The January sales are over, but it's still possible to find some great deals on cheap laptops if you know where to look. But budget laptops do not hang around for long, so if you see a spec you like at a price you like, snap up that laptop.
As we outline below, you'll find various specifications available below £300. The best deal is likely to be an Intel Core i3 laptop with 4GB of RAM, 128GB of solid-state storage or a 1TB hard drive, and a 15.6in HD screen. You can find many laptops with full-HD panels at this price too, but beware of them reducing the spec elsewhere to accommodate a sub-£300 price.
1. Lenovo S340 Chromebook & Google Nest Mini
Now: £219 (Save £80 + free Google Nest Mini)
2. Lenovo IdeaPad 330S (15.6in HD, AMD Ryzen 3, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD)
Now: £269.97 (£130 off)
There's £130 off this thin and light Lenovo laptop with an AMD Ryzen 3 procesor and 14in screen. It's also got a 128GB SSD.
3. Lenovo IdeaPad 320 (15.6in HD, Intel Core i3, 4GB RAM, 2TB HDD)
From: Laptop Outlet
Now: £299.96 (£80 off)
The highest-storage option in our round-up of budget laptop deals under £300, this Lenovo laptop has a 2TB hard drive - perfect if your storage needs are great. It also runs a Core i3 processor and has a 15.6in HD screen.
4. HP 255 G7 (15.6in Full-HD, AMD A9, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD)
From: Laptop Outlet
Now: £259.96 (£40 off)
A fantastic spec for a budget laptop from a well-known brand. The G7 series is a long-time favourite here at Tech Advisor, and this 255 model boasts a 15.6in Full-HD screen, Windows 10 Home, and a usable amount of storage and memory for a budget laptop.
5. Acer Aspire 3 A315-21 (15.6in Full-HD, AMD A6, 4GB RAM, 1TB HDD)
Now: £229 (£50 off)
One of several variations of the Acer Aspire 3, this one has an AMD processor and a 15.6in screen.
6. Acer Aspire 3 (15.6in FHD, AMD A6, 4GB RAM, 1TB HDD)
Now: £289.97 (£10.02 off)
By swapping out the AMD A9 for the more power-efficient A6, at the same price Acer is able to include a 15.6in screen. This budget laptop also has a 1TB HDD for storage.
7. Asus VivoBook X409UA (14in HD, AMD Ryzen 3, 4GB RAM, 256GB SSD)
8. Asus C523NA-BR0067 Chromebook (15.6in)
Now: £239 (£60 off)
9. Asus C423NA-BV0078 Chromebook (14in)
Now: £199 (£50 off)
10. HP Stream 14 (14in HD, AMD A4, 4GB RAM, 64GB SSD)
Now: £249 (Free Office)
If you just need a basic laptop without breaking the bank then this is bargain from HP, with a no-frills AMD A4 processor that isn't the fastest you'll find in the budget market but capable for most daily computing tasks. It's got what you need, plus includes a one-year subscription to Office 365 with 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage.
How to find a great deal on a budget laptop
We review budget laptops all year round, and our favourite model right now is the HP 250 G7. It is on sale at just £349.97 at Laptops Direct. However, often the way to get down laptop prices is to reduce the spec, and this model comes with a Core i3 processor, 4GB of memory and a 128GB solid-state storage drive, whereas the model we reviewed has a Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD (also discounted at eBuyer to £499.98).
For many people that cheaper option is going to be more than enough for their needs, but it goes to show that when buying budget laptops you should be aware of small differences in the spec - and it always helps to have some idea of what to look out for in the first place. This way, if you see a great laptop deal we haven't mentioned here, you'll be able to work out whether or not it's a good buy.
Key things to look out for are the processor, memory and both type of storage and amount of storage. At under £300 you're unlikely to find anything higher than an Intel Core i3/AMD A-series or Ryzen 3 processor; if you do find a Core i5, snap up that laptop right away.
You'll also see Intel Pentium and Celeron processors listed, and these are less powerful options often found in older models and Chromebooks/CloudBooks, but still more than capable if your needs are low. By that we mean you're looking for something that's good for homework, replying to emails, browsing the web and social media, and watching the odd video.
These chips will have integrated graphics, and you should not expect to find a dedicated graphics card at this price. Your laptop will be more than capable of playing YouTube and movies, plus some casual games, but if you're really after something capable of proper gaming we'd recommend upping your budget to £500+ and going for a Core i5 as the bare minimum. We've got some more options on slightly pricier laptop deals here.
At this price you're most likely to find 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, although at the budget end of the market you often find solid-state storage is swapped out for a traditional mechanical hard drive. The upside to this is more storage space; the down side is they are slower, a little noisier and more fragile.
The size of the screen and the overall design of the laptop are going to be purely personal choices. You'll find everything from 11in to 15.6in screens at this price point; a handful with full-HD (1080p) displays but most with HD (720p) screens. Smaller laptops are typically going to be more easily portable, but it's easier to get stuff done on a larger screen, especially if you are wanting to watch video, play casual games or work with spreadsheets.
Don't overlook Chromebooks, with which your children may well be familiar from school. The difference between these and traditional Windows laptops is the software that is installed on them, with Chromebooks instead using Chrome OS. You'll also find CloudBooks, which run Windows 10 S.