Best laptops for teachers 2021: top notebooks for the classroom

To be considered the best laptop for teachers, a notebook has to check certain boxes. Not only does it need to be a capable and reliable machine but it needs to come at a reasonable price. Thankfully, a number of quality portables are within a teacher’s budget and also offer enough power and features to fit the bill. After all, an educator needs to be able to run all the necessary apps in the middle of class without having to deal with potential hiccups. 

© Provided by TechRadar A woman wearing glasses, presumably a teacher, using a laptop at a desk next to a stack of books

The best laptops for educators need to have a decently powerful CPU as well as fast RAM to keep up. And, with all the homework, presentations, and documents a teacher needs at the ready, having enough storage space is a must. An educator’s portable needs to also have a great keyboard and trackpad, a good amount of ports, a thin and light design for easy portability, and a quality screen that won’t cause eye strain from extended use.

With all the different choices out there, it can be tough figuring out which machine is right for the job. So, we’ve rounded up our top picks to get you through online classes or in-person ones. And, our price comparison tool included should help you find the best deals on these laptops.

The MacBook Air (M1, 2020) may have received a huge refresh with the new M1 chip, but the update thankfully did not come with a price increase. This impressive machine is still the cheapest of Apple’s laptop line, making it an ideal option for any teachers who want or need to stay in the Apple Ecosystem. And, while it doesn’t come with a radical redesign, that M1 chip offers an impressive performance boost, almost on par with the Intel-powered 13” Pros. Additionally, the battery life is phenomenal and the laptop’s fanless design means you won’t hear any annoying computer noise when using it. This is no doubt the best laptop for teachers 2021 has to offer.

Read the full review: MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

There are a number of things that make the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 ideal for teachers. Not only does its fantastic screen with a wider 16:10 aspect ratio make organizing your workload easier, but it comes with a garaged stylus that will make grading homework a cinch. On top of that, it’s very portable, making it an easy laptop to carry around when needed. And, while it does come with a pretty hefty price tag, it’s worth it thanks to all the included security features, like a fingerprint scanner and webcam privacy shutter.

Read the full review: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6

The HP Spectre x360 (2020) isn’t just among the best-looking laptops out there. It also boasts plenty of power under the hood while staying lightweight and compact. Of course, it’s also a pleasure to use. Thanks to its incredible keyboard and trackpad, as well as glorious display, this is the best laptop for teachers who value a seamless and comfortable experience above other things. And, the storage options, selection of ports (two Thunderbolt 3 ports and one USB-A port) and 2-in-1 design should offer a lot of flexibility as well. The best part here, however, is the price – the HP Spectre x360 remains one of the best laptops out there that doesn’t compromise on affordability, which is why we’re giving it our best value pick.

Read the full review: HP Spectre x360 (2020) 

If looks aren’t a main concern, but budget is, then go for the Acer Swift 3. This is the best laptop for teachers on a budget, packing in excellent performance as well as great features like a comfortable keyboard, accurate trackpad and decent battery life in a thin and lightweight chassis. All without setting you back much. The display isn’t anything to write home about, but it isn’t bad either at 1080p resolution on an IPS panel. As far as ports, it’s got everything you need – USB 2.0, USB 3.0, Thunderbolt 3 and HDMI. Really, the only thing that’s holding this back is its subpar speakers and plain overall design. But hey, if you’re saving money, those barely matter.

Read the full review: Acer Swift 3

It’s widely known that Chromebooks are excellent for education. They’re not only straightforward and easy to use, as well as very secure, but also designed and streamlined for collaboration thanks to how its ChromeOS works. So what could be better for educators? For a mid-range choice, there’s the Google Pixelbook Go, one of the best Chromebooks on offer. Much like most Chromebooks, this has an astounding battery life so you can work through the whole school day, do your after class work and unwind with Netflix all on a single charge. It’s also got an amazing quiet keyboard, a rare 1080p webcam and a gorgeous design. The display and availability of ports could be better, but then again, if you’re looking for a laptop with a more lightweight structure, this isn’t surprising.

Read the full review: Google Pixelbook Go

Now, if a budget Chromebook is more your (or your budget’s) speed, then you cannot go wrong with the Acer Chromebook 314. It has all the makings of the ultimate, albeit budget, Chromebook. It’ll last you up to 13 hours on a single charge. It delivers impressive performance that’s great for multitasking. And, it’s simple to use. But, Acer also takes all that and tosses in a few features teachers will appreciate – a bright and crisp screen, terrific trackpad, satisfying keyboard, a laptop-esque design, and a port selection that rivals that of many laptops which includes two USB-A ports, two USB-C ports and a MicroSD card slot. The storage could be better here, but then again, you’re supposed to be saving all your work on the cloud, so it hardly matters.

Read the full review: Acer Chromebook 314

Engineering professors need a powerful laptop themselves. So, while the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is originally intended as a staggering gaming laptop, it does have that heft inside that people in the engineering field will certainly find useful, making it among the best laptops for those learning and teaching engineering. It owes that to its graphics card, which delivers impressive graphics performance, and its AMD processor. What’s more is that it’s thin and light, making it ideal for carrying around campus, has best-in-class battery life so you can last up to 9 hours without charging, and boasts a keyboard that’s comfortable to type on. As for the display, you have the option to get the 1080p one with a blazing-fast 120Hz refresh rate.

Read the full review: Asus Zephyrus G14 

Is the MacBook Pro 16-inch the best MacBook Apple’s ever made? Yes. Yes, it is. This premium piece of kit is just as stunning as it is powerful and feature-rich, making it the ultimate portable tool for photo editing, video editing and design. Of course, it isn’t just for creators themselves. It’s also great for those who actually teach the craft, with plenty of CPU and GPU power, a few RAM and storage options, and a gorgeous display that now offers even more real estate. That’s not all; it’s also got a large trackpad, a brand new keyboard that’s among the best out there, and that signature thin and light design with which Apple revolutionized the laptop world. As if those aren’t enough, it’s also got the famous Touch Bar, which offers shortcuts for applications like Photoshop and Lightroom for a more seamless workflow.

Read the full review: MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

Portability takes center stage on the LG Gram 17, which has been lauded for its innovative thin and light design. For a 17-inch laptop, it’s breathtakingly light, certainly rivalring even the 13-inch portable out there. So, if your work calls for a 17-inch display, this one’s a shoo-in with its beautiful 17-inch 1600p IPS LCD display. Especially with its great processor and GPU, which LG has recently updated to the latest, plenty of memory, and more than enough storage. There’s definitely a lot of power here for productivity, as well as a number of ports that include an HDMI port, microSD, three USB 3.1s, USB-C and a USB 3.1 adapter for RJ45 Ethernet. It does fetch a price. However, with a reliable fingerprint sensor and a rugged body, you’re definitely getting a lot of value.

Read the full review: LG Gram 17

The best Windows tablets make for excellent laptop alternatives, and the Microsoft Surface Go 2 is perhaps the most ideal example. If your work only calls for a laptop that’s lightweight inside and out, then this tablet is certainly worth considering. It’s not only extremely affordable at less than $500 at its base configuration, but it can run the full Windows 10 operating system as well. That means that you can download PC applications on it without fuss. Of course, its great battery life of up to 8 hours on a single charge is also worth mentioning here; as is its beautiful, premium design and good enough port selection. Sadly, you have to shell a bit more out if you want the cover or the stylus (or both), and that bumps up the price considerably. However, it’s still cheaper than most laptops out there.

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Go

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