Best 7 laptops for podcast recording (2023)

Old-school computer with a microphone coming out of the screen

You don’t need access to a recording studio or a radio station to start a podcast. You just need the right gear. 

For most creators, a good laptop for recording and editing is the most fundamental piece of podcast equipment — the centerpiece of the setup. You probably already have one. 

But if your trusty computer has seen better days, you may want to invest in a faster, more powerful piece of equipment for your podcast starter kit

Here are the top machines we’ve found work best. 

Top laptops for podcasting picks

  1. Apple MacBook Air: Portability
  2. Apple MacBook Pro: High-end
  3. HP Spectre x360: For most podcasters
  4. ASUS VivoBook 5510UA: Budget friendly
  5. Microsoft Surface Pro 9: Detachable 2-in-1
  6. Dell XPS 15: Desktop replacement 
  7. Lenovo IdeaPad 5: Affordability 
Transcribe. Edit. As easy as tapping your backspace key.
Create your podcast from start to finish with Descript.

What to look for in a podcasting laptop or computer 

  • Processing power. When you run audio and video editing applications on a laptop computer, you lean heavily on the machine’s processing power. A computer’s central processing unit (CPU) handles the complex computational tasks that enable edits like crossfading audio or adding reverb to a recorded track. Look for a model with an up-to-date processor, which will likely remain functional for many years to come.
  • Memory. A computer’s memory is described as RAM (random access memory). The more RAM your computer has, the faster it responds to commands. Most podcast editing software runs smoothly on a machine with at least 8GB of RAM. But if your budget allows for it, aim for 16GB RAM or more.
  • Software compatibility. A podcast computer’s software compatibility depends on its operating system. Most digital audio workstations, or DAWs — the audio editing software you’ll be using to make your podcast — run on both MacOS and Windows operating systems. Some even run on mobile operating systems like iOS, iPadOS, and Android. But not all programs run on all operating systems. To use GarageBand or Logic Pro, you need an Apple machine running MacOS (or in some cases iOS or iPadOS). Other programs only run on Windows. Research your software’s operating system compatibility, minimum RAM, and processing power requirements before committing to a particular computer for audio editing.
  • Screen size. Podcasting is all about sound quality, but the best computers for podcasting offer ample screen real estate. A large screen helps you see all your editing windows without having to toggle back and forth between them. If you’re getting a laptop, aim for one that’s at least 13 inches (computer screens are measured by the distance from one corner of the screen to the diagonally opposite corner). If you can afford a laptop with a 15-inch or 16-inch screen, even better.
  • Battery life. If you plan to use a laptop for field recording, you need reliable battery life. Recording in a far-flung location with no power outlets means all the computing power comes from your laptop’s battery. To ensure optimal battery life, check the computer’s spec sheet, which tells you its estimated battery capacity. You can extend battery life by shutting down unnecessary applications and dimming your screen.

Best laptops and computers for podcasting

If you’re in the market for a podcasting laptop, be sure to look into the following seven models. 

1. Apple MacBook Air

Best: Portable podcasting laptop

Reasons to buy:

  • Lightweight
  • Long battery life
  • Part of Apple ecosystem

The MacBook Air is Apple’s entry-level laptop. If you’re using your laptop to record and edit podcasts, a MacBook Air has all the processing power you need as a beginner. 

The newest model comes in two configurations, with an 8-core or 10-core GPU. The new chip (Apple’s M2 Silicon) is said to deliver 18% better CPU and 25% better GPU performance over previous models. 

Other features include: 

  • 13.6-inch Liquid Retina Display
  • Faster or dual charging
  • 1080p FaceTime HD camera
  • Four-speaker sound system
  • Thinner and lighter than its predecessor
  • 18 hours of battery life 

The MacBook Air is incredibly lightweight, but pricey — a well-equipped M2 model costs roughly $1,199, though they tend to last a long time.

2. Apple MacBook Pro 

Best: High end podcasting laptop

Reasons to buy:

  • Extra processing power
  • High-resolution display
  • Built-in microphones and speakers

If you’re a Mac enthusiast who also does multitrack music recording or video editing, you may need to upgrade to the more powerful MacBook Pro. This machine runs the same OS as the MacBook Air and it can handle all the same software, but it offers more processing power and a larger screen. 

Features include:

  • The new M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, which are more power-efficient and provide significant improvements in performance and battery life
  • Supports up to 96GB of unified memory, allowing for extensive and demanding professional workflows
  • Battery life of up to 22 hours, the longest ever in a Mac
  • Advanced HDMI supporting 8K displays
  • 1080p FaceTime HD camera
  • Six-speaker sound system
  • Studio-quality microphones

The MacBook Pro is designed to minimize its environmental impact, with components made from recycled materials, energy-efficient design, and a commitment to achieve net-zero climate impact across the entire manufacturing supply chain and product life cycles by 2030.

Note that you need an Apple device if you want to run the highly popular Logic Pro audio editing software. The MacBook Pro may also be the best computer for Pro Tools. If you thought the MacBook Air was pricey, you might want to sit down for this one: the 14-inch model starts at $2,500.

3. HP Spectre x360

Best: For most podcasters 

Reasons to buy:

  • Sleek, sturdy design
  • Versatile 2-in-1 laptop
  • High quality Bang & Olufsen speakers

For a Windows machine, podcasters should check out the HP Spectre x360. Technically a laptop, it has a touchscreen that folds back to resemble a tablet. The Spectre x360 uses an Intel Core i7-1255U Processor or an Intel Core i5-1235U Processor, which offers more than enough power for podcasting. 

Other notable features include:

  • Dual channel memory support and runs at 4266 MT/s with a maximum memory capacity of 32 GB
  • Various storage options, including 512 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB PCIe NVMe TLC M.2 solid-state internal hard drive with Gen 3.0 and Gen 4.0
  • Corning Gorilla Glass NBT  touchscreens that support pen and touch
  • Comes with Intel AX211 or AX411 Wi-Fi 6E multi-user MIMO supported and Bluetooth 5.2. It also supports Miracast
  • Battery life can last up to 13 hours and 30 minutes for OLED screens and up to 21 hours and 50 minutes for WUXGA+ screens 

It weighs more than a MacBook Air or a true tablet, but less than a MacBook Pro and many other Windows laptops. Expect to pay around $2,000 for a model with 16GB of RAM.

4. ASUS VivoBook F510UA

Best: Budget laptop

Reasons to buy:

  • Low price
  • Large FHD display
  • Competitive performance 

For a budget laptop, consider the ASUS VivoBook F510UA. This machine runs an Intel Core i5 processor (the lowest-powered processor on this list) and has 8GB of DDR4 RAM (the minimum you can get away with), but it’s still enough for the vast majority of audio-editing apps. 

Other features include:

  • Intel Core i5-8250U processor and Intel UHD Graphics 620
  • 15.6” Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS (In-Plane Switching) that provides wide viewing angles and good color reproduction
  • 1TB HDD for storage

The laptop includes several features like a fingerprint reader for enhanced security, a web camera for video calls, a backlit keyboard for ease of use in low light conditions, a microphone, speakers, an optical drive, and a security lock slot.

While its battery life isn’t impressive (only 4 hours), the price certainly is: $580. ASUS has built a reputation as a reliable Windows-running brand.

5. Microsoft Surface Pro 9

Best: Detachable 2-in1 laptop 

Reasons to buy: 

  • User upgradeable storage
  • Impressive battery life
  • Excellent for multitasking

Our next pick is a tablet computer that functions much like a laptop. Microsoft promotes its Surface brand as a great option for creatives, and this extends to podcasting. 

Microsoft sells these devices at different price points, and each has its own set of specs. Make sure you choose a model with at least 8GB of RAM and an Intel Evo Platform Core i5 processor. 

Some unique features of the Surface Pro 9 are:

  • Windows Hello facial-recognition camera and a front-facing camera
  • Dual Studio Mics and a Surface Connect port
  • 12th Gen Intel Core processor or a Microsoft SQ 3 processor
  • Edge-to-edge 13” PixelSense touchscreen designed for pen and Windows 11
  • Intel Evo 12th Gen processor and Thunderbolt 4 ports
  • 5G connectivity and enhanced video calling experiences with the Microsoft SQ 3 processor

You can get the Surface Pro 9 starting at $999. For this price, you get a machine that’s about as powerful as the above-mentioned ASUS or Acer devices, but more portable.

6. Dell XPS 15

Best: Desktop replacement laptop 

Reasons to buy:

  • High quality audio playback
  • All day battery life
  • Lightning performance

The Dell XPS series is known for its high-quality construction, excellent performance, and impressive display. 

If you’re running an audio or video podcast, the Dell XPS 15 is the perfect laptop. It's easy to run audio editing software smoothly, has sufficient storage for large audio files, and provides a quality audio system for playback during editing. 

Some unique features include:

  • 12th Gen Intel Core i5-12500H processor with 18 MB cache
  • Windows 11 Home operating system, compatible with various audio editing software
  • 15.6" FHD+ or 3.5K display
  • 16 to 64 GB of DDR5 memory and 512 GB to 8 TB of M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD storage
  • Integrated HD camera and dual-array microphones for high-quality video and audio recording
  • Stereo woofers and tweeters that produce a total peak output of 8 W

The Dell XPS 15 also has robust build quality and good battery life, making it reliable for those who may be working in different locations. 

7. Lenovo IdeaPad 5

Best: Affordable 

Reasons to buy: 

  • Excellent value
  • Light and sturdy
  • Comfortable keyboard

Lenovo has a reputation for building reliable computers, and the IdeaPad series is no exception for podcasters.

The IdeaPad 5 comes with a powerful processor and fast SSD storage, so you can run audio editing software smoothly. It’s also lightweight and portable for when you need to record or edit on the go. 

The IdeaPad 5 also has the following features: 

  • Premium 11th Gen Intel Core processing capability
  • 14” FHD screen with a narrow border
  • Webcam privacy shutter & fingerprint reader
  • Dolby Audio speakers
  • USB-C port for quick data transfer or connecting audio interfaces
  • Quick Charging feature, which can fully charge your battery in no time
  • Built-in microphone which can serve as a backup recording option

Price starts at $609 for the AMD Ryzen processor. The IdeaPad with an Intel processor starts at $709.99.  

Laptop vs. desktop: Which to choose for recording podcasts

You can record and edit podcasts on both laptop and desktop computers. Choosing between them involves a mix of how you plan to use them, your budget, and personal preference.

Pros and cons of using a laptop for podcasting

The best laptops for podcasting have a lot of power under the hood while also being compact and easy to carry. 

We asked seven podcasters what they used to edit their work, and all seven said they used laptops instead of desktops. Here are three advantages of using a laptop for podcasting:

  • Portability. A laptop computer can be your on-the-go recording studio. Bring it along with your podcast mic for field recording, and enjoy all the same functionality you’d get in your home or office environment. You can turn just about any location, from a theater to a hotel room, into a sound editing workspace.
  • Impressive processing power. In decades past, audio and video editors needed desktop computers to handle processor-intensive tasks like editing audio. But thanks to massive advances in CPU technology, a modern laptop processor can handle these hefty recording and editing tasks. This lets audio editors forego a desktop altogether and do all their work on a laptop.
  • Low power usage. Most laptop computers use less overall power than desktop computers (which usually require a separate monitor that also needs power). While laptops aren’t quite as energy-efficient as most smartphones and tablets, they offer considerably more processing power.

Still, there are a few reasons why some podcasters may not want a laptop as their podcast workstation. Here are three disadvantages of using a laptop for podcasting:

  • Price. Laptops are typically more expensive than desktop computers with equivalent processing power.
  • Lack of customizability. It’s much harder to customize a laptop than a desktop. If you’re a custom computer enthusiast, you’ll likely prefer the modular nature of many Windows desktop PCs. Laptops tend to come sealed shut with many parts permanently soldered or glued together, meaning you can’t take them apart to swap in new parts.
  • Limited uses. Some podcasters want their podcasting computer to double as a video editing machine. This is where processing power may throw up a roadblock. Video editing — particularly 4K or 8K video editing — requires considerably more processing power than audio editing. For many users, the best computer for video editing and multimedia is a desktop, which can accommodate a more powerful CPU.

Pros and cons of using a desktop for podcasting

When a podcaster opts for a desktop computer, they usually want a powerful but affordable machine they can modify. Here are three advantages of using a desktop for podcasting:

  • Affordability. In most cases, a desktop computer costs less than a laptop with equivalent features and processing power.
  • Versatility. If you’re looking for a machine that can handle both audio and video editing at once, look no further.
  • Customizability. If you like to piece together PCs from modular components, you’ll want to go the desktop route. Laptop computers aren’t built for interchangeable parts.

Here are three disadvantages of using a desktop for podcasting:

  • Not portable. You can’t bring a desktop computer to record and edit in far-flung places.
  • Fewer integrated parts. When you buy a desktop computer, you might only be buying the main processor machine. A monitor, webcam, keyboard, and graphics card may all be sold separately, which, for some podcasters, can be a headache.
  • Overkill for most audio editing apps. While video editing apps require the processing power a desktop provides, audio editing is a different story. Generally, you don’t need a supercharged desktop to cut audio tracks and add effects like reverb and EQ. The major podcast software, like Audacity, Adobe Audition, and Descript, can run smoothly on laptop computers.

Featured articles:


10 best podcast editing software options in 2023

Explore the 10 best podcast editing software options to elevate your podcast production. Learn why Descript stands out with its all-in-one editing capabilities.


How to use voice recording on iPhone for great podcast audio

Here's why voice recording on the iPhone is a good option for podcasters or anyone who needs to do recording on-the-go. We will also cover how you can do voice recording on an iPhone. 


Shooting video? Here's a handy 11-point checklist for a smooth video shoot

This article explains each of the stages of video production, then breaks the production process down even further into a handy 11-point checklist you can use to plan your next video project — and end up with a great video to show for it.

Articles you might find interesting

Other stuff

Affiliate marketing 101 with Pat Flynn

If you’ve got an audience, from a podcast, a list of email subscribers, or just a large following of superfans on social media, affiliate marketing is a no-brainer.


How to see who viewed your YouTube video: A step-by-step guide

Knowing all about your viewers can help you figure out the best way to structure your channel to maximize viewership and engagement, ensuring your success on Youtube.

Product Updates

Descript Storyboard: What's new for podcasters

Descript Storyboard release is focused on video, but it also contains some exciting new features for podcasters and audio creators


Podcasting by the numbers: 15 podcast stats for 2023

Who’s driving the growth of the podcasting industry? What do we know about podcast listeners and their behavior? And what can we glean to help podcasters attract those listeners to their show?

Other stuff

How to Edit an Interview Video: Making a Captivating Narrative

The way you approach editing your interview will make a huge difference in both your workflow and the quality of your final product. Read on for some best practices for editing video interviews.


Basics to get the right podcast audio level

To create a respectable-sounding podcast you need high-quality audio — and that means getting your audio levels consistent.

Related articles:

Share this article