Whether you’re a musician or a professional DJ, having one of the best laptops packed right next to your headphones is important. You’re going to need one of the best processors and plenty of fast RAM, as these will help the best laptops for musicians handle multiple music tracks. Also, a fast SSD, capacious hard drive or both is also recommended, as you’ll be working with large file sizes.
And, if you have to travel from gig to gig all the time, you need a laptop that can handle a beating or two. You probably don’t need to go all out, picking up one of the best rugged laptops, but you should definitely look for a laptop that won’t break if you look at it the wrong way. And, while we’re on the subject of mobility, a thin and light Ultrabook will do wonders for your back.
To make it easy to find your next laptop, we went ahead and included our exclusive price comparison tool, so you know you’re finding the best deal. If you want to see a more comprehensive list of prices and retailers, just click the ‘see all prices’ link on each widget.
The best laptops for music production and DJs:
1. Apple MacBook 12" (2016)
Apple remains the number one choice for music makers and DJs
CPU: Intel Core M3 1.2GHz - Intel Core i7 1.4GHz | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 12-inch, (2,304 x 1440) IPS 16:10 | Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD
The new Apple MacBook is the slimmest, slickest and best-looking Macbook the Cupertino company has ever created, and it’s one of the best selling laptops on the market. This, along with the excellent music production software available for Macs means it’s the best laptop for music production. It’s an extremely slim and light notebook that you can take anywhere without even noticing the weight, and gives you the same slick macOS performance.
Read the full review: Apple Macbook
2. MacBook Pro (15-inch, mid-2018)
The most powerful MacBook ever made
CPU: 6-core Intel Core i7 - i9 | Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 540X - 560X, Intel UHD Graphics 630 | RAM: 16 - 32GB | Screen: 15.4-inch, 2,880 x 1,800 Retina display | Storage: 512GB - 4TB SSD
For years, the MacBook Pro has had a reputation as being the go-to laptop for musicians all over the world, and the 2018 version is no different. As long as you can justify the price of entry, the MacBook Pro is one of the best laptops for musicians. With its Core i9 CPU and up to 32GB of RAM, you’re going to be able to load up as many tracks as you want in Logic Pro X without crippling your laptop. It’s also surprisingly durable – you don’t need to worry about things bumping into it in your tour bag, thanks to its robust aluminum unibody design.
3. Surface Pro 6
The Windows tablet, refined
CPU: 8th-gen Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 12.3-inch, 2,736 x 1,824 PixelSense display | Storage: 128GB – 1TB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.1 | Camera: 8MP rear-facing, 5MP front-facing
If you want a music production laptop that can double as a Windows tablet in your downtime, the Surface Pro 6 should be at the top of your list. Not only does it pack the hardware necessary for music production, but it has a beautiful display, and plenty of legacy connections for connecting your equipment. It lacks USB-C and Thunderbolt 3, but if you’re just in it for music production, that shouldn’t really matter.
Read the full review: Surface Pro 6
4. Dell XPS 13 (2018)
The best gets better
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) | Storage: 128GB – 256GB SSD
The Dell XPS 13 has been one of the best laptops you can buy for a few years running now, and the 2018 version is no different. For aspiring music producers, the XPS’ move to an 8th-generation Intel Kaby Lake R CPU should be appealing, as it will trim down the time it takes to process tracks, allowing you to minimize downtime. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to find a 1TB storage drive anymore, but when you get a laptop that looks this good and runs this fast – it’s a worthy tradeoff.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 13 (2018)
5. Surface Laptop 2
Microsoft’s laptop, perfected
CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i5-i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.5-inch 2,256 x 1,504 PixelSense Display | Storage: 128GB - 1TB SSD
With all the 2-in-1 laptops that convert into a tablet, packed with unnecessary features, sometimes a straight Windows 10 laptop is just what you need. Luckily, Microsoft has released the Surface Laptop 2, one of the best laptops in its arsenal. Not only does this thing feature a quad-core processor and plenty of RAM, but it has a lovely touch display and all the ports you need – even if it’s lacking Thunderbolt 3. As long as you don’t need Logic Pro X, you really can’t go wrong with the Surface Laptop 2 – it’s one of the best laptops for music production.
Read the full review: Surface Laptop 2
6. MacBook Air (2018)
Thinner. Lighter. Faster.
CPU: 8th-generation Dual-core Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 617 | RAM: 8GB-16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch Retina (2,560 x 1,600) | Storage: 128GB – 1.5TB PCIe SSD | Dimensions (W x D x H): 30.41 x 21.24 x 1.56cm
We’ve been left wanting for a new MacBook Air for a few years now, and we finally got a new one. The new MacBook Air brings Apple’s thin and light mainstream laptop into the modern day with a sleek aluminum build, a Retina display and an actual modern processor. This all makes for one of the best laptops for musicians that want to stay with macOS – though you’ll want to invest in a couple of dongles, the two Thunderbolt 3 ports aren’t compatible with a lot of music equipment.
Read the full review: MacBook Air
7. Dell XPS 15
The best 15-inch laptop available this year
CPU: Intel Core i5-7300HQ - i7-7700HQ | Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce GTX 1050 with 4GB GDDR5 | RAM: 8GB - 16GB DDR4 | Screen: Up to 15.6-inch Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) InfinityEdge touchscreen | Storage: 1TB HDD - 512GB SSD
If you're looking for a larger and more powerful laptop for running music production software on, then the Dell XPS 15 could be for you. Packing the same InfinityEdge technology as the smaller XPS 13, the screen extends right to the edge of the machine which means it's as small as it's possible to make a 15-inch laptop in 2017. It's quite pricey though, depending on which version you get. The very top end version has a 4K color-accurate display, which can give you an excellent overview of all the tracks you're working on.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 15
- Want more choices? Check out our list of the best laptops of 2018