Best laptop brands: who are the most trusted names?

Some Of the Best Laptop Brands Against An Orange Sherbet Background
(Image credit: Future)

The best laptop brand for your specific need is likely going to be less important than any given machine's specific hardware, but when it comes to finding the best laptop or the best chromebook, the name or logo on the lid does go a long way. 

Some laptops, like the Apple MacBook Air (M1) have a reputation for stylish design and quality performance, while the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 is the hardcore PC gamer's go-to for gaming on the go.

So the question of the which is the best laptop brand comes down to what you need a laptop for, so we've gone through the trouble of breaking the best laptop brands down into their specialties so you know the best place to start in your search for a new system. 

This isn't to say that a company that doesn't appear underneath a specific heading doesn't make a great product for that market, but this list should be seen more as a place to start and you can make a more informed decision about what you should look for in a given use case and make a better comparison across all laptop brands when making your purchase.

Best General-Use Laptop Brands

Apple MacBook Air (M1,2020) Rear Lid

(Image credit: Future)

The best laptop brands for general use computing are largely going to focus on a few key features, namely battery life, the quality of the display, portability, and processing power.

These aren't necessarily going to be the most powerful machines going, and most are likely to fall into the Ultrabook category. For most people, that's absolutely fine, since being able to take it with them on a plane and watch a movie is likely more important than how many frames-per-second it's going to get while gaming.

Apple only has two kinds of laptops: the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro, which come in different sizes and slightly different configurations. For most people, the MacBook Air is somewhat of a gold standard for computers that suit everyday computing needs without throwing in a bunch of stuff that they don't need, which definitely helps keep the cost down on what would otherwise be a very premium product. 

Dell is big enough that they can have a piece of just about every part of the computing market pretty comfortably, but that doesn't mean that they scrimp on the quality of the product. Dell's more mainstream general use laptops like the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1 and even the Dell XPS 13 have a good balance of features across the board.

Acer has proven itself time and again to make great general-purpose computers like the Acer Swift 3. It's been pushing into other specialties like gaming laptops, workstations, and Chromebooks, but its general use products are far and away its best products, and it's very easy to recommend laptops like the Swift 3 or the Acer Spin 5 for anyone who just needs a computer to do all the typical things and do them very well.

Best Business Laptop Brands

Dell XPS 13 9300

(Image credit: Bodhisatwa Ray)

When it comes to enterprise laptops, the best laptop brands are pretty well established. In addition to ease of use, they need to feature some pretty high-end security features that you just don't see on more mainstream systems.

Some of these features include fingerprint log-in, IR cameras that can lock a laptop when you step away from it for a moment, Kensington locks for physical security of the machine itself, and physical webcam shutters that can't be bypassed by an intruder to use your webcam to spy on you. While this latter feature really should be a must-have on any laptop you buy, it's an absolute necessity for business laptops.

As one of the largest laptop manufacturers in the world, Lenovo makes a quality product no matter what market you're looking at, but it deserves special recognition for the security features of its ThinkBook and ThinkPad line of products.

Dell is nearly synonymous with business products since they prove to be a cost-effective solution for offices across many industries, but their affordability doesn't come at the cost of quality.

Like Dell, HP has a pretty solid reputation and legacy of outfitting offices around the world with quality business computers, and its business laptops like the HP Elite Dragonfly G2 are some of the best you can get right now – though you might have to shell out some serious cash for one.

Best Gaming Laptop Brands

Back of Razer Blade 14 with the Razer logo and a moogle.

(Image credit: Future)

Gaming laptops in many ways are more finely tuned and tricked-out hardware-wise than all but the most premium creative workstations, and in most cases there is considerable overlap between the two. These are laptops meant to do one thing especially well, which is play high-performance PC games on the go at the highest framerates your money can buy. 

So when it comes to gaming, there are a few companies who have really made this class their own and are easily at the top of the best laptop brands in the market by a mile.

From peripherals to gaming laptops, Razer has been at the bleeding edge of gaming couture, embodying their company motto: "For Gamers. By Gamers." The Razer Blade line of laptops is among the most sought after by gamers who know what they want, and needs to be at the top of the list for anyone with the money to spend on a high-end gaming laptop.

Asus makes high-quality gaming hardware under its Republic of Gamers (ROG) brand and its laptops are no exception. Its most recent ROG Zephyrus G15 laptop is one of the best gaming laptops you can get right now and its Tuf Gaming line of laptops offer great performance at a more affordable price point as well.

Gigabyte's Aorus line of gaming laptops are among the best and the Aorus 17X is still one of the most powerful gaming laptops we've ever tested, despite being more than a year old. Gigabyte also has the fantastic Aero line of laptops that are marketed as creative professional workstations that are all but gaming laptops in every way that matters.

Alienware had a well-established reputation for gaming hardware before it was bought by Dell many years ago, and its reputation has only been strengthened as time goes on. It makes some of the most high-end and funky-looking gaming laptops around, though in nearly every instance you will be paying quite a bit of money for the privilege of owning one. 

As one of the most well-known gaming laptop brands going, MSI covers the entire range of the gaming laptop market price-wise. You'll be able to find quality MSI gaming laptops no matter your budget and you're going to get what you pay.

Best Creative Laptop Brands

HP Create G7

(Image credit: Future)

The qualifier "creative" can mean many things when it comes to a laptop, but generally speaking, you're looking at graphic design, video editing, 3D rendering, and even game development.

In many cases, the hardware requirements between a creative workstation and a high-end gaming laptop aren't all that different, but while a gaming laptop is all about FPS while gaming, a creative workstation is far more focused on things like color quality and how much of the sRGB spectrum the display covers or whether the laptop is Pantone-calibrated.

This has pretty much been Apple's market for the past two decades and everyone else is just playing in it. The Apple MacBook Pro is the creative professional's laptop against which every other brand compares itself and that isn't likely to change any time soon.

HP has a number of creative workstations like the ZBook Create G7 and the ZBook Studio G7. These are some seriously high-end laptops though, so expect to pony up some cash for them, but the investment is worth it.

Gigabyte's Aero line of creative workstations might owe a lot to the company's gaming pedigree – RGB lighting and all – but it has gotten serious as a creative professional's laptop. With high-end displays and Pantone-certified visuals, these laptops are as good as you're going to get if you want to straddle the line between work and play and do both equally well.  

John Loeffler
Components Editor

John (He/Him) is the Components Editor here at TechRadar and he is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY. 

Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.

You can find him online on Twitter at @thisdotjohn

Currently playing: Deep Rock Galactic, Destiny 2