Best Laptops For Kali Linux & Pentesting In 2020

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Are you looking for the best laptop for Kali Linux and Pentesting?

You’ve come to the right place.

Acer Predator Helios 300 table

In a hurry?
Here’s our Editor’s choice:
Acer Predator Helios 300

Kali Linux is being used for advanced penetration testing and, as an ethical hacker (or an unethical one), you would know the importance of running Kali Linux smoothly on a laptop.

Though you don’t need the most hardware-rich laptop to run Kali Linux, you do need a good laptop with good hardware so that the laptop can handle long hours of pentesting and hacking.

If you’re not sure about which laptop is the right one for you, we’re here to help. We’ve done a lot of research and have found some really good laptops that are great for Kali Linux and Pentesting.

Let’s take a look at them.

Best Laptops For Kali Linux & Pentesting


Acer Predator Helios 300
(Editor’s Choice)

Acer Predator Helios 300 table
15.6″ FHD
Intel Core i7
16GB RAM
512GB SSD

MacBook Pro 16″
(Best Mac Choice)

MacBook Pro 16 table
16″ Retina
Intel Core i7
16GB RAM
512GB SSD

Acer Aspire 5
(Best Budget Choice)

Acer aspire 5 table
15.6″ FHD
Intel Core i5
8GB RAM
256GB SSD

Best Laptop For Kali Linux and Pentesting (Editor’s Choice) – Acer Predator Helios 300

Acer Predator Helios 300

The Acer Predator Helios 300 is our Editor’s Choice for the best laptop for Kali Linux and pentesting.

Being a gaming laptop, the Acer Predator model comes with some of the best hardware you could get on a laptop. One advantage of this laptop is that it is not ridiculously priced, and anyone could get their hands on one making it a great choice for a lot of people.

Just by looking at the laptop, you can say that this is a gaming laptop. Clearly, the Acer Predator Helios 300 is not the most portable laptop and you can get. At 5.29lbs, this laptop does carry a bit of weight. This might not be a typical travel laptop, but it does come with enough hardware to force you to take it with you wherever you go.

The keyboard on the laptop is another great feature. The keys have quite a bit of travel and give you a pleasant typing experience. There are four RGB zones on the keyboard for backlighting customization. You can customize the colors to make this laptop your own.

The trackpad on the laptop comes with an LED outlining that can also be customized. It gives you a smooth surface, and your fingers glide on it without any friction. It is a Windows precision trackpad so you have full support from the Windows gestures out.

Being a gaming laptop, this one comes with excellent cooling. The laptop has the 4th generation AeroBlade 3D Fan technology that helps us in keeping the temperature of the laptop in check even when it is blasting all its cylinders.

Let’s talk about the display of this laptop. We have a 15.6 inch full HD widescreen LED-backlit display that comes with an IPS panel underneath it. Being a full HD display, the picture quality is quite good and you will enjoy gaming as well as media consumption on this display.

The display comes with a refresh rate of 144Hz and an overdrive response time of 3ms which is quite good for gaming. You shouldn’t get any motion blur with this response time, and refresh rate should offer you fluid gaming experience.

The display also comes with a maximum brightness of 300 nits which is quite good but not as good as some of the laptops on the market. It covers 72% of the NTSC color gamut which is quite okay. when it comes to penetration testing, the laptop offers a widescreen display that gives you what’s going on on the screen.

Processing power

The processor that powers the Acer Predator Helios 300 is an Intel Core i7 9750H chip. This is a hexa core processor that comes with a base clock in a frequency of 2.60GHz. The processor can deliver a ton of power when required as it can you clock up to a maximum of 4.50GHz with the help of a turbo boost.

Running Kali Linux operating system with this processor is a butter smooth experience. The operating system runs well without any performance issues whatsoever. The processor also does a great job when it comes to penetration testing which is pretty much why people choose this operating system over the other ones.

The memory department comes loaded with 16GB of DDR4 RAM. This memory is perfect for a gaming laptop, and also does a pretty good job and it comes to handling Kali Linux and penetration testing. For most users, 8 MB of RAM would be more than enough, but if you are a heavy penetration tester, this RAM would definitely come in handy.

A solid-state drive with a capacity of 512 GB makes the storage on this laptop. This is a fast solid-state drive and it does a pretty good job when it comes to opening heavy applications. Kali Linux also loads up quite fast, thanks to the solid-state drive.

The graphics card you get in the Acer Predator Helios 300 is an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card. This graphics card comes with a dedicated video memory of 6 GB that is of GDDR6 type. this is a pretty good graphics card and it can handle pretty much any game you throw at it.

Though you don’t need a dedicated graphics card for getting the best Kali Linux experience, the graphics card does give you a helping hand at certain areas.

The laptop also does well when it comes to battery life. With light use, the laptop can last for about six hours which is very good considering this is a gaming laptop. When you’re working on some serious penetration testing, the battery life might come down, but it would still be very serviceable.

The Acer Predator Helios 300 comes with several connectivity options. We get a USB type C port, 3USB 3.1 type A port, an HDMI port, an Ethernet port, and an audio jack.

The laptop also comes with Wi-Fi 6 which pretty much destroys every other Wi-Fi adapter on the market when it comes to speed and performance. It is almost 3 times faster when compared to the previous generation of Wi-Fi, and can deliver up to 3 times better latency which is just perfect for gaming.

Overall, the Acer Predator Helios 300 is an excellent gaming laptop that gives you very good performance without making you spend a lot of money. With a lot of features, this is easily the best laptop for Kali Linux and penetration testing.

Pros

Excellent gaming performance
Gorgeous display
Need battery life

Cons

None

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Best Mac For Kali Linux and Pentesting – MacBook Pro 16”

MacBook Pro 16

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 is the best Mac for Kali Linux and pentesting.

This is Apple’s flagship laptop, and you get the best hardware on any Mac. Being the flagship laptop also bears the most expensive price tag for an Apple laptop. If you are hellbent on getting an Apple device for running your penetration testing, then this is the most powerful one for the job.

The design of the laptop makes it one of the most portable big-size laptops out there. When we say big, we are talking about laptops that have a screen that is 15.6 inches or bigger. A 16-inch screen, the laptop weighs around 4.3 lb making it the lightest laptop you will get in this size category.

The first thing you’re going to notice when you open the laptop is its display. We have a 16-inch display that comes with a retina resolution which translates to 3072 x 1920 pixels. This is one of the best displays you will ever find on a laptop.

The laptop comes with a maximum brightness of 500 nits that allows you to work even in the brightest of rooms without any issues. Thanks to the contrast ratio, the display delivers deep blacks and bright whites. It also comes with full support for P3 wide color gamut which offers brilliant and almost true to life images and videos.

The display is perfect for penetration testing as it gives you a lot of areas to work with. It comes with excellent viewing angles so that you can see the same thing from pretty much any angle and any corner of the room.

The speakers on this laptop deserve a special mention. The device comes with a six-speaker sound system that gives you room-filling wide stereo sound. You can easily say that this is the best speaker set up you can find on a laptop.

The dual force-canceling overs help in dramatically reducing the vibration, and improves the base significantly. The microphone on the laptop’s studio quality, and is great for creating podcasts and other recordings.

The keyboard on the MacBook Pro 16 is what Apple calls a magic keyboard. It comes with a refined scissor mechanism that gives you key travel of 1 mm. Though this is not much key travel, the typing experience is responsive and quite comfortable.

You also don’t get a lot of noise when you’re typing on this keyboard which is nice. Apple also brings back the dedicated Escape key that people have been requesting. The touch bar is great for giving you contextual menus and provides a ton of shortcuts as well.

MacBook Pro 16 model comes with an Apple T2 security chip. This is a 2nd generation custom Mac silicon that is designed to keep everything secure. It comes with the secure enclave coprocessor that helps in keeping your storage encrypt it, and also boot the operating system securely. This core processor also consolidates most discreet controllers including the SSD controller and the audio controller.

Processing power

The processor we have in the MacBook Pro 16 is an Intel core i7 processor. This is a very powerful processor, and it handles Kali Linux and penetration testing with such ease. With a maximum clock speed of 4.50GHz, you can be assured that this processor does not lack when it comes to processing power.

When it comes to memory, the MacBook Pro 16 comes with 16GB of DDR4 RAM. This memory is way more than the 2GB of RAM that is recommended for running Kali Linux and plays a pretty good hand when it comes to penetration testing.

One of the main complaints you get with the MacBook Pros is the thermal handling. This MacBook Pro comes with a more advanced thermal architecture that enables faster processing. With this redesigned thermal architecture, Apple is featuring larger impellers with improved fan blades for dispersing more heat and thereby giving us better and effective cooling.

The storage we have on the MacBook Pro 16 is 512 GB SSD. This solid-state drive is very fast when it comes to reading and writing as it comes with a speed in upwards of 2GB/s for both reading and writing which is crazy. The solution drive does a pretty good job and it comes to opening applications and handling Kali Linux.

The graphics card we have a MacBook Pro 16 is an AMD Radeon Pro 5300M graphics card. This GPU comes with 4 GB of dedicated video RAM that is of GDDR6 type. This graphics card is great for gaming and does a pretty good job and it comes to handling modeling and rendering applications. Though not necessary, it does support Kali Linux and penetration testing well.

Let’s talk about the battery life of the MacBook Pro 16. This laptop comes with a 100 WHr lithium polymer battery that not only powers a larger display but also gives you higher maximum sustained power.

With light use, this laptop can last for at least 10 hours which is awesome. If you’re going to be doing dealing with stuff like web browsing and watching videos, then you can expect 11 hours of battery life, and that’s super impressive.

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 comes with four Thunderbolt 3 ports. These Thunderbolt 3 ports come with ultra-high bandwidth and can deliver up to 40GB/s of throughput which is crazy good. You can use this versatile Thunderbolt 3 port for transferring data, charging a MacBook Pro, and also for connecting with an external monitor.

Overall, the MacBook Pro 16 is an expensive Apple laptop that comes with an awesome performance that is complemented by incredible battery life. If you’re looking for a powerful Apple laptop for Kali Linux and pen testing, this is probably it.

Pros

Gorgeous display
Excellent performance
Incredible battery life

Cons

Lack of other ports

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Best Convertible Laptop For Kali Linux and Pentesting – Lenovo Yoga 730

Lenovo Yoga 730

If you want to get a convertible laptop that doesn’t compromise on power, then the Lenovo Yoga 730 is the best convertible laptop for you.

There are several reasons why we call the Lenovo Yoga 730 as the best convertible laptop for Kali Linux and Pentesting. It brings you the flexibility of a hybrid device, and at the same time, gives you a full computing experience without offering a half-baked tablet mode.

The design of the Lenovo Yoga 730 is what makes it what it is. The laptop weighs just around 2.47lbs, and that’s mainly because of the design choices Lenovo has made. Even though this is a light device, it gives you a premium feel when you lift the laptop. Being a convertible laptop, the hinges have to withstand a lot of mode-shifting. Fortunately, the hinges are awesome and make the process changing modes as intuitive as possible.

The display we have here is a 13.3″ one that comes with full HD resolution. Being a 13.3″ display, this resolution is more than enough to produce crystal clear images and sharp texts. The picture quality is brilliant, and the reduced bezels give you uninterrupted viewing experience.

The display comes with an IPS panel underneath it. With the IPS panel, the colors on the screen are vibrant and have good contrast. The viewing angles on the display are great allowing you to watch the contents on the screen from pretty much any corner of your room.

The keyboard on this laptop is a good one. The keys have a good layout, and you will have a satisfying typing experience when using the keyboard. The keys are backlit which gives you the option to work even in dark environments. The trackpad is a solid one and does well when it comes to handling Windows gestures and regular use.

There is no lack of processing power in the Lenovo Yoga 730. We have an Intel Core i5 8250U processor. This is a quad-core processor from Intel, and it comes with a base clock speed of 1.6GHz. With the help of Turbo Boost, the processor can clock to a maximum of 3.4GHz which is more than what you’ll need for running Kali Linux. When it comes to penetration testing, this processor is quite powerful as well.

There is good support for the processor from the memory department. We have 8 gigs of DDR4 RAM that helps in making multitasking a breeze on this laptop. This memory allows smooth operation of the Kali Linux operating system, and also provides a good base for running penetration testing.

You get a 256GB solid-state drive for storage on the Lenovo Yoga 730. This SSD is not the fastest you will find on the market but is faster than the fastest mechanical hard drive disk out there. When compared with mechanical drives, this flash storage does an impressive job and gives you overall excellent performance.

The Lenovo Yoga 730 does not come with a dedicated graphics solution. We have an Intel UHD graphics card which is the integrated graphics card on this laptop. It does a pretty good job when it comes to handling the graphics requirements of most users. You do not need a dedicated graphics card for both Kali Linux and penetration testing. This integrated GPU does a neat job and doesn’t affect the performance of Kali Linux in any way.

One of the best features of the Lenovo Yoga 730 is its battery life. With light uses like video streaming, web browsing, and more, the laptop can last for about 11.5 hours which is awesome. This convertible laptop gives you a lot of hours making it one of the best ones with excellent battery life. If you’re going to do anything complex. then expect the battery life to dwindle a bit.

You get all the essential ports on the Lenovo Yoga 730. There is a USB type C port that allows you to transfer data at super high speeds. The laptop also comes with built-in WiFi and Bluetooth for wireless external connectivity.

Overall, the Lenovo Yoga 730 is an excellent laptop that does a pretty good job when it comes to Kali Linux and Pentesting. If you’re looking for an affordable convertible laptop, then this one might be a good choice.

Pros

Good design
Neat performance
Excellent battery life

Cons

None at this price point

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Best Budget Laptop For Kali Linux and Pentesting – Acer Aspire 5

Acer aspire 5

Acer Aspire 5 is the best budget laptop for Kali Linux and pentesting.

We have chosen this Acer laptop because of the performance it brings to the table despite falling under the budget category.

The processor that powers this Acer Aspire 5 is an Intel Core i5 processor that comes with four cores and a maximum clock speed of 4.2 GHz. This is a 10th generation Intel chip and does pretty well when it comes to performance and energy efficiency.

The processor does a pretty good job when it comes to running Kali Linux. The performance of the operating system with this processor is as good as its performance with better Intel processors. You can also do some serious penetration testing with this laptop as the processor supports it without any issues.

When it comes to multitasking, this laptop – quite well, thanks to the 8GB of RAM in the memory department. This Ram also helps in the smooth operation of the Kali Linux operating system and enables you to run pentesting without facing any lag.

Let’s talk about the display of the Acer Aspire 5 laptop. We have a 15.6-inch widescreen LED-backlit display that comes with full HD resolution. Considering this is a budget laptop, Acer has done a very good job of including a full HD IPS display on this laptop.

The picture quality of the display is impressive, to say the least. For the price, or getting a very good display that excels in giving you pretty accurate colors. It is a great display for streaming videos online on your favorite platforms like Netflix or prime video. The speakers on this laptop also pretty decent, and can give you a wholesome multimedia experience.

The keyboard on the Acer Aspire 5 it’s a nice one. It is a backlit keyboard that comes with an excellent layout and manages to give you a neat typing experience. The keyboard can get a bit loud if you type fast, but you do not miss your speed or accuracy with this keyboard.

The trackpad we have on the Acer Aspire 5 is a Windows precision trackpad. It gives you a smooth surface and supports all the Windows gestures which will help you have a more intuitive experience with the operating system.

The Acer Aspire 5 does not come with a dedicated graphics card. It comes with an integrated Intel UHD graphics card which is a pretty good graphics card as far as integrated graphics cards go. Most graphics requirements of users using a Kali Linux can be easily handled by this integrated GPU.

Another area where the Acer Aspire 5 shines is in the battery department. With light use, this budget laptop can last for about 9.5 hours which absolutely blows our mind. If you are someone who uses the laptop for mostly streaming videos and web browsing, you can have an entire day with your laptop without having to recharge again.

Overall, the Acer Aspire 5 comes with decent hardware, optimize performance, and is a solid laptop for running Kali Linux. You can’t afford high-end laptops, then the Acer Aspire 5 is the best budget laptop for your penetration testing needs.

Pros

Affordable
Good performance
Extraordinary battery life

Cons

None at this price point

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Best High-Performance Laptop For Kali Linux and Pentesting – Gigabyte Aero 15

Gigabyte Aero 15

If you’re looking for a high-performance laptop that you can use windows alongside Kali Linux, then the Gigabyte Aero 15 is the right choice for you.

Being a relatively newer brand, Gigabyte has established itself as a maker of quality laptops that doesn’t compromise on anything. As a result, most laptops come with excellent feature sets but also with a price tag that is expensive for most people.

When it comes to performance, the Gigabyte Aero 15 knocks it out of the park. We have a 10th generation Intel core i7 processor that comes with ca six physical cores and 12 threads. The processor comes with a base clock speed of 2.30 GHz and a maximum clock speed of 5.10 GHz.This is probably the most powerful processor you can get on a mobile device, and it does a fantastic job on this laptop.

When it comes to Kali Linux, this processor is probably overkill. But you might find good used for this process when it comes to penetration testing. If you are working on a heavy project, that involves hours and hours of penetration testing, then this processor might truly be the savior you are looking for.

The memory department and the arrow 15 comes with 16GB of DDR4 RAM. This memory serves as well when it comes to handling penetration testing. The operating system itself runs smoothly, but this Ram is more focused on making your penetration testing experience lag-free.

Being primarily marketed as a gaming laptop, the Gigabyte Aero 15 comes with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card. This graphics card comes with a dedicated video RAM of 6GB that’s of GDDR6 type. You are someone who loves gaming, then you will absolutely fall in love with this graphics card and what you can do with it.

The display on the Gigabyte Aero 15 is probably its best future. We have a 15.6-inch display that comes with bezels that are just 3 mm thick. The display has a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels which makes it an ultra-high-definition display.

Being an AMOLED display, This display gives us vibrant colors and makes it one of the best choices for consuming media. The display covers 100% of the P3 color gamut which results in giving us 25% more colors than the sRGB color gamut. The IPS panel presents us with excellent viewing angles and is responsible for the vibrancy of colors we observe.

The keyboard on this laptop is a very good one. We have a full keyboard on this laptop with a dedicated number pad as well. The layout of the keyboard is very impressive, and you can customize the backlighting on the keyboard to make it truly yours. The typing experience on this keyboard is quite nice, and you don’t make much noise which is always a nice addition. The trackpad is a standard one and works as advertised.

The storage on this device is made up of 512GB solid-state drive. This SSD is very fast, and it opens the operating system in a flash. Even when you’re dealing with large files, disk storage can handle it without breaking a sweat.

Overall, the Gigabyte Aero 15 is a serious high-performance laptop, that comes with an expensive price tag. If you are looking for a high-performance laptop, then this is probably the best choice for your penetration testing needs.

Pros

Amazing display
Solid processor
Impressive graphics performance

Cons

A bit expensive

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What To Look For In The Best Laptop For Kali Linux & Pentesting?

So, you’re not happy with the models we’ve suggested above? That’s okay.

If you want to go ahead and find the right laptop for you, here’s a simple guide that gives you the least you should expect in a laptop for Kali Linux and Pentesting.

Without further ado, let’s dive in.

Processor

A good processor is essential for running Kali Linux.

As a minimum, we would recommend an Intel Core i5 processor and you could go as high as running a laptop with an i7 processor or an i9 processor if your budget allows you.

When it comes to the number of cores in your profession, it is always better to go with four cores as a minimum so that you can get excellent performance onboard.

We would avoid going for dual-core processors as they could get dated in the next few years.

Hexa core and octa-core processors are also a good choice if you’re going to deal with high-end pentesting. We would recommend these processes for professionals and not for the ones who are just learning the art.

Another tip is to choose a processor that comes with a decent base frequency so that you don’t have to depend on turbo boost to get a good operating power.

Memory

If you look at the minimum requirement for running Kali Linux, it would say that 2 GB of RAM is enough.

But there is no way that you are going to get a decent experience of the operating system with either two or four gigs of RAM.

As a minimum, you need at least 8 GB of RAM that Is of DDR4 type on your laptop. This memory will allow you to run the operating system smoothly without any hiccups.

You can also go with 16 GB of RAM, if you’re looking for the best out of the box experience with Kali Linux. Most high-end flagships will come with this kind of memory, and you will have a stellar experience.

The 2 GB might be overkill for Kali Linux, but if you’re going to deal with a lot of virtual machines, then it might just be worth it.

Storage

As far as Kali Linux is concerned, it only needs 20 GB of space for installation.

But pentesting is going to need a lot more space, and the more you have the better.

We would start with at least 256 GB of free space so that both the operating system and the operations afterward have enough space to do that thing.

One important thing to note is to always go with a solid-state drive. The conventional hard drive discs might be attractive in terms of price. They can give you a lot of storage space for very little but are a pain to deal with when it comes to speed and performance.

If you are on a budget, then we recommend going with a combination of both a solid-state drive and a hard drive desk. You can go for 128 GB solid-state drive combined with 512 GB or even a 1TB HDD to get the best of both worlds.

GPU

You do not need a dedicated graphics card to run Kali Linux.

Most modern integrated Intel UHD graphics cards have more than enough power in them to give you a satisfying Kali Linux experience.

Penetration testing also doesn’t need a lot of graphics power.

This means you will be perfectly fine with the integrated graphics card you get on your modern-day laptop. However, having a dedicated graphics card is definitely going to help run certain applications smoothly which is nice.

Battery

When it comes to Kali Linux, you’re going to need a powerful laptop that does a lot of heavy lifting.

If you are going to work in a place where there is not going to be any power back up, then it is paramount to get a laptop that has all-day battery life.

Even if you can’t afford a laptop with all-day battery life, at least go for a laptop that gives you 5 to 7 hours of battery life so that you can manage penetration testing without your laptop dying on you during the process.

Keyboard and trackpad

Having a good keyboard is a necessity for pretty much any laptop.

When you’re dealing with pen testing, you are going to need a good keyboard with good travel. Make sure that the keys come with a nice feel so that you have a pleasant typing experience.

You may have to work in places where there is not a lot of light like in server rooms, so make sure that the keyboard comes with backlighting in it.

As far as the trackpad is concerned, if you’re going for a Windows machine make sure you get a Windows precision trackpad. If you are going for a Mac, you don’t want to have to worry about the trackpad as they are usually top-notch.

Portability

It is always better to get a portable laptop. If you are someone who works on the go, a bulky laptop is not going to make it work.

If you value portability, then it is better to go for a laptop that comes with a 13.3-inch screen. But does a 13.3-inch laptop bring enough power to the table? If you are okay with the performance, then a 13 13 inch laptop would do fine.

If you don’t want to compromise on both power and portability, then we recommend going for a 15-inch laptop that weighs a lot less. An example would be the MacBook Pro 16 which has a slim profile and a lightweight to it.

Budget

The budget is found in the most important factor that will decide what laptop you’re going to get.

If the budget is no bar to you, then we recommend going all out on getting the best laptop that is for running Kali Linux and penetration testing.

If you are stuck on a budget, then it is recommended to check out our budget option as it can give you the best bang for the buck. You can also settle for mid-range devices that might cost you a little bit more, but it will give you better performance per dollar.

Connectivity

Connectivity is one of the most important things you should look at in a laptop for penetration testing.

Your laptop must have the latest essential ports like the USB type C port and an HDMI port. If you’re going to need super high-speed internet, then having an ethernet port wouldn’t harm anyone.

The laptop also needs to have the latest WiFi adapter that is the Wi-Fi 802.11ac (or Wi-Fi 6) adapter, and Bluetooth 5.0 to get the best out of wireless connectivity standards.


That’s curtains for this post.

Kali Linux is a powerful operating system that allows you to do some powerful stuff like penetration testing. Finding the best laptop for Kali Linux can be very challenging.

At this point, you should have come up with a model that suits your style and fits in your budget. If you haven’t been able to do that, do get in touch with us, and we will help you out.


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