The best cheap laptops for pen testing in 2022

If you want to earn a competitive salary and have high job security in the cybersecurity industry, then pentesting might be the career for you. According to PayScale, the average salary of penetration testers is $87,845. To qualify for a high salary, you must first invest in one of the best laptops for pen testing.

This guide covers the best laptops for pen testing under $1,000 and over $1,000. We also discuss the essential parts of a good pentesting laptop. Read on to discover the best laptop pen testing options, along with great choices for cheap pen testing laptops.

How to choose the best pentesting laptop?

There are several features and specifications that a laptop must meet in order to become one of the best laptops for pen testing. However, if you want to land a job in penetration testing, a powerful laptop that can handle operational security software is a necessity. Below are the key elements to consider when choosing a laptop for pen testing or ethical hacking.

High SSD and RAM storage capacity

Getting a job in cybersecurity requires you to work with tons of heavy security software that requires a laptop with sufficient storage capacity. Laptops with SSD capacities ranging from 256 GB to 512 GB are optimal for pen testing requirements. You can also look into laptops with external storage ports and other options to increase capacity.

Powerful processor

Laptops with an Intel Core i5 processor or higher are a must for pen testing tasks. There are tons of cheap laptops you can buy with 8th generation or higher processors. You can also choose a laptop with powerful graphics units to crack passwords and perform other ethical hacking tasks.

Affordable price range

The price of the laptop is another vital component to consider when choosing a laptop for pen testing. There are a large number of pentesting laptops that can cost upwards of $3,500, which can be very expensive for many people. You need to look at the general specs and compare it to the laptop’s price range to choose a financially compatible laptop.

Long battery life and laptop with thermal design

Cyber ​​security software and ethical hacking tasks require tremendous processing power from your laptop. A high average battery life is a must for a good pen-testing laptop, so you can use it continuously on a single charge. The ideal laptop has a good battery that can help you avoid overheating. You should also get a laptop with a built-in thermal design and cooling fan system.

Compatible with Kali Linux operating system

The Kali Linux operating system, one of many Linux distro options, is popular for penetration testing and cybersecurity tasks. As such, you should opt for a laptop that is compatible with Kali Linux OS and related downloads.

High Definition screen resolution and suitable screen size

A high-definition screen resolution is another essential element to consider when choosing a laptop for pen testing. An HD display is a crucial factor needed for scripting and testing purposes. You can also opt for laptops with a wide screen between 14 and 17 inches.

How to find cheap pentesting laptops

  • Take advantage of Black Friday and other holiday discounts. The first tip to find a cheap deal on a pen testing laptop is to buy it during the heavy discount season. Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday offer hefty discounts on electronics. You can also sign up on websites to receive sales alerts.
  • Buy your laptop directly from the official manufacturer. The prices of the laptops on the official manufacturer’s websites are often cheaper than third-party retail outlets. In addition to cheaper prices, you can also get warranty directly from the manufacturers. However, it is always best to check price ranges from various sources.
  • Use your student, teacher, army or other discounts. This tip applies to people with professions or backgrounds that qualify for discounts. You can get student, teacher, veteran, or military discounts from various laptop manufacturers, if applicable, to ease your budget constraints.

The best laptops for pen testing in 2022

Laptop Manufacturer Price Functions
MacBook Pro Apple $2,499 16-inch display, 64 GB memory, 512 GB SSD storage
Razer Blade Stealth 13 Razer $1,999 512 GB SSD, 11th Gen Intel, quad-core processor
Alienware M15 R7 Gaming Laptop Dell $1,550 512 GB SSD storage, NVIDIA GeForce RTX, 12th Gen Intel
Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop acer $1,300 11800 H processor, 512 GB SSD storage, IPS display technology
HP Envy 17t-ch000 HP $1,200 512GB SSD, 11th Gen Intel, Intel Iris Xe Graphics
HP Pavilion 15 Laptop PC HP $1,000 Intel Core i7 processor, 512 GB SSD
Acer Nitro 5 – 2022 acer $800 256 GB SSD storage, 10300H processor, 15.6-inch display with Full HD display
Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 Microsoft $800 Windows 11, 19-hour battery life, Intel Core i5 processor
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 AMD Lenovo $680 Integrated AMD Radeon graphics, 256 GB SSD storage, fingerprint reader
Acer Aspire 5-A515-43 acer $650 Quad-Core processor, 512 GB SSD, AMD Radeon RX Vega 10

Top rated laptops for pen testing: in detail

MacBook M1 Pro

  • Best for: Powerful battery and multitasking
  • Price: $2,499

According to Canalys PC Market Pulse statistics, Apple desktop and laptop shipments saw an annual growth of 28 percent in 2021. The popularity of Apple’s MacBook Pro is constantly increasing in the tech community. The reason for this popularity can be attributed to its excellent performance and graphics processing units, as well as its elegant design.

The MacBook Pro is a great laptop for pen testing and ethical hacking. It has dedicated RAM for graphics, a battery life of about 14 hours and an amazing speed for pen testing. The device also has exceptional sound quality.

Razer Blade Stealth 13

  • Best for: Fast processing
  • Price: $1,999

Razer is known for making gaming and high performing laptops. This Razer Blade Stealth 13 offers ample storage capacity, an NVIDIA graphics card and a powerful quad-core processor, making it an excellent laptop for pen testing.

Alienware M15 R7 Gaming Laptop

  • Best for: Heavy processing and multitasking
  • Price: $1,550

A gaming laptop offers efficient performance and amazing speeds that are essential components for a pentesting laptop. This Alienware M15 R7 gaming laptop offers cryo-tech cooling and dual-fan design technology that allows you to use the laptop for heavy software. This laptop also has multiple graphics processor ports and a long battery life.

Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop

  • Best for: Daily Pen Test Tasks
  • Price: $1,300

The Predator Helios 300 gaming device is yet another powerful pen-test laptop that supports Kali Linux OS, has ample storage space, and has an Intel Core i7 processor required to perform ethical hacking tasks. It has a screen size of 15.6 inches and a dedicated graphics processing unit, making it an ideal choice for cybersecurity purposes.

HP Envy 17t-ch000

  • Best for: Use as a general pentesting and ethical hacking laptop
  • Price: $1,200

Whether you want to become an ethical hacker or a cybersecurity analyst, a laptop with the fastest processor, the most RAM storage and efficient performance is something you should look for. This HP Envy 17t has Iris Xe Intel graphics, an Intel Core i7 processor, a backlit display, a fingerprint sensor and fast battery charging time. In addition, it has an attractive design.

Best Pen Test Laptops Under $1,000

HP Pavilion 15 Laptop PC

  • Best for: Daily Pen Test Tasks
  • Price: $1,000

If you’re looking for a budget laptop with Windows 11 OS, an Intel Core i7 processor and Intel Turbo Boost technology, this HP Pavilion 15 is an ideal choice for pen testing. It has a fingerprint sensor, fast charging battery, power efficiency certification and Iris Xe Intel graphics which are desirable for pen testing. You can also run Kali Linux on this device.

Acer Nitro 5

  • Best for: Daily Pen Test Tasks
  • Price: $800

The Acer Nitro 5 offers an affordable price for a laptop for pen testing and ethical hacking. It has a 4GB Intel graphics memory, 256GB SSD storage and an Intel Core i5 processor. It’s an excellent choice for pen testers looking for a lithium-ion battery with a wide screen size, ample connectivity and stunning performance.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 4

  • Best for: Long battery life
  • Price: $800

The Microsoft Surface 4 laptop with two processors including AMD Ryzen and 11th Gen Intel Core processor makes it a powerful and budget-friendly penetration test laptop. It offers high battery capacity and powerful graphics processing unit for amazing performance for cybersecurity tasks. In addition, there are several color options.

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 AMD

  • Best for: Pen testers on a budget
  • Price: $680

If you are looking for a lightweight laptop that is portable with an integrated graphics card, this Lenovo IdeaPad Flex is a great option. Although less powerful than the Lenovo ThinkPad, this convertible laptop is flexible and has a Windows 11 operating system with an AMD Ryzen processor and a fingerprint reader. It also comes with an SD card reader, a 14-inch FHD display, and 256GB of SSD storage, making it a great laptop for hacking.

Acer Aspire 5

  • Best for: Pen testers on a budget
  • Price: $650

Acer Aspire 5 is a budget laptop with powerful graphics, a dual-core processor, a high-quality display, a large screen size and plenty of RAM at an affordable price. It also has IPS technology and a battery life of seven hours. If you’re on a budget but looking for a high-performing hacking laptop, this Acer model is worth considering.

Do I need to use a laptop for pen testing?

Yes, you must use a laptop for pen testing as this cybersecurity field requires all its operations and software tasks to be orchestrated on a laptop or a computer. To find the best laptop for hacking and pen testing, consider a wide variety of computing elements.

Choose laptops that are compatible with Kali Linux, have a long battery life, a powerful graphics processing unit, a large solid-state drive and an Intel Core processor of 5th generation or higher. Usually you also want to choose a laptop with a sleek design, since the intention is that the device is easily portable.

Frequently asked questions about the best laptops for pen testing

What are the best laptops to use for pen testing?

The best laptops to use for pen testing are the MacBook Pro, Razer Blade Stealth 13, Alienware M15 R7 Gaming Laptop, and Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop.

Can I buy pentesting laptops for under $1,000?

Yes, there are plenty of good quality pen-test laptops out there that you can buy for under $1,000. Some of them are the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex, Acer Aspire 5, Microsoft Surface 4 and Acer Nitro 5.

What elements should be in a laptop for pen testing?

Some of the essential elements that should be included in a laptop for pen testing are Kali Linux OS compatibility, Intel Turbo Boost and a powerful graphics processor. Also, choose laptops with a long battery life, ample connectivity options, a large drive size, and plenty of RAM.

Which laptops are best for hacking and ethical hacking purposes?

The best laptops for hacking and ethical hacking are the MacBook Pro, Alienware M15 R7 Gaming Laptop, Razer Blade Stealth 13, HP Envy 17t, and Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop.

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