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Best cheap Mac for budget buyers: iMac, MacBook Air or Mac mini?

It’s well known that Macs aren’t exactly cheap, at least compared with many Windows alternatives. But if you’re on a tight budget and keen to go down the Apple route, there are some lower-priced options available.

In this article we will look at the Mac mini, MacBook Air and entry-level iMac, and ask whether they are really a sensible budget option or if you can get a better deal elsewhere. We examine each of our budget picks in detail, but first we will offer an overview and some more general advice (of which there is still more in our Mac buying guide and best iMac deals articles).

Cheap Mac buying advice

If it’s a brand-new Mac you’re after, don’t consider the Mac mini – because the current models are old. If your heart is set on a mini then wait until spring 2018 as there’s a chance that Apple will update it.

The other thing that might happen in the not-too-distant future is the price of the MacBook could come down, making that Mac laptop the best low-cost Mac you can buy.

You could buy the entry-level iMac, but we think that you’d be better off spending a couple of hundred more to get the next model up, assuming you can afford it.

For now, though, if you really want a cheap Mac, our recommendation is to find yourself one on Apple’s Refurbished Store.

Best cheap Macs for budget buyers

Mac mini (1.4GHz, 2014)


13-inch MacBook Air (early 2015)


13-inch MacBook Air (early 2015)

21.5-inch iMac (2017)


21.5-inch iMac (2017)


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