The best Chromebook offers a simplistic, clean and minimalistic operating system with killer performance and satisfactory battery life.
When the pandemic hit, workers and students scrambled for work-from-home laptops that were capable, but budget-friendly — cue Chrome OS! Not only are Chromebooks easy on your pockets, but they're also known for having low-malware susceptibility. In other words, they are less likely to be infected with viruses and spyware compared to other vulnerable operating systems (e.g., Windows). If you're concerned about privacy and security, Chrome OS is the way to go.
The best Chromebooks are seamless to use with the Google ecosystem. You'll also be happy to know that they typically have a long battery life. Be sure to check out our Chromebooks with the longest battery life list (along with how to check your Chromebook's battery health).
The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is among the best on the market due to its battery life; it lasted nearly 12 hours when we tested it in our lab. We prefer that laptops last at least 8 hours to endure an entire day at school or work, but the Spin 713 exceeded our expectations.
It won a spot on the best Chromebooks list for its colorful and bright display, speedy performance and versatile form factor. And, get this, it won't cost you more than $700 to snag it.
For high school and college students seeking an inexpensive, portable and durable laptop, the Spin 713 is certainly one of the best Chromebooks they could choose for their everyday device.
Read our full review of the Acer Chromebook Spin 713.(opens in new tab)
The Asus Chromebook Detachable CM3 will fool others into thinking you're carrying a tweed-bound journal, but in reality, you've got a spectacular 2-in-1 laptop in your hands. As a cherry on top, the Detachable CM3 actually comes with a built-in stylus, so you could definitely get some journaling in with some high-tech handwriting.
We also can't talk about the Detachable CM3 without raving about its battery life. You might never need to bring your charger along with you because this Asus Chromebook can last for nearly 12 hours, according to our in-house battery life test. You also don't need to worry about hauling the Detachable CM3 everywhere in your bag as it meets U.S. MIL-STD810H standards. This means that in can handle bumps, shocks and temperature changes. Bolstered by the case and keyboard, it has quite a bit of protection, and if you are worried about that fabric covering, it's stain-resistant.
See our full Asus Chromebook Detachable CM3 review.
The Acer Chromebook 514 makes its presence known with a tantalizing 14 hours and 8 minutes of battery life. Laptop Mag has been testing Chromebooks for nearly a decade, and it has the longest lasting battery life of any we’ve ever reviewed.
While this is nowhere near as impressive HP Elite Folio's 16-hours, the major difference here relates to cost. The Acer Chromebook 514 is sub-$500, making it an excellent choice for writers with a limited budget who frequently find themselves on the go.
If you're in need for a shockingly good speaker system and decent performance, especially when compared to the Chromebook's cost, this is a solid pick. However, be prepared for a touchpad that's sluggish to use and a display that fails in displaying a bright, vivid image.
See our Acer Chromebook 514 review.
Easily the best Chromebook value, Samsung's 11.6-inch, 2.5-pound laptop is light enough to carry anywhere. And with 4GB of RAM, the Celeron N3060-powered Chromebook 3 can handle multitasking with aplomb. And for a cheap device, it looks really classy. Sure, it's plastic, but the metallic black covering is classy enough for any setting. On the Laptop Mag Battery Test, it ran for 9 hours and 44 minutes, which is more than enough for work and play all day. It's easily one of the cheapest and best Chromebooks you can buy.
See our full Samsung Chromebook 3 review.(opens in new tab)
The Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook is sleek, sturdy and sexy. Plus, it’s one of the few laptops at this price point that ships with a pen. And with the ThinkPad name, it also offers durability and security. It has so much going for it that it could potentially transform a Windows loyalist into a Chromebook convert.
When we reviewed the ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook, we raved about its colorful display, great performance and durablity. It has a military-tested chassis, which means if you're the clumsy type, it can handle some drops and shocks (within reason, of course). This laptop can also last more than 8 hours on a charge, which means it should endure the whole work or school day.
See our full Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook review.
The Acer Chromebook 715 is premium and offers a durable aluminum chassis packed with great performance and over 10 hours of battery life. Its Intel Core i5-8350U processor with 8GB of RAM hit 14,088 on the Geekbench 4 overall performance test, sailing past the 6,100 Chromebook average. Its integrated Numpad is also a boon for students. And even though its 15.6-inch display is a little dull, it's sharp, at 1920 x 1080. If you like buying from Acer, this is among its best.
See our full Acer Chromebook 715 review.
The Lenovo Chromebook Duet is one of the best because it is a low-priced 2-in-1 that is a tablet, but can also transform into a laptop with an accompanying twill-like kickstand cover and detachable keyboard.
The most spectacular feature of the Duet is its battery life -- you can get almost 13 hours of battery life. Its display is colorful, so watching Netflix, Disney Plus+ and Amazon Prime Video on this little convertible will be pleasant on the eyes.
It also has an ultraportable design. You can close it shut into a book-like form, and no one will ever know you're carrying a laptop -- they'll assume you're holding a notebook or a journal.
Read our full review of the Lenovo Chromebook Duet.
The HP Pro C640 with Chrome Enterprise is the best Chromebook for business users and employees. The HP Pro C640 has excellent military-grade durability. This means that if you or one of your employees drop it on the floor, there's a very good chance that it will remain intact.
Another reason why the HP Pro C640 landed on our best Chromebooks page is its incredible security features. Security is important for many business owners, and the HP Pro C640 will put your mind at ease with its fingerprint scanner. And with Chrome Enterprise running on the Pro C640, the odds of security breaches and system-update wreckages are low, especially in comparison to systems running Windows 10.
Lastly, HP Pro C640 offers an incredible variety of ports, which gives users a wide variety of connection options.
Read our full review of the HP Pro C640 with Chrome Enterprise.
A candidate for the best Chromebook of 2021 is the Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook. We lauded the ThinkPad C13 Yoga for its snappy performance, durable chassis, lightweight design and colorful display.
It's also a 2-in-1, so it can bend and transform into many postures at your convenience. The C13 Yoga is only 0.6 inches thin and weighs 3.2 pounds, ensuring that traveling with it is a breeze. According to our testing and real-world experience, the Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook earned 4 out of 5 stars.
Read our full review of the Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook
How to choose the best Chromebook for you
Why you can trust Laptop Mag Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
Choosing the best Chromebook for you depends on who you are and what needs you're hoping it will fulfill. Are you a student who is mostly reliant on Google productivity apps? Are you a business seeking to provide Chromebooks for your employees? Are you a school hoping to snag the perfect Chrome OS systems for your students? Here's my easy-to-understand buying guide on how to buy the perfect one for you.
How much does a Chromebook cost?
Luckily for you, Chromebooks are known for being budget-friendly. There are some premium models out there such as the Google Pixelbook Go that command higher prices due to their long battery life and thin-bezel display. But for the most part, you can find a high-quality for under $500, such as the Dell Chromebook 3189.
You can also snag a 2-in-1 Chromebook, which is a laptop with Chrome OS that can shape-shift into different modes, including tablet mode, such as the HP Chromebook x360 12b for under $400. A Windows 2-in-1 laptop could be double or triple that price.
Are Chromebooks portable?
When it comes to portability, we need to take a look at screen size and weight. Most fall between 11 and 13 inches, so hauling them around school or the office will be a breeze.
How well does a Chromebook perform?
Most of the time, these are lightweight devices; Chrome OS sticks to the basics of providing your favorite Google productivity apps with a few extras (unlike Windows operating systems that can be bloatware hell). If you need additional apps, you can download them from the Google Play store. Because many applications on Chrome OS operate using the cloud, this means more free space for your laptop and speedier performance.
Do Chromebooks have good battery life?
Chromebooks have very good battery life. On our own in-house Laptop Mag Battery test, on average, they last 10 hours. They will usually endure the eight hours that are necessary for a productive day at work or school.
Are Chromebooks secure?
If you're a business looking for a secure laptop for your employees or an institution seeking student-friendly devices that are nearly immune to malware, Chromebooks are the way to go. Some even go as far as adding biometric authentication, like fingerprint scanners.
How we test the best Chromebooks
One of the unique ways we test Chromebooks is by dropping the devices to test its durability. No, we're not kidding. Laptop Mag has its own in-house Chromebook drop test to measure how well they handle shocks. As Chromebooks are often used by on-the-go students and worker bees, it can be easy to have the device slip through one's fingers while shuffling from office to office or classroom to classroom.
We also test for the Chromebooks' performance, battery life, screen brightness, multitasking muscle and more.
As our Editor-in-Chief Sherri L. Smith describes it, when we bring a laptop into our laboratory, it's our goal is to see how it would work if you brought it into your home or office. While we use a number of industry standard benchmarks such as Geekbench, we focus more on real-world testing.
To measure battery runtime, the Laptop Mag Battery test surfs the web at 150 nits of brightness until the Chromebook runs out of juice. To test their processing power, we use the Geekbench synthetic test.
We use a colorimeter to measure screen brightness and color gamut while other instruments help us determine a laptop's key travel and ambient heat. See this page on How We Test Laptops for more details on our benchmarking procedures.
See our Chromebook Buying Guide and our Windows 10 vs Chromebook or iPad vs. Chromebook face-off to learn more about them. And check out our best laptops deals page to make sure you get the best price before you buy.