For a long time, the majority of laptops fell into one of three camps. There were 13-inch laptops meant for portability, 17-inch laptops for people who needed large displays, and 15-inch laptops for everyone else. But every now and then some brands, notably Lenovo and Asus, would buck the trend with a 14-inch laptop — providing the portability of an ultraslim machine with enough screen real estate to be productive. Now, in 2021, 14-inch laptops are having a Renaissance.
Spurred on by slimmer display bezels and a move away from the traditional 16:9 aspect ratio, the trend toward 14-inch laptops threatens the popularity of 13-inch and 15-inch laptops. The folks at Laptop Mag say "Bring it on." So long as they have thin display bezels, 14-inch laptops can be the size of a traditional 13-inch laptop, offering the portability needed when going to work or going on long business trips. Moreover, the larger display makes it easy to view multiple windows at once, and 2-in-1 laptops benefit from transforming into larger (if somewhat unwieldy) tablets.
If you want a portable laptop but aren't certain you need a 14-inch display, see our best Ultrabooks page. Some of the systems on this list are great for school but we have a separate best college laptops list that will meet every need. For now, the category with the most 14-inch laptops is business. If those on this list don't work for you (perhaps you need more power), our best business laptops page has a range of options.
Which 14-inch laptop is best?
The HP Spectre x360 14 is the best 14-inch laptop on the market, even if the screen is technically only 13.5 inches large. It takes everything we loved about the Spectre x360 13, including a stunning design, fast performance and long battery life, then increases the screen size and expands the comfortable keyboard and touchpad. If you're looking for something a bit sleeker or need a stylus slot, the Yoga 9i is a great alternative
If you need a 14-inch business laptop, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon tops our list. There are, somewhat surprisingly, plenty of options in the enterprise space, but the X1 Carbon is a complete package, flaunting an ultra-lightweight chassis made of carbon fiber under which are powerful specs and plenty of security options. Those on team HP should go for the EliteBook 840 G7, a similarly attractive option.
As for budget models, the Asus Chromebook Flip C434 is your best option for under $1,000. Running Chrome OS, this system can be purchased for around $500 yet it comes with a premium aluminum design and a nice 1080p display. It's fast enough to run plenty of Chrome tabs and lasts for a full day on a charge.
The Spectre x360 14 is the best 14-inch laptop on the market for everyday consumers. Newly released for 2021, the 13.5-inch model builds upon its predecessors but adds useful new features including a 3:2 aspect ratio display and 11th Gen Intel CPUs with Iris Xe graphics. Highlights of this laptop include a stunning design, bright and vivid 1920 x 1280-pixel IPS and 3K2K OLED display options, epic 12+ hour battery life and fast overall performance.
Add to that a generously sized touchpad that is silky to the touch as well as a comfortable (albeit shallow) keyboard, excellent security options (fingerprint sensor and facial recognition) and a good selection of ports, and well, it's easy to see why we like this laptop so much.
Not only is it the best 14-inch laptop, but the Spectre x360 14 is the best laptop if you want a convertible notebook, period. Sure, it has a few faults, but those are easily forgotten once you get this beauty in your hands.
See our HP Spectre x360 14 review
Lenovo didn't make many changes to our favorite business laptop, but the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon now flaunts Intel 10th Gen CPUs. On top of delivering fast performance, you get long battery life (on the 1080p model) and two gorgeous, 14-inch, 1080p and 4K display options, all in an impossibly lightweight chassis (2.4 pounds).
But it's still those classic ThinkPad features — a durable design (with MIL-STD-810G strength), best-in-class keyboard and stealthy black/red aesthetics — that carry the X1 Carbon to greatness.
Yes, we wish the ThinkPad X1 Carbon had thinner bezels and hadn't ditched the SD card reader, and top configurations can get very expensive, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a better overall business machine.
See our full Lenovo ThinkPad Carbon X1 (8th Gen) review.
The best 14-inch Chromebook, the Flip C434, is an excellent successor to the Flip C302CA, our previous top pick. Not only do its super-small bezels allow Asus to fit its large 14-inch screen into a smaller chassis than you'd expect, but that screen is also both bright and colorful. On top of that, its aluminum design provides a more premium feel than most Chromebooks. Oh, and I almost forgot: it lasts about 10 hours on a single charge.
If you aren't familiar with Chromebooks, these machines use Google's Chrome OS operating system. They're lightweight and easy to use, centered primarily around the Chrome browser. You can read our Chromebooks vs. Windows 10 comparison to get an idea of the pros and cons of the operating system.
See our full Asus Chromebook Flip C434 review.
The successor to the excellent Yoga C940, the Lenovo Yoga 9i takes a proven formula and refines it. Subtle design improvements, long battery life (11:15) and refreshed 11th Gen Intel processors make the Yoga 9i a worthy successor to one of last year's top 2-in-1 laptops.
As you'd expect from a Yoga-series laptop, the Yoga 9i has a premium, ultra-portable chassis and a unique hinge that doubles as a rotating soundbar speaker. As a 2-in-1, that hinge can rotate 360-degrees to convert the Yoga 9i into a tablet or be placed in tent mode so you can watch movies without a keyboard in the way. When it comes to viewing content, the Yoga 9i's 1080p (4K is available) display is crisp, vibrant and bright.
For all the basics it gets right, my favorite things about the Yoga 9i are its extra features, which include a webcam cover (no more need to buy tape), a slot for the improved Active Pen and a fingerprint sensor. Unfortunately, there is no IR camera.
See our Lenovo Yoga 9i review.
The EliteBook 840 G7 is one classy-looking 14-inch business notebook. But it's more than just looks. It offers 9 hours and 23 minutes of battery life, an awesome keyboard, and, when you need it, a SureView privacy display to keep strangers from checking out your screen.
There are also plenty of ports so you can ditch the dongles and top-firing speakers sound surprisingly good. Yes, the webcam isn't the best, but that's nothing an external solution can't fix. Cheaper than most premium business laptops, the EliteBook 840 G5 comes with a 10th Intel Core i7 CPU, up to 64GB of RAM and up to a 1TB SSD.
See our full HP EliteBook 840 G7 review.
The HP Envy 14 (2021) is the perfect laptop for many people. It has a powerful Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q GPU packed into a sleek aluminum chassis. Not to mention the vivid 14-inch, 1080p 16:10 display and more than 9 hours of battery life.
The $1,249 price tag is too expensive for the components you get, especially when the SSD is lagging behind the average, and the speakers aren’t the best. Moreover, you can get better battery life from the Lenovo Yoga 9i and even more storage, but you would be paying a little extra and losing out on the discrete GPU.
See our full HP Envy 14 review
The ZenBook Duo 14 is the kind of device you'll feel proud showing off, and when you do, people will be amazed by its gorgeous color and second display, also known as the ScreenPad Plus. The shock and awe of the extra screen will get people reaching for the Duo at electronics stores, but the ScreenPad is much more than a spectacle; It's a useful tool for creative professionals and business users who need to maximize screen real estate.
Add strong performance and long battery life to the mix, and the ZenBook Duo is a dream 14-inch laptop to use when you're crunching spreadsheets or editing videos.
See our full Asus ZenBook Duo 14 review
The AMD version of the Acer Swift 3 is really the little laptop that could. Armed with an AMD Ryzen 7 4700U processor and Radeon Graphics, the Swift 3 is taking on the likes of the MacBook Pro 13 and the XPS 13 with aplomb. And it's doing that for less than $700. And if you're curious, it smoked its Intel-powered counterpart as well.
The laptop served up surprising power on our benchmarks including overall and graphics performance. Plus, it has staying power with over 11 hours of battery life. Plus, it's got premium good looks and a rather comfortable keyboard. The laptop does have one flaw however, it's display which isn't as bright as we would like. But for the price, it's a minor quibble for a sub-$700 laptop that can best some of the most premium laptops on the market. With a herculean processor that whizzes past all its competitors, the Acer Swift 3 certainly earned its spot on this list.
See our full Acer Swift 3 (2020, AMD Ryzen 7 4700U) review.
How we test laptops
We put 14-inch laptops 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 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. Gaming laptops go through an entire library of games at high settings to see how their discrete GPUs keep up.
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.