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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. We've spent hours researching and testing luggage from the top travel brands, evaluating durability, versatility, 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 available online.
Best Overall: Samsonite Eco Advance Medium Spinner
Handle adjusts in 1-inch increments
360-degree spinner wheels
Excellent durability and protection of contents
Limited color options
Make your travel easier by choosing luggage that is well-organized and well-equipped 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 a durable recycled polyester from rPET bottles, making it an environmentally-friendly choice also. 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 7 pants, 7 shirts, 2 sweater, 5 dresses, a pair each of short boots, heels, cleats, and sandals, plus 2 purses, 2 books, a mug, bottle of wine, and liquids. Compression straps assist in keeping your folded items securely in place, while maximizing space. This 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 cobble 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.
Best Budget: Made by Design Hardside Carry On Spinner Suitcase
Top and side carry handles
Telescoping handle with 5 height settings
360-degree spinner wheels
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 8 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 its 360-degree spinning wheels. When paired with the telescoping handle (adjustable to 5 height settings), we found it to be 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 weight capacity for this suitcase is listed at 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 suitcase is listed as weighing 8.7 pounds, but we found it to be just 6.7 pounds when weighed in our Lab.
Best Carry-On: Travelpro Luggage Platinum Elite 21” Expandable Carry-on Spinner Suiter
Handle with 4 adjustable heights
Plenty of interior organization, including garment bag
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 being hoisted into the overhead bin of a plane. The Travelpro Platinum Elite Expandable Spinner is a trusted option for frequent fliers and its our pick for the best carry-on suitcase.
This softside 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. The small wheel casings don’t take up much room from the inside of the compartment, plus the whole suitcase expands up to two inches for last-minute additions.
Living up to its expectations as a trusted travel companion of flight crew, the Travelpro Platinum Elite Expandable Spinner is a winner when it comes to wheeling it around. It has 4 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 is backed by a limited lifetime warranty against airline-induced damage. Travelpro will cover the cost of repair, as long as you register your suitcase within the applicable time period.
Best Duffle Bag: Thule Chasm Sport Duffel Bag
Straps convert for backpack use
Waterproof material and zippers
Padded bottom to protect contents
No shoulder strap
Lacks an external pocket
Unzip the large, wide-mouth opening of this duffle bag and you’ll see why Thule named it the Chasm Sport Duffle. This alternative luggage option has an impressive capacity of 90 liters and holds all of your gear for camping, hiking, or a long weekend away. It was easily one of our testing team’s favorite duffel bags and it’s rugged enough to stand up to wet weather and log lots of miles, since it’s made of waterproof tarpaulin fabric. It earned high marks for durability in our testing, in part because of the high-quality materials and padded bottom of the bag.
The Thule Chasm Sport Duffle easily accommodates 4 full outfits plus two pairs of shoes, and includes a bonus packing cube. Two zippered mesh pockets on the lid of the bag offer some internal organization, but be aware that there is no external pocket on this duffel bag. 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 duffle 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.
Best Design: Monos Carry On Plus Spinner
Lifetime warranty, plus 100 day trial
Includes laundry bag, shoe bags
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. It also 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 a variety of surfaces. Other features that round out this suitcase include an antimicrobial laundry bag, toiletry pouch, and two shoe bags. Greater than the sum of its parts, the Monos Carry-On Plus is our top choice when it comes to the best luggage design.
Best Hardshell: July Checked Bag
Includes odor and stain-resistant laundry bag
Telescoping handle with 20 height adjustments
Quiet wheels with 360-degree rotation
Locking wheels make it difficult to push the suitcase
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 sidewalk. It handled cobblestone surfaces well too, we just had to tip it on 2 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 7 pants, 7 shirts, 2 sweaters, 5 dresses, 4 pairs of shoes and 2 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 bag, 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.
Best Lightweight: Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Luggage with Spinner Wheels
Lightweight polycarbonate shell
Available in a dozen colors
Good interior organization
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. Travel expert Kim 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 shell is made from 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.
We tested the 20-inch, carry-on version of this Samsonite hardshell suitcase. It’s made of polycarbonate, 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 Windfield 2 collection are if that is an important criteria for your suitcase search.
Most Durable: Timbuk2 CoPilot Luggage Roller XL
Very quiet, smooth-rolling wheels
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 6 pants, 6 shirts, 2 jackets, 1 dress, 3 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 3 times from an 8-foot ladder, and then 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 it makes up for with maneuverability. Although it only has two wheels, our testers found it rolls extremely well and is totally silent.
Best Splurge: Rimowa Original Check-In L
Aluminum shell is durable
Ball-bearing wheels for stable steering
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 hard sided 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. It’s height 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.
Best Smart: Away Bigger Carry-On
Includes a waterproof laundry bag
Ejectable USB power pack
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 saves you the hassle of fumbling for your USB charger the next time you’re stuck waiting for a layover flight.
We tested the Away Bigger Carry-On and it won us over for the best smart luggage. The 10,000 mAh power pack has 2 USB ports, including a fast-charge port for when you need more power stat. We found that the power pack works really well and is nicely integrated into the suitcase’s design. The design allows for the USB charger to be ejected 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.
Best for Kids: Crckt Kids' Softside Carry On Suitcase
2 exterior pockets and water bottle pouch
Lined interior with mesh pocket
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.
The Samsonite Eco Advance Medium Spinner (view at e-Bags) 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. However, if you have your heart set on a hardshell bag, then the July Checked (view at July) will meet your needs. The polycarbonate shell is lightweight but resilient and it comes in a variety of popular hues. The telescoping handle has 5 height adjustments and it comes with helpful interior organization features, like a compression strap system and laundry bag.
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 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, offers excellent durability. Without a rigid shell, the suitcase can compress under pressure or in tight spaces without cracking. The exterior fabric is usually made of a tough, resistant 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 your bag is left out in 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.
Most luggage is 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. The most maneuverable suitcases will be equipped with four spinner wheels that offer 360-degrees of swivel action. 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.
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.
With only so much space available in a suitcase, you want to make the most of every inch. Suitcases are equipped with various organizational features to help you pack more and stay neat and tidy throughout your travels. Options vary, so choose the features that are most important for your needs.
One of the most typical organizational aspects of a suitcase is a compression system. This 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 types of compression.
Other organizational features to consider include a laundry bag to keep dirty clothes separate from items yet to be worn. A garment bag or suiter can be helpful too if you have a suit, shirt, or dress that you don’t want to wind up wrinkled in your bag. Additional pockets and pouches are frequently seen 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.
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 at 50 pounds.
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 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.
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 is likely to 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.
How do you reset a luggage lock if you forgot the combination?
If you didn’t reset the code on your TSA luggage lock, you can try to revert it to its factory setting, which is usually 000. If that doesn’t do the trick, you try to persuade a TSA officer at the airport to have mercy on you and open your lock using the corresponding master key, or buy a master key on the internet. Otherwise, you can contact the lock manufacturer for help resetting the lock. Or you can try to crack the code yourself by trying all possible combinations. TSA locks generally have 3 dials, so this means trying a maximum of 1,000 combinations starting with 001. If you can remember any of the numbers in your combination, you can save time by starting there.
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 take wheels and top handles into account when listing dimensions. Read the fine print and double check to avoid any unwelcome surprises at the airport. To measure luggage at home, you can use a measuring tape, or a measuring app on your smartphone.
What are the dimensions for carry-on luggage?
Carry-on luggage is required to fit in the overhead bin of an aircraft. Unfortunately, there is no absolute global standard for the size of carry-on luggage, which varies between regions and airline carriers. In the US, the standard carry-on size is generally 22x14x9 inches including wheels and handles, but can vary slightly depending on the airline. International carry-on sizes are generally 21 inches tall or less, and can vary between regional carriers, so check with the airline before flying. Don’t assume that your go-to carry-on for cross-country trips will work for a cross-continental hop to Paris.
Where can you buy luggage?
You can buy luggage at brick-and-mortar stores, as well as many online retailers. Some suitcases are sold exclusively on the brand’s website. This is true of trending luggage brands like July or Away. Other widely known names in the suitcase space, like Samsonite or TravelPro, are available through a variety of 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, giving you more freedom to bring along whatever you deem essential for your trip—including liquids over 3.4 ounces, sharp objects, and other items that would be confiscated by TSA agents at the security checkpoint. It’s worth noting that lithium-ion batteries should not be packed in your checked bag. They must be packed in a carry-on bag. TSA provides an extensive and searchable list of allowable items in checked and carry-on luggage.
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 soft shell suitcases in our search.
Our testing team put nearly two dozen suitcases through a slew of tests to determine which options perform the best. We measured, weighed, and packed each suitcase. Then rolled it across various surfaces (including carpet, concrete, and cobblestone), before launching each bag from a 5-foot ledge and an 8-foot ladder multiple times. Finally, we struck the bag with a baseball bat. We assessed each piece of luggage for exterior damage, but also checked to see if the breakable objects inside (a bottle of wine and a mug) survived.