23 Best Tote Bags of 2023, Tested & Reviewed
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Finally, a bag that can actually fit everything.
A spacious tote bag saves the day, whether you're lugging home groceries, commuting into the office or traveling on a beach vacation. Designed to easily carry everything you need, a quality tote bag should have two comfortable over-the-shoulder straps and a roomy main compartment that can fit a laptop, books or even a hefty haul of farmers' market produce — all while looking stylish.
Tote bags are now available in more styles and materials than ever, including office-appropriate leather and beachy canvas, as well as simple lightweight designs and machine-washable fabrics. But the right tote bag for you can be tough to find. That's why the Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab did the research and testing to find the best tote bags for every occasion, style and preference. After testing 20 different bags out firsthand and surveying GH analysts and editors for their favorites, we think these are the best tote bags you can buy.
After browsing our top picks to find the right option for you, be sure to check out our recommendations for the best fanny packs and travel backpacks, too.
Madewell's Transport Totes are best-sellers for a reason: the supple leather is beautiful and the interior is roomy, making them an ideal everyday wear. "I love how spacious and structured it is," says Lexie Sachs, executive director of the GH Institute Textiles Lab. "I have other leather totes that are more saggy and flexible, but I like how this one kept its shape. It really has been so versatile for me — I've used it for work, with my kids and going to events, and it has always fit everything I've needed." We also love the smaller style with a front pocket.
Never use a plastic shopping bag ever again with this trendy pick. Baggu's lightweight totes are popular for a reason: They're compact with an included carrying case for easy toting, available in tons of fun patterns and affordable at just $14. Plus, they're versatile enough to take to the beach, grocery store or brunch."This small, compact tote bag is ideal to throw in my purse when I don't want to schlep a huge bag but might buy something when I'm out," says one GH textiles analyst. "I'm constantly impressed with just how much it can fit."
Traveling can be stressful, so you need a bag that keeps all your important documents within arm's reach for an easier airport experience and a zippered top to keep them protected. This tote has an organized interior that testers said held everything they needed and more. It also features a backstrap that slides over your carry-on handle — ideal when navigating a busy airport or train station. With chic leather detailing, it's also nice enough to wear to dinner or the office. Just take note that while this tote is within the size limits to be a personal item when flying, it isn't as large as some of our other picks on this list.
Bring your laptop to and from the office with this well-organized laptop bag that includes an internal organizational pouch with a padded laptop sleeve and compartments for loose items that usually end up at the bottom of your bag, like your keys, wallet, pens, gum and more. Testers loved that the inner bag zipped shut to keep everything protected when traveling with electronics. This style is currently available in eight shades with excellent travel features like a trolley sleeve and an adjustable shoulder strap, too.
Featuring a zippered top to keep your belongings safe, this chic, quilted bag is ideal for commuting. Impressed with its spacious interior, one GH staffer raves that "this tote has a lot of pockets and a lot of give so you can really load it up." Other testers said they love that this tote easily fits their laptop, books, lunchbox and a change of shoes — a commuter's dream. Plus, the longer crossbody strap makes it more comfortable to carry a larger load. Testers were mixed on how professional this bag looks with its quilted texture, but it is available in neutral shades as well as bright color options and fun patterns.
This simple tote from Lululemon is very lightweight while having a spacious interior. "I love the simplicity of this large tote," says Laurie Jennings, general manager of the Good Housekeeping Institute "It's super easy to wipe clean and very durable. It's a great carryall for gym essentials but also looks good when I'm running all over the city." It uses water repellent fabric and has a cinch top to help keep your items secure.
Fitting everything in your bag is usually a challenge but this massive tote truly has a spot for everything. "I liked how much I could fit inside and still have it organized," said one of our testers. There are an impressive amount of pockets: wide pockets on the outside and zippered internal compartments as well. It has small top handles and longer over-the-shoulder handles for easy toting. Ideal to use for beach vacations and road trips, many GH staffers swear that this is the ultimate parenting tote bag as well — plus it's a recent Good Housekeeping Family Travel Awards winner.
The right tote for professional business trips needs to have a sleek look, a well-organized interior and a spacious design. That's why we love this chic style from Lux and Nyx with an "absolutely stunning design and structure," according to one GH editor. She also says "it offers a great number of pockets to store anything from your laptop, books and loose items. In one of its outer pockets, it features a discreet zipper pocket so I can stash and remove my work badge or my keys with easy accessibility." She did note that the straps are on the shorter side, which can make them uncomfortable at times.
Famous for good reason, this iconic L.L. Bean tote has recently gotten even more popular for its custom embroidery option. "I love how well this tote bag keeps its shape even if it's not fully stuffed," says one GH textiles analyst. "The thick canvas material is super durable and has held up great to constant use, even at the beach. It's a spacious bag that can hold everything I need. I also got custom embroidery done, which makes the bag pop." This pick is currently available in three sizes with the option for longer straps.
Luxury leather goods usually cost hundreds of dollars, but this Quince tote is a total steal at $100. Testers especially liked "the look of the tote bag and how easy it is to pack" with roomy internal pockets for excellent organization, but note it's on the heavier side (to be expected with leather materials) and isn't as luxe as the Cuyana pick on this list. It has a smooth finish and a flat bottom to stand upright, even when empty.
Popular for the brand's chic ballet flats, Mansur Gavriel also makes stylish and luxurious leather goods with versatile designs. This softly structured tote has a flat base for stability and a small zip pouch attached for your must-have items. With a large interior, this leather tote is ideal to use for any occasion, whether casual or formal.
The Baggu duck tote is a major upgrade to your collection of freebie tote bags. Testers were impressed that it "can withstand a heavy load" and one raved that "since the bag itself is so big, it is nice to have a pocket so I can find my keys and wallet easily instead of getting lost at the bottom of the bag with everything else." This tote is available in a ton of fun prints, including embroidered flowers and bright stripes.
Don't risk damaging your handbag when there's inclement weather by using a weather-resistant tote bag on rainy days. This quilted tote features a water repellent fabric and zippered closures to keep your belongings protected. We love that the interior lining features classic Vera Bradley prints. If you get caught in the rain, this bag is entirely machine washable for easy cleaning.
Cuyana is a trusted leather goods brand that makes quality leather bags that our analysts and editors love wearing — even clinching a spot on our best sustainable fashion brands list. The System Tote is available in 13 inches and 16 inches to accommodate different-sized laptops. Grace Wu, a GH textiles product analyst, loves the customization options for this bag like adding on a stash pouch or laptop sleeve and custom monogramming. Because this bag is made with 100% supple Italian leather, it is on the heavier side.
A tote bag for school needs to be able to hold a ton while looking cute enough to wear in class. Fitting a laptop and case, water bottle, notebooks, textbooks and more, this large tote from Longchamp blew away our testers for holding an impressive amount. It's made with durable nylon with a water repellent finish and leather top handles for a stylish touch. The top has a zipper closure to keep all of your school supplies safe, especially important in inclement weather.
When we surveyed GH staffers for their favorite bags, Beis came up over and over again. The Work Tote is a structured bag made with croc-embossed faux leather for a luxurious look. The boxy design keeps its shape with metal feet on the bottom to keep the bag protected when you set it down. The trendy design is ideal when heading straight from the office to happy hour drinks and other out-of-office adventures.
Puffer bags have been all the rage recently, mimicking your favorite puffer jacket and easily holding everything you need. This fun style is available in nine bright shades, including lilac, cobalt, red and lime green. Online reviewers rave that this bag is great for the gym, everyday use and travel. The quilted material adds cushion, making it more comfortable to carry.
Most leather totes have an open top, but this style zippers closed to keep your belonging secure, ideal for commuting. We love that this pick is not only available in classic neutrals but bright blue and purple, too. There are also a few internal compartments to keep everything organized. Leatherology offers customizations like embossing and hand painting for a truly personalized bag, which makes it a great gift, too.
Emma Seymour (she/her) is a senior product analyst at the Good Housekeeping Institute's Textiles, Paper and Apparel Lab, where she has led testing for luggage, pillows, towels, tampons and more since 2018. She graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor of science in fiber science and apparel design and a minor in gerontology, completing research in the Body Scanner Lab on optimizing activewear for athletic performance.
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These Cozy 'Cloud Slides' Are Trending on TikTokbest tote bags you can buy the supple leather is beautiful and the interior is roomy Never use a plastic shopping bag ever again with this trendy pick. a backstrap that slides over your carry-on handle the inner bag zipped shut to keep everything protected when traveling with electronics. this tote has a lot of pockets and a lot of give so you can really load it up "It's super easy to wipe clean and very durable. It's a great carryall for gym essentials but also looks good when I'm running all over the city. I liked how much I could fit inside and still have it organized," "absolutely stunning design and structure, The thick canvas material is super durable and has held up great to constant use, even at the beach a total steal at $100 this leather tote is ideal to use for any occasion, whether casual or formal available in a ton of fun prints, including embroidered flowers and bright stripes. features a water repellent fabric and zippered closures to keep your belongings protected Cuyana is a trusted leather goods brand that makes quality leather bags blew away our testers for holding an impressive amount croc-embossed faux leather for a luxurious look available in nine bright shades, including lilac, cobalt, red and lime green offers customizations like embossing and hand painting