If you are thinking of purchasing a laptop for your small business needs, you’re probably asking yourself a lot of questions. The choices can seem endless and costs vary widely. One way to get great answers is to ask a small business computer support professional.

The first question to answer when buying a laptop computer for your business to whether or not you want a business laptop or a consumer laptop. They both can access the Internet, allow for word processing and support remote telecommuting options. But what are the differences? A consumer laptop may be more affordable, but what is the long-term price of buying cheap?

While all computers, including laptops, now come in a sweeping variety of options and prices, knowing the specifications you’re looking for will help narrow down your choices. Cheaper consumer laptops usually come with a built-in video camera, microphone and a bundled speaker system. While this may work for VoIP phones and conferencing, it often supports low-resolution leading to poor quality. In addition, a consumer laptop will have a variety of different choices for memory, RAM and other specifications, but its system is often weak for a heavy load of business software. So while a consumer laptop may make a good choice for students, it doesn’t make a great choice for businesses and professionals.

Business laptops, while a bit more expensive offer a variety of features that will suit a growing business. As a business grows, computing needs will grow as well which is why business laptops feature expansion options. Users can install swappable drive bays, docking stations and more to make business computing easier. In addition, a business laptop typically comes with longer warranties, which include same day or next day on-site repair. A warranty for a business laptop usually lasts for three years, much more than the one year warranty you get with a consumer laptop. Business laptops also feature superior hardware, build to order options and built-in 3G and 4G Internet access. Lastly, business laptops feature much better security software with hard drive encryption, finger print readers and facial recognition options available.

While a consumer laptop may seem to be a good choice, it’s likely a waste of money. A business laptop will run more efficiently, features improved security options and of course comes with more RAM and memory to ensure smooth computing, even with a host of programs running at once. If you’re in the market for a new business laptop, do your research and find one that suits you best.