Windows Laptop, MacBook or Chromebook: Which is better for Small Business?

May 22 / Steve Bunyan
As the world of business transitions to digital, entrepreneurs and small business owners are looking for the most efficient and cost-effective tools to run their businesses, especially if they work from home.

One of the most critical decisions is choosing the right computing device(s) to manage daily tasks and operations. This blog post compares and contrasts the benefits of using a Windows laptop, a MacBook and a Chromebook, for running a small business from home, focusing on several important factors to help you make informed decisions and buy the right device(s) for you and your business.

Clearly, not everyone wants a laptop, but all three systems have desktop versions too, i.e. PC, iMac and Chromebox. It’s worth noting at this point that there are other operating systems too, like Linux, but I’m only going to focus on the main three systems, because they apply to the vast majority of people.


Windows Laptop: Windows laptops run on Microsoft Windows OS (Operating System). They allow you to download and install a wide range of applications and software locally. However, this can make using them more complex and less user-friendly, particularly for those who aren’t tech-savvy.
MacBook: MacBooks run on macOS, which is known for its intuitive interface and ease of use. Many users find it simple to navigate, with a shallow learning curve for those who are new to the platform. Like Windows laptops, they allow you to download and install a wide range of applications and software locally.
Chromebook: Chromebooks are designed for simplicity and ease of use. They run on Google’s Chrome OS , which is a lightweight operating system focused only on web-based applications. This makes them perfect for users who prefer the simplicity, speed and efficiency of browser-based tools and software. You can install Google Play apps, but you cannot download software because they only use browser-based software.

Purchase Costs

Windows Laptop: Windows laptops offer a wide range of prices, with entry-level options starting at around $300, and high-end models reaching up to $2000 or more.
MacBook: MacBooks are typically the most expensive choice, with the base model MacBook Air starting at around $999. However, they are known for their quality and longevity.
Chromebook: Chromebooks are usually the most affordable option, with entry-level models starting at around $200, making them ideal for budget-conscious small business owners.

Ongoing Costs

Windows Laptop: Windows laptops require regular software updates, and users may need to purchase additional software licences, which can add to the ongoing costs.
MacBook: While MacBooks typically have fewer ongoing costs than Windows laptops. You may still need to purchase software licences and pay for occasional updates.
Chromebook: Chromebooks have minimal ongoing costs as they rely primarily on web-based applications, with most updates and maintenance being handled automatically. Users may need to pay for some premium software subscriptions, but these are often cheaper than traditional desktop applications.

Integration with Other Tools and Systems

Windows Laptop: Windows laptops are compatible with a wide range of software, making them a versatile choice for integration with various tools and systems. They also support Microsoft Office, the industry standard for office productivity tools.
MacBook: MacBooks integrate well with Apple's ecosystem, making them an excellent choice for users who already use other Apple devices, such as iPhones or iPads. They also support Microsoft Office and other popular productivity tools.
Chromebook: Chromebooks seamlessly integrate with Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), which offers various productivity tools such as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. These tools are compatible with Microsoft Office formats, making collaboration easy.

Data Syncing, Collaboration, and Backups

Windows Laptop: Data syncing and collaboration depend on the software being used. Microsoft Office tools now offer real-time collaboration and cloud-based backups through OneDrive, but in my experience, it’s clunky. The individual tools are really good, but inter-connectivity between them is not intuitive and admin usability is diabolical.
MacBook: MacBooks can use iCloud for data syncing and backups, while also supporting real-time collaboration through Google Workspace, Microsoft Office and other third-party applications.
Chromebook: Chromebooks excel in data syncing and collaboration, as they are built around Google Workspace, which is designed for real-time collaboration and automatic cloud-based backups.


Windows Laptop: Windows laptops have improved security features over the years, but they remain a popular target for malware and other security threats. Regular software updates and a reliable antivirus program are necessary to ensure optimal security.
MacBook: MacBooks have a reputation for being secure devices, thanks to macOS's built-in security features and a lower prevalence of malware targeting the platform. However, it's still essential to be vigilant and take necessary precautions to protect your data. Antivirus is still needed for optimal security.
Chromebook: Chromebooks are known for their strong security features, as they run on a sandboxed environment, have automatic updates, and offer built-in virus protection.

Battery Life

Windows Laptop: Battery life on Windows laptops varies greatly, depending on the hardware and software being used. Generally, Windows laptops have average battery life, with most devices lasting between 6 to 8 hours.
MacBook: MacBooks boast impressive battery life, with some models offering up to 20 hours on a single charge.
Chromebook: Chromebooks have impressive battery life because of their lightweight operating system and energy-efficient hardware, often lasting between 8 to 12 hours on a single charge.

My Conclusions

When choosing the best computing device for your home-based small business, consider your specific needs, budget, and the tools you’ll be using regularly.

Windows laptops provide versatility and compatibility with a wide range of software, but come with a lot of potential downsides.

MacBooks are known for their ease of use, high quality, and integration with Apple’s ecosystem, but come with a hefty price tag.

Chromebooks offer simplicity, affordability, and seamless integration with Google Workspace, making them an excellent choice for budget-conscious users who want to use web-based tools, but you cannot install local software on them.

For a small business, I rank the three systems in this order:
  • 1. Chromebook
  • 2. MacBook
  • 3. Windows laptop
But I’m not you. Ultimately, the best choice for your small business will depend on your unique requirements and preferences. Take the time to evaluate each option carefully and consider investing in a device that will grow with your business and adapt to your changing needs.

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