If you are carrying your laptop around, it’s important to ensure it’s well protected.
Not only are laptops expensive to replace, but your laptop is probably packed with photos, videos, music and documents – things that are irreplaceable.
Drop your laptop and it could cost you more than a few replacement parts. That’s why it’s important to back up your computer.
There are hundreds of laptop bags around, so the choice can be overwhelming.
Choosing a laptop bag
Before you select a bag, think about how you’ll use it. Is it just for a laptop? Or will you need to carry other things? You’ll definitely need space for a power cable, but what about documents, your lunch, a phone or spare charger?
How will you carry it? Some have a shoulder strap which might be good for short periods, while a backpack will keep your hands free. Wheels will save on back strain if you are carrying it over long distances.
Will you use the bag for work, or would you use the bag for the weekend?
How important are security features?
Do you need a rain cover, or waterproof fabric?
How much padding do you need? If it’s being stowed in an overhead locker, you’ll need to protect it more.
Make sure you choose a bag that fits. All will state the compatible screen size, so use this as a guide.
Best for value
Targus TAR300 Classic Laptop Bag
The Targus TAR300 is a no-frills case if you want to protect your laptop and keep your A4 documents flat.
There’s a front pocket and rear-slip pocket. It can fit 15.6-inch laptops, although a larger version can hold a laptop with a 17.3-inch screen.
Carry the case using the riveted handle. There’s also a cushioned shoulder strap if you would rather strap it across your chest.
Starting from £10.57, the case is outstanding value.
Best for style
Cath Kidston Spray Flowers 13-inch Laptop Business Bag
Website: John Lewis
Laptop bags don’t have to conform to uniform black, as this pretty floral patterned laptop bag shows – it looks more like a weekend bag than a laptop bag.
The cotton bag can hold a laptop up to 13 inches in the protective padded section in the middle. There’s also a section for documents.
The cotton fabric has been designed to repel dust and dirt.
Carry the bag using the two handles, but also across your chest if you need to keep your hands free.
Best for everyday
Crumpler Dinky Di Stripy Backpack
Australian brand Crumpler threw out the rule book for camera and laptop bags, opting for bold, colours and fashionable patterns, without compromising on quality.
The Dinky Di Stripy Backpack comes in six colour combinations – the one above is Expresso/Pale Blue.
It can fit a 15-inch laptop or 14-inch laptop with protective sleeve, which is secured with a Velcro strap.
The flap fastens with a buckle, but the inner bag is secured with a drawstring, allowing you to quickly find things and maximise the 16 litre volume, which includes an internal zip mesh pocket.
It’s made using Crumpler’s custom woven Chicken Tex Nylon, an extra dense fabric that is strong and long lasting.
Best for work and play
Targus TSB212 Sport
What we like about this Targus rucksack are the numerous pockets that allow you to carry lots of different things.
This lightweight backpack has a padded compartment that can hold a 16-inch laptop. There’s a secondary compartment big enough for books and magazines, two front pockets (one of which is padded to protect fragile items like sunglasses), dual side pockets and mesh pockets for water bottles.
The waist strap removes the pressure from your shoulders if the bag is particularly full, while PVC at the bottom helps repel water.
Even if you aren’t carrying a laptop, the Targus TSB212 Sport is practical enough to use as a weekend bag.
Best for business
If your work involves lots of air travel, you’ll want a laptop bag small enough to stow in an overhead locker, with wheels and a handle for travelling through an airport quickly.
Samsonite’s Ultimocabin range has been designed to comply with airline suitcase size regulations and comes in 50 or 55 cm options.
Each case has a front compartment for things you need to get your hands on in a hurry when going through airport security, with a padded laptop and tablet section, pockets for phone, passport and tickets and a wet pocket for toiletries.
Available in black, brown and silver, the 30 litre case is made from tough Makrolon polycarbonate designed to protect the contents in case of knocks, and includes an integrated TSA lock.
Best for security
Described as an anti-theft bag, the RuitBag R10 (available June 2016) doesn’t have any outer zips. Instead the zips are located on the section close to your back, the idea being you can wear it safely on your back when travelling on a train, bus or tube, without worrying about pickpockets.
The 10-litre rucksack feels comfortable to wear. The slight drawback is that to get inside the bag you need to take it off, so you can’t slip something in quickly. But if you can’t slip something in quickly, a thief can’t take it out quickly.
Inside there are compartments for a 15-inch laptop, documents, cables and stationery. A water bottle would have been useful – those come with the next bag up, the R15.
If you are looking for advice on choosing a laptop, check out our article: Top tips for buying your first laptop.
Do you have a laptop? How do you keep it safe? Let us know in the Comments section below.