard and battery life don’t hurt either.
The Asus CX9 (buy now) is pricey, but can match even high-end Windows laptops for raw specs and power. With a Full HD touchscreen, Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, it’s up there with the most powerful Chromebooks ever made.
The best Chromebooks you can buy today:
1. Google Pixelbook Go
If you want a light and stylish laptop and spend most of your time in the cloud, it’s for you.
- 10 hour+ battery
- Lovely, lightweight design
- Silent keyboard
- Excellent webcam
- Not the best specs
- There are cheaper alternatives
|Google Pixelbook Go specs|
|Processor||8th Gen Intel Core m3, i5, or i7|
|RAM||8GB / 16GB of RAM|
|Storage||64GB / 128GB / 256GB SSD|
|Display||3.3in, 16:9 touchscreen; HD (1920 x 1080) or 4K (3840 x 2160)|
The Pixelbook Go gets a lot right – stunning design, long-lasting battery and portability factor.
It does just boil down to what is a luxurious Chromebook with a touchscreen and an in-built assistant – and we’d recommend this to anyone who travels a lot and uses Google’s suite of apps. The webcam is another plus for those who have a lot of web meetings.
If you’re usually in browser mode and use cloud-based apps for work, then the Pixelbook Go is the ideal companion.
- Read more: Google Pixelbook Go review
2. Acer Chromebook Spin 311
If you want a compact Chromebook, the Spin 311 is for you, thanks to its 11.6in display. Not only small, but the display is also a touchscreen that spins through 360 degrees
- Compact design
- High build quality
- 360-degree touchscreen
- Screen could be too small for some
- Limited storage
|Acer Chromebook Spin 311|
|Processor||AMD A4-9120C, dual-core 1.60GHz|
|Battery||15 hours (claimed)|
Acer’s Chromebook Spin 311 is one of the cheapest laptops out there, making it an ideal choice for those on a very tight budget. While obviously not the most spec-rammed machine on our list (it’s got a MediaTek 8183 processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage), it’s hard to argue with its tempting price tag.
If your needs are basic (read: word processing, simple apps, browsing and emailing), then this little 11.6in machine could be the perfect wallet-friendly solution. It’s unlikely to handle the latest AAA Android games, mind, but if you know what you’re after, it’s definitely in the running for bargain of the year.
3. Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5
Thanks to its OLED display, good performance and incredible battery life, this is a high-spec Chromebook that even doubles as a tablet
- Great battery life
- OLED display
- Compromised as a tablet
- Stylus not included
|Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 specs|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen2, 2.55GHz|
|Display||13.3in, OLED touchscreen|
|Battery||Up to 15 hours (claimed)|
Lenovo’s 2-in-1 option is a superb mid-range Chromebook with a detachable keyboard for converting it to a tablet in an instant. A compact 13.3in screen still offers plenty of room for touchscreen shenanigans, and its Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 processor and 8GB of RAM combo should comfortably handle any task you throw at it.
While it might not have quite the same raw punch as, say, an Intel-powered Chromebook, its power-sipping chip makes for an incredibly impressive battery life, with up to 15 hours of use available per charge.
4. Acer Chromebook 314
We’re big fans of this low-price Chromebook, thanks to its large screen, thin chassis and great battery life
- Good battery life
- Light and thin design
- Limited storage
- Not suitable for intensive tasks
|Acer Chromebook 314 specs|
|Processor||Intel Celeron N4000, 1.1Ghz, dual-core|
|Battery||Up to 12 hours (claimed)|
Acer’s Chromebook 314 is even cheaper than the company’s own Spin 311, and you’re unlikely to find another laptop from a known manufacturer cheaper than this without scouring auction sites. Naturally, it’s got the power of a sewing machine engine compared to the V8-like alternatives of more expensive Chromebooks on this list. But if you’re really after the most basic of tasks like emailing and browsing, its lightweight processor, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage should be enough — especially as you can rely on the cloud for most of your needs.
5. Asus Chromebook CX9
Excellent performance – for a Chromebook – plus great battery life and a very thin body puts this Asus among our favourites
- Strong performance
- Great battery life
- Very thin and light
- Webcam only 720p
- Expensive for a Chromebook
|Asus Chromebook CX9 specs|
|Processor||Intel Core i5, 2.4Ghz|
|Battery||Up to 14 hours (claimed)|
Simply put, the CX9 is one of the most powerful Chromebooks out there, and its specs match that of a high-end Windows PC, hence its lofty price tag. With an 11th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD drive for speedy storage, it’ll give even “proper” laptops a run for their money.
If you want one of the top Chromebooks out there then feel free to drop the cash on this no-compromise, touchscreen experience. Just bear in mind that you could get a similarly-specced Windows machine for around the same price, with all the Windows apps and features thrown in for good measure. If your heart’s set on Chrome OS though, you’re in for a treat.
6. Asus Flip CX3
We like how Asus includes a stylus with this Chromebook, and we especially like the USB-C ports, along with the speedy processor and compact design
- Thin and light
- Stylus included
- USB-C ports
- Limited storage
- More RAM would be welcome
|Asus Flip CX3 specs|
|Processor||MediaTek Kompanio 820, 2.2GHz|
|Battery||11 hours (claimed)|
With an Intel Core i3 processor, the CX3 is at the more powerful end of the convertible Chromebook spectrum. With a 14in screen that can flip around on itself for a tablet-like experience, it’s also got the advantage of being stylus-compatible (Asus Pen support), which is good news for doodlers, notetakers, and digital artists.
Its 10-hour battery life isn’t the best on this list, but if you’re set on a tablet-like Chromebook experience, then it’s definitely worth a look.
7. HP Chromebook X2
As much a tablet as it is a laptop, the Chromebook X2 packs great performance into a thin and lightweight package that’s great for traveling
- Great for lightweight travel
- Removable keyboard cover
- Not the cheapest Chromebook
|HP Chromebook X2 specs|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c, 2.4GHz|
|Display||11in, 2K, IPS touchscreen|
|Battery||Up to 11 hours (claimed)|
The HP X2 is similar to Lenovo’s Duet 5, powered by the same Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. It’s also got a detachable keyboard and built-in stand for transforming tricks. Where it sets itself apart though, is its screen.
It’s an 11in, pixel-packed Quad HD (2160 x 1440p) display, making it one of the sharpest Chromebook experiences around. From reading text to watching Netflix, it’s a superb pick for ravenous content consumers. With dual Bang & Olufsen speakers and a respectable 11 hours of claimed battery life, it’s got plenty of other positives going for it too.
8. Acer Chromebook Spin 713
The size and the specs make it ideal for anyone who wants a Chromebook that’s a bit more serious and polished, but still does the fun stuff too
- Excellent, vibrant display
- Impressive battery life
- Versatile, folding form factor
- Quite thick display bezels
- No desktop applications
- Not the cheapest Chromebook
|Acer Chromebook Spin 713 specs|
|Display||13.5in 2256 x 1504 60Hz IPS|
The Spin 713 is at the higher end of transforming Chromebooks, with a 13.5in Quad HD display that’s able to flip around for touchscreen tricks. With an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, it’s far from a slouch in the specs department either.
Its display is compatible with certain styluses for creatives looking to get their digital juices flowing, while a built-in HDMI port, USB-Type C port and Thunderbolt 4 place it up there with some of the more premium specced-out rivals on this list.
- Read more: Acer Spin 713 review
How to choose the best Chromebook
To buy the best Chromebook for you it’s important to find the right balance between cost and performance. Most Chromebooks are light, thin and highly portable, but not all offer much in the way of performance, so be prepared to up your budget if you require a machine that does more than web browsing. Another key question is to ask yourself whether you need a touchscreen or not, and whether you’d like a Chromebook that turns into a tablet by way of a detachable keyboard.
Next up, connections. Do you need to plug much into your Chromebook? And of those things you’d like to plug in, how many are USB-C? To avoid living the dongle life, we recommend picking a Chromebook with at least one such port, if that’s something you need.
Lastly, storage. Some Chromebooks really don’t have much internal storage at all. If you store everything in the cloud then there isn’t something to worry about, but if you want local storage for music, movies or other large files, then make sure you’re picking a machine with 128GB of storage or more.
Now, if you prefer Windows, you can read our guide to the best cheap laptops.
How we test the best Chromebooks
Like all other products, we set up and use Chromebooks as our own machines before reaching a verdict on whether you should buy them or not. We usually spend a week or longer reviewing each Chromebook, testing out its screen, keyboard and trackpad, as well as the performance of the processor and the all-important battery life.
For more information on Stuff’s rating and review process, read our page on how we test products.