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By Brad Tuttle
Updated: August 19, 2020 7:18 AM ET | Originally published: March 10, 2020
Courtesy of Amazon

So you’re in the market for an Apple MacBook, and you want to pay the lowest price possible. We’ve got you covered.

While there are plenty of cheap laptops and Chromebooks on the market, most people would agree that they simply don’t match up to the quality and reliability of a MacBook. Granted, like most Apple products, you’ll pay a premium when you buy a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air: Prices for the best MacBooks can go well over $2,000, and even the cheapest Apple laptops start at around $1,000.

So it’s well worth using strategy and timing to save some money. Here are the best MacBook deals you’ll find right now, and we’ll be updating this story with new sales and promotions as they appear.

Best MacBook Pro Deals

Apple rarely discounts MacBooks and other tech in its own stores or on its website. You’ll have more luck hunting for MacBook deals by browsing the latest sales from Amazon and Best Buy, among other retailers.

We’ve seen “flash sales” in which higher-price MacBook Pros have been discounted by $400 off. Among the best MacBook Pro deals we’ve seen over the past year was a 15-inch MacBook Pro 512GB for $2,399 ($400 off). We expect deals like these to surface again — by Amazon Prime Day if not sooner — so timing it right is essential if you’re looking for the cheapest MacBook Pro prices out there.

Here are the lowest MacBook Pro prices right now:

Courtesy of Amazon

Apple MacBook Pro 13-Inch 128GB

$1,148.99 at Amazon (list price $1,299)

$1,199.99 at Best Buy (list price $1,299.99)

Apple MacBook Pro 13-Inch 256GB

$1,499 at Amazon (list price $1,799)

$1,399.99 at Best Buy (list price $1,499.99)

Apple MacBook Pro 13-Inch 512GB

$1,799.99 at Amazon (out of stock)

$1,899.99 at Best Buy (list price $1,999.99)

Apple MacBook Pro 16-Inch 512GB

$2,149 at Amazon (list price $2,399)

$2,399.99 at Best Buy

Apple MacBook Pro 15.4-Inch 512GB

$2,799.99 at Best Buy

Best MacBook Air Deals

The lightweight Apple MacBook Air obviously costs less than the MacBook Pro. The cheapest MacBook Air right now has a regular list price of $999 and 256GB of storage. An older MacBook Air with half the storage (128GB) was discounted to $699 on Amazon Prime Day last year, and it dropped to $650 around Black Friday 2019. That’s the lowest-price MacBook Air deal we’ve ever seen. Here are the best prices at the moment:

Courtesy of Best Buy

Apple MacBook Air 13.3-Inch 128GB

$999.99 at Amazon (list price $999)

$999.99 at Best Buy

Apple MacBook Air 13.3-Inch With Touch ID 128GB

$899.99 at Best Buy (sold out, list price $1,099.99)

Apple MacBook Air 13.3-Inch With Touch ID 256GB

$949.99 at Best Buy (sold out)

$1,0823 at Amazon

MacBook Pro vs. MacBook Air

MacBook Pro or MacBook Air: Which one is best for you? The MacBook Air, as the name indicates, is lighter and easier to travel with than the Pro. As Apple’s side-by-side comparisons show, the newest 13-inch MacBook Air weighs 2.75 pounds, compared to just over 3 pounds for the 13-inch Pro and 4 pounds for the 16-inch Pro. MacBook Air has superior battery life as well, lasting up to 12 hours on a full charge versus 10 to 11 hours for the Pro.

When does it make sense to pay more for a MacBook Pro over a MacBook Air? All varieties of the MacBook Pro have brighter screens than the Air (500 nits vs. 400 nits, if that unit of measuring brightness means anything to you), but what really sets the Pro apart is that it offers better and faster performance by way of an upgraded processor.

Storage is another consideration. The cheapest MacBook Airs and 13-inch Pros both come with the same amount of storage (128GB), and while you can pay extra for a model with more storage, the maximum storage for the Air is capped at 1TB, compared to 2TB for the 13-inch Pro and 8TB for the 16-inch MacBook Pro.

Depending on what kind of work you need to do on your laptop (and what gadgets and peripherals you need to connect to), the number of ports may be very important. The MacBook Air and the lower-priced 13-inch MacBook Pro both come with only two Thunderbolt 3 ports (the standard for Apple laptops). However, if you go with a higher-priced 13-inch MacBook Pro (list prices starting at $1,799 and over), or any 16-inch MacBook Pro, you get four ports. The 16-inch MacBook Pro obviously has a larger and nicer-looking screen too.

Refurbished MacBook Deals

MacBooks don’t come cheap. So it’s understandable if you’re curious about buying a used or refurbished MacBook to try and save.

Here are the key issues to address before deciding if buying a refurbished or pre-owned Apple laptop is a smart move:

• What exactly are you buying?

There’s a difference between a MacBook that’s pre-owned and one that’s been refurbished. “Pre-owned” is just a prettier way of saying “used.” Either way, there’s no indication that such a MacBook has been refurbished (i.e., repaired) in any way; then again, there’s also no indication that there was something wrong with it to begin with.

Refurbished MacBooks, on the other hand, are generally models that have been returned because of some flaw — and then repaired to get ready for resale. Pre-owned and refurbished MacBooks alike may very well have dents and scratches (the seller should disclose this information prominently), and you should absolutely verify and double-check how old the product is before buying it. Refurbished models sold by respectable sellers are typically fairly new, whereas a pre-owned laptop could be several years or a decade old and super sluggish compared to today’s tech, even if it is functioning properly. Used electronics sold online sometimes don’t have all the original accessories and cords too. As always (but doubly so when making purchases online): Buyer beware!

• What’s the warranty and return policy?

If you buy a certified refurbished MacBook from Apple, it comes in a brand-new white Apple box, with new accessories and cords, a one-year warranty, and free shipping and free returns. This is the gold standard for warranties on refurbished electronics, and few other sellers match up.

On the other hand, if you’re buying a used MacBook from a random seller online, there may be no warranty and no returns allowed. Considering how limited the warranty and return policy is, and how much you’re paying even for a used MacBook, this could just be too risky a proposition.

• How much are you really saving?

There may seem to be no downside in buying a refurbished MacBook online from Apple, what with the generous warranty offered and the brand’s reputation for quality and customer service. But it’s wise to first check on how much you’d truly be saving. Apple typically sells refurbished MacBooks for $200 or $300 off the list price. If you time it right and find a good sale on MacBooks at Best Buy or Amazon, you could very well also buy that same Apple laptop — brand new, never opened, with the standard Apple warranty — for $200 or $300 off the regular price.

More from Money.com:

The Best iPad Deals Right Now

The Best AirPods Deals Right Now

The Best Nintendo Switch Deals Right Now

Our content is free because we may earn a commission when you click or make a purchase from links on our site. Learn more about how we make money.

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The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

EDIT POST