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.
You should aim for at least the following specs.
|CPU||9th gen i5||10th gen i7 or better|
|GPU||Not needed||One that fits your budget|
|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.
Below are three computers that I think are among the best options.
Best Laptops for Web Development and Programming
Below you will find a lot of great programming laptops which should give you a good starting point for your research.
MSI GS66 Stealth
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 on Amazon.
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 on Amazon.
Dell Inspiron 15 5593
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. It comes with an 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.
See the Dell Inspiron on Amazon.
Dell XPS 15
The Dell XPS 15 is a more premium screen option. This model has has the 10th 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 on Amazon.
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 newer Intel Core i5-1035G1. 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 don’t 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 8 hours of 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 on Amazon.
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 on Amazon.
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.
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 on Amazon.
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 10th generation i5-10300H which should be sufficient for most tasks, and it even has the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 TI. 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.
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 on Amazon.
Razer Blade 15
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.
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.
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
There are a few things you should keep an eye on when doing your research.
The GPU is not important for web development. Only focus on getting a good one if you also want to play video games in your spare time. That being said, some things like animation in Chrome can take advantage of a GPU, so in some cases it can be a good option.
As a web developer, you should try to get the best CPU that you can. The CPU is the brain of the computer after all and there is nothing worse than having to wait every time you try to do something in your IDE. A good CPU coupled with enough RAM is what you should focus on. Try to get a 10th gen or newer Intel i7 CPU.
As a web developer you should get at least a full HD option, which luckily is the most common option these days. You may want to go with a 4k option if you do a lot of design, but you can also get an external monitor instead. Using two screens is far superior so it is something to consider.
Get at least 8 GB of RAM, but 16 GB would be better.
Get at least 256 GB, but 512 GB or more would be better. You will be installing a lot of programs that will quickly fill up your drive. The most important thing is that you make sure you get an SSD.
Some frequently asked questions
How much RAM you need for web development
You would need at least 8 GB of RAM. Popular tools like docker will not work well with anything less, and running multiple things at the same time require that you have a decent amount. I do recommend that you try to get at least 16 GB.
Which is better for web development Mac or Windows
It depends on the stack that you are working on. If you require access to the terminal in order to download a bunch of packages then a Mac would be better out of the box. If you are going to be working on the .Net framework then windows would be better.
What is the best laptop for web developers?
We think that the MSI GS66 is among the best laptop for most developers. It offers good parts for a reasonable price. If you are looking for something cheaper then go with the Acer Aspire. If you want a great screen then look at the Dell XPS.
Which is better for web development Mac or Windows
It depends on the stack that you are working on. If you require access to the terminal in order to download a bunch of packages then a Mac would be better out of the box. If you are going to be working on the .Net framework then windows would be better. I personally prefer windows, but in the end you should pick what you like the best. What your colleagues use also matters as they can more easily help you with things.
What kind of laptop you need for web development
My recommendation is that you get a 15 inch laptop. It does not really matter if you get a Mac or a Windows laptop, as long as you make sure you get a decent CPU and enough RAM.
Is Windows 10 good for web development?
Windows is great for web development, but as with all other things it kind of depends on what you are going to do. If you are doing to develop ASP.Net applications then windows is definitely your best choice, but if you are going to be working on Python or lets say Node, then it is not so clear. Both Windows and Mac are good, but for some niches one might be better than the other.
The best computer for web design
The best computer for web design would be one of the options with a 4k screen. A good option would also be to get one of the full HD options and then get a better external monitor. I would personally go with the second option because the screen will likely last a lot longer than the laptop, so then you don’t have to spend more on a laptop with a high resolution over and over.
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 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.