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These laptop cases will protect your device from falls and scratches

Look for water- and shock-resistant features when shopping, according to our experts. 
Shop laptop sleeves or hardshell options from brands like Thule, Mosiso and Incase.
Shop laptop sleeves or hardshell options from brands like Thule, Mosiso and Incase.Amazon

Every time you drop your laptop on the floor, you're at risk of bruising it — the same goes for when you carry it daily in your work tote with other things, like sharp pens or heavy books. Laptop cases can help protect your gadget’s shell and increase its durability, according to tech experts. 

Below, we rounded up the best laptop cases including hardshell options and laptop sleeves, so you can pick one that suits you. We also break down the differences between the two. 

SKIP AHEAD The best laptop cases of 2023 | How to shop for a laptop case

Our top picks

How we picked the best laptop cases

We spoke with technology experts about what makes a good laptop case and the difference between hard and soft shell cases. We also considered Select staff favorites. Here’s what we kept in mind when sourcing products: 

  • Laptop type and size: We included options for various laptop types, including MacBooks and Chromebooks. 
  • Water-resistant design: Some of our recommended cases are water-resistant, which experts recommend if you’re carrying lunch, water bottles or other liquids in the same bag as your laptop. Don’t confuse water-resistance with waterproofing, a few drops of liquid on your case is okay, but soaking it in water is a definite no-no, according to our experts.
  • Material: You can find laptop cases and sleeves in various materials, including neoprene, plastic, leather and nylon. Neoprene and nylon, for example, are the lightest options, according to Arthur Zilberman, president of laptop repair company Laptop MD. Plastic hardshell cases, on the other hand, may be the most durable, but they’re generally only available for specific models, which makes them harder to shop for, says Zilberman.

The best laptop cases of 2023

The below options are either direct recommendations from Select staff or from our experts. We’ve included both hard shell and soft shell laptop cases, and every option on our list weighs 1 pound or less. 

Mosiso Hard Shell Laptop Case

I use this laptop case with my 13-inch MacBook Pro, and apart from a chip in the bottom part of the case, I haven’t seen any other wear and tear. This particular case is only available for MacBook laptops released between 2016 to 2023. The brand specifies which models it’s compatible with, so I recommend checking before you buy. I like that it easily snaps on my computer and is surprisingly lightweight, which prevents my device from feeling too bulky. I own the purple colorway, but you can choose from more than a dozen other colors. 

Compatible with: Apple MacBooks, released between 2016 to 2023 | Weight: 0.55 pounds | Dimensions: ‎12 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches

Tomtoc 360 Protective Laptop Sleeve

NBC Select reporter Harry Rabinowitz likes the design of this protective laptop case: the case, which has a zipper closure, has extra layers of padding around its corners to protect your device from bumps and bruises. “It makes me feel reassured that my laptop is secured and isn’t going to get un-buckled or slide out somehow,” says Rabinowitz. There’s also an added zipper pocket that can store any extra cables or your earbuds if needed. Rabinowitz owns the MacBook-compatible version of this case, but it is also compatible with other 13.5-inch, 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch laptops. 

Compatible with: MacBooks, Microsoft Surface Pro laptops, HP, Dell, Levovo and Acer laptops | Weight: 0.6 pounds | Dimensions: ‎13.8 x 9.5 x 1.2 in.

Thule Gauntlet Sleeve

Zilberman recommends this case if you’re more prone to dropping your laptop and need something very sturdy. It’s both water-resistant and shock-absorbent, and fits most 14-inch laptop models, according to the brand — though we recommend checking your device dimensions against the case to make sure it will fit. It has a padded interior for additional protection and a clamshell design so you can work on your laptop with the sleeve still on. It’s heavier than other options on our list, but offers the most protection, according to Zilberman. 

Compatible with: Apple MacBooks, laptops less than 14 in. wide | Weight: 0.8 pounds | Dimensions: ‎15.35 x 1.18 x 12.01 in.

Baggu Puffy Laptop Sleeve

This sleeve comes recommended by NBC Select updates editor Mili Godio and NBC Select editor Lindsay Schneider. Both like the padding on the case: “It provides my computer with a great amount of protection, and prevents it from sliding around in my bag,” says Godio. Schneider also adds important documents to her laptop sleeve to keep them from getting bent or wet while commuting. The case itself is machine washable, making it easy to clean. It is built for laptops between 13 and 14 inches (though there is a 16-inch sleeve available too) and has various colors and prints available to choose from. 

Compatible with: laptops between 13 - 14 in. wide | Weight: n/a | Dimensions: ‎13 × 10.25 × 0.75 in.

Thule Subrerra Sleeve

This sleeve comes recommended by Zilberman, thanks to its thick interior padding that helps protect your electronics. There’s also a pocket for extra storage, including enough space to store accessories like cables or a charger. The water-resistant case is designed for 13-inch laptops and at 0.66 pounds isn’t too bulky.

Compatible with: any laptop smaller than 13.8 in. | Weight: 0.66 pounds | Dimensions: ‎13.8 x 1.2 x 10.2 in.

Incase Hardshell Case

Incase is a brand I personally use and love — it’s also a favorite of Zilberman’s. I have been using this clear case for about two months, and I like that it blends into my computer’s design, while also protecting it from any bumps. It also doesn’t cover any of the fans, which keeps my laptop well-ventilated. In my experience, it’s a little on the heavier side, but the durability this case provides is worth it.

Compatible with: Macbooks | Weight: 1 pound | Dimensions: ‎14.5 x 10 x 1 in.

How to shop for laptop cases

If you’re looking to buy  a new laptop case, our experts recommend keeping in mind while shopping: 


This can determine how lightweight and how durable your case ultimately is. Here’s a breakdown of every material we recommend above, according to expert guidance. 

  • Plastic/Polycarbonate: These materials are usually found on hard shell cases and are generally lightweight, flexible and have a ‘glass-like’ surface, says Zilberman. They’re great at protecting the cosmetic look of your laptop and are made to fit particular laptop models — which means you won’t be able to reuse them with another device. 
  • Nylon: Nylon laptop cases are water-resistant to accidental spills. It’s also typically a lightweight and durable material — it doesn’t wear out over time, even with continued use, according to Zilberman. 
  • Leather: If you prefer something more stylish, you may want to consider a leather case. Zilberman recommends avoiding leather, unless aesthetics are the most important factor to you, since it’s usually pricier and not water-resistant.
  • EVA: EVA stands for ethylene vinyl acetate and has the best water protection of any case on the market, according to Zilberman. It also has shock absorption, insulation and durability. They are definitely heavier and bulkier than other materials like Nylon, but if you are susceptible to constantly dropping your laptop, this is a great option, according to Zilberman. 

Laptop model

Make sure to check the dimensions of your laptop against the dimensions of the case you’re buying. This is especially important if you’re buying a hardshell case since those are usually tailored to specific laptop models. For example, a Macbook Pro case will not fit a MacBook Air case and vice versa. 


“Water and electronics don’t mix so it’s always best to do whatever you can to protect sensitive items, like laptops, from any water exposure,” says Carl Prouty, a product specialist at Abt Electronics, who has more than 20 years of consumer electronics experience. That said, certain laptop cases made from nylon and polyester are water-resistant, according to our experts.

Style and design

“There are lots of different styles and colors available to choose from so be sure to take your time and find which one fits your needs the best,” says Prouty. If shopping in person, he also suggests taking your laptop with you. 

Meet our experts

At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and without undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

  • Arthur Zilberman is the president of tech repair company Laptop MD. Laptop MD launched in 1999, and Zilberman has been in the laptop repair business for over 20 years. 
  • Carl Prouty is a product specialist with over 20 years of experience in consumer electronics sales at Abt. Since Abt sells laptop cases, we only spoke with him about technical shopping guidance and did not ask for specific product recommendations.

Why trust Select?

Nishka Dhawan is an associate commerce editor at Select. She’s covered the tech space for more than three years and has written articles on IP ratings, phone cases and best practices for cleaning tech. For this article, she spoke to Select staff about their favorite laptop cases and also interviewed product experts about what to keep in mind while shopping. 

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