The 5 Best Cheap Linux Laptops to Buy in 2019
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Linux is free and more privacy-focused than other desktop operating systems like Windows, macOS, or Chrome OS. As it is free, open-source software, you can download and install it on any computer.

However, a dedicated Linux laptop will give you a better experience, with the hardware designed for your chosen Linux distro. As the operating system is available for free, many of these cheap Linux laptops are sold at more affordable prices than their Windows or macOS counterparts.

If you’re ready to put a penguin suit on your laptop, check out these best cheap Linux laptops to save money.

1. Acer Aspire E 15

Acer Aspire E 15 Acer Aspire E 15 Buy Now On Amazon $329.00

The best Linux laptop isn’t actually preloaded with Linux, and that’s a common trend you will find. The Acer Aspire E 15 is a Windows 10 machine, but one that is popular among Linux users for being fully compatible with Linux operating systems, especially Ubuntu.

An 8th generation Intel Core i3-8130u processor powers the machine, aided by 6GB of RAM and a 1TB HDD. The Aspire E 15 sports a 15.6-inch Full HD 1920×1080 pixels screen. There is no USB-C to be found, but you get plenty of standard USB ports, and even a DVD Writer—a rarity among laptops today.

A variety of users have tried different Linux distros on the Aspire E 15. In fact, go to the official forum of any Linux OS, and there will be threads about the Aspire E 15. All parts of the laptop work fine with the major distros, making it the best cheap Linux laptop to tinker with different variants.

2. Star Lite Mk II

Star Labs Star Lite Mk II

Star Labs has earned a reputation for making excellent Linux laptops with a choice of different distros. The company previously released the budget-friendly Star Lite laptop, with the refreshed Star Lite Mk II available as of August 2019.

The Star Like Mk II is powered by a quad-core Intel Pentium N4200 processor and 8GB of RAM. It has a 240GB SSD, which is more flash storage than you would normally get at this price.

The laptop has an 11.6-inch Full HD 1920×1080 pixels IPS screen. If you buy the laptop from Star Labs own online store, you can choose between a matte or semi-gloss finish. Similarly, you can also choose between Ubuntu, Mint, or Zorin OS to be pre-installed on your new laptop.

The USB-C port doubles up as a charger for the 7-hour battery, and there are separate USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports as well. There’s even a backlit keyboard too.

If you want better hardware, check out the Star Labs LabTop Mk III, which has a faster processor, larger screen, and increased RAM and storage capacity.

3. Acer Aspire 1 A114

Acer Aspire 1 A114 Acer Aspire 1 A114 Buy Now On Amazon $215.64

Another Windows 10 laptop with great Linux potential is the Acer Aspire 1 A114. It is the cheapest laptop with a 14-inch Full HD screen and a decent enough processor to run Linux. Yes, there are other, cheaper laptops available with some variation of these specifications. However, this combination makes the Aspire 1 a great budget-friendly option to run Linux.

The dual-core Intel Celeron N4000 processor is capable enough for web development, basic media and work usage, alongside general internet browsing. The 4GB of RAM can be a bit limiting, but hey, you have to expect some compromises at a low price point.

The Aspire 1 A114 has been well received too. LaptopMag was surprised by the stylish profile and lightweight chassis. Then there was developer Michael Bethencourt, who  recommends this as the best entry-level Linux laptop.

4. Pine64 Pinebook Pro

Pine64's Pinebook Pro Linux Laptop

Pine64’s Pinebook Pro is one of the best cheap Linux laptops for hobbyists and tinkerers. This model is a follow up to the original Pinebook, but with some notable upgrades.

For starters, it packs a 14-inch Full HD 1920×1080 pixels IPS screen and is powered by a hexa-core ARM processor with 4GB of RAM. The 64GB onboard eMMC flash memory is pre-loaded with a custom Linux Debian operating system. There’s also a microSD slot for for you to expand the on-board storage.

The laptop is encased in a magnesium alloy case, and comes with USB-C as well as USB 3.0 ports. There are also stereo speakers, a Bluetooth 5.0 connection, and all the other bells and whistles you’d expect in a modern laptop.

The Pinebook Pro is best suited to hobbyists, or as a second device. This is because Pine64 attaches some conditions to its laptops. There is only a 30-day manufacturer’s warranty, as opposed to the usual one year warranty on laptops. Also, the company says it won’t replace or compensate you for issues like dead pixels on the screen.

It’s not confidence-inspiring, but if you’re okay with those compromises, it’s a good package overall.

The older 11.6-inch Pinebook 64 is also still available. It’s a nice, albeit dated, laptop. Take a look at our Pinebook 64 review to see if the laptop would be right for you.

5. HP Chromebook 14

HP Chromebook 14 (2019) HP Chromebook 14 (2019) Buy Now On Amazon $221.77

Dedicated Linux laptops are great, but you can also consider Chromebooks. In 2019, Google announced that all newly launched Chromebooks will support Linux software. That’s great news for Linux and Chrome OS fans. This means affordable laptops like the HP Chromebook 14 can provide above-average Linux-compatible hardware at a bargain price.

At this price point, you don’t often see Full HD displays, but that’s exactly what the HP Chromebook 14 delivers. The dual-core Intel Celeron N3350 processor and 4GB of RAM are enough for most everyday tasks. That said, don’t expect to do any major photo editing or gaming on this laptop.

The reviewers at LaptopMag were impressed with the affordable Chromebook 14’s battery life, polished design, and Full HD screen. Other reviewers note that the laptop can sometimes get a bit too hot, and you’ll probably want to add more storage through the microSD slot. However, those are reasonably small trade-offs given the price.

The Best Cheap Linux Laptops

The devices we included in this roundup are some of the best cheap Linux laptops. However, there is another option if you don’t want to break the bank. Instead of a new unit, consider getting a refurbished laptop.

Dell and Lenovo have several high-end laptops pre-installed with Linux. If you opt for a refurbished model, you can get high-end performance at affordable prices. And, of course, if you can afford to spend more, you’ll get a better experience. These awesome Linux laptops 5 Awesome Linux Laptops You Can Buy Right Now 5 Awesome Linux Laptops You Can Buy Right Now Think Linux is hard to use? Many laptop makers offer Linux laptops that don't suffer from any driver or software faults. Read More are a great place to start.

Explore more about: Back to School, Budget, Laptop, Ubuntu.

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  1. Gaby
    January 24, 2019 at 12:31 am

    Based on this article, I went looking to buy an Alpha Litebook or System76 Lemur 14. Could not find one ANYWHERE. Not new, not used - Nada. So based on other recommendations I'm looking at Lenovo. Not much point recommending laptops that aren't available....

  2. Captain Prax
    June 21, 2018 at 8:28 pm

    Unrelated to this article, this is general feedback on the accessibility of web content. It is bad form to apply both link and heading tags to the same text. When a visually-impaired person uses a screen reader, they will often browse content by heading structure. When selecting a heading from the heading list, they are typically taken to that heading in the page. If a link tag is also added, selecting from the heading list activates the link, taking the user to the link instead of the heading on the page, and they miss the page content entirely. It's frustrating for both blind users as well as content creators.

  3. Shaw Lim
    May 30, 2018 at 5:00 am

    "The need for a dedicated machine is difficult to understand." - It's not that difficult. I'd rather pay for a dedicated machine because I don't want my money paying for a Microsoft tax. Microsoft supports causes I don't believe in.

  4. Tom
    March 14, 2018 at 2:54 am

    Stay as far away from Alpha as possible - they're a bunch of thieves. Ordered my Litebook in October 2017 and didn't hear anything for 3 months. Tried emailing, calling, no response.

    Turns out I wasn't the only one getting shafted.. their own forums started getting flooded with angry customers who hadn't heard anything, couldn't get a refund and couldn't even get a response from anyone at the company. Pretty soon the forum admin(s) started deleting all "WHERE THE F@#$ IS MY LAPTOP???" threads (without replying to a single one, of course).

    After 5 months I was finally able to get my money back through my bank, which was the only positive thing in this whole experience.

  5. dearg
    January 25, 2018 at 7:22 pm

    Buy an old Thinkpad x220 or x230. Nothing yet surpasses these devices in pure practicals - sadly.

    • JR Namida
      November 18, 2018 at 3:03 pm

      768 vs 1080 resolution screen makes that a poor choice, in my web surfing opinion.

  6. Mike
    January 19, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    My best advice: Windows 10 with 4+G ram and i-something processor. Dual boot Linux. Be fast, fun and productive - no matter what happens. Some days only Cinnamon will make me happy, other days, i want desktop versions of things like Keep and OneNote etc. Plus, one side repairs the other when the chips are down.

  7. dragonmouth
    January 19, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    Laptops with Linux pre-loaded, being niche products, command a premium price. If you go low price then you compromise on the performance. I find it cheaper to buy a Windows laptop and replace Windows with a distro of MY choice. I pay less for more performance.

    • Jim
      August 9, 2019 at 10:44 am

      I agree. I have had good luck buying refurbished laptops with no OS and installing what I want. I get good value for my money, and doubt the commercial laptops would install an OS I desire to use, let alone a dual boot. Personally I have had good luck with HP laptops this way, but am not recommending them to anyone else. I so wish more companies would offer new laptops and desktops with no OS installed, that would be ideal.

  8. Priswell
    January 13, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    I've migrated entirely to Linux and have bought my last several computers from System76. I've been quite happy. I wouldn't say that they are "cheap", but you get at least your money's worth from them, and Linux is already installed.

    • Mark
      January 14, 2018 at 8:18 pm

      I don't see how you get your moneys worth though. I mean you could literally buy the parts yourself and build it cheaper. I liked the idea of it until just now after specc'ing out a few different options and the prices just don't add up.

      I mean if it works for you, great! But I can't personally justify those prices just because it has Linux? The base laptop is crazy expensive compared to something similar with Win 10.

      I don't know. Seems more cliche' and name dropping to me.