What kind of music do you play at parties or events? Are you into hip hop or old-school club anthems? Or perhaps you enjoy electronic dance music (EDM).
Whatever your genre; If you love playing music for yourself or want to share your newly discovered gems, then you should consider buying a laptop designed specifically for DJs.
DJing with a laptop has become more popular over the years.
Other than helping with mixing and allowing for a wider selection of tracks to try on-the-fly, they are used for music production, ripping music onto external sources such as CDs, and allowing for video performance at gigs.
For those that have been brought up with turntables and CDJs, a laptop might seem like a foreign piece of equipment that gets the unfair reputation of being reserved for ‘button-pushers' who can't beat mix.
This might seem like a fair justification, however laptops open up so many more possibilities that they are almost a necessity in this day and age; especially for mobile DJs who play at big venues.
Whether you’re a beginner or experienced DJ, you’ll appreciate having a powerful machine that lets you create professional-quality mixes or making a sick bassline. Here are 10 of the best picks on the market today.
As the debate rumbles on between Microsoft and Apple, there's no denying the unbelievable power a MacBook has for your DJing experience. Their new MacBook is one of the fastest and most powerful models on the market.
Not only is the MacBook an ideal choice for DJing, but it's also used across multiple creative channels such as video editing and content creation.
What we love about this newest model is how fast it is and how smart it looks. It's sleek and powerful; which many other brands cannot compete with at this price range.
One of the downsides is that a lot of apps cannot be removed, which is a slight letdown if you don't like some of the standard-issue software Macs come with.
- Unbelievably fast and one of the most powerful laptops on the market.
- Great for DJs as well as other creative endeavours you might enjoy.
- The battery life is decent and can last up to 20 hours.
- Comes with many apps that cannot be removed.
If you're looking for a laptop that will give you all the performance that is on par with many of the more popular brand names, look no further than the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo. This device comes loaded with Intel Core i7 processors and NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards.
In our test run, we found this to be a solid and speedy option, and it easily allowed for multitasking without slowing the processor down. It is quite a bulky model though, and is not the best at being carried in transit.
- A fast and reliable model.
- Multitasking can be done with ease and won't slow down your system.
- It's a heavy-duty option and feels like it has been built to be tough.
- The weight may put some off as it can be more cumbersome to carry around.
This is another high performing laptop that offers the same specs as the Asus Zenbook Pro Duo but at a lower price point. Like its counterpart, this model is powered by Intel Core i5 processors and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics cards.
We were impressed with the performance of the 9630, and found it to be a bit faster than the previous generation model. We did notice that sometimes when using certain programs, the screen would get quite laggy which slowed down music production.
- Fast and reliable.
- Can handle any task thrown at it.
- Has a beautiful design and isn't too overbearing.
- There were some issues with screen lag.
Apple has always had a knack for making quality products that are easy to use and simple to operate. If you want something that is light and portable, then this is the perfect pick for you.
With this model, you'll receive an Intel Core M1 processor and a NVIDIA GeForce MX150 GPU.
We found this model to be a very capable performer and will allow you to do anything from basic tasks to graphic intensive workflows.
Although not as powerful as its bigger brother, the MacBook Pro – it's still a competent model albeit with slightly less powerful features.
- Lightweight and portable.
- Comes equipped with large SSD storage space.
- Easy to use, and even lifelong Microsoft users will be able to quickly learn how It operates.
- The battery life is not as good as some of the other models on this list.
Don't let the title fool you; this is a brilliantly designed laptop for budding DJs. It comes with a sleek and stylish design and boasts a slim profile.
It also packs a lot of power under the hood, with an Intel Core i7-8550U processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q graphics card.
With this model, you'll be able to easily carry it to parties, clubs, or festivals without too much hassle, and it has a great build and quality, making this an all-round awesome option. However, when used for long periods the overheating was too frequent for our liking.
- Sleek and stylish.
- Portable and easy to transport to venues.
- Has a decent battery life.
- Tends to overheat when running for a long time.
If you're looking for a compact yet powerful laptop, the Dell XPS Thin & Light should be considered. This model comes with an Intel Core i5-8250U CPU and NVIDIA GeForce 940MX GPU, and it comes with 512 GB of storage that can be upgraded to 1 TB SSD.
The display is pretty sharp and clear, and this model is a great choice if you need a lightweight machine that can take on any task thrown at it without breaking a sweat. However, it doesn't have a strong battery life and runs out of juice quickly.
- Compact and light.
- Able to handle any task thrown at you.
- Great display and sound quality.
- Doesn’t have the best battery life.
Not everyone needs all the power in the world, and this Lenovo Yoga Book is a great choice for beginner DJs looking for a budget option. It comes with an Intel Atom x5-8200Y quad-core processor and Nvidia Tegra X1 chip, and it has a 12.3-inch touchscreen display.
This model is ideal for those who just want to play music and who don't need powerhouse performance. However, this is not the right choice for DJs who play out a lot and are in need of a powerful machine.
- Affordable, and one of the best budget laptops for DJs.
- Lightweight and easy to carry around.
- Ideal for beginners and playing small gatherings.
- Doesn't have the power to support ongoing gigs and parties for regular DJs.
Another budget-friendly option, this Acer Aspire 5 laptop comes with an Intel Pentium N4100 dual core processor and AMD Radeon R2 Graphics. It has a 15.6 inch HD screen with 1920×1080 resolution, and it supports Windows 7/10.
This is a great laptop for anyone who wants to get into DJing but doesn't want to spend a fortune. We found it had a nice widescreen display and didn't run too slowly.
With that said, look for a more powerful option if you intend to take your DJing outside of your bedroom.
- Compact and light.
- Good value for money.
- Not meant for mobile DJing.
Dell features on our list once again, and for good reason. They are known for making reliable laptops that don't crash easily: and nothing is more important to a DJ than reliability.
The Dell Inspiron 15 500 series comes with a 15.6-inch Full HD IPS Display with 1920×1080 resolution. It only weighs 3 pounds and features a smart and sleek design.
It's perfect for casual users as well as professional DJs, and it has plenty of ports so you can connect everything from wired headphones to USB sticks. One thing to note is that it does get hot after continued use.
- Reliable and durable.
- Perfect for casual use as well as professionals.
- Plenty of ports to connect everything.
- Gets hot quickly, and we'd be cautious about overusing it.
Finishing off our list, the Lenovo IdeaPad 5 is another great choice for DJs looking for a reliable laptop.
It comes with an 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8300H CPU and NVIDIA GTX 1060 graphics card, and it has a 14-inch full HD display with 1920×1080 resolution and 144 Hz refresh rate.
It also has a large capacity of 256GB PCIe NVMe M.2 drive, which means you'll never have to worry about running out of space. You can even upgrade it to a 2TB SSD if you want the extra space.
However, if you're just starting, we would recommend choosing an entry-level option to get a feel for laptop DJing first.
- Thin and light, making it ideal for travel.
- A decent battery life.
- Features plenty of storage, with the option to upgrade.
- Only reserved for intermediate or advanced DJs looking for a powerful tool.
If you're new to DJing, then you might find yourself overwhelmed by all the options available. That’s where we come in!
To help you choose the right option for you, we've put together a buyer's guide to help you decide what type of DJing device will suit your needs.
Not every option available on the market is going to be applicable to your needs, so before you make a purchase you regret, run through this quick checklist and narrow down the field to one or two viable options for you.
Bedroom DJ Or Club Spinner
Before buying any DJ equipment, you should think about what kind of experience you want to gain from using it. You also need to be clear on the type of DJing you are going to be committing to, and whether you want to use the laptop for other activities.
Being able to use your laptop for video performances, as well as your office work is going to have different requirements than solely using a laptop for making music.
If you're planning on performing in clubs regularly, make lots of music, and record lots of sets then you may want to invest in a high-quality and powerful laptop.
On the other hand, if you plan to perform mostly small, private events, or simply want to record a few mixes from your bedroom, you are not going to need the most powerful option. Choose something smaller and lighter that is going to be budget-friendly.
The size of your hard drive is going to determine how much music you can store. A bigger hard drive allows you to save more tracks, but it also requires more time to load them up when you start playing.
The spec you need to consider is RAM – the feature that makes your laptop respond quickly to tasks. You will want at least 8 GB of RAM; and if you're serious about DJing, opting for over 16 GB would be a good recommendation.
You should also factor in whether your laptop can add more RAM even after you’ve made the purchase, and if you can't; you might consider buying as much RAM as possible at the point of sale to avoid any potential problems down the line.
When you're spinning records, you need to be able to process audio fast enough to play multiple songs at once. Your processor speed determines how many songs you can play per minute and whether they sound smooth or choppy.
When selecting a DJ laptop, look for models that offer a 4 GHz or higher clock speed to avoid this issue.
Is there anything more daunting than being in the middle of a three-hour set at a nightclub, and you see that you only have 10% battery left?
The obvious solution is to look at the specifications and see how long the battery life is for the model.
In our experience, MacBooks have better battery life than Windows, as many that claim to be able to run for eight hours don't take into consideration the lower processor speed, etc and always fall short of their expected lifespan.
While some people prefer larger displays, others like having their DJ laptops as compact as possible. The display size will depend on what you use your laptop for. If you mainly use it in your bedroom, then you probably won't need anything bigger than 13 inches.
On the other hand, if your main focus is clubbing, you may need something bigger, such as 15 or 17 inches.
You should also consider the brightness of the screen, as many DJs have been blindsided by a set carried out during the day when their laptop was not bright enough and they couldn't see what they were doing.
Mac Or Windows?
Most DJ software works on both Mac and PC platforms. However, certain DJ programs only work on Macs, such as Logic Pro.
And you also get access to the soundboard sound with Macbooks, which you will have to purchase with an external sound card with Windows.
However, you might also want to use your laptop for other users, such as video gaming, and Windows might serve you better if you intend to mix up your usage.
Whilst MacBook takes the edge in terms of music production and DJing, if you're only mixing and making music for recreational purposes, this might not be relevant to you.
A side note on gaming laptops: some are designed to mainly focus on graphics cards, which doesn't help with your music endeavours, so be wary of this fact.
Laptops can be a difficult piece of equipment to purchase, especially for the not-so technologically minded. But hopefully, the above tips will guide you towards making the best decision.
As long as you are clear about why you want to buy a DJ laptop, you'll be able to get the most out of your machine for the money you pay!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Features Does A Music Production Laptop Need?
You should prioritize RAM, as you'll likely be working with some big files, samples, and some large software for making music on.
Anything less than 8 GB is not going to cut it, so if you want to make music a big focus of your reason to purchase a laptop for DJing, avoid going under 8 GB, and really aim for anything above 16 GB.
Do You Need A Laptop To DJ?
You do not need a laptop to DJ. All you will need is a mixer and turntables, or a DJ controller. Laptops open up different opportunities for DJs and require less skill to be able to do certain key elements such as beatmatching.