The best MacBook Air cases are essential accessories for one of the finest tools available for digital creatives: the MacBook Air. Apple computers are so popular in creative fields that they've practically become industry standard, and a MacBook Air offers performance that's practically unmatched in comparable laptops.
The recent release of the M1 chip has given Apple computers a serious boost, and the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is quite simply the best 13-inch laptop you can get right now, as we happily told anyone who would listen in our full MacBook Air (M1, 2020) review, where it got the full five stars. Somewhat unsurprisingly, it also made it into our top picks of the best laptops for graphic design.
Of course, there are two halves to this picture. Apple products are good, but they're also expensive, and the MacBook Air is no exception. If you're going to spend Apple money on a computer then you want to keep it safe from harm, and that's where the best MacBook Air cases come in.
While nobody wants their MacBook Air to be scratched and scuffed, keeping it safe in a case isn't just about aesthetics. If a computer gets seriously knocked, it can cause harm to the internal hardware or the charging ports, necessitating a trip to the Genius Bar, and possible even a new computer. In both cases, the expense will likely be considerably higher than the price tag for most of the MacBook Air cases in our guide. So it's pretty much a no-brainer.
Our guide includes two main types of case: sleeves (soft cases) and skins (hard shell cases), and all of them are specifically designed to fit the ultra slim MacBook Air devices. At the top of our list is Apple’s own hard shell case, but a great alternative for a cheaper asking price is MOSISO's budget version, which we've put at #2. We've also got a few stylish options with artistic sleeves for a bit of flair, and some that allow you to customise the case yourself.
If you haven't got your MacBook Air yet, check out our regularly updated Apple deals and MacBook Air deals articles where we keep an eye out for the best discounts on Apple tech. Case-wise, if you're looking for a more all-purpose, one-size-fits-all solution, then check out our roundup of the best laptop bags.
What are the best MacBook Air cases?
If you want the best case money can buy for keeping your MacBook Air safe, then obvious choice is the Apple Incase 13” Hardshell Case. It's a hard case, meaning your laptop is protected against knocks and bumps, and it snaps snugly onto the MacBook as though it were designed to fit around it. Because it was.
Apple's case adds barely any additional bulk and weight onto the laptop itself, meaning you can transport it just as easily. It's pricier than every other case on the list, but provides you with the kind of peace of mind that's worth paying for. Also, it's ventilated to help stop your laptop from overheating, and is available in a choice of colours.
Feeling a bit rankled by the price tag of Apple's hard case? Well then, consider MOSISO's Protective Plastic Hard Shell Cover, which provides the same snap-on hard shell protection at less than half of the cost. It has ventilation on the undercase, and rubber feet for staying put on the desk.
This case comes in a few more colour variations than Apple's own – actually, a lot more. There are eight shades of blue, seven shades of green, and plenty more besides, including a transparent version if you want to show off your Apple logo (the others are translucent and will cover it to varying degrees). It's hard to argue with a price this reasonable, and if you just need a decent hard shell case for not too much money, this is your best bet.
The Tolmount leather sleeve is the best soft case for a MacBook Air, if that's something you'd prefer to a hard case – with the caveat that it's only currently available for our UK readers.
It's handmade leather (so also not one for vegans and vegetarians), made with premium quality materials and impressive attention to detail. The interior is padded with real wool (again, we can't stress how much this case is not vegan), giving your laptop some cushioning against bumps and blows.
This is the main advantage a sleeve has over a hard shell, as the padding provides shock absorption that can be a lifesaver in the event of a drop or a sudden impact.
If you're looking for a MacBook Air sleeve that offers more than just protection, let us show you the Londo Genuine Leather Sleeve. It's fancy, with seven different artsy designs to choose from (or four if you're shopping in the UK), someone is bound to ask you where it's from.
It's made from leather so naturally isn't suitable for vegan shoppers, and the colorful patterns are woven from jacquard linen polyester or woven linen.
There are also two different size options; one for the 13" MacBook Air and one for the larger 16" device.
If you're looking for a simple yet effective soft case for your MacBook Air, look no further than this laptop sleeve from JETech.
It's only marginally thicker than a skin-encased MacBook Air and so is the next best thing to a hard case for lightness. It's designed for laptops and tablets up to 13.3 inches in diameter, which includes the MacBook Air 2018 through to 2020, although that does mean there's a little bit of wiggle room if yours in the thinner 2020 model.
The outer layer makes it splash proof as a hard case would be, and then the cushioning protection comes from a layer of shock-absorbing sponge and dimpled cushioning on the inside for extra grip.
What sets this particular soft case apart from some others is the additional front pocket we use to carry our charger.
Now that we've covered off the pros and cons of hard and soft cases, our next few picks of the best MacBook Air cases have been chosen with aesthetics in mind. While your key considerations are protection and durability, choosing your MacBook Air case also gives you the chance to express your individuality. We love the minimalist yet striking design of this case, with sketch lines resembling a two faces.
You can buy the hard case on its own , or in a bundle that also includes two keyboard covers (one compatible with the 2018/2019 MacBook Air 13" and another compatible with the 2020 MacBook Air 13" model), as well as a clear screen protector, dust plug and 13" sleeve bag if you want the best of both worlds.
Most creatives will have heard of the theory that everyone has one more dominant side of their brain; those who are 'left-brained' tend to be more analytical and logical, but those who are 'right-brained' are more artistic and creative, thriving on visualization and imagination.
If you love this kind of creative theory, then you'll enjoy this fun and vibrant hard case. The plastic case will protect your device from scratches, and it's easy to snap on and, importantly, off, thanks to micro clips that securely fasten the skin to your MacBook Air. That said, the plastic is more brittle and a little less flexible than Apple and MOSISO's designs.
There are cut outs for all charging ports and vents, but note that there is no cut out for the Apple logo on the top of your device.
If you're looking for a more subtle design for your MacBook Air case, we like this design resembling a composition notebook. Inspiration can strike at any moment, and we love the idea of opening up our MacBook on the go and jotting down our ideas almost like we would with a notepad.
Plus, if you did accidently leave your MacBook lying around attended, it's well disguised as a plain paper notebook and less liable to theft.
Note that the very specific construction of the case and the keyboard cover means this product is only compatible with models of MacBook Air with touch ID (the newest models released between 2018 and 2020).
How to choose the best MacBook Air case
When choosing the best MacBook Air case for you, the main question you need to ask is whether you want a hard case (or skin), or a soft case (or sleeve).
We recommend hard cases over soft cases for most people when it comes to the level of protection your device will get because, unlike a sleeve that you need to take your device out of before you can use it, hard cases that click onto your device are there all the time. This way, your device is always protected whether you drop it, knock it or spill it when you're using or on the move. For ultimate protection use a hard case and then slip your encased MacBook Air in a sleeve for travelling.
Next up you need to consider compatibility. With a hard case you need to ensure it's the exact right size for your device. All of the hard cases featured in this are designed to fit 13 inch MacBook Air devices released from 2018 onwards, but manufacturers do all specify exact model numbers so always check what model numbers the case you're considering are compatible with before you purchase. If that sounds like a bit too much effort, opt for a soft case as the fit needs to be less exact.
Once you've decided on what type of case you want, it then comes down to choosing your favorite design from this list that matches the budget you have to spend. There are a couple of premium options, with a higher price point because of the materials used, or the brand-backed guarantee.