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Best Laptop Bags - 10 point functional buying guide

Laptop Bags have become a bag of choice for every office goer. The reason for that is a massive shift in companies giving laptops to employees, instead of fixed desktops. In fact, some research says that ~75% of all corporate employees today work on a laptop. Therefore, having the best laptop bag to go with it has become a necessity.

When anyone says best laptop bag, multiple factors come to mind. One is functionality, another is colour, another is price etc. As a team, we have spent a lot of time making the perfect laptop bag. Thus, we have put together a 10 point guide to choosing your best laptop bag for men and women, keeping just functionality in mind. 

Just like any other guide, these are indicative. In some cases, certain points might hold higher weightage for you. In certain other cases, some other points might be more important to you. Ultimately, the individual must decide what works for them. 

Best Laptop Bag: Factors to consider

Below is our 10 point functional buying guide for the Best Laptop Bag - 

  1. Compatibility with your laptop

    What's a laptop bag, which can't even fit your laptop? Start with checking for the sizes of your laptop. Based on that, shortlist bags that will fit your laptop. Do note that a laptop bag should be able to fit your laptop plus the accessories and a few more things. We recommend picking a bag that can accommodate upto a 15.6 inch laptop. Note that your laptop will also change - either because you shifted jobs or your company changed the laptop. So, keep it flexible. At Zouk, we consciously built bags that are slightly flexible, so that you can fit more into your laptop bag. The dimensions of the bag are 16 inch x 12 inch x 2.5 inch.
    Laptop Bag Dimensions
  2. Fit your travel essentials 

    If you are a person who carries a lot of stuff, you need to look for a bag which not only fits your laptop but also has space for the charger, wallet, book, earphones, tiffin, hand towel, and other essentials you carry. Some laptop bags come with a sleek design, that look great on images. However, when it comes to really carrying them, you soon realise that they don't fit other items. Hence you fall back to another backpack or another Tote bag to carry them. Very soon, you discard your laptop bag. So, plan in advance to fit other items and you will be happy up front. We recommend that the width of the laptop bag should be about 2.5 inch.

    Laptop Bag items

  3. Number of compartments 

    A good laptop bag should ideally have one main compartment and one side compartment, to keep all your items. The main compartment will house the laptop, charger, wallet and few other items. The side compartment can fit in a book, earphones and a hand towel. Additionally, look for a bag which has a quick access zipper slot on the exterior of the bag to keep your ID card, travel pass and some change money.

    Laptop Bag Compartments

  4. Waterproof versus water resistant 

    Every monsoon season, customers go online and check if their bags can withstand the rains. When in doubt, they go back to the dull black backpack. So, we wanted to clear the confusion. Most laptop bags are water resistant and not waterproof. This means that they can stop the water from seeping into the bag for sometime, but long exposure to rains will result in water getting inside the bag. Therefore, carrying your water resistant bag, with an umbrella, when there are mild rains is fine. Taking it out without an umbrella will result in continuous exposure to rains and that is not good. Just to clarify, even your black backpack might be water resistant and not waterproof.

  5. Type of handle 

    Best laptop bags come with a detachable shoulder strap and a main handle. This gives you full flexibility. When you just need to carry the bag into a cab or car, you can use the short handle to carry it smartly. On longer trips, you can use a shoulder strap. The main handle should have a strong grip with some padding, so that it is comfortable to carry.

    laptop bag with handle

  6. Shoulder or Back 

    Some people prefer carrying their bags on their shoulders or on the side. They even wear it crossbody, to even out the weight. Others prefer wearing it on their back, which is easier to carry around in a metro or local train. Based on that, you can choose a laptop bag or a laptop backpack.

  7. Laptop compartment padding 

    You should ensure sufficient padding in your laptop compartment to ensure your laptop is safe. Most of the padding is foam based and the thickness of the padding determines the durability and strength. Any padding of above 1 inch is good enough to support your laptop from any damage.

    Remember, the best laptop bag should also be best for your laptop.
  8. Care of the bag

    The laptop bag should not be difficult to maintain. Check if the bag can be cleaned simply by using a cloth. Genuine leather bags require greater care and get spoiled very easily in contact with water. Any fabric bag can be easily cleaned with a wet cloth and makes it easier to maintain.

  9. Durability of the bag

    Your bag will carry your laptop along with other daily use items. Thus, it is important that the bag is made up of materials which can take the load and not wear and tear quickly. A bag made of thick material like nylon, vegan leather, jute khadi fabrics or any other thick fabric, generally lasts longer and can accommodate a weight upto 5 kgs. However, make sure the bag is not heavy due to the materials used. Typically, being in the 0.5 kg to 1 kg mark is fine.

    durable laptop bag

  10. Shoulder padding

    As you will be carrying the bag for a longer duration, you must check the shoulder padding of the bag to ensure thick material and strong straps. Also, while we focus on the padding, make sure the part where the shoulder strap is stitched to the bag body is also strong. Machine made items might look neater but many times, it is just stuck with some glue and a machine pressing it together. Hand-stitched ones on the other hand have seen human supervision and hence are more stronger.

 

Beyond these ten points, one must also consider the style and design aspects of the laptop bag. At a high level, the laptop bags need to match your use case (office or college or travel or others) and the apparel you wear. We will cover this in detail in another post.