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Satchel vs Purse

Everyone has their preference when it comes to choosing a bag. Some people may prefer a satchel, while others may prefer a purse. Both are quite unique from each other in appearance and the purpose they serve. 

So, what are the differences between a satchel and a purse? Here's a brief comparison:





Commonly made of leather, but is also frequently seen in cloth material. 

Often made with various materials, including leather, vinyl and cloth.

Carrying Style

Usually worn with the strap placed on one shoulder, going across the body making the pouch rest on the opposite side

Commonly carried over the shoulder, in one's hand or resting on the crook of the arm


Can sometimes be seen as a more masculine bag due to its simple style

Are typically seen as a feminine accessory 


Typically larger in size, with it across body design offers freedom of movement and better functionality

Generally smaller in size, is often used to carry small and light personally items

Now let's take a deeper look at the differences of each bag type:

What is a Satchel?

Premium Cherry Satchel

Originally made using leather, satchels come in a variety of sizes, colors and textures. Satchels are distinguished by their two shoulder straps, which can either be long or short, depending on the style and use. They can be worn diagonally across the body or solely on one side. Compared to other bags, satchels are quite deep. This gives them the ability to fit more items, making it a great bag for work, travel or everyday use.

What is a Purse?

purse handbag with purple background

In older times a purse was referred to as a small pouch that was used to carry coins. Today, a purse is usually seen as a small bag that can hold various personal belongings. It is typically small in size and has little depth.

They are often defined by their leather or cloth material, single shoulder strap, rounded shape and decorative handles. Compared to a satchel, purses come in a lot of different designs but typically have less space and are not as versatile, some small ones don't even have a strap to wear them and have to be held in your hand or carried in a bag. 

Satchel vs Purse Material Difference

Satchels are typically made of leather or vinyl. This makes them durable and also resistant to water, which is always a great feature to have. Purses, on the other hand, can be constructed of a variety of materials, leather, vinyl, fabric, and even plastic all are options. Purses are also usually less expensive than satchels but can wear down fast when exposed to water or heat. 

Satchel vs Purse Carrying Style Difference

Due to how a satchel is designed, it is usually worn diagonally across your body. This offers the user freedom of movement a purse generally isn’t able to offer. This feature also allows it to rest comfortably against your back and side areas distributing the weight of the bag evenly. A purse is often carried on one shoulder, or over the crook of your arm, the weight or contents of the purse can be an inconvenience and cause discomfort to the wearer. 

Satchel vs Purse Image Difference

Satchels are typically minimalistic in their design. Depending on the style and features of the bag, satchels can easily be unisex. Making them ideal for both men and women. On the other hand, purses are usually more colorful and decorated with embellishments, giving them a more girly look.

Satchel vs Purse Function/Purpose Difference

A Satchel offers more functionality and comfort than a purse. It can be used as a work bag, travel bag, or even a school bag. Satchels can be used for both personal and professional items. Whereas, due to its petite size, a purse is typically used to carry small personal items such as wallets, cellphones, keys and money. 


Overall, satchels offer more space, versatility and comfort when used, making them a popular choice for professionals such as teachers and students. Purses typically offer less space than satchels but are perfect to carry small items. The material of the purse is also lighter than that of a satchel. Satchels with their durable material can last for longer than purses with proper care and maintenance. 

Overall, a satchel is better for everyday use while you are constantly on the go and need space to keep a lot of stuff, while a purse is best for special occasions, formal events or just carrying a few personal items you may need daily.

When choosing between the two, it is best to consider your personal needs and style in a bag before deciding on what size and type would be most beneficial.

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