The 5 Best Laptops Under $300 2022

A few years ago, finding the best laptop under $300 was almost impossible. These days, you can easily find inexpensive hardware that can play videos and browse the web smoothly and efficiently. Most of the laptops on this list are Chromebooks because Chrome OS is a much lighter operating system than Windows and macOS, meaning it can run smoother on lower-end hardware. Unfortunately, there isn't a category for the 'best gaming laptops under $300' since you'll want a laptop with a dedicated GPU and a high-end CPU to run most games well, both of which are generally much more expensive.

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5. Lenovo Chromebook C340 15

The best student laptop under $300 that we've tested is the Lenovo Chromebook C340 15 (2020). It's a 15.6 inch convertible laptop with a 360-degree hinge, which means you can flip the screen around and use it as a tablet. It's easy to carry around thanks to its thin and light design, and you likely don't need to bring the charger because it has outstanding battery life, lasting well over 12 hours of light productivity. Its port selection includes one USB-A and two USB-C ports, with the latter supporting data transfer, charging, and video output.

It sports a full-size keyboard with a Numpad on the right side, which is great for those working with lots of numbers, and it feels great to type on for extended periods. It doesn't have the biggest touchpad, but it tracks well and responds to gestures. The 1080p display is decently sharp and provides plenty of room for multitasking; however, it looks a bit washed out and doesn't get very bright. It's flicker-free, though, which helps reduce eye strain.

As for the CPU performance, the Intel Core i3 processor is more than powerful enough to handle most web-based tasks on Chrome OS. That said, you can't install x86 applications on a Chromebook, so if you're in a program that requires the use of third-party x86 applications, you're better off with a Windows device. The price is usually slightly above $300, but considering its impressive build, long battery life, and good performance, it's well worth spending the extra cash.

4. HP Chromebook 14 

If you find the Lenovo Chromebook C340 15 (2020) too big to carry around, the HP Chromebook 14 (2021) might be a better choice. It's a 14 inch laptop that's easier to fit into most bags, and it's also lighter. It doesn't have a Numpad, though, and it isn't a 2-in-1 convertible, so you can't use it as a tablet. It has an exceptionally long battery life, lasting over sixteen hours of light productivity, and its fanless design means you won't have to worry about fan noise in quiet classrooms or libraries. We recommend getting a model with a 1080p IPS display, but expect to pay a little more. Performance-wise, its Intel Celeron N4000 CPU provides a pretty smooth experience as long as you don't push it too hard with demanding workloads like video editing.

If you don't mind spending a bit more, the Lenovo is a better choice because it's more versatile and provides a superior user experience. However, if you want a more compact laptop and don't mind a few compromises, the HP is a very decent alternative.

3. Acer Chromebook 315

The best business laptop under $300 we've tested is the Acer Chromebook 315 (2020). It's a relatively compact laptop that's easy to carry around, and it feels well-built despite being almost entirely plastic. It has exceptional battery life, lasting nearly 14 hours of light productivity, so you don't have to worry about bringing the power adapter with you. The port selection is pretty good, although you'll still need an adapter if you need to connect to an external display for presentations as there isn't an HDMI port.

In terms of the user experience, its 15.6 inch screen is decently sharp and provides plenty of space for multitasking. However, it doesn't get very bright, so it isn't the best option for a well-lit environment. The keyboard feels good to type on, though the keys require a firm press to actuate, which might cause some fatigue over time. Likewise, the touchpad tracks movements well, but actions like dragging and dropping don't always work. The webcam captures a good image overall for your video calls, and the microphone sounds clear with only a bit of static in the background.

Performance-wise, the Intel Celeron N4020 can handle most productivity tasks like text formatting and spreadsheets. If you tend to have many programs running simultaneously, you can get a model with an Intel Celeron N4120, which has two more cores to handle heavier workloads. Overall, this is a simple and budget-friendly laptop that should meet most people's needs.

2. Lenovo Chromebook Duet

The best multimedia laptop under $300 that we've tested is the Lenovo Chromebook Duet (2020). It's more of a tablet with a kickstand and detachable keyboard, which means you can detach the keyboard when you want a light device for viewing content and attach it when you need to do some work. The keyboard feels pretty cramped, though, so it isn't the best option for extended use as it may cause some fatigue over time.

Although its 1080p resolution isn't impressive on paper, the display looks very sharp because it's a fairly small screen. It gets more than bright enough to combat glare, and it also gets very dim to provide a more comfortable viewing experience in the dark. That said, it's still an IPS panel with a fairly low contrast ratio, meaning blacks look grayish in dim settings. Its battery life is excellent as it lasts nearly 7 hours of video playback, enough time to get through a couple of movies and TV show episodes.

Unfortunately, the speakers sound treble-heavy and don't get very loud. There's no 3.5mm headphone jack, meaning you have to use wireless headphones or use the included USB-C audio adapter for wired ones. With only a single USB-C port, this means you can't charge the device while using wired headphones. Nonetheless, this is a great Chrome OS tablet for media consumption at a budget-friendly price.

1. Acer Chromebook Spin 311

If you don't like having a tablet-like form factor and prefer a more familiar 2-in-1 convertible with a 360-degree hinge, check out the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (2021). Its screen isn't as crisp or colorful as the one on the Lenovo Chromebook Duet (2020), and since it doesn't get as bright, you can't use it in bright environments. However, it uses a 360-degree hinge and doesn't have any detachable parts, and its speakers are louder and sound much better overall. It also has a much more flexible port selection, including a USB-A port and a headphone jack, so you can easily use headphones while charging it. Unfortunately, it has very thick bezels that can be distracting.

If you want to experience bright, colorful, and crisp visuals and don't mind losing out on extra ports, go with the Lenovo. If you prefer a laptop with a 2-in-1 form factor and a 360-degree hinge without any detachable parts and want built-in speakers that sound well balanced, the Acer is a better option.

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best laptops under $300 to buy for most people. We factor in the price (a cheaper laptop wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no laptops that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).

If you prefer to make your own decision, here’s the list of all of our laptop reviews, sorted by price from low to high. Keep in mind that most laptops are available in various configurations, and the table only shows the results of the model we tested, so it’s best to see the full review for information about other variants.