Best cheap laptops: We rate the best-sellers on Amazon and Best Buy

Editor’s note: The sudden rise in working from home has created unanticipated demand for laptops. As a result, many models that used to be inexpensive are now pricier. Our list of good buys is shorter as a result, but we still care about your limited budget and want to help you make good choices.  

When you’re looking for a good, cheap laptop, knowledge is power. Every budget machine (which we’re defining as Windows laptops costing $500 or less) is the product of compromise—corners carefully cut here and there to hit a price point.

Your job is to find the one that checks off the most boxes for your needs—and doesn’t saddle you with features (or lack thereof) that you’ll regret in a year. We’ll show you what to look for by highlighting which budget laptops among the best-sellers currently listed at Amazon and Best Buy are worth buying. We haven’t necessarily tested these specific machines (we’ll let you know if we have), but we’ve seen enough similar ones to have a good idea of the pros and cons. We’re also focusing on 14-inch and larger laptops, because part of the great deal should be getting a decent-sized display.

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