The best Linux laptops of 2024: Expert tested and reviewed

Years ago, we were lucky to have one or two Linux laptop options. Now, you’d be surprised at how many laptops are sold with Linux installed, making it a great time for programmers to use the open-source alternative to Windows and MacOS. Linux-based laptops are also great for high school and college students looking to expand their knowledge and skillsets. Linux is also able to be run on many readily-available Windows laptops, often in tandem, which is great for beginners who may not be ready to invest in a dedicated machine.

With so many options, we can now be selective with how we spend our money. On top of that, we no longer have to do extensive research on other laptops to ensure every component will work with Linux. For those of us who’d been working with Linux for some time, that was more a bother than a problem, but for others, it was a major effort to track down chipset manufacturers and models that went into a particular laptop. Those days are long past, and consumers can now simply purchase a laptop that ships with Linux installed, knowing it will “just work.”

Also: These are the absolute best Linux distros for programming

What is the best Linux laptop right now?

The ZDNET team went hands-on with some of the best laptops on the market that can run Linux, testing their performance, battery, and features. Our pick for the best Linux laptop overall is the Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 Gen 2 thanks to its more affordable price and customization options. Check out the rest of the list to read more about our other top picks. 

The best Linux laptops of 2024

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Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 Gen 2

Best Linux laptop overall

Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 Gen 2 specs – CPU: Up to AMD Ryzen 7 Pro | GPU: Integrated AMD Radeon graphics | RAM: Up to 64GB on Ryzen 7 Pro CPU | Storage: Up to 2TB SSD | Display size: 13.3 inches | Display type: IPS or OLED | Resolution: Up to 2880 x 1800 | Battery life: 14 hours   

Lenovo is no stranger to supporting Linux on their laptops and desktops, and the ThinkPad Z13 Gen 2 offers full support for the operating system. And if you order from Lenovo, you can configure the laptop to fit your exact needs. Verified customers also confirm that you can load Linux Fedora onto the laptop with minimal issues or reconfiguring.

You can choose up to an AMD Ryzen 7 Pro CPU with integrated Radeon graphics, and up to 2TB of storage on a solid state drive. And if you spring for the Ryzen 7 Pro, it can support up to 64GB of DDR5 RAM, but less powerful processors will only support up to 32GB. The 13-inch display is built with either an IPS or OLED panel for smoother motion or enhanced color and contrast. And with up to 14 hours of use on a full charge, you can tinker with source code all day. 


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Dell XPS 15

Best configurable Linux laptop

Dell XPS 15 9530 tech specs – CPU: Up to Intel Core i9-13900H | GPU: Up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 or Intel Arc A370M | RAM: Up to 64GB | Storage: Up to 8TB SSD | Display size: 15.6 inches | Display type: LED or OLED | Resolution: Up to 3.5K | Battery life: 7 hours   

The Dell XPS 15 9530 is a consumer-grade laptop that is an excellent choice for Linux newcomers as well as experienced users. While pre-configured builds are available from retailers like B&H Photo, if you order directly from Dell, you can choose from a variety of CPU, GPU, and storage options. This way, you can tailor the laptop to your exact needs. 

The 15-inch display has both a 3.5K OLED and 1920 x 1200 LED option, letting you choose between incredible color accuracy, contrast, and detailing for creative work and streaming, or a more budget-friendly option for entry-level programmers and coders. ZDNET’s June Wan traded his MacBook for the Dell XPS 15 for a month, praising the 7-hour battery life and variety of connectivity options. Verified reviewers who purchased it were also able to get between 7 and 8 hours of use out of their XPS 15 laptops.

Dell XPS 15 by the window

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Acer Swift Edge

Best AMD-based Linux laptop

Acer Swift Edge 16 specs – CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 7840U | GPU: AMD Radeon integrated graphics | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 1TB SSD | Display size: 16 inches | Display type: OLED | Resolution: 3200 x 2000 | Battery life: 7 hours   

The Acer Swift Edge 16 is an excellent, AMD-based laptop that supports three different versions of Linux: RHEL x86 64-Bit, Ubuntu x86 64-Bit, and SLED/SLES 15. The AMD Ryzen 7 7840U processor uses the brand’s new AI engine for better power efficiency and performance, letting you multitask with fewer issues.  

ZDNET’s Cesar Cadenas got to do some hands-on testing with the Acer Swift Edge 16, praising its incredible display and lightweight design. He even pushed the CPU to its limit by opening several dozen tabs in Google Chrome (a notorious CPU hog), and “not once did [he] experience any drops in frame rates; everything ran smoothly.” Customers who bought the Acer Swift Edge also love the large display and lightweight design.


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MSI Stealth Studio

Best Linux laptop for gaming

MSI Stealth Studio specs – CPU: Up to Intel Core i9-13900H | GPU: Up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 | RAM: Up to 64GB | Storage: Up to 2TB SSD | Display size: 14-17 inches | Display type: IPS | Resolution: 1440p | Battery life: 4 hours   

While the Linux gaming community is small, more and more developers are offering support for popular versions like Ubuntu. The MSI Stealth Studio is an excellent gaming laptop that also offers support for Linux, allowing you to run a dual-boot system for tinkering.  

The display is available in 14, 15, and 17-inch sizes; all of which offer great 1440p resolution and up to a 240Hz refresh rate for better detailing and smoother motion. You can also configure the Stealth Studio with up to 64GB of RAM and up to 2TB of storage, giving you plenty of storage and memory for programming projects as well as large game libraries. Customers who bought the MSI Stealth Studio agree with my testing results that the 4-hour battery life is a bit disappointing, but the laptop more than makes up for it in sheer power.

Close-up of the MSI Stealth Studio laptop

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Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2

Best battery life in a Linux laptop

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2 specs – CPU: Up to Intel Core i7-13800H | GPU: Up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 | RAM: Up to 64GB | Storage: Up to 2TB SSD | Display size: 14 inches | Display type: LCD | Resolution: 2400 x 1600 | Battery life: 19 hours   

The Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2 offers one of the best battery lives on the market, let alone for a Linux-capable machine. On a full charge, you can get up to 19 hours of use. This means that you can take it to work with you, tackling your workflow in Windows, and then boot up in Linux at home and tinker with projects until dinner.  

The Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2 also sports a 2-in-1 design that allows you to use it both as a traditional laptop and as a tablet. And you can configure it with up to 64GB of RAM, a 2TB SSD, and up to an Nvidia RTX 4060 graphics card for all of the power, storage, and memory you’ll need for creative projects, programming, and streaming. Verified reviewers who bought the Surface Laptop Studio 2 love its ultra-portability as well as the 14-hour battery life.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2

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My choice for the best Linux laptop is the Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 Gen 2. Lenovo is no stranger to offering Linux support for their laptops and desktops, and the ThinkPad Z13 takes the cake. It also offers several configuration options to help tailor the laptop to your specific work, learning, or hobbyist programmer/coder needs. It also has a more affordable price than some other options on the market, retailing for about $1200. This makes it a great option for beginners and hobbyists who might not want to drop a lot of money on something they may not use much.

Best Linux laptop



Battery life

Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 Gen 2


Up to AMD Ryzen 7 PRO/AMD Radeon 740M 

14 hours

Dell XPS 15 9530


Up to Intel Core i9-13900H/Up to Nvidia RTX 4070 or Intel Arc A370M

7 hours

Acer Swift Edge 16


AMD Ryzen 7 7840U/AMD Radeon integrated graphics

7 hours

MSI Stealth Studio


Up to Intel Core i9-13900H/Up to Nvidia RTX 4090

4 hours

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2


Up to Intel Core i7-13800H/Up to Nvidia RTX 4060

19 hours

*MSRP at time of writing. Please note that actual retail pricing may vary depending on the seller as well as available deals and promotions.

It depends on how much experience you have using the Linux operating system. If you’re just starting out, you’ll want to opt for a laptop with lower-end components and configurations as well as a lower price. By opting for less sophisticated, less expensive laptops, you can cut your teeth on Linux without losing a ton of money if it turns out not to be your cup of tea. 

However, if you’re running with more experienced Linux crowds, you may want to consider laptops with more powerful processors and graphics cards to help you create programs or work with Linux source code.

Buy this best Linux laptop…

If you need…

Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 Gen 2

A well-rounded laptop for working in Linux. Lenovo offers full Linux support for the ThinkPad Z13 Gen 2 as well as customization options.

Dell XPS 15 9530

A highly configurable Linux Laptop. The Dell XPS 15 9530 offers multiple configuration options to tailor the laptop to your specific work needs.

Acer Swift Edge 16

A Linux laptop with an incredible display. The Acer Swift Edge 16 is built with an OLED panel for enhanced color and contrast as well as up to 3.2K resolution.

MSI Stealth Studio

A Linux-capable laptop for gaming. The MSI Stealth Studio offers up to a 17-inch display and up to an Nvidia RTX 4090 graphics card.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2

A Linux laptop with a long battery life. The Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2 offers up to 19 hours of use on a full charge.

What makes a machine worthy of belonging to the best Linux laptop list? Obviously, it has to work with Linux and not require the user to do any of the work to make that happen. Beyond that, here are the key features we considered when completing hands-on testing to compile this list:

  • Performance: I included laptops with current or last-generation components. This ensures that you’ll get the best performance out of your new Linux laptop.
  • Design: Not all laptops are designed the same way. I chose laptops with both eye-catching, gamer-inspired designs as well as laptops that would fit right in a traditional office setting.
  • Cost: Since Linux can run on just about any laptop as long as the hardware is supported, you can choose an older model (or even a used one) to load the operating system onto. This means you can save money on upgrades, especially if you’re just starting out learning Linux.
  • Open-source support: Linux is an open-source operating system. You can find tons of online communities dedicated to learning Linux, tweaking source code, and reporting issues.

While we were researching and testing each Linux-compatible laptop on this list, we kept these criteria in mind:

  • Brand integrity: It may be tempting to spring for that ultra-cheap, unfamiliar brand, but what you’ll save, you’ll end up paying for later trying to deal with shady customer service or replacing failing parts. Each laptop on this list has been chosen from reputable brands with robust return and exchange policies as well as excellent customer service.
  • Dual boot: Many Linux enthusiasts may also need or want to run a secondary operating system like Windows or MacOS on their computer for completing certain tasks. Each laptop we’ve chosen has been verified to be able to run at least one other operating system aside from Linux.
  • Configurability: No two users will have the exact same needs when using a Linux laptop. Each model chosen for our list has been verified to allow users to drop in new components, expand memory, and add storage drives.

Linux is an open-source operating system, created by Linus Torvalds, that is not only suited for desktops and laptops, but for enterprise-grade servers, container deployments, the cloud, and much more. Linux is available as a distribution and can be downloaded and installed for free on as many machines as you need.

This is a bit of a complicated answer.

Yes, you can run Linux operating systems on MacBooks, Mac Minis, and Mac desktops. But there’s a catch: you have to opt for an older model that uses an Intel Core processor instead of Apple’s own M1 or M2 chips. Apple’s silicon chips are starting to see Linux hobbyists and pros alike build support, but at the time of writing, the only reliable way to get Linux to run on an M1/M2 Mac is to use a virtual machine which is a type of emulation program.

The biggest hurdles you’ll have to face when using Linux over Windows or MacOS are the learning curve and general lack of support from brand-name software companies. Since Linux is an open-source operating system, there isn’t a single, unified version like there is for Windows 11 or macOS Catalina. This means that it’s much more difficult to program applications like games, video players, and even weather apps to work consistently across all versions of Linux. Different versions also mean that just because you’re familiar with Ubuntu, that doesn’t mean your expertise will be of any use on a machine that runs a different Linux dispo.

Also: Windows, Mac, or Linux? We compare the pros and cons of these computing platforms

When talking about programming and coding, you may come across the term “open-source.” This just means that the original code for a program (like Linux or VLC Media Player) is freely available to the public for downloading, distribution, and modifying.  

Linux is popular with programmers since it is open-source, which means that it’s easy to try and make your own modifications or command lists. Or you can work together with the Linux community to resolve common bug issues or create new support programs for hardware like Apple’s M3 Silicon Chips. 

The great thing about Linux is that it is an open source operating system. Which means there are a lot of different versions out there on forums and also the Internet Archive. And since there are so many different release versions, newcomers looking to save money on their first dedicated or dual-boot Linux machine can pick up a vintage computer at a thrift store, estate sale, or other secondhand store and likely find an operating system version that will run with it.

A thread on the Linux Mint Forums is full of users who were able to use various versions of Linux Mint as well as Puppy (a version of Linux designed to be run from a flash drive, making it great for hobbyists who restore vintage tech) and Ubuntu on Windows Vista and Windows 98 computers (which intrepid tech hunters may be able to find for a bargain at a thrift store or secondhand online). And Tech Tangents on YouTube, a channel dedicated to restoring and archiving retro computer hardware and software, was able to revive a TeleVideo 950 terminal that was originally released in 1980 and use a version of Linux on it. 

Here are a few other noteworthy options we’d recommend for your next Linux laptop. 

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