When you need to tote your laptop around whether it’s for school, travel or other activities, a laptop backpack often comes in handy. It keeps your hands free to carry other items like your phone or a cup of coffee. A good laptop backpack also balances the weight on two shoulders, rather than you struggling to carry all the weight on one shoulder with a tote. They’re also useful if you happen to ride your bike with a bag or when traveling and need to carry multiple pieces of luggage. A solid laptop backpack should be durable, offer comfort with features like padded straps and have provide ample pockets to keep everything organized.
Luckily, here in the Good Housekeeping Institute Textile Lab, we test all kinds of backpacks from backpacks for kids, travel backpacks, backpacks for college students and more to find the backpack that fits your needs and holds up to wear and tear. In testing, our pros evaluate backpacks for durability by measuring tear strength, strap strength and abrasion resistance. We also look for the amount of padding in the straps, useful extras, how much it will hold and its weight to find the most comfortable backpacks.
Our picks below include top performers in testing, personal staff member favorites, items our Textile pros road tested at home, as well as come from top-rated backpack brands. Here are the best laptop backpacks of 2021:
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Best Overall Laptop Backpack
We were huge fans of this backpack when we road-tested it at home: Not only does it have a modern minimalist look, but we are confident this bag will be durable as it has reinforced stitching in key areas where there may be extra tugging, such as around the top handle, straps and luggage sleeve. Plus, Herschel has a lifetime warranty.
The bag is only 1.8 pounds, which means it won’t add a lot of extra weight to your load. And unlike other bags that have little to no padding, this bag has padding throughout the bag to keep everything extra safe. The laptop sleeve has fleece lining to keep electronics scratch-free — it has multiple zippered compartments and pockets to keep everything organized. In tested, the 20L capacity was large enough to carry a 15-inch laptop (it fits up 16 inches!), multiple books, notepads and a change of clothes with room to spare. If that’s not the right size for you, it also comes in an 18L capacity that holds a 13-inch laptop as well as a 30L capacity that holds a 16-inch laptop.
- Lifetime Warranty
- Comes in different sizes
Best Value Laptop Backpack
Not only does this laptop backpack have over 40,000 reviews and a 4.8 star rating on Amazon, but it also costs less than most backpacks. It’s loaded with features such as padded straps so it won’t dig into your shoulders, plenty of compartments and pockets to keep everything organized, a built-in USB port and more. Many reviewers say this backpack is the best for school or travel because it holds so much stuff. It comes in two sizes, either holding up to a 15.6-inch or 17-inch laptop.
- Great value
- Padded straps
- Plenty of compartments and pockets
- Not as many color options in the 17-inch laptop size
Most Comfortable Laptop Backpack
Dakota Neoprene Backpack
When we road-tested this at home, we were pleasantly surprised that unlike other backpacks that can feel stiff or rough, this Dagne Dover tote felt soft and squishy when wearing it (this is thanks to the neoprene fabric). Along with being comfy, this bag has a laptop sleeve and an interior pocket to hold a water bottle or cell phone. The main compartment is large enough to hold work essentials as well as a change of clothes. It also comes with a shoe bag, making this a great bag to go from the office to the gym or anywhere else.
The bag also comes with a small, leashed pouch that we found convenient for storing items like lip balm or keys without them getting lost. The one downside? Neoprene fabric can be prone to pilling, though this can be remedied easily with a fabric shaver.
- Interior Organization
Best Lightweight Laptop Backpack
This backpack won’t weigh you down, thanks to the lightweight nylon fabric. This backpack keeps the details simple which helps it remain lightweight, and the gorgeous metallic hardware makes it extra stylish.
In our at-home tests, we liked the unique side zipper pocket that came in handy to stash items that are frequently used, like a cell phone or wallet, which could be easily accessed without having to take the entire backpack off and dig around in the compartments. The laptop sleeve fits up to a 13-inch laptop but a 15-inch laptop can fit in the main compartment.
- Easy to access side pocket
- Laptop sleeve only fits up to a 13 inch laptop
Best Travel Laptop Backpack
Away was our top pick for the best luggage brand, so it’s no surprise the backpack is loved as well with nearly 150 reviews on Away and a 4.9 star rating. It’s made with water-resistant nylon to help keep your stuff dry, a trolley sleeve to secure it to a suitcase and a hidden zippered pocket for a passport.
Multiple shoppers comment on how this bag makes traveling a breeze with one saying, “The various pockets and compartments are intuitive and make packing a breeze. The fabric wipes down nicely. I can pack for a weekend away or use it to carry items for a day trip.”
- Water-resistant nylon fabric
- Trolley sleeve
- Hidden zippered pocket for passport
- Could use a second external pocket
Best Water-Resistant Laptop Backpack
Borealis Laptop Backpack
This backpack has previously aced our rigorous backpack tests and held-up to abrasion and drop testing, so it will last through the wear and tear of everyday use. Not only did it pass our durability tests, but it also passed our water-resistant testing. This means it will help keep your stuff dry if you happen to get caught in the rain.
We love the padded straps that offer extra comfort and the padded mesh back panel to help with breathability on your back. It has mesh water bottle pockets, a waist strap as well as a sternum strap for a customized fit.
- Held up to abrasion, drop and water-resistance testing
- Padded Straps, Mesh water bottle pockets
- Not as lightweight as some others
Best 15-Inch Laptop Backpack
Crossover 25L Laptop Backpack
Here in the Textiles Lab, we have previously put Thule luggage to the test and found its nylon fabric to be durable against tears and abrasion. It’s made with 840 denier nylon which means it will be just as sturdy. All your electronics will be easily accessible with a side zipper pocket to hold a 15-inch Mac or 15.6-inch PC laptop. It also has a top zippered pocket with soft-lining to hold a phone or other small items.
- Durable fabric
- Separate pockets for electronics
Best Laptop Backpack for College
Comfort Carry Laptop Pack
This laptop backpack has a huge 30L capacity so it will hold everything needed for college such as a laptop, books, water bottles and more. It’s made of ripstop polyester and ripstop nylon which means it will be durable and hold heavy loads. To make those heavy loads more comfortable, extra padding is added on the back panel and the shoulder straps. The interior has a laptop sleeve and multiple compartments for extra storage. Eight shades are available for purchase.
- Huge 30L capacity
- Durable fabric,
- Padded straps and back panel
Best Laptop Backpack for Work
Xenon 3.0 Backpack
This backpack is ideal for work with a padded compartment for up to a 15.6-inch laptop, lots of pockets to organize wires, notepads and more. It also has a quick stash pocket for sunglasses, personal electronics and a side water bottle pocket.
The laptop backpack is made from 1680 denier polyester, which means it’s thicker and stronger than your average bag. It even has a back sleeve to slide it over luggage when you travel. With over 1,500 reviews and a 4.7 star rating, shoppers rave about how much they love the bag. The one small complaint? It doesn’t have a key leash.
- Padded laptop compartment
- Pockets for organization
- Durable fabric
Most Stylish Laptop Backpack
Kaya Laptop Backpack
Many fashionable backpacks sacrifice organization and packing space for style, but this backpack is both roomy and fashionable. It’s one of Calpak’s most popular styles with 4.8 stars and 560 reviews and comes in beautiful colors like “Honey” or “Sky”.
It has a 15-inch laptop sleeve that’s located in a completely separate compartment in the back which will help keep it scratch-free when you’re taking other items like keys in and out of your bag. It also has a trolley sleeve so you can secure it to your suitcase and keep your hands free.
- Can secure it to a suitcase
- Will not fit laptops larger than 15 inches
Best 17-inch Laptop Backpack
While many backpacks only fit up to a 15-inch laptop, this bag can fit up to a 17.3-inch laptop, making it ideal for someone that totes around a larger computer. It’s made of water-repellent fabric to keep your stuff dry and has a luggage strap so it can fit over your suitcase handle when traveling. The bag is one of the highest-rated backpacks on Amazon that can hold a 17.3-inch laptop, with nearly 9,800 reviews and a 4.7 star rating. Shoppers say over and over it’s great to hold a massive amount of stuff.
- Fits larger computers
- Water-repellent fabric
- Spacious interior
- May be too big for someone with a very petite frame
Best Slim Laptop Backpack
This sleek backpack is large enough to hold a 15.6 inch laptop and other essentials while still showcasing a slim design. Over 11,000 reviewers gave this a 4.7 star rating, and shoppers love that it has enough pockets to organize items like their laptop, chargers, headphones and more. Just note: the trade-off for the slim profile means there’s not a lot of padding.
- Slim profile
- Holds essentials without being bulky
- Pockets for organization
Best Leather Laptop Backpack
Even though this bag is technically faux leather, reviewers say that it looks like real leather, and many love the buttery soft feel and array of 25 beautiful colors. It even has over 4,000 perfect 5-star reviews. Shoppers love that it can be worn as a backpack or as a tote with the extra shoulder strap. The bag also has numerous zipper compartments and is very spacious with one buyer saying, “it fits everything but the kitchen sink.”
- Looks like real leather
- Comes in many fun colors
- May be too large for some
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