Are you looking for a new laptop for the school year? This year will be particularly challenging given that most schools will be operating virtually so it is imperative that you have a great laptop for teaching from home. We can help you find a great new laptop. We have researched the best laptops for teachers and found ones that will make teaching virtually seem seamless.
The laptops on this list are great for both in-person and online school so don’t worry if your school goes virtual this year. The following guide of best laptops for teachers is geared towards students who need lightweight, but powerful laptops for teaching from home.
Overall Best Laptops for Teachers 2021
|Laptop||Processor | RAM | Storage||Price|
|1. Lenovo IdeaPad 3||Intel® i5 | 12GB | 256GB SSD||$649.99|
|2. MacBook Air||Intel® i5 | 8GB | 128GB SSD||$730.41|
|3. Acer Aspire 5||AMD Ryzen 3 | 4GB | 128GB SSD||$364.99|
|4. HP Spectre ×360||Intel® i7 | 8GB | 512GB SSD||$1,299.00|
|5. Asus Chromebook Flip||Intel Core M5 | 4GB | 64GB SSD||$549.66|
|6. MacBook Pro||Intel® i5 | 8GB | 256GB SSD||$912.25|
|7. Dell XPS 15||Intel® 8th Gen | 8GB | 64GB SSD||$1,495.00|
|8. Surface Laptop 2||Intel® i5 | 8GB | 128GB SSD||$819.00|
|9. ASUS ZenBook||Intel® i5 | 8GB | 256GB SSD||$1,428.67|
|10. Surface Pro 7||Intel® i5 | 8GB | 128GB SSD||$2,305.61|
What makes a great laptop for teachers?
A great teaching laptop should have great specs for several main features including battery life, storage, processor, and more. Below are our recommendations for great laptop features if your primary purpose for using the laptop is for teaching in-person or remote classes.
Keep in mind that the requirements of a laptop also depend on the field of teaching. A science/engineering teacher is more likely to need higher specs than the recommendations below since they will likely be processing large amounts of data.
Recommended Laptop Features for Teachers
Storage: At least 250 GB is ideal. We recommend getting a solid-state drive (SSD) if you can afford it. This will prevent damage to your data if you accidentally drop your laptop.
Webcam: Historically webcams were not as much of a concern. Nowadays, a webcam is a must for all virtual classes. All of the laptops on this list have built-in webcams included.
Battery Life: Most laptops these days have plenty of battery life, but we recommend looking for one with at least 4 hours of battery life. This is especially important if you plan to take your laptop to class. Older classrooms don’t usually have enough outlets.
Keyboard: The most important factor for a keyboard is comfort. You may also want to look for a laptop with a number pad if you prefer to type numbers on the right. This is more a requirement for business or engineering teachers.
Weight: We recommend getting one that is less than four pounds even if you won’t be bringing your laptop to school.
RAM: Buy at least 4GB, but more than 8GB is preferred.
Software: Buy Windows or Mac OSX. This really is whichever you prefer. Some software may not work on a Mac.
Processor: You should get an Intel i5 or better these days.
Graphics: Getting a discrete is recommended, but not necessary.
Best Laptops for Teachers
1. Lenovo IdeaPad 3 – Best Laptop for Online Teaching
The Lenovo Ideapad 3 model has an amazing feature set that is perfect for almost any teacher. It comes with 12GB of DDR4 Ram, 256GB solid-state storage, and an Intel i5 processor that is more than capable of handling most teaching tasks. All of this is in a package that weighs less than 4lbs.
Lenovo is known for making quality, lightweight laptops. The Ideapad has always been one of Lenovo’s most value-driven laptops and the Ideapad 3 follows this standard. This is the perfect laptop for the budget-conscious teacher.
It comes with a 3.6GHz Intel i5 processor, 12GB of DDR4 RAM, a 256GB SSD, and great battery life. 1x USB 2.0 Type A Ports, 2x USB 3.0 Type A Ports, 1 x HDMI, 1 x Combination Audio Jack, 1 x Multi-format SD Media Card Reader; WiFi 5 – 802.11 ac + Bluetooth Combo so you can hook up all of your accessories for teaching.
2. MacBook Air – For macOS Lovers
If you prefer macOS to Windoes, then the MacBook Air is for you. The Air super-light (2.95 lbs) so it is a great choice for teachers on-the-go. It has everything a teacher needs and the Mac OS makes it extremely simple to use.
The MacBook Air features a 13.3-inch display, 8GB RAM, a 128GB SSD, an Intel i3 processor, and up to 12 hours of battery life which is more than sufficient for a day of teaching, even remote.
The main downside to this laptop is the speed. The i3 processor will be enough for most day-to-day tasks, but it won’t be able to handle tons of open applications or data processing. If you’re only using your laptop to present slides and interact with your students though, this will be enough.
The asking price of ~$900 may be off-putting, but if you love the Apple ecosystem and don’t want to pay more for the MacBook.
3. Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop – Best Budget Laptop
An AMD Ryzen 3 3200U, 4GB RAM, 15.6-inch display, a 128GB SSD, backlit keyboard, and Windows 10 operating system. This touchscreen is cheaper than the Asus ZenBook which makes it a great buy. The wide palm area is ideal for writers. It comes with a generous 7.5 hours of battery life.
4. HP Spectre ×360
The HP Spectre x360 2-in-1 laptop comes with superior power and capabilities that make it one of the best laptops for teachers out there. A little on the pricey side, this laptop features an extremely comfortable keyboard, 8GB DDR4 RAM, Intel Quad-Core i5 processor (that is better than the i7-7500U), and up to 11 hours of battery life.
The screen folds backwards to turn the laptop into a tablet so you can draw and write for your students if you can’t use a whiteboard. The included HP digital pen makes drawing on the screen a breeze. We also love the backlit keyboard.
5. Asus Chromebook Flip – Best Chromebook for Teachers
While it may not pack the same power as the other laptops on this list, the 2-in-1 ASUS Chromebook doesn’t need to since it makes up for it in portability. It has a 12.5-inch screen touchscreen that converts to a writing tablet, 4GB of RAM, and an Intel M5 processor.
It only has 64GB of flash storage which is plenty since you can store everything else in the cloud. The tablet runs on Chrome OS so you will need to be ok with using Google Docs. This may be an issue for some software you may need to run to teach class if it isn’t compatible with Chrome OS.
The battery lasts for up to 10 hours which should give you plenty of time to teach your classes without having to plug in.
6. MacBook Pro
The new MacBook is much slimmer and redesigned to make it a very attractive offering. While the steep price may put off some people, if you’re a macOS lover, then this is the laptop for you. The new, backlit butterfly-style keyboard (a reversion to the past) makes typing on the new MacBook much more comfortable and natural.
The specs include 13.3-Inch Retina Display, 8GB RAM, a 256GB SSD, and up to 12 hours of battery life.
7. Dell XPS 15
The Dell XPS packs the power needed by teachers whether you’re crunching large amounts of data in Excel, running statistical models, or just trying to present notes. While the price may seem a little steep, the Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD will age well.
For a laptop of this caliber, the 5.51 lbs weight won’t weigh down your backpack and the 6-8 hours of battery life will get you through several classes.
8. Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 – Best Battery Life
This laptop features a 13.5-inch touchscreen, an Intel i5 processor, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 128GB solid-state hard drive. It also only weighs 2.8 lbs so it won’t weigh down your backpack. Add to that 14.5 hours of battery life and you have a great laptop for teaching.
9. ASUS ZenBook
One of the higher-priced laptops on this list, the ASUS Zenbook laptop that comes in two models: a regular laptop and a 2-in-1 (the Zenbook Flip).
This laptop version features a 13.3-inch multi-touch (yes, you can tap it!) screen, an Intel i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. It even has a backlit keyboard and it is the lightest laptop on this list. Obviously, the main differentiator between this laptop and the others on this list is the touchscreen. This is a huge benefit for teachers who want to archive their work immediately in real-time on their laptops.
If you’re looking for a laptop on which you can handwrite notes, this is the laptop for you!
10. Microsoft Surface Book Pro 7
While a lot pricier than most of the laptops on this list, the Surface Book is a spec-rich laptop for teachers that is extremely portable. Microsoft left no expense spared for this beauty. The base model comes with a 12.3-inch touchscreen, an Intel i5 processor, 128 GB of solid-state storage, 8GB RAM, and up to 10.5 hours of battery life. Of course, since this is a Microsoft laptop, it runs Windows.
The cool thing about this laptop is that the keyboard disconnects from the screen so you can use the laptop as a tablet as well for on-the-go. It comes with a pen that can be used on the touchscreen as well so you can draw, write, and doodle for your students.
What’s the Most Budget-Friendly Laptop for Teachers?
The most budget-friendly laptop for teachers is the Dell Inspiron. While not the cheapest laptop on this list, you get the most bang for your buck.
What Are the Minimum Laptop Specs for Teachers?
We recommend getting at least a 256 GB hard drive to store all of your school files, 8 GB of RAM, an i5 processor or higher, and battery life of at least 6 hours.
How Much Should You Spend on a Laptop?
While your budget is a personal decision, you can generally buy a great teaching laptop for less than $1,000. This list even has some amazing options for less than $500. Unless you’re paying for the brand (MacBooks are more expensive because of the Apple brand), the more you pay, the better specs you get in terms of processing power, memory, battery life, etc.
Do Laptops Come With Webcams?
Yes, webcams are default features on modern laptops. All of the laptops on this list come with webcams.
What Do Teachers Use Laptops for?
Teachers use laptops for all sorts of reasons, but we have identified the most common reasons after interviewing a few teachers. Here are the main reasons teachers use laptops:
- Class projects.
- Reviewing and grading assignments, especially online assignments.
- Preparing lessons and presentations.
- Taking online tests & classes.
- Tracking student performance.
- Creating a calendar for classroom lessons and tasks.
Laptops have become much more common in the classroom as the cost of laptops has plummeted. Historically, schools only had one set of laptops for their students, and teachers had to borrow them. That is no longer the case. Now, many teachers have their own personal laptops that they use in the classroom.
Prices last updated on 2021-04-09