Best Briefcases of 2018
Bringing Style and Function Together

These briefcases cover the spectrum, from simple and affordable to luxuriously-detailed and expensive.

Face it: You can't get away with bringing a backpack to work anymore. There is a better way. Briefcases have come back — but don't worry, these aren't your father's bags.

Gone are the metal attaché cases and hard shell leather cases. They've been replaced by soft cases made to hold more MacBooks than nuclear codes.

It's finally time to upgrade your work bag, and you can't go wrong with any one of these suggestions. We've even broken it down so you can find the best briefcase for your workplace and budget.

For those of you who neither have the time nor the energy to finish reading this ultimate guide to briefcases, below is our #1 pick.

You’re welcome.

The Alpine Swiss Expandable Leather Briefcase is our best briefcase and this one is truly very sturdy and fashionable in its looks and design. As for the durability, it has been made from genuine heavy duty leather. Moreover, the folders and organizers can be expanded and be used for various business applications

And adding to that, the rugged yet stylish design makes this briefcase our top pick. The briefcase also has an expansion option of 1 inch. Also, it uses dual combination locks for the best security for your top secret business files.

Just keep in mind though that this briefcase is a little bulky but what’s one flaw to a lot of great features? Am I right?

​Name

​Product

​Specification

​Rating (1-5)

  • Dimensions : 20 x 19 x 4.8 inches

4.5/5.0

Samsonite Luggage Leather Slim Briefcase
  • Dimensions : 2.5 x 15.8 x 11.6 inches

4.0/5.0

Solo Premium Leather-like Hard-sided Attaché
  • Dimensions : 18 x 13 x 4.5 inches

4.0/5.0

Kenox Vintage Pu Leather Men’s Briefcase
  • Dimensions : 17.3 x 14 x 2 inches

4.0/5.0

Samsonite Colombian Leather Flapover
  • Dimensions : 5.5 x 16.5 x 12 inches

4.5/5.0

5.11 Tactical 56003 Adult’s Side-Trip Briefcase
  • Dimensions : 5.5 x 16.5 x 12.5 inches

4.5/5.0

Samsonite Luggage Briefcase
  • Dimensions : 16.8 x 7.2 x 12.2 inches

4.5/5.0

Ultimate Guide to the Best Briefcases: Our Top 7 Picks

OUR TOP PICK - BEST OF THE BEST BRIEFCASES

best briefcases

Made from genuine heavy duty leather, our best briefcase is the Alpine Swiss Expandable Leather Briefcase when it comes to durability and quality and overall factors of an ideal briefcase. It is very sturdy and fashionable in its looks and design on the construction part. As for the comfort factor, the handle is very comfortable for long trips.

In addition to the great durability features, the bottom of the cases is protected with 4-feet metal parts. The Alpine Swiss Leather Briefcase measures 19 by 14 inches and it is super convenient because it also has an expansion option of 1 inch so you have more room even with a smaller briefcase. When it comes to getting your items together, the folders and organizers can be expanded and be used for various business applications.

As for the safety factor, the Alpine Swiss briefcase uses dual combination locks for the best security for your top secret business files. When it comes to the style, the rugged yet stylish design makes this briefcase our top pick. The Alpine Swiss Expandable Briefcase has a ton of organizer slots for pens and other business items and it is also conveniently backed by a manufacturer’s warranty of 1 year.

Cons and disadvantages are inevitable – the Alpine Swiss Expandable Leather Briefcase has a few but they are not too much compared to others. For instance, the pen holders might run shorter for most people depending on their pen sizes.

PROS

  • Genuine Leather
  • Top of the line hardware
  • Comfortable handle
  • Well made of durable materials
  • Professional fashionable look yet sturdy
  • Expanding file folders
  • Organizer section inside for business essentials
  • 1 Year Manufacturer's Warranty

CONS

  • A little bulky

OUR STEP-UP PICK

Samsonite Luggage Leather Slim Briefcase

As for our step-up pick, we chose the great and reliable Samsonite Luggage Leather Slim Briefcase which has also been made from genuine leather on its entire build. When it comes to reliability, the zipper closure adds to the convenience of the leather briefcase. As for the inner material of the briefcase, it has been softly and sturdily lined with nylon material for durability and a modern look.

Carry with comfort on your shoulder using the adjustable, removable padded shoulder strap or by the wrapped bale handles. The SmartSleeve™ slides over the upright handles on your luggage for easy mobility. Durable silver satin hardware accents this case.

Your laptop is protected in a padded compartment from bumps that come your way during travel and there's room to store accessories and cords. Stay organized on the road with the front organizer pocket that holds pens/pencils, business cards, calculator, cell phone, airline ticket and other smaller items.

The Samsonite Leather Slim Briefcase stands 11 by 16 inches. It is super ideal for getting things together for your office items because conveniently, it has organizers for pens and files. The briefcase is also very stylish and durable and will definitely worth your money in the long run. Being backed by a warranty of 3 years, the briefcase is a worthy investment.

PROS

  • 100% Leather
  • Zipper closure 100% Leather
  • Front pocket organization
  • Padded removable shoulder strap
  • Padded laptop compartment fits up to 15.6 inch laptop
  • Smart pocket slides

CONS

  • Need some support at the bottom

BUDGET PICK

Solo Premium Leather-like Hard-sided Attaché Black

As for our budget pick, we chose none other than the Solo Premium Leather-like Hard-sided Attaché Black which is a great and solid briefcase to consider. When it comes to protection and organization, Velcro closures protect the file pockets for better security.

And what’s more, to comfortably keep you on track, the carry handle is contoured and very durable for long business trips.

The briefcase has a roomy main compartment that can hold plenty of different files and documents. Besides, there is an organizer pocket to keep all the necessary stationery and a slot for papers. In addition to a comfortable and secure storage for all the items mentioned above, the Solo Premium briefcase has ample space for books and other three-dimensional objects. It can even hold a laptop with a diagonal up to 15.6”.

In addition to the safety features, the organizer section keeps your items together and well-organized. As for durability, the hard-sided construction makes it highly durable for its price. This awesome briefcase by Solo measures 17 inches and is thoroughly backed by a warranty of 5 years.

The durable design of this business briefcase will let you keep all your things safe. For additional security, this very model has metal combination locks. Just set them and you will keep the contents safe from robbers. This business briefcase has a strong ergonomic handle. Stylish metal garniture adds to the neat design and ensures durability of this suitcase.

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Vinyl
  • Interior organizer section.
  • Large capacity main compartment
  • File pocket with Velcro closure
  • Dual combination locks
  • Sturdy carry handle
  • 5 Year Warranty

CONS

  • Locking mechanism is not as sturdy

IDEAL BRIEFCASE FOR LAPTOP

Kenox Vintage Pu Leather Men’s Briefcase

When it comes to our Ideal Briefcase for Laptop pick, we chose the Kenox Vintage Pu Leather Men’s Briefcase which has a very wide strap at 1.6 inches. As for the versatility and flexibility, this briefcase is the real deal as the shoulder straps can be adjusted from 75 to 150 cm. This dynamic and useful briefcase measures 14 by 11 inches and it can fit 14-inch laptops, notebooks or tablet.

This Kenox Vintage briefcase is made of a faux leather. The manufacturer has created a model with a neat design and exquisite vintage style. No wonder that this business briefcase can become a perfect accessory both for a casual style and a classic business wear. There are two colors to choose from, black and brown. A stylish exterior decoration adds a special zest to this fashionable vintage briefcase.

This business briefcase has multiple sections where you can keep documents and some personal items. It has a compartment that can hold even your laptop computer with a diagonal up to 14". A comfortable zippered pocket will totally secure your gadgets and accessories. Students often carry A4-format paperwork around, and the manufacturer provides a separate section to keep it. In addition, this briefcase bag has a zippered outside pocket for some other documents.

The Kenox Vintage comes with a shoulder strap that can be adjusted according to your height. This business briefcase is equipped with a high-quality metal garniture (rings, swivel hooks, magnetic snaps, and zipper pullers). All these details add to the durability of the item. And magnetic snaps allow for quick and comfortable openings. Besides, this briefcase bag has a soft ergonomic handle.

You will feel at ease with this briefcase due to the fact that the shoulder strap can be detached as well. The Kenox Vintage Men’s Briefcase comes in two colors and it can also become a handbag due to its flexibility. As for the material, it is finely made from faux leather and it is very durable. All in all, the Kenox Men’s Briefcase is a great medium sized briefcase.

PROS

  • Keeps shape well
  • Easy to open
  • Ergonomic soft handle

CONS

  • Bar garniture creaks when you walk

IDEAL FOR BOTH PROFESSIONALS AND STUDENTS

Samsonite Colombian Leather Flapover Laptop Messenger Bag

The manufacturer of this laptop briefcase offers a winning combination of an excellent style with the best materials. The briefcase is made of a high-quality leather, which emphasizes a fashionable vintage style of the item. So, this wonderful accessory will suit both classic office wear and everyday casual style.

Note that Samsonite Colombian Leather Flapover Laptop Messenger Bag is available in brown and black colors.

This leather briefcase is available not only in two colors but also in two sizes: 12" x 16.5" x 5.5" and 14" x 16.5" x 4.5". We would like to emphasize that both models can hold many useful things owing to the thoughtful design of the inner compartments. The briefcase has a special laptop pocket for devices with a screen up to 15.6".

An organizer compartment has special pockets and holders for different stuff. The main compartment is intended for various files and papers. What's more, this business briefcase has three additional pockets for small gadgets.

The briefcase has a removable shoulder strap with an adjustable length. It has a special pad that adds to the convenience of use and prevents sliding when you wear this briefcase bag. The metal swivel hooks in their turn prevent the shoulder strap from twisting. The briefcase bag has snap-locks hidden under the vintage decorative metal buckles.

Please, note that the item requires hand wash only if it gets dirty.

PROS

  • Flapover protects contents from rain
  • Ample space for necessary items
  • Genuine leather
  • Stylish design
  • Durable

CONS

  • Somewhat unstable if put upright

BEST TRAVEL BRIEFCASE

5.11 Tactical 56003 Adult’s Side-Trip Briefcase

The 5.11 Tactical 56003 Adult’s Side-Trip Briefcase is our best outdoor briefcase which is ideal for traveling due to the padded shoulder strap. As for the comfort factor, the shoulder straps are very comfortable and are removable. In addition to that, the swivel snap clips are included on each end of the shoulder straps as a unique accessibility feature.

When it comes to the convenience of the briefcase, the belt system backs up the briefcase and the large hidden pocket. As for the capacity, the 5.11 Tactical Briefcase measures 16 by 12 inches when it comes down to the size.

Moreover, it has one main compartment plus 2 front pockets. Moreover, the interior is very easy to access. It is also great for rugged traveling and it also comes with a ton of side pockets. The Velcro sealing has been used for the pocket entrance.

PROS

  • Large hidden pocket with full Back Up Belt System
  • Removable adjustable padded shoulder strap
  • Easy access to gear

CONS

  • The velcro surface is not secure

IDEAL FOR BUSINESS WOMEN

Samsonite Luggage Briefcase

The best choice for those women who often go on business trips! This rolling briefcase will house your laptop and files as well as plenty of other useful things.

The Samsonite Luggage briefcase is designed for businesswomen who often set on business trips. It combines a neat classic style with comfortable elements typical for travel bags. The material was carefully selected by the manufacturer to withstand a long-distance transportation.

To be more exact, this wonderful travel briefcase is made of a high-quality polyester that is very durable, scratch-resistant, and stain-proof.

If you are looking for a roomy briefcase to hold everything you need on a business trip, this item is just what you need. The Samsonite briefcase can hold all the necessary stuff as its inner compartment is really huge! To begin with, it includes a spacious paper slot for documents and a laptop padded compartment that is enough for a laptop with a diagonal up to 15.6”. In addition, the briefcase has several more padded pockets to house in your gadgets and other fragile things that may get damaged during trips.

The manufacturer of this marvelous briefcase has equipped it with everything for an easy transportation. Imagine, it has a comfortable retractable handle and four spinner wheels rotating through 360°. Just like a real suitcase!

A durable metal handle has an ergonomic grip for the convenient wheel. We would like to draw your attention to the fact that this unique briefcase also has durable handles for carrying. They are fixed with metal rivets and rectangular rings.

PROS

  • Portable design
  • Padded laptop compartment
  • Accessory pockets
  • Ample of storage

CONS

  • Can get pretty heavy and difficult to carry around

How We Picked the Best Briefcases of 2018

Quality and value are among the best criteria for us to choose the best briefcase out there. Any worker or employee or even freelancer should have the best features for their briefcase, and among the features we picked were:

Durability

The briefcase should be highly durable with its material and build. ABS plastic or aluminum material is usually for those who need a highly protective hard case while a soft case is usually made of leather or nylon material. Briefcases can be standard modern or traditional depending on their usage.

Organization pockets

The briefcase should have great organizational features such as dividers and multiple pockets. You may not know it, but a briefcase is more than just one solid type of briefcase unlike in the 70s and in the 80s. Today, you will find a wide variety of briefcases with pockets and cheaper but more durable and lightweight material other than leather.

Protection

In addition to its durability, your items inside should be greatly protected. A briefcase with one or two more safety combination locks is a great buy. You are getting a briefcase to protect your items and this is why you need something that stands strong depending on the contents of your briefcase.

Style

If you are a manager or someone with a high profile position, you should definitely get a briefcase that has style and authenticity other than its other features. Stylish leather or buckles or accents add value and durability to the leather briefcase or hard aluminum briefcase.

Comfort

The briefcase must be easy to handle and also very lightweight if you carry a lot of items in it. Make sure that the briefcase can be handled well by the person who will use it. If you intend to give it as a gift, you should definitely know how much items will be expected to be carried by the briefcase.

Quality Briefcases: Tips for Buying the Best Briefcase

The Quality Of Leather Used

Buy a briefcase made from high quality leather.

Quality leather improves with age – the briefcase should look fantastic even after a decade of use. Over time, leather changes color and develops an attractive patina.

A top quality leather briefcase looks sleek and professional. Genuine leather is durable, flexible, attractive and has a typical smell associated with rugged masculinity.

  • Full-grain leather makes the most durable briefcases.
  • Top-grain leather is an affordable and excellent alternative to full-grain leather.
  • For a more water-permeable and thinner leather, choose split-grain leather. It won’t last as long as higher-quality versions.

The origins of the leather used to make the briefcase often determines the quality. The finest quality leather is sourced from Italy, France, England and America.

Avoid buying a briefcase made of fake leather. You’ll be changing briefcases before you have a chance to fully justify the few hundred dollars saved.

The Materials Used In The Construction Of The Briefcase

The hardware materials used for the briefcase affect not only the price but its durability and appearance.

The locks, handle, shoulder strap fittings, zippers, buckles and metallic rings take the most abuse on a daily basis and are likely to wear out the quickest.

Check that the materials are of good quality. In store – this is a simple task of turning the bag and studying the details. If you are purchasing the briefcase online – zoom in to the product pictures and observe the quality of the fittings.

These spare parts are quite expensive. Price is a good indication of quality. Good quality leather fixtures are strong – a manufacturer who uses quality materials is going to price their products higher.

Choosing the Right Briefcase – Attache, Soft-Sided Or Hard-Sided Briefcases?

Is the style and formality of the briefcase appropriate for your lifestyle?

What’s your occupation? An attorney or accountant – then an attache case of luxurious leather briefcase would be ideal. Traveling often for business? A rolling briefcase would be the obvious choice.

A casual or formal messenger type leather briefcase is perfectly suitable for multiple situations. Though they’re not typically classed as a briefcase, you can get away with carrying one into a casual work environment or on holiday.

The most distinctive difference between styles is between hard-sided cases and soft-sided versions. The prevailing style may change from time to time, but both versions are appropriate for the office and widely available.

Hard-Sided Briefcases

Feature a lightweight, rigid frame made of sturdy cardboard, plastic, or aluminum. It rests on its side and features a handle but no shoulder straps. They have dividers and folders to keep items inside the case neat.

Attache Cases

The attache case is similar to a briefcase, but its smaller size and slimmer profile make it more compact and formal than a traditional briefcase. The interiors are simpler, with fewer pockets and folders.

Soft-Sided Briefcases

Any case with no framing at the top of the bag is considered a soft-sided briefcase. These cases open from the top so that documents and laptops can be stored and retrieved while the case is vertical. These cases often come with both a handle and a detachable shoulder strap.When its load is lighter, it collapses into a flatter package that’s easier to store.

Although some soft-sided cases feature locks, the materials from which these cases are made are vulnerable to determined attempts to get at the contents of the bag.

Durability of the Briefcase

Look for these hallmarks of quality workmanship when buying a briefcase:

  • The stitching on the bag should be straight, even, small and without loose threads. Check the inner and outer surfaces for consistent stitching. Reinforced stitching provides protection for the vulnerable areas of the bag.
  • Metal zippers are better quality than plastic ones. Open and close the zipper several times to ensure a smooth closure. If shopping online, check for pictures that show the zipper both closed and open.
  • Examine the hinges in a hard-sided case. They should be sturdy and free of rust.
  • The handles should be securely fixed to the body of the briefcase with reinforced stitching or metal fixtures. Handles that are glued to the exterior of the bag are likely to come loose after a period of rough use.
  • The edges of the case are the points where the leather is most likely peel or split.

Compartments (Flexibility Of Space)

Briefcases look deceptively compact and slim. The interiors are often designed with flexible and spacious compartments to store your laptop and other essentials.

The primary consideration for buying a briefcase should be what you need to carry in it. Put everything on a table and then work out what you need.

You should always have enough compartments within your briefcase to keep the contents as organized as possible, especially if you carry a lot of things.

If you’re traveling and have a rolling briefcase, it would be ideal to have a completly separate section for a few items of clothing. An essential feature for frequent travelers is a compartment that allows you to store items that you need quick access to, such as a flight boarding pass, wallet, keys or mobile phone.

The Color Of The Briefcase

The three most common colors on briefcases for men are brown, tan and black. Black and dark brown are best suited for a professional environment – they project a sense of power and authority.

Tan and lighter colors are better suited for casual purposes where the working atmosphere is relaxed and informal. Briefcases that have more than two different colors on the outside or a contrast colored stitching can be perceived as flamboyant. Avoid these unless your occupation permits such a stereotype.

  • Lighter tan – rich chestnut tan, camel tan, looks smart.
  • Darker tan (chocolate) – Suits, navy suit. Upmarket, corporate color. When in doubt for material, opt for dark brown leather.
  • Black leather – more formal – Suits. Most commonly purchased.

It’s not necessary that the color of the briefcase should match your belt and shoes. It’s okay to have classic tan shoes and tan belt and dark chocolate bag.

Lifestyle Suitability

If you are in the habit of carrying a laptop, make sure there’s a compartment large enough for your laptop, with adequate padding. Someone who regularly transports the same few items may prefer a hard case that doesn’t need to expand or contract to fit its contents.

Frequent travelers would benefit from a hard case – a practical option when stowing the bag in an overhead compartment. If you’re planning to travel often by air with your briefcase – consider a security checkpoint friendly compartment.

A lawyer or legal secretary would benefit from using a larger briefcase because their profession is famous for requiring reams of paper. A flexible soft-sided case is probably a better choice for a professional with fluctuating work requirements.

A contemporary style – flapover briefcase is more casual, easier to use and weighs less than a traditional briefcase. It is an ideal style for men who work in non-formal professions, such as the fashion industry, the media or public relations.

Appropriate Size & Weight of the Briefcase

Bigger is not better in the case of briefcases. Unless your job requires it, you don’t want to lug around a heavy and big bag. It looks ridiculous when a short man is seen carrying a bag too big for his frame.

And it feels uncomfortable.

Depending on your situation, the following dimensions should be ideal for a briefcase:

  • Width: of between 15 – 16.5 inches
  • Height: 11 – 13 inches
  • Depth: 4-6 inches

Depending on how much you need to carry in your bag, you can give or take a few inches. Choose a briefcase that can be compressed if there is empty space inside.

The Cost Of The Leather Briefcase

Expect to pay top dollar for quality. You want nothing less when purchasing an item that should last decades.

An inexpensive briefcase may cost little up front, but it will need to be replaced sooner than a more expensive and durable version. A good guideline is to buy the highest quality affordable. A briefcase is essential equipment for anyone who regularly transports documents and other work necessities to and from the office.

It’s also a style statement, so finding the right briefcase is an important aspect of being well-dressed for climbing the professional ladder.

Final Thoughts

Briefcases are simplicity itself. They each have the same concept: A shell with a handle for carrying around the materials required for your job. There’s cardboard take-out containers that could fit that description, but haul one into a job interview or a board meeting and the only way you won’t be laughed out of the room is if it’s filled with cash.

The advantage of the simplicity of the briefcase is that it gives you an opportunity to show off, proving through your choice in professional luggage that you have impeccable taste, even when it comes to a basic carryall.

Man or woman; professional or amateur; top of the corporate food chain or living on ramen; when you’re serious about your career, you need to be ready to show it. The path to success lies with the best briefcases for anyone.

Luke