Although it may not seem like such a daunting task at first, finding the right laptop backpack can be really overwhelming. There are tons of different factors to consider, like what you’ll be using it for (work? school? travel?), the size of the laptop sleeve, how functional or comfortable it is, and how much stuff you’ll be able to cram inside. And let’s not forget about price. Because let’s be honest, some of us aren’t willing to drop more than $100 on a backpack.
Choosing a backpack is a really personal task — it depends entirely on your specific needs. To make your life easier, we scoured through dozens of reviews from real customers in order to put together a list of top-runners, then outlined the things you need to know in order to make the best decision.
Whether you’re looking for a simple, basic option to get you from Point A to Point B, or a heavy-duty backpack with all the bells and whistles, we’ve got the best pack to fit your needs.
Many compartments and pockets • Comfortable to carry • Spacious • Fits in overhead bin • Handle doubles as trolley strap for luggage attachment
Phone pocket is pretty small • No chest strap
The SwissGear Ibex Laptop backpack has pretty much everything you could ask for in a laptop bag, making it a good choice for nearly any situation.
Its main compartment is extremely spacious and includes a laptop pocket that will comfortably hold a laptop up to 15.4 inches. The other pockets make it prime for keeping your stuff organized: you’ll find a headset port for your music player, a phone pocket on the shoulder strap, and three larger main compartments to hold your books, clothes, notebooks, and whatever else you may need to carry with you.
Shoulder straps are shock absorbing to keep you comfortable, and it even has a rear hanging handle that doubles as a trolley strap, so you can easily attach in to your suitcase handle if you happen to be traveling with more than one bag. SwissGear is pretty well-known for making quality products that last, but if you’d like to see some first hand accounts, definitely check out the reviews.
Walmart customer Moshe writes:
“Excellent value. I have had the same for 8 years and got the same to replace the old one.”
Walmart customer okihusker writes:
“I am a Systems Analyst and I basically have to carry a small network in my bag. My old wheeled bag was not convenient and my right arm was getting longer than my left carrying my other bag. This backpack style bag meets my needs as it is large enough to carry all my stuff and still is comfortable to carry. I cover many large hospitals and Universities in multiple states so I do a lot of walking with my equipment. This bag is fantastic as it has room tor carry and keep everything organized. I take classes at night and all my monster size books fit right in as well. I could not be more pleased with the fit and the quality.”
Walmart customer International Flyer writes:
“I have been traveling internationally for business and replaced a traditional briefcase with this backpack. It easily accommodates my 15.6″ laptop computer with the extended battery pack and a mini nano sticking out of a USB port on the side. It is easier than a briefcase to navigate through international airports due to the extra handle that fits nicely onto a wheeled suitcase and I have had no problem storing it in overhead bins or under seats on airplanes. Folders and notebooks store easily and are readily accessible. It does have a readily accessible internal pocket for a passport and electronic devices (i.e., GPS, ipod, etc.) also store easily into this backpack and all are well protected. The only minor negative is that I would have liked more zippered internal compartments and a better accommodation of pens, pencils, business cards, and common business supplies. Regarding durability, I have not had the backpack long enough to comment but I have Vitronox/Swiss made luggage that has held up very well even with having to check it with the airlines so I expect nothing less from this back pack.”
Travel-friendly • TSA approved • Good for organization • Spacious yet compact
A bit pricey • Might feel somewhat stiff with laptop packed
If you’re constantly doing short trips, the Osprey is worth the price tag. It’s a convenient, compact, yet spacious bag that makes it easy to take all of your necessary belongings with you by virtually any means of transportation.
One of the things that reviewers seem to love most about the Osprey Nebula is the fact that it’s spacious enough to fit all of your necessities, yet compact enough to fit in any overhead bin and even under most aircraft seats (which is a big relief for those of us who get anxiety about being able to find room in the overhead bin when boarding a plane.)
Amazon user dark timber writes:
“I have searched for great travel packs. I need to go no further. This travel pack by OSPREY holds much. It fits in every overhead compartment I have used, even on the small commuter aircraft. It expands outward, so you can pack many things. But you can also cinch it down to make it compact. Plus, it has numerous compartments for organizing your gear. Lastly, it has a small profile. What do I mean by that? ANSWER: On some occasions, the gate agents would see the previous pack I used, and tell me it was too big and I needed to gate-check the pack. (Translation: Hassle). But this pack by OSPREY has such a manageable (to small) profile, I don’t get second looks from gate agents. And for good reason; it fits nearly everywhere.”
Roomy enough for full-size laptop + gear • Contrasting color compartments for easy organizing • Easy-access foldout design • Comfortable
Straps may loosen with weight • Pricey
It’s hard to find a laptop backpack fit for gaming gear, and even harder to find one with as many added features as the Titan. It’s well worth the price tag.
Unlike most of the backpacks on our list (and most laptop backpacks in general) that typically fit laptops up to 17 inches, the Titan has a dedicated ultra-soft padded laptop compartment that’ll hold full-sized laptops up to 18.4 inches. You’ll also have room to pack all of your necessary accessories (headset, power block, mouse, etc.) One of the most impressive parts about the Titan is how it caters to its owner in terms of convenience.
The 180-degree foldout design makes all of the bag’s contents easily accessible, while making it totally checkpoint friendly. The multiple compartments and pockets on the inside are contrasting colors, making it super simple to stay organized and know exactly where to grab when you need something. It comes with a media player outlet to avoid the annoyance of wires tangling around your backpack straps, and utilizes a five-point balance strap system, which features pillow-soft straps adjustable at the shoulders, two quick-slide straps at the bottom, and one across the chest. This comfort-conscious system is designed to balance the weight on your body, reduce strain, and provide you with maximum comfort and breathability. To top it all off: the Titan is water resistant, so your precious cargo will be safe even in inclement weather.
Walmart customer ForMyKitten writes:
“This back pack was a gift for a true gamer who lugs around a new loaded Alienware M18x R2 laptop. She travels a lot and needs a durable/reliable backpack that can keep her computer safe and ALSO hold additional accessories like power supply, large headset with mic, and several other items that only she knows about. We LOVE the orange interior as it makes it much easier to see dark/black objects against a relatively bright contrasting color. There are abundant compartments for nearly anything/everything she needs to carry, and the checkpoint-friendly design makes it very appealing. I’m extremely satisfied with the backpack itself, it meets the needs of my gamer girlfriend perfectly so I saw no choice in this decision… I just wish it wasn’t so expensive. The price is the ONLY reason I didn’t give this backpack a 5-star rating.”
Extremely durable • Spacious • Extra padding for comfort
Some report that the straps are stiff
If you know you’re going to be packing heavy, you need a bag that can keep up.
Google News, Bing News, Yahoo News, 200+ publications
Pretty much everything on this backpack is heavily padded. It features custom injection-molded shoulder straps and a super padded mesh back panel, so even if you pack this thing to the max, it should still feel comfortable on your back and be able to get you through the day without feeling the pain. The laptop compartment is also super protective, so there’s no need to worry about your laptop getting all banged and damaged. The top handle is also padded for a comfortable grip, and it comes complete with a sternum strap and removable waist belt if you need it them.
Apart from the comfort perks, the Borealis also has multiple compartments and stretch mesh pockets for bottles of water. Whether you’re trekking through the mountains with heavy gear or walking across campus with a bunch of textbooks, the Borealis is designed to handle it all while providing you maximum comfort.
Amazon user RME writes:
“I was skeptical about paying this much for a school backpack, but I was wrong. This thing is indestructible. My kid carries a lot of large books, folders, supplies, snacks and water and it has shown no wear at all. The other brands are trashed in a semester. Also, I thought her back would be injured carrying that much weight, but she says that this backpack distributes the weight so well she never has back or shoulder pain. I don’t think we will go back to those other backpack brands.”
Simple yet functionable • Reliable brand • Quality manufacturing • Lifetime warranty
Some color options may appear different than in photos
Jansport is and probably always will be a top player in the back-to-school game. If you’re looking for a safe, reliable option that is guaranteed to last you through the school year, look no further.
The Cool Student Backpack gives you all the basic necessities you’ll need for the semester. It has two deep sleeves, one for a laptop and the other for textbooks and notebooks, as well as a front stash pocket for smaller items like pens, pencils, and other supplies. It also has a side water bottle pocket thats just the right size to keep your water bottle from slipping out. The manufacturing quality on the Jansport is definitely good, so good that Jansport offers a lifetime warranty on this backpack, so there’s literally no need to worry about this thing lasting you through the school year or beyond.
And since every student is unique and has their own personal taste, the Cool Student comes in 15 different colors and patterns.
This Amazon Customer writes:
“This backpack was just what I was looking for to start high school because it is big- as big as the Jansport Big Student Backpack, but it comes in better colors, has a leather bottom, and a laptop sleeve! The front compartment holds my pencils for easy access, the main compartment is big enough for all my textbook and binders, and the smaller main pocket holds my lunch. And the water bottle holder is slightly taller and smaller than on the Big Student, so my bottle doesn’t fall out all the time! Very happy with my purchase. Even though it was on the steeper side, it should last me all the way though high school, and it even has a lifetime warranty so I won’t have to buy another one!”
Cool • simple design • Durable • Lightweight • Spacious • Comfortable
Only three compartments (including laptop sleeve) • No water bottle holder
If you’re not someone who needs a bunch of random pockets or special features, the Herschel Heritage is a classic, smart choice and a staple as far as backpacks go.
The Heritage is a classic, simple design that meets all the basic functions of a good laptop backpack. That being said, if you’re looking for a more “tech” focused backpack with lots of extra bells and whistles (i.e multiple pockets, compartments, straps, etc.) the Heritage probably isn’t for you. However, what it lacks in the frills department, it makes up for as a quality, durable product that’s designed to get the job done and last you a long time. Plenty of reviews mention how spacious and comfortable it is for its size. Also worthy of noting: it looks pretty great. It’s sleek, simple, comes in a whopping 28 colors and patterns, and generally looks a lot more “adult” compared to your typically bulky, grade-school backpack.
The Heritage features one large main compartment with a 15-inch laptop sleeve, and one single front pocket with a key clip. Nothing confusing here, people. Again, just enough to get the job done. It also features an internal media pocket with a headphone port, so you can feed your headphone wires right through.
If you’re still not sold on the whole “simplistic” idea, do yourself a favor and read some reviews.
Amazon user L. Cornell writes:
“This is an excellent backpack clearly of a high production quality. It carries all of my supplies for school (a ton of books, papers, and folders, as well as some clothes) with some room to spare, without looking packed. It has ample space and functionality while still looking stylish and minimal. It doesn’t have the excess of zippers, useless compartments, or the long adjustment straps that are hallmarks of “freshman” backpacks. Overall, it remains functional without looking dorky, and it comes at a fair price. I really don’t know what else I could ask for in a backpack, and I am so glad that I bought it!”
Sleek and fashionable • Spacious • Lots of pocks • Versatile
Not as durable as other models • Won’t fit laptops bigger than 14 inches
Though it’s not as durable as some of the more heavy duty backpacks, it’s a still a smart and convenient design that will keep you organized and stylish.
The Daypack has pockets galore, including two slip pockets and a sleeve for your tablet or laptop, a front zippered pocket, a “hidden” pocket on the back, and two side pockets for water bottles or an umbrella.The two different carry options make it extra versatile, allowing you to toss it on your back like a regular backpack with shoulder straps (when you want to have your hands free) or use the top handles to carry it like a briefcase. The shoulder straps are padded, just like the foam back and padded bottom, so you’ll stay comfortable and at ease knowing your electronic goods are still protected. The Daypack comes in three different colors (red, brown, and black) so you can choose whichever works best with your style.
Amazon user JM Brown writes:
“I was needing a simple smaller scale backpack over the large school type backpack I was carrying to work everyday. I had looked at several upper end bags and was about to spend over $100 on a new one and someone suggested I look on Amazon. I stumbled across this bag and I liked the style. The wide open top allows me to see everything in the bag and the light colored fabric inside helps you see contents more easily as opposed to a dark fabric. The quality is excellent and I find myself taking my work contents out so i can use it as a purse outside of work. This is a great bag and the price is great!”
Takes up minimal space while commuting • Budget friendly • Anti-theft lock • Weatherproof • Lightweight
Not really suitable for laptops over 16 inches
The MATEIN Slim Travel Backpack is perfect for those looking to make their daily commute safe and convenient.
The MATEIN Slim Travel Backpack is our go-to pick for commuters. The backpack is super slim and lightweight by design, so whether you’re packing into a tight train car or stashing it under a seat somewhere during your trip, transporting this thing won’t feel like a giant hassle. The theft-proof combination lock is also an important feature. The MATEIN lets you breathe a little easier knowing you don’t actually have to grow eyes on the back of your head to keep track of your valuables.
The MATEIN also comes with a USB charging port, so there’s no need to stress over finding a seat next to an outlet or the fact that you forgot to charge your phone overnight. Commuting rain or shine also won’t be an issue since it’s also totally waterproof.
Amazon user Chris Love writes:
“I usually don’t write reviews but I figured this would be good for someone searching for something similar. I’ve been using this bag for about a week and so far it has been perfect for a daily commute in NYC. Having a bulky bag on the subway is annoying since it bumps into other people and can overall slow you down. This bag is nice and compact, as well as very sleek, so it’s perfect for both bringing to the office and navigating the subway. When I’m walking, it doesn’t even feel like there’s something on my back at times because it’s so close”