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
Laptop Size: Up to 17 inches | Material: Polyester | Colors: Brushed graphite, heathered graphite, solid black | Warranty: Limited lifetime
With its multiple compartments and significant padding, this bag allows for excellent organization. It’s also lightweight and has a minimal aesthetic that fits different styles and environments. The handles are ergonomic and versatile, making it a good companion for daily commutes to airplane travel. Also great: It’s on the affordable end.
Cons: The zipper of the compartments opens on top and on one side, which means total accessibility is somehow limited, and some users have noted that the size of the water bottle compartment is too small.
Laptop Size: Up to 15.6 inches | Material: Nylon, PU | Colors: Gray | Warranty: Limited lifetime
This backpack presents all the fundamental features one would expect from a great laptop bag, such as thoughtful padding, highly organized compartments and a trolley strap at a much more affordable cost. Its lightweight, water-resistant materials ensure durability, and while simple in its design, it’s elegant for classic office environments.
Cons: Its limited size doesn’t allow carrying multiple extra items.
Other Styles: If you prefer a briefcase rather than a backpack, the Classic Slim Briefcase is a Targus bestseller.
Best Expensive Laptop Bag
A Prestige Backpack That Combines Sophistication And Practicality
Laptop Size: Up to 15.6 inches | Material: Ballistic nylon with genuine top-grain leather accents | Colors: Black or blue | Warranty: Lifetime guarantee
This bag combines a luxurious aesthetic with high-tech features to enhance device protection and ergonomics. For instance, its RIFD blocking system and concealed ID card, among other features, make it highly safe for traveling. While beautiful on the outside, the bag has plenty of space inside to organize items. With its top-notch materials and a lifetime guarantee, this bag might never need replacing.
Cons: The size of the water bottle compartment has been deemed too small by some users, and its design might be too traditional for fashion-forward types.
Laptop Size: Up to 16 inches | Material: 1680D Cordura ballistic nylon | Colors: Black or heather gray | Warranty: Lifetime
With a capacity of 35 liters and a sophisticated compartment system, this bag lets you efficiently carry everything you need for an extended trip while keeping things compact and organized. Its versatile handle and strap system and easy-access pockets facilitate moving around and getting items quickly in airports, for instance. The high-end, qualitative materials protect your laptop and other belongings from damage and theft.
Cons: Its price is on the more expensive end of the scale, and for some users, it might take a while to understand and appreciate all the technical features.
Other Styles: For a similar option geared to daily life, look at Fit, which is also more affordable.
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Best Laptop Bag For Daily Commutes
A Stylish Bag To Fit What You Need In A Day
This bag is also available from Backcountry for $195 or in a smaller size for $180.
Laptop Size: Up to 15 inches | Material: Cotton canvas and vegetable-tanned leather details | Colors: Gray, black, rust, sage green, dark blue, forest or goose beak | Warranty: Two years warranty against all manufacturing defects
This bag’s retro design comes in multiple colors and fits everywhere from traditional to creative workplaces, a feature Matteo Galli appreciates to avoid “the de facto consultant look.” Thanks to its strap system, which can be attached to the sternum, it’s ergonomic for different commutes, including cycling, and it’s also water-resistant despite its delicate appearance. The bag’s capacity offers enough possibilities to keep a bunch of items inside, but when carrying fewer items it won’t seem bulky.
Cons: It’s on the more expensive end of the scale, and the design doesn’t offer features that facilitate airport travel, which makes it less versatile for scenarios outside the daily commute.
Laptop Size: Up to 17 inches | Material: Nylon and TPE Tarp | Colors: Black (in different variations), smoke, olive, and more | Warranty: Lifetime
Chrome’s signature strap system and belt buckle ensure this bag is comfortable and secure when cycling while allowing very easy access to the compartments. Being made out of nylon and a tarp liner, it also proves to be incredibly waterproof. Its multiple color offering scratches the aesthetic itch. “I love this option. Chrome bags are pretty timeless but also have style, and are really durable,” says personal stylist Caitlyn Brennan.
Cons: This bag is not specifically designed to carry a laptop, so using a laptop sleeve is recommended. And additional useful features, such as a phone pouch or compartment organizer, must be purchased separately.
An Elegant Briefcase That Looks And Feels Extremely Professional
Laptop Size: Up to 14 inches | Material: Full grain leather | Colors: Black or dark navy blazer | Warranty: None but Knomo will help troubleshoot any issues
It’s hard to beat the refined look and feel of this bag crafted with a minimal aesthetic and full grain leather. The thoughtful design of the pockets and main compartments provide excellent organization, and the shoulder strap and trolley sleeve allow for different carrying possibilities when working on the go.
Cons: The briefcase only fits laptops up to 14 inches, and depending on your needs, it could be too small overall if you tend to carry a lot.
Other Styles: The brand’s Grosvenor Place model is another quality, high-end tote bag that’s specifically designed to carry laptops.
Laptop Size: Up to 15 inches | Material: G-1000 HeavyDuty Eco S in recycled polyester and organic cotton | Colors: Coast line-sky, poppy fields-cotton sky or landsort | Warranty: None but Fjällräven will help troubleshoot any issues
This bag has all the great features of the classic Fjällräven laptop bags, such as a seat pad, a separate laptop compartment, and space to carry water bottles. It’s also a conscious choice, made of recycled polyester and organic cotton and is a limited edition designed by photographer and colorist Tekla Severin.
Cons: Its basic pocket organization is not the best for those who prefer to compartmentalize. While ergonomic, it doesn’t offer any extra features to carry the bag for longer periods (such as a sternum strap) or travel with it (such as a trolley sleeve or strap).
Other Styles: For those who prefer a monochrome backpack, check the classic Kånken Laptop. For versatility, the Kånken Totepack doubles as backpack and tote.
Best Laptop Bag For Cyber Security
A Backpack To Keep All Things Private
Laptop Size: Up to 16 inches | Material: Tarp, Cyber NC fabric | Colors: Black | Warranty: One year
This bag is designed to protect your belongings cybernetically, which means that signals are blocked from going in and out of it. “It essentially protects you against hacking, for example, or people surreptitiously accessing your digital information,” says Brennan. Anyone carrying sensitive information or intellectual property will benefit from this feature. It’s also highly water-resistant, thanks to the tarp exterior material. And despite its highly specialized tech features, the bag’s design remains sleek and universal.
Cons: Its interior doesn’t offer much compartment organization or have a specific laptop compartment. It’s also rather bulky, so it might not be the best for simple daily commutes.
Best Convertible Laptop Bag
A Stylish Bag That Doubles As Tote And Backpack
This bag is also available on Amazon for $189 and Nordstrom for $179 (limestone color only).
Laptop Size: Up to 15 inches | Material: Nylon, polyester | Colors: Basalt, bronze, limestone, navy or midnight | Warranty: Three years
Being both a tote and a backpack, this bag seamlessly transitions from the subway to the car, a café or a meeting, while always keeping things practical. The straps can be tucked away when using it as a tote, and the pockets and compartments are cleverly organized without looking like an exceedingly big bag. Everything from the materials to the colors are very stylish, making it a great fashion accessory.
Cons: The water bottle compartment is inside, a feature that some users regret. And it has limited capacity so it might not be the right bag to carry too many things.
Other Styles: If you need to carry a bunch of items with you, Bellroy’s Transit Workpack has ample capacity.
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.
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