A DJ laptop is now considered a must in most setups, regardless if you’re spinning at home, playing at some house parties, or even larger venues such as weddings or festivals. We’re no stranger to DJ equipment in general — although we still reminisce on the good ol’ days with a few turntables and a mixer with some speakers to get scratching on our favorite records, times have changed and it’s time to start accepting that. Even if you still want to keep some analog gear with your DJ setup, buying the best DJ laptop will not only elevate the sound and quality of your sets, but help make your work flow much easier while you perform — whether it’s decreasing stress of the possibility of messing up, allowing you to have more time to enjoy the crowd in front of you, or have increased focus and energy to hype that audience up, it’s well worth the buy.
Recommendations for DJ laptops
Go to any festival, show or concert with a DJ featured and you’re 99% of the time going to see a laptop at least a part of their overall setup. Even if you’re a beginner DJ and are looking to get going on starting to be a DJ, a good place to start is a solid computer or laptop to rely on as your backbone. We’ve seen some DJ’s (even pros) literally only have a laptop — having talked to them, we hear, “the point of DJ’ing now is to keep those songs flowing, so why mess around with extra gear and bells and whistles?” Ask other DJ’s, and they’ll at least recommend you accommodate your DJ laptop with a turntable, mixer or at the very least a DJ controller.
Our recommendation? Do what works best for you. It will just depend on what you want. Need some flair and pizzazz to tweak some FX and transitions? Buy a decent DJ controller and pair it up with your laptop. Want to scratch alongside your playlists? Pair up a turntable that’s USB compatible and can sync with your software and you’re good to go. We’ll let you decide. Don’t forget to pair this up with a high quality DJ laptop stand to place it altogether.
Let’s get back to our topic and get down to what it takes to be considered the “best DJ laptop”. Just as in our music production laptop guide, we like to see what today’s standards look like. Let’s first check out two of the most popular DJ software “minimum requirements” for a computer. Again, these are “minimum”, so just because it “runs” on it won’t mean it’ll run “well”. However, looking at the minimums will first give us an idea of what to look for.
- Operating Systems: Mac OS X 10.8 and above, Windows 7, 8.1 and 10
- Processor: i3 and up with 1.07 GHz (32 bit\64 bit)
- Screen Resolution: 1280 x 720
- RAM: At least 4 GB (32 bit\64 bit)
- USB: One USB 2.0 port
- Hard Drive: At least 5 GB available
- Video Memory: 1 GB
- Operating Systems: Mac OS X 10.9 and above, Windows 7, 8 and 10
- Processor: i5 and up or equal AMD processor at 2.0 GHz
- Screen Resolution: 1024 x 768
- RAM: At least 4 GB
- USB: One USB 2.0 port
- Hard Drive: At least 1 GB available
- Video Memory: 1 GB
Now that we have the manufacturer requirements, let’s start to get real. We’ll recommend at least doubling on a lot of these specifications they state as “minimums”. Luckily, most of the laptops for DJ’s we recommend below come in many different combinations of specs — the sites we link to will have nearly 5-6 different options when it comes to RAM, hard drive space, processor and screen size to allow you to choose whichever fits your needs as well as budget.
Here are our own requirements for you to look for if you want to run the most optimal DJ laptop setup available today:
- Operating System: Just grab or update to the latest version regardless if you’re on Mac or Windows
- Processor: An i5 or AMD equivalent with no less than 2.0 Ghz
- Screen Resolution: 1280 x 720 or higher, but ultimately this is personal preference
- RAM: At least 8 GB
- Hard Drive: At least 1 TB, especially if you’re storing your songs on your laptop to use in your gigs. Huge note here that we will underline: You must buy at least a partial SSD hard drive! If you don’t know what SSD is, read about it here: Solid-State Drives (essentially, their ability to handle processing and ultimately load are much faster)
- At least 15″ screen size for easy use and navigation during sets (ultimately your call, though)
- USB: At least 4 (preferably high-speed 2.0) — you may need to plug-in your other gear later
- Video Memory: 1 GB or higher (most GFORCE or popular gaming video cards that come in pre-built laptops are more than enough)
The best laptops for DJ’s
Apple MacBook Pro
Let’s get started with our favorite picks as the best DJ laptops available in the market right now. Having said our requirements for computer specifications, we just can’t get ourselves to not list the MacBook Pro first. We’ll always be torn by the Mac vs. PC debate, especially when it comes to laptops — they’re just brands after all, right? Well, yes to an extent. What makes Mac win for us in the laptop realm, especially for DJ’s, is the higher quality value you attain with their hardware and software combination paired up with the user reviews backing up the seamless integration with most music and DJ software. This will give us a sense of security knowing it’s going to run (and run well) with whatever we throw at it. On the contrary, our other laptops for DJ’s down below are all PC with Windows, so we’ll leave that decision up to you.
At the end of the day, we love MacBook Pros since a lot of professional DJ’s use them with their gear. You’re also getting some other additives on the side of the specs you choose: a sleek and thin size for easy travel and positioning on your stand, a beautiful retina display, up to 10 hours of battery life (will probably drain a bit more with your DJ software, but that’s more than enough for a gig), a multi-touch Touch Bar for easy navigation, and more. This is an easy pick since you can’t go wrong with it — why fix what isn’t broken? The Apple MacBook Pro is a safe option as the best laptop for DJ’s if you wanted a simple and plain answer for what to buy.
Up next, we’ll start to get into some of our favorite DJ laptops that run Windows and have a little bit more flexibility when it comes to mixing and matching your preferred specifications. We’ve been Windows users our entire lives (although we’ve used both, especially for DJ’ing and music production), so if you’re into PC’s and Windows-based laptops, we’ve got your back as well. Let’s get into one of our favorite brands out there at the moment since their reputation is very high among user reviews backing up not only their longevity but overall quality, too. The ThinkPad series is a great laptop choice for any DJ or producer out there.
They have different letter ThinkPads that come tailored to different uses, but you then can further customize which specs you’d like in each of them depending on your budget. The overall build of these things are like tanks — military grade materials, touchpads, ergonomic keys, multimedia buttons and more. The Lenovo ThinkPad is our pick as the best DJ laptop for those wanting a reliable Windows-based solution to spinning those tunes.
Microsoft Surface Pro
What’s a “Windows laptop” without that Microsoft brand name attached to it to give us confidence in the buy? Let’s talk about a less-traditional “best laptop for DJ’s” since this thing also has a touch screen and can act as a tablet. We’ve seen more and more artists start to use DJ apps for their main software since a lot of these are becoming more powerful with time. DJ gear is also coming as “iOS or Android compatible”, although right now it’s nearly as reliable as real software. Regardless, the Surface Pro 2-in-1’s or laptops are a great solution for DJ’s.
You also have the choice to grab their Surface Laptop instead if you weren’t feeling the foldable and touchscreen capabilities of the Pro, but considering the specs are massive and can give even the most powerful laptops a run for their money catches our eye. Who knows, you can even use this one for some personal leisure in between sets or while you’re on the road since it functions as a regular tablet if need be. The Microsoft Surface Pro is a nice option for DJ’s who want some more versatility to their shows.
Dell XPS 15
Dell makes an early appearance here with a well-proven laptop series rated highly by many when it comes various uses aside from just a model powerful enough to DJ on. Their XPS laptops are all well worth looking at (they also have 2-in-1’s if that’s your thing), however we’ve narrowed it down specifically to the “15” make due to the combination of size and power. Coming in many configurations to give us options when it comes to budget and specs, the only static feature is the screen size of 15.6″ (hence that “15” name). Display size is always a personal preference, but for DJ’ing we like it to be as large as possible for accessibility, especially during a set.
Side extra features you’ll be getting include Windows 10 already installed, a high-quality InfinityEdge display (borderless display), up to 4K HD (3840 x 2160) resolution, 100% Adobe RGB color, and it’s even touch friendly if that’s what you fancy. If you can get by with the (slightly) smaller screen size (it’s still pretty big, since most popular laptops won’t go higher than 17″+), this is a great pick for the best DJ laptop if you weren’t feeling our previous Lenovo or Microsoft picks. Dell’s a great brand when it comes to investing in a long-term computer, and the Dell XPS 15 is no different from what their reputation states: reliability.
HP takes us into the middle-point of our best laptop for DJ’s picks, and this particular model is coined a “gaming laptop”, but don’t allow that to be rigid enough for us to discount it to DJ on. If anything, it tells us it’ll provide more than enough power and speed since video games are a lot more demanding than DJ software in general. That alone gives us confidence we’ll have more than enough capability at our fingertips to get going on our DJ adventures.
This particular Omen series comes with some hefty numbers and more than enough options when it comes to tailoring your own specific budget and specification needs. They all come with Windows 10 but you can customize the RAM, HD, video card, processor as well as screen size. In terms of size, they’re pretty standard for most laptops, so you’ll be fine when it comes to traveling and fitting it into your gear repertoire. Most even come with a 4K IPS display so this will be top-of-the-line in terms of how you visualize your DJ gigs as well. The HP Omen is a great buy if you want power, especially since we know if it can handle video games, it’ll be more than enough for any software you use to DJ with.
Moving along, here’s another Lenovo series we love for DJ’s. Like the ThinkPad previously listed, the IdeaPad give us a great mixture of power and specs for a great price. We include this a little later on in our guide since it’s a bit more budget-friendly than most out there in case some of you didn’t want to spend nearly a thousand bucks on a laptop for your DJ gigs. You obviously aren’t getting as much speed or power but there are a few IdeaPad models out there we like that just make the cut when it comes to our recommended minimum requirements.
To save on some money, you’ll be sacrificing a few parts of your DJ laptop note: overall materials it’s made of, display quality, as well as the number count in terms of RAM, processors and hard drive. If you can sacrifice a little bit of these and don’t mind not having a whopping 4K display or over-the-top specs, this is a great bet for those who want to save some money for other gear in their setup. The Lenovo IdeaPad is viable and reliable, giving us some leeway in terms of budget but still being able to handle our tunes and DJ software on top of it all.
Here’s a brand name perhaps 90% of you have never heard of, but of course, we won’t always recommend using that name tag as the only reason to buy a laptop. Let’s check this one out and see why it made its ranks in our best laptop for DJ’s guide. For one, it’s a specific model, so instead of recommending a whole series of laptops we wanted to give you an immediate pick in case you weren’t into sifting through all the different combinations out there (there are still a few different options if you need them).
Considered a “gaming laptop” as well, the P650HS-G in particular provides us with an i7 processor by Intel, 8 GB of RAM, a nice 15.6″ anti-glare LED display (up to 1920 x 1080), and some SSD hard drive space on top of it all (512 GB). Yes, we were skeptical at first since a lot of unknown brands when it comes to computers in general are a red flag for us — you never know if it’s some knock off from a third world country with sketchy specs and internal parts. However, this particular model is proven by hundreds of user reviews backing up it’s reliability, so with that in mind, the Eluktronics P650HS-G is a great pick as the best DJ laptop if you weren’t feeling the previous brands we had listed. It’s only available in the US right now.
Labeled as another laptop for games and such, we’re nearing the end of our list now and if you haven’t found a decent pick as the best DJ laptop by now we’ll try to switch it up for you. This particular Predator 17 series is a competitor to the previous Omen we listed. It’s a bit pricey but you’re getting some bells and whistles that may make it worth it for you. These include a built-in cooler master to help with overheating (we haven’t heard of it happening, but it may be something to keep in mind in a warmer venue), a “dust defender” and air exhausts in the back (it’ll get dirty while you travel), a high-quality sound system built-in (with four speakers, two subwoofers by Dolby Audio — not that you’ll use it during your set, but perhaps on the road?), Windows 10 installed, and more.
A lot more “extra” features here that aren’t necessarily “musts” to win the best laptop for DJ’s, but we like this one because it only gives you options, especially if you’re this far into the article and haven’t found a verdict yet. If you want some power, speed, internal dust and air stability as well as side features to help with performance and overall risk protection of it shutting down due to heat during a gig, the Acer Predator is a great one to buy if it suits your needs as the best DJ laptop out there.
Almost towards the end of our guide, another Lenovo appearance here to keep us going strong and for good reason. Their Yoga line is a series of bendback 2-in-1s, a newer type of laptop and tablet solution taking the market by storm, that you may fancy not only for DJ’ing but the leisure use outside of gigging you may be using this for (they call it ‘Yoga’ since it can ‘bend’ — clever, no?). You can use the stylus with ‘real ink’ to write down some notes (perhaps even during the gig, such as requests by audience members if you’re at a wedding or smaller venue), create set lists on the fly, or even draw on the side if you’re into art as well.
In particular for DJ’s, these have a really nice display to make sure we’re able to see our sets and software clearly even in darker show environments. The specs on these were what really caught us off guard, showing us that now in our day and age even tablets and 2-in-1’s can start to give us the ‘minimum requirements’ for various software out there, sometimes even popular demanding video games running on these things. If it seems fit for your DJ needs and you want a 2-in-1, the Lenovo Yoga is a great choice as the best DJ laptop if it stands out to you. They’re not too expensive, either.
ASUS ROG Strix
Last but not least, we’ll end our best laptop for DJ’s guide with a strong and powerful solution. The ROG Strix has made its ranks in many “best of” guides in the laptop world due to its high quality and seamless processing. If you have extra cash and can buy one of the higher models of the line, this thing gives us a whopping AMD Ryzen 7 processor. Combine this with more than enough RAM and some SSD capabilities, and you have an extremely fast machine at your fingertips to DJ with — for now and the foreseeable future.
Like others with this amount of power, it’s “for games”, so if you’re a gamer, edit videos or photos on the side, watch TV series\movies on your laptop in your down time as well as while you’re traveling or at home taking a break from mashing up some songs, this will be a great “for everything” laptop to buy. The ASUS ROG Strix screams power — for a cost, of course.