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The best Apple MacBook for every type of user in 2024

The best Apple MacBook for every type of user in 2024

If you're a fan of all things Apple and looking to add a laptop to your gear, you'll need to choose a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro. These range in price from $999 for an entry-level MacBook Air, up to $7,199 for a MacBook Pro configured with every available upgrade. 

Keep in mind, all current MacBook laptops run the same version of the MacOS Sonoma operating system and come with the same collection of more than 30 preinstalled apps. These apps are designed to handle the most common computing tasks right out of the box. All MacBook laptops also work seamlessly with Apple iCloud and all of Apple's other services. 

For most students or average computer users, a MacBook Air is a more affordable option that'll easily meet your needs. 

If you're a graphic designer, content creator, programmer, photo editing, video editor, musician, producer, serious gamer, a MacBook Pro is definitely the better choice. If you need help understanding the differences between a MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, check out our Is the 2024 MacBook Air worth it? and Is the 2023 MacBook Pro worth it? articles.

Which MacBook is the best?

This 2024 MacBook buyer's guide, compiled by our in-house team of tech experts, will help you figure out which MacBook model and hardware configuration best meets your needs, without exceeding your budget.

Best MacBook for everyday use: 2023 14" MacBook Pro (M3 Pro processor)

14‑inch MacBook Pro (M3 Processor)

Plenty of computer users can easily get away with a 2023 13" MacBook Air. But anyone who wants a bit more processing power and a better display should really consider the mid-priced 2023 Apple MacBook Pro with a M3 Pro processor.

The laptop's 14.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display is absolutely gorgeous. This means that anytime you're streaming video, gaming, editing video, working with photos, what you'll see will be extremely detailed -- with plenty of contrast and vibrancy. The display offers a maximum brightness of 1,000 nits.

We're big fans of this laptop's up-to-18-hour battery life. You also get plenty of connectivity options and ports, plus faster processing power than what a MacBook Air can do. Choose between 512GB or 1TB of internal storage and a space gray or silver housing.

While all of the MacBook Pro laptops are more powerful than any of the MacBook Air models, this particular 14-inch MacBook Pro falls in the middle when it comes to hardware configuration and cost. It'll easily handle just about any task and could potentially replace your desktop computer, too.

Best budget MacBook: 2024 13" MacBook Air (M3 processor)

13" MacBook Air (M3 Processor)

This 13-inch MacBook Air, with its M3 processor, is an entry-level MacBook. It has a $999 starting price and is configured with 8GB of unified memory and a 256GB SSD for storage. You can choose between four housing colors.

We like this MacBook because it gives you all of the core benefits of a Mac, bundled into a laptop that's lightweight, portable and relatively affordable. The 13.6-inch Liquid Retina Display can showcase more than one billion colors, while the integrated speaker system supports spatial audio with Dolby Atmos sound.

Battery life is up to 18 hours. This MacBook Air will easily handle all of your everyday computing needs; preinstalled apps handle common tasks like web surfing, email, contacts, scheduling, photo editing and more. Plus, you can use the free Apple iWork apps (Pages, Numbers and Keynote) to handle word processing, spreadsheets and slide presentations.

The MacBook Air is versatile, customizable and the perfect starter MacBook for someone who's switching from a Windows laptop, or anyone who needs a reliable computer on the move.

Best MacBook for students: 2024 15" MacBook Air (M3 processor)


One of the core needs of any middle school or high school student is multitasking -- surfing the web and word processing at the same time; taking an online class while managing a spreadsheet; or researching a project while taking a video call.

The 15-inch MacBook Air gives students a bit of extra on-screen real estate, which is great for multitasking. For a college student, we'd recommend one of the MacBook Pro laptops, but for younger students, the MacBook Air is a more affordable option that'll easily fit in a backpack and continue running throughout the school day and into an evening's homework session.

The MacBook Air is also a wonderful entertainment and communications tool -- whether the user is streaming music or video, gaming, reading an e-book or participating in a group chat with family or friends.  This is a laptop that'll adapt to a student's needs and provide an intuitive and reliable experience.

Best MacBook for creatives: 2023 16" MacBook Pro (M3 Max Processor)

16" MacBook Pro (M3 Max Processor)

If you're a programmer, graphic artist, musician/music producer, video editor, content creator, or anyone who regularly works with massive files and need the most powerful and fastest processing power Apple has to offer, this is the MacBook you want at your disposal.

Battery life is up to 22 hours. The Liquid Retina XDR display's maximum brightness is 1,000 nits and the computer comes bundled with the widest selection of ports that a MacBook can offer. This gives users the ability to add multiple monitors, along with an external keyboard and mouse, so the computer can be used as a primary desktop -- offering all of the power of an advanced workstation or production studio.

This MacBook Pro is equipped with a six speaker sound system, an advanced microphone array, a 1080p resolution (full HD) webcam, a backlit keyboard and a TouchID sensor that's used to unlock the computer and approve online purchases. It's the most powerful laptop that Apple currently has to offer.

Best MacBook for families: 2023 14" MacBook Pro (M3 processor) 

14" MacBook Pro (M3 Processor)

This computer is fast, plenty powerful, versatile, customizabler and portable. Choose between a space gray or silver housing color.

One of the biggest reasons for a family to choose this MacBook Pro: It has a longer battery life (up to 22 hours) and a more advanced Liquid Retina XDR display. This allows it to showcase sharper and more vibrant graphics. You also get more built-in ports. 

And when you're streaming music or a movie without using wireless headphones or earbuds, you'll appreciate the six-speaker sound system that offers spatial audio with Dolby Atmos support. 

Whether a parent is working from home, a student is doing homework, or a child is playing online games, the 14-inch MacBook Pro with M3 processor will provide the computing power needed to handle a wide range of tasks. This computer easily handles multitasking, too. It includes a wide range of security, privacy and parental control tools.

Who should get a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro laptop?


If you're already an Apple fan, the answer is a no-brainer. But there are other big reasons to make an Apple laptop your next computer buy -- including battery life, safety and more.

All MacBook laptops integrate seamlessly with Apple iCloud, as do other Apple devices, including the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and iMac desktop computers. As a result, your data, documents, files, photos and content can be set up to automatically backup to the cloud and sync with your other Apple gear. So, if you snap a photo using your iPhone, within seconds, it will be accessible from your MacBook laptop, as long as both are connected to the internet. The entire Apple ecosystem -- including hardware and software (apps) work extremely well together.

All of the MacBook models are also extremely portable, versatile and have a long battery life (compared with most Windows laptops or Chromebooks). Each comes preinstalled with more than 30 apps, so you can handle contact management, scheduling, email, web surfing, photo editing, video calling and other popular tasks as soon as you unbox the laptop and initially set it up.

We also love that MacBooks are far less susceptible to viruses and malware than Windows laptops. And we're huge fans of the design of both the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops. They're thin, light and have gorgeous displays. Plus, the MacOS operating system is highly intuitive, making these laptops easy to operate. You also get a wide range of privacy and security tools integrated into the hardware and MacOS operating system.

If you experience a problem with your MacBook laptop, AppleCare is readily available by phone, or you can visit any Apple Store to receive personalized support. To fully benefit from the support Apple offers, we highly recommend purchasing Apple Care+ for your MacBook at the time of purchase. This is sold either as annual coverage which auto-renews each year until it's cancelled (the option we recommend), or you can pre-purchase a three year coverage plan that's not renewable. 

For more help choosing a laptop, be sure to check out our coverage of the five best laptops for 2024, the best laptops for high school grads in 2024, the six best gaming laptops for 2024, the five best laptops for college in 2024, the six best laptops under $500, and the five best budget laptops for 2024. Whether you need to know about the very best laptop computers or any other types of tech, we're constantly expanding and updating our coverage to offer the most informative, timely and accurate information.

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