Trip Planning Tech & Gear The 8 Best Checked Luggage Bags of 2023, Tested and Reviewed By Jessica Macdonald Jessica Macdonald Facebook LinkedIn King's College London Jessica Macdonald lives in South Africa's Eastern Cape province and has been TripSavvy's Africa Expert since 2016. She also covers travel products and has written about everything from camping knives to climbing chalk. TripSavvy's editorial guidelines Updated on 11/28/22 Share Pin Email We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission. TripSavvy / Jhett Thompson If you’re heading off on vacation for more than a night or two, you’ll likely need a checked bag—and there are literally thousands from which to choose. The best will be durable, with a sturdy hard shell or soft fabric exterior capable of withstanding rough baggage handlers while hiding the worst of any wear and tear. An excellent checked bag should also roll smoothly and be easy to maneuver on many terrains and should make the most of its internal packing space with clever organization pockets and expansion features. To determine the best luggage options for various requirements and budgets, we tested 27 popular bags in the Dotdash Meredith lab. We reviewed each one for capacity, maneuverability, durability, organization, and value: and chose the Samsonite Winfield 2 as our overall winner for its superior toughness and design. Read on to discover the winners in various checked luggage categories, including Best Hardside, Best Budget, and Best Duffel. Read on to learn more about our top picks for checked luggage, how we tested, and which suitcase is the best for your next trip. The Rundown Best Overall: Samsonite Hardside Luggage at Amazon Jump to Review Best Budget: Kenneth Cole Reaction Hardside Suitcase at Amazon Jump to Review Best Hardside: Travelpro Platinum Elite Carry-On at Amazon Jump to Review Best Softside: Travelpro Platinum Expandable Spinner at Amazon Jump to Review Best Splurge: Tumi Alpha 3 Packing Case at Amazon Jump to Review Best Capacity: Delsey Paris Hardside Spinner at Amazon Jump to Review Best Design: Roam The Check-in at Roamluggage.com Jump to Review Best Duffel: Briggs & Riley Upright Rolling Duffel Bag at Amazon Jump to Review Table of contents Expand Our Picks Other Checked Luggage We Tested How We Tested What to Look For FAQ Why Trust TripSavvy Best Overall Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Luggage with Spinner Wheels 4.8 Amazon View On Amazon View On Best Buy View On Office Depot Our Ratings Capacity 5/5 Design 5/5 Maneuverability 4.5/5 Durability 5/5 Value 5/5 What We Like Excellent interior organization Optional expansion feature Great maneuverability on multiple terrains What We Don't Like Potential for slight scuffing The Best From Our Tests: A Review of Samsonite's Winfield 2 Spinner The Samsonite Winfield 2 28-inch hardside spinner scored near-perfect marks in our testing, impressing us with its design and durability. A 100 percent polycarbonate shell offers the perfect blend of lightness and toughness, absorbing impact by flexing and then rebounding to its original shape. During our intense testing, we found that even dented corners instantly popped back into place, and contents were kept safe and secure throughout. And, with a brushstroke exterior, any minor scratches or scuffs are camouflaged, keeping your luggage looking sleek for longer. The suitcase’s square shape and expansion option guarantee maximum capacity. Even when stuffed full, we found that it retained its shape and size perfectly and offered plenty of space. In particular, we love the compression feature that keeps contents neatly in place; and the full-zip interior divider that makes it easy to separate clean and dirty clothes. Once packed, the suitcase is also easy to maneuver thanks to its sturdy, retractable handle and four multidirectional wheels. Whether pulling it behind us or pushing it in front, we felt it performed admirably, even over rough surfaces and around multiple obstacles. Other features include oversized zippers and a side-mounted, TSA-approved lock. The suitcase has a limited 10-year global warranty in various colors, from charcoal to Nordic blue. Price at time of publication: $310 Dimensions: 31.4 × 20.4 × 13 inches | Weight: 11.13 pounds | Wheels: 4 | Expandable: Yes TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik Best Budget Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds 28-Inch Hardside Suitcase 4.8 Amazon View On Amazon View On Nordstromrack.com Our Ratings Capacity 5/5 Design 5/5 Maneuverability 4/5 Durability 5/5 Value 5/5 What We Like Divides in two for easy organization Reinforced corners for added durability Wide choice of bright colors What We Don't Like No expansion feature Difficult to handle on rough terrain Available online for less than half the price of our overall winner, the Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds 28-inch suitcase is ideal for those on a budget. It boasts a lightweight hard shell with molded corner guards for maximum impact resistance. Besides a few scuffs around the edges, it stood up well to our durability tests and should provide good resilience for long-distance trips. We especially love how spacious this bag is. Despite its compact appearance, our tester could easily pack a month’s worth of clothes and accessories. The interior is divided in two by a large zippered pocket, making it easy to organize your belongings. Compression straps keep them in place during transit, while four multidirectional spinner wheels promise the smoothest ride possible on even terrain. We were impressed with its ability to spin in any direction while traveling through tight spaces; however, we did find that the suitcase became less easy to maneuver on rough surfaces. Overall, though, this bag is difficult to beat price-wise and offers excellent value for money. Price at time of publication: $120 Dimensions: 29.5 x 20.5 x 11.75 inches | Weight: 9.6 pounds | Wheels: 4 | Expandable: No TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik Best Hardside Travelpro Platinum Elite Carry-On Expandable Hardside Spinner 4.7 Amazon View On Amazon View On Macy's View On Travelpro.com Our Ratings Capacity 5/5 Design 4.5/5 Maneuverability 5/5 Durability 4.5/5 Value 4.5/5 What We Like Sleek, fashionable look Stands up well to rough handling Superb maneuverability What We Don't Like Not particularly lightweight The Travelpro Platinum Elite large spinner suitcase features a 100 percent polycarbonate shell that flexes on impact to prevent cracking. With its textured finish, aluminum corner guards, and genuine leather trim, it’s definitely a fashionable choice—and one whose sleek looks survived our drop and bat tests, with only minor scuffing visible afterward. The clamshell interior boasts two zippered divider panels, adjustable hold-down straps, and more accessory pockets than our tester knew what to do with—including a water-resistant one for damp items. We also found that the zippers were exceptionally smooth on the main compartment and interior pockets and on the 2-inch expansion feature. In particular, we were impressed with how well the suitcase handled over bumps, around obstacles, and across various terrains. This superior maneuverability is due to Travelpro’s trademarked PrecisionGlide System, with no fewer than eight self-aligning spinner wheels. Finally, the bag comes with a lifetime warranty that even covers airline damage for the first five years. Price at time of publication: $370 Dimensions: 30 x 18 x 13.5 inches | Weight: 12.3 pounds | Wheels: 8 | Expandable: Yes TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik Best Softside Travelpro Platinum Elite 29-Inch Expandable Spinner 4.6 Amazon View On Amazon View On Travelpro.com Our Ratings Capacity 5/5 Design 4/5 Maneuverability 4/5 Durability 5/5 Value 5/5 What We Like Scuff- and stain-resistant fabric Intuitive interior storage Performs well on all terrains What We Don't Like It may be too large for the casual traveler If you’re in the market for the ultimate softside suitcase, this one from Travelpro is the largest spinner in the Platinum Elite line. In fact, it’s so spacious that our tester felt able to fit double the amount required by our testing standards—making it ideal for extended trips, moving houses, or the incurable over-packer. It features scuff- and stain-resistant fabric that proved its durability by surviving multiple falls and bat beatings without sustaining a scratch or dent. Leather accents and chrome zippers add to the overall aesthetic appeal. We loved the intelligent interior design, with just the right number of storage pockets and compartments—including a fold-out suiter for keeping your best clothes wrinkle-free. The exterior zippered pocket is another nice touch and is perfectly sized for your passport or wallet. The tapered expansion provides up to 2 inches of extra, tip-resistant packing space, while the sturdy wheels and handle performed well on smooth and rough surfaces. We did find that the bag’s super-large size made it a little cumbersome for maneuvering in tight spaces, though. Price at time of publication: $470 Dimensions: 32.5 x 21 x 13.25 inches | Weight: 11.5 pounds | Wheels: 8 | Expandable: Yes TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik Best Splurge Tumi Alpha 3 Short Trip Expandable Packing Case 4.6 Tumi View On Amazon View On Tumi.com Our Ratings Capacity 5/5 Design 5/5 Maneuverability 4.5/5 Durability 5/5 Value 3.5/5 What We Like Innovative, extra-durable fabric Two-stage expansion system Multiple interior and exterior pockets What We Don't Like One of the heaviest bags on this list Retailing for over $1,000, the TUMI Alpha 3 Short Trip suitcase is definitely a splurge and one that we felt was probably only worthwhile for frequent travelers. However, for those willing to make the investment, it will last: the suitcase features TUMI’s exclusive FXT ballistic fabric, which is extra durable and virtually abrasion-proof. With impact-resistant side panels and protective bumper rails, it’s no surprise that it survived our tests without any dents or scuffs. Bonus: It comes with a five-year warranty. The suitcase also stands out for its multiple exterior and interior pockets. We liked that the main compartment and the largest exterior pocket are protected by a special security zipper, while the removable garment sleeve was another highlight. A two-stage expansion system meant we could fit everything in easily with plenty of space for more, while a three-stage telescoping handle and four double-spinner wheels ensured premium maneuverability. Other benefits range from an integrated TSA lock and TUMI Tracer to optional monogramming. Price at time of publication: $1,095 Dimensions: 26 x 19 x 13 inches | Weight: 15.4 pounds | Wheels: 4 | Expandable: Yes TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik Best Capacity Delsey Paris Helium Aero Hardside Spinner Luggage 4.7 Amazon View On Amazon View On Walmart View On Kohls.com Our Ratings Capacity 5/5 Design 4.5/5 Maneuverability 3.5/5 Durability 4.5/5 Value 5/5 What We Like Roomy interior with a deep, clamshell design Can be converted for two or four-wheel use Gorgeous, easy-to-spot color choices What We Don't Like Minimal interior organization options Made from durable, lightweight polycarbonate, the Delsey Paris Helium Aero suitcase features a ridged exterior to help prevent damage—although it did show some minor scuff marks after our rigorous testing process. Nevertheless, we loved its amazing capacity, fitting everything on our list with plenty of space left over even before deploying the expansion feature. With a single divider separating the main compartment into two halves, interior organization options are relatively minimal. We suggest packing cubes for those that prefer a bit more structure. The suitcase has four double spinner wheels and a telescopic handle that locks in two different positions to enable two- or four-wheeled use. We found it easy to push or pull on smooth surfaces and a breeze over bumps but more difficult to maneuver on gravel. Soft-touch top and side carry handles and an integrated TSA combination lock complete the package. There are several vibrant colors to choose from; we felt that the high-shine jewel tones would be particularly easy to spot on the luggage carousel. Price at time of publication: $254 Dimensions: 31.75 x 20.75 x 12.75 inches | Weight: 12.5 pounds | Wheels: 4 | Expandable: Yes TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik Best Design Roam The Check-in 4.6 Roam View On Roamluggage.com Our Ratings Capacity 4/5 Design 5/5 Maneuverability 5/5 Durability 5/5 Value 4/5 What We Like Fully customizable colors Water-repellent zippers 100-day free trial What We Don't Like Relatively expensive Not as spacious as some other choices If you’re looking for an on-trend and totally out-of-the-box suitcase, this one from Roam is probably for you. Some of its features are relatively standard: the polycarbonate shell, the telescoping handle, the four spinner wheels, and the TSA lock. Our tests found each to perform at the top end of the spectrum, with absolutely no visible damage after our rough handling process and beautifully smooth maneuverability even on gravel. Other elements, such as the water-repellent zippers and internal compression boards, are less expected. Perhaps most exciting is that this suitcase is genuinely customizable, with options to choose the color of every aspect, from the front and back shells to the zippers, bindings, and wheels. There’s even a monogram patch on the back for that extra-personalized touch. Don’t want to choose your own colors? Roam also offers a selection of colorways inspired by and named after different travel destinations. You can choose to make your suitcase expandable, something we’d recommend since a relatively limited capacity was this bag’s only drawback. Price at time of publication: $595 Dimensions: 26 x 17.5 x 10 (non-expandable) inches / 26 x 17.5 x 10.5-12.5 (expandable) inches | Weight: 9.3 pounds | Wheels: 4 | Expandable: Yes (if chosen as an optional extra) TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik Best Duffel Briggs & Riley ZDX Upright Rolling Duffel Bag 4.7 Amazon View On Amazon View On Briggs-riley.com Our Ratings Capacity 5/5 Design 4/5 Maneuverability 5/5 Durability 5/5 Value 4.5/5 What We Like Very roomy with plenty of pockets Extra strong ballistic nylon fabric Wheels avoid back strain of traditional duffels What We Don't Like Expensive for a duffel Only available in two colors Packing bulky or odd-shaped gear or heading off on an expedition that requires a super-tough, versatile bag? This duffel from Briggs & Riley is an excellent option. It features 800-denier ballistic nylon, which we found incredibly strong with no signs of damage post-testing. And although the two color choices of black or army green are not particularly exciting, they’re designed not to show wear and tear and are infinitely practical. Unlike traditional duffels, this one is wheeled for your convenience, with two wedged feet to keep it upright. The interior is incredibly roomy and made more so by the external Outsider handle and the zip-around lid pocket with its 2-inch expansion feature. We liked the cinch-down garment panels, which keep everything in place while doubling as a divider. There are many internal and external pockets, including a PVC-lined one for your wet or dirty gear and a zippered mesh pocket for smaller essentials. We found the bag super light and smooth to operate on hard floors, carpet, and gravel, and we liked that it packs down small for easy storage. Price at time of publication: $500 Dimensions: 27 x 15 x 15 inches | Weight: 8.6 pounds | Wheels: 2 | Expandable: Yes TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik Other Checked Luggage We Tested Travelpro Maxlite 5 Softside Expandable Luggage, 29-Inch: Although it won points for its huge capacity, we felt this suitcase could use a more comprehensive internal organization, a smoother handle system, and better performance on rough terrain. Briggs & Riley Baseline Expandable Spinner, 26-Inch: We found this to be a thoughtfully designed suitcase with great movement and a clever expansion option. However, its boxy design and high price tag prevented it from making our list. Samsonite Eco Advance Large Spinner Softside: This suitcase stood out for its roomy interior and numerous well-thought-out organization options. We didn’t love the mechanism for deploying the extendable handle, though, or the limited color choices. Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable: Although this suitcase looks sleek and comes in many colors, has an expansion option, and offers plenty of room, we felt it was let down by its awkward maneuverability on all but the smoothest surfaces. TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik Briggs & Riley Sympatico Large Expandable Hardside Spinner: This suitcase stood up well to our durability tests and offered clever internal organization. However, we found the zippers were prone to sticking, and the handle was a little flimsy. Away The Large Flex Hardside: We loved this suitcase's fashion-forward design and attractive color choices. Nevertheless, without any significant innovations in terms of organization or maneuverability, we found it hard to justify the high price tag. Monos Check-In Large Hardside: We really liked how well-built this suitcase felt and the fact that it was easy to roll over all terrains. The downsides included slightly sticky zippers and the fact that it lacks the option to expand. Arlo Skye The Zipper Check-In Large Hardside: This is an attractive, spacious suitcase with many intuitive design features. However, we found that it scuffed easily during our tests and felt it should be a little more durable at such a high price point. TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik Paravel Aviator Grand Checked Hardside: Pros of this suitcase included its chic design, pretty colors, and smooth operation. Cons included a relative lack of interior organization options and the fact that it suffered several scuffs and dings during testing. Rimowa Essential Lite Check-In Hardside: This bag is costly, and our testers felt it was not worth the money, considering how easily the suitcase dented during testing; and how difficult it was to maneuver over rough surfaces. July Checked Bag, 26-Inch: This is a well-designed, good-looking suitcase with thoughtful interior organization and options for customization. However, it marked easily during testing, so we would only recommend purchasing it in darker colors. Calpak Ambeur Large Hardside: Initial impressions of this suitcase were good, thanks to its glamorous exterior and versatile pockets. In the end, though, it was discounted because it was easily damaged during testing and lost balance when rolling over gravel. TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik Beis The 29-Inch Large Check-In Roller: Although expensive, we felt this was an excellent suitcase with intuitive organization options. It stood up well to durability tests and maneuvered easily, and it would be a worthy alternative choice for several of our categories. Nomatic Check-In Hardside: This is a sleek suitcase with some excellent organization features; however, we felt that it was overpriced, especially since we struggled to pack everything on our testing list inside—a problem that we rarely encountered with other bags. AmazonBasics 26-Inch Hardside Spinner: We felt this was a great piece of luggage for the price, with plenty of room and excellent exterior durability. Its flimsy compression straps and handles and the fact the wheels stopped spinning on gravel hurt its overall rating. Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled Duffel 100L: We liked the roominess of this duffel and its sturdy, weather-resistant exterior. We didn’t like the relative lack of organization pockets or the fact that it felt top-heavy and on the verge of tipping over when wheeling it. TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik Timbuk2 Copilot Luggage Roller Large Duffel: This duffel was noticeably smaller than the others we tested. We also felt it got dirty easily and was difficult to maneuver over carpet and gravel. Despite clever organization options, we, therefore, wouldn't recommend it. Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler 130L Duffel: We liked this duffel's durability and capability to convert to a backpack. However, it didn't ake our final list for its lack of organization, flimsy main grab handle, and limited maneuverability. How We Tested To create the recommendations above, we subjected each piece of luggage to the same rigorous testing process. First, we weighed the suitcases. Next, we packed them with a prescribed list of items to replicate what one might pack for a seven-day sightseeing trip in the fall. We noted spaciousness, whether the suitcase had an expansion option, and the usefulness of any organization features. We also checked the smoothness and durability of all zippers. Next, we tested maneuverability by rolling the suitcase through an obstacle course that included speed bumps and cones to simulate airport obstacles. We also tested how easy it operated over tile, carpet, and gravel. Finally, we tested the bag’s durability. This involved several drop tests, pushing it off a countertop, and noting any dents, scratches, or scuff marks. Then the suitcase was beaten with a baseball bat, making sure to target all sides, corners, and wheels before checking for exterior and interior damage. Using our observations, we rated each suitcase on a scale from 1 to 5 for a list of attributes, including capacity, organization, maneuverability, durability, and value. TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik What to Look for in Checked Luggage Type There are two main types of checked luggage: softside luggage, with popular materials including ballistic nylon and polyester, and hardside luggage, with the most popular materials being polycarbonate or ABS plastic. There are pros to both. Softside luggage is less prone to scuffs, dents, and scratches and more forgiving for the over-packer. Hardside luggage protects your valuables with a rigid frame and offers better weather resistance. Capacity A checked bag should be roomy enough to accommodate everything you need for your trip while having some space left for souvenirs. Too small, and it’s a waste of the additional fee many airlines now charge for checked bags; however, it’s also worth bearing in mind that the largest bags may take you over airline weight limits when packed to capacity. A bag with an expansion feature you can deploy as needed is ideal. Maneuverability You need a suitcase that can roll smoothly for many miles through airport terminals and withstand being pushed and/or pulled over various terrains, from smooth concourses to uneven sidewalks and cobbled streets. The best have four spinner wheels that allow them to move in any direction (handy for weaving through crowds) and a sturdy, telescoping handle capable of supporting the weight of your suitcase even when fully loaded. Frequently Asked Questions What size suitcase is considered oversized? The International Air Transport Association (IATA) considers any luggage with a linear measurement of over 62 inches oversized. To work out your suitcase’s linear size, simply add the dimensions for length, width, and height. Airlines usually accept bigger bags but will charge a fee for them. The price (and the maximum size accepted) varies from carrier to carrier. Which items are you not allowed to pack in checked luggage? The IATA also lists items that cannot be packed in checked bags. These include e-cigarettes, spare batteries, power banks, and potentially hazardous items such as gas canisters, fireworks, lighters, and bleaches. Again, detailed lists may vary depending on your airline and destination, so it’s always a good idea to check before flying. Banned items will be removed and typically confiscated. What are the benefits of smart suitcases? Smart suitcases are defined as any suitcase that has an integrated electronic device. This could be a USB charging point (super handy for keeping your phone going throughout your journey), a built-in scale (no last-minute repacking at the check-in counter), or a GPS tracker. The downside? Many airlines have banned smart suitcases that use non-removable lithium-ion batteries due to their potential fire risk on planes. How much should you spend on a suitcase? When suitcase shopping, you should research which models offer the best value for money—ultimately, you’re looking for quality construction that will perform well and save money in the long run by lasting several years. Then, you should spend as much as you can afford while also not paying over the odds for gadgets or gimmicks you don’t need. Often you’ll pay extra just for a brand name, so you need to decide if that’s worth it for you. How do you care for and clean your luggage? Each manufacturer will have guidelines, but generally speaking, you should remove any external dirt with a soft-bristled brush or damp cloth (depending on which is more appropriate for the stain and the material your luggage is made of). Make sure your luggage is completely dry before packing it away, and store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. You can use an approved lubricant to keep wheels and zippers running smoothly. Why Trust TripSavvy Jessica Macdonald is TripSavvy’s Africa travel expert. She is an experienced traveler who has put many brands and types of checked luggage to the test on her adventures to more than 50 countries—whether on cultural breaks to cities across Europe, a scientific expedition to the Peruvian Amazon, or a months-long backpacking adventure through South East Asia. The 10 Best Places to Buy Luggage of 2023 Was this page helpful? Thanks for letting us know! Share Pin Email Tell us why! Submit Continue to 5 of 8 below.