The Laysan Albatross averages 81 cm (32 in) in length, weighs 2.4–4.1 kg (5.3–9.0 lb), and has a wingspan of 195–203 cm (77–80 in), with males being larger than females. This albatross has blackish-grey upperwing, mantle, back, upper rump, and tail, and their head, lower rump, and underparts are white. It has a black smudge around the eye, and its underwing pattern varies between individuals, with some having narrower black margins and variable amounts of black in the underwing coverts. Finally, their bill is pink with a dark tip. Juveniles have a grey bill and a dark upper rump. They do not have a breeding plumage.
The Laysan Albatross is usually easy to identify, in the North Pacific it is simple to separate from the other relatively common albatross, the all black Black-footed Albatross. It can be distinguished from the very rare Short-tailed Albatross by its all dark back and smaller size. The Laysan Albatross' plumage has been compared to that of a gull, two tone with a dark grey mantle and wings, and white underside and head.