It doesn’t matter whether you are a YouTuber who wants a fast laptop to edit & render videos, upload them, and make creative graphics or just want a device to YouTube watching, this list has the best-rated options.
You should not pick a laptop that is only capable of editing videos, you’ll need to look at a lot of other things. For instance, if you’re a vlogger or travel a lot, then you shall purchase a thin and portable device. If you’re into making short films, you should consider getting a machine with a fast GPU and a better display.
The good thing is you don’t have to do huge research to find a laptop which comes with a good battery life, decent display quality, enough performance power to handle the codecs, and above all, the reliability to not flake out in the middle of a critical edit.
To make sure that we’re only suggesting relevant models, The Freedom 251 team interviewed 61 YouTubers where each of them have uploaded more than 300 high quality videos and have more than 100,000 followers, some of them even were close to achieving the 1 million subscriber target.
- Minimum & Recommended System Requirements
- 8 Best Laptops For YouTube in 2021
- 1. Best Overall: MSI GL65 Leopard
- 2. Best Runner Up: Dell G3 15 3500
- 3. Best for Video Editing: Apple MacBook Pro
- 4. Best Value for Money: HP Envy 15
- 5. Best Storage Allocation: ASUS ROG Strix G
- 6. Best for Content Creators: Dell XPS 15 7590
- 7. Best Ultrabook with 4K Panel: ASUS ZenBook 15
- 8. Cheap Laptop For YouTube: Lenovo IdeaPad L340 15
- How to Choose the Best Laptop for YouTube?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- The Verdict
Minimum & Recommended System Requirements
Since video editing is the primary purpose, we’ve focused on machines with hardware decoders to speed up the process. For min spec, you’re guaranteed to be able to perform 1080p edits with LUTs and effects applied. While the minimum required specifications are enough for mid-end video editing, Laptops with recommended specs shall be more than powerful and should easily handle all-day workloads and 4K video edits.
|Minimum System Requirements||Recommended System Requirements|
|CPU||9th Gen Intel Core i5||9th Gen Intel Core i7|
|Storage||256GB SSD||512GB SSD|
|Display||15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080)||15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)|
|GPU||4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti||4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650|
|Battery||Up to 4 hours||Up to 8 hours|
8 Best Laptops For YouTube in 2021
A YouTuber’s machine needs to be powerful and reliable. It needs to be smooth enough to allow for 4K edits of high-resolution RAW files, and fast enough to export the produced video within minutes. Allowing for various budgets and different use-cases, we also finalized some devices that would be perfect for beginners, and some that are great for content creators and even filmmaking on the go.
1. Best Overall: MSI GL65 Leopard
Are you looking for the best laptop for YouTube editing? The MSI GL65 is top pick.
The MSI GL65 Leopard is not only perfect for YouTube editing, but it is also capable of running high-end games, and performing resource intensive tasks such as 3D modeling, machine learning, etc. Besides, you can also use it to live stream your gameplay on Twitch.
CPU and GPU
Powered by an Intel Core i7-10750H and an RTX 2070 GPU, this powerful combo will handle all your gaming and editing needs. This 6-core CPU can clock to 5GHz when given the right thermal headroom, which this laptop has. The GPU, being of the RTX variety, is great for video encoding and gaming as well.
The RTX series graphics cards from NVIDIA feature a dedicated NVENC video encoder that’s brilliant for live streams and supports NVIDIA Broadcast, a tool for removing noise from audio (music production) and separating you from your background.
RAM and Storage
You get 16GB RAM pre-installed, but you can swap them out for two higher capacity DIMMs if you wish to. The 512GB SSD is also an upgradeable M.2 drive, and you get the option to toss in an additional 2.5-inch SSD if required. MSI sells the device with Windows 10 Home and a bunch of free, gaming-focused utilities.
The 15.6-inch FHD IPS-level screen is designed with gamers in mind is configured to run at a 144Hz refresh rate (which is not fastest refresh rate, but is perfect for those fast-paced gaming sessions.) It’s not ideal for professional video editing, but for non-critical work, and for gaming streams on YouTube, it’s perfect.
Design, Keyboard and Ports
The chassis allows for a full-size keyboard that features per-key RGB lighting for added bling. The keyboard also supports anti-ghosting features and macros, with the right software. Port selection is generous and includes 3x USB-A 3.2 Gen1, 1x USB-C 3.2 Gen2, 1x SD (XC/HC). 1x (4K at 30Hz) HDMI, 1x Mini-DisplayPort, 1x RJ45. The SD card is nice to have in a YouTuber’s machine.
A 45W CPU and a 100+ W GPU don’t lend themselves well to battery conservation efforts. You will thus be lucky to extract more than 3-5 hrs of use from this machine under light workloads, and perhaps only an hour or so under gaming or when exporting large video files. Still, if you need a fast, powerful laptop for your YouTube work, that’s a compromise you’ll have to live with.
- Powerful hardware
- Upgradeable chassis
- Great display for gaming
- Good cooling
- Per key RGB is nice
- Can get loud
2. Best Runner Up: Dell G3 15 3500
Weird naming convention aside, the Dell Gaming G3 15 3500 (See what we mean?) is a solid, capable machine for editing YouTube videos. Although, it isn’t as powerful as the MSI GL65 so can take a little extra time to produce video renders, but it’s still a fast laptop.
CPU and GPU
It’s powered by a fast, Intel Core i7-10750H with a base clock of 2.6GHz, and a GTX 1650 Ti from NVIDIA. Now this GPU isn’t exactly great for gaming — it gets the job done is all, but it’s excellent for video editing and streaming. Like NVIDIA’s RTX cards, the 1650 Ti supports NVENC, a hardware-accelerated video encoder that helps capture and transcode video with little to no system overhead.
RAM and Storage
The 16GB of RAM in dual-channel mode and 512GB of SSD-based storage round out the config. Notably, both the RAM and SSD can be upgraded by the user, though there are no empty slots built into the chassis. For software, you get a copy of Windows 10 Home and Alienware Control Centre for dealing with thermals and some amount of personalization.
Display and Keyboard
The 15.6-inch FHD screen is a gaming-focused 144Hz panel, and at 300 nits, it also happens to be brighter than the average laptop display. As expected the size of the display allows for a roomy, full-size keyboard with Numpad.
The keyboard and trackpad both has backlit support, but you’re only getting a 4-zone backlight instead of a per-key backlight which isn’t a deal breaker unless you’re going to spend a lot of time writing on your laptop.
Design and Weight
The design features less bling than most gaming laptops and Dell has instead opted for a more understated matte black finish with blue accents. The laptop weighs in at a rather beefy 5.2lb, but that’s to be expected from a larger gaming machine.
The generous port selection includes a full-size SD card reader, a must for any YouTuber machine. The rest of the ports include 2x USB 2.0 ports, a 3.5mm combo jack, HDMI 2.0, a USB-A 3.2 Gen1 slot, RJ4 Ethernet, and a USB-C port with a DP alt-mode.
Battery life isn’t great but is par for the course in gaming laptop land. You’ll get about 4 hours in regular use and perhaps a couple of hours when gaming. For editing YouTube videos on the go, and live-streaming from some remote location, this laptop is ready.
- 144Hz display
- NVENC support for video
- Powerful CPU
- Understated for a gaming laptop
- Great keyboard
- Poor battery life
- USB 2.0 ports in 2021
3. Best for Video Editing: Apple MacBook Pro
When it comes to content creation, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is, quite simply, the very best you can get. Sure, it doesn’t have the latest 11th Gen CPU or NVIDIA’s top-of-the-line GPU, but Apple optimizations more than make up for that, and you won’t find a display of this quality on any other laptop.
CPU and GPU
As with all modern MacBook devices, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is powered by two processors: an Intel Core i7-9750H, and an Apple T2 chip. These are paired with a Radeon 5300M graphics chip for heavy, compute workloads. The T2 chip handles video decode/encode, real-time disk encryption, and a host of other features.
RAM and Storage
The base model 16-inch is configured with 16GB of high-speed DDR4 RAM and 512GB of storage. Neither is upgradeable and we’d strongly recommend upgrading either or both to at least 32GB RAM and 1TB SSD storage respectively.
The display is simply stunning. While most Windows laptop makers struggle to offer 250-nit FHD screens with 100% sRGB coverage, Apple offers a 3072 x 1920 display that goes to 500 nits and covers 150% of the sRGB spectrum (DCI-P3). Only a handful of specialized laptops offer a better display.
Keyboard and Trackpad
As far as user input goes, you’re getting one of the best-backlit keyboards in the business — sans Numpad — and the largest and best trackpad on any device. In fact, Apple’s trackpads are so good and so integral a part of the UI design that you won’t feel the need to use a mouse, even if you’re editing video.
Design and Ports
The design is classic Apple and can, by itself, justify the premium that Apple demands. You get a slim, 16-inch chassis that’s made almost entirely of aluminum, and it feels solid, durable, and expensive. At just over 4lb, the chassis is also very light.
Ports are the one area where the MacBook falls flat. Despite its size, Apple only includes 4x USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports. These are fast, and all are rated for 100W power delivery and 40Gbps bandwidth, but you simply cannot get by without dongles. Thankfully, there’s also a 3.5mm combo jack.
Battery, Microphone and Speakers
Packing in the largest battery legally permitted in a laptop, a studio-quality microphone, fantastic speakers, a stunning display, and performance that will put desktop PCs to shame, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is, without any doubt, the best content creator’s laptop out there. Oh, and a bonus feature: Apple’s Macs don’t lose performance on battery power.
Watch out for Apple’s new M1 Macs, though. The svelte M1-powered MacBook Air is more than able to give this beefy 16-inch monster a run for its money on all fronts.
- Fantastic display
- The best speakers on a laptop
- Studio-quality mic
- Monstrous trackpad
- Uncompromised performance
- M1 Macs are cheaper, lighter, and faster
- Limited ports
4. Best Value for Money: HP Envy 15
If you don’t want a MacBook but still want something quiet, refined, and elegant, maybe you should consider the HP Envy 15. If the design doesn’t appeal, then perhaps the powerful CPU, 18-hr battery life, and superb display will.
CPU and GPU
A 2.6GHz Core i7-10750H takes care of number-crunching needs while an Nvidia 1650 Ti handles graphical duties. The CPU is a powerhouse and best suited for photo editing and coding tasks, while that GPU will chew through esports titles and even some modern games at low-med settings.
RAM and Storage
For RAM and storage, you get 16GB and 512GB respectively. The RAM is configured in dual channel mode and the SSD is of the NVMe M.2 variety, and both are user-upgradeable. HP’s OS of choice is Windows 10 Home.
The display is a gorgeous 15.6-inch unit with 400 nits of brightness and full sRGB coverage. This makes it HDR 400 compliant, which is not only great for consuming HDR YouTube content, but also for creating high quality, color-accurate video. Oh, and it’s a touchscreen to boot, so doodling on your YouTube thumbnails is indeed an option.
Speakers, Keyboard and Trackpad
Taking a page out of Apple’s design book, HP’s opted to give the Envy 15 larger, top-firing speakers instead of going for a full-size keyboard with Numpad. Speaking of, the keyboard is backlit and a pleasure to use.
Design and Ports
The design is classy and elegant, and the panels are not plastered over with tacky stickers. The white finish just adds to the elegance of the design. But it’s not all just looks, though. You get plenty of ports, including 2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, 2x USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 with PD and DP1.4, 1x microSD card reader, and a 3.5mm combo jack.
At 4.74lb, the Envy 15 is lighter than most 15-inch devices, and part of those weight savings come from the use of a more efficient vapor chamber cooling system. This laptop is classy, runs quiet and cool, and boasts a great display and 18 hours of battery life. What’s not to like?
- Vapor chamber cooling
- Bright, punchy display
- Classy design
- Runs cool
- Superb battery life
- microSD card slot
- No Thunderbolt support
5. Best Storage Allocation: ASUS ROG Strix G
This ASUS ROG Strip G model might not be fast for a gaming laptop, but for a YouTuber’s video editing machine, it’s fast enough. If nothing else, you’ll appreciate the 1TB of NVMe storage that’s included.
CPU and GPU
The sub-$1000 notebook uses an older CPU model, the Intel Core i7-9750H, but don’t fret. It’s just as fast and effective as the newer 10750H and all you’re missing out on is support for wireless protocols that aren’t mainstream yet and certain AI acceleration features that are also not very popular. The 1650 GPU is alright for gaming but excellent for video editing, audio editing, graphic designing, and other relevant needs.
RAM and Storage
There’s 16GB of dual-channel RAM and 1TB of NVMe storage installed. That last is a welcome upgrade from the 512GB that tends to be the default on most higher-end laptops these days. With 1TB of storage, you’ll have plenty of room for your video projects and won’t need to bother with carrying external storage around. On the software front, you get Windows 10 Home as the OS, and ASUS ROG Armoury Crate to handle performance and fan speed.
The 15.6-inch FHD display is nothing special. It’s only rated at 200 nits and 45% NTSC, which isn’t enough for color-critical workflows. It’s a decent screen for budget-friendly laptops, however, which the Strix G is. Just remember that when color matters, plug in an external display.
Speakers, Keyboard and Touchpad
ASUS has used the additional width of the 15-inch screen to incorporate larger speakers instead of a larger keyboard. The keyboard features RGB backlighting and gaming features like N-key rollover and curved keycaps.
Design and Ports
The design of this ASUS gaming laptop is simple and sturdy, with the chassis being made of a mix of plastic and metal. It comes in all black, with only the RGB backlight adding some bling. Being a gaming laptop with quite a beefy cooling setup, the laptop is a bit heavy and comes in at about 5.2lb.
For ports, you get 3x USB-A 3.2 Gen1, 1x USB-C 3.2 Gen2 with DP alt mode, a 3.5mm combo jack, an HDMI 2.0b port, but sadly, no SD card reader. With so much room taken up by the cooling system, and considering the fact that the Strix G is running on older hardware, the estimated battery life of 3 hours is acceptable.
The Strix G isn’t the fastest or the most interesting laptop around, but it is affordable, and a capable video editing machine. If you’re on a tighter budget, this laptop will get the job done.
- 1TB SSD storage
- Good value
- 10Gbps support on USB-C
- Gaming keyboard
- Relatively large speakers
- Poor quality display
- Sub-par battery life
6. Best for Content Creators: Dell XPS 15 7590
Dell’s XPS line stands for premium quality and performance. With the XPS 7590, which is an older laptop model, you can expect quality but perhaps not cutting edge performance. Still, at this price, we’re not complaining.
Powering this 15-inch Dell is an Intel Core i7-9750H. Considering that Intel’s 11th Gen CPUs have been out a while, this two generations-old CPU does seem disappointing. However, its performance is nearly at par with Intel’s newer 10th Gen and 11th Gen CPUs, so there’s nothing really to complain about.
GPU, RAM and Storage
The GPU, a GTX 1650, isn’t the greatest for gaming, but with NVENC support and an adequate grunt for photo and video editing, it’s a great choice for a YouTuber’s kit. This GPU is aided by 8GB of RAM and storage needs are handled by a 512GB SSD. Dell has gone with the unusual choice of installing two 4GB RAM modules so an upgrade will require that you swap out both sticks.
OS and Display
Windows 10 Home runs beautifully on this machine and looks fantastic on this bright, 500-nit display. The 100% sRGB coverage certainly does help as well. With HDR support and excellent color accuracy, the XPS 15’s display is ideally suited for photo and video editing work, which is exactly what a content creator needs.
Speakers and Keyboard
You get a Numpad-less backlit keyboard, which could be disappointing for editors who tend to use a lot of shortcuts. That being said, the extra space is taken up by larger, more powerful speakers for a better music experience. The keyboard incorporates a fingerprint reader.
Design and Ports
As expected from a premium laptop, the XPS 15 certainly looks the part. Its smooth metal finish looks great, and the thin bezels give it a nice, modern look. Those bezels are possible, in part, due to the presence of what Dell is claiming to be the ‘world’s smallest HD webcam’ making room for attending Skype calls and/or Zoom meetings. The whole contraption weighs about 4lb, which is very light for a 15-inch device.
Ports include a full-size SD card slot (Yay!), 2x USB 3.1 Gen1 ports, HDMI 2.0, Thunderbolt 3 over USB-C with PD and DP1.2 support, and a 3.5mm combo audio jack. Battery life is claimed to be 6 hours.
This Dell XPS 15 isn’t the most powerful laptop you can get, but it does happen to one of the slimmest laptops you can get. It’s powerful enough for video editing — though it could do with a bit more RAM — and for a creator on the go, this is a great option.
- One of the slimmest 15-inch laptops
- Superb display
- Dual-channel memory
- Good speakers
- SD card slot
- Not very powerful for gaming
- Older hardware
7. Best Ultrabook with 4K Panel: ASUS ZenBook 15
The ZenBook 15 happens to be one of the lightest 15-inch Ultrabooks around, and if you’re a traveling YouTuber, a slim and light device like this is just what you need.
CPU and GPU
Since this is such a slim device, ASUS very thoughtfully went with a U series i7, the 10510U, and the Max-Q variant of the GTX 1650 GPU. Both components are designed to provide excellent performance without generating too much heat and putting much strain on the battery. Performance does take a hit, but that’s the trade-off you make when opting for a thin and travel-friendly laptop.
RAM, Storage and Display
Windows 10 Home is installed on the 512GB SSD, and you get 16GB RAM for all your memory requirements. All of this is mated to a calibrated 15-inch display with a 4K resolution. For creation or media consumption, few displays are better.
Keyboard and Touchpad
But that’s not the only display on the ZenBook 15. Beneath the backlit keyboard, where you’d normally find the touchpad, ASUS has stuffed a 5.6-inch display. Called ScreenPad 2.0, this display masquerades as a touchpad but transforms into a secondary display when needed. The display can give quick access to frequently used apps, act as a touch input in graphics apps, and even play host to an app’s toolkit and menu structure.
Design and Ports
The ZenBook 15 is designed like an Ultrabook and is very slim, measuring just 0.7 inches at its thickest point. Given the low-power processing components, the cooling system needn’t be too beefy, which allows ASUS to keep the weigh the ZenBook 15 down in the 3.6lb range.
Despite that ultra-slim chassis, port selection is decent. Besides the screened and nano-edge display, you get a Windows Hello compatible IR camera, an SD card reader, 2x USB-A ports, 1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port, HDMI, a 3.5mm combo jack, and support for Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant of all things.
With a 71Whr battery promising a whopping 15.3 hours of battery life, the ZenBook could really be the perfect 15-inch Ultrabook.
- Fantastic battery life
- Superb 4K display
- Vanishingly slim bezels
- Excellent keyboard
- Secondary screen in touchpad
- Low-power components
- Speakers could have been louder
8. Cheap Laptop For YouTube: Lenovo IdeaPad L340 15
CPU and GPU
For a YouTuber on a budget, we’d recommend the Lenovo IdeaPad L340 15. With an i5-9300H CPU and GTX 1650 GPU, the L340 isn’t very fast, but it has the right components to at least let you make edits without holding you back for lack of features.
RAM and Storage
Since this 2.4GHz quad-core processor isn’t that powerful, you can get away with the 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD variant of the L340. This is not a setup you can comfortably edit 4K video on, so storage or RAM won’t be much of a problem. The bundled Windows 10 Home will run just fine on this config.
This is a budget laptop so the 15.6-inch FHD display isn’t very fast or bright. It’s there to get a job done and fit in a budget, and so it does. If you need better colors or resolution, you can easily plug in an external display.
Lenovo’s gone with a full-size keyboard with blue backlighting here. It’s large and roomy and comfortable to use. The body is only slightly wider than the keyboard and is made of plastic and brushed aluminum. The design can best be described as basic but functional.
Design and Ports
Weighing 4.8lb has enough I/O for most users. This includes 2x USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 ports, a USB-C port, HDMI 2.0, an RJ45 Ethernet jack, and a 3.5mm combo jack. Lenovo says the battery will last up to 9 hours. When gaming or editing, this should fall to under 3.
If you’re looking for the sub-$700 video editing laptop for YouTube, you’ve found it.
- Dirt cheap, but still good value
- Light for a 15 inch
- Powerful for a budget machine
- Enough I/O for most users
- Elegant design
- Poor quality display
- Battery life under load is poor
How to Choose the Best Laptop for YouTube?
YouTubers, especially vloggers, tend to produce videos at the rate of one a day. For such a fast-paced workflow, you need a fast, reliable machine that can render videos without melting down or stuttering. To achieve this, you need a machine that’s well optimised for your specific workflow. Choose wisely.
For video editing, you need a fast CPU with more cores, and preferably one with QuickSync support. QuickSync, an Intel feature that accelerates video transcoding, is an integral part of editing programs like Premiere Pro, and are of immense benefit when exporting video. Ideally, you’d want at least a modern 6-core CPU like the Intel Core i7-10750H. Once AMD’s more powerful 5000 series CPUs become widely available, however, those are the devices you should be aiming for.
A good GPU will do wonders to the performance of your timeline and exports. It’s an integral part of the video editing process, and it’s best not to scrimp out in this department. If you’re going with a Windows device, you at least need an Nvidia Turing card like the GTX 1650. A more powerful card like the RTX 2060 or 70 can be even more useful if you work in motion graphics programs like After Effects.
If you’re streaming games or live streaming vlogs, you will, again, need a Turing GPU. Here again, an RTX GPU is more beneficial because of support for AI features such as real-time noise and background removal.
On a Mac, an M1 chip is ideal for most edits, but if you’re working with large RAW file and heavy effects in non-native programs like After Effects and DaVinci Resolve, opt for the most powerful AMD GPU you can afford.
Video editing is extremely memory intensive. If you’re only editing 1080p video, you might get away with 8GB RAM, but 16GB is the minimum we’d expect you to have, with 32GB being the preferred amount. Ideally, get a laptop with upgradeable RAM. It’s far cheaper to upgrade it yourself than to pay a company to install it.
SSD storage is a must. The fast response time of the drive will make your editing experience a lot smoother. For capacity, we’d recommend going with 1TB, though 512GB is also manageable, provided the drive is mostly empty. Alternatively, you could invest in a fast external SSD like the Samsung T7.
This is critical. If you don’t get a display with good color accuracy, you simply won’t be able to edit videos properly. How will you know if your scene is white-balanced correctly or properly exposed if you can’t tell pink from red? 100% sRGB coverage is the minimum you need for good edits, though if you can get your hands on a MacBook and its 100% DCI-P3 display, you’ll be set for life.
Frequently Asked Questions
As a content creator, do I need Windows or macOS?
Generally speaking, the software is better optimized for macOS than for Windows. However, if you need more power, flexibility, and upgradeability, a premium Windows machine is cheaper in the long run.
What do I need for livesteaming video games on YouTube?
For streamers, the best option is a laptop with an NVIDIA RTX GPU. These GPUs can run games with all effects turned on, while also encoding the video stream and cleaning up your audio and camera feed.
Should I spend more on internal storage or on an external drive?
Ideally, you want to be editing everything off an internal drive and then backing up to an external one. For FHD projects, a 512GB SSD should do. For 4K, a 1TB drive is recommended. For an external drive, use something fast, like a Samsung T7.
Can Ultrabooks handle heavy video edits?
They can, provided you work with proxies. Since Ultrabooks are usually configured with low-power components, however, be warned that exporting your final video will take a while.
The laptops here are all perfectly suited for video editing work, but they each have strengths and weaknesses that lend themselves well to different types of editors. Depending on your budget, and the kind of projects you’re working on, here are our recommendations:
- Unless you’re a gamer, the best laptop for video editing has to be Apple’s 16-inch MacBook Pro. By any measure, it is the complete package. Apple’s own performance optimizations aside, no other laptop comes bundled with studio-quality mics and speakers, and support for the DCI-P3 color space for the display. It’s simply unmatched.
- If you travel a lot, go for something like the ASUS ZenBook 15. It’s a fast, powerful Ultrabook that you can slip into a satchel and not notice the weight.
- For gamers, we’d recommend the MSI GL65 Leopard. It’s a big, beefy machine, but it’s packing a powerful NVIDIA RTX 2070 GPU and will handle AAA titles and a livestream with ease. Just remember that it is completely useless on battery power and will run noisy and hot when gaming or editing.