Best hard laptop case 2023 - Our top picks

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best hard laptop case

If keeping your laptop safe is extremely important to you, then you'll want to invest in one of the best hard laptop case available on the market.

Whether you're using one of the best laptops for illustrators, a beastly gaming laptop, or simply one of the best budget laptops, ensuring your device is protected is very important.

Protecting your laptop can be done in a multitude of ways, be it with a hard case, a screen protector, or one of the best laptop backpacks for travel.

Hard cases, just like the best rugged tablet cases, are designed for durability and to make sure your device is as protected from any potential damage as possible.

Fundamentally, a good hard laptop case will be one that's durable, with plenty of padding on the inside, as well as a reinforced outer shell to ensure your laptop withstands any accidental drops or scrapes with little to show for it.

You'll also want to make sure you get a case that fits your device well. For instance, a laptop sleeve that's designed for a 15" laptop may not fit a 13" laptop too well as it may move around too much, so getting one that first to size is useful.

With this in mind, we’ve selected these laptop cases based on our research into their specs, features, general reviews, and other general points, that we think make them worth considering, plus, we’ve answered some of your most frequently asked questions so you can pick the best ones for you.

So with that being said, let’s get into it – here are some top picks for the best hard laptop case available today.

Best Hard Laptop Case

Best Hard Laptop Case for Most People - Thule Gauntlet Sleeve

best hard laptop case thule
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Image Credit: Thule

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.

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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.

Best Hard Laptop Case for Shock Absorption - Nacuwa Protective Laptop Case

best hard laptop case nacuwa
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Image Credit: Nacuwa

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.

Read More: Best budget lightweight laptop

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.

Best Hard Laptop Case for Looks - Mous MacBook Pro Sleeve

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Image Credit: Mous

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.

Read More: Best budget laptop for graphic design

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.

Best Hard Laptop Case for Water Resistance - Pelican 1495 Case

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Image Credit: Pelican

The Pelican 1495 Case looks like an immense choice if you're wanting 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.

Read More: Best laptop stand for MacBook Pro

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.

Best Hard Laptop Case for Travel - Unik Case

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Image Credit: UNIK

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.

Read More: Best gaming laptop under 300

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

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 may 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 in, while a sleeve is much thinner and is there to protect surface dust and debris as opposed to offering any drop protection.