Messenger Bag vs Briefcase – What’s The Difference?

Messenger bags and briefcase are two very different types of handbags used by people. However, brands market a lot of their products as similar entities with the same specifications! This confuses a lot of people especially buyers online who are actually looking for messenger bags but up on a product page that has a professional briefcase.

Apart from being confusing, this can be downright frustrating for customers online. There is a segment of people who don’t know the difference between these two handbags and end up with a wrong handbag for their daily use.

So, what is the difference between a messenger bag and a briefcase? Let’s look at these, one by one starting with the messenger bag first.

Messenger Bag’s

Messenger bags are traditionally handbags that are worn cross-body that stay put on the lower back. These crossbody handbags were designed for ease of traveling so that the person holding this handbag wouldn’t have to keep adjusting the handbag to prevent it from falling off.

Over the decades, messenger bags have become a huge fashion statement with a lot of brands creating their versions of these messenger bags. Messenger bags are usually unisex and suit people of all ages and mostly go with every outfit design.

Serbags Canvas Messenger Bag 3

The primary utility function of this bag is the ease of traveling along with excellent storage capacity. Most of the people traveling abroad or even going for a road trip or trekking choose a messenger bag that is made of sturdy leather or canvas or hemp.

These materials are incredibly sturdy making these messenger bags perfect for rough and tough travel. Not just that; these bags are pretty lightweight too, so you carry only the weight of the items in the bag as weight without any additional weight of the handbag itself!

A lot of college students prefer messenger bags because of how spacious these are. You can comfortably store your laptop, laptop charger, your water bottle, lunch box along with a few books for daily use!

They also look super chic and go with every outfit type, so you won’t have to worry about finding different bags for different outfits at college! College students also decorate their canvas messenger bags with badges and embroidered patches to make their bags stand out in the crowd.

EcoCity Cotton Canvas Messenger Bag

Messenger bags are very low maintenance too. Most of these bags especially the ones made of leather or canvas can be cleaned at home without splurging on fancy dry cleaning laundries. Because of their sturdy material, these make the best options for everyday use bags for college, work, trekking, travel, and so many other activities!

Summing up in messenger bags in simple pointers –


  1. Sturdy, long-lasting material which is perfect for everyday use
  2. Incredibly spacious for daily use
  3. Low maintenance – most of these messenger bags can be washed or cleaned at home


  1. Might not go well with professional outfits
  2. It can get too bulky due to excessive storage capacity.


Traditionally, briefcases were used by wealthy businessmen, lawyers and doctors to hold all their essential documents also known as ‘briefs’ along with their cash, calculator, stationery, etc. The briefcase was initially designed to be carried by the handle for a more professional feel. Briefcases back then had small locks to protect your documents insides from theft.

The best part about briefcases is that they aren’t saggy like messenger bags or duffle bags and have a very classy and fixed rectangular shape. This keeps all your items in place without any bends and also holds all your documents organized.

These days, a lot of professionals continue using briefcases to carry to work and for meetings, because these not only look professional but also help in keeping all your items a little more organized.

Messenger bags are usually saggy, and you end up spending a lot of time digging for your wallet or your stationery or even your headphones! With a briefcase, all your items are neatly stored and organized for ease of access. The compartments in the briefcase allow you to organize your files, stationery, laptop, and other items neatly.

SOLO Hard Cover Briefcase

Briefcases are sturdier than messenger bags because of the hard exterior. They are also completely waterproof which means you don’t have to worry about your papers get soaked up in the rain or from an accidental water spill!

A lot of working professionals choose briefcases over messenger bags because they are way more convenient for storing their daily use items and they also keep the things safe and secure during travel. Briefcases also look incredibly sophisticated with formal wear for meetings or work.

McKlein Leather Briefcase

These days, briefcases also come with a leather sling attached to them so that you can carry them on your shoulder instead of constantly carrying them by the handle. A lot of people find that briefcases are slightly heavier than ordinary handbags or even messenger bags. This is due to the heavy-duty material used in manufacturing and designing these classy handbags. Due to this, they are also more expensive than messenger bags.

The additional cost spent on buying a branded luxurious briefcase is entirely worth it because the excellent material ensures that this briefcase is super durable and long-lasting! Some of the best brands of briefcases in the market are Mc Klein USA, SOLO, and Mobile Edge.

Summing up the briefcase in simple pointers –


  1. Incredibly sturdy with a hard exterior
  2. Briefcases keep all the items organized inside
  3. Waterproof material protects the items from accidental spills
  4. More professional looking as compared to messenger bags


  1. Briefcases are heavier than messenger bags due to the heavy-duty material used
  2. More expensive than regular messenger bags

Based on this, you can decide which handbag you like more based on your style preferences as well as your need for the hour! Both of these handbags are excellent for daily use and equally sturdy, so you have to pick one that fulfills all your requirements with regards to the regular usage of a bag!

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