Now that there are tons of options to choose from, the best MacBook Pro is different for everyone. This is especially so since Apple’s latest MacBook Pros – the 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro – are also among the most expensive we’ve seen from the range, and so not for everyone. It’s probably the reason Apple kept its 13-inch model instead of scrapping it altogether, as it did with the 15-inch.
Like New 13-inch MacBook Pro with M2 technology hitting shelves in July, the still-powerful 13-inch MacBook Pro M1 is making the lineup affordable for the rest of us. Also, major online retailers like Amazon and Best Buy still sell older models that may not be as powerful as their replacements but are cheaper than ever. If you want more options, check out our selection of the best MacBooks and Macs for all users.
From the best MacBook Pro money can buy to the cheapest you can afford, here are our top picks below:
The incredibly powerful 14-inch MacBook Pro is the laptop for creative professionals, especially jet setting and nomadic types. It has all the power of a proper workstation without being so big and bulky thanks to the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips that power its setups. During our testing, we found these enhanced 14-inch MacBook Pro (2021) specs to be ideal for heavy creative work, including 3D animation and music production. They should accompany you through the most involved 8K editing workflows, the most elaborate musical score productions, and the most complex coding tasks.
This at the same time as we touted a massive 17-hour battery life – although in our own battery benchmark test, our review unit lasted just under 16 hours – and an impressive display with a whopping 1,000 contrast ratio. .000: 1. It’s not as portable or as affordable as the 13-inch model, but if you’re a content creator, programmer, or digital artist who needs the absolute best without sacrificing portability, it’s worth the money.
read our 14-inch MacBook Pro review
The 13-inch MacBook Pro (M1, 2020) launched alongside Apple’s M1 chip and is the first laptop to showcase its prowess. Naturally, it became an overnight sensation, taking the Pro line to a whole new level and making it more powerful than ever while keeping the price on par with its early 2020 predecessor. That makes it the MacBook Pro. current more affordable. No wonder Apple kept it in the lineup, despite the 14-inch form factor being similar.
The M1 chip is obviously powerful even in the shadow of the M1 Pro, the M1 Max, and its successor, the M2. What’s more, we’ve found it to be gloriously power efficient, delivering impressive gains in battery life – we produced a considerable five-hour increase over its predecessor during our testing. While it’s worth noting that the M2 version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro is coming in July 2022, this M1 version remains the best MacBook Pro for budget-conscious consumers. This is especially so since retailers are now selling their remaining inventory for much less.
read our 13-inch MacBook Pro M1 review
If you’re looking for the most premium MacBook Pro money can buy, then it’s the 16-inch M1 Pro or M1 Max MacBook Pro you’ve been looking for. This is Apple’s top-of-the-line laptop, with the power, battery life and features that the legends of content creation machines are made of – and that you’ve only dreamed of. It’s not just the 21-hour battery life and brilliant performance that the pros are getting here. We’ve found the large Liquid Retina XDR display to be the best display we’ve ever used on a laptop. The plethora of ports proved to be indispensable as well.
Of course, being a professional tool, it won’t come cheap. But since it’s overkill for most people, you’ll only really invest if you can make the most of your raw power, when it’s worth every penny. As long as you’re okay with the fact that it’s bulkier than the regular MacBook Pro form factor you’re used to.
read our 2021 16-inch MacBook Pro review
The 16-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Pro/Max can be much more powerful, have a longer battery life, and comes with plenty of ports for professionals. However, the original 16-inch MacBook Pro, released in 2019, can still excel in performance, offering more than enough for demanding creative workflows. It streamlines the benchmark tests we throw on it. We think it’s impressively quiet and cool, even when doing the most demanding tasks. Meanwhile, it lasted just under 12 hours during our battery test, providing enough power for a full day’s work.
More importantly, it has something its successor cannot match – portability. This model is thinner and lighter than the 2021 version, meaning it’s ideal for creatives who are constantly on the go. Even better, it was a lot cheaper at launch, and it’s a lot cheaper now being an older model with deep discounts at the biggest online retailers.
read our 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro review