The 10 Best Luggage Brands of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
Good luck with your search!
This is a luggage question. If you’re flying to Europe and then taking trains pretty much everywhere until you’re flying home. and you’re gonna need city clothes, low-key hiking clothes, jackets for cold weather, and a daypack, and you’re going for at least a couple of weeks, what kind of luggage is the best option? I’m thinking of a hard-shell suitcase that’s travel size for US planes (so bigger than European planes) as I need something small enough to carry through train stations but am not flying within Europe? Which brands are best without breaking the bank? Are those “closet in a bag” things useful or just annoying? Are there good options that include daypack+suitcase?
I am not a person that buys luggage based on name brands or for style. I want something that is durable, light and inexpensive. I would never buy Louis Vuitton.
We have traveled quite a lot since I retired in 2010 (about 2-3 international trips a year-except in 2020 Covid). We have luggage that is light and durable. It is made of fabric and has rollers. Also, it zips up. I personally don’t care for the heaver hard-shell luggage. I don’t think it is necessary to protect your stuff.
Of course, our luggage has a large size, but acceptable by the airlines if you fly second class. I think the huge suitcases that I sometimes see at airports is usually owned by people flying Business or First Class. As for traveling on European trains, we have done this a lot and our luggage is still good for that. Our suitcases never go over the 50 lbs weight limit and at 75, I am able to lift the suitcases up on the trains.
Not sure what you mean by closet in a bag, unless you are referring to some luggage that focuses on inserting jackets, shirts and trousers hanging on coat hangers. Those are good for business trips when you have to have a suit, but not for touring.
I really like my TravelPro Maxlite international spinner carry-on. It’s only 5.4 lbs and very easy to maneuver. You can usually find them on sale. I fell in love with spinners awhile ago and love them. Take note that there are others on this forum who do not agree with me. Everyone has their favorites and opinions differ when it comes to spinners vs. roller bags. 😊
My day bag changes a lot. Sometimes I use a crossbody bag and other times I use a packable backpack. YMMV.
My nephew has the closet in a bag and it is heavy. With the shelf it weighs 9# empty. Nephew is a big guy, travels for work so this works fine for him but is way too heavy for me to even consider.
**Editing to add: BTW, as soon as you start doing luggage searches on your computer, tablet or phone luggage ads will start popping up incessantly as side bars on your mail program and on your FB page. I’m still getting Biaggi ads and that just looks like a useless bag for my needs. I also started getting a ton of the Sologard ads as well but they have finally quit.
My recommendation is to go for the lightest case possible. I was concerned about weight and dimensions for a trip last Fall that included a leg on Air France so went with the International dimensions of 55cmX35cmX25 (so basically 21.5 inches). The bag I went with was the lightest I could find at 4.5# but it was horribly overpriced. It’s the Osprey Ozone and may be more than you want to pay. When I left my house in Sept for a 3.5 week trip, my bag weighed 16.1 pounds. If I’d had that Sologard it would have been over 20# with the extra weight of the bag.
My next choice was going to be the one Mardee has, the TravelPro Lite at 5.5#. It is soft-sided and often on sale at Amazon.
I’m not a huge fan of the hard sided bags. Most open like a book with equal volume compartments on both sides so work better if you can lay them out flat. There is never enough room in a European hotel room to do that. I prefer the bag style that has all the volume on one side. Your needs may be different than mine.
Based on my search last year, I recommend you start some kind of spread sheet so you can compare bags and have all your information in the same place. I drove myself crazy for a few weeks before I realized I needed to record all the research information.
I’ll also ask what the difference is between your city clothes and your low key hiking clothes? I wear the same shirts for everything including hiking here at home. If you are doing just low key hiking then really technical clothing is probably not needed. You’ve got “jacketS” listed. do you need more than one?
Do you live in the US? You might go to TJMaxx or Marshalls if there is one near you to look and see what’s what. They generally only have 4 wheel bags which are a bit heavier but it can start you on your way. I recommend you purchase a hand-held scale to take with you so you can see exactly how much bags weigh.
Good luck with your search!
You didn’t mention how you intend to travel between train stations and hotels. To me, that’s a significant factor. I nearly always walk, so I prioritize light weight and try to find bags with two sturdier wheels rather than the more fragile wheels you generally find on inexpensive spinner bags. It’s getting much harder to find 2-wheeled bags, however. And I’m sure the spinner wheels on better-quality bags are sturdier than the ones I’ve had on my cheapo bags.
A point someone else made some time ago in an earlier thread about luggage (which I see has just been posted by Pam here as well): Most hard-shell bags open around the middle of the bag (rather than near the top edge) when the bag is lying flat, so you need to open them all the way in order to retrieve something without things falling out of the top half of the bag. If you stay in budget-level hotel rooms (as I do), there may very well not be room on the floor to open the bag like that. I think that’s a very valid point for me, because my bag is always shoved right up against the wall so I can squeeze past it.
On the other hand, I assume a hard-shell bag is more protective if you get caught out in the rain–less of an issue if you plan to take taxis back and forth to train stations, I guess.
There have been many, many earlier threads about luggage–a topic with which many of us are at least semi-obsessed, so it will be worth your while to review some of those. Most are in the packing forum: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/packing. You can pick up some very good tips there for reducing the weight and volume of what you carry, which will make your trip more pleasant. It seems there are steps everywhere, starting with some train stations.
@acraven, I guess I stay in what I call “mid-range” hotels instead of budget in Europe and even those singles do not have enough room to open a bag flat!
I guess I also should have said to Lisa, there is no “BEST” bag for everyone. The best you’ll be able to do is to find a better bag for you.
There have been many, many earlier threads about luggage–a topic with which many of us are at least semi-obsessed…
Hahahahaa, Mardee. Did you want to get Lisa started on obsessing about her personal item now or later? I know you mentioned your crossbody vs day pack but I decided to concentrate on the bigger item to start with, lol.
I like the Away Bags (smaller carryon) we bought my daughters. They are a clamshell design which, as mentioned above, people either love or hate them. If your prefer a top opening, as do I, then the TravelPro Platinum Elite is a great option. Check out Macy’s if there is one around you as they are often on sale at a substantial discount a few times a year (President’s Day?). Just keep in mind that their retail price is inflated so make sure you are really getting a deal by shopping the TravelPro store on Amazon.
More important than what kind of carry-on and personal item you choose, is weight and your ability to carry it all and lift it. My get-ready-for-trip exercise program includes “suitcase overhead lifts”, or how many times in a row can I lift a 20lb suitcase as high as a plane/train luggage rack without hitting someone in the head.
The RS Rolling Carry-on works good for me. Outbound I pack as light as possible, which isn’t light enough. First trip I took a PacSafe Tote as a personal item, but it was a little on the heavy side, 1-1/2lbs. Last year, and probably again this year, I took a very light packable tote with a trolley strap. It’s discontinued RuMe cFold, 7oz, holds a lot and is surprisingly durable. Amazon has similar if you do a search. Just be sure the size works as your airline’s personal item. My SisIL gave me a nice looking lightweight nylon tote for Christmas but I’m sure it’s too big, will know when I do a test pack. I also take a packable backpack as a day bag.
Homebound, I expand the RS Carry-on and check it. Then fill the tote and backpack with souvenirs, gifts, etc. and carry them on the plane.
Be sure you use packing cubes. They help to keep things organized. After the first time I used them, I can’t imagine traveling without packing cubes.
Another vote for packing cubes! I won’t leave home without my ebags. It’s so easy to stay organized with them.
1 The carry-on bag size: has different size limitations depending on the airline but the one that fits 90% of the airlines you are likely to book with is: 22” x 14” x 9” and that’s what I prefer because I have learned that I will exceed the weight limit before I fill it (which brings up the next two topics – weight limits and the trick with the personal item). https://upgradedpoints.com/travel/airlines/carry-on-luggage-size-chart/ (do confirm this info with the airline website)
2 The carry-on bag weight limit is generally 8kg (17.6 lbs) with the notable exceptions being British Air (23kg – wow!) and KLM that sets it at 12kg (but there is a caveat to that); and that’s all I would worry about as a 4 pound bag and a 6 pound bag both weight 17.6 pounds (for most of us) when packed and are equally easy or hard to lift.
3 Personal Item: Most every airline will also allow what they call a Personal Item (intended to be placed under the seat in front of you) and the maximum dimensions on that can also vary (this can be your daybag) and the size that most ever airline allows is 16” x 12” x 6”; the most notable exception being Lufthansa which limits the size to 16” x 12” x 4”.
4 Personal Item weight limit: Most airlines do not put a weight limit on the personal item so this is where you pack the shoes and cosmetics and anything else heavy; but the one exception is KLM, remember they had a 12kg weight limit on the Carry-on; well that is the weight limit on the combined carry-on and personal item so be careful.
5 Now you have to worry about the type of bag, hard or soft, two wheel (trolly) or four wheel (spinner),or back pack even; and the weight of the bag because a heavy bag will cut into what you can carry and still make the 8kg limit
6 There are plenty of bags out there of every description that fall under 6 pounds (I think a reasonable limit) and some of the soft sided two wheel bags come close to 4 pounds (a pair of men’s old fashion jeans weighs about 1 pound). Continued on next post
1 You really have to do some shopping but for a trolly softside you can get one about 5.5 lbs, the right size, at Walmart for $75 and it will last as long as a $200 bag (but not as stylish).
2 My problem with the softside bags was the pockets on the outside, they were pretty much useless to me without exceeding the size limitations once packed and, for me, they kept getting hung up on things in the airplane overhead when I push them in or pull them out; so I have used a hard bag the past 6 or 7 years and it holds up fine (because its in my hand as a carryon).
3 Then there is 2 or 4 wheels and as mentioned the 2 wheel is lighter generally and some worry about the four wheels on bad pavement but for that you just drag it on two of the four wheels and you have the same end result (in 60 trips touching more than 30 countries on 4 continents I have never had an issue with 4 wheels).
4 For me the ease of hanging the personal item over the handle of the carry on and knowing it wont fall over and the ease of the the spinner from the house to the car, and from the parkin lot to the plane and from the airport to taxi and from the taxi to the check-in counter offsets any argument against them (easier in the plane aisle too); but its preference.
5 So in summary: With a combined load of 12kg I use a 22” x 14” x 9” hardsided spinner (I splurged and spent $140) that weighs in at just under 6 pounds and combine that with a 16” x 12” x 6” (a tad thicker actually but it scrunches down if need be) personal item backpack (I think it was $30 on Amazon.com) and if I wear my sportscoat on the plane I can do as long as I want (laundry service) in Europe in the winter including the theater.
6 Things like wallet, phone, keys, passport cash, reading glasses, a few days of meds; go in a small cross body bag (its about the same dimensions as a passport (passport barely fits, but it does) and about ¾” thick and is technically a violation as it’s a second personal item but it also fits in my cargo pants if that becomes an issue.
Hahahahaa, Mardee. Did you want to get Lisa started on obsessing about her personal item now or later?
Plenty of time for that, Pam! LOL
I’m not a fan of the hard sided shell. They are too heavy for me. My husband loves his Travelpro Maxlite spinner. I love my Briggs and riley two-wheel 22 inch (which if I’m flying within Europe usually needs to be checked). I’d suggest going to a luggage store and checking them out. We are packing cube people and I also use a couple small compression bags. There are lots of great videos available to help with packing and luggage choices. We usually travel without rollaboards (which I usually check) and a 15L or 20L backpack which I bring onboard. My “day bag” is packed in my backpack – which is a small leather bag since i don’t usually carry much stuff with me while we are out and about.
Wow, the answers have not only gone all over the place but also off topic.
Let’s start with a few questions.
Where are you going?
What airline will you be using? (Remember, most European airlines, even across the Atlantic, have the same size and weight restrictions for carry on luggage as they do intra-Europe.)
Are you willing to check the bag for your flights across the Atlantic?
Do you want two wheels or four?
Have you ever traveled with carry on only?
Have you made out your packing list?
What time of year are you going?
Let’s start with these and I can add more if needed later.
Let’s start with hard vs soft shell. It really depends on whether or not your bag will be checked. Baggage handlers report they see more damage with hard sided bags than soft sided. Remember, the hard sided bags are not made off steel. They are made of polycarbonate that can crack fairly easily. I went from soft sided to hard sided back to soft sided. Unless you buy the cheapest of the cheapest, the material used in soft sided bags these days is very durable.
Where are you going? Germany, Switzerland, France
What airline will you be using? (Remember, most European airlines, even across the Atlantic, have the same size and weight restrictions for carry on luggage as they do intra-Europe.) — Haven’t bought tickets yet; we are flying from Boston into Munich and out of Paris.
Are you willing to check the bag for your flights across the Atlantic? Yes.
Do you want two wheels or four? Four.
Have you ever traveled with carry on only? Yes but only in the US for short journeys.
Have you made out your packing list? Not yet — we have a long time to go, but I think we can keep things simple!
What time of year are you going? September.
I forgot to ask an important question. what is your budget for a bag?
Since you are willing to check a bag then the actual size and weight doesn’t matter. Of course, it might for future trips. (You will get arguments on this.)
One key to packing for a longer trip is to do laundry. My trips usually last about 3 months and I take a European size rolling bag and a personal item. It contains five days worth of clothes. To keep my bag down to manageable weight and size I just plan to do laundry. It’s going to be impossible to pack enough clothes for a two week trip in a carry on bag unless you plan to wear each item multiple times.
Forget those “closet in a bag” items. Watch a bunch of packing videos on youtube and then decide how you will pack–packing cubes, no cubes, folding, rolling, etc.
The next step is to go to department stores and discount store like TJ Maxx, Ross or Marshalls. They usually have a large selection of bags. See if there are any that you like. Next, if there are any real luggage stores or travel goods stores, visit them for ideas. (They will mostly have the more expensive brands.) Samsonite has many of their own stores in malls and outlet malls. Spend some time seeing what is available at all of these places. There is an Away store in the Boston Seaport area.
thanks! my hope was to find a bag that could travel in the cabin in the United States — but would be checked for transatlantic flights. I want to get a backpack with a trolley sleeve to go with it. I don’t want to spend a fortune — maybe $150 or so on the suitcase and less on the backpack. I personally prefer soft bags for various reasons.
I think any decisions about what new luggage to get needs consideration of how you plan to pack. Have you made it to the Packing Forum yet? https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/packing
Researching there could take some of the plurals out of your implied packing list. For example, rather than multiple jackets, layering would probably be your friend for your trip. My own packing list remains roughly the same in terms of number of basic items, all of which are coordinated around a scarf, whether or not I wear it with them. Wearing the heaviest shoes and warmest clothes on the plane, and perhaps while in transit on trains helps to cut down on the amount that is needed to pack. I pack for a week no matter how long (usually 4-6 weeks) I’ll be gone and do laundry along the way. Over time I’ve learned to tolerate sink-washing, not mind having laundry done for me and enjoy visiting local self-serve laundry facilities. On my trip last summer I did all 3.
I have 4 two-wheeled bags. Three weigh 4.5 lbs each empty and have T-shaped handles. Two of those are “international” bags” which are smaller and have less capacity than the typical 22x14x9. The one with international shaping (shorter than 22″ but wider at 16″) was designed the best for packing what I was taking on last summer’s trip, even though it had the smallest capacity. However, it was too wide to wheel in front of me down the airplane aisle, so I had to carry it. My 4th bag is the usual 22x14x9, but has a U-shaped handle. The handle and other design elements make it weigh about 5.5 lbs. It’s expandable, but it has to be checked when that’s done. I do like being able to use a sleeved tote or backpack over the handle, which you can’t do with a T-shaped one. I wear my backpack or cross-body bag with the T-shaped handle bags.
Your $150 price limit may make weight vs. price a trade-off. Keep in mind that you should be able to wheel your bag in train stations most of the time, but elevators and escalators are rare. Going up and down stairs is more common. Some stations may have slanted walkways. Getting into and off trains may also involve a few stairs. And in the countries you’re visiting, the trains are typically very efficient with little time between arrival and departure when changing trains. Your ability to be as efficient as they are can be hampered by dealing with a bag that is too heavy or cumbersome.
A luggage scale can help to keep the total weight down. A flat digital kitchen scale that can weigh individual items in ounces, pounds, grams and kilos can be used to weigh individual items. If you go shopping for a bag in person, be sure to take a luggage scale AND a measuring tape with you. Most of the time the bags won’t list the weight and their dimensions will be for the box alone and not the handles and wheels. The airlines count those and if you are flying one that has a sizer, you’ll likely have to use it to prove that your bag isn’t too big.
About the hard-sided vs. soft-sided issue. All it took for me to stop being attracted to hard-sided bags (or checking bags at all) was watching the baggage handlers throw them on the belt into the plane. It was at a steep angle and more than one fell off the side at about 6+ feet off the ground. The soft-sided bags were less likely to slide off the belt, but the handlers put the pocketed sides down on the belt, not the flat backs. I’d guess that’s more about the backs of handlers on the ground and in the plane than the backs of the bags. My conclusion was soft-sided with no pockets on the front or at least nothing in any pockets.
Good luck with your search for a bag that will work for you and with all your trip planning.
Our family spent 3 weeks in Europe last year—daughter met boyfriend and tacked on an extra week in Spain. We each had a travel pro maxlite 22inch carry on. We traveled by plane, train, bus, tram, vaporetto and car. We bounced them down cobblestone streets and stairs. Daughter now lives a 1,000 miles away and travels frequently with the same suitcase. While we each had a back pack as our personal item, I now have a new bag with a trolley sleeve that I look forward to using when we visit our daughter next week. Our suitcases were carryon compatible and we had exit row tickets on easyjet and carried them on-no issues at all on any mode of transportation. The travel pro also has a spinner…
my hope was to find a bag that could travel in the cabin in the United States — but would be checked for transatlantic flights.
Lisa, if that is so, then you could get the TravelPro Maxlite 5 Carry-on expandable spinner. This will be accepted by any US airline as a carry-on. It might not be acceptable to foreign airlines but if you plan to check your bag for overseas travel, you should be fine. It’s 5.4 lbs and very easy to maneuver. Right now it’s $144 on the TravelPro website, but I would check other places like Amazon and Macy’s. I found my bag on sale at Lexington Luggage and just noticed that it is $124 there (with code).
FWIW, I’ve been using TravelPro for years – my brother is a pilot for Delta and he told me about them. Many of the flight crews use their bags. They are very durable and look good.
We bought our travel pro luggage from Amazon. Pay attention to the color as the price is different based on color.
The 10 Best Luggage Brands of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
No matter what size or style you want, these are the best luggage brands to fit your needs.
Theresa Holland is a freelance commerce writer and editor specializing in lifestyle, beauty, apparel, and more. She has contributed to numerous digital publications, including Byrdie, People, The Spruce, TripSavvy, The Financial Diet, Thought Catalog, and Elite Daily.
Rich Scherr is a seasoned journalist and editor who has traveled across the U.S., Canada, and Europe, and spent more than a decade reviewing hotel room.
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No matter where you’re going or how often you travel, luggage can make or break your trip. It helps with planning, packing, and staying organized while away — and sometimes determines whether you can bring back souvenirs.
There’s a wide range of checked suitcases, carry-on bags, duffles, weekenders, underseat bags, and backpacks on the market. Beyond that, you’ve got hardside and softside options with various organizational features. Amid what you might call the Golden Age of luggage, it can be hard to sift through your offerings.
To figure out what brands stand out from the rest, Travel + Leisure tried over 215 pieces of luggage — plus 180 duffels, weekenders, garment bags, and other travel bags — assessing capacity, maneuverability, durability, and design through a series of tests and simulations. Our top pick is Travelpro, a reasonably priced brand with a diverse selection of carriers that earned all-around high scores from during our tests.
- The suitcases are durable, smooth-rolling, and spacious with built-in expanders, and the brand has a generous 100-day return policy.
- Some are harder to pull on two wheels, and the checked models are a bit heavy.
All Travelpro luggage we tested earned high scores for maneuverability, durability, capacity, and overall design. The brand’s hardside and softside models were a hit in the lab, and both carry-on and checked options have spacious interiors and expandable capacities. Though we could fit everything on our packing list without using the expanders, it’s nice to know there’s wiggle room. We appreciated the various organizational features, like zipper panels, cross straps, and pockets.
With self-aligning spinner wheels and sturdy telescoping handles, Travelpro luggage is also easy to maneuver on hard floors, carpet, and even gravel (though some suitcases are slightly harder to roll on two wheels than four, especially when packed full). We particularly love the Travelpro Platinum Elite Carry-On Expandable Hardside Spinner that has sleek wheels and a textured handle that helps maintain a comfortable grip. Even their rolling garment bag impressed with its high capacity for the size. And, while the carry-ons are generally lightweight, one thing to note is that the larger checked models weigh almost twice as much when empty.
After shoving the suitcases off a table and whacking them with a baseball bat, we were pleasantly surprised by their durability. We only noticed a couple superficial marks — no scratches or dents, and nothing that wouldn’t wipe clean. Travelpro offers a generous 100-day return policy and backs its luggage with warranties ranging from 10 years to a lifetime, though it can be difficult to connect with their customer service department to initiate returns or repair requests at times.
Price Range: $150-$1,240
The Details: 100 day return policy | 10 years to lifetime warranty
Best Overall, Runner-up
- Backed by a 10-year warranty, Samsonite luggage is compact yet spacious, easy to maneuver, and exceptionally durable.
- The softside models aren’t the most modern-looking, and most suitcases don’t come with laundry bags.
Samsonite suitcases are generally lightweight and compact on the outside, with spacious interiors and built-in expanders. The Samsonite Freeform Hardside Expandable Carry-on was even ranked best overall carry-on after we tested 45 carry-on suitcases. Though most Samsonite suitcases don’t come with laundry bags, we appreciated the zippered compartments, compression straps, shoe separators, and easy-access pockets. Even their Just Right Garment Bag featured more pockets and organizational features than other similar bags we tested.
The hardside suitcases are made of high-strength thermoplastic, and the softside exteriors are sourced from recycled plastic bottles. They sustained hardly any damage after being hit with a bat and shoved off a table. Samsonite luggage also maneuvers without a fuss, even on carpeted floors and gravel. The sturdy, lockable aluminum handles are a nice touch too. Prices are more than reasonable, and while you’ll have to make any returns within 30 days, the brand backs its products with a 10-year warranty.
Price Range: $63-$1,050
The Details: 30 day return policy | 10 year warranty
Best for Staying Organized
- Beyond aesthetic appeal, Away flaunts plenty of pockets and compartments that keep all of your items in place.
- The hardside suitcases might scratch under heavy use.
Away luggage has a minimalist-modern aesthetic and a sophisticated yet practical appeal. We’re huge fans of the brand’s suitcases and weekenders and particularly love The Everywhere Bag that’s perfect for overnight trips, quick weekend adventures, and use as a personal item on longer trips. The checked baggage and hard-shell carry-on luggage pieces are light yet durable and easy to wipe clean. They didn’t sustain any dents from our bat tests, but there were a few scratches after being shoved off a table. We liked the dual main compartments, compression systems, expanders, and dirty laundry satchels of the roller bags.
The suitcases were a breeze to maneuver on their 360-degree spinner wheels, and carrying The Everywhere and The Garment Bag was comfortable with the padded shoulder straps. The Garment Bag also has interior padding that keeps all of your long clothing items protected and helps to minimize wrinkles. Away is certainly not the cheapest luggage brand out there, but it’s also far from the most expensive. Considering the 100-day return window, lifetime warranty, and stylish designs, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to pretty much any traveler.
Price Range: $75-$745
The Details: 100 day return policy | Lifetime warranty
- A perfect choice for organized travelers, Paravel luggage has lots of added features and a sophisticated appeal.
- The suitcases don’t expand, and the lighter colors are prone to scuffing.
Perfect for organized travelers, Paravel takes the cake for additional features. We loved the dual compartments, many pockets, dividers, and removable laundry bags. While the suitcases don’t expand, the compression pads make fitting everything a cinch. The Paravel Aviator Carry-on Plus was one of our top carry-on bags thanks to its sleek design, roomy interior that makes packing a breeze, and slick wheels that were great on every surface. We also love the super cute Paravel Mini Fold-up Backpack that earned perfect scores in every category as well as our Best Overall for Mini Backpacks. Not only does the bag fold up small so you can pack it in larger bags, but it also has a high capacity that can even fit a tablet, making it the perfect eye-catching style to wear on any vacation.
Most Paravel luggage pieces held up well during our durability tests, though the lighter-colored hardside models are prone to scuffing. The suitcases are also easy to pull, push, and roll over various flooring materials. What’s more, Paravel luggage is undeniably stylish with a sophisticated appeal and a cool mid-century flair. Prices are somewhat steep, but in the end, we think it’s worth the investment.
Price Range: $35-$1,335
The Details: 30 day return policy | 10 year warranty
- The brand’s large-capacity suitcases are impressively spacious yet lightweight, with built-in expanders and smooth-rolling wheels.
Delsey is a go-to for large-capacity luggage. This brand carries both hardside and softside suitcases, including surprisingly spacious carry-ons and checked baggage in multiple sizes, so you can find the best design for your needs. We were thrilled by how much they fit, noting that they could easily pack all items on our packing list with room to spare, even without expansion functions.
The suitcases maneuver well on their four spinner wheels, even over carpet, cracks, and bumps. Most models are also lightweight, so lifting them into an overhead bin is no problem. We checked the Chatelet Air 2.0 Carry-on and matching Chatelet Air 2.0 Medium Checked bag on four different long-haul international flights and each time they made it to the luggage carousel with only minor scuffs that were easily wiped away. We appreciate Delsey’s accessible price points, plus the brand backs its luggage with warranties ranging from five to 10 years.
Price Range: $70-$872
The Details: 30 day return policy | 5–10 year warranty
Best for Smaller Bags
- Calpak luggage is compact yet still spacious enough to hold the essentials, and maneuvering it is a piece of cake.
- The two-year warranty is substantially shorter than most other brands.
If you’re looking for something you can stash in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you, Calpak might be your best bet. We loved the duffles, backpacks, and suitcases with a particular appreciation for the Hue Mini Carry-on Luggage, our best overall underseat bag. We love that it glides smoothly, has a sturdy exterior, and can even fit a laptop, making it perfect for weekend getaways or even business trips.
Even when packed full, we found each Calpak suitcase to roll beautifully on both two wheels and four. We also like the Compakt Small Garment Bag, which is perfect to transport of one or two formal pieces inside a carry-on suitcase, and the Stevyn Duffel Bag was very comfortable to tote with its shoulder strap and features a separate shoe compartment to keep your items clean if you’re in the market for something smaller. Though the two-year warranty is shorter than most other brands, we think Calpak’s prices are more than fair.
Price Range: $58-$715
The Details: 30 day return policy | 2 year warranty
- Amazon’s luggage is not just budget-friendly but also lightweight and sturdy with unexpectedly large capacities.
- Color options are limited, and the suitcases don’t have USB ports or other smart features.
We can confidently tell you there’s much more to love about Amazon Basics luggage than a budget-friendly price tag. The Amazon Basics Hardside Spinner also landed on our list of the best lightweight luggage after earning a perfect score in all categories. We especially love that even though it is a light suitcase, it’s sturdy with wheels that easily maneuver over gravel and carpeting. More pockets would have been appreciated, but both the carry-on and checked models easily fit everything on our packing list without the expanders, which adds another 15 percent to the capacity.
The hardside suitcases have extra-thick thermoplastic shells that passed our durability tests with flying colors — no scratches or dents in sight. They were generally easy to maneuver, too, albeit a little more difficult on gravel. Color options are limited, and while most Amazon Basics carriers don’t have TSA locks or smart features, the designs exceeded our expectations.
Price Range: $15-$200
The Details: 30 day return policy | 3 year warranty
- This splurge-worthy luggage brand boasts expandable main compartments, ample pockets, impact-resistant exteriors, and smooth spinner wheels.
- The price might be hard to justify, and the checked bags are somewhat heavy when empty.
If you want the crème de la crème of luggage, Tumi is where it’s at. The suitcases and underseat bags fared better than the duffle we tested, but all in all, we were impressed. Our favorite by far is the Alpha International Expandable 4 Wheeled Carry-on that looks compact, but includes plenty of organizational compartments and even comes with its own removable garment bag. There was plenty of space to pack everything on our list in every Tumi bag, even without the expanders. This brand also stands out for its organizational, smart, and security features. We’re talking ample pockets, removable garment bags, laptop sleeves, USB ports, lockable zippers, and TSA-approved locks.
Whether you go softside or hard, you can count on reliable durability — we even jumped on the bags and rode on top of them and not one feature broke or dented. We observed virtually no scuffs or scratches after whacking the bags with a bat. Tumi luggage is easy to maneuver, thanks to the spinner wheels, but bear in mind the checked sizes are pretty heavy when empty. If you can swing the steep price, we think the brand is an excellent choice for long trips, frequent fliers, and those who like to stay organized.
Price Range: $275-$3,000
The Details: 30 day return policy | 5 year warranty
Briggs and Riley
- With ballistic nylon or shock-absorbing polycarbonate exteriors, Briggs and Riley suitcases can really take a beating.
- This is one of the most expensive brands, and the checked models are slightly heavy when empty.
The most durable luggage we tested comes from Briggs and Riley. The brand carries softside suitcases with ballistic nylon exteriors that resist premature wear and tear, as well as hardside models like the Sympatico Domestic Carry-on Expandable Spinner with shock-absorbing polycarbonate shells that promise to protect your cargo from getting crushed. We were impressed by how well they stood up to our shoves and bat swings — no dents or scratches to speak of.
Durability aside, Briggs and Riley suitcases roll effortlessly on hard floors and carpet, over bumps, and around tight corners. They also have decent capacities, many with built-in expanders. This is one of the most expensive luggage brands, but it’s backed by a lifetime guarantee. We wouldn’t be surprised if the suitcases last 10 or more years. Not only that, but there are a few options for remedying potential damage, including self-repair kits, authorized repair centers, or shipping back to Briggs and Riley for a tune-up.
Price Range: $75-$1,040
The Details: 30 day return policy | Lifetime warranty
- Thoughtfully designed, each Béis bag we tried comes with extra, often removable, features so you can customize your packing.
- These are large bags and we had a hard time fitting some weekenders under airplane seats.
Shay Mitchell’s luggage brand quickly won our hearts with each bag’s thoughtful design, customizable inserts, and removable compartments. The bags are certainly large and can fit everything you need for a long vacation or quick weekend getaway — just be mindful that not all of their duffel-style bags will work as personal items. The Weekender is one of our favorites; like Mary Poppins’ bag of wonders, this tote seems to expand as you pack it, fitting every item on our list.
When it comes to rolling bags, the 29-inch Large Check-in Roller is our best checked bag for organization. Similar to their weekenders, carry-on bags, and backpacks, Béis’ check-in bag is huge and can fit everything you need and more. All of their suitcases we tested also sported durable wheels that navigated every surface as well as easy to use handles that make running through the airport a breeze.
Price Range: $38-$328
The Details: 45 day return policy | Limited lifetime warranty
Other Luggage Brands We Liked
Monos: Monos items have a nice, sleek look that are generally easy to maneuver. However, when we tested their large check-in suitcase, we found that it carried less items than some of its competitors.
Arlo Skye: We love this brand’s smooth design and stand-out colors, but considering the higher price-point, these bags don’t include any extra features or ways to keep items secure.
July: While we appreciated the looks of these mid-range bags, we would recommend purchasing darker colored bags that won’t likely scuff as easily.
Roam: We’re big fans of Roam’s The Check-in hardside suitcase as well as the designs of other Roam bags; however, after one-month of realworld travels, we found these luggage pieces to be more prone to scratching than other brands we tried.
Our Testing Process
The T+L team tried upwards of 215 pieces of luggage plus 180 duffels, garment bags, backpacks, and more in our New York City testing facility. We tested at least six models from many top-rated brands, performing a range of assessments to evaluate the capacity, maneuverability, durability, design, and overall value. Each bag was weighed, then packed with enough clothes and personal items to get through a four-day trip (give or take, depending on the size).
To see how the luggage would perform in a real-life environment, we rolled them on different flooring materials, across gravel, over bumps, and around corners. Then we hoisted the carry-on suitcases into overhead bins, slung the duffles and weekenders over our shoulders, and stuffed the carry-ons underneath seats and into makeshift overhead bins. Each piece was also pushed off a table and whacked a few times with a baseball bat to test for potential wear and tear.
After lab testing, each suitcase and bag was sent out for real-world testing where we brought the bags on vacations, weekend trips, and overnighters. To test each bag’s true durability, convenience, and longevity, we tested each bag on planes, trains, buses, and even cruise ships, checking in after one month, three months, and six months. Considering standout features, size, and price, the luggage brands with the highest average ratings were ultimately chosen for this roundup.
How We Chose These Brands
The T+L team tested at least six bags per brand on our winners list to ensure a broad sample size. We tested underseat luggage, checked luggage, and carry-on luggage as well as duffel bags, garment bags, and backpacks, and gave each individual bag a score based on its capacity, design, durability, maneuverability, and overall value.
Next, we created rankings based on the total average scores of all the bags we tested for that brand. We also thoroughly read through all of the tester insights on each luggage item from these three tests to evaluate each bag’s details and features. Finally, we determined whether or not we would recommend a bag and its overall brand.
Tips for Buying Luggage
Get to know the brand
When it comes to researching a new luggage brand, you’re already well on your way. For more information on a specific brand, you can check out their website, read customer reviews on products you like, or even take a peek at the items in person. Buying new luggage (whether a singular piece or luggage set) can be a pricey investment, so be sure you like a brand’s style, warranty options, and overall quality before you make that purchase.
Know your organizational preferences
Material and size are important, but some of the best luggage brands stand out for their organizational features. This may include dual main compartments, various pockets, a shoe separator, zippered sections, a toiletry bag, a removable laundry bag, a garment bag, a laptop sleeve, and maybe even a USB port with a powerbank pouch. While it’s not a top priority for all travelers, this can make packing and accessing your belongings much easier.
Look for durability
The best luggage stands up to wear and tear for several years to come. Both hardside and softside luggage options can be very durable. It’s really a matter of whether you want to safeguard your packed items from getting crushed or protect the exterior of the suitcase from superficial blemishes (though many softside and hardside models we tested check all the boxes).
Think about mobility
You should also think about maneuverability. When you’re running into the airport to check your bags before heading to security, you’ll want a suitcase that doesn’t hold you back. Four-wheel spinner suitcases tend to be easier to pull and push over different surfaces compared to suitcases with just two wheels and they’re even better if they have a sturdy telescoping handle. Grab handles and padded straps are ideal for other types of luggage, and a lightweight design will make your travel experience much easier.
You’ll see a range of hardside and softside models when browsing luggage, and many of the best brands offer both. What you purchase really comes down to personal preference. Some people appreciate how crush-resistant hardside suitcases protect their belongings. They’re also easy to wipe clean and have a sleek, modern appearance.
On the other hand, soft-sided suitcases are typically (but not always) lighter in weight and more flexible, so you can often pack more in them. After testing both types, we can tell you they’re often just as durable as hardside options. Although a textile exterior might be trickier to clean, it can be better at concealing scuffs and dirt.
Size limits for carry-on luggage vary among airlines. That said, most allow suitcases no larger than 24 inches tall, 16 inches wide, and 10 inches deep. Some are a little more strict, with limits set around 22 x 14 x 9 inches. Keep this in mind if your suitcase has an expander, as the additional inch or two could put it over the allowed size limit. We recommend checking the airline’s website if you’re not sure whether your luggage will pass as a carry-on.
Why Trust Travel + Leisure
For this article, commerce writer Theresa Holland pored over our in-house testing insights, checked return policies, read the fine print for warranties, and evaluated price ranges to create a comprehensive roundup of the best luggage brands out there today.
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