Student Laptop Buying Guide

For students today, a large amount of schoolwork is done online. While online work was traditionally reserved for college students, more elementary, middle, and high school students now use their computers for everything from writing papers to nightly math homework. Laptop computers can be the most efficient way for students to get schoolwork done wherever they are, whether in the class, in the dorm, or at the school library.

When looking for a laptop for you or your student, you don’t necessarily have to get a high-end laptop or high-powered gaming laptop to have an optimal experience with your computer. Instead, focus on capabilities that will help most throughout the school year. We’ll walk you through things to consider when looking for a laptop for school.

Why Laptops Are Great for Students

One of the biggest benefits that laptops offer students lies in their portability. Laptops can be placed and carried in a secure backpack or laptop bag and transported to different classes and study locations. This flexibility means that students:

●      Can keep their class notes, paper drafts, and research in one place
●      Can access digital books during class and study periods
●      Don’t have to carry heavy books and notebooks when digital books are available
●      Can work as easily in the school library as in their room
●      Can quickly type out notes during classes and study sessions

Given these advantages, let’s review some of the main characteristics to look for when buying a laptop.

What to Look for in a Laptop for a Student

When you begin your search for a great student laptop for students, you’ll quickly find many options. From Chromebooks to budget laptops, your new laptop can have all sorts of different capabilities and operating systems.

Here are parts of the computer to pay close attention to as you browse through your options.

The Operating System

The operating system is the first thing you’ll want to pay attention to when buying a new laptop. Two of the most well-known are Windows and Mac. Both choices allow you to complete many of the same tasks, such as creating text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and video conferencing with a webcam and conducting research. However, their interfaces and applications accomplish these goals differently.


Apple computers operate using macOS, while new PCs come with Windows 11. Additionally, Windows operating systems offer greater diversity in capabilities and price points, as many different companies produce these computers.


For example, those who want a quality laptop using Windows can choose from but aren’t limited to:

Is a Chromebook a PC?

The third operating system is used in Chromebooks. Understanding what a Chromebook laptop is can help you decide whether this laptop option will fit your needs.

These computers have been around for about 12 years and don’t use Windows or Mac operating systems. Instead, they use a Linux-based operating system known as Chrome OS. Chromebooks rely on the Google Chrome web browser and offer some capabilities for apps, particularly Android apps. They also rely on more web-based capabilities, like Google Docs.

Like Windows-based computers, you’ll find several companies that produce quality Chromebooks for students, including but not limited to:


Students aren’t always the most gentle with their devices as they transport their laptops to classes, the library, or study sessions. Therefore, as you choose your laptop, you’ll want to make a durable selection. These laptops can withstand rougher treatment, which should help your laptop work well throughout your schooling.


For example, many people find that a solid-state drive (SSD) offers a higher durability than a hard drive. The SSD has fewer parts moving around, which means that fewer things can go wrong and result in you losing the information on your computer.


Some students — particularly those who know that their computers will be in for harsh treatment — might elect to get a rugged laptop. These laptops are built to offer higher durability. If you’ve had negative experiences in the past with laptops breaking, or if you know that your school year will call for your laptop to excel in durability, these computers might be a good fit for you.


Also, consider a laptop case. A case can help protect your laptop even if it gets banged around in your bag or ends up in the bottom of a pile of heavy books. 

Battery Life

As a student, you’ll also want to look closely at the battery life offered by your laptop. Many students might not return home or to their dorm room for hours. No one wants to discover that their laptop has lost its charge before lunch, leaving them digging for a pencil in their bag or rushing back to their room to grab a charger.


A laptop with a stable, long battery life will serve you well throughout the day. You can be on the go without worrying about how much battery time is left on your computer.

Processor and Graphics Card

When it comes to your laptop’s processor and graphics card (which determines GPUs), think carefully about the capabilities that matter the most to you. If you want your laptop to handle laptop games, video editing, or photo editing, you’ll