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Best laptops for teachers 2021: top notebooks for the classroom

Included in this guide:

A woman wearing glasses, presumably a teacher, using a laptop at a desk next to a stack of books
We gathered the best laptops for teachers because they deserve excellent tools (Image credit: Shutterstock)

To be considered the best laptop for teachers, a notebook has to check certain boxes. Not only does it need to be a capable and reliable machine but it needs to come at a reasonable price. Thankfully, a number of quality portables are within a teacher’s budget and also offer enough power and features to fit the bill. After all, an educator needs to be able to run all the necessary apps in the middle of class without having to deal with potential hiccups. 

The best laptops for educators need to have a decently powerful CPU as well as fast RAM to keep up. And, with all the homework, presentations, and documents a teacher needs at the ready, having enough storage space is a must. An educator’s portable needs to also have a great keyboard and trackpad, a good amount of ports, a thin and light design for easy portability, and a quality screen that won’t cause eye strain from extended use.

With all the different choices out there, it can be tough figuring out which machine is right for the job. So, we’ve rounded up our top picks to get you through online classes or in-person ones. And, our price comparison tool included should help you find the best deals on these laptops.

MacBook Air (M1, 2020) from the front against a white background

The MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is portable, powerful and comes with a long battery life. (Image credit: Apple)

Best Apple laptop for teachers on the budget

CPU: Apple M1
Graphics: Integrated 7-core /8-core GPU
RAM: 8GB – 16GB
Screen: 13.3-inch (diagonal) 2,560 x 1,600 LED-backlit display with IPS technology
Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Battery life is great+Silent in use+Keyboard very good
Reasons to avoid
-No new design-Fanless design could impact performance

The MacBook Air (M1, 2020) may have received a huge refresh with the new M1 chip, but the update thankfully did not come with a price increase. This impressive machine is still the cheapest of Apple’s laptop line, making it an ideal option for any teachers who want or need to stay in the Apple Ecosystem. And, while it doesn’t come with a radical redesign, that M1 chip offers an impressive performance boost, almost on par with the Intel-powered 13” Pros. Additionally, the battery life is phenomenal and the laptop’s fanless design means you won’t hear any annoying computer noise when using it. This is no doubt the best laptop for teachers 2021 has to offer.

Read the full review: MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 from the front against a white background

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 comes with many security features. (Image credit: Lenovo)

Best premium laptop for teachers

CPU: 11th generation Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: Intel Xe Plus
RAM: 8GB – 16GB
Screen: 14-inch, 1920 x 1200p, IPS touchscreen, 400 nit
Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Fantastic 16:10 display+Excellent battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive, especially on a teacher’s salary

There are a number of things that make the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 ideal for teachers. Not only does its fantastic screen with a wider 16:10 aspect ratio make organizing your workload easier, but it comes with a garaged stylus that will make grading homework a cinch. On top of that, it’s very portable, making it an easy laptop to carry around when needed. And, while it does come with a pretty hefty price tag, it’s worth it thanks to all the included security features, like a fingerprint scanner and webcam privacy shutter.

Read the full review: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6

HP Spectre x360 (2020) at an angle against a white background

The HP Spectre x360 (2020) comes with a gorgeous, gem-cut chassis. (Image credit: HP)

Best value laptop for teachers

CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics
RAM: up to 16GB
Screen: 13.3" FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS BrightView micro-edge WLED-backlit multitouch – 13.3" diagonal 4K (3840 x 2160) UWVA BrightView micro-edge AMOLED multitouch
Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Stylish and high-quality finish+Great all-around performance+Built-in security features are useful
Reasons to avoid
-Battery life takes a hit-Can run hot at times

The HP Spectre x360 (2020) isn’t just among the best-looking laptops out there. It also boasts plenty of power under the hood while staying lightweight and compact. Of course, it’s also a pleasure to use. Thanks to its incredible keyboard and trackpad, as well as glorious display, this is the best laptop for teachers who value a seamless and comfortable experience above other things. And, the storage options, selection of ports (two Thunderbolt 3 ports and one USB-A port) and 2-in-1 design should offer a lot of flexibility as well. The best part here, however, is the price – the HP Spectre x360 remains one of the best laptops out there that doesn’t compromise on affordability, which is why we’re giving it our best value pick.

Read the full review: HP Spectre x360 (2020) 

Two Acer Swift 3s, one open, the other partly closed against a white background

The small and portable Acer Swift 3 is a great value for teachers. (Image credit: Acer)

Best budget laptop for teachers

CPU: up to Intel Core i7-1065G7
Graphics: up to Intel UHD Graphics
RAM: 4GB – 8GB
Screen: 14-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) ComfyView IPS – 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080)
Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Superb keyboard and trackpad+Excellent performance+Very reasonably priced
Reasons to avoid
-Looks a little plain

If looks aren’t a main concern, but budget is, then go for the Acer Swift 3. This is the best laptop for teachers on a budget, packing in excellent performance as well as great features like a comfortable keyboard, accurate trackpad and decent battery life in a thin and lightweight chassis. All without setting you back much. The display isn’t anything to write home about, but it isn’t bad either at 1080p resolution on an IPS panel. As far as ports, it’s got everything you need – USB 2.0, USB 3.0, Thunderbolt 3 and HDMI. Really, the only thing that’s holding this back is its subpar speakers and plain overall design. But hey, if you’re saving money, those barely matter.

Read the full review: Acer Swift 3

Google Pixelbook Go at an angle against a white background

Looking for a premium yet affordable Chromebook? The Google Pixelbook Go is perfect. (Image credit: Google)

Best mid-range Chromebook for teachers

CPU: Intel Core m3 - Intel Core i7
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 615
RAM: 8GB - 16GB
Screen: 13.3-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) or 4K LCD touchscreen
Storage: 128GB - 256GB eMMC
Reasons to buy
+Incredible battery life+Amazing ‘Hush’ keyboard
Reasons to avoid
-Iffy pricing at mid- to- high-end-No biometric login

It’s widely known that Chromebooks are excellent for education. They’re not only straightforward and easy to use, as well as very secure, but also designed and streamlined for collaboration thanks to how its ChromeOS works. So what could be better for educators? For a mid-range choice, there’s the Google Pixelbook Go, one of the best Chromebooks on offer. Much like most Chromebooks, this has an astounding battery life so you can work through the whole school day, do your after class work and unwind with Netflix all on a single charge. It’s also got an amazing quiet keyboard, a rare 1080p webcam and a gorgeous design. The display and availability of ports could be better, but then again, if you’re looking for a laptop with a more lightweight structure, this isn’t surprising.

Read the full review: Google Pixelbook Go

Acer Chromebook 314 at an angle against a white background

The Acer Chromebook 314 may be budget, but its features are hardly that. (Image credit: Acer)

Best budget Chromebook for teachers

CPU: Intel Celeron N4000
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 600
Screen: 14-inch LED (1366 x 768) high definition
Storage: 32GB eMMC
Reasons to buy
+Excellent battery life and performance+Bright, crisp screen
Reasons to avoid
-No touchscreen-No fingerprint reader

Now, if a budget Chromebook is more your (or your budget’s) speed, then you cannot go wrong with the Acer Chromebook 314. It has all the makings of the ultimate, albeit budget, Chromebook. It’ll last you up to 13 hours on a single charge. It delivers impressive performance that’s great for multitasking. And, it’s simple to use. But, Acer also takes all that and tosses in a few features teachers will appreciate – a bright and crisp screen, terrific trackpad, satisfying keyboard, a laptop-esque design, and a port selection that rivals that of many laptops which includes two USB-A ports, two USB-C ports and a MicroSD card slot. The storage could be better here, but then again, you’re supposed to be saving all your work on the cloud, so it hardly matters.

Read the full review: Acer Chromebook 314

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 from the front against a white background

The gorgeous Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 has a lot of power. (Image credit: Asus)

Best laptop for engineering professors

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS – 9 4900HS
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
RAM: 16GB – 32GB
Screen: 14-inch Non-glare Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS-level panel, 120Hz – 14-inch Non-glare WQHD (2560 x 1440) IPS-level panel, 60Hz
Storage: 512GB / 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0
Reasons to buy
+Best battery life in a gaming laptop+Excellent performance+Thin and light
Reasons to avoid
-No webcam-Loud fans

Engineering professors need a powerful laptop themselves. So, while the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is originally intended as a staggering gaming laptop, it does have that heft inside that people in the engineering field will certainly find useful, making it among the best laptops for those learning and teaching engineering. It owes that to its graphics card, which delivers impressive graphics performance, and its AMD processor. What’s more is that it’s thin and light, making it ideal for carrying around campus, has best-in-class battery life so you can last up to 9 hours without charging, and boasts a keyboard that’s comfortable to type on. As for the display, you have the option to get the 1080p one with a blazing-fast 120Hz refresh rate.

Read the full review: Asus Zephyrus G14 

MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) from the above against a white background

The MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) has plenty of power for teachers of graphics design and video editing. (Image credit: Apple)

Best laptop for teachers of design and video editing

CPU: 9th-generation Intel Core i7 – i9
Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 5300M – Radeon Pro 5500M
RAM: 16GB – 64GB
Screen: 16-inch Retina display with True Tone
Storage: 512GB – 8TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Stunning 16-inch screen+New and improved keyboard
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Limited to four Thunderbolt 3 ports

Is the MacBook Pro 16-inch the best MacBook Apple’s ever made? Yes. Yes, it is. This premium piece of kit is just as stunning as it is powerful and feature-rich, making it the ultimate portable tool for photo editing, video editing and design. Of course, it isn’t just for creators themselves. It’s also great for those who actually teach the craft, with plenty of CPU and GPU power, a few RAM and storage options, and a gorgeous display that now offers even more real estate. That’s not all; it’s also got a large trackpad, a brand new keyboard that’s among the best out there, and that signature thin and light design with which Apple revolutionized the laptop world. As if those aren’t enough, it’s also got the famous Touch Bar, which offers shortcuts for applications like Photoshop and Lightroom for a more seamless workflow.

Read the full review: MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

LG Gram 17 at an angle against a white background

Lightweight and premium, the LG Gram 17 is the perfect portable for those who need large screens. (Image credit: LG)

Best 17-inch laptop for teachers

CPU: Intel Core i7-1065G7
Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics
Screen: 17-inch (2560 x 1600) IPS Display
Storage: 1TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Incredibly slim and light for a 17-inch+Lots of power for productivity+Affordable price
Reasons to avoid
-Sound distorts slightly at highest volume

Portability takes center stage on the LG Gram 17, which has been lauded for its innovative thin and light design. For a 17-inch laptop, it’s breathtakingly light, certainly rivalring even the 13-inch portable out there. So, if your work calls for a 17-inch display, this one’s a shoo-in with its beautiful 17-inch 1600p IPS LCD display. Especially with its great processor and GPU, which LG has recently updated to the latest, plenty of memory, and more than enough storage. There’s definitely a lot of power here for productivity, as well as a number of ports that include an HDMI port, microSD, three USB 3.1s, USB-C and a USB 3.1 adapter for RJ45 Ethernet. It does fetch a price. However, with a reliable fingerprint sensor and a rugged body, you’re definitely getting a lot of value.

Read the full review: LG Gram 17

Microsoft Surface Go 2 at an angle against a white background

The Microsoft Surface Go 2's kickstand and keyboard is great for writing up reports. (Image credit: Microsoft)

Best tablet for teachers

CPU: 8th Gen Intel Core m3 – Intel Pentium Gold Processor 4425Y
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 615
RAM: 4GB – 8GB
Screen: 10.5” 1920 x 1280 (220 PPI) PixelSense Display
Storage: 64GB eMMC – 128GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Premium design+Affordable+Can run full Windows 10
Reasons to avoid
-No Touch Cover or stylus included-Base model's specs are weak

The best Windows tablets make for excellent laptop alternatives, and the Microsoft Surface Go 2 is perhaps the most ideal example. If your work only calls for a laptop that’s lightweight inside and out, then this tablet is certainly worth considering. It’s not only extremely affordable at less than $500 at its base configuration, but it can run the full Windows 10 operating system as well. That means that you can download PC applications on it without fuss. Of course, its great battery life of up to 8 hours on a single charge is also worth mentioning here; as is its beautiful, premium design and good enough port selection. Sadly, you have to shell a bit more out if you want the cover or the stylus (or both), and that bumps up the price considerably. However, it’s still cheaper than most laptops out there.

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Go

Michelle Rae Uy

Michelle Rae Uy is a Los Angeles-based editor, writer and photographer with a bad case of wanderlust. She is a regular contributor for Thrillist, TravelAge West, HuffPo Travel, Paste Magazine, and Travel Pulse. She has written for publications like Nylon, Fodor's and SmarterTravel, and is also the contributing editor for