Back to school deals on laptops, Chromebooks, MacBooks, and more are in full swing as retailers offer back-to-schools sales on notebook PCs and other back-to-school hardware for high school and college students. Keep a sharp eye on the latest hardware as well as a select mix of sales on older devices. Also, tax-free weekend for several states is nearly over!
We’ve reviewed back-to-school deals on various sites, specifically the best deals on laptops, Chromebooks, MacBooks, iPads and tablets, plus monitors and displays. We know what makes for a good device, and we’ve applied this knowledge to personally curate the best back-to-school discounts on Amazon, Best Buy, Adorama and other retailers. Tax-free weekends offer even better back-to-school deals–Ohio, New Mexico, and Texas, taxes have been waived on this weekend’s shopping.
College students should be sure to check out recommended configurations for their course of study. For example, the engineering department at the University of Notre Dame recommends a Windows 11 Pro (not Home) laptop with a quad-core Intel Core i7, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of NVMe (SSD) storage, and to avoid Chromebooks. At Mississippi State, a business student needs a cheaper Core i5 laptop with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. Only Windows 10 is required in that program.
Back to school laptop deals
Our back-to-school laptop deals focus mainly on productivity, generally emphasizing 1080p displays. Of course, students can add external storage and cloud storage to supplement what a laptop contains. We recommend either the latest laptops or models that are just a year old, as our favorite back-to-school laptop sales offer.
- Acer Swift 3, Core i7-1165G7, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 14-inch 1080p, $578.94 at Amazon (32% off)
- Dell G15 Gaming Laptop, Core i5-11260H / RTX 3050 Ti (95W), 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 15.6-inch 1080p 120Hz, $699.99 at Dell.com (40% off)
- HP Envy x360 2-in-1, Core i7-1255U, 16GB RAM, 512 GB SSD, 15.5-inch 1080p, $799.99 at Best Buy (27% off)
- Dell Inspiron 7000, Ryzen 5500U, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 14-inch 1080p, $599.99 at Best Buy (25% off)
- Microsoft Surface Pro 8 (w/keyboard), Core i5-1135G7, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 13-inch 2880×1920, $999.99 (25% off) with My Best Buy membership
- HP Pavilion 15t-eg100, Core i7-1195G7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 15.6-inch 1080p, $639.99 at HP.com (33% off)
- Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3: Core i5-11300H / RTX 3050, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 15.6-inch 1080p, $639.99 at Best Buy (32% off)
- Lenovo IdeaPad 3, Core i3-115G4, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 15.6-inch 768p, $390.00 at Amazon (59% off)
Acer’s Swift 3 is a top-notch laptop, even with last year’s processor inside. We also think that the Dell G15 (the link has been corrected) is a real deal, and might be used for schoolwork, too, right? Our review of the HP Spectre x360 concludes that that deal is worth it, too. Other laptop back-to-school deals that feature Intel Celeron processors and 4GB of RAM are too underpowered for us to recommend.
If you buy the HP.com (-15t-dw300) deal, double-check that it has the 1080p display option checked! The 768p screen makes the IdeaPad 3 a bit iffy, too, though the discount is solid.
Back to school Chromebook deals
These back-to-school Chromebook deals are just as good or better than Prime Day deals. We’ve picked the best Chromebook deals for you, not shying away from some older models. The latest gear doesn’t matter as much, compared to laptops.
- Lenovo Flex 5i 13, Intel Core i3-1115G4, 8GB RAM, 64GB SSD, 13.3-inch 1080p, $292.00 on Amazon (48% off)
- HP Chromebook 14 2-in-1, Core i3-1115G4, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, 14-inch 1080p, $399.00 at Best Buy (42% off)
- Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5, Snapdragon SC7180, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, 1080p OLED, $379.00 at Best Buy (24% off)
- Asus 17.3-inch Chromebook, Intel Celeron N4500, 4GB RAM, 32GB SSD, 17.3-inch 1080p, $119.99 at Best Buy (68% off)
- Acer Chromebook 314, Celeron N4000 4GB RAM, 64GB SSD, 14-inch 1080p, $265.00 at Amazon (18% off)
- HP Chromebook 14, Intel Celeron N4120, 4GB RAM, 64GB SSD, 32GB SSD, 14-inch 768p, $199.99 on Amazon (28% off)
- Lenovo 14-inch Chromebook, Intel Celeron N4020, 4GB RAM, 64GB SSD, 14-inch 768p, $129.99 at Target (61% off)
- Lenovo IdeaPad 3 11 Chromebook, Intel Celeron N4020, 4GB RAM, 64GB SSD, 11.6-inch 768p, $118.90 at Amazon (46% off)
College life generally runs on laptops, and not Chromebooks, but Chromebooks are still useful for elementary and even middle-school students, especially as secondary machines. If you can, prioritize a 1080p screen and 8GB of RAM when you buy a Chromebook. Don’t worry about the Snapdragon chip in the Duet 5 (great screen, too!) but consider if a tablet is what you want for school.
Back to school MacBook deals
Apple is reluctant to discount MacBooks that much, but there are still back-to-school MacBook discounts out there. The MacBook back-to-school sales just aren’t as appealing as in Windows laptops.
- 2021 MacBook Pro 14-inch, M1 Pro, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, $2,199 at Amazon (12% off)
- 2021 MacBook Pro 16-inch, M1 Pro, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, $2,199 at Amazon (12% off)
- Latest MacBook Pro 13.3-inch, M2 processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, $1,099.00 (15% off) for My Best Buy members.
- MacBook Pro 13.3-inch, M1 processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, $1,049.99 at Best Buy (15% off)
- MacBook Air 13.3-inch, M1 processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, $849.99 at Best Buy (15% off). This is $849.99 for My Best Buy members.
MacBooks rarely carry heavy discounts, so you may want to try Amazon’s Renewed program. You can reference our Prime Day Amazon Renewed story for more details on what that program entails.
Back to school iPad and tablet deals
If students need a tablet for when they go back to school, we think that these suggestions offer the best deals. Apple iPad deals, unfortunately, are not much of a deal this back-to-school season.
- Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite, 8.7-in., 32GB storage, $119.99 at Amazon (25% off)
- Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite, 8.7-in., 64GB, $139.99 at Best Buy (30% off)
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE, 12.4-in., 64GB, Wi-Fi, $429.00 at Amazon (16% off)
- Apple iPad (2021), 10.2-inch, 64GB, $299.00 at Amazon (9% off)
- Apple iPad Air (2021), 10.9-inch, 256GB, Wi-Fi, $679.00 at Amazon (9% off)
Amazon has some small discounts available for back-to-school tablets. We’ve shied away from Amazon’s own Fire tablets only because students will need flexibility to add apps that they may use in school.
Back to school monitor deals
College dorm rooms and lecture halls don’t offer an enormous amount of space for additional monitors, so there aren’t as many back-to-school monitor deals as you otherwise might expect. Samsung, though, appears to be having a sale.
- Sceptre 24-inch E248W-19203R, 1080p 75Hz, $103.65 at Amazon (20% off)
- Samsung 24-inch LS24R35AFHNXZA, 1080p 60Hz, $109.99 at Best Buy (27% off)
- Samsung 27-inch LC27F396FHNXZA (curved), 1080p 60Hz, $159.00 at Walmart (16% off)
- Samsung 27-inch Odyssey, 1440p 165Hz, $299.99 at Best Buy (25% off)
- LG 27-inch 27UP80B, 4K 60Hz, $299.99 at Best Buy (33% off)
- Samsung 27-inch Odyssey, 1080p 165Hz, $209.99 at Amazon (25% off)
- Samsung 32-inch LU32J590UQNXZA, 4K 60Hz, $299.99 on Amazon (12% off)
- MOUNTUP Single Monitor Desk Mount (17- to 32-inch screens, 17.6lb), $38.99 at Amazon (22% off)
We’re going to assume that you’re not going to college to game, so we’ve (mostly) emphasized 60Hz displays, with a mix of 1080p and 4K. (The Sceptre at the top offers 75Hz, which should be easier on the eyes.) Why do we add a monitor mount at the end of the list? Well, since dorm rooms don’t often have a lot of desk space, a mount allows you to add an extra display by mounting it on an adjustable arm, via a desk clamp. Just pay attention to the weight of the monitor you’re attaching.
When do back to school sales begin?
When will back-to-school sales end?
Retailers often won’t tell you when these sales end, though it’s likely they’ll be available throughout most of August. Students may go back to school and find they have the wrong equipment. Prices may change as retailer stock fluctuates.
Remember, the pandemic is still affecting the supply chain, especially electronics from Asia. It may make sense to figure out what you want and buy early, if possible. The laptop, Chromebook, or MacBook you want may not be available later in the month. Our deals reflect what’s still being sold.
When are tax free weekends scheduled?
Tax-free weekends are run by some U.S. states to encourage shopping, especially for items like back-to-school purchases. Five states—Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon—never charge sales tax. We’ve listed the states that are scheduling tax-free weekends, as well as a link to the fine print, as compiled by RetailMeNot.
For example, if you live in Arkansas and buy a laptop from Amazon on August 7, you won’t pay sales tax. There are some exceptions that vary by state: In New Mexico, retailers aren’t required to participate. Each state has different exemptions that apply to different products at different price ranges, and these discounts (generally) apply to national retailers. Check the details!
Alabama: July 15-July 17, at midnight. Details.
Arkansas: Aug. 6-Aug. 7, at midnight. Details.
Connecticut: Aug. 21- Aug. 27. Details.
Florida: July 25-Aug. 7. Details.
Iowa: Aug. 5- Aug. 6, at midnight. Details.
Maryland: Aug. 14- Aug. 20, at midnight. Details.
Massachusetts: Aug. 13- Aug. 14. Details.
Mississippi: July 29-July 30, at midnight. Details.
Missouri: Aug. 5 – Aug. 7 at midnight. Details.
New Jersey: Aug. 27-Sept. 5. Details.
New Mexico: Aug. 5-Aug. 7, at midnight. Details.
Ohio: Aug. 5- Aug. 7, at midnight. Details.
Oklahoma: Aug. 6-Aug. 8. Details.
South Carolina: Aug. 5-Aug. 7, at midnight. Details.
Tennessee: Back-to-school tax-free weekend runs July 29-31 at midnight. Details.
Texas: Aug. 5-Aug. 7. Details.
Virginia: Aug. 5- Aug. 7, at midnight. Details.
Will schools go back to virtual classrooms in 2022?
No, it certainly doesn’t seem so. At this point, schools aren’t in session, and school districts are still preparing for the fall 2022 school term. But we haven’t seen any mention about a return to virtual classrooms as a result of the pandemic or monkeypox.
PCs vs Chromebooks: Which is better for school?
We have a lengthy overview of the advantages of Chromebooks versus laptops, but the simple answer to this question is: whatever your school district tells you.
A Chromebook is better for school if your child will be working “online,” meaning in the classroom but on a Web site that’s authorized by the teacher. A PC is more useful if your child will be using apps, such as Minecraft for Education, or transitioning from elementary school to middle school, or from middle school to high school. The extra flexibility to run apps (and, yes, games) will be appreciated by your child. Colleges and universities almost always ask their students to bring PCs or Macs with them, so a laptop is most appropriate.
What should I look for in a monitor for dorm rooms?
Dorm rooms typically prioritize the efficient use of space, so laptops will be the most typical. Any way that you can use the extra space, though, is useful. A high-resolution display may mean that you can more effectively “fit” more information into the space with smaller fonts. But a monitor mount, like we’ve included in our list of monitors, can clamp on to a desk and allow for a second display, which vastly increases productivity and can also be used to stream video for friends, too. Our back-to-school list of monitors and displays includes both cheap 1080p options as well as 4K displays and even gaming displays for after hours.
Updated at 7:36 PM PT on August 7 to remove expired deals and add new ones.