If you’re taking your laptop out of the house, a laptop bag is essential in keeping your fragile device in one piece. But there are many different styles of bags available for a range of different uses.
There’s no one laptop bag that will work for everybody. The bag that will work best for you will depends on your circumstances.
Do you often cycle to work? In that case, a laptop backpack or messenger bag will be the easiest and most comfortable to use—and water resistance will be crucial. On the other hand, if you mostly commute on the train or by walking, a lighter bag will be more beneficial.
Space is also important. Oftentimes you need to put more than just your laptop into the bag—you also need to fit other essentials in it. So not only do you need to make sure your laptop fits inside, but whatever else you may need when you head out. If bulk is a concern and you have a 13-inch or smaller laptop, you can get away with a smaller bag—and maybe save some money, too.
Finally, many bag manufacturers offer long-term warranties. Some are life-long, others last years. These protect you against manufacturer defects and can provide excellent value for money if you’re going to be using your bag every day.
If you already have a bag you want to use that’s not built to carry a laptop, consider a laptop sleeve instead. These offer additional protection while still being light, and come in a variety of weights from thin stretchy shells to durable plastic covers.
Now, let’s get into our recommendations.
Best Laptop Backpack: Timbuk2 Lane Commuter
- ✓ Water resistant design for any weather
- ✓ Right-sized bag offers portability and enough space for a 15-inch laptop
- ✓ Reflective panels for safety
- ✓ Lifetime warranty
- ✗ A bit small for longer trips
- ✗ Pricey for a bag of this size
- ✗ Only two colors available
The Timbuk2 Lane Commuter is a great choice for anyone who needs something durable, weather-proof, and stylish for carrying their laptop over the long term. Available in Granite and Jet Black with reflective front paneling and shoulder straps, this laptop bag is perfect whether you ride, walk, or take public transport.
The Lan Commuter also boasts three safeguards against the elements—a durable outer layer, an “ultra-water-resistant” interior drop liner, and a removable outer cover for added protection against particularly heavy rain.
In terms of room, there are around 18 liters of internal space and a pouch designed to accommodate laptops up to 15-inches. The mesh padding on the back of the bag should help promote airflow to keep your back cool even in hot weather.
There’s also a secure strap at the front to keep straps securely in place, and side pouches to accommodate modestly-sized water bottles, a small tripod, or anything else you don’t fancy putting inside of the bag.
Timbuk2 offers a lifetime warranty on the bag, so you can be sure your investment will last—or be eligible for free repairs and replacements.
If you’d rather save some money and trade weatherproofing for a bit of extra space, the Thule 15″ Crossover 25L ups storage by 7 liters and includes a wider array of compartments for storing cables, books, and more.
Timbuk2 Lane Commuter
The Timbuk2 Lane Commuter is comfortable, compact, and weather-tight for transporting your laptop around town in any weather. It features 18 liters of space and reflective panels to ensure you stand out in the dark, plus it's backed by a lifetime warranty.
Best Budget Laptop Bag: Matein Travel Laptop Backpack
- ✓ Cheap and cheerful laptop protection for less than $50
- ✓ Extra features like upright luggage straps and a USB charging port
- ✓ Available in a range of colors
- ✗ Probably not built to last
- ✗ Water resistance shouldn't be relied upon
- ✗ Might be a bit bulky for some tastes
The Matein Travel Laptop Backpack is one of the most popular laptops bags on Amazon for less than $50. It’s a no-nonsense laptop backpack at a price point that’s hard to argue with, even on the strictest of budgets. Matein’s bag likely won’t last you as long as some of the other picks on this list, and it lacks a lifetime warranty and brand-name recognition, but it’ll get the job done.
This cheap laptop bag can accommodate a 15.6-inch laptop in a dedicated compartment at the back. It also features a large additional compartment in the middle that’s perfect for tablets and books and a smaller front pocket for smartphones and pens.
There are a few other nice-to-have features like padded straps, a luggage strap for sliding over a suitcase handle and staying put, and a USB charging port for keeping your gadgets juiced up on the go.
We’d take promises of water resistance with a big grain of salt given the price point, but that’s a problem you can mitigate with a removable rain cover and some water repellent proofer. But really, you can’t beat this laptop bag at this price point.
Matein Travel Laptop Backpack
Matein's Travel Laptop Backpack does exactly what it says on the tin at a price point that's hard to complain about.
Best Laptop Messenger Bag: Chrome Industries Citizen
- ✓ Your choice of crossbody or shoulder sling styles
- ✓ Signature seatbelt buckle with integrated bottle opener
- ✓ Large laptop compartment for up to 17-inch designs
- ✓ Waterproof design and durable outer nylon
- ✗ May be a bit large for smaller laptop owners
- ✗ Messenger style not to everyone's tastes
If you prefer a messenger bag, the Chrome Industries Citizen is a tried and tested carry-all. You can use it in two ways, with a crossbody design that holds the bag in a better position for cyclists, or the more traditional shoulder design for walking around town.
The bag also features Chrome’s seat belt buckle, a hangover from the original decades-old design that used salvaged buckles from junkyards. This buckle even includes a bottle opener, because who knows when you might get thirsty on your commute? The strap itself has a reflective strip for better visibility, perfect for cyclists and those that need to commute in the dark.
The outer shell is made of durable nylon, with a waterproof liner on the inside for keeping the contents dry. The Citizen has room for a 17-inch laptop inside plus additional pouches and compartments for smartphones, tablets, books, and pens for a total of 24 liters total capacity.
Chrome Industries Citizen
The Chrome Industries Citizen Messenger Bag safely accommodates up to a 17-inch laptop in the crossbody and shoulder sling configurations, with a reflective strip, waterproof liner, and plenty of room for chargers and other gadgets.
Best Laptop Tote Bag: Dagne Dover Vida Cotton Tote
- ✓ 100% organic cotton canvas, hand-washable
- ✓ Stylish unisex design in two colors
- ✓ Can fit a 16 and 13-inch laptop depending on the size
- ✓ Lots of compartments for organization
- ✗ Expensive for a tote
- ✗ No waterproofing to speak of
Not everyone needs a backpack or shoulder bag for getting to work. Tote bags are surprisingly comfortable, stylish, and great for carrying more than just a laptop and your charger. The Dagne Dover Vida Cotton Tote is one of the best examples of its kind, built entirely from durable organic cotton canvas.
The bag is available in two sizes, with the large version capable of accomodating a 16-inch laptop and the small designed with a 13-inch model in mind. The bag has both carry handles and a shoulder strap and is available in black (Onyx) and off-white (Core). The interior lining can be wiped clean, and the whole bag can be hand washed in cold water and soap due to its cotton construction.
Inside there’s a velcro slip pocket for your laptop, a zipped compartment to keep other valuables safe, and an array of side pockets and compartments for everything else. The large tote has a capacity of 27.6 liters, while the smaller bag manages a respectable 14.1 liters.
If you’re looking for something a little easier on the wallet, take a look at Carhartt’s North/South tote. The bag sports a unisex design, a large interior that should accommodate a 15-inch laptop, and is made of water-repellent nylon to help keep the interior dry in a shower.
Dagne Dover Vida Cotton Tote
Made from 100% organic cotton, the Vida Cotton Tote is a stylish and durable canvas carryall that’s available in two sizes for 16 and 13-inch laptop models.
Best Laptop Sleeve: Thule Briefcase
- ✓ Tough shell withstands bumps and drops
- ✓ Sturdy zipper and ample padding
- ✓ Limited lifetime warranty
- ✗ May be a bit big for some tastes
- ✗ Limited sizing options available (consider waiting for an update)
The Thule Briefcase is a padded laptop sleeve that’s designed with laptop preservation in mind. It might be a little heavy-duty for some people, but it also provides you with the peace of mind to throw your laptop into just about any bag. It’s sized to fit everything from a 16-inch MacBook Pro to a 14-inch Windows laptop comfortably.
The Briefcase has a rigid exterior with plenty of padding to protect the lid and underside of your computer while in transit. Thule added extra padding to the corners to protect against bumps and drops, with a chunky zip to hold the whole thing together.
If you don’t need something quite as bomb-proof as Thule’s offering, consider a lighter weight sleeve like the tomtoc Recycled Laptop Sleeve instead. It’s built from recycled material and available in a range of fabrics and sizes, and it’s much lighter than the Briefcase to boot.
A seriously sturdy laptop sleeve from Swedish manufacturer Thule should give you the confidence to throw your laptop into most bags.