Laptops are getting thinner and lighter with each generation these days. The hardware is getting faster and smaller in size, to the point where the actual processor, memory, and all the other components only occupy a small fraction of a modern computer, leading to more compact form-factors and leaving extra room inside for larger batteries.
All these lead to a new trend in the world of mobile computing: fanless laptops and ultrabooks, or in other words laptops with a passive cooling solution that does not require a spinning fan.
You’ll find quite a few different models available in stores already, and this post lists all of them based on screen size, weight, the hardware inside, and how much they cost.
Now, there’s one major reason why you’ll want a fanless laptop: it’s going to be noiseless, perfectly quiet, as the passively cooled hardware is paired with SSD storage in most units. Older fanless machines, especially among the more affordable options, may still come with spinning HDDs, but even those can be upgraded in order to deliver what the fanless consumer desires: a quiet laptop experience, similar to what tablets or phones have been offering for years.
At the same time, it’s imperative to understand that fanless laptops are mostly built on low-power hardware platforms and while most can handle everyday tasks just fine, they’re not meant for serious multitasking or the more demanding chores you might want to perform on a modern laptop (editing videos and photos, running programming software or modern PC games, among others). At least for the time being, although, that’s slowly changing with the newer hardware platforms.
We’ll talk a bit more about the fanless platforms available at this very moment towards the end of the post, so you’ll understand exactly what to expect from each of them.
In few words though, if you’re reading this article in 2020/2021, Amber Lake-Y builds are still the ones to check out, although there are also a handful of faster Intel Core Ice Lake, Lake Field, or Tiger Lake implementations to consider, and especially a handful of ARM-based products, either Chromebooks or full-grown laptops running MacOS/Windows.
For now, these are the available fanless laptops and ultra-portables. Click the links on each product’s name for more details and reviews, as well as the links in the Prices column for the latest offers and discounts on the ones that you’re interested in.
Premium fanless laptops
Going with a fanless laptop normally translates into a compromise in performance, thermals, or both. These options here are, however, pretty much the best money can get you in a fanless and completely silent product.
They’re very different, though, and I’d suggest further research to make sure which one of these is the right choice for you. You’ll find a couple of Amber Lake Y devices running either Windows or ChromeOS, a couple of premium ARM-based devices running the ARM-version of Windows and compatible apps, as well as a couple of fully-capable laptops such as the Huawei Matebook X built on Core U hardware, or the Apple MacBook Air built on the Apple M1 silicon.
|Acer Swift 7||Windows, clamshell||14.0″ IPS FHD touch||Amber Lake Core Y, 32 Wh||.9 kg / 2 lbs||$1599|
|Apple MacBook Air||MacOS, clamshell||13.3″ IPS retina glossy||Apple M1, 49.9 Wh||1.3 kg / 2.8 lbs||$999|
|Asus Chromebook Flip C434||Chromebook, convertible||14″ IPS FHD touch||Amber Lake Core Y, 48 Wh||1.45 kg / 3.2 lbs||$479|
|Asus NovaGo||Windows on ARM, clamshell||13.3″ IPS FHD touch||Qualcomm 845, 52 Wh||1.4 kg / 3.1 lbs||$999|
|Dell XPS 13 9365||Windows, convertible||13.3″ IPS FHD/QHD+ touch||up to Amber Lake Core Y||1.24 kg / 2.7 lbs||$999|
|Google Pixelbook||Chromebook, convertible||12.3″ IPS 3:2 3K touch||Amber Lake Core Y, 48 Wh||1.13 kg / 2.5 lbs||$799|
|Google Pixelbook Go||Chromebook, clamshell||13.3″ IPS 16:10 FHD touch||Amber Lake Core Y, 48 Wh||1.1 kg / 2.4 lbs||$649|
|HP Spectre Folio||Windows, tablet w/ folio||13.3″ IPS FHD touch||Amber Lake Core Y, 55 Wh||3.3 lbs / 1.5 kg||$1199|
|Huawei MateBook X||Windows on ARM, clamshell||13″ IPS 3:2 3K touch||Comet Lake Core U, 42 Wh||2.2 lbs / 1 kg||$999|
|Microsoft Surface Pro X||Windows, tablet||13″ IPS 3:2 3K touch||Qualcomm QX, 34 Wh||.78 lbs / 1.7 kg||$1499|
|Porsche Design Ultra One||Windows, clamshell||15.6″ IPS FHD touch||Amber Lake Core Y, 45 Wh||3.3 lbs / 1.5 kg||$1399|
|Samsung Galaxy Pro S||Windows, clamshell||13.3″ IPS FHD touch||Lakefield Core, 42 Wh||.95 lbs / 2.1 kg||$999|
|Samsung Galaxy Pro S ARM||Windows on ARM, clamshell||13.3″ IPS FHD touch||Qualcomm 8cx, 42 Wh||.95 lbs / 2.1 kg||$999|
|Venom BlackBook Zero 14||clamshell, clamshell||14″ IPS FHD matte||Amber Lake Core Y, 36 Wh||3.3 lbs / 1.45 kg||$999|
Full-size fanless laptops
This section is reserved for full-size everyday machines with 14+ inch screens. Most of these are Chromebooks, and I’ve only listed the most interesting picks here, as we do cover Chromebooks in general in a separate detailed article.
There aren’t many Windows options, though, simply because you’d normally expect more competent hardware in a larger laptop, the kind that requires a fan. I’d also recommend checking out our detailed guide on the best 14 and 15-inch ultrabooks you can find right now, in case you’re interested.
|Acer Chromebook 514||Chromebook, clamshell||14.0″ IPS FHD||Amber Lake Core Y, 56 Wh||3.3 lbs / 1.5 kg||$349|
|Acer Chromebook 15||Chromebook, clamshell||15.6″ IPS FHD||Apollo Lake Celeron/Pentium||3.95 lbs / 1.8 kg||$299|
|Acer Swift 1||Windows, clamshell||14.0″ IPS FHD||Apollo/Gemini Lake Pentium||1.4 kg / 3.1 lbs||$349|
|Asus Chromebook C425||Chromebook, clamshell||14.0″ IPS FHD||Amber Lake Core Y, 56 Wh||1.3 kg / 2.8 lbs||$349|
|Asus VivoBook Flip 14||Windows, convertible||14″ TN HD or IPS FHD touch||Apollo Lake Celeron/Pentium||3.3 lbs / 1.5 kg||$399|
|HP Chromebook 14||Chromebook, clamshell||14″ IPS FHD||Gemini Lake Pentium, 47 Wh||1.45 kg / 3.4 lbs||$399|
|HP Chromebook 15||Chromebook, clamshell||15.6″ IPS FHD||Gemini Lake Pentium, 60 Wh||1.85 kg / 4 lbs||$499|
|HP Stream 14||Windows,clamshell||14.0″ TN HD||BayTrail Celeron||1.54 kg / 3.4 lbs||$199|
|HP 17 Laptop||Windows,clamshell||17.3″ TN HD+||Gemini Lake Pentium, 41 Wh||2.4 kg / 5.3 lbs||$399|
|Samsung Chromebook 4+||Chromebook, clamshell||15.6″ TN FHD||Gemini Lake Pentium, 39 Wh||1.8 kg / 3.8 lbs||$399|
Fanless ultrabooks and ultra-portables
This section is reserved for the portables ultrabooks and thin-and-light laptops with screen sizes between 12 and 14-inches.
That includes the popular 12.5 and 13.3-inch categories, where you’ll mostly find the best-balanced mix between an ergonomically sized workspace, a comfortable keyboard, a fair selection of ports and a fair-sized battery. Here’s where you’ll also find most of the premium fanless offers.
|Acer Swift 1||clamshell||13.3″ IPS FHD||Apollo/Gemini Lake Pentium||1.3 kg / 2.9 lbs||$349|
|Acer Switch 7 Black Edition||detachable||13.5″ IPS touch||Kaby Lake-R Core U||1.13 kg / 2.5 lbs||$1699|
|Acer Aspire Switch 12S||detachable||12.5″ IPS touch FHD||Skylake Core M||1.5 kg / 3.3 lbs (w/ dock)||$1199|
|Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12||detachable||12.5″ IPS touch||Skylake Core U||1.3 kg / 2.85 lbs (w/ folio)||$599|
|Acer Chromebook R13||Convertible||13.3″ IPS FHD||Mediatek||1.5 kg / 3.3 lbs||$329|
|Apple MacBook 12||clamshell||12.0″ IPS retina||Skylake Core M||0.90 kg / 2.0 lbs||$1199|
|Asus Chromebook Flip||Convertible||13.3″ IPS FHD||Kaby Lake Core Y||1.2 kg / 2.65 lbs||$399|
|Asus Transformer Book Chi T300
||detachable||12.5″ IPS touch QHD||Broadwell Core M||1.40 kg / 3.1 lbs (w/dock)||$699|
|Asus Transformer 3 T305CA||detachable||12.5″ IPS touch||Kaby Lake Core M||1.14 kg / 2.5 lbs (w/dock)||$699|
|Asus Zenbook UX305||clamshell||13.3″ IPS FHD and QHD+||Skylake Core M||1.27 kg / 2.8 lbs||$699|
|Asus Zenbook UX330CA||clamshell||13.3″ IPS FHD and QHD+||Kaby Lake Core M||1.2 kg / 2.65 lbs||$799|
|Asus Zenbook Flip UX360CA||convertible||13.3″ IPS touch FHD and QHD+||Skylake Core Y||1.3 kg / 2.86 lbs||$699|
|Dell Latitude 12 7000||detachable||12.5″ IPS touch FHD or UHD||Kaby Lake Core Y||1.66 kg / 3.7 lbs (w/ dock)||$1199|
|Dell XPS 12 9250||detachable||12.5″ IPS touch FHD or UHD||Skylake Core Y||1.27 kg / 2.8 lbs (w/ dock)||$999|
|Dell XPS 13 9365||convertible||13.3″ IPS FHD/QHD+ touch||up to Amber Lake Core Y||1.24 kg / 2.7 lbs||$999|
|Eve V||tablet||12.3″ IPS 2k||Kaby Lake Core Y||1.33 kg / 3 lbs (w/ keyboard)||$799|
|HP EliteBook Folio 1020||clamshell||12.5″ IPS FHD or touch QHD||Skylake Core Y||0.97 kg / 2.13 lbs||$1099|
|HP Spectre X2 12||detachable||12″ IPS touch FHD||Kaby Lake Core Y||1.22 kg / 2.68 lbs (w/ dock)||$899|
|HP Elite x2||detachable||13″ IPS touch 2K||Kaby Lake Core U||1.16 kg / 2.56 lbs (w/ dock)||$1599|
|Lenovo Miix 710||tablet||12″ IPS FHD+||Kaby Lake Core M||0.77 kg / 1.7 lbs||$749|
|Lenovo Yoga 900S||convertible||12.5″ IPS FHD+||Skylake Core Y||0.99 kg / 2.2 lbs||$1099|
|Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet||tablet||12.0″ IPS touch||Kaby Lake Core Y||0.77 kg / 1.7 lbs||$949|
|Huawei Matebook||tablet||12.0″ IPS FHD+||Kaby Lake Core Y||0.64 kg / 1.41 lbs||$899|
|Huawei Matebook X||clamshell||13.3″ IPS retina||KabyLake Core U||1.05 kg / 2.31 lbs||$899|
|Microsoft Surface Pro||tablet||12.3″ IPS FHD+||up to Ice Lake Core U||0.77 kg / 1.7 lbs (without keyboard)||$799|
|Microsoft Surface Pro X||tablet||13″ IPS FHD+||Qualcomm Snapdragon||0.77 kg / 1.7 lbs (without keyboard)||$999|
|Samsung ATIV Book 9||clamshell||12.2″ IPS touch WQXGA||Broadwell Core M||0.95 kg / 2.1 lbs||$1199|
|Samsung Chromebook 2 13||clamshell||13.3″ IPS FHD||Samsung Exynos 5 Octa||1.38 kg / 3.06 lbs||$399|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S||tablet||12.1″ IPS FHD+||Skylake Core Y||0.69 kg / 1.53 lbs||$999|
|Toshiba Chromebook 13 CB35||clamshell||13.3″ TN HD||Celeron BayTrail||1.33 kg / 2.95 lbs||$249|
|Toshiba Portégé Z20t||convertible||12.5″ IPS touch FHD||Broadwell Core M||1.59 kg / 3.5 lbs (w/ dock)||$1299|
|Xiaomi Mi Notebook 12||clamshell||12.5″ IPS FHD||Skylake Core U||1.1 kg / 2.4 lbs||$899|
Fanless Mini laptops
Finally, we list here the smallest options, usually built on very low power hardware and thus only meant for basic daily tasks.
They are specially designed with either budget or long battery life in mind (most of them check both these boxes), but if you’re a demanding user or type for a living you might find them either too small or too slow for your needs.
|Acer Aspire ES11||clamshell||11.6″ TN HD||Celeron Braswell||1.27 kg / 2.8 lbs||$229|
|Acer Aspire R 11||convertible||11.6″ TN touch HD||Celeron / Pentium Braswell||1.58 kg / 3.50 lbs||$249|
|Acer Aspire Switch 10 2015||detachable||10.1″ IPS FHD||Atom BayTrail||1.2 kg / 2.64 lbs (w/dock)||$399|
|Acer Aspire Switch 10 E||detachable||10.1″ TN HD||Atom BayTrail||1.28 kg / 2.82 lbs (w/ dock)||$279|
|Acer Aspire Switch 11 V||detachable||11.6″ IPS touch FHD||Skylake Core M||1.55 kg / 3.5 lbs||$499|
|Acer Spin 1||clamshell||11.6″ IPS FHD||Pentium Apollo Lake||1.50 kg / 3.31 lbs||$249|
|Asus EeeBook X205||clamshell||11.6″ TN HD||Atom BayTrail||0.95 kg / 2.10 lbs (w/ dock)||$199|
|Asus Transformer Book Chi T100||detachable||10.1″ IPS WUXGA||Atom BayTrail||1.08 kg / 2.38 lbs (w/ dock)||$399|
|Asus Transformer Book T100HA||detachable||10.1″ IPS HD||Atom CherryTrail||1.14 kg / 2.52 lbs (w/ dock)||$299|
|Asus Transformer Book T101HA||detachable||10.1″ IPS HD||Atom CherryTrail||1.08 kg / 2.38 lbs (w/ dock)||$299|
|Asus Transformer Book T102HA||detachable||10.1″ IPS HD||Atom CherryTrail||0.79 kg / 1.74 lbs (w/ dock)||$349|
|Asus Transformer Book Flip TP200SA||convertible||11.6″ TN touch HD||Celeron / Pentium Braswell||1.20 kg / 2.65 lbs||$349|
|HP Pavilion 360 11||convertible||11.6″ touch HD||Skylake Core Y||1.4 kg / 3.1 lbs||$399|
|Dell Venue 11 Pro 5000
||detachable||10.8″ IPS touch HD or FHD||Atom BayTrail||0.71 kg / 1.57 lbs (without dock)||$699|
|Dell Venue 11 Pro 7140
||detachable||10.8″ IPS touch FHD||Broadwell Core M||0.72 kg / 1.59 lbs (without dock)||$699|
|Dell Inspiron 11 3000 2-in-1||convertbile||11.6″ IPS touch FHD||Kaby Lake Core Y||1.39 kg / 3.1 lbs||$399|
|HP Stream 11||clamshell||11.6″ TN HD||Celeron BayTrail||1.27 kg / 2.8 lbs (w/ dock)||$199|
|Lenovo Yoga 710 11||convertible||11.6″ IPS touch FHD||Kaby Lake Core M||1.03 kg / 2.3 lbs||$599|
|Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 10
||tablet||10.1″ IPS touch FHD||Atom BayTrail||0.63 kg / 1.38lbs||$699|
|Lenovo Miix 3 10||tablet||10.1″ IPS touch WUXGA||Atom BayTrail||0.55 kg / 1.21 lbs||$399|
|Lenovo ThinkPad Helix 2
||detachable||11.6″ IPS touch FHD||Skylake Core Y||1.36 kg / 3 lbs (w/ dock)||$999|
|Microsoft Surface Go||tablet||10″ IPS||Gemini Pentium Gold||0.52 kg / 1.15 lbs (without keyboard)||$399|
|Panasonic Let’s Note RZ4||convertible||10.1″ IPS touch FHD||Skylake Core Y||1.83 kg / 4.05 lbs (w/ dock)||$1499|
|Panasonic Let’s Note Z6||clamshell||10.1″ IPS FHD||Kaby Lake Core Y||0.72 kg / 1.6 lbs (w/ dock)||$1199|
There are a couple of other small-factor fanless tablets and mini-laptops out there, but it would be a huge chore to include them all in here. I do talk about them in my list of 10.1 inch hybrids, this selection of 11.6 inch Mini-laptops or ultrabooks, as well as this list of all the best Chromebooks available these days.
As a side note, you should know that the Price column contains the starting MSRPs for each of the products above. That means that the higher configurations are going to be more expensive, but at the same time there’s a very good chance you can find pretty much all these products discounted by the time you’re reading this post. Click on the links on each price for details and up-to-date numbers.
Also, here’s a short glossary of the terms mentioned above:
- tablet: a standard Windows running slate;
- clamshell: classic shaped computer whose screen closes on top of the keyboard and does not flip into any sort of tablet mode;
- convertible: 2-in-1 laptop whose screen rotates and converts to a tablet mode (or similar), but cannot be detached from the base;
- detachable: 2-in-1 laptop whose screen detaches from the base. These are mostly stand-alone tablets bundled with matching docking stations that most often include docking keyboards, ports, batteries and other features;
- slider: 2-in-1 laptop whose screen slides up and down on top of the body and usually reveals a keyboard hidden underneath.
- Resolutions: HD ( 1366 x 768 px), HD+ ( 1600 x 900 px), FHD (1920 x 1080 px), WUXGA (1920 x 1200 px) retina (2304 x 1440 px), QHD (2560 x 1440 px), WQXGA (2560 x 1600 px), QHD+ (3200 x 1800 px), UHD (3840 x 2160 px) – also see this post;
- Intel Atom BayTrail – 22 nm platform (Silvermont) launched in 2013. There are different lines available for tablets (BayTrail-T), laptops (BayTrail-M) and desktops (BayTrail-D);
- Intel Atom CherryTrail – 14 nm platform (Airmont) launched in 2015;
- Intel Atom Apollo/Gemini Lake – 2nd generation 14 nm platform launched in 2017.
- Intel Celeron/Pentium Haswell – 22 nm platform based on Haswell hardware;
- Intel Celeron/Pentium Haswell – 14 nm platform based on Skylake hardware. Both can be found in low-power/affordable laptops;
- Intel Celeron/Pentium Apollo/Gemini Lake – 2nd generation 14 nm platform launched in 2017. Can be found in low-power/affordable laptops and replaces the Haswell/Braswell Pentium/Celeron lines;
- Broadwell Core M – launched in 2014 as the low-power version in Intel’s Broadwell family. Offers great balance between performance and battery life, part of the more premium fanless notebooks;
- Skylake Core M – 6th gen update, low power platform launched in 2015;
- Kaby Lake Core Y – 7th gen update, low-power platform launched in 2017;
- Amber Lake Core Y – the late-2018 8th gen update of the Core Y platform, motorizes premium devices.
OK. That’s about it for this post. I do hope you find it useful and if you’re looking for an ultrabook or any other ultraportable laptop, you should also check out the other lists on the site and my reviews.
I’m constantly working at keeping these selections and lists up-to-date, but if you spot anything that should be in here and it’s not, please leave a reply and tell me about it. In fact, feel free to get in touch in the comments sections if you have anything to add, anything to ask or need help choosing your next fanless mini-laptop, I’m around to reply and help.