Rimowa and Samsonite both make high-end that you know will last you a seriously long time.
However, when you compare the two brands they are really quite different.
Samsonite makes a huge range of soft and hard cases from synthetic materials like Nylon or Polycarbonate. There suitcases vary a lot in both color and style, so you have a lot of options to choose from.
Rimowa makes super modern looking aluminium suitcases and has more recently expanded into polycarbonate also. Their cases have a very distinctive ribbed look which you can spot a mile away.
Comparing the Samsonites and the Rimowas, you have to look at a few things in detail:
Each section below will show you how they compare.
Samsonite typically produces three size categories with all their cases:
Rimowa has a bit more of a strange sizing available in most of their models:
They also offer different options within their ranges like the Sports cases where the sizes vary a little from the measurements above (28.7, 31.5, 32.1 etc). Those cases are different in how they open and pack too.
It is hard to compare all suitcases from both Samsonite and Rimowa, but I will try to give you an idea of how they compare below.
Samsonite is known for the super-lightweight hard cases -
The 20 inch Cosmolite is insanely light at - 4.1 lb.
On the other side is the ever popular Samsonite Omni 21 inch - 6lb 12 oz.
And the Samsonite Silhouette XV 21 inch is 8lb 11oz.
Rimowa is never going to win a weight contest because their suitcases are designed to be strong, durable and heavy. They are only made of metal or strong polycarbonte.
The Rimowa Salsa Deluxe 21 inch (Polycarbonate) is a little lighter - 8.6lb.
They are heavy, I know! But keep in mind that they are aiming at a different market. People who like super-robust suitcases (usually made of metal), that can withstand almost anything! And look like it too.
So, they are going to be heavy!
Samsonite invest a lot of money into their suitcase designs, and the Firelite and Cosmolites for example are designed to be crushed and will reform again (or can at worst be pushed out with your hands). If you want to see a crazy test of their case, check out this Youtube video here.
Hardcases do inevitably take a bit of a pounding though because they do not flex or compress as nicely as soft cases. So, you will find that any brand's softcase variation will always last longer. Provided you know how to pack it. Because, after all, the inside is not as well protected. That is why people love hard cases. Built-in protection!
Hardcases, especially the "shiny" ones also tend to scratch a lot more easily. Which is why I personally love my Delsey hardcases so much. (You can check out some great Delsey options here).
That is where Rimowa comes in.
There strong shells are crazy strong. The cases are hand-made, with over 200 steps (watch how they are made in a Canadian plant). And they even have extremely well engineered wheels that they custom make with dual bearings. You can even see how they fair being dragged behind a car below:
The base features of both these brands are what you would expect
Because Samsonite offers everything from lower-end cases to the top-end Cosmolite, it is hard to generalise. Obviously the top end cases have better wheels and materials. But the Omni for example is still a quality case that is nowhere near as expensive as the Rimowa (more on that below).
The Rimowa cases on the other hand, are all very similar in design and meant to be expensive top-end, robust suitcases that will last you for years. As well as the standard features above, they also have some high-end features like
Samsonite are not known for their bargain priced cases. However, if you check out the Omni range (one of their most popular hard cases) you will be surprised how affordable they can be.
Of course, if you head up into the higher end cases like the Silhouette XV soft case or the Firelite or Cosmolites, then you are going to pay a little more than most case brands (like Travelpro or Skyway)
Rimowa produce high-quality cases usually made of metal, that are hand built in just a few factories around the world. This costs money.
As a result, almost any of the Rimowa cases you buy will be hundreds of dollars more than most Samsonites you look at. But, you are buying something unique in style and very robust and well made.
It is hard to compare that with the mass-produced Samsonite products that do not have the level of care or detail that the guys in the Rimowa factory have. (Just check out how the cases are hand made in Canada and you will see what I mean). That kind of production costs money.
If you want a variety of choice and price and are not into metal cases with a specific design, then Samsonite has some great options:
The Omni range (one of their most popular hard cases)
The Silhouette soft case (full of great features)
The Firelite and Cosmolite (superlight hard cases)
The Rimowa cases are really something you either love or hate. They are made with passion, built to last (out of metal and polycarbonate) and have a very specific ribbed metallic look.
They are also quite pricey and that might put a lot of people off!
I would only buy one if you love the look and can't live without it. Otherwise, there are more reasonably priced options with the same features. Just look at either Delsey or Samsonite and you can't go wrong!
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!