The best lightweight laptops you can actually work on

These thin-and-light laptops skip the weight but still get the job done.

Macbook Air
Isaac Martin / Unsplash

There are some seriously powerful laptops on the market but a lot of them are too hefty to lug around every day. Laptops are always getting lighter and slimmer, but there are a handful of models that really hit the sweet spot between performance and a light-as-a-feather feel.

Our favorite laptops in this category are mostly under 3 pounds, have 14-inch or smaller displays, and are quality rigs with worthwhile storage and great processing power. Laptops in the featherweight class don’t add noticeable weight to your bag but can still pack a punch.

There are laptops on this list that will suit anyone looking for a lightweight device, from working professionals and students to content creators and gamers.

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The Swift 3X is unbelievably slim. Just 0.71 inches thick with a 14-inch display and weighing in at 3.02 pounds, this tiny laptop can slip into the tightest padded backpack with ease. Performance-wise, the base model has a Core i5-1135G7, 8GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage — not too shabby in a compact machine. You can also spring for the more expensive version with upgraded RAM and storage.

The Macbook Air isn’t as small as it used to be (Apple ditched an 11-inch model a few years back) but it’s still ultra-thin, lightweight, and the smallest MacBook you can get. Running on Apple’s own M1 chip, the MacBook Air is a seriously impressive little laptop. It runs smoothly and quickly, handling needy apps like Adobe Photoshop or Premiere alongside web browsing without missing a beat.

If anyone is looking for a lighter-than-a-feather laptop (it weighs just under 3 pounds) and is a big fan of everything Apple, this is the device to buy.

Don’t be fooled by its size — Dell’s XPS 13 laptop is a seriously capable build. The base model comes with a Core i3-1115G4, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and Intel’s UHD integrated graphics. And there are plenty of upgrades available at checkout as well if you need more storage or processing power.

At 2.8 pounds and 0.58 inches thick with a 13.4-inch, this laptop is about as small as they come but delivers fantastic performance when it comes to video and photo editing. A do-it-all machine, this is a fine choice for content creators, students, and working professionals.

The ThinkPad X1 Nano is ultraportable. Weighing just 2 pounds with a 13-inch display, you’re going to be double-checking your bag to make sure you didn’t leave this little guy at home. The base model is equipped with an 11th Generation Intel Core i5-1130G7 CPU with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. This laptop doesn’t have the most impressive processor in the world, but it’ll handle most work tasks and browsing without any hassle and has solid storage for a light PC.

This laptop isn’t defenseless just because it's small — ThinkPads are known for being super durable and the Nano stays in line. The battery here is also pretty impressive, lasting a solid 12 hours on average with constant browsing. This laptop is a great choice for on-the-go professionals and students.

The smallest MacBook Pro isn’t as light as the Air, but it's still super slim. Unfortunately this model doesn’t come with Apple’s new M1 or M1 Max chips (you’ve got to make the jump to a 14-inch display and a $2,000 price tag for that), but it’s still a very impressive laptop. There’s absolutely no problem with buying last year’s Mac.

The base model here has an 8‑Core CPU, 8‑Core GPU, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD storage. More importantly, this is probably the last MacBook that will have Apple’s Touch Bar (which we low-key love).

Coming in at just 2.2 pounds, this 14-inch LG laptop is ultra-lightweight. This display on this slender laptop is brilliant — the edge-to-edge WUXGA IPS display delivers seriously vivid colors in 1920x1200 resolution. That’s perfect for graphic design and photo editing when the colors need to hit just right when you send files off to clients.

This laptop rocks 11th Gen Intel Core i7 Processor, Iris Xe graphics, has 16GB of RAM, and has an impressive 512GB SSD. There’s quite a bit of power packed into this compact machine.

Gaming rigs usually center around enormous displays built for top-notch graphics, but there are plenty of gamers out there looking for actual portability, not a hefty laptop with a monster screen. Razer’s Blade Stealth is designed for gamers on the go who aren’t 100% interested in displaying the full gamer RGB aesthetic away from home.

Coming in at just over 3 pounds with a 13.3-inch OLED display, this is as portable as you can get with a gaming-capable laptop. The base model runs on an Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor, has an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card, 16GB RAM, and a 512GB-capacity SSD. This is more than enough to play most of the best video games on the market. You might want to spring for the upgraded version for competitive play.