The best rolling briefcase

Andrew Hard

Rolling briefcases are often water resistant, but for wet climates, you may want extra protection for your documents and electronic devices. Consider using a waterproofing spray on the exterior if you’re traveling to a rainy area.

The definition of an office is very different today than it was just 15 years ago. In the past, businesspeople would hop in their car, on a bus, or on their bike to reach their places of work, and while this is still common, modern workers often bring their offices with them. Wireless technology can turn nearly any space into an impromptu workstation, allowing people to accomplish their tasks on the go.

An effective mobile office traditionally includes a laptop, mobile phone, charging equipment, file folders, writing utensils, and sometimes even a change of clothes. Rolling briefcases allow you to transport all your tools in a convenient, stylish, and professional-minded way, and can take your productivity to the next level.

Thankfully, there's an incredible array of products available, ranging from budget-conscious models to high-end leather solutions, such as our top choice, Alpine Swiss Laptop Briefcase -- perfect if you're looking to make a statement at your next interview.

Considerations when choosing rolling briefcases

Style, features, and security are all important factors to consider when shopping for a rolling briefcase, but durability should stand above them all. Specifically, we're talking about the material of the exterior shell, which is your first line of defense against rain, dirt, and physical damage. Some units have hard plastic shells, but sturdy materials, such as 1680 denier ballistic nylon or leather, offer solid protection in a more flexible package. With potentially sensitive documents and electronics inside, you don't want to take any chances with cheap fabrics.

Rolling briefcases are meant to be pushed and pulled through airports, offices, and city streets, so they must be maneuverable enough to handle varied surfaces. Two-wheeled versions are marginally lighter than four-wheelers and have more space inside, and they're usually slightly cheaper, as well, due to fewer components. Four-wheeled models, however, are able to spin 360º within their own wheelbase, and that can be handy when you're maneuvering through tight spaces.

If you plan on traveling with your briefcase, confirm your airline's carry-on sizing regulations before finalizing your purchase.


The modern businessperson uses high-tech equipment on a daily basis, so their briefcase should reflect that. Certain varieties of rolling briefcases include built-in USB ports that connect to a power bank of your choice, allowing you to charge your mobile devices as you travel. Few products actually include the power bank as a feature, so the inclusion of the USB port won't change the price much.

Outside of device-charging convenience, typical features of rolling briefcases relate to dedicated storage compartments for laptops, phones, business cards, file folders, writing utensils, and the like. When shopping online, zoom in on the interior photos to discern whether or not the design will fit with your work materials.

Other important details

Whether it's sensitive business documents, personal information, or expensive electronic devices, the contents of your briefcase will hold significant value. This makes safety and security huge concerns, and that's why many rolling briefcases come with combination locks and keyed compartments. For added assurance, purchase supplementary zipper locks and always keep your bag close.


Q. Why should I choose a rolling briefcase over a backpack?

A. On the whole, rolling briefcases and backpacks have very similar advantages, but a briefcase offers a distinct, business-minded look. This may not matter for some jobs, but for other types of work, professionalism is paramount. In addition, rolling briefcases are commonly made with hard or reinforced shells to protect their contents, and pulling them with a telescoping handle may cause less wear and tear on your joints.

Q. How do I know if a rolling briefcase complies with my airline's carry-on regulations?

A. Carry-on size standards can vary from airline to airline, but in the United States, the standard dimensions for domestic carry-ons are 9 x 14 x 22 inches (22 x 35 x 56 centimeters). This includes the handles and wheels. The majority of rolling briefcases comply with these guidelines, but not all do. Check with your preferred airline before buying to avoid any headaches down the road.

Rolling briefcases we recommend

Best of the best: Alpine Swiss Laptop Briefcase

Our take: A premium legal briefcase to keep your work in order and your look on point.

What we like: A handsome briefcase built to FAA regulations, this model boasts a plethora of clever storage compartments and a 17-inch laptop sleeve. Built-in dual combination locks offer improved privacy over the alternatives, and for more peace of mind, the front pocket features a key lock.  

What we dislike: The in-line skate wheels are low profile, which can lead to wear on the bottom of the case if it's pulled over rough surfaces.

Best bang for your buck: AmazonBasics Rolling Laptop Case

Our take: A first-class rolling laptop case at an economy price.

What we like: Protecting your laptop is the number one priority with this case. Computers with up to 15.6-inch screens will fit inside this model's padded interior slot, but there are compartments for writing utensils, notepads, business cards, and other mobile devices as well. It's designed to fit snugly under airplane seats for on-the-go professionals. 

What we dislike: The wheel and handle materials are not as durable as higher-end units.

Choice 3: Samsonite Business One Mobile Office

Our take: A sleek, portable workstation built to withstand the rigors of travel.

What we like: This briefcase wears a ballistic nylon fabric exterior to provide excellent durability on the move. Inside, the EVA foam backing keeps the contents protected from damage, and the laptop bag boasts additional 10-millimeter foam padding. The SoftSpin wheels are also designed to reduce shocks and project less noise. 

What we dislike: This model has only two wheels, which may impact stability and maneuverability.

Andrew Hard 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.

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