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Last updated on April 4th, 2024

Most decent laptops cost $800. But business professionals and digital nomads are easily averaging $2000 for a high-end laptop, especially if the brand is from Apple with their new M3 lineup. If your savings account balance or income depends on protecting your workhorse, investing in the best laptop carry-on when traveling by plane, train, or bus is essential.

With technology influencing today’s lifestyles, remember this factor when packing for your next trip. Aside from your smartphone, you may need to bring a camera, a drone, a tablet, and other gadgets, but the laptop is the top piece of equipment everyone seems to bring. A laptop isn’t the easiest to pack, so a robust piece of travel gear to organize electronics will simplify your life.

Laptops are getting smaller and thinner every year, and they don’t seem to stop with the innovations available to the masses. However, they can still encumber items to bring along on your next trip. You should consider not only the laptop itself but also the accessories you must bring, plus the safety of your device’s hardware and data/software side. As a result, it’s crucial to have a laptop-compatible carry-on or backpack for flights or train rides.

Thankfully, luggage and backpack brands are listening to the needs of travelers everywhere. You can now choose from various form factors, materials, and styles. Many reputable brands have made the laptop compartment a staple in their carry-on designs. Read on to see the best carry-on luggage with a laptop compartment.

At a Glance:

  1. Best Overall and Sustainable Laptop Carry-On: Horizon Studios M5
  2. Best Budget Laptop Carry-On: Aerotrunk Pangolin
  3. Best Laptop Backpack: NOMATIC Travel Pack
  4. Best Luxury Carry-On with a Laptop Compartment: Rimowa Essential Sleeve Cabin S
  5. Best Laptop Carry-On for Business Travelers: NOMATIC Carry-On Pro
  6. Best Stylish Carry-On: Arlo Skye Sky Zipper Carry-On Max with Front Pocket
  7. Best Carry-On for Large Laptops: Level8 Road Runner

Buying Guide for a Carry-on Bag with a Laptop Compartment?

woman on hotel bed with laptop and cabin suitcase in foreground

Ah, the quest for the perfect carry-on suitcase with a laptop compartment is quite the adventure, isn’t it? Imagine this: you’re navigating through crowded airports, your carry-on gliding by your side, and inside, your laptop rests in its own snug sanctuary, safe and sound. That’s the dream, right? Well, making that dream a reality starts with knowing what to look out for.

First off, size is crucial. You want your carry-on to be just the right size to fit in the overhead bins without a hitch — typically, that’s about 22″ x 14″ x 9″. But it’s not just about fitting it in; it’s about having enough room for your essentials, too.

Material-wise, it’s a toss-up between hardshell and softshell, and each has its charm. Hardshell cases, often polycarbonate, are your knights in shining armor, protecting your digital world from the rough and tumble of travel. Softshell ones, on the other hand, offer a bit more give, which is great for squeezing in that extra pair of shoes. They often come with extra pockets for all those bits and bobs.

Speaking of pockets, internal organization is key. Your ideal carry-on will have a dedicated, padded spot for your laptop, of course, but also various pockets for the charger, mouse, and maybe even a notebook or two.

Security shouldn’t be overlooked, either. A TSA-approved lock means your laptop and everything else stays secure, giving you peace of mind while you catch some z’s on your flight.

And finally, style. Your carry-on says a lot about you. Go for something that matches your vibe, whether that’s sleek and professional or bold and adventurous.

5 Best Carry-On Luggage with Laptop Compartment

Are you wading through tons of options in the mall and online? Here are our top picks for carry-on luggage with a laptop compartment available online.

1. Horizon Studios M5

Horizn Studios M5 carry-on with laptop compartment

View on Horizn Studios

Introducing the Horizn Studios M5 — the perfect carry-on for travelers with a laptop.

This lightweight, durable hardshell fits up to a 15-inch device and is designed for the most ambitious and sustainable travelers.

Horizn Studios M5 cabin suitcase with a laptop compartment

Crafted from a partially recycled, aerospace-grade hard shell and finished with a recycled, water-resistant lining, this luggage is as eco-friendly as stylish. The four 360° Japanese spinner wheels make taking your essentials with you a breeze, while the TSA-approved lock gives you peace of mind. Besides the locking mechanism, the M5 features two dual-zippered mesh screens and a four-stage telescopic handle.

And if you’re always on the go, the battery that comes with the M5 is removable and even doubles as a portable charger for your phone. Finally, every component of the M5 is crafted from PETA-approved, vegan materials and is backed by a lifetime warranty.

2. Aerotrunk Pangolin Carry-On

View on Amazon

For the savvy traveler who wants to protect their laptop and stay within a budget, the Aerotrunk Pangolin Carry-On is a top choice. This carry-on luggage is designed to securely store and protect laptops up to 15 inches in size, giving you peace of mind as you travel from point A to point B.

Made with premium Makrolon polycarbonate and YKK zippers, the Aerotrunk Pangolin Carry-On is durable and stylish.

With a TSA-approved lock, you can rest easy knowing your belongings are safe and secure.

The organized internal compartment helps you keep your items in order, and with a lightweight design of just 8 lbs, it’s easy to handle on the go. Plus, the included leather luggage tag is a perfect finishing touch.

With a 100-day risk-free trial, you can try out the Aerotrunk Pangolin Carry-On with confidence that you’ll love it.

3. Nomatic Travel Pack

Nomatic Travel Pack with laptop compartment

View on Nomatic

The Nomatic Travel Pack is a tactical backpack with a TSA-ready 15-inch laptop sleeve, allowing smooth access at airport security checkpoints. There’s even an additional sleeve for a 13-inch tablet and an accessories pocket for power adapters and cables.

This nifty backpack is thoroughly designed to provide travelers convenience. It has a sunglass case that hides away nicely. A magnetic water bottle holder that compresses when not in use. And it’s made with YKK zippers and durable, water-resistant material backed by Nomatic’s lifetime warranty.

If you need more space in the backpack, it can quickly expand from 20 to 30 liters allowing you to turn your two-day trip into three. There’s also no need to bring a travel wallet since there is an RFID safe pocket in addition to a hidden pocket for cash.

4. Rimowa Essential Sleeve Cabin S

Rimowa Essential Sleeve Cabin S

View on Rimowa

Designed in Germany, the Rimowa Essential Sleeve Cabin S is a best-in-class luxury cabin suitcase. The carry-on features a front-pocket-style laptop compartment that easily zips out.

This carry-on is made of lightweight, resilient polycarbonate that weighs 7.7 pounds. The multi-wheel system is also designed with polycarbonate that provides smooth steering across the airport.

The interior has flex dividers on each side that allow you to compress your belongings, in addition to the small side pocket for essentials. Maybe you won’t need those packing cubes here.

One thing to note is the size (22 x 16 x 8 inches) is a little bit too wide for some airline carry-on size limits, which is common among many cabin suitcases. But most airport bag-size checkers will have some leeway. 

The Rimowas Essential Sleeve Cabin S also comes with TSA-approved locks, luggage tags, sticker sets, and a five-year warranty.

5. Nomatic Carry-On Pro

Nomatic Carry-On Pro with tech and laptop compartment

View on Nomatic

Are you looking for easy access to your laptop while at the airport? Then that’s simple with the Nomatic Carry-On Pro, which is built with an innovative tech compartment.

The standout tech compartment can easily store your laptop, tablet, power bank, headphones, and other electronic devices. The package also includes a laptop tech case/sleeve that can be pulled out and used as a messenger bag with its removable shoulder strap.

The interior has reasonable compartmentalization with folding panels and compression straps. Though this cabin luggage was thoughtful in helping you pack more, the tech compartment does take away some space for your clothes. Therefore, this 29-liter carry-on is best for two or three-day trips unless you remove the tech case and slide it on the handle. Now, you’ll be able to fit more belongings in the tech compartment.

The Nomatic Carry-On Pro is made with an extremely tough but lightweight Makrolon polycarbonate and is backed by a lifetime warranty.

6. Arlo Skye Sky Zipper Carry-On Max with Front Pocket

Stylish Arlo Skye Carry-On Max with front pocket, yellow

View on Arlo Skye

The Arlo Skye Zipper Carry-On Max with Front Pocket has a whopping capacity of 47 liters, perfect for your four to five-day trip. 

This stylish cabin luggage with a laptop compartment fits a 15-inch laptop and comes in five colors: sea sage, champagne, navy, lemon, and black.

We all know how nerve-wracking it can be when our phone batteries are running low while traveling.

The included 10,050 mAh charger, available with 18W USB C and A ports, has blazing-fast PD technology and halfway charging capabilities that allow you to charge your phone halfway in just under 30 minutes. This feature is perfect for those who need to have a charged device all the time.

The Arlo Skye Zipper Carry-On Max with Front Pocket boasts a sleek and modern design that elevates your style game. The bag is crafted from aluminum-magnesium alloy, making it durable and lightweight, and it comes in stunning colors and finishes that complement your outfit. It’s like having a chic and fashionable extension of your OOTD.

The Arlo Skye Zipper Carry-On Max with Front Pocket has additional features that any traveler will appreciate. These include two shoe bags, one laundry bag, a full-grain leather name tag, and an antimicrobial lining infused with natural silver fibers, which neutralizes odor-causing bacteria to prevent germ growth.

It also has 360° spinner wheels that are 15% quieter than standard polyurethane options used by mass-market brands. This feature enhances the bag’s smooth and effortless mobility.

8. Level8 Road Runner

Level8 Road Runner 20" carry-on with a laptop compartment

View on Level8

The Level8 Road Runner Carry-On 20” Bag is a tech enthusiast’s travel dream, adeptly combining sleek design with functional prowess. Its crown jewel, the built-in laptop compartment, seamlessly fits laptops up to 17 inches, catering to a wide range of devices from slim ultrabooks to bulkier gaming laptops. This compartment is padded, ensuring your device remains unscathed from the rigors of travel.

Accessibility of the laptop compartment is a standout feature, designed with the traveler’s convenience in mind. Quick access to your device is invaluable, especially during the hustle of security screenings or when needing to pull out your laptop at a moment’s notice. This ease of access, paired with the carry-on’s ergonomic design and smooth-rolling wheels, elevates the user experience, making airport navigation less of a chore.

For professionals and gadget lovers on the move, the Level8 Road Runner offers peace of mind with its robust protection and thoughtful design, ensuring your valuable tech is not just another piece of luggage but a well-cared-for travel companion.

Conclusion

There is a fantastic selection of laptop carry-on luggage with wheels. From backpacks to rolling luggage, you have many pieces to choose from. The size, style, material, flexibility, and price you choose will determine your choice.

Laptops have been built better than ever, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve consideration when you bring them along on a trip. Measure your laptop specifications correctly to ensure they fit well within your luggage. Don’t forget the other accessories like charging hubs and cables.

It’s important to know your traveling style before you make your purchase. Understand if you like using backpacks or rolling luggage, prefer being hands-free, or bring your entire life in one small bag. Investing in your ideal carry-on is a lot of fun, and all it takes not to be overwhelmed is to remember that your luggage is for your comfort and convenience above any other features.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does a laptop count as a carry-on or personal item?

A laptop doesn’t count as a carry-on or personal item by itself. It really depends on how the laptop is stored. If the laptop is placed in a messenger bag that can fit below the airplane seat in front of you, then it would be a personal item. If it’s too big to fit under the seat, then it would count as a carry-on since it would need to be stored in the overhead cabin.

Is a laptop backpack considered a carry-on?

In most cases, no. Airlines consider a laptop backpack a personal item unless you have a large 35 or 40-liter backpack. It is important to check with your specific airline for their guidelines on what items are allowed on board as carry-on.

Generally, the bag’s dimensions should not exceed 45 linear inches (length + width + depth). The maximum weight for a carry-on item may vary from one airline to another, so it’s best to read the individual policies for each airline before traveling with your backpack in a laptop compartment.

Is a laptop part of the 7kg hand luggage?

A laptop is usually considered part of the 7kg hand luggage allowance. However, some airlines may treat laptops as separate personal items from the main cabin baggage, so it’s important to check with your airline before traveling.

How many laptops can I bring in my carry-on bag?

laptop held in hand with airplane flying out of the screen

The number of laptops you can bring in your carry-on bag will depend on the airline or other modes of transportation. Most airlines don’t have a laptop limit per passenger but may have additional limits on size and weight depending on the type of aircraft being used. It is important to check each airline’s policy or the TSA rules before bringing multiple laptops with you in your carry-on bag.

What is the best business suitcase with a laptop compartment?

The Nomatic Carry-on Pro is the perfect choice for business professionals needing extra space and laptop protection. This suitcase features a special laptop and tech compartment that can fit up to a 16″ MacBook Pro and includes an accompanying tech case. It also includes a lifetime warranty, making it a great investment for those who travel often. The suitcase is lightweight but tough enough to handle frequent trips’ daily wear and tear.

Its size makes it suitable for two or three-day business trips, giving you plenty of room for your important items without taking up too much space in your luggage. With its thoughtful design and reliable construction, the Nomatic Carry-on Pro is ideal for busy professionals looking for an efficient yet stylish way to transport their laptops. So whether you’re a frequent business traveler or just need an easy way to protect your laptop while on the go, this suitcase is a perfect choice.

What is the best Samsonite carry-on with a laptop compartment?

The Samsonite Underseat Carry-On Spinner is the best option for travelers needing a laptop compartment. This spinner suitcase fits easily under most airline seats and comes with a built-in USB port, multi-directional spinner wheels for 360 rolling, and the main compartment featuring a padded laptop compartment that fits laptops up to 13.3 inches.

It also includes front and side pockets for additional storage of small items like headphones or chargers. With its sleek design, lightweight construction, and durable materials, this carry-on is the perfect travel companion. With the Samsonite Underseat Carry-On Spinner, you can enjoy convenient access to your belongings and easy maneuverability.

What is the best carry-on with a laptop compartment?

The Rimowa Essential Sleeve Cabin S is a great choice. This German-engineered carry-on bag offers plenty of storage with flexible dividers that are easily compressible, allowing you to customize the space as needed. With room for a 15” laptop and TSA-approved locks, it’s perfect for one to three-day trips. The slim profile also makes it easy to store in overhead compartments or under your seat.

Whether you’re headed across town or around the world, this lightweight yet durable bag will surely fit all your needs. So don’t worry about lugging around a bulky laptop case — the Rimowa Essential Sleeve Cabin S has got you covered.

Liya Kravchenkin
About the Author: Liya Kravchenkin

Liya Kravchenkin is an experienced portrait photographer. She has worked with clients worldwide and has even traveled to more than 50 countries. Liya loves photography because it allows her to capture a moment that can never be repeated. Liya also enjoys traveling, learning about new cultures, and seeing the world’s unique natural wonders. Her favorite travel memories are from swimming with dolphins in the Galapagos and eating cheesecake in New York City.

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