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10 Best Laptops for Sketchup (Designers Guide) | 2021

10 Best Laptops for Sketchup (Designers Guide) | 2021

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If you’re looking for the best laptops for Sketchup, then you’re most likely a designer, architect, engineer, or someone working a project with specific Sketchup Pro requirements. 

The laptops for Sketchup in this post are hand-tested and chosen to meet your requirements for designing related tasks such as interior design, film making, architecture, experimental art, 3d modeling, and even industrial design related tasks.

Your requirements of the ideal sketchup laptop may vary based on your type of project, which will be covered in-depth throughout this post.

This article will provide the benefits of the best laptops for Sketchup as well as the disadvantages that each device provides. These laptops are hands-on tested and compared to previous models in order to provide the best choice for your projects.

Related: Best Laptops for AutoCAD (Designers Guide)

At a Glance – Top Picks

Below are our top picks for the best laptops for Sketchup:

  1. Dell Inspiron 13: Best Laptop for Sketchup (Balanced pick)
  2. Lenovo Legion 5: Top Affordable Sketchup Laptop
  3. Acer Nitro 5: Best Budget Laptop for Sketchup
  4. MacBook Pro: Best Computer for Sketchup and Rendering (Laptop)
  5. Dell 7: Best Dell Laptop for Sketchup

How to choose the best Laptop for Sketchup

How to choose the best Laptop for Sketchup

According to our tests, industry experts, and hands on comparisons, learning how to use a laptop for Sketchup means knowing what tasks you plan on doing.

For example, if you choose to weak of a laptop in terms of processing power, RAM, or graphics, then you may be forced to model in smaller portions (increments) as well as adopting a shading style as these are less CPU-intensive. 

Related: See the Best Laptops for Architecture Students [Buyers Guide]

I’ve worked with many designers and found that designers, architects, and anyone working on their laptop to complete a sketchup project does not enjoy being forced to change their style & artistic process due to picking the wrong laptop for sketchup. This is why getting the proper laptop for sketchup is ideal.

Which processor is best for SketchUp

Which processor is best for SketchUp

A 2 GHZ Processor or stronger is ideal for sketchup. 

Be sure to have over 750MB of storage available and a graphics card like the RTX 3070. If this card is not in your budget, a 3d Class video card (1GB memory), and hardware acceleration support is ideal.

Sketchup has noted that Intel based graphics cards are not ideal as there have been issues with this in the past.

It’s also important to note that Sketchup doesn’t support hyper or multi-threading regardless of the processor you use. (source) Keep in mind, A ‘Dedicated’ Gpu is recommended.

How much RAM do I need for SketchUp

How much RAM do I need for SketchUp

8GB RAM is the absolute minimum recommend when using a laptop for Sketchup. 16GB and 32GB RAM are ideal if you plan on using a laptop or desktop computer with sketchup for many years.

A Higher RAM amount of 16GB or 32GB also works well if you are a student designer, architect or someone who plans on learning sketchup over the next few years and wants a machine that will last them, rather than one that does not have enough working memory when different modeling softwares upgrades.

Best Laptops for Sketchup

Best Laptops for Sketchup

In this list below, the laptops chosen are our top picks, but covered in great detail. These have the recommended processor, graphics card, RAM and design to specifically run Sketchup and other designer & architecture focused apps.

1. Dell Inspiron 13: Best Laptop for Sketchup (Balanced pick)

Dell Inspiron 13_ Best Laptop for Sketchup (Balanced pick)

As with other 3D modeling software such as AutoCAD, Sketchup is quite a demanding software. That’s why our first choice is the Dell Inspiron 13, one of the most powerful yet affordable laptops out there.

Performance: When it comes to performance, the latest Inspiron is equipped with an high-performance Intel Core i7 CPU, 16 GB RAM and MX 450 GPU. Rounding out the set is a fast 512GB SSD. If you do not know what this hardware means, it’s quite simple. The Inspiron can easily handle Sketchup and all rendering processes run like clockwork.

During our test, the Inspiron 13 proved to be very reliable and handled Sketchup projects with ease.

Dell has also included a vibrant 13.3-inch QHD display. Even though this isn’t the best display on the market, it is more than enough for 3D modelers.

See our post: 7 Best Laptops for Animation Students

Considering its price, the latest Dell Inspiron 13 is the perfect all-rounder for Sketchup.

2. Lenovo Legion 5: Top Affordable Sketchup Laptop

10 Best Laptops for Sketchup (Designers Guide) | 2021 1

If you need a great gaming laptop that you can also use for 3D modeling in Sketchup, but do not want to spend vast sums, Legion is the best choice. Lenovo is widely known for its vfm laptops, and the brand new Legion 5 is no exception.

Performance: When it comes to hardware, we can safely say that the Legion 5 is a true performance beast. With one of the best SPUs on the market (Ryzen 7 5800H), 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD, there is simply nothing this laptop can not do.

Add to that the top-notch RTX 3050Ti GPU, and it’s no wonder Legion easily made it onto our list. This is by far one of the best laptops for Sketchup, as it can handle any 3D project, no matter how demanding the rendering or layering is.

Display: Finally, the Legion 5 has one of the brightest and most colorful 15.6-inch FHD displays on the market and a stunning backlit RGB keyboard.

Related: 7 Best Gaming Laptops for Graphic Design

If you consider that this laptop is less than $100 more expensive than the Dell reviewed above, it is definitely a brilliant choice for 3D modelers.

3. Acer Nitro 5: Best Budget Laptop for Sketchup

Acer Nitro 5_ Best Budget Laptop for Sketchup

If you liked the Legion 5’s advanced specs and gaming design, but are looking for an entry-level gaming laptop, the Acer Nitro 5 is your best bet.

Display: With a great display, a reliable hardware set, and a modern design, the Nitro 5 is the ultimate budget laptop for Sketchup. The Nitro 5’s hardware lineup includes a reliable Intel Core i5-9300H CPU, 8GB RAM, a discrete graphics card (GTX 1650), and a 256GB SSD.

Performance: This set handles Sketchup with ease and is far more powerful than the software’s recommended system requirements. During our testing, Nitro 5 proved to be a very solid choice for 3D modeling designs with Sketchup.

Of course, the rendering process takes a bit longer than on higher-end laptops like the Legion 5, but that’s understandable given the price difference.

Finally, the Nitro display provided a pleasant modeling experience during our test. All in all, Acer has created one of our favorite budget laptops for Sketchup.

See our post on 7 Best Budget Laptops for Computer Science Students

4. MacBook Pro: Best Computer for Sketchup and Rendering (Laptop)

MacBook Pro_ Best Computer for Sketchup and Rendering (Laptop)

It would be a shortcoming if we did not include the brand new Apple MacBook Pro in our top picks for laptops for Sketchup.

The MacBook Pro is a brilliant solution for 3D modelers. We tested Apple’s device in both Sketchup and AutoCAD and the results were identical. The M1 chip is super powerful and the laptop has no problem handling small or large 3D projects.

Display: Then, when you consider that Apple is known for its top-notch displays and sleek design, the overall experience of modeling on the MacBook Pro is simply amazing. Plus, the MacBook Pro is lighter than any other laptop on our list.

Another extremely strong advantage the MacBook Pro has is how long its battery can last. Amongst other laptops, it includes the most impressive battery lifespan, battery per session, as well as battery charge speed.

This aspect makes it the best choice for 3D modelers who are on the go a lot. So if you need the ultimate portable device for Sketchup, the MacBook Pro is the best for you.

5. Dell 7: Best Dell Laptop for Sketchup

Dell 7_ Best Dell Laptop for Sketchup

If you have no budget constraints and simply need the best laptop for Sketchup, Dell has the solution. With top-notch features, a stunning gaming design, and full compatibility, the Dell G7 is simply one of the most powerful laptops on our list.

Performance: When it comes to performance, the G7 has everything a professional 3D modeler needs. Its hexa-core i7 CPU is combined with 16GB RAM and a powerful RTX 2060 GPU to deliver an amazing modeling experience.

If you are creating extensive 3D projects that require a lot of storage, you’ll be happy to hear that the G7 has a 1TB SSD. What sets the G7 apart from most of its competitors is the display. In fact, the 144Hz, 15.6-inch FHD display is one of the best displays we have ever tested.

And finally, the G7 also has an amazing Dell battery. In a few words, the G7 is a top-notch solution for large 3D projects using Sketchup.

6. Microsoft Surface Pro 7: Best 2-in-1 Laptop for Sketchup

Microsoft Surface Pro 7_ Best 2-in-1 Laptop for Sketchup

If you are a beginner in 3D modeling and need an ultimate flexible and portable laptop for Sketchup, the Surface Pro 7 is for you. Nearly a year after its initial release, this 2-in-1 laptop has received excellent reviews for good reasons.

Performance: The device can easily be used as both a tablet and a laptop. With a powerful i7 CPU, 16 GB RAM and a 256 GB SSD, the Surface Pro 7 outperforms most entry-level gaming laptops on the market.

As a result, it’s a great option for small 3D projects using software like AutoCAD and Sketchup Studio. We definitely recommend buying this machine if you are studying graphic design and need a lightweight laptop for school and 3D modeling exams.

The 12.3-inch display is not particularly large, but it’s bright and colorful enough to provide a pleasant modeling experience. Last but not least, the Surface Pro can be paired with the Microsoft Surface Pen.

Related: Surface Pro 7 vs iPad Pro for Drawing & Art (Compared)

This means that the device does not require an external graphics tablet for digital art, photo editing or 3D modeling projects.

7. Acer Predator Helios 300: Best Gaming Laptop for Running Sketchup

Acer Predator Helios 300_ Best Gaming Laptop for Running Sketchup

Like the Dell G7 reviewed above, the Acer Predator Helios is an extremely powerful gaming laptop. Since 3D modeling with Sketchup requires a great GPU for fast rendering, Acer’s flagship is a great choice for professionals.

Performance: In terms of performance, the Predator Helios offers a premium experience, similar to the Dell G 7. The main difference between the two models is the GPU. The Predator includes the brand new RTX 3060. According to Windowscentral, the RTX 3060 is noticeably faster than the RTX 2060.

During our testing, the Predator Helios was the second fastest laptop (after the ROG Strix) on the list when it comes to rendering. Add to that the amazing 15.6-inch FHD (144Hz, IPS) display, and it can not get any better. The battery life stayed true to its manufacturer promise (out of the box)

In a few words, the Predator is a smart choice for professional 3D modelers and demanding gamers.

8. HP Envy: Balanced Laptop for Designers & Architects Using Sketchup Pro

HP Envy_ Balanced Laptop for Designers & Architects Using Sketchup Pro

HP is widely known for its highly reliable laptops. For this reason, the HP Envy 13 has easily made it to our top picks. This laptop is a great solution for both beginners and professional 3D designers for many reasons.

Performance: First of all, the device is available at a very affordable price. With an i7 CPU, 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD, this is not the most powerful laptop on the market. However, during our test, the Envy 13 easily handled small and medium 3D designs in Sketchup.

Since it’s priced around the same as the Lenovo Legion 5 reviewed above, it’s important to compare these 2 options.

Even though Lenovo’s device is by far the more powerful, the HP Envy 13 is much more flexible and lighter. For this reason, we highly recommend this HP notebook for beginner 3D modelers who value portability over performance.

9. Asus Rog Strix: Fastest Laptop for Running Sketchup on Windows

Asus Rog Strix_ Fastest Laptop for Running Sketchup on Windows

If you are looking for the most powerful laptop for Sketchup, then Asus Rog Strix is the laptop for you. This Asus flagship can effortlessly handle any 3D modeling project you throw at it.

For this reason, the Rog Strix is the best laptop for professionals. The ROG Strix contains the best i7 CPU, combined with the best GPU on the market, the brand new RTX 3070.

Performance: Then when you add the 32GB RAM and the 2TB SSD, it just does not get any better. But is the Rog Strix worth the price difference compared to other powerful laptops like the Predator reviewed above?

Well, definitely, but only if you are a top-notch 3D modeler who creates extensive projects.

10. Omen 15: Top Sketchup Laptop for Designers (Sketchup Studio)

Omen 15_ Top Sketchup Laptop for Designers (Sketchup Studio)

If you liked the features of the Acer Predator tested above, but are looking for something different, HP Omen 15 might be the perfect choice for you.

Performance: As far as performance goes, the latest Omen 15 is equipped with very similar hardware to the Helios. With the same GPU and RAM, the only difference is that HP Omen is equipped with a Ryzen 7 CPU. Nevertheless, the performance of the two CPUs is also similar.

So why does the HP Omen cost $50 more? The only aspect that justifies this small difference is the SSD, since the Omen is equipped with a hard drive twice as big (1 TB).

Therefore, this is a better alternative to the Helios, especially for HP fans and for 3D modelers who need a larger internal storage.

Can you use a Tablet for Sketchup?

In general, Sketchup is not as demanding as other 3D modeling software like AutoCAD. To be precise, you can even use Sketchup with an entry-level laptop or tablet with ease. Does this mean that any tablet out there can edit 3D projects with Sketchup?

Well, no. For you to have a great overall experience with Sketchup, you need a powerful tablet. For example, only flagship devices like the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 can handle Sketchup projects with ease.

On the other hand, if you prefer to work on larger screens, you could opt for a 2-in-1 notebook like the HP Envy reviewed above.

Microsoft Surface Pro 7: Best Tablet for Sketchup

As mentioned above, the latest Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is by far the best tablet for Sketchup. It can easily manipulate 3D projects and it is very fast when it comes to rendering. This is also useful as its dedicated Surface Pen (stylus) works incredibly well for drawing directly on the screen.

If you’re not using the surface pro, you can use a drawing tablet and a non touch screen laptop you can get a budget laptop and a Wacom graphics or drawing tablet to compensate for the lack of screen. See the 10 Best Touch Screen Laptops for Drawing if you’re in search of a Microsoft Surface Pro 7 alternative and want a touchscreen.

For those not using a touch screen for Sketchup, getting a budget laptop and learning different ways to Write and Draw on a Non Touch Screen Laptop will likely be necessary for many designers.

If you add that this is a smart choice for photo editing and graphic art software as well, it is no wonder why many professional 3D modelers use it. 

Other Devices to Use with Sketchup

Logitech MX Master 3: Best Mouse for Sketchup

Say you’ve already concluded the best laptop for Sketchup and you want to combine it with a top notch mouse. If that’s the case, Logitech has the best solution for you. The latest MX Master 3 is one of the most advanced wireless mouses ever created.

Its ultra fast scrolling, 4000 DPI sensor and ultimately comfortable feel, make it perfect for 3D modeling on Sketchup. We also enjoyed using its hidden buttons that feel natural and can be used as shortcut buttons on Sketchup. 

The MX Master 3 can be easily connected to any (Windows or Mac) laptop or tablet via Bluetooth 5.0 or the included USB receiver. 

3D Mice and 3d Motion controllers are also compatible with sketchup on your laptop or desktop computer.

Best Graphics Card for Sketchup

Of all the graphics cards we tested to make this list, the RTX 3070 proved to be one of the best for 3D modeling. The rendering process is as fast as it gets. However, this is also the most expensive GPU.

For this reason, and because Sketchup is not the most demanding 3D modeling software on the market, the RTX 3070 felt like an unnecessary luxury to me. That being said, the RTX 3060 and 2060 also have no problem handling demanding Sketchup projects.

In a few words: If you are looking for the best graphics card for Sketchup, you can go for any of the three GPUs mentioned above. If you plan on modeling on a 4k display, I would recommend a card that can handle this.

Top Stylus To Use With Sketchup

With most of the devices reviewed above, you will need either a graphic tablet or a drawing pad with a screen to use a stylus with Sketchup Pro. The only exceptions to this rule are the HP Envy and Surface Pro 7. 

Both devices have a touchscreen display that can be combined with the pens that each brand offers. We didn’t encounter any problem using the active pens of Microsoft and HP with Sketchup. In fact, both provided an amazing 3D drawing experience. 

Still, if you simply need the best combo, we would say that this is the Asus Rog Strix combined with the latest Wacom Cintiq 24 Pro. However, we would suggest this ultimately expensive combo only for professional 3D modelers.

Which are the must have SketchUp plugins for architects and architecture students

When using your laptop to work on a project in sketchup for architectural purposes, there can be some complex tools required. To handle this, sketchup plugins can be used as an extension of your abilities to create. Seasoned professionals who have used sketchup determined that the program was missing a few things (such as modifiers, filters, edges, and faces) and decided to create a way to makeup for this (plugins)

The must have sketchup plugins for most architects include, but are not limited to:

  • CleanUp3
  • StrayLines
  • Layers Panel
  • Selection Toys

There are several other plugins to help you adapt to sketchup on your laptop if the software does not reach your exact goals and needs mid-way through your drawing or architecture work.

How to use a laptop for Sketchup

Using sketchup on a laptop means ensuring you have the correct operating system, choosing the ideal sketchup plan, signing up for a Trimble account, downloading sketchup, installing it, and then finally modeling a project.

IN order to model a project its ideal to take the recommended tour sketchup advises on. This will show you all the ins and outs and how to navigate sketchup properly on your laptop. Tools such as select, erase, drawing lines & shapes will be displayed on the left side on most recent versions of sketchup. You’ll need to know what panels do, where the status bar is and how it works by exploring the software.

To do so, I highly recommend a mouse or drawing tablet with your laptop instead of a trackpad as this will provide more precise strokes and navigation. See more on attaching a drawing tablet to your tablet for designing purposes by visiting the best wireless drawing tablets here, and the best touch screen laptops for drawing here.

Sketchup Alternatives – Apps used along with Sketchup

Sketchup Alternatives include Revit, Shapr3d, Fusion 360, SolidWorks, inventor, RHINO, Civil 3d, and of course AutoCAD. Additional 3d modeling sketchup alternatives like Blender and Home 3D are often used by architects or by designers looking to 3d model using their laptop or desktop computer.

There are also similar apps like Sketchup on Android including Trimble Connect and Onshape 3d CAD. When choosing the best laptops for Sketchup its important to consider these alternative apps listed and they requirements as you may consider implementing their use into your daily routine. Having a laptop that supports this is crucial to choosing a laptop that will last you years to come.

How we tested and rated our picks when testing for the best laptop for Sketchup

According to our tests, we found that the laptops with a more powerful processor of 2GHz or stronger was ideal for Sketchup work. However, for those who plan to use sketchup in addition to other apps like Rhino, AutoCAD or Blender, a processor that is stronger than 2GHz is ideal as multi-tasking is likely of interest. Because of this, we rated those with stronger processors slightly higher than those that only reach the minimum recommendation.

Experts in the industry we spoke with have agreed that Laptops with a long lasting battery, good audio, and a powerful graphics card should naturally be rated higher. Those without the recommended graphics card of 1GB memory & 3d Class video card were rated lower than those with stronger cards (Like the Nvidia Geforce GTX) Laptops with an HD Display or a display with a high resolution were also considered and rated accordingly.

The models that have evolved from their previous version were considered ideal as we know what to expect and were rated higher up on the list. 

FAQ – Top Laptops for Sketchup questions

Below is our list of frequently asked questions around using Sketchup, the 3d content creation tool developed by Last Software in 2000. Since then, sketchup has evolved significantly.

Which is the best laptop for running programs like AutoCAD, RHINO, Sketchup and Solid works?

The best laptops for running programs like AutoCAD, RHINO, Sketchup and Solid Works are ‘workstation’ type laptops. For example, the Lenovo Thinkpad workstation or the Dell precision Mobile Workstation are ideal for this type of CAD work.

There are also several others that satisfy the 16GB RAM and 1TB Storage recommendation, you’ll need to make sure it has a graphic card equivalent to those that match the recent NVIDIA lineups.

Which is the best laptop for CAD Revit Photoshop 3ds Max etc for architecture students on a budget

The best laptop for those on a budget and plan to use Revit, photoshop, 3ds Max and more in addition to sketchup is the Asus Nitro or a laptop with equivalent hardware specs. This includes those looking to use Grasshopper, Maxwell, and other softwares.

It will be ideal to not only strive for the minimum specs, but to shoot for the recommended or higher spec laptops with a stronger processor of intel-7 or higher, along with a Nvidia GeForce chip. A good example of this is the Acer Nitro or the Asus Zephyre or Reg Strox.

While the budget picks work well, its still ideal to get a machine that will last you years instead of spending more over the total of a few years on upgrading multiple devices.

This type of laptop will work well as it will be capable of connecting a drawing tablet or graphics tablet and running 3d modeling software with ease. 

Bottom Line

The best laptops for sketchup and 3d modeling in our post is aimed at those looking to pursue 3d modeling software with the aim of completing design related tasks. The more powerful laptops with a better Graphics card and processor will be able to handle projects that a architecture based project or general design project needs.

Most laptops without an integrated card (as far as graphics go) will do well with a stronger chip as they will experience less lag when running the 3d modeling software, like sketchup, simultaneously with other apps.

When using an app like Sketchup Studio for creative work and video game design… A dedicated card like a NVIDIA graphics card of the proper strength will do the job to handle sketchup just fine. Be sure to not grab too outdated of a card as technology advances quickly.

The top picks for laptops in this list likely have the correct graphics card you need or sketchup, but always be sure it matches the other applications you’ll need as well in addition to just this 3d modeling software.