Working from home can be difficult to pull off. You might not have a designated workspace at home and are working from a laptop on your couch.
While that may sound ideal to the nine to five workers pushing pencils five days a week in ironed shirts, working from home has its own drawbacks, just like working at a dedicated workplace does.
Whatever your job is and wherever you are performing it from, you’ll need a computer capable of keeping up with the demands of remote working. Whether you’re wondering about a new laptop or a desktop computer, we have some top picks for every budget and job specification.
Our Top Picks
Without any further delay, let’s take a look at some of the best computers for working at home.
OUR TOP PICK
There’s no disputing the quality and longevity of apple products and there aren’t many true competitors to the MacBook Pro except maybe the Air.
We know we said earlier that most laptops are not going to last you over a couple of years, but this might be the exception to that rule. Macs can be useable for five years or more after you buy them.
The biggest obstacle to this is that Apple are always bringing out newer, better versions of their own products so it’s very tempting to upgrade and get rid of your old, but perfectly good, laptop in favor of the latest model.
The biggest drawback of this product is the price, which is well over a thousand dollars for the basic memory model. Because Macs last a decent amount of time, you’ll want to get as large a storage capacity as you can reasonably afford.
Otherwise, in a couple of years, you might find you’ll have to trawl back through old files and delete a load to make room for current ones.
Some users have remarked that the 13” screen is a little on the small side compared to a lot of professional laptops but if you want something compact that you can carry between home and the office then that might not phase you.
- 13-inch screen
- Ultrafast processing speeds
- Backlit keyboard
- Various storage capacity options are available
- Long life expectancy for a laptop
- Weighs 3 pounds
- Up to 10 hours of battery life
- Price $$$
This will be a relief if you aren’t wanting to spend thousands of dollars on a work laptop. Acer is a trusted computer brand that consistently manufactures good quality products for a fraction of the price of Mac equivalents.
This laptop boasts lightning-fast speeds and efficient battery use among other features. If you want a laptop that will be able to cope with multi-tasking without a fuss then this should do just that.
It also has a built-in Alexa that can help you stay organized while you work. The battery life is good and all things considered, it’s a good choice if you’re on a tight budget.
The storage capacity isn’t huge but then neither is the price tag so you have to balance what you’ll need with what you can afford.
- 14-inch screen
- Fast responsiveness and processing speed
- Backlit keyboard
- Available in 8GB or 16GB versions
- Fingerprint reader for added security
- Built-in Alexa
- Weighs less than 3 pounds
- Up to 12 hours of battery life depending on usage
- Price $$
If you need a laptop in a hurry but don’t have the means to buy an expensive computer, then don’t worry. This laptop has a generous screen size of 15.6 inches but is heavier than all our other picks.
8GB of RAM isn’t spacious in terms of storage, but we have definitely seen worse from budget computers.
If your company operates through google drive and not through storing actual documents on your computer then you won’t need a large storage capacity.
It has reasonable speeds of processing that you could expect from a laptop of this price point so it’s not suitable for gaming or intense multitasking.
For an inexpensive laptop with a built-in Alexa, Acer definitely delivers a computer that will be suitable for a lot of people working from home.
- 15.6-inch screen
- Medium processing speeds
- 8GB RAM
- Built-in Alexa
- Weighs a little over 4 pounds
- Up to 8 hours of battery life depending on usage
- Price $
Chromebooks are known for their enhanced security so this might be a good option if your work involves handling sensitive information. What makes this laptop particularly special is that it is a 2-in-1 laptop and touchscreen tablet.
The screen rotates 360 degrees so you can use it as a tablet when you’re on the move. As such, the screen size isn’t massive at 13.3 inches and the processing speeds aren’t exceptionally high, but that price makes it look a whole lot more appealing to us.
Lenovo laptops aren’t known for being very good at multi-tasking or working at speed but they are a budget-friendly reputable brand that delivers a good product for light use.
If your job isn’t always dependent on your laptop’s operating speeds then this will save you some dollars while still allowing you the flexibility of working remotely.
- 13.3-inch screen with touchscreen capabilities
- 2-in-1 laptop and tablet
- 4GB storage
- Processing speeds suitable for light use
- Weighs just under 3 pounds
- Up to 10 hours of battery life depending on usage
- Price $
While laptops may seem like the most flexible option for a work computer, desktops have their own benefits. If you have somewhere to put it that’s not going to be in the line of fire from the kids and you don’t have to take your own computer into work ever.
Then a desktop can be a great option for remote working. Here are some of our favorites.
OUR TOP PICK
Now you’ll see what we meant about desktop computers being more cost-effective. This has a huge 24-inch screen, amazing processing speeds while having exceptional audio and visual capabilities.
It looks really professional and contemporary with a super sleek design. We suppose that explains the 8GB of storage but you can’t have everything.
If your work incorporates design elements or requires you to split your screen several times to multitask, then this baby will treat you so right.
- 24”-inch screen
- All-in-one computer has a space-efficient design and no separate tower
- 8GB storage
- Ultra-fast processing speeds suitable for serious multitasking
- 218 pixels per inch gives great picture quality
- 3 studio-quality mics, a 1080p HD camera, and a 6 speaker sound system make it a great choice for media and AV uses.
- Price $$$
Desktop computers usually come as just a tower that contains the actual computer system and maybe a mouse and keyboard. That is unless you are using an all-in-one desktop where the screen is inbuilt with the hardware inside so there is no tower.
A lot of the time you will find that desktop computers that are not all-in-one, do not come with a screen.
You will have to get one separately. Because the screens don’t have any capabilities by themselves, they tend to last for a long time so you don’t need to even get one new. You might even have one lying around the house collecting dust or know someone who has.
The screen isn’t a big consideration unless you need enhanced visual displays for your job. If you work in AV technology or need precise pixel clarity for graphic design work then you’ll need to fork out more for a quality monitor.
Otherwise, use your money for the tower and get a monitor on the cheap. This processor has 16 GB of RAM as standard which is really something when you think how much you’d have to pay for a laptop with that much memory.
The link we have chosen for this computer takes you to an approved Amazon Renewed listing. This means that the product is quality assured and it should work and look new.
Renewed products are even cheaper than brand new ones so it could be one option to consider if you’re shopping on a budget.
- Tower only, you will need to buy a monitor separately
- 16GB storage
- 10 USB ports
- Capable of working at corporate multitasking levels
- Specifically designed for business use
- Price $
This computer will serve as a great all-around computer for remote working and leisure use by the whole family.
One of our favorite features that will make any parent sigh with happiness is the handy camera shutter, so you don’t have to be anxious about letting your kids use it safely.
This all-in-one computer has an impressive 27-inch screen size so it’s even good for playing online games (not that you would be doing that during your workday, of course) but it’s a big screen that can make online learning activities even more fun for kids.
It has 12 GB of Ram storage which is good for an all-in-one PC. Acer is renowned for the longevity of its products and the smoothness of its operating systems. It’s a serious competitor of the Apple product we showed you earlier but for a fraction of the price.
- All in One PC
- 12GB RAM storage
- Huge 27” display screen
- Capable of multitasking at speed
- Webcam shutter for privacy
- The screen can tilt from 5 degrees to 25 for ease of use
- Webcam is not reported to be of good quality
- Price $$
Laptop Or Desktop?
That is the big question. You might have always had a laptop or tablet ever since college and never considered switching to a desktop processor, but there are pros and cons for each option.
We’ve laid them out for you so you can choose which priorities are most important for you and understand which features you will need in your new computer.
Laptops are praised for their compact and portable capabilities. Once the technology became small enough to make portable computers possible, laptops started flying off the shelves.
Developers got super excited about continuing in this direction of ‘bigger isn’t necessarily better’ and kept on compacting the laptops.
By around 2010, everyone wanted a netbook or notebook, which had a screen size about as small as today’s i-pads but they were actually tiny laptops with attached keyboards.
They looked like a pretty bulky journal and they died out in a few years when it became clear that their processing powers were so limited that you could not use them as a personal or professional computer to replace a full-sized laptop or desktop computer.
Laptops are still very popular work computers today and the technology keeps improving year after year, but what are the main benefits and drawbacks of laptop computers?
Modern laptops are remarkably lightweight and usually weigh only a pound or two. Laptops come in a range of sizes but most can fit in a good-sized backpack or briefcase.
They do not need to be constantly connected to a power source because they have a rechargeable battery and they tend to be very user-friendly.
There really aren’t many drawbacks to a super portable computer, but one consideration might be that they are easier to steal than bulky desktop computers so if you’re working from a coffee shop or other public setting, make sure you have both eyes on it at all times.
On the other hand, laptops are great choices for those who are required to work from home and in the office part-time, because they can have the same computer for both settings and easily transport it.
If your job involves travel, you will also want to consider a laptop over a desktop one, for ease of taking it with you.
This is both a pro and a con as far as we’re concerned. Battery life in laptops varies a lot, and it depends on what you’re using the laptop for as well as how long you’re using it. Battery life can range from three to eighteen hours of use from a full charge.
Some new laptops only boast three to four hours of battery life and this won’t be much good for people who like to work from anywhere. One of the perks of working from home is that it doesn’t have to be home.
You can travel and work from wherever you are during the set or flexible working hours and if you have a laptop then you have even fewer restrictions of locations that can support your workday.
Some people who work remotely, find that an occasional change of scene has a positive effect on their productivity, but limited battery life can make working outside your house feel like you’re tapping away on a ticking time bomb.
If you work remotely and want a laptop, make sure it has a good amount of battery life so your computer dying mid-task isn’t another thing to add stress to your workday.
Most laptops have similar features such as inbuilt speakers, microphones, web cameras, and capabilities to store and run software that will help you in your work. The quality and capacity of these features are what tend to vary based on price points.
A crystal clear webcam is a must if you want to make a success of working from home. You will need to regularly engage in the horror of teams or zoom calls so a flattering webcam will make it much more bearable to watch yourself squirm for an hour in the weekly briefings.
If design is a key element of your work, then you’ll want to make sure your laptop has a high-resolution screen and a good amount of storage for running those design programs efficiently.
If your work is mostly document work, then you won’t have to worry much about storage. Most laptops should be able to handle regular document work since they don’t take up too much room on the hard drive.
Laptops are not quite as durable as desktop computers, possibly because you’re unlikely to be moving a desktop PC much so there are fewer occasions for it to be dropped, knocked, or incur serious damage.
Because laptops are portable, they are at risk of damage wherever they go, and while an accidental drop might not be D-day for your work laptop, it might seriously damage it.
The main drawback for laptops is that they don’t last forever. After a couple of years of use, the processors slow down, the system gets clogged up with unnecessary files and applications and they just do become less efficient than they used to be.
Like with phones or other electrical devices, the battery life can suffer after a while and it won’t last as long without being charged compared to when it was new.
Laptops vary enormously in quality and longevity, so take into account that you may need to replace a work laptop every two to five years depending on quality.
Desktop computers are the usual type of computer you would find on every desk in a traditional office. That’s what we have come to expect at work, and there are a few good reasons for that.
Let’s have a look at the strengths and weaknesses of a desktop computer in a remote working environment.
A desktop computer usually consists of a screen, a tower, a separate keyboard, and a mouse. Laptops have all this built into one package, but desktops usually don’t.
You can get desktop computers that don’t have a tower and instead have hard drives and processors behind the screen so it’s more like one unit.
Unlike laptops, desktop computers are not portable or lightweight. They tend to be bulky, although not nearly as much as they used to be, and hard to move from one place to another.
If you don’t have a dedicated workspace for your computer to go such as a desk or even an office then laptops are much easier to store away when not in use.
You probably wouldn’t want to set up a desktop computer on your kitchen table and then move it every time the family wants to sit down for a meal.
With laptops, what you see is what you get. It contains the features that it outlines on the box and no more or less than that. But PCs are often easier to customize to your specific needs when you buy a new one.
There are options for increased storage capacity, disc drive inserts, and many more features that you couldn’t change about a laptop.
Desktop computers win the storage battle hands down. They tend to be able to store huge files and programs and process faster and more efficiently than laptops, though this varies by specific product.
Laptops are often more expensive than comparable desktop computers because they have more demands made on them by the consumer.
They need a long battery life which a desktop computer doesn’t because they are constantly connected to a power supply, and laptops need super compact hardware so that it’s thin, light, and portable. This isn’t much of a requirement for PCs since they don’t need to be moved about.
Storage too needs to fit into a small space and hold as much as possible, but desktop computers don’t need to worry about a lack of closet space nearly as much, since they’re expected to be bigger and bulkier anyway so they tend to come with more storage as standard.
Apple Or Windows?
Everyone has a preference, but in our experience, we often find that this is due to a lack of varied sampling rather than a genuine preference for one over the other.
If you’ve always used an apple Mac system computer, then you’ll declare your preference for that, then again if you’ve always used Windows PCs or laptops then you’ll naturally feel more comfortable using that system.
Apple or Windows computers are different to use to each other. If you were used to one and tried to work on the other, it would seem confusing at first and you might feel that finding the things you need may take significantly longer.
That is often enough to put a user off the alternative system but if you persist then you’ll get used to it and you might genuinely find that you prefer Mac over Windows or vice versa.
Some people recommend that if you want to use your computer for design work or audiovisual tasks then Macs excel in this area. For processing word documents, browsing the web, and other more administrative tasks a windows computer will be sufficient.
One key factor you should consider is the price points of the two options. Macs are usually considerably more expensive than Windows alternatives, so if you are on a budget, you might feel that you get more bang for your buck with a Windows computer.
It’s quite possible that the majority of people still won’t be convinced that a desktop computer for all their virtues will work for their specific work situation.
Portability is a big plus for a computer and if you’re smart about your purchase you won’t miss out on much.
While most people find that tablets aren’t a suitable replacement for a real work computer if you don’t have many demands that your work computer needs to tick then a tablet or 2-in-1 convertible computer can be a flexible option for light business use.
If you decide to use a tablet as your work-from-home solution, make sure you get a large screen version so you can see documents clearly, and don’t forget a keyboard attachment so you can type precisely.
Acer, Apple, Dell, Lenovo, Samsung, ASUS, and HP all offer tablets with work capabilities. Where possible, get ones that have attachable keyboards and plenty of storage capacity, because boy, does that run out quick on tablets.
If you need a new computer to start or continue working from home, you will need to consider a few key factors before you make your final choice. First, you will need to balance efficiency with cost.
Unless your employer is offering to pay for the computer, you won’t get much money back on it. Computers depreciate in value rapidly because technology moves on so quickly. Laptops in particular don’t tend to resell well.
So, be prepared that however much you spend, it is coming out of your own pocket and whether you get a thousand dollar or a three hundred dollar computer, your paycheck will be the same.
If you have any mobile obligations with your job, you can probably discount a desktop computer straight away unless you want to balance a tablet out of the house with a desktop in your home.
Laptops are great for portability but lack the kind of storage that comes as standard with traditional desktop computers.
Desktops also tend to last longer than laptops and can perform more high-intensity tasks simultaneously, whereas laptops may struggle to process multiple actions at once.
Tablets can be very inexpensive but are not usually up to the task of dealing with constant work-related multitasking and their battery lives can be a problem too.
Basically, there is no perfect computer that will suit every situation. You will need to decide what the top priorities are for your work computer.
That may be RAM storage, a high-definition screen, processing speed, or portability.
Don’t compromise on the aspect of the computer that is highest up on your list, but be prepared to compromise on the ones further down your priority list especially if you don’t have a lot to spend.
When buying a computer, focus on just one or two things that really matter to you, and then try to get the best deal you can for the price range you have. That’s the best package for you.