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The 7 Best Laptops for Engineering Students

Your laptop is your go-to tool for engineering tasks, so I get it — it should match your needs without burning a hole in your pocket. I’ve done some digging and found laptops that won’t let you down.

Considering factors like price, battery life, CPU, weight, and storage space, what makes a good engineering laptop depends on your focus. If you’re into 3D design, get one that can handle graphics and CAD software. Coders, aim for a laptop with a powerful processor. Simulations more your thing? Look for one with enough RAM.

Whether it’s crunching numbers or bringing 3D models to life, your laptop should adapt to the task at hand and be as versatile as you are. So, let’s explore some solid, budget-friendly laptops that fit the bill for your engineering requirements.

The 7 Best Laptops for Engineering Students

You likely require very specific engineering software to get things done efficiently. And considering you might be living at the dorms, you need a lightweight laptop with a decent battery life. Below are all my top laptop choices regardless of your engineering school or major.

Best overall: MSI Cyborg 15 Gaming Laptop

The MSI Cyborg 15 gaming laptop

Price: $1,089

CPU: 13th Generation Intel Core i7

RAM: 32 GB

Dimensions: 14.15″ L x 9.86″ W x 0.9″ H

Weight: 4.37 pounds

Storage: 1 GB


  • Affordable
  • Awesome specs
  • 64 GB / 2 TB option


  • 720p camera

Hands-down, the best laptop for engineering students is the MSI Cyborg 15. Coincidentally, it’s also a great gaming laptop. This means it’s definitely suitable for the high demands expected out of engineering students. The bonus of using a gaming laptop for engineering is that after a long day of studying, you can plug in for some late-night gaming sessions!

I’ve chosen this as the best engineering laptop because of its specs and price. Like most gaming laptops, the MSI Cyborg 15 can take on quite a bit for just over $1,000. You’ll have no issues running all kinds of software, including Mathcad, AutoCAD, and MATLAB.

Of course, like most laptops, this one also comes with a webcam that will come in handy when reaching out to other students or professors remotely. The backlit keyboard is more of a gaming laptop feature, but it’s a nice plus.

Tip: Check out these gaming computers we recommend if you’re looking for other gaming laptops.

Best budget option: ASUS Chromebook Flip C433

The ASUS Chromebook Flip C433 laptop

Price: $328

CPU: Intel Core m3-8100Y


Dimensions: 12.64″ L x 8.15″ W x 0.65″ H

Weight: 3.31 pounds

Storage: 64 GB


  • Versatile and easy to carry around
  • Flips into tablet mode
  • Great laptop for web surfing
  • Long battery life


  • Low hard drive space
  • Might not run the software you need

Some of the best laptops for an engineering student cost a pretty penny, but you can get a thin and light laptop if you need to. If these other laptops aren’t in your budget, I recommend a high-powered Chromebook like the ASUS Chromebook Flip C433.

This Intel Core machine has a backlit keyboard, and although it can’t compete with gaming laptops and it doesn’t run the Windows operating system (it’s ChromeOS), the price is pretty much unbeatable. Engineering students can get by with the specs in this laptop if most of the work is done online or if this is a supplementary device for things like note-taking, audio recording, word processor work, etc.

Since this is an incredibly lightweight laptop, I think it’s great for more than just engineering needs. It has a 14-inch touchscreen, supports Bluetooth, can charge to full in half an hour and last a solid 10 hours, includes two USB ports, and weighs in at just over 3 pounds. It’s one of the best laptops for anyone on the go.

Best for mechanical engineering students: HP Pavilion 15

The HP Pavilion 15 laptop

Price: $805

CPU: 12th Generation Intel Core i7

RAM: 32 GB

Dimensions: 14.18″ L x 9.21″ W x 0.7″ H

Weight: 3.86 pounds

Storage: 1 TB


  • Very affordable
  • Compatible with demanding workloads
  • Relevant specs


  • Preinstalled bloatware

I’ve never gone wrong buying an HP laptop. The HP Pavilion 15 is a super engineering laptop, specifically, because it has a whopping 32 GB of RAM and a huge 1 TB SSD hard drive. Those specs, coupled with the Intel Core i7 processor make it a beast of a computer for serious engineering work in software like SOLIDWORKS, KeyCreator, and Fusion 360. This laptop exceeds the requirements set by those apps, so you’re in good hands. It’s a Windows laptop (Windows 11 Pro), which is another prerequisite for some of those applications.

Best for software engineering students: ASUS VivoBook 15

The ASUS VivoBook 15 laptop

Price: $323

CPU: 10th Generation Intel Core i3


Dimensions: 14.1″ L x 9.1″ W x 0.78″ H

Weight: 3.75 pounds

Storage: 128 GB


  • Four USB ports
  • Speedy and responsive


  • Low disk space
  • 6-hour battery life

Software engineering programs like Visual Studio Code and Adobe Dreamweaver aren’t super demanding, hardware-wise, meaning you can opt for a budget laptop like the ASUS VivoBook 15. The hard drive space is quite low, but there are four USB ports that can easily support additional storage should you need it. You’re sacrificing battery life at this price point, but it’s a decent laptop that will power all the programs you need for software development purposes. Plus, it’s only a few pounds, so lugging it around between classes won’t be an issue.

Best for aerospace engineering: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 10)

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 10) laptop

Price: $1,300

CPU: 12th Generation Intel Core i7

RAM: 16 GB

Dimensions: 12.43″ L x 8.76″ W x 0.6″ H

Weight: 3 pounds

Storage: 1 TB


  • 11-hour battery life
  • Windows 11 Pro preinstalled


  • Might be noisy
  • Reflective screen

This powerful laptop is designed to handle the demanding tasks required by aerospace engineering students. With its 14-inch touchscreen display, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon provides the ideal workspace for things like viewing CAD drawings and running data analysis. It also features a powerful Intel Core processor, ample RAM for software like nTopology, and incredible battery life for all-day productivity. On top of that, it’s sleek and durable design makes it a perfect companion for students on the go.

Some other things you’ll appreciate are the backlit keyboard, fingerprint reader, and ports. This laptop supports it all: HDMI, 2x USB4 (Thunderbolt 4 and DisplayPort Alt Mode), USB 3.2 Gen 1, and USB 3.2 Gen 1.

Best for civil engineering: M2 Apple MacBook Air

The Apple MacBook Air M2

Price: $1,100

CPU: Apple M2


Dimensions: 9.35″ L x 13.4″ W x 0.45″ H

Weight: 3 pounds

Storage: 256 GB


  • Powerful chip with great battery life
  • Lightweight
  • Silent and fanless
  • 1080p camera


  • Isn’t cheap
  • Few ports
  • No 1 TB option

One of the best laptops for engineering students is the 2023 Apple MacBook Air. It’s a great option for civil engineers who need to run software like TurboCAD Mac Pro. It’s lighter and more portable than most laptops, at just over 3 pounds. It also has a freakishly long battery life of up to 18 hours. The MacBook Air is powered by Apple’s M2 chip, which is incredibly powerful and efficient. All that power is stored in a gorgeous 15.3-inch Liquid Retina display with a high resolution of 2880×1864.

Best for electrical engineering: HP Spectre x360 Luxury 14T

The HP Spectre x360 Luxury 14T laptop

Price: $1,300

CPU: Intel Core i7

RAM: 16 GB

Dimensions: 11.75″ L x 8.67″ W x 0.67″ H

Weight: 10.2 pounds

Storage: 1 TB


  • Decent battery life
  • Includes a stylus


  • It’s heavy
  • On the pricey side

Electrical engineering is a demanding field that requires a powerful and reliable laptop like the HP Spectre x360 Luxury 14T. It has just the right amount of might to handle complex simulations, software development, and data analysis. This versatile laptop is great for engineering work because of its beefy memory and rechargeable Tilt Pen for precision tasks. Another reason I’ve selected this laptop is for its battery life; at 10 hours, you don’t have to race to a power source as you juggle your busy schedule. The 16 GB of memory is ideal if you plan to switch between lots of tasks.

How to choose the best laptop for engineering students

Engineering students require a different laptop than the everyday user. When picking out a laptop, focus on getting one that works well with the software you’ll be using in your specific engineering department, whether that be CATIA, Mathcad, AutoCAD, MATLAB, etc. That’s the most important thing to consider.

This means you should look out for laptops that have a good processor, like an Intel Core i5 or i7, or an AMD Ryzen, and at least 8 GB of RAM. It’s equally important to have a dedicated graphics card, like NVIDIA GeForce or AMD Radeon, especially if you’ll be doing 3D modeling.

I also recommend making sure your laptop has enough storage space, preferably a mix of a fast SSD for quick responses and a bigger HDD for storing things. Think about how portable you need it to be since you might move around a lot. A lighter laptop with a good battery life is handy. Check for different types of ports (like USB and HDMI) to connect to other devices and screens.

Also consider the laptop’s durability because you’ll be using it a lot. Think about the operating system too; some engineering software works only on Windows or macOS. Engineering students spend enough money as is just on tuition, so stick to a budget that fits your needs, but don’t aim too low or you’ll regret buying a low-performing budget laptop just to save a few bucks.


Do I need a powerful laptop as an engineering student?

Whether you need a powerful laptop depends on your specific needs and the type of engineering you’re studying. A general rule of thumb is to have a laptop that can handle demanding tasks required by the specific engineering programs you’ll be using.

How much RAM do I need for engineering?

For basic engineering tasks, 8 GB of RAM is sufficient. Many engineering students might benefit from a bit more, though, like 16 GB. It really depends on the engineering applications you’ll install on your computer.

Is a laptop or iPad better for engineering students?

Laptop features are generally better suited for engineering students than what an iPad can offer. Laptops offer more powerful processors, larger screens, and the ability to run a wider range of software. These are good qualities to have for a variety of tasks, including programming and 3D modeling. iPads are better suited for low-power needs like taking notes, watching videos, and reading books.

Also see these things you should consider when buying a computer.

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