The 10 Best Carry-On Roller 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 Lightweight Rollaboard Luggage at Amazon "Meets carry-on size restrictions for most international airlines."

Best Smart Luggage: Travelpro Crew 11 21" Expandable Spinner Suitcase at Ebags "The nylon bag uses DuraGuard water-resistant coating, and sturdy SUPRA zippers."

Best Hardshell: Samsonite Winfield2 at Amazon "Has convenient spinner wheels, cross straps for added space and a long, retractable handle."

Best Value: Samsonite Aspire Xlite Expendable Upright at Amazon "Measures 22 inches long and has features such as a mesh pouch, a built-in toiletry bag, and straps to secure clothing items."

Best Personal Items: Samsonite Wheeled Underseater at Amazon "Features easy rolling in-line skate wheels, as well as a retractable push-button locking handle."

Best for Business Travel: Kenneth Cole Reaction Reverb Hardside Spinner at Amazon "You’ll have no trouble fitting in all your best business-casual clothing for your trip."

Best Budget: Jetstream Carry on Suitcase at Bed, Bath & Beyond "It comes with all the basics: two front pockets, a long retractable handle, two wheels and interior compression straps."

Best Duffel: Olympia Luggage Pocket Rolling Size at Amazon "The bag is soft and lightweight enough to crunch into that last remaining overhead bin."

Best for Adventurers: Eagle Creek Load Warrior at Amazon "There are four handles to easily grab and go, heavy duty zippers...a bottle opener, as well as an equipment keeper."

Best for Kids: Stephen Joseph Classic Rolling Luggage at Amazon "Has accessible zipper pockets with glittery accents, an easy-to-lift handle that makes for easy rolling, and several outside compartments."

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 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 Value: Samsonite Aspire Xlite Expendable Upright

Samsonite Aspire Xlite Expendable Upright
Courtesy of Amazon.com

For a reasonably priced bag that covers all the basics, the Samsonite Aspire Xlite Expendable Upright is a perfect – and durable – choice for the occasional traveler. At just under 10 pounds, the black carry-on bag is light enough that it easily rolls through the airport terminals, but strong enough to handle some wear and tear. Ideal for short trips, the Samsonite Aspire measures 22 inches long and has features such as a mesh pouch, a built-in toiletry bag, and straps to secure clothing items that might shift around. There are also pouches on the outside for easy access to important items. The downside of the Aspire is that it looks very similar to other luggage in the carry-on bin, so be sure to label it.

Take a peek at some of the other best Samsonite luggage items you can buy.

Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 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.

06 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 8-Wheel 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 Kenneth Cole Reaction Reverb Spinner Carry-On 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.

07 of 10

Best Budget: Jetstream Carry on Suitcase

If you just need a simple bag for vacation at a rock-bottom price, the Jetstream Carry-On Suitcase does the job. The bag comes in a variety of different colors and patterns ranging from flowers to travel images. And it comes with all the basics: two front pockets, a long retractable handle, two wheels and interior compression straps, so clothes won’t shift around. The bag measures 17.75 x 6.75 x 12.75 inches and at just 4.45 pounds, it’s very lightweight and easy to transport. The downside is the bag isn’t very durable, so it's not ideal for the frequent traveler.

08 of 10

Best Duffel: Olympia Luggage Pocket Rolling Size

Olympia Luggage Pocket Rolling Size
Courtesy of Amazon.com

For those times when it’s easier to simply carry your bag than try to roll it through a tight space, the Olympia Luggage 22" Eight-Pocket Rolling Duffel Bag does the trick with a convenient cushioned carry handle. Yes, you read that correctly: eight pockets to make all your smaller gear (chargers, cell phones, headsets, etc.) easily accessible. The duffel comes in 13 different color combinations ranging from hot pink to navy, has an ID slot in the rear, as well as a telescoping handle for when you need to roll it through the airport. Made of polyester, the bag is soft and lightweight enough to crunch into that last remaining overhead bin, yet at 12 inches wide and 22 inches long, it can hold a lot of clothes.

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

Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 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.

10 of 10

Best for Kids: Stephen Joseph Classic Rolling Luggage

With plenty of storage space, special child-friendly features, and a cheery, unique design to boot, the Stephen Joseph Classic Rolling Luggage is a great pick for the traveling kiddos in your life. In fact, we’re betting that your kids will actually be excited to tote their own luggage through the airport when they see this suitcase, which comes in several exciting patterns, colors, and characters that include colorful mermaids, ladybugs, unicorns, rainbows, and more—you can even customize your own. Measuring 14.5” x 18” x 6.5” (the perfect height for pint-sized travelers), this Stephen Joseph suitcase has accessible zipper pockets with glittery accents, an easy-to-lift handle that makes for easy rolling, and several outside compartments that make packing and organizing your child’s clothing simple and relatively stress-free. The Stephen Joseph Classic Rolling Luggage is made of durable polyester and nylon, so you can be sure it’ll withstand wear-and-tear.

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.

Was this page helpful?