Protect your precious portable PC with the best laptop bag for your needs and budget
Protecting your portable personal computer with the best laptop bag possible is becoming increasingly important. Modern laptops are supremely portable but also rather fragile and the best laptop bags provide peace of mind when transporting your device from A to B.
But with a huge range of options available in numerous styles, selecting the best laptop bag for your needs isn’t as straightforward as you might think. A simple slipcase, sleeve or traditional laptop bag with a carrying handle and shoulder strap might suffice for some, but if you spend a lot of time travelling, you’ll probably require a larger bag with a padded compartment and room for other gadgets – even clothes – inside.
No matter what size or style you’re after, there’s something out there for everyone and we’ve put together a comprehensive list detailing the best laptop bags, backpacks, sleeves and cases on the market.
If you require a bit more guidance regarding what kind of laptop bag will suit you best, how much you should spend and what features to look out for, use the link below to jump to our handy buying guide detailing everything you should consider before making a purchase.
If you simply want to dive into our pick of the best laptop bags on the market, read on.
READ NEXT: How to choose the best laptop bag for you
The best laptop bags to buy
1. JETech Laptop Sleeve: Best cheap laptop sleeve
Price when reviewed: From £13 | Check price at Amazon
This padded sleeve from JETech is built to accommodate smaller laptops and features a three-layer design that helps keep your device safe. The outer layer is splashproof, the central layer is made from a shockproof sponge and the lining of the case is made of soft foam. A zip pocket on the front of the case provides access to a second compartment, which isn’t huge but is useful for storing smaller items like pens and charging cables.
Key specs – Type: Padded sleeve; Material: Polyester, foam; Compartments: 2; Sizes available: 13.3in; Dimensions: 343 x 254 x 33mm
Also worth considering:
2. Samsonite GuardIT 2.0: Best laptop bag for travel
Price when reviewed: £111 | Check price at Amazon
Reflecting downward trends in airline cabin bag allowances, the GuardIT 2.0 is a little smaller than its predecessor but remains a fantastic laptop bag for frequent flyers. It has enough space to cram in a 15.6in laptop with accessories and charger, plus a tablet, accessories and a change of clothes, all in generously padded sleeves.
You also get a zippable front pocket for your travel documents, with the zip tucked away for added security, plus a soft-padded service pocket for sunglasses or smartphones. Meanwhile, a handle pops out on a tough metal pole for easy wheeling around airports and hotels. Using two different types of polyester, the construction feels built to last, and that’s backed up by a five-year warranty. Get it, then get out there and rack up some air miles.
Key specs – Type: Backpack with aluminium monotube handle and wheels; Material: 500D Polyester; Compartments: 4; Sizes available: Up to 16in; Dimensions: 480 x 200 x 335mm
Also worth considering:
3. Amazon Basics Laptop and Tablet Bag: Best budget laptop bag
Price when reviewed: From £10 | Check price at Amazon
If you want simple protection, Amazon’s own-brand Amazon Basics range has you well and truly covered. You can find good, thick, form-fitting neoprene sleeves for 11.6in, 13.3in, 14in, 15.6in and 17.3in laptops in a range of colours, wheeled travel bags, backpacks and more traditional laptop cases.
We’d go for the latter as a great everyday choice, as they have an internal padded compartment for your laptop, a second padded exterior compartment for a tablet and a third compartment where you can cram in chargers, accessories and a smartphone. For carrying, you get a basic handle and a shoulder strap with an adjustable shoulder pad. It’s neither the toughest bag nor the most stylish, but if you’re on a budget you can’t go wrong.
Key specs – Type: Padded bag; Material: Polyester; Compartments: 3; Sizes available: 11.6in, 14.1in, 15.6in, 17.3in; Dimensions (15.6in): 394 x 71 x 305mm
Also worth considering:
4. Eastpak Austin Backpack: Best laptop backpack for everyday use
Price when reviewed: £52 | Check price at Amazon
Eastpak’s backpacks are simple, well-made classics and the Austin is no exception. On paper, it’s nothing special – just a basic backpack with a flap, two side pockets and a padded laptop sleeve inside. You close it up with a drawstring closure, drop the flap and tighten up the buckle.
However, it’s fashioned from sturdy nylon, there are 18 litres of space for papers, books and accessories, while padded straps, the padded back panel and the top handle make it an easy pack to lug around. It’s not the ultimate bag for carrying an armoury of gadgets, but if you’re always schlepping your laptop to work, school or college, it’s an excellent, stylish choice that comes in a massive range of colours and designs.
Key specs – Type: Backpack with laptop compartment; Material: Nylon; Compartments: 3; Sizes available: 15.6in; Dimensions (14in): 420 x 340 x 110mm
Also worth considering:
5. Harber London Slim Leather MacBook Sleeve: Best leather laptop sleeve
Price when reviewed: From £79 | Check price at Harber
If you’re after a luxury laptop sleeve that’s both stylish and practical, look no further than this offering from Harber. The sleeve is available in a choice of four colours: tan, black, navy and deep brown, and the inside is lined with wool felt to ensure your laptop sits snugly inside.
While the design isn’t as rugged as other sleeves on this list, it’s extremely slim, making transportation supremely easy, regardless of whether you’re carrying it in your hand or a bag. The Harber London MacBook Sleeve isn’t cheap, but the materials used are of premium quality and the craftsmanship on display is top notch.
Key specs – Type: Padded sleeve; Material: Leather and wool felt; Compartments: 1; Sizes available: 12in, 13in, 14in, 15in and 16in; Dimensions: 13in (325 x 7 x 230mm)
6. Targus Cypress Hero: Smart, roomy and eco-conscious
Price when reviewed: £80 | Check price at Amazon
This well-made, multi-purpose backpack consists of three main compartments, one of which incorporates a protective laptop slip. It’s big enough to house laptops up to 15.6in in size and has plenty of additional storage space for accessories thanks to two internal zip pockets and a third zip pocket on the front of the bag.
The section of the bag that rests against your back is generously padded and lined with breathable mesh, as are the shoulder straps. This helps ensure the backpack remains comfortable to wear for long periods and there’s also an in-built strap for attaching the bag to larger items of luggage should you need a break from carrying it.
The Cypress Hero is made from 47% post-consumer recycled materials, making it a top choice for those keen to reduce their impact on the environment. Targus says each bag prevents 26 plastic bottles from going to the landfill, which may not seem like much in the grand scheme of things, but every little helps!
Key specs – Type: Backpack with padded compartment; Material: Polyester/recycled plastic; Compartments: 3; Sizes available: 15.6in only; Dimensions: 500 x 305 x 135mm
7. Twelve South SuitCase: Best hard-shell laptop case for MacBooks
Price when reviewed: From £56 | Check price at Amazon
MacBook owners in search of an attractive bag offering plenty of protection should look no further than the Twelve South SuitCase. Its hard-shell case is made of thermoformed plastic capable of withstanding drops and knocks, while the quilted fabric exterior is water-resistant so you don’t need to worry about getting caught out in the rain.
The leather handle allows for easy transportation but the SuitCase is slim enough to fit in any reasonably sized bag or backpack should you wish to carry it around that way. A soft microfibre interior ensures your MacBook won’t pick up any surface damage while being lugged around and you can use your laptop while it’s sat in the case thanks to elasticated cords that function as hinges. There’s also an internal pouch perfect for storing charging cables and papers and, at a push, you can even squeeze in a USB-C power adapter.
Available in either 13in or 16in, the Twelve South SuitCase is as sturdy as it is stylish, making it a superb choice for Macbook Pro and Air users.
Key specs – Type: Case with water-resistant zips and corner/edge protection; Material: Quilted fabric, thermoform plastic, leather; Compartments: 1; Sizes available: 13in, 16in; Dimensions (13in): 356 x 335 x 25mm
8. OneNine5 Eco-Conscious Laptop Sleeve: Sturdy, stylish and sustainable
Price when reviewed: £45 | Check price at OneNine5
Want to protect your laptop and help protect the environment while you’re at it? If so, you’ll want to consider this sleeve made of sustainable materials. The outer layer is crafted from vegan leather, the padding from a combination of coconut husk and natural rubber and the lining from 100% recycled plastic.
Those materials combine to create a smart and stylish sleeve that’s excellently equipped to keep your laptop safe from bumps, knocks and drops. It’s available in four colours: Komodo Pink, Havelock Blue, Moeraki Grey, Miho Black – all of which look great – and has a document divider and credit card holder inside.
Buying one sustainably made laptop sleeve isn’t going to change the world, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction and this option from OneNine5 is the best we’ve come across.
Key specs – Type: Padded sleeve; Material: Coconut fibres, natural rubber, vegan leather, recycled plastic; Compartments: 1; Sizes available: 13.3in; Dimensions: 450 x 255 x 20mm
9. Matein Travel Backpack: Best cheap backpack for larger laptops
Price when reviewed: From £23 | Check price at Amazon
If you’re on a tight budget and in need of a bag to transport your laptop around, you’ll want to check out this affordable option from Matein. It’s available in two sizes – 15.6in and 17.3in – and has three separate compartments plus a whole host of external and internal pockets, including an elastic pocket for housing your water bottle. It also features an external USB port that can be used to charge your devices when you’ve got a power bank hooked up to a port inside the bag.
Key specs – Type: Backpack; Material: Polyester fabric; Compartments: 3; Sizes available: 15.6in, 17.3in; Dimensions (15.6in): 358 x 198 x 460mm
10. Thule Gauntlet 4.0: Best rugged laptop case under £50
Price when reviewed: From £41 | Check price at Amazon
If you’re lugging a laptop through hostile environments, you’ll wish you had it stuffed inside the Thule Gauntlet 4.0. It’s available in three different sizes: 30cm, 32cm and 37cm, which fit the 12in, 13in or 15in MacBooks, respectively. It’s a simple case without a wealth of zipped pockets or compartments, but the clamshell design enables you to use your laptop without removing it from the case. With a rigid exterior, robust corner protection and water-resistant zips it can shake off punishment other laptop cases can’t withstand.
Key specs – Type: Case with water-resistant zips and corner/edge protection; Material: Polyurethane; Compartments: 1; Sizes available: 12in, 13in, 15in; Dimensions (15in): 370 x 300 x 30mm
How to choose the best laptop bag for you
How much do I need to spend?
You can spend anything from a tenner to several hundred pounds on a laptop bag, depending on the style of bag you’re looking for, the design and the materials used and – of course – the brand. Here we’ve steered clear of the more upmarket fashion brands in order to focus on more functional cases and bags.
Beyond price, the key things to consider are style and size. Obviously, the latter will depend on the laptop you’re carrying: while you can always fit a 13.3in laptop inside a 15.6in case, a smaller laptop may rattle around in the extra space, and the bag will add bulk you don’t necessarily need. That said, if you want a laptop bag that also doubles as an overnight bag, then bigger is probably better.
What type should I buy: sleeve, bag, backpack or travel bag?
Style-wise, you have four basic options. A laptop sleeve is a simple case with or without a handle, which gives your laptop a basic layer of protection. Sleeves are often cheap and cheerful and are ideal if you’re happy carrying your laptop under your arm, or if you have another bag to slip the sleeve inside.
Next comes the bag. You can still get rather boring, old-school black laptop bags, but you’ll also find bags that look like briefcases, satchels or more casual messenger bags. It’ll have a padded compartment for your laptop, plus one or more compartments for chargers and accessories. You’ll also have a handle or a shoulder strap for carrying – and sometimes both.
Backpacks are increasingly popular, partly because they give great protection and look like an ordinary daysack when you’re on the daily commute. Again, they’ll have a padded compartment to hold your laptop securely and one or more additional compartments for your power supply and accessories. As a bonus, the larger backpacks have plenty of room for additional stuff, which makes them extra-useful if you’re lugging a laptop to and from school or college, or if you’re on a business trip.
Finally, we have the larger travel bags – the sort of bags you see people stuffing into the overhead lockers in a bid to crush your luggage on a busy flight. While laptops have got smaller, thinner and lighter, these bags have not. That’s because they provide enough extra space to cram in clothes and toiletries for a two or three-day business trip. If you spend a lot of time travelling, you’ll definitely want to think about one of these.
What else should I look out for?
Padding and shock-proofing are obviously important, but also look out for weather-resistant or waterproof exteriors or – if you’re planning on taking on really harsh conditions – rigid skeletons or hard outer shells.
As for extras, additional compartments and zip pockets are always handy, giving you more space to stash a mouse, a pair of headphones, a USB external hard disk and a range of other stuff.
Security features, such as locks or concealed zips, can be a great idea if you’re travelling, while easy-access compartments can be a blessing when you need to go through pre-flight security checks or border controls.
Some backpacks are now shipping with built-in solar panels or a power bank mobile charger. With the first, this only makes sense if you’re spending a lot of time outdoors, preferably somewhere with some actual sun to work with. With the latter, make sure you’re not spending £30 extra just to get £15 worth of power bank – you could potentially save cash (and get more charging time) by buying one of our recommended power banks instead.