The 5 best budget gaming laptops of 2023

The 5 best budget gaming laptops of 2023

Gaming laptops can cost a pretty penny, but even top brands like HP, Asus, and Dell offer budget-friendly and entry-level models for anyone who wants a decent gaming experience or to game on the go without emptying their wallet. 

For this list, I tried to keep my picks for budget gaming laptops under $1,000, but with the chip shortage and stock issues, don’t be surprised if retailers start to bump up price tags a bit. Fortunately, there are some models, like the HP Victus that let you configure your laptop while still coming in under $1,100. I chose both Intel and AMD-based models to help you find the best gaming laptop that suits not only your budget but your playstyle as well.

With these things in mind, if you’re looking to treat yourself or someone else, these laptops are perfect for gaming and they won’t take a Pac-Man-sized bite out of your budget.


  • Nvidia GeForce 3050 Ti
  • 144Hz refresh rate
  • Excellent battery
  • Dolby Atmos


  • No Thunderbolt support
  • No VRR support

Tech specs: CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 6000 series | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti | Display: 15.6-inch FHD | Refresh Rate: 144Hz | Battery life: Up to 12 hours

The Asus TUF A15 is an excellent choice if you’re in the market for a budget-friendly gaming laptop. It’s priced comfortably under $1000 while still offering top-notch features like a 144Hz refresh rate, support for Dolby Atmos, and an RGB backlit keyboard. It’s built with a 6000 series AMD Ryzen 7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics card for all the power and storage you need for the latest indie and triple-A titles. The battery is also impressive, offering up to 12 hours of use on a full charge.


  • Great battery life
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • User upgradeable
  • Alienware Command Center


  • No USB-C charging/display output
  • Heavy
  • Only supports up to 32GB RAM

Tech specs: CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600H | RAM: 8GB DDR4 3200MHz | Storage: 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 4GB GDDR6 | Display: 15.6-inch FHD | Refresh Rate: 120Hz | Battery Life: 10 hours

Even though the retail price for this gaming laptop sits comfortably under $1000, it’s still packed to the brim with premium hardware. It’s built around an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H CPU and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card, giving you more than enough power to play the latest AAA titles. The base configuration comes with just 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, but you can upgrade these yourself later on if you need more memory and storage. 

Meanwhile, the native 120Hz refresh rate gives you buttery smooth action, and the anti-glare coating on the 1080p screen improves viewing angles by cutting down on reflections from overhead lights. Wi-Fi 6 compatibility gives you ultra-fast wireless internet speeds to give you the edge you need to win fast-paced online matches. And the 10-hour battery life lets you either game all night or use the G15 as a workstation during the day.


  • Decent battery life
  • DTS:X audio
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • 144-Hz display
  • User upgradeable


  • Heavy
  • Only supports up to 32GB RAM
  • Only supports Crucial brand components

Tech specs: CPU: Intel Core i7-11800H | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Storage: 512GB SSD | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti | Display: 15.6-inch FHD | Refresh Rate: 144Hz | Battery life: 8 hours

This model from Acer has some welcome upgrades and improvements over previous Nitro 5 iterations which had Intel Core i5 processors. With an 11th gen Intel Core i7 and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics card, you’ll be able to handle all but the most graphically demanding titles. Wi-Fi 6 connectivity gives you faster wireless internet speeds than before, while DTS:X audio creates richer, more immersive audio without the need for a headset. 

It also features improved heat dissipation than previous models. While other gaming laptops might need a cooling pad to maintain optimal performance, the Acer Nitro 5 has twin cooling fans and four vents to draw waste heat away from delicate components and allow your laptop to run at optimal temperatures for longer. And with 8-hour battery life, you can marathon your favorite games well into the night before you need to worry about plugging in.


  • Supports up to 64GB of RAM
  • 144Hz refresh rate
  • Intel Core i5 or i7


  • Somewhat disappointing battery life

Tech specs: CPU: Intel Core i5 or i7 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 | Display: 15.6-inch FHD | Refresh Rate: 144Hz | Battery life: 4 hours

If you’re an Intel loyalist and looking to buy a cheap gaming laptop, check out the MSI Sword 15. You can choose between an Intel Core i5 or i7 CPU, and it’s outfitted with 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card. The 15.6-inch display provides a 144Hz refresh rate for buttery smooth motion as well as 1080p resolution for enhanced detailing. And if you want something that will adapt with you, the MSI Sword supports up to 64GB of RAM, so you can upgrade as you go.


  • Great battery
  • Affordable configurations
  • User upgradeable
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Bang & Olufsen audio


  • Only one USB-C port
  • RGB backlighting costs extra
  • No fast charging

Tech specs: CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 6600H | RAM: 16GB DDR5 4800MHz | Storage: 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 | Display: 16.1-inch FHD | Refresh rate: 144Hz | Battery life: 9 hours

The HP Omen base model is one of the most budget-friendly gaming laptops you can buy right now, and it’s a solid machine with excellent components, like the GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card. There are plenty of other affordable upgrades you can choose from like 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, or you can upgrade the laptop yourself at a later date so you can catch components on sale. 

Also, this laptop features both Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity for faster internet speeds and more stable wireless connections to peripherals like headsets and mice so you don’t have to worry about dropping out of team chat in the middle of a match or your mouse disconnecting at an important moment. On a full charge, the battery gives you up to 9 hours of use so you can game well into the evening.

My pick for the best budget gaming laptop is the Asus TUF A15. Not only is it priced just right, but it also still offers great components like a 6000 series AMD Ryzen 7 CPU and Nvidia GeForce 3050 Ti graphics card. It also has one of the most impressive batteries in a gaming laptop, offering up to 12 hours of use on a full charge.

Budget gaming laptop



Battery life

Asus TUF A15


AMD Ryzen 7 6000 series/Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti

Up to 12 hours

Dell G15


  AMD Ryzen 5 6600H/Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050

10 hours

Acer Nitro 5


Intel Core i7-11800H/Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti

8 hours

MSI Sword


Intel Core i5 or i7/Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 

4 hours

HP Omen 16


AMD Ryzen 5 5600H/Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650

9 hours

Specs are usually overrated when it comes to picking a PC, but not when it comes to gaming systems. Purchasing a cheap gaming laptop is definitely a case where you have to get the most bang for the fewest bucks without sacrificing your gaming experience. It’s a careful balance, though, as doubling your RAM or getting a better graphics card will impact your budget. The closer you get to the $1,000 price point, the more likely you’ll be able to get more than just the basic gaming laptop specs: maybe a newer processor or 16GB of RAM or a 512GB solid-state drive. However, if you’re watching every dollar, you’ll have to make do with those bare minimum specs.

Two other important considerations are weight and battery life, neither of which is a gaming laptop’s specialty. The notebooks on this list fall on either side of the 5-pound mark, but if you’re planning to take the laptop with you on the go often, a lighter system might be of greater importance to you. You also shouldn’t expect miracles when it comes to battery life, as more powerful components being pushed to the max by PC games will chew through a charge. However, if staying unplugged as long as possible is crucial, serious consideration should be given to the Acer Nitro 5’s superior battery numbers.

Choose this budget gaming laptop…

If you want…

Asus TUF A15

A well-rounded and budget-friendly gaming laptop

Dell G15 Ryzen Edition

A gaming laptop with the most value

MSI Sword

An affordable, Intel-based gaming laptop

Acer Nitro 5

A gaming laptop for beginners

HP Omen

To customize your laptop for under $1,200

Obviously, price is key when it comes to budget gaming laptops, so we kept the list to models as close to or below $1000 as we could. These notebooks are from well-known brands available through major retailers like Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart, as well as their own online stores. 

Also critical to making the list was the inclusion of a capable discrete graphics card, as integrated graphics really cannot handle graphically demanding games. Manufacturers clearly market these laptops for gamers, so they often include touches like neon-backlit keyboards and gaming hotkeys. 

The word “budget” is sort of subjective when it comes to gaming laptops. But for this list, I tried to keep my picks close to or under $1,000. While they probably won’t blow you away when it comes to things like storage, you can still get a worthwhile machine if you’re willing to compromise on some components like high frame rates or a high refresh rate. 

If you’re ok with your laptop having an older GPU or are comfortable upgrading things yourself later on, you can find even better prices than what I’ve managed to scrape up. You can even find certified pre-owned units, but they often aren’t covered by any sort of warranty, so if a component fails, you’re going to have to pay out of pocket to fix or replace it.

Yes, actually. For most games, you won’t need more than 16GB of RAM. And while some models support up to 32, 64 or even 128GB, chances are that unless you’re going to also use your laptop for things like video editing or 3D modeling and rendering, you’re just spending money to show off at that point.

SSD stands for “solid state drive,” and HDD stands for “hard disk drive.” An HDD or hard drive, is typically much more affordable since it’s based on older technology that uses a physical disk that is written and read similar to old, blank CD-Rs. They’re also much more prone to damage since they have physical parts that can break down and wear out over time and are more susceptible to shocks and drops. 

Conversely, a solid state drive uses flash memory and a specialized chipset to store programs and files. This not only helps prevent damage from normal wear and tear, it makes accessing said programs and files much faster. And if you have an SSD as your boot drive, you can get your computer up and running in seconds. They tend to be more expensive though, especially at higher capacities, so make sure your budget can handle it.

We chose a variety of gaming laptops based on budgetary needs, purposes, and performance. Below is a list of some non high-end alternatives you might prefer. 

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