How to Find the Best Macbook Pro Case or MacBook Air Case To Fit Your Lifestyle

Updated  - June 2023

Did you know that dust is the major cause of problems for MacBook Pro’s and MacBook Air owners? 

Fortunately, you can easily prevent this with a reliable case.

The latest cases, covers, bags, and sleeves offer much-needed protection for the Apple laptop's sleek, aluminum body. However, with the many options out there, it can be quite challenging to find the best product that protects your technology and complements your lifestyle.

Our goal for this post is to give you the tools so you can find the best MacBook Pro case  and MacBook Air case to meet your needs. 

One of the most popular blogs we ever did was one on how to choose a quality case for your iPad. Given the popularity of Apple's latest laptop models, we thought it was time to address how to find the best MacBook Pro case or MacBook Air to fit your lifestyle. 

macbook pro keyboard

How to Pick the Best 15-inch MacBook Air Case

Here are some things to consider when shopping for the best 15-inch MacBook Air case or sleeve for you.

• Understand where and how you want to use your Air

• Understand how different materials offer different levels of protection

• Choose a form factor that is most comfortable for you

The information below goes into each bullet point above in-depth. This information applies when shopping for any Apple laptop or laptop cases in general.

Let's state the obvious first: Apple makes some of the most expensive laptop computers on the planet. If you're a professional of any kind, you typically order the most powerful version of a given size and then add some extra memory or another type of upgrade. This tends to drive the price higher but again, you need the best to do your best work so the investment is well worth it. 

As the Apple-specific market has grown and matured, the customer base has expanded exponentially. So have the options for laptop cases. Just like their iPad brethren, Apple's laptops have seen an onslaught of cheap, poorly engineered, poorly designed cases being dumped on the market, mostly manufactured by the Chinese. 

The Apple forums are littered with threads of Apple laptop users complaining about any number of issues resulting from these cheap, poorly engineered, poorly designed cases. This is unfortunate. 

The question is, why does someone choose the most expensive thing of its kind and then turn around and choose the cheapest thing of its kind to protect it?

This is a baffling question.

With the introduction of the 15-inch Air model, good quality protection is more important than ever to protect your investment. Air models tend to be more fragile than their Pro stablemates. Their thinner bodies make them more prone to dents and scratches. A quality, well-made case is a must.

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Let's start with the bad and the ugly. Someone posted to a thread on Reddit where the person was bragging about how he or she had cobbled together a MBP laptop sleeve from a padded US Postal envelope.

While you can applaud their creativity, I am not sure if a brand new $2000+ Apple laptop would be the best application of a creative, low-rent, protection solution. 

If you purchased a Ferrari would you drive it home and park it in a garage you cobbled together from some old refrigerator boxes and some duct tape? 

Leave the inexpensive laptop cases to the "doorstop" PCs of the world. You spent big bucks on an Apple laptop, choose a case that's worth the price you paid. 

Protecting Your MacBook Pro

If we leave out the "do it yourself" postal envelope and duck tape solutions and just focus on Mac cases and protection, different MacBook covers have different protection capabilities. To choose the best one for your needs, you’ll have to consider your day-to-day use.

  • Do you use your Apple laptop outdoors?
  • Do you frequently slip it in/out of a bag full of other items?
  • Are your kids allowed to use the MacBook?

In other words, the best cases for MacBook Pro are those that provide ample everyday protection based on how YOU use it.  Remember, the MacBook’s portability predisposes it to everyday wear and tear.

Someone working on a construction site is going to have different protection needs than someone working in the coddled confines of a financial services company. Make sure you understand the level of protection you need for the environments you move through. 

Result of not using quality MacBook Pro Cases

A Premium MacBook Air Case Uses Quality Materials

Each material has its advantages and disadvantages. Any manufacturer who knows what they are doing and cares about their customers will try to maximize the advantages and minimize the disadvantages of any given material. 

What's beneath the exterior skin is just as important as the skin itself. Foam technology and the impact absorbency of the latest foams will be the real protectors of your technology investment. 

Yet this is such an easy area to skimp on.


Because no one sees it. It's sandwiched between the exterior material and the interior liner. If a case that you are looking at seems more expensive than the aforementioned, cheap, poorly engineered, poorly designed cases being offered on eBay or Amazon, one reason might be the more expensive one is using a higher quality foam. And that can make all the difference. 

Using a quality, impact-absorbing foam means it's a more expensive case to produce and should offer better, long-term protection. And better protection should matter to someone who is looking to protect the most expensive laptop on planet Earth. 

Your MacBook’s cover material represents your personality. It’s also a factor that can determine the cover’s efficiency, style, and price. Some common laptop case materials include:

sewing a leather panel


A premium MacBook Pro case for seasoned or burgeoning professionals will be handcrafted from a quality hide. Because of the expense, the most talented designers tend to work with this naturally sourced material and the quality of the designs reflects this.

If you're someone who moves through a professional environment, has clients you present to, gets dressed up to go to work, or just appreciates a quality piece of design ( like the Apple laptop itself ) then a leather MacBook case should be at the top of your shopping list. 

The downside of leather is the aforementioned expense. Moreover, there might be some long-term care involved to keep the leather in top form. Lastly, leather cases tend to weigh a bit more than their man-made material counterparts. 

Nylon and Polyesters

If your needs tend towards a tough, waterproof, lightweight case for your Apple laptop, go for a nylon or polyester sleeve, bag or backpack. These materials are extremely lightweight for the strength they possess.

When layered with the latest generation of lightweight, impact-absorbing foams, a quality design constructed from man-made materials can be highly protective and extremely lightweight. 

The difference between nylon and polyester is in the overall strength and appearance. Nylons tend to be stronger than polyesters of the same denier. The way to tell one from the other is that nylons tend to have a shiner, reflective sheen to their finish while polyesters usually have a matte finish.

Both typically have a water-proof coating either sprayed on or heat set into the fibers on the backside.  A well-designed, high-quality case constructed from both nylon and polyester will use each material's strengths in the areas where they will provide the most benefit. 

The downside of these man-made materials is because they are so inexpensive and readily available, anyone can set up a shop and start cobbling something together with them. When looking at a nylon or polyester case, bag or sleeve, check if the areas of the design that are supposed to be straight are sewn straight. If it's not, run the other way. 

Cases, bags, and sleeves made from nylon and polyester are excellent for anyone who needs lightweight protection. Someone who spends a lot of time traveling is carrying much more than just their Apple laptop, students and anyone not worried about how they appear to the rest of the world will find a nylon or polyester MacBook Pro case the best for them. 


For the longest time, polycarbonate clip-on shells have been very popular in the same way that neoprene sleeves were popular a generation before. While both offer seemingly cursory protection, in the long run dragging the temperamental finish of an Apple laptop over the zipper teeth a few times a day proved to be destructive.

In the same way, the polycarbonate shells trap dust and dirt between the laptop surface and the interior surface of the shell causing damage. Moreover, the touchpoints of the shells, where they're clipped to the body of the laptop do, over time, abrade the surface of the laptop, eating away at the finish. And are supposed to be designed to protect!

In addition, the added weight of the polycarbonate shells when added to the back of the screen can prematurely wear out the hinge mechanism causing the screen not to be able to remain open. All these issues are something to consider when looking for the right case to fit your lifestyle.  

The Best MacBook Pro Case is Custom Fit

We've discussed how it's important to understand the level of protection you need and what the material choices are. Now let's take a look at several key factors that will determine the overall quality and performance of your Apple laptop case. 

As Apple portables, more specifically, their laptops, get thinner and lighter, the need to purchase a quality case increases. Thinner and lighter hardware tends to be more fragile. Things that are more fragile need to be protected even more. 

So what does it mean to design quality cases? Let's start with fit. If you see a case that says " For 13" Laptops" and you have a new 13" MacBook Pro, there is a pretty good chance the fit is not custom-designed for your new Apple laptop. 

It's a generic 13" case that will fit most 13" laptops regardless of whether it's an Apple, a Dell, or an HP. Typically, the more custom the fit for your specific laptop, the better the protection will be. 

You didn't purchase a generic 13" or 16" laptop. Don't settle for a generic case, bag or sleeve when it comes to protecting your very specific Apple portable. 

One of the best macbook pro cases - MacCase Leather Sleeve

The Best MacBook Pro Case is Designed From Experience

Many people know Apple, Inc. started in the late '70s. Its history has been documented in countless books and movies. When someone buys an Apple product they know they are getting the accumulated knowledge of almost 40 years in that product. That means something. 

It should also mean something when you choose your case. Was your case designed by someone with any knowledge of how to protect an Apple laptop or just by someone copying existing designs from products they see on Amazon and hoping for the best?

Look for a case company that's been around for a while. Find one whose products are infused with the design experience spanning the greatest amount of time possible. Experience matters. 

Find a case company where quality matters too, and where they take the responsibility of protecting your Apple portable very seriously. Do they see the case, sleeve, or bag you're interested in as a widget or unit, trying to pump out as many as they can regardless of whether the product can do a good job or not? Or are their products designed and engineered with great care?

Contact the company and discuss their history and their experience. Remember that you've made a substantial financial investment in this piece of hardware. Taking the time now to find a quality case made by a company that cares and can translate that passion to the product can make all the difference. 

This is one of the keys to finding the best MacBook Pro case to meet your needs. 

Styles of Cases

There is a large variety of ways to protect your MacBook Pro. From the aforementioned polycarbonate clip-on shells to slipcases or sleeves, to shoulder bags and messenger bags to briefcases and of course laptop backpacks. 

Finding the right style for you depends on where you are, what kind of environment you're moving through each day, how much protection you need, and if you're using your Apple laptop for work, what your office or work environment is like. 

Someone who is working on a construction site will have very different needs per the list above than someone who is an attorney working in a high-profile law office. Their protection needs are the same, they both need to transport their laptop, but the type of case they choose to provide that protection can vary greatly. 

With the essential factors to consider in mind, here are some MacBook Pro sleeves, covers, and cases to give you an idea of what is available. 

• MacBook Pro Sleeves

If we remove the polycarbonate shells from the equation due to their aforementioned issues, the most basic form of laptop protection is a slipcase or sleeve. Available in a variety of materials from simple nylons to sumptuous leather there is a sleeve for everyone and every taste. 

If you’re looking for the smaller, most compact option to protect your 13-inch or 16-inch Apple laptop, then a sleeve will work best for you. Depending on the materials, sleeves appeal to students, gig workers, freelancers, and traveling professionals. 

One aspect of a laptop sleeve that makes them so popular is that they fit inside other types of general-use bags like backpacks and shoulder bags. If you're someone who already owns a bag, backpack, or briefcase that you love, just adding a sleeve to protect your Apple laptop while it's inside your favorite bag would be an excellent and cost-effective choice. 

• A Compact Leather Shoulder Bag

One step up from a sleeve is a compact shoulder bag. Many times these types of designs are just sleeves with a shoulder strap and some pockets added to them. They become wearable and have some storage options creating a very effective,  lightweight, compact case. 

This type of case is for someone looking for a highly functional way to protect and transport their laptop without the bulk. Depending on the material, they can be perfect for students heading to class or for executives heading to a meeting. 

Some designs also offer options to expand functionality. One option might be a backpack strap set that would allow the case to be worn as a backpack. This is perfect for someone looking to transport their 13-inch or 16-inch MacBook Pro or PC laptop hands-free. 

• Messenger Bags and Backpacks

Messenger Bags and Backpacks are two of the most popular ways to carry any laptop computer. Like their shoulder bag brethren, there is a vast array of styles, materials, and price points to choose from. 

The best way to choose either one of these is to think about how much more stuff you need to carry with you besides your laptop. How many more items you need to carry with you on any given day will help dictate the size, storage capacity, and in a relative way, cost of the bag. 

Thinking about your "must-have" features ( secret pocket for your cell phone? ) and what material you prefer will go a long way to helping you to narrow down the choices. 

• Leather Briefcase

This type of case is for someone needing a bit more room but still wants to reflect their professional position. Look for a case that can safely hold your laptops and tablets along with a binder or writing folio. 

This Briefcase is a unique, vertical design that provides unparalleled comfort in everyday use. The design is geared towards someone who travels for work or is working in a professional environment.

• Custom Made MacBook Pro Case

Apple owners tend to appreciate quality design. They often find themselves emotionally attached to their computers. If you're the type of person who wants something truly special, it's worth thinking about having a custom MacBook Pro case made for you. 

Most manufacturers who make laptop cases do not offer this service. But there are some that do. A one-of-a-kind, bespoke case can be made to your specification and even include your monogram or company logo. If the idea of a customized cover or bag to meet your individual needs appeals to you, you can check out something like this -   Custom Leather MacBook Case Program.


"Choosing the best quality MacBook Pro cases is easy ..." 


Additional Posts on Similar Topics

• Building a Custom Apple Laptop Case

• The Creative World of MacCase Design

• MacBook Pro Sleeve Battle: Apple vs. MacCase

Jody K. Deane
by Jody K. Deane April 13, 2017

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