5 Best Cheap Laptops Under $250: Which Is Right for You?

In today’s world, laptops under $250 can be incredibly productive devices that aren’t just practical, they’re long-lasting as well. There are three kinds of laptops on this list: dated Macbooks, Chromebooks, and Windows laptops. Each has their strengths and weaknesses.

For most people, a Chromebook is a superb way to go. These devices are much faster than their Windows counterparts even if they have the specs; Chrome OS is a ligthweight operating system and it can run much more effectively than Windows can on a similar machine.

For those who need Windows for whatever reason, affordable laptops with Windows installations are usable, but not as smooth or pleasant as Chromebook. Still, their value is pretty undeniable as you won’t be pigeon-holed into using only web apps. Finally, there’s an older Macbook model on this list. Buying used Macs can be a good idea if that Mac has a replaceable hard drive and you can throw in an SSD. If you do this, you can be off to the races with a dependable machine – but with some limitations; for instance, some software won’t work.

Still, I personally have a 2007 Macbook and I enjoy it greatly for word processing and basic browsing. If you love OSX and tinkering, this can be an option worth looking at.

All that out of the way, here’s the top 5 best cheap laptops under $250:

What Are the Best Laptops Under $250?

acer chromebook 11 Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Lightweight
  • Fast
  • Loud Speakers
Price: $209.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
asus vivobook Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 180-degree hinge
  • 64GB eMMC Storage
  • N4000 Processor
Price: $242.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
hp stream laptop, best cheap laptop, best under 250 laptop Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 32GB eMMC HD
  • Attractive
  • Built-in Camera
Price: $299.77 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
lenovo cheap laptop, best cheap laptops Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Full HD Display
  • Touchscreen
  • Fast
Price: $215.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
samsung exynos Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Attractive Design
  • Quick Book Time
  • User-Friendly
Price: $153.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. Acer Chromebook 11 (Celeron N3060)

    Pros:
    • Lightweight
    • Fast Celeron N3060 DC Processor
    • Loud Speakers
    • 10-hours battery life
    • HDR webcam
    Cons:
    • Smaller than you might want
    • Looks box-like
    • No touchscreen

    If you're looking for good laptops under $250, you should definitely start with Chromebooks. And, the best inexpensive Chromebooks you'll find in 2018 come from Acer.

    The Acer Chromebook 11 has a dual-core Celeron N3060 processor that hits up to 2.48GHz, and it comes with 4GB DDR3L SDRAM. While it only has 16GB storage, it's still great for browsing, working, and binge watching all fo the Netflix you want.

    It also has an 11.6" HD backlit IPS screen that's vibrant and renders pixels beautifully, and the two built-in speakers are nice and loud — again, great for your next Netflix session!

  2. ASUS VivoBook E203MA 11.6″

    Pros:
    • Fast
    • Long battery life
    • 64GB eMMC Storage
    Cons:
    • Touchpad feel
    • Windows 10 (not Chrome OS)
    • Some users report heating issue

    The ASUS Vivobook is one of the highest rated non-Chromebook laptops you'll find on Amazon right now, with over 50% of reviewers giving it 5 stars!

    What makes this such a great cheap laptop?

    For one, it has a unique 180-degree hinge that makes it easier to hold when you're lying down watching movies — which oddly isn't a standard feature in 2018. Secondly, it has a Dual-Core Celeron N4000 processor and an impressive 64GB eMMC storage. It also uses 4GB DDR4 Ram (you'll notice the Chromebooks on this list use DDR3 Ram).

    While it uses the less-cleaner software of Windows 10, it's still great for browsing the web, watching videos, and working on that blog you're trying to get off the ground.

  3. HP Stream 14″ (Certified Refurbished)

    Pros:
    • 32GB eMMC hard drive
    • Attractive, lightweight appearance
    • About the cheapest PC possible with a full Windows OS
    • Built-in camera
    • Keyboard is decent quality
    Cons:
    • Hard drive space is incredibly limited
    • Performance is weak
    • Display is low resolution

    For those who need a Windows PC, but want to spend as little as possible, the HP Stream achieves just that. Let’s be clear: this is not nearly as fast as a Chromebook, but it does run a complete version of Windows 10 and that’s very impressive at this price. If you need apps like Microsoft Works or even light Photoshop use, the HP Stream can get the job done – just don’t expect it to be quick or super smooth.

    This laptop boasts a 1366 x 768 resolution screen which isn’t a ton of pixels, but it’s fine for most use cases; that said, you wouldn’t really be able to use multiple applications at the same time on a system like this. In addition, it has pretty good IO, including 1 USB 3.0 port, a USB 2.0, an HDMI out and an SD card reader. Not bad for the price! It’s a machine with real compromises, but if you need Windows and you’re a patient person, this is a very affordable device that can get the job done.

  4. Lenovo N32 11.6″ Touchscreen Laptop

    Pros:
    • 320GB hard drive, 2GB of RAM
    • Touchscreen makes this easy to use, particularly for kids
    • Runs on Windows 10
    • Full HD display
    Cons:
    • 11.6-inch screen may seem too small for some users
    • Not very powerful
    • Touchscreen controls take some getting used to

    For those who want a laptop that can open to 180 degrees, has a full Windows install, and a touchscreen, this Lenovo model offers a ton of value at a low price. Of course, don’t expect too much: it’s for basic Windows use and just like the HP Stream above, it will struggle with intensive tasks like gaming or editing photos. That said, this is a great device for a variety of use; users love the display, 360 degree hinge, microSD card slot, and full HD display. Plus, it’s pretty rugged, especially for a clamshell.

  5. Samsung Chromebook Notebook Exynos 5250

    Pros:
    • Attractive design
    • Fast setup
    • Very thin, weighs under 2.5 pounds
    • Quick boot time
    • User-friendly
    Cons:
    • Battery life only around six hours
    • Lightweight design may seem flimsy to those used to heftier laptops
    • Keyboard lacks some shortcut keys found on desktop keyboards
    • May not be compatible with all software you want to use; Chrome OS is only a browser

    Another Chromebook worth considering is this attractive model from Samsung. Boasting a screen that’s nearly a foot wide, this big laptop feels expansive, despite some of the limitations that come with relying on ChromeOS. While it has just a 16 GB solid state drive and 2GB RAM, you can get more storage through Google Drive.

Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.

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