How to Choose the Right Work Laptops for Your Business


    Whether you’re a small business owner purchasing laptops for your team or an in-house tech pro who’s responsible for outfitting a startup, the task of choosing laptops for everyone is a major one. While many small businesses are adopting a policy called BYOD (bring your own device) when it comes to hardware, in most industries it’s still standard practice to provide employees with primary devices.

    What makes buying laptops more challenging for small business owners, as opposed to owners of large businesses and enterprises, is typically a lack of in-house knowledge. Without a team of dedicated tech pros to lean on during the purchasing process, many SMB owners feel as if they’re flying blind when they buy hardware.

    This step-by-step guide will fill in the gaps in your laptop buying knowledge and help you find the best business laptops for your entire team.

    When entrepreneurs don’t set a budget before shopping, especially for technology, they often end up overspending. Not every business needs a fleet of top-of-the-line machines, and it’s a waste of time to consider high-cost options if they don’t suit your bottom line. Of course, you don’t want to go so cheap that your workforce becomes inefficient either.

    One popular approach to tech budgeting is to adopt different tiers of devices based on user needs. For example, it may be worthwhile to spring for luxury Dell machines for your C-suite execs and dev team, mid-range Dell laptops for your professional staff, and entry-level Dells for support staff. It’s advisable to stick to one or two manufacturers to simplify maintenance and mobile device management (MDM) in the future.

    The easiest management approach is to have only one OEM, but if you have creative pros on board, you will likely end up adopting two types of machines (since creatives often require pricey Macs, which are not typically necessary for other employees).

    If you’re not sure how to strike a balance between cost and quality, check out our breakdown of laptop budget ranges and determine your range based on the types of employees you have:

    • $300 and Under: In the $300 and lower range, you’ll find low-end Chromebooks and Windows machines exclusively. We don’t recommend laptops at this price point for business users as they typically have a cheap build quality, limited storage and slow performance. Even for light business use, you can do better.
    • $350 to $599: In this price range, you’ll find mediocre Windows laptops and good business Chromebooks. The reason Chromebooks are better than Windows machines in this range is because they have far less storage (which is expensive), so they can stay low priced without sacrificing on build and display. Either way, you should only purchase a work laptop in this price range for staff that sticks to basic tasks such as using Microsoft Office, posting on social media and browsing the web. For support staff with limited needs, this price range may be adequate.
    • $600 to $900: Most professional business users’ needs can be met in the $600 to $999 price range. Users should have no trouble getting the memory and storage they need as well as a processor that’s powerful enough for business multitasking at this level. Work laptops in this category often feature business-class security features, such as fingerprint scanners, and they tend to have good battery life, comfortable keyboards and nice displays.
    • $1,000 and up: For $1,000 or more, you can get a laptop that’s much more powerful or more portable than those in the cheaper price brackets. Premium ultraportable models, such as Dell’s XPS 13, for example, offer fast performance in an extremely sleek package. Bulky, powerful workstations also fall into this category and can range from $1,500 to $3,000 or more. This is the best price range for your power users, like your dev team, design team and C-level execs who want to project a certain image.

    Now that your budget is set, filter your future searches based on cost. Even looking at laptop models that are outside of your price range is a recipe for budgetary disaster, so steer clear.

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