Our continually updated list of all the best laptops available today.

Choosing the right laptop is even more confusing than ever - so we're here to help with our regularly updated guide to the best laptops.

The release of Windows 8.1 and its subsequent update has pulled the OS further towards the touch and tablet future, even if the Start menu has returned. This, along with the performance boost Windows 8.1 offers, is a boon for the vast array of laptop-tablet hybrids now flooding the market.

Apple's range of MacBooks still continue to impress and we've even seen Chromebooks gradually emerge as not only affordable laptops but as fashionable coffee-house companions.

Thankfully, cheap laptops are more powerful and capable than ever before as the likes of ARM, AMD, Intel and Nvidia continue to integrate both processor and graphics for optimum performance. This has meant that high-end devices are becoming perfectly good replacements for your desktop computer, able to cope with more intensive programs.

Those after a fast boot up time and a lightweight machine to carry might drool over an Intel Ultrabook, which is essentially a marketing name for a thin and light laptop with an Intel Core processor, but there are also plenty of manufacturers pumping out ultraportable equivalents.

Serious gamers will want a machine tailored to their processing needs, which will still generally means discrete graphics, while those after flexibility might fancy a convertible laptop-tablet hybrid.

What's in this list

Here we look at some of the best Windows, OS X and Chrome OS laptops from the last six months - those that really excel themselves in our extensive testing processes this year. We've arranged them into categories to help you find the best one to suit your needs.

All of the machines listed here are laptops or convertible laptop-tablets that fall more on the side of laptop than tablet - and that includes devices, such as Microsoft's Surface Pro series.

But standard tablets running iOS and Android aren't here - these are covered in our tablets area of the site. Similarly, all-in-one touchscreen computers and other desktop PCs are listed in our PC and Mac desktop reviews instead.

Our list contains the best laptops that really excelled in our extensive testing processes this year. We've arranged them into categories to help you find the one that best suits your needs. You can also see the best deals on these laptops through a future update.

Key things to consider when buying a laptop

When considering what to buy, think about your needs and your most important factor, be it laptop battery life or screen size. The most important part is to be honest about what you need, and you could save a fortune on getting the best laptop for you.

Crucially, set yourself a budget and stick to it. You could always get something that costs "a bit more" - but is it right for your needs?

Since this article seeks to round up the best laptops available, we are only listing those we have fully tested and reviewed in real life situations - this list does not include our hands on reviews. For more detail on what this means, check out our TechRadar Reviews Guarantee.

For now, here are the great machines we have tested and loved so far: