Best hard laptop case 2023


Someone in a suit talking to another person in yellow while holding a black hard laptop case.
Credit: Thule

The best hard laptop case is the best way to make sure your laptop is always safe while you're on the go.

With so many different laptops out there, from the best laptops for illustrators to the best budget laptops, there are just as many contenders for the title of best hard laptop case. It's an important accessory along with things like a screen protector, or one of the best laptop backpacks.

While some bags and carry cases have some built-in protection, if you travel a lot and want to do a bit more, then a hard laptop case is essential. They're like magical shields for your laptops.

The good news is that we've gone ahead and scoured the web to find the best of the best, and have made them all fight to the death in Fortnite to see which ones are the best before compiling them all into one guide. Okay, we didn't really, but these are still some pretty stellar laptop cases.

Best hard laptop cases

  1. Thule Gauntlet Sleeve
  2. Nacuwa Protective Laptop Case
  3. Mous MacBook Pro Sleeve
  4. Pelican 1495 Case
  5. Unik Case
Thule Gauntlet Sleeve product image of a dark blue case with white branding bottom right.
click to enlarge
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Credit: Thule

1. Thule Gauntlet Sleeve

Best hard laptop case for most people

The Thule Gauntlet Sleeve looks like a marvellous all-rounder if you're after a hard laptop case.

It's rather durable, being comprised of some heavy-duty polyurethane, and features reinforced corner and edge protection to ensure every corner of your device is protected.

In addition, you'll find the Thule Gauntlet Sleeve features quite the rigid exterior that should prevent accidental damage and protect from any drops and scrapes, and a padded interior ensures your laptop should fit nice and snugly and also be protected from the inside.

As for compatibility, this laptop case is specifically marketed for 15-16-inch MacBook Pro users, although if you own a laptop with this screen size, you should be able to pop it in with no issues at all.

Nacuwa Protective product image of a hard black laptop case with white branding in the centre.
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Credit: Nacuwa

2. Nacuwa Protective Laptop Case

Best hard laptop case for shock absorption

If you're after more of an affordable hard laptop case that should offer good protection, then the Nacuwa Protective Laptop Case looks like a great option.

What you'll find is that its hard polycarbonate shell should be shockproof and ensure your laptop is kept nice and safe inside at all times. In addition, it's also water-resistant and dust-proof, so your device should also be able to withstand any of the elements when placed inside the case.

The Nacuwa Protective Laptop Case also features a convenient pouch for any accessories you wish to carry with you, be it a notepad, your laptop's power brick or any additional peripherals, which isn't half handy.

It's a great case for smaller laptops, fitting those with a screen size of 13" or so, and Nacuwa says it works with everything from modern MacBooks to Chromebooks and high-end ultrabooks like the Dell XPS 13, which is useful.

Mous MacBook Pro Sleeve product image of a black, zip-up laptop case.
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Credit: Mous

3. Mous MacBook Pro Sleeve

Best hard laptop case for MacBook

If you're hunting for a stylish-looking laptop case that offers some of the best protection out there, the Mous MacBook Pro Sleeve looks to be an amazing choice.

It may not be a traditional hard case, but its PU-coated fabric outer shell, combined with the PET stiffening plate inside, should ensure some immense protection from the outset, and prevent any twists or piercings.

It also features Mous' own AiroFoam inside, which protects from drop damage by dissipating any energy if your device does hit the floor at speed to slow the impact down and create a hardened barrier through the power of hydrogen bonding.

You'll also find the Mous MacBook Pro Sleeve is water-resistant, which should keep your laptop protected from the elements. The cases are marketed as being for MacBook Pros specifically, but you should be able to put any equivalent-sized laptop inside with no issue.

Pelican 1495 Case product image of a black tool box-style case.
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Credit: Pelican

4. Pelican 1495 Case

Best hard laptop case that's also water-resistant

The Pelican 1495 Case looks like an immense choice if you want to keep your laptop extra secure in more of a briefcase-style arrangement.

It's crush-proof, dustproof and made of incredibly sturdy plastics, so should certainly keep your laptop safe from any damage. A foam lining also ensures a snug fit for your device when it's inside the case.

For extra protection and security, the Pelican 1495 Case also features a 3-dial combination lock, as well as an automatic pressure equalization valve to ensure it's also watertight.

If you are carrying this case, there's a padded shoulder strap for ease of use, as well as another carry handle if you don't want to use the larger strap, making this quite the versatile case.

Unik Case product image of a black square-shaped case.
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Credit: UNIK

5. Unik Case

Best hard laptop case for travelling

The Unik Case looks like a marvellous hard laptop case if you're after more of a minimalistic-looking case that should offer a good deal of protection.

It's comprised of a durable EVA material that should ensure your laptop remains protected, and its textured outer shell will ensure the case is easy to grip and grab if you're in a hurry.

If you do want easy access, the Unik Case also features coloured zipper tips to make them easier to see and undo. Inside, there's also an elastic strap to keep your laptop in place and prevent it from moving when you're carrying the case around.

With regards to compatibility, this particular case should be good to work with laptops up to 13 inches in size, making it a handy choice if you're using a smaller device, and even a larger tablet if you don't happen to use a laptop.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Don't worry if you've got any questions. We've answered some of the most frequently asked queries below.

Are hard shell cases good?

In essence, yes. We'd say that a hardshell case for your laptop will be a great investment for keeping your device protected from any potential damage, given that some can attach straight to your laptop as opposed to other more traditional hard sleeves.

With that being said though, hard sleeves arguably offer better all-round protection by giving your device somewhere to sit in securely when you're not working.

Is a laptop hard case necessary?

It depends on your personal needs, if you're travelling often, or are particularly clumsy, the added protection from bumps or scrapes can be incredibly valuable.

Having a hard case as opposed to a soft sleeve for instance will be a lot more durable and is sure to give your device an extra hard barrier and an added layer of protection if you do drop it accidentally.

How much should I spend on a hard laptop case?

This all depends on the type of hard case you wish to buy. For more standard hard cases, anywhere between $25-$50 will be around right, whilst for more premium options, you may be spending upwards of $100, and for some of the harder and more secure briefcases, $150-$250 seems about right.

What should I look for in a hard laptop case?

In a general sense, you'll want to look for a case that features both a hard outer shell and a padded inner that will protect your laptop from any outer damage, as well as ensure a snug fit on the inside.

Moreover, you may want to get a hard case that can fit any accessories you wish to have alongside your laptop inside the case, such as charging cables or peripherals. Also, getting a case that will fit your laptop well by matching the screen size of your device should also be integral.

Which material is best for a laptop cover?

Some of these harder laptop cases are likely to be comprised of hard plastics or polycarbonate which will offer good impact protection.

However, some others can feature a fabric outer shell with a stiffened inner lining to offer a similar level of protection, although with a pleasing-looking outer casing.

What is the difference between a laptop case and a laptop sleeve?

A laptop case offers more protection than a sleeve, first and foremost, and there is a key difference in design that allows this.

A laptop case may be a lot harder and acts as somewhere to place your laptop, while a sleeve is much thinner and is there to protect surface dust and debris as opposed to offering any drop protection.

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