Keeping your laptop safe and sound means a bag or case that can help the computer withstand a knock or drop.
When choosing your new carrier, consider whether you want a case that just stores your laptop, or a bag that is roomy enough to carry other stuff, with pockets and compartments for accessories like cables and power plugs, for instance.
Then decide on your style. There are plenty of industrial-looking options, but you can choose something functional that’s also good-looking.
The products here have been used on long journeys and have been tested for durability, efficiency and style.
All have some degree of padding or protectiveness, and no laptops have been harmed in the making of this feature.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Knomo Amesbury 15in leather laptop briefcase: £379, Knomo
London-based luggage maker Knomo makes gorgeous leather bags with snazzy design and outstanding build quality. The Amesbury isn’t cheap, but has everything you need, from three main zip compartments and a sleeve to attach the bag to your wheelie case, to useful dividers inside. There are even thoughtful extras like a keyring so you won’t be fumbling for your front door keys after your next trip abroad.
Knomo bags contain an ID number unique to your bag. This means that if it gets lost after you’ve registered it, the finder can contact Knomo. They will collect the bag and get it back to you. If you need fewer zip pockets, there are plenty more in the range that will suit. This bag holds a laptop up to 15in in size. The company also has a 30-day return policy if you decide it’s not quite for you. Spoiler: you’re going to want to keep it.
Apple leather sleeve for 13in MacBook Air and Pro: £179, Apple
If you want the perfect fit for your MacBook, MacBook Air or MacBook Pro, this is it. The super-thin leather sleeve is cunningly designed with just enough space at the bottom edge to protect the laptop. Apple’s laptops have small rubber feet on them and this sleeve has corresponding dimples that fit them snugly, holding the notebook in place, but still with enough give so you can take it out easily. It comes in three colours: black, midnight blue and a fetching saddle brown.
Mujjo sleeve for 13in MacBook Air and Pro: £51.99, Mujjo
Mujjo’s signature fabric is felt, here mixed with tan leather that forms a protective flap across the top of the bag. Corner rivets are lined to ensure there’s nothing for the laptop to touch against apart from soft, supportive felt. There are useful storage compartments and a small pocket in the sleeve for credit cards or a photographic SD card. The sleeve feels soft and appealing to the touch, with the leather element looking attractive and serving as decent protection.
Buckle & Seam Jake sleeve: £58, Buckle & Seam
This sleeve is handmade, and it certainly feels and looks like it’s been carefully crafted. The material is waxed canvas, which is water-repellent, as well as vegetable-tanned leather, with an external leather pocket. There’s enough space inside for a charger as well as the laptop itself. The cotton lining comes in three different patterns, including a handsome red-and-blue stripe. It comes in sizes to fit 13in and 15in hardware. The company donates 3 per cent of purchase revenue to a school in Pakistan. Choose from blue and green canvas finishes.
AmazonBasics 15.4in felt laptop sleeve in light grey: £12.49, Amazon
If you want something super-affordable but still effective, Amazon’s own-brand range has a lot going for it. This one is very keenly priced, though there are other laptop cases that are even cheaper. The soft interior keeps the laptop safe from scratches and there’s a second main pocket which will take a tablet up to 9in, plus two rear pockets for accessories like a phone, say. It feels good to the touch and looks much classier than its price tag suggests.
Incase 13in hardshell case: £39.95, Apple
A hard case is a great way to protect your laptop. It looks good and is especially useful at keeping it safe and free from knocks, let alone milder marks or scratches (which, by the way, means your laptop will have kept its value better if you come to sell it later on). It’s a tight fit, so you won’t want to take it on and off very often, but it includes rubberised feet so the laptop doesn’t slip. It’s almost like you don’t have a case on the laptop at all.
Samsonite W Zalia bailhandle 15.6in laptop briefcase: £165, John Lewis & Partners
This elegant case from Samsonite has a lot going for it. Place your laptop inside the padded compartment and a strap will hold it securely in place, there’s also room for a tablet and other items in the twin zipped sections. This features a useful outer zipped pocket for items you need immediately too. Studs on the base mean the bag itself needn’t get dirty when placed on the train floor, for instance.
Native Union stow sleeve for MacBook: £69.99, Native Union
Every product Native Union makes is slick and attractive, with eye-catching, surprising design that is always sleek. Here, there are subtle details, such as the company’s logo on the leather tag and a waterproof zipper to keep your laptop safe in inclement weather. The interior is quilted for extra safety. In use, this is a comfortable, attractive sleeve that works well and looks chic. This sleeve is available for 12in, 13in and 15in MacBooks.
Knomo Fulham 13in knomad organiser: £79, Knomo
Another smart device, this one is an organiser designed for a 13in laptop. But there are also eight credit card holders, pen loops, a mesh pocket to keep sunglasses and the like safe, six pockets for smaller items such as a portable charger and elastic straps to secure headphones, charging cables and more. Oh, and there’s also an external zipped pocket. Honestly, Knomo has thought of everything. All in an elegantly designed canvas zipped sleeve.
Fjällräven Kanken 15in: £95, Fjällräven
Fjällräven has been making great backpacks for decades, originally including ones that helped prevent back issues in children. Now, though, everybody wants them and it’s easy to see why. There’s a wide choice of colours for a start. The solid build and padding to protect your laptop. And a seatpad. It sits in the back of the bag to help strengthen the shape but it’s removable so you can plonk it down and sit anywhere.
The verdict: Laptop bags and cases
When it comes to laptop cases, Knomo is the go-to brand, thanks to its smart design and immaculate build quality. The Knomo Amesbury is seriously impressive, though there are plenty of more affordable options from the country with fewer pockets or different finishes. Apple’s own leather sleeve is a masterpiece in minimalism and the Samsonite W Zalia is a great balance of design and affordability.
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