Best laptops for DJs
We have the experience and the know-how to help you select the perfect laptop for you. Our industry veterans know what they are talking about and how to cut through the jargon to make your job choosing the right machine as easy as possible. Read more
While there is no doubting vinyl has had a bit of a renaissance when it comes to DJs looking for that authentic sound and indeed experience, the rise of the good quality laptops has gone a long way into making the entry-level to the profession much easier.
Back in the day when my friends and I would be lugging a couple of Technics 1210s, mixers, speakers and the like - not to mention a couple of heavy record boxes full of rare tunes - to some filthy dive in the middle of nowhere, well, even if you are into vinyl now, those days are behind us.
These days you can fit pretty much an entire genre’s library onto a decent size USB hard drive, and if you lose it, break it, or get robbed, just copy it onto a new one from your backup (you do have a backup don’t you?)
How We Picked
With that in mind, you don’t really need a laptop with masses of storage built-in. The one key criteria above all else when it comes to a decent laptop for DJing is as simple as stability.
The battery is largely pointless for the physical act of DJing, you are surely going to be plugged in for your set. Any decent DJ software worth its salt such as Traktor Pro or Serato Scratch will constantly flash a warning light at you if you aren’t connected to the mains.
No, you just need it not to crash, have a decent size screen and, especially in this day and age where things like USB ports are vanishing, the connectivity you require.
Many DJ controllers still have a standard, original USB connection. Your shiny new Macbook on the other hand…
On top of that, you might want to add in a couple of extra controllers so you can mess with your sound further. A USB midi controller with sliders and knobs mapped to your DJ software. One port might not cut it. You might need to look at a USB hub that will probably need to be powered.
When we are talking about a laptop for DJing there are perhaps more things to take into account at the point of purchase, especially if you are on a budget.
With that in mind, we have picked three machines to cover most budgets that should see you through the toughest of sets.
It will still be important to keep them optimized and your software up to date, but the laptops themselves will all cope comfortably with the software requirements.
Where we have picked something that you might need to add some accessories too, we have highlighted it. This is generally because of a lack of ports but there will be a point in the near future where controllers doubtless switch to USB-C.
You may be able to get away with a cheaper model, especially if you are a hobbyist or just starting out, but don’t be dragged into any false economy if you think you want to progress things and will only end up upgrading before you know it.
How We Tested
Here’s our selection of laptops that, when considering all the considerations outlined above, would perfectly suit the needs of any DJ – pro or hobbyist. They all have high quality and high-resolution displays, all a reliable and well built and take into consideration necessary storage options and technical specifications.
Best laptops for DJs
Apple MacBook Pro
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- Rock-solid stable
- Looks cool
- Proprietary Apple connections
- No USB 2 ports
In most laptop roundups it would be easy to just throw in a Macbook. They look nice, they feel nice, they are nice, but generally, there are better machines out there at better prices more suited to what you want.
In a DJ environment though Apple’s silver portable is favored by many main DJs and radio stations, purely for its reliability. While it is a myth that Macs don’t crash and PCs do, the simple fact is if you have a decent piece of software running you will find the Macbook Pro to be as stable a working environment as you can find. And that is essential.
I’ve used a 2016 Macbook Pro for DJing non-stop and never had a problem. I keep my “record” crate on a 128GB micro-SD card permanently mounted with a Nifty Minidrive Pro with a backup in my wallet. It just works and that’s what I need it to do. There are no dangling cables and nothing to break.
My software of choice is Traktor Pro 2 (I haven’t felt the need to upgrade to v3 because again, I am happy and trust the stability) and it runs quickly and flawlessly with the minimum of fuss.
Serato can be a bit funny with Macs and certain iterations of the OS so it’s always worth just doing a little external research before dropping the best part of two grand on one.
My 2016 Macbook also has legit old-school USB ports too so I can hook up my controller as well as an extra MIDI controller to give me more knobs for filtering and LFO use. If you get yourself a new Macbook you are going to need a hub. That’s extra wires to snag, pull out, forget to bring. That makes me uncomfortable as it doesn’t fit into my workflow, so just try and figure it out before you commit.
- Great specs
- Large screen
- USB ports
- Lacking in build quality
- Position of ports
Asus Vivobook 15.6 inch
The first thing that’s good about this machine is it has a lovely screen with a good size for displaying your software of choice. It’s got a touch screen too, but you don’t really want to be getting involved with that kind of thing.
If you have a half-decent controller you will be controlling the software from that anyway, so other than the first instance of loading it you will be able to keep well clear. It’s probably worth even disabling it in the setting to be honest to make sure of no accidental brushes that make it load the Justin Bieber track in the middle of your Deep House set!
Another good thing (besides the reasonable price) is it has two USB ports and 12GB of DDR4 ram. The 512GB SSD might also come in hand for storing your tracks on, but I’d still advise carrying a backup just in case – but as I keep saying, the fewer wires dangling the better!
The shell is mainly plastic so you will have to be careful working out with it and my only other (personal) gripe is that the ports are all on the right-hand side, and my setup would prefer them on the left but these a minor.
This is a good solid machine that will easily gobble up your requirements
- Good screen
- Large RAM options
- Comes with external drive too
- Touchscreen can be annoying
Lenovo Ideapad S340 15.6”
For our third pick, we have again gone big-brand, big screen. This Lenovo will set you back just under $1000 in its 12GB DDR4 iteration but you can save $100 by going for an 8GB version or boost up all the way to 20GB which is certainly overkill for our uses here.
Again it has a touchscreen so again, don’t mess with that but this comes with an external 500GB hard drive as well as the included 512GB SSD which is a nice touch. You even get an external DVD writer too. Not essential for us but if you are planning to use the machine for other stuff as well, it may come in useful.
Again the ram and the CPU are what carry this beyond the spec level and the big screen is a boon too. What#s not to like.
Now you just need a set of good tunes!
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Apple MacBook Pro
Apple MacBook Pro
Apple MacBook Pro
We are going to plump for the Macbook Pro – it’s reliable, versatile and just gets on with the job at hand. There’s a reason Macs are so widely used by DJs the world over and we simply can’t recommend against that!
It’s expensive but should last you a good while and it will rarely if ever let you down.