The 8 Best Laptop Bags, Tested by Lifewire

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When you're leaving home, the office, or school with your laptop, you need a bag that safely transports it and other personal items. And there are tons of bag options available for all sizes and lifestyle preferences.

The best laptop bag is one that's comfortable, durable, and has enough storage space for all your devices and daily needs. Most come with various pockets, allowing you to fit a laptop and a notebook, battery pack, pens, water bottles, and cables. For those who travel a lot, there are also rolling laptop bags. For most people, the Incase ICON Backpack is a great overall pick. It's durable, has comfortable straps, and plenty of pockets for storing your essentials.

Our experts tested products from Incase, Solo, and more to find the best laptop bags for you. Here are our picks.

Best Overall: Incase ICON Backpack

4.6
Incase Icon Pack
Courtesy of Amazon.com
What We Like
  • Durable material and build

  • Six pockets

  • Multiple comfortable straps

What We Don't Like
  • No water bottle compartment

  • Pricey

The Incase ICON Backpack is the perfect laptop bag for any lifestyle. Once you're done filling its six pockets with your computer, writing instruments, notebooks, and favorite colored sticky notes, carrying it all around won't be a hassle thanks to the ICON's well-tailored sternum strap and padded shoulder straps.

The ICON looks good even when it's packed to the brim. Its frame maintains its structure no matter how much gear you're carrying. But, if you're looking for a collapsible bag, the ICON may not be the right pick for you. On the other hand, the backpack's structural integrity further supports its ability to carry around your school or work necessities.

Thanks to its heavy 840D ballistic nylon material, the ICON can withstand a laptop bag's typical wear and tear. Unfortunately, it's missing a water bottle compartment, but Incase didn't disregard folks on the go. The bag's first side pocket incorporates an opening to run a cable through while it's zipped to store a portable charger or music device and connect to your phone.

Material: 840D nylon | Compatibility: Devices up to 15 inches

Tested by Lifewire

"The ICON backpack holds a shocking amount of goods despite its relatively small size. I'm especially a fan of the faux-fur-lined pocket at the top near the main handle, which was large enough for a Samsung Galaxy S8 and other delicate devices. I usually have some trouble finding a comfortable fit with most backpacks; that wasn't the case with the ICON. The foam-padded sternum straps extend out in a way that never made me feel constrained. Likewise, the molded back panels were comfortable and provided some ventilation to my back. While it costs a pretty penny, it's a high-quality product that's worth the money if you want nothing but the best." —William Harrison, Product Tester

Incase Icon Pack

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

4
Solo Laptop Hybrid Briefcase Backpack
Courtesy of Amazon.com
What We Like
  • Versatility

  • Protects valuables with a padded pocket

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Small amount of storage space

You may be confused the first time you see the Solo Duane Laptop Hybrid Briefcase Backpack. It's a double agent of sorts as it's a messenger bag/briefcase/backpack all in one. Converting it takes mere seconds thanks to a shoulder strap and dual straps, while its slim profile conceals its unique functionality without sacrificing space, style, or cost.

The Duane is polyester, so it's not the most water-resistant bag on the planet. Nevertheless, it doesn't skimp on protection, so your prized possessions are safe. It includes a padded pocket offering 360 degrees of protection for a laptop up to 15 inches. It also provides enough storage for your day-to-day and maybe even short weekend trips.

In addition to a padded pouch for your laptop, the Duane has a secondary compartment for a tablet and front zipper pockets for your smartphone, chargers, and smaller gadgets. Though there's not much additional storage space, what's available helps the Duane maintain its profile as a briefcase or backpack.

Material: Polyester | Compatibility: Devices up to 15 inches

Tested by Lifewire

The Solo Duane Hybrid Briefcase Backpack is a versatile bag ideal for just about anyone. What it lacks in style and features it makes up for in the ability to be worn three different ways, all with comfort. Because of the Solo’s smaller size, the briefcase mode never felt too bogged down or overly heavy. Likewise, the padded sternum straps in backpack mode are fully adjustable and fit even over my fairly broad shoulders with ease. We found the Solo Duane and its polyester exterior to be resilient and fairly water-resistant through a week of rough use. During a particularly rainy week, it did a good job of keeping water out. It isn’t the most stylish bag in the world, but it’s a bag that can serve just about any need. —William Harrison, Product Tester

Solo Duane Hybrid Briefcase Backpack

Best Briefcase: Solo New York Flatiron Slim Laptop Briefcase

4.9
Solo Pro
Courtesy of Amazon.com
What We Like
  • Durable material

  • Affordable

  • Suitcase connection

What We Don't Like
  • Not very stylish

Sometimes it's best to stick with the basics, which makes the Solo New York Flatiron Slim Laptop Briefcase the best briefcase-style laptop bag on our list. It has a feature we wish every laptop bag offered: a separate compartment that lays flat. Solo incorporated compartments for laptops up to 16 inches, and with this dedicated compartment, you have easy access to your laptop while traveling.

The Flatiron is made from a ballistic polyester material, so your precious computer is protected from harm. Although polyester isn’t as eye-catching or beautiful as leather, it’s durable and easier on your pockets.

Solo designed the Flatiron with business travelers in mind. It has a front zippered pocket and a front zip-down organizer for additional storage. It also includes a rear ride-along feature for easy connection to a suitcase for consolidated travel. But Solo’s “clamshell checkfast design” is the Flatiron’s real claim to fame. The company says this bag makes traveling for business easier since the design helps you pass through airport security faster than usual.

Material: Polyester | Compatibility: Devices up to 16 inches

Best Backpack: eBags Pro Slim Laptop Backpack

4
eBags Backpack
Courtesy of Amazon.com
What We Like
  • Attractive and comfortable

  • Can fit larger laptops

  • Converts from backpack to briefcase

What We Don't Like
  • May not fit under an airplane seat

If you'd rather carry your laptop case as a bookbag, the eBags Pro Slim Backpack is the perfect option for you. It's attractive, comfortable, and built to last. With a durable and tough twisted filament polyester exterior alongside DuPont Teflon fabric protection, it's resilient against spills. The air mesh back panel offers exceptional support in conjunction with padded straps and a removable shock-load sternum strap to provide comfort in case of a heavy load.

Internally, the Pro Slim offers many different compartments, including a crush-proof AC adapter garage and a zippered water bottle pocket. The interior compartment is padded and fits computers up to 15 inches in size. You can also remove that padding to accommodate a larger laptop of up to 17 inches. The Pro Slim houses a top-loaded tablet pocket with fleece lining for automatic glass cleaning. The pocket fits tablets up to 11.5 inches in height and 8.1 inches in width.

If you're going for a professional look, you can convert the backpack into a briefcase using the bag's top handle. If you don't want to carry around your Pro Slim at the airport, there's a horizontal luggage pass-thru panel for easy hookup to a piece of luggage for easier transport.

Material: Polyester | Compatibility: Devices up to 17 inches

Tested by Lifewire

"The Pro Slim makes excellent use of that front pocket, providing several pen holders, pockets, and mesh, see-through recesses. I really liked having so many spaces for little things. While the wide front zipper compartment works for cord storage, I found a secret bonus use: food and drink protection. It was big enough to hold a couple of soda cans and a multitude of snacks. The second zippered compartment turned out to be highly versatile for placing other devices and cords. I easily fit a Microsoft Surface Book Pro, Nintendo Switch, a couple of tablets, and a laptop inside, all with reasonably efficient use of space." —William Harrison, Product Tester

eBag Backpack

Lifewire / William Harrison

Best Commuter or Traveler Bag: Mancro Anti-Theft Laptop Backpack

4
Mancro Anti-Theft Laptop Backpack

Amazon

What We Like
  • Water-repellent material

  • Variety of pockets

  • Theft-proof lock

What We Don't Like
  • Minimal padding for laptop

The Mancro Anti-Theft Laptop Backpack is best suited for those who are always on the move. It’s perfect for daily commutes, weekend getaways, or hiking and camping trips. The simple, understated design also works for students and young business professionals.

The fabric is made from eco-friendly, water-repellent nylon, which protects your bag against accidental spills. To ensure maximum protection, Mancro equipped the bag with durable metal zippers and a theft-proof combination lock. Unlike most laptop bags on this list, it's available in seven different colors.

Inside, you’ll find three main compartments, nine smaller pockets, and two sealed sleeves for your tablet or laptop up to 15 inches. Mancro also included a handy USB cable built-in. If you need to charge your phone on the go, you can easily access a portable battery pack. No matter what you decide to carry in the Anti-Theft Laptop Backpack, you’ll be comfortable as the bag features reinforced padded shoulder straps to alleviate strain.

Material: Nylon | Compatibility: Devices up to 15 inches

Tested by Lifewire

"Featuring over 10 compartments for various objects, the Mancro Backpack is ready for any and all occasions. The bag easily fits multiple sets of keys, notebooks, electronic devices, and even a few travel coffee mugs without any issue. My favorite feature is the external USB port that allows for an external battery, even while wearing the bag on your back. Overall, it's comfortable, even when weighed down by all your belongings. Padded nylon sternum straps extend out for any body size, and I never felt like the bag's weight was pulling down on me. The Mancro Laptop Backpack says it is water-resistant, and it means business. When I had to walk through the rain a few times, the bag not only could keep my belongings dry but also air-dried quickly." William Harrison, Product Tester

Mancro Anti-Theft Laptop Backpack

Lifewire / William Harrison

Best Durability: Thule Paramount 24L Daypack

4
Paramount 24L Daypack
Courtesy of Amazon.com
What We Like
  • Popular, established brand

  • Durable material for protection

  • Storage space

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

Thule is a name known for toughness, and its Paramount 24L Daypack is no exception, constructed out of a durable 420D nylon material with a water-resistant finish. Thule incorporated "Safe Edge" protection to help avoid any damage to the bag's contents when it's dropped or bumped. It also has a welded bottom panel that provides enhanced protection against elements such as rain or snow. 

Internally, a protective slip pocket with a soft interior lining secures your tablet or laptop. A laptop up to 13 inches can fit comfortably in this sleeve. Ultimately, the Daypack's top-loading compartment, which results from uncurling the roll-top, is a big-time saver. It doesn't require going through the main cavity, so you have quick access to your laptop. 

Beyond the ultra-protective laptop and tablet protective sleeve, the Daypack offers a slew of small sleeves and pouches, all totaling 24 liters of space. Specifically, two mini zipped storage compartments, two sleeves, a zip pouch (ideal for sunglasses), and a front pocket (perfect for storing cables and the rest of your day-to-day gadgets). The Daypack's ergonomics make it comfortable to carry around your valuables. Thule also carefully designed the bag's back panel and mesh shoulder straps to make it breathable and comfortable.

Material: 420D nylon | Compatibility: Devices up to 13 inches

Tested by Lifewire

"The Daypack was quite comfortable to wear and haul around. The foam-padded sternum straps adjust to a wide scale, fitting even around my wide shoulders, all while remaining comfortable when weighed down. The foam on the backpack straps is some of the most comfortable I've used, a good sign for a bag meant to carry heavy objects. As for the "Safe Edge" protection, the bag lived up to what Thule advertises. The semi-rigid support pad was great at edge protection and absorbing shock and impact. Despite the inside laptop and tablet sleeves not always feeling secure, the padding was impressive and survived any amount of bag wear and tear. While it isn't the most feature-laden bag on the market, it makes up for it in comfort and protection both inside and out." —William Harrison, Product Tester

Thule Paramount 24L Daypack

Best for Photographers: Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L

default image
What We Like
  • Stylish design

  • Versatile space for laptop and cameras

  • Unique, quick opening system

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

The 20L is as much a camera backpack as a laptop backpack. With two separate, side-accessed compartments, the 20L can accommodate inserts to keep your lenses and camera gear protected. When you aren't out shooting pictures, you can use it as a daily work bag as it also has a 16-inch laptop sleeve in the back.

The 20L comes with a top-mounted slip pocket, a key tether, a side-oriented water bottle, tripod slots, a ton of little odds-and-ends compartments, and a MagLatch system to open the bag quickly.

Peak Design created the 20L with Hypalon-reinforced and bar-tacked stress points in addition to a cotton-twill interior for a longer-lasting, more durable build. The well-constructed bag maintains a lot of storage while still looking sleek. In terms of looks, you can decide between three different color options: gray, tan, and black. All of these premium features come at a cost.

Material: 400D nylon canvas | Compatibility: Devices up to 16 inches; one full-frame DSLR camera body and three to four lenses

Best Expandable: Taygeer 17-Inch Laptop Briefcase

Taygeer 17-Inch Laptop Briefcase

Amazon

What We Like
  • Durable for commuters

  • Splash-proof

  • Decent storage capacity

What We Don't Like
  • Not very stylish

The Taygeer 17-Inch Laptop Briefcase is perfect for those who are serious about storage. The utilitarian design won't win any beauty contests, but it's a reliable product that stands up to the daily grind, and it's at a shockingly low price.

The material is splash-proof, lightweight nylon fabric, and it has a soft leather handle and a comfortable shoulder strap for easy portability. If your job or lifestyle involves a decent amount of commuting or traveling with your belongings in tow, the Taygeer briefcase makes for a reliable companion. 

There's plenty of storage space inside the Taygeer briefcase with several functional compartments, including a dedicated padded laptop sleeve capable of fitting devices up to 17 inches. If you require even more storage, it also features an expandable zipper that adds an extra 1.2 inches of room to the bottom layer of the briefcase.

Material: Nylon | Compatibility: Devices up to 17.3 inches

Final Verdict

For most people, the Incase ICON Backpack (view at Amazon) is the best laptop bag to buy as it has just about everything the average person wants. It has plenty of storage space, a padded interior, and five exterior pockets. Unfortunately, it isn't the most budget-friendly, but the pricing is fair considering the perks. If the ICON is out of your price range, you should consider the Solo Duane Hybrid Briefcase Backpack (view at Amazon). It's one of the most versatile laptop bags on the market at less than half the ICON's price.

Solo Duane Hybrid Briefcase Backpack

What to Look For in a Laptop Bag

Comfort/Style

Do you want a backpack, over-the-shoulder bag, or briefcase? It’s entirely a matter of personal preference, but some types are better suited for specific lifestyles. For instance, a backpack is perfect for commuting by bike, while a briefcase lends a more professional look. Additionally, you may need extra support depending on the contents of your laptop bag. A backpack with a sternum strap makes it easier to carry a heavier load.

Durability

Padding and external materials determine laptop bag durability. Most laptop bags have added padding for extra protection, but it adds to the bag's bulkiness, which can be a drawback if you're looking for something easy to carry. Some models have removable padding to accommodate larger computers. Concerning material, some people prefer polymer, but it doesn't fare so well in a rainstorm; nylon is typically a tougher material.

Storage/Pockets

Pockets and storage space are key to keeping your laptop bag organized. Some bags have pockets dedicated to chargers, cables, and water bottles. Although these thoughtful pockets are convenient, they increase the bulkiness. If you want a more streamlined style, opt for something simpler. If you decide on a simpler laptop bag, a built-in organizer can help handle loose items like charging cables and pens.

eBags Backpack

Lifewire / William Harrison

FAQ
  • How do you know if your laptop will fit in a laptop bag?

    Laptops are measured in screen size. A 15-inch laptop has a 15-inch diagonal screen, a 13-inch laptop has a 13-inch diagonal screen, and so on. Laptop bags typically list the size of the laptop they can hold.

  • What's the difference between a laptop bag and a laptop sleeve?

    The main difference between a laptop bag and a laptop sleeve is how you carry it. Laptop sleeves typically have a single opening for the laptop and generally don't have any kind of handle or strap. Laptop bags usually have multiple openings (including one for the laptop) and a handle or strap to carry them.

  • Will your laptop bag work as a carry on?

    Most of the bags listed here are small enough to work as carry-on bags on most major airlines. Of course, carry-on sizes vary from airplane to airplane, so it's important to double-check restrictions before going to the airport.

About Our Trusted Experts

Nicky LaMarco has over 15 years of experience writing about web hosting, antivirus software, backup software, and other technology for publications like Tech Republic and Web Hosting Sun.

Will Harrison is a writer who specializes in gaming. His work has also appeared in the Toledo Blade, the Austin American-Statesman, Polygon, Thrillist, and more.

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