Contents[Hide]

Laptop Bags Buying Guide

Oh, the simple days when women carried purses  and men lugged briefcases . Now both sexes have a lot more stuff , like wallets  and cosmetics  and accessories , and a lot more bags  to lug it all around. But if ever there's an important item of cargo, it's that laptop in which you invested a lot of money and on which you perform half the tasks of your daily life. For that reason, it's imperative that you have the right bag to cart your laptop wherever you need it and keep it safe from bumps, drops, and worst-case scenario, thieves. Fortunately, there are tons of options out there for cases that protect your computer and project your style. There are also many cool bonus features available, like solar panels to charge mobiles and PDAs, and cases that fold down into workstations. To help make a few choices about what you need, consider the following points.

Before You Buy

  • Think about where you'll be bringing it. If you're trying to get that corner office, you'll probably want your case to give off a professional vibe . Sleek and briefcase-like  is probably good for you. Just typing up papers at a coffee shop? You're probably more concerned with comfort and accessibility over other things. A messenger bag may be just the thing.
  • Tally up the stuff you need to fit in it. Men with a lot of tech gadgets may want a bag with extra pockets--and maybe even a solar panel  to charge the devices. Women may want their laptop case to double as a purse, so check out tote styles, which often have extra room for personal items .
  • Back problems? If you have neck or shoulder problems (or you have a long way to walk), a rolling laptop case may be right up your alley. Backpacks don't roll, but they ensure an even distribution of weight and have adjustable straps that minimize strain.
  • Measure your laptop. There's nothing worse than ordering a case online, getting it, and realizing it's the wrong size  for your computer. Getting too big a case isn't much better; the extra room means your laptop will be bouncing around and taking a bit of a beating. 
  • Assess the padding situation. Are you merely getting a felt sleeve for protection from scratches or is this thing an aluminium briefcase  lined in heavy foam? Jostle (and drop) accordingly. A separate layer of padding  may be needed.
  • Consider the safety of your environment. And I don't just mean how likely you are to drop it. Do you take the tube to work? Then you may want to rethink having a lot of pockets. It's great to be able to take out your mobile and MP3 player out with one hand, but that means pickpockets can too.

Visual Guide

Standard

Messenger-Style 

A messenger bag is distinct from a backpack or briefcase-style laptop case in that it has one long shoulder strap. This ensures a more comfortable and secure way of carrying it as well as easy access to the contents of the bag. It's also a great way to look urban and on-the-go and it's easy to open up if you're travelling  and have to deal with airport security. Drawbacks? Many messenger bags may be too sporty for some workplaces, and depending on how heavy your laptop is, you could experience strain in the shoulders and neck. Still, it's a versatile option that may be the right look and fit for casual professionals and students alike. 


Briefcase

Leather ,Handheld ,Saddle-Bag , or Leather Sleeve 

Leather is the standard option for the professional workplace, whether it's used for shoes, belts, bags, briefcases and, of course, laptop bags. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and carrying options (hand or shoulder), but at their most basic, they must be capable of containing a laptop. This means they have sturdy construction and possibly some interior straps to hold the device in place.

Looking refined has its drawbacks: leather cases  will not be as durable as, say, a canvas messenger bag, and you'll have to look out for scratches and rainy weather. Still, assuming you take a car to work and not the tube, a bus, or a bike, keeping your case (as well as your laptop) in good shape will probably not be too big a deal.


Purse-Style

Laptop Bag 

Women everywhere, rejoice! Laptop cases can sometimes seem like a bit of a man's world, what with all the heavy duty zips, orange canvas, and wide straps. There's just something so unsatisfying about dressing in your finest corporate apparel (or your favourite jeans and kitten heels) and pairing it all with something bulky and utilitarian. Thanks to a few savvy designers, however, ladies with laptops can be well equipped and well dressed at the same time. Some are so on trend that you'll mistake them for this season's leather bags . There are also a variety of styles that range from fun and colourful to the serious and polished, so stylish bags  are available for the secondary school student and professional woman alike. 


Wheeled/Rolling

Wheeled Laptop Cases 

These are a little more expensive than the other options we've covered, but if you carry your desk on your back, these are definitely worth the cost. They often have enough room to pack books, lunch, and a sunhat  or change of clothes, so you'll always be prepared--and you won't kill your shoulders. Avoid the temptation to overload these bags and they will last you a very long while. Wheeled cases are an ideal packing solution for techie freelancers who need to tote their gear, or those folks who enjoy a little weekend holiday  mixed in with their more extensive travels.


Backpack

Backpacks  are comfortable, versatile, and unisex. Generally, they're the default for lugging your laptop if you just want to get from point A to point B. Try not to skimp by getting just a regular backpack--look for one with padding (especially on the bottom) and a way of securing the laptop inside (either with straps or a special compartment) to minimize movement. Fortunately, the straps or padded pocket areas of these bags are often adjustable, making it easier to fit your laptop in without too much fuss. These may be ideal for students, who will need space for books and other supplies, too.

Padding

Though not a true bag or case, a laptop sleeve  or pillow  is still incredibly useful. They can be used to protect and even disguise a laptop  when travelling short distances, or to store them around the house safely. They can also add a layer of protection to bag-bound laptops, should you be in jostle-prone environments (leather briefcases in particular could stand for more protective padding). They're a great add-on accessory, so long as you have no need for peripherals like a wireless mouse  or other USB-powered devices .

Top Rated Picks

Related Guides

Laptop Computers

Backpacks

Luggage

Wireless Adapters

Cable DSL Routers

Software

External Hard Drives

MP3 Players

PDAs