If you are in the market for a new hardshell luggage, I’m here to help you. Deciding on one particular piece of luggage can be difficult, especially with all the options out there.
To make the process easier, I divided this review into 3 sections.
1. We will take a look at the best of the cheapest suitcases available.
2. Then we will check out those that are not really cheap, but not too expensive either.
3. And finally, we’ll take look at some of the most luxurious luggage options, for those who like to treat themselves.
OUR TOP PICKS
SAMSONITE CENTRIC HARDSIDE
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TED BAKER HERRINGBONE HARDSIDE
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Whether you simply don’t want to spend a lot of money on luggage, or you need one ASAP and you are looking for the cheapest options, I’ve got you covered. In this section, we will take a look at some of the most affordable but quality luggage you can get your hands on.
Yes, you read that right. I found you a carry-on spinner suitcase for less than a $100. Even cheaper than the Samsonite Winfield! Another expandable spinner worth checking out.
This 20” suitcase is the perfect size for a carry-on and a great option for anyone who travels frequently for shorter periods of time. Depending on your packing skills, you could probably fit up to a week’s worth of clothing into the Centric Spinner. It weighs just 7.5lbs, so it is light to carry around and it won’t exceed any weight limits. A big bonus (for me at least) is the full zipper divider on the inside, which allows you to fully secure your belongings.
This suitcase has everything you would expect from Samsonite; spinner wheels, a telescopic handle and it is an expandable carry on spinner too. It is made of durable polycarbonate, one of my favorites when it comes to hardshell luggage. Polycarbonate is lightweight and durable; its only downside is that it scuffs easily. However, the texture of the suitcase is such that marks and scuffs will not be as visible as on a smooth surface. Which means it's great for checked luggage.
Sasmsonite truly is one of the best luggage manufacturers out there, and their luggage rarely disappoint. You can expect the same standard of quality on every single one, as well as the same limited 10-year warranty. The Centric is currently on sale, so hurry up and get yours while you still can (click on that button below)!
Delsey is another excellent manufacturer; it is even compared to Samsonite fairly often. I already reviewed their entire Titanium line here, so be sure to check that out as well. If the Samsonite Centric is too small for you, then this one is a great option. This Helium Aero 25” spinner luggage is actually expandable by 2 inches, which will allow you to comfortably pack for longer trips.
Just like the Samsonite, the Helium Aero suitcase is also made of durable polycarbonate. It has a matte finish that certainly makes is look elegant, as well as a texture that will hide most scuffs and scratches. The Titanium also features spinner wheels and an aluminum handle. Additionally, it is also equipped with soft touch carry handles, for your ultimate comfort.
I just love the interior of the Helium Aero. One section can be secured with a zippered divider, which is always a bonus. There’s also several zippered pockets inside the suitcase, so you can pack any smaller items in them. Pockets also allow for better organization and also easier access to certain items. The bottom compartment has tie-down straps that promise to keep your belongings in place. All in all, it is one of the best hardside suitcases you can get, especially for such a low price, and it a great option for checked luggage.
If you need a complete set of luggage, both check in and carry on, then you will see why this set from Rockland luggage is a hit on Amazon. First, it comes in an insane variety of nearly 40 colors, ranging from the subdued to the outlandish. So, there is sure to be something for your taste in there.
Second, it is made from extremely durable and light ABS, which is the material of choice for budget suitcases as it just works. Surprisingly, this luggage from Rockland also comes with dual spinner wheels, something you normally only see on higher end brands. So, you get both a carry on spinner and a check in too!
And each of these models is also an expandable spinner - so, if you are like me and shop too much at your destination, you will still be able to close your case when it comes time to fly home!
But let's not ignore the inside of these cases either. They are fully lined, in both sections of the clamshell design. You have the standard elastic straps on the open side. And a fully zippered top side to keep all your clothes in place. There is also a zippered side pocket for all your smaller items too.
On the outside are also enough handles to keep anyone happy - note the top, side and telescopic handle. And when you sit it on its side to check in and weigh, it also has bumpers to protect it. A small thing, but it shows they are paying attention to the design!
This is another great low budget option for you. It is made of ABS plastic, which is actually lighter than polycarbonate. However, it is also less durable than polycarbonate, so the Tourister Moonlight might have a shorter lifespan than the previous two luggage options. You will get a 10-year limited warranty with it though, and that is somewhat reassuring. In addition to that, this bag is available in 3 different designs, two of which are actually very beautiful prints.
A great feature of this American Tourister suitcase is that it is expandable by 1.5 inches. This is an excellent addition, especially for those of you that return from trips with more stuff then they originally brought along. As for other features, the case has spinner wheels, an extendable wheel handle and several carry handles. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have any lock at all.
The Moonlight opens up into 2 sections, and both are lined with nylon. The bottom compartment features tie-down straps and a little zippered pocket. The top compartment can be closed of with the zipper. The divider is largely made of mesh fabric, which allows you to still see your items even when the compartment is fully zippered.
In this section we will take a look at some of the more expensive, but still only the best luggage sets. We will check out 2 larger suitcases as well as some carry on luggage; however, keep in mind that all of these are available in different sizes – they just cost different amounts of money.
The DLX Spinner is another of great hardside suitcase made by Samsonite. It is made of polycarbonate and framed with Aluminum, making it very impact resistant and durable. A big bonus of the DLX Spinner is that it is a zipperless case, and features latch closing. If you, like me, are a fan of zipperless luggage, be sure to check out this review of the best zipperless options for 2018.
This Samsonite luggage is equipped with a TSA friendly combination latch and double spinner wheels, as you would probably expect. It also has a retractable handle, as well as a couple of soft touch carry handles. Unfortunately, it is not an expandable bag, and in terms of packing space, what you see is what you get.
There are 2 sections inside the DLX Spinner. Also, the interior of the suitcase is fully lined with nylon. The bottom compartment has tie-down straps, and the top compartment features a divider panel that can be secured with hooks. Additionally, there is meshed pocket on the divider panel, in which you can store any smaller items you might want to have quick access to.
If you want to stand out, then this is the right luggage for you. It has a unique design with faux leather accents that really give it a luxurious feel and look. This suitcase has zipper closure and it is made from 100% virgin polycarbonate. It is also very lightweight, with only 10.8 lbs for a 71.8L capacity! You could pack comfortably for a 2-week trip inside this luggage, and still have some room left for souvenirs.
That extra space for souvenirs will come in handy because the Chatelet is not an expandable spinner. However, it does have double spinner wheels with a patented braking system and an extendable handle. I think that these features, and particularly the breaking system, more than make up for the lack of expansion option. Additionally, it also has a unique identification code, so if you lose it, Delsey could be able to reunite you with it (provided that someone finds it and turns it in to them).
The interior of the hardside spinner luggage is where things get interesting. It is fully lined, and it features two packing areas. Both compartments have tie-down straps, as well as full zippered dividers with pockets (a big plus!).
Additionally, a hanger, two laundry bags and shoe bags are also included in the purchase of the Chatelet. With this suitcase, you will not only stand out wherever you go, but you will also get excellent value for money.
This hardside luggage is made of aluminum, with magnesium alloy bumper corners for better impact resistance. Aluminum is an incredibly lightweight material; however, it is less durable than polycarbonate, and more easily damaged.
This is also a zipperless hardside suitcase, and the 20” version features 2 closure latches. This is obviously a carry-on and it has a capacity of 35L. You can get the TravelKing Case in 2 more sizes, and in 3 different colors, and Gold is my absolute favorite.
The luggage has double spinner wheels, TSA friendly locks on both latches and a telescoping handle. A bonus is that the handle can be locked in 3 different positions, allowing a comfortable fit for everyone. There are also 2 carry handles; one on the top, and one on the side.
This TravelKing luggage opens up into 2 sections that are both lined with waterproof nylon. In case you decide to use this as a life raft, at least you can have some peace of mind knowing that your belongings will stay dry.
There are also 2 divider panels on the inside; one panel is attached to the tie-down straps and has several zippered pockets, and the other divider can be secured with hooks, and has one large meshed zip pocket.
Those of you that love to treat yourselves with expensive goodies will enjoy this section. We’ll take a look at some of the best hardside luggage options for the luxury lover.
This luggage is made of aluminum-magnesium, with protective plastic bumps on the corners. This is a really lightweight material; however, it scratches and even dents easily, which is a bummer. The Topas also has a rubber seal, which means that it is waterproof, and that your belongings will always sty dry. Additionally, I also did a full review of this suitcase, so be sure to check that out as well if you decide to get it.
This is a zipperless bag; it features double latch closure. Both latches can be secured with TSA approved locks, which is always a bonus. The Topas also has double spinner wheels too. Unfortunately, the handle can only be fixed to one position – when it is extended 30” above ground. This might not be a comfortable height for everyone, so be sure to double check that before purchase.
The interior of the Topas features 2 packing compartments, both of which are equipped with flex-divider system. Both divider panels have zippered pockets that allow you to store any smaller items in them. Additionally, this luggage also has a discreet add-a-bag holder. It is hidden on the front of the suitcase, and it is not really noticeable if you don’t know what to look for. When you want to use it, you just pull out the belt, and pull it through the handle of the bag that you want to secure.
Briggs Riley have chosen to make this masterpiece out of Polycarbonate as most of the luxury suitcase companies do. It is built to take a beating and looks stunning too.
The Torq is designed like most softshells in that it has a large packing space and a thinner lid (they call it 80/20). The lid also has a zippered section complete with suiter - perfect for the business traveler. All of which is fully lined, and the main compartment also has a superbly designed packing area with a compression cover to keep everything in place. And the flexible liner makes packing a cinch.
The larger packing space also has a handy zippered mesh pocket to store all your small items too, so they won't get lost during your travels.
They have also included top-notch recessed spinner wheels to help get you to the check-in desk in a flash. On top of that, if you have a second carry on from Briggs Riley, you can easily pair it with this bag and roll them as one unit! How nice is that?
Briggs and Riley also stand behind their sturdy design and materials with a lifetime warranty which also covers damage from airline handling? Wow!
The shell of the Herringbone is made of 100% makrolon polycarbonate, my favorite lightweight and durable material. Even though the material is prone to scuffs and scratches, the design and texture of this hardside luggage will make those less visible. Additionally, this bag is currently available in 3 different colors.
The Herringbone has zipper closure, with a TSA approved combination lock. It is also equipped with double spinner wheels and a telescoping handle that can be locked with the push of a button. The main handle, as well as the carry handles have leather, hand-stitched details which really emphasize the luxurious aspect of this suitcase. Honestly, it just looks gorgeous. If you want to stand out from the airport crowd, then go with the Herringbone.
The interior of this suitcase is unique, when compared to the rest of the luggage in the review. Both packing compartments are lined with polyester; however, the lining features signature Ted Baker bird print, really making it stand out.
The top compartment can be closed of with a zippered divider, and the bottom compartment has tie-down straps. In addition to that, there is also a small zippered pocket in the bottom compartment, for any smaller items you would want to pack separately.
No section would really be complete without a Samsonite option, so here’s also a piece of luxurious and top-notch hardside case. This suitcase is made of 100% Curv technology; an innovative concept in thermoplastics which remains exclusive to Samsonite (in the travel business). Curv is an incredibly lightweight material, with superb impact resistance.
The Black Label Cosmolite features a single-barrel extendable handle, as well as a TSA combination lock. It also has spinner wheels and 2 carry handles. Unfortunately, the Cosmolite is not expandable luggage. However, I doubt you will need to expand it, because this is a 32” suitcase and you can fit plenty of stuff in it.
The Cosmpolite opens up into two packing compartments. They are not lined, which is another trick, along with the single barrel of the extendable handle, how Samsonite used to keep this suitcase as lightweight as possible. Additionally, the lack of lining also allows you fit more things inside the suitcase. The bottom compartment has tie-down straps, as compared to the top compartment, which can be fully closed off with a meshed zippered divider.
Not every suitcase is for everyone. Some people don’t really travel that often, and therefore, there is no reason for them to invest hundreds or thousands of dollars into a suitcase.
On the other hand, some people spend most of their time travelling, and sturdy, expensive luggage is a must-have for them. I divided the review into 3 sections, according to the prices of luggage.
There is a low budget section, a section with average-priced suitcases and a special section for lovers of luxury. All of them are what we consider to be the best hardside luggage, but of course there are always ranges when it comes to price.
Anyone who travels to the United States a lot will know hot important it is to have a suitcase with a TSA friendly lock.
Sometimes, TSA agents will choose to inspect your suitcase. If it has a such a lock, they the agents can safely open it up, and close it when they are finished with it. If it isn’t TSA friendly, they will open your luggage forcefully, which could cause irreparable damage.
Therefore, if you fly to the United States frequently, you will definitely want to pick up a TSA-friendly suitcase.
Most luggage featured in the review are available in multiple different sizes. However, since I divided them according to different budget types, not all sizes are featured in the review.
Suitcase sizes are usually indicated in the title, and full dimensions are listed in the product information section. This section will tell you best whether you are looking at a carry on spinner, or a piece of luggage that needs to be checked.
Different luggage sizes cost different amounts of money. Therefore, if you like something in the low budget section, but you wish to get it in a larger size, expect a higher price tag.
So, out of all these options, which ones are the best overall choices?
As the best low-budget suitcase, I would go for the Samsonite Centric Hardside. This is partly because you can rarely go wrong with a Samsonite luggage, and partly because of its overall features. It is a great carry on spinner, and an incredibly lightweight one too. The zippered divider inside is also a big bonus, as are the spinner wheels and combination lock for that matter.
For the best average priced suitcase, I think that the Delsey Chatelet blew away the competition. At first glance, it has a unique design, and the faux-leather details really make the colors pop. The only downside of this suitcase is that it is not expandable, but I think that the breaking system on the wheels kind of makes up for that. Additionally, you’ll also get a few cool accessories to go with your suitcase, so you will get great value for money!
As for the luxurious options, I have to say that Ted Baker Herringbone won me over with the bird lining. It is innovative and really pleasing on the eyes. The leather details on the handles really give it a luxurious look, and the double spinner wheels and TSA lock ensure its superb performance. In addition to that, this is a large hardside suitcase, but incredibly lightweight at the same time. If being unique is your thing, then this is the perfect option for you.
Head on over to Amazon to get a great deal on any one of these hardside suitcases!
Below are some of the most frequent questions we get on hardside cases.
There is no simple answer to this because so many brands produce hardside suitcases. For us, the best hardside brands include the likes of Samsonite, Delsey, American Tourister, Travel Pro and even the more expensive ones like Rimowa and Tumi.
In the end, which specific model you choose really depends on your budget and needs.
The best compromise between quality and price for hardshell luggage is a polycarbonate suitcase. However, if you are on a budget, ABS offers quality at more affordable prices. For those looking to spend more money, aluminium is the absolute best, but usually outside most people's budget.
It is possible to break any suitcase if you try hard enough, however it is unlikely that a hardside suitcase will crack. Polycarbonate suitcases are more likely to last. While those made from ABS are durable enough, but may wear out faster.
If you want to see some of the most durable suitcases on the market, check out this detailed post on the topic.
The answer really depends on the brand and material of the suitcase. Cheaper hardside cases made with ABS tend to be heavier than polycarbonate versions. And although many softshell suitcases tend to be heavier, there are examples of comparable or lightweight luggage from some brands like Travel Pro.
For more information about hardside vs softside cases, visit this post.
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!