Best ThinkPad in February 2024: Which Lenovo business laptop is best?

ThinkPads are not just spreadsheet-slaying workhorses anymore. They're your all-day hustle and after-dark chill companions. Sure, they conquer the corporate jungle with ironclad security and remote management that makes IT sing. But their magic goes way beyond boardrooms.

Think stunning keyboards that make typing a symphony. Sleek silhouettes that turn heads without breaking a sweat. And then there's the screen – a gorgeous portal to binge-worthy shows and cinematic escapes. Battery life that goes the distance means you can work like a boss and unwind like a king, all powered by the same trusty ThinkPad.

So, forget laptops that quit when the clock strikes five. These ThinkPads are built for a life lived beyond the cubicle walls. They're your hustle and your haven, your workhorse and your playground, all rolled into one.

ThinkPads are often considered the best laptops around. However, they can be quite pricey, and there are dozens to choose from. If you go to Lenovo's website, you'll quickly get overwhelmed with the sequences of codenames the company has for its products. But we know which are the best, whether you're looking for a budget laptop or a monster ready for chunky video-editing projects.

We even have pages for the best ThinkPad accessories, but if you're more interested in the best Lenovo laptops in general, we have a page for that, too.

However, it's hard to beat a ThinkPad, so let's jump into which ThinkPad is right for you.

The Quick List

Best Overall

best thinkpads Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 has many great aspects, including a compact form factor, featherweight heft and decent speakers. (Image credit: Future)
Best ThinkPad overall

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-1355U
GPU: Intel Iris Xe
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
Display: 14-inch, 1980 x 1200
Size: 12.4 x 8.8 x 0.6 inches
Weight: 2.5 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Shocklingly lightweight
+
Fast SSD
+
Great battery life
+
Decent speakers

Reasons to avoid

-
Middling performance

Lenovo took the best business laptop and beefed it up with 13th Gen Intel CPUs. You still get the ThinkPad X1 Carbon's attractive, slim and durable chassis. Business users who travel frequently will appreciate the 13+ hours of battery life offered by the 1200p version. 

What surprised us about the Carbon Gen 11 is that, despite its thickness, it’s much lighter than I expected it to be with dimensions of 12.4 x 8.8 x 0.6 inches and a weight of 2.5 pounds. The Lenovo notebook lasted 13 hours and 45 minutes on the Laptop Mag battery test, which consists of surfing the web over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. It's easily at the top of the best ThinkPads.

While ThinkPads are notorious for their epic keyboards, the one in the X1 Carbon just didn't click, but it's not bad. And while the overall performance is decent, you can get a bit more for your money. Unless you're a big company with a budget, the X1 Carbon might be out of reach financially. If you can afford it, it's a gem to behold.

See our full Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 11) review.

Best value

best thinkpads Lenovo ThinkPad E14 Gen 5

The Lenovo ThinkPad E14 is one of the best workflow-pushing hyper portable business laptops on the market that doesn’t kill your budget. (Image credit: Laptop Mag)
Best value

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-1355U
GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD
Display: 14-inch, 1200p
Size: 12.3 x 8.6 x 0.7 inches
Weight: 3.3 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent build quality and sleek design
+
Fine performance smoothly handling diverse workflows
+
Bright display with solid saturated colors
+
Good audio

Reasons to avoid

-
Under 8-hour battery life

Want a sleek new ThinkPad without breaking the bank? We have the perfect laptop for you -- introducing the Lenovo ThinkPad E14 Gen 5. Packed with an Intel Core i7-1355U CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD, it comes in at just $932 at the time of testing. That's a great deal for all of that tech in a premium-esque machine. And you're likely to find it even cheaper now.

It's price and components aren't the only thing to enjoy, either. There's the bright and colorful 14-inch display as well as the famously comfortable keyboard. Not to mention all of this is packed into a secure and quality build. The only issue we have found is that its battery runs a little short, lasting only 7 hours and 48 minutes. If you're someone that doesn't mind having a charger close by at the end of the work day, then this ThinkPad is definitely right for you. (Make sure you're buying Gen 5 and not an older model.)

See our full Lenovo ThinkPad E14 Gen 5 review.

Best Ultraportable Laptop

Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 best thinkpads

The Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 is a belter of a luxury ultraportable, packing decent power, serious ergonomics and fantastic battery life into a miniscule, premium frame. (Image credit: Future)
Best ultraportable ThinkPad

Specifications

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 Pro 6850U CPU
GPU: Radeon graphics
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 512GB SSD
Display: 2.8K OLED
Size: 11.59 x 7.86 x 0.55 inches
Weight: 2.8 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Gorgeous, premium build quality
+
Super small and lightweight
+
Decent AMD Ryzen performance
+
Impressive battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Pretty mid display

Want to forget you're even carrying a laptop in that bag of yours? Well, the Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 might be the right ThinkPad for you. Coming in at 11.59 x 7.86 x 0.55 inches and 2.8 pounds, the Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 was so shockingly light in our hands that it might as well have been a paperweight. Throwing this in your backpack makes less of a difference than throwing some books in there.

However, this tiny laptop isn't just tiny -- it's strong. Powered with an AMD Ryzen 7 Pro 6850U CPU, it showcased some decent performance. But more impressively, it came in with a battery life of 13 hours and 58 minutes. That's absolutely wild. And let's not forget that this baby is also rocking a wonderful ThinkPad keyboard that excelled with its ergonomics.

See our full Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 review.

Best Workstation

Lenovo ThinkPad P16 Gen 1 review best thinkpads

The Lenovo ThinkPad P16 Gen 1 offers excellent performance comboed with a gorgeous display, a clicky keyboard, and great audio. Unfortunately, it’s stupid expensive. (Image credit: Future)
Best ThinkPad workstation

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i9-12950HX vPro
GPU: Nvidia RTX A5500 16GB
RAM: 64GB
Storage: 2TB SSD
Display: 16-inch, 3840 x 2400
Size: 14.3 x 10.5 x 1.2 inches
Weight: 6.6 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Gorgeous 16-inch display
+
Clicky keyboard
+
Great audio
+
Strong performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Short battery life

If you're looking for raw power no matter the cost, then look no further than the Lenovo ThinkPad P16 Gen 1. This absolute champion is rocking an Intel Core i9-12950HX vPro processor combined with an Nvidia RTX A5500 GPU. That will blow through most productivity and creative apps like nobody's business. However, you might want to hold your wallet until you see the price tag (hint: it's over $4K).

Power isn't the only thing that the Lenovo ThinkPad P16 Gen 1 has going for it. It's also rocking a gorgeous 16-inch, 4K display that you can watch the entirety of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy on and feel like you're in the theater. Yes, the audio is even good as well. Apart from the price, the only feature that really bogs this machine down is the battery life. It was able to achieve only 6 hours and 36 minutes of battery life. However, if you're using the GPU, you're going to be plugged in regardless.

See our full Lenovo ThinkPad P16 Gen 1 review.

Best battery life

Lenovo ThinkPad Z16 laptops with best thinkpads

The Lenovo ThinkPad Z16 is less than $2,000 and delivers competition-beating power, nearly 15 hours of battery life, and rival-surpassing graphics. (Image credit: Future)
Best battery life

Specifications

Display: 16-inch, 1920 x 1200-pixel IPS display
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 PRO 6650H Processor
Weight: 4 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
15-hour battery life
+
Competition-beating performance
+
Rival-surpassing graphics
+
Attractive, yet minimalist design

Reasons to avoid

-
Mushy keyboard

All about that longevity? You won't find a ThinkPad more concerned about battery life than the Lenovo ThinkPad Z16. This baby lasted 14 hours and 38 minutes on the Laptop Mag battery test. It's a straight up champ, and that's not the only great thing about it.

The Lenovo ThinkPad Z16 flaunts around the AMD Ryzen 5 PRO 6650H processor and AMD Radeon RX 6500M GPU that rocked the competition in performance. While you won't be graced with a 4K display, its 1200p panel is sufficiently bright and colorful to get most creative work done. It's only critical flaw, which hurts doubly so for a ThinkPad, is its mushy keyboard. We found it rather difficult to get over the fact that a ThinkPad didn't feature the star keyboard we know and love. But that didn't stop the ThinkPad Z16 from surpassing our expectations and landing a 4.5-star review.

See our full Lenovo ThinkPad Z16 review.

Most customizable

Lenovo ThinkPad T16 Gen 1

The Lenovo ThinkPad T16 Gen 1 is a decent laptop thanks to its swift performance, long-lasting battery life and superb sound system. (Image credit: Future)
Most customizable

Specifications

Display: 16-inch, 1920 x 1200-pixel IPS display
CPU: Intel Core i7-1270P processor
Weight: 4.4 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Quality performance
+
Excellent battery life
+
Clear sound system
+
Satisfying keyboard

Reasons to avoid

-
A little pricey

Lenovo flaunts its ThinkPad T-series laptops as the most customizable of the ThinkPads, and it's right. You can configure these machines with Intel, AMD, or Nvidia components. We received the Lenovo ThinkPad T16 Gen 1 for testing, which was outfitted with an Intel Core i7-1270P processor and Intel Iris Xe Graphics, and we were not disappointed.

On top of the Lenovo ThinkPad T16 Gen 1's quality performance, we also saw excellent battery life, hitting 11 hours and 46 minutes. While the 16-inch, 1200p display was rather dull, the panel was bright and the audio that backed it up was phenomenal. This machine even boasts the legendary ThinkPad keyboard, which presented a more than comfortable typing experience. The ThinkPad even had a decent 1080p webcam, which is shockingly rare.

See our full Lenovo ThinkPad T16 Gen 1 review.

How to choose the best ThinkPad laptop

Choosing the best ThinkPad for you really depends on your needs. If you’re looking for a vanilla clamshell laptop, you’re more than likely to find everything you want in the Thinkpad X1 Carbon. However, if you’re looking for something more flexible, then the ThinkPad X1 Yoga is the next best bet. 

Artists might want to check out the ThinkPad X1 Tablet, while users who need their laptop to have a little more kick, whether it be for video editing or photo editing, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme is a great choice. If you want to go beyond that, the most powerful ThinkPad you can buy is the Lenovo ThinkPad P1, which is great for all kinds of high taxing work. If you want to prioritize battery life, you could probably find the Lenovo ThinkPad T480 still on sale, but keep in mind that it’s a little old, using an 8th Gen Intel CPU.

How we test the best ThinkPads

We put each laptop through extensive benchmark testing — both synthetic and real-world — before they end up in the hands of our reviewers. We evaluate each aspect of the laptop, including its performance, battery life, display, speakers and heat management.

In our benchmark testing, we use a Klein K10 colorimeter to detect the brightness and sRGB color gamut of the laptop's display. For performance testing, we run the laptop through a gauntlet of benchmarks, including Geekbench 4.3 and 5.0 and 3DMark professional graphics tests. 

To determine real-world performance, we task the laptop to convert a 4K video to 1080p resolution and to duplicate a 4.97GB multimedia file. Our real-world graphics test is the Dirt 3 benchmark with medium settings at 1080p resolution.

We also run heat tests by playing a 15-minute full-screen video and measuring temperatures in different areas of the laptop. Last but not least, our battery test consists of continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. For MacBooks and premium Windows 10 laptops, a runtime of over 9 hours is considered a good result whereas gaming laptops and workstations that can stay powered for longer than 5 hours deserve praise. 

These tests are complemented with extensive hands-on testing from our reviewers who critique everything from the laptop's materials to the feel of its touchpad.

Why Trust Laptop Mag

Laptop Mag reviews over one hundred different laptops every year, from paperweight ultralights to everyday workhorses to lumbering gaming notebooks that scorch the frame rates of even the hottest AAA games. We're not just experts in the laptop field, as we go one step further by meticulously testing smartphones, tablets, headphones, PC accessories, software, and even the latest in gaming. 

We are 100% independent and have decades of experience to help you buy with confidence. In fact, Laptop Mag has been testing and reviewing products for three decades, and we continue to deliver trustworthy reviews you can rely on. 

Our experienced team of writers and editors scour the available information about the laptop and put it through its paces to determine which is best for you. But before they start, the testing team subjects each system to a rigorous regimen of synthetic and real-world tests to see how a system handles the type of work and games you’re most likely to throw at it. 

Our editorial trustworthiness is enforced by one of the world's largest technology publishers, Future Publishing. As a company, we have unrivaled experience across every tech sector — and we're the group's specialist for all things mobile tech.