In the modern world that we live in, you cannot really achieve anything remotely technological in an efficient way without the use of a personal computer. You need one for crucial things like job applications, college work, paying bills, shopping, entertainment, and so on. Therefore, not having a computer or laptop sets you back and puts you at a huge disadvantage.
However, good laptops can be pricey, and they require maintenance throughout their lifetime. Also, they tend to go through wear and tear, so you will need multiple models in your career.
Thankfully, however, there are many ways to get a free laptop or at least one that is on a big discount. These programs are mostly set in place for those with low incomes, or to current and future students. Also, there are many other ways to try if you do not fall into these two groups. Following is an extensive list with different ways of how you can get a laptop free of charge, or a model with a very affordable price tag.
How to get a free or discounted laptop?
1. The OnIt Foundation
The programs of the OnIt Foundation offer a way to obtain a free laptop, but only if you qualify. In order to do this, you have to have a child who is enrolled in a K-12, receives free or reduced lunch, and who attends a public school inside the USA.
If you happen not to qualify for a free laptop, the OnIt also has the Jump OnIt Foundation that provides highly discounted models of laptops.
With programs like these, it is also possible that you do not actually receive a free laptop, even if you do qualify for one. This is because the programs might not have enough of them, and you will either have a wait, apply somewhere else, or try with the discount options.
2. Komputers 4 R Kids
If you live in Southern California, the Komputers 4 R Kids program offers awesome ways of building up school computer labs, as well as getting private homes with school children their own computers. Students who do not have access to one can consult with their parents and try to take advantage of this program. Contact them directly to check if you meet their demands and if you qualify, as well as if have currently have laptops available.
3. Computers With Causes
Computers With Causes is another organization that donates computers to kids who do not have their own. They also support returning military members and households in need by getting them laptops and computers. As their application page states, they receive tons of requests each year, which means they have to pick and choose who gets the laptops based on the biggest need.
4. With Causes
With Causes also works with collecting donations, many of which are in the form of laptops, which they then distribute to those that need them the most. Each submission is reviewed in detail, and they slowly move case by case. Tt qualify for a computer, one has to live in a low-income household, live in a women’s shelter for battered women, or be a military member or a veteran. The application process is very easy to go through, and you only need to put in your basic info and explain your situation and the need for a computer.
5. Smart Riverside Inclusion Program
This one is only possible if you are located in Riverside, California. In addition, in order to be eligible for the Smart Riverside Inclusion Program, you have to earn less than $45,000 per year and take a free computer class, either in Spanish or English.
If you are approved, you will attend the said free 8-hour computer course and receive a free laptop. This great option aims to help low-income families with their education, communication, and overall potential. The world needs more communities like Riverside, CA.
6. Technology for the Future
Technology for the Future is a big advocate for getting computers in the hands of students. While the application process is not clear on their site, they have an email & phone number you can use to easily reach out and see what steps (and requirements) are needed to get a free laptop.
7. World Computer Exchange
This great organization directly helps people in developing countries or those unfortunate souls who have been hit by a natural disaster. Except for this, the only other thing you need is age limit, as you have to be younger than 24 years of age. Each computer they gift to people has Linux pre-installed, as well as their own content pack including agricultural, health, environmental, technology and much other educational contents. Go to their application page to fill in the documents if you are interested.
8. Salvation Army or Goodwill
Some Salvation Army chapters may get you a free laptop. This option is great if you happen to be in a tough financial situation, and cannot afford any other option. Except for Salvation Army, make sure to try the nearest Goodwill location for a similar form of help. They have helped many people, and they may be able to get you a free laptop.
9. Alliance for Technology Refurbishing and Reuse
This organization has made quite a useful map that can easily help you with the right connections to free computers near your location. They offer more than 75 locations around the USA, and all are clearly visible on their map. Some of them do not offer completely free laptops and charge some amounts. Still, it is worth checking out for a free model to help you in your life.
10. Everyone On
This is a non-profit organization, like most of the others on the list, which helps the low-income families and homes to connect themselves to the world of the internet. So far, they have connected more than 600,000 people to the internet, and they have started doing their amazing work in 2012. By next year, their goal is to help more than a million people in total. Contact them directly if you are interested.
Freecycle community has more than 9,000,000 members all around the world, and their goal is to save various things from being thrown away as garbage. They acquire them and pass them on to those in need. Laptops are of course some of the most sought after items they deal with. You will have to look for your local branch of Freecycle and check for any available laptops if you want to try their services. If they do not have any, it is possible to make a request.
12. Contests and Giveaways
Stuff like this is always a long shot, and it cannot really be planned for. There are many ongoing giveaways and contests with laptops as awards, and this is a great way to get a brand new machine completely free of charge. Stack Social tends to give away laptops for free, and pages and individuals on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram often share prizes with their followers. However, you should proceed with care, as these options are some of the most common scams possible.
13. Local Library
In most cases, your local library probably does not allow the users to take the computers to their homes. However, most of them have several computers that the members and citizens can use free of charge. This, of course, comes with free internet access because what is a computer without it today? This is not really a free computer or a laptop for yourself, but it can be extremely useful. You will probably need a library membership, which is usually completely free.
14. Local or State Department of Human Services
As of yet, no federal programs can connect low-income individuals with free laptop desktop computers. Thankfully though, local and state Department of Human Services can check if there are maybe ay potential programs or laptop grants currently active. Some local municipalities are in partnership with nonprofit organizations, and they can help you in getting your own free laptop.
15. Free Laptops for College Students
There are also some ways for college students to get free laptops, but for this, you often have to be a member of the faculty, university, or college in order to be eligible. This is, therefore, the best option for students who do not own a laptop but are starting a new school. You should check with your desired school if they have such options before applying. You will still pay tuition, but the laptop will be free.
16. Notebooks for Students
Notebooks for Students does not really give away fully free laptops to college students. However, they sell highly discounted laptops that come with a 4-year warranty specifically to students. If it is not free, the next best thing is a great discount, so this is a viable option.
17. Laptop Grants
Depending on the school you attend and what program you are in, you might be able to apply for certain laptop grants. You should get in touch with the financial aid department and ask them if they have any leads that might get you laptop grants.
Highly Discounted Laptops and Computers
If you cannot find a way to get a completely free laptop, or if you cannot try an organization from the list, you should try to look for laptops and computers with large discounts.
1. The Jump OnIt Foundation
We already mentioned The Jump OnIT Foundation, and this is the perfect alternative if you do not qualify for any free laptops available as part of the OnIt Foundation. Laptops here start at around $100 and have extra discounts for students, military personnel, and seniors.
2. PCS for People
PCs for People offers low cost laptops and desktops to people who are making use of the income government assistance programs, and who are 200% below the poverty line currently in force.
3. Computer Technology Assistance Corps (CTAC)
CTAC sells very affordable laptops and desktops on a cost-recovery basis, and in order to qualify for their offers, you have to fulfill several things. You must receive state or federal benefits like food stamps, be handicapped or disabled, or receive free or reduced school launches. Their laptops start at around $100, and desktop computers are $70 and up. You can apply on their website to check your options.
4. Internet Essentials
Internet Essentials offers users low-cost internet packages. However, once you are their customer, they have an option to supply you with affordable laptops that all come with Microsoft Office installed, as well as anti-virus software and a warranty. You need to be eligible, however, so check the conditions on their webpage.
5. Connect All
Connect All is based in Seattle and they have a physical store where you can go and shop. They supply affordable computers to non-profit organizations and low-income households. If you do not live in Seattle, they also offer free shipping on all orders that start at $129. All of their laptops and computers come with Microsoft Windows OS installed, as well as Microsoft Office.
6. Dell Refurbished
Dell refurbished web page offers great deals on all kinds of laptops. Although they are refurbished, some still have higher price tags than all of the other options on the list. If you are looking for a more powerful model that is still on a discount, try this suggestion as it can prove very useful.
Craigslist, as well as similar marketplace platforms, have everything to offer their customers. Naturally then, you are able to find some quality laptops and computers with affordable prices, sold by members of your community.
Lastly, we advise the auction giant website, eBay. For example, you can get a ThinkPad T420 from Lenovo, and many similar models by other brands, for between $100 and $150 on eBay. These are quite powerful machines as well, so for your shopping needs, maybe you should start with a website like eBay.
Spotting and Avoiding Free Laptop Scams
Remember that all of the suggestions we gave you are legitimate. However, you should always remain aware of potential scams with things like getting free stuff or big discounts. If you go to other sites that are not mentioned on the list, you must not fall for their scam attempts. Not only will you remain without a free laptop, but they will steal your valuable personal information.
In order to stay safe online, neve gives out your personal information, unless it is a trusty and a legitimate organization. Never type in the following information on suspicious websites:
Your email addresses and passwords, social security numbers, dates of birth, driver’s license numbers, and proves of financial aid.
Common Free Laptop Scams
Such scams come in many ways, of which the most common ones are fake surveys and instant win ads.
If you come face to face with a lengthy survey that tries to give you something and promises a free laptop, it is almost always a fake survey. These make money when you complete them, and they typically give you nothing, while asking for your personal info, especially credit card numbers.
Instant Winner Ads
Even if you are on a totally legitimate website, a fake winner might pop up, showing that you won something for free like a laptop or another electronic device. You will never win anything like this, as these are spam ads that try to take your information before they allegedly give you the prize.
What Can You Do?
In order to have a chance against scammers and not fall for it, you should always to these things before typing in anything.
Always look for reviews and ratings of these offers. Read the Terms and Conditions page before you proceed. Make sure nothing seems out of place or strange. Typos are huge indicators of fake prizes. Never type your info anywhere suspicious. Call the number if they offer one, to make sure someone picks up and talks to you, as scammers and fake pages usually never pick up.
These tips will not protect you if you do proceed to claim the “prize”. Therefore, remember them and believe that nobody will give you a free laptop out of nowhere, without you even looking.