Today, many of us work in various settings, from home offices to bustling coffee shops. And while a backpack can be a practical option for carrying your laptop around, sometimes we want something more stylish and mature. That's why the perfect laptop bag comes in.
It's not as simple as picking the "best" one, as everyone's needs and preferences differ when we choose a right laptop bag. So we've put together a thorough guide to help you pick the ideal laptop bag.
We've interviewed over 100 people with different laptop bags to bring you a deep understanding of all the different components that make up a laptop bag and how they can best suit your individual needs and lifestyle. We've covered you, from minimalist totes to polished leather bags for work travel.
So grab a cup of coffee and settle in - we'll help you navigate the world of laptop bags and find the perfect one. Remember, your ideal laptop bag may not be on our list, but we hope our guide will provide the information you need to make an informed decision.
What is a laptop bag?
Before we get started, let's make sure we all agree on what a laptop bag is.
While you can use any bag to carry your laptop, a laptop bag should be designed specifically for this purpose. But, a laptop bag should prioritize its function as a bag for laptops over any other intended use, such as a camera, travel, or makeup bag. Consider travel backpacks, which may feature a laptop sleeve but are primarily designed for travel purposes.
When selecting a laptop bag, prioritize versatility and ease of use. An excellent laptop bag should easily transition from day to night, seamlessly taking you from work to a dinner reservation. It should be suitable for various occasions, including professional work settings, workouts, and nice dinners, without making you feel the need to hide or keep it out of sight.
Tips About Before Purchasing a Laptop Bag
There are several alternatives available when choosing the best laptop bag. It can be just as daunting as selecting the perfect pasta sauce. The possibilities seem endless, with choices ranging from marinara, pesto, Alfredo, vodka, oil, and garlic. Nonetheless, the truth is that the availability of laptop bags and pasta sauces is vast.
To avoid being overwhelmed, it's best to focus on a few crucial factors, which we've outlined below. By taking into account these factors and being very aware of your needs, you'll be well on your way to discovering the perfect laptop bag for you. Let's dive in!
Choosing the right laptop bag is crucial, as it's the companion that will carry your precious laptop everywhere you go. Your usage scenario needs are key to picking the right laptop bag, so let's explore some factors you should consider.
Devoting time to identifying the challenges of your commute and selecting an appropriate bag is a wise investment. Take public transportation as an example. If you travel by subway to your workplace, school, or any other destination with your laptop bag, limited legroom and space could pose a problem. In such cases, you will require a compact bag that does not invade your personal space, annoy fellow passengers, cause unintentional injury, or occupy more space than necessary.
Alternatively, suppose you travel by bus that offers ample legroom but requires you to walk over a mile from the bus stop to your destination. In that case, you will need a comfortable bag to carry the distance.
If you use a bike to commute, opt for a solid weather-resistant bag. Choose a bag or briefcase if you drive because of its accessibility and ease. An open tote hanging off your shoulder allows easy access to its contents, which a backpack may not offer. You get the picture. Consider all modes of transportation you use to reach your workplace, coworking space, coffee shop, school, or even a laptop bag convention.You need to get a suitcase that can withstand your epic scootering, even if you only use a scooter in the summer.
With the increasing flexibility of modern work environments, Whether you work in a traditional office, a coworking space, a coffee shop, or any other location, a laptop bag that suits your specific workspace can make all the difference.
For example, if you often work in a coffee shop, a laptop bag that can stand on its own is ideal as it will prevent it from sliding down the table legs, causing a disturbance. Alternatively, if you work in a cubicle in a traditional office, a smaller bag that can easily fit beneath your desk is preferable. A comfortable laptop bag is necessary if you are a student.
Moreover, it's crucial to consider the dress code of your workplace. Some work environments require a more formal appearance and may require a professional messenger bag or briefcase instead of a laptop backpack. It's essential to remember this unless you enjoy breaking the rules and standing out.
Any secondary activities
Consider any secondary activities you'll be performing with the laptop bag.
If you frequently travel for business, you may need a laptop bag with a trolley sleeve attached to a rolling suitcase for easy manoeuvring at airports.
If you like to hit the gym after work, a backpack with a separate compartment for gym clothes and shoes may be more convenient.. Or you're a parent who needs a bag that can carry your laptop and your baby's diapers. Then you may need a laptop bag with extra pockets and compartments for all your baby essentials.
Remember, you don't want to mix your laptop charger with your baby wipes!
When choosing a laptop bag, it's important to consider not only the overall size of the bag but also the size of its dedicated laptop compartment, sleeve, or pocket. This compartment may be referred to by a variety of designations depending on the brand. But, for the remainder of this article, we'll refer to it as a "laptop sleeve" to keep things simple.
One crucial factor to consider is the size of the laptop sleeve.Make sure it fits your laptop comfortably—it shouldn't be too little or too large. If the sleeve is too big, your laptop may move around during transit, increasing the risk of damage.
Unfortunately, determining the right size for the laptop sleeve isn't always straightforward. The advertised size may vary from one brand to another. For example, a 13'' sleeve from one brand may fit a 16'' laptop, while another brand's 13'' sleeve may barely fit a 13'' laptop. If the sleeve is too big, you can always use an additional padded sleeve or case to provide extra protection.
Plan to use an additional sleeve or case for your laptop. It would help if you considered that when considering the size limitations of the laptop compartment. Your supplementary protection may not fit inside the bag if it is too big.
Regarding bag size, laptop bags typically range from 15 to 30 litres, although exceptions exist. Remember that litre measurements may vary between brands, so a 20L bag from one company could be equivalent to a 15L bag from another.
Consider your needs when choosing a bag size. A larger bag may be more versatile if you want a bag that can hold more than just your laptop - such as a lunchbox, change of clothes, or other items. However, carrying heavier baggage might be inconvenient. If you only need to carry your laptop and a few small items, a smaller bag with a capacity of 8L or less could suffice. Smaller bags are more portable and double as lightweight daypacks. Remember that a smaller bag may not be sufficient if you need to carry more than just your laptop and a few essentials.
Here are some universal styles of laptop bags and help you find yours. It provides you some suggestions whether you're a student, a business worker, or a regular traveler.
Techy Laptop Bag
These bags are used to hold laptops and other technological equipment. They often have a sleek and modern look, with lots of pockets and compartments for accessories like chargers, cables, and mice. They may be made of high-tech materials like neoprene, carbon fibre, or ballistic nylon.
Heritage Laptop Bag
These bags often have a classic and timeless look, focusing on quality materials and craftsmanship. They may be leather or canvas, featuring traditional details like brass hardware and buckles. They're great for those who value style and durability.
Business Casual Laptop Bag
These bags are designed to be professional and stylish, but not too formal. They may be leather or nylon and have a sleek and minimalist look. They often have a single large compartment for a laptop and a few other essentials.
Sporty Laptop Bag
These bags are designed for active and outdoorsy types who must carry their laptops. They may be lightweight and water-resistant and have a sporty look with lots of pockets and compartments for gear like water bottles, snacks, and headphones.
Classic Laptop Bag
These bags have a simple and timeless design, often reminiscent of the backpacks you used to carry in elementary school. They may be made of canvas or leather and have a single large compartment for a laptop and a few other essentials.
Fashion/Slick Laptop Bag
These bags are designed to be stylish and eye-catching, focusing on modern materials and designs. They may be made of faux leather, suede, or other fashion-forward materials and have bold colours or prints. They're excellent for anyone who wish to carry their laptop in style.
We recommend investing in a laptop bag made of high-quality materials and excellent craftsmanship. During your search, you may come across materials such as standard nylon, ballistic nylon, ripstop nylon, polyester, canvas, leather, tarpaulin, and TPE fabric laminate. While we won't delve into each of these fabrics in this guide, we generally suggest opting for ballistic or ripstop nylon, as they are the most durable. Laptop bags made of leather and canvas give off a professional vibe. Still, they are heavier and more vulnerable to the elements than synthetic options. We advise against using them for travel or walking commutes. You do, however, mostly drive to and from work. In that case, a leather laptop bag may suit you (see our leather guide for more information). TPE or Tarpaulin Fabric While laminate bags are very scratch and mark resistant, they are also very water resistant. Finally, Dyneema and X-Pac offer excellent weather resistance. They are usually lighter in weight, but they are also expensive fabrics.
It's important to take into account zippers and hardware. Though they may appear insignificant, a defective buckle or zipper can make certain bags useless. Look for a laptop bag with high-quality, durable zippers that won't jam or snap effortlessly.
Consider your budget when making a purchase. A durable laptop bag is recommended if it fits within your means, rather than repeatedly replacing a cheaper one. In the long run, a high-quality bag is a cost-effective and eco-friendly investment despite its higher upfront cost. However, not everyone can afford the initial investment required for high-quality bags. What’s more, expensive doesn't always equate to durability, as you may pay for branding or style instead. Look for brands that offer generous warranties as a good indication of quality.
As you look for the perfect laptop bag, you may encounter the same types of bags repeatedly. Each carry mode has advantages and disadvantages, which we will explore below. However, selecting a bag is also a matter of personal preference. For instance, you might adore tote bags without being able to explain why. We won't discourage you from purchasing a tote bag in that situation. Just be yourself.
Advantages of Laptop Backpacks:
Convenience: Laptop backpacks allow you to carry your laptop, charger, and other accessories in one place. It means no more juggling multiple bags or forgetting something important.
Hands-free: Unlike traditional laptop bags, backpacks leave your hands free to do other things like holding coffee, texting, or just doing a little dance.
Protection: Laptop backpacks usually have padding to protect your laptop from bumps and bruises. It is especially important if you're constantly on the move.
Style: Laptop backpacks come in various styles and colours, so you can find one that matches your personality and sense of style. And let's face it, looking good is half the battle.
Disadvantages of Laptop Backpacks:
Back Pain: Carrying a backpack on both shoulders for extended periods can cause back pain. Hence, it might not be the ideal choice for your posture unless you're into that stuff.
Bulkiness: While laptop backpacks are great for carrying your laptop and all its accessories, they can be bulky and take up a lot of space, which might not be ideal for those who need to pack lightly.
Theft: Unfortunately, laptop backpacks can be an attractive target for thieves, especially if they see you taking it off and putting it on the ground.
Awkwardness: Trying to get something out of your backpack while it's on your back can be an awkward dance, especially if you're in a crowded space. At least it's a chance to show off your flexibility skills.Tote
Advantages of Laptop Tote:
Fashionable: A tote is a stylish, trendy accessory that fits easily into any outfit.
Versatile: A laptop tote can be used for various purposes such as work, travel, or running errands.
Protection: A laptop tote provides better protection for your laptop than carrying it in a regular bag.
Disadvantages of Laptop Tote:
Heavy: With all the extra compartments and padding, a laptop tote can be heavy to carry around.
Limited space: A laptop tote may not accommodate all your belongings despite having multiple compartments.
Pricey: not be affordable for everyone.
Maintenance: Laptop totes require regular cleaning and maintenance to ensure they stay in good condition.
Advantages of Laptop Messenger:
Messenger bags are primarily designed for laptops and office gear, which makes them great for an organization without being bulky or oversized. They're professional and sophisticated, suitable for law firms, and available in casual styles.
Messenger bags may still be fun to carry for brief periods of time, even if they may not be as comfy as backpacks. A well-padded shoulder strap properly anchored to the bag and an additional stability strap can improve weight distribution and security during commutes. Rather than slinging a backpack off one shoulder, you may reach inside your bag that is hanging by your side to access your messengers.
Disadvantages of Laptop Messenger :
Although messenger bags can be comfortable to carry, they put a lot of weight on one shoulder, which can cause pain and uneven walking over time. They're generally less secure and more unwieldy than other bags, swinging around while walking or biking.Messenger bags are not recommended for bike commuting unless they come with a stability strap. Finally, wearing a fully-packed messenger bag can wrinkle your shirt and affect your professional look.
Our team has differing opinions on the importance of padding for protecting your laptop in your bag. Some prefer a separate case or sleeve for added protection. In contrast, some people like bags with constant, thick padding on the interior sleeve's all four sides. The Separate Laptop Sleeve Club values added peace of mind and portability. At the same time, the Dedicated Laptop Sleeve Club prefers the convenience of not needing a separate sleeve.
A laptop bag should, according to Pack Hacker, provide more than simply cushioning. Overly thick cushioning may provide the impression that you are secure. As a result, we advise searching for extra security measures, which we will cover in the area below.
A false bottom in a backpack refers to a laptop sleeve or compartment that ends before the actual bottom of the bag, effectively suspending the laptop above the ground. The importance of this feature lies in the fact that if the backpack suddenly hits the ground, the laptop will not suffer the impact, thus safeguarding it. Choosing a backpack with a fake bottom is advised unless you are convinced that you will never drop your laptop bag or put it on the ground with too much force. It's important to remember that not all fake bottoms are created equal. Some laptop sleeves may feature a tiny false bottom that is practically useless. We suggest selecting a backpack with a false bottom that is at least one inch off the bottom of the bag.
A soft lining is desirable in laptop sleeves since it protects against scratches on your laptop. Although not as crucial as a false bottom or padding, it's still a nice feature. It's comparable to having a miniature cocktail umbrella, which isn't a necessity. Still, it undoubtedly adds a touch of joy to life.
A few bag brands are becoming more inventive in creating their laptop compartments. They're incorporating nests and caches beyond mere padding or false bottoms. These compartments are adjustable to fit your laptop's exact size and suspend it in the centre of the sleeve. As a consequence, your laptop is lifted from all sides of the bag and is safely secured in place. This additional protection ensures your laptop is safeguarded from any angle, even if the bag is dropped.
In conclusion, selecting the ideal laptop bag necessitates careful consideration of a variety of aspects. Following the tips outlined in this guide, you can narrow your options and find the perfect laptop bag that meets your needs and suits your style. Remember to prioritize functionality and durability over aesthetics when making your final decision.
Investing in a good laptop bag protects your device and enhances your productivity and comfort when working remotely or travelling. Take your time, do your research, and pick a laptop bag you can rely on for many years.