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Best Mac Mini deals: Save over $100 on an Apple desktop

The Apple Mac Mini is a unique desktop computing option, as it comes in a small form factor that won’t take up much space on a desk. It’s also part of Apple’s new Apple Silicon lineup, which means newer models will pack quite a punch when it comes to performance. Apple’s popularity usually keeps its products from seeing substantial discounts, but we’ve found some out there. A couple could be considered some of the best Apple deals you’ll come across today. If you’re simply looking for a deal on a Mac, consider some iMac deals or MacBook deals, but if you’re sold on some savings for a pint-sized PC that fits within the Apple software ecosystem, read onward for the best Mac Mini deals worth shopping today.

Apple education pricing for new Macs and iPad — multiple price points

A close-up of the Apple logo on a 2020 M1 Mac Mini, with MacOS Monterey reflecting onto its surface.
Alex Blake/Digital Trends

Whether you’re a newly accepted college student, returning student, faculty, staff, or homeschooling teacher, of any grade level, Apple offers its education pricing program for discounted hardware rates. That means you can grab an Apple Mac Mini for great prices that won’t empty your wallet or bank account before the school year. A bevy of devices are included, not just the Mac Mini, such as MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, displays, and beyond.

Because the prices vary we haven’t included any here, but it’s definitely worth checking out of you’re on an academic path!

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2017 Mac Mini (renewed) — $170, was $290

2017 Apple Mac Mini product image.
Apple

Compared to more powerful hardware, this Mac Mini is fairly old now, yes, but that’s an excellent benefit of Apple’s devices — thanks to software updates they remain fresh and reliable. The 2017 Mac Mini makes an excellent little powerhouse for productivity work like whipping up documents from home, handling web-based activities — even banking — and much more. It’s powered by a 2.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of 1600MHz LPDDR3 RAM, Intel Iris graphics, and has a 1TB Fusion drive. It has been refurbished and is in “excellent condition” with no major signs of cosmetic damage.

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2019 Mac Mini (renewed) — $299, was $340

2019 Apple Mac Mini product image.
Apple

While a little more expensive, the 2019 Mac Mini is still quite capable today with specs that match quite a few modern systems, including most laptops. Tucked inside is a 3.0GHz Intel Core i7 4th-Gen processor, 16GB of DDR3 RAM, Intel Iris 5100 graphics, and a 256GB solid-state drive for fast and speedy storage. Two Thunderbolt ports offer speedy connections with peripherals and accessories, namely Apple’s other devices. This is Amazon Renewed in “excellent condition” with no major cosmetic defects, and it’s in fully working condition — it has been inspected, cleaned, and tested rigorously.

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2018 Mac Mini (renewed) — $330, was $420

2018 Apple Mac Mini in gray product image.
Apple

You may be wondering why the 2018 Mac Mini model is slightly more expensive than some of the others, and that’s because this one is a bit more of a powerhouse. That’s in no small part thanks to the 8th-Gen six-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of 2666MHz DDR4 RAM, Intel UHD Graphics 630, and ultrafast 512GB solid-state drive. It also features four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports, two more than usual, plus an HDMI 2.0, and two USB 3 ports. Gigabit Ethernet gives you the option of a speedy wired connection, or you can use the 802.11ac built-in WiFi connectivity to browse wirelessly. The dark grey design looks slick, too. This is an Amazon Renewed model being offered in “excellent condition” with little to no cosmetic defects. It has been tested, cleaned, and will arrive in fully working condition.

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Apple Mac Mini M1 (renewed) — $390, was $442

Apple Mac Mini M1 sitting on a desk.
Alex Blake/Digital Trends

The M1 Mac Mini is the first generation to feature Apple Silicon, and alongside the powerful M1 chip this build has 256GB of solid state storage capacity and 8GB of RAM. Apple software makes the most out of all of the hardware in every Mac, so while 8GB of RAM is a base configuration, it’s going to be enough for most people’s uses and in many cases will suffice for creative work and heavier workloads. You’ll find plenty of connectivity options on the back of the Mac Mini M1, including an HDMI port that ensures connectivity with a 4K monitor.

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Apple Mac Mini M2 — $499, was $599

A woman works at her desk on an Apple Mac Mini M2 computer.
Apple

This is one of the newest Mac Mini models on the market. It’s not often you find a deal on newer Apple products like this, which makes this Mac Mini all the more enticing. It comes with Apple’s M2 chip, which features an 8-core CPU and a 10-core GPU. This build sees the Mac Mini with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of solid state storage. This is, for the most part, an entry-level Mac Mini, but one of the huge draws of Apple’s M2 chip is its performance capabilities. Entry level Macs are now capable of doing much more than previous generations, including photo editing and other creative work.

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How to choose a Mac Mini

The aptly named Mac Mini is Apple’s pint-sized desktop computer. Small PCs such as this have been around for a while, but as an Apple device, the Mac Mini runs on MacOS rather than Windows — if you like the idea of a desktop computer but you want something with a small footprint, the Mac Mini is your best option if you favor Apple software.

Unlike the MacBook or the iMac, there is essentially only one model of the Mac Mini, although it is available in several different hardware configurations. Apple has kept this small desktop computer updated nicely over the years as well, so you also have some different model years to choose from (meaning that opting for a last-generation unit is often an easy way to save some cash if you aren’t picky about having the latest hardware).

The Mac Mini saw its most recent refresh in 202o; before that, it was updated in 2018, so these two model years are the ones you’ll see the most and the ones we recommend you spring for — any older than that and the hardware might feel a bit long in the tooth in 2020 for anything other than basic computing needs.

Despite its pared-down case, the Mac Mini boasts the same modern computer hardware as full-sized desktop towers as well as the same MacOS software that you get with iMacs and MacBooks. It also features very good thermal performance that keeps it running surprisingly cool under load (something that can be a problem with smaller computers). Note that Apple has added its awesome new M1 CPU to the 2020 Mac Mini lineup, which is well worth the upgrade in our opinion unless you’re on the tightest of budgets.

The most appealing feature of the Mac Mini for many buyers is its price. This tiny computer is far and away the cheapest entry point into the world of MacOS computing, with the latest entry-level 2020 models starting at a retail price of around $800 — Mac Mini deals like the ones above often let you score one for even less, and if you’re willing to opt for slightly older hardware, then the 2019 Mac Mini can be had for cheaper still.

The catch here is that the Mac Mini obviously doesn’t include a display or peripherals (namely a keyboard, a mouse, and speakers), unlike the iMac and MacBook. These add-ons will cost extra, but if you already have peripherals you can use — perhaps you’re just upgrading an old desktop tower — then the Mac Mini offers a lot of value and power in a small footprint. If not, however, then you might want to consider an iMac instead, as it could be a better bargain depending on your needs.