If you’ve been thinking about switching to a laptop powered by a Linux OS, you’re not alone. There are so many reasons to switch to this powerful OS. It’s less prone to virtual attacks and viruses, more customizable, and it’s completely free! Here are the best Linux laptops you can buy right now.
What to Look for in a Linux Laptop
Although Linux laptops are still far more niche to purchase than Windows or Mac laptops, they’re slowly becoming more mainstream. If you want to purchase a laptop that runs a Linux distro, here’s what you need to consider:
Whether Linux OS is Preinstalled: Most laptops that are available through large retailers either come with Windows OS or macOS. Although Linux operating systems are becoming more popular, it’s still fairly niche to purchase a laptop with a Linux OS already installed on it. Unless you feel comfortable purchasing a laptop and installing a Linux OS on it yourself, it’s best to buy a laptop with Linux OS preinstalled.
Chrome OS vs. other Linux OS: Chrome OS is based on Linux, so all modern Chromebooks will be able to run Linux apps, but they’re still different than traditional Linux computers. If you mainly just want to be able to run Linux apps but not spend a ton of money, consider purchasing a Chromebook.
General Laptop Parameters: Just like with any other laptop purchase, you’ll also want to consider what you want the internals to look like. How much storage do you want? Do you want the graphics card to be a priority? Do you intend to use the laptop for work, school, gaming, or something else? Make sure you think about what your laptop needs internally to be able to use it how you want to.
Best Overall: Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition
Although this laptop from Dell has a version with Windows, the XPS 13 Developer Edition comes with the Ubuntu 20.04 Linux OS installed. If you mainly just want a great laptop for everyday use with a Linux OS, this is the best option for most people.
It’s super lightweight and looks really sleek. It’s pretty great internally as well. If you purchase this laptop from Dell with the default options, you’ll get an Intel Core i5 CPU, a 256GB M.2 NVMe SSD, and 8GB of RAM. If you want to spend a little more on your laptop to beef up the internals, you have some customization options. You can bump up the CPU to an Intel Core i7, increase the size of your SSD and memory, and even customize your display, too.
If you mainly just want a great laptop for everyday use with a Linux OS, this is the best option for most people.
Best Budget: ASUS Chromebook Flip C434
If you want to experience Linux apps but you don’t want to spend a lot of money, a great budget option is a Chromebook. And this Chromebook from ASUS provides some pretty awesome features and internals for a lot less money than some of the other options on this list. But again, remember that even though Chromebooks can run Linux apps, they’re still different than traditional Linux laptops.
This specific option that we’ve listed here comes with a Core m3 CPU, 8GB of memory, and 64GB of storage, which is plenty to comfortably run any demanding Linux apps. There are different options available—you could spend more to get an i5 CPU, more memory, or more storage if any of these things are important to you.
One of the awesome features of this Chromebook is its 360 degree hinge that allows you to use it as a laptop or a tablet. The 14″ display is touchscreen, and there are ultra-narrow bezels around all sides, making it a really thin and lightweight laptop.
If you want to experience Linux apps but you don’t want to spend a lot of money, a great budget option is a Chromebook.
Best Premium: System76 Oryx Pro
The System76 Oryx Pro is the best Linux laptop for you if you want all the works. It’s highly customizable so you can get exactly what you need out of your build. And it comes with System76 Open Firmware with coreboot, giving you super short boot times.
You can choose between three different versions of Linux OS: Pop!_OS 20.10, Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS, or Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. You can get up to 64GB of memory or choose a lower option for a lower price. Then, you can also customize the size of your M.2 SSD and add an additional custom M.2 SSD for even more storage space.
You can also customize your graphics card, too. You can choose between an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060, 3070, or 3080. The Oryx Pro is also a hybrid graphics laptop, meaning it switches between Intel and NVIDIA graphics, depending on when you want the best graphics and when you want to save battery life.
Pretty much the only thing you can’t customize in this laptop is the 10th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU. All this power is packed into an impressively thin body and presented on a glare-resistant matte display.
The System76 Oryx Pro is the best Linux laptop for you if you want all the works. It’s highly customizable so you can get exactly what you need out of your build.
Best for Privacy: Purism Librem 14
If privacy is your main reason for investing in a laptop with a Linux OS, go for the Purism Librem 14. It uses GNU/Linux PureOS, and the company detects software and hardware tampering with PureBoot and the Librem Key.
With this laptop, the Intel Management Engine has been disabled to reduce risk and bloat in the system. Purism uses BIOS and EC chips that are protected through hardware kill switches. If you’re one who’s always worried about someone seeing through your camera or listening through your microphone, Purism takes that fear away with their security promise. Their hardware kill switches will physically disconnect the camera and mic if your laptop detects anything suspicious.
Plus, like many of the other laptops on this list, you have some great customization options. You can customize the battery, memory, storage, and installed firmware. With the default options, you’ll get 8GB of DDR4, a 250GB M.2 SSD, and coreboot + SeaBIOS firmware.
Best for Privacy
If privacy is your main reason for investing in a laptop with a Linux OS, go for the Purism Librem 14.
Best for Gamers: Juno Neptune 15-inch
When most people think of a gaming laptop, the first thing that comes to mind probably isn’t one with a Linux OS. Over the past few years especially, gaming has become more accessible to computers with Linux operating systems. Multiple games through Steam are available to download directly for a Linux OS. The Neptune laptop from Juno is an awesome option for anyone looking to mainly game on their new Linux laptop.
It’s a bit more expensive, but it comes with a quality CPU and GPU. You’ll get an Intel eight-core i7 CPU and three different options when it comes to your GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 (6GB GDDR6), 2070 (8GB GDDR6), or 2080 (8GB GDDR6). Then, you’ll be able to customize your memory, starting at 16GB of DDR4, and the size of your M.2 NVME SSD, starting at 512GB. You can add an optional SSD as well if you feel you need more storage.
The default build for Juno’s Neptune laptop comes with the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 512GB SSD. And everything is powered by an Ubuntu 20.04 OS.
Best for Gamers
The Neptune laptop from Juno is an awesome option for anyone looking to mainly game on their new Linux laptop.
Best for Work: System76 Lemur Pro
The System76 Lemur laptop is another great option from System76 that’s a bit more affordable than the Onyx Pro and better for the everyday worker. You can get a whopping 14 hours of battery life out of this laptop, making it a great option if you frequently work outside of your home.
The Lemur model still uses System76’s Open Firmware with Coreboot for security and fast boot times. For your CPU, you can choose between an 11th Gen Intel Core i5 and i7. For your Linux OS, you can choose between Pop!_OS 20.10, Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS, or Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. Then, just like the Oryx Pro, you can also customize your amount of memory, SSD size, and whether you want an additional SSD.
Plus, this laptop has a nifty 180 degree hinge that’s great if you want to adjust your workspace throughout your hours worked. And at only 2.4lbs, it’s incredibly lightweight.
Best for Work
The System76 Lemur laptop is another great option from System76 that’s a bit more affordable than the Onyx Pro and better for the everyday worker.
Also Great for Work: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (8th Gen)
If the System76 Lemur doesn’t suit your needs for work, this Lenovo ThinkPad is another great option and maybe more familiar for some people. Lenovo is a well-known and reputable brand. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is probably being used by many with Windows, but you can custom order it to come with a Linux OS. Most of the builds on Lenovo’s website come with Windows OS, but under the “Build Your Own” tab, you’ll see an option for Linux OS.
Because the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is already such a great work laptop with Windows, swapping it to Linux just adds privacy and security to whatever you’re working on. This laptop comes with a 10th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM, and a 256GB PCle SSD.
Also Great for Work
If the System76 Lemur doesn’t suit your needs for work, this Lenovo ThinkPad is another great option and maybe more familiar for some people.