If you’ve ever found yourself pondering over a “TSA Approved Laptop Bag” while preparing for a flight, then you’re in the right corner of the internet. Navigating the rules and regulations of what you can and cannot bring on a flight can feel like navigating a labyrinth.
As a seasoned traveler and a person with vast knowledge of TSA regulations, I am here to share insight with you. If you’ve ever needed clarification when choosing a laptop bag to bring on a flight, this guide is for you.
So, together, let’s demystify the TSA regulations surrounding TSA approved laptop bags to help you choose the best bag for your travels.
TSA Approved Laptop Bags Overview (Updated List)
|SwissGear 1900 TSA Scansmart Laptop Backpack
(Best Travel Luggage #1 pick)
TSA Approved Laptop Bag
|MATEIN Extra Large,TSA Friendly, Fit 17Inch
(best for travel safety)
TSA Approved Laptop Bag
|Tomtoc TSA Approved, Flight Friendly Weekender
17.3 Inch Laptop Bag
(best overall for a weekend or short business trips)
TSA Approved Laptop Bag
|Targus Corporate Traveler Laptop Bag
TSA Security Checkpoint Friendly
(Best briefcase/travel bag crossover)
TSA Checkpoint Friendly Laptop Bag
|VANKEAN Laptop Briefcase TSA Friendly
17 Inch Laptop Bag
(best-expanding versatile bag)
TSA Approved Laptop Bag
What Is A Laptop Bag?
A TSA approved laptop bag has a designated laptop-only section that can lay flat on the X-ray belt. When flat, it allows a clear image of the laptop during the screening process. The laptop section should not have any metal snaps, zippers, or buckles over or underneath the laptop. In addition, there should be no pockets on the inside or outside of the laptop-only section.
If you have a checkpoint-friendly bag, you don’t need to remove your laptop from your bag. How convenient is that? Now that we have this information under our belt, let’s dive into our TSA approved laptop bag reviews.
TSA Approved Laptop Bags Product Reviews
Without further delay, let’s review these 5 mighty fine TSA friendly laptop bags.
SwissGear 1900 TSA Scansmart Laptop Backpack
The SwissGear 1900 is our first pick for overall function. The laptop compartment opens flat and has a dedicated laptop sleeve with a mesh zipper overlay to hold your computer in place. It is a ScanSmart bag to help ease your way through security.
It is built for comfort and will hold almost everything you own. Well, maybe not everything, but it sure holds a lot. But the ability to organize is phenomenal, with numerous non-metal zippered pockets and open holders for all of your personal items.
It is made of 1200D ballistic polyester fabric for durability, with compression straps that you can adjust to meet your size. In addition, it comes in 10 different colors.
- TSA compliant with a dedicated pocket for your laptop and no flaps or pockets on the outside.
- Extra large size, 31 liters, and will hold larger laptops up to a 17-inch.
- Contoured to fit your body, adjustable comfort straps and padded airflow backing.
- Some say the zippers are not as strong as its competitors.
MATEIN Extra Large, TSA Friendly
The Matein extra large travel bag is TSA Friendly and opens 180 degrees to expose your laptop for a security x-ray view. It will pass through security without problems according to guidelines. In addition, it has a luggage strap to nestle securely on the handle of your suitcase.
It boasts an external USB charging port and cable that is easy to access. In addition, this backpack has anti-theft outer pockets to protect your valuables.
- TSA Friendly and opens to 180 degrees to go through security.
- Large capacity to hold a 17-inch laptop
- Wide shoulder straps with breathable mesh, built to disperse the weight across your back, and a “U” shaped innovative design mesh backing to wick heat away from your body.
- Power pack not included.
Tomtoc TSA Approved, Flight Friendly Weekender
The Tomtoc weekender bag is a well-thought-out design for a weekend getaway or short business travel. It’s like a mini suitcase with a large front opening to pack shoes and clothing. In addition, it has 2 other spacious zippered areas. It is a 40 L extra large backpack. Additionally, it has a luggage pass-through strap on the back.
It is TSA compliant with a laptop area that opens flat to expose your computer to checkpoint security.
Additionally, it is made with YKK premium quality zippers and is a durable 100% recycled material with 3D back construction that contours to your back.
- TSA friendly and meets regulations that will lay flat to scan your laptop at security.
- Super large in size that will hold up to a 17-inch laptop.
- Durable construction with padded straps and ample padding on your back.
- Does not have an external water bottle holder if that is important.
Targus Corporate Traveler Laptop Bag
Targus created a perfect briefcase laptop bag that is patented for its checkpoint-friendly design. It will lay open flat for TSA x-ray inspection. Targus has a long-standing reputation for durable user-friendly bags and has outdone itself with this one.
This corporate travel bag is an excellent crossover for an everyday work briefcase and is perfect for the business traveler. In addition, it is made with military-grade durable ballistic nylon to last with repeated daily use.
- Patented TSA friendly design that opens flat to go through airport security.
- Fits a 14-inch laptop
- Padded straps that mold to either shoulder for comfort and lightweight at 2.97 lbs.
- It is a smaller bag for smaller computers
VANKEAN Laptop Briefcase TSA Friendly
Vankean has a lightweight, expandable laptop briefcase. It is TSA Friendly with a bi-fold design that will allow security machines to have a full view of your laptop. The laptop compartment is well-padded to protect your computer.
The water-resistant nylon makes it flexible for packing. It is versatile and converts well to an overnight bag or is perfect for flying. Also, it comes in pretty pink as well as bold black.
- TSA friendly opens in a bi-fold fashion, so your laptop is visible to x-ray scanners
- 17-inch laptop sleeve
- Padded carrying handles, as well as a removable padded shoulder strap. In addition, the flexible nylon helps it contour to your body for better comfort.
- It has metal zippers, BUT, as long as none are overlaying your computer area, it will work well as TSA friendly bag.
Does TSA Actually Recognize A TSA Approved Laptop Bag?
Now, here is the tricky part. TSA mostly recognizes checkpoint-friendly bags for your laptop, but they don’t have any information on their website. In light of this, TSA information says you are required to take your laptop out of the case.
But apparently, in 2008, TSA began working with companies that make luggage and backpacks to design suitable cases for laptops to pass through security. TSA gave luggage and backpack companies some requirements for laptop bags that will allow them to be TSA friendly, and over the years, vendors have made bags that meet the TSA specifications.
What Do You Need To Look For In TSA Approved (Friendly) Laptop Bags?
Here are a few things that are a must when looking for TSA Approved laptop bags. We listed 3 to help you make an informed decision.
What size is your laptop that will go into the compartment? With this in mind, look for a backpack or briefcase to accommodate your laptop size. In addition, consider what you need to pack and how long your trip will be. Do you need a smaller bag or a large one to fit your belongings for a week?
Does it have padding on the back and straps for the comfort of carrying? You will carry your bag for a while through the airport, so you want it to conform to your body with a breathable backing. When searching for a briefcase, look for comfortable padded straps.
A TSA approved laptop is convenient, but extra features are a must. A USB port is necessary for longer trips. Extra padding is a great feature to protect your laptop. In addition, pockets for organizing are a plus. Look at all the features to ensure your bag has all the features you need.
TSA Laptop Bag Rules
FAQs About TSA Approved Laptop Bags
Here are some commonly asked questions about TSA approved laptop bags.
What is a TSA compliant laptop bag?
According to requirements, TSA-compliant laptop bags are actually TSA-friendly bags. They are bags with a dedicated laptop sleeve where only your laptop sits. The bag will open bi-fold or tri-fold and lay flat to pass through airport security without removing your laptop.
Do I have to have a TSA approved laptop bag to fly?
No, TSA approved laptop bags are not required. Companies made them so you can pass through security easier. However, if you do not have a TSA friendly bag, in most airports, you will need to remove your computer from your bag and place it in a bin to pass through X-ray scanners.
What is a ScanSmart TSA laptop bag?
It is a TSA friendly bag. A ScanSmart bag is a technology that allows you to leave your laptop in the pocket inside the bag, open it flat, and lay it on the conveyor belt to go through the X-ray machine. Otherwise, without ScanSmart bags, you may need to take your laptop out of the bag.
Do TSA approved laptop bags work?
Yes, they do work; I use one every time I fly. But you must follow the guidelines as set forth in a contract between TSA and Backpack companies in 2008. Your laptop backpack must have a sleeve dedicated to your laptop, no metal can overlay your laptop, and it must unzip to lay flat.
If you are looking for more tutorials, walkthroughs, and troubleshooting on TSA, here are some additional posts about TSA:
TSA Approved Laptop Bags – Conclusion
So that concludes our review of TSA approved laptop bags. Although we established that there is no concrete evidence that TSA approves some laptop bags, they have regulations. In other words, the requirements are more like TSA friendly bags.
NOTE: Some images for these products (when you click more details) show a dedicated tablet pocket in front of the laptop compartment. You will need to remove all items that are obstructing the laptop view. However, you can move them temporarily to pass through security and place them in their original holder once you are clear.
Happy travels, my friends.