Back to school deals on laptops, Chromebooks, MacBooks, and more are winding down a bit, as many shoppers have finished their back-to-school shopping. There are some solid back-to-school sales, however, but you’ll need to act fast before they disappear in anticipation of next-gen hardware.
We’ve reviewed the best back-to-school deals at online retailers like Amazon and Best Buy, with the best available deals on Chromebooks, laptops, MacBooks, iPads and tablets, plus monitors and displays. We’ve taken our extensive laptop reviews and used those to inform our decisions about which back-to-school products to recommend.
Back to school laptop deals
Our back-to-school laptop deals focus mainly on productivity, generally focusing on 1080p displays and long battery life that for students heading to classrooms without power. Remember, a laptop that scrimps on storage can be supplemented with an external hard drive or SSD as well as cloud storage to add storage, too. Some of our recommended laptops aren’t new, but they’re all recent, with either Windows 10 or Windows 11. Consult our list of the best laptops for more ideas.
- Samsung Galaxy Book Pro, 11th-gen Core i5, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 15.6-inch 1080p, $709.00 at Amazon (35% off)
- HP 15 Laptop, Core i5-1135G7, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 15.6-inch 1080p, $505.00 at Amazon (23% off)
- Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3: Core i5-11300H / RTX 3050, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 15.6-inch 1080p, $569.99 at Best Buy (39% off)
- Dell Inspiron 7000, Ryzen 5500U, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 14-inch 1080p, $599.99 at Best Buy (25% off)
- Samsung Galaxy Book Odyssey, Core i7-11600H / RTX 3050Ti, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 15.6-inch 1080p display, $1,159.99 at Microsoft (23% off)
- HP Pavilion 15t-eg100, Core i7-1195G7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 15.6-inch 1080p, $649.99 at HP.com (33% off)
HP’s laptop looks pretty solid, though average. There are a couple of gaming laptops that might double as productivity machines, 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!
Back to school Chromebook deals
Some of these back-to-school Chromebook deals are still solid. We’ve picked the best Chromebook deals for you. Most older Chromebooks work just as well as newer models, but we’ve considered the trade-off between price and performance in our back-to-school recommendations. Want more ideas? Start with PCWorld’s list of the best Chromebooks.
- HP Chromebook 14 2-in-1, Core i3-1115G4, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, 14-inch 1080p, $399.00 at Best Buy (42% off)
- Lenovo Flex 5i 13, Intel Core i3-1115G4, 8GB RAM, 64GB SSD, 13.3-inch 1080p, $348.99 on Amazon (37% off)
- Asus 17.3-inch Chromebook, Intel Celeron N4500, 4GB RAM, 32GB SSD, 17.3-inch 1080p, $119.99 at Best Buy (68% off)
- HP Chromebook 14, Intel Celeron N4120, 4GB RAM, 64GB SSD, 14-inch 768p, $202.00 on Amazon (28% off)
- HP Chromebook 11, MediaTek MT8183, 4GB RAM, 32 GB SSD, 11.6-inch 768p, $127.09 on Amazon (49% off)
- Lenovo 14-inch Chromebook, Intel Celeron N4020, 4GB RAM, 64GB SSD, 14-inch 768p, $149.99 at Target (55% off)
- Lenovo IdeaPad 3 11 Chromebook, Intel Celeron N4020, 4GB RAM, 64GB SSD, 11.6-inch 768p, $115.49 at Amazon (46% off)
- Samsung Chromebook 4, Celeron N3450, 4GB RAM, 32GB SSD, $129.99 at Amazon (43% 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 MediaTek’s Arm chip; it’s about as powerful as an Intel Celeron N4020.) We’ve factored in the dates at which these Chromebooks will fall out of Google’s support window, too.
Back to school MacBook deals
MacBook back-to-school sales just aren’t as appealing as in Windows laptops, though there are some marginal back-to-school deals to be had.
- 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)
- MacBook Air 13.3-inch, M1, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, $899.99 at Best Buy (10% off)
MacBooks rarely carry heavy discounts, unfortunately.
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. Retailers discounted tablets and iPads a bit more earlier in the back-to-school season, but not so much now.
- Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite, 8.7-in., 32GB storage, $139.00 at Amazon (7% 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.
- Samsung 24-inch LS24R35AFHNXZA, 1080p 60Hz, $99.99 at Best Buy (33% off)
- Sceptre 24-inch E248W-19203R, 1080p 75Hz, $103.65 at Amazon (20% off)
- Samsung 27-inch LC27F396FHNXZA (curved), 1080p 60Hz, $159.00 at Walmart (16% off)
- HP 27-inch QHD Gaming, 1440p 165Hz, $249.00 at Amazon (17% off)
- Samsung 32-inch LU32J590UQNXZA, 4K 60Hz, $299.99 on Amazon (12% off)
- VIVO Dual Monitor Desk Mount, $19.99 on Amazon (43% off)
- VIVO Dual Montor Desk Mount (with full articulation), $34.99 on Amazon (30% 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 near the top offers 75Hz, which should be slightly more relaxing to work with over long periods of time.) Why do we add a monitor mount or two 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 10:56 AM PT on August 18 to remove expired deals and add new ones.