Whether you’ve been teaching English online for years or you’re just now starting your remote job search, the same rule applies: you need to have a dependable computer to teach!
You could be the best teacher the online world of ESL has ever seen but without some dependable hardware, it’s all for naught. That’s why we’ve compiled this short and budget-friendly list of the best computers for teaching English online to ensure you have the capability to teach a smooth class and earn that extra income.
Before You Buy a Computer – Things to Note
Before we dive into our list of computers and their respective pros and cons, we’d like to mention some important points.
Our list includes “new” computers only but there are also “renewed” options available, which are much cheaper. It all depends on what you’re comfortable purchasing. If you’re purchasing a computer solely for teaching then a renewed computer might be the best option for your money.
Please note that we have not checked these computers against all online ESL companies’ requirements. That would be an arduous task given the crazy amount of companies out there. However, we have checked this against popular English companies like VIPKid and SayABC. Some companies do not list their technical requirements.
That said, you’ll find one of the best resources out there for online English teachers on Facebook. Two great groups to check are Online English Teaching Jobs Public Group and Online ESL Reviews Public Group. These groups can provide such helpful information from actual online English teachers. We’ve referenced them many times!
An Example of Teaching Requirements
SayABC, as of today, requires teachers to have the processors listed below:
i5-4000+(i5 4th gen) or above
i7-2000+(i7 2nd gen) or above
A10-6700 or above and A12 model
Ryzen 3 & Ryzen 5 series and above
AMD FX series and above
MacBook Air will not pass if it is produced before Late 2017
MacBook Pro will not pass if it is produced before Late 2011
All the computers on this list, both laptops and desktops, surpass these minimum requirements.
Thankfully, teaching English online isn’t a highly technical job so you don’t need a top of the line computer, which is good news for your wallet! In this post, we list several options of different brands that meet the minimum requirements for most English companies.
Teaching English online isn’t just about the computer itself! Sound quality is another important factor for a successful classroom. Check out our post on budget headsets for teaching online!
It’s known for its awesome battery life but the price tag is the real winner for this Lenovo laptop. It comes with a late-gen processor (that’s awesome!) and users are quick to praise its performance. Granted, if you’re looking to do more than teaching or menial task work in Microsoft Office (like gaming) then you’ll want some better specs than the Lenovo Yoga. Otherwise, it’s perfect!
Even though it has a higher price tag, it’s one heck of a machine for under $1,000. You definitely won’t run into any performance issues while teaching with the Lenovo ThinkBook. With a large solid state drive and plenty of RAM, this computer can handle the load of teaching English online and then some.
The first perk of this Dell Inspiron is the price; it’s a great deal for a functional laptop. But let’s look a little further into why this is a good computer for teaching English online. While you can’t do much graphically-intense work on this laptop, the late-gen i5 processor and roomy solid state drive make task work, including teaching online, an easy process. If you’re wanting a computer dedicated to teaching, this computer can do just that.
Acer Aspire Desktop
HP Pavilion Desktop
Apple MacBook Pro
This isn’t really a budget item but so many teachers recommend this laptop. We have this computer so we can attest to its reliability and longevity. It has worked like a charm with teaching for almost two years in addition to performing other high performance tasks. We’ve had this computer since early 2016 and it still works pretty darn close to new.
In addition to having good hardware for your teaching setup, internet connection is just as essential. Many prominent companies in the ESL world, especially those in China, now require a hardwire internet connection. So, if that’s the case, you need to run an ethernet cable from your router to your computer.
But what if your computer doesn’t have an ethernet port? This is very common with laptops! Neither of ours has an ethernet port so we had to purchase adapters. These are very affordable and buying one might be easier than searching for a laptop with an ethernet port built in.
We hope we’ve given you enough options to start your computer search for teaching English online. Whether it’s a laptop or desktop, as long as you meet the requirements (don’t forget about internet!) and bring a smile and positive attitude to the classroom, teaching will be smooth sailing!
If your interest is piqued in teaching English online, check out how we taught English and traveled abroad for 18 months! It’s a fun way to work and see the world!