There are a few specific things that differentiate the best laptop for music production from the rest of the pack. While it may seem difficult to choose, it’s more than worth it to find the right one to get you through a long mixing session or a full set on stage.
Buying the best laptop for music production is more than just getting one of the best laptops you can afford. You need a lot of speedy RAM and one of the best processors available to handle running your digital audio workstation (DAW) without experiencing any latency. At the same time, you also want to make sure you have plenty of storage, maybe even a dual drive with both an SSD and a hard drive, to hold all your music files and samples. Finally, if you plan on taking it on the road or on the stage (when that becomes a reality again), you’ll want a laptop that's rugged so it can handle an inevitable fall as well as portable like an Ultrabook so it doesn’t take up too much space while traveling.
While the choices aren’t as varied as gaming laptops, you still have a lot of options to choose from – including affordable ones that aren't that much more expensive than the best laptops under $500.
To help you, we’ve collected our top picks for the best laptop for music production, no matter if you want to stick with an old staple like the MacBook Pro or prefer one that runs Windows 10. It doesn’t matter what your budget is – we can help you find the best value out there.
While we’re sad that the 15-inch MacBook Pro is no more, we’ve welcomed the MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) with open arms. As thin, light and sleek as ever, you wouldn’t think this was a 16-inch behemoth. Yet, you’re getting that extra real estate on that stunning display, as well as the latest and greatest components behind it. This is, without a doubt, the best laptop for DJs, as well as content creators, designers and other creative professionals. With amazing (and loud) speakers and a much, much better keyboard to boot, music production has never been this good.
Read the full review: MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)
- See more like this: The best Macs
The Dell XPS 13 (2020) has been a regular in our best laptops list for years, and it also earns a well-deserved spot in our best laptops for DJs list. It keeps everything we've come to love from Dell's flagship 13-incher, from the gorgeous and light design, to the powerful modern components that power it. However, it now rocks 10th-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processors and a bezel-less ‘Infinity Edge’ display, which means the Dell XPS 13 (2020) is a brilliant performer, while remaining thin and light. There’s a wide range of customization options as well.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 13
If you think Razer laptops are only for gaming, then the new Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition is here to prove you wrong. Razer takes its ever popular Razer Blade 15, fits it with even more impressive specs and turns it into one of the best mobile creative workstations has to offer. This powerhouse has been crafted for creative professionals and content creators, and is therefore ideal for musicians as well. You’ll be spending a lot of money to take this laptop home. But, make no mistake, it will be one of the smartest investments you’ll ever make. That is, if you can afford it.
Read the full review: Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition
With the third version of the Surface Laptop 3, Microsoft has made its best laptop yet. While it's not a huge leap over its predecessor, the Surface Laptop 3 does improve on almost every aspect. Best of all, with the 15-inch version you now get a choice of either Intel or AMD hardware. These are some of the most desirable laptops in the world that don't have a logo of an apple on them, with a new aluminum body that gives it a premium feel, while protecting it from knocks and drops when you’re on the road.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
Apple’s thinnest and lightest MacBook came back in 2020 with a vengeance. Not only did it fix a lot of the complaints with its predecessors – namely, that problematic keyboard is now gone, replaced by a drastically improved keyboard. But it also came with new and more powerful internal components, even more storage space options, and a lower price of entry - making it ideal for musicians and DJs who are only starting out. There are a couple of things we’d do better, like the muted screen and the average battery life, but this model of the MacBook Air is better than anything we’ve seen from the line to date.
Read the full review: MacBook Air (2020)
The seventh iteration of Microsoft’s award-winning product may not be the generational leap many Microsoft tablets have been waiting for, but it offers some improvements from its predecessor. This 2-in-1 tablet aimed at pros has received impressive gains in power, making it more capable than ever as laptops for musicians and DJs. Also, it now boasts a USB-C port and Wifi 6 connectivity. And, of course, it offers that same level of portability that many Windows tablet users crave. The best part is that it has a few configurations, which means you can choose how much power and storage space to get depending on how much you need.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Pro 7
The Dell XPS line just keeps getting better every year, and 2019’s 15-inch model is no exception. The webcam, which is smaller than ever, is back in its rightful place, and that optional 4K touch display is as stunning as ever. Better yet, this boasts the more powerful 9th-generation processors as well as up to 64GB of memory, which makes it ideal for handling those demanding DAW applications. And with up to 2TB of storage, you’ll have enough space to store your music files in. Unfortunately, those speakers are bottom-facing, but you’re better off using your audiophile headphones or speakers anyway.
- Want more choices? Check out our list of the best laptops.