In search for a laptop that can run Kali Linux? Don’t worry! This list has you covered!
Kali Linux is a powerful Linux distribution based on Debian OS. It has been used for advanced security penetration testing and research, computer forensics, and other highly secured areas over the internet. With all this in hand, it is an immensely powerful operating system and requires some of the powerful and expensive machines.
The Linux distribution systems are associated with most hackers (both ethical and unethical). Companies all around the world are looking for security experts who can perform penetration testing to find out any loopholes in their security systems.
Computers & Laptops are mostly bought by normal consumers (who aren’t much into hacking or security research); that’s why most of the models come installed with Windows OS, macOS, or Ubuntu. However, if you are developing a passion for penetration testing, ethical hacking, or security researching, then Kali Linux has some utilities in handy, making things easier for you!
You don’t need a supercomputer to run the Kali Linux, but you surely need good specifications or an extraordinary laptop that can withstand long duration pentesting, hacking sessions, etc. Let’s first get down to the system requirements for the laptops since it will help you understand more.
Here just for the list? Jump to the list!
- Minimum & Recommended System Requirements
- Best Laptops for Kali Linux in 2021
- 1. Best Overall: Acer Predator Helios 300
- 2. Best Runner Up: Dell G5 15
- 3. Best with GTX 1070: Alienware 17 R4
- 4. Best 17-inch Machine: Asus VivoBook Pro
- 5. Best with Intel i5: MSI GV62 8RD-275
- 6. Best with MacOS: Apple MacBook Pro
- 7. Best Thin Laptop: ASUS VivoBook M580VD
- 8. Best with Dual Storage: Lenovo IdeaPad Y700
- The Verdict
Minimum & Recommended System Requirements
Well, you can’t run the Kali Linux if there are hardware limitations! Since the main purpose of the laptop you are going to buy will be using Kali Linux, make sure that it meets all the minimum required specifications to run it. We have mentioned the minimum system requirements to run Kali Linux and recommended system requirements for the best performance. Let’s get into the specs?
|Minimum System Requirements||Recommended System Requirements|
|CPU||8th Gen Intel Core i5||9th Gen Intel Core i7 or better|
|Storage||128GB SSD||512GB SSD|
|Display||13.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080)||15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)|
|Graphics||2GB NVIDIA GeForce MX150||4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650|
|Battery||Up to 4 hours||Up to 8 hours|
- Processor: A powerful processor is the biggest asset for running this powerful Linux operating system. Every CPU is compatible with the Kali Linux system. Either be it dual-core or multi-core processor or either of i3/i5/i7 processors. But we would recommend going for the Intel i5 or i7 processor. The reason we would not recommend i3 would be that it could slow down the entire process and it would be useless overall.
- RAM: The minimum requirement has to be 2GB to only run the Kali Linux in a laptop. But if we would recommend it has been more than 8GB RAM. Assuming the fact that isn’t any kind of a drill, but a serious work that needs a proper memory capacity.
- Storage: Firstly, during the installation process, about 20GB space will be taken by Kali Linux. On further processes such as penetrating testing, it will need a hell of a lot of free space. The more the better. So, anything that is above at least 128GB space. Could go to even 1TB space which will be an incredible option altogether.
- Graphics Card: There aren’t any specific requirements when it comes to graphics cards. But still, it is always better to have a good option at the best cost. Well, the biggest name for this is the NVIDIA graphics card with the best in the name.
- Battery Life: The fact that we know is, this is going to be a powerful system along with a powerful laptop. It is very necessary to have a good laptop with excellent battery power to last long. An average laptop provides 6-7 hours of battery power, but using Kali Linux will drain the battery easier. So, make sure the laptop you consider has a longer battery life.
- Weight: It is applicable for every laptop. If the laptop is thin, it is preferred more than the others. People travel each day and they would love any laptop that has a stylish yet thin structure. Lightweight laptops would be perfect to be taken from place to place.
- Brand: This isn’t something of a necessity. But brand name surely speaks for itself. We always prefer to go for trusted laptop brands such as Apple, Dell, MSI, Acer, Lenovo, HP, etc. There are always good chances that some of these brands may not suit you at its best. So it is your call in the end.
Well, these are some of the basic requirements along with the recommended requirements that will guide you to choose the best option there is for the Kali Linux.
Best Laptops for Kali Linux in 2021
|Acer Predator Helios 300|
|Dell G5 15|
|Alienware 17 R4|
|Asus VivoBook Pro|
|MSI GV62 8RD-275|
|Apple MacBook Pro|
|ASUS VivoBook M580VD|
|Lenovo IdeaPad Y700|
Before we take you to the list of laptops, you need to understand that finding a laptop is not going to be an easy task for you. If you are new to it, read everything mentioned in the blog post. However, if you are a pro and have a pretty good idea about laptops, just check out the top-rated models and choose the one that fits your needs!
There are laptops mentioned in the list with different price ranges and specifications which you can choose from as per your need. Let’s get to the list.
1. Best Overall: Acer Predator Helios 300
If you are considering a career as a certified ethical hacker, penetration tester, or security analyst with inclinations towards digital forensics, the Debian-based, Kali Linux is the best platform to consider. However, not every gadget is good enough to run this Linux distribution and this is why it is advisable to focus on the tried and tested, Acer Predator Helios 300, as your preferred professional ally.
Starting off, the Intel Core i7-10750H processor is one of the better options for your exploitation tools, vulnerability analysis, sniffing, and stress testing processes. The new-gen hexa-core SoC has every resource up its sleeve to handle every Kali Linux resource without breaking a sweat. Besides, a majority of penetration tests are single-threaded, which make the best use of the turbo boost technology. This attribute allows the SoC to reach the highest possible clock speeds of up to 5GHz.
While the GPU doesn’t have a major role to play, the Predator Helios 300 still stacks in the RTX 2060 graphics card, just to be on the safer side. For some of the more complex penetration testing tasks and wireless attack monitoring, the CPU can readily offload some of the tasks to the existing GPU, considering the processing firepower offered by the parallel CUDA cores and 4GB of VRAM.
The 16GB DDR4 RAM is an essential computing element, especially when penetration testing and other Kali Linux processes are concerned. As you would need insane processing speeds, the 2933MHz RAM is one of your best assets in play for running point on the Kali Linux. Storage-wise, there is a 512GB SSD unit available for usage. However, we expected a bigger storage space considering the massive size of the Kali Linux platform, which turns down to around 20GB upon installation.
Regardless, the SSD is still good enough for booting up the pre-existing Windows 10 Home OS, in virtually no time. Coming to the display, Acer persists with a 15.6-inch Full HD panel that flaunts an overall resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. While the display isn’t one of the major concerns for ethical hackers, it is always good to have a widescreen panel like this for skimming through the academic resources and other relevant insights.
However, we were most impressed by the 4-zone backlit keyboard as testers and analysts can benefit from the excellent feedback mechanisms, including the soft trackpad. Besides, Acer also makes room for several professional tidbits, including an HD webcam, stereo speakers, and serviceable mics.
As a Kali Linux user, you need to prepare yourself for the insane amounts of emanated heat. However, the exceptional thermal layout associated with the Predator Helios 300 is a virtual lifesaver, courtesy of the AeroBlade Fan and symmetrical placement of vents. The gadget does get a bit beefed-up in the process and ends up weighing slightly north of the 5-pound mark.
As far as the port arrangement is concerned, you get the Type-C, Type-A, HDMI 2.0, and almost every other slot for legacy peripherals and external displays. In case you want to connect with the internet for accessing cloud-resources, the Gig Ethernet support and the Wi-Fi 6 standard come in handy. Acer also guarantees a 6-hour backup on regular usage but you cannot expect more than a couple of hours when the gadget is being used extensively for penetration testing and digital forensics.
Summing up, the Acer Predator Helios 300 is loaded with several professionally-aligned specifications and should be one of your top choices for relevant Kali Linux processes and tools.
- 10th gen hexa-core processor
- Ultrafast RAM
- Powerful RTX 20-series GPU
- Wi-Fi 6 support
- Upgradeable storage via 2 PCIe slots and Hard drive bay
- No Thunderbolt 3 port
2. Best Runner Up: Dell G5 15
The Dell G5 15 is a great option when it comes to performance and a good price range overall. It has been equipped with 9th Gen Intel Core i7 processor. Moreover, it gives more speed and stabilization to everything you run on the system such as a high-end system Kali Linux.
The 15.6-inch FHD Anti-Glare LED backlight Non-Touch narrow Border IPS display is another remarkable addition to this powerful laptop. Since this laptop has been built especially for gamers, you can expect high performance to run the Kali Linux on it.
Having the perfect combo of RAM and storage makes it suitable to run the virtual machine, to carry out all the testing and hacking for further security purposes. It has 16GB of RAM and 256GB SSD + 1TB SATA HDD. You will hardly need to buy any external memory or storage capacity. Furthermore, it comes with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card, one of the best there is.
The design has been made for you to keep the system cool and avoid overheating. An innovative Dual-fan Cooling System with an advanced thermal design ensures that your system stays cool as the action heats up. But all of this fits in an 8.65-pound machine all together which is not at all suitable for traveling. So, you may have to fix it in some place as a system.
The laptop is said to have an average battery life. With Kali Linux, it lasts for a maximum of 4 hours, which isn’t a great option but surely you may have to bear it. For connections, it has 1x USB Type-C (with Thunderbolt 3), 3x USB-A 3.1, DisplayPort, HDMI 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet, 3.5mm audio jack, Memory card reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC).
- Powerful i7 processor
- Affordable and durable laptop for long term use
- Incredible backlit display
- Perfect RAM and Storage capacity
- Dual-fan cooling system
- Average battery life
- Noisy fans
3. Best with GTX 1070: Alienware 17 R4
The Alienware 17 R4 is truly one of a kind laptop. It is probably one of the best machines for Kali Linux in almost every section of its specifications and features. It runs on the 7th generation Intel Core i7-7820HK processor, one of the best options in this category. It gives an incredible speed and performance to the system and the applications you are using.
With a massive 17.3-inch anti-glare display, enjoy all the amazing picture quality. It has been specially designed for gamers with 4ms response time, wide viewing angles, 400 nits of brightness and NVIDIA G-sync technology on select modules. Also, the graphics card i.e. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 with 8GB GDDR5 graphics is the best among all. Not only it provides stunning graphics but also enough memory to store all the videos in it.
Well, the RAM and storage capacity has surely left a mark. It has 16GB RAM that can be expanded to 32GB of system memory for extensive usage. Also, the storage capacity is everything and more. With an incredible 256GB SSD with 1TB HDD, store all secure files with no need to adding up any extra storage.
The best part above all has to be the stunning design of this laptop hai. The true meaning of the name it contains, something out of this world. Utilizing magnesium alloy for rigidity, copper for better performance and steel for tactile comfort, it features a high-quality design for high-performance Kali Linux usage. Other than it has been provided with two huge ventilation kind-of system to pass out any excessive heat. This is why it weighs about a massive 9.7 pounds, surely one of the heaviest among the ones listed here.
The biggest disappointment with this laptop is its battery. Even though it says approx 4 hours of capacity, it only works for a maximum of 2 hours while using Kali Linux. Also, the most unique part is its graphics card being equipped with VR technology by bringing physically realistic visuals, sound, touch interactions, and simulated environments to virtual reality.
- Mind-bending graphics with VR technology
- Massive display
- Powerful processor
- Huge RAM and storage capacity
- Best-in-class design
- Poor battery life
- Expensive Product
4. Best 17-inch Machine: Asus VivoBook Pro
The Asus VivoBook Pro is yet another great addition by ASUS to its Vivobook series and looks perfect for Kali Linux. The incredible 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor will provide better speed and accuracy all the way along. With an amazing 17.3-inch Full HD panel and a super sleek stylish design is more than one could ask for in a laptop.
It features a 16GB DDR4 RAM which is expandable up to 32GB to provide even higher performance overall and more speed. With a storage capacity of 256GB SSD along with 1TB HDD is clearly sufficient for Kali Linux to run perfectly well. For a much comfortable experience, it has been equipped with a backlit keyboard with a dedicated numeric keypad. Furthermore, for a much deeper and rich color on the screen, it has an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card with an incredible storage space of 4GB.
The GTX 1050 is slightly underpowered when compared to the GTX 1060. However, it is capable enough to run heavy games like PUBG, Fortnite, and more. Not just that, it can also handle 3D modeling software including AutoCAD, Maya, Blender, REVIT, and more.
It has a battery capacity of approx. 8 hours for normal usage. Bit since we would be using Kali Linux which is itself a high-end system it may run up-to at least 4-5 hours. So overall, the battery is pretty good as compared to other laptops in this category. If you are looking for a laptop with an immersive sound system, this could be the best choice. Dual-coil, front-mounted stereo speakers deliver the loudest, clearest audio possible for your experience.
In connectivity options, it has USB 3.0, USB 2.0, HDMI, LAN, and SD card ports for hassle-free compatibility with a wide range of peripherals, displays, and projectors. The price is on an average range and is affordable if you are ready to add some extra bucks to your budget.
- Super slim and stylish design
- Affordable and mid-range product
- Comfortable Keyboard and stunning graphics
- Excellent battery life
- The perfect combo of SSD and HDD
- Noisy fan
- No fingerprint reader included
5. Best with Intel i5: MSI GV62 8RD-275
The MSI GV62 8RD-275 is a stunning high-end laptop perfect to run Kali Linux that requires such laptops for better performance. With a 2.3GHz Intel Core i5 processor you can experience incredibly great speed and increasing the performance further by boosting it to 4GHz. It features an amazing 15.6-inch Full HD IPS-Level display for great picture quality on the screen.
With a storage capacity of 256GB SSD with 8GB DDR4 RAM memory experience provides an unmatchable speed that can be expanded to about 32GB at your convenience. The overall design seems to be alright and much thinner than anticipated. The body is made of matte black plastic which is kind of stylish overall and great to work on. Well, the backlit keyboard has been made of Steel series Engine 3, perfect for all your activities. You may be surprised to see how heavy this laptop can be. Surely not one to be taken around.
The most significant part of this laptop is the amazing cooling system. It has 2 fans, 2 exhausts, and 6 copper heat pipes. There are most likely no heating issues to the system. Furthermore, it features an incredible NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 TI graphics card with 4GB DDR5 memory. Visually, it has brilliant image and video graphics. Still, the performance is pretty average overall.
In connectivity options, this laptop features Nahimic 3 Digital 7.1 Audio Enhancer, MSI App player, Dragon Center Management App, 1 x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.1 along with a USB 3.1 type C port which is incredible. With a battery life of approx 5 hours, using Kali Linux may decrease the efficiency even further.
- Super slim and lightweight
- Excellent RGB keyboard
- Affordable and durable
- Great tech support
- Great for clocking your CPU speed
- Battery life is poor
- Not Portable and very heavy
6. Best with MacOS: Apple MacBook Pro
The Apple MacBook Pro is one of the best Apple laptops available in the retail arena. Undoubtedly, it has one of the most unique designs. It has a 13.3-inch full HD display with an excellent Retina screen. Nonetheless, it has a powerful 3.2GHz Apple M1 8-Core procesor.
This newly designed Macbook has 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD. You wouldn’t believe it, but the SSD memory can be upgraded to an astonishing 2TB storage. It will be a great addition to your system since penetration testing using Kali Linux may need loads of space and anything better is always a good option. Furthermore, you can even upgrade the RAM up to 32GB memory capacity as the needs persist.
The most important part is the battery life undoubtedly. It provides 10 hours of continuous heavy usage on a single charge. It is a huge fact that Kali Linux uses up a lot of battery power since it is used for ethical hacking and other purposes. Having a good battery life is always something you should look for. The touch bar is something you may have never seen before. All your applications can be used with specific functions through this bar.
For added security, an Apple T2 chip has been provided in the system. The chips include a secure enclave coprocessor and encrypted storage capability. It has beautiful fingerprint security on the top-right corner at the end of the touch bar. Ironically, Kali Linux is used for hacking and security testing this could come in handy.
Additionally, you get a 2 x Thunderbolt 4 (Type C) USB 3.1 (Gen 2) port for charging, display port, and faster data transfer. Macbooks are always very easy to be carried around since they are super sleek and very light. Well, this is a costly product just like all the other Apple products which you are already aware of.
- Amazing Display
- Touch ID
- Fast SSD storage
- Fluid macOS
- Durable, unique and stylish design
- Only 2, Type C USB ports
7. Best Thin Laptop: ASUS VivoBook M580VD
The ASUS VivoBook M580VD is a great machine manufactured by the company to continue with its VivoBook series. It runs on Intel Core i7-7700HQ quad-core 2.8GHz processor. This is a 7th generation processor and performs fabulous no matter the circumstance. Also, the amazing color-rich 15.6-inch Full HD display will provide you anti-glare and excellent picture quality.
It features a 16GB RAM memory, which is enough to run a powerful system such as Kali Linux. You can also add up extra RAM to this laptop if need persists further. Also, the storage capacity is way beyond what you would expect. With an incredible 256GB SSD and 1TB HDD storage, you get enough space to save all your files and get a balanced speed overall. The GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card with a 4GB space to run all the incredible HD videos and images in the best picture quality on your screens.
This laptop weighs only 5.1 pounds ideal for you to carry around with yourself while you travel. Moreover, it is super sleek and delivers best-in-class performance. Since this is a Gaming Laptop, its high end Intelligent cooling system will keep your laptop from overheating while you are working on the Kali Linux all day long.
Furthermore, the battery life is just about 5 hours for regular usage but if you would be using ut for Kali Linux it would go further below i.e. 3-4 hours at the most. Overall, this high-end laptop may not be the best option for battery power. Additionally, it comes with a handful of ports such as USB 3.1 Type-C (Gen1), USB 3.1 Type-A, USB 2.0, & HDMI. 178-degree wide-view technology, etc.
- High powered performance
- Incredible RAM and storage capacity
- Durable and Slim
- Portable and lightweight
- Stunning design
- Poor battery life
- Average display
8. Best with Dual Storage: Lenovo IdeaPad Y700
The Lenovo IdeaPad Y700 is a beast when it comes to the display size. Well, considering the Kali Linux, this could surely be a great option to have a 17.3-inch LED-Lit FHD anti-glare IPS display. Also, the 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor is something to look out for. Just as we spoke in our last section, that i7 could be the best choice if we want a fast and powerful performance from this laptop.
With an incredible 16GB RAM you can do wonders with this machine. On the storage front, it has been equipped with 1TB HDD along with a 128GB SSD drive. This combination surely is amazing and will make the system even faster. Furthermore, you may not need to buy an external hard drive to install it in your system. If at all you wish to increase the SSD space, you can surely do so.
The design is amazing as compared to what we have seen on other laptops. It looks unique and extraordinary. The speakers are on both the top hand side of the keyboard with external vibrant red in color. Probably the best sound quality among any of the laptops available. But the laptop is way too heavy. It weighs around 7.72 pounds and may not be the perfect option if you are a traveler. But other than that it is an excellent option.
Coming to the battery life, you may not be thrilled with this. Even though it is estimated to provide 5 hours of capacity, but with the Kali Linux, it may not last long. It has been equipped with an amazing NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M graphics card, that provides great picture quality on the massive display.
- Strong build quality and unique design
- Powerful i7 processor
- Excellent graphics
- Contains both HDD and SSD storage
- Affordable price range
- Very heavy
- Poor battery life
We’re pretty sure you may have made your choice by now. We did not make a list of over 20+ laptops as they are much more confusing when selecting one option. So a small yet highly reviewed and a curated list has been mentioned.
You may get confused big time if you go on looking for yourself on various websites. Keeping everything in mind, such as price range, features, use, etc., the list is ready and good to go. Make sure to go through every specification since each one of them is unique in its own special way.
If, after all this, you are unsure and cannot decide on your own. Please leave a comment below about your issues, and we will try to solve them for you.