Are you Interested in a budget Chromebook, but don’t know where to start.
It can be confusing looking at Chromebooks, I know. There’s simply so much information to process, and you don’t know if the Chromebook has the right technical specs for your needs.
Don’t worry, I have you covered in this article. I will review the best budget Chromebooks available on the market.
Best Budget Chromebooks
Listed down below are the top performing chromebooks for those on a budget.
Lenovo Chromebook 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop – Best Overall Budget Option
- 2-in-1 convertible laptop with a touchscreen.
- 11.6 inch display (1366 x 768)
- 0.8” thick and 2.64 pounds.
- USB type C port, SD card slot, HDMI, and USB 3.0.
- 4GB RAM and 32GB or 64GB memory
- It’s extremely light and thin because of the sturdy plastic construction.
- The MediaTek processor does a better job running Chrome OS than an Intel processor.
- The fastest Chromebook on the list
- Very affordable.
The Lenovo Chromebook C330 is a great Chromebook for portability. Most people think that smaller, more portable laptops have performance issues. I’ll admit, that’s normally the cast.
Fortunately, that is not the case with the C330. This Chromebook has a 2.1Ghz MediaTek processor and 4GB of RAM, which means it runs fairly fast. Remember, it’s an 11.6” Chromebook, you’re not going to be editing videos or playing Far Cry on it.
The portability is really what makes this Chromebook stand out, though. It’s under 0.8” thick and 2.64 pounds. For reference, a MacBook Air is 0.68” thick and 2.70 pounds.
In other words, this laptop is as portable as a MacBook Air. Basically, you’re getting MacBook Air dimensions at an extremely good price.
The C330 is also a 2-in-1 laptop, so you don’t even need to purchase a tablet.
With all that in mind, I recommend this Chromebook for someone that needs portability over everything else. If you’re a traveling businessperson, a college student, or like working in cafes, then this Chromebook is definitely for you.
If you rarely take your laptop off your desk (or just don’t care about carrying around a bigger laptop), then there are Chromebooks with bigger screens.
HP Chromebook 14-inch Laptop – Best Bang For Your Buck Option
- 14 inch screen with 1080p display
- 180 degree hinge
- 8.5 hour battery life
- 4 GB SDRAM
- emmC storage – 32 GB
- Light weight at only 3 pounds.
- 2.5Ghz AMD processor is pretty fast.
- An impressive 8.5 hour battery life.
- Anti-glare screen makes it great for use in brightly lit areas.
- White color looks great on laptops.
The HP Chromebook 14 inch is an excellent large Chromebook. It has all the features that you want in a larger laptop. Those are a long battery life, plenty of storage, fast RAM, and a 1080p display.
HP even has a few extra features that you don’t find on Chromebooks at this price. Features such as an anti-glare screen and a very light weight (3 pounds) just aren’t that common. I’ll also add that the 2.5Ghz AMD processor is fast enough for a Chromebook.
Finally, this Chromebook has pretty good interface components and aesthetics. The colors on the screen look sharp – nothing is washed out or dim. The keyboard has full sized keys that are backlit, which is a really nice touch. It’s also easy to use at night or in a dark room.
I’ll even rate the audio on this laptop as pretty decent. You should obviously use headphones for the best audio experience. But the built-in speakers are not as bad as most laptops. It’s certainly acceptable for casual listening.
All in all, I recommend this Chromebook for someone looking for a bigger, more powerful Chromebook. Don’t let the size scare you, you can still transport this laptop around fairly easily.
3. Lenovo 11.6 inch HD Touchscreen 2-in-1 Chromebook – Cheaper Alternative
- Lightweight: 2.76 pounds
- Very thin: 0.8 inches
- 11.6” screen with 1366 x 768 HD resolution
- 4GB RAM and 32GB emmC
- 720p HD webcam
- 10-hour battery life
- Very affordable.
- Insanely long battery life.
- Extremely portable because of the weight and size.
- 2-in-1 means it doubles as a tablet.
- Usable with a stylus.
Ths Lenovo Chromebook is another excellent choice for a smaller, but still affordable, Chromebook. Yet again, it has features that you normally don’t find at this price point.
Some of the features I really like include the 2-in-1, thinness (0.8 inches), long battery life, and the built-in webcam.
Seriously, all those features at this price are pretty impressive. Many more expensive options don’t even have a touchscreen. And that’s one of the more important features as it allows you to use this as a tablet, which will save you money.
Also, the 4GB of RAM means that this Chromebook shouldn’t lag or have any type of connectivity issues for most casual users.
I recommend this Chromebook to anyone that needs a portable Chromebook with good battery life. That 10+ hour battery life is really useful when you’re not near a power outlet. The ability to quickly switch to a tablet also means you don’t need to purchase a tablet.
That’s a really great deal.
- 12 hour battery life.
- 14″ Full HD screen
- 100GB of cloud storage
- Carrying sleeve included
- 4GB RAM
- Aluminum frame
- 12 hour battery life is extremely impressive.
- The aluminum frame makes it much more durable.
- 100GB of Google Drive storage included.
- Very affordable price.
- 14” screen with a 1080p resolution makes it great for movies and videos.
If you’re looking for a 14 inch Chromebook, then the Acer Chromebook 14 is for you. I really like the 12 hour battery life on the laptop. You really don’t find many Chromebooks with a battery life longer than 10 hours, especially at this price.
Other nice features include the aluminum frame and the 4GB of RAM. The aluminum frame really gives it a quality feel. Again, you don’t find many Chromebooks with an aluminum frame. It’s just something you don’t find that often, so it’s nice that it’s an option.
Finally, the Chromebook does come with 100GB of Google Drive storage. This means you can easily transport files between computers. It’s also a little faster than a standard hard drive.
Overall, this is a pretty good Chromebook. The screen is 1080p, it’s affordable, and it has an insanely good battery life. There’s a lot to like, and no real disadvantages to this Chromebook.
- 2-in-1 convertible
- 11.6 inch touchscreen with a 1366 x 768 resolution
- HD webcam (720p)
- High definition screen
- 4GB RAM, 32 GB emmC storage
- 2.48Ghz Intel processor
- 2.8 pounds
- It has a long battery life (10+ hours).
- Very portable.
- It has a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty.
- Good specs for the price.
- The 2.48Ghz processor allows you to run many apps at once.
The Acer Chromebook R is another small Chromebook that I recommend. I really can’t believe that they put all these features into such a small laptop at this price.
My favorite feature?
It’s a 2-in-1 convertible and a touchscreen, which are fairly common features for 11.6” Chromebooks. However, Acer takes it to the next level with the extra sharp screen. The colors just pop on this and nothing looks blurry. You won’t even notice that the screen is 1366 x 768.
I also like that the screen is actually 11.6 inches (measured diagonally). Many manufacturers will add an extra frame around the screen to give the appearance of a bigger screen. This means that what is touted as an 11.6 inch screen is actually a 10.5 inch screen.
Acer doesn’t do that with this Chromebook.
Anyway, this laptop is also super portable with a fairly lightweight of 2.8 pounds. More impressively, it has a thickness of 0.78 inches – that’s very thin for a laptop. Especially for a Chromebook at this price.
Finally, Acer tops it all off with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty that covers any manufacturing defects. This means you don’t have to worry about your laptop falling apart in 3 months, which is always nice.
Overall, I really like this Chromebook. It’s small, but it still comes with a lot of features and speed. And the screen looks incredible in terms of clarity and colors. It’s so good looking that you will certainly think you are looking at a 1080p screen.
- 11.6 inch screen
- Spill resistant keyboard
- 32GB flash storage and 4GB RAM
- 10 hour battery life
- 100GB of Google Drive cloud storage
- Spill resistant keyboard makes this laptop perfect for children.
- Full size keys make typing easy.
- 2.48Ghz processor.
- 1 year manufacturer’s warranty
Do you need a laptop for children? Do you have a tendency to spill drinks on your laptop?
If either of those are true, then this ASUS Chromebook is the perfect choice for you. Why?
It has a spill proof keyboard. That is truly a feature you don’t find on many laptops, and it’s certainly not on any other Chromebooks. Especially on Chromebooks at this price.
That feature alone earned it a spot on my list. Of course, this Chromebook has more to offer than just a spillproof keyboard. Some of the other excellent features include the 32GB flash drive memory, 4GB RAM, and 2.48Ghz processor.
In other words, this laptop can run Chrome OS pretty fast. You definitely won’t have any lagging with it.
I’ll also add that the price is fairly affordable. It does have a 180 degree hinge, but that actually works a little better for children. The screen is a touchscreen, which is a little more intuitive for children to use.
Personally, I recommend this Chromebook if you’re searching for a Chromebook for your child or if you have a tendency to spill drinks on your laptop. Seriously, the spill proof keyboard is a feature that pays for itself after the first accident.
One last thing, this Chromebook is very affordable. It’s more affordable than many options that don’t have a spill proof keyboard.
- Lightweight at 2.54 pounds
- 11.6” screen
- Spill resistant keyboard
- 2.48Ghz processor
- 11 hour battery life
- 4GB RAM and 16GB flash disk hard drive
- Thin at only 0.7 inches
- It’s a Samsung, so you know it’s a quality product.
- Lightweight and thin, which makes it perfect for those of you on the go.
- The touchscreen is calibrated perfectly.
- 2 year warranty protects against any manufacturer defects.
The Samsung Chromebook is the final Chromebook on the list. It’s another super portable Chromebook with an 11.6 inch screen.
First, this Chromebook is made by Samsung. Yes, that is the same Samsung that makes your smartphones and tablets.
You can expect the same high quality you find in their phones and tablets in this Chromebook, but at a fraction of the price.
Anyway, my favorite feature is that it only weighs 2.54 pounds, which makes it the lightest Chromebook on the list. It’s also really thin at 0.7”, so you shouldn’t have any problems moving it around.
Another interesting feature to note is the calibration on the touchscreen. Many Chromebooks have touch screens that are a little too sticky. This stickiness makes using them quite annoying, especially when in tablet mode.
Fortunately, Samsung calibrated the touch screen properly. It might not sound like much, but it’s one of those things that you do notice when using it.
Finally, this laptop does have a spill resistant keyboard just like the Asus Chromebook. This is a really nice feature to see on Chromebooks, especially at this price. I’m sure it will become common in the next few years, but at the moment it’s a pretty rare feature.
Personally, that feature alone makes this Chromebook one of the better ones on the list.
All in all, this Chromebook has everything you want if you’re looking for maximum portability – lightweight, thin, and a spill-resistant keyboard. Plus, it comes from a top-tier brand (Samsung), has pretty impressive specs, and a rock solid warranty in the event that anything does go wrong.
Looking for a Budget Friendly Chromebook? Here’s What to Look for
Here are some things that you should look for in a budget Chromebook. Remember, these laptops are made by many different manufacturers. As a result, the quality will vary between different brands.
This section will outline some of the ‘bigger picture’ things you should look for before making a purchase.
The must-have feature in a Chromebook is a 2-in-1 touchscreen. I know, you’re probably wondering what a 2-in-1 is and why they’re so great.
Don’t worry, I’ll cover all that in this section. You’re definitely going to want one, though. I guarantee that.
Chromebook Doubles As a Tablet
Basically, a 2-in-1 touchscreen allows you to use your Chromebook as a tablet. This is possible because you can actually push the screen all the way back onto the back – it literally turns into a tablet. And yes, the screen on a 2-in-1 laptop is a touchscreen.
It’s an amazing feature.
Chromebook Is Easy to Use
As you might have guessed, a 2-in-1 laptop is super easy to use. You simply snap the screen into place to turn it into a tablet. You can then treat it exactly like a tablet because, well, it is a
To answer a common question, the keyboard is disabled when in tablet mode, so you don’t have to worry about randomly pressing keys when the tablet is on your lap.
No Mouse Required
The screen on a 2-in-1 laptop is a touchscreen, even when not in use as a tablet. This means you don’t actually need a mouse to operate the computer.
It’s very convenient.
You will probably find it annoying to not use a mouse when in laptop mode, but it is possible to not use one. I will say that not using a mouse is actually pretty convenient for when your mouse battery dies or if you don’t feel like moving the mouse.
If you want to use your laptop while walking around, then the 2-in-1 feature is perfect because you can put it in tablet mode when moving around.
It’s also more convenient in general to switch to tablet mode before putting it in your bag. You just have to use a fairly secure bag as transporting it that way can damage the screen.
Did you know 2-in-1 laptops are more durable than tablets?
Well, they are durable. In fact, they’re much more durable.
It’s because the laptop has all the hardware on a different structure than the screen, which will protect it during a fall. The separate construction is also slightly more durable from the normal bumps that you get from moving a laptop around in your bag.
You also don’t have to worry about breaking the hinge.
What Size Do You Want?
Screen size is, in my opinion, the most important factor to consider before purchasing a Chromebook. Think about it, you spend most of the time looking at the screen when using a computer, therefore you don’t want to skimp on the screen size (or quality).
Just imagine watching a movie or reading on a small 11 inch screen. First, everything will be a little blurrier because small screens are usually only available in a 768 resolution.
Even worse, everything on the screen is tiny. You might need a magnifying glass just to read some text!
Personally, I prefer big screens for everything because everything is much clearer and bigger. Don’t worry, the extra weight and size are practically negligible on a Chromebook. For instance, the weight difference between an 11.6” and 14” Chromebook is about half a pound.
You can handle that weight difference.
I’ll also add that some of the smaller Chromebooks look like a big cell phone, which I find humorous.
Anyway, here are some of the different pros and cons of the different screen sizes.
The 11.6 inch Chromebooks are super affordable and portable, which makes them great if you absolutely need the portability or affordability (ex. frequent airline travel or college student).
One downside of the smaller screen is that most 11.6 inch Chromebooks do not have 1080p screens. However, the screen is small, so 768 still looks ok. The keyboard should be standard sized, too. But that isn’t always the case.
Final Verdict: Great if you need extreme portability (frequent travel, college student, etc.) or have a very tight budget. Better options exist if you don’t mind some extra size and/or a few extra dollars.
You will find many 2-in-1’s in the 12 inch range. Don’t worry, this size is virtually indistinguishable from the 11 inch Chromebooks in terms of weight and portability.
Another great perk of 12 inch Chromebooks is that they have a 3:2 aspect ratio, which makes them great for more artistic applications. You can also easily split-screen this aspect ratio.
One last thing, 1080p is a 3:2 aspect ratio, which means the picture quality on this laptop will look great. And yes, the 1080p aspect ratio will play on your TV screen.
Final Verdict: It has a better aspect ratio than an 11 inch Chromebook, and it has virtually the same portability. If the choice is between an 11.6 inch Chromebook and 12 or 13 inch Chromebook, go with the 12 or 13 inch Chromebook. Better options still exist, though.
14 inch Chromebooks are still considered portable, but it will be questionable for many people (not me). You can expect a 8-12 hour battery life, 1080p on all Chromebooks, and easy-to-read text. It will also have better specs than the smaller laptops.
Final Verdict: 14 inch Chromebooks are still portable while offering all the benefits that you want in a laptop. And yes, you can still put a 14 inch Chromebook on your lap. I recommend this if you find 15 inches a little too big to carry around.
This size Chromebook is generally not recommended for portability. A 15.6 inch laptop will spend 99% of the time on a desk or table. However, I find that advice mostly wrong. 15.6 inch laptops are still fairly light, easy to place on your lap, have a bigger screen, and longer battery life.
In fact, I’m using a 15.6 laptop right now.
The drawbacks on 15.6 inch laptops are mostly exaggerated. And really, most people place their laptop on their desk anyway.
Final Verdict: The 15.6 inch Chromebook is my recommendation for most uses. You just don’t need the extreme portability of the smaller sizes unless you frequently use your laptop on an airplane. Most people don’t do that, so the smaller sizes end up being a huge pain because of the smaller screen, shorter battery life, and worse specs.
Be Sure to Get at Least 8 Gigs of RAM
Chromebooks come with all levels of RAM. I recommend purchasing one with 8GB of RAM if you can find it, though.
4GB of RAM has a tendency to be sluggish if you keep a lot of tabs open or if you plan on using multiple apps at the same time.
Definitely don’t go under 4GB of RAM, which is surprisingly still an option in 2020. YouTube videos would probably stop playing with only 2GB of RAM.
If you’re doing more than just basic web browsing with your Chromebook, then you will definitely want one with over 12GB of RAM. Trust me, things start to slow down when you do too much stuff with not enough RAM.
And you really can’t have enough RAM. Purchase a Chromebook with as much RAM as possible. It’ll be worth it in the long run.
The minimum storage I recommend on a Chromebook is 256GB of total hard drive space (including Google Drive). That’s if you use it exclusively for browsing the internet, though.
Most people download pictures, files, PDFs, and other documents. I recommend purchasing a Chromebook with 500GB. This is especially important if you plan on keeping your Chromebook for a few years, which you probably will end up doing because these things can last a decent amount of time.
Battery life is important if you plan on using your laptop away from a power source. In my experience, most people always have their laptop plugged in, but having a longer battery life is always better than a short battery life for those times you’re away from a power source.
I recommend purchasing a Chromebook with a minimum of a 10 hour battery life. In reality, a 10 hour battery life is more like 7 hours because you will have the brightness turned up and multiple apps open. 7 hours is still more than enough battery life for most people.
If you need more battery life, there are options with a 13 hour battery available.
The heaviest Chromebooks (15 inch models) still weigh under 4 pounds – that’s nothing. And an 11 inch Chromebook will weigh under 3 pounds.
As you can see, these laptops aren’t heavy. I wouldn’t recommend purchasing a Chromebook that weighs more than 4 pounds, but that shouldn’t be a problem anyway.
The processor on the Chromebook you choose is actually pretty important. It’s just as important as RAM.
I could go into detail on the processors, but I’ll keep it simple. Stick to a processor with over 2.0Ghz. Some of the Chromebooks I reviewed had an option to purchase with a slower processor (1.x Ghz).
Don’t do that. A slower processor is like having slow RAM – everything will go slower.
As for brands, it doesn’t really matter for a Chromebook. Just make sure to stay above 2.0Ghz.
SSD or emmC?
First, emmC refers to the type of harddrive. emmC is the same format used for the flash drives on your camera. They’re small, but slow.
SSD refers to a solid-state drive. It doesn’t have any moving parts, which makes it much more durable. It is also much faster because of the lack of moving parts.
I recommend purchasing a Chromebook with an SSD. It’s faster, has more gigabytes, and is much less likely to break. Sure, it will weigh a few extra ounces, but that’s nothing.
Check out recent reviews
The best way to find out about your Chromebook is to read verified reviews of the product.
In my experience, the best indicator is from 2, 3, and 4 star reviews as that will filter out the extremely negative and extremely positive reviews that you frequently find on technology products.
Of course, the reviews I have listed above will work perfectly fine.
Budget Chromebook FAQ’s
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions that buyers have when shopping for a budget chromebook
What Exactly is a Chromebook?
Many people don’t actually understand what a Chromebook is and what they can do. This section will clarify that for you.
First, a Chromebook is simply a laptop that ships with Chrome OS on it. That’s it. Any company can make a laptop, install Chrome OS on it, and sell a Chromebook.
The real power of a Chromebook is in Chrome OS.
Chrome OS is simply the Google version of the Chromium Linux distribution. A Linux Chromebook is a lightweight operating system that prohibits the installation of normal applications and software.
Chrome OS only allows you to install internet applications (Google Drive, Maps, etc.), Android apps, and Linux Apps.
And yes, you can still use Microsoft Word on your Chromebook. However, you have to use the app version of it. Alternatively, you can use a free Linux app, such as LibreOffice, to open and create .docx files. In other words, you have a few different options for Microsoft Office compatibility.
That restriction means the Chromebook doesn’t require much computing to actually run. More computing does allow for 4K video and other features for a top-notch computing experience, so I do recommend purchasing a more powerful Chromebook if possible.
The main benefit of a Chromebook is that it integrates nicely with the rest of the Google ecosystem. Think of the Chromebook as Google’s response to the Apple environment.
Basically, your Google account will sync up with your Chromebook. This means a picture you take on your phone will be instantly accessible on your Chromebook. The same goes for any files that you save on any Google device.
This definitely has its uses. And it becomes more integrated with the more Google devices that you own.
Overall, the way Google integrates the Chromebook with the rest of their ecosystem is pretty nice. I definitely recommend purchasing one for that reason alone. Of course, it’s still nice if you don’t have an entire Google ecosystem.
What Are Chromebooks Good For?
Believe it or not, Chromebooks actually have quite a few uses. This section will detail some of the most common reasons customers purchase a Chromebook.
Use as a Tablet
One of the more common reasons to purchase a Chromebook is to use it as a tablet. Of course, this only applies to a 2-in-1 version, which is a version I highly recommend if you are looking for a conversion ready laptop to tablet.
Anyway, customers often do this because they can get a tablet and laptop for a very affordable price. The price is often more affordable than a laptop alone!
With that in mind, if you’re looking for a tablet, then purchasing a Chromebook just makes sense. You get all the features of a tablet and some of the features of a laptop.
Chromebooks are Perfect for College Students
College students are probably the biggest demographic of Chromebook users. Think about it, college students need a laptop, but they don’t often have the money to purchase a $700 laptop.
Plus, most college students don’t use a computer for more than basic internet browsing and writing papers.
A Chromebook is perfect for them.
Businesses are also making the switch to Chromebooks for a few reasons.
First, Chromebooks are affordable, which makes switching the entire office to them a good choice for a budget upgrade.
Next, a Chromebook can only browse the internet and access a handful of apps, so employees have limited distractions. On a related note, Chrome OS has practically 0 risk of malware because it doesn’t use Java.
Finally, these laptops are extremely portable, and that comes in handy in offices where employees are expected to take their laptops home or to client sites.
A Chromebook has a fairly limited selection of apps and software. This might sound like a negative for some people, but it’s actually a positive for a small child.
You don’t have to worry about them installing all kinds of viruses or spammy software on the computer because a Chromebook has (practically) no risk of malware.
Some of the Chromebooks I listed also have a spill proof keyboard. As you can imagine, this is a super nice feature to have on a laptop that small children will use.
Chromebooks Make For Affordable Laptops
The most common reason for purchasing a Chromebook is that they’re affordable laptops. As I mentioned earlier, you can purchase a Chromebook at a reasonable price. And it has all the basic functionality of a laptop.
How much does a good budget Chromebook cost?
The minimum price for a good quality Chromebook is about $200. Personally, I wouldn’t go under $250, but you will be fine with an option in the $200 price range.
You definitely want to avoid the $100 Chromebooks – they just aren’t that good. A lot of those options will struggle if you have multiple tabs open.
Can I get a virus/malware on my Chromebook?
No. It’s pretty much impossible to get a virus or any type of malware with a Chromebook.
The technical details are beyond the scope of this article. Just know that it’s basically impossible for malware to infect a Linux based operating system.
Can I use an external hard drive with my Chromebook?
Yes, you can still use an external hard drive or external memory disk with a Chromebook if your Chromebook has a USB port. Most Chromebooks, and all the ones reviewed, have a USB port, so this isn’t an issue.
What is a good Budget Chromebook for a college student?
A college student will likely want a very portable Chromebook that doesn’t cost much money. With that in mind, I would recommend the Acer Chromebook R 11.
The Acer is affordable, portable, and a 2-in-1. It literally has everything that a college student needs in a computer.
Of course, there are options with bigger screens available, but a college student will most likely find the smaller screen beneficial. You can check our college laptop guide here.
Can a Chromebook replace my normal laptop?
It depends on the exact circumstances, but a Chromebook can replace your laptop if you don’t do anything other than browse the web. This is especially true if you follow the buying specs I outlined (8+ GB RAM, 500+ GB storage, etc.).
Can I game on a Chromebook?
Yes, you can play browser games, mobile games, and emulate console games up to the Sega Dreamcast pretty easily on a Chromebook.
Unfortunately, Chrome OS cannot play PC games. In fact, many people actually use a Chromebook as a way to give up PC gaming.
Can I play Minecraft on a Chromebook?
Yes. You can play Minecraft on your Chromebook. In fact, many people purchase a Chromebook just to play Minecraft on it. All the Chromebooks reviewed in this article can pretty easily run Minecraft, too.
Installing Minecraft on a Chromebook is more complicated than installing it on other operating systems, but you only have to do that once.