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This post reflects my opinions and should only be one source that you use when looking for the best option for you.
This post has been updated to consider the new 2020 laptops.
The best laptop for web development requites a little bit of power, just like an engineering laptop. You don’t need a powerful GPU or anything, but a decent amount of RAM and a very good CPU should be priorities. Web development has a lot of different areas, and depending on what sort of development you do your needs will change. For example, if you want to run Docker and deploy large web applications then you should get at least a mid-level laptop. Running Docker with only 4 GB of RAM does not work very well.
We have made the assumptions that the best choice is a reasonable priced laptop that provides a lot of bang for the buck. We have also include what we think are the best options on the high and low end spectrum, but overall we will be looking mostly at mid-level laptops. If you want the absolute most bang for your buck then you should look into the option of building your own desktop PC.
|CPU||9th gen i5||10th gen i7|
|GPU||Not needed||Not needed|
|RAM||8 GB||16 GB or more|
|SSD||256 GB or more||512 GB or more|
You don’t need a GPU for web development, but if you want to play video games then go for one of the laptops with a GPU. Also, most mid-level laptops and upwards come with a GPU these days, so more good laptops will have them than not.
Best Web Development Laptops at a Glance
I think the best laptop for web development is the Dell Inspiron. It is not the most powerful laptop, but it is good for most people. The most powerful laptop would be either the MSI GS66 Stealth or the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15.
- Dell Inspiron
- Dell XPS 15
- MSI GS66 Stealth
- Acer Helios 300
- Acer Aspire
- MacBook Pro
- Lenovo ThinkPad
- Acer Nitro 5
- Razer Blade 15
- MSI GF65 Thin
- ASUS ROG Strix Scar
Now lets dive into each option and look at why they are good for web development.
Best Laptops for Web Development and Design
I think the overall best laptop for most web developers is the Dell Inspiron 15 5593. If you want more or less power there are also other options on this list.
1. Dell Inspiron 15 5593 – Best laptop for web development for most
The Dell Inspiron is a great combination of power and price. One of the main reasons for getting this laptop is the good parts that you get for the price. The 2020 model comes with a new Intel Core i7-1065G7. This is a pretty decent CPU, but it does only have 4 cores. You might want to look for a model that has 6 cores if you have the budget for it. Despite the lack of cores, this laptop still makes it so high for us because of the price. There are other options on this list so that you can find what we think are a great option in each price category.
Regarding the number of cores, if you plan on running virtual machines then don’t go for this laptop, go for one that has 6 cores as you have to allocate some cores to the guest operating system. It is common to use something like virtual box to get access to a Linux host for example.
The laptop has 8 GB of RAM which is enough for most people. There is only 1 stick in this computer so you could pick up another 8 GB stick to make it 16 GB, which would be a lot better. It is also better to use both slots in terms of speed. The type of RAM is DDR4 that is 2666Mhz.
You don’t need a GPU for web development, and one of the reasons this laptop makes it so high is that the GPU isn’t the most powerful. You will find that laptops that have really good CPUs, lots of RAM, and storage, also come with a hefty GPU, so you end up paying for something you don’t really need. If you are into playing video games, or maybe want to venture into machine learning on the other hand then you are better of getting one the higher end models. This laptop comes with the Nvidia GeForce MX230 which will work just fine for web dev purposes.
The screen is a full HD 1920×1080 with anti-glare. For most this is going to be OK. Glossy screens provide a little better color quality, but the anti-glare makes it easier to look at in most situations.
Overall we think the Dell Inspiron is a solid choice that you should check out. This is one of the best laptops for web development because of good parts coupled with a good price.
.See the Dell Inspiron (#ad) on Amazon.
2. Dell XPS 15
The Dell XPS 15 is a more premium option than the Dell Inspiron. This model has has the 9th gen Intel Core i7-9750H CPU. This CPU is a little older than the 10th gen one that is in the Inspiron, but it has been a staple in powerful gaming laptops for a long time, so it will continue to work well now. The CPU has 6 cores, which is better than 4 for a lot of things. If you are looking to do things that can take advantage of parallel processing then the more cores the better, but for most web dev stuff you are more than okay with 4 cores, but 6 is better.
One reason for getting this laptop over the Dell Inspiron is if you want a little more power and a more premium looking laptop. The GPU in this laptop is the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650. This is more powerful that what you get in the Inspiron, but there are more powerful options in for example the MSI laptop below. This laptop is a premium laptop, but it is not the most powerful.
The main reason for getting this laptop for web development is the great screen. It has a 4K Ultra HD screen with incredible small bezels. As you will be dealing with a lot of details if you do front-end development you need a good screen, and this laptop has one of the best laptop screens available.
An alternative that I would suggest is to get a cheaper laptop and buy an external monitor. The external monitor can be way better and bigger than what you get on a laptop, and you can still bring your laptop back and forth places. If you are going to spend a lot of money on a laptop then I think you should go with one that is a little better than what you get in the XPS. A lot of people like this laptop, and it is certainly good, but perhaps not the best bang for your buck option. I would get this laptop if I wanted something that is great for on the go, decent amount of power, and has a really good screen.
If you are interested in gaming then don’t get this laptop. The UHD screen needs a lot of power to run a game good. You would be much better off with a high refresh screen with lower resolution and a better GPU.
See the Dell XPS 15 (#ad) on Amazon.
3. MSI GS66 Stealth – Best laptop for web development
The MSI GS66 is one of the best high end laptops out there. It provides raw power like few others, but it does cost a bit more too. You should get this laptop if you are looking for something that enables you to do whatever you could possibly need to do as a web developer. This is also a great choice if you have hobbies such as gaming, or you like to dabble in machine learning in your off time.
The laptop comes with the new Intel Core i9-10980HK CPU. This CPU is more than what you need for web development, but if you are interested in anything that requires more power, such as machine learning or gaming, then this is a great CPU. It has 8 cores, so you will also be able to use this for virtualization which is important for many developers. Being able to run a Linux guest OS for example is something that many do.
The GPU on this laptop is the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-q. This is a great option for power but also having a thin laptop. Despite this laptop being very powerful, it is surprisingly good looking. The logo on the back of the screen is the main thing giving this away as a so called gaming laptop.
The laptop also has other features you should check out such as a whopping 32 GB of RAM, and a 1 TB SSD. This laptop is the best option if you have the budget for it.
See the MSI GS66 (#ad) on Amazon.
4. Acer Predator Helios 300
The Acer Predator Helios 300 is a mid-level gaming laptop. Gaming laptops tend to have parts that correlate to what we want in a laptop for development. To start with it has the Intel Core i7-10750H CPU. This is a new version of the i7 and it has 6 cores. It is good for both gaming and web development activities.
The main reason for getting this laptop is if you want something a little cheaper but still has quite a bit of power. As this is a gaming laptop it is suited for gaming. One drawback is that it does kind of look like a gaming laptop, so if clean aesthetics is a big thing for you then this might not be the best option. If you want a budget laptop then you should have a look at the Acer Aspire option.
The laptop comes with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU. This is really good for this price, making it an excellent gaming laptop. You don’t really need a GPU for web dev, but many devs do like to play games in their spare time so in general I think this is a great option.
There is 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD on board. These are pretty standard, but 16 GB of RAM out of the box is another reason why you would get this over the Dell Inspiron.
There are a lot of other features that you should check out on the product page.
See the Acer Predator Helios 300 (#ad) on Amazon.
5. Acer Aspire 5
The Acer Aspire is the budget option on this list, although the model we have selected is not the cheapest one. On the product page you will have the option to select multiple versions of this laptop if you want to spend less money.
One of the reasons for getting this laptop is that it comes with a brand new Intel Core i5-1021U. For web development this will be an ok option. It is not the most powerful CPU out there, but for this price it is rather good.
This model does not have a dedicated GPU, which is just as well for most web development. You dont need a GPU for compiling things, and although Chrome can use the GPU for some rendering, it is definitely not needed. Depending on what sort of work you do, this laptop will be an ok option. If you are looking for a budget laptop then this is one of your best choices.
Overall the Aspire is a great laptop. It has other things you should have a look at such as a 9.5 hour battery life, and 8 GB of DDR4 RAM. The main reason why you would get this laptop is because of the price. If you have more of a budget then there are better options on this list with more power. The Acer Aspire is one of the best budget laptops for web development.
See the Acer Aspire (#ad) on Amazon.
6. MacBook Pro – One of the best laptops for web development
There is no denying that the MacBook Pro is an excellent computer. It also happens to be very popular among developers, and web developers in particular. It is good looking, portable, and has amazing build quality. It also has parts that are really good.
One of the main reasons for getting a MacBook is that it is unix based. This makes the laptop more compatible with anything that runs in the terminal, which a lot of web development things do. Any package manager for example is going to work out of the box on a Mac. On Windows you currently have to do some configurations, but it is getting better there. This is a major consideration for many web developers. Windows is coming with a Linux native terminal though so that might change your mind.
The MacBook pro has an Intel Core i9 CPU. This is a really good CPU with 8 cores
The GPU in the MacBook is the Amd Radeon Pro 5500M. MacBooks have never been touted as a champion of gaming, and their GPU is not as good as in some of the windows options from this list.
If you are looking for a premium laptop with good parts then this is a great option.
See the MacBook Pro (#ad) on Amazon.
7. Lenovo ThinkPad
The Lenovo ThinkPad is a staple in the office landscape. It has a durable body, and is well known for being able to take quite a bit. The 2020 model of the ThinkPad E15 is not only durable, but it also has great specs that are good web development.
To start with the laptop has a brand new 10th gen Intel i5-10210U CPU. This is not the most powerful option out there, but for web development it should be sufficient. If you are doing something more computational heavy in web dev, such as having to compile a huge asp.net project with lots of projects, then getting something a bit more powerful might be beneficial.
There is 16 GB of RAM and a sizable 512 GB SSD, which should be enough for most. Development projects seldom take up that much space, and hopefully you are using some sort of version control server to store your files regardless.
The ThinkPad is not the prettiest option around, but it has been around. It has had more or less the same form factor for years, which should tell you that they really are quite good. The bezels are not terribly thick, which makes it look more premium than the body material.
Overall the ThinkPad is a great option for web development that you should check out.
See the ThinkPad E15 (#ad) on Amazon.
8. Acer Nitro 5
The Acer Nitro is a another great option for programming. Depending on what sort of web development you do you might actually require a little bit of power. You definitely need a little extra if you want to run a VM so that you get access to Linux from a windows machine, or if you want to run docker containers. I have tried running docker on a laptop that only has 4 GB and it actually does not work.
The Acer Nitro is a more budget focused gaming laptop. It comes with the 9th generation i5-9300H which should be sufficient for most tasks, and it even has the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650. A GPU is not needed for development, but many programmers like to play video games so it is something many will appreciate.
The laptop has 256 GB of storage on its SSD, and 8 GB of RAM. These are pretty average specs, but for the price it is pretty decent. There is also a configuration to upgrade the CPU to an i7-9750H and an RTX 2060 GPU, which you should consider if you are looking at this laptop.
It is not the prettiest laptop around. I don’t really like the edges as it makes it look more like a gaming laptop, which is something I really don’t like.
If you are looking for a laptop that comes at a good price and has okay specs then you should check out the Acer Nitro 5.
See the Acer Nitro 5 (#ad) on Amazon.
9. Razer Blade 15 – Among the best laptops for web development
The Razer blade is one of my favorite laptops right now. It looks great and it comes with amazing parts. The particular model that we picked here comes with the Intel Core i7-10750H. This CPU is a 6 core one which works well for multitasking which is important for web devs as you have a lot of things open at the same time.
Although not so important for most development, the laptop also comes with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070. This model also has a 4k OLED screen which should be very good for web design. If you also want to play video games then you are better going down to a full HD screen as it takes a lot to regenerate all those pixels.
There is also 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of SSD storage. This should be plenty for most people.
The laptop comes in a few configurations and you should check them out to see which one would be the best fit for you.
Because of the 4k screen this might be the best laptop for web development and design.
See the Razer Blade 15 on Amazon.
10. MSI GF65 Thin
The MSI GF65 Thin is not super cheap, but it is more budget friendly than a lot of other laptops. One of the reasons is that is has the previous gen Intel Core i7-9750H. This CPU was a staple in high end gaming laptops for a long time so it is a great CPU, but there are better 10th gen CPUs available now.
There is also an RTX 2060 GPU which is great if you want to play video games or do any graphics intensive work. There is little to no web development where you will be able to utilize a GPU, so this is more of an added bonus for intensive work.
The laptop only has 8 GB of RAM which is a little on the low side, but you can always upgrade it yourself in the future. There is also 512 GB of SSD storage which is a decent amount.
Overall the MSI is a solid choice if you want a cheaper option for one of the best gaming laptop manufacturers in the world.
See the MSI GF65 Thin on Amazon.
11. ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15
The ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 is one of the most powerful laptops on this list. It comes with a brand new Intel ore i9-10980HK CPU with 8 cores. This is one of the best laptop CPUs out there currently, and it will be able to handle any web development task you can throw at it.
It also comes with the RTX 2070 Super GPU, which is one of the better laptop options as well.
In addition to a great CPU and GPU, there is also a whopping 32 GB of RAM and 2 TB of SSD storage. With these specs the laptop will last you several years, and it will likely feel quite powerful even then.
If you play video games then it also has a great screen with a 300Hz refresh rate. The refresh rate is not important for web development in itself, but it is a nice added feature.
The Scar 15 is among the best laptops for web development.
See the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 on Amazon.
What to look for in a laptop for web development
Every great web developer requires a solid laptop to get their work done properly. Since the whole business involves using a computer, it is vital to acquire the best machine possible. A web developer needs to connect to the internet from anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice. The best laptops for web development have features and specs that assist you in doing just that. Here are some of the most crucial factors to consider when purchasing a laptop suitable for professional web development.
It is important to choose an operating system that is compatible with every development tool and app you plan to use for projects. Many programs only work on either a Windows or Mac pc. There are four major operating systems that are worth taking a look at.
The best laptop for web development should be able to run more than one operating system with ease. You can achieve this by using virtual box, but you need enough resources to run a VM efficiently. This means you should have at the very least 8GB of RAM and a 6 core CPU. If you dual boot you don’t need as much as you wont be running the two OSs at the same time.
Windows is by far the most common OS in the world. You will have plenty of options to choose from when selecting which programs you will use. You also get a great deal of freedom with a Windows machine. However, it does require some knowledge in order to be mastered completely.
Apple computers are some of the easiest to work on. The streamlined experience makes it great for beginners who don’t know much about computers just yet. That being said, Mac has far fewer programs and apps to choose from. Apple keeps a closed ecosystem, so many common Windows applications never make the jump
Linux is great for building custom software and websites. However, it requires the most knowledge to use effectively. If you take the time to learn this complicated OS, there will be no limit to what you can accomplish for your clients.
Many Chromebooks come with this operating system pre-installed. While these devices are excellent for light computer use, a web developer will get the most benefit from something a bit more powerful. You’re much better off getting a Windows or Mac machine if you are serious about professional web development.
Once you have an OS picked out, you can then focus on a machine that will deliver the performance you need. Luckily, web development doesn’t require a high-end graphics card to run each program. A mid-range GPU is all you will need to get the most out of your demanding apps. This will no doubt help you stay within your budget range. If you want to do things such as machine learning then you might want to invest in a laptop with a powerful GPU.
The GPU is not important for most web development, so the best laptop for web development definitely does not need one. That being said, most good laptops these days come with one.
As a web developer, you should be far more focused on getting the best CPU you can find. The central processing unit will let you run many different applications simultaneously. Programs such as GIMP or photoshop can be very taxing on weaker hardware. A quick CPU will improve your workflow dramatically. If you want to work efficiently, spring for an immaculate CPU.
The best laptop for web development should have a 10th gen i7 or better.
The ideal laptop for web development needs to be highly portable. Developers are often on the road and need convenient access to all of their files. Clients will routinely ask for time-sensitive fixes that demand your immediate attention. Make sure the laptop is light and has long battery life. This will allow you to turn it on anywhere and get the job done quickly. Since you won’t always have access to a power outlet, you want to be confident that your laptop’s charge will make it through each day.
Web development also requires a fair bit of typing. You want a sturdy keyboard that will remain comfortable during long coding sessions. You also want a reliable trackpad so you can edit each page effectively. If you are going to be working from home often, then you may even consider getting a USB mouse and keyboard. These devices plug right into your laptop and are often of a much higher standard than the laptop’s stock setup.
You also want to pick out a laptop with a sizable screen. You will be able to see everything much easier with a screen that is at least 13 inches diagonally. While you can go way bigger than that, it is important to maintain a balance of usability and portability. If the screen is too big, the laptop will be far less portable overall. Staying within the range of 13 to 17 inches is your best bet.
The best laptop for web development should have a decent screen. If you are going to be doing web design then you may want to invest in a 4k option or better yet an external monitor.
Some frequently asked questions
Overall you need a decent laptop that will last you a long time. The most important parts are the CPU, RAM, and the storage. Make sure you have sufficient SSD space to install all your programs. If you go with one of the laptops on our list you should be okay, but you can always seek other options if they don’t fit your particular need for some reason.
I think the overall best laptop for web development when you take price into consideration and what most people need is the Dell Inspiron. If you want the best laptop for web dev when only considering power then it is the MIS GS66.