10 Best Budget Laptops for Programming

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If you’re looking for a laptop for programming, you’re in the right place. As a programmer myself, I can tell you a few of the best laptops to use to program fluently. Before moving further, it is essential to know why and which type of laptop you should use when executing the various code scripts. 

First of all, it is important to remember that most programming tasks do not need special resources. Therefore, even the cheapest laptop available on the market can process programming codes.

Because coding involves intensive typing, you should concentrate on your typing experience instead. As a result, keyboard comfortability and trackpad space become more important. According to our research, relatively few options are available that meet all of our needs. 

When you see so many options on the market, it can be difficult for consumers to pick the right laptop. For that reason, we will help you choose the right laptop for your programming work. Read this article to find out what laptops are best for programming. 

Let’s start!

Best Laptops For Programming on a Budget

1. Apple MacBook Pro

– best laptop for programming

  • Long-lasting battery life
  • Powerful processor
  • Superfast SSD storage
  • Lightweight
  • Long-lasting
  • Expensive

Developers and programmers have found MacBooks to be one of the best choices. A powerful laptop is a must for programming, and Apple’s MacBook Pro has the right specs and portability to make it ideal. 

A 16-inch mini-LED backlit display comes with this latest model. Display brightness is high on the MacBook Pro, with a peak of 1000 nits. It also has a 3456 by 2234 pixels resolution, which delivers crystal clear images and videos. 

Further, it comes with an HD webcam that you can use to hold video conferences or stream videos. In essence, this makes it one of the best webcams for anyone working from home. 

Performance has been maximized with an Apple M1 chip and a 10-core CPU. This laptop comes with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. According to the manufacturer, the laptop can provide up to 21 hours of battery backup. 

The device features WiFi and Bluetooth 5.0 for better connectivity. As a result, you should try this machine for those looking for a macOS laptop for programming and other high-end tasks. 

2. Dell XPS 15 9510

– best Windows laptop for programming

  • Durable construction
  • Good connectivity
  • Powerful
  • Sleek design
  • Non-touch screen

Dell is a leading manufacturer of high-end laptops, and the XPS 15 is one of their best laptops for programming. The XPS 15 has solid specs and is lightweight.  

With the Dell XPS 15, you’re getting the Core i7-11800H, an 11th-generation quad-core processor. This chip offers improved energy efficiency, which is built on a unique technology. 

Additionally, Intel’s Turbo Boost technology allows this chipset to operate at 4.6GHz. Besides the 16GB RAM, it also comes with 512GB SSD storage. The device has a 15.6-inch FHD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels on the outside. 

Therefore, you will be able to view pictures with 100% DCI-P3 color coverage in high resolution. Due to its lightweight and high brightness, you can use this laptop anywhere. 

With Dolby Vision support, the display boasts more vibrant colors. This laptop is powered by an NVidia RTX 3050 GPU and is powerful enough to handle all your tasks.

3. Lenovo IdeaPad L340

– best laptop for programming students

  • Great performance
  • Affordable price tag
  • Full HD IPS Display
  • Noisy fans

IdeaPad L340 has good hardware with the least price tag among the best programming laptops on our list. This laptop is powered by an Intel i5-9300HF processor and features a dedicated 4GB video memory.

Design-wise, it consists of a durable plastic body molded from plastic. Nevertheless, the design does not stand out and is more typical of Lenovo-looking devices in the budget segment. It is one of the heavier programming laptops, weighing about 7 pounds. 

Further, the device has 8GB DDR4 RAM on the memory front, which makes the device more efficient at processing data. Besides, it comes with 256GB SSD storage for all your essential programming documents and files. With its 15.6-inch Full HD display, the computing machine is well-suited for visual tasks as well. 

This laptop has a 60Hz display; therefore, don’t expect much from the display in terms of gaming. There are all the necessary ports for connectivity, as well as wireless and Bluetooth options. It is overall a decent programming machine for the money.

4. ASUS ZenBook Pro UX581

– powerful laptop for programming with dual screen

  • Best for multitasking
  • 4K matte touchscreen
  • UHD NanoEdge technology
  • Include stylus pen
  • TrackPad is not durable

Dual-screen setups increase productivity and imagine the possibility of having the same experience on a laptop. Well, this feature is available on the Asus Zenbook Pro Duo. 

In addition to dual 4K displays, the laptop has beefy specs. Zenbook Pro Duo’s touchscreen display measures 15 inches and has a 4K resolution. A matte touchscreen with a resolution of 4K is on the secondary display.

The quality of both displays is uncompromised. Besides, its performance also surpasses expectations. There are six cores in the 10th generation Intel Core i7 processor. 

For graphics performance, it features an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU that renders top-class visuals. In addition to meeting the recommended requirements for programming, the laptop also has sufficient RAM and storage. 

The laptop has 16 GB RAM and 1TB of SSD storage which will help store a large amount of data.

However, though it is a good laptop, its high price is a concern. If you can afford $2000 for this laptop, you should consider it. Its outstanding display, creative design, and solid hardware make it an excellent option.

5. Acer Swift 3

– best budget laptop for coding

  • Lightning fast
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Purified voice technology
  • MU-MIMO technology
  • Low ports

The Acer Swift 3 belongs to the budget-friendly laptop category. Even so, it has several powerful specifications. This laptop comes with an AMD Ryzen 7 5700U processor, which delivers top-quality performance. The turbo boost feature in this chipset allows it to deliver clock speeds of up to 4.3GHz. 

At the same time, this chipset utilizes TSMC’s 7nm manufacturing platform. It also comes with an AMD Radeon RX Vega 8 GPU which helps perform the visual task efficiently. The device is also capable of handling some lightweight games. 

Currently, the laptop has 8GB of DDR4 RAM and a 512GB SSD, so; you can store many things. An IPS LED display occupies the entire surface of the laptop, offering a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and a brightness of 300 nits.

With just under 2.65 pounds, it is still relatively light, even with all these features. As part of the device’s security and privacy features, a fingerprint sensor is also included. Like a budget laptop, Acer Swift 3 has a powerful AMD processor that will make programming much easier. 

6. MSI Stealth 15M

best laptop for programming and gaming

  • Lightweight
  • Better thermal dissipation
  • Versatile connections
  • RGB keyboard is not suitable for everyone

MSI’s Stealth 15M is another best recommendation for programming laptops that come with RTX3060 graphics. Doing programming on it is very convenient because it is lightweight and ultra-slim. 

A powerful Intel Core i7-11375H processor is paired with 6 GB of GDDR6 memory to deliver top-quality performance. Intel’s Turbo Boost technology lets the chipset boost its base clock speed to 5.0GHz from 3.0GHz with a quad-core CPU.

Further, a combination of heat pipes and multiple fans on the back of this laptop prevents overheating. Users who love programming and traveling with their laptops will appreciate the quality of MSI laptops. There is no doubt that MSI Stealth 15M is also good for playing video games since it has a 15.6-inch screen and 16GB RAM. 

Additionally, the design of the speaker ensures that it will provide high-quality sound. High-end laptops are normally hefty machines, but this one weighs just 3.73 pounds. The slimmer design makes it a suitable device for traveling.

7. LG Gram 17Z90N

  • 17 hours long battery life
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Reliable IPS LCD screen
  • Quick charging
  • Highly portable
  • Not upgradable

LG Gram 17Z90N was selected in the list of best laptops for programmers because it has a high-resolution display and better performance. With a 17-inch display and a resolution of 2560 x 1600, it features 2K thin bezels. 

The display is sharp and bright, but you will not be straining your eyes. The display would be a great help to programmers in creating new programs. In addition, the laptop provides a battery life of 15 hours.

Furthermore, it features the Intel Core i5 processor coupled with Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7. Since it lacks a dedicated VRAM, it can only handle basic graphics. 

Also, it has 16GB DDR4 RAM for smooth performance with 512GB of SSD which provides optimal space. Memory and storage are sufficient to run programming applications casually. 

Windows 10 Pro comes preinstalled on the device, but you can change the operating system as per your wish. An RGB Backlit keyboard, WiFi 6 support, as well as necessary I/O ports are included. A bigger screen and a long-lasting battery make this a good choice for programmers.

8. Microsoft Surface 4

– portable 2-in-1 laptop for web design & development

  • Top-class display
  • Windows 10 compatible
  • Supports pen input
  • Sleek shape
  • Lightweight
  • Low-quality sound

The Surface Laptop 4 is Microsoft’s newest laptop. This laptop has a 13.5-inch LCD PixelSense screen with a resolution of 2256 x 1504 pixels. It is also capable of using a stylus pen and touch input. 

As a result, you can improve your ability to use the laptop using the Microsoft pen. Furthermore, this laptop features an extraordinarily accurate display. The top of the laptop houses an HD web camera, surrounded by slim bezels on the sides. 

In terms of specifications, the Surface Laptop 4 features the latest 11th Generation Intel processor. This processor has a maximum turbo boost frequency of 4.40GHz. 

A single core can operate up to 2.60GHz. In addition to being equipped with 512GB of SSD storage, this newest Microsoft laptop contains 8GB of RAM. However, the SSD is the only component that you can upgrade. 

When it comes to battery life, this laptop performs admirably. With just one charge, it can easily last over 10 hours. A TPM 2.0 chip and Windows Hello integration round out the security features. 

9. Lenovo Flex 5

best 2-in-1 laptop for programming

  • Wide IPS touchscreen
  • Powerful 65W adapter
  • Touch display
  • Narrow bezels
  • Storage is low

The Lenovo Flex 5 has a 14-inch Full HD display with a 1920 x 1080p resolution. Powered by a Ryzen 5 4500U, this laptop runs at 2.3GHz and features a Hexa-core CPU. 

Undoubtedly, this processor is capable of delivering its intended function. The primary use of a convertible laptop is for drawing and performing other complex tasks.

Lenovo Flex 5 is surrounded by durable hinges that allow it to bend 360 degrees concerning durability. Taking advantage of the flexible display’s features, you can easily convert it into a tablet. 

Additionally, it comes with a Stylus Pen which is an essential addition for touchscreens. According to Lenovo, a single charge is said to last for 10 hours. 

The device can also charge 80% in just one hour due to the fast-charging support. Moreover, it has 16GB of DDR4 RAM and 512GB of SSD storage, which is enough to store essential documents and files. It weighs only 3.6 pounds, making it lightweight and portable. 

10. Acer Swift X

Acer Swift X
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5800U
Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD
Display: 14 Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS Widescreen LED-backlit 100% sRGB display with 300 nits brightness
  • Widescreen LED-backlit
  • Powerful
  • 300 nits brightness
  • Slim design
  • Does not have an SD card reader

Acer Swift X is another high-performance laptop that we would recommend to every programmer. Users who edit a lot of content and do regular programming will find Acer Swift X quite helpful. 

It comes with Ryzen 7 5800U processor, which can handle both easy as well as complex tasks. Utilizing AMD’s Zen 3 microarchitecture, the company has used 7nm technology to create a power-efficient CPU. 

There are eight cores in Zen 3’s CPU, which offers a maximum clock speed of 4.4GHz. This version comes with Dynamic boost 2.0 and enhanced real-time Ray Tracing. 

Aside from the 16GB of DDR4 RAM, the Swift X has 512GB of storage on its Solid-State Drive. There is also an IPS display that measures 14 inches with 1920 x 1080 resolution. 

In addition to high resolution, it can reach a maximum brightness of 300 nits. The display also offers 100 percent coverage of the sRGB color gamut. The display provides excellent color accuracy with impressive picture quality.

Laptop for Programming Buying Guide

Processor & GPU

The performance of any laptop largely depends on the processor acting as its primary component. It is a crucial factor you need to consider when choosing a laptop. Unlike other tasks, coding requires few resources. 

Therefore, you don’t need a powerful processor for programming. Nevertheless, it is wise to invest in a modern CPU to prevent it from becoming obsolete. Currently, Intel is offering its 12th generation of processors. 

We recommend that you purchase this series. You may also want to consider an 11th-generation i5 or i7 processor to save some funds. Other than that, AMD has competed against Intel for many years. If you want a more powerful processor, AMD Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 processors are good choices. 

Typically, the GPU does not play a significant role in program execution because it rarely intervenes. If you are not going to do graphics-intensive programming, such as game development, the integrated GPU will be more than enough for you.

RAM & Storage

It doesn’t matter what you do; memory is always a key component. Offering temporary data storage helps reduce the load on the processor, which ultimately helps improve performance. 

As a result, providing decent RAM should resolve most coding issues. You should have at least 8GB of DDR4 RAM on your laptop, but if you want to use it for longer than two years, 16GB RAM is preferable.

In addition to that, data is also stored in storage. The number of files you want to keep on the storage is entirely up to you. Generally speaking, 256GB of SSD is quite a suitable amount. 512GB storage offers more space and can easily be found in most laptop models.

Keyboard & Trackpad

The keyboard is the most critical component of a laptop if you want to code, regardless of its other features. It is a known fact that programming is mainly a typing-intensive activity, and most of the time, you will be at your keyboard and trackpad.

I recommend a comfortable keyboard with good key travel. Consider the backlighting feature when working in a dark environment. Laptops with a backlit keyboard are easy to find. 

Even on a $500 laptop, it’s a common feature. Aside from that, the size and sensitivity of the trackpad are essential as well. 

Most modern laptops do not include touch capabilities, which is good. Laptops vary in trackpad size, however. Therefore, you can find laptops with a large trackpad and a comfortable keyboard in this selection.

Battery Life

Batteries do not directly affect your productivity, but they provide you with a long period of uninterrupted use of your laptop. If you travel frequently, this becomes particularly important. 

The best laptop will have a good battery life if it doesn’t compromise other factors. According to my standards, a laptop that can run for five to six hours on a single charge is sufficient. However, if you consider using it in remote areas, you should take it one step further.


Just like any other hardware component, the large display is equally critical for long work hours. In the end, the screen panel displays your code execution output. Even though it is not the focal point, it is crucial to choose the right panel. 

An unresponsive display can cause a great deal of eye strain if you already have problems with your eyes. Working on an average-looking display isn’t too problematic for a healthy person.

How Did We Pick?

We have shortlisted 100+ laptops to pick only ten options for this guide. We compared laptops for their specifications, performance, price and listed the for different use cases.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does a programming laptop need an SSD?

Yes, SSDs are great for making everything load as quickly as possible. So as a programmer, you can buy a laptop with an SSD.

Does the laptop for programming have any minimum requirements?

f you want a programming laptop, make sure it has a comfortable keyboard, an accurate trackpad, a large screen, 8GB of memory, and 256GB of storage.

How important is a backlit keyboard for programming?

If you use your laptop more often in dark environments, you may want to consider it.

How does a touchscreen laptop help programmers?

Programmers don’t directly benefit from touchscreen laptops. However, they give you greater accessibility by making content more accessible.


You must also care for the hardware when you are programming. You cannot simply concentrate on code, flowcharts, and algorithms. A laptop with the appropriate hardware and processing power is essential for writing code and finding solutions to problems.

Having the right laptop is essential for staying competitive and delivering your ideas more easily if you’re a programmer. If you have already gone through all the listed options, you may have decided which option is best for you.

John Webber
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