The best laptop backpack
We live in a technologically mobile world, but getting your electronic gear from here to there safely takes some planning. Laptop backpacks are an easy way to protect your laptop while traveling to and from school, work, and home. They hold far more than a laptop and can act as your mobile office. There are different sizes and styles, so you can find one that looks great and still has room for everything you need. Our top pick, eBags' Professional Slim Laptop Backpack, is the ultimate in organization and attaches to rolling luggage for easy use at the airport.
Considerations when choosing laptop backpacks
Size and capacity
Laptop backpacks are usually designed to fit a limited range of laptop sizes. You want a bag that's made for the size of the laptop you have. A poor fit can compromise the backpack's ability to protect your laptop.
You also have to consider the overall backpack capacity. For example, students may need to carry notebooks, binders, or textbooks while a business person may only need room for their laptop and wallet. Larger backpacks are bulkier and weigh more, but some have tension straps to keep the weight of the backpack closer to your body.
Design and construction
Waterproof materials on the exterior and interior of the backpack offer more protection for your laptop from the weather and internal spills or leaks. When it comes to design, look for models that have adequate storage and organization for your needs. Pen and cellphone holders, zippered pockets, and special media pockets can keep you organized with all your tools and gear easily accessible.
Backpacks with built-in chargers can charge a phone or tablet via a USB cord. They're not equipped to charge a laptop, but they'll still keep you connected as long as you keep the charger full. Other backpacks have a special pocket that holds a portable charger. These pockets have access ports through which you can pass a USB cord.
Strap width and padding
The strap width, strap padding, and back padding will determine how comfortable the backpack is to wear. Wide straps spread the weight and pressure of the backpack across the shoulders so they don't dig into your skin. Breathable mesh padding will help keep you cool. You'll also want to take a look at the placement of the straps. Wide set straps may not work well for people with smaller frames while narrow set straps may dig into the skin of someone with broad shoulders.
A basic laptop backpack starts around $25. These models may not have waterproof fabric and lack some organization options of other backpacks, but they can still be comfortable. As the price goes up, there are more models with extra pockets and organization features as well as built-in chargers. Most backpacks fall in the $30 to $50 range, with price largely determined by materials (waterproof fabrics) and size of the backpack. However, some of the higher-end models come in at more than $100.
Q. Are there laptop backpacks that are TSA compliant?
A. TSA-compliant backpacks have TSA-approved locks and/or have a pocket that opens 180 degrees so the laptop can be fully exposed for a TSA inspection without being removed from the backpack.
Q. Can a laptop backpack be cleaned in a washing machine?
A. Some can while others can't. You'll need to check with the manufacturer and follow their instructions. You have to be careful because some waterproof materials or coatings can be damaged by a washing machine.
Laptop backpacks we recommend
Best of the best: eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack
Our take: The eBag carries your laptop with style, ample storage, and organization. If you want a unique backpack with good laptop protection, this is the one for you.
What we like: The side-hinged front pocket provides excellent organization options. We also love the slim, streamlined design that fits in on campus or at the workplace.
What we dislike: It's expensive, and it may not fit large laptops.
Best bang for your buck: Mancro Business Water Resistant Laptop Backpack
Our take: If you like to travel light, this streamlined backpack will keep your laptop safe without weighing you down.
What we like: The waterproof material is worth the reasonable price, but it's the lock and USB charging port that make it a winner in our book.
What we dislike: The zippers don't hold up well, and space is limited.
Choice 3: VASCHY Leather Laptop Backpack
Our take: This backpack has a vintage vibe that meets modern needs. It combines rustic with professional for a look that works at the office.
What we like: The canvas and leather exterior definitely catches the eyes, and it fits laptops up to 15 inches.
What we dislike: The hardware durability doesn't match that of the canvas and leather.
Stacey L. Nash is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.