Laptops are still one of the most useful bits of tech you can own and with the rise of working from home, more people need them than ever. Black Friday and Christmas have been and gone but get a bargain in January sales.
It's possible to get a pretty solid laptop without spending much, especially if you're smart and buy something during the current sale season. You can even get Intel Core i3 devices with touchscreens and SSDs, and we're constantly keeping an eye on the best prices.
If your budget does stretch just a little bit higher, we'd recommend you look to our best budget (sub-£500) laptops chart; otherwise, here's a selection of models below £300 that will suffice for casual tasks and get you out of a tight spot.
1. Asus VivoBook E510MA
Now: £219 (£60.99 off + Microsoft 365)
This full-size Vivobook is already cheap and you can save £60.99 and get a year subscription of Microsoft Office 365 included.
2. Asus Chromebook Flip C214MA
Now: £198.99 (41% off)
There's a whopping 41% off this convertible Chromebook from Asus. It's got an Intel Celeron processor and a 3-year warranty.
3. Lenovo IdeaPad 3i
Now: £269 (£60 off)
The IdeaPad 3i is a stylish and dependable option if you need a cheap Windows laptop. It comes in a stylish blue colour a Full HD screen and a 128GB SSD.
4. Asus VivoBook 14
Now: £299.97 (£50 off + Microsoft 365)
Not only does this VivoBook 14 have an 11th-gen Intel Core i3 and a Full HD IPS screen, it comes with a year of Microsoft 365 Personal worth £59.99.
5. Asus C423NA Chromebook
Now: £179.99 (£50 off)
The C423 is a solid all-rounder, especially at this price. This Intel Celeron N3350 model with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage is now under £180 with a useful discount.
6. HP Stream 11
Now: £169 (£50 off)
HP's popular Stream 11 is now even more of a bargain with £50 off and you'll get a free upgrade to Windows 11. It's available in pink, blue and white.
7. Coda 1.4
From: Laptops Direct
Now: £149.97 (£50 off + bundle)
The 2-year warranty, Norton 360 Deluxe and Microsoft 365 bundle included with this laptop are worth almost as much as you'll pay for the device itself.
8. HP Chromebook 14
Now: £215 (£24.99 off)
A 14in Chromebook for under £250 is already a bargain but you can save almost £25. You'll get a 14in screen with a 180-degree hinge, AMD A4 processor and B&O Play speakers.
9. Lenovo 100e Chromebook
Now: £199.99 (£22 off)
This Chromebook from Lenovo is now under £200 and will make a handy laptop for doing basics like email and word processing. It's highly portable with a compact 11in screen.
How to find a great deal on a budget laptop
We review budget laptops all year round, and our favourite model right now is the Asus E410, which offers a great all-round experience, despite anticipated weaknesses such as poor maximum display brightness. While the most affordable SKU can be picked up direct from Asus for £229.99, a more powerful version can be had from the likes of Currys, running on Intel Pentium silicon, instead of a Celeron chipset.
The very fact that various SKUs exist of most laptop lines means you need to be careful of what you're buying: that laptop you just read about in that glowing review may not necessarily be the same laptop you've just found at a bargain price. Check for things like screen size and resolution, processor model, and amount and type of RAM and storage.
For many people, those cheaper options will be more than enough for their needs, but it always helps to have some idea of what to look out for in the first place. This way, if you see a great laptop deal we haven't mentioned here, you'll be able to work out whether or not it's a good buy.
Key things to look out for are the processor, memory and both type of storage and amount of storage. At under £300, you're unlikely to find anything higher than an Intel Core i3/AMD A-series or Ryzen 3 processor; if you do find a Core i5, snap up that laptop right away. You won't find a better deal.
You'll also see Intel Pentium and Celeron processors listed, and these are less powerful options often found in older models and Chromebooks/CloudBooks, but still more than capable if your needs are basic. By that we mean you're looking for something that's good for homework, replying to emails, browsing the web or social media, and watching the odd video.
These setups come with integrated graphics, and you shouldn't expect to find a dedicated graphics card at this price. Your laptop will be more than capable of playing YouTube and movies, plus some casual games, but if you're really after something capable of higher-fidelity gaming we'd recommend upping your budget to £500+ and going for a Core i5 as the bare minimum. We've got some more options on slightly pricier laptop deals here.
At this price, you're most likely to find 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, although at the budget end of the market you often find solid-state storage is swapped out for a traditional mechanical hard drive. The upside to this is more storage space; the downside is they are slower, a little noisier and more fragile.
The size of the screen and the overall design of a laptop are going to be purely personal choices. You'll find everything from 11in to 15.6in screens at this price point; a handful with Full HD (1080p) displays but most with HD (720p) screens. Smaller laptops are typically going to be more readily portable, but it's easier to get stuff done on a larger screen; especially if you're wanting to watch videos, play casual games or work with spreadsheets.
Don't overlook Chromebooks, with which your children may well be familiar from school. The difference between these and traditional Windows laptops is the operating system that's installed on them; with Chromebooks instead using Chrome OS. You'll also find CloudBooks, which run Microsoft's pared-back Windows 10 S.