Laptops are expensive, there’s no way around that, but you can lessen the financial impact by picking up the best laptop at the right time. While there are always new laptops coming out, there are several times during the year when buying a laptop is quite a bit more affordable, even if you want the latest and greatest.
For the Best Time to Buy a Laptop, Keep in Mind:
- Big Sales Events: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Prime Day
- Back to School Timing
- New Hardware Releases
Black Friday / Cyber Monday
Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals
Black Friday is obviously a good time to buy a laptop, but it’s more than just the doorbusters. New laptop hardware usually launches either at the beginning of the year or around October, depending on the manufacturer. This means all the laptops that are either one generation old, or are about to become one generation old after CES, or the Consumer Electronics Show, are going to be seeing deep discounts.
This is because retailers like Amazon and Best Buy want to clear their shelves to make room for newer products when they arrive. So, yeah, this might mean you’re not getting the fanciest laptop possible, but when you can save a solid 20-30% off the sticker price, does that even matter?
Couple this with these retailers using huge Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals to grab your attention, and you can grab an extremely affordable laptop. I’ve seen Black Friday deals cut the price of a MacBook Air a couple of weeks after it came out, and Apple’s laptops are usually the last to see any kind of discount, especially when they’re new.
Black Friday is November 23 this year, but the deals season keeps getting stretched. If you want to buy a laptop during Black Friday, you can expect to start seeing the deals around October.
Amazon Prime Day
Amazon Prime Day
Just like Black Friday, Amazon holds its own deals event each year. In my experience, Prime Day laptop deals are never great, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. As long as you’re not too picky, you can find a solid laptop at an affordable price, but it probably won’t be a flashy top-end device.
Instead, Amazon Prime Day is one of the best times of the year to grab one of the best Chromebooks. These are already super affordable laptops, and Amazon cuts the prices even further on Prime Day. The best part about this is you don’t have to worry too much about what hardware you’re getting with a Chromebook, as pretty much everything you’ll be doing on the device is tied to a web browser anyway.
We don’t know when Amazon Prime Day will be happening this year, but it usually happens right in the middle of summer, making it a great time to buy a laptop if you’re a student or a parent of one.
If You Want the New Hotness
If you’re not necessarily interested in getting a great deal on a laptop, but instead want the best laptop possible at any given moment, you’re going to want to wait for Nvidia, Intel or AMD to announce new laptop hardware. This year it happened at CES: Nvidia, AMD and Intel all released brand-new laptop hardware, marking an entirely new generation of laptops. Though, for the Intel and Nvidia launches, it only really affected gaming laptops.
Intel Announces 13th Gen Raptor Lake Mobile Processors at CES 2023
If you want a high-power Ultrabook, it’s a little harder to pin down the exact time to do it. Usually Intel releases its less-powerful U-series processors at a seemingly random time. For instance, Intel’s 13th generation processors are currently available in both gaming laptops and desktop, but there is no U-series 13th gen processor for sale right now. These laptops will likely show up soon, but we might have to wait a while.
This is where it pays off to keep an eye on tech news and rumors. Laptop hardware has a tendency to just show up out of nowhere, so if you want to grab the new hotness when it comes out, you’re going to have to keep an eye out.
New Hardware Can Lower Prices, Kind of
One of the other benefits of waiting for new laptop hardware to come out is that it will immediately cut the prices of last-gen hardware. It might sting a little to spend a thousand bucks on a year-old laptop, but let me assure you that laptop generations are extremely incremental.
You don’t need to worry too much about a 12th-gen Intel laptop when 13th-gen Intel laptops come out, because the 12th-gen chips are only going to be a few percentage points behind the 13th-gen ones. And even then, it’s not like the difference is going to be noticeable in every day computing tasks. Trust me, one CPU generation isn’t going to speed Photoshop up that much.
Keeping an eye on new laptop hardware and then snagging an excellent deal on a last-gen laptop is easily one of the best ways to buy a laptop, and this goes for the best MacBooks too. When a new MacBook comes out, you can open any used marketplace and see hundreds of year-old MacBooks at a deep discount because their owners want to buy the new one. If you want to be savvy when buying a new laptop, no matter the time of year, this is the way to do it.
Top Affordable Laptops to Choose From Right Now
If you’re not wanting to wait for a sale or for any new models to be released, here are some top budget laptops to browse from our laptop buying guides:
Dell XPS 13
If you don’t want to splurge on a MacBook, a top MacBook alternative is the Dell XPS 13 laptop.
Asus TUF Dash 15
If you need a good gaming laptop under $2,000, this is a great choice on a budget.
Surface Pro 9
One of the best detachable laptops out there. We recommend the model offering up Microsoft’s ARM-based processor, the SQ 3.
Apple MacBook Air M2
The Apple MacBook Air (2022) is one of the best laptops for everyday use.
Jackie Thomas is IGN’s tech and buying guides editor, specializing in hardware reviews and features.