7 of the Best Budget Programming Laptops in 2022 – Recommended!

When you search for the best budget programming laptop, you don’t necessarily want an all-in-one machine that could run for years. I place the reasons at the price point (budget laptops at one point can’t cope with the growing technological advances) and the need of the programmer

Still, you wouldn’t want to have a laptop that’s really down the line. After all, doing all those IDEs, running multiple tabs of StackOverFlow, all the while writing code after code requires quite a lot. 

Coding is one of those tasks that computers are best at. But, thanks to their processors getting faster and cheaper by the year there’s no reason you can’t do it on a laptop!

In this article, I’ve listed some models with great price tags as well if your budget isn’t too high – these should help make programming easier for everyone who wants an edge in today’s competitive world where every second counts so get learning now before someone else does first.

So, you should be looking for anything between Core i5 to i7 or AMD Ryzen 5 to 7, at least 8 GB RAM, and an SSD. Obviously, I’m here to help you choose based on these specs. Since we’re talking about budget laptops, I’ve tried to balance out the list below. 

List of Best Budget Programming Laptops

The following table contains a list of laptops designed specifically for programming and coding. These machines all have affordable prices and powerful processors that will help you become better at what we do here!

ImageFeaturesRatingPrice
My Top Pick
Lenovo Flex 5
Lenovo Flex 5

Features: 14.0″ FHD Touch Display, AMD Ryzen 5 4500U, 16GB RAM, 256GB Storage, AMD Radeon Graphics, Digital Pen Included

10
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Editor’s Choice
Lenovo Ideapad L340
Lenovo Ideapad L340

Features: 15.6 Inch FHD (1920 X 1080) IPS Display, Intel Core i5-9300H Processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB Nvme SSD, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, Windows 10

9.9
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For Mac Lovers
Apple MacBook Air
Apple MacBook Air

Features: Apple M1 Chip, 13” Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage, Backlit Keyboard, FaceTime HD Camera, Touch ID, Space Gray

9.8
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Runner up
ASUS VivoBook 15
ASUS VivoBook 15

Features: 15.6” IPS FHD Display, Windows 10 Home with Free Upgrade to Windows 11, AMD Ryzen 7 5700U, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, Fingerprint Reader, Slate Grey

9.7
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Budget Pick
Acer Aspire 5
Acer Aspire 5

Features: Full HD IPS Display, 10th Gen Intel Core i5-10210U, 8GB DDR4, 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD, Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 802.11ax, Fingerprint Reader

9.6
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Latest HP Release
HP 15 Laptop
HP 15 Laptop

Features: 11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, 15.6” Full HD IPS Display, Win 10 Home, HP Fast Charge, Lightweight

9.5
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Enthusiast Pick
Dell Inspiron 15 5593
Dell Inspiron 15 5593

Features: 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1 processor, 8GB RAM, 512 SSD, 15.6-Inch FHD display, Gray backlit keyboard

9.4
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Let me now give you a more detailed explanation of each of the products mentioned above.

1. Lenovo Flex 5

My Top Pick
  • AMD Ryzen 5 4500U CPU 
  • AMD Radeon Graphics 
  • FHD Touchscreen with stylus 
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM 
  • 256GB SSD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • 10 hours of battery life 

Being a programmer, finding the right kind of hardware is a tad bit hard to come by especially with a tight budget but after personally using the Lenovo Flex 5, my adventure to find the perfect machine has abruptly ended because of the fact how perfect and optimized this laptop is.

John, Java Developer and Writer

The Lenovo Flex 5 should be a budget programming laptop because of its superior specs and lowest price on this list. It is a convertible unit, which means more work on the go without getting tired of the usual laptop interface you work on. 

First thing’s first — the processor. AMD Ryzen 5 4500U thoughtfully sits between the Core i5 and Core i7. It can be clocked up to 4 GHz on Turbo — not bad for a programmer at all. The CPUbenchmark.net gives it an average of 11, 216 CPU Mark. This means, it has and will perform better than the 9th and 11th gen Core i5 at 2.9GHz and 2.4GHz, respectively. 

What does that mean? It means that the 6 cores and 6 threads of the CPU can well over process gazillions of different commands you give. You should expect snappy Chrome performance even with 40 to 80 tabs while running an IDE on the sideline. 

Working with the CPU side by side is the RAM. Its 16GB DDR4 RAM makes things work fluid. You’d be able to switch between programs with utmost speed without worrying about losing your work. That’s blazing fast multi-tasking I’m talking about. 

Then comes the SSD. It has, thankfully, 256GB of SSD, which is more than enough for a faster program compile time. Besides, it will save you at least 613 hours per year because your laptop will boot faster and open IDE or browser quicker. 

The screen is phenomenal with its FHD touch panel and thus, eye-warming colors. However, it’s only 250 nits, so you might have problems outdoors. It has a responsive touch, though. 

I loved its rubberized keyboard. Just like the overall laptop, it has a premium feel. It’s like it’s built for fluid typing. Some might find it a bit small, but honestly, I didn’t. 

I also didn’t find the 10-hour battery life lacking at all. 

Strength
  • 2-in1 convenience 
  • The backlit keyboard helps work even in the dark 
  • Radeon graphics lets you play light games, too
  • Long-lasting battery 
Weakness
  • The screen loses its sharpness outside  

2. Lenovo Ideapad L340

Editor’s Choice
  • Intel Core i5-9300U CPU 
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 
  • FHD 1920 x 1080 screen 
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM 
  • 512GB SSD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • 9 hours of battery life 

Lenovo Ideapad L340 has made my life easier because it is fast and the boot times are practically negligible, which is exactly what I require for my daily coding projects. It also allows me to play games in my free time.

Lyndsie Jones, Web Developer at LaptopWorld

The Lenovo Ideapad L340 is a programming cum gaming laptop, thanks to its GFX. While most programmers might not prefer a dedicated graphics card because mainly their need is multitasking, this one will prove to be a healthy addition. You could play multiple low- to mid-range games with ease. 

What really doubles it as gaming and a programming laptop is the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650. It’s not the latest, but it can beat the former capable ones such as the 1050i by a mile. Games like CS: Go, Valorant, and other popular online titles run smoothly. However, you shouldn’t expect it to run the likes of GTA V without dropping fps to a laughable level. To sum up, the card at this price is suitable for average games and thus, average gamers. 

For programmers working with graphics-intensive visual software, such as Unity and Unreal Engine, would be a breeze, thanks to the dedicated card. 

The CPU works wonders as well because it’s a Core i5-9300H. It performs low on the benchmark sides and stays below the Ryzen 5 series. However, it does take an edge over the 7th gen Core i7 with its 7,841 CPU Mark. 

In simple terms, multitasking would run seamlessly with certain minute limitations. That’s because the RAM is only 8GB — acceptable but could have been more. You can always increase this storage, thanks to the upgradation ease. The storage is 512 GB SSD, so you don’t need to upgrade it. 

You might have problems working with a bigger screen but its 15.6 FHD panel with sharp colors won’t disappoint you while programming. Of course, its 60Hz refresh rate is low for gaming. Added to the good things are its backlit keyboard, no bloatware, and small screen bezels. 

I’d personally like to mention how much I love the look of the laptop. It’s not showy as a premium gaming laptop but it’s also not drab like a normal one. The build is plastic but it feels premium to the core.  

Strength
  • An eye candy  
  • God-sent for programmers cum gamers who want to run visually challenging software also 
  • More storage space 
  • Relatively quiet laptop
Weakness
  • 60Hz screen
  • Mediocre touchpad 

3. Apple MacBook Air

For Mac Lovers
  • Apple M1 Chip CPU 
  • No dedicated GFX 
  • FHD 2560×1600 screen 
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM 
  • 256GB SSD
  • 18 hours of battery life (advertised)

The Macbook air is a laptop that does not compromise on any aspect of its functionality. It’s sleek design, long battery life and top notch specifications make it an excellent choice for those who need their device to be perfect in every way possible!

Ryan, The Mac Guy

The Latest Apple MacBook Air has a definitive quality that you won’t find in any Intel-powered laptops. It can last for years, depending on your use, of course. That’s because it transfers certain programs to the SSD temporarily if you use up all of its RAM. Over time, the SSD can take a toll because of a constant disk rewrite. You wouldn’t want that. 

Still, within its limits, the Apple MacBook Air beats Intel to the curb. 

The reason for that lies in its M1 chip. With an average CPU Mark of 15147, it leaves behind 9th gen Core i7, Core i5, and Ryzen 5 3500U. The only Intel chip beating it is the Core i9 9th gen, which is more expensive, and Ryzen 5 3600. 

Open as many tabs as you want, run Final Cut and Logic Pro, IDEs, and the chip would still carry on. However, do keep in mind what I said above about the limitation of its memory. Only 8GB of DDR4 RAM with this much power isn’t enough. You can’t even upgrade it because this and the 256GB SSD are slapped into the board.  

The M1 also supports lite gaming and tons of iPhone apps. 

Talking about other things, the screen with its 2560×1600 res looks extremely well and sharp. The keyboard is responsive but not like most Windows laptops. There are still a lot of improvements needed. 

There isn’t any fan in the laptop, so you should be well over the shenanigans of blocking vents and all that. Even if you jack up the performance to optimum, it stays quiet. 

I would love to call it an on-the-go portable laptop because of its 10+ hours of juice. However, it’s not removable so you can’t hope to buy another one to replace your broken battery. One way or another Apple support would have to be contacted. 

The downsides are only 2 ports, a subpar webcam, and (for some) the Apple ecosystem with its learning curves. 

Strength
  • Looks extremely well  
  • The M1 Chip beats Intel in performance 
  • Long-lasting 
  • Quiet laptop 
  • Fast and secure because of Touch ID
Weakness
  • Uninteresting webcam 

4. Latest ASUS VivoBook 15

Runner up
  • 15.6 inch IPS Full HD NanoEdge bezel display
  • Powerful AMD Ryzen 7 5700U Processor
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
  • Windows 10 Home with free upgrade
  • Windows Hello security with a fingerprint sensor
  • Lightning-fast dual-band Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac)

The ASUS VivoBook 15 is the perfect computer for programmers. With a powerful AMD Ryzen 7 processor and Windows 10 Home pre-installed, the VivoBook 15 is designed for speed and productivity.

The 15.6” IPS FHD display offers stunning visuals and clarity, making it great for programming or watching movies. And with Windows 11 pre-installed, you’ll be able to take advantage of all the new features that Windows 11 has to offer. So if you’re looking for a powerful and versatile laptop that’s perfect for programming, the ASUS VivoBook 15 is a great choice!

To top it all off, the ASUS VivoBook 15 includes a fingerprint reader for added security. So if you’re looking for a laptop that can do it all, look no further than the ASUS VivoBook 15.

I really loved its 15.6-inch FHD screen for what it’s worth. The colors are somewhat muted but the brightness is acceptable. Both of these justify the price point but the thin bezels rival $1000 laptops. 

It has a backlit keyboard. Possibly, that’s one of the reasons why programmers love this laptop. It allows fluid responsive typing most of the time. I wish though that it wasn’t too toward the screen. 

You do get all of the connectivity options, however. 

I personally like the VivoBook in terms of budget and value for money as it is a cheap laptop for coding. I hope you’ll like it too.

Strength
  • Lightweight at only 3.5 pounds  
  • Sleek design and small bezels  
  • Responsive keyboard with Numpad  
  • Relatively quiet 
  • Backlit keyboard 
Weakness
  • Sluggish when clocked to max

5. Acer Aspire 5

Budget Pick
  • Intel Core i5-10210U CPU 
  • Integrated 
  • FHD 1080p screen 
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM 
  • 256GB SSD
  • 9.5 hours of battery life

The Acer Aspire 5 has been built to give you a stellar entry-level performance — the one that doesn’t disappoint based on its specs. Expecting anything beyond it will be injustice, I think. 

The Intel Core i5 10210U is potent enough to beat Microsoft’s ARM SQ1 and Celeron Dual-Core T3500 with 3GHz and 2.1GHz, respectively. The CPU in question has only 1.6GHz power but it still outperforms the two when it comes to multitasking and software running with a CPU Mark of 6,744. Of course, it’s even better than the Ryzen 3 series at best. 

Its 8 threads and 4 cores have the capacity to smoothly run tens of Chrome tabs because the program mainly works by creating processes on threads. So, you should be able to open many tabs of StackOverFlow all the while writing code in any engine. 

But just like the one I reviewed above, you might face some jitters or an increase in the fan speed. That is pretty normal, however.

The 8GB DDR4 RAM does its job well. Since it is a DDR4, multitasking will always be snappy. This much memory is more than enough for the CPU. But if you still wanna upgrade it, you can. 

The same is the case with a 256GB SSD. It is fast, supports multiple channeling, and at the same time, is sufficient for your day-to-day tasks. 

What I really like about this laptop is its responsive FP scanner. You can keep your files secure and sound without anyone’s interference. 

For a $500 entry laptop, the keyboard holds promise. However, it sure seems quite cheap-built to last only a couple of years. Typing is responsive, though. 

Talking about the screen, it is a 1080p panel. I’d like to compare this to the price point as well because really, getting this much brightness and crispiness is amazing at $500. 

Besides the connectivity options of all sorts, the speakers will impress you to your core. 

Strength
  • Powerful internal speakers   
  • Responsive fingerprint sensor   
  • Plenty of connectivity options   
  • WiFi 6 
Weakness
  • Not for gaming. Not even light. 

6. Newest HP 15

Latest HP Release
  • Intel Core i5-1135G7 CPU 
  • Integrated Intel Iris Xe 
  • FHD 1080p screen 
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM 
  • 256GB SSD
  • 7 hours 15 minutes of battery life

The Newest HP 15 proves to be reliable on many fronts of programming. It checks all the boxes for regular university goers. However, for those who want a two-in-one or all-in-one kind of approach, this laptop isn’t for you. 

The processor Intel Core i5 11th gen slapped onto its board is more than the average one I talked about above. It has a CPU Mark of 10133, which is a welcome addition to the plethora of its mid-range specs. With 4 cores and 8 threads, the performance will certainly impress you as it performs better than the Ryzen 5 3000 series, Core i7 7th gen, and all the low-tier CPU chipsets. 

According to CPUbenchmark.net, it gives you more CPU Mark per price value than Core i7 8th generation, 7th gen, 9th gen, and even Apple M1 8 cores. 

That means the laptop offers more value as compared to the pricey ones with the chips mentioned above. Even its single-thread performance surpasses major CPUs like that of AMD Ryzen 7 4800H. This would ultimately translate into snappy Chrome, faster program loading, and multitasking that would keep up with your demand. 

However, one thing is for sure. The chipset’s performance starts lagging behind when you run 3D or heavy visual studios. Everything has limitations, after all. 

Those limitations would have been tripled were it not for the Intel Iris integrated graphics. Thanks to its presence, you should be able to run a few 3D programs and light games like CS: Go. 

With 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, a beloved FHD screen with awesome colors, a satisfactory camera, and keyboard, and a longer than expected running battery, the laptop proves to be an entry-level master for programmers (beginners to intermediate). 

As a very much-needed bonus feature, you get fast charging. In just 45 minutes, you’d get a 0 to 50% charge. That kind of makes it super selective for those who can’t wait for the power source to start their coding. 

Strength
  • Best for entry-level seekers  
  • Anti-glare small bezel display   
  • 11th Gen processor    
  • WiFi 6 
Weakness
  • The keyboard isn’t backlit

7. Dell Inspiron 15

Enthusiast Pick
  • Intel Core i5-1035G1 CPU 
  • Integrated graphics 
  • FHD 1080p screen 
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM 
  • 512GB SSD
  • 6 to 7 hours of battery life

The Dell Inspiron 15 5593 is an above-average performer. Actually, it holds the middle ground between a top-notch machine and a mediocre one quite well. 

Starting with its Intel Core i5-1035G1 CPU that has 4 cores and 8 threads, you’d get what I mean. Some versions of this chip come with a clock speed of 1 GHz but this one has 3.6GHz. This means it surpasses the 7841 CPU Mark on average to around 10,000, beating the likes of the AMD Ryzen 5 3000 series. 

For a layman, that means plenty of streaming, browsing, running suits and IDEs, productivity software, and coding applications. However, here too, you might wanna tune down your expectations when it comes to 3D applications. 

They will run but not as smoothly as one would expect. 

This Dell model comes with integrated graphics, which means your potential of playing games of any sort on it reduces drastically. I wouldn’t waste my time doing that at all. 

But again, this machine isn’t cut out for gaming at all. It has its roots in programming and with an 8GB RAM and 512GB SSD, you should be able to do it just fine. 

The screen is phenomenal on this one. I have to agree with some of the users saying that the colors are warm and the blacks are not shallow. The screen is meant to provide you with comfortable viewing all along. 

Couple that to the extended battery life of almost two days when you’re working the sleep-wake cycle and around 6 to 7 hours continuously, you get a very reasonably reliable machine for limitless work. 

On top of that, the keyboard is backlit. So, if your work has extended into the night, you shouldn’t worry about seeing the keys although the light is a little dim.

The trackpad is average. Nothing great or worthy to mention there but I liked how big it was for my hands. 

Connectivity galore is satisfactory with this one with no Thunderbolt.

Strength
  • Best for mid-level programmers   
  • Backlit keyboard   
  • Good built quality despite being plastic 
  • Good built-in camera and speakers 
Weakness
  • Expensive for its specs

Frequently Asked Questions by Programmers

Some of the common questions I normally receive from entry-level programmers are listed below.

Which budget laptop is best for programming?

In case you are low on cash, you need not worry, because the Lenovo Ideapad L340 is exactly what you are looking for. It is cheap, has awesome hardware specifications, making it one of the best price-to-value ratioed laptops I have ever reviewed.

Can I use a cheap laptop for programming?

To perform its task seamlessly, coding and programming rarely require over-the-top hardware specs. This means if you are rocking an old or obsolete laptop, you can still hold on it without worry. In other words, a cheap laptop would serve you just fine without any hindrance.

Is i3 sufficient for programming?

Despite its status as an entry-level central processing unit, its dual-core feature ensures smooth sailing for programming tasks.

Conclusion 

What do we mean when we say budget laptops? The ones that have entry-level to intermediate specs, decent graphics and screen, a reliable keyboard, and a battery that could at least take you through 5 hours of continuous usage. 

I have listed plenty of different such laptops above and each of them shows promise in its own way. Please do not compare them to high-end units or expect from them that kind of performance. You will be disappointed. 

Pick any from above for programming and I am sure it will become your best budget programming laptop in the long run.