The 11 Best Luggage of 2022, Tested and Reviewed

The Samsonite Eco Advance Medium Spinner is our top pick

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The Spruce / Amelia Manley

Top-quality luggage is stylish and tough enough to handle being thrown into a car trunk, cargo hold, or overhead bin or jostled around on a baggage carousel. Kim McCardell, a luxury travel advisor and the founder of Windward and Crown, notes it’s also very open on the inside. "I recommend bags that are mostly open on the interior. This way, you can organize your belongings into packing cubes and toiletry bags without the added bulk of compartments you aren't using." She adds that straps within the interior are also a standout feature, since they help keep your belongings secure.

We spent hours testing luggage in The Lab from top brands, evaluating durability, versatility, organization, and value. Our best overall pick, the Samsonite Eco Advance Medium Spinner, proved very durable in our testing and had plenty of room inside for a week’s worth of clothes. It also offers a height-adjustable handle and four spinner wheels for better maneuverability on your journey.

Here is the best luggage to take on your next getaway, backed by our thorough testing.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Samsonite Eco Advance Medium Spinner

4.9
Samsonite Eco Advance Medium Spinner

Samsonite

Our Ratings
  • Maneuverability
    4.5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5
What We Like
  • Handle adjusts in 1-inch increments

  • 360-degree spinner wheels

  • Excellent durability and protection of contents

What We Don't Like
  • Not expandable 

  • Limited color options

Make your travel easier by choosing well-organized and well-equipped luggage for the journey. The Samsonite Eco Advance Medium Spinner scored high across all categories during our testing and offers interior and exterior pockets to keep your travel essentials accessible. It’s our top choice for luggage and is made of durable recycled polyester from rPET bottles, making it an environmentally friendly choice. A unique feature that improves the suitcase’s maneuverability is its telescoping handle, which adjusts at 1-inch increments to match your personal height preference. The 360-degree spinner wheels carry the load when you’re pushing or pulling the suitcase, although our tester found that the suitcase tracked better when tilted on one set of wheels. Otherwise, it struggles to track perfectly straight. 

Opening up the Samsonite Eco Advance Spinner, you’ll find a deep and roomy interior—enough for us to neatly stash seven pairs of pants, seven shirts, two sweaters, five dresses, a pair each of short boots, heels, cleats, and sandals, plus two purses, two books, a mug, a bottle of wine, and liquids. Compression straps assist in keeping your folded items securely in place while maximizing space. This feature is important since this Eco Advance Spinner isn’t expandable. However, it does feature multiple exterior pockets that are handy for stashing travel documents, electronics, or even liquids. We found no fault with the organization of this suitcase, though it’s worth noting that the deeper top pocket on the exterior of the suitcase does take up a few inches of interior space.

A quality suitcase must be durable and protect your belongings inside, so we were impressed to see the resiliency of this soft-sided luggage option. Even after being pushed off a ledge onto a cobblestone street below and dropped multiple times from an 8-foot-high ladder, the suitcase and its wheels were perfectly intact. When we beat the suitcase with a baseball bat, nothing inside was broken and only minimal welts were visible on the tough, polyester fabric exterior. 

Dimensions: 26 x 17.5 x 11.5 inches | Weight: 8.7 pounds | Capacity: Not listed | Expandable: No | Lock Included: No | Wheels: Yes | Warranty: 10-year limited warranty

Best Budget: Made by Design Hardside Carry On Spinner Suitcase

4.5
Made by Design Carry-On Spinner

Made by Design

Our Ratings
  • Maneuverability
    5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    4.5/5
What We Like
  • Top and side carry handles

  • Telescoping handle with 5 height settings

  • 360-degree spinner wheels 

What We Don't Like
  • Limited interior organization

  • Difficult to distinguish between main zipper and expansion zipper

The Made By Design Carry-On Spinner Suitcase is available in a mix of eight attractive colors with a sleek exterior design that could easily pass for one of the top trending hardside suitcases. This version impressed our testers with its durable polycarbonate and ABS shell and 360-degree spinning wheels. When paired with the telescoping handle (adjustable to five height settings), we found it easy to pull across various types of surfaces and over ledges. According to our testers, the top and side carry handles are handy for lifting the suitcase in multiple ways, although the handles were placed tight to the body of the suitcase, leaving less room than expected to slide your fingers underneath.

The listed weight capacity for this suitcase is 50 pounds, and we found it had plenty of room for two small pairs of shoes, several shirts, and a few pairs of pants. Interior organization was nothing outstanding, but it’s sufficient for a budget suitcase. You’ll find a zipper compartment with a mesh pocket, plus cross straps to compress clothes in the main body of the suitcase. It’s worth noting that the manufacturer lists the weight as 8.7 pounds, but we found it to be just 6.9 pounds when weighed in our Lab. 

Dimensions: 21.75 x 14.25 x 9 inches | Weight: 8.7 pounds | Capacity: Not listed | Expandable: Yes | Lock Included: Yes | Wheels: Yes | Warranty: 1-year limited warranty

Best Carry-On: Travelpro Luggage Platinum Elite 21-inch Expandable Carry-on Spinner Suiter

4.7
Luggage Platinum Elite 21” Expandable Carry-on

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Organization
    5/5
  • Maneuverability
    4.9/5
  • Durability
    5/5
What We Like
  • Magnetically aligned wheels

  • Handle with 4 adjustable heights

  • Plenty of interior organization, including garment bag

What We Don't Like
  • Includes a USB port but no battery pack

A carry-on suitcase excels when it’s both compact and well-organized. In addition, it should be durable to handle extensive travel through the airport and hoisting into a plane’s overhead bin. The Travelpro Platinum Elite Expandable Spinner is a trusted option for frequent fliers, and it’s our pick for the best carry-on suitcase. 

This soft-side spinner suitcase weighs less than 8 pounds and has an interior capacity of 46 liters. Whether you’re packing for a business trip or a short weekend getaway, you’ll find this suitcase is well-equipped. It includes a garment bag for dress shirts or similar items you want to stay wrinkle-free, plus a wet bag for damp swimsuits and the like. In addition, the compression straps incorporate two small mesh pouches, which are perfect for odds and ends, including packing toiletries. The small wheel casings don’t take up much room from the inside of the compartment, plus the whole suitcase expands up to 2 inches for last-minute additions. It also comes with a USB port for convenient charging on the go, but you’ll need to supply the power bank.

Living up to its expectations as a trusted travel companion for flight crew, the Travelpro Platinum Elite Expandable Spinner is a winner when it comes to wheeling it around. It has four sets of magnetically aligned wheels, giving it a reputation for tracking easily and responding well to changes in direction. The high-quality nylon exterior features a protective coating to resist stains and dirt. In our durability testing, the suitcase passed with flying colors when dropped from a ladder or absorbing blows from a bat. It was a little dirty and scuffed from being pulled up a ledge, but not enough to warrant a penalty. Plus, the suitcase comes with a limited lifetime warranty against airline-induced damage. Travelpro will cover the repair cost, as long as you register your suitcase within the applicable time period. 

Dimensions: 23.5 x 14.5 x 9 | Weight: 7.8 pounds | Capacity: 46 liters | Expandable: Yes | Lock Included: Yes | Wheels: Yes | Warranty: Lifetime limited warranty

Best Duffle Bag: Thule Chasm Sport Duffel Bag

Thule Chasm Sport Duffel Bag

TripSavvy / Nick Kova

Our Ratings
  • Design
    4/5
  • Maneuverability
    4/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    4/5
What We Like
  • Straps convert for backpack use

  • Waterproof material and zippers

  • Padded bottom to protect contents

What We Don't Like
  • No shoulder strap

  • Lacks an external pocket

Unzip this duffel bag’s large, wide-mouth opening, and you’ll see why Thule named it the Chasm Sport Duffel. This alternative luggage option has an impressive capacity of 90 liters and holds all your gear for camping, hiking, or a long weekend away. It was easily one of our testing team’s favorite duffel bags, and its waterproof tarpaulin fabric is rugged enough to stand up to wet weather and log lots of miles. It earned high marks for durability in our testing, partly because of the high-quality materials and padded bottom of the bag.

The Thule Chasm Sport Duffel easily accommodates four full outfits plus two pairs of shoes and includes a bonus packing cube. Two zippered mesh pockets on the bag’s lid offer some internal organization, but be aware that this duffel bag has no external pocket. That, plus the lack of a shoulder strap, are the two features that users are most likely to notice. However, our testers felt like the convertible straps were more than helpful in carrying this bag, even when it was fully loaded. If it gets too heavy or cumbersome as a handheld duffel, make a few quick adjustments and carry the duffel backpack-style. We tried it that way and found it to be very comfortable. The smart design also includes compression straps to keep everything orderly, even when the bag is carried vertically as a backpack. 

Dimensions: 29 x 17 x 13 inches | Weight: 4.4 pounds | Capacity: 90 liters | Expandable: No | Lock Included: No | Wheels: No | Warranty: Lifetime limited warranty

Best Design: Monos Carry On Plus Spinner

4.7
Monos Carry-On Plus

Nordstrom

Our Ratings
  • Maneuverability
    4.5/5
  • Durability
    4.5/5
  • Value
    4.7/5
What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Lifetime warranty, plus 100-day trial

  • Includes laundry bag, shoe bags

What We Don't Like
  • Not expandable

Take a glance at the Monos Carry-On Plus, and you’ll see why our testing team tagged it as the best-looking luggage. But there’s more to this hardside spinner suitcase than its sleek polycarbonate shell. Despite the lack of expandability, it has excellent interior organization features, like a built-in compression pad and straps that we found to be very effective in making the most of this suitcase’s 48-liter capacity.

It’s sized to fit in the overhead bin of most major airlines and glides along with four 360-degree spinner wheels that we found to be smooth and quiet on various surfaces. Other features that round out this suitcase include an antimicrobial laundry bag, a toiletry pouch for organizing makeup and other personal care essentials, two shoe bags, and a luggage tag. Greater than the sum of its parts, the Monos Carry-On Plus is our top choice when it comes to the best luggage design. 

Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 9.5 inches | Weight: 7.38 pounds | Capacity: 48 liters | Expandable: No | Lock Included: Yes | Wheels: Yes | Warranty: Lifetime limited warranty with 100-day trial

Best Hardshell: July Checked Suitcase

4.1
July Checked Suitcase

July

Our Ratings
  • Capacity
    5/5
  • Design
    5/5
  • Maneuverability
    4.5/5
  • Durability
    3.5/5
  • Value
    4.3/5
What We Like
  • Includes odor and stain-resistant laundry bag

  • Telescoping handle with 20 height adjustments

  • Quiet wheels with 360-degree rotation

What We Don't Like
  • Not expandable

  • Locking wheels make it difficult to push the suitcase

According to McCardell, hardshell bags tend to be best suited to travel for their durability and ease of cleaning: "They are more protective of your belongings. Your bags come into contact with a lot of other bags and surfaces between security belts, overhead storage, and hotel rooms." The July Checked Suitcase is our favorite option for hardshell luggage since it offers aerospace-grade German polycarbonate construction plus smart, traveler-friendly features—like a telescoping handle with an impressive 20 height adjustments and smooth-operating wheels that are virtually silent. Our testing team took this wheeled suitcase across carpet, concrete, and cobblestone, checking how easily it glides and how noisy it is. We found it to be super smooth with a great gliding action on carpeting and sidewalks. It handled cobblestone surfaces well too, we just had to tip it on two wheels for the same smooth spinning action we had become accustomed to. 

While this isn’t an expandable hardshell suitcase, its 80-liter capacity gave our testing team plenty of space to fit seven pairs of pants, seven shirts, two sweaters, five dresses, four pairs of shoes, and two purses, plus books, a mug, wine, and liquids. To keep everything neat and tidy, July outfits this suitcase with a Y-strap compression system. A unique feature is the integrated laundry bag. It’s odor-proof and hidden away, so that dirty laundry doesn’t end up tangling with your clean clothes.

To be durable and long-lasting, the best hardshell suitcases are made of a resilient material that can absorb impact and resist crushing or denting. Polycarbonate suitcases, like the July Checked Suitcase, are a great option because they’re stronger and typically more lightweight than ABS suitcases. When dropped from a ledge 5 feet above a cobblestone street, a few of the corners did dent—despite the fact that the suitcase has reinforced aluminum corners. Still, this bag protected the wine and mug inside and kept on rolling, even after being thrown from an 8-foot ladder three times. 

Dimensions: 26 x 18.75 x 11 inches | Weight: 8.3 pounds | Capacity: 80 liters | Expandable: No | Lock Included: Yes | Wheels: Yes | Warranty: Lifetime limited warranty

Best Lightweight: Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Luggage with Spinner Wheels

4.3
Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside 28-Inch Spinner

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Maneuverability
    4.5/5
  • Durability
    4/5
  • Value
    4.3/5
What We Like
  • Lightweight polycarbonate shell

  • Available in a dozen colors

  • Good interior organization

What We Don't Like
  • 20-inch size is not expandable

  • Handle casing takes up a lot of interior space

A lightweight suitcase makes life easier when you’re hauling it through a busy airport, hoisting it into an overhead bin, or wheeling it down the sidewalk of a new city. McCardell points out that a lightweight bag is easier to maneuver and gives more room within weight restrictions for your items. Hardshell suitcases frequently take the top spot for the best lightweight luggage since the shells use ultralight materials like polycarbonate, ABS, or aluminum.

We tried a handful of lightweight luggage options that weigh 7 pounds or less, but our testing team gave the nod to the 6.7-pound Samsonite Winfield 2 for its maneuverability and organizational features. This 20-inch carry-on version of this Samsonite hardshell suitcase has a polycarbonate build, which is lightweight and impact-resistant. It scored above average in our durability tests and moved exceptionally well across three different surface types. Our testers found the interior organization to be stellar, with the only gripe being that the hardware for the handle takes up some valuable interior space. The 20-inch carry-on suitcase we tried out isn’t expandable, but other models within the Winfield 2 collection are if that is an important must-have for your suitcase search.

Dimensions: 23 x 14.5 x 9.5 inches | Weight: 6.7 pounds | Capacity: Not listed | Expandable: No | Lock Included: Yes | Wheels: Yes | Warranty: 10-year limited warranty

Most Durable: Timbuk2 CoPilot Luggage Roller XL

4.5
Timbuk2 CoPilot Luggage Roller XL

Timbuk2

Our Ratings
  • Maneuverability
    4.5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    4.5/5
What We Like
  • Lifetime warranty

  • Very quiet, smooth-rolling wheels

  • Excellent impact-resistance

What We Don't Like
  • Not expandable

  • Utilitarian look

The Timbuk2 CoPilot Roller Suitcase may be soft-sided, but it has a reputation for being tough enough to withstand the rigors of extensive travel. We packed the XL version with six pairs of pants, six shirts, two jackets, one dress, three pairs of shoes, a purse, plus books, a bottle of wine, and a mug. Then we pushed it off a ledge 5 feet above a cobblestone street, dropped it three times from an 8-foot ladder, and beat it with a baseball bat. After all of that, the suitcase only showed some dirt and a little bit of welting on the fabric. No items inside were broken and the important components, like the handle and wheels, remained intact and fully functional. Needless to say, this option is our top pick for the most durable luggage on the market. 

Plenty of travel professionals, including pilots and flight attendants, have made the Timbuk2 CoPilot series their go-to pick for luggage, and the brand is known for its lifetime warranty. Despite its supersized capacity of 108 liters, this suitcase weighs only 10 pounds. It has two exterior pockets, including one that is roomy enough for an extra pair of shoes. The aesthetics of this suitcase are a bit basic, but the CoPilot's maneuverability picks up the slack. Although it only has two wheels, our testers found it rolls extremely well and is totally silent.

Dimensions: 28.3 x 14.8 x 15 inches | Weight: 10 pounds | Capacity: 108 liters | Expandable: No | Lock Included: No | Wheels: Yes | Warranty: Lifetime limited warranty

Best Splurge: Rimowa Original Check-In L

Rimowa Original Check-In L

Courtesy of Rimowa

What We Like
  • Aluminum shell is durable

  • Ball-bearing wheels for stable steering

  • Latch closure

What We Don't Like
  • No lifetime warranty

  • Shell may show wear over time

  • Heavier than other large luggage options

If you’re ready to make an investment in your luggage, the Rimowa Original Check-In L is an option worth splurging on. Constructed of an aluminum-magnesium alloy, the shell of this hardsided suitcase has a timeless, classic look. Aluminum is also one of the most durable luggage materials, although you will have to accept the fact that scratches and small dents are part of life with a Rimowa. 

The Original Check-In L has several features that enhance its appeal. Ball-bearing spinner wheels are made to glide effortlessly along, and a telescoping handle offers height adjustment and a comfortable grip. Inside the suitcase is an adjustable divider that keeps your belongings in order. Its height is adjustable, giving you options on how to most efficiently pack your suitcase. A latch closure with TSA locks keeps the contents of your suitcase secure, especially when compared to zippers that can be pried open. Zippers have become the more standard option for suitcase closures since latches add more weight. This is true of the Rimowa, which is one of the heaviest checked bags we considered. But if the added security of a latch closure is important to you, the extra few pounds of weight is worth it.

Dimensions: 31.2 x 20.1 x 10.7 inches | Weight: 13.7 pounds | Capacity: 82 liters | Expandable: No | Lock Included: Yes | Wheels: Yes | Warranty: Lifetime warranty on purchases after July 25, 2022

Best Smart: Away The Bigger Carry-On

4.7
Away Bigger Carry On

Courtesy of Away

Our Ratings
  • Maneuverability
    5/5
  • Durability
    4.5/5
  • Value
    4.7/5
What We Like
  • Includes a waterproof laundry bag

  • Polycarbonate shell

  • Ejectable USB power pack

What We Don't Like
  • Not expandable

  • Telescoping handle takes up interior space

Smart luggage gives you on-demand access to a power supply for your devices, saving you from running out of juice on a long flight or searching for an outlet in a crowded airport. While it’s true that you could just pack along a USB power bank, not all devices are TSA-approved. Away has made a name for itself by integrating power packs into its polycarbonate hardshell luggage and saving you the hassle of fumbling for your USB charger the next time you’re stuck waiting for a layover flight. 

While it lacks features like expandability and the handle encroaches on interior space, the Away Bigger Carry-On won us over as a smart luggage standout in our testing. The 10,000-milliampere (mAh) power pack has two USB ports, including a fast-charge port for when you need more power stat. We found that the power pack works well and nicely integrates into the suitcase’s design. The design allows you to eject the USB charger from the suitcase with a quick push, which might be required when traveling with some airlines, to specific destinations, or if you end up checking your bag.

Dimensions: 22.7 x 14.7 x 9.6 inches | Weight: 8.4 pounds | Capacity: 47.9 liters | Expandable: No | Lock Included: Yes | Wheels: Yes | Warranty: Lifetime limited warranty

Best for Kids: Crckt Kids' Softside Carry On Suitcase

Crckt Kids' Softside Carry On Suitcase

Courtesy of Target

What We Like
  • Water-resistant shell

  • 2 exterior pockets and water bottle pouch

  • Lined interior with mesh pocket

What We Don't Like
  • No side handle

  • Tendency to tip over

The Crckt Kids’ Carry On Suitcase is child-sized but parent-approved. This wheeled, soft-sided suitcase comes in a bunch of kid-friendly patterns and colors but has essential elements for easy travel, like a pair of rolling wheels and a telescoping handle. As expected of luggage for kids, it’s lightweight at just 4.85 pounds. The suitcase holds up to 25 pounds of clothes, toys, and other travel necessities.

When fully loaded, this suitcase sometimes tips over, but that’s the most frequent complaint from parents. The wheeled design makes it easy for a child to pull it along through the airport, but it’s also possible to pick it up and carry it from the top handle. 

Dimensions: 19 x 11.5 x 6.75 inches | Weight: 4.85 pounds | Capacity: Not listed | Expandable: No | Lock Included: No | Wheels: Yes | Warranty: 3-year limited warranty

Final Verdict

The Samsonite Eco Advance Medium Spinner is roomy, lightweight, and durable and a top pick for luggage. We wish it came in more colors, but it’s made of a recycled polyester that fared exceptionally well in our testing and is good for the environment, too. If you're interested in a hardy, budget-friendly hardshell suitcase, the Made By Design Carry-On Spinner Suitcase is an attractive option. It comes in numerous colors and features five height adjustments and 360-degree spinning wheels that maneuvered well on various surfaces in our testing.

How We Tested Luggage

Our testing team put nearly two dozen suitcases through a slew of tests in The Lab to determine which options perform the best in real life. Testers rated each piece of luggage on a scale of one to five stars based on three primary criteria: organization, maneuverability, and durability.

We began by measuring and weighing each suitcase against the manufacturer’s specifications, noting any discrepancies. We found that most of the models we tested weighed slightly more and were smaller than advertised due to features like pockets, handles, and wheel corners that the dimension listings didn't account for.

After taking note of the measurements, we evaluated each bag’s capacity and ease of organization by packing various essentials such as pants, shirts, dresses, sweaters, and toiletries. We also took advantage of specialized compartments by packing shoes, purses, and smaller items like mugs, wine bottles, and books. To test maneuverability, we rolled each suitcase across various surfaces, including carpet, concrete, and cobblestone, paying attention to steering and how easily the bags glided and moved overall.

We then tested each bag’s durability by launching them from a 5-foot ledge and an 8-foot ladder multiple times. Finally, we struck the bags with a baseball bat. We assessed each piece of luggage for exterior damage and checked to see if the breakable objects inside (a bottle of wine and a mug) survived. Our editors then compiled all testing data and insights to present the best luggage options across various categories.

What to Look for in Luggage

Size, capacity, and weight

Deciding what size luggage to buy is important, since a suitcase that is too small can be frustrating and a suitcase that is too large means carrying around more weight than necessary. Smaller suitcases, such as our Best Carry-On pick, the 21-inch Travelpro Platinum Elite Expandable Spinner, are usually classified as carry-on bags, and larger suitcases are typically grouped together as checked bags. 

Size and weight are especially important factors to consider if you’ll be traveling on a plane. Airlines have specific size requirements for carry-on bags and checked bags might be penalized for being oversized or over the weight limit. A 22-inch bag should fit in most airlines’ overhead bins, but if you want a suitcase that will definitely fit overhead, research your favorite carriers’ rules before you commit.

Pay attention to the weight of the suitcase itself, since this will count against the total weight limit for your luggage, which is often 50 pounds for domestic travel on U.S. airlines. A heavier bag may mean you have less capacity for packing items on your trip. A suitcase’s capacity is usually identified in liters, so this can be a helpful spec to keep in mind as you compare one suitcase to another.

Hardshell vs. softshell

Deciding between a hardshell or softshell suitcase is largely a personal preference, but there are definite advantages to each type of suitcase construction. Softshell suitcases, also known as soft-sided luggage, offer excellent durability. Our Best Overall pick, the Samsonite Eco Advance Medium Spinner, is a softshell bag that showed great resiliency during our durability tests, keeping wine bottles intact and showing minimal abrasions from 5-foot and 8-foot drops and impact from a bat. Without a rigid shell, the suitcase can compress under pressure or in tight spaces without cracking. The exterior fabric is usually tough nylon or polyester that resists tearing and doesn’t show abrasions.

On the other hand, hardshell suitcases are generally impenetrable, meaning you won’t need to worry about the contents getting soaked if you leave your bag exposed to the elements. They also tend to weigh less than softshell suitcases, especially when made with a polycarbonate shell. You’ll find an expandable design in both hardshell and softshell suitcases, though it’s more common to see this feature on soft-sided luggage. 

Maneuverability

Most luggage comes equipped with wheels for easier transport. There’s no doubt that a wheeled suitcase makes it much easier to race through an airport or meander down the streets of a new city. However, not all wheels are created equal. Magnetically aligned wheels are the best since they track straight and don’t tend to need as much straightening. Some suitcases still rely on just two wheels, which will require you to tip your luggage as you push or pull it along.

The most maneuverable suitcases will be equipped with four spinner wheels that offer 360 degrees of swivel action. Our pick for Best Design, the July Checked suitcase, is a prime example of how this feature enhances maneuverability. We found it easy-gliding on carpet, concrete, cobblestone, and sidewalks.

Another factor impacting maneuverability is a suitcase’s handle height. Most suitcases are equipped with a telescoping handle, but one size doesn’t always fit all, especially if you are taller or shorter than average. Some handles are adjustable, making it easier to get an ergonomic grip on your suitcase as you pull it behind you. The July Checked bag stands out in this area as well, offering 20 different height adjustments.

Organization options

With only so much space available in a suitcase, you want to make the most of every inch. Suitcases have various organizational features to help you pack more and stay neat and tidy throughout your travels. Options vary, so choose the most important features for your needs.

A compression system is one of the most typical organizational aspects of a suitcase. This feature allows you to squeeze more stuff in your suitcase but is also important for keeping folded items for tossing and turning in your bag. A strap or pads are the most typical type of compression.

Another organizational feature to consider is a laundry bag to keep dirty clothes separate from items yet to be worn. A garment bag or suiter can also be helpful if you have a suit, shirt, or dress that you don’t want to get wrinkled in your bag. You can often find additional pockets and pouches on the interior and exterior of your suitcase for organizing smaller items and toiletries. It can be especially helpful to have an exterior pocket accessible for electronics and travel documents. 

Standout Features

Weight indicator

Eliminate the guesswork of determining whether or not your suitcase is overweight by choosing one with a built-in weight indicator. Once you’ve packed your luggage, lift your suitcase up to activate the weight indicator located in the handle. It will turn red if your bag is heavier than a predetermined weight, usually 50 pounds.

Multiple handles

Pulling, lifting, or carrying your suitcase involves adjusting your grip. Multiple handles can make it easier and more comfortable to handle your luggage. A telescoping handle (one that expands and retracts with a touch of a button) is the most comfortable option for pushing or pulling your suitcase a long distance. Side or top handles are helpful if you need to hoist the suitcase overhead or lift it from the trunk of your car.

TSA-approved lock

If you plan to check your luggage, it will be out of your sight for an extended period of time. A lock helps to ensure that your suitcase stays secure. However, if TSA officials deem it necessary to open your luggage, your lock will likely be broken. As a result, some suitcases come equipped with a TSA-approved lock, which can be opened using a special tool that TSA officers carry.

FAQ
  • Where can you buy luggage?

    You can buy luggage at brick-and-mortar stores and many online retailers. Some suitcases from brands such as July or Away are sold exclusively on the manufacturer’s website. Other widely known names in the suitcase space, like Samsonite or Travelpro, are available through various retailers, including department stores, Amazon, Wayfair, and more. 

  • What can you take on a plane in your checked luggage?

    Checked luggage isn’t subject to the same limitations as your carry-on bag. As a result, you have more freedom to bring along whatever you deem essential for your trip—including liquids over 3.4 ounces, sharp objects, and other items that TSA agents would confiscate at the security checkpoint. It’s worth noting that you should not pack lithium-ion batteries in your checked bag. You must pack them in a carry-on bag. TSA provides an extensive and searchable list of allowable items in checked and carry-on luggage.  

  • How do you measure luggage?

    When measuring luggage, it’s important to include the total dimensions of the bag from the ground to the top of the handle rather than just taking into account the internal measurements of the bag. Keep in mind that while airports might enforce strict bag size requirements, luggage manufacturers don’t always consider wheels and top handles when listing dimensions. Read the fine print and double-check to avoid any unwelcome surprises at the airport. You can use a measuring tape or a measuring app on your smartphone to measure luggage at home.

Why Trust The Spruce?

This article was written by Erica Puisis, a freelance writer and product tester for The Spruce. Whether it’s traveling by plane or car, she has firsthand experience with picking and packing suitcases for short and long trips. To gain the perspective of a travel industry expert, Erica spoke to Kim McCardell, a luxury travel advisor and the founder of Windward and Crown, which offers curated travel experiences. It is clear that some of the most important features to look for when comparing luggage include weight, durability, and space to organize your travel essentials. With this in mind, we included both hardshell and softshell suitcases in our search. 

What Is Spruce Approved?

Here at The Spruce we want to ensure we fully stand behind every product we recommend, and that when we say something is the best, we mean it. You might have noticed The Spruce Approved badge next to the products on this list. Every product with this badge has been rigorously tested in person and carefully selected by our expert team of lab testers and editors. In most cases, we buy all these products ourselves, though occasionally we get samples provided to us directly by companies. No matter how we procure products, they all go through the same tests and must meet the same strict criteria to make the best-of cut. We also pride ourselves on transparency and will always let you know if we received a product for free.

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