The best laptop for automotive technicians is one that can withstand a lot of use, but it also comes down to how you use it. For an automotive shop you should get an external keyboard and a mouse. Cover the laptop keyboard so that you don’t get any materials stuck underneath the keys. You can also cover the external keyboard in plastic so that it will last longer. Also, take care to clean your hands if possible before using the computer, and always clean the computer at the end of the day. These simple enhancements will make the laptop go a long way.
Below are three laptops that I think are great choices.
I used to list the Panasonic ToguhBook here, but I find that the parts are fairly old and it is very expensive for what you get. So I would rather recommend something cheaper with newer parts. You can still find the Toughbook here if you want to check it out as some people may want it because it is so sturdy.
When looking at laptops, make sure you check out the age of the CPU. The number behind i3, i5, or i7 means the generation. So an i5-8xxx would be an 8th gen one. We are currently on 10th and 11th gen. So try not to get anything older than a 9th gen, which are still quite good.
Best Laptops for Automotive Technicians and Diagnostics
There are a lot of good laptops out there. I have compiled a list below of laptops that I think are good laptops, which should give you a very good starting point for your research.
Lenovo ThinkPad E15
The Thinkpad is popular in office settings because it is durable, which is something that is good for automotive technicians. The body of the laptop is plastic and the screen is quite sturdy and does not bend easily.
This model of the laptop comes with a new Intel Core i5-10210U. This is a 4-core CPU and will work just fine for your every day tasks. It is not a gaming laptop but that is also not what you need as a technician.
The ThinkPad is durable and is a well known brand in the business world. It is build to last a long time.
This laptop comes with 16 GB of RAM. 16 GB should be more than what you need unless you run some complex resource demanding programs. 8 GB is the new standard is laptops, so twice that should have you covered.
The SSD on this laptop is 512 GB. This is a good size and you are unlikely to need an external hard drive.
See the Lenovo ThinkPad E15 on Amazon.
Acer Aspire 5
The Acer Aspire 5 is another laptop I think would work well for automotive diagnostic and technicians. It is not as sturdy as the Dell or the Toughbook, but it is a great deal. You get pretty new parts for a pretty good price. You may want to get an external keyboard and a mouse to extend the life. If you don’t mess up the keyboard with grease then it will last a long time.
The laptop has a new Intel Core i5-1035G1. A 10th gen Intel CPU will last quite some time and still feel good. Try to make sure you have a fairly new CPU in the laptop that you do get, as it is the brain of the computer and has a massive impact on how fast it is.
There is 8 GB of RAM and it has a 256 GB SSD. This is a little lower than the ThinkPad, which is a great option for automotive diagnostic.
See the Acer Aspire 5 on Amazon.
The VivoBook is for you if you are looking for something cheap, and you don’t need a lot of power or storage. It is a great laptop that has a finger print reader for easy access. This is really nice as long as your finger is not always dirty.
The laptop has an Intel Core i3-1005G1 CPU. This is not a powerful CPU but it gets the job done for most things. You can easily use it to look up things online, and basic multi-tasking will work just fine. If you are looking to use 3d software then it may not be the best option.
There is also 8 GB of RAM which is good. This is the new minimum, and you should definitely not go with anything less. 8 GB is enough for most.
There is a small 128 GB SSD on board. This is enough to install a few pieces of software, but not a lot of extra things. You can mitigate this lower storage by getting cloud storage of files or an external hard drive or thumbdrive.
See the VivoBook on Amazon.
The Dell Inspiron is another laptop line that has been around for some time. Dell do make some changes to this from time to time, but you can usually find a model with fairly new parts. This model has a new 11th gen Intel Core i5-1135G7. This CPU should be good enough for most use cases. As long as you don’t get a pretty old CPU you should not feel much difference in what you do unless you do resource intensive work.
There is 12 GB of RAM on board. 12 GB is kind of an odd number, as the RAM chips usually come in 4, 8, or 16 GB sizes, and you usually use two of the same size. Despite that, 12 GB is good and should be more than enough for what you need.
There is also a 256 GB SSD which is okay. 512 GB would be better, but you have to install a lot of things to reach 256 GB. Of course, if you want to install games then it will be eaten up quickly, but if this is a work laptop then that wont be the case.
See the Dell Inspiron on Amazon.
The ZenBook is another laptop that is a little smaller. This is a 14 inch laptop which can be more easily put down in various places. It is not as sturdy as you might want it, but if you are careful then it should work out well. I have put more focus on finding laptops that have great parts as compared to some rugged models that have older parts.
This laptop also has a new 11th gen Intel Core CPU. This one though has an i7-1165G7. The i7 models are more powerful and better suited for more intensive work. Despite having an i7 it also has up to 21 hours of battery life which is really good. You should be able to go though most of the day without having to charge, and even if you have to charge you get 60% in 40 minutes.
There is also 8 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD. This is both very good, especially the larger 512 GB SSD.
See the ZenBook on Amazon.
As an automotive technician you should take precautions to make sure the laptop will last as long as it can. Get an external monitor, keyboard, and a mouse. Then you can have the laptop shut away from where all the work takes place. Hook it up with some long cables and you should be good to go. Also clean the equipment at the end of the day to make sure there is no build up that could have been prevented.
Remember to check out the Toughbook link at the top of the page if you are looking for something very sturdy.
I am a Software Engineer who enjoy writing about things that interest me. Here on OamaTech I write about programming as well as other tech related topics. Visit my author page to learn more about me and what I am working on right now.