Laptops are compact enough to carry with you, yet versatile enough to run demanding applications. Notebooks are the best tool for doing serious work or play whether you're at home, on the road or in a college classroom. For those reasons, we've compiled lists of the best business laptops and best college laptops, not to mention our best laptops rankings for most users.

While standalone tablets and smartphones are always popular, most people realize that everything from typing a research paper to crunching videos to gaming works better on a laptop. So what type of laptop should you get? We put together a laptop buying guide to help you out.

There's a wide variety of sizes, features and prices, which makes choosing the best laptop a challenge. That's why you need to figure out what your needs are. So read about what is a good size for a gaming laptop.

Quick Tips

These are the most important things to consider when choosing a new laptop. For a lot more detail, see the sections below.

  • 5 to 14-inch screens offer the best balance between usability and portability. Larger screens are fine if you don't travel much and smaller models are great for kids.
  • If you're spending over $600, shoot for these minimum specs: Core i5 or Ryzen 5 CPU 1920 x 1080 screen 8GB of RAM and SSD Storage instead of a hard drive.
  • 9+ hours of battery life is ideal if you plan to take your laptop anywhere at all.
  • Consider a 2-in-1 laptop (either a bendback or detachable) if you want to use your laptop as a tablet. If not, a standard clamshell notebook may be a better choice.
  • Chromebooks are good for kids and students and their functionality is expanding rapidly. Windows 10 laptops and MacBooks both offer plenty of functionality; which platform you prefer is a matter of personal taste.