We Tested 20 Different Tote Bags—These Are the Only Ones Worth Buying
While there are thousands of tote bags available in stores, it can be difficult to find one that is equal parts fashionable and functional. So to help you find the best options out there, I tested multiple tote bags to see which ones live up to the hype—and which ones don’t. During my search, I tried over 20 different bags but managed to find just seven sturdy totes that are not only built to last, but are also stylish enough to wear practically anywhere.
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These versatile carryalls, outlined below, were all spacious enough to carry a variety of items including my laptop, books, a change of shoes, gym clothes, and water bottles. Some even feature high-tech components—like portable charging ports—while another has a hidden compartment that, when unzipped, expands the bag to offer an additional four inches of space.
No matter what type of tote you’re looking for, you’re sure to find an option that works on this list. From sleek designer tote bags to bags with extra compartments that’ll keep your belongings organized to reversible totes that allow you to customize your look, keep reading to shop our top seven picks that are definitely worth buying.
Best Everyday Option: Everlane The Day Market Tote
This classic tote by Everlane is a perfect option for everyday use. It’s made from 100 percent Italian leather and was big enough to fit all my daily essentials, along with my laptop, a change of shoes, and more. The bag is super sturdy and didn’t slip off my shoulder while I walked like many bags tend to do.
It definitely feels very well-made, so it makes sense that it has such a cult following. Not only has this best-selling tote sold out several times, but stylish stars like Meghan Markle have even been spotted carrying it. The sleek tote comes in seven pretty colors—I opted for the cognac brown shade, and it matched perfectly with practically everything in my wardrobe. I would definitely recommend this for anyone looking for a comfortable tote with a simple and roomy silhouette.
To buy: $175; everlane.com.
Best Option for Work: Dagne Dover Legend Signature Tote
If you tend to avoid totes because you can never find what you’re looking for in the spacious main compartment, try this option by Dagne Dover. The practical work bag has a compartment for just about everything imaginable, so you won’t waste time searching for your keys or wallet. The super roomy tote even features a padded area for a laptop or tablet, a slot for your cell phone, and spots for your lipstick and pens.
It also has plenty of side pockets and zippered pockets for added storage, along with a water bottle holder that keeps bottles upright—so you never have to worry about spills in your bag again. Even with all the pockets and compartments filled with my necessities, the bag was still big enough to carry gym clothes and a change of sneakers. My final verdict: This is a great commuter bag for women who need help staying organized.
To buy: $265; dagnedover.com.
Best Durable Option: L.L.BEAN Open-Top Boat Tote
L.L.Bean has been a go-to source for stylish and durable accessories for decades, and the quality of the brand is made clear in its open-top boat tote. The cute carryall is made from a heavy-duty cotton canvas that’ll last for years to come. Each bag is handcrafted in Maine and features a reinforced bottom and sturdy handles that have been proven to hold up to 500 pounds at a time.
Available in five different colorways, the tote is designed in a timeless silhouette that will never go out of style There are four sizes to choose from, and you can even choose to add a monogram for a personal touch. I tested out the extra-large option (linked below) and found it to be the perfect bag for day trips and weekend getaways. The size is big enough to fit everything you would need for an overnight excursion, a picnic, or a day at the beach.
To buy: $40; llbean.com.
Best Designer Option: Coach Charlie Carryall 40
It doesn’t get more luxe than a sleek designer tote bag. Case in point: this beautiful option from Coach. Made with top-quality pebbled leather, it has comfortable 8 ¾-inch drop handles that stay put on your shoulders and also includes three different compartments to keep your belongings organized and separate. The middle compartment even has a zipper, so you can keep expensive items like laptops, tablets, cell phones, and wallets safe and protected.
The other two compartments were spacious enough to hold everything I use on a day-to-day basis, in addition to extras like work files, shoes, and a sweater. It was definitely the most stylish bag that I tested out, and it helped me feel more polished and fashionable every time I carried it.
To buy: $425; coach.com.
Best Chargeable Option: UncommonGoods Smartphone Charging Reversible Tote
Looking for a bag that gives you more bang for your buck? Check out this cute option from UncommonGoods. The bag is fully reversible, so you basically get two totes for the price of one. You can choose between a black and tan option or a navy and white color. The best part? This sleek bag also comes with a charging port.
Inside each tote is a detachable pouch with a built-in charging station. It has a USB plug on one side that allows you to charge the port and a micro-USB plug on the other that fits most Androids, Kindles, and other tablets. It also comes with a micro-USB-C adapter and an iPhone adapter so you can charge practically any electronic device from inside your bag. What’s more, the charging port has an LED power indicator that’ll let you know when it’s running low on battery. The charging feature came in handy when my phone died on my commute home and, for that reason, I’d definitely recommend this innovative tote.
To buy: $120; uncommongoods.com.
Best Expanding Option: LeSportsac Collette Expandable Tote
If you’ve ever run out of space in your bag while out and about, you’ll love this tote by LeSportsac. It features a hidden bottom that, when unzipped, expands to give you an additional four inches of room. Even better, this cute and sporty tote is made from a durable ripstop nylon fabric that’s built to least.
The bag is great for shopping trips and traveling since you can easily expand it to fit all your new goodies and souvenirs. The tote comes in a sleek black option or a bright neon green color. I found it to be very spacious and comfortable on my shoulder, and the three deep pockets on the outside of the bag came in handy and offered easy access to my essentials. Not only was it perfect for carrying new purchases, but it would also make a great gym bag.
To buy: $150, shopbop.com.
Best Travel Option: Mark & Graham Ripstop Backpack
If you are looking for a cute tote bag to travel with, check out this option from Mark & Graham. The handy bag can be worn as both a tote and a backpack, making it totally versatile and super easy to switch up your travel looks. But the best part has to be how portable the tote is.
The lightweight nylon bag can completely fold up into a small compact pouch, so it's insanely easy to pack. I also loved that the bag was monogrammable, spacious, and had plenty of side pockets and a front zip pocket that helped keep my belongings safe.
To buy: $79; markandgraham.com.