The 13 Best Laptop Bags to Buy in 2018

Make sure your laptop is protected when carrying it around

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The first thing any new laptop buyer should do is purchase some form of laptop protection such as a backpack, briefcase or messenger bag. After spending anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $1,000 or more on a new computer, keeping your computer safe is a must. But picking one-size-fits-all for every person’s style, body type and budget isn’t easy, but we’re highlighting some of the best picks in various categories that you’ll want to look at first when thinking about protecting your laptop. 

Best Overall: eBags Backpack

Attractive, comfortable and with a lifetime warranty, eBags laptop backpack is an excellent selection for a laptop carrying case that has plenty of bells and whistles. With a durable and tough twisted filament polyester exterior, plus DuPont Teflon fabric protection, the eBag offers a multitude of different compartments, including a crush-proof AC adapter garage and a zippered water bottle pocket. The padded laptop compartment can fit computers up to 15 inches in size with additional padding that can be removed to allow extra space to accommodate a 17-inch laptop if necessary. Also, a top-loaded tablet pocket with fleece-lining for automatic glass cleaning fits tablets up to 11.5 inches in height and 8.1 inches in width.

The inclusion of a top handle allows the eBag to easily convert from backpack to briefcase and back again just in case you want a more professional look every so often. Additionally, there’s a horizontal luggage pass-thru panel for easy hookup to a piece of luggage for easier transport in an airport. If you’re not using the eBag as a briefcase or connected to a suitcase and just as a regular backpack, the airmesh back panel offers exceptional support alongside padded straps and a removable shock-load sternum strap to help with added comfort in case of a heavy load.

Read more reviews of the best laptop backpacks available to purchase online.

Best 2-in-1: Solo Laptop Hybrid Briefcase Backpack

When you first take a look at the Solo Laptop Hybrid Briefcase Backpack you’re going to ask yourself, “is it a backpack or a messenger bag?” In this case, the answer is both and that’s a very, very good thing. This don’t-call-it-a-messenger-bag briefcase doubles as a backpack converting in seconds with the addition of both a shoulder strap as well as dual straps for backpack-style. The slim profile hides all the unique functionality that takes this Solo bag from briefcase/messenger bag to backpack and back again in seconds without sacrificing space, style or cost.

Composed of polyester, the Solo bag won’t scream water resistant but doesn’t skimp on protection with a padded pocket offering 360-degrees of protection for a laptop up to 15.6”. A secondary compartment holds a tablet and it has front zipper pockets to hold your smartphone, chargers, smaller gadgets and frequently used accessories. There’s not a ton of additional storage space and that helps the Solo bag maintain its profile as a briefcase/backpack and not the other way around. Still, there’s no question that there’s more than enough storage here to get you through the day and even weekend trips.

Best Backpack: Incase Icon Pack

Composed of 100 percent nylon, the one-size-fits-all Incase Icon Pack offers one interior zipper pocket and five exterior pockets. The sternum strap and padded shoulder straps help make the Icon comfortable to wear, even when it’s fully weighed down. When packed to the brim, the Icon still manages to look good. The bag’s frame holds steady no matter how much gear you’re carrying, something that could be a turnoff to some users who want a collapsed bag when not carrying everything. It’s a minor annoyance but a notable caveat for truly picky backpack aficionados. We also would have loved to see a water bottle compartment on the side. It’s an omission that is a little disappointing, but by no means a deal breaker.

Runner-Up, Best Backpack: The North Face Surge

The North Face is a brand that already offers consumers ruggedness and style, but their Surge backpack gives you that and a full-featured pack option for your computer. The FlexVent, material-injected straps are breathable and extra comfy for long trips, and if you pair that with the 500D Cordura nylon matte ripstop, you have a safe and posture-friendly strap system for whatever you’re carrying.

But what about the laptop pocket? North Face is calling this a lie-flat, fleece-lined pocket that will softly protect your device and maintain TSA-friendly access. Add that to a smaller, front-oriented, also-fleece-lined compartment for smaller gadgets and you have a tech-friendly backpack for any adventure. But it’s the main compartment that gives you the best bang for your buck, as it offers a much higher capacity and heavy-duty lining that will keep gym shoes, daypack clothes, water bottles, books, and more separate from your precious tech.

Best Premium: Tumi Alpha Bravo Anderson Slim Commuter Briefcase

Moving from a more basic option to a premium option in the laptop bag world can often come with sticker shock. And with the Tumi Alpha Bravo Anderson Slim Commuter Brief option, that’s very much the case. The premium material, the look, the feel and the Tumi reputation all make for a bag that’s well worth the price of admission. The design is both contemporary and casual, allowing it to play in both the office and the coffee shop. The ballistic nylon material is durable and feels completely solid giving off a true sense that this bag is premium and that you belong in the boardroom. The look is completed with metal hardware for the zippers, as well as accented leather details around various parts.

The carrying handle is a welcome addition and one that’s still not found on enough messenger bags. The padded shoulder strap makes for a comfortable hold even as you weigh the bag down with all day-to-day essentials. The lightly padded front pocket is perfect for “delicate essentials” according to Tumi, or a great place to store your phone in our eyes. There are dedicated pockets for a tablet, additional tech accessories and even pen loops, something we’ve long come to accept in bags. The zippered expansion option in the main pocket allows for additional storage with a quick stroke of the zipper and voila, more space! The dedicated padded laptop compartment is separate from the rest of the bag, keeping your computer separate and away from any potential bumps or bruises. And finally, the “add a bag” system from Tumi allows the bag to connect to other suitcases or travel bags for stacked convenience while moving through an airport.

Best Durability: Paramount 24L Daypack

Thule's a name known for toughness and the Paramount 24L Daypack is no exception. Constructed out of a durable 420D nylon material with a water-resistant finish, the Thule adds extra durability with "Safe Edge" protection that helps avoid any damage to bag contents when dropped or bumped. Additionally, a welded bottom panel provides enhanced protection against elements such as rain or snow. A protective slip pocket with soft interior lining supports and protects a top or zipper-based side-loading laptop and tablet compartment. Up to a 13-inch laptop can fit comfortably in the sleeve that sits between the back plate and main storage space of the bag itself. Ultimately, the top-loading, which results from uncurling the roll-top, is a big-time saver and doesn't require going through the main cavity, so you'll have quick access to your laptop.

Beyond the ultra-protective laptop and tablet protective sleeve, the Thule offers a slew of small sleeves and pouches all totaling 24 liters of space. There are two mini zipped storage compartments, two sleeves, a zip pouch that's ideal for sunglasses and a front pocket that's perfect for storing cables and the rest of your day-to-day gadgets. Carrying all this might have you worried about your back but the good news is that the ergonomics of the Thule are excellent with a sculpted back panel and mesh shoulder straps that are both breathable and comfortable.

Best Commuter Bag: Osprey FlapJack

With a modern look, water-resistant build and plenty of room for storage the Osprey FlapJack laptop backpack is a great option if you're a commuter. Ultimately, what sets the FlapJack apart from the crowd are the inclusion of reflective graphics and a blinker light attachment that come in handy when commuting in the evening. The front of the bag itself has small reflective squares that reflect brightly when a headlight is placed on them, but otherwise show as matte during the daytime.

Weighing just 2.01 pounds, the FlapJack is already lightweight and while it has plenty of storage, it never feels overwhelmingly heavy on your shoulders. The inside front pocket has some webbed pouches for storing smaller items such as laptop charger cords. The main section holds a laptop up to 15 inches with a protective shell of foam offering some of the best laptop protection against bumps or drops. Additional storage for a tablet and a host of zippered compartments on the front all make for a well-organized, commuter-friendly bag. Additionally, there’s a side water bottle pocket, as well as a lone zippered top pocket perfect for a smartphone. As an added bonus, the company offers a guarantee to repair any damage or defect free of charge for the life of the bag.

Best Style: Booq Cobra Squeeze

If you're looking for something a bit more stylish, check out the Booq Cobra Squeeze and its uniquely “curved” look. The design itself does require a little tradeoff in terms of total storage and capacity, but it does offer with a water-resistance, extra durable YKK zippers, as well as a dedicated serial number for lost bag recovery. Made from1680 denier ballistic polymer and a herringbone nylon interior, the Squeeze only weighs 2.2 pounds and can handle laptops up to 15 inches.

The padded shoulder straps curve inward, which make them hug the shoulders as opposed to the more common straight up and down straps. The two side compartments are both large and include a pocket inside for additional storage separation, plus zippered compartments in the main section. The main compartment itself is part of the unusual and eye-catching design that features a laptop sleeve, two pockets and a pen slot.

Best for Photographers: Peak Design Everyday Backpack

This 20L backpack from Peak Design exemplifies everything the brand aims for: versatility, style, and general ease of use. And this is as much a camera backpack as it is a laptop backpack. There are two separate, side-accessed compartments that can accommodate inserts to keep your lenses and camera gear protected. Plus there's a 15-inch laptop sleeve in the back, so you can use it as a daily work bag even when you aren't out shooting.

The Everyday Backpack has a top-mounted slip pocket, a key tether, side-oriented water bottle and tripod slots, a ton of little odds-and-ends compartments, a truly innovative and patent-pending MagLatch system to quickly open the bag, and way, way more. It’s also made with Hypalon-reinforced and bar-tacked stress points and a cotton-twill interior for a longer-lasting, more durable build. In short: it maintains a ton of storage while still looking sleek. Choose from three different color options: gray, tan, and black.

Best for Travelers: Incase EO Travel Backpack

Stylish, water-resistant, and carry-on-friendly, the Incase EO Travel Backpack is the gold standard for laptop owners on the go. It has a separate sleeve that can fit up to a 17-inch laptop for easy access during TSA screening or the middle of the flight. To help you stay organized at all stages of your travels, an inside slip pocket protects your tablet while additional pockets store chargers and cables, and side compression straps keep contents secure and stabilized. The main compartment can expand by 35 percent to accommodate your needs on longer trips, and the clamshell design allows it to open completely flat for easy packing. The shoulder straps are padded, the back features a breathable mesh, and a front sternum strap adds additional comfort. The slim design makes it easy to navigate crowds — it can even double as a gym bag when you’re stationed at home.

Best Briefcase: Solo Pro

Sometimes simple just works better and that’s why our vote for the best travel laptop bag goes to the Solo Pro. The Solo Pro has a feature that we wish every laptop bag offered: a separate compartment that can lay flat, allowing easy access to your laptop while traveling. Unfortunately, the laptop still has to be taken out of the bag but the quick access and lay flat feature are a comfort you never knew you wanted until you have it. The ballistic polyester material isn’t as eye-catching as leather or as beautiful, but it’s durable and belies the price tag for overall quality. Rest assured that while the price tag might have you thinking this bag belongs in the budget category, it feels more premium than the price would suggest.

There are compartments for laptops beginning at 14.1” up to 17.3”. The “clamshell checkfast design” is the real claim to fame and Solo believes this bag will “allow you to pass through airport security faster." Your mileage may vary, but the idea that Solo has built a bag with the traveler in mind paired with the wallet-friendly price has us instantly adding this to our Amazon wishlist. There’s also a front zippered pocket and front zip-down organizer for additional storage. Solo didn’t make this bag as a “carry everything,” but there’s enough storage for a business trip with a charger, tablet, some notebooks, magazine and your phone. There’s also a rear, ride-along feature for easy connection to a suitcase for consolidated travel.

Runner-Up, Best Briefcase: AmazonBasics

When you think about laptop bags, budget cost doesn’t necessarily have to mean budget protection. The AmazonBasics offers up a straightforward laptop bag that gives you everything you need without the inflated pricing. Yes, you’ll absolutely find higher-quality materials, additional storage options and perhaps even different colors if you jump into a higher pricing category, but that’s not the point with this purchase. The neoprene slim, compact case is available in a multitude of sizes fitting 11-inch, 13-inch or 15.6-inch laptops.

There’s enough storage for a laptop, tablet, mouse, charger, smartphone, pens and even a slim notebook. If it’s more storage you want, there’s a number of budget-friendly items that are available but even then you’ll have trouble matching Amazon’s incredibly low entry-level price point. The included shoulder strap is comfortable, if not too thinly padded but it’s more than cozy enough to get you through trips to the coffee shop and to and from the office. The padded protection inside will help prevent damage from any minor drops. However, if padding and protection are your mission, there are better options available. If you just want something bare-bones yet protective and backed by a name you trust, Amazon’s own laptop bag collection is a fantastic place to look. 

Best for Simplicity: Vangoddy NineO Messenger Bag

This bag is about as simple and basic as you can get for a messenger satchel, and honestly, that isn’t a bad thing at all. There are budget options out there, and this price point is right around as low as you can get, but the extra few bucks you can spend on this will get you just a bit more in features and style. At its core, the Vangoddy NineO is basically just a laptop sleeve, albeit with a bit more space.

The rugged side-carry handles have their own sleeves on the side of the bag, so you can stow them inside when not in use – giving you a sleeker, more professional look. The rubber shoulder strap can also be removed so, as it turns out, you can basically convert this thing into a sleeve if you want, which makes it pretty versatile. But, adding features and storage to the slim profile, there are a couple of additional pockets inside the bag for stashing notebooks, pens, tablets and more. The sleeve can accommodate up to a 15.6-inch laptop, so it comes in right in the middle of the pack in terms of size.

Finally, the hidden kicker feature is that there are small side-gaps in the main compartment that allow you to charge your laptop without taking it out of the bag. That’s a crucial feature for the business traveler who’s constantly having to juice up their device at the airport.

See more reviews of our favorite messenger bags available for purchase.​