You’re already paying the “Apple tax” for a new Sillicon MacBook Pro, and as impressive as the 13-inch model is, it’s not exactly known for durability. The aluminum shell is easily scratched and expensive to repair. Therefore, your best bet for protect is a good case or sleeve.
A sleeve is great for travel; put your MacBook Pro in it and toss it into your bag. Alternatively, you can put a case on one like you do a smartphone, and it’ll have at least some protection all the time. None of them will save your MacBook Pro from being tossed out of a moving vehicle, but honestly, who expects that level of protection? Here are the best 13-inch MacBook Pro cases and sleeves you can get.
Tech21 / Pocket-lint
Tech21 13-inch Evo Case for MacBook Pro
Best case overall
The Tech21 Evo Clear Case for MacBook Pro is an excellent all-around case. It’s clear, so you can still see your MacBook Pro in all of its glory while also providing some protection against scratches. We would never drop a MacBook of any type, but this case gives it a better chance of surviving than if you don’t have one. There is a smokey clear variant of this one as well.
Spigen / Pocket-lint
Spigen Thin Fit Designed for MacBook Pro 13
Best fabric case
The Spigen Thin Fit is a good runner-up. It’s comes as a fabric material which means you can’t see your MacBook Pro through it, but it’s a nice enough looking fabric that it doesn’t matter. It likely won’t help with falls, but it’ll keep your MacBook Pro safe while traveling and safe from dust. The case also adds minimal bulk so you don’t lose the slim feel of a MacBook Pro.
Armor-X / Pocket-lint
Armor-X CVR-MB-P12V3 MacBook Pro case
Best rugged MacBook Pro case
The Armor-X case for the 13-inch MacBook Pro is about as rugged of a case as you’ll get. It features reinforced rubberized edges and corners that actually help in the case of drops, although it’s never healthy to drop a laptop. The back is transparent, so you can still see your MacBook Pro. In addition, the bottom includes little feet that pop out and let you work on your MacBook at an angle.
Fintie / Pocket-lint
Fintie Case for MacBook Pro
Best clear case
$16 $26 Save $10
The Fintie Case is a good clear case option for the 13-inch MacBook Pro. It’s a fairly minimal case that doesn’t add a ton of bulk. The clear option is almost crystal clear and there is a glittering clear option as well if you like sparkly things. There are also about a dozen other translucent color options. It won’t protect from fall damage, but it’ll keep scratches at bay pretty well.
MOSISO / Pocket-lint
MOSISO Laptop Sleeve
Best sleeve for MacBook Pro
$14 $16 Save $2
Apple has a lot of very expensive MacBook Pro sleeves that are quite good. However, the MOSISO Laptop Sleeve is a much cheaper, but still very effective option. It’ll protect your MacBook Pro while in transit, and it’s not a bad place to store it between uses either. The sleeve not only comes with a cute little accessory bag, but also your choice of over three dozen color options. It’s also fairly cheap.
Speck / Pocket-lint
Speck Smartshell Case
Best from Best Buy
The Speck Smartshell Case is a good choice if you want to shop locally. This case is usually available for pickup at Best Buy, so you can order it online for pickup and get it today, or tomorrow if it’s late at night for you. The case is a simple, thin clear case. There is also a smokey clear option. Both are fairly expensive, but add little bulk to your MacBook Pro.
dbrand / Pocket-lint
dbrand MacBook Pro skins
Best MacBook Pro skin
dbrand is renowned for their skins and their selection of MacBook Pro skins is no different. There are dozens of skin options, including some unique ones like a teardown skin that shows the innards of your MacBook Pro. In addition, dbrand has excellent installation videos to hopefully make it easier. These provide zero drop protection, but they protect the top of your MacBook from dust and scratches at home and in transit.
DecalGirl / Pocket-lint
DecalGirl MacBook Pro skins
Best custom skin
DecalGirl has so many MacBook Pro skins that it’ll make your head spin. They have literally hundreds of designs to choose from. More important, there is an option to make your own design. Simply upload the image you want to use, and the company will make a skin just for you. Custom skins can be full, or they can have the Apple logo cut out if you like that sort of thing.
Best 13-inch MacBook Pro cases: Which one is right for me?
It’s mostly up to you and what kind of protection you want. Cases like the Tech21 Evo or Spigen Thin Fit are great for everyday protection while you carry your laptop around or leave it on the desk. Sleeves like the MOSISO are great for travel. Meanwhile, skins add virtually no bulk, let you customize your laptop, and protect the top from scratches, but also provides the least overall protection.
All three types of MacBook Pro protection are popular, and they all work to the extent that you would expect. Thus, you should choose the one that best fits your style and needs. Another idea is to mix and match. Get yourself a nice skin and then a clear case so you can still see the skin but have protection while moving your MacBook Pro around.
How often should I remove my MacBook Pro from the case and clean it?
Consistently. Cases have one flaw in that dust and debris can become trapped under the case. This can lead to the very scratches and abrasions that you’re trying to protect your MacBook Pro from. You should do it more often if you often travel and your MacBook is in your bag a lot. If it’s just sitting on a desk all the time, you can clean it less often.
Should I also get a keyboard cover for my MacBook Pro?
Probably not. They look nice, and they do offer some protection for your laptop keys. However, there are widespread reports of folks scratching their screens when they close their MacBooks and carry them around. If you intend on leaving your MacBook sit on the same desk every day, and you only intend on moving it around your house, you can probably get away with it, but we recommend removing it when taking your MacBook places outside your home.
Can cases damage a MacBook Pro?
Yes, but it’s not common, and cleaning can help prevent damage from dust and debris build-up. Also, it’s possible, although unlikely, that cases can interfere with the hinges and damage those as well. Make sure whatever case you get lets your MacBook close all the way, and you should be okay.
Can cases cause heat dissipation issues?
Yes, that is a problem, especially if you have an older 13-inch MacBook Pro. The newer Apple Silicon doesn’t heat up quite like older Intel-based MacBooks, but it’s still a concern. Your best bet is to try out a case and if you get overheating, then remove the case and return it.