Nowadays, people are looking for powerful, portable laptops without the need for big, clunky fans or overheating issues. Tech companies have recently listened to their customers and delivered, with Apple‘s MacBook dominating the scene, and even LG releasing a high-performing 17-inch laptop that proved to be surprisingly light.
The best lightweight laptops are easily transportable, and won’t weigh down your briefcase or bag. Want to get work done on the plane (or back of your Uber)? These laptops are ideal for powering up without the pounds.
What Are the Best Lightweight Laptops?
Whether you’re working remotely or want something that’s easy to move from room to room (or couch to counter) in your house, the best lightweight laptops pack the performance features of a regular laptop into slim and portable packages.
- BEST OVERALL: Apple 15‑inch MacBook Air
- BEST ULTRA-THIN: LG gram SuperSlim Laptop
- BEST FOR MULTI-TASKING: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
- BEST TOUCHSCREEN: Dell XPS 13
- FASTEST LAPTOP: Razer Blade 18
1. Apple’s 15‑inch MacBook Air with M2 (2023)
Even those of us who aren’t tech-savvy have probably heard about Apple’s new M2 chip and what it’s bringing to the table.
The chip, designed exclusively by Apple, is up to 12-times faster than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Air. It also means it offers 18 hours of battery life — so you can binge watch all of Ted Lasso uninterrupted — and supports up to 24GB of fast unified memory; which is a fancy way of saying multitasking with elaborate workloads is easy.
It’s been marketed as the world’s thinnest 15-inch laptop, and weighing in at just 1.51 kilograms, it lives up to the hype. Ultra-portable, yet durable; it ticks all the boxes and can literally be held with one finger (yes, we put it to the test).
Music and content creators will love the all-new six-speaker sound system. Immersive Spatial Audio, two sets of force-cancelling woofers, and a three-mic array which captures clean audio. From a workflow perspective, that means you can ditch your AirPods on video calls if you want, and record straight to your MacBook Air without needing a mic.
According to users, the display is unparalleled, thanks to its Liquid Retina display, which is 25 per cent brighter than your average PC laptop.
The new MacBook also gets bonus points for being environmentally friendly. It features 100 per cent recycled gold plating and tin soldering in multiple printed circuit boards, and 100 per cent recycled rare earth elements in all magnets.
Hit the Touch ID and you’re ready to experience it all.
2. LG gram SuperSlim Laptop
Not only is this 15.6-inch LG laptop a dream to look at, but it’s also designed to perform while far from a power source with an impressive 20 hours of battery life. The full metal chassis can handle the roughness of being in a backpack, and any minor bumps and bruises during your daily use. The fingerprint-powered power button is a nice touch too, allowing you to quickly boot up your new device.
The integrated Intel Iris graphics are powerful too, delivering faster graphics performance and a more streamlined experience when you’re creating content or editing video. There’s 512GB of storage along with 16GB of RAM to keep it running smoothly, while the three USB-C ports are a nice touch in an era where they’re disappearing and requiring dongles.
This LG laptop also features Alexa built-in so you can easily access your calendar, appointments or other notifications hands-free. Weighing just over 2 pounds, that makes this the lightest LG gram laptop ever made.
3. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
The newest Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon comes with an 11th Generation Intel Core i7 processor and can easily support multitasking, whether you’re shifting between gaming and creating or working on multiple work presentations at once.
This pick features a wide 14-inch FHD screen with up to 400 nits of brightness. It’s also got integrated Intel Iris XE graphics for smooth performance and eye-catching visuals. There’s a decent port selection too with two thunderbolt ports plus an HDMI input and various USB ports to boot.
The keyboard is backlit so you can work on your red-eye flight with ease and it’s got a fingerprint reader for added privacy. Storage on this option peaks a 512 GB and you get a hefty 16GB of RAM for lag-free, quiet performance. The battery lasts all day too for all your streaming needs.
All this is packed into a laptop that weighs just about three pounds, making this one of the most powerful yet portable picks on this list.
4. Dell XPS 13
The XPS 13, Dell’s 13.4-inch aluminium-bodied laptop, packs a dazzling display, and an Intel Core i7 11th Gen processor that clocks high-performance speeds, with 16GB of RAM, and the one-touch power button responds quickly every time. The pair of fans keep things cool under pressure, as they’re separated to spread heat over a larger area, routing through dual heat pipes to a hidden exhaust vent.
The lack of ports could be a problem for some users, but other than that there are no cons to this laptop.
It’s also light and thin at just 2.8 pounds and offers a long, all-day battery life. Plus, the touchscreen display is extremely responsive adding to this laptop’s allure.
5. Razer Blade 18
Much like its cousin, the Razer Blade Stealth, this one also seems to live up to its name and slip under the radar.
Don’t let that be an indicator of poor performance though – the Razer Blade 18 is anything but. With a 13th Gen Intel 24-Core i9 HX processor reaching up to 5.5GHz max turbo, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070, and a 240Hz 18-inch full HD display, there’s a lot here in a small footprint — while it might be the heaviest on our list, it’s only 0.86 inches thin.
The whip-fast processing speeds make gaming a breeze, but this goes way beyond just gamers, and can handle heavy web browsing and creative applications too. It start to get hot when overwhelmed though, so a cooling platform may be a good idea if this will be the main device in your work (or battle) station.
How Do Ultra-thin Laptops Work?
The bulk of a laptop’s weight comes from its processor, and companies are making much more efficient processors these days, that takes up less space in your laptop housing. Things like materials used can also affect weight. Of course, lightweight isn’t everything in a laptop, and your machine of choice will still need speed to perform its best.
According to Apple’s claims, the M2 chip “has the world’s fastest CPU core ‘in low power silicon’ and the world’s best CPU performance per watt.” The M2 boasts an 8-Core CPU, as well as an 10-Core GPU, and includes four of the fastest, high-performance cores ever. With a total of 16 billion transistors, the efficiency is off-the-charts, as it shares the RAM, CPU and GPU to reduce power consumption, giving the best CPU performance-per-watt through their Unified Memory Architecture. At their debut presentation, Apple said its MacBook with the M2 chip can deliver twice the performance of a regular laptop, while using a third of the power, or sometimes even less. That means significantly
In any light laptop, a powerful graphics card – often referred to as a GPU, is a must-have, especially for gamers. The same goes for a quick processor, a healthy amount of RAM (8 to 16GB is preferred), and a solid-state drive that can keep up with your programs, projects and presentations. Make sure the screen supports 1080p and has a fast refresh rate too.
Buying Guide: How We Chose the Best Lightweight Laptops
While our top pick for the lightest laptop is the MacBook Air with the M2 chip, we’ve also selected four other fast laptops that are still light and loaded with helpful features and varying attributes. Our picks for the best lightweight laptops start at just over two pounds, making it super easy to carry around with you.
Keep in mind that many of these are also available with customisable parts and sizes, so if one looks good but has a too-small solid-state drive, check to see if there’s a model with what you want. And if even the lightest of these is still too heavy or bulky, we suggest seeking out a tablet with a foldable keyboard option.