Best Gaming Laptop under $500: the tips of a Pro Gamer in 2021

You landed on this page because you are wondering if you will be able to find a good gaming laptop under 500 dollars. You probably read many other articles about the topic and you found very conflicting information. Some websites claim they have great gaming laptops under 500 dollars, some others claim you will need to spend more to get a decent one. The truth is something in between. 500 dollars can get you a good laptop, if you know how to look for it! This guide will teach you the technique you need to find a good gaming laptop under 500 dollars.

In this article:

  • A professional gamer tells you all you need to know about the specs of a good gaming laptop
  • You learn how to find and buy a good gaming laptop online
  • We teach you all the strategies required to buy a good second hand gaming laptop under 500 dollars

I will discuss prices in American dollars. However, the content is valid for any country and currency. Just convert your currency to dollars and everything will make sense.

Doing proper research is the key!

Let’s get straight to the point. It is possible to buy a good 500 dollar gaming laptop, but you will have to put in some extra work to get it. You will not find a good gaming laptop under 500 dollars on a regular day at Walmart. To find decent gaming laptops under 500 dollars, you will have to actively look for discounts or good quality second hand laptops. 

If you were looking for the best gaming laptop under 800 dollars, your life would be much easier. With such a budget, it is enough to enter the nearest Walmart or Best Buy and ask for a gaming laptop. 

After reading this article, you will be able to find a gaming laptop which normal price is around $800, for less than $500. It will not take you longer than 2 hours to find and buy a good 500 dollar gaming laptop. This means that you will save $150 per hour while searching for your laptop! You can look at this as having the same hourly rate as a top manager while searching for a laptop. So keep reading this and get yourself a good laptop for a great price!

What makes a good gaming laptop?

Before going through the tricks needed to find a good gaming laptop under 500 dollars, you need to understand what makes a good gaming laptop. There are so many different gaming laptops on the market that you will need to understand the characteristics of a good laptop, to be able to find a good one below $500. Many websites claim that they are listing all the good options. However, this is impossible! Choosing your laptop from a list means missing out on good opportunities. Understanding what makes a good gaming laptop will allow you to filter all existing laptops by price range and to identify what the best options are. We asked Jason Redmond, the owner of Game-Smack, about the characteristics of a good gaming laptop. 

What kind of specs should a professional gamer’s laptop present?

Gamer using gaming laptop below 300 dollars

Jason: “To run most eSports titles, an AMD Ryzen 5 processor is required, or an i5 for Intel. This is critical in order for the game to run smoothly. Most eSports titles are light on graphical horsepower (except for Rainbow Six Siege) so most GPUs in gaming laptops get the job done.

RAM is the next important part. While most games will run perfectly fine with 8GB of RAM, 16GB is starting to become the standard for an optimal gaming machine, especially if content creation is being considered”.

What’s your opinion about custom gaming laptops?

Jason: “Custom gaming laptops are excellent to bring around to a friend or team mate’s house for LAN parties or competitions. However, the cost of gaming laptops is substantially higher than PC counterparts and will always likely be underclocked because of heating issues. What you’re really paying for is convenience. 

For now, and most likely for the near future, a dedicated desktop PC will always be a better option to get more bang for your buck. However, a lot of high-end features including high-refresh rate monitors and mechanical keyboards are becoming more common in gaming laptops so that gap is certainly closing”.

Spec guide

People gaming

Now you know the minimum specs for a laptop to be good for gaming. These requirements are the minimum specs you need in a gaming laptop. However, your real goal here is to get the best laptop within your budget. 

Our strategy to do this will be using a free website to compare the performances of GPUs and CPUs in the laptops you will find. With the help of this website, you will be able to compare the hardware of all available laptops and choose the best one.

How to find the hardware inside a laptop when knowing the laptop’s name

To compare the hardware of different laptops, you need to know their GPU and CPU.

There are so many laptop models around that it is impossible to know the hardware of all of them. Also, many shops are not really transparent on the spec description and they do not give proper details on the hardware components. 

To be able to properly select a laptop, you really need to know all its components, else your analysis will be incomplete. To do this, you can simply Google the name of the laptop + the word “specs”. This way you will find the hardware inside the laptop.

How to compare CPUs and video cards

Since there are many different CPUs and graphic cards on the market, there is no point in limiting your options by only knowing the performances of some of them. You can use CPU benchmark to compare all the CPUs available. This free tool gives you a rating of a CPU’s performance. You should use this tool later in this article when I ask you to compare laptops.

The same applies to video cards (also known as graphic cards). You can use the video card benchmark tool to compare the different video cards available. 

How to find good gaming laptops under 500 dollars

People playing with the best gaming laptop under 300

Now that you know the requirements that make a laptop a good gaming laptop, it is time to activate your business brain to find a good offer. Let’s go through the available options to find a good gaming laptop under 500 dollars.

Check the time of the year

If Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just around the corner, I would recommend you to wait for these days to come. I know you want your gaming laptop now. But as previously said, if your budget is $500, you need to be strategic. You will surely regret buying a standard $500 laptop because of your impatience!

There is no problem if Black Friday is not around the corner. Nowadays there are also good offers during the rest of the year! You can follow the instructions below to search for a good gaming laptop below 500 dollars. Do not worry if you cannot find it immediately, there are more ways to find what you are looking for. The secret to finding a good gaming laptop under 500 dollar is patience. Be patient and do not do anything impulsive and you will have a good 500 dollar gaming laptop in no time.

Try with new products discounted online

Let’s face it, you are looking for something difficult to find. Therefore you NEED to look into all the shops available! Searching a few shops will probably not get you a good gaming laptop within your budget. Fortunately, Google offers a great tool that searches all shops on the internet. This function is called Google Shopping. In this phase of our guide, you will try to find a good discounted gaming laptop under 500 dollars. If this fails, the next steps will be to look for good second hand (or refurbished) products.

Search gaming laptops below 500 dollars in Google shopping

To search for gaming laptops in Google Shopping, it is enough to open, type gaming laptop and click on the “Shopping” button below the Google search bar.

This will show all the available gaming laptops on the market. Filter your price range (on the left hand side of the page) from 400 to 520. I recommend adding $20 to your budget searching range. You do not want to miss out on a great laptop if it costs a few dollars more than your budget!

Find the best gaming laptops under 500 dollars and open them in new tabs

This step might require some time. Open all the laptops that seem to meet the specs we defined above in a new tab. If you are in doubt, still open the laptop in a new tab. You can always close it if you realize the laptop does not meet your requirements. Make sure to consider at least 10 alternatives to not miss out on good opportunities. Keep in mind that the laptops are ranked based on an algorithm from Google, so there might be good options that do not rank so high in the list. Try to check out as many options as you can, regardless how much further in the list they are.

Do an advanced research on the options you found earlier

Now it’s time to get into details. Check the options you found and exclude these that do not meet the standards we found above. 

Hopefully you found a good gaming laptop under 500 dollars. If not, you have two options: either you wait and try again hoping that new offers will come or you try to look for a second hand laptop.

To be honest, I think that buying a second hand laptop is a great opportunity! You can find incredibly good gaming laptops under 500 dollar if you buy second hand. Let’s see how to do it.

Search Aliexpress for good gaming laptops under 500 dollar

It might sound a bit odd at first, but I do not understand why some people are skeptical about Aliexpress. Aliexpress is a great website that offers incredible value for money, if you know how to use it. If, like in this case, your budget is limited I would recommend using Aliexpress. In fact, if you use Ali correctly, you are very likely to find the best gaming laptop under 300 dollars available on the market! Or you can keep your budget at 500 dollar and take home a great 500 dollar gaming laptop. 

You might be wondering: why doesn’t everyone buy on Aliexpress if they have such good prices? The answer is that you need to know how to search stuff on Aliexpress, otherwise you will end up buying bad products. We made a complete free guide to buy on Aliexpress for you. You can use the instructions there to buy a great gaming laptop under 500 dollars!

Why you should buy a second hand gaming laptop under 500 dollars

I love second hand! Regardless of your price range, you can always find something better for the same price if you buy second hand. There is nothing to be ashamed of about buying second hand! If you have the budget to buy a new Mercedes, you can buy a second hand Ferrari! 

Remember, even if you buy something new, it will become second hand the day you leave the shop. Is it really worth it to get a lower level product just because it was new before you left the shop? I do not think so! Also, buying second hand reduces waste and is great for the environment. 

Keyboard for player using best gaming laptop under 300

What are the options? Buy with warranty, buy refurbished, buy from a shop, buy from a private seller 

There are many options to buy second hand. As always in life,higher returns come with higher risks. Buying directly from a private seller will give you a better laptop than buying from a second hand shop (with the same budget). However, buying from a private seller comes with higher risk. In fact, a shop normally offers warranty on their laptops, so you do not need to worry about your laptop breaking down. 

Unfortunately there is no universal answer to the question: should I buy my second hand gaming laptop under 500 dollars from a shop or from a private?

It is up to you how much risk you are willing to take. In the next chapters I will explain to you step by step how to shop for second hand gaming laptops under 500 dollars from private sellers and second hand shops. Actually, if you buy second hand, the best gaming laptop under 300 that you will find will probably be better than a 500 dollars new gaming laptop.

How to buy a gaming laptop under $500 from a second hand shop

If you cannot find anything good new but you do not want to take the risk of buying directly from a private seller, second hand shops are the best option. 

There are countless physical and online second hand shops. My recommendation is to buy your gaming laptop under 500 dollars online and not from a physical shop. Physical shops have higher expenses which will result in a higher price for your laptop.

Search for good second hand online shops

When buying a gaming laptop under 500 dollars from a second hand shop, I would recommend starting your shopping in known and reliable shops. Only if you cannot find anything in these shops, you should move to less well known shops. Each country has different second hand shops. In this article we will explain the main second hand shops in the United States. However, in today’s globalized world, most of these shops are active in any country. If these shops are not active in your country, just goole “second hand laptops” in your language and you will find plenty of options.

Find second hand gaming laptops on Amazon

Did you know that Amazon also sells second hand laptops? Isn’t this amazing? You can buy second hand without loosing the safety of shopping on Amazon. Just search for second hand laptops on Amazon to find the best options.

Note that Second hand laptops on Amazon might not be so much cheaper than new laptops. Don’t worry if you could not find anything interesting, there are other alternatives!

Second hand gaming laptops under 500 dollars on Best Buy

Best Buy also offers second hand laptops. Anything I said about Amazon also applies to Best Buy. Just open the laptop outlet from Best Buy and search for your gaming laptop under 500 dollars.

Other second hand shops for laptops

There are countless second hand shops online. Just search “second hand gaming laptop” on Google and you will find shops with great offers.

Buy a second hand gaming laptop under 500 dollars from a private seller

As previously said, this is the most risky option but this is also the option that might give you the best results. It is not difficult to find good gaming laptops under 500 dollars if you want to buy them from a private seller. Actually also if you are looking for the best gaming laptop under 300 dollars, you can find great options if you choose to buy from a private seller. But let’s park the best gaming laptop under 300 dollars discussion and focus on your initial budget, $500. 

You will definitely find a great $500 gaming laptop. You just need to select a good seller and platform to avoid scams.

Buy second hand from eBay

Not surprisingly, eBay is a great platform to buy second hand objects. You can find amazing offers and you can pay with PayPal. This means that you’re protected from eventual frauds. Remember to check the rating of the sellers before buying your laptop. In my opinion this is the best option to buy second hand. Try to avoid paying cash as it will be more difficult to claim your money back if the seller tries to scam you.

Buy second hand from Facebook Market

If you are a bit more old school and want to pay cash, you can use the Facebook Marketplace to search for great gaming laptops under 500 dollar. Just remember that transactions from Facebook Market are done face to face using cash and it will be very difficult to get your money back if something goes wrong. Before paying cash, make sure to check that your laptop works correctly and the hardware inside is actually what it should be!

How to check that a second hand laptop from a private seller is working correctly

If you are buying a second hand PC from a private seller, you want to make sure that the hardware inside the laptop is actually what you expect it to be. 

This does not really apply to laptops from certified shops (like Amazon or Best Buy). But you really need to check this if you are buying from private sellers. 

How to check the hardware in a Windows 10 laptop

To check the hardware information on a Windows 10 laptop, it is enough to click the Start button on the bottom left corner and search for Device Manager. The Device Manager will show you all the hardware installed on your laptop. Compare what you read with the hardware you expect to have in the laptop and make sure they match.


This was our extensive guide on how to find a good gaming laptop under 500 dollars. Hopefully, by this moment you have found a gaming laptop worth more than 800 dollars for less than 500! Did you like this guide? We have many more tips and tricks. Take a look at our productivity section and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to read our latest articles!