Best Laptop Backpacks and Bags for 2021

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By Amanda Kruse, Contributor

The beauty of freelancing is the option to set your own schedule and work from, well, anywhere! But this means you have to take your laptop with you when you’re on the go.

Whether traveling or working from a coffee shop, the ideal bag makes it easy to stow your laptop and other items. You need a laptop bag that’s easy to organize, comfortable to carry, and looks good too! Above all, you want to keep your laptop safe.

With so many types of laptop backpacks and bags out there, it’s hard to know which is best for you. From stylish messenger bags to briefcases to padded backpacks, the options seem limitless.

If you’re looking for a new laptop bag, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve sorted through the top laptop bags and assembled a list of the ten best laptop backpacks and bags for 2021. You’re sure to find the best bag for you!

The Best Overall Laptop Bag

Our pick for best overall is the Matein Travel Laptop Backpack. Not only is it affordable, but it’s comfortable and stylish too. And, no matter where you’re going, it has the space for everything you need.

Matein Travel Laptop Backpack

Fits most 15.6” laptops | 18 x 12 x 7.7” | .6 ounces | Larger size available

Pros

  • The laptop compartment is separate from the main compartment
  • Padded back, shoulder straps, and top handle
  • Great for organizing, with many pockets and slots for small items
  • Lightweight
  • Reasonably priced
  • Style fits casual and professional settings
  • USB port with built-in charging cable (power bank not included)
  • Hidden anti-theft pocket

Cons

  • No padding on the bottom of the laptop sleeve
  • Without a laptop in the sleeve, it might not sit squarely on your back

The Best Leather Laptop Bag

The KomalC is one of the best-reviewed leather laptop bags. It’s durable, lightweight, and looks terrific too.

KomalC Buffalo Leather Laptop Messenger Bag/Briefcase

Fits most 15.6” laptops | 15.5 x 11 x 4” | 10.4 ounces

Pros

  • Durable materials: genuine natural leather, canvas lining, and brass fittings
  • Stylish, vintage look
  • Lightweight
  • Carry as a briefcase, or use the removable strap on your shoulder or crossbody
  • Front pockets for small items

Cons

  • The strap is a little narrow and not padded

The Best Laptop Backpack for Travel

The CoolBELL Convertible bag is super versatile for travel. Use it as a backpack, shoulder bag, or briefcase. You’ll appreciate the extra space for clothes and personal items too.

CoolBELL Convertible Backpack/Messenger Bag

Fits most 15.6” laptops | 16.5 x 12.2 x 4.7” | 2.20 lbs | Larger size available

Pros

  • Versatile: it’s a backpack, shoulder/messenger bag, or briefcase
  • Several functional compartments and pockets
  • Ample space for use as a carry-on
  • Waterproof

Cons

  • Backpack straps tend to fall out of hidden pocket (when tucked away and not in use)
  • Front zipper pockets are configured so that items can fall out when unzipping

The Best Laptop Backpack for Air Travel

This Swissgear backpack is perfect for air travel. I traveled with only this backpack and a handbag for a few days. It keeps your laptop safe and has lots of storage compartments for other items.

Swissgear 1900 Scansmart Laptop Backpack

Fits most 17” laptops | 18.5 x 13.25 x 9” | Laptop sleeve 14.5″ x 11″ x 1.5″ | 31 L Volume | 3.39 lbs

Pros

  • Weather-resistant material
  • Separate opening for the laptop sleeve for faster TSA scans
  • Several pockets for other items, with side slots for water bottles
  • Tablet sleeve
  • Very comfortable, padded, and breathable back and shoulder straps

Cons

The Best Laptop Backpack for Organization

The KROSER is a stylish, larger backpack with added tech features. The many zippered pockets are perfect for keeping your belongings safe.

KROSER Laptop Backpack

Fits up to a 15.6” laptop | 17.7 x 12.2 x 7.5” | 2.2 lbs | Larger size available

Pros

  • Water-repellent exterior
  • Zippered side and front pockets for small items and water bottles
  • Laptop compartment separate from the main compartment
  • RFID pockets for identity protection
  • Built-in USB port (power bank not included)
  • Padded, breathable back and shoulder straps

Cons

  • Large size, especially for small-framed people

The Best Lightweight Laptop Messenger Bag/Briefcase

The Lenovo shoulder bag is a small, lightweight laptop bag with pockets for small items.

Lenovo Laptop Shoulder Bag T210

Fits most 15.6” laptops | 21.21 x 16.15 x 2.17” | 12 ounces

Pros

  • Clean, modern look suitable for business and casual
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Several colors available
  • Many discreet pockets for organization
  • Water repellent fabric
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Too small for some laptops
  • The shoulder strap is lightly padded

The Best Value Laptop Bag

The AmazonBasics laptop bag comes in several sizes, so you can easily find one that fits your laptop. It’s an excellent lightweight, affordable bag.

AmazonBasics Laptop Shoulder Bag Carrying Case

Fits most 15.6” laptops | 15.5 x 12 x 2.8” | 1.01 lb | Other sizes available

Pros

  • Slim, simple design
  • Inexpensive
  • Padded shoulder strap
  • Three separate compartments for cables, notepads, and other items
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Shoulder strap fasteners may weaken after long term use

The Best Canvas Laptop Bag

The great thing about the Modoker Canvas backpack is that it’s soft and sturdy! It’s versatile,  fits a ton of stuff, and is stylish too.

Modoker Canvas Laptop Backpack

Fits most 17” laptops | 16.1 x 12.2 x 6.3” | 1.95 lbs

Pros

  • Seven compartments, with padded laptop sleeve
  • High-density canvas material, with leather trim and brass fittings
  • Adjustable, well-padded shoulder straps
  • External USB port (power bank not included)
  • Side pocket with elastic bands for water bottles

Cons

  • The charging port can come loose
  • The style may not work for some professional settings

The Best Rolling Laptop Backpack

The Targus backpack rolls smoothly and has plenty of storage – for more than just your laptop. Whether you’re traveling or simply don’t want to carry your bag, the wheels can make life easier.

Targus Compact Rolling Laptop Backpack

Fits 16” laptops |19 x 13.8 x 9” | Laptop sleeve 10.5 x 15.3”| 29 L | 4 lbs | Also comes in smaller size

Pros

  • Has both a laptop and tablet compartment
  • Flap covers wheels when used as a backpack
  • Shoulder straps tuck away when rolling
  • Clothing compartment with elastic straps
  • Rolls easily
  • Not too bulky (fits under the seat when flying)

Cons

  • Not as many smaller pockets as other bags
  • Nothing to keep smaller water bottles from falling out when rolling

The Best Laptop Backpack for Back Pain

If you suffer from back pain, you need a laptop bag that doesn’t worsen your pain. Backpacks are better than shoulder bags for people with back pain. The KOPACK backpack has padding, distributes weight evenly, and is adjustable.

KOPACK Lightweight Laptop Backpack

Fits most 15.6” laptops | 17.7 x 11.8 x 4.3” | 1.56 lbs | Larger size available

Pros

  • Padded back and straps
  • S shape design to evenly distribute weight
  • Lightweight
  • Anti-theft compartment
  • Five compartments, with ten separate pockets
  • Compact, stylish design

Cons

  • No top handle
  • Material/Seams may wear after long-term use

How to Decide on the Best Laptop Backpack or Bag

When deciding which laptop bag is right for you, consider the following fundamentals.

Size. Look for a bag that’s not too bulky, fits your laptop, and has space for all the items you carry with you. Your computer should be easy to get in and out of the sleeve but snug enough to protect it too.

Design. As a freelancer, you want a laptop bag that’s functional and looks professional too.  Plus, you need to be able to access items quickly and easily.

Features. Do you want several compartments, anti-theft features, a USB port, water bottle holder(s), and lots of padding? Or do you want something simple and compact for everyday use?

Comfort. Decide if a backpack or shoulder strap would be better for you. Look for padded shoulder straps and breathable material, especially on backpacks.

Quality. No matter what type of bag you choose, you want it to be reliable and durable. You might want it to be water-resistant too.

Price. Price doesn’t always equal quality. You can find excellent laptop bags without breaking the bank.

Final thoughts on finding the best laptop bag

As a freelancer, you need a laptop bag that’s functional and comfortable but looks great too! With so many bags out there, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of options. Here, we’ve narrowed it down to ten of the best laptop backpacks and bags to help you choose. Once you decide what features you need most, take a look at our picks to see if one is right for you.

Photo by Jonathan Francisca on Unsplash

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