15 Best Work Bags for Women of 2023


HomeHome / News / 15 Best Work Bags for Women of 2023

Feb 13, 2024

15 Best Work Bags for Women of 2023

We've been independently researching and testing products for over 120 years. If you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Learn more about our review process. Including ones with a nifty

We've been independently researching and testing products for over 120 years. If you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Learn more about our review process.

Including ones with a nifty laptop compartment.

A frantic search for a work badge or loose office keys can feel like rummaging into the abyss, leaving a scratch-ridden laptop as a casualty. Instead, a solid work bag can leave that chaotic energy at the door and put forth a more polished and professional feeling before setting off on your morning commute.

A stylish tote bag for work can inconspicuously fit everything from your flat shoes for the subway or your lunch pail, all while complementing your outfit. Laptop bags feature ingenious organization that keeps your tech secure. Or, go easy on yourself with a laptop backpack that shoulders your computer, books and other miscellaneous items.

The Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab conducted thorough research and testing to identify the best work bags for various occasions, styles and preferences. After personally testing 20 different bags and consulting with GH analysts and editors for their recommendations, we curated a list of the top work bags for your money and lifestyle — no matter if you travel by car, train or foot.

With an array of styles and materials available, work bags now offer more variety than ever before, including options made from chic leather to easy-to-clean nylon and others that let you stash a spare umbrella and a water bottle without the added heft. Scroll past these picks to learn more about the most important features to look for when shopping as well as more expert guidance from GH analysts. While you're at it, peruse our guide to the best laptop sleeves to fold in.

Sleek and well-organized, the Lux and Nyx work bag lends a polished look and a spacious design for professionals. We adore its chic origami-shaped silhouette, echoed by a GH editor who enjoyed its "absolutely stunning design and structure." It features numerous roomy pockets — including a laptop compartment — to store everything from essentials to loose items. Best of all, its discreet zipper pocket in one of the outer compartments makes it easy to stash and retrieve work badges or keys. However, it's worth noting that the straps are on the shorter side, which can occasionally cause discomfort.

Material: Neoprene | Dimensions: 16” L x 6.5” W x 12.5” H | Laptop size: 15" | Colors: Black, with gold or silver hardware

At long last, an affordable and fashionable laptop bag has arrived — a sentiment shared by more than 5,000 satisfied Amazon reviewers. GH fashion experts admire the stylish stitching and buckle accents. A noteworthy tidbit: Senior Analyst Emma Seymour relied on this laptop bag throughout college, appreciating its structured and professional appearance, which makes it ideal for interviews. It conveniently accommodates laptops up to 15.6 inches in its padded sleeve. However, it's worth keeping in mind that weighing in at 2.56 lbs, this option may feel heavy to some.

Material: Faux leather | Dimensions: 16.53" L x 5.1" W x 12.5" H | Laptop size: 15" (larger option is available for 17" laptops) | Colors: 6, including black and red

Highly regarded for its smart design and trendy appeal, the Beis Work Tote repeatedly topped the list among GH staffers' favorite bags. The structured croc-embossed faux leather gives it a luxurious touch that effortlessly transitions from the office to happy hours. With a boxy design and metal feet for protection, the bag maintains a structured shape that perfectly fits a 13-inch MacBook, while the bag features functional key hooks, pockets and a trolley sleeve. Even after a year, it still looks new, according to Emily Lew, commerce strategist at GH, though the straps are on the thinner side.

Material: Vegan leather | Dimensions: 14.25" L x 6" W x 11" H | Laptop size: 13" (larger option is available for 16" laptops) | Colors: 5, including croc and plain styles

Madewell's Transport Totes tout a beloved reputation for good reason. The supple leather exterior and roomy interior make them perfect for everyday wear. Executive Director of the GH Institute's Textiles Lab Lexie Sachs enjoys the tote's spaciousness and structure, noting its versatility for work and events. "I have other leather totes that are more saggy and flexible, but I like how this one kept its shape," she says. Available in different sizes and materials, these totes have garnered praise from other GH staffers for retaining their shape even after years of use.

Material: Leather | Dimensions: 14" L x 6.25" W x 13.75" H | Laptop size: 13" | Colors: Brown, black and black with brown handle

Transition seamlessly from work to a workout class with the spacious and well-organized Dagne Dover laptop bag. This massive tote solves the eternal challenge of fitting everything inside without bulk or clutter. It stood out among testers for its impressive number of pockets, plus thoughtful details like an interior water bottle sleeve, key strap, padded laptop sleeve and designated slots for a cell phone and cards. With both small top handles and a longer over-the-shoulder handle, it's an ideal companion for beach vacations and road trips.

Material: Vegan leather | Dimensions: 15" L x 5.5" W x 12.25" H | Maximum laptop size: 13" or 16" options | Colors: Black and tan

Priced at just $100, this Quince tote offers a remarkable deal for a top-notch Italian leather bag. Its sleek upscale look and quality materials impressed testers, with some even mistaking it for a much pricier option. The leather material has a smooth finish, but it falls short of the luxe feel found in other Italian leather options. Though, you'll be hard-pressed to find the same packability that this league of leather bags offers. Complete with a laptop sleeve and zippered pockets, "the roomy pockets inside are convenient and make sorting and separating contents easy," a tester says. The top doesn't zip closed, but testers appreciated its structured shape.

Material: Italian leather | Dimensions: 18" L x 5" W x 11" H | Laptop size: 13" | Colors: Black and brown

When you don't want to shoulder a tote, sling on a fashion-forward work backpack. As one of the brand's most popular styles, this faux leather Calpak comes highly regarded by Seymour who complimented its attractive appearance and spacious interior, which can accommodate a significant amount without looking like a true travel backpack. The laptop sleeve is housed in a separate compartment to safeguard from scratches caused by loose keys and the like. A great travel companion, it has a trolley sleeve to boot, which allows you to slip it onto luggage handles for convenient travel. Note that the backpack straps are not the most comfortable for prolonged wear. Shop its dozens of colorways here. (We love the Calpak Haven tote, too.)

Material: Faux leather | Dimensions: 15.5" L x 4.5" W x 11.5" H | Laptop size: 15" | Colors: 21, including light pink to navy

Responsible for our favorite workout leggings, Lululemon never stops short when laying the groundwork for everyone's gym necessities. Pack it all up with the brand's lightweight, spacious tote that impressed with its simplicity. Laurie Jennings, general manager of the GH Institute, appreciates its easy-to-clean and durable design. "It's a great carryall for gym essentials but also looks good when I'm running all over the city," she says. Made with water-repellent fabric and featuring a cinch top, it ensures the security of your belongings.

Material: Recycled nylon | Dimensions: 16.1" L x 5.1" W x 14" H | Laptop size: 15" | Colors: 5, including light green and blue

For secure travel on flights or public transit, a zippered top closure is essential. Leatherology is a GH favorite known for high-quality pieces with customization options like hand painting. This non-structured bag comes in seven supple, full-grain leather shades (ranging from neutral to colorful) with a flexible shape that fits larger laptops thanks to its more than 20-inch length. Not to mention, internal compartments keep things organized. Though, you may want to get a separate laptop sleeve since there's no built-in compartment.

Material: Full grain leather | Dimensions: 20" L x 5.5" W x 12.5" H | Maximum laptop size: 16" | Colors: 7, including black and lavender

Combining classic leather with a practical backpack design, the Portland Leather laptop bag became a fast favorite among staffers we surveyed. Senior Editor Kaitlyn Phoenix found herself "obsessed" with its clean, minimalistic exterior that's crafted from durable, water-resistant fabric to keep your belongings dry on the go. The spacious main compartment easily accommodates her laptop, with a padded sleeve providing extra protection. Adjustable shoulder straps and a padded back panel equate to optimal comfort.

Material: Full-grain leather or pebbled leather | Dimensions: 10" L x 3" W x 15" H | Laptop size: 13" | Colors: 6, including brown and black

As GH staffers say: It's everything you love about Rothy's shoes in a bag form. Take it on the train, to the beach, around the office and back. It's machine-washable for hassle-free cleaning (just air dry), and it's durable, per GH Deputy Editor Michelle Manetti. The tote certainly lives up to its name, too: "I started using it just for running errands, but it's so comfortable and lightweight, that it's now my work bag," she adds. With ample space, it fits her 13-inch laptop, charger, book and more. The one downside, though, is that it doesn't include pockets, but a key leash makes it easy to track down wristlets.

Material: Recycled plastic | Dimensions: 12" L x 6.7" W x 13.6" H | Laptop size: 13" | Colors: 18, including plaid patterns and reversible options

Longchamp's large tote bag is a must-have for school, impressing our testers with its spaciousness and stylish design. Made with durable nylon and leather top handles, it comfortably holds a laptop, water bottle, notebooks and on. The zipper closure ensures the safety of school supplies, even in bad weather. This popular tote has been a favorite among college students for its simple yet versatile look. One GH analyst raves about its spaciousness and recommends it to friends, although she wishes for more organizational features. With its ability to pack up easily, this Longchamp tote is a reliable companion that will serve you for years to come.

Material: Nylon | Dimensions: 12.25" L x 7.5" W x 11.75" H | Laptop size: 13" | Colors: Black, navy and red

Effortlessly switch between a tote bag and a backpack with Timbuk2's ingenious convertible design that can neatly tuck away backpack straps. Sabina Wizemann, a senior chemist at the GH Institute, raves about its suitability for city commutes and work travel. GH analysts appreciate its sustainable use of recycled nylon, while testers praised its versatility, using it as a backpack when carrying heavy loads or experiencing shoulder pain. It offers a spacious interior with a padded laptop sleeve and a large outer pocket for securing essentials like electronics and must-have items.

Material: Recycled nylon | Dimensions: 11.81" L x 4.33" W x 17.32" H | Laptop size: 15" | Colors: Brown, navy and black

Cuyana, a trusted leather goods brand, is renowned for its quality sustainable bags our pros can't get enough of. The System Tote caters to different laptop dimensions and earns nods from GH Textiles Product Analyst Grace Wu for its customizable options, including a tote organizational system, laptop sleeve and monogramming. Testers laud the work bag's pebbled leather timelessness and functional design: "It always surprises me how protected my laptop feels once I place it in Cuyana's laptop sleeve, which actually snaps into the bag for a secure fit." Made from 100% supple Italian leather, the tote leans towards the heavier side.

Material: Italian leather | Dimensions: 13" L x 13" W x 10" H | Laptop size: 13" or 16" options | Colors: 10, including dark green and grey

Designed for commuters, this chic, quilted bag stores your lunch box, spare shoes and then some. Testers were impressed by its spacious interior, praising the abundance of pockets and generous capacity. One adds: "This tote has a lot of pockets and a lot of give so you can really load it up." Keep it all together thanks to the zippered top for secure storage. The longer crossbody strap adds comfort when carrying heavier loads. While opinions varied on its professional appearance due to the quilted texture, the tote is available in (23!) colors to suit different tastes, from neutral shades to vibrant colors to playful patterns.

Material: Recycled nylon | Dimensions: 11.60" L x 9.40" W x 12.70" H | Laptop size: 13" (large option is available for 15" | Colors: 23

The Good Housekeeping Institute's Lab analysts have extensively tested a wide range of bags, including backpacks for college students to kids’ lunch bags. We scrutinized important construction features like weight and storage capacity to durability, a key aspect evaluated through abrasion and water-resistance tests that ensures the bags can withstand rigorous use. GH Lab analysts personally tested these styles, paying close attention to laptop fit and protection. These recommendations are based on recent tests of 20 work tote bag styles, as well as expertise gained from past backpack and laptop bag testing. To round it out, we also included helpful picks that our own GH staffers rely on.

✔️ Materials: With so many different styles of work bags, there are a variety of materials that work well: Leather is very popular for its professional look and long-term durability, while synthetic options like faux leather are more affordable, according to Seymour. For those who go from work to the gym, opt for fabrics that you can wipe clean like nylon.

✔️ Laptop size: It's crucial your work bag fits its most important item. Most laptops run about 13 inches wide, but double-check the size and make sure the bag you're shopping for fits accordingly. Also, some bags have a built-in laptop sleeve while others don’t, so you might need to purchase one separately.

✔️ Organizational features: Avoid digging around for your work badge or wallet by opting for a bag with easily accessible zippered pockets. GH testers also appreciated bags with open compartments inside to prevent clutter.

✔️ Straps and handles: If you are going to be carrying a heavy load longer distances, a backpack will be more comfortable. Look for padded straps for ultimate comfort, recommends Seymour.

✔️ Security: When commuting on public transit, look for zippered closures to keep all your items safe when going to and from the office.

Emma Seymour is the senior textiles analyst at the Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab and a leading fashion expert, writing stories for GH about the hottest trends, including faux leather pants, puffer vests and jumpsuits. She tested more than 20 different tote bags for this story. With a fiber science degree from Cornell University, Seymour has product quality expertise to evaluate each bag's construction and materials, thus ensuring each style is a good buy. A frequent writer of fashion roundups, Commerce Editor Jacqueline Saguin collaborated with Seymour and wrote this guide to the best work bags.

Jacqueline (she/her) covers all things e-commerce in beauty, lifestyle and beyond for the Good Housekeeping Institute. Before joining GH in 2021, she was a style and beauty reviews fellow at Insider, testing viral trends, reviewing sustainable brands and more. She's a graduate of the University of Florida's School of Journalism, with a specialty in magazines and mass communication.

The Best Mattress Toppers of 2023

12 Best Kids Backpacks for School 2023

The Best Down Pillows

7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023

Are NAC Supplements Good For You?

The Best Window Air Conditioners for Your Home

9 Best Fans of 2023 to Cool Your Whole Home

4 Best Car Buffers of 2023

21 Best College Backpacks of 2023

7 Best Baby Bath Tubs

10 Best Sleeper Sofas of 2023

7 Best Portable Air Conditioners of 2023

testing 20 different bags and consulting with GH analysts and editors for their recommendationsdiscreet zipper pocketstash and retrieve work badges or keysMaterial Dimensions Laptop sizeColorsstructured and professional appearance, which makes it ideal for interviewsMaterial| Dimensions | Laptop size | Colorsrepeatedly topped the list among GH staffers' favorite bagsMaterial| Dimensions | Laptop size| Colorsspaciousness and structure, noting its versatility for work and eventsMaterial| Dimensions | Laptop size| Colorssolves the eternal challenge of fitting everything inside without bulk or clutterMaterial| Dimensions| Maximum laptop size:aptop size:| Colors Its sleek upscale look and quality materials impressed testersMaterial| Dimensions| Laptop sizeColorscan accommodate a significant amount without looking like a true travel backpackMaterial| Dimensions | Laptop sizeColorsIt's a great carryall for gym essentials but also looks good when I'm running all over the cityMaterial| Dimensions | Laptop size | Colorsseven supple, full-grain leather shades with a flexible shape that Material| Dimensions | Maximum laptop sizeColorscrafted from durable, water-resistant fabricMaterial| Dimensions | Laptop size Colorsmachine-washable for hassle-free cleaningMaterial| Dimensions | Laptop size Colorscomfortably holds a laptop, water bottle, notebooks and on Material| Dimensions Laptop size Colorstesters praised its versatility, using it as a backpack when carrying heavy loads or experiencing shoulder painMaterial Dimensions | Laptop size: Colorscustomizable optionsMaterial| Dimensions | Laptop size | ColorsThis tote has a lot of pockets and a lot of give so you can really load it upMaterial| Dimensions | Laptop sizeColorsMaterials✔️✔️ Laptop size✔️ Organizational features✔️ Straps and handles✔️✔️SecurityEmma SeymourJacqueline Saguin