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Finding the best laptop for contractors might not be as easy as you think.
There are many kinds of contractors and each one of them might have a unique need. But you can find a middle spot if you look hard enough, and that’s what we did.
In a hurry?
Here’s our Editor’s choice:
MacBook Pro 16
For contractors, you need laptops that have a decent amount of power. Not only that, but you also need durable machines that will last long in outdoor conditions.
Without wasting more time, let us show you the best notebooks for contractors in 2020.
Best Laptop For Contractors (Editor’s Choice)
Our editor’s choice for the best laptop for contractors is the Apple MacBook Pro 16” laptop.
This laptop is Apple’s flagship laptop and comes with the absolute best hardware you can get on an Apple device.
This MacBook Pro just blows it out of the water when it comes to performance and it does not cost that much when you compare it with its Windows counterparts.
Let’s talk about the most compelling feature of this laptop. The display we have here is a 16″ retina display which is the largest Apple has ever made.
The display gives you excellent highlights and bright whites while delivering deep blacks. This is a result of an excellent contrast ratio. The P3 wide color gamut offers you true to life images and video which makes this laptop and excellent device for consuming media and even video shot on your smartphones.
The display comes with a maximum brightness of 500 nits which makes this is one of the brightest displays on the market. Even if you are a general contractor who works a lot on the outside, in the bright sun, you are going to do well with his laptop.
Let’s talk about the durability of this MacBook Pro. This MacBook Pro is made from 7000 series aluminum which is one of the strongest materials you will find for the construction of consumer-grade hardware.
The Laptop is sturdy and even though there is a remark that MacBooks are usually weak, this one is very durable and will handle some physical damage if, God forbid, that happens.
Let’s talk about the input options you have on this MacBook Pro. The laptop comes with what Apple calls the magic keyboard and it comes with an improved this is a mechanism that gives you key travel of 1 mm.
The keyboard is excellent for typing and it is responsive, comfortable, and also very quiet. The trackpad on this laptop is probably the best you are going to find on any laptop as it gives you the best trackpad experience, period.
Laptop also comes with the Touch Bar which is the new innovation Apple has introduced replacing the traditional function keys. Though it takes some getting used to, we have to say that the Touch Bar is much more versatile and useful in real life.
The MacBook Pro also comes with a built-in T2 security chip which helps you encrypt your data inside the laptop. The touch ID that we have here uses your fingerprint to secure the data and together these to work well give you the best inbuilt encryption on a laptop.
The speakers on the MacBook Pro is the best on a laptop. It comes with six speakers and you get excellent stereo audio even at very high volumes. There are dual force-canceling woofers that reduce the vibration when you’re hearing audio which is not something you see on every laptop.
Being a high-performance laptop, the MacBook Pro comes with the best battery life on my laptop. It comes with 100 WHr lithium polymer battery which gives you a battery life of at least 11 hours when you’re dealing with a light workload. Even with a heavy workload, the laptop should last for at least 5 to 8 hours which is very impressive.
The 16″ MacBook Pro is of the most powerful laptops on the market. It comes with a six-core Intel Core i7 processor which is a beast in terms of processing power. It can handle pretty much anything you without breaking a sweat.
With a more advanced thermal design, the laptop handles heat dissipation well. With this, the processor can clock more and give you more power on a consistent basis. The MacBook Pro can deliver up to 12W more sustained power which is very good.
There are 16 GB of DDR4 RAM and it does exceptionally well when it comes to multitasking. You can also offer 32 GB option but we do think that it is overkill for contractors.
Storage on this laptop comes with a 512 GB SSD which is blazingly fast. The solid state drive provides save both space and also the speed you need for optimum performance which is nice.
The AMD Radeon Pro 5000 is the graphics card in the MacBook Pro 16″. This is an excellent graphics card and it comes with a dedicated video memory of GDDR6 6GB RAM which is excellent. Though you may not need this much graphics power as a contractor, you will find this useful at some point.
Overall, the MacBook Pro 16 inches is the best laptop for contactors as it comes with amazing hardware that is backed up by reliable software.
Best Windows Laptop For Contractors
The Dell XPS 15 is the best Windows laptop for general contractors.
It comes with excellent hardware and it is best suited for almost all the contractors out there regardless of their discipline and work nature.
It can be a bit expensive, but it is a reliable machine and delivers top-notch performance without creating any unnecessary annoyance.
One of the best features of this Dell XPS 15 is its display. We have a 15.6″ display that comes with a resolution 3840 x 2160 pixels a.k.a. Ultra HD resolution.
While we do feel that it is a bit too much for a 15″ laptop, it does make the screen lit up with amazing pictures. The picture quality is brilliant and you will get real-life images, thanks to the amazing pixel density.
The bezels around the screen are super thin and Dell calls this their Infinity Edge display. These bezels allow for an exciting screen-to-body ratio and as a result, the laptop’s footprint is also considerably reduced.
The display supports 100% sRGB color gamut and is great for color-related work like editing photos, professional color grading and so on. The display has a maximum brightness of 500 nits which is the same as the MacBook Pro 16″.
One added advantage here is that the Dell XPS 15’s display also doubles up as a touchscreen. It comes with multipoint touch support and makes your Windows user experience better.
The Dell XPS 15 is also a very sturdy laptop as well. It is made out of a single block of aluminum and is as hard as it gets. It can withstand rough working conditions like construction sites, renovations sites, and other ones.
Even though this is a 15.6″ laptop, it is a lot lighter than other laptops in the same size category. It weighs 4 pounds making it easy to carry around.
Let’s talk about the processing power of this Dell laptop. We have an Intel Core i7 9750H processor that comes with a base frequency of 2.6GHz and a maximum clock frequency of 4.5GHz. Being a hexa-core processor, you can expect excellent multi-core performance from this processor.
The processor can handle any applications without hiccups. Even if you use a processor-hungry application, the laptop will take care of it just fine.
There are 16 gigs of DDR4 RAM in the memory department. This is a lot of memory and you should be able to handle your multitasking needs freely with this RAM. Dell also allows you to upgrade your memory at a later stage which is nice. Though we do think 32GB is a bit overkill for contractors.
The Dell XPS 15 comes with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU. This is an upper mid-range graphics card and it has a dedicated video memory of 4GB which should be more than enough for your graphics needs. You will also be able to play most games without any issues.
The Dell XPS 15 comes with a 6-cell 97WHr battery. With a light load, the laptop will last for about 8 to 10 hours which is very good considering this laptop hosting a 4K display on it. Even with heavy usage, this laptop will hold good for 4 to 6 hours.
Overall, the Dell XPS 15 is a solid laptop for contractors. It has all the important elements you need in a high-performance laptop and it will handle your needs with finesse.
Best Budget Laptop For Contractors
When it comes to budget laptops, we prefer the Acer Aspire 5 model.
This Acer laptop comes with decent hardware and doesn’t cost you a lot of money. If you’re someone who doesn’t have the moolah to get a laptop, this one will work well till you get to some decent $$$ level.
The laptop comes with a 15.6″ display with FHD resolution. It is great for watching movies, browsing the web, working on docs, and so on. Being a widescreen, you can snap two windows side by side and work on them simultaneously as well.
The laptop comes with an AMD Ryzen 3 3200u processor. This is an entry-level processor and does well when it comes to everyday tasks. Though it can handle some heavy processing, we recommend doing nothing serious so that it doesn’t get too hot.
The memory situation here is a 4GB DDR4 RAM. This RAM is the bare minimum you can have on a laptop, so that’s a pass. You will be able to work on a couple of apps side by side but that’s pretty much it.
The storage on this Acer laptop is a 128GB SSD. This is not a lot of storage space, but it is an SSD and with that, you get a ton of speed which is great if you’re coming from a traditional hard drive.
The battery life is pretty above average here. With a light load, you should get about 4 to 6 hours which is okay for the price you’re going to pay.
Overall, if you need a budget laptop that will work without making you pluck your hairs out, the Acer Aspire 5 is a good choice.
What To Look For In The Best Laptops For Contractors?
If you’re not happy with the options provided above in the post, then we want you to choose your own laptop by focusing on a few factors.
Below are some factors that you must not ignore when buying a laptop.
The build quality of the laptop is very important as there are different types of contractors and most of them might have to work on the outside.
If you are a building contractor, then you might work in a place that might not be gentle to your laptop. Even a single drop could significantly damage your laptop which is why you should get a laptop that comes with the premium build quality.
Avoid cheap plastics and go for premium materials So that your laptop can take some damage and not give up.
Even if you go for premium materials like aluminum, Do take care do not damage your laptop in any way as most warranties might not cover physical damage because of your work’s nature.
The display is something you’re going to look at for a very long time.
Being a contractor, you need to display that is super bright. You may have to use your laptop in bright sunlight which is why having that extra brightness will really come in handy.
Go for a laptop that has a brightness of a minimum of 300 nits.
Make sure the laptop comes with a decent resolution. As a minimum, take a laptop that comes with a screen resolution of 1920 x 1820 pixels. Displays with a higher resolution will also do well.
The panel underneath the display is also very important. Try to get an IPS panel as it can give you excellent colors and amazing viewing angles. Going for other panels like TN or VA can have an impact on the final output which will be disappointing in most cases.
The size of the laptop also depends on the size of your screen. If you want a portable laptop, then it is better to go for a 13.3-inch laptop. But most contractors will need a powerful laptop in the hands, which means you have to go for a 15.6-inch laptop.
If you’re looking for a portable laptop, you can try a 13.3-inch laptop as most of them in this category will be around 3 pounds or less.
If portability is not a big deal, then you can go for a 15.6-inch laptop as they can give you more screen real estate and off and come with more power.
To take a photo related to the next level, you can avoid laptops and go for tablets like the iPad which is super portable and is as powerful as laptops these days. The iPad Pro can be used just like a computer which something to note.
Battery life is very important for a laptop. Since you are a contractor you’re going to be standing long hours and you need a laptop that comes with all-day battery life.
Like we said, go for a laptop that gives you all-day battery life. You want to charge your laptop, ideally, only once a day.
All our recommendations, except the gaming laptop, comes with excellent battery life and will last an entire day without you having to recharge the laptop.
Even if you can’t get a laptop that Lawson entire day, get something that gives you enough time to find a charging port so that you don’t completely lose all your work because of a bad battery.
Performance is something you cannot compromise on when it comes to laptops.
There are many kinds of contractors and each of them will require a certain level of performance from my laptop. Since we can’t point out each and every discipline, we are going to take a general route which will be applicable for all of them.
Processing power is what drives your laptop on a daily basis and do not cheap out on this.
You want to have a quad-core processor on your laptop so that it can handle your workload without any issues whatsoever. If your budget allows and if your work demands, you can even go for a hexa-core processor.
The processor should have a decent base clocking frequency And should be able to clock high when there is a need for more power. Most modern processors will be able to do this so you don’t have to stress on this point too much.
If you’re going for an Intel processor, then opt for an i5 or an i7 processor that belongs to the eighth generation or never. Do not go for a seventh generation or a sixth-generation processor as they are old enough already.
Memory is another important component on your laptop that allows you to do much more than just meddling with a single application.
As a bare minimum, you should have at least 8 GB of RAM in your laptop. But if you’re serious about what you do, you should get at least 16 GB of RAM which will give you the best multitasking experience and you will not regret it.
Some laptops will allow you to upgrade the memory later and some laptops owned, so be sure to get the most memory when you’re purchasing the laptop itself so that you don’t have to deal with upgrading at a later stage.
The storage on your laptop not only decide how much space you get but also decides how good the performance of your laptop will be.
All the laptops used to have hard drive discs which give you a ton of space but fail completely when it comes to performance. Everything will be slow and you have to wait a lot to even open industry-specific applications.
Modern laptops come with solid state drives as the storage option. Solid-state drives are very fast when it comes to opening and closing applications and bring overall performance enhancements to the system.
If you don’t deal with huge files, then you should be okay with 128 GB or 256 GB solid-state drive. You can get more But be warned that solid state drives are very expensive and the price grows exponentially as you go up.
That’s curtains for this post.
We truly hope that you were able to find the best laptops for your contracting needs.
While you can do okay with a mid-range or an entry-level laptop, we do believe that contractors need reliable, high-end notebooks for the best experience.
That’s why we’ve gone with flagship laptops without mentioning mid-range devices.
Please let us know if you have any issues using the comment section below.