The 5 best MacBooks for teachers in 2023

The M2-powered 13-inch MacBook Pro.

These are the best MacBooks for teachers based on our testing

Choosing the best MacBook for teachers isn’t easy. Though there are only two MacBook lines right now — the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro — each contains a range of models. But depending on your needs, there’s a MacBook that’s most suitable for you. We’re here to help you pick the best one.

We’ve compiled a list that includes everything from relatively affordable Apple laptops suitable for most teachers to more expensive machines for heavy workloads. While these MacBooks may serve different purposes, they all have excellent battery life – which is important when you are teaching all day.

All the Apple laptops included on this list also pack the powerful Apple M1 or M2 chips. And since even older MacBooks receive the latest macOS updates, the machines we’ve listed should last you for many years.

We combined firsthand experience with research to determine our picks for the best laptops for teachers. With that in mind, read on for our picks of the best MacBooks for teachers.

What’s the best MacBook for teachers now?

The MacBook Air M2 may hold the top spot in the best laptops and best MacBooks lists, but for this particular buying guide, the MacBook Air M1 reigns supreme. Though it runs on the older M1 chip, it’s still a solid laptop with more than enough power and energy efficiency to suit your needs. Plus, it’s the cheapest MacBook, making it ideal for teachers.

But if you can afford it, the MacBook Air M2 makes an excellent choice. It’s more powerful than its predecessor and boasts a redesigned chassis that’s akin to 2021’s MacBook Pros. Plus, it has MagSafe support for charging.

Speaking of power efficiency, no Apple laptop we’ve tested outdoes the MacBook Pro M2, which lasted well over 18 hours in our testing. It’s the longest-lasting battery of any laptop on the market.

If you need an Apple laptop with power to rival a workstation, you should go for the 2021 MacBook Pros. The MacBook Pro 14-inch and MacBook Pro 16-inch are the most pricy laptops on this list, but you get what you pay for as they deliver unprecedented power with outstanding performance thanks to their respective M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. Again, they’re expensive but they will definitely last you for a long time.

The best MacBooks for teachers you can buy today

1. MacBook Air with M1

The best MacBook Air for teachers on a budget

The M1-powered MacBook Air in rose gold.


CPU: M1 GPU: M1 (integrated) RAM: 8GB/16GB Size: 12 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches Display: 13.3 inches, 2560 x 1600 pixel Weight: 2.8 pounds Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB

Why it’s the best MacBook for teachers

The MacBook Air M1 is still one of the best laptops even two years after its release. Though it’s been somewhat overshadowed by its latest iteration, it’s still a great Apple laptop for teachers. This is especially true for teachers who are on budget since this machine is the most affordable MacBook on the market.

Apple’s decision to replace its Intel processors with its own Apple Silicon, starting with the M1 chip in the MacBook Air, was a blessing. This laptop’s 14 hours and 41 minutes of battery life in our battery test is incredible.

The MacBook Air’s webcam has also received a notable upgrade, as the M1 chip provides signal processing tricks to improve clarity and color accuracy. And, of course, the Magic Keyboard is still here, which provides a comfy typing experience. Dolby Atmos audio support makes some movies and TV shows sound even better than before.

Though the MacBook Air M2 is our top pick, the MacBook Air M1 is still a great Apple laptop for teachers.


  • Super-fast performance
  • Excellent battery life
  • Slim unibody aluminum chassis
  • Great speakers
  • Comfortable keyboard


  • Still has thick bezels
  • Few ports

2. Apple MacBook Air M2 (2022)

The best overall MacBook for most teachers

Side profiles of MacBook Air opened up in silver, starlight, space gray, and midnight.  


CPU: M2 GPU: M2 (Integrated) RAM: 8GB/16GB/24GB Size: 11.97 x 8.46 x 0.44 inches Display: 13.6-inches, 2560 x 1600 pixels Weight: 2.7 pounds Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB

Why it’s the best MacBook for teachers

The MacBook Air M2 is arguably the best overall MacBook for most teachers. And that’s not to say the previous MacBook Air M1 wasn’t great — it helped introduce the world to the power of Apple silicon. It’s just that cramming revolutionary performance in the same old chassis didn’t feel (or look) like a leap forward.

This new Air lives up to its name by shrinking down the design 20% by volume and measuring just 0.44 inches thick. And it’s pretty light at 2.7 pounds. And yet the M2 chip inside this laptop delivers power that outperforms most Windows machines by far. It’s a multitasking superstar, and if you ever need more graphics might you can upgrade to a 10-core GPU.

We are also astounded by the beautiful bright display on the new MacBook Air M2, which rivals the MacBook Pro M2, and it’s now bigger at 13.6 inches with slimmer bezels. Other notable features include a sharp 1080p webcam, MagSafe charging and four color options.

Lasting over 14 hours on our web surfing battery test, the MacBook Air M2 should last you most of the day on a charge. The only strikes against this system are the somewhat distracting notch and somewhat slow SSD.


  • Fast M2 performance
  • Bright, colorful display
  • 1080p webcam
  • Comfortable keyboard
  • Very long battery life


  • Notch distracting
  • SSD somewhat slower than M1 Air

3. MacBook Pro 13-inch M2 (2022)

The best MacBook for teachers who want long battery life

The M2-powered 13-inch MacBook Pro.


CPU: Apple M2 (8-core) GPU: Apple M2 GPU (10-core)RAM: 8GB/16GB/24GB sSize: 12 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches Display: 13.3 inches, 2560 x 1600 pixel Weight: 3.1 pounds Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB

Why it’s the best MacBook for teachers

The 13-inch MacBook Pro 2022 was the very first M2-powered Apple laptop to hit the market. While the design hasn’t changed, it’s a solid laptop with epic battery life.

And based on our tests, the M2 chip delivers, offering performance that destroys many competing Windows laptops. The M2 also beats the M1 chip by a huge margin in various benchmarks. Plus, the new MacBook Pro 2022 delivers among the longest battery life we’ve seen from a modern laptop, surpassing 18 hours of runtime.

However, while this machine features a new slice of Apple silicon, the design shows its age. You get the same form factor, same ports, same display and same webcam. Meanwhile, the new MacBook Air 2022 offers a larger display with thinner bezels, a 1080p webcam and a thinner, lighter design.

It’s arguably easy to say the new MacBook Pro isn’t worthwhile and that it’s better to get the MacBook Air instead. There’s some element of truth to that sentiment, but it wouldn’t be wise to dismiss this product, which is still one of the best laptops for teachers who want extra power.


  • Blazing-fast performance
  • Excellent battery life
  • Great webcam
  • Sharp, vibrant display
  • Comfortable keyboard


  • Stagnant design
  • Few ports

4. MacBook Pro 14-inch 2021

The best MacBook for teachers who need more ports

The Liquid Retina XDR display is shown on 14 Inch MacBook Pro.


CPU: Apple M1 Pro/Apple M1 Max GPU: Apple M1 Pro (Integrated) RAM: 16GB/32GB/64GB Size: 14.1 x 9.7 x 0.6 inches Display: 16-inch, 3072 x 1920-resolution Weight: 4.3 pounds Storage: 512GB/1TB/2TB/4TB/8GB

Why it’s the best MacBook for teachers

The 14-inch MacBook Pro is the Mac to get if you have 1) the budget and 2) the need for more ports. Its Liquid Retina XDR display with a 120Hz refresh rate is stunning, so your favorite movies, and everything else, will simply look amazing. Oh, and the M1 Pro (and pricier M1 Max) chips deliver even more speed than ever before, while still enabling all-day battery life.

On top of that, Apple’s brought MagSafe charging, HDMI-out and a SD memory reader back to the MacBook Pro. This means you won’t need to bring a USB-C dongle to connect to a display or use external memory. That said, there’s still no USB-A, which is something we’re starting to realize Apple has no plans of bringing back.

Other notable changes include the death of the Touch Bar (which never proved its worth), which has been swapped out for physical F1-F12 keys. Apple’s also bumped up the internal webcam to 1080p, from 720p. The MacBook Pro definitely feels like a Pro-level laptop again.


  • Sleek, stunning design
  • Plenty of ports
  • Amazingly fast
  • Beautiful mini-LED display
  • Excellent battery life


  • No USB-A port
  • Expensive entry point

5. MacBook Pro 16-inch 2021

Best MacBook for teachers who want powerful processor


CPU: M1 Pro (10-core CPU) | M1 Max (10-core CPU) GPU: 16-core to 32-core integrated GPU RAM: 16GB to 64GB Size: 14.01 x 9.77 x 0.6 inches Display: 16.2 inches; 3456×2244 pixelsC Weight: 4.7 pounds (M1 Pro) | 4.8 pounds (M1 Max) Storage: 512GB – 8TB

Why it’s the best MacBook for teachers

Want it all? Then you may want to consider the beastly 16-inch MacBook Pro, which features either M1 Pro or M1 Max chips, that deliver shocking amounts of performance. An upgrade over the previous intel-based model, this laptop features thinner bezels to give more space to the gorgeous mini-LED Liquid Retina XDR displays. Once you get over the notch, you’ll be wowed by its contrast and smoothness, especially with its 120Hz refresh rate.

This model’s battery life lasts up to 21 hours, which is incredible for a laptop of this size and compute power. It has a a ton of ports—including three Thunderbolt 4 USB Type-C ports, an HDMI port an SDXC card slot and a MagSafe 3 port—so you won’t be stuck using an adapter or hub to plug in your camera and other external devices, either. On top of that, you’ve got a 1080p webcam, a trio of improved microphones and a stellar six-point speaker system.


  • Stunning Liquid Retina XDR display
  • Incredible performance trounces competition
  • Apple’s design at its best
  • Incredibly long battery life


  • Display still isn’t 4K
  • No Touch Bar
  • Expensive with M1 Max

How to choose the best teaching laptop for you

Performance: If you know you don’t push your laptops to their limits, get the MacBook Air M1 and get the entry-level model. Its 8-core M1 chip and 8GB of RAM are going to surprise you with their speed. Upgrade that RAM to 16GB if you keep a lot of applications open at once. Teachers who work with more demanding applications will either want to get the M1 MacBook Pro (check with your favorite applications to see if they’re updated for Apple silicon) with 16GB of RAM, or consider getting an Intel-based MacBook with 32GB of RAM. Storage is fast up and down the lineup. The new M2-powered MacBooks provide somewhat of a middle-ground between the original M1 MacBooks and the M1 Pro and M1 Max laptops.

Graphics and gaming: For M1-based MacBooks, you either get a 7-core or 8-core integrated GPU, and we’ve seen amazing results on the 8-core version. The M2-powered MacBook Pro comes with 10 GPU cores as standard. So upgrade if you want to game on your Mac. Yes, you can play serious video games on the Mac now. It’s impressive.

Size and weight: The 13-inch MacBook Air and Pro are only distinguished by the Air’s wedge shape and slightly lighter weight. The MacBook Pro (3.0 pounds for M1, 3.1 pounds for Intel) is 0.2 – 0.3 pounds heavier than the 2.8-pound MacBook Air. Unsurprisingly, the 16-inch MacBook Pro — which is a heavier 4.3 pounds — is best for teachers who either don’t mind the heft in their bag or don’t move around as often.

Battery life: The 13-inch M2 MacBook Pro is the longest-lasting MacBook there is, rocking battery test time of 18:20. This beats the M1 Air (14:41) and the 16-inch MacBook Pro 2021 (15:31) by a solid margin.

How we test the best teacher’s laptops

To find the best MacBook for teachers, we run each through our gauntlet of benchmarks and real-world tests, and then use them as our main computer for as well. Only then are we comfortable recommending them (or not) for your purchase.

We use a Klein K-10A colorimeter to test each MacBook’s screen to find its average brightness and color quality (so we don’t just assume Apple’s ratings are correct). When it comes to general performance, we use the Geekbench 5 (CPU performance) benchmark, and time how long the Macs will take to transcode a 4K video to 1080p.

We also run the BlackMagic storage speeds test to see how fast these MacBooks’ SSDs are (spoiler alert: they’re all pretty fast). Then, we run our custom battery test to see how long each MacBook (at 150 nits of brightness) can last browsing the web over Wi-Fi until it runs out of juice.

We’ve also tested various computer games on MacBooks, with Civilization VI: Gathering Storm being one of our current favorites to run because it runs well on both macOS and Windows, giving us a good point of comparison.

No matter which Apple MacBook you buy, be sure to check out these MacBook Ventura tips and tricks to make the most of your laptop.

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