Should I use a case on my laptop?

Key Takeaways

  • Hard shell cases are preferred by some laptop users because they add protection and customization to their computers.
  • Other laptop users would rather keep their laptop as-is, valuing its original design and thin form factor.
  • Laptop sleeves can be the best of both worlds, since they protect your laptop when it is not being used, and leave it unchanged while in use.

Electronics are expensive, and that’s why many people turn to protective cases to fortify their most valuable devices. They’re almost ubiquitous on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. However, protective cases are more of a mixed bag on the best laptops. Some laptop users swear by hard shell cases because they add protection and offer more customization options than a typical computer. Others aren’t a fan of the added thickness that comes with hard shell cases, or the (albeit slight) risk of a case damaging their laptop. If you aren’t sure whether a hard shell case is right for you, this guide goes over everything you need to know about the pros and cons.

Why you should use a case on your laptop

Protection and customization are the primary reasons for using a laptop case

Using a case on your laptop makes sense for a variety of reasons, but the two main ones are protection and customization. Laptops are fairly fragile, partially because they aren’t designed to incur drops or shocks. They also aren’t available in a lot of colorways or prints, which is why a case can be the perfect way to fill in that gap.

Cases can protect against scratches and drops

Cases have the obvious benefit of adding an extra layer of protection to your laptop. Some brands make cases specifically with durability in mind, such as Casetify, Supcase, and Otterbox. Hard shell cases designed to be protective typically have rubber or plastic material that is great at absorbing shocks or drops. The Casetify Impact Case, for example, has extremely large rubber bumpers on its corners. That’s because if you drop your laptop, it’s likely to land on one of those corners. While we still don’t recommend putting your laptop in a position to take damage, a laptop with a case will almost certainly hold up better than one without it.


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You can also add a unique design with a case

If protection isn’t your goal, there are many ways to add some livery to your laptop with a hard shell case. In fact, some style-first cases won’t even add much thickness to your laptop, since their primary goal is to be fashionable. For instance, the Incase Dots Hardshell case adds a neat dotted pattern and texture to the typical hard shell case. If you’re looking for more custom prints and licensed artwork, Casetify offers thousands of different designs on its cases. With a case, you also get to pick and choose which design you like, and switch between them whenever you want to.


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Why you shouldn’t use a case on your laptop

Cases add bulk, and though it’s rare, can end up damaging your expensive laptop

Though there are clear benefits to using laptop cases, they aren’t for everyone. It’s worth mentioning that some of the best cases available can be quite expensive for what they offer, with the premium end of the market carrying price tags in the triple digits. Cases add thickness to your laptop as well, and do come with a slight risk of causing damage to your laptop if you aren’t careful.

They can make your laptop thicker and heavier

There’s a delicate balance that comes with choosing the right laptop case. If you pick one that’s too thin, you won’t get the protective benefits. That’s a problem, because those benefits may be the very reason you wanted a laptop case in the first place. However, one that’s too thick can add bulk and heft to your laptop, to the point that transporting it becomes cumbersome. For these reasons, if you have a thin-and-light laptop, and you want to keep it that way, a case might not be right for you. This is especially true if you plan to carry your laptop in a separate sleeve or bag that might not be able to accommodate the additional thickness.

In rare circumstances, a case might do more harm than good

There are some downsides that come with using a case that could affect your laptop. First, cases that are too heavy can weigh down your laptop’s display. Over time, this could loosen the display’s hinge, and it might not be able to hold up the weight of your screen. Occasionally, this is the reason we see older laptops have hinges that become loose years down the road. Additionally, cases that have too much clamping force could apply too much pressure to the display, breaking it. Dust and debris can also get between your laptop and the case, which can cause microscratches on the laptop’s finish. The best laptop cases avoid these issues, but they are much more common in the budget sector of the market.


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What are the alternatives?

Sleeves can be a great alternative if you don’t like hard cases

Hard shell cases are preferred because they stay on your laptop while you’re using it. However, if you don’t need constant protection, a laptop sleeve might be the better way to go. Sleeves are a bit of the best of both worlds, because they protect your laptop when it is stowed away but leave it unaltered when you’re using it. Since sleeves are often lined with a soft inner material, you don’t have to worry about scratching like you might with a hard case.

Which one is right for you?

If you value additional protection and customization, a hard shell laptop case might be the right choice. However, if you’d rather retain your laptop’s original thickness and avoid any unwanted mishaps, a laptop sleeve — or no case at all — may be the best option. Either way, if you’ve decided to pair your laptop with a case or sleeve, we have a full guide that’ll help you choose the correct one for your needs.


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