Why Are Laptops More Expensive Than Desktops?

Portability, high demand, and expensive components are all reasons laptops tend to be more expensive than their desktop counterparts.

I’ve owned a wide range of laptops and desktops throughout my life. That, mixed with my personal tech experience, allowed me to properly break down why portable computers cost more on average than stationary ones.

This guide reinforces that point by exploring the various reasons laptops have a higher price, and breaking each one down in much greater detail.

Key Takeaways

  • More expensive and specialized components are the key driving factor behind higher laptop prices.
  • High demand for laptops allows companies to charge more for the machines when compared to traditional desktops.
  • Laptops are completely self contained, and additional features like the screen and batteries make them more expensive to purchase.

A More Expensive Machine

It’s almost impossible to get by without a computer in today’s world. However, while desktops used to be the king of the hill, that’s now changed. There are some expensive options still out there, but laptops cost more almost all of the time.

That may be surprising for several reasons. One, desktops tend to be bigger and take up more space than laptops. Not only that, but they are used for a lot of high powered tasks like running big programs or playing the latest games.

Despite that, the average laptop runs someone a lot more than the average desktop. In most cases, it’s a lot more. There are several reasons for that, and they all have to do with the manufacturing process. 

Costly Components

Of all the reasons laptops cost more than desktops, none are bigger than the components. Laptops, as they are smaller and more compact, need to pack a lot of power into their frame. That means they need more specialized processors and more intuitive design.

For example, their motherboards must have a small footprint, tight circuit pathways, as well as a very specific layout that prevents issues like overheating. That’s a lot that needs to be taken into account, which in turn means a lot more work on the backend.

On top of that, laptop central processing units (CPUs) have a more intensive (and more expensive) development. That’s because they need to hit their required performance levels while also being extremely power efficient. Power management features also cost more.

Laptop graphics processors need to be directly integrated into the CPU, while graphic processors have to be soldered directly on the motherboard. The parts also need to be neatly organized and laid out in a way where the cooling system can work properly.

While desktops also have a lot of backend work and a need for specialized components, they have much more wiggle room than laptops. Their margin for error is much larger too. 

Taking all of that into account, laptops have much more expensive parts. Not only is the work required to make them more costly, but the components themselves are simply more expensive than what’s often found in desktop computers. 

That then drives up a laptop’s price. As with any electronic, the more it costs to make something upfront, the more it’s going to cost in the store.

Demand, Screens, and Batteries

Expensive components are the primary reason that laptops cost more than desktops, but they are far from the only one. There are several other key reasons why more portable machines command a higher price, including demand.

As mentioned, laptops are more popular than desktops. That might not seem like a huge deal, but the more users want something, the more it will cost. It all comes down to basic supply and demand.

Manufacturers know they can raise the price without taking on any losses, which means they push the cost on a lot of popular models. Users love laptops for their portability and ease of use. Companies want to take advantage of that as much as possible.

Two other factors that drive up laptop price are the screen and the battery. Desktops are a single unit, which means they don’t need a connected screen. They are also stationary, and do not require a battery. As such, there are two less aspects they need to worry about.

Though some desktops do not come with an external monitor, there are plenty that do. Even so, that extra addition still tends to be much more affordable than a mid-to-high-end laptop. 

The more portable a computer is, the more accessories it needs to pack into a self-contained package. That in turn means more money the company has to spend producing it. It’s a necessary evil, but it would be impossible to have portability without the extra features.


Here I break down some of the most popular laptop related questions.

Are Laptops Better Than Desktops?

That entirely depends on what you want from your computer. Laptops have the advantage of portability and being on a battery source, but desktops are larger and provide more space to work. Those on the go like laptops, while those who want size like desktops.

Do Gamers Prefer Laptops or Desktops?

When it comes to running premium titles, desktops and laptops are almost even. The hardware is much more important in that regard than portability. Desktops can be a bit more powerful at the high-end, but any gaming-dedicated PC will get the job done.

How Long Do Laptops Last?

Every model varies depending on make and company, but most well-made laptops stick around for roughly five years. Ones that don’t undergo a lot of stress can last even longer, sometimes lasting seven or eight.

Final Words

When it comes to computers, premium machines come at a premium price. While certain laptops are on the cheaper end, on average the devices cost more than desktops. They each have their benefits, but if you want portability, you’re going to pay a bit more.

Do you own a desktop or a laptop? Why did you choose one over the other? Let us know in the comments below!

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