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Why Desktops are Better than Laptops for Most People

I have been arguing for years that desktops make more sense than laptops for most people. At one time laptops were more expensive. That is mostly not true anymore but there are still reasons I prefer desktops.

First, why are laptops better for some people? If you really need the mobility and need to take your laptop with you then a laptop may fit the bill. You obviously can’t lug around a desktop everywhere you go for business for example. Or a student may wish to take their laptop to class or the library.

The problem comes when your computer is used for more intensive purposes like some graphics work or games for students. This requires a higher end and more expensive laptop. And then you must worry about damage or theft, among other concerns.


Desktops are highly customizable. You can have them built anyway you like. Building them yourself is a doable project for many people. You can decide what components you want including the brands you trust. You can make them really cool with fancy cases with glass sides showcasing those components and colored lights and fans that are just plain fun!

Easier Upgrades

Desktops are much more upgradable than laptops. With a laptop your upgrades are limited to maybe memory and hard drives. With many even that is difficult. Sometimes with memory upgrades all the slots are used so you need to ditch your current memory sticks for bigger (and more expensive) sticks rather than just add them to the available slots in most desktop motherboard configurations.

In general desktops last longer. In a laptop you have a lot of components in a small space. There is more heat and it is difficult to dissipate. And of course, excessive heat is the enemy of delicate electronics. This is especially true of laptops with high end processors that produce more heat. In general laptops have gotten pretty reliable over the years but manufacturers have limits in how to handle heat in their designs.

Easier to Repair

When something does go wrong desktops are easier to repair than laptops. With a desktop any bad component can be swapped out with a new replacement. While repairs can be made on laptops it is more complicated and expensive, and usually doesn’t make sense for most repairs. Ask anyone who has broken a laptop screen. They can be replaced, but it is neither easy nor cheap. Much easier to go out and buy a new monitor!

It used to be that gamers would not even consider a laptop. They usually didn’t have the horsepower and rarely the video card necessary for any modern games. This has changed somewhat as there are some good gaming laptops out there now. They are quite expensive and for gamers who are used to swapping out their video card for the latest model present a dilemma that limits their longevity. I guess they might make sense for people who travel a lot, but I would worry about taking my $2000 gaming laptop along and leaving it in a hotel room.

Better for Kids

Desktops are better than laptops for kids in most situations. They are sturdier and you can keep an eye on what they are doing easier. A broken keyboard can be easily replaced. Kids can’t move them to their bed where all the heat vents are blocked. In the old days I once was asked to repair a computer where the boy decided it would be fun to stuff the floppy drive with peanut butter! Ended up replacing a $15 floppy drive rather than trying to remove the peanut butter from all a laptop’s orifices.

In closing one suggestion I have made over the years is to consider a combination of the cheapest laptop that serves your purposes when you must be mobile, with a better desktop. The desktop can be used for games and more intensive applications and the money you save over a high-end laptop might pay for the desktop. You might even consider a used laptop or an inexpensive Chrome laptop for your mobile device.