Ever since remote and hybrid working became the norm, the checklist of items to take with you on any given day includes not only phone, keys and wallet but also a laptop. And while tucking everything into a generic tote bag might seem like a good idea, this can easily lead to damaged goods. The best laptop bags, by contrast, are specifically designed to safely store electronics and devices while on the go, as well as to make room for any other essentials.
By default, all laptop bags offer some standard functionalities: materials that protect your laptop from immediate damage, a size that matches that of your device and a laptop compartment with padding. Beyond that, look for features matched to your lifestyle. “When it comes to choosing a laptop bag, factor in what other purposes it needs to serve,” recommends New York-based personal stylist Caitlyn Brennan. Consider where you go with your laptop (different offices, airports), how you move (by bike, foot or car) and what you need to carry.
Sometimes, less is really more. For Matteo Galli, co-founder of hotel-tech startup UpsellGuru and frequent traveler, a great laptop bag is not just about what is has, but what it doesn’t have. “All I take with me is the laptop and little else, so I go for bags that are quite compact, as opposed to the bulkier ones with features I never use,” he says. To guide you in search of the best laptop bags, here’s an expert-approved selection that we highly recommend.
Best Laptop Bag Overall
An All-Rounder Backpack That Covers Almost Every Need
Best Affordable Laptop Bag
A Bag That Excels At Keeping It Simple
Best Expensive Laptop Bag
A Prestige Backpack That Combines Sophistication And Practicality
Best Laptop Bag For Traveling
An Unbeatable Backpack When It Comes To Journeys
Best Laptop Bag For Daily Commutes
A Stylish Bag To Fit What You Need In A Day
Best Laptop Bag For Cyclists
The Ultimate Messenger Bag To Cycle With
Best Laptop Bag For The Office
An Elegant Briefcase That Looks And Feels Extremely Professional
Best Sustainably-Made Laptop Bag
An Eco-Conscious And Colorful Laptop Pack
Best Laptop Bag For Cyber Security
A Backpack To Keep All Things Private
Best Convertible Laptop Bag
A Stylish Bag That Doubles As Tote And Backpack
What To Consider When Choosing The Best Laptop Bag
- Warranty: A laptop bag needs to be a trusty companion, and especially when you are buying one one the more expensive end, you want to make a good investment. When choosing, make sure the bag comes with some form of warranty. Brands in the mid-to-high range offer lifetime guarantees and, as our expert personal stylist Caitlyn Brennan explains, “they will do whatever they can to fix the item or replace it for you.” Limited lifetime guarantees, on the other hand, will protect you against manufacturer defects but not natural damage derived from its use.
- Padding: When it comes to padding, more is more. Brennan advises: “Oftentimes, lower-range bags will only have padding in the sleeves. If you set your bag down quickly, that can result in shock that causes shattered screens and shifted hard drives.” To prevent damage, look for a bag that offers padding on the bottom and the sides.
- Security features: Laptops should not only be protected from impact but also theft. Most laptop compartments are designed to prevent access by a third party but also consider other valuables you might want to safeguard, such as a passport, wallet or even intellectual property. Look for pockets specifically placed to be discreet and secure or more high-tech options, such the EMP (electromagnetic pulses) feature found on the Faraday Dry Bag Backpack, to “block out any electronic signals, which protect against hacking or people surreptitiously accessing your digital information,” says Brennan.
- Aesthetics: Many bags offer the possibility to add personal touches, which can also help you identify it. “Sometimes it’s small, like monogrammed initials on a luggage tag,” suggests Brennan, which can customize your laptop bag, depending on the colors or fonts you go for. “Hardware can also do this, with gold-tone zippers for example, and jump rings and zipper poles can really jazz up a plain black bag.” And while black will never be out of fashion, colors like beige, khaki, olive or light browns are neutral yet modern alternatives that help your laptop bag fit in well with your work wardrobe.