Best Laptop Sleeve of 2020
Making laptop sleeves isn't rocket science, but there are a few features that sent the JETech lightyears above the rest during our side-by-side testing. This case is sleek and simple, with a single external zippered storage pocket and a two-way closure zipper. During our abrasion and water resistance tests, this case didn't show a single scratch and shed water like a duck. The case just feels like it was made well, with substantial zippers and a thick, cushy layer of padding and soft material on that lines the inside. Additionally, the case fits a MacBook perfectly with enough wiggle room to make it easy to get in and out. Plus, it comes at an affordable price and in a variety of (in our opinion) great colors.
The JETech is a little on the bulkier side for those who are looking for a super-slim case. The burly materials used in its construction, plus the extra bit of foam on the inside, plus the full-sized pocket make it a fairly hefty object. For us, the protective benefits of this construction outweighed the size of the case, but for others, it could feel a bit too large.
The MOSISO Case is a workhorse. There are very few frills, bells, or whistles on this sleeve. It has a basic design, is made from no-nonsense polyester, and has a simple lining. During testing, though, we were impressed by the fabric and its impressive abrasion-resistant qualities. After attacking it with scissors and sandpaper, we hardly saw a scratch or thread out of line. This, paired with its ability to shed water, landed the MOSISO our Best Buy award and go-to for affordable durability. This case will protect your computer from the elements, without costing you much.
One nitpicky observation we made during testing had to do with the design of this case. If you're at all detailed oriented, like we are, you may notice that the sleeve uses two different zipper-pulls for the closure zipper and the pocket. This is not a big issue, but is just something we noticed. Additionally, some folks may be deterred by the overall basic design of this one — again, it is a no-frills option.
If neoprene is what you're after, look no further than the AmazonBasics Sleeve. It comes in a wide variety of sizes (from 7 to 17.3-Inches) and fits its claimed size perfectly. We tested the 13.3-Inch case for our 14-Inch Macbook Air and were impressed by its fit. With a case as simple as this one, it really comes down to the fit, the material, and the closure mechanism. We were impressed by the AmazonBasics case in all these metrics. The Neoprene fabric is stretchy and slippery, making it easy to maneuver. The zipper is solid and creates a tight seal to protect your precious electronics inside.
The few issues that arose with this case had to do with the material. Overall, we liked the neoprene and felt that it did its job well. When sprayed with water, the case absorbed it. The good news is, this is how neoprene is supposed to behave, and the lining protects the inside from getting wet (unless you put the case in a puddle of water). The fabric also scuffed a bit after we tested its abrasion resistance with sandpaper.
If storage is important to you, then the Lacdo will fit the bill. This is the only sleeve we tested that has three external pockets. There are two zippered pockets of varying sizes on one side, while the other side totes a single folder-style pocket for extra papers or quick-access items. We are also impressed by the overall construction of this case, including the zippers and the material used. The fabric is both abrasion and water-resistant. Overall, a great sleeve.
Our biggest hang-up with this one had to do with fit. We found it to be a bit baggy for the recommended laptop. We tested the 14-Inch case with a 14-Inch Macbook and found there to be almost an inch and a half of extra room inside the case, allowing space for the computer to slide around inside.
The Tomtoc 360 Protective sleeve is just that — extremely protective. This one is much like our Editors' Choice award winner, the JETech, but slightly bulkier and arguably more durable. Its polyester material sheds water very effectively, and the case is lined with a textured, soft foam that provides impressive impact resistance. Overall, this is a very well-made case that is built to last. Because of this, it comes at a slightly higher price than some of the other options listed here. If longevity is a concern, then this is a good investment.
Because it is so burly and well made, the Tomtoc is also a bit bulkier than the rest. This case is substantially wider than a lot of comparable products. Overall, the sleeve's dimensions make it a baggy fit for the claimed laptop size its designed for. For some, this may not be an issue, but for us, it was a bit annoying to have the laptop sliding around inside.
Among the sleeves we tested, the Canvaslife sleeve stands out. This case is not only the only one in our review that comes in a unique pattern, but it also has a few features that set it apart. This sleeve has both an internal and an external zippered pocket, plus a lining that feels like a shag carpet. In addition, the case comes with a strap across the bag so that you can attach it to a roller duffle when traveling. These features may not be for everyone, but for some, they might be just enough flair to take the cake.
The downsides we had with this one had to do with its bulky feel. We tested the 15-inch version with a 15-inch Macbook Pro, and it felt a little baggy. Plus, the extra pockets and strap add to the perceived width of the case. The zipper pulls and some of the stitching also seemed a bit prone to failure, compared to some of the burlier sleeves we tested.
The HYZUO case is the only product in this review made of synthetic suede. This means it is not only the slimmest sleeve we tested but also one of the softest and most interesting looking. It fits a laptop much like a manila envelope would and has a magnetic closure. This hidden closure mechanism is nifty, but in practice didn't hold up. Occasionally, it would not latch, plus the magnet isn't very strong. We definitely wouldn't trust this case to stay shut if accidentally tipped upside down. That aside, we appreciated that it has an external storage pouch and is made of very water-resistant material.
In addition to our concerns with the magnetic closure, we also had a few issues with the overall fit of the HYZUO. We tested the 13-13.5-Inch case with our 14-Inch MacBook. There was almost a two-inch gap above the 14-Inch MacBook and the top of the case. When tested with a 15-Inch MacBook Pro, though, the case was way to tight. This fit issue was almost enough for us to feel like we had ordered the wrong size.
The few issues we had with this case had to do with the durability of the material and the feature set. The soft felt feels nice, but did not hold up in our abrasion tests. Both the scissors and the sandpaper pulled at the fabric and left tufts of felt sticking out of the side of the sleeve. In terms of water resistance, this material definitely fell into the soggy category as the water neither beaded nor absorbed and instead just saturated the felt. In terms of the features, this sleeve comes with three external storage pockets, none of which are secure. The back two seemed useless to us during testing as they are too thin to fit much inside.
Though we were not entirely sure what the purpose of the textured Evecase is, we appreciate it simply because it is unique. Made from neoprene with a raised diamond pattern on its surface, the Evecase dealt with spills in a very similar way to the other neoprene products in this review. The water absorbed into the material, but was also directed into channels to allow the excess to run off. In our abrasion tests, this case saw a few scuffs from scissors, but was otherwise fairly durable. For ease of use and features, this one is fairly straightforward. It has no pockets and a solid zipper. Though the texture didn't change our expeience with this case very much, it does make it a bit more interesting, so if you are looking for a novelty sleeve, the Evecase could be it.
The main downside to this one was the overall fit. We tested the size designed for any laptop between 12.9 and 14-Inches. We found this to be way too big for a 14-Inch MacBook and annoyingly tight for a 15-Inch MacBook Pro. This is one of our least favorites in terms of fit, since the size listed didn't seem to work for any of the computers we had.
This case is about as simple and straightforward as it gets. If you are looking for the most basic laptop sleeve out there, go with the CCPK. This sleeve comes in a few color options that could jazz it up (we tested the black version), but basically the CCPK is a neoprene sleeve with a simple zipper and no distinct features. The sleeve fits nicely, which is a plus, and is quite water-resistant.
Our concerns with this option mostly have to do with durability and longevity. The case is extremely affordable — almost to the point that we were a bit concerned with its overall construction. The zipper is not the most sturdy or durable feeling, and the material scuffed instantly with both sandpaper and scissors. Our abrasion tests left long-lasting marks right away, which raised concerns about durability with more prolonged use.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our lead tester, Jane Jackson, is a remote work expert. Having worked remotely while living on the road for a number of years, hunting down Wifi in the remote corners of the U.S., and the globe, Jane is no stranger to the importance of keeping a laptop safe and sound. When sitting in a coffee shop, your laptop case can say a lot about you. It also keeps your chargers, extra papers, headphones, and other gadgets organized and accounted for. Now that Jane lives in a house instead of a VW Vanagon, she still understands the importance of a protective laptop case. She is no stranger to spills and accidental drops. After years of personal experience traveling with and working from laptops, she focused her highly-tuned eye on the task of assessing these sleeves to determine the very best available online.
In addition to hands-on testing, Jane used her very own laptop to research the top options out there before selecting the top 10 for purchase. We then put our laptops inside the sleeves, and the sleeves inside various messenger bags and backpacks to test their portability and ease of use. We simulated coffee spills, falls, and abrasions to see how they would fare in the long term. We also took into account their aesthetic appearance, the features, and the fabrics used in their construction, taking note of the size options available online. After all this intense scrutiny and hands-on testing, we present the best and worst qualities of each one to help you find the right sleeve to protect your beloved laptop.
Analysis and Test Results
We rigorously tested these laptop sleeves across several categories to see how well they dealt with the general wear and tear of daily use. Their performance across these rating metrics dictated how they landed overall. First, we assessed their ability to stand up to the inevitable spills and leaked water bottles that will happen over the course of a sleeve's lifetime. These water resistance tests were followed by two abrasion resistance tests to see how the fabrics held up to the abuse of travel. Next, we considered each product's ease of use and features. We fiddled with pockets, zipped zippers, and packed and unpacked each one.
For us, when we spread out our mobile work set up, the table is quickly cluttered with water bottles, coffee mugs, phones, cords, and laptops. More than once this chaotic spread has resulted in at least one spilled drink and moment of panic. With those scarring memories in mind, we knew that testing these products' water-resistant qualities was a top priority. To test this, we used a slightly more controlled experiment and sprayed each case 20 times with a spray bottle. By doing this, we could observe how the fabric responded to water on its surface. Many of the canvas and polyester sleeves shed the water with ease — droplets beaded on the surface and eventually rolled off. The neoprene cases absorbed the water, but never allowed it to soak through to the inner lining.
For us, the beading is an easier mess to clean up, as the case doesn't become waterlogged and soggy when liquid beads at the surface. With this in mind, we found that our top performers in this category were the Lacdo, tomtoc 360 Protective, and the JETech sleeves. Each of these has a thick, coated polyester outer layer that shed water easily without any absorption. The AmazonBasics neoprene sleeve seemed to do a bit better than its neoprene competitor from CCPK. Finally, the HYZUO case, which is made from a synthetic suede material, was also a favorite as it shed water much like the polyester cases.
If you're a frequent laptop user, you understand the abuses that a laptop endures over the course of a day. A laptop may be taken in and out of a backpack or messenger bag 5 or 6 times per day. It can be dragged across the table. A sleeve may end up on the floor, under the leg of a chair. All of this goes to say that these sleeves need to be hardy. They need to stand up to anything thrown at them so that they can do their main job, which is protecting the precious electronic contents inside. Rather than running over each sleeve with our Prius, we decided to test this metric by using sandpaper and scissors to scuff the surfaces of each case. By doing so, we were able to get an idea of how they would withstand everyday wear and tear.
Our Editors' Choice award winner, the JETech was far and away our top pick for abrasion resistance. We hardly saw a scratch after basically attacking this case with scissors and sandpaper. The majority of the cases we tested actually held up pretty well to our abuse, but the Lacdo, Canvaslife, and MOSISO cases all followed shortly behind the JETech. The plain neoprene sleeves saw a bit of fuzzing after the sandpaper test, while the Evecase, made of textured neoprene, saw more scuffing from the scissors. The AmazonBasics Felt was the most delicate model, since its felt surface was easily disturbed by both scissors and sandpaper. Overall, canvas and polyester are generally more durable than neoprene or felt.
Ease of Use and Features
Here, things get a little more subjective. We tried to mitigate this by starting conversations with our housemates about what they look for in a laptop case. We wanted to know — pockets or no pockets? Zippers or Velcro? Extra padding inside or the sleeker, the better? We used each sleeve in backpacks and messenger bags to test each one's ability to slide in and out with ease. We zipped and unzipped the zippers dozens of times to make sure there were no issues at this traditional point-of-failure.
In general, we tended to like cases with one storage pocket, a sturdy zipper, and a sleek design. Our Editors' Choice award winner took the prize in large part due to its feature set, robust design, and useful simplicity. The JETech has one outer pocket, reliable zippers, and an internal lining that was confidence-inspiring. Another sleeve with high marks in this department was the tomtoc 360 Protective, which was one of the burlier options in this review. It is well made and built to last, with simple but useful features. If storage is your thing, the Lacdo is for you — it's the only sleeve we tested with three pockets. On the other end of the spectrum are cases with simplicity as their defining feature. These options do not have any external storage, like the AmazonBasics Felt or the CCPK neoprene sleeve.
Nearly all of the sleeves in this review come in a variety of sizes, designed to fit anything from a small 7-inch tablet to a giant 15-Inch MacBook Pro. We wanted to make sure that the sleeves fit the size laptop they were designed for, which meant measuring each one, comparing it to the listed dimensions, and assessing its fit for the appropriate computer. The cases here came in a claimed size of anywhere from 12.9 to 15.6 inches. Most of them fell in the 13.3-Inch category, and were tested with a 14-Inch MacBook. A few of the cases were tested in either 14 or 15-Inch sizes and were tested with a larger, 15-Inch MacBook Pro. This way, we were able to get a good read on the fit with a few different computer models. We then ranked the fit on a scale of perfect to poor accordingly.
A case that was too tight, like the AmazonBasics Felt, was given a "good" rating, since this may be ideal for some and slightly annoying for others. The Evecase Diamond Foam was not our favorite fit, as it was way too big for a 14-inch computer but too small for a 15-Inch. The HYZUO was too baggy, but allowed for the computer to slide in and out of its envelope opening easily. The MOSISO was our only case that we deemed a "perfect" fit. Following close behind were the JETech, AmazonBasics, and Canvaslife sleeves that all fit our computer very well, with only a little wiggle room. The Lacdo and tomtoc cases were a tad baggy, which may work fine for some but seemed a hair too big for us. These cases had at least an inch of unused space on the inside between the zipper and the edge of the computer.
Finding the right laptop sleeve is an important task, and is more complex than just finding the coolest looking option online. We got into the nitty-gritty of what makes one case excel and another fall short. No matter what your needs are, we've put in the leg work to help you decide which option will perfectly encase and protect your laptop.
— Jane Jackson