Congratulations, you’re now the proud owner of a shiny new MacBook Pro. But how are you going to keep it looking new, and prevent it from collecting dings, scratches, or something much worse?
It’s always a good idea to buy a bag, sleeve, or snap-on case to protect your (very expensive) machine. There’s definitely is no shortage of MacBook Pro cases on the market, but with so many to choose from, it’s not easy to find something that looks good, protects well, and fits within your budget.
Macbook cases fall into two basic categories: those that remain permanently attached, and those that don’t. There are pros and cons to each, and the best case for you will depend largely on how and where you use your laptop.
If you’re only really looking for protection in transit, a sleeve, padded case, or backpack with a padded laptop compartment is the way to go. It’ll keep your Macbook safe when it’s most at risk, without adding extra size and weight the rest of the time.
If you’re worried about drops and spills around the house, office, or local coffee shop, however, look for a hard-shell case that stays firmly attached at all times.
To save you from decision fatigue and wasting your money, we’ve put together our recommendations for the best MacBook Pro cases across a range of brands, styles, and price points. Whatever type of protection your Macbook requires, there should be something here that suits your needs.
- Compatible with: Macbook Pro 13 2016-2019 (other sizes available)
- Type: Snap-on
- Material: PU leather exterior, polycarbonate interior
- Compatible with: Laptops up 13.3 inches
- Type: Sleeve
- Material: Polyester exterior, foam middle, fleece interior
- Compatible with: Macbook Pro 13 2016-2020 (other sizes available)
- Type: Snap-on
- Material: Polycarbonate
- Compatible with: Laptops up to 14 inches
- Type: Briefcase
- Material: Copolymer-Polypropylene exterior, stainless steel frame, foam interior
- Compatible with: Macbook Pro 13 (other sizes available)
- Type: Briefcase
- Material: Leather exterior, microfiber interior
- Compatible with: Laptops up to 15 inches
- Type: Backpack
- Material: Polyester
Best Macbook Pro Case Overall: Fintie Protective
If you’re seeking solid protection for your MacBook Pro 13” without adding too much bulk, look no further than this Fintie Protective model. Attaching easily to the laptop, the case has a thick synthetic leather exterior with a polycarbonate shell interior for a good blend of style and protection.
Other features include cutouts for easy access to all of your MacBook’s ports, along with full ventilation on the bottom to prevent overheating. That last aspect is particularly important for any case like this that stays semi-permanently attached.
You can choose from a number of colors and styles, ranging from classic solids to more dreamy celestial patterns if that’s your thing. Whichever version you go for, don’t expect to pay a fortune for it: this Fintie case is proof that reliable protection for expensive devices doesn’t have to come at a high cost.
One thing to note: the case is only designed for MacBook Pro 13” models from 2016 to 2019. The dimensions of the most recent MacBook Pro 13” changed slightly, and Fintie offers this transparent snap-on case as an alternative.
Toting a larger laptop? Fintie’s MacBook Pro 15” Retina Cover is similar in features and price, but the book cover-style strikes a middle ground between a sleeve and a traditional hardshell case. The design isn’t as streamlined thanks to some unsightly corner padding, but if protection is more important than slim lines, it’s a good alternative.Buy on Amazon
Best Sleeve Case: Mosiso MacBook Pro Sleeve
The Mosiso MacBook Pro Sleeve is a bonafide value buy for those looking for extra laptop protection on the move, and you get plenty for your money.
This sleeve has three layers of protection: a spill-resistant polyester surface, a fleece-lined interior, and shock-absorbent foam between them to protect your MacBook Pro from minor bumps and scratches. As well as the main compartment, there’s also an external pocket for smaller items and accessories like phones, tablets, cables, and pens.
What’s particularly impressive about the Mosiso MacBook Pro Sleeve is its wide selection of available colors and sizes. The company offers over 20 different colors and shades, in a range of sizes that fit all current and previous models of MacBook Pro.
You’ll need to be a little mindful of the sizing, though. The sleeve can be very snug on larger laptops, which means you’ll need to be careful when opening and closing the zipper. It’s much less of an issue with the 13″ models, however.
The Mosiso MacBook Pro Sleeve is the ideal choice if you need sleek, straightforward protection against minor damage to your Macbook Pro at a very reasonable cost.Buy on Amazon
Best Budget Snap-On Case: Ibenzer Hard Shell for MacBook Pro
Want to protect your MacBook Pro even while you’re using it? Snap-on cases are made for this very purpose. While the Fintie case above is our top pick in this category, we also recommend Ibenzer’s Hard Shell MacBook Pro case if you’re on a budget.
Made from lightweight plastic, this case weighs just 10oz and adds minimal extra bulk to your laptop. Designed to protect MacBook Pros from scratches, dents, dust, and more, the included micro clips make installation and removal a simple task.
As for protection against overheating, the Ibenzer case makes more effort than usual. Not only does it have the usual bottom cutouts for ventilation, there are also four rubber feet on the bottom to lift the laptop off the desk and maximize air circulation.
Three different case sizes are available. The 13-inch version comes in over 30 patterns, including floral designs and cityscapes. Options for the 15-inch case are limited to about half that, while the newest 16-inch has even fewer colors. Of course, if you’re not fixated on matching a case design to your personality, this isn’t a dealbreaker.
The 13″ and 15″ cases also include a matching keyboard cover, but it tends to stretch over time and not fit especially well. If keyboard protection is a must, we recommend going with the popular Uppercase GhostCover instead.
Easy installation, plenty of ventilation, and an affordable price tag make this Ibenzer Hard Shell Snap-On case well worth a look for budget-conscious buyers.Buy on Amazon
Best for Protection: Pelican 1085 Laptop Case
When it comes to protecting electronics, Pelican is a trusted brand with a long history. If you’ll be enduring rough conditions with your MacBook Pro in tow, or just want to provide it with more protection than a standard case provides, you’ll want to pick up the Pelican 1085.
This crushproof case can easily fit a 13″ MacBook Pro (including the latest model), and the IP67 rating means it’s dustproof and watertight up to three feet. A shoulder strap is included to make it easier to carry, a useful touch given the case weighs over three pounds.
The anti-scratch “pick and pluck” foam interior can be molded to comfortably hug your device, and an automatic purge valve equalizes the air pressure so you easily open the case at any altitude.
Needless to say, this Pelican case isn’t sleek, light, or pretty. You’re not going for style points here, but rather a high level of protection from a brand that’s trusted by professional photographers, military personnel, and emergency services around the world.Buy on Amazon
The Twelve South BookBook V2 is sure to turn some heads and start a conversation or two. Don’t be fooled by its good looks, though: this premium case offers plenty of substance to go along with its style.
With a full-grade hand-finished patina leather exterior, the BookBook V2 gives your MacBook Pro the appearance of a vintage book, just as the name suggests. A microfiber interior, crush-resistant spine, and reinforced corners help keep your laptop safe and sound.
There’s also a hidden document pocket with storage for up to 20 pages, but hardly any space for accessories. If that’s something you need, you can pick up the smaller BookBook CaddySack for chargers and cables to further give you the appearance of a well-read individual.
The BookBook V2 won’t block your ports if you want to use your MacBook Pro inside the case. To maintain that vintage book aesthetic, however, it lacks cutouts for ventilation. If you’re using your laptop for long periods of time or in hot conditions, it’s best to remove the BookBook beforehand.
Available for 13”, 15”, and 16” MacBook Pros, Twelve South’s premium case is among the most interesting and attractive approaches we’ve seen. Sure, it carries a high price tag, but you’ll be receiving excellent craftsmanship, solid protection, and plenty of style points in return.Buy on Amazon
Best Macbook-Friendly Backpack: SwissGear ScanSmart
Think backpacks are exclusively for students and commuters, hikers, or frequent fliers? Even if you don’t fit neatly into those categories, a backpack-based approach to transporting and protecting your Macbook makes a lot of sense.
The weight is distributed more evenly than with a shoulder bag or briefcase, making heavy loads easier to carry. You’d be surprised (or perhaps you wouldn’t!) at just how much a laptop and all of its chargers and accessories can weigh.
The additional size of a backpack also gives space for safety features like extra padding, water-resistant materials, and “floating” compartments that stop your Macbook from hitting the ground when you drop your bag. Obviously this only helps during transit, but you can always use one of the hard shells above for protection at other times.
Our backpack pick for transporting and looking after your Macbook Pro is the SwissGear ScanSmart. This premium model is designed with air travel in mind, but remains versatile enough for general use and is roomy enough to hold even the largest MacBook Pro.
When you’re ready to hit the skies again, the unique ScanSmart laptop compartment makes going through airport security a breeze. Padded adjustable straps firmly hold laptops of up to 15 inches, while the fold-down design keeps your device in plain view for the TSA scanners so you’re not left unpacking and repacking your bag at the checkpoint.
The pack also has plenty of storage, with a front pocket, multiple interior slots in the main compartment, and external mesh pockets on the sides. There’s plenty of extra padding all around, from the shoulder straps to the laptop and tablet compartments.
The price of the SwissGear ScanSmart is on par with comparable daypacks, but if you can’t stretch your money that far and still want an airport-ready bag, this Solo Metropolitan Laptop Backpack has a removable laptop sleeve and lots of space at a lower price. You’ll need to remove your laptop for the airport scanners, but at least it’s easy to do so.
Looking to spend even less and don’t expect to be hanging out in airports any time soon? Ditch the TSA-friendly features and opt for this Deep Storage backpack instead. This straightforward, low-cost model has a padded laptop sleeve for extra protection, a USB charging port on the outside, and can handle any size of Macbook Pro.Buy on Amazon
As you can see, it’s not necessary to drop a lot of money to get a reliable MacBook Pro case. You can buy a decent sleeve or plastic snap-on case for the price of a fancy cocktail, often in a multitude of colors and patterns if you like your gear to exude some personality.
For those with less restrictive budgets and more specialized needs, you can opt for premium cases that emphasize heavy-duty protection, sophisticated aesthetics, and extra convenience.
Whatever you decide, all of the cases on this list help provide added peace of mind when it comes to saving your MacBook Pro from the impacts of daily use, travel disasters, and general clumsiness… and they’re all a lot cheaper than a new laptop!
Main image via Twelve South (Jessica Junkins), product images via Amazon