The 10 Best Carry-On Bags of 2019

Say goodbye to those hefty checked baggage fees

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products and services; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown

Best Overall: Travelpro Maxlite 5 Rollaboard Luggage at Amazon

"Meets carry-on size restrictions for most international airlines."

Best Smart Luggage: Travelpro Crew 11 Spinner Suitcase at Amazon

"Features an on-the-go, built-in charging system."

Best Hardshell: Samsonite Winfield2 at Amazon

"Durable and can stand up to the elements."

Best Cult Favorite: Away The Carry-On at Away

"The brand boasts high-quality suitcases at a reasonable value."

Best Duffel: Everlane The Twill Weekender at Everlane

"A simple, lightweight carry-on bag."

Best Backpack: Tortuga Setout Backpack at Tortuga

"This front-loading carry-on packs like a suitcase."

Best for Durability: Tumi Latitude International Carry-On at eBags

"Made of tough, ballistic material for flexibility."

Best Personal Item: Samsonite Wheeled Underseater at Amazon

"Meets the latest size requirements of personal items for budget airlines."

Best for Business Travel: Kenneth Cole Reaction Spinner at Amazon

"Certainly functional, though its classy style is what makes it truly stand out."

Best for Adventurers: Eagle Creek Load Warrior at Amazon

"There's an equipment keeper to strap gear in."

Our Top Picks

01 of 10

Best Overall: Travelpro Maxlite 5 Lightweight Rollaboard Luggage

Travelpro Maxlite 5 Lightweight Rollaboard Luggage

amazon

4.3

Make traveling a breeze with the 5.4-pound, Travelpro Maxlite 5 Lightweight Rollaboard Luggage. Travelpro boasts the Maxlite 5 line of suitcases as its lightest collection ever, as they're up to a half pound lighter than the Maxlite 4 cases. Although compact, the suitcase can expand to two inches to pack (most) of your belongings — yet it still meets carry-on size restrictions for most international airlines. Even more, its inline skate wheels and sturdy handle system ensures a smooth roll. The 20 x 15 x 7.7-inch case also boasts durability, with its strong, ergonomic zipper pulls and polyester fabric with water- and stain-resistant coating for any accidents.

Read more reviews of the best Travelpro luggage items available to purchase online.

02 of 10

Best Smart Luggage: Travelpro Crew 11 21" Expandable Spinner Suitcase

4.8

If you’re spending your day traveling in taxis and waiting in airports, keeping your cell phone charged can be tricky, but the TravelPro Crew 11 carry on has that covered – as well as some other smart features. In addition to an on-the-go, built-in charging system, the nylon bag uses DuraGuard water-resistant coating, and sturdy SUPRA zippers. The carry-on suitcase has spinner wheels that roll straight (so it doesn’t drift when waiting in line) and an extension handle that has three length settings. Numerous pockets on the front and interior help keep you organized. The TravelPro measures 21 x 14 x 9 inches, weighs 7.2 pounds and is available in black, blue, brown or navy.

03 of 10

Best Hardshell: Samsonite Winfield2

Samsonite Winfield2
Courtesy of Amazon.com

If you need a carry-on bag that is more durable and can stand up to the elements, the Samsonite Winfield2 is a reasonably priced, well-built piece of luggage. If you’re traveling in an area with snow or rain, the luggage can easily wipe off (so no moisture can soak through to your clothes). It also has convenient spinner wheels, cross straps for added space, and a long, retractable handle. It also has a TSA-approved combination lock, as well as 10 zippered organizational pockets. It measures 19.8 x 12.5 x 28 inches and weighs 14.3 pounds.

04 of 10

Best Cult Favorite: Away The Carry-On

Away The Carry-On

 Away

Away has a large following for a reason — the brand boasts high-quality suitcases at a reasonable value, and its The Carry-On is a particular favorite. Like most Away cases, this carry-on suitcase features an optional ejectable battery and polycarbonate shell for durability. The case is compact at only 21.7 x 13.7 x 9 inches and eight pounds, but its compression system and compartments allow you to pack a modest amount of clothing, shoes, and more. To round out the offer, the case includes a TSA-approved lock and 360-degree spinner wheels for seamless navigation through the airport. If you’d like more packing space, upgrade to The Bigger Carry-On.

Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10

Best Duffel: Everlane The Twill Weekender

Everlane the weekender

Everlane

Perfect for weekend getaways, Everlane’s The Twill Weekender is a simple, lightweight carry-on bag. As with all of Everlane’s ethically sourced products, the bag is made from a factory in Ho Chi Minh City. It’s constructed out of durable, 100 percent water-resistant cotton twill, yet it only retails at under $100. At 22 x 8.5 x 12 inches, the bag can fit in any overhead compartment and store all of your travel essentials in its exterior and interior pockets. The colors are just as stylish, with options including Black, Dark Green, and Reverse Denim. Plus, leather straps add a luxurious feel to the bag.

Check out our other reviews of the best duffel bags available on the market today.

06 of 10

Best Backpack: Tortuga Setout Backpack

Tortuga Setout Backpack

Tortuga

Get the features you’d want in a suitcase in a compact, non-roller bag with the Tortuga Setout Backpack. This front-loading carry-on packs like a suitcase, with organization pockets and the capacity to fit a week’s worth of clothing, up to a 17-inch Macbook laptop, toiletries, and more. The backpack is fully supported as well, thanks to padded shoulder straps, a removable hip belt (with pockets), and a suspension system for a comfortable fit. Even more, you can tuck the straps away and use the backpack's side grab handles for versatile carrying. Its lockable YKK zippers also ensure reliable protection. With a 45-liter and 35-liter version to choose from, the latter measures at 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5 inches and weighs 3.6 pounds. 

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best carry-on backpacks.

07 of 10

Best for Durability: Tumi Latitude International Carry-On

Tumi Latitude International Carry-on

 Tumi

This hardside suitcase from Tumi may be pricey, but it’s built to last a lifetime of trips. Made of tough, ballistic material for flexibility, the 22 x 14 x 9-inch case features a three-stage telescoping handle, an integrated TSA lock, and four, smooth-rolling spinner wheels. Despite its durability, the case is extremely lightweight at only six pounds. The two interior compartments offer easy organizing, while tie-down straps, a hanger bracket, and zippered pockets maximize its packing capacity. As with all of Tumi’s suitcases, the Latitude is also a sleek, stylish choice with color choices like Silver, Navy, and Black. 

08 of 10

Best Personal Item: Samsonite Wheeled Underseater

Samsonite Wheeled Underseater
Courtesy of Amazon.com

If you’re flying a budget airline, the new trend is to only allow a free “personal item” that must fit under the seat in front of you. Designed with these baggage restrictions in mind, the 13 x 13 x 9-inch Samsonite Wheeled Underseater meets the latest size requirements of personal items for budget airlines to save you cash in the long run. It features easy rolling in-line skate wheels, as well as a retractable push-button locking handle. The black poly/nylon bag also has side water bottle pockets, a removable hanging organizer compartment, and even a removable 3-1-1 pouch, so going through security will be a breeze. It's the perfect bag for a weekend trip.

Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10

Best for Business Travel: Kenneth Cole Reaction Reverb 20" Hardside Spinner

Business travelers who crave a luxury look and feel when it comes to their luggage would do well to invest in the Kenneth Cole Reaction Reverb 20-Inch Spinner Carry-On. Featuring multi-directional 8-wheel spinners, self-repairing coil zippers, and a retractable handle, this popular luggage item is certainly functional — though its classy style is what makes it truly stand out. From the Reverb’s glossy, rose gold color to its sturdy ABS hard-shell exterior and molded corner guard reinforcements, this lightweight, well-built piece of luggage is both durable and fashion-forward. Plus, thanks to the under lid compartment and expansion zipper, you’ll have no trouble fitting in all your best business-casual clothing for your trip. The carry-on suitcase is 10 x 22 x 15 inches, weighs 7.5 pounds, and in addition to rose gold, comes in pretty shades of silver and black.

10 of 10

Best for Adventurers: Eagle Creek Load Warrior

Outdoor enthusiasts and adventure travelers will appreciate the Eagle Creek Load Warrior 22 Inch International Carry-On Luggage. The lightweight bag weighs 4.13 pounds and at 9 x 14 x 22 inches, it meets most international airline standards for carry-on luggage (which are smaller than U.S. requirements). There are four handles to easily grab and go, heavy-duty zippers (that stay on the track), a bottle opener, as well as an equipment keeper to strap gear in. The wheels have extra tread and the bag comes with a lifetime warranty.

Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best Eagle Creek luggage items.

Products We Tested

How We Tested

Our reviewers spent 21 hours testing two of our readers' favorite carry-on roller suitcases. To really get the full experience, our testers packed up their belongings and took these suitcases on buses, trains, and planes to see how they held up. We asked our reviewers to consider the most important features when using these carry-ons, including weight, storage space, and price. We've outlined the major takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a Carry-On Roller Bag

Weight So many of today’s carry-on bags are lighter than ever. Look for one that offers the features you want, without all of the extra bulk. 

Type of trip Consider the sort of trip you’ll typically be taking with this bag. If you’re using it for business, a smart carry-on may give you everything you want. But if you just need more of a weekender bag, maximum storage space is likely a top priority. 

Price Cost per use is a critical factor. If you’re on the road for a couple of weeks a month, splurge on something that’s going to make stressful travel days as hassle-free as possible. If this is a purchase for a one-off trip, it might be better to save those extra dollars for a splurge while on vacation instead.

Test Results: Travelpro Maxlite 5 Lightweight Rollaboard Luggage (Best Overall)

4.3

What We Like

  • Lightweight

  • Complies with most carry-on regulations

  • Plenty of packing space

  • Lifetime warranty

What We Don't Like

  • Not entirely stain-resistant

  • Difficult to access front pocket

  • Limited color selection

Travelpro Maxlite 5 Lightweight Rollaboard Luggage
TripSavvy / Cheyenne Elwell
Travelpro Maxlite 5 Lightweight Rollaboard Luggage
TripSavvy / Cheyenne Elwell
Travelpro Maxlite 5 Lightweight Rollaboard Luggage
TripSavvy / Cheyenne Elwell
Travelpro Maxlite 5 Lightweight Rollaboard Luggage
TripSavvy / Cheyenne Elwell 

Our tester loved this suitcase because it was lightweight: “This bag weighs only 5.4 pounds, which is about two pounds less than the average carry-on,” she said. She also liked that it had “lots of packing space” and that there were “plenty of pockets to subdivide items that need their own section.” On the other hand, she thought that it wasn’t entirely stain-resistant, as promised by the manufacturer: “Our bag got marked up during travel, and the stains didn't come out entirely upon rubbing out with water,” she explained. She also wished there were more color options.

Test Results: Travelpro Crew 11 21" Expandable Spinner Suitcase (Best Smart Luggage)

4.8

What We Like

  • Extremely durable

  • Reasonably priced

  • Sleek and professional 

  • Smart features

What We Don't Like

  • Difficult to access certain pockets

  • Limited color selection

  • Fully expanded carry-on may not meet airline restrictions

Travelpro Crew 11 21
TripSavvy / Cheyenne Elwell
Travelpro Crew 11 21
TripSavvy / Cheyenne Elwell
Travelpro Crew 11 21
TripSavvy / Cheyenne Elwell
Travelpro Crew 11 21
TripSavvy / Cheyenne Elwell

“This piece of luggage is extremely sturdy,” raved our tester. “It's made of a ballistic nylon fabric which is thick and long-lasting.” She also liked its various features: “It has a USB port and a pocket made for your power bank, so you can charge your phone and other electronics directly from your bag.” In terms of negatives, she thought it was difficult to access certain pockets while the bag was packed full—specifically the upper front exterior pocket and the interior side pockets. She also wished it came in patterns or any brighter colors.

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