The 7 Best Laptop Cases and Sleeves of 2021

Keep your laptop protected from drops and scratches

The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide
The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide
Introduction

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The Rundown
It comes in a light or dark gray color and offers all-around protection.
Gets an A+ for its intended purpose: holding all your gadgets and accessories in an organized fashion.
Best Protection:
Thule Gauntlet 3.0 at Amazon
The polyurethane-hardened Gaunlet offers a number of pockets, elastic bands and slips inside the sleeve.
Anytime your laptop sleeve looks like a high-end handbag or pocketbook, you know you’re doing something right in the design department.
It offers basically everything you could want in a briefcase bag and then some.
This laptop sleeve bag is padded and comes in various sizes and colors; it can fit just about any MacBook there is.
This TSA-certified laptop sleeve is water resistance and durable, and capable of handling 15.6-inch laptops.

The best laptop cases and sleeves should have an attractive, durable design, and be easy to take through security, especially when you fly. Most bags are padded to add extra protection to your laptop and some are even reinforced along the edges and waterproof. If you need storage space, you can also get laptop sleeves with additional pockets and organizers to handle cables, pens, notebooks, and other miscellaneous items.

If you would prefer a backpack, our list of the best laptop backpacks has plenty of options for your to browse. Otherwise, see our full list of the best laptop cases and sleeves below.

Best Overall: Nacuwa 360 Laptop Sleeve

What We Like
  • 360 degree protection for drops

  • Carrying handle and large side pocket

  • Easy access to devices

What We Don't Like
  • Some quality control issues

  • Won't fit thicker laptops

The Nacuwa 360-degree coverage sleeve is fully zippered and measures 13 inches. It comes in a light or dark gray color and offers all-around protection with an internal egg-crate-style padding that lines the entire interior. That interior is shock-, drop- and collision-resistant, which is great because when you’re transporting your MacBook or your PC, there will be plenty of those. They’ve even reinforced the corners, which are arguably the areas with the most potential for damage.

The outside shell is a soft, heather gray design that also provides a layer of water resistance for even more protection. The sleeve adds on a super strong carrying handle and even an outer convenience pocket to put chargers, external hard drives and more. The brand name might not be making tech journal headlines, but the features alone (added on to the unbelievable price) should bring you around to why this made it to the top of our list.

Capacity: 13-inch laptops and tablets | Durability: 360-degree and drop protection | Waterproof: Water-resistant | Pockets: One external

Best for Storage: Case Logic 15.6-Inch Laptop Case (VNCI-215)

Case Logic 15.6-Inch Laptop Case (VNCI-215)
What We Like
  • Pockets to hold notepads and documents

  • Velcro strap for securing laptop

  • Easy access to interiors

What We Don't Like
  • Bag on the bulky size

When you’re on the move with your laptop in tow, you normally need a handful of accessories as well. This canvas Case Logic laptop case has room for all your chargers, secondary devices and more.

Fitting devices up to 15.2 x 1.7 x 10.5 inches, the bag has an interior slip pocket to hold notepads and other documents separate from your computer. A velcro strap keeps your laptop secured in place and padded compartment walls provide extra protection. The exterior front pocket has dedicated pockets for your smartphone, charging cables, power brick and more, while the exterior back pocket can comfortably hold your tablet or other belongings. The zipper unzips the case three-quarters of the way, so your laptop is easily accessible. It has a detachable over-the-shoulder strap, plus a smaller handle on the top, so you can carry it any way you please. The bag may be a bit bulky, but it gets an A+ for its intended purpose: holding all your gadgets and accessories in an organized fashion.

Capacity: 15-17 inches | Durability: Padded compartment| Waterproof: No | Pockets: Front and slip pocket

Best Protection: Thule Gauntlet 3.0

Gauntlet 3.0
What We Like
  • Very rugged protection

  • Three compartments with mesh dividers

  • Multiple layers of protection for devices

What We Don't Like
  • Somewhat pricey

  • For Apple users only

  • Hard to fit charging cable and plug

When it comes to laptop protection, there are few names that stand out more than Thule. The company's new Gauntlet 3.0 case can hold 13-inch laptops and is marketed squarely at Apple buyers, but can fit a number of other laptops. The price might sound a little steep for a laptop sleeve, but the polyurethane-hardened Gaunlet offers a number of pockets, elastic bands and slips inside the sleeve.

Overall, there are three compartments cordoned off by two stretchy mesh dividers. A nylon strap runs from top to bottom joined by a Velcro fastener, which helps secure the laptop inside the sleeve. And the dense foam interior adds one final layer of protection. Realistically, this sleeve is best for day trips, as you’ll struggle find the additional space to fit your charging cable and plug, but such is the price for protection against bumps and bruises.

Capacity: 13-inch laptops and tablets | Durability: Rigid exterior, padded interior, and corner protection | Waterproof: Unknown | Pockets: None

Best Design: Kalidi Laptop Sleeve

What We Like
  • High-end design

  • Affordable price

  • Eight color options

What We Don't Like
  • Only for MacBook Air

Anytime your laptop sleeve looks like a high-end handbag or pocketbook, you know you’re doing something right in the design department. This Kalidi sleeve gives you high-end leather-esque class without the high-end, leather price tag. At just under $20, this thing won’t break the bank, but will definitely turn heads at all your business meetings. The case measures in at 355 x 255 mm, so it’s designed for 13-inch computers, and more specifically they’re advertising it for the MacBook Air (to maintain the thin, sleek style). It’s made of a faux,

PU leather that’s actually pretty high quality and the opening is a fold-over that works a lot like those classic pocketbooks. And the best part is that it comes in eight high-end colors ranging from metallic-y tan leather to soft seafoam green to a dark, jewel tone purple. So whatever your style of sleeve, there will be a color on offer from Kalidi.

Capacity: 13-inch laptops and tablets | Durability: Velvet interior | Waterproof: No | Pockets: None

Best Splurge: Tenba Messenger DNA

What We Like
  • Can accomdate multiple laptop sizes

  • Pockets for DSLR, mugs, and other devices

  • Lots of organizing features

  • Easy access

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

The Tenba Messenger bag is the ultimate splurge for a laptop bag because it offers basically everything you could want in a briefcase bag and then some. Let’s talk about what it holds. For starters, it can accommodate your laptop as expected (and it’ll accommodate different sizes of laptop depending on which model of bag you get). It also has pockets for a large DSLR camera, a travel coffee mug, all of your chargers, and even folders and notebooks. All of these pockets are compartmentalized so that everything stays organized and accessible.

Now let’s talk about the innovative, standout features. The clips that clasp the bag closed are super smart magnetic quick release that allow you to securely lock the bag closed or open it up lightning fast with a single hand. In regard to that camera pocket we mentioned, there’s also a quick zipper access point to that cam pocket (without the need to undo the entire main flap) so you can quickly get at things for a lens swaps without showing the whole world all the fancy stuff you have in your bag. Finally, on the back, there are D-ring straps that serve to both lock the bag to your rolling carry-on suitcase, as well as affix your bag behind you when holding it on your shoulder so it won’t slide forward during a bike ride.

Capacity: 13-inch laptops and tablets | Durability: Padded | Waterproof: No | Pockets: Numerous compartments

Best for Macs: MOSISO Laptop Sleeve Bag

What We Like
  • Attractive design

  • Easy to unzip

  • Additional pockets for accessories

What We Don't Like
  • Only for MacBooks

The MOSISO is an attractive laptop sleeve bag made of polyester. It has a top opening zipper that's easy to unzip, and the main pocket is padded giving your MacBook some protection despite the slim and lightweight build. The bag is designed for the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air and comes in various sizes, ranging from 11.6-inches all the way up to 17.3 inches. There's an additional pocket on the front to keep accessories like a mouse, earphones, pens, and notepads.

Capacity: 13.3-inch laptops and tablets | Durability: Polyester foam padding, fleece fabric lining | Waterproof: Water-repellent| Pockets: One exterior

Best for Travelers: Ytonet Laptop Case 15.6-inch

What We Like
  • TSA-certified

  • Can handle large laptops

  • Water-resistant fabric

What We Don't Like
  • Some users report tight fit

  • Could use more protection

The Ytonet Laptop case can handle 15.6-inch laptops and is TSA-certified to make it easy for travelers. The external dimensions of the laptop sleeve is 16.2 x 2 x 12.21 inches (LWH). There's a mesh pocket in addition to the laptop compartment to handle pens, cables, mice, earphones, tablets, and other accessories. The zipper opens smoothly and the bag is made of water-resistant nylon. It also boasts a polyester foam padding layer for protection against bumps, shocks, and drops. It's compatible with most 15.6-inch laptops from manufacturers and the company promises 24/7 customer service support.

Capacity: 15.6-inch laptops and tablets | Durability: Padded sleeve | Waterproof: Water-resistant| Pockets: Mesh pocket internal

Final Verdict

The best laptop sleeve or case to buy is the Nacuwa 360 Laptop Sleeve (view on Amazon). It's incredibly affordable and it works with the new 13-inch MacBook Pro and Air. You get plenty of protection and padding on all sides, drop resistance, a smooth zipper, and an extra pocket for storing additional material.

About Our Trusted Experts

David Beren is a tech writer with a decade of experience in the consumer technology industry. He specializes in mobile devices and accessories.

FAQs

What are the best laptop sleeves for college students?
If you're a college student on a tight budget, you won't go wrong with the AmazonBasics laptop sleeve. The design is simple, it can provide decent protection to 13-inch laptops, and it won't break the bank. You may want to pick up a case if you plan to tote it around between classes on campus though.

What is the best hardshell laptop case?
For highly durable protection, you won't do better than the Thule Gauntlet. It has many protective layers, can handle 13-inch laptops, and has enhanced corner and edge protection in its clamshell design to protect against drops, bumps, and shocks.

What's the difference between a laptop sleeve and laptop case?
A laptop sleeve tends to be a more form-fitting option that conforms to your laptop's size and design. Typically, a laptop sleeve is designed for extra protection for the laptop itself and can't handle additional accessories, tablets, notebooks, or other items. A laptop case is more of a bag and comes with storage, organization, and carrying options. A laptop sleeve can often fit inside a laptop case.

What to Look For in Laptop Cases and Sleeves

Durability

Your laptop is an expensive piece of hardware that stores invaluable data and memories. Hopefully, you have everything backed up, but for added protection against bumps or bruises, look for a case that has safety features like interior foam padding or a hardened exterior. Most laptop sleeves won't have ratings like MIL-STD 810G which measures drop resistance, but you can get a good idea of durability by judging the material, level of padding, and if the exterior of the sleeve or case is hard. The combination of a hard exterior with padded interior results in better protection. Waterproofing is rare and you're unlikely to see IP measurements, but water-resistant material is fairly common.

Design

If you’re tucking your laptop into a larger bag, you’re probably fine buying just a sleeve, but if you’re carrying it as a standalone bag, you’ll want a case with a handle or strap that makes toting around your device more convenient. Similarly, if you’ll often be packing chargers, cables, notebooks, or other extras, opt for a case with accessible pockets. Most laptop sleeves can accommodate laptops and tablets that are around 13 inches in size. If you have a bigger device, around 15.6 inches or higher, then you'll likely want something closer to a messenger or rolling bag.

Checkpoint-friendly

Going through security at the airport used to require removing your laptop from its case for screening, but TSA now allows you to keep it in, assuming its case allows for a clear and unobstructed image of the laptop when undergoing X-ray screening. If you travel a lot, choose a laptop case that meets this requirement—most likely a top-loading sleeve design—so you can breeze through security without a hassle.

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