Best Rolling Briefcases

Updated August 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
Bottom Line
Pros
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

22 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
149 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best rolling briefcases

Last Updated August 2019

The life of the traveling worker today would be almost unrecognizable to the businessperson of the past. People now work from offices, homes, coffee shops, airports, bus stations, cars, and nearly everywhere in between, all while networking with people across the globe. To do that effectively, you need the proper tools, including a good rolling briefcase.

A rolling briefcase allows you to bring a computer, mobile devices, camera, file folders, business cards, writing utensils, and even changes of clothes from workstation to workstation in a compact, efficient way. Some rolling briefcases can even charge your electronics in transit, making one a perfect solution for anyone who works on the go.

We’ve compiled this shopping guide full of information to help you find the right rolling briefcase for your needs, including some of our favorites, because as hard as you work, the last thing you need is a sore back.

If you’re traveling on business, wear your suit jacket on the plane or ask a flight attendant to store it for you. That way, you show up to your meeting wrinkle-free!

Key considerations

Materials

  • Exterior: A good rolling briefcase needs to be able to stand up to abuse. These carryalls regularly get dragged through busy airport terminals, parking lots, and crowded sidewalks, so durability is essential. Coatings, colors, and finishes may vary, but if you see a briefcase made from 1680 denier ballistic nylon or something similar, you’re off to a solid start. This durable material is woven for superior strength and can resist most types of wear a briefcase must endure. Variations of ballistic nylon and polyester are used in police and military gear, so you can be sure it will stand up to anything you can throw at it. Leather is also a great choice, both for its durability and classic style.

  • Interior: While the durability of a briefcase’s exterior is priority number one, you also want to pay attention to the interior. We recommend briefcases with EVA foam-backed electronics compartments because these provide additional padding for your laptop, phone, and other valuable devices.
     

Size

Rolling briefcases are designed for workers on the move, and that makes it very likely that yours will be in the airport often. With that in mind, we recommend purchasing a briefcase that complies with carry-on sizing regulations. These can vary by airline, but the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) states that the maximum carry-on size allowed by most airlines is 45 linear inches (you get this number by adding the height, width, and depth of the bag).

Before buying a rolling briefcase, remember to confirm the dimensions of the laptop compartment and if your current computer will fit. As obvious as that may sound, it’s a fairly common mistake to assume your gear will be compatible. Some bags only fit laptops with screens that are 14 inches or less.

Wheels

By definition, all rolling briefcases have wheels, but some have two while others have four.

  • Two wheels: Two-wheeled options are marginally lighter and have more internal space than four-wheeled briefcases because the wheel housings protrude into the bag to varying degrees. Two-wheelers may also be slightly cheaper since there are fewer components, but that’s where the benefits end.

  • Four wheels: In general, we recommend opting for a rolling briefcase that has four spinning wheels if possible. Not only is this design more stable when the briefcase is stationary but these bags can also spin 360° for easy maneuvering in tight spaces. So long as you can tilt the bag for two-wheeled operation (you’ll want this if you take it over rough sidewalks), this is the way to go.
     

Warranty

If you’re in the market for a rolling briefcase, it’s safe to say you’re going to put it through its paces. Manufacturers offer a wide variety of warranty options, so factor that into your purchasing decision. Some even offer an unconditional lifetime guarantee, which could pay for itself if your briefcase ever needs replacing.

A portable power bank makes an excellent addition to any briefcase, automatically turning luggage into a portable charging station.

Staff
BestReviews

Rolling briefcase features

Compartments

The most valuable piece of equipment you’ll store in your luggage, both in terms of cost and productivity, is your laptop. Most rolling briefcases have a laptop compartment, but as we suggest above, confirm that it has appropriate shockproof padding and is the proper size for your hardware.

Laptops aren’t the only tools that get their own homes, though. For the organizationally inclined, some rolling briefcases include sleeves for file folders and business cards, pouches for chargers and cables, and other various compartments.

Locks

Yes, you always secure your briefcase with an inexpensive zipper lock, but for added peace of mind consider buying a rolling briefcase with its own integrated locking system. Our favorite rolling briefcases include multiple combination locks that can be set to separate codes.

Device charging

For today’s traveling businessperson, a free power outlet can be like an oasis in the desert – hard to find but truly lifesaving if you come across one. But what if you didn’t need one at all? Now you can say goodbye to huddling around wall outlets and charge on the go with a device-savvy briefcase. Specifically, we’re referring to a rolling briefcase with a dedicated power bank pocket and cable port, however there are also options on the market with integrated batteries and chargers. These tend to be heavier and more expensive, so buyer beware.

Water resistance

Your office might be in the middle of the Bonneville Salt Flats, but there’s always a chance of a conference in rainy Seattle or London. For situations like those, you’ll be glad to have a rolling briefcase with a water-resistant exterior. Nylon and polyester are already naturally resistant to water, but certain manufacturers provide additional protection from the elements in the form of waterproof coatings. Considering the valuables you’ll be storing inside your briefcase, you can’t be too careful.

EXPERT TIP

Most briefcases are water resistant, but for extra protection consider using a waterproofing spray on the exterior. With valuable electronics and files inside, you can never be too careful.


Staff  | BestReviews

Rolling briefcase prices

A quality rolling briefcase should last you a lifetime, but that doesn’t mean you should have to take out a second job to afford one. They range in price from about $40 to over $100.

Inexpensive

Even the most basic options, which start at around $40 and go up to about $80, offer lightweight, sturdy construction, clever interior storage, and a sleeve for a laptop with a 15.6-inch or smaller screen.

Mid-range

Once you move into the $80 to $100 range, you’ll find briefcases with more durable ballistic nylon exteriors, larger laptop sleeves, more wheels, and increased storage.

Expensive

Spend over $100 and you get all the bells and whistles, including spinner wheels, integrated locking, device charging, reinforced corners, yet more storage, and a decidedly more aesthetically pleasing design.

DID YOU KNOW?

Plastic compression bags can be a lifesaver when packing clothes in small briefcases. Although they can wrinkle thin fabrics, the bags require no vacuum and can free up valuable space.

Tips

  • Confirm your airline’s carry-on size limits. Each airline has sizing guidelines for carry-on bags. The FAA’s suggestion of 45 linear inches is a helpful rule of thumb, but certain airlines could allow less while others allow more. Check the airline’s website before heading out.

  • Weigh carry-on bags before flying. Some airlines have weight limits along with size restrictions for carry-on bags. Take a moment to check your airline’s website before flying, and if necessary, weigh your bag.

  • Designate a “receipt pocket.” From lodging to transportation to food, you’re bound to rack up a few expenses when traveling on business. Whether you use a corporate card or get reimbursed after the fact, designate a pocket in your rolling briefcase for receipts and invoices so you always know where to find them.

Other products we considered

Whether it’s style, size, durability, or cost that tops your rolling briefcase priority list, there’s an option out there for you. We’d like to highlight a few products that didn’t quite make our top-five list, starting with the Solo Walker Rolling Laptop Case. This briefcase offers plenty of pockets and slots for all your essentials, but it really stands out for its gorgeous leather exterior that’s available in tan or espresso. Similarly, this McKleinUSA La Grange 9649 Women’s Carry-On Briefcase offers multiple colors and stellar personalization options in a Euro-inspired vertical design.

You can plan every element of a business trip and still have things go wrong. Consider purchasing travel insurance that includes coverage for travel delays and stolen or lost luggage.

FAQ

Q. What advantages does a rolling briefcase have over a backpack?

A. Assuming they’re of similar capacity, a rolling briefcase and backpack accomplish very similar things. A rolling briefcase looks significantly more professional, though, which could be important depending on your job. That said, an exemplary rolling briefcase will offer a strap along with its telescoping handle and wheels, so you get the best of both worlds.

Q. Are rolling laptop bags and rolling briefcases the same thing?

A. Yes, however rolling laptop bags may be slightly smaller.

The team that worked on this review
  • Andrew
    Andrew
    Writer
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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