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The Best Laptop Cases, According to (Tasteful) Tech Folk

Photo-Illustration: Courtesy HBO

Whether you have a top-of-the-line laptop tricked out for gaming or video-editing, or a cheap, bare-bones machine for basic word-processing and internet surfing, the last thing you want is to drop or spill something on your computer and end up spending hours — and lots of cash — at the Genius Bar. A sturdy case, laptop sleeve or proper laptop bag goes a long way to keep your laptop safe from accidental damage. Whether you need a custom leather case, a sleeve that looks like a North Face Puffer Jacket or a portfolio case with an integrated pocket for holding cables theirs a wide variety to choose from. To find out which cases are best for different types of users, we asked some tech and stylish people as well as three computer-repair experts who know all too well the dangers of not using a case.

Best hard-shell cases

A hard-shell case, which attaches to your laptop, protects against dents and scratches without any added bulk. It can work on its own for daily use, or serve as an added layer of protection if you’re carrying your laptop in another bag (like one of the backpacks or messenger bags below). Benson Chou, founder of Work Hard Anywhere, a community and app for freelancers, likes that he can customize these basic HDE cases with stickers, changing them up as the mood strikes. “I think this solution not only helps with protecting the laptop, but also gives me the flexibility to change my mind often.” Chou adds that the very affordable hard-plastic case is “keeping my laptop scratch free.”

Photographer Joe St. Pierre also uses a hard-shell case to protect his laptop, opting for this textured, polycarbonate one from Incase. “It’s sleek, minimal, and durable,” he says. “As a photographer [who] uses [my] laptop frequently on the job, the size of the case makes for easy transportation and keeps the laptop cool.”

Best laptop sleeves

$13

The neoprene Incase sleeve has thick, cushiony padding with a relatively simple design and comes in a variety of colors. Christina Guan, a travel blogger at Happy to Wander who always has her laptop with her, says she has “tried a lot of laptop cases over the years” and Incase is her personal favorite. It has a faux-fur-lined interior to keep your laptop safe from any scratches or abrasions and a cushioned interior border to prevent damage from any drops or dings. “If you’re looking for a sturdy laptop sleeve that does its job at an affordable price point, I can definitely recommend this one,” says Guan.

Christiane Lemieux, designer and founder of Lemieux et Cie, says she uses this 13-inch Leatherology sleeve for travel “since everywhere is the office now.” She likes to add a custom monogram for a sleek, personalized touch. “It makes me think I am traveling old-school on a steamer — even if it’s just for work,” she says. The Leatherology sleeve comes in six colors, ranging from neutrals like black and brown to richer shades like bordeaux and scarlet. Know that the leather can vary from a soft fine grain to a more rugged pebble grain, which the company says depends on the hide. The sleeve is lined in suede and has fabric guards along the edges to protect your laptop from any collisions.

Strategist senior writer Liza Corsillo praised the Baggu 13-inch laptop sleeve as one of the best things she bought last year. She thought most of the cases sold online or in stores were practical but boring until she saw this gem. “I was thrilled to find the Goldilocks of laptop cases just in time. Unsurprisingly, I discovered it at Baggu, a brand that has solved a number of my other shopping quandaries with its colorful, well-designed tote bags, zipper pouches, and backpacks.” This puffy sleeve, which Corsillo describes as a miniature sleeping bag, comes in a variety of decorative designs and solid colors. It’s quilted and stuffed with recycled Poly-fil, and it has a square-inch Velcro closure. “I ended up buying two — solid neon pink and black with white daisies — that I use for my laptop and 12-inch iPad,” she says. In fact, Corsillo likes and trusts Baggu to keep her stuff safe so much that she bought a smaller quilted case for her glasses.