AmazonBasics Luggage Review (Is It A Good Affordable Alternative?)
As you may have noticed, Amazon has started making their own…well, almost everything. Including luggage.
But the big question is, is it any good? After all, they have some stiff competition from Samsonite, Travelpro, and their friends.
So, in this review, we are going to dive into the 3 main categories of Amazon Basics luggage and find out if it’s worth your money.
AmazonBasics Luggage: The Product Range
There are 4 different types of luggage in Amazon’s range. There are2 hardshell suitcases. The main difference between the 2 is that one has a textured finish and the other has a shiny finish. All other features are the same, so both suitcases will be covered in one section of the review.
The other 2 pieces of luggage are the; softshell suitcase and the underseat carry-on. With these 2 products, there is less variety than with the hardshells, most likely because they are less popular.
All of their luggage has something in common – it is covered by AmazonBasics Three-Year Limited Warranty, except for the underseat carry-on, which is backed by Amazon’s 1-year warranty. The warranty covers any manufacturing defects, so if you receive a faulty product, you can exchange it immediately. However, the warranty does not cover any damage caused by transport, and it does not apply to residents outside of the United States.
First, let’s talk about the hard shells’ differences and common characteristics in this section.
The main difference between the two hardshells is the finish. Both suitcases are made of extra-thick ABS, but one has a textured finish, which is supposed to make the scuffs and scratches less visible. The other hardshell has a shiny finish that is supposed to be more aesthetically pleasing. Additionally, the textured luggage is available in a wider range of colors than the shiny one.
You also probably noticed that the dimensions differ significantly. This is because, when listing the dimensions of the shiny luggage, Amazon included the height of the handle. I am saying this because the shipping weights of the respective sizes of the suitcases are virtually the same, which wouldn’t be the case if there really was such an actual size difference in the cases.
Spinner wheels. Both hard shell versions are equipped with double spinner wheels, which is a rare, but very much appreciated inclusion, particularly when looking at affordable luggage (usually only the big guns with high price tags have them). These kinds of wheels mean that you don’t have to tilt your suitcase to get the wheels rolling. In fact, you can push the suitcase, pull it or even roll it alongside you, which puts much less strain on your arms and shoulders.
Expandable by 15%. All 6 suitcases we are looking at here are expandable, which is a big plus. The expansion zipper is right next to the closure zipper and it’s barely noticeable, which is a good thing. However, there is nothing that will help you distinguish between the 2 zippers, so you might end up mixing them up the first few times. (I do that on my Delsey all the time)
Telescopic wheel handle. The wheel handle extends 11”-20”, depending on the size of the suitcase. It can be locked once extended, as well as when it is not in use. Unfortunately, it appears that the handle can’t be locked to different height settings, which means that not everyone will get a perfect fit (If you want that kind of handle you need to get a far more expensive suitcase). As well as this handle, the luggage is also equipped with 2 carry handles, on the top, and on one side. All kinds of standards for luggage these days.
Two packing compartments. The interior of both hardshells is fully lined with 150D-polyester and features 2 packing compartments. The bottom compartment has elastic straps to keep your belongings in place. On the other side, the top compartment has a zippered divider (always a bonus!) with 3 zippered pockets for any smaller things you want to keep separate. If organization is your biggest concern, I believe these suitcases won’t let you down.
No locks on the suitcases. This is a shared downside of all these hardshells; there aren’t any locks on the luggage. This might not be a problem for the carry-on, but it is a big problem for the checked luggage. However, if you don’t really travel by plane often, then this won’t be that big of a deal for you.
Now, let’s check each size’s specifications and prices.
AmazonBasics luggage features one softshell suitcase, in 4 different sizes. The 2 smaller sizes are carry-ons, and the 2 larger versions are checked luggage. Let’s take a look at their basic specifications.
These are basically the same size as the hardshells, but they are lighter. That’s always a benefit of softshell luggage, as well as the fact that it is more flexible. A 21” softshell could fit into a space in which a 21” hardshell couldn’t fit because the soft shell can be collapsed a little so that the suitcase can be squeezed into a tight space.
Features Of The Softshell Luggage
Spinner wheels. They really add value to the softshell suitcases, so it’s a good thing that the AmazonBasics softsides feature double spinner wheels. They will provide you with excellent maneuverability of your suitcase, and allow you to push/pull/roll your suitcase however you want. Additionally, these wheels put much less strain on your arms and shoulders, so you can say goodbye to painful trips to the airport.
Expandable by 25%. All 4 softshells can be expanded up to 25%. Additionally, if you over pack your suitcase, you’ll see that they can probably be expanded even further. This is because the soft shell conforms to the shape of your clothing, even when the suitcase is overflowing. But to get back to the point, being able to expand the capacity of your suitcase is always a bonus, so kudos to Amazon for remembering to include this feature.
Exterior pocket. I wouldn’t really call this a pocket, but rather an exterior compartment. It is quite large, and you can store things in it that you want to have easy access to. The first thing that comes to mind is a laptop; however, since there is no lock on this pocket, maybe it wouldn’t be such a great idea to store expensive electronics in it (if it’s not going to be in your sight all the time).
Telescopic wheel handle. The wheel handle extends and locks to one height setting. Not everyone will find that the height of the handle fits them perfectly, so do check the measures before you purchase anything. A handle that is too short or too long kind of defeats the purpose of the amazing double spinner wheels. In addition to that, there are also 2 carry handles on the suitcase – on the top, and on its side.
One packing compartment. This is quite common for softshell luggage. The AmazonBasics suitcase has a single, fully lined packing compartment. There are 3 zippered pockets inside the suitcase, which will help you stay organized during your travels. However, the tie-down straps in the compartment are somewhat weird – they are not elastic, but rather firm. When you want to secure your items you have to tighten the straps manually. I’m not a fan of this feature because if you put too much pressure on your clothing, it will unavoidably get wrinkled.
Let’s now check each size’s specifications and prices.
The underseat carry-on comes in 2 different designs; a Navy Blue version, and a Navy Blue Quilted one. Their dimensions and everything else about them are exactly the same, so let’s go into the details of these bags.
Exterior Of The Underseat Carry On
The bag is made of polyester fabric, and it has several exterior pockets. This makes it perfect for a carry-on because it allows you to organize your things, and keep the most important items handy. The size of the bag also makes it perfect for a carry-on, as it can fit in most airline overhead compartments, as well as under the seats. Additionally, the bag also features a slit on its back, which allows you to secure it to the handle of your suitcase.
On the exterior of the bag, you will also find skate wheels, coupled with a telescopic pull handle that locks with the push of a button when it’s extended. This is the part that I like the most – even though it’s a small bag, sometimes you simply don’t have the energy to carry it around. When such a time comes, just pull out the handle and pull it behind you (like a boss). However, there is a pair of carrying handles, which appear to be very sturdy. The wheels are not a spinner, which is kind of what I expected anyway.
Interior Of The Underseat Carry On
On the inside, the AmazonsBasics bag is fully lined with nylon. The main compartment is quite roomy, and you can fit all the items you might need during the flight in it. Additionally, I’m pretty sure you could fit a day or two’s worth of clothing in there, so this could also serve as a backup for some very short trips.
There are 2 breathable mesh pockets and 2 small pockets, all of which are zippered. They are great for storing jewelry, pens, or any other small items that you are likely to misplace in a large suitcase.
Overall, the AmazonBasics luggage appears to be a great cheap alternative. One thing I didn’t mention earlier – all the suitcases can be purchased in sets of 2 or 3, and they are even cheaper that way. For less than $150 you could equip yourself with 3 suitcases, which sounds like a really good deal to me.
Outer dimensions (including wheels): 14.7 x 9 x 21 Inches (21-Inch), 16.1 x 10.6 x 25.9 Inches (25.9-Inch), 17.5 x 12.9 x 30.9 Inches (30.9-Inch); Interior dimensions: 13.7 x 7.8 x 17.32 Inches (21-Inch), 15.1 x 9 x 22 Inches (25.9-Inch), 16.5 x 10.6 x 26.7 Inches (30.9-Inch)
Outer dimensions (including wheels): 14.1 x 9.8 x 22 Inches (22-Inch), 16.9 x 10.6 x 26.7 Inches (26-Inch), 19.6 x 12.4 x 30.7 Inches (30-Inch); Interior dimensions: 13.1 x 9.2 x 18.5 Inches (22-Inch), 15.7 x 10.2 x 22.8 Inches (26-Inch), 18.3 x 11.8 x 27.36 Inches (30-Inch)
The hardshells are obviously my favorite, especially the textured ones. I’m a big fan of bright colors, and there are plenty of them to choose from in Amazon’s range. The only downside of the hardshells is that they don’t have a lock, but if you can overlook that, these would make a great investment.
The softshells have a few advantages over the hardshells – the lighter weight and the exterior compartments. However, the softshells don’t have a lock either, which really is a bummer. Nevertheless, they still have some amazing features such as the spinner wheels and expandable capacity. If you are a fan of softshell luggage, definitely consider adding this one to your collection.
The underseat carry-on is a great choice for anyone who’s looking for a smaller in-cabin bag. It could also replace your carry-on suitcase if you’re going on a very short trip, and the telescopic handle will remove all the hassle of having to carry it around. Additionally, it has a ton of pockets that really help with staying organized.
If you aren’t really impressed by the AmazonBasics luggage, then check out this review of the best hardshell suitcases in 2018. However, if you loved them as much as I did, then head over to Amazon – you can’t get them anywhere else!