The 14-inch laptop has a small — but noticeable — screen size upgrade over even the best 13-inch laptops, making them better choices for entertainment, gaming, or professional design while still being slim and portable enough to carry anywhere with you.
If this seems like a good fit for your busy life, we have the best 14-inch laptops you should check out, beginning with the excellent all-rounder Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9. The 2021 model has all the latest features and a fantastic array of component choices. We also have picks for gaming, extra power, and affordability, so there should be something for everyone.
You can also look at our list of the overall best laptops for 2021 for more options.
The best 14-inch laptops at a glance
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9
Why you should buy this: It’s the best 14-inch laptop you can buy.
Who’s it for: Anyone who wants a solid productivity performer with great battery life and solid built quality and support.
Why we chose the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9:
The latest version of Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 line offers plenty of portable power with a laptop that’s a good fit, no matter what tasks you have in mind. The 14-inch HD screen has been stretched to a taller 16:10 aspect ratio for better productivity, and the base model comes with an 11th-gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD). Ports include HDMI, two Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports, and a USB-A 3.2 port. Battery life is the strongest we’ve seen in a ThinkPad. We also like the slim, spill-resistant keyboard with backlighting.
While you can upgrade a few different specs, including RAM and storage (new versions also include brightness and resolution upgrades), the base model of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 makes for an ideal 14-inch laptop that’s ready for the long haul. However, the integrated graphics card is somewhat limited, and gamers, in particular, may want to look for something a little more specialized.
Read our in-depth Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Gen 9 review
Asus ExpertBook B9450
Why you should buy this: It’s an incredibly thin and light 14-inch laptop that still packs a punch.
Who’s it for: Anyone who wants a well-performing 14-inch laptop but doesn’t want to carry around a lot of weight.
Why we chose the Asus ExpertBook B9450:
Can you have a lot of power without giving up the slim and portable nature of 14-inch laptops? Asus thinks so, and this ExpertBook is proof. Inside, you’ll find a 10th-gen Intel Core i7-10510U processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD. This is all housed in a slender frame that includes military-grade durability and a touchpad that can double as a touch-based numeric keypad.
For connections, you have a USB-A, a Thunderbolt 3/USB-C, and HDMI, as well as a microSD card reader. Asus also reports that, with optimal settings, the battery can last up to 24 hours. All this on a laptop that weighs about 2.2 pounds. The Asus ExpertBook B9450 is a great pick for designers and video editors on the go or anyone who wants to push the power possibilities for a laptop of this size.
Razer Blade 14
Why you should buy this: It’s the best 14-inch gaming laptop by a country mile.
Who’s it for: Gamers who want all the power but not all the weight.
Why we chose the Razer Blade 14:
Many gaming laptops are massive affairs, with aggressive venting and angles that make them embarrassing to use in conference rooms. That’s definitely not the Razer Blade 14, which adheres to Razer’s conservative yet elegant aesthetic with its all-black chassis with simple lines and a single Razer logo on the lid. It’s a gaming laptop you can proudly use anywhere.
Inside, you’ll find a powerful beast centered around the ultrafast AMD Ryzen 5900HX CPU. GPU choices include the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060, 3070, and 3080, meaning you can pack a real powerhouse into that svelte chassis.
The Razer Blade 14 goes head-to-head with the best 15-inch laptops you can buy, including Razer’s own Blade 15. And it does so in a chassis that’s remarkably thin at just 0.66 inches and light at 3.9 pounds.
Read our full Razer Blade 14 review
HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8
Why you should buy this: It’s a fully featured business-class 14-inch laptop that’s also the lightest available.
Who’s it for: Business users who need all the important business features without additional weight.
Why we chose the HP EliteBook 840 G8:
For the shoppers searching for a good business laptop, try HP’s latest 14-inch EliteBook 840 series, specifically the EliteBook 840 Aero G8, which is one of HP’s best featherweight laptops. The Aero version weighs in at 2.5 pounds compared to the non-Aero version that’s 2.9 pounds. It’s the lightest business-class 14-inch laptop you can buy.
One of the main priorities for this laptop is its security: HP’s security software suite is automatically included. The computer supports several other standout features, like NFC compatibility, which ultimately helps your files transfer efficiently. The EliteBook 840 Aero G8 also comes with two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 and legacy connections including USB-A and HDMI.
The EliteBook 840 Aero G8’s base model comes with an 11th-gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and two memory slots for expansion. It can be configured with up to a Core i7-1185G7 with vPro, and it also offers a host of display options including HP’s Sure View privacy screen. The EliteBook 840 Aero G8 provides great productivity performance, solid business features, and long battery life.
Read our full HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 review
Lenovo ThinkBook 14S Yoga
Why you should buy this: It’s a well-built convertible 2-in-1 with solid performance and battery life.
Who’s it for: Anyone who wants the flexibility of a 2-in-1 but doesn’t want to give up the functionality of a laptop.
Why we chose the Lenovo ThinkBook 14S Yoga:
Lenovo’s latest ThinkBook Yoga is an excellent example of what a modern 2-in-1 can do. If you want a laptop with tablet mode, you don’t really need to give up anything, making this model a great fit for professionals. In addition to the 14-inch FHD touchscreen, the laptop comes with an 11th-gen Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor and Intel’s Iris Xe graphics chip. There are plenty of models with 8GB to 16GB of RAM for dealing with more demanding software.
Don’t let the slim design of the ThinkBook 14s Yoga fool you when it comes to storage, either. Base storage starts at 256GB of PCIe SSD storage, quickly rising to 512GB and 1TB for later models. It’s also compatible with Wi-Fi 6 for the latest wireless benefits, and comes with a fingerprint reader for some biometric protection, too.
Acer Swift 3 (2021)
Why you should buy this: It’s an affordable laptop that offers something for everyone.
Who’s it for: Anyone who wants a laptop that can handle anything you throw at it.
Why we chose the Acer Swift 3:
The Swift 3 is consistently updated to offer some of the most well-rounded specs we’ve seen in a utilitarian laptop that’s suitable for just about anything — and packs enough power to handle impressive tasks. This particular update offers a quad-core 11th-gen Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor with Iris Xe graphics (there are also some excellent and affordable Ryzen 8 versions of the Swift 3 that we think very highly of), with a variety of options for 8GB or 16GB of RAM depending on your preferred configuration.
The Acer Swift 3 (2021) also offers 512GB of SSD storage with various options for upgrading that to 1TB if necessary. Ports include HDMI 2.0, Thunderbolt 4/USB-C, USB-C, and USB-A, along with support for Wi-Fi 6. The immense amount of configuration options here, plus all the tech updated and ready for 2021, makes the Swift 3 an amazing pick, especially if you want a laptop ready for a little of everything.
HP Spectre x360 14
Why you should buy this: It’s the best convertible 2-in-1 you can buy and one of the best laptops, period.
Who’s it for: Anyone who wants a laptop or convertible 2-in-1 with a luscious OLED 3:2 display and gorgeous design.
Why we chose the HP Spectre x360 14:
We are huge fans of the Spectre 360 lines, compact and versatile laptops that pack plenty of power to handle even more demanding business situations. This 2-in-1 is no exception, portable enough to take anywhere and powerful enough to serve as a desktop replacement on business trips or in similar situations. Plus, HP’s reliable security features will help keep your data safe. The excellent configuration options also let you scale this laptop to exactly where you need it based on your software demands.
Inside, this 14-inch with 3:2 aspect ratio version of the Spectre 360 starts with an 11th-gen, quad-core Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor, 256GB of SSD storage (upgradeable to 2TB if necessary), and 16GB of RAM (upgradeable to 32GB if you’re configuring a real powerhouse). There are also two Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports with USB4 support that are ready for all your upcoming connection upgrades, along with DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.0. You can also choose a 3K OLED display option if the details are especially important in your line of work!
Read our full HP Spectre x360 14 review
Research and buying tips
How do you choose the right laptop for your personal and business needs?
This is a complicated question without an easy answer. Basically, the first step is to research laptops to better understand how their specifications impact your computing needs. You’ll want to figure out how much RAM you need, how much storage, which CPU will keep up with your workflow, and which GPU will meet your gaming needs (if any).
Once you’ve figured that out, then you’ll want to research which laptops have the attributes that you’re looking for. Do you want a traditional clamshell laptop, a convertible 2-in-1, or a tablet? These sorts of questions will help you shorten your list of options, at which point you can start looking at things like which manufacturers are the best and which laptops have the right features.
How do you find the best deals on laptops?
First, you’ll want to be aware of when manufacturers tend to offer the best prices. This is usually around holidays and in the late summer as students are getting ready to go back to school. Watch out for special pricing during these periods and you’ll have the best chance at some serious savings.
In addition, Digital Trends has an entire section of the website devoted to the best deals. That includes the best laptop deals, so be sure to head there before making your purchase.
What should you be aware of as you search for your new laptop?
In addition to making sure the laptop has the specifications you need and you’re getting it at the best possible price, you’ll want to be sure that you’re not buying a laptop at the very end of its life cycle. A little research on upcoming generations will give you an idea of whether you’re buying a laptop that was just updated or one that has awesome new features just around the corner.
Buying a previous generation model can make sense if the manufacturer is lowering prices to blow out inventory, though. If the laptop meets your needs and a new feature that you’d really love to have isn’t on its way, then it doesn’t matter as much if you buy the latest and greatest.