Last updated: August 20, 2021

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Today the use of briefcases is so widespread that it is normal to see both corporate executives and students carrying them. But none of them use them for fashion or just because they look good. These accessories provide a way to move around carrying what you need. Of course, not everyone carries the same things, but when you buy the best briefcases on the market you will be able to carry everything from important text documents to your precious laptop or tablet.

Choosing a poor quality model can put your contents at risk, which is why we bring you this buying guide. We are dedicated to bringing you the best buying advice, and that's why we look at what features to look out for when buying briefcases. In addition, we look at which models are the most sought-after and pay attention to the reviews of their buyers, and even research where to buy them.




The most important facts

  • A briefcase is a narrow, rectangular-shaped bag, usually carried in the hand or slung over the shoulder, which contains a multitude of compartments for individual storage. Originally used to carry clothes or documents on business trips, today they are also used casually.
  • Due to their practical use, there are a number of different types of briefcases. They can be classified in different ways, either by their hardness, where there are rigid or semi-rigid models, or by their portability, as some have wheels and handles for carrying. They can also be classified by their size.
  • The first thing to keep in mind when buying a briefcase is the type of things you will be carrying in it, in order to decide on its size and the number of compartments. If you are going to carry a laptop or tablet, make sure it has inner pads to absorb any possible shocks it may suffer. Finally, decide on the material it is made of.

The Best Briefcase: Our Picks

Buying Guide

To help you get to know these accessories better, in this section we will give you an overview of briefcases. We will explain what they are and what their advantages are, as well as their different types. We will also show you where you can buy them, as well as in what price range you will find them, so that you can make a more efficient purchasing decision.

A good briefcase will take you from home to office and back again! (Photo: Roman Samborskyi / 123rf.com)

What is a briefcase and what are its advantages?

A briefcase is a narrow, rectangular-shaped bag used to carry objects. They were designed for travellers and business people, as they were used to carry clothes and documents. Nowadays they are also used to carry notebooks, make-up or electronic equipment in their multiple compartments.

Briefcases are a convenient way to move around without carrying a large amount of items, and because they have interior pads, they have become one of the most effective ways to carry portable electronic equipment. They are relatively small, and because they carry a large number of compartments, incredibly practical.

Advantages
  • Effective way to carry portable electronics
  • Perfect for carrying documents
  • Easy to wash
  • Can be carried in a variety of ways
  • Good number of compartments
  • Can be used for small trips
  • Quick access to the interior
Disadvantages
  • Not suitable for long trips
  • Can be too large for everyday use
  • Better options for travel

Rigid, Semi-rigid, Attaché and Travel Briefcases What to look out for?

The different types of briefcases follow the same unique design, with a rectangular shape and a grab handle at the top. They have been designed to adapt to the requirements of the user, as well as to the type of movement they will have throughout the day.

Rigid: This type of briefcase is hard and resistant. Inside they contain some kind of reinforcement sheets, which allow them to keep their shape and at the same time, protect the inside against impacts. They are perfect for business trips, as they allow you to carry your documents and electronic equipment safely and securely.

Semi-rigid: These are models that have little or no external reinforcement, so they can rarely protect against impacts as well as rigid briefcases. They tend to be lighter and easier to carry, and may even come in models with shoulder straps, which can be carried over the shoulder.

Attaché: These are the classic briefcases that are carried by a handle at the top. They are usually made of an aluminium case or some hard material lined with leather. Their main difference with the common rigid briefcases is that they do not have some kind of compartments on the outside and they do not usually include closures.

Travel: Travel briefcases are the largest and most expensive models, as they are designed to be used for short trips. They have wheels and are moved by being pulled by a telescopic handle, which can be extended or retracted as needed. They are somewhat heavy, making them the worst choice for casual travel.

Rigid Rigid Semi-rigid Attaché Travel briefcase
Mode of transport Carrying handle, telescopic handle, shoulder strap Carrying handle, shoulder strap Carrying handle Telescopic handle and wheels
Carrying comfort Can be uncomfortable when walking Do not hit the body when walking Lightweight and easy to lift They crawl while walking
Protection Hard exterior, internal pads Internal pads Hard exterior, internal pads Internal pads
Ideal for Business travel, executive use, carrying documents Casual travel, small trips Business travel, executive use Weekend travel

How much does a briefcase cost?

The price of briefcases depends largely on the material they are made of, followed by their size and number of attachments. As a general rule, cost will always be a good way to measure the quality of these products, so it's good to look at reviews before buying cheap models to carry something expensive like a laptop.

A metal attaché will protect your laptop and documents in a stylish way. (Photo: efired / 123rf.com)

Buying criteria: Factors that allow you to compare and rate different models of briefcases

There are many things you might overlook when buying your first briefcase, such as the number of compartments you need or the right material for you. To help you avoid disappointment when trying to purchase these accessories, we have put together the most important buying factors in this section.

  • Use
  • Material
  • Laptop size
  • Additional features

Use

Depending on how you will use it, you will have to select its features, so it should be your starting point. This is because everyone has different routines and a briefcase should accommodate them, as factors such as its hardness or number of compartments will influence its portability and practicality.

Casual use: For this type of use, where you are likely to be walking for a long time, a semi-rigid briefcase is best. These can be used as a shoulder bag, as they will not bother you with every step you take, nor will they bother you when you have to use it in an enclosed place such as public transport.

Semi-formal use: If you usually carry your laptops to work, or if you use cars to get to your destination, you can buy a semi-rigid briefcase. These provide a higher level of protection, and because you don't need to walk far to get to your destination, they won't get in the way as you move from place to place.

Formal use: If you need a little more elegance and seriousness, you should choose something that fits the occasion. Rigid briefcases and attaché cases have a formal aesthetic that doesn't detract from their usefulness. You can carry exactly what you need, whether it's important documents or your electronic equipment for important presentations.

Travel: In this case you can simply choose a travel briefcase, because thanks to its wheels you will be able to drag it easily in areas such as airports or hotels. Keep in mind that the size of these travel models is relatively small compared to normal suitcases, so they are preferable for weekend trips.

Material

The material equally affects the durability, weight, washability and overall appearance of the case, and you can choose this based on its aesthetics. The most common materials are leather, and synthetics such as nylon, polyester, polypropylene, polycarbonate and ABS plastic.

Leather: This material is reserved for expensive and elegant briefcases, making it the best choice for those seeking a professional appearance. It is difficult to wash, as improper laundering can result in stains that are difficult to remove. It is also weak to scratches, so care should be taken when carrying it.

Synthetics: They are generally stronger, more durable, cheaper and easier to wash than leather, so they are recommended if you are looking for something practical and economically efficient. Their resale value is usually lower, but can be a good thing if you are looking to buy a used model. They are also often water resistant.

Laptop size

Since you'll most likely be using your briefcase to carry your laptop, it's a good idea to know in advance the dimensions you need. Each size of laptop needs a compartment whose dimensions will allow you to store it. For starters, you should know how many inches your laptop screen is. Laptop cases often provide information about the size range they will accept.

For example, if it accepts laptops from 13 to 15 inches, it will allow you to store a 13- or 14-inch laptop, but it may be too small for a 15.6-inch laptop. Oh, and don't buy models that are larger than the size range of your laptop, as they will be baggy.

A good laptop case will allow you to take your office everywhere you go. (Photo: lightfieldstudios / 123rf.com)

Additional features

Although we have already explained the most important factors when buying briefcases, now it's time to explain those that will make using them much more comfortable. As with the aesthetic appearance, this can be chosen based on your personal taste.

Pockets: If you are the type of person who usually carries everything in your bag, you will want to buy a briefcase that has a good number of compartments. Some models have front pockets so you can reach items you'll use regularly, such as keys, chargers, phones, lighters or USB sticks.

Opening method: The most common ways to open and close briefcases are with clasps or fastening systems. Generally, you will find clasps on semi-rigid briefcases, and anchor or combination fasteners on hard briefcases and attaché cases. Always make sure that the way you open it is comfortable for you, useful and durable.

Image source: rawpixel / 123rf.com

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