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Best laptops for teachers 2021: top notebooks for the classroom

best laptops for teachers
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PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

When choosing the best laptops for teachers, there are a few things to check off the list. Educators, after all, are tasked with the important job of cultivating young minds, so they certainly deserve the best tools for the job. The good news is, there are quite a few excellent options out there that are affordable enough for a teacher’s salary and budget.

Having a decently powerful CPU and fast RAM is important, of course, so teachers can run their favorite educational apps without hassle. However, the best laptops for teachers also need more than enough storage space to put all those documents, student data and presentations in. A great display that minimizes eye fatigue, excellent keyboard and trackpad, decent selection of ports, and a thin and light design worthy of an Ultrabook are things to check off the list as well.

Finding a portable more than good enough for educators isn’t as easy as it sounds. To that end, we gathered the best laptops for teachers, those that tick everything on our list and more. If you’re looking for a portable for the student in the family going back to school, on the other hand, check out our picks of the best student laptops, best laptops for kids and our general best laptops buying guides as well.

Best laptops for teachers: HP Spectre x360 (2020)

(Image credit: HP)

1. HP Spectre x360 (2020)

Best value laptop for teachers

Specifications
CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics
RAM: up to 16GB
Screen: 13.3" FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS BrightView micro-edge WLED-backlit multitouch – 13.3" diagonal 4K (3840 x 2160) UWVA BrightView micro-edge AMOLED multitouch
Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Stylish and high-quality finish+Great all-around performance+Built-in security features are useful
Reasons to avoid
-Battery life takes a hit-Can run hot at times

The HP Spectre x360 (2020) isn’t just among the best-looking laptops out there. It also boasts plenty of power under the hood while staying lightweight and compact. Of course, it’s also a pleasure to use. Thanks to its incredible keyboard and trackpad, as well as glorious display, this is the best laptop for teachers who value a seamless and comfortable experience above other things. And, the storage options, selection of ports (two Thunderbolt 3 ports and one USB-A port) and 2-in-1 design should offer a lot of flexibility as well. The best part here, however, is the price – the HP Spectre x360 remains one of the best laptops out there that doesn’t compromise on affordability, which is why we’re giving it our best value pick.

Read the full review: HP Spectre x360 (2020) 

Best laptops for teachers: Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2019)

(Image credit: Dell)

2. Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2019)

Best premium laptop for teachers

Specifications
CPU: 10th generation Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Plus
RAM: 8GB – 16GB
Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – 4k (3840 x 2160)
Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Gorgeous design+Excellent battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Lackluster audio-Expensive

Sadly, our beloved Dell XPS laptops have gotten pricier over the years, almost to the level of Apple’s MacBook Pros. Not that these don’t deserve the price rise – these are among the best performing and most beautifully designed laptops today. Take the Dell XPS 13, for example. It boasts a lot of heft in terms of power and a plethora of premium features that make your experience with it a divine one. Its display is gorgeous, its keyboard and trackpad a pleasure to use, its 2-in-1 design a nifty extra – so you can switch from productivity to entertainment without ever switching devices. Bring it to class, and your students will know you’ve got great taste. Of course, there is the matter of price – all that doesn’t come cheap.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2019) 

Best laptops for teachers: Acer Swift 3

(Image credit: Acer)

3. Acer Swift 3

Best budget laptop for teachers

Specifications
CPU: up to Intel Core i7-1065G7
Graphics: up to Intel UHD Graphics
RAM: 4GB – 8GB
Screen: 14-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) ComfyView IPS – 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080)
Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Superb keyboard and trackpad+Excellent performance+Very reasonably priced
Reasons to avoid
-Looks a little plain

If looks aren’t a main concern, but budget is, then go for the Acer Swift 3. This is the best laptop for teachers on a budget, packing in excellent performance as well as great features like a comfortable keyboard, accurate trackpad and decent battery life in a thin and lightweight chassis. All without setting you back much. The display isn’t anything to write home about, but it isn’t bad either at 1080p resolution on an IPS panel. As far as ports, it’s got everything you need – USB 2.0, USB 3.0, Thunderbolt 3 and HDMI. Really, the only thing that’s holding this back is its subpar speakers and plain overall design. But hey, if you’re saving money, those barely matter.

Read the full review: Acer Swift 3

Best laptops for teachers: Google Pixelbook Go

(Image credit: Google)

4. Google Pixelbook Go

Best mid-range Chromebook for teachers

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core m3 - Intel Core i7
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 615
RAM: 8GB - 16GB
Screen: 13.3-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) or 4K LCD touchscreen
Storage: 128GB - 256GB eMMC
Reasons to buy
+Incredible battery life+Amazing ‘Hush’ keyboard
Reasons to avoid
-Iffy pricing at mid- to- high-end-No biometric login

It’s widely known that Chromebooks are excellent for education. They’re not only straightforward and easy to use, as well as very secure, but also designed and streamlined for collaboration thanks to how its ChromeOS works. So what could be better for educators? For a mid-range choice, there’s the Google Pixelbook Go, one of the best Chromebooks on offer. Much like most Chromebooks, this has an astounding battery life so you can work through the whole school day, do your after class work and unwind with Netflix all on a single charge. It’s also got an amazing quiet keyboard, a rare 1080p webcam and a gorgeous design. The display and availability of ports could be better, but then again, if you’re looking for a laptop with a more lightweight structure, this isn’t surprising.

Read the full review: Google Pixelbook Go

Best laptops for teachers: Acer Chromebook 314

(Image credit: Acer)

5. Acer Chromebook 314

Best budget Chromebook for teachers

Specifications
CPU: Intel Celeron N4000
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 600
RAM: 4GB
Screen: 14-inch LED (1366 x 768) high definition
Storage: 32GB eMMC
Reasons to buy
+Excellent battery life and performance+Bright, crisp screen
Reasons to avoid
-No touchscreen-No fingerprint reader

Now, if a budget Chromebook is more your (or your budget’s) speed, then you cannot go wrong with the Acer Chromebook 314. It has all the makings of the ultimate, albeit budget, Chromebook. It’ll last you up to 13 hours on a single charge. It delivers impressive performance that’s great for multitasking. And, it’s simple to use. But, Acer also takes all that and tosses in a few features teachers will appreciate – a bright and crisp screen, terrific trackpad, satisfying keyboard, a laptop-esque design, and a port selection that rivals that of many laptops which includes two USB-A ports, two USB-C ports and a MicroSD card slot. The storage could be better here, but then again, you’re supposed to be saving all your work on the cloud, so it hardly matters.

Read the full review: Acer Chromebook 314

Best laptops for teachers: Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

(Image credit: Asus)

6. Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

Best laptop for engineering professors

Specifications
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS – 9 4900HS
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
RAM: 16GB – 32GB
Screen: 14-inch Non-glare Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS-level panel, 120Hz – 14-inch Non-glare WQHD (2560 x 1440) IPS-level panel, 60Hz
Storage: 512GB / 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0
Reasons to buy
+Best battery life in a gaming laptop+Excellent performance+Thin and light
Reasons to avoid
-No webcam-Loud fans

Engineering professors need a powerful laptop themselves. So, while the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is originally intended as a staggering gaming laptop, it does have that heft inside that people in the engineering field will certainly find useful, making it among the best laptops for those learning and teaching engineering. It owes that to its graphics card, which delivers impressive graphics performance, and its AMD processor. What’s more is that it’s thin and light, making it ideal for carrying around campus, has best-in-class battery life so you can last up to 9 hours without charging, and boasts a keyboard that’s comfortable to type on. As for the display, you have the option to get the 1080p one with a blazing-fast 120Hz refresh rate.

Read the full review: Asus Zephyrus G14 

Best laptops for teachers: MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

(Image credit: Apple)

7. MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

Best laptop for teachers of design and video editing

Specifications
CPU: 9th-generation Intel Core i7 – i9
Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 5300M – Radeon Pro 5500M
RAM: 16GB – 64GB
Screen: 16-inch Retina display with True Tone
Storage: 512GB – 8TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Stunning 16-inch screen+New and improved keyboard
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Limited to four Thunderbolt 3 ports

Is the MacBook Pro 16-inch the best MacBook Apple’s ever made? Yes. Yes, it is. This premium piece of kit is just as stunning as it is powerful and feature-rich, making it the ultimate portable tool for photo editing, video editing and design. Of course, it isn’t just for creators themselves. It’s also great for those who actually teach the craft, with plenty of CPU and GPU power, a few RAM and storage options, and a gorgeous display that now offers even more real estate. That’s not all; it’s also got a large trackpad, a brand new keyboard that’s among the best out there, and that signature thin and light design with which Apple revolutionized the laptop world. As if those aren’t enough, it’s also got the famous Touch Bar, which offers shortcuts for applications like Photoshop and Lightroom for a more seamless workflow.

Read the full review: MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

Best laptops for teachers: LG Gram 17

(Image credit: LG)

8. LG Gram 17

Best 17-inch laptop for teachers

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i7-1065G7
Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics
RAM: 16GB DDR4
Screen: 17-inch (2560 x 1600) IPS Display
Storage: 1TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Incredibly slim and light for a 17-inch+Lots of power for productivity+Affordable price
Reasons to avoid
-Sound distorts slightly at highest volume

Portability takes center stage on the LG Gram 17, which has been lauded for its innovative thin and light design. For a 17-inch laptop, it’s breathtakingly light, certainly rivalring even the 13-inch portable out there. So, if your work calls for a 17-inch display, this one’s a shoo-in with its beautiful 17-inch 1600p IPS LCD display. Especially with its great processor and GPU, which LG has recently updated to the latest, plenty of memory, and more than enough storage. There’s definitely a lot of power here for productivity, as well as a number of ports that include an HDMI port, microSD, three USB 3.1s, USB-C and a USB 3.1 adapter for RJ45 Ethernet. It does fetch a price. However, with a reliable fingerprint sensor and a rugged body, you’re definitely getting a lot of value.

Read the full review: LG Gram 17

Apple MacBook Air (2020)

(Image credit: Apple)

9. Apple MacBook Air (2020)

Best Apple laptop for teachers on the budget

Specifications
CPU: 10th generation Intel Core i3 - i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics
RAM: 8GB – 16GB
Screen: 13.3-inch (diagonal) 2,560 x 1,600 LED-backlit display with IPS technology
Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Lovely design+New lower price
Reasons to avoid
-Screen colors a little muted-Battery life only OK

If you’re invested in the Apple environment, but feel like the MacBook Pros are just a bit over your budget, you should look at the MacBook Air. Having been updated in 2020, this laptop became more powerful than ever. It’s also got an improved keyboard and that glorious Apple trackpad, as well as an ultra-thin design so you can carry this alongside all your books, and it wouldn’t make that much of a difference. It isn’t as powerful as the MacBook Pros, of course, but it’s still got plenty of power if you’re not looking into doing graphics design or heavy photo editing. Just bear in mind that you’re only getting two Thunderbolt 3 ports here and a screen whose colors are a little muted. 

Read the full review: MacBook Air (2020)

Microsoft Surface Go 2

(Image credit: Microsoft)

10. Microsoft Surface Go 2

Best tablet for teachers

Specifications
CPU: 8th Gen Intel Core m3 – Intel Pentium Gold Processor 4425Y
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 615
RAM: 4GB – 8GB
Screen: 10.5” 1920 x 1280 (220 PPI) PixelSense Display
Storage: 64GB eMMC – 128GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Premium design+Affordable+Can run full Windows 10
Reasons to avoid
-No Touch Cover or stylus included-Base model's specs are weak

The best Windows tablets make for excellent laptop alternatives, and the Microsoft Surface Go 2 is perhaps the most ideal example. If your work only calls for a laptop that’s lightweight inside and out, then this tablet is certainly worth considering. It’s not only extremely affordable at less than $500 at its base configuration, but it can run the full Windows 10 operating system as well. That means that you can download PC applications on it without fuss. Of course, its great battery life of up to 8 hours on a single charge is also worth mentioning here; as is its beautiful, premium design and good enough port selection. Sadly, you have to shell a bit more out if you want the cover or the stylus (or both), and that bumps up the price considerably. However, it’s still cheaper than most laptops out there.

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Go

Michelle Rae Uy is a Los Angeles-based editor, writer and photographer with a bad case of wanderlust. She is a regular contributor for Thrillist, TravelAge West, HuffPo Travel, Paste Magazine, and Travel Pulse. She has written for publications like Nylon, Fodor's and SmarterTravel, and is also the contributing editor for MiniTime.com.