March 2023 update. Because this guide has remained popular over the years, I've updated it for 2023, as the previous picks in 2018 were, to say the least, out of date.

In the Post-Snowden era of technological surveillance, there is an increasing desire to regain a sense of privacy. TAILS, short for The Amnesic Incognito Live System, is a Linux-based operating system that runs off a flash drive or CD/DVD. One of the benefits of using Linux is that it has relatively low system requirements, so when searching for the best laptop for TAILS, you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank! First, I’ll help you understand what system requirements are needed to run TAILS, and then I’ll show you seven of the best laptops for TAILS.

Official Requirements

As mentioned earlier, Linux usually requires little in the way of system requirements. The specific requirements to run TAILS are simple: a way to boot TAILS (i.e. a flash drive), an x86 processor, and at least 2GB RAM. Virtually every laptop will let you boot from a flash drive or CD/DVD and most consumer laptops will use x86–stay away from anything with an ARM processor. Don't let the technical jargon bug you, as all of the laptops I recommend here are entirely compatible with TAILS.


The main requirement we'll look for when searching for a laptop for TAILS is RAM (memory). TAILS is unlike traditional operating systems–instead of installing it to your hard drive, it runs off an external disk and loads the entire OS into RAM! This means that your memory is used to hold an entire system as well as all your application data. I wouldn't recommend less than 2GB ram for running TAILS smoothly, especially if you'll have multiple browser tabs open and using more than one application at a time.


A system with 2GB+ RAM will give you the smoothest experience with TAILS. Since almost all laptops have at least 4GB – you can rest assured it won't be a problem. But if you want to use Windows on the same machine – go for 8 GB.

Battery & Portability

The best laptop for TAILS is one that is easy to travel with and doesn't need to be plugged in constantly. It can be a struggle to find an outlet when you're using public WiFi, and if you're communicating privately while using TAILS nothing is worse than being cut off in the middle of your task because of poor battery life! It's easy to find a laptop with good battery life for TAILS since the requirements are fairly low.

Given the very nature of TAILS, chances are you'll want to use this laptop at a coffee shop or library or somewhere with public wifi. This will help you stay anonymous, but no one wants to lug around a 7lb laptop! Since you'll be using this laptop for TAILS you won't need the performance of say, a gaming laptop, which are often large, heavy, and cumbersome to travel with.


Since TAILS runs off an external disk you probably won't need much storage. You could use the internal disk for encrypted storage, if you choose. TAILS allows you to create a persistent, encrypted storage volume on the free space left on your USB drive. Will you be using this laptop to run another OS besides TAILS? If so you'll want a bigger hard drive to use for your normal day-to-day usage.

If you'll be using any sort of peripherals–a USB mouse, external hard drive, camera, or WiFi card–you'll need enough USB ports to accommodate your other devices. TAILS will take up one USB port when running, so plan accordingly. **USB 3.0 ports are preferable to USB 2.0 ports.

**You may want to consider how old your flash drives are, as newer USB 3.0 drives provide much better performance. Since TAILS can be run off a flash drive you should keep in mind you'll have a much better experience using a quality USB 3.0 drive.


This area is less important, depending on your needs. If you'll only be browsing the web, using email, or similar tasks you could get along with an Intel Atom/Pentium or Celeron processor. However, if you will be doing more demanding tasks such as compiling code, running multiple apps or keeping 10+ tabs open, you'll want to consider an Intel i3 processor at minimum. An Intel i7 or Ryzen 7 CPU will provide you with a flawless experience. If you're looking for best performance – look for H-series processors and if you'd rather prioritize battery life – look for a U-series chip.


TAILS will run fine on Intel integrated graphics. There's no need for anything faster unless you'll be booting another OS on the laptop's internal disk.


If you intend to play games (for example, via dual boot Windows) you will want a better graphics card than the integrated one. Otherwise, integrated graphics are fine and often cheaper.

Tips for TAILS

What types of items should I look for when I'm shopping for a new laptop?

It depends on your budget and needs. Generally speaking, a higher budget will allow you to get more powerful hardware, more storage, and a better display. At the minimum, you'll want a processor that can handle the tasks you need to accomplish, enough RAM to allow for multitasking, a good battery life, and sufficient storage. At the medium level, you can get a better display, faster processor, more RAM and storage, and better battery life. Finally, at the maximum level, you'll be able to get the best performance and features in the market.

What is the current market situation with regards to laptops?

The laptop market is highly competitive, with lots of good options available at different price points. Prices are continuing to decrease as technology improves and prices become more competitive. There is something to suit every budget and needs. That said, it's important to do your research to ensure you get the best value for your money.

Can I still find a good laptop if I'm on a tight budget?

Absolutely! While there will be some compromises, you can still find a great laptop that won't break the bank. You'll want to make sure you get a laptop that meets your basic needs and comes with enough RAM, storage and battery life. We'd also recommend looking into laptops with 11th-generation Intel or AMD Ryzen processors, as they offer good performance for the money. Have a look at our recommendations for laptops in different price ranges.

7 Best Laptops for Tails

Ryzen 3 5300U | Radeon RX Vega 6 [Ryzen 4000/5000] | 4 GB RAM | 128 GB SSD | 14″ IPS Touch; 1920x1080 |

1.Lenovo Ideapad Flex 5

Versatile, Secure, and Great Value for Money
  • Long battery life
  • High level of security with camera shutter, TPM 2.0, and fingerprint reader
  • USB-C PD and proprietary port for power supply
  • Easy to open case
  • Dim display
  • Low color-space coverage
  • Poor webcam quality
  • Loud fan under high load
Ryzen 5 5500U | MX450 | 8 GB RAM | 512 GB SSD | 14″ IPS; 1920x1080 |

2.ASUS Zenbook

Sleek Design, Great Performance, and Long Battery Life
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Bright and matte display
  • Fast processor and multitasking capabilities
  • Good battery life and battery capacity
  • Non-expandable RAM
  • No touch sensor or touchscreen options
  • Weak Wi-Fi connections
  • Few ports available
i7-1195G7 | Iris Xe Graphics G7 96EUs | 16 GB RAM | 1024 GB SSD | 14″ IPS; 3840x2160 |

3.Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 9i

A Slim and Light Laptop with Great Features and Room for Improvement
  • Bright touchscreen
  • Lightweight and portable design
  • Good GPU performance and battery life
  • Thunderbolt 4 ports
  • Low end-user upgradability
  • No integrated ports
  • Weak key feedback
  • Sub-optimal clickpad
Ryzen 7 6800H | RTX 3060 | 32 GB RAM | 2000 GB SSD | 16″ IPS HDR G-Sync; 2560x1600 |

4.Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

Mid-range laptop for Tails and dual-boot gaming
  • 165 Hz 16:10 IPS display for great visuals
  • Easy to service for repairs or upgrades
  • Integrated numpad for convenience
  • Fast charging for less downtime
  • Low resolution webcam
  • Heats up when running heavy applications
  • Uneven backlight bleeding
  • Average battery life
i7-1280P | Iris Xe Graphics | 32 GB RAM | 2000 GB SSD | 14″ IPS Touch; 1920x1200 |

5.Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Flawless Quality with Moderate Performance and Battery Life
  • Robust build quality and durable chassis
  • Low-power display with matte finish
  • Upgradable WiFi 6E 4G connection
  • Wide range of legacy ports
  • Not suitable for heavy computing
  • Limited battery life compared to predecessor
  • High latency issues with some applications
  • Soldered RAM limits upgradeability
Ryzen 9 5900HX | Radeon RX 6800M | 64 GB RAM | 4000 GB SSD | 15.6″ IPS G-Sync; 1920x1080 |

6.ASUS ROG Strix G15

Stylish and Powerful with Considerable Connectivity Limitations
  • Exceptionally powerful processing capabilities
  • Robust construction and modern design
  • Excellent display and user-friendly maintenance
  • Responsive input devices
  • Poor connectivity options
  • Possibility of coil whine in specific use cases
i7-1280P | Iris Xe Graphics | 32 GB RAM | 2000 GB SSD | 14″ IPS Touch; 1920x1200 |

7.Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Sturdy and Feature-Packed Laptop at a Price
  • High-end build quality
  • Plenty of ports, including 4G and Wi-Fi 6E
  • Comfortable input devices
  • Improved webcam
  • No SD card slot
  • Screen brightness not as high as expected
  • Performance under sustained load could be better

Table of the Best Laptops for Tails

LaptopPrice (approx)
Lenovo Ideapad Flex 5
ASUS Zenbook
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 9i
Lenovo Legion 5 Pro
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
ASUS ROG Strix G15
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

5 thoughts on “7 Most Secure Laptops for Tails OS in 2023 (March update)

  1. GREAT POST!!!

    As an FYI, I’ve found that Tails 3.x works flawlessly on a $125 Intel Compute Stick.

    1. Created a Tails instance on a MicroSD using my Mac.
    2. Booted to that instance to clone Tails onto a SanDisk USB stick.
    3. Plugged USB stick into the Intel Compute Stick (along with another USB dongle for the Logitech K400 wireless keyboard/mouse combo).
    4. Booted to Tails on the USB stick and wiped Windows from the Intel Compute Stick.

    Now I can plug the Intel Compute Stick into any HDMI port, and after the device will automatically boot right into Tails. Fully anonymous and secure. :)


  2. So i have read…. If possible choose one that has not windows 8 or 10 installed because they are more likely to cause issues than the ones with older windows versions or no OS at all.
    If i buy the last 2 laptops that have 8 and 12 gb of ram i can use the windows 10 OS it comes with plus another OS like tails! Will it give me any problems trying too download tails on the windows 10 OS?… I would like too download and install tails off the laptop i buy

    1. Mabey a typo?.. Tails website says. Tails works on most reasonably recent computers, say manufactured after 2008. Here is a detailed list of requirements
      Either an internal or external DVD reader or the possibility to boot from a USB stick.
      Tails requires a 64-bit x86-64 compatible processor: IBM PC compatible and others but not PowerPC nor ARM. Mac computers are IBM PC compatible since 2006. Tails does not run on most tablets and phones.
      2 GB of RAM to work smoothly. Tails is known to work with less memory but you might experience strange behaviours or crashes. I would like too know #4 and #5 laptops will i be able too dowbload and install from those cumputers… I know the first 3 laptops i would have too download tails off another laptop save it to a usb and run tails off the usb on the new laptop… I want too be able too download and install tails on the same laptop will #4 and 5 work with windows 10 as the operating system?

  3. My Lenovo Ideapad 310 has an AMD A9 procesor, R5.5, 8 GB Ram, and doesn’t run Tails at all. “Error starting GDM with your graphics card” . That’s all. And Tails doesn’t have any answer for this in the “known issues” list yet. (only for AMD R9 and HD grafic cards). So, since the Lenovo Ideapad is in your list, I suggest for those are interested in this model, to be sure it comes with Intel instead of AMD proccesor and integrated GC. Thanks!.

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