Laptops are an essential part of life in the 21st century. Although laptop costs have decreased, buying one can be a financial struggle. Thankfully, multiple charitable and educational organizations can help you get a free laptop.
You usually need to be a student, military veteran or earn a small income to qualify. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look even if you don’t meet one of these three requirements. Searching for a free laptop can still a good way to save money this year because they are a large purchase.
Your free laptop probably won’t be the latest model with all the bells and whistles. Though it’s powerful enough to use the internet, complete schoolwork, and maybe start a side hustle.
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Where to Find Free Laptops
We all like finding free stuff online. Finding a free laptop online can be one of your best finds.
For most people, applying online from one of the legit organizations listed below is the best chance of getting a free laptop. This is because they accept donated laptops from across the country and they can distribute them across the country.
Local non-profits not listed here might also offer free laptops. Though it depends on the city you live in and how many donated computers they receive. It’s a matter of supply and demand.
1. With Causes
You can apply for assistance on the With Causes website. If they have any computers available, you might be able to receive it.
With Causes helps people groups such as families in need, the elderly and military members.
Even if With Causes doesn’t have a free laptop right now, they might be able to help in another way. Other forms of aid including vehicle repair and pediatric care financial assistance.
2. Computers With Causes
Submitting a request with Computers With Causes is another valid option. This organization also helps a variety of people including students in need, the elderly and military members.
You will need to explain why you need a free laptop. And you will need to go through a background and reference check.
Computers with Causes takes these additional steps because they receive many requests. They want to ensure those most in need receive help first.
3. On It Foundation
The On It Foundation relies on donations to distribute free computers. They also provide training and internet access to low-income families with students in grades K-12.
The students must receive free or reduced school lunch and attend a public school in the United States to qualify.
You will be put on the waiting list if a free computer isn’t available at this time.
4. Alliance for Technology Refurbishing and Reuse
The Alliance for Technology Refurbishing and Reuse partners with nonprofit refurbishers and recyclers across the United States. You can browse their interactive map to see if they have a partner near you.
If so, you can ask if they offer free or discounted laptops. The ATRR focuses on giving free or low cost laptops to those in need.
5. Soldiers’ Angels
Soldier’s Angels distributes laptops with Dragon speech recognition software to veterans. These laptops can be a boon for disabled vets that struggle to use a regular keyboard.
This organization gives free laptops to children of military members and veterans as well.
This is a “full circle” aid program that helps in more ways than providing free laptops. All currently deployed, veterans and military families can request different types of aid.
6. Free Laptops for College
If you’re a rising college student, you might apply to a school offering free laptops. Of course, you should compare the total tuition costs to colleges that don’t offer free laptops. The tradeoff for a free laptop can be borrowing thousands of more dollars each year.
If a college offers free laptops or iPads, also see if they charge a special technology fee. Even if you don’t pay for the device upfront, the college recoups the device cost in technology fees.
It’s possible you can buy a decent laptop for less than $500 that lasts all four years for most students. Let that price be your benchmark when deciding which school to attend.
Several well-known colleges that offer free laptops include:
- Bethel UniversityUndergraduate students enrolling in the College of Arts and Sciences or the College of Professional Studies receive a Chromebook.
- Northwest Missouri State University Full-time undergraduate and graduate students receive an HP UltraBook.
- Seton Hill UniversityTraditional full-time undergrad students get a MacBook and iPad. Select graduate student programs can receive a MacBook or iPad.
- Wake ForestStudents receiving a needs-based, merit or athletic scholarship funds from Wake Forest can qualify for a technology grant for a Dell XPS 13.
Each college has differing free laptop policies. Some schools provide free laptops to all full-time students. Other colleges only issue them to students in select degree programs or if they receive financial aid.
If you don’t qualify for a free laptop, your college might offer discounted laptops instead. You have to pay for your laptop, but they can be cheaper than buying one with similar specs from a retail store.
7. Salvation Army
Local private charities offer different types of physical aid to help people in need. The Salvation Army is one such organization with a local chapter that might have a free laptop.
If not, the Salvation Army is known for other assistance programs that help people with a small income. For instance, they might be able to provide food, gas or heating bill assistance too.
You can also ask other local charities or thrift stores for leads as well.
You can request a free laptop on your local Freecycle board. Another Freecycle member might be willing to give you one or trade. Because these laptops probably aren’t going through a certified refurbishing program, be extra cautious.
Verify with the current owner if the laptop has any problems or needs repairs. Knowing about these issues before you accept it can prevent unplanned repair expenses later.
Making sure the hard drive has been reformatted before you start using it is a good safety measure too. Reformatting your drive erases the old user’s information and can remove any viruses or malware on the hard drive.
9. National Cristina Foundation
The National Cristina Foundation can be a better option if you are an organization needing new laptops. The mission of the National Cristina Foundation is to provide digital resources to those in need.
In fact, Cristina has been helping donors and organizations in need for 30 years. You can register your non-profit listing your technology needs for free.
Once you find a donor, you can arrange the delivery details with them instead of Cristina.
10. World Computer Exchange
Most free laptop groups cater exclusively to the United States. The World Computer Exchange is one of those exceptions. They donate computers to public places in developing countries to connect youth up to age 24 to the internet.
Typically, the computers they donate have to go to places like schools, libraries, community centers and universities in developing countries.
If you meet these relatively strict qualifications, submit an application.
Some organizations charge a small fee to provide laptops. Although you have to pay money, you can still find a good deal. You can still save hundreds of dollars compared to buying a brand new laptop from your local retail store.
1. Computer Technology Assistance Corps
The Computer Technology Assistance Corps offers refurbished laptops and computers for the following groups:
- Low income individuals
- Non-profit organizations
- Faith-based organizations
Laptops start at $100 and personal computers at $68. Make sure you check their specials on the application as you might find a better deal. In June of 2020, it was possible to get two different laptop models for either $78 or $95. Both of these models are below the $100 starting point.
2. PCs for People
You might also qualify for a discounted laptop from PCs for People. First, see if you meet one of these two eligibility conditions:
- Your annual income is at least 200% below the poverty level
- Currently enrolled in an income-based government assistance program
If you qualify, you can choose from what the organization labels “good, better, best” laptops. A basic “good” laptop starts at $50.
But you will need to pay more than $150 to get one with more features. For instance, the best laptops start at $150 and come with Microsoft Office installed and the performance specs that rival laptops in the $300 to $600 range.
3. Jump On It
Jump On It is the discount laptop side of the On It Foundation that issues free laptops. You should see if the On It Foundation can provide a free laptop first. If not, Jump On It provides refurbished laptops starting at $99.
You will also need to pay an additional $25 shipping fee for your laptop.
If you can’t afford to purchase the laptop today, Jump On It provides a free layaway program. Each week, you pay at least $15 until you can purchase the laptop. You will also need to pay an additional $25 shipping fee for your laptop.
4. Connect All
Non-profits and low-income households can buy discount laptops at Connect All. These laptops start at $109 and shipping is free within the continental United States. All computers have Microsoft Windows and Office installed.
It’s also possible to get discount wifi hotspot access. The current offer is $11.95 monthly for unlimited access to the Sprint LTE Plus network. There’s also the one-time cost of $99 to purchase the mobile hotspot modem.
EveryoneOn is a non-profit that matches you with other discount computer and internet offers. Enter your zip code and select any government assistance programs that you qualify for.
Based on your responses, EveryoneOn provides a list of vendors offering discount computers.
6. Comcast Internet Essentials
If you live in a Comcast service area, you can get a $150 laptop or computer with their Internet Essentials program. All laptops are refurbished and include Microsoft Office and a 90-day warranty.
There are three different models available with different screen sizes and features. You also have the option of choosing one with a DVD drive and a webcam. Two of the three models are also wifi-ready so you can connect a wifi-hotspots.
To qualify for these discount laptops, you must meet one of these qualifications:
- Your child is eligible for the National School Lunch Program
- You receive HUD housing assistance
- Are a low-income verified veteran
- Are a low-income senior
Besides a discounted laptop, you can also get discount home internet access. See the Internet Essentials website for more information on eligibility.
7. Northwest Access Fund
Residents of Oregon and Washington (state) should visit the Northwest Access Fund to find low-cost computers. This organization in particular provides low-cost computers to people with disabilities.
There are several other organizations that serve Washington and the greater Seattle area. You will see resources from national programs and regionally-based assistance programs too.
8. Microsoft Registered Refurbisher
You can browse the Microsoft Registered Refurbisher directory to find vendors that sell discounted laptops and computers.
Unlike other discount programs listed here, prices can vary because you’re most likely dealing with private computer stores. These stores might not receive donated computer which means they need to charge more to remain in business.
9. Notebooks for Students
This idea can be a better option than attending a college offering free laptops. Students of all ages can find discounted laptops on Notebooks for Students.
While most discount laptops are Windows or Chromebooks, you can also find discount Apple products. It’s possible to buy iPads, MacBook and MacBook Pro devices. As usual, Apple devices tend to cost more than their PC counterparts.
10. Ebay or Amazon
Both Ebay and Amazon sell used and refurbished laptops. When you buy from any third-party seller, you may have to perform additional repairs. Make sure you read the entire product description to review the laptop condition and any warranty protection.
If you don’t like buying computers online because you can’t physically inspect before buying, Craigslist can be your best option. Laptops can be as cheap or expensive as you desire. Once you find one you like and can afford, schedule a meeting and bring enough cash to buy it.
It’s also possible to find free laptops. Some of these laptops work properly, but most free ones will need some repairs. Factor in the repair costs before buying.
12. Best Buy
Going to a big box retailer might be the last place to consider for discount laptops. However, Best Buy sells refurbished laptops starting at $100. You also don’t need to be a low-income household to qualify for these deals.
Some of the other vendors mentioned here can still offer laptops for similar prices. But if you don’t qualify for these discounts, buying refurbished from Best Buy can be a good alternative.
To find the best selection of refurbished laptops, browse their online catalog as some deals might be online only.
13. Dell Refurbished
One of the leading laptop producers is Dell. Their Dell Refurbished store sells discount laptops and Dell devices. The prices are competitive with other national retailers.
For one piece of advice, some of the cheapest laptops don’t come with an operating system preinstalled. Unless you have a copy of Windows or Linux at home, plan on spending approximately $139 to install Windows 10 Pro.
Tip: Use Rakuten to get extra cash back on your online purchases including Dell Refurbished.
14. Buy a Laptop with Gift Cards
One peculiar way to get a laptop is by redeeming gift cards. If you’re willing to trade your time to get a laptop, you will like this idea. It’s also a good idea to pursue when you don’t need a laptop right away.
A good starting place is online survey sites. For each survey you answer, you earn reward points. Then you redeem your points for gift cards to electronics stores that sell laptops.
If the survey site pays you through PayPal instead of gift cards, simply set aside those earnings to buy a laptop.
Pay Attention to Free Laptop Surveys
Although there are many legit survey sites, still be on the lookout for scams. If you see survey offers that appear to give you a laptop with a few brief surveys, it might be a scam. Other offers require you to enroll in product samples and cancel your subscription before the free trial period ends to avoid paying subscription fees.
Some of these offers are legit but they’re not 100% free. You might have to pay a signup fee to test products or services. Then, you must cancel during the trial period to avoid paying an ongoing subscription fee.
Regarding the laptop survey, the site may require you to publish a 500-word written review and video review.
It’s possible you will still pay a lot less than the laptop’s retail price, but you will still need to make a small monetary investment.
Avoid Free Laptop Scams
As you see, there are several legit ways to get a free laptop. But you must be careful about which website you use to request a free laptop. The prospect of not having to spend hundreds of dollars on a laptop means there are plenty of scams.
Before you submit your personal information to get a laptop, look for these clues to build a trust factor:
- They have a phone number or email address you can contact
- They don’t ask for your social security number or online passwords
- You can read the terms and conditions to look for any hidden fees
- All expenses are clearly detailed
- There are positive reviews online or with TrustPilot
It’s also a good idea to avoid websites with many spelling errors or lacks a lot of information about how their laptop program works.
You should also follow these suggestions when buying a discounted laptop. Only buy from a trustworthy vendor. Try communicating with them at least once before you pay. If you don’t feel comfortable completing the transaction, then stay away.
Whether you qualify for a free laptop or have to get a discounted one, don’t submit an application unless you trust the organization.
It’s possible to get a free laptop online or through local organizations. Even getting a deeply discounted laptop can make a difference as you save hundreds of dollars. This gift can open doors of opportunity to boost your income and learn new skills.
How do you plan on using your new laptop? Let us know by leaving a comment on our Facebook page.