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Top-rated laptop backpacks of 2024: Tech experts’ picks for ultimate performance

Molly Flores/CNN Underscored

When it comes to choosing a laptop backpack that suits your needs, there are several factors to consider. As someone who always has a laptop backpack on hand, I have tested and compared various options to find the best ones available. Here are six laptop backpacks that stood out in terms of durability, functionality, and style.

These laptop backpacks are designed for anyone and come in a variety of colors and sizes. During my testing, I used a 16-inch laptop, Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones, and other daily essentials to evaluate their performance and functionality.

Each backpack has its unique features and benefits, making them suitable for different purposes. Whether you need a basic and affordable option like the Herschel Classic XL or a stylish and functional choice like the Troubadour Orbis 1-Pocket Backpack, there is a laptop backpack for every preference.

After thorough testing, I have identified these six laptop backpacks as the top recommendations based on their design, durability, and overall performance. Here’s why I believe they are worth considering for your next laptop backpack purchase.

The best laptop backpack that’s basic in a good way

Herschel’s nearly ubiquitous Classic XL bag sports a clean design, but its popularity isn’t just based on its minimalist looks. It’s relatively affordable and comfortable, and can carry a decent amount of gear. I found it easy to fit a 16-inch laptop with its charging brick, my headphones, a light spring jacket and gym essentials (including a 20-ounce water bottle). Its front pouch is roomy enough to still have space after I dropped my portable charger and sunglasses case in there. 

My biggest gripe is its lack of a luggage handle slot (a must for travel backpacks), which I’ve found invaluable to my comfort and sanity while flying. Its laptop sleeve padding is adequate, though the slot’s front side is more fabric than protection, a frequent situation for lighter bags. Nevertheless, in my day-to-day usage, I’ve found it fit for both going to work and bopping around town.

Rated for laptops as large as: 16 inches

Dimensions, volume: 18 by 13 by 6.8 inches, 26 liters

Warranty: Herschel provides a limited lifetime warranty “free of material and manufacturing defects.”

The best laptop backpack that you’ll probably also use as a gym bag

In words I’m shocked to write, I appreciate what this Lululemon laptop backpack is doing. Minimalist, made with a glossy, water-repellent nylon and sold in a variety of colors, the Lululemon Everywhere is made to match your fit and still holds a fair bit. I packed a 16-inch MacBook Pro with charger and cord, my light spring jacket and over-ear headphones. And since it’s a Lululemon bag, I also packed my gym shorts and a tank top inside, and put my 20-ounce water bottle in one of the side pockets, with my portable charger and sunglasses in the exterior pouch. It’s almost too simple, though, as its straps would be nicer with a bit more padding — though I didn’t find it uncomfortable as I lugged my daily necessities around NYC. And just like with the Herschel, I’m annoyed by the lack of a luggage handle slot and its bare minimum on laptop sleeve padding. Looking for something less minimal but still trendy? We liked the Lovevook backpack.

Rated for laptops as large as: 16 inches

Dimensions, volume: 11.4 by 5.9 by 16.9 inches, 22 liters

Warranty: Lululemon doesn’t offer a standard warranty, but its site states, “If our product doesn’t perform for you, we’ll take it back.” However, the company also notes that this policy “does not cover usage beyond practical lifetime,” and “cannot be applied to any item purchased through Like New.”

The best laptop backpack that fits a lot of laptops

If you want to carry a laptop (or two or three) in a stylish bag that’s got plenty of durability, check out the Authority Laptop Backpack Deluxe from Timbuk2. While it looks a little unassuming at first, unclasp the buckles on the bottom of the bag to take advantage of its full size. Once those are let loose, this bag can actually hold three whole laptops — a 16-inch MacBook Pro, a 16-inch Alienware and a 13-inch MacBook Air — comfortably, in different slots. And the laptops in the rear sleeve benefit from the strongest and thickest protection I found in this round of testing.

On top of all that, the Authority Laptop Backpack Deluxe still had room for those laptops’ chargers, my headphones and my big water bottle. Plus, a sunglasses case fits in the front zippered pouch, while my small notebook and pen tucked inside a zippered pouch on the exterior. Oh, and it offers that slot for your luggage handle to slide into, because going to the airport is tiring enough without a bag on your back.

Rated for laptops as large as: 16 inches

Dimensions, volume: 18.9 by 11.4 by 5.3 inches, 20 liters

Warranty: Timbuk2 offers a lifetime warranty that covers “manufacturing defects in materials and workmanship are covered, notwithstanding age.”

The best laptop backpack I’ll probably buy for my office commute

The Transit Workpack from Bellroy (a personal favorite brand of mine, as they made my wallet, and I’ve owned past backpacks) is neat for a couple of reasons. First off, I just really like the look and durable feel of its water-resistant Baida nylon material, while the two-tone design that its glossy zipper tape provides is a good bonus. Second of all, there’s this one little zippered pocket at the top of the backpack that’s supposedly meant for sunglasses (though I’m not storing those outside of a hard-shell case), but it’s also perfect for my work ID card I always forget and the MagSafe Battery Pack I always wish I packed. 

As for what it can hold, that depends on comfort. Sure, it can fit up to three laptops at once, but its straps lack the padding to make that much heft feel OK. Instead, I’ve been carrying it around with a 16-inch laptop (which slides into a study and cushioned sleeve) with charger, my small notebook with pen, noise-canceling headphones and a hardcover book — all in their own space so they’re easy to find. Plus, there’s a carabiner to hold your keys (they’ve gotta go somewhere when you’re on a trip).

Rated for laptops as large as: 16 inches

Dimensions, volume: 19.7 by 12.6 by 7.1 inches, 20 liters

Warranty: Bellroy provides a three-year warranty against “defects in materials and workmanship … when used under normal conditions and for the purpose intended.”

The best fashionable laptop backpack

Troubadour’s Orbis 1-Pocket Backpack offers both style and a surprising capacity, as this super-soft vegan leather and recycled polyester bag managed to hold both of the 16-inch laptops I had on hand in its back slot alone. Its laptop protection is as strong as it gets here. Then, in the main compartment, it’s got a water bottle holder, room for big wireless headphones and two pockets and a pair of zippered pouches. Lastly, you’ve got the quick-access pocket on the front for keeping an extra pair of glasses, a portable charger, your passport and more. On top of all that? The vegan leather isn’t the only part of the Orbis that feels good; its padded straps provided a lot of comfort as I hustled around the city.

Rated for laptops as large as: 16 inches

Dimensions, volume: 16.5 by 11.8 by 5.5 inches, 17.6 liters

Warranty: Troubadour provides a “a five-year guarantee against any manufacturing fault.”

The best customizable laptop backpack

Looking for a laptop backpack that offers customization and organization options? The Peak Design Everyday Backpack is the ideal choice. Available in two sizes, this backpack features durable materials and ample space for your devices and accessories. Its versatile compartments and sturdy design make it a top choice for those who prioritize functionality and style.

Rated for laptops as large as: 16 inches

Dimensions, volume: 18.1 by 13 by 11.8 inches (20L), 19.1 by 13 by 12.6 inches (30L)

Warranty: Peak Design provides a lifetime warranty that covers manufacturing defects and “failures or breakages that render part or all of your product to become non-functional,” ensuring long-lasting use.

When considering which laptop backpack to purchase, it’s essential to keep in mind your specific needs and preferences. Whether you prioritize size, durability, or style, there is a backpack that will suit your individual requirements. Before making a decision, assess the features and benefits of each backpack to determine which one aligns best with your lifestyle.

Additionally, it’s important to consider practical aspects such as airline regulations for carry-on luggage and under-seat storage. Different airlines have varying measurements for acceptable carry-on items, so be sure to check these guidelines before traveling with your laptop backpack. By understanding these regulations, you can ensure a smoother travel experience with your chosen backpack.

Each of the recommended laptop backpacks serves a unique purpose and offers distinct advantages. Whether you require a backpack for daily commuting, travel, or professional use, there is a suitable option among the top picks. Consider your specific needs and preferences to find the perfect laptop backpack that will enhance your daily routine and keep your devices safe and organized.

Ultimately, the choice of a laptop backpack is a highly personal decision based on individual preferences and requirements. By evaluating the features, design, and functionality of each backpack, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your unique needs. Whether you prioritize organization, comfort, or style, there is a laptop backpack that will meet your expectations and enhance your daily routine.

Take the time to explore the options and consider how each backpack will fit into your lifestyle and meet your specific needs. With the right laptop backpack, you can stay organized, protect your devices, and make a stylish statement while on the go.

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