Best Linux Distro for Laptops | Lightweight Linux Distributions

Linux is a well-known open-source OS which has found much love and appreciation from users around the world and modified to create different Linux versions called distributions or more commonly distros. This post is dedicated to finding the best Linux distro for laptops and netbook owners this year.

Have you got a second laptop lying around or maybe just want to switch from Windows to Linux? Perhaps you are bitten by the love bug for Linux and just want to play around with it.

In this post, you’ll find the top Linux distro for your laptop with minimum hardware requirements and maximum benefits for you.

But wait just a minute…

Things You Should Ask Yourself Before Selecting a Linux Distro for Laptop

1. Are you looking for a Windows Replacement

Now if you have a vintage PC or an older laptop, Windows OS may become a hindrance for smooth operations. If you are looking for a Windows replacement, Linux Distros like Ubuntu and Zorin OS would work for you. Zorin OS is compatible with Windows and a great choice for beginners.

Linux is a lightweight OS which will do all the work and upgrade your older laptop to a new running machine. The other thing you should consider is hardware compatibility. It is always recommended to just google it up with the Linux Distro name and minimum hardware and system requirement for a compatibility check.

Another thing is Updates.

While most older Windows OS won’t get any updates and slow down your laptop, Linux distros get regular support and updates while improving the system performance at no cost.

2. What is Your Utility

Most Linux distros are designed for a specific utility. You should ascertain your utility for the OS first. Do you want a distro for music/video recording, gaming, testing or perhaps for office-tasks?

There are different distros designed for all kinds of activities you can imagine. As an example, for music and video recording/editing you can set up Ubuntu Studio and for penetration testing, you can try Kali Linux as your choice of Linux distro.

3. How Many Operating System Features You Require

Most Linux distros can work on minimum hardware. Heck! Some don’t even require a hard disk and can run on a cheap USB stick even. But which Linux distro is best for your laptop?

For this answer, you must first know what OS features you actually require. Are you a hardcore gamer? Then you must not compromise on 3D animations and HD graphics. While many Linux distros have a decent UI, extensive functionality will require better hardware support.

4. What is Your Previous Experience With Linux

Now, this is a very important factor to take into consideration.

Your previous experience with Linux should highly determine the kind of Linux distro you should select for your laptop. As a beginner, Ubuntu or Linux Mint are some of the Linux distros you may pick. However, you should steer clear of heavy-duty Linux distro like Arch Linux meant for Linux masters.

Coming to the point now…

Here are the best Linux distro for Laptops

1. Ubuntu 17.04 (Lubuntu)

At a Glance:

  • Based on: Ubuntu 17.04
  • Desktop Environment: LXDE
  • In-built Apps: Firefox, LibreOffice

Get Lubuntu here

Zesty Zapus, the latest Ubuntu version comes with 9 months of security and maintenance updates. Based on Linux Kernel 4.10, the system performance is highly improved.

For a long-term stable update, you can also go for Xenial Xerus which is the Ubuntu 16.04.3. It comes with a guaranteed five years of maintenance and security update.

Other notable features include support for driverless printing. It means now you can print easily via a USB or your wi-fi network.

Windows users might be in a little shock with the Unity Desktop. However, do not fear.

It is just a dock with which displays the applications you have pinned to the taskbar and the recently opened apps.

Ubuntu comes packed with default apps like Firefox browser and LibreOffice which is just what you need to manage all your office tasks on the laptop.

Based on LXDE desktop environment, this lightweight interface is smooth and looks professional minus any complex fiddling with a new OS.

Recommended Minimum System Requirements for Lubuntu

  • 512 MHz Processor
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 6 GB Hard Disk Space
  • DVD or USB port for installation

If your laptop doesn’t meet the minimum requirements, you can install it on a Virtual Machine software like VMWare or Virtualbox.

Better yet!

Just run the Linux Distro live from a USB or a DVD without any replacement of your current OS.


Lubuntu is a lighter version of Ubuntu designed to be lightweight, energy- efficient and less resource hungry. It can run all applications without any difficulty and you can always download any application available in Ubuntu Repositories which is shared with Lubuntu.

A perfect lightweight choice for your humble specifications laptop or PC.

2. Zorin OS

At a Glance:

  • Based on: Ubuntu Linux
  • Desktop Environment: Zorin Desktop Environment
  • In-built Apps: Firefox, LibreOffice

Get Zorin OS here

Zorin OS is the perfect Linux Distro for laptops if you’re looking for an alternative to Windows or MacOS. Used by U.S. Department of Defense and International Space Station, Zorin OS is a powerful Linux distro designed to make your laptop fast, reliable, flexible and secure from viruses.

Zorin is based on Ubuntu and is a lightweight Linux distro for laptops. The best feature of this distro is its DE (Desktop Environment) that you can customize to your liking. Add Windows, MacOS or Linux appearance with just a few clicks on Zorin.

It’s that powerful!

This rock solid and reliable Linux distro will keep your laptop safe from viruses with its built-in firewall. If you are a current Windows user, you’ll be glad to know it supports Windows applications thanks to Wine, the built-in compatibility layer for all your Windows apps on Zorin.

More so, this humble yet solid Linux distro has its own software store to download and/or purchase hundreds of different applications for all kinds of utilities as well.

Recommended Minimum System Requirements for Zorin OS

  • 1 GHz Single-Core Processor
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 10 GB Hard Disk Space
  • 800 x 600 Resolution


Zorin OS is a powerful Linux distro for laptops and switching from MacOS or Windows is simply stated, a breeze with this Linux distro. Experience an upgrade in your current laptop/PC with safe, reliable, and flexible Zorin OS.

3. Puppy Linux

At a Glance:

  • Based on: GNU/Linux
  • Desktop Environment: Enlightenment
  • In-built Apps: Firefox, GOffice, GUI Puppy Editor

Get Puppy Linux here

Puppy Linux is a special lightweight Linux distro for a laptop. It is so small (100 MB) that it can reside even on your RAM. Consider it as a unique family of Linux distributions which is fast, reliable and takes up a small space on your laptop.

This open-source Linux distro is available in various flavors called puppies and puppets (unofficial flavors).

With low system requirements and boot time lesser than 30 minutes, this distro is easy to use and includes a wide range of applications like word processors, internet browser, image editor and many other utilities.

If you have an old PC lying around, install Puppy Linux distro and breathe a new life into your system. Puppy will just load and run seamlessly without any hassles.

As a Linux beginner, Puppy is easy to use and comes with video and text tutorials to get you through any problems.

In case you don’t wish to install it on your system, no worries.

Puppy Linux distro can run live from a CD/DVD or a USB without installation on your laptop/PC.

What else? Just grab that old pen-drive and try it today!

Recommended Minimum System Requirements for Puppy Linux

  • 233 MHz Processor
  • 128 MB RAM
  • 512 MB Hard Disk Space
  • A USB for live run (No HD required for Live Run)


Puppy Linux is a powerful and lightweight Linux distro for laptops. For an easy and user-friendly distro that does the primary tasks for you without much hassle, Puppy is the choice for you.

Remember, it is primarily meant for home use. However, not limited to try on for other utilities.

4. Linux Mint 18.2 “Sonya”

At a Glance:

  • Based on: Ubuntu LTS
  • Desktop Environment: Cinnamon
  • In-built Apps: Firefox, LibreOffice, XApps

Get Linux Mint Here

Linux Mint is another one of those Linux distros that have been around for a great period of time and offers an elegant, modern and comfortable Operating system which is both powerful and easy to use.

Used by millions of people, this distro has four Desktop Environments: Cinnamon, KDE, MATE, and Xfce. The most popular and loved DE currently is Cinnamon as it runs smoothly on laptop and Desktop PCs.

This Linux distro offers more than 30,000 packages and has one of the best software package managers.

A beautiful interface resembling Windows XP and Windows 7, this distro makes the transition to a different OS easy and comfortable.

Now, you can also easily install all the mint apps and XApps. More on the good news is that the developers will keep on working on this base till 2018 making it further better and efficient.

Based on Debian and Ubuntu LTS, this Linux distro is safe and secure with 9 years of security and maintenance updates, guaranteed.

Recommended Minimum System Requirements for Linux Mint

  • x86 Processor
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 5 GB Hard Disk Space
  • 800 x 600 Resolution


Linux Mint is an elegant, comfortable and versatile best Linux Distro for laptop and home computers. Based on Ubuntu LTS and available in four flavors, this distro is a no-nonsense OS for all your computing needs.

5. Peppermint OS

At a Glance:

  • Based on: Ubuntu LTS
  • Desktop Environment: LXDE, Xfce
  • In-built Apps: Chromium, LibreOffice, Ice Apps

Get Peppermint OS here

Peppermint OS is a best Linux Distro for laptops owing to the hybrid cloud infrastructure and Ubuntu LTS base. It has a sleek and classy UI with LXDE that is known to be lightweight and resource-friendly.

This extremely fast and light OS integrates with all cloud and web applications with its Site Specific Browser functionality. It is extremely suitable even for older PCs with a small memory footprint and incredibly responsive functionality.

The built-in Ice apps are useful and worth the try. Based on Lubuntu distro and LXDE Desktop fusion with Xfce Window Manager, it is no wonder that this may just be the best Linux Distro for Laptops.

Recommended Minimum System Requirements for Peppermint OS

  • X86 Based Processor
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 3.8 GB Disk Space


A sleek and sophisticated UI with a fast and responsive OS is well-packed in Peppermint OS. Consider this the one of the best Linux distro for laptops for the hybrid cloud infrastructure and LXDE/ Xfce Desktop environment.

Which is the best Linux Distro for Laptops?

This Linux Distros list will help you in selecting a lightweight and best distro according to your need. But to answer which is the best Linux distro is just not possible. Because in all honesty, the distro you pick is the best distro for you. There’s no one distro that is just perfect for all.

Consider your needs and system requirements well enough to pick the Linux OS suitable for you. Or just try them all with a live USB/DVD and select one that meets your needs.

Check out the list of best Linux distro for Beginners as well.

If you have any queries or suggestions, let us know in the comment section below.

Till then, Stay Updated!

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