If you’re looking to safely transport goods on your push iron, then why not let the bike take the weight for you? Bike panniers will not only make commuting, shopping or touring that little bit more comfortable, but due to the lower distribution of weight they’ll also make you much more stable.

Picking the correct pannier for your bike rack can seem daunting, especially if you’re relatively new to cycling. The good news is, we’ve put together a guide to take you through what you should be looking for, as well as ten brilliant recommendations for all budgets. From large and waterproof to lightweight with space for your laptop, you’ll wonder why you didn’t pick one up sooner!

Top 10 Best panniers in UK 2021.

1. Thule Shield Pannier

This set from Thule comes in blue, fluorescent yellow, or black, with each offering the choice of either small or large, which are 14 L or 24 L respectively. The panniers also have reflective elements all over the bag, perfect for those darker mornings and evenings.

We do have some concerns though. Firstly, the bag only has a top attachment mechanism, which means that it could be a little wobbly when you’re riding. Secondly, although you’re paying for a pair, it is one of the more expensive options out there, whilst also being one of the smallest.

Top 10 Best panniers in UK 2021
Top 10 Best panniers in UK 2021

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2. Ortlieb Back Roller City Bicycle Bag

A commuter-focused pair from Ortlieb that provides heaps of quality features – albeit at a price.

These panniers can sit on front or rear racks, and they use a bright nylon material with reflectors on each side for increased visibility. A QL1fixation system makes these easy to attach to a rack with one click, and the capacity is 20 litres on each side. The closure system is a roll top with buckle closure and there are shoulder straps for carrying off the bike.

Top 10 Best panniers in UK 2021
Top 10 Best panniers in UK 2021

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3. VAUDE Sport Unisex’s Aqua Back Luminium Pannier

Vaude’s Aqua Back panniers are tough, waterproof and roomy; they should last for literally years of commuting or touring.

At 48 litres for a pair, these are some of the biggest panniers around, with eight litres more capacity than rivals the Ortlieb Back Roller Classics. They’re less tapered than many panniers so there’s room in the bottom for bulky items like shoes and they’ll cheerfully swallow a laptop.

An external plastic plate helps the Aqua Back panniers retain their shape and also supports the internal pockets. The thick waterproof material used for the bags themselves makes them incredibly tough, and the super-versatile mounting system is a doddle to use.

Top 10 Best panniers in UK 2021
Top 10 Best panniers in UK 2021

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4. ROCKBROS Bike Rear Rack Pannier Bag Waterproof Bike Rear Seat Bag with Shoulder Strap Bike Trunk Pack Bicycle Double Panniers Bag with Rainproof Cover

RockBros offer a rear pannier that looks very similar in design to the Ortlieb, apart from the strange bungee type compartment on the outside. Whilst in theory it looks like it’s a great idea to put damp clothes, I wonder if it’s practical?

Some reviews seem to indicate that the clipping system of the pannier has changed. Whether this was to rectify an issue or has created one is something I can’t seem to quite work out.

In my experience, if you treat your bike touring kit with a bit of respect, most problems never arise in the first place. It’s something to keep in mind though if you want these panniers for a bike tour in countries where perhaps their customer support can’t cover you.

Top 10 Best panniers in UK 2021
Top 10 Best panniers in UK 2021

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5. Ibera Bike Pannier Bag

You may also like the fact that this product is a clip-on bag, thereby offering a simple mounting system. You simply have to rotate the clip sticking out of the bag to mount the waterproof panniers. Doing the reverse will unmount it and all of this usually takes only a few seconds. Also, at the bottom of the clips, there’s a bottom hook that locks the bag to the rear carrier’s sides to avoid unnecessary swinging.

Notably, the product also comes with a strap that can be found on top of the clips. This component is used to turn this pannier bag into a handheld bag in case you don’t want to leave it with the bike. Plus, there’s a reflective stripe on the side of each bag so you can alert drivers to your bike when they approach you.

Top 10 Best panniers in UK 2021
Top 10 Best panniers in UK 2021

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6. Ortlieb Vario

One small but notable downside of the Vario is that it requires a somewhat tedious installation of additional mounting hardware to attach the pack to your bike rack. From there, it’s pretty straightforward to mount the pack onto the rack once this initial installation is complete, with a satisfying “click” locking everything into place. And while this pack functions well as both a bike pannier and a backpack, there is a somewhat simple but additional transition step. The backpack straps must be removed and stowed inside a dedicated exterior pocket before mounting the pack the bike. If you can live with these small nuances that allow this model to perform well as both a backpack and a pannier, we think you’ll be pleased with this product.

Top 10 Best panniers in UK 2021
Top 10 Best panniers in UK 2021

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7. Avenir ACB928 Triple Pannier

Avenir panniers are designed to hold everything from groceries to books to bicycle equipment. The panniers are made of tough 600-denier nylon, with adjustable nylon strap mounting systems that keeps them securely fastened to the rear of your bike. The panniers’ main compartments are large enough for water bottles, clothes, food, and a host of other items. Other details include 420-denier ripstop nylon outer pockets, integrated ripstop nylon rain covers with drawstring tops and fully taped seams, generous reflective stripes for dimly lit days, and a rear light attachment clip on each bag.

Top 10 Best panniers in UK 2021
Top 10 Best panniers in UK 2021

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8. Rohtar Waterproof Messenger Bag

This 3-in-1 bag can be utilised either as a pannier, a messenger back or a classic backpack. The bag is available in either an 18 or 25 L capacity, which you can pick depending on whether you want to carry just your sandwiches and laptop, or whether you’d like the room for a few bits of shopping too.

The bag has three attachments which work universally on all bike racks, and secure it well. Material-wise, it’s made from PVC, which is at once easy to maintain, durable and waterproof.

Top 10 Best panniers in UK 2021
Top 10 Best panniers in UK 2021

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9. Brooks England Scape Handlebar Roll

Named after a famous cycling routes that traverses the length of Britain, Brooks’ Land’s End and John O’Groats Panniers are designed for Britain’s incremental weather. This means a waterproof, light, and durable pannier that expands to fit your gear via the roll-top design. For weather resistance, Brooks constructs their pannier from a waterproof synthetic fabric that’s tough and durable for long miles on the road. Their bags attache to standard rear rack designs and have gear loops for simple lighting attachment points. The panniers are sold individually and come in two colors: Desert and Slate.

Top 10 Best panniers in UK 2021
Top 10 Best panniers in UK 2021

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10. Topeak DryBag DX

The Topeak Pannier DryBag DX is a large capacity, waterproof pannier featuring a sonically welded and fully seam-sealed 420 denier and 840 denier exterior.

A watertight roll-top closure provides maximum protection from road spray and wet weather. Its quick-release Hook and Lock system attaches the pannier securely to the rack and makes installation and removal quick and easy.

It is perfect for touring in wet conditions or for daily commuting.

Top 10 Best panniers in UK 2021
Top 10 Best panniers in UK 2021

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Picking up a bike pannier or two can really make a difference to your journey, whether that’s a 20-minute commute to work or a 2-week cycle trip down Danube cycle path. We think if you follow our buying guide, you’ll easily identify which panniers are best for you and your needs. Best of luck, and be safe out there!

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