Shopping
Advertiser Disclosure

Best Tote Bags to Carry Your Life in Style

Tote Bag
iStock

Our evaluations and opinions are not influenced by our advertising relationships, but we may earn a commission from our partners’ links. This content is created independently from TIME’s editorial staff. Learn more about it.

Updated March 30, 2024

As a fashion writer and a New Yorker, I can not live without my tote bags. They’re the only way you can schlep your laptop, wallet, makeup and ballet flats while still looking put together. But, there is a range of tote bags out there—from basic canvas to high-priced designer bags—and it’s hard to know which one has that right mix of capacity, durability, and style. If you’re looking for an upgrade, I handpicked a range of totes based on their exceptional quality, stunning design, unparalleled functionality, and rave customer reviews. Whether you are a student, a professional, or a traveler, you can find your perfect match among these top-tier tote bags. Keep reading to discover which one best suits your style.

What to consider when buying a tote bag

Material

The durability and appearance of a bag are primarily affected by the material used to make it. Leather tote bags are known for their sophisticated look and long lifespan, although they may demand more maintenance than those constructed from canvas or fabric.

Quality

It is essential to look at the quality when considering a bag. Inspect the stitching, zippers, and handles of the bag. A good-quality bag should display neatly done, durable stitches, zippers that move smoothly, and strong handles.

Purpose

The purpose of the tote bag is essential. Are you using it as an everyday bag or to carry items for special events? A tote bag for daily use should be practical and durable, while one for events can focus more on style.

Style

Consider the purpose of your tote bag. Choose practical and durable for daily use or focus on style for events. Consider your style and regular activities. A leather tote has a classic look but might not fit your edgy, colorful style. A recycled nylon bag is an eco-friendly option, but it might not fit your office atmosphere if you’re looking for the best work bag for you. Ensure your bag makes you look good and feel good.

Strength

Choose a tote bag that meets your needs—after all, you’re going to be using it to tote other things. The bag must be durable enough to carry all your necessary items. If you intend to use it frequently, it needs to endure continual usage and damage.

Our top picks for the best tote bags

Best laptop tote bag: Leatherology Alex Laptop Work Bag

Best laptop tote bag
Leatherology Alex Laptop Work Bag

Leatherology Alex Laptop Work Bag

This two-piece set is made of Italian leather with a microsuede lining to protect your laptop. An open back pocket fits folders or A4 paper, so your documents never get wrinkled. The matching laptop envelope sleeve feature will make you look like a boss in the boardroom. The double protection is excellent, too. This laptop tote is designed with one zippered pocket, two open wall pockets and an exterior back pocket that doubles as a trolley sleeve. Add a monogram or a guitar strap to make it even more personalized.

Specifications:

  • Materials: Leather
  • Capacity: N/A
  • Dimensions: 10.75" H x 17.75" W x 4.25" D
  • Weight: N/A
  • Price on Publish: $455

The bottom line

Tote your life in style with this luxe 2-piece set.

Get it here: Leatherology Alex Laptop Work Bag


Best affordable tote bag: Athleta All About Tote Bag

Best affordable tote bag
All About Tote Bag

All About Tote Bag

This tote bag is an excellent choice for anyone who is looking for a combination of style and functionality. It is made from recycled, durable, water-repellent polyester, which makes it a sustainable option that is also built to last. The smooth and soft fabric gives it a sleek and modern look that will complement any outfit. The interior of the bag features a water bottle pocket, so you can stay hydrated while on the go, as well as a laptop sleeve that will keep your computer safe and secure. And the best part is that it is priced affordably, so you don't have to break the bank to enjoy its benefits.

Specifications:

  • Materials: Polyester and Recycled Polyester
  • Capacity: N/A
  • Dimensions: 13.5" H x 21" W x 6.25"D
  • Weight: N/A
  • Price on Publish: $79

The bottom line

A fantastic everyday tote that will last you a long time.

Get it here: Athleta All About Tote Bag


Best budget tote bag: Dreubea Women's Soft Faux Leather Tote Bag

Best budget tote bag
Dreubea Women's Soft Faux Leather Tote Shoulder Bag from, Big Capacity Tassel Handbag Blue

Dreubea Women's Soft Faux Leather Tote Shoulder Bag from, Big Capacity Tassel Handbag Blue

Coming in at just $14.99 is this Amazon favorite with over 6,000 Amazon reviews with an average 4-star rating. It’s made out of faux leather with a convenient magnet closure and tassel decoration. It has one main big pocket and a small side pocket. This bag is big enough to hold an iPad, charger, wallet, books, phone, keys and cosmetics. Best yet, it comes in dozens of colors. At this price point, you might as well grab two.

Specifications:

  • Materials: Faux Leather
  • Capacity: N/A
  • Dimensions: 11.4” H x 15.7” W x 4” D
  • Weight: .74 pounds
  • Price on Publish: $14.99

The bottom line

A great everyday tote at an even greater price.

Get it here: Dreubea Women's Soft Faux Leather Tote Bag


Best work tote bag: Hobo Bags Vida Tote

Best work tote bag
Vida Tote in Micro Pebbled Leather - Morning Dove Grey Tote Bag in Morning Dove Grey | Hobo®

Vida Tote in Micro Pebbled Leather - Morning Dove Grey Tote Bag in Morning Dove Grey | Hobo®

Crafted to serve as the ideal tote, this Hobo Tote effortlessly fits into everyday life, delivering practicality, function and style. The leather is beautiful and high quality, with a contrasting interior as a nice touch. The straps are long enough to take on your morning commute, and the bag is firm enough to stand up on its own. A middle zippered compartment can keep your laptop or wallet safe, and the easily accessible slip pockets will keep your phone, sunglasses, and car keys handy.

Specifications:

  • Materials: Leather
  • Capacity: N/A
  • Dimensions: 11" H x 15.5" W x 4.5" D
  • Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Price on Publish: $258

The bottom line

The perfect work tote does exist! Grab this one with two open slots and a zippered central compartment made in gorgeous pebbled leather by HOBO Bags.

Get it here: Hobo Bags Vida Tote


Best everyday tote bag: Marc Jacobs The Tote Bag Leather Medium

Best everyday tote bag
MARC JACOBS The Leather Medium Tote Bag in Wolf Grey

MARC JACOBS The Leather Medium Tote Bag in Wolf Grey

This Medium version of Marc Jacob’s beloved The Tote Bag now comes in a striking Barbie pink and aqua blue leather. This fan favorite is just big enough and has a top zip closure, cross body strap, two exterior slip pockets, one interior zippered pocket and one card slot. It's a perfectly compact bag that can be carried by the top handles or with the adjustable, removable crossbody strap for hands-free styling. If you’re not into bright colors, of course it comes in black, white, gray, tan, and denim print, among others.

Specifications:

  • Materials: 100% full grain leather
  • Capacity: 10.17 L
  • Dimensions: 11” H x 13” W x 6” D
  • Weight: 2.16 pounds
  • Price on Publish: $450

The bottom line

The iconic Marc Jacobs tote is 5-star rated for a reason.

Get it here: Marc Jacobs The Tote Bag Leather Medium


Best leather tote bag: Tory Burch Perry Leather Tote

Best leather tote bag
Women's Perry Leather Tote - Black

Women's Perry Leather Tote - Black

This designer tote bag from Tory Burch is made of imported pebbled leather. It has a spacious and aesthetically pleasing appearance, with a functional interior that includes a zippered divider and metal feet for protection. The interior is designed with pockets to hold your phone and wallet, making it perfect for keeping your belongings organized. The tote is structured and spacious, with three interior compartments for enhanced organization. It features an open top and shoulder straps for comfortable and easy carrying.

Specifications:

  • Materials: Pebbled leather
  • Capacity: N/A
  • Dimensions: 11.5" H x 14" W x 4" D
  • Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Price on Publish: $398

The bottom line

Although this chic and modern tote bag is a bit more expensive, reviewers say its function and durability make up for it.

Get it here: Tory Burch Perry Leather Tote


Best luxury tote bag: Thom Browne Cotton Canvas Grosgrain Loop Tote

Best luxury tote bag
Thom Browne Cotton Canvas Grosgrain Loop Tote

Thom Browne Cotton Canvas Grosgrain Loop Tote

This luxury tote from Thom Browne is perfect for weekends away or days on the go. The body is crafted from 100% cotton and 100% calf full-grain leather, sitting at the intersection of functionality and sophistication. It features a brass zipper closure and the signature Thom Browne striped grosgrain loop tab. The exterior vent pocket allows you to keep your quick necessities accessible, the entire zip top keeps your items secure, and the luxurious shoulder strap has five notches to ensure that it fits you perfectly.

Specifications:

  • Materials: Calf full-grain Italian leather and 100% cotton
  • Capacity: N/A
  • Dimensions: 12" H x 21.75" W x 8" D
  • Weight: 2.9 pounds
  • Price on Publish: $1350

The bottom line

If you’re looking to splurge, go no further than this Thom Browne tote.

Get it here: Thom Browne Cotton Canvas Grosgrain Loop Tote


Best minimalist tote bag: Cuyana Classic Easy Tote

Best minimalist tote bag
Cuyana Classic Easy Tote

Cuyana Classic Easy Tote

This lightweight Cuyana tote is perfect for minimalists. It checks all the boxes for a work tote or carryall for errands, and its streamlined design whispers, “quiet luxury.” It can easily accommodate groceries, a laptop, your Stanley cup, a packed lunch, or your favorite Sunday goodies. Cuyana's clean and simple design allows this tote to be used in any environment.

Specifications:

  • Materials: Leather
  • Capacity: N/A
  • Dimensions: 12.3” H x 20.6” W x 5.1” D
  • Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Price on Publish: $268

The bottom line

A minimalist tote bag that whispers quiet luxury.

Get it here: Cuyana Classic Easy Tote


Best tote bag for travel: Calpak Haven Laptop Tote Bag

Best tote bag for travel
CALPAK Haven Laptop Tote Bag in Forest

CALPAK Haven Laptop Tote Bag in Forest

Leave it to the leaders in travel, Calpak, to make an incredible laptop and travel tote. This bag is perfect for work, but also features a trolley sleeve so you can slide it right on your suitcase. The adjustable shoulder strap and removable laptop compartment make it a crossbody weekender in seconds. As one reviewer put it, "This bag is a MUST-HAVE.” Shopping tip: Calpak also made our lists for the best travel totes, best places to buy luggage online, and the best makeup bags.

Specifications:

  • Materials: Polyurethane and polyester
  • Capacity: 16 L
  • Dimensions: 12.5" H x 16" W x 5" D
  • Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Price on Publish: $180

The bottom line

A classic tote for a classic toter.

Get it here: Calpak Haven Laptop Tote Bag


Best tote bag for men: Filson Tin Cloth Zipper Tote Bag

Best tote bag for men
Filson Tin Cloth Zipper Tote Bag

Filson Tin Cloth Zipper Tote Bag

The Filson Tin Cloth Tote Bag with Zipper is a reliable and durable bag for those who travel light and fast. Its tight weave is resistant to ripping and abrasion, and its nylon-lined interior and cotton-webbing handles provide added protection. A great alternative to duffel bags for men, the heavy-gauge metal zipper at the top guarantees years of unfailing service. It's the perfect companion for all your adventures, whether you're going on a weekend getaway or a day trip.

Specifications:

  • Materials: 100% cotton oil finish Tin Cloth, bridle leather and nylon
  • Capacity: 25 L
  • Dimensions:13.38” H x 14.625” L x 6” D
  • Weight: 2 pounds
  • Price on Publish: $175

The bottom line

This tin-cloth zipper is durable, spacious, and has well-designed pockets.

Get it here: Filson Tin Cloth Zipper Tote Bag


Best large tote bag: Mansur Gavriel Everyday Soft Tote

Best large tote bag
Everyday Soft Tote - Black/Flamma

Everyday Soft Tote - Black/Flamma

This leather tote bag is a popular choice for those who need plenty of space. It can hold a 16-inch MacBook, wallet, spare shoes, or a workout outfit with ease. It's one of the most spacious bags you'll find, and it comes with a matching leather pouch inside. This pouch is perfect for holding small essentials such as keys, credit cards, or AirPods.

Specifications:

  • Materials: 100% Italian Soft Calf Leather
  • Capacity: N/A
  • Dimensions: 11.8 H x 21.5 W x 9 D
  • Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Price on Publish: $725

The bottom line

This fan favorite is made of gorgeous Italian leather and can hold all your things.

Get it here: Mansur Gavriel Everyday Soft Tote


Best wide tote bag: Midi Pyramid Tote Bag

Best wide tote bag
Midi Pyramid Tote Bag

Midi Pyramid Tote Bag

Kaai bags have been having their moment as of late, and now we know why. They give the quality and aesthetic of more expensive designer bags, but at just a fraction of the cost. This wide-set tote bag features buttery leather in a variety of colors (there’s also a canvas version), two external pockets with magnetic closure, two inner openings for pens/lipgloss, one inner zippered pocket, two larger inner pockets, a water bottle holder and tech device closure in leather and velcro—literally everything you need.

Specifications:

  • Materials: 100% Italian cow leather
  • Capacity: N/A
  • Dimensions: 10.6” H x 13” W x 5.5” D
  • Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Price on Publish: $725

The bottom line

This reviewer says it all: “Finally, a tote which recognizes the reality of a busy woman's life. The bag has a compartment for everything.”

Get it here: Midi Pyramid Tote Bag


Best patterned tote bag: MZ Wallace Medium Metro Tote Deluxe

Best patterned tote bag
MZ Wallace Medium Metro Tote Deluxe

MZ Wallace Medium Metro Tote Deluxe

MZ Wallace is a fan favorite for totes, work bags for women, weekender bags for women and pouches, so we were so excited to see the Medium Metro Tote Deluxe with fun fabrics. It comes in four different seasonal patterns (the Autumn Geo is giving Goyard vibes) and can accommodate a laptop up to 13 inches. Features include a zip-top closure, five exterior pockets and reinforced padded nylon handles. It also includes natural leather protective feet and MZ Wallace’s signature red leather edging. The interior has six pockets, a detachable pouch, and a key ring strap. Add an adjustable guitar strap and a luggage sleeve, and you've just about described the perfect tote bag.

Specifications:

  • Materials: Recycled nylon and leather
  • Capacity: N/A
  • Dimensions: 12.70” H x 11.6” W × 9.4” D
  • Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Price on Publish: $275

The bottom line

Show off your style with this large and lightweight tote bag with tons of pockets that comes in a variety of patterns.

Get it here: MZ Wallace Medium Metro Tote Deluxe


Best quality tote bag: Brahmin Cami Croc Embossed Leather Satchel

Best quality tote bag
Brahmin Cami Croc Embossed Leather Satchel in Black at Nordstrom

Brahmin Cami Croc Embossed Leather Satchel in Black at Nordstrom

The signature croc-embossed leather and gleaming hardware on this Brahmin top handle show off its quality and structured style. With a spacious interior, zip top closure and detachable crossbody strap, this bag is versatile enough to use as an evening bag and big enough to carry your water bottle and iPad. More than two dozen skilled artisans and over 100 steps are required to produce each handbag. The protective metal feet are a nice touch, too.

Specifications:

  • Materials: Croc-embossed leather
  • Capacity: N/A
  • Dimensions: 8″ H x 10.25″ W x 5″ D
  • Weight: 2.1 lbs
  • Price on Publish: $325

The bottom line

One reviewer nailed it: “I love my new Cami handbag. The bag shape is the perfect size—not too big, not too small.”

Get it here: Brahmin Cami Croc Embossed Leather Satchel


Best grocery tote bag: Baggu Cloud Bag

Best grocery tote bag
Baggu Cloud Bag

This lightweight tote bag from the trendy brand BAGGU has a sporty look to help you lug your lunch. It comes with a zip-top design and a zippered interior pouch. The padded handles provide comfort for those long commutes and looks much more stylish than a rolling duffel bag and lighter than a leather duffel bag. The tote is crafted from sturdy nylon and recycled materials that can withstand wear and tear without quickly ripping or tearing. It can be efficiently folded and kept in a small pouch for effortless storage.

Specifications:

  • Materials: Recycled heavyweight nylon
  • Capacity: N/A
  • Dimensions: 12.75" H × 13.75" W × 8" D
  • Weight: 1.25 pounds
  • Price on Publish: $52

The bottom line

The perfect, flexible tote bag to lug your mangoes home.

Get it here: Baggu Cloud Bag


Best lightweight tote bag: L.L Bean Boat-and-Tote With a Zip-Top

Best lightweight tote bag
Boat and Tote, Zip-Top Dark Green Long, Canvas/Nylon L.L.Bean

Boat and Tote, Zip-Top Dark Green Long, Canvas/Nylon L.L.Bean

The Boat and Tote from L.L. Bean is arguably the most famous tote because it's lightweight, durable, and versatile enough with a zip-top design. This makes it ideal for your daily commute or running multiple errands in one day. The Boat and Tote comes in a wide range of colors and is made from durable canvas material, which has established it as a must-have item in the American wardrobe. Of course, you can monogram it, too.

Specifications:

  • Materials: Canvas
  • Capacity: 17 L
  • Dimensions: 12" H x 13" W x 6" D
  • Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Price on Publish: $44.95

The bottom line

Join the thousands of boat and tote lovers with this strong contender for bag of the century.

Get it here: L.L Bean Boat-and-Tote With a Zip-Top


Best adjustable tote bag: Carhartt Convertible Backpack Tote Bag

Best adjustable tote bag
Carhartt Convertible Backpack Tote Bag

Carhartt Convertible Backpack Tote Bag

The Carhartt Convertible Backpack Tote is a versatile bag that combines the functionality of a tote and a backpack. Constructed from durable 600 denier polyester and treated with Rain Defender water repellent, this bag is designed to withstand wear and tear. The main compartment of the bag is generously sized and is secured with a zipper. The compartment features a padded sleeve that can accommodate a 15-inch laptop and two additional pockets to organize your belongings. The bag can be carried as a tote or worn as a backpack, thanks to its adjustable straps. Additionally, the bag has two exterior slash pockets and one exterior zippered pocket, providing ample space for your essentials.

Specifications:

  • Materials: Cotton canvas
  • Capacity: N/A
  • Dimensions: 13” H X 17” W X 4” D
  • Weight: 1.35 pounds
  • Price on Publish: $69.99

The bottom line

Get the best of both worlds with this Carhartt Backpack Tote.

Get it here: Carhartt Convertible Backpack Tote Bag


How to maintain and clean tote bags

Always follow the manufacturer's instructions to clean your tote bag. To hand wash fabric tote bags, fill a sink with cold water and mild detergent, then gently swish the tote bag and let it soak for 10-15 minutes. For nylon tote bags, machine wash them on a delicate cycle with cold water and mild detergent, then air dry. Leather tote bags require spot cleaning with a damp cloth and leather cleaner.

What are the different types of tote bags?

Tote bags are a versatile and eco-friendly accessory that comes in various colors, sizes, and materials. They have an open top and two handles, making them larger than most purses. Tote bags usually come in two styles: open top or zippered compartment/top. The style you choose depends on your lifestyle. If you are a city commuter, you might prefer the zip top for added security, while parents might like the accessibility of an open top. A hybrid version with a zippered compartment is also available for those who want both security and accessibility. Tote bags are perfect for shopping and can be personalized to match any style.

How I selected the best tote bags

To ensure that I provide the best recommendations possible, we scoured the internet for the latest and greatest fashion finds. I used a combination of factors, including product reviews, sales numbers, star rankings, and best-seller lists to identify the top tote bags for you to choose from. I also considered the following:

Construction

A good tote isn’t just stylish, it can handle daily use and transporting whatever you need on the go. I looked at durable materials (like leather, water-repellent polyester, cotton canvas, etc.), along with the quality of closures and stitching.

Capacity and versatility

Pockets, compartments, and even extras like included laptop sleeves help expand your storage options. I also looked for features like adjustable straps, and straps you can swap out or reposition.

Style

Everyone has a different opinion on the fashionability factor of a bag. That said, I did focus on a range of styles, from classic tailored totes to on-trend contemporary designs.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Are tote bags in style?

Tote bags have been a sought-after accessory for many years, but in recent times, they have become a fashionable trend. Nowadays, people incorporate these bags into their daily outfits. Despite tote bags' previous popularity, their significance has gradually declined over time.

How much weight can tote bags carry?

Tote bags are notorious for their strength. Most are made to hold up to 10 pounds, but many have a capacity of 75-100 pounds. Leather duffel bags and weekender bags for women might hold more weight, while smaller tote bags and crossbody bags tend to hold less.

What is high-quality tote bag material?

Tote bags can be created in many different materials, sizes, and shapes to accommodate various items. The best fabric options are durable ones such as leather, canvas, denim, and thick nylon.

Is the tote bag still in style?

Totes with high-fashion appeal have gained popularity lately. The trend for oversized bags has been seen on the runway by major brands like Marc Jacobs, Saint Laurent, Mansur Gavriel and Dior, who offer us luxurious alternatives to the structureless cotton totes we've gotten as promotional items.

Are canvas or cotton tote bags better?

Both materials are great for tote bags. Weigh your preferences (thicker fabrics will be more durable, but also add more weight) to choose the right bag for you.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

1.1144.71+1.64.11