Owning a good home computer can make your daily tasks quicker and easier. However, choosing the wrong one could result in a model that is too slow or too expensive for your needs. With so many manufacturers and specifications to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start. Some models offer customizable parts and components, while others come pre-built and ready to use straight out of the box.
While the best laptops are more portable, computers generally offer better performance and power, as well as a large monitor that's ideal for gaming, watching content, and viewing or editing photos.
The best home computer for you is one that fits your budget, available space, and most importantly, the tasks you need to perform. For example, if you want to do advanced video editing or coding, you'll need a powerful computer with a capable graphics processing unit (GPU). The same goes for playing the latest games at high settings. However, if you only need a basic machine for checking emails, viewing photos of friends and family, and writing documents, there are many more affordable options available.
Remember, with the holidays and after-Christmas sales on the horizon, there may be a number of great deals on the best home computers, meaning you can get a real bargain.
Whatever your budget or home computer requirements, we’ve listed the best home computers you can buy below.
Best home computers
Why you can trust Top Ten Reviews
We're on a mission at Top Ten Reviews to review everything we feature in our buyer's guide. While we haven't been able to test every entry in this guide in person, we've instead honed in on top-rated brands and used our knowledge of the best home computers to help you make the right decision.
The best home computer overall
We chose the Dell XPS desktop range as our best home computer for a number of reasons. The XPS is Dell’s premium PC offering, and the build quality of the components inside each unit is very impressive. Running on the Windows 11 Pro or Home operating system, the range itself is hugely customizable depending on your needs and budget.
Starting at around $650, you get a basic desktop with a 12ᵗʰ Gen Intel Core i5-12400 processor, 8GB of memory, and 256GB of storage. The most expensive and well-equipped XPS models feature a 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13900K processor, powerful NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 24GB GDDR6X graphic card, and up to 64GB RAM memory and 1TB storage. Such advanced specs are sure to suit gamers and videographers, but of course, there’s a huge range of models in between, and we like how easy it is to build your perfect home computer on the Dell website.
If you want your PC for web browsing and running more basic applications, then an i5 is fine- we’d suggest this build, which has an i5 processor, 16GB RAM, a 256GB SSD with a 1TB HDD, and an Nvidia 1650 GPU. This covers all bases, and you’ll usually get it for less than $1000.
If you want something more powerful for video editing, gaming, and other more demanding tasks, this i7 model is perfect. You get an 11th-generation i7 chip, 16GB of RAM, 256GB of SSD, 1TB HDD, and an Nvidia 1660Ti graphics card for around $1400. If you’re working with 4K video, we suggest this model, with 32GB of RAM and an i9 processor.
The XPS design is fairly similar across the range – a modern, boxy tower with cooling fans on the front and sides, coming in either platinum silver or graphite colorways. There are certainly enough ports for creatives, let alone general users. On the front, you’ll find a power button, optical drive (optional with some configurations), SD card slot, headphone/microphone jack, 3 USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports (one with PowerShare to charge external USB devices), and a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C with PowerShare. There are more ports at the back for audio, display, and Ethernet connections.
All the Dell XPS PCs have a great range of fast connections and come with WiFi6 built-in, so you can connect to a wireless router and get a strong signal. They’re excellent PCs.
The best Apple home computer
The Apple iMac is a stunning all-in-one home computer and the perfect choice if you want a compact yet capable desktop that runs on the Mac operating system. This iMac was a bold step for Apple upon release in 2021, coming in six vibrant colors (as well as silver) and replacing the iconic 21-inch and 27-inch Intel iMacs, which hadn’t been properly updated for years.
Sitting halfway between its two predecessors in terms of screen size, this 24-inch 4.5K version is incredibly stylish, and it’ll happily slot into any desk or home office space as it’s only 11.5mm deep. Weighing under 10 pounds, it’s also quick to set up in different rooms around the house as and when you want to – unlike some of the large tower desktops in this guide. What you can’t do is rotate the screen or use any touch capabilities, but there is a 1080p FaceTime HD camera for crisp video calls.
Generally speaking, the downside of Mac machines is that you pay a lot for them, and they don’t have the same raw power as a Windows PC. On the plus side, the iMac is efficient and quiet, and the M1 chip is more than enough to plow through picture editing and multitasking. Realistically, you’d need to spend a lot to upgrade an iMac to be capable of heavy video editing. It’s not really a great choice for gamers, either, as you can’t upgrade the inner components yourself.
However, as a general working computer, this is an exceptional machine for design-conscious creatives. There are three options for a 24” iMac, all with 8Gb of memory. The base model starts at $1,299 and has 256GB and two Thunderbolt ports, but no USB3 ports, ethernet, or Touch ID on the Magic Keyboard. The most expensive model starts at $1,699, with 512GB storage, but this can be extended to 2TB SSD for $600.
You simply can’t beat the new iMacs for style – but they have substance, too. By default, they might not be as powerful as many PCs, but they blend in to work quietly and efficiently. The main concern you might have is the lack of storage space on the iMac itself – unless you fancy a costly upgrade – but using iCloud and external hard drives will allow you to expand as you accumulate more files and apps.
The best budget home computer
Sometimes you just don’t want to spend $1000s on a new computer. That’s where Dell’s Inspiron range comes in - you still get the quality and customer service of a Dell product, but you’re paying less for a non-premium machine that will still do an excellent job at everyday tasks. Unlike the XPS desktops that top our guide, the Inspirons are better for simple internet browsing, word processing, and smaller apps that help you organize your everyday life.
The Dell Inspiron range starts around $470, although deals are frequent, and for this you get an i3 processor, 8GB RAM, and a 1TB HDD. For low-power users, this is all you really need, and while your PC won’t load Windows super fast or run a load of apps at once, you’ll have a cheap, solid machine for basic tasks - all backed up with a year of Dell support and a free copy of Windows 10.
If we were buying Inspiron, we think this build is incredible value. What you get here is an all-in-one PC, so no need to spend extra on a monitor or keyboard. It has an 11th-gen i5 processor, which is pretty damn quick, 8GB of RAM, a combo storage drive with a 256GB SSD and a 1TB HDD, and a 27-inch Full HD screen. All for less than $930. That may not seem very budget-friendly, but you get all you need here for less than $1000, discounts are frequent, and your PC is actually pretty fast and versatile.
Best gaming home computer
Alienware has long been known as a gaming brand, and the Aurora R13 is a powerful, compact machine that offers striking looks to boot.
The design won’t be to everyone’s tastes visually. Technically, however, it has rear and top vents to keep temperatures in ideal ranges. On the front, you get a headphone port, 2 USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, plus USB 3.2 Gen 1 port and USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports with PowerShare technology. There are also plenty of rear ports, including a rear and side surround and subwoofer output.
The Alienware Aurora R13 gets a very respectable 4.4 out of 5 stars from more than 3,000 reviews on the Dell website. Users were blown away by the machine’s speed and performance but also by how quiet it is when running intensive games. "Commit and buy the best you can. It’s worth it,” said one satisfied user, who praised its lighting design. Users who gave it a low rating were disappointed by the cheap power cable and system lockup issues.
There are several price points and spec options for the Aurora R13. The base model features 12th Gen Intel Core i7 processors, and during intensive CPU tasks, it's up to 9% quieter than its predecessor. The NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics ensure smooth and stunning gameplay, while the hard drive capacity of a 2 TB SSD and 2 TB HDD ensures plenty of storage room.
The highest-spec model is very expensive but does offer 2TB of superfast NVMe storage, 64GB of RAM, and perhaps most importantly, for anyone looking to play the latest releases, Nvidia's GeForce RTX 30900 GPU. It’s a beast and runs Windows 11 right out of the box.
There’s an argument that you’d get more for your money by building your own computer, but the Aurora R13 will save you from doing the legwork yourself and will have you set for many years to come. If you want a good-looking and powerful home computer for gaming, this is one of the best options.
The best home computer for Google users
If Windows and Mac are a little too heavy for you, then Google’s ChromeOS is doing some very interesting things in the home computing space. While the company’s Chromebook range offers portability in spades, the Chromebase is a joint venture with HP that offers an all-in-one PC.
Because it runs using ChromeOS, the apps included are Google’s own. If you’ve used an Android phone or are a keen Google Photos, Docs, or Drive user, you’ll feel right at home. There’s even the Play Store for adding additional apps to use, playing games, or streaming movies.
The HP Chromebase received an average of 4.3 out of 5 stars from customers on Amazon. Users loved that the screen can swap between portrait or landscape mode seamlessly and found it to be a good height for reading but mentioned that it isn’t anti-glare. They also praised the sleek and minimalist design. On the downside, though, some found the lack of a Windows operating system to be limiting and struggled to find a compatible printer for the machine.
That’s also arguably the biggest downside, though – because ChromeOS is a lightweight operating system, it just can’t compete for the sheer number of programs, services, and applications available on macOS or Windows.
Still, if you can look past that, the swiveling display and built-in speaker are well worth a look. It’s got plenty of ports tucked into the base, comes with a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard combo, and has a built-in webcam for work calls and family time. There’s even Google Assistant support, so you can use it like a smart speaker, too, and ask what the weather is like or start playing a song using just your voice.
The best Windows all in one computer
The Microsoft Surface Studio 2 is a few years old now, but it still has one of the best displays on the market. The 28-inch 4,500 x 3,000-pixel screen is perfect if you’re a creative regularly doing digital design work. It’s one of the only desktop home computers that can rival Apple’s all-conquering iMac, so if you prefer Windows to Mac, this is the best option out there for you.
The machine itself looks stunning, too - with a double hinge that lets you adjust the screen between upright and shallow angles depending on what you’re doing. There’s also a magnetic stylus for drawing and writing, with accurate and responsive functionality. It attaches to bands on either edge of the display after use, so it won't get lost.
On the outside, the studio’s base section has four USB 3.0 connectors, a USB-C socket, an SD card reader, a headphone jack, and a wired internet connector, but there is no thunderbolt connection. Inside, the key component is an Intel Core i7-7820HQ processor with base and boost clock speeds at 2.9GHz and 3.9GHz.
The Microsoft Surface Studio 2 was released in 2017, and its age shows in the components. The CPU is still a decent model, but you can easily get cheaper and faster options these days. It’s the same with the GPUs that are available – they’re well suited to running creative software but not top-of-the-line anymore. The Microsoft Surface Studio 2+ might be a better fit if you need the most up-to-date specs. Otherwise, you’re paying a lot of money for that fancy screen.
The best for storage
The Legion Tower 5i is an attractive option as far as home gaming computers go. It doesn’t come with a monitor or speakers, so you’ll have to factor in the cost of those as well, but for its price point, you do get plenty of other powerful features.
The machine now ships with Windows 11 and the same NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 graphics found inside the Alienware Aurora R13. With 12GB GDDR6 dedicated video memory to fuel your games, it should also be a dependable workhorse for video editing work if you’re a creative professional.
The Legion Tower 5i gaming desktop gets an average of 4.5 out of 5 from Best Buy customers. Overall, they felt the price of the machine was very reasonable for its performance and said that there was very little lag when gaming. Users were also positive about the reliability and design but felt it was let down a little by usability and storage, with some upgrading the 256GB SSD themselves after purchase.
The graphics are backed up by a 12th Gen Intel Core i7-12700 processor, although there’s the option to spend less and opt for the Intel Core i5-12400 processor instead. While the SSD is only 256GB, you do get a respectable 1TB hard drive. And if you know what you’re doing, the machine is fairly easy to upgrade when it comes to storage and GPU.
The tower has 4 USB 3.1 ports to maximize the latest high-speed devices and peripherals, as well as 1 USB C port and 4 USB 2.0 ports. Bluetooth allows you to transfer music and photos to your smartphone, and high-speed wireless LAN and gigabit ethernet are also available.
When it comes to design, the Tower 5i is boxy and black, with a colorful light display and cutout side profile so that you can see inside the machine. You can even customize the lighting inside using Lenovo’s software called Legion Spectrum. Overall, this is a great entry-level gaming home computer for a great price.
How to choose the best home computer for you
There are several key components to the best home computers. Here’s a quick rundown of what they are and what they do.
Short for “Central Processing Unit,” think of the CPU as the brain of a home computer that’s in charge of lining up tasks and ensuring they’re completed.
In Apple machines, the company now uses its own system on a chip (SoC), which contains multiple components. This makes it quicker because it’s not transferring data.
On the other hand, Intel and AMD are the primary manufacturers of CPUs on Windows and ChromeOS machines, and they’ll pass on information to the GPU.
The Graphics Processing Unit is more commonly referred to as a graphics card, and the more powerful your GPU, the more impressive graphical fidelity you’ll get while working on large video projects or playing the latest games.
Because Apple now integrates both the CPU and GPU on the same chip, their machines have a sort of “ceiling” depending on the chip in your device. On the other hand, Windows machines are much more customizable (if you know what you’re doing), and you can put a GPU that outpaces the latest game consoles inside.
If your CPU is the brain and your GPU is the muscle, then RAM essentially acts as the nerves connecting the two. Short for Random Access Memory, the more RAM you have, the more you can do at once – meaning more RAM is ideal for multitasking.
More RAM is also ideal for gaming because it means the CPU and GPU can “talk” more easily. Many GPUs even have their own dedicated RAM so that they have more resources to pull from.
While your personal memories and files used to be stored on large mechanical hard drives (HDDs) that were prone to failure after extended periods of use, things are a little different in the modern computing world.
That’s because much of the industry has moved to Solid State Drives (SSDs), which don’t have moving parts and are more reliable in the long term. They’re also much faster than older drives and have advanced to take up much less space – allowing for slimmer computers.
The best home computers: FAQs
What extras do you need to buy?
If you get an All-in-One computer, like an iMac, you don't need any extras to get started. However, if you're buying a desktop tower - like most of the PCs on our list - then you'll need extra equipment.
Monitor - Unless you plug your PC into the TV, which we don't recommend as a full-time solution for anything other than it being a media center, you'll need a monitor. Most PC monitors start around 24 inches and can go well past 32 inches. We think the sweet spot is a 27-inch monitor for most home offices. Almost all monitors are Full HD ready now, so they will display up to 1080p, which is fine for anything except higher-demand tasks like video and photo editing and high-end gaming. For these, you may need either a higher-refresh monitor or a 4K screen. Monitors start at just over $100 and run to... well, over $2000 for the mega gaming screens.
Keyboard - Yeah, you'll need a keyboard for your desktop, too. Happily, you can get a wired keyboard and mouse combo for around $25, which is only a little extra on top of your PC purchase. Most manufacturers offer the chance to bundle a keyboard and mouse when you buy a desktop, so we suggest you just do that.
Mouse - As mentioned above, you'll also need a mouse, but they can be easily bundled with a keyboard at a little extra expense when you buy. While you'll probably be fine with a wired keyboard, we do think it's worth paying a little extra for a wireless mouse to eliminate the tangle of wires.
Cables - While most PCs come with all the cables you need, it's worth considering whether or not you need to plug anything else in. Some monitors include an HDMI, for example, but not all do. If you want to plug into your router for a wired connection, you'll need an ethernet cable to do that.
Router - While almost all households have a router nowadays, it should be mentioned that you can't access the internet without one, so make sure you have a router when you buy your PC. We have a list of the best wireless routers if you need them, although most internet providers will bundle one with their subscription plans.
Webcam - While some All-in-One computers come with built-in webcams, and some monitors have them, you'll likely need a separate camera if you want to take part in video calls or record yourself. Again, we have a guide to the best webcams, and they really aren't all that expensive.
Printer - This isn’t a necessity, but a printer is a great addition to your home office setup. A good all-in-one printer will let you print, scan, and copy documents from the comfort of your own home - ideal when you’re working from home. If you’re short on space, you could get a compact printer, while photography buffs can benefit from a photo printer to make the most of your camera work.