Desktop vs. Laptop: Which is Small Business Smart?

3 min read · 10 years ago


There are plenty of decisions to make when purchasing a computer, but one of the most basic is whether to get a desktop or laptop. Which one will serve your business best?

Small businesses have limited budgets and that means every purchase must be carefully thought out. When it comes to equipment, a computer is often one of the more important purchases and choosing between a laptop and a desktop can be mind boggling with all the choices available.

Before you start trying to find the ideal desktop or which is the best laptop for online business, focus first on the basics, then worry about the more complicated parts of the decision making.

Which will work best for your business will depend on just how much you’ll be using the computer. For example, a content production company will be using the computer almost exclusively for work, while a construction business will only use it for specific activities. However, there is a lot more to consider when making choices.


Traditionally, laptops have been considerably more expensive than desktops, but that has changed in recent years and these days, you can find laptops for just a couple hundred dollars more than a desktop. This means that the cost doesn’t have to be a deciding factor when choosing between the two.

Keep in mind, however, that if you need more than one or two computers for your business, it’s probably best to go with the cheaper option for most of your employees. A small business with 35 employees can save a lot of money by opting for the desktop, even if saving just $200 per computer.

It is also more expensive to repair laptops in most cases because they are more difficult to work with and everything is built in. While portable, they are also more likely to be damaged because they are being moved around on a regular basis. It is also easier for someone to steal a laptop, so you will likely want insurance to cover potential theft.


Again, laptops have come so far in the past couple of years that there is little difference in functionality between a laptop and a desktop. It’s possible to get external hard drives, as well, to ensure that you have virtually unlimited space, though it’s also possible to use cloud storage and store everything online.

Speed-wise, the two choices are very similar, making this a non-relevant factor in the decision making process. Internet access is another area that is very important for most small business owners. However, with Wi-Fi available in most areas these days, it’s easy to use your laptop anywhere and find Internet access. If you want to be sure you have complete access, then home based or office based Internet will work well, for either type of computer.

With their separate and larger keyboards and mouse, desktops can be far easier to use than even the best laptop for online business, especially if you find yourself fumbling with a laptop’s more compact keyboard and a built in touch mouse. You can add a full size keyboard and mouse with the USB ports on a laptop, but keep in mind that this gives you even more to carry and reduces the mobility. One of the downsides with a laptop is that everything is integrated and that can be troublesome. It’s more expensive to fix a laptop with a non-functioning keyboard, quickly sidelining what you thought was the best laptop for online business. Meanwhile, a desktop will merely require a new keyboard.


You may not need to be mobile, but for many small business owners, the ability to work from anywhere is key to their success. As mentioned above, Internet access is rarely an issue these days, so with a laptop, you will be able to travel and still work as needed. For many, this is key to productivity and requires the use of a laptop.

If you know that you will only be working at the office, then a desktop is a good choice, but for anyone who wishes to move around or work both in the house and in the office will find that a laptop is a better option.

Where laptops were once a slower, more limited type of computer, these days you will find that these small workstations are just as functional and far more portable than their desktop counterparts. In the end, the decision depends on your business needs and the type of work you do. Take the time to make out a list of what you require from a computer and decide where your priorities are, if you need more speed or more portability. This can help you choose the right computer.

Of course, once you’ve made the decision to go with a desktop or a laptop, there are dozens of other decisions that you’ll need to make, as well. Each type of computer has a wide range of brands and specifications, but the main decision will have been made.