The best 13-inch laptops are the perfect combination of power, portability, and price. While their 15-inch counterparts may have more power, it’s these smaller portables that are the ideal size if you want to travel light while still having enough power to see you through your productivity workload.
Whether you’re a professional who needs a little more power or a student looking for the most affordable portables, you can't beat the best 13-inch laptops if a thinner and more portable form factor is your top priority. As the new MacBook Air (M1, 2020) has proven, a laptop can really be this small while also rocking a surprising level of performance worthy of light video editing and some gaming. There’s a reason that you’ll find more than a few of these portables on best business laptops, best Ultrabooks, or best laptops lists.
It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a specific brand like the best Acer laptops, want a particular form factor like a 2-in-1 laptop, or trying to choose between the best Windows laptops or the best Macs. You’ll find one of the best 13-inch laptops here to match your needs.
Apple topped 2020 off with a bang, rolling out their much-talked about M1 silicon chip that’s so far been a real game-changer. And, the first laptop to receive it is the company’s thinnest and lightest, putting it on the list of the most exciting Apple laptops of recent years. With this new chip, the MacBook Air is better than ever, touting excellent performance alongside its brilliant battery life – without raising the price to keep it (fairly) affordable still. It’s not going to be the cheapest option for students, but for those who have a slightly bigger budget, this is the best student laptop to get.
Read the full review: MacBook Air (M1, 2020)
HP’s beloved and highly praised 2-in-1 is back with a vengeance, this time with more powerful components like the 10th-generation Intel Core processors and Intel Iris Plus graphics. Of course, that impeccable 2-in-1 design and pristine gem-cut chassis are back, as are its security features and Bang & Olufsen speakers. That killer combination makes it, now more than ever, one of the best Windows laptops out there. Is it a wonder that this is one of our favorite laptops of 2020? If you care about aesthetics as much as you do performance and overall quality, this is the laptop for you.
Read the full review: HP Spectre x360 (2020)
If you’ve long been admiring Google’s premium Chromebook but the price is holding you back, then you might want to consider the new Google Pixelbook Go instead. Freshly-baked by Google, this alternative to the manufacturer’s pricey Pixelbook boasts many of its high-quality features, but without that steep price tag – namely, an incredible battery life and that coveted keyboard. If your computing use is limited to sending and responding to emails, creating documents and excel sheets on Google Docs and Sheets, and streaming movies and videos after work, then this one’s a winner.
Read the full review: Google Pixelbook Go
The MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) may not have gotten a massive design overhaul, but what it lacks in that department, it makes up for big time in performance and battery life. Thanks to Apple’s groundbreaking M1 chip, the new MacBook Pro 13-inch delivers excellent performance and exceptional battery life. Its performance is so impressive, in fact, that it can easily handle 4K - and even 8K - videos. If you’re looking for a powerful laptop that keeps things small and lightweight, this is the best 13-inch laptop money can buy.
Read the full review: MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020)
At this point, we doubt that the Dell XPS line can do anything wrong. Its yearly updates have consistently made it to our best laptops list, and they’re only getting better. The Dell XPS 13 (2020) is not only a gorgeous piece of kit. It also comes, as expected, with excellent performance, a stunning display and long battery life, alongside a few others. Much like its predecessor, it’s a pricey investment – but that is barely reason enough for us to discourage Ultrabook fans. This is among the best 13-inch laptops of 2020, and it’s worth every penny.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 13 (2020)
While the 13-inch version isn’t the most powerful Surface Book 2, it still makes for one of the best 13-inch laptops on the market. Whether you’re a professional or a creative or even a student, the Surface Book 2 will handle your daily workload effortlessly and in style. What’s more, the dynamic fulcrum hinge is much improved this time around, complementing the robust quad-core processor. And, unlike many other 2-in-1 laptops, the keyboard is removable to make it much more manageable, as well as thinner, when in tablet mode.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Book 2
The early Surface Laptop had our vote for one of the best 13-inch laptops, due to its stunning screen, competent internals and solid build quality. We are, therefore, happy to see its sequel, the Surface Laptop 2, doing everything better and taking some features to a new level. You won’t find any major changes, but the faster 8th-generation CPUs, 8GB of RAM and, most importantly, the removal of Windows 10 S all add up to making the Surface Laptop 2 one of the best 13-inch laptops right now.
Read the full review: Surface Laptop 2
The “world’s first gaming ultrabook” doesn't just talk the talk; it also walks the walk. Razer has spruced up its Blade Stealth 13 Ultrabook with the latest internal components without affecting its super-quiet operation. Packed with a 10th-generation Intel Core i7 processor and better graphic options, 13-inch laptop delivers and much better than its predecessor. In fact, it might just be the best gaming experience we’ve ever had on integrated graphics with the Iris Plus configuration. Round that out with extremely quiet fans, low thermal power, extended battery life and that delightful Mercury White color, and we are sold. You will be too, if you can afford the price.
Read the full review: Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2019)
With the Lenovo Yoga C940, the company continues with its tradition of making elegant and stunning Ultrabooks. And, don't be thrown off by its looks, there's plenty of power hiding inside. With a comfortable keyboard, stylus, TrueBlock Privacy Shutter and rotating soundbar, it's quite a feature rich machine as well. It's not perfect - that soundbar is a work in progress and the battery life could be better - but it's a great portable that can stand up to the competition.
Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga C940
If you want a workhorse of a laptop that won’t burn a hole in your pocket, look no further than the ASUS ZenBook 13 UX325. It’s thin and light form as well as exceptional battery life puts it in the same league as the best Ultrabooks out there. Its MIL-STD-810G takes it a step further, making it a robust candidate for your in-the-field needs. Its affordable price tag does come with a few surprises – the biggest one being it’s a bit underpowered. However, you’re not doing anything intensive, it should have enough to see you through your daily demands.
Read the full review: ASUS ZenBook 13 UX325
Bill Thomas has also contributed to this article
- Want more choices? Check out our list of the best laptop 2020