Costco Battery Core Charge Explained. Battery booster pack costco

What Is The Costco Battery Core Charge?

Battery core charges are charged by all retailers that sell batteries with iron cores. These charges are required by law and help encourage proper recycling of valuable materials.

Costco charges a refundable 10 core charge on each car battery purchase in accordance with environmental law. This mandatory core charge is meant to encourage recycling. The 10 fee can be retrieved when the customer returns the old battery to any Costco Tire Center location for recycling.

The price Costco charges for their battery core charge is in line with competitor prices. Walmart, for example, charges between 5 and 10, while the fee tends to max out at around 25. Battery sellers are legally required to charge at least 5 for a core charge on each battery sold.

What Kinds of Batteries Does Costco Sell?

Costco sells automotive batteries from a company called Interstate Batteries, a privately owned US company. Interstate Batteries supplies both automotive and recreational batteries to Costco shoppers, meaning that you can purchase a battery for your car, boat, golf cart, lawn mower, motorcycle, ATV, and more.

To start shopping for your next car or recreational battery from Costco, click here.

Warranties And Returns

All Interstate Batteries sold at Costco come with a 36-month limited warranty covering manufacturer defects or unexpected failure. If your battery fails during the warranty period, you may be eligible for a refund or replacement.

However, if your battery has been used improperly, you will not be eligible for a warranty claim. This includes if your battery has been uninstalled and reinstalled in a different vehicle since its original installation.

To read Costco’s full battery warranty terms and conditions, click here.

How To Get Your Battery Core Charge Refund

All you have to do to get your battery core charge back is…

  • Wait until the battery you purchased from Costco is ready to be replaced or recycled
  • Take the worn-out battery along with your original purchase receipt or other proof of purchase to any Costco Tire Center location
  • Give the old battery to an employee along with your receipt, and they will administer you your 10 refund

If you purchased your car battery on Costco.com, you can use your “Order Shipped” email as proof of purchase. Your return and refund will need to be processed in person regardless of how you made your purchase.

FAQs

Can you return an unused Costco car battery?

This depends. In most cases, Costco only accepts returns on car batteries under warranty claims (which presumes that the battery has been installed and used). However, some Costco locations may be willing to accept returns on car batteries if it is explicitly clear that the battery has not been used. This means that the battery cannot have been installed in a vehicle. Keep in mind that car batteries are listed as an exception to Costco’s typical return policy, which could make it more difficult to return them for a full refund.

Can you return an old car battery at Costco?

Yes. Costco car batteries are covered under warranty for 36 months, during which time they can be returned or replaced due to manufacturer defects. However, car batteries are not covered under Costco’s standard 100% satisfaction guaranteed return policy, so they can only be returned in certain circumstances.

Does Walmart give cash back for old car batteries?

No. You cannot get a refund on the cost of a used car battery from Walmart. However, you might be able to receive the refund for your core charge in cash.

Can you take any type of old battery to Walmart for recycling?

Yes. Most Walmart locations accept household batteries, car batteries, cell phone batteries, and more for recycling.

Is the new Costco Jump Starter Type S worth it?

When my son decided to buy his own car it was time to fit him out with some essential items. The latest Costco jump starter was first on my radar. So I decided it was time to do a quick review to see if this jump starter was up to the task and boy was I surprised.

In short, the Type S is a very good jump starter and very well priced compared to other online stores which may have questionable products. I have reviewed many lithium-ion jump starters over the years and this one is up there with the best of them due to its features and ease of use. If your car engine is 6L or less for gas (petrol) this product will be fine.

Costco jump starter review

The Type S Smart jumpstarter is new for 2022. It is perfect for people who have never used a jump starter before because it is Smart and the LCD screen tells you what to do. Just turn it on and follow the prompts.

Like most products in Costco, it comes in the biggest box around. Once you tear into the packaging you begin to realize just how small this jump starter is.

It comes with a nice padded storage case which you can’t see in the packaging. It looks like the case is insulated so that will help when you leave the jump starter in the hot car. The only thing I don’t like about the case is that it is a very tight fit for all the items. (I guess they wanted a compact unit)

The Type S jump starter has a confirmed 8000mAh internal battery that can start most cars and trucks with 6L engines and 3L diesel engines. I like that it has rubber flaps over all the input and output connections. This gives it the IP 64 splashproof rating. I may even use it for my jet ski now.

You power up the jump starter by pressing the large rubber button and once you plug in the jump leads it will start to tell you what to do via the LCD screen. Pressing the power button again will turn on the LED light. The light has different flashing modes for when you are stranded and need to attract attention.

If you mess up the connection either via incorrect polarity or a short circuit the jump starter will beep and tell you to disconnect the cables. This is the only way to reset the alarm.

The battery clamps are very flexible 8AWG cables with the black clamp being longer than the red clamp.

Charging is easy with the included micro USB cable. Or you can use the faster USB C if you have one. I’m glad they included three different USB ports for charging the jump starter as well as smartphones and tablets.

You can check out the price of the Costco Type S jump starter here (Amazon).

PROS

  • Small, portable, and light.
  • Has USB charging capabilities.
  • Can charge a smartphone 3 times or another USB device.
  • Explains to you on the LCD screen how to jump-start your vehicle.
  • Has a Smart protection circuit to protect you and your car from incorrect polarity, over-voltage, under-voltage, and short circuits.
  • Included USB car charger.

CONS

  • The storage case is small and does not have much room for all accessories. You can cram them all in.
  • Only one included Micro USB charge cable no USB-C cable. (Not a deal-breaker)

Check out the video below on how to use the digital LCD Type S jump starter.

The TYPE S 12V Jump Starter has a Smart LED screen that guides you through all the steps for jump-starting your car. Even if you do get something wrong, like connecting the jump leads back to front, the spark-proof clamps and safety circuit will protect you and the car.

This is one of the first jump starters that I have seen walk you through this process. To test it out I hooked up an old flat battery to my son’s Ford Focus and tried to jump-start it with the new Costco jump starter. Success first time.

  • To use this jump starter press the mode button to power on the unit. It will display the battery level as a percentage. Make sure it is over 50%.
  • Insert the jump cable clamps into the 3 pin port. It can only go in one way. The LCD display will read ” Clamp cables to battery”
  • Connect the RED clamp to the positive terminal of the battery. Connect the BLACK clamp to the negative terminal of the battery. Always connect the red cable clamp first and then the black cable clamp.
  • Check the LED status on the protection circuit. It will be green if good. If it is flashing red and beeping you may have a polarity issue or a short circuit.
  • Once the cable clamps are secure the Type S jump starter will display “Ready start vehicle ignition”
  • You now have 90 seconds to try and crank the vehicle over. During this time the jump starter is putting energy into the battery. After 90 seconds the Costco jump starter will stop.
  • To try again disconnect the jump starter wait 60 seconds and go back to step 1.
  • Do not try and start the vehicle more than 3 times otherwise you could overheat the Type S jump starter. You may have another issue such as a faulty starter motor, bad fuel, short circuit, ignition problem, faulty spark plugs, air filter bad, fuel pump problem, etc.
  • If the vehicle starts the jump starter LCD will display “Successful jump unplug cables”
  • Remove the RED positive cable first and then remove the Black negative cable clamp.
  • Unplug the cables from the jump starter and recharge the unit for next time. The Costco jump starter will self-power off after 30 seconds.
  • Keep the engine running for over 25 minutes to charge the battery or recharge it using a 12v battery tender Smart charger.
Costco Just Starter Type S Fault codes
Low Power, charge at least 50% 50% Jump Starter battery below 50%
Low Power, charge at least 50% Jump Starter battery below 50%
Alarm beeping Unplug, Start over possible short or a wrong connection
The device is too hot Cool before use temperature of the jump starter is above 55°C
Battery Protected Start Over A short circuit event has happened, unplug the jumper cables and try again

Engine dies after jump starting

If your engine dies or stops shortly after jump starting you may have a faulty charging circuit. This could include a faulty alternator, fuse, voltage regulator, wiring, connections, or loose cables.

You will have to do some fault finding or take it to a mechanic to diagnose the problem.

How do you charge a Type S jump starter?

At home:

  • Plug included Micro USB or USB-C Charging Cable into a USB-A port on a computer. You can also use a 2A USB wall adapter for fast charging (not included).
  • Connect the Micro USB or USB-C Charging Cable into the Micro USB Charge Input Port on the Jump Starter.
  • Disconnect the Jump Starter when it is fully charged. Do not leave it connected for long periods.
  • Store the Jump Starter in a safe place when not in use.

In the car:

  • Plug included Micro USB Charging Cable into included 12V USB Charger then connect to 12V socket in the vehicle.
  • Connect the Micro USB Charging Cable into the Micro USB Charge Input Port on the Jump Starter.
  • Disconnect the Jump Starter when it is fully charged. Store the Jump Starter in a safe place when not in use.

How long will an 8000mAh battery last?

An internal 8000mah battery indicates that it has the ability to supply power of 1000ma (1 amp) to a USB device for a maximum of 8 hours. So an 8000mAh will last 4 hours if the power draw is increased to 2Ah.

So if you were looking to charge an iPhone 11 with a battery capacity of 3,110 mAh you will get around 2.5 charges from the Type S jump starter.

Conclusion

This Costco jump starter type S is very good. It works on my Toyota Corolla and Ford Focus. The fact that it charges via micro USB ad USB-C means I can always get it charged as these cables are everywhere.

Everyone should have a jump starter in their car and these cheap Costco jump starters make it easy. I love how it tells you what to do. Makes life simple for those that have a flat battery but don’t know how to use a jump starter.

Type S does have a more expensive model called the Qi that supports wireless charging for mobile phones. I don’t need this feature so I just settled for the cheaper unit. Check out this post if you would like to learn more about the best jump starters with wireless charging.

Now if you are after something smaller again for like storage on a motorcycle, these mini jump starters will do the job just fine.

I am a qualified Industrial Electrician for the past 20 years and I love to share my knowledge on home repair and maintenance jobs.

I love fast toys like Motorcycles, Cars, Jetskis, Boats, and Computers so writing about them is easy. Working on them is fun. To keeps costs down I do all my own mods, repairs, and servicing. These skills I want to share with everyone. DIY is a skill everyone can learn.

The Best Chromebook

After a new round of testing, we’ve updated this guide with all new picks.

A good Chromebook can do almost anything a regular laptop can do, and the best ones can feel better to use than their similarly priced Windows counterparts.

After testing most of the Chromebooks released over the past nine years and testing 15 models so far in 2023, we recommend the Acer Chromebook Spin 513 (CP513-2H-K62Y). It’s an exceptional laptop, with the best combination of features of all the Chromebooks we’ve tested: fast enough performance, an excellent screen, and long battery life.

Why a Chromebook?

Many kids already use Chromebooks at school, and these inexpensive, secure, and accessible laptops are great for pulling out of a bag and getting right to work.

Chromebooks can do almost anything that regular laptops can do, using browser-based software and services instead of Windows or macOS apps.

A great 500 Chromebook can feel faster to use—and can be lighter and more compact—than a similarly priced Windows laptop.

If you already have a desktop or laptop, a Chromebook makes an excellent and affordable secondary device.

The best Chromebook

With reliable performance, a vivid, bright display, and long battery life, the Spin 513 is the best Chromebook for the price.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 550.

Recommended configuration

costco, battery, core, charge, explained
Processor: MediaTek Kompanio 1380 Screen: 13.5-inch 2256×1504 touch
Memory: 8 GB Weight: 2.82 pounds
Storage: 128 GB eMMC Tested battery life: 10.5 hours

The thin-and-light Acer Chromebook Spin 513 (CP513-2H-K62Y) has a reliable keyboard and trackpad and a tall, vivid touchscreen. We were pleasantly surprised by the Spin 513’s performance, and it handled a typical workday of large documents, spreadsheets, streaming music, videos, and Zoom calls without issue. It has more than enough battery life to last a full day of work or classes.

Cheap, but won’t last as long

The cheaper Flex 5i is a serviceable Chromebook, but its battery won’t last a full day and it will stop receiving OS updates one year sooner than our top pick.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 374.

Recommended configuration

Processor: Intel Core i3-1115G4 Screen: 13.3-inch 1920×1080 touch
Memory: 8 GB Weight: 2.97 pounds
Storage: 64 GB eMMC or 128 GB SSD Tested battery life: 6.5 hours

The Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebook (13″) is a great Chromebook for its budget price. Many cheap Chromebooks can’t handle a video call and an open document at the same time, or they feel slow with just a handful of tabs open, but this model can handle everyday workloads with ease. The Flex 5i also has an excellent keyboard and trackpad, it’s compact and light, and it has a 1080p touchscreen. But this budget pick has disappointing battery life; it likely won’t make it through a full day of work or classes without needing a charge. And compared with our top pick, the Flex 5i’s screen doesn’t get as bright, and it will cease getting OS updates one year sooner, in June 2029.

Faster performance, better webcam

The Spin 714 is faster than our main pick and has more storage, longer battery life, and a 1080p webcam. But it’s a bit heavier and its display doesn’t get as bright.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 729.

Recommended configuration

Processor: Intel Core i5-1235U Screen: 14-inch 1920×1200 touch
Memory: 8 GB Weight: 3.09 pounds
Storage: 256 GB SSD Tested battery life: 11.5 hours

If you want a Chromebook with faster performance, more storage, longer battery life, and a crisper-looking 1080p webcam, get the Acer Chromebook Spin 714 (CP714-1WN-53M9). It’s an excellent Chromebook with a reliable keyboard and trackpad and a vivid 14-inch display, though compared with the Spin 513, it has a dimmer, lower-resolution screen and it’s slightly heavier.

A big screen

This model has a spacious 16-inch screen with a high refresh rate and an RGB keyboard with a built-in number pad, but it’s too bulky to travel with frequently.

Big screen, best performance

The Core i5 model with more storage is overkill for most people, but it’s a good option if you find it on sale.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 520.

Recommended configuration

Processor: Intel Core i3-1215U or Core i5-1235U Screen: 16-inch 2560×1600 non-touch, 120 Hz
Memory: 8 GB Weight: 4.01 pounds
Storage: 128 GB eMMC or 256 GB SSD Tested battery life: 9.5 hours

If you want a larger screen and a number pad for data entry, we recommend the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook 16″ with either a Core i3 or Core i5 processor. Photos and videos look great on its spacious 16-inch display with a high-refresh rate, and the RGB keyboard is a fun extra feature. But we don’t recommend this 4-pound laptop if you need to take it to work, class, or even a coffee shop—it’s best used around the house. If you need a portable Chromebook to commute or travel with, consider our other picks instead.

Most people should get the Core i3 model with 128 GB of eMMC storage; it’s fast enough and it’s often cheaper. But if the Core i3 model is out of stock—or if you luck out on a great sale—the Core i5 model is also a great option.

The best Chromebook

With reliable performance, a vivid, bright display, and long battery life, the Spin 513 is the best Chromebook for the price.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 550.

Cheap, but won’t last as long

The cheaper Flex 5i is a serviceable Chromebook, but its battery won’t last a full day and it will stop receiving OS updates one year sooner than our top pick.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 374.

Faster performance, better webcam

The Spin 714 is faster than our main pick and has more storage, longer battery life, and a 1080p webcam. But it’s a bit heavier and its display doesn’t get as bright.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 729.

costco, battery, core, charge, explained

A big screen

This model has a spacious 16-inch screen with a high refresh rate and an RGB keyboard with a built-in number pad, but it’s too bulky to travel with frequently.

Big screen, best performance

The Core i5 model with more storage is overkill for most people, but it’s a good option if you find it on sale.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 520.

What is a Chromebook?

A Chromebook is a laptop that runs ChromeOS, an operating system that uses the Chrome web browser as its primary interface. Chromebooks are ideal for students and kids, but they’re also worth considering if you spend most of your computer time in a web browser, if you’re on a tight budget, or if you already have a decent desktop PC. A good Chromebook can do almost anything a regular laptop can do—as long as that task is possible in a web browser or in Android apps. And 500 Chromebooks tend to be faster, lighter, and sleeker than 500 Windows laptops. Chromebooks are also secure and easy to maintain.

But Chromebooks can’t run Photoshop or other Mac or Windows programs, including Windows-specific games. They don’t have much local storage, and they work best with a full-time internet connection—though there are offline options for Gmail, Google Drive, and other apps. If you use web-based email, if you can get by with Microsoft’s Office 365, Google’s office web apps, and Android app alternatives, and if you stream your music and movies over the internet as well, a Chromebook should do just about everything you need it to.

In 2023, most Chromebooks have 64 GB or 128 GB of onboard storage; Google also provides 100 GB of free online Google One storage for one year. (Once your year is up, you have to pay to keep that Cloud storage. Right now, 100 GB of storage costs 2 per month or 20 per year.) Most Chromebooks also include USB ports and a microSD card slot that you can use to expand the storage.

The Best Laptops

From budget-friendly options to thin-and-light ultrabooks to powerful gaming laptops, we’ve spent hundreds of hours finding the best laptops for most people.

Why you should trust us

Senior staff writer Kimber Streams has tested most of the Chromebooks released since 2014, when they began covering Chromebooks for Wirecutter. They’ve tested and reviewed hundreds of laptops, including Chromebooks, cheap Windows laptops, powerful gaming laptops, and ultrabooks.

How we picked

A Chromebook doesn’t need to be exceptionally powerful or look fancy. But if slow performance, poor battery life, a horrendous screen, or a bad keyboard or trackpad gets in your way, the Chromebook has failed at its only job. Here’s what we look for:

Performance: We’ve found that fast and reliable performance for a Chromebook requires 8 GB of memory combined with an 11th-generation or newer Intel processor or a 5000-series AMD Ryzen processor. When we used Chromebooks with lower-end processors or less memory, we encountered long, frequent delays loading tabs, typing in documents and spreadsheets, and speaking on Zoom calls.

People who frequently work in large documents while on video calls or use Linux should seek at least an Intel Core i3 processor and 8 GB of RAM.

On a budget Chromebook, some low-end processors paired with 4 GB of RAM are fast enough to get by. But you should avoid most Chromebooks that run on Intel’s N-series Celeron or Pentium processors, on ARM-based processors from companies like MediaTek or Qualcomm, or on AMD’s Athlon A4 and A6 processors; in our testing over the years, we’ve come away frustrated by their laggy, inconsistent performance. (Our top pick is an exception; it’s the first ARM-based processor we’ve tested that feels fast enough for most tasks.) Also avoid any Chromebooks with less than 4 GB of memory, regardless of their processor.

Price: As of 2023, Chromebooks that meet our performance requirements typically cost 450 to 500. Options with better performance tend to cost at least 700.

Keyboard and trackpad: These inputs should be good enough not to get in the way of your work. A backlit keyboard is a nice luxury.

Battery life: A Chromebook should last at least a full eight-hour day of classes or work so you don’t have to hunt for an outlet or be stuck with a dead laptop.

Size and weight: The lighter and more compact a laptop is, the easier it is to lug on a plane, to a coffee shop, or to class. And for Chromebooks with 360-degree convertible hinges, being lighter makes them easier to hold in tablet mode—less than 3 pounds is ideal.

Screen: We recommend a 1920×1080 resolution or thereabouts for a 13- to 15-inch screen—higher resolutions often aren’t worth the trade-off in battery life, and lower resolutions look bad. A touchscreen and a 360-degree hinge are nice perks since Chromebooks also run Android apps, and an included stylus is a bonus.

Ports: We appreciate when a Chromebook includes both USB-C ports and traditional USB-A ports, which enables connecting older peripherals.

Support: Google guarantees eight years of software updates—including new features and security fixes—for every new Chromebook. We don’t recommend any Chromebooks with a support date that expires before 2028.

How we tested

We lived with each Chromebook for at least a full day of work to get a feel for the keyboard, trackpad, screen, and speakers, as well as for each laptop’s real-world performance. We checked Gmail and Google Calendar, ran Slack, streamed music, worked in large Google Drive spreadsheets and text documents, chatted on Zoom, and streamed videos from Netflix, YouTube, and Twitch. We paid attention to any performance issues that surfaced.

To quantify how fast a Chromebook felt to use, we gathered results from the Speedometer 2.0 and JetStream 2 benchmarking tools to measure performance, combining those results with what we saw in our real-world testing.

To test the battery life of each Chromebook, we set each screen’s backlight to approximately 150 nits and ran a customized version of the Chromium web-browsing battery test. It emulates typical browsing behavior by cycling through web pages, email, streaming audio, Google Docs files, and video.

Our pick: Acer Chromebook Spin 513 (CP513-2H-K62Y)

The best Chromebook

With reliable performance, a vivid, bright display, and long battery life, the Spin 513 is the best Chromebook for the price.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 550.

Recommended configuration

Processor: MediaTek Kompanio 1380 Screen: 13.5-inch 2256×1504 touch
Memory: 8 GB Weight: 2.82 pounds
Storage: 128 GB eMMC Tested battery life: 10.5 hours

The Acer Chromebook Spin 513 (CP513-2H-K62Y) is an exceptional Chromebook, with the best combination of features and price of all the models we’ve tested. It has fast enough performance, a reliable keyboard and trackpad, a tall, vivid touchscreen, and long battery life, all wrapped up in a thin-and-light package. Though we wish the Spin 513 were less expensive, it’s absolutely worth its price of around 550. (We’ve also seen this model drop to 465 on sale, which is an excellent deal.)

The Spin 513 offers surprisingly decent performance. We had concerns about its MediaTek Kompanio 1380 processor, because every other ARM-based processor we’ve tested so far on a Chromebook has been too slow for everyday tasks. But I found that this processor was fast enough to handle all my tabs: Gmail, Google Calendar, Slack, YouTube Music, a YouTube video, a large spreadsheet of Chromebook test results, a long Google Doc, and 5 to 10 other miscellaneous retailer and laptop-maker websites. I even threw a Zoom call on top and everything kept working just fine.

Chromebook model Tested battery life (hours:minutes)
Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebook (13″) 6:22
Acer Chromebook 516 GE (CBG516-1H-53TY) 7:44
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 (i3) 9:09
Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook 16″ (i5) 9:15
Framework Laptop Chromebook Edition 9:40
Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook 16″ (i3) 9:58
Acer Chromebook Vero 514 (CBV514-1H-38VS) 10:10
Acer Chromebook Spin 513 (CP513-2H-K62Y) 10:30
Acer Chromebook Spin 514 (CP514-3H-R2D2) 11:12
Acer Chromebook Spin 714 (CP714-1WN-53M9) 11:36

The Spin 513 offers excellent battery life. In our testing, it lasted 10 hours and 30 minutes on a charge; that’s more than enough to last through a full day of work or classes. And at 11.8 by 9.3 by 0.64 inches and 2.82 pounds, our top pick is among the lightest and most compact of the Chromebooks we tested this year.

Its display is vivid and bright. This Chromebook’s 13.5-inch 2256×1504 touchscreen has a 3:2 aspect ratio, which is especially convenient for scrolling webpages and working in long documents. It’s not quite bright enough to see outdoors on a sunny day—and the glossy touchscreen is reflective—but the Spin 513’s display is by far the brightest and best-looking of our picks. (The only Chromebook we’ve tested with a nicer display is the 1,000 HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook, which has other drawbacks.)

You can use it as a tablet. The Spin 513 has a 360-degree hinge, so you can flip the screen around. And its lighter weight makes it easier to hold in tablet mode than many laptops—though it’s still more than a pound heavier than the largest iPad. I was able to open the Spin 513’s lid easily and consistently with a single hand.

On the left side, the Spin 513 has a USB-C port, a USB-A port, an audio jack, and a microSD slot. Photo: Michael Hession

On its right side, our pick has a single USB-C slot, a power button, and a volume rocker. Photo: Michael Hession

On the left side, the Spin 513 has a USB-C port, a USB-A port, an audio jack, and a microSD slot. Photo: Michael Hession

The Chromebook Spin 513 has a mix of new and old USB ports, so it should accommodate the accessories and cables you already have. It has guaranteed update support through June 2030.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

The Spin 513’s webcam isn’t the best. Its 720p webcam wasn’t quite as bright or crisp as the 1080p webcam in our upgrade pick, but it wasn’t as dark and blurry as the webcam in our budget pick, either. This model lacks a physical webcam cover.

Budget pick: Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebook (13″)

Cheap, but won’t last as long

The cheaper Flex 5i is a serviceable Chromebook, but its battery won’t last a full day and it will stop receiving OS updates one year sooner than our top pick.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 374.

Recommended configuration

Processor: Intel Core i3-1115G4 Screen: 13.3-inch 1920×1080 touch
Memory: 8 GB Weight: 2.97 pounds
Storage: 64 GB eMMC or 128 GB SSD Tested battery life: 6.5 hours

The Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebook (13″) is a great Chromebook for its budget price. It’s fast, it has an excellent keyboard and trackpad, it’s compact and light, and it has a 1080p touchscreen. But the Flex 5i has disappointing battery life; this model likely won’t make it through a full day of work or classes without needing to be plugged in. Compared with our top pick, the Flex 5i’s screen doesn’t get as bright, and this Chromebook will cease getting OS updates one year sooner.

The Flex 5i’s keyboard, trackpad, and webcam are solid. Most budget Chromebook keyboards feel mushy and unpleasant to type on. But the backlit keys on the Flex 5i offer deeper travel than those of many laptops and are comfortable to use, and the trackpad is accurate and reliable. Its webcam isn’t stellar, but it is sufficient for work or school calls, and it has a handy, physical privacy shutter that you can slide across the lens when you’re not using it to ensure that no one can see you.

It’s much lighter and more compact than other Chromebooks at this price. It’s nearly as light as our top pick, the Acer Chromebook Spin 513.

Its screen is better than most budget Chromebooks. The Flex 5i has a 13.3-inch, 1920×1080 touchscreen display, which looks much better than the low-resolution, washed-out screens endemic in budget Chromebook models. But compared with the Acer Chromebook Spin 513’s vivid 3:2 aspect ratio display, the Flex 5i’s screen doesn’t get as bright, its colors look a bit desaturated, and it lacks that extra vertical space.

But it has disappointing battery life. In our 2023 web-browsing battery test, the Flex 5i lasted just 6 hours 22 minutes, about four hours less than our top pick and the worst of all the models we tested this year. This likely isn’t enough battery to get through a full day of work or classes without needing to find an outlet, especially if you crank up the screen brightness. If you need a Chromebook with longer battery life, consider one of our other picks.

I needed two hands to open the Flex 5i’s lid. If that’s a dealbreaker for you, get the Acer Chromebook Spin 513 or the Acer Chromebook Spin 714 instead—we were able to open both of those laptops one-handed. Like our top pick, the Flex 5i also has a 360-degree hinge, but it’s too bulky to hold comfortably in tablet mode.

On the right side, the Flex 5i has a power button, a volume rocker, and a USB-C port, plus a lock slot. Photo: Michael Hession

On the left: another USB-C port, a USB-A port, a headphone jack, and a microSD slot. Photo: Michael Hession

On the right side, the Flex 5i has a power button, a volume rocker, and a USB-C port, plus a lock slot. Photo: Michael Hession

The Flex 5i isn’t supported for as long as our top pick. Software support ends in June 2029, one year less than support for the Spin 513.

Upgrade pick: Acer Chromebook Spin 714 (CP714-1WN-53M9)

Faster performance, better webcam

The Spin 714 is faster than our main pick and has more storage, longer battery life, and a 1080p webcam. But it’s a bit heavier and its display doesn’t get as bright.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 729.

Recommended configuration

Processor: Intel Core i5-1235U Screen: 14-inch 1920×1200 touch
Memory: 8 GB Weight: 3.09 pounds
Storage: 256 GB SSD Tested battery life: 11.5 hours

If you want a Chromebook with better performance, more storage, longer battery life, and a 1080p webcam, we recommend the Acer Chromebook Spin 714 (CP714-1WN-53M9). The Spin 714 is an excellent Chromebook with a reliable keyboard and trackpad and a vivid 14-inch display. But it typically costs a few hundred dollars more than our top pick, it has a dimmer, lower-resolution screen, and it’s a bit heavier.

The Spin 714’s backlit keyboard feels comfortable and satisfying to type on, and I enjoyed typing on it more than on our top pick’s somewhat mushy keyboard. The trackpad is on the small side, but it was responsive and accurate, and we didn’t encounter any issues with its size.

The Spin 714 has the longest battery life of any Chromebook we’ve tested this year. In our 2023 battery-life tests, it lasted 11 hours 36 minutes, which is plenty long enough to last through a full day of work or school without needing to be plugged in. A bigger battery makes it heavier than our top pick, even though the two are similarly sized.

The Spin 714 has an excellent display. The 14-inch 1920×1200 touchscreen gets bright enough, though it’s not quite as vivid as the display in our top pick. The Spin 714 also has a 16:10 aspect ratio, similar to—though not quite as tall as—the 3:2 display in our top pick. Both options are great, and these small trade-offs in size, resolution, brightness, and aspect ratio are a matter of preference.

You can use it as a tablet or a laptop. The Spin 714’s lid is easy to open with a single hand. Like our top pick, it also has a 360-degree hinge for tent and tablet modes. But the Spin 714’s extra weight and pointy hinge corners make it more difficult to swap between modes and uncomfortable to hold as a tablet, so if you want a more easily convertible Chromebook, we recommend our top pick instead.

The Spin 714’s 1080p webcam is a significant step up over our other picks. It produced a brighter, more flattering image on Zoom calls. It also has a physical privacy shutter to block the webcam when you’re not using it.

On the left side, the Spin 714 has a USB-C port, an HDMI port, an audio jack, and a power button. Photo: Michael Hession

The Spin 714 has another USB-C port, a USB-A port, and a volume rocker on the right side. Photo: Michael Hession

On the left side, the Spin 714 has a USB-C port, an HDMI port, an audio jack, and a power button. Photo: Michael Hession

This model has guaranteed update support through June 2030.

A big screen: Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook 16″

A big screen

This model has a spacious 16-inch screen with a high refresh rate and an RGB keyboard with a built-in number pad, but it’s too bulky to travel with frequently.

Big screen, best performance

The Core i5 model with more storage is overkill for most people, but it’s a good option if you find it on sale.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 520.

Recommended configuration

Processor: Intel Core i3-1215U or Core i5-1235U Screen: 16-inch 2560×1600 non-touch, 120 Hz
Memory: 8 GB Weight: 4.01 pounds
Storage: 128 GB eMMC or 256 GB SSD Tested battery life: 9.5 hours

We tested the Core i5 model; we expect the Core i3 model to have slightly better battery life.

If you want a larger screen and a number pad, we recommend the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook 16″. Its 16-inch display provides more room to get work done or enjoy streaming shows or movies, and its number pad can be useful if you do a lot of data entry. That big screen makes the whole laptop heavier and bulkier, though—if you need a portable Chromebook to take to classes, to commute or travel with, or to occasionally cart to a café, consider our other picks instead.

Most people should get the Core i3 model with 128 GB of eMMC storage; it’s fast enough and it’s often cheaper. But if the Core i3 model is out of stock—or you spot a significant sale—the Core i5 model is also a great option.

The IdeaPad has a spacious 16-inch, 2560×1600 high-refresh display. It’s ideal if you want more room to work on documents and spreadsheets, or if you prefer a larger screen for watching shows and movies. Its colors are vibrant, the matte display doesn’t throw distracting reflections, and the 120 Hz high refresh rate makes scrolling and other actions look extra smooth.

The customizable RGB keyboard is responsive and fun. But the backlit keys feel mushy, and the keyboard deck flexes a lot, even under light typing. It’s the only one of our picks with a number pad, so if that feature is a must-have for you, this is the Chromebook to get. The IdeaPad’s extra-wide trackpad is accurate and worked well for all taps, clicks, and gestures.

It has long battery life, but it’s too large and heavy to carry around. The IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook will last a long time away from an outlet—the Core i5 model lasted 9 hours 15 minutes in our battery test, and we expect the i3 model to last a bit longer. But at 4 pounds, it’s by far the heaviest of our picks. And compared with the Spin 513, it’s much bigger overall: a full 2 inches wider and more than half an inch deeper. This is a Chromebook to use at home, not on the go.

Unlike our other picks, you can’t use it as a tablet. It lacks a 360-degree hinge, but it’s too bulky and heavy to use in tent or tablet modes, anyway. I consistently needed both hands to open the IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook 16″; I’d suggest the Acer Chromebook 516 GE if you want a large-screen laptop you can open using a single hand.

This model has a USB-C port, a USB-A port, an audio jack, and a microSD slot on the left side. Photo: Michael Hession

This model has a USB-C port, a USB-A port, an audio jack, and a microSD slot on the left side. Photo: Michael Hession

Despite being a “gaming Chromebook,” it doesn’t have an Ethernet port. It comes with three months of Nvidia GeForce Now, but the lack of Ethernet made streaming games unreliable in our testing. It does have a variety of USB-C and USB-A ports for most other needs, though. The webcam is about as good as that of our other picks, and it has guaranteed update support through June 2030.

Other good Chromebooks

If our top pick is out of stock: Get the Acer Chromebook Vero 514 (CBV514-1H-38VS), the next best option. The Vero is larger and heavier than our top pick and has a dimmer, duller-looking screen that lacks touch input. But the Vero is fast enough for everyday tasks and has long battery life of around 10 hours in our tests.

If the other options are unavailable: The Acer Chromebook Spin 514 (CP514-3H-R2D2) is another decent Chromebook with fast-enough performance and long battery life for a reasonable price. But compared with our top pick, the Spin 514 is bulky and heavy, and has a dim display and a finicky trackpad.

If you want a repairable Chromebook: The Framework Laptop Chromebook Edition allows you to easily replace and upgrade its individual parts, just like its Windows counterpart—which received a 10 out of 10 repairability score from iFixit and which we recommend. Framework includes a screwdriver and handy QR codes by each internal part that direct you to step-by-step replacement guides. You’ll be able to add more storage and memory, replace your battery, extend your ChromeOS support date by upgrading your mainboard with a new processor, or repair anything else if it breaks.

But if Framework goes under or stops supporting this model, then it’s just like any other Chromebook—when it breaks or its support runs out in June 2030, you’ll have to replace the whole thing. At 1,000, it’s also very pricey for a Chromebook, and its battery life is decent but not superb.

If you need the lightest and most compact option: We recommend the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 with a Core i3 processor, but only if you find it on sale for less than 550. (Avoid the Celeron version; it’s too slow.) The Galaxy Chromebook 2 is more compact and about a third of a pound lighter than our upgrade pick, and its screen gets brighter. But the Galaxy has an older processor, and its support runs out in June 2028, two full years earlier than the Chromebook Spin 714. It also lacks USB-A ports, and it had around an hour and a half less battery life than the Spin 714 in our tests.

If you want a Chromebook for streaming games: The Acer Chromebook 516 GE (CBG516-1H-53TY) is the best of the so-called “gaming Chromebooks,” because it’s the only model with an Ethernet port to provide a reliable internet connection for streaming games. It also has a vivid 16-inch, 2560×1600 display with a 120 Hz refresh rate and a responsive, comfortable RGB keyboard. Every gaming Chromebook we tested—on Xbox Cloud Gaming and Nvidia GeForce Now (Priority and Ultimate tiers)—experienced frustrating hiccups over Wi-Fi on a 500 Mbps internet plan, so we don’t recommend getting a Chromebook to stream games over Wi-Fi.

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