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The best briefcases for men are sophisticated and functional without being stuffy. Think of them more as a work bag rather than the stiff leather satchels of yesteryear. To get in-depth evaluation of the most popular briefcase styles, we had a tester—who commutes by train to New York City five days a week—put various bags through the paces. Our pick for best briefcase for men overall, the Herschel Gibson Messenger Tech, stood out for its lightweight, roomy construction, cushioned shoulder strap, soft laptop sleeve and overall design. If you have a bit more to spend, Carl Friedrik’s Palissy Double Briefcase is the best high-end briefcase worth the investment. Ahead, you’ll find all the winners that emerged from our testing process and that we highly recommend.

Herschel Gibson Messenger Tech

Colors: 2 total | Materials: 100% recycled post-consumer water bottles | Dimensions: 15.5 inches W x 11 inches H x 5.75 inches D | Weight: 1.7 lbs (with shoulder strap) | Laptop sleeve: Yes

  • What’s notable: It’s a stylish, well-priced briefcase with a fleece-lined laptop sleeve and a clip to keep your laptop secure even when the bag is open.
  • What could be better: It’s not structured on the bottom so it won’t stand on its own unless filled.

Herschel backpacks are bestsellers for their sturdiness and functionality, and this briefcase follows suit. It’s cut from EcoSystem fabric—which is made from 100% recycled water bottles—that’s both lightweight and durable. The spacious main compartment has a sleeve that can accommodate a 15-inch or 16-inch laptop comfortably, and it has pockets for things like an iPad, phone, documents and pens. There’s also a zippered front pocket with smaller sections, a zippered front storage sleeve and a luggage trolley sleeve on the back to make airport travel a breeze. The removable shoulder strap is secured by two sturdy-yet-easy-to-disengage clips.

What our tester says: “This bag is extremely functional, and the padded shoulder strap was the most comfortable of any I tried, especially when my bag was filled with heavy work presentations and my laptop. There are endless pockets for all my tech cords, pens, my passport and things like small office supplies. While the style is more plain and discreet than outwardly stylish, I prefer something more understated so it works well for me.”

Colors: 7 total | Materials: Full grain leather, micro suede lining | Dimensions: 16 inches W x 11.5 inches H x 2.5 inches D | Weight: 2.1 lbs | Laptop sleeve: Yes

  • What’s notable: The high-quality leather is soft but durable, and the zippers slide easily.
  • What could be better: There isn’t a lot of extra room in this bag, so if you carry a lot to and from the office, it may not work for you.

Leatherology offers quality craftsmanship at a modest price, and you’ll find that form meets function with this briefcase. It has a removable shoulder strap; the nickel hardware is sturdy and nice-looking without being overly shiny; and there’s a single outside zip pocket with sections for things like pens, cords and mail. The small micro suede-lined main compartment has a sewn-in laptop sleeve for a slim 15-inch laptop, and it has room for things such as a newspaper, journal or iPad. There’s a protective foam lip under the zipper that at first seems unnecessary, but it does a nice job protecting your tech and any work documents from getting scraped when placing them into or out of the bag. This style can also be monogrammed for an additional $35.

What our tester says: “This bag is beautifully made and is ideal for those days you’re just taking your computer and a few small things to and from the office. I like that it’s professional looking and practical for carrying the basics. However, if you’re trying to carry several bound presentations in addition to a laptop or anything more, you likely won’t have room. Also, the adjustable shoulder strap isn’t padded, so it can weigh on your shoulder if you’re spending a long time walking or waiting for the train or bus.”

Colors: 5 total | Materials: Vegetable-tanned vachetta leather, nylon canvas lining | Dimensions: 15.7 inches W x 12.8 inches H x 4.5 inches D  | Weight: 4 lbs | Laptop sleeve: Yes

  • What’s notable: The leather is rich and sophisticated, and the extra depth and double compartments on this bag make it a roomy choice for formal work environments.
  • What could be better: The zippers require a little bit of effort to slide, and the detachable strap isn’t padded.

This elegant investment bag from luxury men’s accessories brand Carl Friedrik is ideal for those who work in formal city jobs. It’s a high-capacity piece—for when you’ve got lots to carry—and it feels a bit like an old-school attaché case (in a good way) with a modern, sleek look. It has two large, structured main compartments with zippers that run most of the way down the side of the bag, which means you have easy access to materials and there are side gussets prevent things from falling out. The interior compartments are lined in tough nylon canvas, and they have slip-in pockets for a phone, cords and bills as well as one interior zippered compartment.

What our tester says: “You can immediately tell that this bag is made well. I love the deep chocolate brown color of the leather and that there are metal feet on the bottom of the bag, which helps it stand up without tipping and protects it from gross stuff on the ground. The laptop sleeve isn’t padded, though, so even though the bag is structured, I worried that my computer could suffer if I got bumped or dropped my bag unexpectedly.”

Colors: 6 total | Materials: Saffiano leather with polyester lining | Dimensions: 16.3 inches W x 11.6 inches H x 2.6 inches D | Weight: 2.6 lbs | Laptop sleeve: Yes

  • What’s notable: The leather exterior is water resistant, scratch resistant and easy to wipe clean.
  • What could be better: The bag is structured so you have to hold it open to keep the zipper from scraping your computer or papers when putting them in and out of the bag.

Maverick & Co’s take on a modern briefcase has special detailing to make it stand out: It’s made from subtly textured leather with a cross-hatch finish, and four of the six color options have a bold contrast lining for guys who want something other than basic black or brown. It has a detachable shoulder strap, the main compartment has a two-way zipper, there’s a padded sleeve that can comfortably fit a 16-inch MacBook Pro, and it has a mobile phone pocket, business card case pocket, an inner compartment with a magnetic closure and places for writing instruments.

What our tester says: “I got this bag in the navy with the tiger orange accents, and I liked that the bright orange interior made it easy to find my belongings when I was in a rush. The pockets were functional without being excessive. I got multiple compliments on this bag, and the leather is thick, so it seems like this bag will can take a beating and will last for years.”

Colors: 5 total | Materials: 100% recycled nylon | Dimensions: 15 inches W x 13 inches H x 3.15 inches D | Weight: 2.2 lbs | Laptop sleeve: Yes

  • What’s notable: This casual-yet-durable style can be worn as a messenger, as a shoulder bag, or carried from the top. Timbuk2 offers a lifetime warranty on their products.
  • What could be better: If you’re a guy who wears a suit to the office, this style may not be formal enough.

San Francisco-based Timbuk2 has long been a favorite of college students, but this polished messenger bag/briefcase hybrid is a go-to for business professionals, too. Its slim profile keeps things organized without being overly bulky: The padded computer compartment fits a 15-inch laptop, and there are three drop-in pockets and two zippered pockets for stashing things safely. The removable shoulder strap has lots of padding if you’re carrying a heavy load, and it has a comfy, padded grab handle on top as well. The Closer briefcase has sturdy buckles to lock down your belongings, or you can opt to use the hook and loop panel to close your bag. There’s a luggage pass-through so you can attach it to rolling luggage, or it can be zipped closed for additional storage. This style also comes in a smaller size.

What our tester says: “This is probably my favorite of all the bags I tried in this category. I really liked the tough construction and the reinforced bottom, and the laptop sleeve was padded enough that I felt my computer was secure and protected. The Eco Black Deluxe color also elevates the appearance of the bag, so it doesn’t seem too casual or ‘college.’ My one gripe is that the water bottle holder only fits small bottles.”

Colors: 4 total | Materials: Recycled fabric and eco-tanned leather | Dimensions: 17.3 inches W x 14 inches H x 6.3 inches D | Weight: 1.7 lbs | Laptop sleeve: Yes

  • What’s notable: This roomy briefcase can fit a larger laptop as well as gym clothes for after work.
  • What could be better: The water bottle pocket is on the small side.

At first glance, Bellroy’s Tokyo briefcase is reminiscent of a shapeless duffle, but in reality it’s an efficient, space-saving marvel. The front has an outside zip pocket with interior drop-in sections and a key loop, the back features a roomy drop-in pocket with a snap for things like a newspaper, reports or books, and there’s a water bottle pocket at the side. Inside, there’s a spacious main compartment, padded 16-inch laptop sleeve, two elasticized interior pockets that expand to allow room for bulkier items and a zip mesh pocket for things like sunglasses.

What our tester says: “Sometimes bags with extra pockets can seem excessive, but this briefcase’s pockets were intuitive and useful from the outset. Even on days when I had to tote extra things back and forth to work—like extra bound work presentations and my iPad in addition to my laptop—I wasn’t short on space. But the removable nylon shoulder strap was surprisingly thin, which I found uncomfortable, so I’d often carry this from the top handles.”

Why Trust Forbes Vetted

At Forbes Vetted, our writers and editors stand by in-depth research, comparison, and testing because we know that when it comes to fashion and where you spend your money, there are lots of options out there. At work you need comfortable, long-lasting accessories to help get you through the daily grind—all while looking your best. Whether you wear a suit and tie or you’re more of a joggers-and-cool-sneakers-at-work kind of guy, your day-to-day briefcase needs to be functional, durable and stylish. We had a tester try out each of these briefcases and give his candid, thorough review. The writer for this story, Forbes Vetted contributor Molly Calhoun, has written at length about men’s fashion, covering the best blazers for men, the best watch brands and the best glasses for men.

How We Chose The Best Briefcases For Men

We began by carefully researching men’s briefcases at a variety of price points and levels of formality to be sure we evaluated all the top options on the market. We narrowed our search by looking only at top-rated styles with overwhelmingly positive reviews. Ultimately, we tested many briefcase styles over several weeks, evaluating their functionality, comfort, style and durability. The six top briefcases for men hat landed on our list lived up to the hype—and then some.

What To Consider When Looking for A Briefcase


Historically, briefcases consisted of hard sides and a top handle and they were mostly meant for carrying work papers, but their use has evolved. Now they accommodate laptops and other assorted technology, like tablets, phones and various chargers or cords. Many of today’s briefcases have removable shoulder straps in addition to top handles, and they’re available in leather, nylon or polyester. Lots of men—even those who wear suits to work—opt to wear their work bags as a messenger style. Leather briefcases, not surprisingly, are often more expensive than those made from synthetic materials.


There are a few reasons you should take a briefcase’s size into account. First, it should be able to accommodate your laptop, so you’ll likely want something 15 inches wide or wider. Second, if you tend to carry additional, bulky items in your bag—think things like hardcover books to read on the train, gym clothes, power bricks—you should plan ahead and seek out a briefcase that will accommodate your necessities without them spilling out of the top.


Commuting can be long and exhausting, and carrying a bulky or unwieldy briefcase can add to the stress. Look for padded shoulder straps and top handles so you’re comfortable when your bag is heavy and you’re toting it for long periods of time. If you’ll be wearing your briefcase with a shoulder strap often, consider the strap’s material and whether or not it could damage the delicate fabric of your work clothes.

Organizational Features

With briefcases, pockets are important. It’s a good idea to look for a mix of drop-in pockets and zippered pockets so you have a combination of easy placement for your belongings as well as secure storage. Some briefcases even have RFID pockets to keep your information safe. In addition, a padded laptop sleeve is a must-have. If you tend to lose your keys, look for a key loop so they have a dedicated spot.

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