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Best Desktop Computers of 2018

CR's top-rated desktops from Apple, HP, and Lenovo deliver performance at a range of prices

All-in-one desktop computer being used in a casual office setting.

Desktop computers aren't as popular as laptops, but they're still important tools for many consumers. Compared with similarly priced laptops, desktop computers are often more powerful, come with more storage, and are easier to upgrade. And they often are used with bigger displays.

“When I want to sit and do my bills, I use my desktop,” says Richard Fisco, an electronics testing manager at Consumer Reports. “I don’t have to—I have a laptop sitting at my kitchen table—but my wife and I will go through a big spreadsheet together and do our banking on our desktop.”

At Consumer Reports, we group the desktop computers we test into three categories: full-size, compact, and all-in-one.

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Full-size desktops are typically towers that take up a lot of space, and are easy to upgrade with additional memory, storage, and other components. Compact desktops require less room, but you may not be able to upgrade them much. For instance, the tiny Apple Mac Mini does very well in our tests, but the only component that can be upgraded is the memory—and doing so is complicated. 

Full-size and compact desktops don’t always include a monitor, mouse, and keyboard.

By contrast, all-in-one desktops resemble a computer monitor, with the internal components located behind the display. All-in-ones also tend to have a sleek design with small bezels surrounding the monitor.

More details on these categories, along with lots of shopping advice for both laptops and desktops, can be found in CR's Computer Buying Guide

Below you’ll find CR's highest-rated desktops in each of the three categories.

All-In-One Desktops

Apple 27-Inch iMac
Apple helped popularize all-in-one form desktops back in 1998 with the release of the first iMac. Today, the most recently updated iMac ($1,700) is still the highest-rated all-in-one desktop computer in our ratings despite being released in June 2017. The computer has midrange specs by today's standards—a previous-generation quad-core Intel Core i5, 8GB of memory, and 32GB of solid state storage as well as a 1 terabyte hard drive. But most consumers don't need more speed and power. One big attraction here is the 5K display, which measures 5120 x 2880 pixels. In addition to seeing rich detail in 4K movies, you'll find it easier to edit hi-res photos or video. 

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