Dell makes some of the very best Windows laptops money can buy. From the Alienware gaming machines to the incredible XPS 13 and XPS 15 and beyond, there's a lot to choose from. But laptops like these are also very pricey. Not wanting to spend thousands shouldn't exclude you from having a great laptop, and in the case of Dell, you can get something good for under $500.

Affordable convertible

Dell Inspiron 11 3000 2-in-1

This little 2-in-1 is a highly-portable laptop with just an 11-inch 1366 x 768 resolution display that folds around to be used either as a tablet or to be propped up when you want to watch a movie. The entry-level model comes with 32GB of eMMC storage and 4GB of RAM. At the high end that becomes 8GB of RAM and a 128GB solid-state drive (SSD), and it's worth spending a little more because the HDD models come with an incredibly slow 5400 rpm drive.

From $270 at Dell

Workhorse

Dell Inspiron 14 3000

All configurations of the Inspiron 14 3000 are really affordable but well built laptops. You get 4GB of RAM, 32GB of eMMC storage, a 14-inch 1366 x 768 resolution display and an Intel Celeron processor. If you want something a little bigger, there's a 15-inch model also available with AMD processors and a 1TB hard-disk drive (HDD) for around $350.

From $230 at Dell

Great for kids

Dell Inspiron 11 3180

The Inspiron 11 3180 is a good choice if you're hunting for a laptop for the little ones in your life. Not only does it look fun with its wild blue paint job, but it's compact, affordable and most of all, durable. You get excellent battery life, a decent 11-inch 1366 x 768 resolution display and a robust build quality that can take the kind of abuse kids deal out. And at 11 inches, it'll fit in their bag just great for the trips to and from school. The latest versions have all switched to AMD processors, with 32GB of storage and 4GB of RAM.

From $180 at Dell