If you’re looking to spend a reasonable amount of cash on a PC, it has never been a better time to buy. Nowadays, there are many options for affordable yet high quality computers. On this list, we have a variety of machines for those who want the bare minimum Windows experience to the gamer who wants to be able to play the latest titles at fast frame rates.
Affordable is a bit of an ambiguous word, but every PC on this list is under $1,000, with the exception of the last one which is only slightly over at $1049.99. That said, if you want really cheap PCs, be sure to check out our other list, The Best PCs under $500, which showcases even more lower price options.
All that out of the way, here’s the 10 best affordable laptop computers from lowest to highest price.
1. HP Elitebook 8470p (Certified Refurbished)
Processor / Passmark Speed i5-3320M / 4077 | RAM 8GB DDR3 | Graphics Card Integrated | Hard Drive 500GB (5400RPM) | Weight 4.65lbs | Display 1366 x 768, 200 nits, 60hz, 112 PPI | Extras Webcam |
For those open to a used machine, this HP Elitebook offers solid performance for the price. It’s a pretty great deal. Boasting a zippy i5 processor and 8GB of RAM, this PC out punches considerably more expensive newer models. Of course, with used, there’s always a trade-off. The one shortcoming with this PC is its relatively slow hard drive. If you’re interested in this model, be sure to backup all of your data (Backblaze does this for only $5 a month) or replace the hard drive; it’s usually the first part to go.
Beyond this, however, this PC is a good deal for those who need a PC for student or workplace usage. The only other shortcoming is its low-res screen (1366 x 768), but for most users this won’t be noticeable.
- Full Windows 10 machine at a dirt cheap price
- Value is great; performance is better than many much more expensive PCs
- Large data drive
- Amazon refurbished products include 30-day warranty
- Resolution could be better
- Hard drive is 5400RPM and on the slow side; can be unreliable on a used machine
2. Acer Aspire 15.6″
Processor / Passmark Speed i3-6100U / 3606 | RAM 4GB DDR3L | Graphics Card Integrated | Hard Drive 1TB HDD | Weight 5.29lbs | Display 1366 x 768, 15.6″ |
The biggest perk of getting a new laptop as opposed to a refurbished one is that the hard drive is less of a concern. That said, this model isn’t quite up to the specs of the first one on our list. Its hard drive is twice as big, but it has half as much RAM and a slower i3 processor. It also weighs about a pound more and has a similarly low resolution screen. This PC is still a good deal if you want to get a new PC and just need the bare basics on a Windows PC. It has enough power for decent performance for student or office applications, but not much else.
- Decent specs for the price
- Great for browsing online and document creation
- RAM and hard drive are easy to upgrade
- Includes disc drive
- Processor and RAM are low for Windows (takes a lot of system resources)
- Display has low resolution
3. Asus VivoBook F510UA (Good for Photoshop, Video Editors)
Processor / Passmark Speed i5-8250U / 7390 | RAM 8GB DDR4 | Graphics Card Integrated | Hard Drive 1TB HDD (5400RPM) | Weight 3.7lbs | Display 15.6″ 1080P |
This Vivobook is a really nice deal. It boasts a fast i5 processor and a good amount of RAM, plus it’s about the same weight as the first PC on our list. Unfortunately, it has a slow hard drive, but that can be replaced. This PC isn’t the editor’s choice (that honor goes to the computer below), but it’s a strong pick if you want an affordable computer with a good amount of processing power. If exporting video or photos (especially using external drives) is part of your day to day, this may be a better choice than the Swift below because having that extra processor speed will make things move a lot quicker. That said, if you don’t do that much of those things, the Swift is only $100 more expensive and adding in an SSD really makes using a PC a much better experience for general use.
- New, fast 8th-generation i5 processor
- Good RAM for the price
- Large hard drive
- Weight is less than comparable PCs
- Cool looking screen nearly lacks a bezzle
- Hard drive is slow
- No CD drive
4. Acer Swift 3 (Editor’s Choice)
Processor / Passmark Speed i5-8250U | RAM 8GB DDR4 | Graphics Card Integrated | Hard Drive 256GB SSD | Weight 4.63lbs | Display 15.6″, 1080P |
The Acer Swift 3 has a lot going for it. It boasts a decent processor, a good amount of RAM, and a pretty low weight. The biggest perk here, however, is its fast 256GB SSD. This makes every aspect of the PC much quicker for uses like moving files, loading (boot time), and virtually any application. The only downside to this PC is that its processor isn’t very fast for things like editing videos. Still, it should suffice for 1080P editing, it just won’t likely be a very smooth and seamless experience. In terms of gaming, it won’t do either. The reason this PC, however, is the editor’s choice is because for student and office use, it has everything you need to work effectively and pleasantly on document creation and most student or office applications.
- Solid price and balance for a document, work, or student PC
- Good processor with enough RAM for decent multitasking
- Cheap, relatively low weight
- Compared to comparable Mac – half the price, twice the performance
- Great battery life of up to 10 hours
- Screen can be parallel to keyboard, 180 degree flexibility
- Its fan can be noisy
- Easy to press on/off button
5. Dell Inspiron i5
Processor / Passmark Speed i5-7200U / 4686 | RAM 8GB DDR4 | Graphics Card Integrated | Hard Drive 1TB HDD (5400 RPM) | Weight 5.13lbs | Display 15.6″ 1080P, Touch display |
This Inspiron i5 downgrades the SSD, but it is slightly faster processor-wise and has equal RAM. The biggest benefit to this PC is its touch display. For those who like to draw or use other touch applications, this PC may be a better choice. However, it is considerably heavier. Fortunately, that extra weight includes a DVD/CD writing drive, which can prove handy for those who still use discs. Another perk here is its back-lit keyboard. Overall, this PC isn’t a stand out in any real way. It won’t do for video editing or gaming (at all), but if you want a touch screen, this is one of the best, most affordable ways to get it.
- DVD/CD writer drive
- Backlit keyboard makes typing in the night easier
- Good brand means reliability and good customer service
- Track pad is solid
- Only really powerful enough for student or office use
- Hard drive is on the slow side; worst spec on the computer
6. ASUS Zenbook UX330
Processor / Passmark Speed i5-7200U / 4686 | RAM 8GB DDR3 | Graphics Card Integrated | Hard Drive 256GB SSD | Weight 2.6lbs | Display 13.3″, 1080P | Extras Built-in fingerprint reader |
The Zenbook is essentially a much fancier Acer Swift (number four on our list). Compared to the Swift, the perks are pretty superficial. They have very comparable performance. With this computer, one carries a bit less weight and gets a built-in fingerprint reader. That said, the Zenbook is a really nice looking device. Comparing it to a Macbook, it blows that machine out of the water (the Zenbook’s processor is about 50% faster). For those who are looking for the form factor and vibe of a Mac on a PC laptop, the Zenbook is the most affordable way to do so. If you don’t care for looks or low weight, go with the Swift 3 instead.
Price: $699 (8 percent off MSRP)
- Keyboard has back light
- SD card reader out of the box
- Sleek look with good build quality
- Good specs for its weight and office performance
- Lack of a graphics cards means no gaming
- Smaller screen means better pixel density, but it’s still 1080P
7. Dell Inspiron Pseudo 4K, 15.6″
Processor / Passmark Speed i7-6700HQ / 8136 | RAM 8GB DDR3L | Graphics Card GTX 960M | Hard Drive 1TB HDD (5400 RPM) | Weight 6.07lbs | Display 15.6″, Psuedo 4K |
If you’re looking to play Overwatch, for instance, and just to use this PC (not with an external display), then this is the most affordable way to do so. That out of the way, this PC has some weaknesses that mean it may be worth it to spend a few more bucks. The GTX 960M is a decent card, but it doesn’t compare to the GTX 1050Ti and you can get that on Acer model below. Another big point here is that the 1TB HDD is 5400 RPM, which doesn’t matter too much for games, but it can be annoying for other purposes. It also means the boot time is slower.
Still, if you’re at your budget max, this PC will do the job well. One other feature that some may like is its Pseudo 4k touch screen. Essentially, these screens use a technology that gives them more pixels than 1080P. It’s technically 4K, but functionally, it looks more like enhanced 1080P (not even 1440P).
If you want the bare minimum gaming PC and are at your budget max, go for this PC. If not, it’s recommended to spend just a bit more and get more bang for your buck.
- Good all around performer
- Display has great solution (Pseudo 4K)
- Excellent mobile processor
- SD card reader built in
- Graphics card means it can be used for gaming
- No disk or optical drive
- Hard drive is slow at 5400 RPM
- Average battery life
8. Acer Aspire VX (Gamer’s Pick)
Processor / Passmark Speed i7-7700HQ / 8943 | RAM 16GB DDR4 | Graphics Card GTX 1050Ti (4GB) | Hard Drive 256GB SSD | Weight 5.51lbs | Display 15.6″, 1080P |
This is a PC with no compromises. If you’re a gamer, it has everything you need, including a fast GTX 1050Ti, an SSD, and tons of RAM. Sure, one could spend $50 more on the Helios 300, but chances are, unless you’re playing the very top of the line games, there’s no reason to insist on a GTX 1060. This PC gets the job done for everyone. It will play modern games at medium to high settings.
The one caveat is that if you would like a better display with an inferior processor, the model below has a prettier screen. Still, for most who want a powerful laptop capable of playing modern games, this is the way to go. If you want a desktop replacement, the Helios 300 may work out better for the most intense graphical applications and the like.
Price: $999 (5 percent off MSRP)
- Bright, high-quality display
- Backlit keyboard
- Solid performance for 1080P VFX and editing with its great graphics card
- Snappy SSD with blazing fast, best-in-class processor
- Hard drive space will go fast as it is on the small side; upgrade will be necessary for those with large files
- Helios 300 will perform better for games and video editing and is only $49 more (see more information on Amazon or the end of this list)
9. Acer Aspire Gaming, Editing, and Design PC
Processor / Passmark Speed i5-7300HQ / 6826 | RAM 16GB DDR4 | Graphics Card GTX 1050 Ti – 3GB | Hard Drive 256gb SSD | Weight 5.51lbs | Display 15.6″, 1920 x 1080 |
If you don’t need a GTX 1060 (such as on the Helios 300 below), then this is the PC to get. It boasts everything you need to do anything you would want to do at a PC at just under $1,000. Sure, you could spend $50 more, and get the Helios 300 below, but do you really need to do that? The Helios has an inferior display and on a day-to-day basis, having a good display is very important. This PC has a worse processor than the model above, but it has a great display and is otherwise very solid. If you’re a gamer occasionally, but primarily a student or using your PC for office applications, this model is preferable.
Price: $999 (5 percent off MSRP)
- Can play modern games at decent to good settings
- RAM and SSD can be upgraded
- Sound quality is solid
- Good construction quality
- Runs Overwatch and League of Legends smoothly
- No CD/DVD drive
- Trackpad is off center
- Includes some bloatware (unnecessary software that needs to be deleted for max performance)
10. Acer Predator Helios 300
Processor / Passmark Speed i7-7700HQ / 8943 | RAM 16GB DDR4 | Graphics Card GTX 1060 – 6GB | Hard Drive 256GB SSD | Weight 5.95lbs | Display 15.6″ 1920 x 1080, IPS 60HZ |
This is the best deal in gaming laptops on the market right now. Boasting a fast i7, plenty of RAM, and a wicked graphics card, the GTX 1060, this PC delivers in every way. The display is a bit dim, that’s it’s worse shortcoming, but the great thing about this computer, is that with that much power under the hood, one can easily use it as a desktop replacement at home. It may be heavy (almost six pounds), but it’s also heavy-duty. If you want to play modern games at high to ultra settings, this laptop has your back. That’s just not true of the GTX 1050Ti. It will struggle to play the most demanding games at the highest settings. This PC will struggle with very little. It’s a beast.
Price: $1049.99 (5 percent off MSRP)
- Best gaming laptop in the $1000 price range; no contest
- Backlit keyboard is nice for late night gaming sessions
- Great for video or photo editing that utilizes graphics card (Photoshop is processor-only)
- Wi-Fi is good; decent speakers
- Laptop can get very hot
- Display could be brighter
- Screen construction quality feels a bit cheap