Best Gaming Laptops For Under $500

One of the most important things to acknowledge when it comes to choosing the best gaming laptop for under $500 is that it’s not going to be amazing. There’s a reason why gaming laptops often cost upwards of $1,000 – they need the better components to run smoothly.

If you’re serious about your gaming but don’t want to spend more than $500, you’ll be better off opting for a gaming desktop instead. 

Have your heart set on a quality gaming laptop? Chances are you’ll have to spend a bit more money. If you’re able to save up and double your budget to spend around $1,000, you should be able to find a good quality gaming laptop that can last you for much longer.

Best gaming laptops for under $500

If you’re more of a casual gamer or you prefer to play games which aren’t too demanding on your laptop, then $500 should be more than enough to help you find the best gaming laptop for your needs.

With this price range you should be able to find a more budget friendly model that’s still able to play games such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, Hearthstone, League of Legends, Minecraft, and other games of this ilk.

Don’t want to opt for a gaming desktop? Then the below options are the best gaming laptops for under $500 that you can get.

Best Gaming Laptops for Under $500 Overview

To get a better idea of which gaming laptop under $500 will be perfect for your needs, check out the tablet below!

Gaming laptopSpecsPrice
Lenovo Ideapad 15.6”AMD Ryzen 3 CPUAMD Radeon Vega 3 GPU256GB SSD8GB RAMCheck Price on Amazon
Dell Inspiron 15 15.6”Ryzen 2500UVega 8 GPU1TB HDD8GB RAMCheck Price on Amazon
Acer Aspire 3 15.6”Ryzen 2200U15.6” screen1TB HDD8GB RAMCheck Price on Amazon 
Dell Inspiron 3000 15.6”1366 x 768 screenIntel i5-7200U2TB HDD8GB DDR4 RAMCheck Price on Amazon
HP 14-CF0014DX 14.0”1366 x 768 screenIntel i3-7100U128GB SSD8GB DDR4 RAMCheck Price on Amazon
ASUS VivoBook 15 15.6”1920 x 1080 screenIntel i3-1005G1 CPU128GB SSD8GB DDR4 RAMCheck Price on Amazon

Best Overall: Lenovo Ideapad 15.6”

Out of all the laptops currently available, the Lenovo Ideapad is hands down our top pick for the best gaming laptop under $500. This particular laptop comes with a range of great specs that lends itself well to gaming.

It comes with an AMD Ryzen 3 processor, with AMD Radeon Vega 3, 8GB memory, and 256GB SSD. There’s also an impressive 15.6” full HD display to give you the more immersive gaming that you’re after.

The Lenovo Ideapad 15.6” does come with similar specs to the Dell Inspiron 15 15.6” laptop below, however, we think this is the better pick of the two.

Because of the combined AMD Ryzen 3 processor and AMD Radeon Vega 3, the Lenovo Ideapad will be able to more than handle non-demanding games such as Fortnite and League of Legends. It should be able to handle a couple of more demanding games, too, if you adjust the framerate to the lower settings.

Overall, the Lenovo Ideapad 15.6” makes a great choice for those gamers who are restricted by their budget. You should be able to play all of your favorite non-demanding games without too much of an issue. 

Best runner-up pick: Dell Inspiron 15 15.6”

The Dell Inspiron 15 15.6” is one of the best gaming laptops that you can find for under $500. It does have similar specs to the Lenovo Ideapad that we’ve reviewed in more detail above, but it comes in a narrow second place.

This particular laptop comes with a range of great specs, including an AMD Ryzen 5 2500U processor, Vega 8 integrated graphics, and 8GB of memory.

What gives this laptop the edge on competitive models is its impressive storage. The Dell Inspiron comes with a whopping 1TB of storage, giving it the edge over the Lenovo Ideapad.

So if storage is more important to you, then you’ll be better off opting for the Dell Inspiron 15 15.6”. If you’re stuck between the Lenovo Ideapad and the Dell Inspiron 15, compare the difference in storage capacity to help you make your decision.

For most of the non-demanding games that you’d be using this laptop to play, the 8GB RAM should be more than enough. Because you’re opting for a gaming laptop under $500 you will be pretty limited in terms of the games you can play, however, the Dell Inspiron will be one of the better choices available.

This particular laptop offers a similar gaming experience to the Ideapad, however, its storage capacity ultimately gives it an edge.

Best budget friendly: Acer Aspire 3 15.6”

If affordability is your main concern, then the Acer Aspire 3 15.6” is a great alternative. This particular laptop comes with a range of great specs that means it can cope with some relatively non-demanding gaming.

These include an AMD Ryzen 3 2200U processor, Vega 3 integrated graphics, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, as well as an impressive 1TB hard drive.

What really makes the Acer Aspire 3 stand out from the other laptops in this price range is the fact its 15.6” screen comes with a resolution of 1366 x 768.

It won’t be able to provide you with the clearer images that a 1080p screen can, however, it will still have a much easier time when it comes to running these non-demanding games.

Ultimately, the higher the resolution, the more work your laptop has to do to render the images you see on screen. So while you may think a smaller resolution won’t be as good when it comes to your favorite games, it actually means this laptop will be able to run them better. This means much less lag which can get frustrating over time! 

It’s important to remember that you won’t be able to get the most amazing specs anyway for this price tag, but this Acer Aspire 3 makes for a great option on a smaller budget. You’ll want to choose a gaming laptop that’s able to give you the most frames per second, which the lower resolution can certainly help you with.

You may also want to consider the HP laptop down below if you wanted to consider a gaming laptop with a smaller resolution.

Best for storage: Dell Inspiron 3000 15.6”

If you’re after a lot of storage from your gaming laptop, then the Dell Inspiron 3000 15.6” is the best choice on our list. This particular laptop comes with an impressive 8GB of DDR4 memory as well as a whopping 2TB hard drive. This should be more than enough storage to cope with whatever you need to store on your new gaming laptop.

The Dell Inspiron 3000 also comes with an impressive range of other specs. These include an Intel Core i5-7200U as well as integrated Intel HD 620 graphics.

These will be more than enough to help you game with lower to medium graphics settings. The screen is 1366 x 768 which also gives it a smaller resolution to deal with, meaning that you won’t have to worry about slower gaming.

When it comes to in-game performance, the Dell Inspiron 3000 isn’t as impressive as the Lenovo Ideapad and the Dell Inspiron 15.

This Dell Inspiron 3000 laptop will be more than a match for less intensive games, however, the other two gaming laptops that we’ve reviewed in more detail above will be better suited for higher resolution gaming.

Remember that no gaming laptop under $500 is going to be able to compete with the higher quality performances you’ll get from a gaming laptop that costs around $1,000! So the Dell Inspiron is still a great pick if you’re restricted in terms of budget.

Best for versatility: HP 14-CF0014DX 14.0”

The HP 14-CF0014DX 14.0” is another great choice if you’re looking for a budget laptop. It also offers the best versatility, coming with a range of great specs to help you play your favorite non-demanding games. This particular laptop comes with an Intel i3-7100U processor as well as Intel HD 620 integrated graphics. 

Another great feature of this laptop is that it comes with a smaller resolution of 1366 x 768. This will mean you can play more frame rates per second because it won’t be as demanding on the components of your laptop.

Remember, for a gaming laptop under $500 you’re not going to be able to find a model powerful enough to play those triple A games. 

In terms of in-game performance, the HP 14-CF0014DX 14.0” will perform fairly similar to the Acer Aspire 3. The only major difference between the two is that the HP 14-CF0014DX 14.0” comes with a smaller 128GB SSD instead of a 1TB hard drive. But overall this is a wonderfully versatile laptop that is a great find for under $500.

If screen size is one of the more important factors for you when it comes to choosing a gaming laptop, it’s worth bearing in mind that the HP 14-CF0014DX has a 14” screen, making it smaller than other laptops we’ve reviewed on this list.

Best processor: ASUS VivoBook 15.6”

Last but not least is the ASUS VivoBook 15.6”. This particular laptop actually comes with the best processor out of all the gaming laptops that we’ve reviewed in this list. The only thing that prevents it from ranking higher than it does is the fact that its Intel HD 620 integrated graphics tries to run your games on a 1080p display.

Unfortunately, the Intel HD 620 can’t compete with the more impressive Vega 8 graphics or the Vega 3 graphics found in the Dell Inspiron 15 and the Lenovo Ideapad respectively. The 1080p display is considered to be one of the best for gaming, but not if the graphics card can’t keep up with the higher framerate.

The best way to combat this issue is to lower the resolution so that you can get a better result when you’re gaming. Otherwise you’ll have to cope with lag each time you try to play. It’s also important to remember that only non-demanding games will really be suitable for the ASUS VivoBook 15.6”.

Another great feature of this particular gaming laptop is that it comes in well under your $500 budget.

So yes, you might not be able to get as many fancy features as if you spent more money on a different option. However, it will still give you a perfectly functional laptop that can be used for the odd non-demanding game.

Is it worth buying a gaming laptop for under $500?

So we’ve covered a range of gaming laptops under $500 in more detail above. But is it really worth only spending $500 on a gaming laptop?

If you’re a serious gamer who wants the best that money can buy for under $500, then ultimately you’ll be better off going with a gaming desktop. Your other option is to build your own PC for under $500 as you can get the better specifications for the more intensive games.

However, several gamers prefer a laptop because it gives you easier mobility such as for work or school.

If you’re looking for the easier portability that a laptop can give you and you’re restricted by your budget, then the laptops we’ve reviewed in more detail above will be ideal. The first two options in particular will be best for those who are serious about their gaming.

If you’re more of a casual gamer, then any of the laptops we’ve highlighted above should be ideal for your needs. Providing you stick to games that won’t be too demanding, of course!

Stephen Deane

Stephen is a gaming and tech enthusiast. He has been playing computer games since the Commodore 64 days in the 80s. He has worked as Broadcast Engineer with BBC News and knows a thing or two about building, fixing, and playing with PCs.