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We’ve come a long way from desktop computers that tethered us to one location. Laptops offer instant portability, and a laptop bag helps you transport your laptop safely and comfortably — if you choose the right one.
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“When shopping for a laptop bag, you want to find something that is comfortable, durable and ergonomic,” says Dr. Allen Conrad, BS, DC, CSCS, at the Montgomery County Chiropractic Center in North Wales, Pennsylvania. “Many bags are a one-size-fits-all style, so finding something that can be customized will go a long way in preventing back pain while carrying it.”
You’ll also want to protect your laptop just as much as your back and shoulders. More padding means more protection, but that can come at the cost of increased bulk, which is one reason many people advise against using laptop backpacks. But Dr. Sapna Sriram, a chiropractic and injury expert at Integra Health Centre in Toronto, points out that if worn correctly, a laptop backpack can be great for support and ergonomic functionality. “Opting for bags that have curved straps with padding and multiple pockets — including a laptop compartment — is important,” she says. “Ideally it would be a backpack with extra straps for the sternum or waist and should be made of durable, waterproof materials.”
And here’s something else to consider when selecting the right laptop bag. “If you transport your laptop and other items frequently, consider a lightweight wheeled laptop bag,” says Lisa Orr, CPE, Sr. Human Factors Consultant at Sedgwick. “Generally, larger wheels are better as they don’t easily get caught in uneven surfaces, and four-wheeled bags with 360-degree turning radius are beneficial because they offer easier maneuverability.”
And from personal experience, I’ve discovered that a smart sleeve (also known as a trolley sleeve or a pass-through pocket) is invaluable when you also have luggage. The smart sleeve slips over the handle of my luggage and then sits securely on top of it.
The Best Laptop Bags in 2022
To compile this list of laptop bags, we spoke with ergonomic and technical experts about ways to optimize comfort and keep your laptop safe. I also relied on my own experience, since I’ve tested many of the laptop bags included here. Whether you’re looking for backpacks, messenger bags, carry-on bags or something rolling, we’ve got you covered.
1. Samsonite Colombian Leather Flap-Over Messenger Bag
Most laptop bags have a zipper on top. However, the Samsonite Columbian Leather Flap-Over Messenger Bag has two separate zipper compartments: One zips several inches down the side of the bag, and a second, curved zipper goes all the way to the bottom of the bag. This makes it convenient to find what I need without having to blindly fumble. The laptop bag can also hold up to two 15.6-inch laptops in separate compartments, and the detachable shoulder strap is adjustable and has a non-slip shoulder pad. The zip and flap closure method makes the bag feel sturdier, and the smart sleeve is easy to slide on my suitcase. This particular model comes in black and cognac.
2. Monos Metro Duffel
BEST FOR WEEKEND GETAWAYS
When I’m leaving town for a day or day, the Monos Metro Duffel is my choice for a laptop bag. There’s a dedicated laptop sleeve inside that can hold up to a 15-inch laptop. However, the vegan leather bag also has enough room for me to toss shoes, clothes and toiletry items in it and it fits nicely on the passenger side of my two-seater car — and has a trolley sleeve when I need to carry additional luggage. “This option is good for those looking for style, function and durability and it comes with an additional side kit option as well, which can hold passports, a mini tablet, cords and other essentials,” says Dr. Conrad. “For those looking for a good travel laptop bag with additional options like the side kit, this may be the one for you.” It comes in three vegan leather colors and four nylon colors.
3. McKlein Arcadia Leather 17-Inch Laptop Briefcase
For large laptops, the McKlein Arcadia Leather 17-Inch Slim Laptop Briefcase is big without being bulky. When I need to carry my large, heavy Dell Inspiron, I’m confident that it’s safe and secure in the padded laptop compartment. The laptop bag is made of top-grain cowhide leather (available in black or brown) and also has a tablet pocket. The main compartment has a double zipper that locks, in addition to front and back zipper pockets. I can carry it by the handles or the shoulder strap with adjustable padding, and there’s even a smart sleeve to hold it securely on top of my suitcase.
4. Samsonite Women’s Spinner Mobile Office
If you prefer a rolling laptop bag, the Samsonite Women’s Spinner Mobile Office is truly an office on wheels, with a retractable handle and a lightweight case made of water-resistant nylon twill. The padded laptop compartment in the middle can hold a 15.6-inch laptop and includes two accessory storage pockets. In addition, there’s a wireless charging compartment that’s designed to hold a smartphone and wireless battery. The front pocket can hold a tablet, passport, keys and other essentials, while the back compartment is spacious enough to hold a change of clothes. And the smart sleeve fits on most luggage handles.
5. Able Carry Daily Backpack
BEST EVERYDAY LAPTOP BACKPACK
The Able Carry Daily Backpack has an A-frame design that makes the backpack comfortable when transporting your laptop and other items. The anchor straps and tapered panels work together to ensure that there’s no sagging and stress since everything stays in its place. Also, the straps are wide and have dual-density foam straps to evenly spread the backpack’s weight. The backpack itself is designed with foam back support and an air channel to keep it from getting hot against your back. The water-resistant, nylon backpack holds up to a 16-inch laptop and has an attachment clip and lock-loops, plus four inner pockets and two exterior pockets. It’s available in navy blue, black and Cordura olive.
6. Troubadour Recycled Leather Pathfinder Slim Briefcase
BEST SPLURGE/BEST WATERPROOF/BEST RECYCLED
The Troubadour Recycled Leather Pathfinder Slim Briefcase fits so many categories that we had trouble trying to categorize it. “This durable and surprisingly lightweight laptop bag is a good option for those looking for a nice bag with extra options,” says Dr. Conrad. “From additional side pockets to reinforced handles, this laptop bag can hold up to a 16-inch laptop or iPad, and is perfect for someone looking for an upgrade.”
In addition, he liked the fact that the non-slip shoulder strap is convenient for multitaskers who need to keep their hands free. “The leather is lightweight and waterproof, but they do recommend using a leather conditioner to maintain the integrity of the bag long term — and if the bag does get damaged, it comes with a five-year warranty, which is reassuring.”
7. Troubadour Ridge Backpack
The Troubadour Ridge Backpack is another laptop bag that Dr. Conrad likes. “It’s a good alternative to the traditional over-the-shoulder laptop version,” he says. “Since it has two ergonomic padded shoulder straps, this option can evenly distribute the weight of the bag, which is helpful for those with degenerative back conditions.” The bag also has waterproof fabric, as well as waterproof zippers and lining. There’s a dedicated padded section large enough to hold a 16-inch laptop and three front pockets. In addition, there are two pockets on the side for water bottles, a breathable back panel and a trolley sleeve. You can choose between black and navy.
8. Chrome Industries Barrage Cargo Laptop Backpack
If you ride a bicycle to work, you need a laptop bag that’s durable but also easy to transport. The Chrome Industries Barrage Cargo Laptop Backpack checks both boxes. The rolltop-closure design has a waterproof liner and the nylon shell is abrasion-resistant. The laptop compartment can hold up to a 15-inch laptop, and it has ergonomic shoulder straps with a foam back panel and an adjustable cargo net.
9. Aaron Leather Briefcase Laptop Messenger Bag
This is one of my favorite laptop bags because it looks so cool. I’ve had it for years, and it truly gets better with age. The 15-inch bag is handcrafted of leather with double stitching and has a zipper compartment in the front and back, but the main compartment has a flap closure with brass buckles for a vintage look. It has a dedicated, cushioned laptop area, as well as several other compartments. I can carry it by the leather handle or the detachable shoulder strap, which is adjustable and also made of leather. The bag is available in a variety of colors, including chocolate brown, walnut brown, tan and caramel brown.
10. Andar The Manhattan
It may not look like it, but The Manhattan by Andar is huge (18 inches high by 12 inches wide by 6 inches deep), and I’ve never been able to completely fill it. But my favorite feature is that it can be carried as a backpack or by the handle at the top, or it can be turned sideways and carried by the second handle like a tote or briefcase. “Andar bags are a durable design, composed of pure leather and they are good for storage with additional compartments, as well as a thicker shoulder strap width, which some people feel is less painful to carry on the shoulders for long trips,” Dr. Conrad says.
11. Solo Fifth Avenue Laptop Hardside Attaché
I carry my Solo Fifth Avenue Laptop Hardside Attache when I’m going to interviews and business meetings and want to make a great first impression. And it never fails to do so. The 17.3-inch briefcase has an aluminum body, which makes it durable. It also has a dedicated laptop compartment and a file folder section at the top. The top carry handle is ergonomic but be advised that there is no shoulder strap. However, it does have combination locks for security.
12. Andar The Addison
When I want to travel light, I carry The Addison by Andar. It’s like a handbag, but with enough space for my 13-inch MacBook (and you can’t even tell I’m carrying it). And it still has several compartments and enough room for my phone, change purse and several other essentials in the zippered main areas or the front zippered compartment. The handbag is made of leather and has a microfiber lining inside. I can carry it by the handle like a handbag or by the leather straps like a backpack. Both the camel tan and jet black color are beautiful, but I eventually chose the former and haven’t regretted it.
13. Matein Laptop Backpack
The Matein Laptop Backpack is proof that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a quality laptop bag. And it comes with plenty of features like a metal zipper that locks, straps that adjust and a built-in USB charger on the outside as well as a charging cable. The bag holds up to a 15-inch laptop in a separate compartment and also has a front and a generously-sized main compartment. In addition, the padded shoulder straps are adjustable and there’s a luggage sleeve.
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