Whether you’re at the beginning of your career, or on the ladder up to that corner office, briefcases will hold all your stuff in style. While there are thousands of choices out there, we’ve narrowed it down to the best affordable briefcases for your budget.
Briefcases come in a variety of styles. There’s the hard case, expandable, messenger, handheld and ones with shoulder straps. These days, most briefcases have a separate or padded compartment for laptops. Yes, even the most affordable ones. While there are traditionally styled affordable briefcases, it seems that the trend for briefcases, in general, is a messenger bag hybrid. Certain professions like law or finance may require expandable briefcases that can hold multiple files and folders. Other professions, especially those in the arts, rely on briefcases that can double as a portfolio.
When you’re looking for a briefcase for yourself, keep in mind a few important things. Make sure that it can hold your laptop. If you need lots of compartments, make sure that they’re roomy. If you prefer a briefcase that has a shoulder strap, check to see if it’s padded for comfort.
We’ve designed this article by price; from first-job to CEO-level bags. Now that you’ve got your checklist, scroll through to find the best affordable briefcase for your budget and style.
1. Lokass Messenger Bag
Designed to look like an old school book bag, this briefcase is constructed with sturdy washed cotton and leather. If you don’t carry a load of stuff, this could be the affordable briefcase for you. The shoulder strap is detachable so when carried by its top handle, the briefcase has a different vibe. There are two large snap front pockets that are semi-hidden under the flap. The interior is divided into two main compartments; one’s padded and can hold a laptop up to 15.6 inches. There’s a zippered pocket on the back of the messenger bag too.
2. Solo New York Flatiron Slim Laptop Briefcase
BEST FOR TRAVEL
Need a sleek case to impress your coworkers when visiting another office or meeting clients out in the field? Solo New York’s affordable briefcase looks like a premium briefcase, but let’s keep the price tag to ourselves. Solo’s slim laptop case is light enough for travel as it only weighs a pound. The laptop compartment is well padded and will protect your computer. Its padded, removable shoulder strap can be stowed in the spacious front flap over the pocket. Because it’s so slim, it can easily fit under the seat while traveling.
3. Solo New York Harrison Triple Compartment 16-Inch Briefcase
BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK
Why do we have another briefcase from Solo New York on this list? ‘Cause they create expensive-looking bags at prices that make everyone happy. This is another one of their affordable briefcases that has all the bells and whistles of pricier luxury ones. Honestly, there are so many compartments in this bag, that you’ll be tempted to fill them all “just in case.” This leather briefcase has three main compartments to carry everything. The front outside pocket zips down to reveal three open pockets that can hold cables, pens, whatever. Those pockets are on the interior side of that compartment, which means, yes, more space to store your stuff in the rest of that zippered pocket. This affordable briefcase can hold laptops up to 16 inches. The padded shoulder strap is also detachable.
4. Kenneth Cole Reaction Colombian Leather Laptop Portfolio
Kenneth Cole Reaction’s Columbian leather briefcase’s main compartment can expand one and a half inches when needed. The front zippered compartment is RFID-enabled, shielding your credit cards from theft. The padded shoulder strap can be detached. When traveling, use the back trolley strap to place your briefcase on top of your suitcase. This is a great deal for a leather briefcase that can really hold stuff and still look cool. It also comes in black and cognac.
5. YaYa & Co Fairfield Leather Briefcase Backpack
BEST EURO STYLE
This unisex leather briefcase slash backpack is finished with Italian brass fittings for a touch of luxury. If you’re looking for an affordable briefcase that looks like a premium one, this may be your match. This briefcase is based on European vertically-styled briefcases. The main compartment is padded and comfortably holds a laptop and other things you need. The back zippered compartment is big enough for files. If you don’t want to use it as a backpack, the straps can be zipped away in their own compartment. It also comes in a deep chocolatey brown.
6. Filson Dryden Logo Patch Briefcase
BEST FOR CREATIVES
When you’re working in a creative field, or you high enough on the food chain that you can carry what you like, you can go for an affordable briefcase that’s got color and personality. Filson’s nylon briefcase is trimmed in leather, it looks rugged, yet artsy at the same time. And whoo boy, there’s room for stuff. There are two biggish outsized zippered compartments, a back zippered compartment and a big main compartment. The main compartment has a padded laptop compartment pocket. A large slip pocket with a mesh side and smaller slip pockets. The padded shoulder strap can be detached and the briefcase can be toted around by their leather top handles.
7. Bucks Leather Co. Leather Briefcase Backpack
If you need a briefcase that can hold everything and more and can work as a weekender or a travel backpack, then this is your jam. Made with full-grain vegetable-tanned leather, this briefcase has an outside phone pocket, holds up to a 17-inch laptop, is super expandable and has interior pockets to keep things organized. There are D-rings to attach other stuff. There’s also a removable adjustable shoulder strap and it can be monogrammed. It comes in large and medium. The briefcase also comes with a lifetime warranty.
8. Dunhill Brown Cowhide Leather And Cotton Messenger
Shopworn’s a website that snags brand new merchandise from stores that have too much stock, and then turns it around and sells luxury premium items for much less. A perfect example is this briefcase from high-end designer Dunhill. The minimalist designed bag is made with cowhide leather (durable and aged into a gorgeous patina) and cotton. The original retail price for this stunner was $995.00.
9. KILLSPENCER X David Spencer Wiseman Fletcher Briefcase
A little bit of rock n’ roll and all business, this is the ne plus ultra of briefcases. And one our managing editor thinks is the briefcase to end all briefcases. Made in the US, KILLSPENCER teamed up with artist David Spencer Wiseman to create this thing of beauty. While the body is crafted from full-grain leather and bull leather, Wiseman designed the top handle. Each top handle is individually sculpted, then cast in bronze. It’s finished off with inlaid terrazzo. While the body of the briefcase may look similar to others on our list, what sets it apart is the intricate and detailed artwork that is the top handle. Getting back to the briefcase, there’s an interior padded slip pocket that fits a 15-inch MacBook. Inside the briefcase is an open slip pocket for business cards, and two leather pockets for pens and other sundries. The hardware has been painted black, and the bull-hide shoulder strap can be detached from the briefcase.