The best laptops for music production in 2022
One of the best laptops for music production is often one of the most important pieces of kit for any musician’s home studio, no matter what kind of music you produce. Laptops have become vital for producers and musicians themselves, with powerful software programs allowing you to use laptops as portable studios if you have the right set up.
You can plug in microphones, amps, instruments, MIDI controllers, samplers and more, and you can record, edit and export your compositions. There’s a huge range of music production software out there that lets you record on multiple tracks, while also offering plenty of effects and editing tools.
You’ll find tips at the bottom of this article for what to look for when choosing between the best laptops for music production, but the options we’ve chosen below should offer enough power, memory and storage to meet musicians requirements. We’ve made the pick based on our own reviews – and where we’ve not reviewed them specifically for producing music we’ve sought the opinions of contacts in the music industry. You can see our guide to how we test laptops, PCs and workstations for more details on our review process.
If you’re looking for portable devices for other disciplines, see our guides to the best laptops for graphic design and the best laptops for video editing. In the meantime, these are our pick as the best laptops for music production.
The best laptops for music production today
The MacBook Pro 14-inch is our top pick as the best laptop for music production. Coming with either an M1 Pro or M1 Max chip, this is an incredibly powerful laptop that can handle even the most complex projects with ease. There’s a good reason why many music producers and musicians favour Apple products, and macOS, the operating system the MacBook Pro 14-inch comes with, supports a huge amount of music production applications.
It also has some of the best speakers we’ve ever tested on a laptop, making it ideal for use when you can’t hook up external speakers, and there’s an excellent array of ports. The battery life is also seriously impressive. It’s expensive, but you won’t find a better laptop for music production.
Read all the details in our in-depth Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) review.
While Apple may not be the first company you think of when you read the word ‘value’, but 2020 MacBook Air actually offers fantastic value for money for music producers. It’s significantly cheaper than the MacBook Pro 14 above, and even many Windows-based alternatives, but still offers a stylish thin and light design and excellent performance thanks to the M1 chip.
And the fact that it’s two years old and that Apple has just released a new 2022 M2 MacBook Air means that prices have got even better, with retailers more often offering discounts – and don’t let its age put you off in this case; this is still a fantastic laptop for music production, and can run any application the more expensive MacBook Pro can.
Another benefit is that the MacBook Air is fanless. This means it’s silent when in use, which is a huge bonus if you’re recording via microphones. It doesn’t offer a huge amount of ports, however, so you’ll probably need to invest in a dock.
Read our full MacBook Air (M1, 2020) review for further details.
Higher end gaming laptops can sometimes be good options as laptops for music production, and the Strix Scar 15 from Asus’s Republic of Games ticks all the right boxes. It does go in rather heavily on the gamer-style with a lot of lights, so it’s not one to consider if you want something discreet, but it certainly offers the power producers need with an Intel i9 processor and a base spec of 16GB of RAM.
We were certainly impressed when we reviewed the device. We got 10 hours of video playback out of the battery and found the laptop to be lightweight enough to make it a portable workhorse for content production. You get good connectivity options too with two USB-C ports (one Thunderbolt 4), two USB-A, HDMI, ethernet and a headphone jack. The Scottish electronic music producer Hudson Mohawke is apparently a fan too.
See our full Asus ROG Strix Scar 15 (2022) review for more details.
If you want a gorgeous and large display to do your music production on, then the latest Dell XPS 17 is the laptop for you. Usually, 17-inch laptops are large and uncomfortable to carry. However, with the XPS 17, Dell has crafted a stunningly thin large screen laptop, and it’s impressively light as well.
Power-wise, the XPS 17 packs up to an Intel Core i9 processor, 64GB of RAM and an Nvidia RTX 3060 GPU. That means that pretty much any music production software is going to run well well on this and shouldn’t suffer any performance issues at all. It is expensive, but for many people, the premium design and performance will be worth it.
See our full Dell XPS 17 review for more details.
While the MacBook Pro 14-inch is the best laptop for music production in our view thanks to its convenient portable size, if you’d like a bigger screen, its 16-inch sibling offers essentially the same specs, and slightly better battery life to boot. Some find the larger screen more comfortable for working on, especially if working on multiple tracks at once.
As with the MacBook Pro 14 at number one, this is a brilliant laptop for music production that should be able to handle even the most complex projects. It boasts excellent speakers and microphone, and plenty of ports. It is more expensive than the 14in model, however.
See our full MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) review for more details.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 is pretty much the best laptop Microsoft has made. It boasts a beautiful, premium design, a stunning screen and plenty of power beneath the hood. It also offers good battery life, which will be welcome if you record or edit when you’re on the move.
As a Microsoft product, it’s also a showcase for the company’s software, especially Windows 11. Any music production app you want to use will run with ease, and the built-in speakers are also impressive considering the size of this laptop. It could do with a few more ports, but overall this is a stylish laptop that’s great for music production.
Read our complete Surface Laptop 4 review for more details.
The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 Alan Walker Special Edition is a rather unique laptop for music production, as it’s been designed in collaboration with the popular YouTube DJ. Not only does this mean it has exclusive colours compared to the regular Zephyrus G14 laptop, but the actual box it comes with can be used as a controller for mixing or as a synth pad that connects through USB-C to use with a dedicated app.
This means you can start creating straight away, but if you think this is a gimmick, or you already have your own equipment, then you’ll find this laptop to still be an excellent investment, with plenty of ports and some decent specs that means it’ll handle any music production app with ease, however.
If you want a brilliant high-end laptop for music production, then the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo 15 UX582L could be for you. Not only does it come with some incredibly powerful components, including a choice of Core i7 or i9 Intel processors, but it also has a unique design that includes a second screen above the keyboard.
This touchscreen can be used with music production applications to provide extra control, such as sliders for mixing tracks. It gives the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo 15 UX582L a level of versatility that other laptops lack. Both screens are OLED as well, which means they look absolutely stunning as well.
However, the unique design won’t be for everyone, and it does make the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo 15 UX582L more expensive than other laptops on this list. Battery life is also impacted, which means you’ll need to make sure you carry around the power supply if you’re planning on using this out and about.
The LG Gram 17 is another great choice for a laptop for music production that offers a large screen. This makes working with multiple tracks and complex arrangements much easier, as you get to see more of your project at once.
Like the Dell XPS 17 above, the LG Gram 17 pushes back against the notion that 17-inch laptops need to be big and bulky. In fact, the LG Gram 17 is actually lighter than many smaller laptops. Performance is good and battery life is excellent. It doesn’t have the premium feel of the XPS 17, but it’s wonderfully portable for its size.
How should I choose the best laptop for music production?
Recording and editing multi-track songs can put a lot of demands on a laptop, the best laptops for music production are devices that have a powerful multi-core processor and plenty of RAM – we’d recommend 16GB as a minimum.
You’ll also want a large SSD. Audio tracks, especially uncompressed ones, can take up a lot amounts of storage space, so you’ll want to make sure your laptop doesn’t run out of capacity. We’d recommend at least 512GB, but you’re likely to be grateful for it if you opt for 1TB.
Good speakers are also important. While most music producers will want to plug in external speakers, having a decent set built into the laptop can make your life easier, as you can use these when out and about and still get a good idea of how your music sounds without having to worry about always having external speakers to hand.
Ports are also important when choosing a laptop for music production because you’ll probably want to be able to connect external hardware. The more types of port a laptop has, the less likely it is you’ll need to use adapters, which again makes things easier when you’re out and about, but you might want to take a look at the other equipment you’re likely to use and think about connections. You may need to use a dock.