We’ve tested several dozen sleeves over the years for consideration in this guide. Here are the ones we’ve tested in 2018.
Herschel Spokane: The fit of this sleeve was extremely tight on our laptop, and the magnet holding the sleeve closed felt a little weak. And because its rough external fabric is so thin it offers little to no protection from bumps and nicks.
Mission Workshop The Spec: We were interested in the unique design of The Spec, which has a fold-over closure system unlike anything else we tested. That aspect of the sleeve worked perfectly; even when we turned the sleeve upside down and shook it, our laptop didn’t fall out. However, the laptop’s fit isn’t perfect and the front pocket is too thin to hold anything thicker than a few sheets of paper. The sleeve probably would be an excellent addition to one of Mission Workshop’s bucket bags, as its intended to be, but we don’t recommend it as a standalone item.
Mosiso Water Repellent Lycra Sleeve Bag: This sleeve came with favorable editorial write-ups and a relatively high Amazon rating. It also came with a smaller bag to carry your laptop charger or other miscellaneous accessories. Unfortunately, it didn’t offer a very good fit. Our laptop was practically swimming inside of its scratchy neoprene exterior. We also think that its gaudy logo makes it look much worse than our other picks.
ProCase Sleeve: Despite having a convenient front pocket with a surprisingly large capacity, this sleeve really underperformed in our tests. It was too large for our laptop and had a rough exterior. Plus, its handle was uncomfortable to actually use.
Apple Laptop sleeve: This slim sleeve fit our MacBook perfectly, as it’d have to in order to justify its price. Unfortunately, its soft leather exterior felt too thin to offer any protection, and was totally open on one side, as this sleeve doesn’t have any way of closing. If you only plan to use the sleeve inside of a bag, you might not mind this.
Killspencer Sleeve: This sleeve has an extremely tight fit that makes it difficult to get your laptop in and out of. Considering that this sleeve has no closure, this feels necessary, but it’s also pretty annoying when you actually want to use it. Plus, because the sleeve is so tight, the outline of your computer gets molded into the grain of the leather. If that’s something you’d want, you might be okay with the usability compromises. But, after some time, we think this leather will look more distressed than worn-in and loved.
Leatherology Laptop Sleeve: We liked the look of this premium sleeve more in photos than in person. Because it lacks a solid structure, even with the laptop inside, the sides of the sleeve sag and look baggy. That said, the leather is really nice and the zipper has a very smooth action, and if you’re looking for something with a more worn-in aesthetic, you might prefer the Leatherology sleeve over our other picks.
Picaso Lab Classic Sleeve: This sleeve was previously one of our stylish picks. When we tested it in 2016, we thought it offered a great value for a full-leather protector. However, the model we tested in 2018 looked cheap compared with the other premium models we considered. In addition, the sleeve didn’t quite fit our laptop as well as we would have liked—at times it felt like our computer was at risk of falling out of the open sleeve. We were also underwhelmed with the quality of the monogram we got on the sleeve.
Twelve South Journal: The Journal offers a secure, if a little too tight, fit—especially if you put anything in its small, hard-to-load internal document pocket. But despite its soft-leather appearance, the Journal’s exterior feels rigid and thin. We think you’d be better off with one of our other premium picks.
Welden Slim Sleeve: We really like the look of the Welden sleeve, which has a nice woven geometric pattern on the front, and we appreciate the small notebook pocket on the back. Unfortunately, the 13-inch model didn’t offer a good fit for our 13-inch laptop, which slid from side to side as we moved around—our other picks were more secure.
Satechi Water-Resistant Laptop Case: This bag offered a really excellent fit for our computer, which felt snug in the internal compartment but was still easy to remove. It’s exterior had a lovely gentle texture, kind of like a pair of unworn jeans. However its arrangement of oddly sized external pockets couldn’t contain the gear we’d want on a trip to a coffee shop; no pocket was big enough for our notebook or deep enough for our laptop charger. In addition, the Satechi had no loops to attach a shoulder strap, which means you’d have to carry it with the handles. It’s comfortable enough, but we prefer the flexibility offered by something with a strap.
Targus Strata Laptop Sleeve: We liked the smooth texture of this laptop bag. Unfortunately, it offered a pretty loose fit for our computer, which felt insecure as we slung the bag on our shoulder, and its zipper felt a little cheap.