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How to Choose the Right Carry On Luggage 22x14x9 for Your Travels
Traveling can be a hassle, especially when it comes to packing. Choosing the right carry on luggage 22x14x9 for your travels is essential for a stress-free journey. Here are some tips to help you make the right choice.
Consider Your Needs
The first step in choosing the right carry on luggage 22x14x9 is to consider your needs. Think about how much you need to pack and what type of items you will be bringing with you. If you are traveling for business, you may need more compartments and pockets than if you are going on a leisurely vacation. Additionally, if you plan on bringing electronics or fragile items, make sure that the bag has enough padding and protection to keep them safe during your travels.
Think About Durability
When selecting a carry on luggage 22x14x9, it’s important to think about durability. You want a bag that will last through multiple trips and withstand wear and tear from being handled by airport personnel. Look for bags made with strong materials such as polyester or nylon that can handle being tossed around without tearing or breaking. Additionally, look for bags with reinforced seams and sturdy zippers that won’t break easily.
Choose the Right Size
Finally, make sure that your carry on luggage 22x14x9 meets airline size requirements. Most airlines require that carry-on bags measure no more than 22 inches long, 14 inches wide and 9 inches deep in order to fit in overhead bins or under seats. If your bag is too large, it may be checked at the gate which can cause delays and inconvenience during your travels.
Choosing the right carry on luggage 22x14x9 doesn’t have to be difficult if you know what to look for. Consider your needs, think about durability and choose the right size before making a purchase so that you can have a stress-free journey every time you travel.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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It’s finally time to get away! As you plan your trip, you realize that your grungy backpack will no longer do. It’s time for a brand new luggage set.
The first point to ponder before buying luggage is your lifestyle. Do you need lightweight soft-side suitcases for fun weekend trips? Are you looking for durable hard-side bags that will stand up to your road-warrior schedule?
The second consideration is personal style. High-end fashion designer or established luggage brand? Do you want a women’s luggage set with a stunning print or a classic black or gray men’s luggage set? There are seemingly endless choices.
Travel Light with Carry-On Bags
Between fees for checked bags and the wait to retrieve them at baggage claim, many people prefer to go with carry-on luggage only. Carry-ons don’t have to be ultra-tough because they won’t endure rough treatment from baggage handlers. Hard-side wheeled carry-ons are still nice to have, though, because at times you won’t feel like lugging bags as you rush to your next gate.
If you love a coordinated look, it’s easy to find 2-piece luggage sets. Many include a spinner suitcase and a smaller bag that attaches to its handle. A wheeled duffel is an easy-to-pack option, while an under-seat carry-on gives you quick access during a flight.
Checked Baggage for Big Trips
For longer trips, check-in luggage is a must. You can buy these roomy bags alone and round out your collection over time. A 3-piece luggage set gives you a selection of essentials from the start.
A Suitcase Set for Every Member of the Family
Part of the secret to keeping kids happy during travel: Keeping them entertained. Children’s luggage sets from brands such as Traveler’s Club include a hard-side carry-on, lunch bag for essential snacks, backpack for electronics and coloring books and a neck pillow. The other three pieces stow compactly on the carry-on’s trolley handle!
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The 10 Best Luggage Sets of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
For more efficient traveling, invest in a stylish and functional luggage set.
In This Article
Jump to a Section
- Our top picks
- Others We Liked
Our Testing Process
- Tips for Buying
- Why Trust T+L
We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more .
Travel + Leisure / Jhett Thompson
Several of our favorite luggage sets are marked down ahead of Black Friday! Score deals on the Away Luggage Set , Delsey Paris Chatelet Air 2.0 2-piece Set , Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds 2-piece Set , and Samsonite's Freeform Hardside Spinner 2-piece Set now.
When it comes to luggage, the most important thing is a high-quality, reliable design. But to many travelers, aesthetics are a close second. Just like an outfit, it's nice when your baggage looks cohesive and intentional. Plus, a matching set is useful when traveling with your family or partner, and any time you need to bring more than one bag.
So, what are the best luggage sets? That depends on your needs, preferences, and taste. To help you narrow it down, we tested over 215 pieces of luggage. The suitcases were packed up, spun around, rolled over various surfaces, hoisted overhead, pushed off a table, and whacked a few times with a bat to see how they'd perform in a real-life setting.
While we were impressed by designs from Briggs & Riley, Monos, and Tumi, the suitcases are only sold individually. The winners here not only performed well in our tests but are also available as part of a bundle. Our number one pick is the sleek, sturdy, and reasonably priced Samsonite Freeform 2-piece Spinner Set.
Samsonite freeform hardside spinner 2-piece set.
- Capacity 5 /5
- Design 5 /5
- Maneuverability 5 /5
- Durability 5 /5
This two-piece suitcase set is lightweight, spacious, and super easy to maneuver.
The suitcases don't have laundry bags or smart features.
After trying 14 pieces of Samsonite luggage, we're big fans of the brand — particularly the Freeform line. This two-piece set includes the Freeform Carry-on (21-inch), plus the matching Checked Spinner (28-inch), both of which expand. The smaller size earned perfect scores in all our tests, thanks to its lightweight and compact yet spacious design. We didn't even need to use the expander to fit everything on our packing list . Though there's no removable laundry bag, these suitcases have various pockets within the main compartments and separators for dirty shoes.
The high-strength thermoplastic exterior stood up well to our durability tests. After hitting it with a bat and shoving it off a table, we observed no dents, scratches, or scuffs. It seems water-resistant and easy to wipe clean, too.
The suitcase we tested was a breeze to maneuver, gliding effortlessly on hard flooring, carpet, and even gravel. We also love the minimalist-modern appeal of the Freeform collection and appreciate the many styles and chic color options. All things considered, this luggage set is very reasonably priced, and the brand's 10-year warranty can give you peace of mind about your purchase.
Price at time of publish: $480 for 21-inch and 28-inch
The Details: 2 pieces | Hardside | 4 spinner wheels | Expandable | Includes 21-inch and 28-inch
People / Tamara Staples
Best Overall, Runner-up
Away luggage set.
- Capacity 4.5 /5
- Design 4.6 /5
- Maneuverability 4.5 /5
- Durability 4 /5
Away offers discounted two- or three-piece suitcase sets and backs them with a limited lifetime warranty.
The price of this luggage set varies based on your selections.
Away gives you the option to build a set of two or three bags, with a discount of $50 or $100, respectively. We were generally impressed with the pieces we tested , particularly the brand's suitcases. The hard-shell exteriors of the Bigger Carry-on Flex and Large Flex checked bag sustained zero dents from our bat swings, though we noticed a few scratches after pushing them off a table.
With dual compartments, expanders, compression systems, and dirty laundry bags, these suitcases make it easy to pack and stay organized. They're also a breeze to roll, thanks to the 360-degree spinner wheels. Away isn't the most affordable luggage, but the bundle-and-save deal is definitely worth considering. Plus, the brand has a generous 100-day return window and lifetime warranty.
Price at time of publish: $720 for The Bigger Carry-on Flex and The Large Flex
The Details: 2–3 pieces | Hardside | 4 spinner wheels | Expandable | Smart | Includes 21.7-inch or 22.7-inch, 26-inch, and/or 29-inch
Travel + Leisure / Conor Ralph
Amazon basics hardside spinner 3-piece set.
- Design 4 /5
- Value 4.7 /5
Amazon's luggage sets are not just affordable, they’re also durable with unexpectedly large capacities.
The suitcases don't have TSA locks or USB ports.
Amazon Basics makes our favorite budget-friendly luggage, and you can save even more by buying it in sets of two or three. We were pleasantly surprised by the hardside spinner suitcases we tested. While we would have appreciated a few more pockets, we had no problem fitting everything on our list without the expanders, which increase the capacities by 15 percent.
Not only that, but the thick thermoplastic shells took our bat swings and shoves like a champ — no dents or scratches to speak of. Though gravel wasn't the smoothest, these suitcases were easy to maneuver as well. They don't have USB ports or TSA locks, and the color options are somewhat limited. But considering the agreeable price point and three-year warranty, this is a pretty sweet deal for a luggage set.
Price at time of publish: $200 for 3-piece set
The Details: 2-3 | Hardside | 4 spinner wheels | Expandable | Includes 21-inch, 26-inch, and 30-inch
Travel + Leisure / Vicky Wasik
Travel + Leisure / Jhett Thompson
Travelpro platinum elite carry-on/large check-in hardside luggage set.
- Capacity 4.9 /5
- Design 4.5 /5
- Durability 4.8 /5
- Value 4.8 /5
Backed by a lifetime warranty, these smooth-rolling suitcases are notably spacious with built-in expanders.
You won't save money by purchasing the luggage as a set.
All 11 Travelpro luggage models we tested earned high ratings, but the Platinum Elite hardside collection might be our favorite. This two-piece set includes a matching carry-on and checked bag, each with spacious, expandable capacities. You can also add matching bags like their underseat duffel or rolling garment bag for a more complete set that fits every travel occasion. We could fit every last item on our list with room to spare, and the expanders add another 2 inches to the depth. The various pockets, zipper panels, and cross straps help with packing too.
While we noticed a couple of superficial marks after whacking and shoving the suitcases, they didn't dent or scratch. The carry-on was a little better on two wheels than four, but otherwise, the Platinum Elite line is very easy to maneuver. Another thing to note is that buying the suitcases as a set isn't actually more affordable than purchasing them separately. Still, we think the price is fair and appreciate the 100-day return policy and lifetime warranty.
Price at time of publish: $840 for Carry-on and Large Check-in
The Details: 2 pieces | Hardside | 4 spinner wheels | Expandable | Smart | Includes 23-inch and 30-inch
Travel + Leisure / Tamara Staples
Delsey paris helium aero 2-piece luggage set.
- Maneuverability 4.2 /5
- Durability 4.3 /5
These suitcases have glossy exteriors in your choice of jewel tones, and they don't scuff.
The carry-on isn't as smooth on all four wheels, and the handle feels somewhat flimsy.
We like the stylish and functional design of Delsey's Helium Aero collection. The jewel-toned suitcases will be easy to spot on a baggage carousel and they won't show up scuffed or damaged. After hitting the bags multiple times with bats, they showed no signs of damage — a sure indicator that they will survive all of your long-haul flights. This glossy hard-shell luggage set comes with a compact carry-on and a checked spinner suitcase . We didn't need the expanders to fit everything on our packing lists, but since there aren't many interior pockets, you might want to use packing cubes .
These lightweight suitcases are generally easy to maneuver and turn on a dime. However, the carry-on was slightly rickety on all four wheels, and we thought the handle felt a little flimsy. This luggage brand is one of the most affordable we tried, and you'll save even more by buying a set. Helium Aero suitcases are also backed by a 10-year warranty.
Price at time of publish: $390 for 21-inch and 29-inch
The Details: 2-3 pieces | Hardside | 4 spinner wheels | Expandable | Includes 21-inch and 25-inch and/or 29-inch
Kenneth cole reaction out of bounds 2-piece lightweight hardside spinner suitcase set.
These sleek yet rugged suitcases have spacious two-compartment interiors and smooth-rolling spinner wheels.
The hard shells are prone to minor scuffs.
If you tend to overpack , lightweight luggage can help balance out your load. The Kenneth Cole Out of Bounds 2-piece set comes with a 5.7-pound carry-on and a 9.8-pound checked suitcase. While they look small, the two-compartment interiors are surprisingly spacious. After packing the checked size with enough stuff to get through a week-long trip, the spinner wheels turned sharply and moved smoothly on hard floors and carpet.
The sleek yet rugged hard-shell exterior survived drops and bat hits, sustaining only minor scuffs. These lightweight, durable, and stylish suitcases are an excellent value as is, but you'll save even more by buying them as a bundle. Plus, Kenneth Cole backs the set with a 10-year warranty.
Price at time of publish: $200 for 20-inch and 28-inch
The Details: 2 pieces | Hardside | 4 spinner wheels | Includes 20-inch and 28-inch
Coolife ABS+PC 2-piece Spinner Trolley Suitcase Set
- Capacity 4 /5
- Maneuverability 4 /5
Coolife Spinner Trolleys have strong yet flexible hard shells that resist dents, scratches, and scuffs.
It is not expandable.
Durability is essential for luggage, and Coolife doesn't disappoint. While this isn't the least expensive set on our list, the brand's two-piece Spinner Trolley Set includes a sizable checked suitcase and a carry-on that prove durable and long-lasting. These suitcases are made of ABS+PC (acrylonitrile butadiene and polycarbonate), a super-strong thermoplastic blend. After whacking the carry-on with a bat and shoving it off multiple surfaces, there was no visible damage.
These suitcases aren't expandable. However, the slightly flexible hardside exterior and stretchy cross bands made it easy to stuff in everything on our packing list in organized compartments. And they have TSA locks for an extra layer of protection. The four-wheel design is a piece of cake to maneuver, too, though it doesn't roll as smoothly on two wheels. Though Coolife's two-year warranty is relatively short, we wouldn't be surprised if this luggage set lasted several years. Considering the affordable price, you'll get plenty of bang for your buck.
Price at time of publish: $180 for 20-inch and 28-inch
Paravel Aviator Set
- Design 4.9 /5
These durable, carbon-neutral suitcases are made of recycled materials and aircraft-grade aluminum.
We wish each side of the suitcase was a bit deeper to fit bulkier items.
Looking for eco-friendly luggage? Paravel is your best bet. Not only are these some of the most elegant suitcases out there, the brand is also dedicated to keeping its suitcases carbon-neutral , the brand offsets emissions at every point, from sourcing and assembly to shipping and delivery. We tried the Aviator Carry-on Plus and Grand Checked models, which are made of recycled materials and exceptionally durable aircraft-grade aluminum.
Though they don't expand, we loved the spacious compartments, dividers, pockets, compression panels, and removable laundry bags. For long trips, these suitcases were especially helpful since they are so light, you can really pack them to capacity without wasting any precious weight on the shell itself. Both suitcases stood up to our durability tests and only showed minor scuffing after being checked during six different flights. They were also easy to push, pull, and roll over multiple surfaces. The sophisticated aesthetic doesn't hurt either. While Paravel's price range is slightly steep, the brand backs its luggage with a five-year warranty.
Price at time of publish: $870 for Aviator carry-on and Aviator Grand checked
The Details: 2 pieces | Hardside | Four spinner wheels | 21.7-inch, 28-inch
Delsey paris chatelet air 2.0 luggage set.
The classically stylish suitcases are easy to maneuver over any surface.
They do not expand, so they can be difficult to pack.
If you're looking for a stylish luggage set that includes plenty of storage options, security locks, and easy-to-maneuver 360-degree wheels, consider the Delsey Paris Chatelet set. Whether you're interested in a carry-on and 28-inch checked bag , 24-inch and 28-inch checked bag , or all three , this collection is perfect for every adventure. Despite their light, sleek coloring, all three bags survived being hit with bats multiple times without so much as a scratch. In fact, after being checked on multiple international flights, the 21-inch carry-on and 24-inch medium checked bag both survived with minimal scuffs that easily wiped away.
We also loved the bags' four 360-degree wheels that make rolling an absolute breeze. Throughout three months of tests, we found ourselves running through airports, maneuvering onto escalators, and pulling the suitcases over curbs, sand, dirt, and asphalt without any issues whatsoever. And when it comes to lifting, the Chatelet set proved to be lightweight. Plus, the handles quickly slide back into the case, so you don't skip a beat going from pulling to carrying. We brought this set on planes, trains, and even cruise ships and the suitcases easily navigated every surface and fit in every small corner.
Price at time of publish: $650 for 21-inch and 28-inch
The Details: 2 or 3 pieces | Hardside | Four spinner wheels | Includes 21-inch and 28-inch, 24-inch and 28-inch, or 19-inch, 24-inch, and 28-inch
Béis hardside luggage set.
- Design 4.8 /5
Béis suitcases have roomy compartments, zippered sections, multiple pockets, laptop sleeves, and separate pouches for shoes or laundry.
The lighter colors may show scuffs.
Béis is already known for its accessible price points, but you can save 10 percent on a set of two hardside suitcases or 15 percent on three. Founded by actress Shay Mitchell , the brand is among the best for organization. Earning perfect scores for capacity, organization, design, and maneuverability, these are some of the easiest bags to pack and help keep your items easy-to-access throughout your whole vacation. We tried the Carry-on Roller and Large Check-in Roller, each with two roomy interior compartments, a zippered mesh section, multiple smaller pockets, a padded laptop sleeve, and a separate pouch for shoes or dirty clothes.
The suitcases are also conveniently expandable, and four-point compression straps help keep everything in place. The hard shells feel sturdy and thick yet flexible, and we only noticed a small scuff after hitting them with a bat. Béis luggage is easy to push on its spinner wheels, and we had no problem lifting it overhead. A 90-day return policy and lifetime warranty are icing on the cake of an all-around great luggage set, and it's possible to add other smaller bags like weekenders in coordinating colors, too.
Price at time of publish: $492 for The Carry-on Roller and The 29-inch Large Check-in Roller
The Details: 2–3 pieces | Hardside | 4 spinner wheels | Expandable | Includes 21-inch and 26-inch and/or 29-inch
Other Luggage Sets We Liked
July Family Luggage Set: This handsome three-suitcase set is a little more affordable than buying each piece individually. We tested the Carry-on Pro and Checked Suitcase, which are generally sturdy and easy to maneuver, though the lighter colors are prone to scuffing, and the compression straps could be a bit tighter.
Antler Brixham Set: We love that these softsided bags are shockingly strong and let you squeeze in more items than more structured hardsided suitcases; however, they have a fairly basic design without additional pockets or storage compartments.
The Travel + Leisure team tried over 215 pieces of luggage in the lab, our New York City testing facility. To see how they'd hold up in a real-life setting, they were packed up, rolled over hard floors, carpet, and gravel, placed in a makeshift overhead bin , hit with a baseball bat, and shoved off a table.
After awarding each model a score for capacity, maneuverability, durability, design, and value, we narrowed it down to those with the highest average ratings. The winners of this roundup not only performed well in the lab and during three-months of real-world travels, but are also available in matching sets.
Tips for Buying a Luggage Set
Decide if you want a hardside or softside.
You'll see many hardside and softside options when browsing luggage sets. Rigid exteriors offer better protection against crushing and, while lighter colors are often prone to scuffing, they're easy to wipe clean. Softside suitcases are sometimes trickier to clean, but they conceal dirt and scuffs (and can be just as durable as hardsided models).
Only get what you need
It might be tempting to buy a luggage set with three or even four pieces, especially if it's available at a discount. However, we recommend getting only what you need and know you'll use. Two suitcases are plenty for most individual travelers, but you may need more if you're traveling as a family, with a partner, or heading on an extended trip .
Prioritize well-made items
Even the least expensive luggage sets are an investment, so you want to choose a long-lasting design. It's important to select high-quality luggage that can withstand baggage claim and other stresses of travel while protecting all of your items. When looking for a new luggage set, you should prioritize durable cases that won't scuff or tear, sturdy wheels that can handle the bag's weight, comfortable handles that won't break, and quality interiors that will keep everything you pack safe.
Many travelers appreciate the crush-resistant exterior of hardside suitcases, especially if they're traveling with tech equipment or want to avoid wrinkling delicate clothing . The rigid exteriors are also easy to clean and flaunt a sleek, modern appearance.
That said, softside luggage can be very durable, plus it's easier to stuff full and often has external pockets where hardside models don't. The choice is ultimately a matter of personal preference, though all of our winning sets have hard shells.
Oftentimes, buying sets can save you money since many luggage brands offer suitcase sets at a discount. However, other companies simply bundle pieces to demonstrate the ability to build your own matching set, which can be helpful when searching for your bag at a luggage carousel. If a discount isn't mentioned when you're buying a luggage set, you can add up the individual bag prices and compare that total to the bundled price to see if it's a better deal.
Most sets include two or three pieces of luggage with at least one carry-on item and one checked item. Sets that offer three bags usually provide an additional checked bag of a different size. If you're a frequent traveler, heading off on a long adventure, or traveling with family, you may like a three-piece luggage set to give yourself more options and packing space while maintaining the convenience of matching.
Why Trust Travel + Leisure
For this story, commerce writer Theresa Holland combed through our tester insights, researched each brand, checked warranties and return policies, and crunched the numbers on buying luggage sets versus individual pieces.
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The Best Carry-On Luggage
As the skies get busier, the smartest travel move may be keeping your suitcase with you when you fly.
If you do so, you’ll need a good carry-on bag.
We’ve tested 47 bags over the past nine years and are convinced that the Travelpro Platinum Elite is the best carry-on luggage for most travelers.
Everything we recommend
Travelpro Platinum Elite 21″ Expandable Spinner
Great carry-on luggage, great value.
This spinner carry-on offers the best balance of size, value, reliability, and durability, with high-end details. It’s backed by a lifetime warranty.
Travelpro Platinum Elite 22″ Expandable Carry-On Rollaboard
A bit more capacity and extra wheel durability.
This two-wheeled carry-on bag isn’t as maneuverable, but it offers slightly more space, a garment folder, and larger, more durable wheels.
Briggs & Riley Baseline Essential 22" Carry-On Expandable Spinner
A carry-on that fits more in less.
This carry-on bag offers superlative build quality, plenty of expandable room, and a uniquely effective compression system. It’s a buy-it-for life suitcase.
Briggs & Riley Baseline Essential 22" 2-Wheel Expandable Carry-On
More room, bigger wheels, less maneuverability.
If you’re willing to give up maneuverability for more space and bigger wheels, this is also a great option.
Away The Carry-On
The best hard-sided carry-on.
This great-looking and relatively resilient piece of hard-sided luggage has top-of-the-line components—including wheels as smooth-rolling as any we’ve tested.
You save $55 (20%)
What to consider
Four wheels or “spinners” are easier to maneuver down tight airplane aisles, but two wheel bags will always be more durable .
Hard sided looks better to most people , but soft sided luggage should withstand the bumps and knocks of travel for longer.
There are plenty of reputable brands with lifetime warranties; it’s generally worth paying a little extra for the peace of mind .
If you travel mostly internationally, within Europe, or within America, it’s worth looking for specialty luggage sizes .
It packs five days’ worth of clothes into standard US carry-on dimensions 1 and has premium build-quality touches you’d expect from a $600 bag at about half the price. It’s a bag that you can rely on for life, even if it’s damaged by airlines —a rarity at any price.
Travelpro’s Platinum line of luggage has held our top pick for almost every iteration of this carry-on luggage review because it addresses the concerns of most travelers at an affordable price: It features smooth-rolling, user-replaceable wheels; solid and comfortable, telescoping handles; and a hard-wearing nylon exterior propped up by a solid internal chassis, all backed by a lifetime warranty that covers airline damage and shipping to the repair facility (as long as you register the luggage within 120 days of purchase, which is easy to do on any smartphone), along with a full catalog of other user-replaceable parts . The Elite only improves on past iterations in the Platinum line by reducing the size of the stowed handle (which used to jut out about an inch) and adding a second zippered, exterior pocket for easy access on the go and a USB pass-through extension that lets you insert your own battery pack for charging your phone. And at 7.8 pounds when empty, this carry-on bag is about half a pound lighter than its predecessor.
The spinner luggage configuration stands out in particular because of its MagnaTrac wheels, which magnetically snap into a forward position when the bag is moved. The small tracking assistance makes a large difference when you’re navigating the Elite through a crowded airport or down a busy street. It also has an easy-to-use, removable garment bag. If you prefer more packing capacity (the equivalent of squeezing in two more sweatshirts), larger wheels that run more smoothly over rough terrain, and a more protective built-in garment folder, 2 we also like the two-wheeled 22-inch version , especially for longer trips. But after several years of testing experience, we think the superior maneuverability of spinner luggage, along with improvements in manufacturing processes , make four-wheel bags a better choice for most people.
Measuring 23 by 13.5 by 9 inches, the Elite carry-on bag (in either wheel configuration) hits the upper margins of actual carry-on size limits and could get you gate-checked by an overzealous agent. However, it fits into most standard-size baggage caddies at check-in, including American’s and United’s. I’ve personally traveled with a Platinum line bag this size for more than 45,000 miles spread across 50 flights, from regional to long-haul to international routes, and never had an issue fitting within gate-side luggage sizers. If you’re nervous about getting caught at the gate or often fly in very small regional planes, Travelpro also makes a slightly smaller, 20-inch Platinum Elite as well as a slimmer International configuration, but these hold less (naturally) and lack a suiter insert.
If you are a frequent flyer and willing to invest in a higher-quality product for your home away from home, we recommend the Briggs & Riley Baseline Essential 22" Carry-On Expandable Spinner (also available in a two-wheeled version with more capacity). Every detail of this top-rated bag, from the zippers to the wheels to the wrinkle-resistant suit compartment, is made to the highest standards, and we found it has a higher proportion of usable space than any other spinner bag we tested. This is further boosted by the uniquely effective ratcheting CX compression system that allows travelers to fit an entire extra outfit into the same external dimensions as most other carry-ons. The Baseline Essential is also the only spinner luggage model we tested with a built-in garment folder, which helps shirts and pants stay wrinkle-free if you pack them well. And although the wheels don’t snap into alignment, they are exceptionally smooth rolling and easy to maneuver.
In luggage reviews, the most common complaint about Briggs & Riley suitcases is that the handle seems loose, but this is by design. Other than wheels, the handle is the component most likely to break on any bag, and looser handles have a little more tolerance to wiggle within their tubes, so they are less likely to bend and get stuck. While a tighter fit feels more reassuring, it takes just a couple of trips to get used to the handle. If things go awry, user-replaceable parts and a network of repair centers located around the world make quick fixes easy, and the reliable lifetime warranty covers repairs for airline damage.
Soft-sided carry-ons last the longest and show the least wear, but if you prefer the look of a hard-sided bag, the Away Carry-On is our choice. Like our other picks, this bag stood out for its high-end components, such as sturdy zippers and wheels that moved as smoothly as those on our soft-sided top picks. Its strong yet flexible polycarbonate shell does show more wear than our soft-sided picks. But after six years of testing multiple models, our testers have found that the Away is capable of enduring most of the trials of travel with fewer scratches than the other polycarbonate models we’ve tested. Similar to our soft-sided top picks, Away bags are backed by a limited lifetime warranty.
In addition to our main picks, we’ve found the international versions of our picks , where available.
Why you should trust us, our pick for the best carry-on luggage: travelpro platinum elite, upgrade pick for the best carry-on luggage: briggs & riley baseline essential, also-great pick for the best hard-sided carry-on luggage: away the carry-on, our carry-on luggage picks for international travel, other good carry-on luggage, spinner luggage or two-wheeled carry-on bag, how to pick between hard-shell and soft-shell luggage, how we picked and tested, the competition.
More than 130 hours of research—including interviews with numerous luggage experts , frequent-flying friends, family vacationers, and occasional business travelers—along with dozens of hours of testing and tens of thousands of miles of flights went into making these picks. We even went through independent trials with professional flight attendants and high-mileage flyers at what was then Virgin America’s training center in a model cabin of an Airbus A320 as part of our test procedures.
In the nine years we’ve been covering this category, the products have evolved—and so has our thinking about what makes the best carry-on luggage for most people. Based on what’s available, and what different types of travelers need, we think the following bags are the best investment you can make.
For the majority of travelers who fly less than 10 times a year, the Travelpro Platinum Elite offers the best balance of features, durability, and price, while still providing some elements missing from similar bags costing around $300, such as durable sealed-bearing wheels and a lifetime warranty that covers repairs (or replacement, at the company’s discretion) even in the case of airline damage. However, you need to register the luggage within 120 days of purchase to activate the coverage. Registering is an easy process: Take a picture of the registration code that’s shipped with the luggage, text the photo to a phone number that’s provided, and fill out the form in the response link. Best of all, the suitcase holds about five days’ worth of clothes, which should be plenty for a carry-on–sized bag.
Though we’ve come to prefer the maneuverability of the four-wheeled carry-on luggage design, some people may prefer the extra space (about 400 cubic inches or the size of two rolled-up sweatshirts) and wheel durability of the two-wheeled model . The handles of both Elite models are sturdy without feeling too rigid. After handling countless bags over the years, we have found that the tolerances of the Travelpro telescoping handle feel the most comfortable: It's not so loose that it feels flimsy, but not so stiff that it feels stubborn.
I’ve now personally flown more than 45,000 miles with both the two-wheeled and four-wheeled versions of Travelpro’s Platinum series. What’s the best carry-on luggage I’ve found? Despite the fact that I’ve tested 50-plus models of luggage, the Platinum remains my favorite choice when I need a bag. It is sturdy and unassuming, and does what it is meant to do without complaint.
The exterior is made of a hard-wearing nylon fabric, a key feature of all the bags we’ve tested. It hides scuffs and scratches, and is much more versatile than hard-shell–styled bags. An expansion zipper lets you increase storage by about 30 percent in a pinch—although the bag will no longer be carry-on compliant. We prefer to use the expansion zipper as something of an ad hoc compression system: We unzip the expansion zipper while packing the bag and then zip it at the end, tamping everything down tight. The Elite also has a variety of convenient exterior pockets: two in the front, suited for small miscellaneous items like a sleep mask and boarding passes; and one on the side for a battery, but it can fit a bit more if necessary. There is also an accordian pocket on the front, for magazines and electronic tablets.
Telescoping handles can be a common failure point on luggage, but the Elite’s aluminum handle is solidly built and has a great track record—we’ve yet to encounter a sticking or bending problem with any of the Platinum bags we’ve tested over the years. It’s comfortable to hold while also being less bulky than past Platinum handles. And it extends to three heights (38 inches, 40 inches, and 42½ inches) to accommodate a variety of body types.
Travelpro’s wheels are similarly impressive. The spinner model of the Platinum Elite has a unique magnetic locking system, which helps align the wheels along parallel axes. It’s not a full locking position. Instead it feels more like a nudge or subtle push, but that’s enough for this bag to stand out from the competition as a top-rated carry-on bag. With the MagnaTrac wheels, the Platinum Elite is easier to maneuver than the other spinner models we tested. Spinner wheels have become more robust since they first appeared, but if for whatever reason your wheels do break, you can swap them out yourself with Travelpro’s replacements .
The Platinum Elite also does very well by the numbers. It weighs 7.8 pounds empty, which is an average-to-light weight among carry-ons, but a half pound lighter than the previous model, the Platinum Magna 2. It’s a pleasant surprise when you open the new Elite to find the same large 1,856-cubic-inch interior of the older Platinum Magna 2—which we estimated and measured using hundreds of Ping-Pong balls. 3 That’s about 65 percent out of a total theoretical space limit of 2,772 cubic inches, based on its external dimensions. By comparison, the two-wheeled version holds 2,293 cubic inches or 80 percent of its total conceivable volume. Travelpro increased the diameter of the wheels on the Elite, making for a slightly smoother ride, and redesigned the top handle to lie flat, which cuts about an inch from the overall height of the bag relative to previous designs.
In real-world terms (the needs of Ping-Pong ball champions notwithstanding), the previous model of the nearly identical Platinum Elite, the Platinum Magna 2, swallowed up five days’ worth of clothes with no problem and had a good deal of room to spare—and that was without our resorting to the expansion zipper. We’ve found, over the years of traveling with suitcases with expanding zippers, that they’re better used as compression systems than an unexpected source of extra space.
The tie-down straps are made of two broad panels with pockets that cinch down, similar in design and function to what you’d find in much more expensive Briggs & Riley bags . Compared with simple tie-down straps you find in cheaper luggage, the panels do a great job of keeping things compacted without creasing clothes—a problem we’ve encountered in numerous other bags we’ve tested.
The spinner model of the Platinum Elite comes with a removable garment bag for optional use. It’s easy to pack: Just zip the suit in, fold it up, and you’re set. But we noticed more wrinkles resulting from the tighter confines of this model’s garment bag than we did from the two-wheeled version’s built-in garment folder.
Beyond that, the Platinum Elite’s internal organization system is about average. It will be familiar to anyone who has used a suitcase before, which means there’s no learning curve for optimizing the storage capacity. One long mesh pocket sits on one of the bag’s sides, and a smaller removable transparent plastic bag sits on the other side for easy TSA inspection of toiletries.
Should anything go wrong, you can take advantage of Travelpro’s generous lifetime warranty, which covers airline damage. The sole other company we’ve seen offering this extensive a warranty is Briggs & Riley, whose carry-on suitcases start at the $500 level. Travelpro bags have user-serviceable parts and multiple repair centers . To get repair service, you can either drop the bag off at a repair center or ship the bag to Travelpro, the cost of which the company will cover. Keep in mind that the warranty doesn’t cover cosmetic wear, and remember to tread carefully on stairs.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
Though the Platinum Elite rolled pretty well in general, we are still a bit concerned when dragging the carry-on bag up stairs. Compared with some of the other bags we tested, which had long plastic bumper strips running most of the way up the length of the bag, this Travelpro model’s skid plate isn’t as big or as protective. That said, it’s a strong bag and Travelpro’s warranty is also strong. I’ve flown with this bag for more than 45,000 miles and haven’t had an issue, but if you’re particularly rough on your luggage or uncomfortable lifting the bag over curbs or up stairs it’s something to be aware of.
In luggage reviews, we have seen a number of complaints online that the previous version of the Platinum Elite, the Platinum Magna 2, was prone to tipping over when fully loaded. We’ve been unable to replicate that phenomenon in our own testing. In fact, the Travelpro is less prone to tipping over than many other bags we’ve tested. The one scenario in which we can get it to tip easily is by intentionally packing all the heaviest items near the top (when it’s lying flat) of the bag—laptops are a common culprit here. So long as you pack heavy things first (boots, camera lenses, souvenir wine bottles)—closer to the handle—you should be fine.
Travelpro uses a self-repairing nylon coil along with Supra zipper heads throughout its bag, instead of zippers made by YKK. Though we generally prefer YKK zippers, which have a very good reputation, Travelpro’s zipper choice hasn’t been enough to change our recommendation. However, in 2019 we noticed a small uptick in Wirecutter reader complaints about zipper tabs breaking. We reached out to Travelpro, and a representative told us that a production error expanded the capacity of the front pocket of the Platinum Elite; this allowed travelers to overpack the pocket, which put excessive strain on the zipper. Travelpro told us that it has fixed the error in subsequent production runs of the Platinum Elite. We’re continuing to monitor reader feedback and online reviews to see if the issue recurs. Travelpro covers the Platinum Elite with its best warranty for return, repair, and replacement : If your bag suffers from this (or any other) problem, get in touch with Travelpro, and the company ought to resolve it promptly.
In 2018, Travelpro added a USB pass-through cable to the Platinum Elite, as a way to compete with “smart bags.” It seems to be the only significant change, beyond aesthetic, to the Elite from the previous Platinum Magna model, and we aren’t all that impressed. We like the battery pocket, but the built-in cable itself, which routes from the pocket to a USB port less than 6 inches away, is an unnecessary item, which at best adds a potential point of failure to the bag—USB cables do not last forever. Does it ruin the bag? No. Is it a feature? Not really.
If you fly more than 25,000 miles per year, it’s worthwhile to invest in luggage that goes beyond merely being sturdy and will actually improve your overall travel experience. The Briggs & Riley Baseline 22″ Essential is that kind of bag. It costs more than our main pick, but after using all of these bags side by side, we can see what a difference that extra money buys: The Briggs & Riley garment folder is among the roomiest we’ve tested, the compression system is superior to anything else we’ve seen, and the bag has a huge amount of interior space—more than all the others in this guide. That’s why we’ve been recommending it since we first covered this topic in 2014. It’s one of the best carry-on luggage options available today.
It’s also available in a two-wheeled version , which we tested and recommended in previous years. Both models perform just as admirably as each other. The two-wheeled version has the same internal layout as the spinner model, but it offers a bit more usable space.
The most ingenious part of the Baseline Essential bag is its CX expansion and compression system. Pull upward on two plastic handles inside the bag, and you can extend its depth a full 2½ inches. Load the bag as full as you need to, and zip it closed. Then you push down on the bag, which compresses it as a clip mechanism secures it in place. Unlike other expansion systems, which are either open or closed, this one locks into incremental positions. It’s a unique design and very satisfying to use.
Another significant difference: The tracks for the handles are on the outside of the bag, which allows for a flat surface in the interior of the bag, with no small crevices to work around for simple packing. And in our tests, after packing 10 bags trying to figure out strategies for each nook and cranny, packing on a broad flat surface felt like a luxury. According to our measurements, the bag, unexpanded, offers 1,905 cubic inches of storage room (and that accounts for the space occupied by the wheel wells and such). Expanded, it can stow 2,110 cubic inches—or nearly 77 percent of its conceivable available space. That’s remarkably efficient for a bag that does so much. All of these features add up to a carry-on that is easier to pack than any other bag we tested.
The garment folder is similar to Travelpro’s, and that’s a good thing. It’s easy to pack and has an anchor point for hangers. It’s a trifold system, and each of the folds has a bit of padding that helps to keep a suit from pinching onto itself and creasing, though much of that depends on how well you pack. You can fit a week’s worth of clothes in the Baseline Essential, including some puffy gear for colder weather. A wide, wrinkle-free tie-down system completes the package.
On the outside, the Baseline Essential is pretty unremarkable. There’s nothing eye-grabbing about the bag, which is good if you’re trying to avoid being gate-checked (or having it stolen). Its outer fabric is made of a nylon material that seems to be of a tighter weave than that used on the other bags we’ve tested. We also noticed a robust feel to the zippers, which are a self-repairing type made by YKK. Its external pockets, as with all the bags we tested, are nothing to write home about, but they do strike a nice balance between protecting and compressing small items (a shaving/sewing kit, say) without showing much extra bulk.
All Briggs & Riley bags come with a lifetime warranty that covers any damage to the “functional aspects” of the bag, even if caused by an airline (like Travelpro, Briggs & Riley does not cover cosmetic wear or cleaning). Although Briggs & Riley handles warranty-covered repairs at no extra cost, it does require you to pay to ship the bag to the company to carry out any repairs; it will ship your bag back to you for free. Or you can drop off the bag at one of the many repair centers . Briggs & Riley emphasizes that returning your bag to you in its original condition, even after repairs, is not always possible. Briggs & Riley bags are easy to service and repair, so you can also order the parts you need and replace them yourself at home.
One last long-term testing note for this luggage review: Over a five-year period before the pandemic, Wirecutter founder Brian Lam carried a two-wheeled Baseline while traveling 150,000 miles and farther. After considering all the bags in our test, and logging an additional 40,000 miles with a similarly priced bag by Tumi, he was convinced that this model is the best for anyone who’s always on the move. “I love this bag. It carries so much,” Lam said. “Sometimes I check it. Sometimes I carry it. It always fits.”
What’s not so great? Despite the plastic shielding, the exposed rails on the exterior could use some more protection. While dragging the bag up stairs (which we don’t advise doing), we felt more scraping than we’d like. And at first glance, the handle feels loose and shaky for a $700 bag. We spoke to Briggs & Riley representatives about the company’s designs, and they explained that this is a deliberate choice: The looser tolerances allow for the handle to retract by itself when you click its button, without your having to force it down. In practice, this is very helpful for scaling stairs and could save you some hassle in tight quarters, such as in the aisle of an airplane. We noticed, however, that even with this feature the handle sometimes requires gentle guiding to retract all the way. Given the trade-off, we’d prefer a sturdier feeling handle than one that feels loose. However, the Baseline series handle has held up well over nine years now with no jams.
We still think most travelers are better off with one of our soft-sided picks than a hard-sided carry-on; soft-sided luggage shows less wear and typically lasts longer than hard-sided luggage. But if you prefer the look of hard-sided luggage or the security of knowing that you can’t “overpack” your suitcase, the Away Carry-On is the carry-on we recommend. Its wheels and zipper are as well made as those of our soft-sided picks, and its polycarbonate showed fewer scratches than that of hard-sided competitors.
We’ve tested the Away Carry-On for six years, traveling with it ourselves across the country and lending several units to testers and frequent travelers to see how they enjoyed using the bag. The Away’s polycarbonate feels similar to that used on more high-end (and significantly pricier) suitcases such as the Rimowa Essential Cabin , which is more than three times as expensive as the Away. The polycarbonate that Away uses is both strong and flexible. When we first started testing the Away in 2016, we found that flexibility to be a liability, especially on airport carpets: The first version of the Away I tested tended to flex into itself and jam up its own wheels when I pushed it in front of me. But I haven’t experienced the issue with any of the later models of this suitcase.
The bag itself feels good in the hands, and the wheels are noticeably better than those on any of the hard-sided competitors we tried. Away formerly used YKK zippers, outclassing our top pick in that regard (Travelpro moved to Supra zippers in 2015), but as of 2023, the company is sourcing its zippers from a number of suppliers. We’ll keep an eye on how the zippers of newer Away bags perform.
The Away has a modern and minimalist look, but the sleek style comes at a cost: Its polycarbonate shell is ultimately more likely to break than the nylon fabric of our other picks. It also lacks certain amenities, such as external pockets and a suiter, that our top picks have. The clamshell design, which splits down the middle and opens into two parts, can make it frustrating to pack and unpack. Packing cubes help, but after years of packing and unpacking soft-sided luggage with a single lid, I definitely find a clamshell design to be more finicky.
Away makes a similar model of suitcase with an expandable zipper, The Carry-On Flex . For all intents and purposes, the Flex is the same overall bag as the standard Carry-On except for the expanding center zipper and the price (it’s $50 more; also, the Carry-On original does go on sale more frequently). Personally, I’m not a fan of expanding zippers on suitcases. It feels like potentially just one more thing to break. But some people may prefer having the extra flexibility.
The Away costs about $40 less than the Travelpro Platinum Elite , and it too is backed by a limited lifetime warranty that protects against defects and parts breaking. It weighs a pound less than the Platinum Elite, and it has a similar amount of packing space. Which suitcase will work best for you depends on your taste and needs.
Readers often ask us for separate picks that are compliant with international carry-on requirements. While we would love to provide you with one, there is unfortunately no standard for what that means. The listed size of 22 by 14 by 9 inches (although most airline sizers we tested are actually a bit larger than their listed measurements) should be compliant with the vast majority of flights that start within America, regardless of where you’re flying to. If you want to play it safe, there is a non-insignificant number of airlines that restrict depth to less than 8 inches. You should be aware, if you’re flying with European or Asian carriers, that the biggest restriction is weight, which can be as low as 11 pounds on certain carriers—and makes this kind of luggage impractical. Thankfully, some—but not all—of our picks are available in slimmed-down and shorter versions for major international carriers:
- Briggs & Riley Baseline Global 21" Carry-On Expandable Spinner
- Travelpro Platinum Elite International Carry-On Expandable Spinner
If the best possible suit-packing experience is all you want, or if you regularly travel with two suits and money’s no object: The Vocier C38 is worth a look, despite a few flaws. The C38 takes a unique, fold-free approach to packing clothes. Rather than folding garments in on themselves to fit in the bag, it bends the suit around the outside of the luggage frame in a U shape. This packing method creates no creases, and therefore no wrinkles. The Vocier can carry a couple of suits, and its more refined styling should appeal to the luxury crowd. However, the unique shape of the Vocier means that the zipper of the luggage must travel a very specific S curve, which snagged almost every time we opened the case. The exterior is also quite thin, which leaves your crease-free suit vulnerable to sharp objects. And it’s backed by a limited lifetime warranty that doesn’t cover airline damage.
In the past, we were explicit in our recommendation of two-wheeled models over four-wheeled “spinner” luggage based on feedback from frequent flyers and interviews with luggage designers. However, after extensive testing and industry improvements in design and materials, we reversed our stance. It’s still true that two-wheeled luggage models have more internal space. It’s also true that they use larger, more durable wheels, which roll better over rough surfaces at least in one direction. And yet, after years of traveling with both types of bags through overcrowded planes and airports, we couldn’t deny the obvious: It’s far easier to travel with a four-wheeled piece of luggage than a two-wheeled one. The bulk of luggage brands and travelers have moved in this direction as well.
You can push a spinner bag ahead of you, run it along your side, or drag it behind you like a two-wheeled bag if you prefer; the point being, you get to choose what works best in a given situation, and this is often the difference between a stress-free day of travel and a stressed-out day of agitation, caught corners, and annoyed strangers. Besides, if a wheel breaks, it’s replaceable . Meanwhile, the only maneuverability benefits of two-wheeled luggage are better ground clearance over rough terrain, such as cobblestones, and easier rolling over carpets.
“Originally, spinner models tended to use weaker wheels that were mounted to a basic inner and outer housing at the base of the bag,” said Jason Gifford, who was the design manager for eBags when I spoke to him in 2018. “But now that companies have started building injection-molded pans for their wheel mounts, thickened the overall supports, and increased the diameter of the wheel spindles, the failure rate has reduced considerably. Whether you choose a two-wheeled model or a spinner model, it’s the handle or the zipper that’s going to break first.”
This isn’t to say that no one should ever get a two-wheeled bag. If you prefer extra space or wheel durability over maneuverability, then two-wheeled bags are perfect for you. Frequent flyers especially should place a premium on wheel durability and capacity. But we think most people who travel fewer than, say, six times a year will have an easier time navigating crowded terminals and narrow airplane aisles with a spinner suitcase.
Though hard-sided luggage continues to grow in popularity, we still suggest that most travelers opt for a soft-sided design over a hard-sided case. We appreciate the aesthetic appeal of hard-shell suitcases: Their sleek exteriors often come in a wider range of colors and prints than soft-case fabrics. But hard-sided luggage simply doesn’t perform as well as soft-sided luggage in nearly every other measure—soft-sided luggage lasts longer, accumulates fewer scuffs and marks along your travels, and includes extra features such as exterior pockets and suiters.
A soft-sided suitcase usually has a single compartment that you access through a single main zipper. But hard-sided cases have a clamshell design that splits in half, opening into two individual compartments, each with its own internal zippers and mesh linings; this means more bits to break or tear. And although 100 percent polycarbonate hard-shell luggage has come a long way compared with the crack-prone ABS-blended suitcases that used to plague moderately priced hard-shell luggage lines, a stronger shell doesn’t necessarily mean a stronger overall suitcase.
The main potential for failure is the zipper, which binds the two halves of hard-shell luggage together. Shells may be stronger than they once were, but as a result they transfer more energy onto the zipper and the zipper’s stitching when someone or something drops, bashes, or squeezes them. Put enough pressure on that zipper, and it could fail, possibly catastrophically. “Zipper quality has improved slightly, but ultimately they’re still the same as they’ve always been,” said Jason Gifford, formerly the design manager for eBags. “The metal gets worn down across the nose from the abrasion and inevitably that single piece will fail, more often than not.”
Hard-shell bags also miss out on a lot of features that are particularly important for a carry-on. They typically lack expansion zippers (and the few hard-sided bags that can expand usually feel too bulky). Very few offer external pockets for storing things like a spare battery pack or a sleep mask. There are some exceptions—for example, the Briggs & Riley Torq collection features an accessible outer panel that can carry a laptop, a tablet, and a few other gadgets for easy access. But this comes at the cost of a large amount of packing space for a small amount of convenience. This isn’t a problem with soft-sided luggage because the pockets simply tuck flat when not in use.
Hard-sided luggage also doesn’t age as well as soft-sided luggage. During testing, every hard-sided piece of luggage we’ve used has picked up more scuffs and marks in a few trips than some of our soft-sided suitcases have accumulated in years of long-term testing. We know that patina is in vogue these days and that every scrape and nick tells a story, but the overall effect here is more “wear and tear” than “vintage appeal.”
We found hundreds of roller carry-on bags out there—and that was even after we excluded models that didn’t meet our basic criteria. So we called up experts to help us narrow the field. Among them were:
- Bonnie Raynes, the Frugal Travel Lawyer, blogger member of First2Board
- Larry Olmsted, travel gear reviewer and writer for Forbes, The A Position, and USA Today
- Elaine Tannous, flight attendant at the time for Virgin America
- Mark Davis, then product design manager at Eagle Creek
- Victor Sanz, creative director at Tumi
- Georgene Rada, vice president of product design at Briggs & Riley
- Richard Krulik, CEO of Briggs & Riley
- Sean Harris, former flight attendant at Virgin America, and at that time in Virgin’s corporate communications department
- Kate Siber, writer and reviewer for Outside
- Stephanie Pearson, writer for Outside and National Geographic
- Jason Gifford, then design manager for eBags
- Joseph Guerrieri, suit enthusiast and sales manager for Klein Epstein & Parker
- Juan Phillips, vice president, product design & innovation for Travelpro
- Cristian Arenas, then the quality control director for Travelpro
We asked them what they use when traveling, what features they find vital, and what separates the junk from the quality bags they’ve used. Conversations with these experts helped us understand things such as the function behind nylon and polyester, the difference in wheel-bearing designs, why alloys in telescoping handles matter, and more. With the collected intelligence from these luggage reviewers, builders, and professional travelers, we zeroed in on some top brands.
Besides the suggestions from our experts, we researched editorial and user reviews of luggage, making sure to include popular brands like Samsonite and Tumi as well as esoteric names like Filson and Hideo Wakamatsu. In addition to the expert interviews, we spoke with assorted salespeople, brand engineers, and media-relations folks to make sure we found the best models from each brand.
We’ve been researching and testing carry-on luggage for years. Here’s how we put each new bag through its paces.
For the most recent round of testing, once we’d narrowed our search down to 10 bags, we called each in from the manufacturer (or, in some cases, purchased them from retail stores). After we had them all on hand, we weighed and measured the bags to see if they matched each company’s claims. We measured the external dimensions of the bag, but we also measured the internal dimensions, so that we could see which bag has the most usable packing space for the bag’s overall size. This procedure wasn’t as straightforward as it sounds, though, because bags aren’t perfect rectangles inside—the wheel wells and handle tracks encroach on the interior space. We measured these components and subtracted each from the total volume as well as we could.
From there, we analyzed the bags and put every data point into a spreadsheet. In addition to the measurements, we looked at features. Did the wheels have sealed bearings? How big were the wheels? How many pockets did the bag have? How good were the pockets? Was the garment bag big enough, or would it crumple finery? How many stages did the handle extend to? How comprehensive was the warranty? How user-repairable was the bag? We asked all of that and more.
We also tried to look at subjective and less-quantifiable factors. For example, did this bag appear bulkier and more likely to get a person gate-checked? Was it a good-looking bag, or an eyesore? How protected is the bag on the outside? How usable are the external pockets? What, if any, extras are included?
Then we loaded them down and beat them up. We decided that carry-on bags should be capable of holding enough clothes to last you five days with room to spare for miscellaneous necessities. Two testers, one male and one female, packed a bag individually as if headed to the same wedding. You can see the two packing lists in the footnotes below. 4 What we included isn’t representative of a family traveling or a couple splitting a bag, but we did design this test load to err on the side of bulky, and we hope it will give you a clear idea of how much of your own stuff these bags could hold.
We looked at how each bag loaded. Was there an easy way to keep smaller items (such as socks and underwear) organized? Did it have compression straps that would keep things in place? Were the straps thick enough to avoid adding creases to the clothes? Just how much would the bag compress? How much room was left over? Once packed, was the bag easy to tip over?
Then it was time to see how each bag worked. We extended and retracted the handles on each one many times over the course of many days and felt for sticking points. We checked the smoothness of the zippers when they were under stress while packed tight. And then we wheeled each loaded bag around the neighborhood on the exact same route, looking at how well each bag rolled, and how well it handled broken sidewalks, uneven pavement, grass, bricks, dirt, and curbs. We also dragged them up and down two flights of concrete stairs, noting how easy this task was and how much damage the bags sustained. For our finalists, we repeated the torture test along a second, even rougher route.
We then double-checked the measurable packable space of our top picks against the manufacturers’ listed volumes, by filling each piece of luggage with hundreds of Ping-Pong balls: 144 Ping-Pong balls weigh exactly half a pound, and each Ping-Pong ball represents (PDF) approximately 2 cubic inches . After weighing each piece of luggage three times to establish an average empty weight, we filled the bags as full as we could with Ping-Pong balls and measured the change in weight. For every half-pound increase in weight we estimated 288 cubic inches of packable space.
Our former runner-up pick, the Travelpro Crew 11 21″ Expandable Spinner , has been discontinued.
Costco Kirkland Signature Softside 22″ 2 Wheel Carry-On: A former budget pick, and the best-performing bag we found in the $100 price range, this Kirkland model is a great affordable carry-on. Unfortunately, it has been having stock issues, so we have removed its section from this guide. We still think it’s a great option if you can find it.
Away Expandable Bigger Carry-On: Away’s soft-sided luggage entry was sturdy and good looking. However, the design mimicked the clamshell opening of Away’s original hard-sided luggage. Instead of designing a soft-sided suitcase with one large compartment to pack, Away splits the Expandable Carry-On into two smaller, difficult-to-pack halves. (Update: Away discontinued the line.)
eBags Mother Lode Carry-On Rolling Duffel : We like eBags’s packing cubes, and the company’s wheel-less carry-on bag is a good budget buy, but this Mother Lode was easy to dismiss right away. Its wheels chattered over every surface except deep carpet. Flanking it are four outside buckle straps that block the zipper, which makes it difficult to get things in and out of the bag. Before you can pack the bag, there are two fiberglass rods that you need to install yourself. And it has no garment bag. (It also appears to have been discontinued.)
Genius Pack G3 Carry-On: It’s a very specific kind of traveler who will value the hyper-organization and chambered packing system built into the Genius Pack. We do like the similar approach, but at this price we think you’re better off with one of our top picks and buying a set of packing cubes . (Genius Pack has introduced the next generation, the G4, but it appears to have many of the same problems as the G3; the company has since announced that it’s going to focus on hard-shelled bags.)
Timbuk2 Copilot : We had high hopes for this one because Timbuk2 has a great reputation for making backpacks and messenger bags. The balance on this bag was decent, and it stood up well unloaded or loaded. The wheels still had that cheap ball-bearing rhythmic chatter to them. However, the biggest problem with this bag was the abundance of zippers and internal compartments. Opening the bag reveals two mesh compartments that you then have to open in turn just to begin packing. It was a tedious process and not one we would want to repeat every leg of a trip.
Incase EO Roller : At full price, this stylish bag is $250. Although Incase makes decent laptop sleeves, it’s hard to see how an exterior made of 60 percent cotton, 30 percent polyester, and 10 percent thermoplastic rubber will be as tough as a dense woven nylon. We’d skip this choice and put the money into something that’s built to last. (It has also, apparently, been discontinued.)
Thule Subterra 22″ : Unlike most of the other bags in our test, this opens like a clam, with the zipper cutting along the middle of the side walls. Most of the bags we tested unzip so that only the top opens, allowing you the full depth of the bag to stack your belongings inside along the walls. The clamshell design, in contrast, makes this bag difficult to close if you’re trying to use it to its full capacity—it just isn’t as easy to use as the basic opening style of our picks.
Hard-sided carry-on luggage:
Arlo Skye The Frame Carry-On : The Arlo Skye is a decent piece of luggage, but it’s hard to square the bag with its cost: $200 more than the Away.
Lojel Cubo Medium : Although we liked the uncommon top-loading design, the internal organization of the lid made packing this carry-on difficult. We also weren’t impressed by the zippered expansion system on the Lojel, which made the suitcase feel bulkier than our picks.
Calpak Ambeur Carry-On : We preferred the sturdier polycarbonate shells over Calpak’s blended ABS polycarbonate shell. We also thought the Calpak bag’s handling felt jittery against normal airport floor surfaces.
AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner : This AmazonBasics bag is a surprisingly good carry-on for costing just over $100. However, as on Calpak’s bag, this model’s weaker ABS plastic shell is just not as tough as a polycarbonate shell. We think it’s worthwhile to invest a little more into your luggage—the bag you choose will last longer and work better.
Briggs & Riley Torq , Sympatico : While both of these Briggs & Riley lines seek to solve a different problem, neither are as impressive as the Baseline series.
Meet your guide
Kit Dillon is a senior staff writer at Wirecutter. He was previously an app developer, oil derrick inspector, public-radio archivist, and sandwich shop owner. He has written for Popular Science, The Awl, and the New York Observer, among others. When called on, he can still make a mean sandwich.
The Best Luggage Sets of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
Coordinate your luggage with matching picks, including a favorite from Samsonite
We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more .
Tripsavvy / Chloe Jeong
Investing in a luggage set makes sense if you’re a frequent traveler using more than one suitcase (either at a time or for different kinds of trips). From an aesthetic point of view, a coordinated luggage set looks smart. It is usually more affordable than buying each piece separately, and your suitcases are guaranteed to nest inside one another for easy, space-saving storage. Luggage sets typically include two or three pieces. Some brands offer pre-selected sets, while others give you the freedom of building your own set, often with the option of customizing colors, sizes, and features.
To help you find the best luggage set, we tested some of the most popular options currently on the market in the TripSavvy lab and real-world. Each was evaluated for capacity, design, durability, maneuverability, and value, resulting in a total score that determined category winners from “Best Budget” to “Best for Business Travel.” Our overall winner was the Samsonite Freeform Hardside Set, a two-piece option that stood out for its lightness, durability, streamlined good looks, and impressive maneuverability. Read on to discover the other luggage sets we tested.
How We Tested
- What to Look For
Why Trust TripSavvy
Best overall, samsonite freeform carry-on spinner.
- Capacity 5 /5
- Design 5 /5
- Maneuverability 5 /5
- Durability 5 /5
Effortless glide on two or four wheels
Minimal, ultra-modern aesthetic
Impressive packing capacity
It could use more interior pockets
The Freeform Hardside Set from the tried-and-tested suitcase brand Samsonite includes a 21-inch carry-on spinner and a large 28-inch spinner. Both feature polypropylene, a durable hard plastic that stood up well to our testing process with barely any scuffs. It’s also incredibly lightweight, with the carry-on weighing just 6.5 pounds and the checked bag tipping the scales at 9.6 pounds. We loved the minimal, streamlined look of this luggage set and the bags’ deceptively large packing capacity. We could fit everything on our packing list without employing the handy expansion feature.
Both suitcases feature a divider and enough pockets for efficient organization. We appreciated the cross-ribbon, which helps keep everything in place, but we would have liked a waterproof section for dirty laundry. The suitcases excelled in maneuverability, with four double spinner wheels and a sturdy, retractable pull handle offering the smoothest glide of any of the bags we tested. They were equally maneuverable over different surfaces and at different speeds, and we loved the easy transition between two and four wheels. Other highlights include an integrated ID tag and a TSA-approved combination lock.
Pieces Included: 2 | Sizes: 21-inch, 28-inch | Materials: Polypropylene | Expandable: Yes
TripSavvy / Tamara Staples
Amazonbasics hardside three-piece set.
Durable ABS construction
Significant expansion for all bags
Handled bumps and turns well
No TSA-approved lock
This three-piece luggage set from AmazonBasics costs less than a single suitcase from many other brands on this list. It includes a 21-inch carry-on, a 26-inch checked bag perfect for short trips, and a larger 30-inch checked bag. All three suitcases feature extra-thick ABS plastic with a scratch-resistant finish that surpassed all expectations during our stringent durability tests. We loved these suitcases' simple yet sleek design and were impressed with their maneuverability on carpet and concrete.
We especially liked that they could handle bumps and turns on all four wheels. The suitcases have double spinner wheels for 360-degree mobility and a well-made telescoping handle. You can also use the top handle for easy lifting on and off the luggage scale. Interiors feature 150-denier polyester, a divider, and three zippered pockets. We fit everything on our packing list before using the expansion feature but liked that we had that option if required. Choose your set in Black, Navy Blue, Blue, or Orange.
Pieces Included: 3 | Sizes: 21-inch, 26-inch, 30-inch | Materials: ABS plastic | Expandable: Yes
Travelpro platinum elite carry-on / medium check-in hardside set.
Solid handle with contoured grip
Easy to spin and maneuver
Carry-on includes USB charge ports
One of the most expensive options on this list
Those with room in the budget for high-end, branded hard-side luggage will no doubt love the Platinum Elite set from Travelpro. It includes two pieces: a 21-inch carry-on and a 25-inch checked spinner. Both have 100 percent polycarbonate, with a genuine leather trim and aluminum corner armor. The latter adds to the luggage’s sleek aesthetic and helps it to emerge undamaged from being beaten with a bat during testing. The carry-on has an external power bank pocket and fast-charge USB A and C ports.
Both suitcases feature an open clamshell-style, with two zippered divider panels and multiple mesh accessory pockets. We liked that they offer a water-resistant one for damp laundry or toiletries and that the checked bag features adjustable compression straps. We could fit all of our belongings but did have to employ the expansion feature, which made the carry-on quite a squeeze to fit into our simulated overhead compartment. Nevertheless, we loved the set’s maneuverability, with smooth-turning wheels and a contoured, textured handle.
Pieces Included: 2 | Sizes: 21-inch, 25-inch | Materials: Polycarbonate | Expandable: Yes
TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik
Travelpro platinum elite expandable softside spinner set.
Multiple interior and exterior pockets
The Carry-on features a USB charge port
Scratch- and scuff-resistant fabric
Less spacious than some competitors
For softside fans, the fabric version of Travelpro’s Platinum Elite luggage set is an obvious choice. Featuring a 21-inch spinner, a 25-inch spinner, and a 29-inch spinner, it includes a suitcase for every occasion—all of them made from high-density nylon with a DuraGuard coating, leather accents, and chrome zippers. The set sustained zero marks or damage even after extensive drops and bat beatings. The carry-on boasts an integrated USB port and external battery pocket, while all three offer a drop-in, fold-out suiter to keep garments wrinkle-free.
We were impressed with the organizational features, with multiple interior and exterior zippered pockets, a divider, and a compression system. One pocket is waterproof, making it handy for toiletries or other damp items. This set also utilizes the brand’s PrecisionGlide system, with self-aligning wheels and an airline-grade aluminum handle with four height settings and a contoured grip. We found the bags maneuvered well, although it took a little more effort on two wheels. Sets are available in a range of colors from Shadow Black to Bordeaux.
Pieces Included: 3 | Sizes: 21-inch, 25-inch, 29-inch | Materials: High-density nylon | Expandable: Yes
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph
Best for Business Travel
Beis luggage bundle.
Mix-and-match colors and materials
Cushioned laptop compartment
Built-in weight indicator
It can feel a little unwieldy
The BEIS Luggage Bundle is completely customizable, with the ability to choose two or three pieces from a range of options, including hard- and soft-sided carry-ons, 26-inch spinners, and 29-inch spinners. You can match materials or choose some of each, while colors (ranging from professional Black or Navy to eye-catching Maple) are also selected individually. Common features include water-resistant zippers (ideal for business trips in inclement weather), an integrated TSA-approved lock, and a weight indicator built into the side carry handle.
We love the amazing storage capacity offered by each suitcase, with compartments on both sides and useful drawstring bags included for your shoes or dirty laundry. We especially like this luggage for business travelers because of the padded divider for storing your laptop securely. Other highlights include the 360-degree Hinomoto wheels and the cushioned pillow handle—both of which make travel a breeze no matter how often you’re on the road. We found the suitcases easy to turn around tight corners and over bumps, even on carpet.
Pieces Included: 2 or 3 | Sizes: 21-inch, 26-inch, 29-inch | Materials: Polycarbonate or polyester | Expandable: Optional
TripSavvy / Jhett Thompson
Away the bigger carry-on flex.
- Durability 4 /5
Convenient compression system
Option to make luggage expandable
Choice of materials
Not all colors available in every size
A top luggage brand with great customer service, Away gives you options to you build your luggage set from scratch. Start by choosing your carry-on (the brand offers a standard and a plus-size option), then add The Medium and/or The Large, with the biggest savings reserved for three-piece sets. Opt for polycarbonate or aluminum—we tested the polycarbonate, which stood up well with no dents and only a few superficial scratches. We liked that the suitcase came with a special sponge for removing these. Then, choose the Classic or the Flex version (the latter is expandable).
You can choose the same color for each piece or go for different ones, with shades ranging from Black to Green, Asphalt, and Blush. We loved the look of this luggage and how organized it is. Each piece divides into two halves separated by a zippered divider. An interior compression system keeps everything in place, while a hidden laundry bag provides space for your dirty items. Finally, the 360-degree spinning wheels guarantee smooth-gliding, quick-turning mobility. Top, side, and underside grab handles make lifting easy.
Pieces Included: 2 or 3 | Sizes: 20-inch, 21-inch, 24-inch, 27-inch | Materials: Polycarbonate or aluminum | Expandable: Optional
Samsonite winfield 2 hardside luggage set.
Good interior organization
Maneuvers smoothly over most terrains
Brushstroke coloration hides scratches
Limited colors on the official site
If you frequently take extended trips and need a dependable choice of checked bags, the three-piece Samsonite Winfield 2 Fashion Set includes both a 24-inch and a 28-inch suitcase and a handy carry-on. All three feature lightweight polycarbonate, which flexes under stress and then pops back into place—a phenomenon we saw for ourselves during our testing process. We liked that the brushstroke coloration effectively hid any scuffs or scratches, keeping your suitcases looking smart for longer.
Each one is split into two halves by the zippered divider, which includes integrated pockets for maximum organization. We appreciated the bags’ ample space, the compression feature for keeping everything in place, and how they can expand to accommodate the results of a vacation shopping spree. With four multidirectional spinner wheels and a retractable handle, the set maneuvered smoothly over various terrains, including concrete, carpet, and gravel. Extra features range from a TSA lock to sturdy hoist handles.
Pieces Included: 3 | Sizes: 20-inch, 24-inch, 28-inch | Materials: Polycarbonate | Expandable: Yes
Best Large Capacity
Delsey paris helium aero hardside luggage set.
Beautiful jewel tones
Plenty of space even before expansion
The carry-on includes a padded laptop sleeve
Relatively few interior pockets
If capacity is your top priority, you’ll love the three-piece Helium Aero luggage set from Delsey Paris. Made from polycarbonate, the suitcases survived our durability tests with a few barely noticeable surface scratches. We love the metallic jewel tones on offer (ranging from Red to Blue or Steel Grey) and feel that they are both chic and easy to pick out at the luggage carousel. Including a carry-on, a small checked bag, and a large checked bag, the set opens clamshell-style to reveal two deep halves with plenty of space to spare.
We could fit everything on our list with room left over, even before using the expansion feature. We did wish there were a few more pockets (interior organization consists of just two pockets, a zippered divider, and compression straps), but a set of packing cubes would provide an easy solution for those that prefer more structure. The carry-on has a separate front pocket with a padded laptop compartment. We found the suitcases easy to push or pull on hard floors and carpet and easy enough to pull on gravel. All suitcases have a TSA lock.
Pieces Included: 3 | Sizes: 21-inch, 27.5-inch, 31.75-inch | Materials: Polycarbonate | Expandable: Yes
First, we tested suitcase capacity by packing each one with a prescribed list of items meant to replicate a seven-day fall sightseeing trip (for checked bags) or a four-day trip (for carry-on bags). During the packing process, we evaluated the luggage’s storage and expansion features, noted how smooth the zippers were, and how durable the overall construction was.
Next, we tested maneuverability by pushing and pulling the suitcase over concrete, carpet, and gravel. We took each one through an obstacle course meant to simulate a busy airport or station, noting how easily the suitcase turned, how well it handled bumps, and how smooth the transition was from two wheels to four (and vice versa).
Finally, we tested for durability by placing it on a counter and pushing it off multiple times. We also repeatedly beat it with a baseball bat, targeting potential weak areas, including the corners and wheel housings. We scored all suitcases from 1 to 5 for capacity, organization, maneuverability, durability, and value. Total scores informed our choice of category winners.
What to Look for in Luggage Sets
While larger sets include an option for every travel scenario, smaller sets require you to decide between the suitcase sizes that best meet your needs. Usually, two-piece sets include a carry-on and either a medium or a large checked bag. The right choice depends on how long you typically travel, how many people you pack for, and where you usually go (cold destinations require bulkier layers than warm ones). Carry-on sizes vary from brand to brand. If you prefer a particular airline, check that the carry-on size of your chosen set is compatible with their size restrictions.
Suitcase materials come in two main categories: hardside and softside. Hardside luggage usually features polycarbonate or ABS plastic, or aluminum. The most popular materials for softside luggage are high-density nylon and polyester. Both options have their pros and cons. Many people like the modern look of hardside luggage, the fact that it provides rigid protection for their belongings (from both rough handling and thieves), and that it’s easy to clean. Others prefer softside luggage because it’s less prone to scratches, scuffs, and dents; while flexible sides are more forgiving for overpackers and oddly shaped items.
Luggage sets on this list vary considerably, from just over $200 to just under $1,300—proving that there’s an option for almost any budget. While brand name and reputation determine much of the price, there are ways to minimize cost. Namely, sets with fewer pieces are obviously cheaper, while softside luggage is often more economical than hardside. Remember that it’s often worth investing a little bit more in a quality set that will stand the test of time, saving you from having to fork out more for a replacement in a few years.
Purchasing a luggage set means always having the best-sized bag for your travels, whether you need a carry-on for an overnight business trip or a large checked bag for your annual family vacation. Usually, investing in a set is more economical than buying each piece separately. Coordinated luggage adds an element of seamless style to your travel look, especially since many brands design their pieces to fit together with connecting straps or sleeves. Finally, suitcase sets nest inside each other neatly, saving storage space at home and on the road.
Most often, luggage sets have two or three pieces—typically, a carry-on and a medium and/or large checked bag. It’s also possible to find four- or five-piece sets, which add a matching duffel or under-seater. You should choose the set that best reflects your travel habits. For example, if you mostly travel solo on trips of a similar length, a two-piece set is likely sufficient. But, if your trips are less predictable, having a greater variety of suitcase sizes to choose from can be handy, while couples and families can share larger sets between them.
Some brands let you create your luggage set from scratch. You can choose how many pieces you want, which suitcase styles meet your needs best, the features you want, and your preferred colors. Often, pieces don’t have to match in color or style. This is a game-changer for those wanting different pieces for different family members at a single, discounted price or for those who plan on using each piece for a different occasion (a sober black carry-on for business, perhaps, and a pink checked bag for trips with friends).
Care guidelines differ from brand to brand and depend on the suitcase material. We always recommend checking individual manufacturer instructions before attempting to clean your luggage. However, as a general rule, hardside luggage made from polycarbonate or ABS is easily wiped clean with a damp cloth. You can remove dirt from softside luggage with a soft-bristled brush, while other stains may be successfully spot-cleaned. Either way, luggage should be fully dry when put away and stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
All TSA-approved locks serve the same purpose—they allow your suitcase to be opened by a TSA agent with a masterkey, rather than that agent having to damage your suitcase to see what’s inside. However, not all of them operate in exactly the same way, so the process for setting the code differs. Most come with easy instructions; if yours doesn’t, a quick search of the brand website should give you the answer you’re looking for. Otherwise, this website gives a good overview of different lock types. All TSA locks come with a factory code of 000.
Jessica Macdonald is the Africa travel expert for TripSavvy and a regular contributor to commerce round-ups relating to family and adventure travel. She is a frequent traveler with a firsthand understanding of the importance of a good luggage set, having visited more than 50 countries for everything from backpacking adventures to family vacations and research trips.
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Luggage sets are a staple for vocation and come in various types, such as hard shell luggage sets or hard side luggage sets that can keep people's packed clothes dry in a downpour, soft side luggage sets that offer exterior compartments to stash away last-minute items, and rolling spinner luggage sets that feature four wheels turning in multiple directions to easily navigate corners and changes in the route.
What are the benefits of luggage sets?
Instead of packing things in different bags, totes, and suitcases, buying a suitcase set can save time and money in the long run. Nothing is worse than scrambling at the last minute to find the right-sized bag for an upcoming trip. With travel luggage sets , one can always have a carry-on or checked bag on hand. For frequent travelers, having options will save a lot of trouble. Sometimes, carry-on luggage is needed, and other times, a medium-sized checked bag may suit the case well, and sometimes a two-piece luggage set or a three-piece luggage set is needed to take all the stuff, but luggage sets can perfectly match any situation. Although the price tag may seem hefty for hard luggage sets , it's actually more economical to buy the pieces together than individually. As for style, there are women's luggage sets , men's luggage sets , and kids' luggage sets that are designed according to different groups' tastes and preferences.
How many pieces should luggage sets include?
This really depends on how often people travel and the types of trips people take. For people who travel from time to time and usually switch between taking a carry-on and checking a bag, a two-piece luggage set would be the ideal choice. For people who like having more than one option for carry-ons, like a duffle or a tote in addition to an overhead bag, a three-piece luggage set or four-piece luggage set may do the trick. Besides, for the consideration of space-saving, it would be better to stick with smaller sets or sets that fit inside each other for easy storage.
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