Almost anything you do today requires a computer from applying for a job to paying your electric bill. While you can do most of these activities from your smartphone, you still can’t use your smartphone for everything.
It gets harder to get by without a computer every single day, and if you want to open doors of opportunity to improve your quality life, a free laptop can make all the difference in the world.
If you’re ready to get your very own laptop, you don’t have to visit your local electronics store and spend several hundred dollars that aren’t in your wallet at the moment.
To get a free laptop, you usually need to live in a low-income household or be a student. If you fall into one of these categories, you can enroll in one of the programs listed below. In addition to getting a free laptop, don’t forget you can get free internet too.
After showing you how to get a free laptop, we also show you how to avoid free laptop scams as well; just in case you may still want to do your own independent research. While one of the organizations listed below should be able to help you, there are many other organizations that “promise” free laptops but never follow through.
How Do I Get a Free Laptop?
These organizations below are located all over the country and offer laptops completely free!
Ask Your Local or State Department of Human Services
The federal government doesn’t have a dedicated program to provide free computers to families in need. Through state and local grants, you might be able to get a free laptop from your Department of Human Services. In other instances, your local government might partner with a charitable organization that provides aid to those in need.
Computers With Causes
Computers with Causes accepts donations from all 50 states. Students, returning military veterans, and households with financial need can receive a donated laptop or desktop computer for free.
Before you apply, Computers with Causes does state that receiving a gifted laptop can affect your eligibility to continue receiving aid from government programs like TANF, Social Security Insurance, and Social Security Disability Insurance. You will want to consult your program guidelines before you accept a free laptop.
When you apply, you will have to explain why you need a free laptop. The Computers with Causes application process is more stringent than some of the other programs to make sure those with the highest needs get served first.
The On It Foundation
If you meet the three conditions below, you can receive a free computer from The On It Foundation:
- Have a student enrolled in grades K-12
- Receive a free or reduced school lunch
- Attend a public school and reside in the United States
You might not receive a laptop because the selection entirely depends on what computers are donated, but it’s still better than having to buy a brand-new one online.
Even if you don’t qualify for a free computer, it’s still possible to buy heavily discounted computers from The On It Foundation too.
Komputers 4 R Kids
Komputers 4 R Kids collects donated computers and distributes them to school-aged children with financial needs. Their mission is to help build school computer labs and put a computer in the homes of students that don’t currently have one. You will have to contact Komputers 4 R Kids to see if they have any available to donate.
You can request a free laptop on With Causes. This organization accepts donations for many tangible items including computers and vehicles. There’s no guarantee your aid request will be fulfilled, but they will do their best to find a laptop or desktop computer that you can use at home.
With Causes helps people from many different backgrounds and you can submit a request even if you don’t have a K-12 student living with you too.
When one of the other local organizations listed in this article doesn’t have any computers available, you can also look on Craigslist for a free laptop too. People might be willing to give away their unwanted technology for free or next to nothing so somebody else can benefit from it instead of serving as an expensive paperweight.
Even if you get it for free and have to spend a few dollars on repairs, it can be worth the effort.
Money Saving Tip: Before buying a computer that needs repairs, research the cost and time required to repair the computer. In some cases, a repair is more hassle than it’s worth.
Freecycle is an alternative to Craigslist or the Facebook Marketplace groups to find computers and laptops that other community members are giving away for free. You will have to visit your local board to comb the listings to see if anybody is giving away a free computer.
You can also place a request to get a free laptop on your local board too. Sometimes, somebody is just waiting for you to ask.
World Computer Exchange
This suggestion is ideal if you live in a developing country or an area that was recently struck by a large natural disaster–like Puerto Rico–and you do not have many local aid resources. World Computer Exchange might be able to give you a free computer if somebody in your house is younger than 24 years old.
It appears that you can also purchase discounted computers from World Computer Exchange too if a free one isn’t available.
All of the computers come with a Linux operating system and an educational content pack featuring health, agricultural, technology, and environmental knowledge which can help you learn new skills to increase your future income and standard of living.
Getting a computer from World Computer Exchange can truly be the gift that keeps on giving.
SmartRiverside Inclusion Program
SmartRiverside is a local project for residents of Riverside, California. You can get get a free computer if you meet the criteria listed below:
- Annual family income is less than $45,000
- Live in Riverside, CA
- Can take an eight-hour computer training course in English or Spanish
If you checked “Yes” to all three of these boxes, dial 311 to start the request process.
Some chapters of the Salvation Army set aside funds for families that need free gas. You might be able to get a free laptop too from a local benefactor. This charitable act can be a huge blessing if you’re unemployed, lost all your belongings in a disaster, or are going through a rough patch in life at the moment.
If you don’t have a Salvation Army chapter near you, you can always visit your local Goodwill location to ask for any leads too.
Your Local Library
This suggestion won’t let you access the internet from home, but it’s free! Most libraries have several public computers you can use in one-hour intervals to take care of business.
An increasing number of libraries also offer free wifi so you can access the internet with your phone and tablet without worrying about data caps or only having an hour to use the internet because somebody is waiting to use the computer after you finish.
Yes, it’s a hassle to always go to the library, but it’s free and you have the opportunity to borrow a great book that can expand your mind too.
Buying Highly Discounted Laptops
Some organizations only offer discounted laptops and computers. Although you have to pay, you can still get a good deal and save hundreds of dollars.
Computer Technology Assistance Corps
The Computer Technology Assistance Corps (CTAC) and offers discounted laptops and computers to the following groups:
- Households that receive state or federal benefits
- Households that don’t receive state or federal aid (must pay a higher cost)
- Nonprofits with financial need
CTAC accepts old computers and laptops from businesses. Once CTAC receives the donated computers, they erase the memory and add new memory and components to the make the machine “new” again. They even relicense Windows 10 on the computers as well.
Laptops start at $120 and come with a 90-day hardware warranty. If your budget is a little tighter, you can buy a desktop computer, LCD flat screen monitor, keyboard, and mouse for $75.
None of the computers or laptops come with antivirus software, so you will have to invest in a program if you don’t want to use the built-in Windows Defender software.
Attend an Online College
While you’re technically getting a “free laptop” from certain online colleges, you’re still required to be a student and pay tuition. Is it worth paying thousands of dollars in tuition to receive a college diploma from a certain school instead of going to another school where you have to buy your own laptop? That answer largely depends on your financial aid package.
Some colleges require you to return your laptop or iPad at graduation while others let you keep it after you walk across the stage. You probably shouldn’t go to a particular school just because it offers free laptops, but it can be a tie breaking vote.
To help you find colleges that offer free computers, visit the Open Education Database.
Connect All is based in Seattle so you can shop in their store if you live nearby otherwise. Otherwise, nonprofits and low-income households can purchase refurbished laptops and desktop computers at a discount plus free shipping if you live in the lower 48. Each product comes preloaded with Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office.
Laptops start at $129 for word processing, internet browsing, and photo editing capability. While you won’t be able to play the best games at this price point, you can still have a valuable tool that will make your life a lot easier.
CenturyLink Internet Basics
CenturyLink Internet Basics offers discount internet for $9.95 per year. Owning a laptop is a one-time expense but your home internet is a recurring expense so you should also factor the monthly internet cost into your laptop buying decision too.
If you prefer a tablet to a laptop, you can buy an iPad mini 2 for $150. This is the same price as buying a refurbished laptop but a tablet could potentially be all you need if you only need a home computer for email, web browsing, and minute tasks like checking your bank account or browsing social media.
Comcast Internet Essentials
Comcast Internet Essentials customers get can discount internet plus a low-cost laptop. Currently, you have the option to get a 12” or 14” laptop that comes with Microsoft Office, Norton Security Suite, and a 90-day warranty.
If you don’t want a laptop, you can choose a 17” LCD screen if you prefer a desktop computer. Each computer offers different features that may sway your decision for one over the other two. For example, you’ll have to decide if you want a DVD drive, WiFi capability, or a built-in webcam as you can’t get all three in a single product.
All Internet Essentials laptops and desktops are refurbished to “like new” condition.
This offer is open to everybody and can be a better option than some of the offers reserved for nonprofits and low-income households if you have a few extra dollars to spend.
Dell Refurbished sells refurbished laptops–and other computer peripherals–directly from Dell. Refurbished laptops start at $200 and you can get a discount if you buy in bulk with at least 10 assets. Whether you’re an individual or a business, you can extra cash back when you shop with Ebates.
Bonus Cashback Opportunity: Get a $10 cash bonus when you make your first $25 order with Ebates. Buying your laptop with Ebates on Dell Refurbished easily qualifies you for the bonus.
If you get your home internet through Frontier Communications, you might be able to get a discount laptop from the Frontier Lifeline low-cost internet program. You can also buy other laptops on their website that cost slightly more than some of the other sites listed here because they are brand new, but they don’t come with Microsoft Office installed.
PCs for People
PCs for People has helped distribute over 70,000 computers since 1998 to the families, schools, and nonprofits that need them most. All laptops and computers are refurbished and you will have to buy them at a reduced rate. Discount laptops start at $100 and include free shipping.
Besides refurbished laptops, you can also buy desktop PCs starting at $75. Wireless modems and monthly wifi hotspot subscription plan are also available for purchase too.
Another way you can save some dough on a laptop is with eBay. It’s possible to buy new, used, and refurbished laptops on eBay without paying retail price. Because any Tom, Dick, or Harry can sell a laptop on eBay, you shouldn’t buy from just any seller.
As one of the largest online resale sites for over 20 years, there are many sellers with thousands of feedback ratings. To hedge your bets, buy from a seller that has high feedback ratings. Take a second to read a few recent buyer reviews–especially for computers–to get an idea of what to expect from the seller.
Although it’s not required to buy from a seller with these certifications, they can further help you save some cash without getting swindled:
- Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher (if you’re buying a PC)
- Purchase Warranty
- Fast ‘N Free Shipping
- Top Rated Plus Seller Rating
What’s nice about buying a laptop on eBay is that you can also buy Apple products which you might not be able to get for free from an organization listed above. It can still be cheaper to buy a discounted laptop from one of the resources listed above, but eBay gives you more flexibility if you need one with a faster processor, graphics cards, or more memory.
Ask Your Tax Professional
This last suggestion will deviate from the rest, but it’s an indirect way to save money on a laptop.
If you’re self-employed and use your laptop for business purposes, you can buy a laptop and deduct a portion of the purchase. You will need to talk with your tax professional to accurately claim this deduction as your tax situation may or may not qualify for the deduction.
Keep a receipt of your purchase in case you can deduct the purchase at tax time. If you can buy your laptop at a discount, the tax deduction reduces your cost even more!
How to Avoid The “Free Laptop” Scams
The organizations listed above are legitimate and are eager to help you, but there are plenty of scams too. The last thing you need to do is have your identity or money stolen by a silver-tongued thief who knows you desperately want a laptop.
Instead of getting a free laptop, these fraudsters might steal your identity and open false accounts to go on a spending spree without your knowledge. They get all the rewards and you’re stuck with damaged credit and huge bills to pay back. This isn’t always the case with scammy websites, but it happens more often than it should.
Never give out the following information until you’re confident it’s a legit website:
- Social Security Number or date of birth
- Email addresses or passwords
- Social media account login information
Pop-Up Instant Win Sweepstakes
Have you ever visited a website to discover you’re the lucky winner of a free laptop? Maybe the day before you “won” an Amazon gift card or an iPad tablet. The only problem is that these pop-up awards are scams and you’ll never receive the prize.
Before you realize you were scammed, you probably submitted your personal information like your email address or mailing address that will be sold to solicitors who can buy a new laptop for themselves from the proceeds.
The free laptop sweepstakes you see on a website you trust and visit on a regular basis might be legit, but the odds of winning it aren’t that good. The best piece of advice for online sweepstakes is to enter them sparingly and only for the websites that won’t sell or rent your personal information.
Instead of waiting to win the sweepstakes, focus your energy on a productive activity that can help you earn money like a fun side hustle. Income is guaranteed and you can eventually buy a laptop from your earnings.
You might also come across an online survey site that promises to give a laptop after answering a predetermined number of surveys. If it is a legit survey site, you’re going to be answering a lot of surveys before you can earn a laptop because merchandise prizes are always less valuable than cash rewards.
In most instances, these survey sites are a facade to steal your personal information while you answer fun survey topics.
(Most) Free Laptop Websites
If a website promises to give you a free laptop with no strings attached, that’s usually the sure sign of a scam. Most legitimate websites usually require proof that you are a family or nonprofit with financial need and can’t buy one at a regular price without going into debt.
Before submitting your personal information to request a free laptop, you must perform your due diligence. Follow some of these tips below to vet a free laptop website properly:
- Search for online reviews
- Never enter sensitive personal information like your Social Security number
- Make sure the website has been updated recently and frequently
- Ensure the website has good grammar and multiple pages
- Read the terms and conditions before applying
These tips won’t prevent every scam, but they will help you sift through most questionable websites.
Websites With Promotional Products and Free Trials
Some websites will give you a laptop for free or for a steep discount if you sign-up for several promotional offers. These sites are usually legitimate but there can be lots of hidden fees.
The trick is that you have to call the customer service number and cancel your subscription before the free trial period ends. Otherwise, you will have to pay for a subscription to the “Coffee of the Month Club” or another equivalent trail subscription. If you don’t opt-out of these free trials, the free laptop website earns a small commission that eventually recoups the laptop gift.
Besides the laptop website getting a small kickback from the product trial offers, you now have to spend a lot of money on things you don’t really need in the first place.
This tactic is a lot like getting a free shirt when you signed for a credit card in college. The business gets the better end of the deal and the laptop is just a small token of their appreciation.
With a little effort, you can get a free laptop. It won’t come with all the bells and whistles, but it’ll get the job done so you can take care of your daily internet activities without worry. Even if you can’t get a free laptop, discounted laptops can be another option you need to consider before paying full price.
Are there any other sites or places you know about you’d be willing to share?
Please drop a comment below so we can help the next person reading this. Thanks so much!