You may be tempted to tote your MacBook Pro around without any protective covering to show off Apple's flagship laptop.
But in reality, it's a bit impractical to do so. You want to protect your MacBook from wear tear, which is hard to do when it's constantly exposed to the elements inside your bag.
A MacBook sleeve is the perfect solution. Most are extremely slim, so they don't create bulk or weigh down your bag.
At the same time, they provide protection by creating a layer between your laptop and the rest of the world while it travels. They're also great for short term storage situations that come in a variety of styles.
In this buying guide, we'll help you pick the best sleeve for your MacBook Pro and show you some of our favorites. We'll also share some tips and tricks that hopefully you'll find helpful to make the best use of a MacBook sleeve.
The Thule Gauntlet 3.0 13" MacBook Pro Retina Sleeve is ideal if you want to protect your MacBook all day but don't want to commit to a heavy or bulky case.
Meanwhile, the Lacdo Laptop Sleeve for MacBook Pro Retina/ MacBook Air offers a sleek design for that it will provide minimal protection but also includes features such as a deep pocket that you'll find useful.
Incase Sling Sleeve Deluxe for MacBook Pro 15" Retina or MacBook Pro 13" is the traveler's friend, converting into a sling whenever you like and providing space to carry all the accessories you need for the day.
Using the new 12" MacBook? Be sure to grab Mosiso Lycra Water Repellent Sleeve, a great modern yet elegant professional designed laptop sleeve only for MacBook 12-inch with Retina Display.
Who Should (& Should Not) Get This?
You should definitely get a MacBook Pro sleeve if you frequently commute with your laptop. In addition to providing a stylistic touch, a sleeve will protect your Mac from taking too much daily wear and tear. Sleeves are also practical for those who want to store their laptop short term (for example, at night) but do not want to risk scratches, dust, or other elements.
They are only impractical for those of you who are already using a bulky case since most products won't fit around the large protective models. However, thin form-fitting or decorative cases will fit inside most sleeves.
Buying a MacBook Sleeve: What to Consider?
While a sleeve can be a bit flexible in size and most have a bit of wiggle room that will accommodate MacBooks with cases, you should always make sure to check the dimensions of the product you want before you buy. After all, it's no fun to think you've purchased an item for your 13" Mac only to find you've actually ordered the 15" version.
This is, of course, a matter of personal preference for the most part. But you should consider what materials and features you're looking for in a sleeve before making any purchases. For example, some items include pockets while others boast protective foam or smooth leather. Consider if you have any specific needs (such as a place to hold a wireless mouse) before settling on any one style.
While a sleeve shouldn't be your only method of protecting your laptop, it can provide a fair bit of support against scratches, jostle, and minor drops. If you aren't rough on your laptops, you may be more comfortable with a thinner or more stylistic sleeve. However, if you're accident prone, you may feel more comfortable considering models with more of a frame and support system to them.
The Best Sleeve for MacBook Pro: Our Picks
Please note that the following recommended items are chosen based on our criteria as mentioned above, plus our personal preferences. They are, however, not intended to be ranked in the current order.
If you're looking for something that offers a considerable degree of protection, the Thule Gauntlet in an excellent choice. Available in a variety of colors, the rigid outer casing will help prevent your Mac laptop from suffering any accidental dents or scratches during travel and movement. It opens like a clamshell so you can keep your MacBook inside the protective case and but be able to use it.
- Pros: Sturdy design will protect your Mac from moderately risky scenarios, and it's available in multiple colors. The uncommon clamshell design is useful for protecting your MacBook Pro even when you use it.
- Cons: The inner lining appears to be bright yellow no matter what color you choose for the outer shell.
Are you looking for something simple but clean and efficient? This item from Lacdo looks professional while also provides basic features such as an additional pocket for accessory storage and a water repellent outer fabric, so you don't worry about traveling while its raining or if your water bottle leaks in your bag. This item is also available in 4 different sizes to fit your MacBook.
- Pros: Water repellent fabric is great for those who are never quite sure what to expect on a daily basis. A deep front pocket can store accessories or other electronics, and it is slim for transport and storage.
- Cons: It's a bit thin thus won't be able to reduce damage from drops or other risky accidents.
Do you travel light? With this item, you can convert it into a cross-body sling for easy transport wherever you go. The multiple pockets means you can also carry along MacBook essentials as well as a few personal items. It's also padded to keep your MacBook as safe as possible at all times. It is truly the traveler's friend.
- Pros: Convertible style gives you a choice of transport while remaining relatively slim. Fairly protective while also providing plenty of space to store accessories and padded to keep your MacBook as safe as possible.
- Cons: Bulkier than other sleeves if you plan to keep your Mac laptop inside the sleeve and inside another larger bag you normally use to carry your daily things.
If you have the newest MacBook in the smallest size, you need a sleeve that will fit it properly — don't settle for one made for the older 13" models! This one from Mosiso is water repellent to keep your Mac safe and has a classic foam lining for protection against bumps and scratches.
- Pros: Slim design adds very little bulk to your Mac and even comes with an additionally padded storage pouch. Available in several colors and additional sizes to fit every MacBook. Water repellent material keeps your Mac safe from coffee spills.
- Cons: Although generally durable, this product won't help your Mac stand up to drops.
Additional Tips and Tricks
A sleeve isn't the only way you can protect your MacBook Pro from damage. While we normally think of cases and similar products as made for smartphones, there are comparable products for MacBooks as well that can help keep your laptop safe from damage.
For example, a combination of any of the following will help prevent any tragedies from befalling your Mac:
- Tempered glass screen protector
- Hard shells or other protective cases
- Carrying cases
- AppleCare (extended warranty and technical support)
If you ride a bike or walk to work, you know the commute can be rough. This writer offers a few tips on how he carries his MacBook and keeps it safe despite biking regularly. This video may also give you some insights on how to properly carry around your MacBook Pro with the lid open.
Also, keeping your Mac safe isn't just something you do for the physical machine though. Make sure to keep the hardware in top shape by following the tips from this SecureMac article.
Last but not least, before you put your MacBook into a sleeve always make sure you've shut down the Mac (instead of just folding it). This is important because closing the lid usually takes a Mac to sleep mode but certain apps could still run out wild, causing your Mac to warm up quick. If the machine is in a case where venting heat is a challenge, your MacBook may overheat and be damaged. Take a look at this discussion for more.
A sleeve is one of the most universally practical accessories for your MacBook. It provides light protection without adding bulk, and can even include extra features that make your life simpler like accessory storage.
Do you currently use a sleeve with your MacBook Pro? Let us know and explain why or why not!
Published Dec 13, 2017.