As a student, your laptop is probably the single most important tool you could have. As such, it’s important that you keep it safe at all times. Losing your laptop could mean redoing an entire semester’s worth of work, setting you back quite a bit, and your professors won’t be as understanding as you’d hoped! So, do yourself a favor and get a laptop bag!
When choosing a laptop bag or backpack with a laptop pouch, you first have to record the physical measurements of the device. Most laptops measure between 7 and 17 inches (diagonal measurement).
In this guide, I’ll explain what a laptop bag is and how to measure a laptop, as well as provide a size chart for laptop bags.
What Is a Laptop Bag?
When you purchase a laptop, you’ll most likely be given a thin bag in which to place the device. This bag is terrible. There’s not enough padding in it to protect your delicate devices from bumps. Worst-case scenario, your laptop’s screen will shatter into a zillion pieces.
Instead of relying on the store-given bag, you should purchase your own laptop bag.
A laptop bag is a specialized bag that is slightly larger than a laptop. It comes with thick foams or pads that protect the device, and it will be spacious enough to hold all of your laptop accessories.
This type of bag usually has a strap that you sling over your shoulder. This keeps the laptop to one side while you walk across campus, and you won’t have much trouble slinging the bag over a library desk to get to work.
For those that prefer keeping their laptops inside of backpacks, then you need a backpack with a laptop pouch.
What Is a Laptop Pouch?
A laptop pouch is a built-in compartment inside the main compartment of a backpack. It’s separated by a padded divider to keep the contents of both compartments separate. The pouch is located on the back of the bag, so your laptop will rest between the back panel of the bag (the part that touches your back when you wear the backpack) and the divider.
Laptop pouches are pretty much standard in every student-friendly backpack. However, what’s not standard is the size of the pouch. Since laptops come in a wide assortment of sizes, you’ll need to choose the right laptop pouch or bag to fit the device.
Laptop Bag Size Chart
So, what laptop bag size should you get? It ultimately depends on the size of the laptop. Here, I’ll provide you with a chart that describes the ideal laptop bag size for specific laptop sizes. You can use these measurements to figure out what size is right for your laptop pouch, too.
|Laptop Bag Size||Suitable Laptop Size|
|7 in.||All smartphones and tablets (8 in., 8.1 in.)|
|10 in.||9.7 in., 10 in., 10.1 in., 10.2 in.|
|12 in.||11.6 in., 12 in., 12.1 in.|
|13 in.||12.5 in., 13 in., 13.3 in.|
|15 in.||15 in., 15.4 in., 15.6 in.|
|17 in.||17 in., 17 in., 17.3 in.|
The figures above denote the diagonal length of the laptop bag and laptop screen.
As you can see, the size of the laptop bag is only slightly smaller or larger than the size of the device. That way, there’s less room for your device to wiggle around when the bag moves around.
If your laptop is larger than 17 inches, then you may need to get a custom laptop bag designed to fit such a large electronic.
Alternatively, you can place the laptop in the main compartment of your backpack (if there’s enough space) while your books and other study materials go into the smaller laptop pouch.
How to Measure a Laptop
Naturally, you should know how big your laptop is before settling on a particular laptop bag model. There are 3 ways to do this.
Look on the laptop box
Generally, you can tell how large the laptop is by looking on the original box. There, it will tell you how many inches the screen is, and you can use that figure to decide on a particular laptop bag or pouch size.
Learn the model of your laptop and search for its specs online
If you don’t have the original packaging, you can search for your laptop’s make and model online. However, if you don’t have that information either, you will have to do the following:
- Open Run (press CTRL+R).
- Type dxdiag and hit OK.
- Check the DirectX Diagnostic Tool window.
- Look at the System model.
- Search the system model online and look for its specs.
Manually measure the laptop
If the previous method sounds like a lot to do (believe me, it’s not), then you can try manually measuring your laptop.
The only figure you need to record is the diagonal distance of the display. To do this, take a tape measure and measure the distance between one corner of the screen to the opposite corner. Please note that the size of the display does not take into account the width of the bezels. So, a 15.6-inch laptop could actually measure around 16 or 17 inches from corner to corner.
However, not all laptops have the same aspect ratios—i.e., the geometric shape of the laptop’s display, with 16:9 being the most common. So, if you want to be more precise with your measurements, you should record the length and width of the device.
Is a Larger Laptop Bag Better?
One could make the argument that a larger laptop bag is better. After all, the larger the bag, the more stuff you can take with you. You can use laptop bags as gym bags if you want, as long as you remove the laptop beforehand.
On the other hand, if you want to use your bag for school or work, then you might not need that much extra space. In addition, extra space can cause your laptop to move around inside the bag, which can lead to scratches.
So, think carefully about whether or not you should “go big or go home” regarding your laptop bag.