Welcome to Buy Choice, in which we pick one everyday item, cut out all the noise, and present you with nothing but the best options on the market.
“Me carrying a briefcase is like a hotdog wearing earrings,” former Detroit Tigers manager Sparky Anderson once said.
He’s got a point.
Our perception of the briefcase is that of a hard-sided paper carrier built for men with starched collars and quick tempers.
But today’s versions aren’t so rigid, often crafted from a performance synthetic and just as game for a rainy-day bike commute as a board meeting.
So herein, our 12 favorite briefcases, sorted by use case and personality.
Let’s keep this brief, shall we?
For the price-conscious: Daniel’s
Good-looking black and brown leather briefcases with lots of interior space, a latched and padded laptop separator and magnetic tab closures. Looks amazing at just $149.
For the one-percenters: County Governor Briefcase
Böle’s refined totes, individually numbered, are crafted from a single hide of spruce bark tanned Swedish cattle and lined with Nordic reindeer skin. That’s worth about $5,000, right?
For ease of use: Korchmar Centennial Woodrow
An iconic brand (100+ years) built with modern smarts. These full-grain American leather cases feature a patented technology that’ll make ‘em stay open when you need ‘em to ... along with removable computer sleeves and organizer panels.
For the OCD crowd: Framework Briefcase
From organizational gurus This Is Ground, this soft-shelled daily carry features plenty of pockets and, most importantly, was designed to play well with TIG’s assorted cord/tech organizers. It’ll also slip over your roller luggage handle.
For having it your way: Webber Upright Briefcase
You can customize this tote-shaped briefcase from Moore & Giles — which utilizes a leather more akin to a high-end dress shoe — with 12 different handles. And each case features two spacious zipper pockets flanking a drop-in, reinforced center pocket (the bag can also be secured over a larger suitcase’s handle.)
For traditionalists: Lotuff Leather Zip-Top
Supposedly inspired by a ‘57 Porsche 356, this leather briefcase is handmade in America, guaranteed for life and features an extended zipper for easy access. The generous (5”) handle and an exterior pocket for your newspaper complete the old-school look.
For none more black: Hardgraft Home Briefcase
A veg-tanned coal beauty from our favorite leather wares maker, this super-slim case houses your laptop between two layers of wool-blend sherpa.
For convenience: Stuart & Lau Cary Briefcase
Designed for “motion and movement,” these extremely lightweight, technical bags are built from waterproof twill nylon and Horween leather trim, and are scratch resistant. Also, gotta love the hidden phone/glasses pocket and umbrella slot.
For the indecisive: Venque Briefpack XL
It’s a many-pocketed protector of your laptop, but also converts to a backpack and/or a carry-on that’ll fit a couple days worth of supplies.
For biking commuters: Timbuk2 Transit Briefcase
Comfy strap, high water resistance, padded laptop pocket and reflective hits make this a nicer, slimmer alternative to a messenger bag if you’re zipping around town. And it's under $100.
For the understated: Headlands
Conceived by a landscape architect, this handsome, American-made carrier is crafted from a single piece of leather. The case measures 13.5” x 10” — the perfect size for most notebooks or tablets and a couple manila folders. It’s light, compact and easy on the eye, and you can expect the leather to develop a gorgeous patina that’ll render it completely sui generis with a few months of everyday use.
For the always prepared pitmaster: Ziv’s Portable Smoker
An ultra-portable smoker that folds into, no joke, a briefcase. Weighing in at 14 pounds with a smoking surface of 12” by 10”, the Ziv is sturdy enough to satisfy anyone devoted to the art of smoked meats, while nimble enough to deliver that smokiness wherever there are hungry mouths and a heat source.