Tumi and Rimowa are both high-end luggage brands. And they are both popular among frequent flyers.
In this post we’ll put the best-selling suitcases from both brands side by side, and see if there is a clear winner. Because, maybe this is the first time ever you decided to get a really expensive suitcase. And you should be perfectly aware of what you are spending your money on.
Some of you will find Tumi to be the better fit, while other will prefer Rimowa. And that’s what I’ll help you figure out in this detailed comparison!
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Quick Overview: Rimowa vs Tumi
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Tumi Vs. Rimowa: The Differences
What Materials Do They Use?
With Rimowa, this is really simple – they use Polycarbonate and Aluminum to make suitcases. And you basically only have two types of hardside luggage with them.
Which is okay, if they are only using durable and high-quality materials. Aluminum is extremely tough and lightweight, which is why it is so popular in many different industries – after all, I am typing this on a laptop made of aluminum. As for Polycarbonate, it is pretty much the best material for hardside luggage.
Unlike ABS plastic, PC can be bent and dented without necessarily breaking. Meaning that you can dent the shell of your suitcase, and it will pop back into its original shape. Additionally, PC is really lightweight, which is another reason why it’s the best material for hardside luggage. However, it’s also a really expensive material, hence the high price tags with both of these brands.
And by the way, the fact that Rimowa uses only these two materials means that they don’t even manufacture softside luggage, in case you missed that. If you were looking for a fabric suitcase, you will have to stick with Tumi.
With Tumi, we have a different situation. For one thing, they make both hardsides and softsides. For softsides, they only use ballistic nylon, which is the best material for fabric suitcases. It is more expensive than Polyester, but also much more durable, water resistant and just generally higher quality.
Plus, keep in mind that Tumi has plenty of proprietary materials. So, it’s not just any ballistic nylon, it’s Tumi’s durable FXT ballistic nylon. And the same goes for other materials they use, like Tegris in hardside luggage. In fact, Tumi is the only luggage brand that has rights to use this material in the travel industry, which is certainly one way to get your attention.
They also use leather and aluminium in some of their collections, which is no surprise. And it just confirms what I told you earlier – you’ll see only premium materials in both of these brands. Tumi just has more of those materials at their disposal, unlike Rimowa.
Variety Of Choice And Size
Both brands offer luggage in various different sizes. This usually ranges from a 21” suitcase to a full 31” one, so there is definitely enough variety for everyone.
However, in terms of actual suitcase collections, Tumi is the clear winner. Rimowa has their signature ribbed shell design, and pretty much all of their suitcases look like that. And I don’t consider that a bad thing at all, just something that is a part of their brand identity. But, if you are looking for design variety and want to stand out from the masses at the airport, then I’m not sure you’ll accomplish that with this luggage.
Tumi, on the other hand, has a ton of different luggage collections – a total of 11 different collections, for both hardside and softside luggage. In addition to that, there is a lot of colors to choose from. The Tegra-Lite alone comes in almost 100 different versions, which includes different sizes, as well as base and accent color combinations.
So, this is up to your personal preference. With Rimowa, there will never be a doubt what suitcase you have. They have such a strong brand identity that you can tell it’s their suitcase just by glancing at it. And if you want to have such a classic, then they are the better choice.
But if you prefer to have lots of choices and love to stand out from the airport crowds, then you will prefer Tumi. They offer more designs to choose from, which is definitely more fun.
Price Range And Dupes
Both of these are premium brand, which also means that you’ll see some premium prices. If you are already aware of how much these cost, then great – I don’t need to warn you. However, if we look at the big picture of what is currently available on Amazon, we can see that Tumi luggage is generally more affordable than Rimowa luggage. Not that it’s a lot cheaper, but just that Tumi offers more suitcases at “lower price tags” than Rimowa does.
The prices of these suitcases range from about $400-500 to well over $1000. The exact price of a single suitcase depends on a bunch of different factors of course – size, shell material, collection, discounts etc. You can usually get a great deal on these during the holidays, so you might want to hold off for a few more weeks until Black Friday arrives.
However, keep in mind that the exclusivity of this luggage has caused there to be a lot of copycats. Meaning that if you see a $200 “Rimowa” suitcase, then it’s a fake. Usually, if you something with a price that seems too good to be true, then it usually is.
Also, there are a lot of brands that just copy the design of these suitcases, which isn’t nearly as bad. I mean, at least they don’t advertise them as the real deal. They just took the most appealing aspects of the luggage, and incorporated it into their own design aesthetic.
Bottom line, a real Tumi or Rimowa suitcase will be pretty expensive. If you see something that’s unusually cheap, then it’s either a dupe of a copy. And even though it might look the same, it’s not going to be anywhere nearly as durable.
I consider both Tumi and Rimowa luggage to be investments. And you always want your investments to be protected, right?
Both of the brands offer 5-year warranty, that covers any manufacturing defects. However, Tumi has a much better warranty policy, in my opinion.
For one thing, for the first 12 months they will repair any damage on your suitcase. This even includes damage caused by airline personnel, which is something Rimowa will not do. In addition to that, for the first 12 months, Tumi will cover all of your expenses. Rimowa, on the other hand, still requires you to pay for shipping when you send in your luggage.
I think that this is a rare aspect in which there is an obvious winner. But that still doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to make use of that warranty – after all, a really expensive suitcase is built to endure everything it’s put through for the first year. So keep that in mind as well.
The Best Rimowa Luggage
The Classic suitcase is a Rimowa staple. It’s currently available in only one size, which is the smallest carry on suitcase. However, it’s pretty heavy for a carry on, because of its aluminium construction. At nearly 10 lbs, it won’t be the lightest suitcase you ever purchased.
But that’s just a downside of aluminium – it can’t ever be as lightweight as Polycarbonate. And even though it kind of disappoints in that aspect, the Classic makes up for its weight by being so safe to use. This is a zipperless suitcase, which is what I prefer, when it comes to security of your belongings.
The Rimowa Classic actually features two TSA locks – one on each latch. If you are transporting some extra precious stuff, this is the perfect suitcase to have. You will also love the double spinner wheels and the retractable wheel handle, which make it super easy to manoeuvre your luggage. Additionally, there are several grab handles on this suitcase, which are pretty sturdy, but also comfortable to hold.
The inside of the Classic is divided into two packing compartments – nothing unusual there. One compartment features a full panel divider, which is height adjustable, so that you can get the most out of it even if you don’t fully pack your suitcase. The other compartment has a couple of elastic cross straps, as well as some slip pockets. Overall, you will soon see that this is a pretty standard Rimowa interior.
The Topas is probably one of the most popular Rimowa suitcases ever made. You can currently only get it in the 20” carry on size, which is not ideal. Especially since the suitcase weighs 10.2 lbs for 32 liters of capacity – luckily, most airlines don’t have weight restrictions for carry ons. Just size restrictions.
The Topas is shaped differently than the Classic suitcase, even though it is also made from aluminium-magnesium alloy. This one has round edges, which give it a softer look. The corner guards are really similar in color to the shell of the suitcase, but so are the grab handles. And I personally like this design, although some of you probably won’t.
This Rimowa suitcase also features latch closure. It has three latches, two of which include TSA combination locks. So, if you want all of your luggage to be 100% safe at all times, you might as well get the Topas suitcase. You will also enjoy the double spinner wheels that glide like a dream, and help you forget that this thing weighs 10 lbs when it’s empty.
The interior of the Topas is adjustable, and I love that. These height-adjustable dividers that you get in both compartments – a really useful feature, especially if you want your suitcase to look really neat when it’s fully packed up.
Rimowa Essential Lite
Rimowa is not known for their lightweight luggage, mostly because their original and classic models are made of metal. Durable yes, but not easy to carry. That is why the Essential Lite series is such a joy to push or carry! Even the largest 30 inch model only weighs 8lbs!
The Essential Lite line is actually one of Rimowa's lightest and as usual they have packed it full of top of the line equipment. If you have never tried their suitcases, grab one at the store or while waiting in the airport. I took one for a spin recently and it almost rolled on it's own all the way along the terminal! Insanely smooth.
Rimowa have not forgotten about comfort for the "driver" of this case either. The handle has multiple levels of adjustment so that you can get the height - just right.
And there is of course a TSA lock, but this time on the top. Why is that important? Well, normally you have to tip your case on it's side to get at it. Which is not always convenient, and requires you go crouch down. So, Rimowa have smartly put it on top so you can sit and undo the lock without breaking your back or knees! They seem to have thought of almost everything.
Although this is the "lufthansa" version, there are dozens of options in terms of color and size.
The Hybrid is a pretty unique collection. For one thing, it’s actually one of the few Rimowas that is not made of aluminium, but rather a hybrid of materials: Polycarbonate & Aluminium-magnesium alloy. And it still features the same shell design, which is pretty cool if you ask me. Just this time, you can actually get it in a fun and bright color.
The Hybrid collection tries really hard to be lightweight. So, any over-the-top, excess feature is removed, in order to cut down the weight of the luggage as much as possible. Say goodbye to the double-barrel wheel handle that you usually see on Rimowa suitcases, and say hello to the thin, single-barrel handle on the Salsa luggage.
The Rimowa Hybrid luggage also features height-adjustable dividers in each compartment, but sadly not enough pockets. But at least these suitcases are equipped with double spinner wheels, with cushioned axles, so they roll like almost no suitcase I have ever tried
The Best Tumi Luggage
Tumi Tegra Lite Max
The Tegra Lite Max is one of Tumi’s best-selling suitcases ever. I think that has a lot to do with the fact that this luggage was made from Tegris – a material that only Tumi is allowed to use in the travel industry. And I believe all you need to know about Tegris and its durability is that is used in protective gear of NFL players, as well as NASCAR race cars.
So, there is no doubt in my mind that the Tegra Lite luggage is going to be extremely durable. But that’s not the only reason for their popularity – just look at all the other features you get. There are double spinner wheels, a height adjustable wheel handle, TSA lock, expendable capacity, pockets in the packing compartments and even an external compartment on all of these suitcases.
If you generally like to travel organized then don’t pass on this luggage. Hardside suitcases with external compartments are actually really rare – the only other one that comes to mind is Delsey Helium Titanium. And that one has an external compartment only on the smallest suitcase.
And of course, the Tegra Lite is equipped with Tumi Tracer. Basically, every Tumi suitcase has an individual serial number that is permanently attached to it on a metal plate. This makes it easier for airlines personnel to reunite you with your suitcase – they can call Tumi and tell them the product number, and then Tumi can reach out to you, because they will have your contact information on file. And that is pretty amazing if you ask me.
The V3 luggage is made of Polycarbonate, and so it has some advantages over Tegra Lite. For one thing, these suitcases are much lighter, which actually makes them a better choice for checked baggage, if you want to avoid any overweight luggage fees. Just consider this – the largest V3 suitcase is about 5 pounds lighter and 2” taller than the largest Tegra Lite suitcase.
But Polycarbonate is still slightly less durable then Tegris. However, that is absolutely no reason to avoid getting the V3 – companies like Samsonite, Rimowa and Delsey all have premium PC suitcases, since it is the best material for hardside luggage that is available to everyone.
And the features of this suitcase are pretty standard for Tumi. The V3 luggage is equipped with double spinner wheels, a TSA friendly lock, a multi-stage wheel handle and two spacious compartments with expandable capacity. Additionally, they also have the Tumi Tracer plate, which could be incredibly useful if you every lose your Tumi suitcase.
Overall, the V3 luggage is a pretty well made. However, I don’t think that they are unique enough to justify their really high price tags. They are actually pretty basic Polycarbonate suitcases, with the same features you’ll see on a $150 Delsey. But if you are determined to get a Tumi suitcase, then these are a great contender.
Tumi Alpha 3
If you’re looking for a softshell suitcase from one of these brands, this is your best choice. The Alpha 3 suitcases are by far the most popular softside luggage from Tumi, so you can’t really go wrong with them. All of the suitcases in this collection are made from ballistic nylon, which is pretty much the best material for softshell luggage.
Nylon is generally sturdier than polyester, but it is also water-resistant by nature. So in terms of durability, I think these are the best softsides you can find. In addition to that, there is something pretty unique about these suitcases, and that’s the double packing compartments. Which you rarely see on plain softshells.
I actually like this features, since it’s much better for organization than a single packing compartment. Plus, you also get double spinner wheels, a height adjustable wheel handle, plenty of internal and external pockets, as well as expandable capacity. Overall, if you are looking to fit pretty much half of your life inside a suitcase, the Alpha 2 is a pretty good choice.
I just wouldn’t recommend these for air travel, because I think we all know what happens to checked softshells. There’s a greater risk that they will wind up squished and ruined, which would be a nightmare, considering their prices.
Tumi 19 Degree
This is an interesting luggage collection because it is Tumi’s take on an aluminium suitcase. And it’s a pretty good try – I especially like how they designed the shell. It’s pretty unique, and it’s available in several different colors, so you can actually choose a version that’s the best option for you.
But do these top the Rimowa suitcases? In my opinion no. But, they are the second best choice, if you really want an aluminium suitcase. The main reason why I think that is the weight of the suitcases. They are heavier than the Rimowas, which is especially a problem with the largest suitcase. It weighs more than 20 lbs, which is nearly half of your weight allowance for checked baggage.
But the 19 Degree luggage is equipped with some awesome features. There are no zippers on the suitcases, so you have two TSA latch locks. The wheel handle can be adjusted to multiple height settings, and it works wonderfully in combination with the double spinner wheels.
As for the packing compartments, they are both fully lined, and feature several pockets and dividers. So, these suitcases are great if you want to travel organized. Overall, they are a decent choice, but definitely not better than the aluminum Rimowas.
*Note: The listing for the International Carry On specifically says it’s a men’s suitcase. That is not a distinction that Tumi made, but rather a mistake, which you should ignore.
The Latitude collection is again made of a very unique material. Make no mistake, these are hardside suitcases. But they are made from several layers SRPP Ballistic material – Self-Reinforced Polypropylene. Which was designed to be flexible, and to bend instead of breaking when it’s under a lot of pressure.
Another thing that this material is great at is being lightweight. In fact, the Latitude suitcases are by far the lightest luggage we checked out in this review, and I think they deserve a point for that. So, if you want the ability to pack a lot inside of your suitcase without going over the weight limit for checked baggage, these are the perfect choice for you.
Especially because they don’t have expandable capacity, meaning that you won’t really be able to over pack them. But, just like all the other Tumi suitcases, they do have double spinner wheels, a multi-stage wheel handle, a TSA friendly lock and the Tumi Tracer metal plate.
In addition to that, both packing compartments are fully lined and spacious. There is also a suiter section in the top compartment, which is great if you often travel for business. Overall, these are definitely my favorite hardside suitcases. Not just from Tumi, but out of all the ones we checked out in this review.
Tumi Vs. Rimowa: Who Is Better?
Since these are both such high-end brands, it is practically impossible to just say that one is better than the other. It is not. Both excel in some areas, and fall short in others, so that’s how we’ll go about this.
It’s safe to say that Rimowa is the champion of aluminium suitcases. They have been making them since the 1950s, and they are basically the company that started that trend.
I particularly loved the Lufthansa Private Jet collection, since it is a little bit different from what they normally do. There are several sizes to choose from, so everyone can find something for themselves, and the suitcases themselves have some amazing features and qualities. I especially liked the height-adjustable dividers and the electronic tag, simply because they make packing and checking your suitcase so much more convenient.
With Tumi, there is more range. The brand isn’t afraid to branch out and try out different things, and so they appeal to a wider audience. If you are looking to get a softside suitcase, or a hardshell that is not made of aluminium, I think Tumi is the better fit.
Especially the Latitude collection – they are the lightest hardside suitcases we talked about in this review. And they are also equipped with some pretty cool features, like the height-adjustable wheel handle and the Tumi Tracer metal plate. Additionally, they are made from a Tumi designed shell material, which is exceptionally durable and flexible, and I think that is huge bonus.
- EXTERNAL FEATURES: Zip entry to main compartment; integrated low-profile TSA lock; 3-stage telescoping handle; 4 lightweight spinning wheels
- INTERNAL FEATURES: Two packing compartments; hanger bracket; mesh tie-down straps; two zip pockets; mesh zip pocket; fully lined
If you really want to get a softside suitcase, then I recommend the Alpha 2. There are a few other Tumis that I didn’t mention, but only because the Alpha 2 is the most popular one out of the bunch. And it is a really good suitcase – it has two packing compartments, which is unusual for softsides, and it’s made from premium materials. Plus, it’s also equipped with double spinner wheels, expandable capacity and a height-adjustable wheel handle.
- EXTERNAL FEATURES: Front U-zip pocket; additional front zip pocket; top side and bottom grab handles; lever lock two stage expansion system; 3-stage telescoping handle; 4 recessed swivel wheels; protective bumper guards; luggage ID tag; TUMI tracer
- INTERNAL FEATURES: Removable reinforced garment section; hanger bracket; zip pockets; mesh zip pocket; passport pocket; compression straps
Those are my top three choices. But honestly, all of the suitcases featured in this review are high-quality, and none of them will disappoint you. So go for the one that you love the most – you won’t regret it. And you can check out the prices of all of them on Amazon, so head over there!