The best Linux laptops of 2023 have you covered if you search for a Windows 11 or macOS alternative. You don’t have to buy a slow, low-powered machine or install Linux to have a laptop with an open-source OS.
In fact, some of the best Linux laptops offer up the same durability and premium design as their Windows counterparts. They’ll also cost less since there’s no Windows license included with the laptop. With an operating system that is open-source, it also means that you’re not stuck with a proprietary operating system.
With this guide, we will dive into the best laptops specifically built for the open-source operating system. No mainstream notebook vendors, beyond Dell at least, offer Linux as a base OS option on a new laptop. This leaves us with other smaller manufacturers, which can carve out a niche for themselves with the best Linux laptops.
Plus, you can still install Linux on almost any laptop, even though some manufacturers lock down their products, making installing Linux a pain. There are lots of different Linux desktop environments to choose from and a whole host of open-source Linux apps available.
We picked out five of the best Linux laptops on the market, comparing customizations and configurations, port availability, storage capacity, and screen display options. All featured have been fine-tuned to run some of the best Linux distros (like Ubuntu). That means they’re guaranteed to run the open-source OS out of the box without any tinkering.
We've also featured:
The best Linux laptops of 2023 in full
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The XPS 13 may no longer be the undisputed champion of the Ultrabook market, but it’s still one of the top Ultrabooks out there (read our review of best Ultrabooks). And, one can only admire Dell for its unwavering Linux support on a flagship machine, making the Dell XPS 13 9315 one of the best Linux laptops on offer.
The laptop has a number of customizations you can opt for, but as with all Dell products these days the number of configurable options is quite limited.
The first one you should choose is to change the operating system to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. This will ensure Ubuntu Linux comes preinstalled. As this is a Long Term Support version of Ubuntu, updates will be released through to April 2025.
The basic model comes with 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM at 5200 MHz, though this can be upgraded to 32GB RAM for an extra $250.
There are also two main hard drive options, both PCIe solid state, offering a capacity of either 1TB or 2TB of storage split across two drives.
There are also two screen options: the base model has no touchscreen but you can upgrade to InfinityEdge Touch for an extra $100. The more wallet-friendly configuration runs with a FHD+ (1,920 x 1200) 13.4-inch InfinityEdge non-touch display. The graphics and resolution of the displays is the same in each case.
The Dell website offers two different style options for the XPS 13: sky and umber. Unlike previous models, you aren't restricted by the type of operating system you choose.
System 76's powerful and ultralight light Lemur Pro comes with Linux preinstalled. Like all System76 models, the laptop also uses 'coreboot' open source firmware. This means that you're not at the mercy of the manufacturer for firmware updates and there's much less chance of hidden 'backdoors' to put your data at risk.
The magnesium/aluminum style-alloy used in the chassis not only looks stylish but makes for a very light laptop : it weighs barely 2.5 lbs (1.15kg).
The System76 website also allows you to "Design and Buy" your Lemur Pro. For instance, you can configure the NVMe storage to a total of 8TB and upgrade to 40GB of DDR4 RAM, although this will more than double the base price from $1,099 to $2,522.
Still, if you can afford it the Lemur Pro has an excellent battery life of up to 14 hours. In terms of ports you get a microSD card slot, a 3.5mm headphone/microphone jack, 1 x HDMI, 1x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4 and 2 x USB Type-A ports.
MALIBAL is a US-based tech company that has been around for almost 20 years. Their Aon series of laptops is built to order. This typically takes 5-7 days, but you can pay extra to bring it down to 1-3 days.
By default, they come with a 1-year warranty, but you can extend this during the order process to 2 years for $149 or 3 years for $299. This is also where you can choose your particular flavor of Linux, as the Aon S1 can ship with the latest versions of Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Vanilla OS or Linux Mint.
Gamers will be delighted to learn that the laptop uses liquid metal for efficient cooling. If games are your thing, you can also upgrade your GPU to the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti 4GB for $249. The RAM can be boosted up to 64 GB, but this will cost an extra $240.
The SSD can be swapped out for up to 8TB of storage, but be warned that this will set you back another $1,764. You can upgrade to a 1TB Samsung 980 Pro for a more respectable $105.
Pricing aside, the only reason not to buy an Aon S1 just yet is that, at the time of writing, there aren't any independent reviews online. The manufacturers have offered TechRadar a model for review, so watch this space.
One of the best Linux laptops to date, the Oryx Pro is definitely built for the operating system. Indeed, it currently offers a choice of either Ubuntu 22.04 LTS or System76’s own Ubuntu-based Pop!_OS on purchase.
The Oryx Pro is made from lightweight aluminum with a matte black finish and is available in two screen sizes, either 15.6 or 17.3 inch.
Inside, it's powered by a 12th generation Intel Core i7-12700H which offers up to 4.7 GHz as well as a 24 MB cache, and for RAM you can choose up to 2 x 32GB (64GB total) dual channel DDR 5 RAM at up to 4800Mhz.
For storage there are two SATA hard drives offering 8TB in total. Graphics are handled by the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti with 7424 CUDA Cores
The Oryx Pro is sleeker and lighter than the company's now discontinued Serval model, coming in at 5.29 lbs (2.4 kg) for the 15.6 inch screen version, and at 6.17 lbs (2.8 kg) with the 17.3 inch screen option. Naturally weight will vary based on your configuration.
This is also a very expensive machine, with the base price starting at $2,649.
The Galago Pro from System76 is the cheapest Linux laptop on this list. Like the other machines from System76, it offers either Pop!_OS or Ubuntu to run on. However, even though it has some decent specifications, the base model comes in at less than $900.
The standard processor is a 12th gen Intel Core, either the i5-1249 or the i7-1260. The base spec comes with 8GB Single Channel DDR4 RAM at 3200 MHz but this can be expanded to up to 64 GB Dual Channel RAM for an extra $315. Storage options begin with a 240GB PCIe drive, though can be upgraded to a 4TB drive for an additional $589.
It's also much sleeker and lighter than the previous System76 models featured here, weighing in at just 3.2 lbs (1.45 kg) for the base model, though any upgrades are likely to raise that.
Altogether, another solid Linux laptop, but at a more affordable price than the others featured on this list.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to choose the best Linux laptop for you
If you've made the decision that you're looking for a Linux laptop, then you've likely done so because you're after the flexibility offered by an operating system that’s open-source, free, and allows you a large amount of freedom and privacy.
It could also be because they’re typically more secure than other operating systems. Windows 11, being so popular, is most often the target of viruses, for instance.
Whatever your reasons, aside from your budget, the key consideration to take into account when on the hunt for the best Linux laptops is how technically proficient you are, and how experienced you are with a Linux system.
Though Linux has a bit of a reputation for being complicated and technical, there are a number of distros (Linux variants), that are ideal for beginners, such as Ubuntu and Mint. If you are fairly new to the Linux scene, you should consider buying a laptop with Linux pre-installed, to make it easier getting started.
While Linux-based machines aren’t as widely available as Windows and macOS ones, boutique laptop companies are getting in on the action and offering machines pre-installed with Linux. Even Dell, one of the biggest laptop makers out there, offers pre-installed Linux machines.
If you're not yet confident with using Linux, we've featured the best Linux training providers and online courses.
The best Linux laptops: How we test
In our review of the best Linux laptops, we've looked at five of the top options on the market.
One of the advantages of the open-source Linux system is its high level of customization, and in our testing, we noted just how far-reaching each laptops configurable options were.
On a similar note, we not only looked at the initial cost of each laptop but considered the price of upgrades. Such as purchasing additional gigabytes of RAM for example.
Privacy is often a key issue cited by Linux users, and so we noted where additional features focused on this topic.
We also compared key hardware features like hard drive capacity, available screen sizes and display resolutions, and processing speed. Any additional aesthetic and design features, such as backlights, number of ports, weight, and look.
Read more on how we test, rate, and review products on TechRadar.