Whether you’re buying a fleet of laptops for your employees or just looking for a single productivity system for yourself, you’ll want one of the best business laptops, something that’s durable, powerful, and easy-to-use.
We review dozens of business laptops each year and the models that make our best business laptops list offer a combination of comfort, performance and battery life. Don’t forget about security and durability — business laptops typically come with fingerprint sensors, IR cameras and security chips, and many have military-grade durability. Newer models should even feature webcam sliders or camera kill switches.
If you need something with a bit more oomph than your traditional business laptop, then check out our best workstations page. Looking for more specific recommendations? See our best Lenovo ThinkPad and best Dell Latitude and Precision laptops guides.
Which Business Laptop Is Best?
Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon (8th Gen) remains our favorite business laptop for three years running thanks to its lightweight design, fast performance and good display options. We’re expecting new units to come in soon, so be on the lookout for our review of the 8th Gen model. One option among the top competitors to the X1 Carbon is the HP Elite Dragonfly, a gorgeous 2-in-1 laptop with long battery life, an awesome keyboard and fast performance.
On the macOS side of things, the new 16-inch MacBook Pro is an excellent option for power users. The larger Retina screen can comfortably display multiple windows, and, rather crucially, the Butterfly keyboard has been replace by a more comfortable scissor-style keyboard.
If you’re an artist or designer who wants to use a stylus, we recommend the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 or the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga, which is essentially a convertible version of the X1 Carbon. True power users who need to crunch big data should opt for a workstation, like the excellent HP ZBook Studio x360 G5.
1. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (8th Gen) Best Business Laptops
Lenovo didn’t make many changes to our favorite business laptop but the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon now flaunts Intel 10th Gen CPUs. On top of delivering fast performance, you get long battery life (on the 1080p model) and two gorgeous, 1080p and 4K display options, all in an impossibly lightweight chassis (2.4 pounds).
But it’s still those classic ThinkPad features — a durable design (with MIL-STD-810G strength), best-in-class keyboard and stealthy black/red aesthetics — that carry the X1 Carbon to greatness.
Yes, we wish the ThinkPad X1 Carbon hadn’t ditched the SD card reader in the previous, and top configurations can get very expensive, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better overall business machine.
2. HP Elite Dragonfly
HP’s Elite Dragonfly redefined what it means to be a business laptop. This stunning laptop has a breathtakingly gorgeous chassis that flaunts a unique dark-blue finish.
The design is as practical as it is attractive; The Elite Dragonfly has flexible hinges that convert the laptop into a tablet, and at 2.2 pounds, it’s one of the most portable 13-inch laptops around.
You’ll somehow need to take your eyes off the Elite Dragonfly’s aluminum body to appreciate its bright and vivid 13.3-inch display. But the Elite Dragonfly’s greatness doesn’t stop there. The laptop also has a surprisingly comfortable keyboard, fast performance and a host of security features, including an IR camera, a fingerprint sensor and MIL-SPEC-810 rated durability.
3. Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) Best Business Laptops
The 16-inch MacBook Pro is just your type if you’ve been waiting for Apple to make a better keyboard. The Magic Keyboard on this premium laptop ditches the Butterfly mechanism in favor of a scissor switch, and the result is a much more comfortable typing experience. You also get a bright and sharp 16-inch display with slimmer bezels, powerful performance from an available Core i9 CPU and robust AMD Radeon 5300M or 5500M graphics.
You also get up to 64GB of RAM and 8TB of storage if you really want to splurge. The 11 hours of battery life is another plus on this laptop, dwarfing the runtimes of its competitors. The 16-inch MacBook Pro is pricey, and Apple still doesn’t include full-size USB ports, but overall this is a very formidable workstation for creative pros.
4. Microsoft Surface Pro 7
Surface Pro 7 takes an excellent laptop in last year’s Surface Pro 6 and gives it a power boost. While battery life takes a hit, the new 10th Gen CPUs provide outstanding performance in our synthetic and real-world testing.
The design hasn’t changed at all, but the Surface Pro 7 now has a USB-C port for charging and connecting peripherals. Microsoft still sells the comfortable Alcantara-clad Type Cover and the super-responsive Surface Pen, which makes it easy to draw or take notes on this tablet’s vivid and bright 12.3-inch display.
There is still room for improvement. For example, the Surface Pro 7’s display bezels are chunky and storage/RAM upgrades are inexplicably expensive. Still, this is one of the best 2-in-1 devices around, and an excellent choice if you’re traveling.
5. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Best Business Laptops
Lenovo took a chance with the ThinkPad X1 Yoga, the first metal ThinkPad, and it paid off. While we still love the signature matte-black carbon-fiber found on most ThinkPads, the aluminum and magnesium ThinkPad X1 Yoga is a gorgeous change of pace.
Not only does it have a slim design, but this convertible 2-in-1 flaunts a bright display and offers a best-in-class keyboard and long battery life. You also get loads of extra goodies, like a built-in stylus slot and webcam cover. As is the case with all ThinkPads, the X1 Yoga is military durability tested, so don’t worry about pampering this sleek machine.
6. Dell Latitude 9410 2-in-1
If battery life is a priority, the Dell Latitude 9410 2-in-1 is the business laptop for you. The 2-in-1 laptop easily got me through a full day of use, even with the screen brightness turned up. But its 16+ hours of runtime isn’t the only reason to buy this notebook; the Latitude 9410 2-in-1 has a sleek, flexible design, fast performance and some useful sign-in options.
All you need to do is walk up to this Dell and it will know that you’re there, thanks to its proximity sensor. This makes it super easy to log in — you don’t have to input any passwords or even look at an IR camera.
The Latitude 9410 2-in-1 is yet another big stepping stone for Dell’s famously uninspiring business notebooks. We just hope the next version has a brighter screen and a webcam cover.
7. HP ZBook Studio x360 G5 Best Business Laptops
The HP ZBook Studio x360 G5 is hands down the best business laptop for power users, provided that money isn’t an obstacle. This exorbitantly priced 15.6-inch laptop has it all, including a vivid, bright display and outstanding performance.
Most impressive, however, is the workstation’s uncharacteristically sleek profile and long battery life.
On a less positive note, it’s uncommon for a workstation to have a flexible chassis like the x360 G5’s, and the webcam on this machine is dreadful. If you want to use your business laptop for conference calls, be sure to invest in a good external webcam.
8. Dell Precision 7730
If you’re willing to spend and want the most powerful machine around, look no further than the Dell Precision 7730. This 7.5-pound workstation may not be the best for travel, but its Core i9 CPU and Nvidia Quadro P5200 GPU are capable of running even the most demanding applications, like 3D modeling or photo editing. But the Precision 7730 isn’t all about performance.
A gorgeous 4K display, a comfortable keyboard, and a MIL-SPEC design make this an exceptionally well-rounded machine, even though its battery life isn’t great.
To determine real-world performance, we task the laptop to convert a 4K video to 1080p resolution and to duplicate a 4.97GB multimedia file. Our real-world graphics test is the Dirt 3 benchmark with medium settings at 1080p resolution.