9 Best Budget Laptops for Programming

Having a reliable laptop for programming is essential if you want to stay productive and get good performance. That doesn’t mean you need to choose the most expensive option, and many more budget-friendly laptops can work. 

If you are on a budget but still need a good laptop for programming, there are plenty of options to explore. Knowing which of these are the best can help you get an option that will meet your needs and get the job done. 

This post will explore the best budget laptops for programming. I’ll explain the features and functions of each of these to help you figure out if it meets your needs. My goal is to help you make an informed purchase. 

Let’s dive in. 

Key Takeaways

  • You can still get a good laptop for programming at a budget price
  • Budget-priced laptops typically don’t have the same performance specs as higher-priced options
  • There isn’t one best budget laptop for every programmer, and each individual will have various needs and preferences
  • The type of coding you do and the performance required to do so can impact your choice of laptops
  • You typically don’t want to use the cheapest option available, as you are likely to sacrifice some important performance characteristics needed for programming


Here are a few short answers to some of the most commonly asked questions related to the best budget laptops for programming. 

Which laptop is best for programming in budget?

Can I code with a budget laptop?

Do you need a powerful laptop for coding?

Which budget ASUS laptop is best for coding?

How much RAM is sufficient for a coding laptop?

How do I choose a laptop for coding?

What Makes the Best Budget Laptops for Programming? 

Here are a few important factors to consider to help you understand what makes the best budget laptops for programming. Each can help you determine which model is best for your needs. 


Since we are talking about budget laptops here, the cost is one of the most critical factors. Generally, you don’t want to go with the absolute cheapest laptop because it won’t have enough performance for you to code effectively. 


RAM is another big consideration when choosing a laptop for coding and programming. While you need a minimum of 4GB to realistically program, higher amounts of 8GB or more will give you better performance. 

Operating System

If you are working with a specific operating system, you’ll need to get a laptop that runs that. And if you need to work across multiple operating systems, you might need to get multiple laptops. Windows or Linux-based systems are cheaper than macOS. 


The display size is another prominent feature to keep in mind when choosing a budget laptop for programming. If you want a larger screen, you’ll likely pay more for that. Smaller displays might be harder to see but will be more affordable. 


The laptop’s processor has a lot to do with how it will perform while programming or doing any other task. Check the processor in any model you are considering to ensure it has enough performance to meet your needs. 


Both the type of storage and the available storage space come into play when choosing a laptop for programming. If you want faster speeds, look for SSD storage rather than HDD. You can also get a combination of these two. 

The 9 Best Budget Laptops for Programming

Best OverallHP Pavillion 15
Best for Programming and GamingAcer Nitro 5
Best Low Budget Option ASUS VivoBook 15
Best ProcessorLenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3
Best for Programming and Graphic DesignASUS ZenBook 14
Best Display HP Pavillion 17
Best Ease of UseAcer Aspire 5
Best Performance Apple MacBook Air M1
Best for Travel HP Pavillion X360

1. HP Pavillion 15

  • Excellent performance traits in a more budget-friendly price range
  • 15.6-inch Full HD screen
  • 11th Gen Intel Core i7
  • 512 GB SSD storage
  • 16GB RAM for impressive speed and power

The best overall budget laptop for programming is the HP Pavillion 15. This is a solid laptop all-around that delivers excellent performance at a lower price point than a lot of the competition. It’s a good option for programmers and coders looking to save. 

One key aspect of this laptop’s impressive performance is 16GB RAM, which is plenty to have you covered for most programming needs. You also get 512GB of SSD storage for even better performance when you need it. 

The Pavillion 15 also has a 15.6-inch Full HD screen, so you can see everything crisp and clear as you work. The processors also do an excellent job of keeping up whether you are deep into a coding project or working on other things. 

There isn’t much of a downside, and this is a solid all-around option. It’s a Windows-based laptop, so keep that in mind if you have a preference. This should meet the needs of most programmers. 

My Verdict: One of the best budget laptops for programming you can find. Has a good screen size and plenty of RAM for adequate performance. It also comes with good battery life, so you can take it for travel or work.  

2. Acer Nitro 15

  • Works well for both programming and gaming
  • 17.3-inch Full HD display
  • 12th Gen Intel 12-core i5 processor
  • Customizable with up to 32GB RAM but cheaper with 8GB
  • Good graphics

If you want a budget laptop that can work well for programming and gaming, you’ll want to check out the Acer Nitro 5. This is another top-performer that comes in at a lower price without sacrificing much performance along the way. 

This laptop comes with a full HD 17.3-inch screen to give you good clarity and precision whether you are working or gaming. It also has GeForce RTX graphics to help reduce issues with screen tears when gaming. 

The Nitro 5 has plenty of processing power to give you reliable performance. It comes with 8GB RAM in the base model, which is the cheapest. But you can also customize it with increased RAM and storage if you want or need it. 

If you choose to boost the specs of this one, you’ll pay more. But the base model is still pretty effective and affordable. It doesn’t have as good of a battery life as other options, so it isn’t the best for travel. 

My Verdict: Great option if you want an affordable laptop that works well for gaming and programming. Solid specs give you reliable performance attributes, and the customizable options are nice.  

3. ASUS VivoBook 15

  • Very affordable option
  • 15.6-inch Full HD display
  • 8GB RAM with 128GB SSD storage
  • 10th Gen Intel Core i3 Processor
  • Good connectivity with multiple ports

The ASUS VivoBook 15 is an option to consider if you really want to save some money. This is one of the most affordable laptops on the list. And even though it’s pretty cheap, you still get good performance that allows you to program with ease. 

The laptop comes with 8GB RAM and 128GB SSD storage. This results in reliable speed and power that you can count on. It’s not a ton of power, but it’s enough to get the job done while saving some money. 

You also get a nice 15.6-inch display that is easy to see and features a 4-way NanoEdge bezel. This can be great whether you are programming or doing other tasks. The laptop also features excellent connectivity with multiple ports. 

This isn’t an extremely powerful option, so you might run into issues if you have complex programming tasks you need to handle. But if you have a standard workload, it should still function well. 

My Verdict: The best option to choose if a low price is your most significant factor. Performs well despite coming at a low cost, but it’s not a high-performance option.  

4. Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3

  • Powerful processor leads to more capabilities and reliable performance
  • 8GB RAM with multiple storage options
  • 15.6-inch display 
  • AMD Ryzen 6000 Series processors
  • Also works well for gaming

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 delivers excellent processing power that can help with all of your programming work. This option is technically marketed as a gaming laptop but also works well for programming and coding. 

The laptop features AMD Ryzen 6000 series processors for fast and reliable performance. This helps keep the 15.6-inch screen looking good when gaming but also boosts your speeds and effectiveness when programming. 

You also get pretty outstanding battery life in a more budget-friendly package here, so this can be a good option to use when you want to program away from home or the office. A Rapid Charge feature can get the battery nearly half full in just 15 minutes. 

This one looks like a gaming laptop and might be too high-profile for some people. It’s also not the most budget-friendly option here, even though it still falls into the budget category. It also is only available with 8GB RAM. 

My Verdict: Excellent processors make this a reliable and effective option for many programmers. Can give you better performance compared to other budget-friendly options but is still limited by 8GB RAM. 

5. ASUS ZenBook 14

  • Good option for programming and graphic design
  • 14-inch Full HD NanoEdge display
  • Ultra-slim design is compact and portable
  • 11th Gen Intel Core i7 processor
  • Solid connectivity 

If you want a laptop that can handle programming tasks and also effectively help you with any graphic design projects, the ASUS ZenBook 14 is for you. This is another awesome option that sits firmly in the budget laptop category. 

This one is a good combination of technical and creative features, meaning you can use it for a variety of tasks. It has an 11th Gen Intel Core i7 processor for reliable speeds and performance, no matter how you choose to use it. 

You also get fast performance thanks to 8GB RAM combined with 512GB SSD storage. These specs you need for effective coding will help you easily complete any programming or design tasks. 

I don’t have many negative remarks for this one, and it’s a good all-around option. But you might want to explore other options if you don’t do any graphic design. It still holds up as an affordable programming computer. 

My Verdict: This is an excellent choice for any programmers who also do graphic design. It has fast processors and a good display to help you with any task and comes with other features that can boost productivity and aid workflow. 

6. HP Pavillion 17

  • Large 17.3-inch display with HD+ and Anti-Glare tech
  • 16GB RAM and 256 SSD storage for solid performance 
  • Good graphics and reliable speeds
  • Comes with other useful features like a webcam and connectivity ports

The HP Pavillion 17 is another budget laptop with an affordable price tag. This one gets the bid for the best display on the list, and you get a 17.3-inch screen with HD+ and anti-glare technology for impressive performance. 

This one is more than just a large screen. It also provides all of the performance features you want and need for adequate programming. 16GB RAM is a good start for effective power and control for any of your projects. 

The laptop also comes with two high-speed USB A ports and several other ports for connectivity. The webcam is also nice if you need to do video calls or just want a good way to connect with friends after work. 

A larger display does make it far less compact, so this isn’t a great choice for a travel laptop. And it would be nice if it came with more than 256GB SSD storage to pair with 16GB RAM. 

My Verdict: This option gives you a large display at an affordable price and is a good choice for any programmer who likes a bigger working screen. It also has enough features to help you program effectively and efficiently. 

7. Acer Aspire 5

  • Simple and easy-to-use design
  • Very affordable 
  • 15.6-inch display 
  • Backlit keyboard 
  • 7.5-hour battery life

The Acer Aspire 5 is the laptop to choose if you want a simple setup to help you code. This one isn’t packed with features or performance specs, but it can still get the job done and comes at a very affordable price. 

If you are new to programming or just want to simplify your setup, this can be a good option. You get everything you need at a basic level without too many additional features that can hold you back. 

The 15.6-inch screen is effective and makes for a good working display, while the AMD Ryzen 3 dual-core processor helps keep everything on track. You also get a decent battery life if you want to take this one with you on the move. 

This laptop only comes with 4GB RAM, so it’s really only capable of basic programming tasks. But it’s still a good option to explore if you don’t need that much power. 

My Verdict: This is an affordable and simple option that will work for some programmers but not all. It’s not very powerful but it can be a good entry-level option. 

8. Apple MacBook Air M1

  • High-performance option but still affordable (for a Mac)
  • 13-inch Retina Display 
  • M1 chip
  • Many features that can support effective programming

The Apple MacBook Air M1 might not seem like a budget-friendly laptop. However, it still makes the list because it’s a high-performance option that can work really well for programming while falling on the cheaper side of costs for MacBooks. 

The M1 chip in this model is pretty sweet and leads to a smooth and responsive experience that will help you with any programming tasks. You also get 16GB RAM and 256GB SSD storage for increased performance. 

There are many other features on the MacBook Air, including a great Retina Display and a FaceTime HD camera. These might not be that important to programmers, but they will help you in other situations. 

This laptop is not the cheapest on the list and barely squeaks into the budget category. And it’s a Mac, so it might not be the preference of every programmer out there. But it’s a high-performance machine that definitely has a place. 

My Verdict: This is a great tool for programmers to take advantage of if you don’t mind paying a little extra. It’s a very capable laptop that can be used for programming and many other tasks.  

9. HP Pavillion X360

  • Slim design is excellent for travel
  • 14-inch touchscreen display 
  • 11th Gen Intel Core i5 processor
  • 8GB RAM with 256GB SSD storage
  • Long battery life

If you want to program on the move and need a laptop that you can easily travel with, check out the HP Pavillion X360. This is a very portable option that features a slim design so you can throw it in a bag or carry it easily. 

The laptop has a 14-inch touchscreen display, so it effectively operates as a laptop and tablet. Programmers obviously won’t want to use the touch-screen much, but it efficiently functions with a keyboard as well. 

With performance in mind, you get 8GB RAM with 256GB SSD storage. This leads to reliable performance for average programming needs. It’s not the fastest option, but it still gets the job done. 

Some people might not like the 2-in-1 style that the Pavillion X360 offers because the touchscreen isn’t ideal for programming. But a slim profile is nice if you want to travel or use a smaller workspace. 

My Verdict: A good option for anyone who wants to program while traveling. It’s also a nice dual-use device if you want an affordable laptop that can serve as a tablet.  

Final Thoughts

You can still get a good laptop for programming at a budget price. The options shown here work well for programming, and each has various features you might want to meet your needs or preferences best. 

If you are a professional programmer, you might need to dish out extra cash on a high-performance laptop. But if you don’t mind sacrificing a little performance, you can get an option that works well for a lower price. 

Do you have a favorite budget laptop for programming I didn’t mention here? Let me know in the comments below.

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  • Qamar Abbas

    I am a programmer I think Asus VivoBook S is best for the beginner in low budget and Apple MacBook Pro 15 is best for experts.