Whether you’re buying an entire fleet of notebooks for your employees or just looking for a single productivity system for yourself, you’ll want a business laptop that’s durable, powerful and easy-to-use. The best business laptops outdo their consumer-focused counterparts by offering better security, stronger build quality and a superior typing experience.
For power users, Lenovo updated the ThinkPad X1 Extreme with an optional 4K OLED display. If you want portability, go with the upcoming Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon and ThinkPad X1 Yoga. HP’s Elite x2, a sleek detachable with a 1000-nit display, is also worth a look.
For everyone else, these are our favorite business laptops right now.
Best Business Laptop Overall: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (6th Gen)
Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon is the Maserati of business laptops, a sleek and stylish system with plenty of power under the hood. At 2.49 pounds, this 14-inch laptop can go anywhere, but it still finds room for a full suite of ports and enough battery capacity to provide over 11 hours of endurance.
The 6th Gen version of the X1 Carbon, ups the ante by adding a quad-core, Intel Kaby Lake-R CPU and one of the most gorgeous screens we’ve ever seen on a laptop. The optional, 2K HDR display rivals the OLED screens we see on top phones as it reproduces 199 percent of the sRGB gamut and provides up to 500 nits of brightness.
Pros: Super-vibrant HDR display; Long battery life; Excellent keyboard; Lightweight chassis
Cons: Tinny audio; Meh webcam
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i5/Core i7 | GPU: Intel UHD 620 | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB SSD | Display: 14-inch, 2560 x 1440 or 1080p | Size: 12.7 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 2.5 pounds
Best Apple Laptop: MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2019)
Start putting money aside now because the latest 15-inch MacBook Pro is one pricey machine, and there’s really no other business laptop like it. Performance is where the MacBook Pro really stands out from the crowd. With up to a Core i9-9980HK CPU and 32GB of RAM, this sleek productivity machine can handle some serious number crunching. Not to mention the breathtaking speed of its record-breaking SSD. And like the MacBook Pros before it, the 2019 model has a sharp, vivid display, great speakers and long battery life (10+ hours).
Pros: Blistering performance; Sharp, vivid display; Powerful audio; Long battery life
Cons: Very expensive; Keyboard isn’t great; No USB Type-A ports
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i7/Core i9 | GPU: Radeon Pro 555X/Pro 560X/Pro Vega 16/Pro Vega 20| RAM: 16GB/32GB | Storage: 512GB/1TB/2TB/4TB | Display: 15.4-inch, 2880-1800-pixel | Size: 13.8 x 9.5 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 4 pounds
Best Design: HP EliteBook x360 1030 G3
The HP EliteBook x360 1030 G3 is the complete package. Its aluminum chassis is not only thin and lightweight, but it’s also durable to military-grade specifications. Not to mention, the business laptop’s sturdy yet flexible hinge allows the gorgeous 13.3-inch, 1080p display to rotate back into tablet mode. Aside from its stylish looks, the Elitebook x360 1030 G3 has a comfortable keyboard, long battery life and a fast hard drive.
Pros: Sleek design; Gorgeous display; Comfortable keyboard; Solid audio; Fast SSD; Long battery life
Cons: Competing laptops are faster; Expensive
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i5/Core i7 | GPU: Intel UHD 620 | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB | Display: 13.3-inch, 1080p or 4K | Size: 12 x 8.1 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 2.8 pounds
Best Business Detachable: Microsoft Surface Pro 6
The Surface Pro 6 wasn’t designed as a business laptop, per say, but it has everything you could want from an enterprise machine. New to the Surface Pro is a sophisticated matte black finish that will blend into any professional office environment. The flexible detachable now has 8th Gen quad-core processors, which offer a significant performance boost when compared to last year’s Surface Pro. Battery life has also been markedly improved, so you can leave your charger at home. You can use the gorgeous, 12.3-inch touch screen display with the responsive Surface Pen, and the comfortable Type Cover keyboard attachment has a useful touchpad.
Pros: Speedy performance; Long battery life; Colorful display; Comfortable (optional) keyboard
Cons: No USB-C port; Sluggish SSD
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i5/Core i7 | GPU: Intel UHD 620 | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB | Display: 12.3-inch, 2736 x 1824-pixel | Size: 11.5 x 7.0 x 0.3 inches | Weight: 1.7 pounds
Best Business 2-in-1: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga
If you want your business laptop to outshine those around you, then pick up the ThinkPad X1 Yoga. This 2-in-1 has a gorgeous 2K HDR screen that is among the most colorful we’ve ever seen. The laptop also features an elegant Mil-Spec tested design and its 8th Gen Intel processors offer excellent performance. If you’re worried about privacy, the X1 Yoga comes with a slider on the webcam, so you can ditch the tape.
Pros: Stunning 2K HDR display; Fast performance; Privacy webcam slider; Durable design
Cons: Pricey; Average battery life
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i5/Core i7 | GPU: Intel UHD 620 | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB | Display: 14-inch, 1080p or 2560 x 1440-pixel | Size: 13.1 x 9 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 3.1 pounds
Best Battery Life: Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1
If battery life is a priority, the Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 is the business laptop for you. But its 13+ hours of runtime isn’t the only reason to buy this notebook; the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 has a sleek, flexible design, fast performance and some useful sign-in options.
Pros: Epic battery life; Strong performance; Sleek design; Nifty proximity sensor sign-in
Cons: Display could be brighter; poor speakers
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i5/Core i7 | GPU: Intel UHD 620 | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB | Display: 14-inch, 1080p | Size: 12.6 x 7.9 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 3 pounds
Best Performance: Dell XPS 15 (2019)
It may not be a business machine, per say, but the new Dell XPS 15 offers tons of power in a slim package you can easily bring to work every day. Packing up to a Core i9 CPU and 32GB of RAM, the XPS 15 destroyed our benchmark tests and had no problems streaming a movie trailer with 25 Chrome tabs open. The XPS 15 gives you all the ports you’d need to an external monitor, but your eyes will keep coming back to its stunning 4K OLED panel, which is both bright and exceptionally vivid.
Pros: Breathtaking 4K OLED; Slim, attractive design; Great overall performance and graphics
Cons: Below-average battery life
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i5/Core i7/Core i9 | GPU: GeForce GTX 1650 | RAM: 8GB/16GB/32GB| Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB | Display: 15.6-inch, 1080p or 4K (OLED) | Size: 14.1 x 9.3 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 4.5 pounds
Best 15-inch Workstation: HP ZBook Studio x360 G5
The HP ZBook Studio x360 G5 is hands down the best business laptop for power users, provided money isn’t an obstacle. This exorbitantly priced 15.6-inch laptop has it all, including a vivid, bright display and outstanding performance. Most impressive, however, is the workstation’s uncharacteristically sleek profile and long battery life. It’s also uncommon for a workstation to have a flexible chassis like the x360 G5’s, and the device’s touch screen can be used with a stylus.
Pros: Premium design; Gorgeous 4K panel; Military-grade durability; Comfortable keyboard; Excellent performance; Long battery life
Cons: Lid flexes; Poor webcam; Expensive
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i5/Core i7/Xeon | GPU: Intel UHD 630/Nvidia Quadro P1000 | RAM: 8GB/16GB/32GB | Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB | Display: 15.6-inch, 1080p or 4K | Size: 14.2 x 9.7 x 0.8 inches | Weight: 4.9 pounds
Best 17-inch Workstation: Dell Precision 7730
If you have an unlimited budget and want the most powerful machine around, look no further than the Dell Precision 7730. This 7.5-pound workstation may not be the best for travel, but its Core i9 CPU and Nvidia Quadro P5200 GPU are capable of running even the most demanding applications, like 3D modeling or photo editing.
But the Precision 7730 isn’t all about performance. A gorgeous 4K display, a comfortable keyboard, and a MIL-SPEC design make this an exceptionally well-rounded machine, even though its battery life isn’t great.
Pros: Vivid, detailed 4K display; Blistering performance; Comfortable keyboard; Durable design; Powerful graphics
Cons: Sub-par battery life; Runs warm; Exorbitant price
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i5/Core i7/Xeon | GPU: Up to Radeon Pro WX 7100/Up to Quadro P5200 | RAM: 8GB/16GB/32GB/64GB/128GB | Storage: 500GB (HDD)/256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB/4TB | Display: 17.3-inch, 1080p or 4K | Size: 16.3 x 10.8 x 1.2 inches | Weight: 7.5 pounds
Best Business Chromebook: HP Chromebook x2
Premium Chromebooks are on the rise, and there is none better (for now) than the HP Chromebook x2. The 12.3-inch tablet has a super-bright, high-resolution display and it lasts nearly 9 hours on a charge. One of best reasons to buy the x2 over competitors is that its attachable keyboard and pen are included in the $599 price. Business professionals who spend their 9-to-5s writing reports will appreciate the comfortable typing experience offered by the Chromebook x2, not to mention the security and convenience of Chrome OS.
Pros: Bright, high-res display; Long battery life; Comfortable keyboard; Good sound
Cons: A bit heavy; Thick bezels; Core m3 CPU is underpowered
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core m3 | GPU: Intel HD 615 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32GB | Display: 12.3-inch, 2K | Size: 11.5 x 8.3 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 3.2 pounds
Best Rugged Laptop: Dell Latitude 5420 Rugged
Although its beefier sibling, the Latitude 7424 Rugged Extreme, is the more durable laptop, the Latitude 5420 Rugged is the better all-around machine thanks to its exceptionally bright display, strong performance and a comfortable RGB keyboard. Unlike other rugged laptops we’ve tested, the Latitude 5420 has a responsive touchpad and a relatively thin chassis to go along with its nearly 10 hours of battery life. If this machine is right for you, check out our page for the top Dell Latitude accessories.
Pros: Blindingly bright display; Survives 3-foot drops; Strong performance; Long battery life; Comfortable RGB keyboard
Cons: Expensive; No Thunderbolt 3; Poorly designed stylus slot
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i3/Core i5/Core i7| GPU: Intel UHD 620/AMD Radeon RX540 | RAM: 8GB/16GB/32GB | Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB | Display: 14-inch, 1080p | Size: 13.7 x 6.6 x 1.3 inches | Weight: 6.2 pounds
How to Choose a Business Laptop
Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing the right model of business laptop for you or your company.
- Do you need vPro? Many business laptops are available with CPUs that have Intel vPro technology, which lets a support person log in remotely, even if the computer can’t boot. However, unless you have a large IT department and a huge fleet of laptops that you need the ability to service remotely, you probably won’t use this feature.
- How fast do you need it to be? Most business users will be happy with a laptop that has a dual-core, Core i5 CPU like the Core i5-7200U or Core i5-7300U (vPro) and the CPU’s integrated graphics processor. However, if you require a high-end performance for 3D Modeling, professional video editing or creating predictive models, then get a mobile workstation with a quad-core Core i5 or Core i7 CPU (model numbers end in HQ) and Nvidia Quadro graphics.
- Long battery life: Nobody wants to run out of juice in the middle of a long workday or a cross-country flight. Unless you’re getting a giant workstation, look for a laptop that gets more than 9 hours on a charge. Some business systems come with a choice of regular or extended batteries; always get the high-capacity unit.
- At least a 1080p screen: It’s hard to be productive if you can’t see much text on the screen. Avoid laptops with low-resolution, 1366 x 768 screens like the plague. Get one with a resolution that’s 1920 x 1080 or higher.
- SSDs for responsiveness: If you want a truly fast computer, get a solid state drive rather than a mechanical hard drive. SSDs boot up, open programs and multitask at least three times faster than old-fashioned hard drives.
- The right ports: Nobody likes to carry a bag full of dongles. Consider which kinds of connections you or your employees will need the most. If you connect to a wired network a lot, make sure the laptop has an Ethernet port. If photography is a key part of the job, choose a laptop with a memory card reader. No matter what your needs, a Thunderbolt 3 port is a huge plus, because it will allow you to connect to a new generation of high-speed peripherals, universal chargers and powerful docks.
- A great keyboard: It almost goes without saying that every laptop should have a good keyboard. But with business systems, a comfortable typing experience is even more important. Look for snappy feedback, deep travel and absolutely no flex.
Getting a business laptop with all the features you need could cost more than you expected, but you’ll be rewarded with a computer that makes you or your employees more productive for years to come.