Difference Between A Tote And A Handbag – Best Guide 2023

Tote bags and handbags are two of the most popular types of bags. They may look similar, but they have some key differences. Tote bags are known for their spacious and versatile design. But handbags are smaller and more compartmentalized. If you’re looking for a new bag, it’s essential to understand the differences. This article will explore what is the difference between a tote and a handbag.

Also, we’ll cover what tote bags are used for. Also will provide some examples of handmade leather tote bags by Zatchels. We’ll also compare tote and shoulder bags and examine straps, interiors, and materials. Also will offer some final tips and FAQs to help you choose the perfect tote bag for your needs.

What is a Tote Bag?

A tote bag is a large, open top bag typically made of leather, canvas, or some other sturdy material. Unlike a handbag, a tote bag doesn’t have a defined shape, which means it can hold many more items. Tote bags usually have a simple design, with minimal or no compartments.

Tote bags have been around for centuries and were initially used as shopping bags. In the 1940s, tote bags became more fashionable and used as beach bags, as they could hold all the necessary items for a day at the beach. Today, tote bags are a staple in many people’s wardrobes and used for various purposes.

We have discussed Can You Change The Color Of A Leather Handbag in another post.

What is Tote Bags Used For?

What is Tote Bags Used For

Tote bags are popular because they’re versatile and can be used for various purposes. They make great beach, shopping, gym, and work bags. Tote bags are also popular for carrying laptops and other electronic devices.

One of the main advantages of a tote handbag is its capacity. Tote bags can hold many items, making them perfect for carrying groceries, books, and other bulky items. Because of their large size, tote luxury handbags can also be used as overnight or weekend bags.

Another advantage of tote bags is their simplicity. Tote bags usually have a simple design, with minimal or no compartments. This makes them easy to use and perfect for carrying items that don’t need to be separated.

Handmade Leather Tote Bags by Zatchels

So if you’re looking for a high-quality leather tote bag, Zatchels has some excellent options. Zatchels is a British brand that specializes in handmade leather bags. Their tote bags are made from high-quality leather and come in a variety of styles and colors. Here are a few of our favorites:

Zatchels Red Tartan Leather Tote Bag

This tote bag is made of high-quality leather and features a bold red tartan pattern. It’s perfect for adding a pop of color to any outfit.

Zatchels Leather Shopper in Pastel Blue

This leather shopper tote bag is both stylish and practical. The pastel blue color is perfect for spring and summer.

Zatchels Empire Leather Tote Bag

If you need a tote bag that can hold many items, this is the one for you. The Empire Leather Tote Bag is spacious and perfect for work or travel.

5 Key Differences Tote Bags vs. Handbags

Tote Bags vs. Handbags

While tote bags and handbags may look similar, there are key differences.

Here’s what sets them apart:


Tote bags are typically larger than handbags. Tote bags can hold many items, while handbags are usually smaller and can only hold a few things.


Tote bags don’t have a defined shape, meaning they can hold many more items. Handbags, on the other hand, have a defined shape and may have more compartments.


Tote bags usually have two long straps that can be worn over the shoulder or carried by hand. Handbags may have shorter straps or a single strap designed to be worn on the shoulder.


Tote bags typically have a large open interior with no compartments. Handbags, however, may have multiple compartments and pockets to help keep items organized.


Tote bags are usually made of canvas or leather, while handbags can be made of various materials, including leather, suede, and fabric.

When it comes to choosing between a leather handbag and a tote bag, it really comes down to personal preference and what you plan to use the bag for. So if you need a bag that can hold many items, a tote bag is a way to go. If you need a smaller bag that’s easy to carry around, a handbag is probably a better option.

5 Key Differences Tote Bags vs. Handbags
5 Key Differences Tote Bags vs. Handbags

Other Tips

Here are a few final tips to keep in mind when choosing a tote bag

  • Consider the size and shape of the bag. Make sure it’s large enough to hold all the items you need.
  • Think about the material. Canvas is an excellent option for casual tote bags, while leather is more suitable for formal occasions.
  • Look for a bag with sturdy straps that can handle the weight of the items you’ll be carrying.
  • Consider the interior of the bag. If you need a lot of compartments to keep things organized, a tote bag may not be the best option for you.


Can I use a tote bag as a purse?

Can I use a tote bag as a purse

Yes, you can use a tote bag as a purse. So, tote bags are versatile and can be used for various purposes, including as a purse.

Is A Tote Bag A Handbag?

No, a tote bag is not the same as a handbag. While both are used to carry personal items, a tote bag typically has an open top and two handles. Handbags come in different styles, like ones with zippers and different straps.

What Is The Difference Between A Tote Bag And A Crossbody Bag?

The main difference between a tote bag and a crossbody bag is how they are carried. Tote bags have short handles and are carried by hand or over the forearm. Crossbody bags have a strap that goes across your body so that you can carry them hands-free.

Can A Tote Bag Be A Purse?

Yes, a tote bag can be used as a purse. Many people use tote bags as everyday purses because they are spacious and can hold many items. It’s a matter of personal preference and how you use it.

Why Is A Bag Called A “Tote”?

The word “tote” originally comes from an African word, “tuta,” which means “to carry.” Tote bags are called so because they are designed for carrying various items. They are versatile and practical for many purposes, from shopping to everyday use.


Tote handbags are a versatile and practical type of bag that can be used for various purposes. While they may look similar to handbags, there are some key differences between the two. Tote bags are larger and more spacious, while handbags are smaller and more compartmentalized.

When choosing a tote bag, consider its size, shape, material, and interior to ensure it meets your needs. You can carry all your essentials in style with the right tote bag. In this article, we hope you understand the difference between a tote and a handbag.

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