The 7 Best Laptop Cases and Sleeves of 2021

Keep your laptop protected from drops and scratches

The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide
The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide
Introduction

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The best laptop cases and sleeves should have an attractive, durable design, and be easy to take through security, especially when you fly. Most bags are padded to add extra protection to your laptop and some are even reinforced along the edges or offer waterproofing. If you need storage space, you can also get laptop sleeves with additional pockets and organizers to handle cables, pens, notebooks, and other miscellaneous items.

If you would prefer a backpack, our list of the best laptop backpacks has plenty of options for you to browse. Otherwise, see our full list of the best laptop cases and sleeves below.

The Rundown
It comes in a light or dark gray color and offers all-around protection.
Gets an A+ for its intended purpose: holding all your gadgets and accessories in an organized fashion.
The polyurethane-hardened Gauntlet is my personal choice for protecting valuable, delicate hardware.
Anytime your laptop sleeve looks like a high-end handbag or pocketbook, you know you’re doing something right in the design department.
It offers basically everything you could want in a briefcase bag and then some.
This laptop sleeve bag is padded and comes in various sizes and colors; it can fit just about any MacBook there is.
This TSA-certified laptop sleeve is water resistance and durable, and capable of handling 15.6-inch laptops.

Best Overall: Nacuwa 360 Laptop Sleeve

Nacuwa 360 Laptop Sleeve
What We Like
  • Excellent protection from drops

  • Carrying handle and large side pocket

  • Easy access to devices

What We Don't Like
  • Won't fit thicker laptops

The Nacuwa 360-degree coverage sleeve is fully zippered and measures 13 inches. It comes in a light or dark gray color and offers all-around protection with an internal egg-crate-style padding. The case is capable of keeping your devices cushioned from the worst impacts. Extra reinforcement has been added to the corners as a strategic layer of protection.

The outside shell is a soft, heather gray design that is attractive and provides some water resistance. There's also a strong carrying handle and even an outer pocket to store chargers, external hard drives, and more.

The brand name might not be familiar, but the level of protection and overall quality at this remarkable price point elevate the Nacuwa to our top pick.

Capacity: 13-inch laptops and tablets | Durability: 360-degree and drop protection | Waterproof: Water-resistant | Pockets: One external

Best for Extra Pockets: Case Logic 15.6-Inch Laptop Case (VNCI-215)

Case Logic 15.6-Inch Laptop Case (VNCI-215)
What We Like
  • Pockets to hold notepads and documents

  • Velcro strap for securing laptop

  • Easy access to interiors

What We Don't Like
  • Somewhat bulky

When you’re on the move with your laptop in tow, you normally need a handful of accessories as well. This option from Case Logic has room for all your chargers, secondary devices and more.

Fitting devices up to 15.2 x 1.7 x 10.5 inches, the bag has an interior slip pocket to hold notepads and other documents separately from your computer. A velcro strap keeps your laptop secured in place, and padded compartment walls provide extra protection.

The exterior front pocket has dedicated pouches for your smartphone, charging cables, power brick and more, while the exterior back pocket can comfortably hold your tablet or other belongings. It also has a detachable shoulder carrying strap, plus a smaller handle on the top.

The bag may be a bit bulky, but it gets an A+ for its intended purpose: holding all your gadgets and accessories in an organized fashion.

Capacity: 15-17 inches | Durability: Padded compartment| Waterproof: No | Pockets: Front and slip pocket

Best Protection: Thule Guantlet 3.0 15"

Thule Gauntlet 3.0 15"
What We Like
  • Very rugged protection

  • Fits most 13-inch laptops

  • Great looking, premium quality design

What We Don't Like
  • Somewhat pricey

  • No extra pouches for accessories

When it comes to laptop protection, there are few names that stand out more than Thule. The company's new Gauntlet 3.0 case can hold 15-inch laptops and is marketed squarely at Apple buyers, but can fit a number of other laptops as well.

The price might sound a little steep for a laptop sleeve, but the polyurethane-hardened Gauntlet is one of the most rugged on the market, and is my personal choice for protecting valuable, delicate hardware.

There are three compartments cordoned off by two stretchy mesh dividers. A nylon strap runs from top to bottom, joined by a Velcro fastener, which helps secure the laptop inside the sleeve. The dense foam interior adds one final layer of protection.

The one major caveat is you’ll struggle to find the additional space to fit your charging cable and plug, but such is the price for the best protection against bumps and bruises.

Capacity: 15-inch laptops and tablets | Durability: Rigid exterior, padded interior, and corner protection | Waterproof: No | Pockets: None

Best Design: Kalidi Laptop Sleeve

Kalidi Laptop Sleeve
What We Like
  • Stylish design

  • Affordable price

  • Eight color options

What We Don't Like
  • Only meant for MacBook Air

Anytime your laptop sleeve looks like a high-end handbag or pocketbook, you know you’re doing something right in the design department. This Kalidi sleeve gives you visually luxurious leather-esque class without the eye-watering, genuine leather price tag. At just under $20, this won’t break the bank, but it'll definitely turn heads.

The case measures in at 355 x 255 mm, so it’s designed for 13-inch computers, and more specifically they’re advertising it for the MacBook Air, so keep that in mind if you're trying to figure out if your Windows or ChromeOS device might fit.

The faux, PU leather from which it's made is remarkably high quality and the opening of the bag is a fold-over that works a lot like a classic pocketbook. Perhaps the best part is that it comes in eight colors ranging from metallic tan leather to soft seafoam green to a dark, jewel tone purple. Whatever your style, there's probably a color on offer from Kalidi to match.

Capacity: 13-inch laptops and tablets | Durability: Velvet interior | Waterproof: No | Pockets: None

Best Splurge: Tenba Messenger DNA

Tenba Messenger DNA
What We Like
  • Can accomdate multiple laptop sizes

  • Pockets for DSLR, accessories, and other devices

  • Lots of organization features

  • Easy access

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

The Tenba Messenger bag is a serious splurge for a laptop case, but while it is very expensive, it offers basically everything you could want in a messenger bag and then some. There are various models available to accommodate a wide range of laptop sizes, and it has has pockets capable of containing a large DSLR camera, a travel coffee mug, all of your chargers, or even folders and notebooks. All of these pockets are compartmentalized so that everything stays organized and accessible.

The clips that clasp the bag closed use a magnetic quick release that allows you to securely lock the bag closed or open it up easily with a single hand. For fast access to the camera pocket, there's a dedicated zipper. This means you can quickly swap lenses without showing the whole world all the other expensive gear you have in your bag.

Finally, on the back, there are D-ring straps that serve to both lock the bag to your rolling carry-on suitcase, as well as affix it behind you when holding it on your shoulder so it won’t slide forward during a bike ride.

Capacity: 13-inch laptops and tablets | Durability: Padded | Waterproof: No | Pockets: Numerous compartments

Best for Macs: MOSISO Laptop Sleeve Bag

MOSISO Laptop Sleeve Bag
What We Like
  • Attractive design

  • Easy to unzip

  • Additional pockets for accessories

What We Don't Like
  • Only meant for MacBooks

The MOSISO is an attractive laptop sleeve bag made of polyester. It has a top-opening zipper that's easy to unzip, and the main pocket is padded, giving your MacBook some protection despite the slim and lightweight build. The bag is designed for the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air and comes in various sizes, ranging from 11.6-inches all the way up to 17.3 inches. There's an additional pocket on the front to keep accessories like a mouse, earphones, pens, and notepads.

Capacity: 13.3-inch laptops and tablets | Durability: Polyester foam padding, fleece fabric lining | Waterproof: Water-repellent | Pockets: One exterior

Best for Travelers: Ytonet Laptop Case 15.6-inch

Ytonet Laptop Case 15.6-inch
What We Like
  • TSA-certified

  • Can handle large laptops

  • Water-resistant fabric

What We Don't Like
  • Some users report tight fit

  • Could use more protection

The Ytonet Laptop case can handle 15.6-inch laptops and is TSA-certified to make it easy for travelers to get through security. The external dimensions of the laptop sleeve is 16.2 x 2 x 12.21 inches (LWH). In addition to the laptop compartment, there's a mesh pocket to handle pens, cables, mice, earphones, tablets, and other accessories.

The zipper opens smoothly and the bag is made of water-resistant nylon. It also boasts a polyester foam padding layer for protection against bumps, shocks, and drops. It's compatible with most 15.6-inch laptops from manufacturers.

Capacity: 15.6-inch laptops and tablets | Durability: Padded sleeve | Waterproof: Water-resistant| Pockets: Mesh pocket internal

Final Verdict

It's hard to go wrong with the Nacuwa 360 Laptop Sleeve (view on Amazon). It's incredibly affordable and it works with the new 13-inch MacBook Pro and Air, as well as similarly sized laptops. You get plenty of protection and padding on all sides, drop resistance, a smooth zipper, and an extra pocket for storing additional material.

About Our Trusted Experts

Andy Zahn has written about computers and other tech for Lifewire, The Balance, and Investopedia, among other publications. He has reviewed numerous laptops and PCs, and has been building gaming PCs of his own since 2013. Andy is a frequent traveler and a constant laptop user, so he knows the importance of protecting his devices with a good case.

FAQ
  • What is the best material for a laptop case?

    Neoprene is a common and effective material in soft cases and sleeves, while more durable cases often offer a hard plastic exterior with a padded interior. If you carrying the laptop inside of another bag, a neoprene sleeve is ideal, but if you're carrying it on its own a hardshell case is probably a good idea.

  • Do you need a case if your backpack has a built-in laptop pocket?

    While many backpacks, messenger bags, and other such baggage frequently have integrated compartments for laptops and other devices, often these pouches don't offer much in the way of protection. It's a good idea to use a laptop case or sleeve in such circumstances to provide an extra layer of protection.

  • What's the difference between a laptop sleeve and laptop case?

    A laptop sleeve tends to be a more form-fitting option that conforms to your laptop's size and design. Typically, a laptop sleeve is designed for extra protection for the laptop itself and can't handle additional accessories, tablets, notebooks, or other items. A laptop case is more of a bag and comes with storage, organization, and carrying options. A laptop sleeve can often fit inside a laptop case.

What to Look For in Laptop Cases and Sleeves

Durability

Your laptop is an expensive piece of hardware that stores invaluable data and memories. Hopefully, you have everything backed up, but for added protection against bumps or bruises, look for a case that has safety features like interior foam padding or a hardened exterior. Most laptop sleeves won't have ratings like MIL-STD 810G, which measures drop resistance, but you can get a good idea of durability by judging the material, level of padding, and if the exterior of the sleeve or case is hard. The combination of a hard exterior with padded interior results in better protection. Waterproofing is rare and you're unlikely to see IP measurements, but water-resistant material is fairly common.

Design

If you’re tucking your laptop into a larger bag, you’re probably fine buying just a sleeve, but if you’re carrying it as a standalone bag, you’ll want a case with a handle or strap that makes toting around your device more convenient. Similarly, if you’ll often be packing chargers, cables, notebooks, or other extras, opt for a case with accessible pockets. Most laptop sleeves can accommodate laptops and tablets that are around 13 inches in size. If you have a bigger device, around 15.6 inches or higher, then you'll likely want something closer to a messenger bag.

Checkpoint-friendly

Going through security at the airport used to require removing your laptop from its case for screening, but TSA now allows you to keep it in, assuming its case allows for a clear and unobstructed image of the laptop when undergoing X-ray screening. If you travel a lot, choose a laptop case that meets this requirement—most likely a top-loading sleeve design—so you can breeze through security without a hassle.

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