Are you tired of searching for the perfect carry on? Would you like to see all of the best options in one place? Then I'm glad you found us - in this review, you will only see the best carry on luggage money can buy!
From underseat tote bags to spinner suitcases and rolling duffels - I've found it all. And there is something for everyone's budget, since the luggage in this review costs anywhere from $30 to $300.
Ready to find your new favorite airplane bag? Scroll down to see what the best carry on luggage in 2019 is!
In order to get the most of your carry on luggage, you should make sure that it meets your preferred airline’s guidelines for size. Go for the airline that you fly with most frequently, or if you’re getting luggage for a specific flight make sure to check their restrictions.
Especially if you’re in the US – international airlines usually allow slightly larger bags inside their cabins.
If you want to be sure that you will always be allowed to bring your luggage inside the cabin, then you should go for an underseat bag. Even if the overhead compartments get completely full by the time you’re allowed to board, you still have the space below your seat for the bag.
Another thing to keep in mind is that some airlines have weight restrictions for carry on luggage, and others don’t. That is something you should always check before your flight, and you should always weigh your bag to make sure it doesn’t exceed any restrictions.
I will list the dimensions and weights of every bag below the reviews, so be sure to take a look at those. Plus, wherever possible, I will list the capacity of the carry on bag, so that you have a good idea of how much you will be able to fit inside it.
If you’re not sure which type of luggage you want, now is the time to think about it. Do you prefer a suitcase or a duffel bag? Maybe a backpack is what you’re looking for? There are lots of types of carry on luggage, and I will try to show you as many as possible.
But I will only show you the best in each category.
To be clear, I will show you suitcases, underseat bags (totes), backpacks and duffel bags in this review. But I’m going in depth here – a spinner suitcase, a softside suitcase, a rolling duffel, a regular duffel etc. So, you will see lots of different luggage, but all of it has one thing in common – it is carry on sized.
This is another thing you need to consider. Different types of bags have different capacities, so it’s really important t consider how you prefer to travel. Do you bring a checked suitcase and you need a carry on to hold your in-flight must-haves? Or do you pack everything you want to take in a carry on?
Underseat bags and backpacks are the best option for people who bring an additional checked bag. They have more compartments and pockets, and they allows for better organization of your belongings. Especially backpacks – some of them have a TSA friendly laptop compartment, so getting through checkpoints is a breeze.
But, they have smaller capacities than suitcases and duffel bags, exactly because of those compartments. So, if you tend to pack all your clothes in the carry on, go for a suitcase or a duffel – you will be able to fit much more inside them, but you won’t be as organized.
When in doubt, go with TravelPro. The brand began by manufacturing luggage for airline crew, so you know their bags will be durable, well-made and adhere to various airline restrictions.
This underseat tote is a great option if you don’t need a very extravagant carry on. It is small and lightweight, but very functional. It has a capacity of 28 liters, which is a lot for this type of bag. And it will still fit under your seat.
It is a top loading bag, so you can pack in it like you would in a suitcase. There is a fairly large zippered pocket inside the bag, which can hold all your smaller items. The bag also has a side pocket that is not fully closed, as well an additional front compartment for all items you want to have more easily accessible.
It features a luggage strap in the back, so you can easily mount it on top of your larger suitcase. The tote comes with a shoulder strap and two wrapped grab handles, so it is pretty easy to carry around.
This is a great bag for all of you who go on quick, overnight trips and don’t need to bring a lot of stuff. It will hold a day or two worth of clothing and toiletries, and some other in-flight necessities without an issue.
The rolling tote by American Tourister is a very popular option. It has two in line skate wheels and a retractable wheel handle, which make it super easy to move around with it. And there are also two grab handles (with a handle wrap) at the top of the bag, which make it very easy to carry it around in your hands.
This bag is a good option if you want something small for really short trips, or as an addition to your checked suitcase. It has a luggage strap in the back, which allows you to mount in on top of your suitcase – perfect if you’re travelling with two bags.
One downside to this bag is that it is quite heavy. At 6 lbs, this weighs as much as a 20” suitcase! But, at least you don’t have to worry about exceeding an airline’s carry on restrictions, since it is pretty small. Unless you pack bricks inside it, you’ll have time going over the allowed weight.
The bag has compression straps in the main compartment, which will come in handy since it is front loading. It will keep you clothes in place, in case you need to open up the bag to grab something from that large internal pocket on the front flat.
In addition to that, there is a pretty large external pocket on this bag – great for all those smaller items you want to have easily accessible.
The Farpoint 40 is an iconic carry on backpack. It is small enough that pretty much every airline will accept is as a carry on, but it still has a capacity of 40 liters. And that is pretty great – you can fit quite a lot of luggage in the 40-liter capacity of this backpack.
There are two versions of the bag – the Farpoint is the men’s version, and the Fairview is the women’s version. They are both the same size and they have the same capacity – the Fairview just has a specific design of the harness, to ensure that it perfectly fits the female body.
The packs have LightWire frame suspension, with adjustable load lifters that transfer the weight from the harness to the hipbelt.
The backpanel and the harness are both padded, ventilated, for your carrying comfort. In addition to that, the packs both feature a stowaway harness. This makes the back of the pack smooth, and makes it easier to fit it in the overhead compartment.
The backpack has a front loading main compartment, so it’s really easy to pack. Also, it has a padded laptop sleeve, a tablet sleeve, and several other internal and external pockets for all your smaller items. The only downside to it is that the laptop compartment is not TSA friendly, so you will need to take it out when going through checkpoints.
There are both internal and external compression straps on this pack, which allow you to tighten your backpack, so that everything stays in place.
The Cascade is a rolling backpack by Olympia. They are a brand that makes affordable luggage, and this pack is no exception – it only costs about $50. Which is pretty amazing considering how functional and sturdy it is.
It has a large, front loading main compartment, which can fit a lot. There is a small zip pocket on the front panel, and a pretty large internal zippered pocket. Of course, you get side water bottle pockets, but they are hidden away.
The front panel of this pack also features daisy chain webbing, which allows you to attach any bulky items to it with a carabiner. And it has several grab handles, so you can easily carry it in your arms.
The backpanel is not the greatest, since it is not really ventilated. But, the backpack does have adjustable and ventilated shoulder straps and a very sturdy sternum strap. In addition to that, you can easily hide the shoulder straps with the panel, so that they don’t get in the way when you’re wheeling it around.
The only thing you need to be careful about is the weight of the bag. It’s deceptively small – you can actually fit quite a lot inside it, which means you can easily exceed any weight restriction. But the good news is that, in case you are forced to check this because of its weight, it is rugged enough to come out unscathed.
The Helium Aero International is the smallest suitcase in Delsey’s Aero range, and it’s the best one if you want to be absolutely positive that your carry on will always be allowed on the airplane. It’s so small that it conforms to the dimension restrictions of most airlines in the world, which is a huge plus.
It’s not too lightweight, but I can live with that. This suitcase is made from 100% Polycarbonate, which is the best material for suitcases out there. In case it gets dented, it will not crack, and it will instead pop back into its original position.
And that’s not even my favorite thing about this suitcase – it’s a rare hardshell in this world that features an external compartment. Yes, you read that right – the Delsey Helium Areo carry on has an external compartment with a padded laptop sleeve.
The packing compartment is divided in two; the bottom compartment features cross straps to hold your clothes in place, and a small zippered pocket for your smaller items. The top compartment, on the other hand, has a full zippered divider with a large pocket, and also cross straps inside. Additionally, the capacity of the packing compartments is expandable.
This suitcase features four double spinner wheels, a telescopic wheel handle and a TSA friendly lock. And on top of all that, it has a pretty attractive price tag, especially for a suitcase made from such premium materials. If you want the best of the best, definitely pick up this carry on.
I love Samsonite suitcases, and I never doubt their quality. The only reason you haven’t seen more of them in this review is their size – Samsonite’s smallest suitcases tend to be taller than 23”, which won’t be considered a carry on by most airlines.
But not this one; the Fiero is barely over 21” tall, and it is an amazing suitcase. It is made from 100% Polycarbonate, so you know it has a very durable and impact resistant shell. It is a bit prone to scratches, but that’s a common issue with PC suitcases.
This suitcase has four single spinner wheels that are lightweight, and which glide smoothly and quietly. You will have no issues manoeuvring this suitcase around the airport, especially with the retractable wheel handle.
The Fiero has expandable capacity and two packing compartments. Both are fully lined; the bottom compartment features a small zippered pocket and elastic cross traps that will hold your clothes in place. The top compartment, on the other hand, only features a full zippered divider – no pockets there.
That’s pretty much the only downside of this suitcase – you won’t really be able to organize your things. But, you will like everything else about it – the TSA friendly lock will keep all your belongings safe, and the top grab handle is soft and comfortable to hold in your hand.
Maxlite 5 is the newest version of the collection by Travelpro, and it is a really good one. This suitcase in particular is made from Polyester fabric with DuraGuard coating that makes it water resistant and very durable.
The international carry on is less than 22” tall with wheels and handle, but the case is only some 19”. Which means you don’t have too much packing room. However, the suitcase does have expandable capacity, so you can always add a couple more inches if you need to.
The four single spinner wheels make moving around the airport a breeze. And there is the PowerScope Lite telescopic wheel handle that locks into two height positions, so hopefully you will find it a good fit.
Softshell suitcases have a big advantage over hardshells – exterior compartments and pockets. The Maxlite 5 has a large front compartment, which is great for any items you remember last minute.
The main compartment is fully lined and it is quite spacious. It features two tie-down straps that will hold your clothes in place, as well as two zippered pockets. There is a small one inside the actual packing compartment, and a much bigger one on the closure flat of the luggage.
This suitcase also has a total of three grab handles – top, bottom and side. And it is available in several different colors, including a stunning blue option that would definitely stand out at the airport.
I personally don’t like suitcases with two wheels, since my arm always hurts after I’ve dragged one around for hours. However, some people love them because they are shorter than spinners, and you get a bigger packing case on them.
But when you have an awesome softside suitcase from Samsonite, it’s really hard to say no. The Aspire xLite suitcase is made from polyester, and it has a very durable exterior. The suitcase has a spacious main compartment with expandable capacity and cross straps inside it.
And, since it is an upright suitcase, the packing case on this thing is very large – larger than on all spinners you’ve seen here.
The top cover of the Aspire xLite features a large zippered pocket, and also a wet pocket below it. This is great for your toiletries or any wet clothes you might have to pack in the luggage.
There are also two external pockets on this suitcase; the top one is quite small and it is great for your passport and plane ticket. The bottom pocket is much larger, and it can fit any items you remember to pack last-minute.
This suitcase has two in-line skate wheels. They are polyurethane wheels, with ball bearings that ensure smooth rolling and that minimize friction.
In addition to that, this suitcase is also equipped with two sturdy grab handles, as well as a retractable wheel handle that lock both in extended and stored positions.
You could argue that most of the suitcases I’ve shown you here are affordable – after all, carry ons don’t usually break the bank. But when it comes to the best affordable carry on suitcase, only one brand comes to mind – Amazon.
Their AmazonBasics luggage collection is really good, especially when you consider just how much it costs. And their suitcases have thousands of positive reviews, with 4 and 5-star ratings, which is pretty insane.
This suitcase is made from ABS plastic, which has great scratch resistance. However, it is not as flexible as Polycarbonate, and the shell will break if too much pressure is applied to it. But that’s something you can easily fix yourself.
There are four double spinner wheels on the AmazonBasics suitcase, which roll smoothly and quietly. The wheel handle is retractable, and it will help you move around the airport with ease. In addition to that, this suitcase features two grab handles; one on the top and one on the side.
The interior of this luggage is divided into two packing compartments with expandable capacity. Both compartments are fully lined with polyester, and they feature a total of three pockets.
But the best thing about this suitcase is the price – you can get it for less than $50, which is pretty amazing.
If you’re all about the safety of your belongings, then a zipperless carry on is the best option for you. The Enkloze X1 suitcase is incredibly safe, but it is not 100% zipperless! This suitcase features a front compartment with zippered opening and a TSA lock.
There is a laptop sleeve in this compartment and several smaller pockets that will help you stay organized – perfect for anything you would like to have handy in-flight. And it is still incredibly safe – the main compartment features latch closure, with a TSA key lock.
There are two fully lined packing compartments inside this suitcase, both of which are equipped with cross straps. And each compartment has a large removable divider, with a total of three pockets on them.
The exterior of this suitcase is made from 100% Polycarbonate, and it is very durable and sturdy. This suitcase also has an aluminium frame and aluminium reinforced corners, for superb impact resistance.
And it has four spinner wheels that are quiet and roll very smoothly. The telescopic wheel handle is retractable, and it locks when extended and stored.
Overall, if you want to completely safe that no one can break into the packing compartment of your suitcase (apart from TSA), but still have some items easily accessible, this is the perfect suitcase for you.
This is a good versatile duffel bag. It’s large enough that you can use it for travel, but still small enough that it is a carry on. And you can use it for pretty much anything else – gym, work, school etc.
The bag is made from water resistant polyester, so your clothes will stay dry in the rain. It has a pretty large capacity of 45 liters, which is enough to fit clothes for several days. Maybe even a week, if you pack light.
There is not a dedicated laptop sleeve inside it, but the bag is large enough to fit any laptop. It has two slip pockets inside the main compartment, and one large zippered pocket on the top cover.
There are big zippered pockets on the sides of this bag, four smaller zip pockets on the front and one pocket on the bag. This makes it amazing for travelling organized – all your clothes and large items can fit in the main compartment, and then you can fit all the smaller things in the pocket. And you can have everything handy, since this can easily fit under your seat.
The bag also has a luggage strap in the back, so it is a good option if you want to pair it with a bigger suitcase.
You get a padded shoulder strap with this duffel, which is removable. And then there are also two grab handles, for when you need to carry it in your arms. Overall, it is a really great option if you’re looking for a plain duffel.
Here’s another awesome bag from Olympia. This rolling duffel is just the right size for a carry on (22” tall), so it will be accepted in cabin by most airlines. And what’s even better is that you can easily fit this under your seat, if you lie it flat on the floor.
Of course, that is if you don’t completely fill it. The bag has very large capacity, so if you fill it to the brim, you might have some issues with its size.
The main compartment is really spacious, and I think you can easily pack enough stuff here for a week. In addition to that, this rolling duffel has a ton of different pockets – eight to be precise.
There are two pockets on the front of the bag, two on each side, one on the top and one in the back. That last one is not really functionally, since it is the pocket where the telescopic wheel handle stores when not in use.
The wheel handle locks in the extended position, which makes it super easily to travel with this huge bag. The duffel has in-line skate wheels that perform quite well. They are quiet and smooth - what more can you ask for?
It is an excellent bag for someone who wants luggage that they can pack all their clothing inside, but also be organized and have some smaller items easily accessible. All the different pockets on this duffel allow for easy organization, which is a huge bonus.
And I haven’t even mentioned the best part – this rolling duffel costs only about $30, which is ridiculously affordable! That’s on Amazon- it is about three times as much on their official web.
All of the bags I showed you so far are excellent options. They are all very highly rated by hundreds and thousands of happy travellers, and you won’t make a mistake whichever one you get.
That being said, if you’re not sure which bag is just right for you, here are my top three favorites.
The best carry on suitcase overall would be the Delsey Helium Aero. For me, nothing beats that external compartment on a hardside, even if it does take away from the capacity of the main compartment. But you can always expand that capacity, and stay organized while you travel. The suitcase has double spinner wheels, a retractable wheel handle and a TSA lock, to make your travels easier. And that Polycarbonate shell will last you a really long time.
If you’re dead set on getting a backpack, I cannot recommend the Osprey Farpoint/Fairview enough. It’s without a doubt one of the best carry on backpacks that exist in the world, and you won’t regret getting it. The backpanel will keep you comfortable at all times, and the minimalistic and sleek exterior will make you look very professional. The pack is very spacious, so you can easily fit clothes in it for a week, and all the external pockets will help you keep your small necessities handy.
Maybe a rolling duffel is exactly what you’re looking for? Then don’t hesitate to get the Olympia rolling duffel bag. It is insanely affordable, so even if you wind up not liking it, you won’t care too much. But there’s no reason not to like it – this rolling duffel bag is very spacious, has lots of different pockets for easy organization and wheels and a handle that make moving around with it a breeze. On top of all that, this will easily fit under your seat, so you are pretty much always guaranteed to bring it inside the cabin!
Head over to Amazon to check out the prices of all of this carry on luggage. And if you did not find something for yourself, go visit one of our related posts - maybe you'll find something you love there!
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!