The 8 Best Laptops for Under $200 in 2020

The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide
The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide
Introduction

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: HP Stream 11 at Amazon

"The perfect first computer the kids and an easy-to-use system for those who aren’t as tech-savvy."

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Lenovo 130S at Amazon

"Its compact size is perfect for travel or working on the go."

Best Chromebook: HP Chromebook 11 at Amazon

"Great for those who are just looking to browse the web, do light streaming, or do some work in Microsoft Office."

Best for High School Students: Samsung XE500C13 at Amazon

"It has a spill-resistant keyboard for any cafeteria mishaps."

Best for College Students: Asus TBCL432B at Amazon

"A lightweight and compact design makes it ideal for travel."

Best 14-inch: HP Stream 14 at Amazon

"It has a battery life of up to 8 hours and 15 minutes, long enough for a full work or school day."

Best 15-inch: Acer CB3-532 at Amazon

"A capable device with a screen size to meet all your basic computing needs."

Best for Business: Lenovo IdeaPad 81A5001UUS at Amazon

"You’ll have no problem packing it in a carry-on or just holding onto it in meetings."

Runner-up, Best for Business: Lenovo IdeaPad 210s at Amazon

"Best for those looking to type up reports, assemble PowerPoint presentations, and browse the web."

Best for Gaming: Asus X441BA at Amazon

"You’ve got plenty of room for basic programs and games from 2014 and older."

Our Top Picks

01
of 10

Best Overall: HP Stream 11

What We Like
  • Compact and lightweight size

  • Fast browsing and word processing

  • Smooth and clear sound from built-in speakers

What We Don't Like
  • Due to the screen size, images can appear washed out

  • Windows 10 Home S mode restrictions

  • Programs will take up the majority of your memory

When looking for a budget-friendly laptop, it’s important that you find a machine that can meet all your expectations. Thankfully, HP has the answer. The HP Stream 11 is a perfect choice whether you’re seeking to work or play with your new laptop. With its 11.6 inch display, 4GB memory, and up to 9 hours of battery life, this laptop will be perfect for you at home or on the go. Equipped with Windows 10 Home, you’ll have the power of a PC at your fingertips without that high-dollar price tag. However, it is also in S mode which limits software compatibility to the Windows app store.

Whether you’re streaming, playing, or tackling spreadsheets, the HP Stream 11 can handle it all. Compact and powerful, it's both the perfect first computer the kids and an easy-to-use system for those who aren’t as tech-savvy.

02
of 10

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Lenovo 130S

What We Like
  • Lightweight and compact size

  • Easy to use

  • Decent battery life

What We Don't Like
  • The slow speed

  • Gets hot easily

  • Windows 10 Home S mode

Finding a laptop at a price that won’t break the bank is easier than you may think. Lenovo has provided a budget-friendly option that will serve all your basic laptop needs. With an 11.6-inch screen, 4GB of memory, and loaded with Windows 10 Home in S mode, the Lenovo 130s is capable of doing all the things that you can expect from a laptop. While you may need to make some adjustments — like switching out of S mode to download things not in the Windows Store — it’s still an ideal choice for the budget-conscious laptop user. 

Its compact size is perfect for travel or working on the go and you’ll have no trouble streaming entertainment (so long as you aren’t trying to do multiple streams at once, of course). The Lenovo 130s is a great choice for those who aren’t looking to do more than browse or stream. 

03
of 10

Best Chromebook: HP Chromebook 11

What We Like
  • Sturdy and durable 

  • Simple and low maintenance 

  • Long-lasting battery

What We Don't Like
  • Chrome OS limits what sort of programs and extensions you can use

  • Slow processor and not a lot of memory

Chromebooks are notorious for being low-price and excellent options for those in need of a basic laptop. The HP Chromebook 11 is no exception. This machine comes with an 11.6-inch display screen, 2GB of memory, a pair of USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, HDMI-out, and a headphone/microphone combo jack. It is equipped with an HD webcam. 

In other words, it's great for those who are just looking to browse the web, do light streaming, or do some work in Microsoft Office. However, as expected, it has some limitations including Chrome OS, which limits you to programs and extensions available from the Chrome Web Store. But when you just need something to keep up with basic computing needs, this is a perfect option. It’s also a durable machine so you can even consider it a great choice for the kids. 

04
of 10

Best for High School Students: Samsung XE500C13

What We Like
  • Lightweight and compact

  • Long-lasting battery

  • Spill-resistant keyboard

What We Don't Like
  • Limited capabilities; best for just browsing and light streaming

When it comes to being school-ready, knowing that the student in your life needs a laptop to stay on top of their studies can be a little worrisome. After all, computers can be so expensive. But there’s a way to ensure your academic scholar gets all that they need at a price you’ll love. The Samsung XE500C13 is here to keep them on-task and caught up on all their school work. 

With up to 11 hours of battery life, after a single charge, they can bring it to class and work all day until they come home. The 11.6-inch screen makes this laptop the perfect size for carrying in their backpack and moving around between classes. Better yet, it has a spill-resistant keyboard for any cafeteria mishaps. As a Chromebook, it does have its software limitations, but for the student needing to write essays or do online homework, it’s an excellent option. 

05
of 10

Best for College Students: Asus TBCL432B

What We Like
  • Long-lasting battery life

  • Quick browsing capability

What We Don't Like
  • Fragile casing

  • Storage and memory issues

When sending your kids off to college, you want to make sure they have everything they’ll need to succeed. While doing so can sometimes be an expensive undertaking, their laptop doesn't have to be. Enter the Asus TBCL432B. This 11.6-inch screen machine comes with 4GB of memory and 32GB eMMC flash memory, making it compatible with mobile devices like phones and tablets.

It comes pre-installed with Windows 10 S, but it’s easy to switch out of S mode to allow your student access to programs they might not find in the Windows Store. A lightweight and compact design makes it ideal for travel. Whether they’re working in the library or in their dorm, your college student can move around and set up with ease, wherever their destination. It also has a decent battery life of up to 10 hours on a single charge. 

While it won’t be able to keep up with performance-hungry apps, it comes in handy for writing essays, completing online homework, and tackling research projects. Since its capacity is limited, though, you might want to look into external storage devices in case it runs out.

06
of 10

Best 14-inch: HP Stream 14

What We Like
  • Lightweight, even with the bigger screen

  • Long-lasting battery life

  • Clear audio quality

What We Don't Like
  • Slower than other models, could cause unwanted lag

It may not seem like there’s a lot of size options when it comes to affordable laptops. And for those seeking a bigger screen, it’s even harder. Thankfully, HP has provided the HP Stream 14 with a 14-inch display screen to meet your bigger screen needs. Slim and lightweight despite the bigger screen, the HP Stream 14 has 4GB of memory and 32 GB eMMC of storage. It comes equipped with Windows 10 Home in S Mode, an HDMI port, 1 USB 3.1 Gen 1 type A and 1 USB 2.0 type A port, a headphone/microphone jack, and a media reader. It’s also available in four stylish colors! 

Perfect for traveling, it has a battery life of up to 8 hours and 15 minutes, long enough for a full work or school day. However, due to the limitations with its processor and capabilities, it might run slower than a lot of higher-priced options. But when you’re looking for something basic and perfect for browsing or light streaming, the HP Stream 14 has you covered.

07
of 10

Best 15-inch: Acer CB3-532

What We Like
  • Fast speed for browsing and startup

  • Tough and durable against accidental drops

What We Don't Like
  • Chrome OS isn't for everyone

  • Sluggish performance

  • The power adapter seems a little loose

Whether you're streaming or playing, it’s important to actually see what you’re doing. And when searching for a bigger screen on a small-screen budget, it may be hard to get exactly what you’re looking for without breaking the bank. The Acer CB3-532 is an exception. With it, you can get 15 inches of prime display real estate at a price point you can't ignore.

This big-screened Chromebook comes with Chrome OS, 4GB of memory, and a 16GB eMMC hard drive. It’s got all the basic capabilities you can expect from a laptop and will keep you browsing or streaming for hours on end. It’s also surprisingly fast for a budget lappy. You’ll get a capable device with a screen size to meet all your basic computing needs.

08
of 10

Best for Business: Lenovo IdeaPad 81A5001UUS

What We Like
  • 14-inch HD display

  • Compact and lightweight design

What We Don't Like
  • Skimps on storage space

  • Slow to boot

When there’s work to be done and you need a computer to meet your needs while keeping you on the go, it’s time to look at the Lenovo IdeaPad 81A5001UUS. With a 14-inch display screen, you’ll have no problem getting work done and sharing presentations on the go. It includes 2GB of RAM and 32GB eMMC of flash memory, thereby limiting what you can download and save. On the bright side, you can run basic programs like Microsoft Office.

With its simple, lightweight design this laptop is perfect for traveling and working on the go. You’ll have no problem packing it in a carry-on or just holding onto it in meetings. But you may find a little bit of lag when starting up or trying to browse multiple sites at once. All in all, it’s ideal when you need to get work done and don’t want to break the bank. 

09
of 10

Runner-up, Best for Business: Lenovo IdeaPad 210s

What We Like
  • Compact and lightweight design 

  • Great for Microsoft Office

What We Don't Like
  • Slow processing and some lag while internet browsing

  • Memory and storage doesn’t last, especially with big Windows updates

Taking care of your most basic business needs shouldn’t be an expensive task and Lenovo has you covered. The Lenovo IdeaPad 210s is perfect for all your basic computing needs and makes doing business on the go simple. Like the other affordable laptop options, it has an 11.6-inch display, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB eMMC of flash memory. It can’t hold a lot so it’s best for those looking to type up reports, assemble PowerPoint presentations, and browse the web. 

Its lightweight and compact design make it easy to travel with and it has a decent battery life as well. Like most smaller screens, the resolution isn't the highest, but for word processing or project work, it’s great. It also comes with Windows 10, which can leave you with updates that eat into your storage space. Just be sure to clean up your old files to stay on top of storage issues you may face. But when you need to get a project done or keep up with emails while you’re out of office, this is the best laptop under $200 you can find.

10
of 10

Best for Gaming: Asus X441BA

What We Like
  • 14-inch screen with a clear picture

  • Lightweight and perfect for traveling

  • Plenty of storage space

What We Don't Like
  • Poor sound quality on the speakers

  • Slow startup and setup

When it comes to gaming on a laptop, it’s usually to go with the higher-priced options to get ideal specs and capabilities. But not all games are created equal, and for some looking to play older games without investing in an expensive setup, there’s a laptop that can meet your gaming needs. The Asus X441BA has 500GB HDD which means you’ve got plenty of room for basic programs and games from 2014 and older. While you’ll need to run them at their lowest settings, it’s still going to give you the gaming experience you’re looking for without breaking the bank.

This laptop also has a 14-inch display screen which means you’ll get a crisp, clear picture on a screen that allows you to really enjoy your games. Plus, a 4GB DDR4-2400 SDRAM means you can multitask when you’ve taken a pause from gaming and want to browse or stream. With the right settings and keeping your programs to a bare minimum, you may even get away with playing games like Fortnite or Minecraft. Still, if you’ve got old games you love and want to play without dropping thousands of dollars, the Asus X441BA has you covered.

Our Process

Our writers spent 5 hours researching the most popular laptops under $200 on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 80 different laptops overall, screened options from 15 different brands and manufacturers and read 8 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.