Best Mac 2018: the best Macs to buy this year

Best Mac guide

Now that we finally have our hands on the MacBook Pro 2018 and macOS Mojave, the best Macs are better than ever before. And, if you’re thinking about going out and picking up the best Mac for you, consider that specs, performance and design mean way more in how that interact with macOS itself than any of them separately. That’s why it doesn’t make too much sense to put the best Macs against Windows 10 PCs.

The top Macs come in every shape and size in 2018. We may not know what the future holds, but there’s still plenty of life left in the best Macs. They cover everything from high-resolution mobile workhorses, like the MacBook Pro and its Touch Bar, to stationary behemoths, like the iMac Pro – which is the most powerful Mac on the planet with its Intel Xeon processor.

So, what’s the best Mac for you?

So, we decided to put together a list of the best Macs – MacBooks, iMacs and more. The only Macs that weren’t included here are the ones we’ve yet to review, or just didn’t make the cut. So, now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are peeking from around the corner, it’s time to find all the best Macs you can buy today.

1. 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 | Dimensions (H x W x D): 34.93 x 24.07 x 1.55cm

 Extremely powerful 
 More RAM 
 Very expensive 

If you want the MacBook with the most performance possible, and money is no object, look no further than the 15-inch, 2018 MacBook Pro. With its hexa-core 8th-generation Coffee Lake processor and up to 32GB of RAM there is not a single thing you can throw at this laptop that it can’t handle. With performance like this, it’s easy to see why it’s one of the best MacBooks not only this year, but of all time. Just as long as you have the cash to bankroll it.

Read the full review: MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid-2018) 

21.5-inch iMac with 4K Retina display - Best Mac 2016

2. 21.5-inch iMac (2017)

Modest strides in an economical package

CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i5 – quad-core i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 – AMD Radeon Pro 560 (4GB) | RAM: 8GB – 32GB | Screen: 21.5-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080; sRGB) – 4K UHD (4,096 x 2,304; P3 wide color) Retina IPS display | Storage: 1TB HDD – 1TB Fusion Drive SSD | Dimensions (H x W x D): 20.8 x 6.9 x 17.7 inches (52.8 x 17.5 x 45cm; W x D x H)

Excellent value
Powerful, even at entry level
Poor audio performance
Baffling mouse charging method

You know you’re getting an unusually good value from an Apple product when, even at the entry level, you can expect high performance, tons of storage and more ports than you know what to do with. The latest Apple iMac is a perfect example of this. There’s still no touchscreen, but when it costs so much less than Microsoft’s Surface Studio, it’s not that much of a loss. Instead, you’re getting a 7th-generation Intel desktop-class processor and your choice of an IPS display carefully wrapped in an all-metal chassis.

Read the full review: Apple iMac (2017) 

3. MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (13-inch, mid-2018)

The same, but stronger

CPU: Quad-core Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Storage: 256GB – 2TB PCIe 3.0 SSD | Dimensions (H x W x D): 30.41 x 21.24 x 1.49cm

 Much more powerful 
 More storage 
 Keyboard learning curve 

For much of the year, the biggest complaint with the MacBook Pro was that it was still using Kaby Lake processors, even though its competition had moved ahead. Luckily, the MacBook Pro 2018 changes everything, and is more powerful than ever before. It still has the controversial Butterfly keyboard, but it’s been improved – with less noise and more reliability. It’s easy to recommend the 13-inch MacBook Pro 2018 for anyone looking for the best Mac. 

Read the full review: MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (13-inch, mid-2018) 

4. iMac Pro

Raw power

CPU: 8 to 16-core Intel Xeon W | Graphics: Radeon Pro Vega 56 - Radeon Pro Vega 64 | RAM: 32 – 128GB DDR4 ECC | Screen: 27-inch 5K (5,120 x 2,880) Retina display (P3 wide color) | Storage: 1TB – 4TB PCIe 3.0 SSD | Dimensions (H x W x D): 65 x 20.3 x 51.6cm

Most powerful Mac you can buy 
Gorgeous, color-accurate display 
Very expensive 

If you’re a professional or a creative, and you need something that will be able to tackle any workload you could possibly throw at it, you’re going to love the iMac Pro. Not only does it have a vivid 27-inch 5K display with a P3 wide color gamut, but it’s also packed with the most powerful hardware Apple could get its hands on. It’s extremely expensive, but if you’re looking for unbridled power to get through professional workloads, the iMac Pro is the best Mac for you. 

Read the full review: iMac Pro 

5. MacBook (2017)

Small and stylish

CPU: Dual-core Intel Core m3 – Core m7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 12-inch Retina (2,304 x 1,440) IPS | Storage: 256GB – 512GB PCIe SSD | Dimensions (W x D x H): 11.04 x 7.74 x 0.14~0.52in

Incredibly portable 
Long battery life 
Too expensive 

When Apple refreshed the MacBook back in 2016, it didn’t please anyone, despite being more attractive than ever before. And, while the controversy hasn’t disappeared entirely, the 12-inch MacBook has found its niche as an ultraportable and lightweight laptop. It’s low on ports, but in a laptop this thin, that’s to be expected, and it can support basically everything under the sun with its Thunderbolt 3 port, anyway. It’s not as powerful as the MacBook Pro, but if you’re looking for a MacBook that’s easy to take with you wherever you go, look no further.

Read the full review: Apple MacBook (2017)

6. 13-inch MacBook Air (2018)

Thinner, lighter, more productive

CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 617 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, 2,560 x 1,600 Retina display (backlit LED, IPS) | Storage: 128GB – 1.5TB PCIe 3.0 SSD | Dimensions: 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.61 inches (30.41 x 21.24 x 1.56cm; W x D x H)

 Small, lighter design
 Beautiful Retina display  
 A bit underpowered 

We’ve been waiting years for a new MacBook Air, and it’s finally here. Now thinner, lighter and with a Retina display for the first time, it’s easily the best MacBook Air we’ve ever used. With 8th-generation processors, more RAM and faster SSDs, the MacBook Air is also more powerful than ever. We just wish that these were full-fat U-series quad core chips, rather than the Y-series dual-core fanless processors. Still, this means that you’re going to easily get all-day battery out of this thing, which makes it one of the best Macs for travel.

Read the full review: MacBook Air 2018 

Mac mini - Best Mac 2016

7. Mac mini (2014)

Apple's most affordable Mac

CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i5 – Core i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Graphics | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Storage: 500GB HDD; 256GB – 1TB PCIe Flash; 1TB – 2TB Fusion Drive | Dimensions (W x D x H): 19.7cm x 19.7cm x 3.6cm

Design
Ports
Impossible to upgrade
No monitor

While we wait for Apple to announce a new Mac Mini, the 2014 Mac Mini is still the cheapest Mac on the market by a long shot. Luckily, the Intel CPU inside allows it to be used for heavier tasks and Apple has brought the low-end model up to a decent spec. Starting at less than $500 for a 1.4GHz Intel Core i5 processor and 4GB of RAM, Apple’s smallest Mac is still competent – we’re just left wanting for more modern hardware.  

Read the full review: Mac mini (2014)

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article