Best MacBooks for Students in 2024: Ranked

All MacBooks are great for education and learning. But which one should you pick?

If you are confused about selecting the best MacBooks for students? Then don't worry. You are in just the right place.

Apple manufactures MacBook (Pro and Air) which are some of the best student laptops on the market. These also double as best lightweight and well-built laptops – something students will always appreciate because they must carry their laptops to and from classrooms. So, although a MacBook might sound like an expensive option, it will smoothly get you through your upcoming study years and beyond.

Best MacBooks for Students

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Choosing the best MacBook for college students can take time and effort. Though there are only two MacBook lines right now — the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro — each contains a wide range of models. Nevertheless, depending on your requirements, there's undoubtedly a perfect MacBook for you out there.

The best MacBook for college students will vary depending on their major, how much time they spend carrying their laptop around the campus, and how long it needs to run on a single charge. For your benefit, I have listed the best MacBooks available for students in this article.

Let us review my picks for the five best MacBooks for students to buy in 2023.

MacBook Air (M2, 2022)

The best MacBook overall. Also, best entry-level MacBook at "a budget". Useful for students having general needs as well as mid-performance needs like Graphic Design, Video Editing, Production Design and CAD. It can do everything other Macs can do. Never experience any noticeable difference to be honest.

Cupertino announced Apple silicon in mid-2020, starting with an impressive M1 processor. The 2022 MacBook Air is the first product with a second-gen M2 processor. It is one of the best MacBooks for students and arguably the ideal Mac for all users because it offers many features for people on a smaller budget.

For example, the MacBook Air has an impressive battery life of up to 18 hours between charges, depending on your activities. It’s enough to comfortably put it ahead of the Windows competition, especially considering its performance. The most surprising fact is that it does all this while staying quiet and cool without fans.

Despite having the same screen size as the most miniature MacBook Pro model, it is the lightest Mac on the market, weighing only 2.7 pounds. In addition, it contains all vital internal components, including Apple's new M2 SoC. Also, it features a Touch ID sensor and a backlit Magic Keyboard.

Although the MacBook Air is undoubtedly impressive, it has certain flaws, including less display brightness, fewer Thunderbolt 3 ports, and relatively inferior speakers than most MacBook Pro models. Compared to the 13-inch MacBook Pro (M2, 2022), it offers two hours less battery life between charges. The newly added MagSafe charging frees up its two Thunderbolt 4 ports for other uses.

The most significant consideration with the MacBook Air M2 is its price if you want to upgrade from the $1,199 base model. Since the Air M1 costs around $999, so you will pay a premium for the M2 model. On the other hand, if you find yourself touching the $1,499 mark for your configuration, you may want to consider the base 14-inch MacBook Pro.

The Air M2 is an excellent choice if you want a MacBook under $1,500.

MacBook Pro 16-inch (M2 Max, 2023)

The ultimate MacBook. Useful for students having high performance needs like Video Editing, Production Design and CAD.

It won’t be inaccurate to call the 16-inch MacBook Pro with M2 Max the "ultimate MacBook," at least for now. You might think that means it belongs at the top of this list, but the price makes it an option you need to mull over carefully, regardless of how stunningly amazing it is.

Starting at $3,099, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is one of the most expensive models and is well out of most students’ budgets. However, you should go for it if you can afford it and want the biggest and best MacBook without worrying about the price.

The notebook’s design is more or less the same as the 2021 model. However, I’m not complaining about that just yet because it means the new model retains the highly coveted full HDMI and SDXC card reader. In addition, it has an excellent battery life of almost 19 hours and features a splendid Super Retina XDR mini-LED display, a robust sound system, and a highly comfortable keyboard.

I still advise using a gaming laptop with a discrete GPU if you want the best overall gaming experience. However, it is nice that the 16-inch MacBook Pro has finally emerged as a formidable competitor in this realm enough to please most casual gamers.

Overall, the 16-inch MacBook Pro with M2 Max is among the best student laptops on the market. The only significant obstacle you have to face is its exorbitant price.

MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

Two years after its initial release, the MacBook Air M1 remains the best MacBook for the majority of users in <$1000 range. It's such a great laptop that the upgrades are optional for most students, and Apple is still keeping it around to maintain that sub- $ 1,000 starting price. Often, you can easily purchase it for $899 or less.

The Air M1’s performance still outclasses every comparably priced ultrathin Windows laptop. It comfortably delivers nearly 18 hours of battery life between charges, depending on your actions. It is powerful and efficient enough to accomplish all typical computing tasks smoothly and can outperform most competitors.

The Air’s Magic keyboard is comfortable to type on. Despite being shallow, its keys are clicky and require the proper force to actuate. Its 4.7 x 3.2-inch trackpad is enormous and takes up a good portion of the deck beneath the keyboard. The powerful stereo speakers flanking the keyboard sound crisp and can get quite loud.

You might be wondering whether or not to choose the MacBook Air over the Pro. Although the latter has a better-sustained performance, the Air is cheaper and works silently because it doesn't have a fan. Moreover, Apple's least expensive 13.3-inch model is the most portable – it is only 0.6 inches thick and weighs just 2.8 pounds. Along with an M1 chip, it offers a backlit Magic Keyboard and a Touch ID sensor.

The MacBook Air M1 is a fantastic combination of power and endurance. If you are okay with the older design, it is one of the best laptop deals, even when it's not discounted. I recommend it to any student considering a new MacBook.

13-inch MacBook Pro (M2, 2022)

Although the MacBook Pro M2 did not receive the fancy redesign of the new MacBook Air, the internal upgrade gives it a much more robust performance boost than many expected. As a result, it stays well ahead of the Windows 11 competition at its price point and beyond.

Even though it packs so much power into its surprisingly sleek and slim chassis, the 13-inch MacBook Pro M2 provides an almost unbelievable 18+ hours of battery life. As a result, it comfortably finds a place in the list of laptops with the best battery life currently available in the market.

Also, the M2 does much more than improve endurance and speed. Its webcam, although unfortunately still 720p, has a yet again improved image processing unit and is much better than before. Since it runs on Apple's ARM-based architecture, it supports all iPad and iPhone apps. You can also efficiently run all your favorite iOS games on your laptop.

Everything else about the MacBook Pro M2 will feel familiar to Apple users; it features the same design Apple has used for years. Its Magic Keyboard feels great to type on and is also remarkably reliable. Although I was a bit unhappy seeing the TouchBar returning, some people liked it. Moreover, the laptop’s notch-less screen will undoubtedly please quite a few users.

Overall, the MacBook Pro M2 is one of the fastest and most potent premium laptops in the market and delivers on every one of the company's claims.

14-inch MacBook Pro (2023)

Apple upset many fans by not releasing the M2 Pro or M2 Max chips at the end of 2022. However, the new Apple Silicon arrived soon afterward and offered most of the features fans hoped for. For example, it has more cores on the CPU and GPU, greater power, a stunning display, a sharp and accurate webcam, a comfortable keyboard, and robust speakers.

Everyone’s focus is on the 16-inch and 14-inch M2 Max and M2 Pro, respectively. They have identical internal components and offer the same RAM, chip, and storage options. However, the latter has a 14.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display with 3024 × 1964 pixels. Therefore, it is an excellent choice if you're aiming for the most potent MacBook available currently but require a slightly smaller display.

On the left side, the M2 Pro has a pair of Thunderbolt 4 ports, a headset jack, and the proprietary MagSafe 3 charger on the left side. The right side has another Thunderbolt 4 port, an SDXC card reader, and an HDMI port. It weighs 3.5 pounds and features state-of-the-art ProMotion technology – a variable refresh rate that can ramp the rate up to 120Hz depending on what’s on the screen, giving you a smoother viewing experience.

The laptop delivers incredible sound quality, primarily due to its high-end hardware. It has six speakers, four force-canceling woofers, and two tweeters complemented by Apple’s spatial audio technology to create a very believable illusion of 3D audio. In addition, its Magic Keyboard has large, springy keys with generous spacing, including a full-height set of function keys. Likewise, its 5.1 x 3.4-inch Force Touch trackpad is spacious and responsive.

However, with a starting price of ~$1,999, the M2 Pro 14-inch MacBook Pro is rather expensive. If you can, try going for 16-inch version.


For students who need a laptop for high school or college, the MacBook Air (M2, 2022) is the best option in 2023. Whether you need to write papers, put together a PowerPoint slideshow, or edit images for a presentation, the Air M2 will reliably help you with your academic pursuits.

The MacBook Air (2020) is another excellent choice if you have a limited budget. It has a superfast M1 chip, Touch ID sensor, and backlit Magic Keyboard. Also, you can find it at great discounts depending on where and when you look.

Finally, students looking for the most potent option may consider the MacBook Pro range with the latest M2 Pro or M2 Max chip on the 2023 models. Although they are relatively costly, they ensure fantastic performances and are sure to last long.

Last update on 2024-07-15 using Amazon Product Advertising API.