5 Best Laptops For QuickBooks (2023 Software Add-ons)
There’s been an ongoing problem with QuickBooks since it’s first release.
Due to the backbone code not being optimized yet, loading bars are still quite common and have become part of the user experience.
Most laptops will run quickbooks plenty fast, they won’t eliminate loading bars altogether.
If you don’t mind running the software with the speed everyone else has, by all means grab any modern laptop with Windows 11 on it.
If you want the best laptop for quickbooks , one that can eliminate loading bars altogether (either as single user or through a network) ESPECIALLY when opening and saving large database files.
Then you need to optimize the hardware to reduce the software’s tendency to run slow when performing operations on data.
Recommended Laptop Specs for QuickBooks
Don’t worry that doesn’t mean you have to spend more money on a computer (maybe a bit more).
It’s all about FOCUSING on the right hardware and doing some upgrades (if required).
Most importantly choosing enough RAM & increase Storage speed.
Q: How about CPU? Isn’t that important too?
As of 2023, virtually every CPU is plenty fast for any quickbooks operation.
Since quickbooks is a database application , increasing the bandwidth (speed at which data can be retrieved) becomes more important. In fact, this is the major bottleneck with the software.
Q: What If I also can afford a more powerful CPU? Will it help even a bit?
Even if the data files of your business get super large which is what will have over a long periods of time, it’s very unlikely a modern CPU (even those found on budget 350-400$ laptops) will struggle.
Adding a bit of more clock speed can slightly (maybe by a few milliseconds) reduce loading times on operations.
Let’s re-write the official recommendations to something more realistic:
|RAM||8GB DDR4||8GB DDR5|
|Storage||Any SSD||PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD x4 lanes|
Good– These are the upgraded recommendations. It is found on pretty much any laptop above 400 bucks. QuickBooks will run fast and as soon as you lower RAM (to 4GB), the software will become unusable.You’ll lag even if you just have MS Office and a web browser with 4GB RAM because Windows 10 or 11 will take up most of it.
Optimized – This is NOT required but this is the kind of hardware that will get you the BEST performance with ANY bookkeeping or accounting software including QuickBooks. It has enough RAM for Win & QuickBooks & Quicken w/ 40 web browsing tabs open but what’s more important is the ‘type’ of RAM & storage (DDR5 & NVMe w/ 4 lanes) which should eliminate any loading times altogether.
Top 5 Best Laptops For QuickBooks
Laptops with the good requirements are very easy to find and will sell anywhere from 350-600 dollars depending on how fast you want the CPU or how good you want the display to be.
Laptops with the optimized hardware requirements are very few and expensive…though remember although they will speed up performance with the software it does not mean they are a must to be productive with the software. I would invest on them if you spend most of the day using quickbooks. I’m only going to post ONE with these hardware specs.
1. LG Gram 17Z90Q
The Best Work Laptop For QuickBooks
Intel Evo 12th Gen i7 1260P
Intel Iris Xe Graphics
1TB NVMe SSD PCIe 4.0
17.3” QHD IPS
This is a laptop with the optimized specs on the table. It’s got EVERY SPEC maxed out : RAM, CPU , SSD and even the display is top of the line.
RAM: 16GB DDR5
Although I said all you need 8GB RAM, 16GB will be more of 100% fool proof against any ‘RAM spikes’ where your operating system suddenly starts updating itself or just running to many background processes for the ocassional extra RAM usage. Let’s not forget you’ll probably have Intuit Data (for back ups), MS Office (with data integration) and perhaps a few other apps open.
What’s more important here, however, isn’t how much RAM you get (because RAM can be upgraded as shown in this tutorial) but rather the type.
DDR5 is the latest RAM technology on laptops as of 2023 and has a much bigger bandwidth which is going to be overkill for most instances except those when you have to deal with a myrid of operations on a large data file.
SSD: PCIe NVMe 4.0
I talk about storage speed in the last section but basically PCIe 4.0 is the latest and fastest SSD set up on laptops as of 2023. It will further speed up the data retrieving and data-writing processes because the 4.0 has substantially more ‘bandwidth’ than the common 3.0 PCie.
The CPU is overkill for QuickBooks and overkill for pretty much any accounting software but there’s not another laptop with the extra features we’re about to go over : Display , weight and build quality. If you still want both the DDR5 RAM & PCIe 4.0 storage, you can try and look for 12th gen Core i5 laptops (we’ll go over one soon).
Display & Design
The design is unique in that sense that it is the ONLY 17 inch laptop that weighs less than 3lbs. This laptop is EXTREMELY lightweight despite having a gigantic display.
Now if you add the QHD resolution (2.5k) which is higher than FHD (1k) on top of the 17 inch display, you get an insane amount of extra space for row & graph visualization, there will be very little need to scroll up and down in some instances. Also the extra resolution will let eliminate the need to menus and instead have all your functions & operations on toolbars one click away.
You can even have QuickBooks & an MS Office side by side and still have plenty of space left to work on both without compromising the whole picture of each document or file.
Lastly, the fact that it’s a 17 inch laptop also gets you a large keyboard with a numerical keypad and all the FN keys too.
2. ASUS ZenBook
Best ASUS Laptop For Quickbooks
Intel Core i5-1240P
8GB RAM DDR5
Intel Iris Xe Graphics
512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
14” 2.8k OLED Touchscreen
This is a laptop with the pretty much the same “top tier” specs: DDR5 RAM & PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD but a little more portable and much cheaper.
It’s even got the same super high resolution display (2.8k) and weight.
It’s about 600 dollars cheaper than the LG Gram and it’s mostly down to the size, it’s very very difficult to manufacture a 17 inch display with less than 3lbs (this is why the LG is unique). Anyways here’s what’s really different from the LG Gram.
- There’s no PHYSICAL NumPad : there is however a virtual numpad on the trackpad which works out pretty well too since you should NOT be using a trackpad if you want a speedy workflow with QuickBooks.
- The display size is reduced to 14″: knowing the fact that the resolution is still the same should still give you a LOT of extra screen space than your average laptop.
- RAM is capped at 8GB: You cannot upgrade this laptop but having a DDR5 will give you more performance gains than 16GB RAM since it is very unlikely you’ll work with very large database files
I would say this is better choice than the LG Gram if you are on a budget AND if you need something portable because you’re on the move quite a lot.
3. Surface Pro 9
Best 2 in 1 Laptop for Quickbooks
12th gen Intel® Evo Core™ i5 or Core™ i7
8GB-16GB RAM DDR5
Intel Xe Graphics
128GB-1TB PCIe NVMe SSD
13” IPS 2880 x 1920
The most portable laptop for quickbooks is going to be one of those 2-1 laptops that can turn into a tablet. Anything that resembles the iPad Pro, there are a lot of laptops like that such as the HP Envy & Lenvo Yoga but the most popular and premium is the Surface Pro.
Unlike tablets, these 2 i n1 laptops have the Windows 11 Home or Professional operating sytem. Once you attach the external keyboard, it pretty much turns into a laptop.
As for quickbooks, it actually encourages to people to consider a Surface device. For example, Intuit has implemented a few features that only work with the Surface Book (QuickBooks Point of Sale).
The hardware fit into these devices: whether its a Surface Laptop, Surface Pro or Surface Book, its the same hardware you find on the latest laptops (as long as you pick the latest models).
In fact, if you pick the latest models, you’ll also get the best RAM technology (DDR5) and a PCie NVMe 4.0 (x4 lanes) just like you would on any of the laptops we’ve went over so far.
The downside that you will be stuck with whatever you buy at the time purchase: you cannot upgrade RAM or storage. So pick a model with 16GB RAM & 512GB if you can afford it.
If you need something this portable (2.2lbs) but cannot afford the upgraded version you should be fine too, remember those extra features (RAM & Storage) are only performance enhacements not requirements.
If you can’t even afford the base model of the latest version (Surface Pro 9), you can buy the older versions (Surface Pro 7, Surface Pro 6). I would not go older than the Surface Pro 6 though (CPU becomes too obselete) and make sure you get a model with 8GB RAM (all of them have some form of PCIe NVMe SSD).
4. Lenovo ThinkPad T14
Best Lenovo Laptop For Quickbooks
12th Gen 10-Core i5-1235U
16GB RAM DDR5 (Up to 40GB)
Intel Iris Xe Graphics
512GB PCIe NVMe
14″ FHD+ 1920 x 1200 IPS 300 nits
The Lenovo ThinkPads are the most popular non-convertible traditional windows laptops.
There are dozens of different ThinkPads with different hardware configuration for RAM & Storage. RAM can be anywhere from 8GB to 48GB and SSD storage can be anywhere from 256GB to 4TB.
The same can be said about storage & RAM type, there are thinkpads with the latest technology too but they will raise the price significantly.
As for CPUs, you can find thinkpads with Core i5 and Ryzen 5 (ideal for QuickBooks) and Core i7 and Ryzen 7 (Overkill and expensive for QuickBooks).
This gives you the choice to pick the hardware according to your budget. If you can afford those with the latest RAM & SSD, go for it. If you can’t, no worries all thinkpads share the same design which include:
- Long battery: 8 hours (min) – 10 hours (max)
- Top of the line keyboards (dedicated FN keys and full size numpad).
- Rock solid built design: they are KNOWN for this future more than anything. They can last SEVERAL years.
- Upgradeable: all of their models are EASY to upgrade (unless you choose a Lenoco X-carbon Thinkpad which is a very thin/lightweight variant).
- Decent weight: approx 3.5lb (max) despite the high quality materials used to make the rock solid built.
- Best trackpads on the market: may come in handy on a trip
5. Acer Aspire 5 A515
Best Laptop For Small Business QuickBooks
Intel Core i3-1115G4
8GB RAM DDR4
Intel UHD Graphics
128GB PCIe NVMe SSD
15” IPS full HD
All laptops so far are above 600 dollars (even the older models) and that definitely can be expensive if you’re just starting a small business or if you’re an intern. However, like I said, you only need the ‘good’ requiremens outlined in the table to be productive with the software.
Which basically comes down to having 8GB RAM (any type DDR4 or DDR5) and an SSD (any size and type).
This laptop has both of these specs so there’s no need to do the upgrade UNLESS you are one of those people who do some pretty insane multitasking (I mean 50 web browsing tabs open + several other software open at the same time), then you MIGHT benefit from 16GB RAM.
If that’s the case for you, budget laptops like this (cheap and heavy) are all upgradeable and you don’t need a technician to do this, it’s pretty doable by everyone. An additional RAM stick may sell for 15 bucks.
If you can’t afford this laptop (which sells for about 350 dollars), you can go ahead and buy cheaper laptops but make sure you either get 8GB or in the case of buying a 4GB RAM laptop (which is very likely to be the case) upgrade the RAM to 8GB. Don’t worry about SSDs, virtually all laptops (that are not refurbished) on the Amazon store have an SSD.
Lastly, be sure that the CPU is not older than 5 years. There’s a list of recommended CPUs in the last section.
Acer Aspire: 4GB RAM + Windows 11 S (S mode)
It is very unlikely you’ll find a laptop with 8GB RAM and the full version of Windows 11 or Windows 10 installed out of the box under 350 dollars. They will be very likely to be like the model below:
Which comes with Windows in S mode. You must upgrade to Windows Home if you want to use the full version of QuickBooks otherwise you’ll be limited to QuickBook Online and Quicken.
The upgrade is free and easy. Just go to the Windows App store on your laptop and continue the steps as shown below:
Be sure to do the upgrad to 8GB RAM before otherwise you will lag, 8GB is a minimum for Windows Home to run.
Best Hardware Specs for QuickBooks (Desktop or Laptop)
QuickBooks has more than 10 million users as of 2023. It is by far the most popular software for small-businesses today.
However, it’s not the most efficient accounting software for businesses there is and its popularity is the reason behind that.
QuickBooks: Hardware Efficiency
Truth be told, once a software becomes “THE” software for anything, be it for accounting, school or teaching. It usually doesn’t care much about making things better for the user because people have used it for so long and they will continue to do so anyways.
Let’s take for example Microsoft Office and Zoom, even if they don’t do radical changes to the software, companies and schools will still use them.
QuickBooks is not an old software, it’s been updated every year however….
But every update still uses the same ‘core’ engine which is still inefficient and outdated (compared to other banking and accounting software).
You may see additional tools and interface changes but the engine will still be the same thus making the software prone to be a bit slower than the rest of its competition.
Even propietary software written by my company handles large data sets with very complex math functions faster than QuickBooks (usually handled through an SQL server).
Most people have no choice but to use QuickBooks. It’s not all doom and gloom, QuickBooks interface and ease of use is still one of the best.
Thus if you want to make QuickBooks sort of the ‘perfect’ software for accounting you have to make sure to get good hardware to offset its lack of speed with large data sets due to its old engine.
Note: what comes next applies to all versions of QuickBooks:QuickBooks Pro , QuickBooks Online, etc.
I’m going to need you to understand some basic computer terminology to continue. So if you don’t understand what’s next please refer to my beginner’s guide to computer specifications.
When you pick a procesosr there are TWO specs to look after CORES & SPEED:
#Core (MultiCore, Multithreaded, etc)
Quickbooks isn’t a multithreaded application , this means focusing on # Cores isn’t going to improve performance.
If you are reading this from a desktop, you can open quickbooks right now and press CTRL+ALT+DEL, you’ll see only one or two threads (one core = 2 threads) being used whenever you run tasks and click on any functions.
Most laptops have at least a 4-Core CPU (8 Threads) and although that may not be useful for QuickBooks it does become useful for multitasking with QuickBooks, Office and other apps you may be running in the background.
The point is….
Do not look at the # of cores when buying a laptop.
Clock Frequency: Speed
The clock frequency (measured in Hz – Ex: 4.5GHz) is what speeds up operations on very large sets of data.
QuickBooks will run OK even on 3GHz CPUs but if you can maximize clock speed to 4.5GHz then you would be maximizing quickbooks performance from a CPU-stand point.
Which CPUs have 4.5GHz?
Most CPUs today have at least 4GHz (2022-2023 CPUs) , even the budget ones. The ones that have approx 4.5GHz will be usually 10th or 11th gen Core i5 OR 5th and 6th gen Ryzen 5 CPUs. More specifically the following:
|Ryzen 5 5500U||2.1||4.4||6|
|Ryzen 5 4500U|
|Ryzen 3 5300U||2.6||3.8||8|
|Ryzen 3 4300U|
Those CPUs labeled in green are recommended while those CPUs on blue are a minimum. Also try to stay away from Core i7 or Ryzen 7 CPUs, they’re too fast for quickbooks (yes you’ll see slightly performance gains but nothing that will justify the low battery and high price tag).
2. Storage (HDD or SSD)
Because Quickbooks can get slower when you perform operations on very large sets of data, maximizing the hardware where this data is stored and retrieved is also very very important.
We’ll cover storage first and then RAM. Both are equally important.
It’s not a problem for QuickBooks even if you work with a very large company that has large sets of data.
To prove this, lets imagine you’re working with a very large database file (for a very large company) which should be a maximum of 5GB ( on average these quickbooks files are 700MB).
QuickBooks (the software) will take a additional 5GB. Windows 11 an additional 65GB (future updates may update this number up to 80GB).
We have 5GB (file) + 5GB (quickbooks) + 80GB ( Windows) + MS Office & Other programs (30GB) =120GB.
The cheapest laptops will have about 128GB (you’ll have 8GB left) and the average laptop has twice that number (256GB).
Capacity is not an issue.
This is the KEY spec when buying storage or when choosing a laptop with storage: speed.
High speed storage means the CPU will be fed data at a much higher rate. You can think of storage speed as a highway, the broader the highway the more cars (data) will travel through it and reach the destination (CPU).
SSD (Solid State Drive) vs HDD (Hard Disk Drive)
The fastest one is the SSD and as of 2023, 98% of laptops above 300 bucks have an SSD. HDDs are almost obselete but they are quite common on desktops because they are very very cheap. SSD (Solid State Drive) and HDD (Hard Disk Drive). You want SSDs because they are several several times faster.
You may find an HDD on a laptop sometimes as part of a “dual storage” set up: a laptop that uses both an SSD and HDD. You may want to replace that HDD or just not use it because it is x5 times than SSDs.
Types of SSD: NVMe, SATA, PCIe & Lanes
Here’s how the hierarchy goes:
There are more SSD types on desktops but those three are the most common on laptops (besides eMMC & Flash storage which are only found on Chromebooks – useless for QuickBooks).
All SSD types will give you the following benefits (regardless of type):
- Saving purchase orders is instantaneously done. On the other hand, HDDs will take ~10 seconds (and more if you use QuickBooks through a network).
- As data files grow bigger over time, SSDs will show a clear advantage when doing operations that manipulate large chunks of data.
- Every operating in QuickBooks will no longer take several seconds basically. Only a few like loading accounts or a bulk processing a day will and even then they will still be done several times faster than HDDs.
Now the PCIe NVMe SSDs will give you a slight performance gain (nothing significant) if that’s important to you (if you spend all day using QuickBooks even milliseconds here and there can add up to less hours during a week) you want to choose those with more “LANES”. The more Lanes the SSD has the faster it will be, the upper limit as of 2023 is 4 LANES.
Q: What if my data files are stored on server with a desktop SSD with more lines?
You will not get the speed benefits out of that SSD because the data must still be downloaded (albeit momentarily) in chunks to do MOST of the operations in your computer. The only way to get the speed benefits of desktops (which have SSDs and CPUs that are much faster) is through a remote access software like AnyDesk.
More SSD advantages:
There are few more advantages but they are not related to speed:
- SSDs are less prone to hardware failure because they are slightly more resistant to physical damage.
- SSDs use less power so you will have slightly more battery if you’re buying a laptop (super useful for business trips).
Database files on the Solid State Drive is USUALLY moved to RAM (temporarily) for the CPU to do calculations.
The data of every software you have open and everything you see on your screen is currently stored in RAM rather the storage.
So it goes like this:
The reason for CPU using RAM (and Cache) rather than storage (SSD) to do the processing is simple: the CPU can retrieve data much faster out of RAM because it sits ‘closer’.
Thus any gains in RAM (Size & Speed) translate to SIGNIFICANT performance gains with the software.
Size: 8GB minimum, 16GB?
Knowing tha all of your RAM will be fit into the whatever capacity you have, if you don’t have enough that can’t be good. If you run out of RAM for all the database files you have open, the software, and everybackground process running what happens is your CPU will resort to use the “SSD” storage as extra RAM and since it sits further away things will run slower (imagine the case if you didn’t have an SSD and an HDD instead, talk about slow).
Either way, you want to avoid that and usually 8GB is enough for that not to happen and for QuickBooks to run plenty fast even with add-ons and other accounting software in the background.
What other software you ask?
- Intuit Data Protect: will run in the background if you want to constantly back up data files to the cloud.
- MS Office: you may be merging QuickBooks data with Microsoft Word, Excel and OutLook if you want to create customer/vendor letters or convert Peachtree data to QuickBook.
- Web Browser: for sending estimates through email.
Q: What if my data files are not big, they’re not even close to 1GB. They’re 50MB at best. Do I still need 8GB? Can I get 4GB or 6GB?
No. 8GB is minimum. In fact, you would want 16GB if you can afford the upgrade.
Think of it this way. Windows 11 takes 4GB and even Windows 10 (with the latest updates) takes that much too.
On top of that, you’ll have QuickBooks, a Web browser , MS Office and a lot of other stuff running in the background too. Let’s not forget most people have +30 web browsing tabs open too and if you use Chrome that’s a lot more RAM.
Lastly, database files will grow overtime as your business grows and eventually it will step into the GB range.
If you go to the official site, they themselves will claim the biggest bottleneck might be ram especially when:
- Data files exceeds list limits
- Data files are too old(~7 years;lots of info/outdated data structures accumulated).
RAM Type: DDR4 vs DDR5
There’s an additional way to increase performance through RAM and that’s by choosing the latest RAM type. Just like adding ‘more’ lanes to an NVMe SSD adds more speed, the latest RAM DDR5 adds more bandwidth which increases the amount of data that can be fed to the processor. Most apps will see an 8-12% performance gain.
DDR5 is still kind of new on laptops as of 2023 so you’ll only find them on laptops that have a 12th gen Intel CPU or 6th gen Ryzen CPU.
This is important for everyone running a small business and using QuickBooks because having a laptop or computer last you a year or two isn’t ideal when you still working on your business growth and having to change workspaces (because you have to buy a new laptop or just reset the whole system) is sort of detrimental to your business.
For a laptop to last more than 2 years, it is important to make sure temperatures never reach dangerous levels, you can check CPU temperatures to a third-party software. This is the number one reason why laptops stop working after a few years. You have to read reviews and make sure there isn’t any “high temperature” issues with said laptop. In the worst case scenario, buying a laptop cooler and using it during the summer and spring is required.
You can also try to invest on alluminum laptops (business laptops) which not only slightly help with temperatures but also have more of a rock solid built that can witstand several drops.
Either way, always use Intuit Data Protect and the cloud to back up the entire system. Even the most expensive machines aren’t inmune to failure.
If you have any suggestions, questions or recommendations. Please leave a comment below.
- I am physicist and electrical engineer. My knowledge in computer software and hardware stems for my years spent doing research in optics and photonics devices and running simulations through various programming languages. My goal was to work for the quantum computing research team at IBM but Im now working with Astrophysical Simulations through Python. Most of the science related posts are written by me, the rest have different authors but I edited the final versions to fit the site's format.