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One of the most tedious parts of going through airport security is taking your laptop out of your backpack.
The computer has to be placed in its own tray, separate from your other electronics, travel-sized lotions, shoes, and other personal items, then shoved back into your backpack to avoid slowing down the line.
This entire annoying process can be avoided if you use a “TSA-friendly” laptop bag.
What Is A TSA-Friendly Laptop Bag?
A TSA-friendly laptop bag is a backpack that can be fully unzipped, so both sizes can be lain perfectly flat. These backpacks have a dedicated laptop pocket, so your computer can be easily scanned by an X-Ray machine without any of your other stuff getting in its way.
This feature allows you to keep your laptop inside the backpack, so you can zip it up and quickly walk to your gate after you get through security. It’s important to note that using a TSA-friendly laptop bag does not guarantee a smooth experience every time you travel. Individual TSA agents may still ask you to take your laptop out of the backpack.
What Are The Best TSA-Friendly Laptop Bags?
There are many factors to consider when choosing the right TSA-friendly backpack for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while we were researching this list.
Size: The TSA-friendly laptop bags in this guide can hold laptops between 13 and 17 inches; be sure to get one that can accommodate the computer you currently have, or plan to get in the near future.
Weight: You’re going to be carrying your TSA-friendly laptop bag a lot while you travel, so we made sure our picks didn’t weigh you down. All of our recommendations are roughly two pounds, and have padded straps for added comfort.
Extras: Some of the backpacks in this guide come with useful design features, like a USB port that makes it easy to charge your devices using an external battery pack.
1. Matein Travel Laptop Backpack
If you travel with a large laptop, Matein’s Travel Laptop Backpack is the right choice. It’s designed to hold a 17-inch notebook computer, and has dedicated pockets for tablets, notebooks, documents, and other travel accessories like chargers. It also has a luggage strap, which makes it easy to transport along with your carry-on.
If you bring a power bank with you when you travel, you can connect it to a double-sided USB-A port inside the backpack. Once it’s connected, you can charge your phone by plugging it into the USB-A port located on the outside of the backpack. You need to supply the power bank and charging cable, but this is a nice-to-have feature nonetheless.
It’s pretty big, but if you prefer traveling with a large backpack instead of a carry-on, this is the one to get.
2. Swissdigital Micro Gray TSA-Friendly Backpack
Swissdigital’s TSA-Friendly Backpack has the same great features as Madein’s, but it’s designed for laptops up to 15.4 inches. The backpack has several compartments, including a front-facing one that makes grabbing documents (think passport) really easy. If you’re worried about your documents getting stolen, you can stuck them into this backpack’s anti-theft back pocket. Swissdigital designed this backpack with a luggage pass-through strap, making it easy to transport along with your carry-on.
One entire side of this backpack is dedicated to its laptop compartment, which includes a Velcro strap that’ll keep it in place during your flight. We like that this laptop has an easily-accessible USB port if you want to charge your devices, and that the port is protected by a fabric cover. Speaking of materials, this entire backpack is made out of a water-resistant fabric, so your gear won’t get damaged if you get stuck the rain.
If you’re a mid-sized laptop user who wants to get through airport security a little more easily, this is the backpack to get.
3. Swissgear ScanSmart Mini
Swissgear’s ScanSmart Mini is a TSA-friendly backpack for those who want to travel light.
It’s designed to hold 13-inch laptops like the MacBook Air, with room to spare for cables, and adapters. The backpack has a side-strap that holds your laptop in place while you’re walking around the airport, or getting your bag under your seat on the plane. The other side of the backpack has a dedicated tablet pocket on top, so you can keep both devices in your backpack as you go through security.
This may be smaller backpack than our other TSA-friendly backpack recommendations, but Swissgear optimized its design, so you can still carry all of your stuff. It has a sunglasses loop, RFID-protected organizer pocket, quick-access zip pocket, and a luggage pass-through strap. The only feature this laptop lacks is a USB port, which is more of a luxury than a necessity.
If you only take the essentials when you travel, Swissgear’s ScanSmart Mini is the TSA-friendly travel backpack you need.
4. Torepek TSA Friendly Laptop Backpack
It may be large, but Yorepek’s TSA-friendly backpack is a true carry-on replacement.
The backpack can hold a 17-inch laptop with plenty of room to spare for clothes, books, and tech. It has a USB-A port, so you can easily charge your devices while you travel, an anti-theft back pocket for your phone and jewelry, and a luggage strap that makes it easier to transport. Given the size of this backpack this large, we highly recommend using that feature.
Its standout feature is its detachable waist bag, which can be attached to your body with the included strap. The waist bag is large enough to hold your passport, itinerary, wallet, and phone, so you can keep them at the ready as you check in, pass through security, and speak with a customs agent. This accessory can also come in handy while you’re walking around on vacation, as it’ll keep your valuables safe.
If you want to avoid fighting over who gets the limited overhead compartment space on your next flight, and don’t want to spend too long at airport security, this backpack is your best choice.