Trip Planning Tech & Gear The 11 Best Checked Luggage of 2021 These checked bags will hold up and look great trip after trip By Amber Nolan Amber Nolan Amber is a restless travel writer with more than 10 years of experience. She covers travel products for TripSavvy. TripSavvy's editorial guidelines Updated on 09/21/21 Share Pin Email Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links. Chloe Jeong / TripSavvy The Rundown Best Overall: Travelpro Maxlite 5 Expandable Spinner at Amazon "Is a durable and lightweight option that can handle the airport’s toughest treatment." Best Budget: Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Checked Luggage at Amazon "Offers plenty of packing space, smooth mobility, and a lightweight body at a budget-friendly price point." Best Cult Favorite: Away The Large at Away "Staying organized is a cinch thanks to a removable laundry bag and several mesh pockets." Best Midsized: Lipault Paris Original Plume Spinner at Bloomingdales "A step up in size from standard carry-on luggage." Best Oversized: Briggs & Riley Baseline Spinner Luggage at Amazon "At 25 inches high, this large luggage bag is supported by a strong aluminum handle system." Best Hardshell: Delsey Paris Helium Aero Hardside Luggage at Amazon "It's made of polycarbonate, meaning this suitcase is resistant to breaking or falling apart" Best Backpack: Osprey Farpoint Trek Travel Backpack at Amazon "This backpack boasts 55 liters of volume, making it great for long-term travel." Best Lightweight: Samsonite Omni Hardside Spinner at Amazon "The polycarbonate exterior has a micro-diamond texture that is scratch-resistant and lightweight." When you’re traveling for longer periods of time and carry-on bags won’t cut it, a good quality checked bag is a necessity. Some checked bags offer plenty of pockets to keep wayfarers organized, while others have spacious main compartments to load all your gear—just keep in mind that airlines have varying weight limits. Checked luggage comes in both hard and soft shell cases and many also include TSA-friendly locking systems to keep items safe. You also want to keep in mind the capacity, or how much a bag can store. This is especially important if you tend to overpack or bring home more items than you arrived with. There's also the preference of hard or softsided. Read on for our list of the best checked luggage available. Best Overall: Travelpro Maxlite 5 Expandable Spinner 3.8 Buy on Amazon Buy on Bloomingdales What We Like Easily accessible pockets Available in fun colors Three carrying handles What We Don't Like Can tip over when packed Travelpro Maxlite 5 Expandable Spinner Review Ideal for extended trips, the Travelpro Maxlite 5 is a durable and lightweight option that can handle the airport’s toughest treatment. This 29-inch spinner is made from polyester with Dura Guard coating that's stain- and water-resistant (and, unlike hardshell suitcases, can’t scratch or crack). The Maxlite 5 can expand an additional two inches for increased capacity. It's so large, our product tester recommended the bag for “someone who travels for long periods of time, multiple times a year.” It also has an exterior front compartment, full-length interior lid pocket, and side pocket. Four, 360-degree spinner wheels and a retractable PowerScope Lite handle make this suitcase a breeze to transport. The checked luggage bag is available in neutral black, brown, and gray, as well as light pink and azure blue. Size: 29 x 20.5 x 12.5 in. | Weight: 8.5 lbs. | Type: Softsided | Expandable: Yes Tested by TripSavvy I tested the 29-inch model on a 10-day trip to Europe. After the trip, it was still in good condition. The storage is ample: a main compartment, two exterior compartments, a full-length interior flap pocket, and a side accessory pocket. It was enough space for my belongings and clothes and shoes for two toddlers. I appreciated the size of the main compartment, though it was so big that I had a hard time keeping things organized. The two hold-down straps were a nice touch, but they felt a little flimsy. This suitcase features three carry handles (bottom, top, and side). Its telescopic pull handle features a rubberized grip that naturally molded to my hands. The handle has two locking points: one at 38 inches above the ground, and one at 42.5 inches. Even the tallest of travelers should be able to adjust it to their height. The Maxlite 5 has four 360-degree spinner wheels, which makes it a breeze to maneuver. Unfortunately, the suitcase kept tipping over when it was at a stop. Despite its size, the Maxlite 5 didn’t weigh me down. Even though my suitcase was packed to the brim, it was still under 50 pounds. —Charlene Petitjean-Barkulis, Product Tester TripSavvy / Charlene Petitjean-Barkulis Best Value: Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Checked Luggage Courtesy of Amazon 5 Buy on Amazon Buy on Walmart Buy on Bed Bath & Beyond What We Like Keeps its shape when it expands Durable outer shell Zippered interior compartment for storing fragile items What We Don't Like Locking mechanism doesn't feel sturdy Samsonite Winfield 2 Fashion 28” Spinner Review Samsonite delivers a great value with the Winfield 2. It offers plenty of packing space, smooth mobility, and a lightweight body—all at a budget-friendly price point. The spinner's 100 percent polycarbonate construction not only ensures durability, but it also absorbs any impact by popping back into its original shape. This way, the luggage is less likely to encounter any dents or damages. Our tester noted how durable the luggage was during a ten-hour car trip. Despite the bumpy roads, the bag arrived in great condition and dent-free. The case sits on four, 360-degree spinner wheels, with a fully-lined interior and cross-straps for efficient organization. Moreover, the sleek and stylish case is available in colors like navy, burgundy, teal, charcoal, purple, and more. Size: 28 x 19 x 12 in. | Weight: 11.5 lbs. | Type: Hardsided | Expandable: Yes Tested by TripSavvy We stuffed this bag with everything from flip-flops to soggy bathing suits and set off for a ten-hour drive to the gravel roads of Mexico. On the way there, we could hear our luggage being tossed around as we traversed the bumpy roads. Our bag arrived unscathed, and not one but several people in Mexico commented on how nice the bag looked. The Samsonite Winfield 2 is designed so there is no wasted space. We were able to expand it with the flick of a zipper for a some spare inches. Inside we found dividers and pockets that helped us be organized with our packing. The inside top section is its own zippered compartment and sits alongside a mesh divider that can hold several pairs of socks, t-shirts, undergarments, and toiletries—which stayed in place and protected as our bag bounced from trunk to room and back. The bottom half of the bag is an open compartment fit for bulkier items, and it easily accommodated our overpacking. The bag’s four multi-directional wheels made the bag easy to maneuver. It also features three handles, including the main, one-click telescopic handle, which was easy to pull up and collapse with one hand. —Angelica Leicht, Product Tester Tripsavvy / Angelica Leicht Best Cult Favorite: Away The Large Courtesy of Away 5 Buy on Awaytravel.com What We Like Compression straps Spacious interior compartment 100-day return policy What We Don't Like Doesn't expand Outer shell can scuff easily Away The Large Review If you've been eyeing this checked luggage bag on Instagram for quite some time, but haven't made the leap—we're here to say it lives up to the hype. Away’s largest suitcase is the opposite of clunky. In fact, it’s sleek, super-lightweight, and carefully designed to last you a lifetime. Regardless of where your travels take you, you can rest assured that your belongings will stay safe and sound thanks to the bag’s hardy-yet-flexible polycarbonate shell and TSA-approved combination lock. Plus, with a removable laundry bag, an interior compression system, and several mesh pockets, staying organized is a cinch. Our tester loved how the compression pad made it easier to pack bulky, dirty clothes on her return trip. It comes in several eye-catching colors that include navy, sky, blush, sand, and more. Size: 29 x 20.5 x 12.5 in. | Weight: 11.6 lbs. | Type: Hardsided | Expandable: No Tested by TripSavvy Away’s The Large has two big compartments. Using packing cubes on one side, I was able to pack 10 days’ worth of clothes for my kids and myself. On the other side, I packed four pairs of adult shoes, five pairs of toddler shoes, two curling irons, and my toiletries. For our return trip, we appreciated both the included laundry bag for dirty clothes and the compression pad, which made room for some purchased items (we also appreciated the included TSA-approved lock). The Large doesn’t have an extension zipper, but the shell has enough flexibility for overpackers. We tested the lighter “sand” color, which showed some scuffs and nicks after the first flight. However, we were able to wipe it clean with the also-included scuff eraser. Overall, the suitcase withstood the rigors of airport travel, and I loved how sturdy it felt. It’s also super light and fairly easy to carry around, even when it’s full. The four 360-degree spinning wheels rotate well on most surfaces, but it was more challenging to steer on cobblestones and cracked streets, since the wheels don’t lock. When maneuvering it up and down the stairs, my husband had to flip it 90 degrees. —Charlene Petitjean-Barkulis, Product Tester TripSavvy / Charlene Petitjean-Barkulis Best Midsized: Lipault Paris Original Plume Spinner Courtesy of Lipault 3.8 Buy on Bloomingdales Buy on Lipault-usa.com What We Like Lightweight Durable material Easily stands upright What We Don't Like Minimal interior packing space Expensive for its size Lipault Paris Original Plume Spinner Review If you require a second bag that’s larger than a carry-on but don’t want to tote around a gigantic checked bag, the Original Plume 24-Inch Spinner by Lipault Paris may be the best option. Designed in France, the bag is a step up in size from standard carry-on luggage. Made from sturdy but lightweight nylon, the bag weighs just under 6 pounds and its nylon construction also means that unexpected spills can be easily wiped off the material. Spinner wheels help to coast through the airport and three pockets (two on the inside and one on the outside) will keep items organized. Our product tester even said that “it makes packing (especially for over packers) very easy.” Size: 25.6 x 17 x 11 in. | Weight: 5.8 lbs. | Type: Softsided | Expandable: No Tested by TripSavvy This is a stylish piece of luggage with a modern and minimalist look. The bag’s soft structure allows for easy and space-saving storage. It’s also compact and feather-light. The wheels move easily in all directions on most surfaces; though it was a bit trickier to roll on uneven streets, I was able to carry and maneuver the suitcase comfortably. It can stand upright, even when packed to the brim, and I never worried about it tipping. I have owned a couple of Lipault suitcases for over seven years now, and aside from stains and scuffs, they have stood the test of time. My big complaint with this bag is how little I was able to fit inside. Once I had my toiletry bag, two pairs of shoes, a curling iron, and one big packing cube with three days’ worth of clothes, the suitcase was full. The tie-down interior straps also did not keep my belongings in place. It features a few small pockets, but you’re forced to use one big compartment for pretty much everything. Overall, we felt the packing functionality was limited—unless you simply want a bag for quick weekend getaways with a few outfits and small items. —Charlene Petitjean-Barkulis, Product Tester TripSavvy / Charlene Petitjean-Barkulis Best Oversized: Briggs & Riley Baseline Spinner Luggage Buy on Amazon Buy on Briggs-riley.com What We Like Exterior pockets are easy to access Built-in garment hanger TSA-approved lock What We Don't Like The handle can be hard to maneuver For long-term travelers or big families, consider splurging on the Briggs & Riley Spinner. Its hefty price tag is worth the investment, with a CX expansion system for maximum space and compression to keep your items intact. The interior and exterior pockets add even more storage, and its ballistic nylon fabric ensures resistance to wear, moisture, and dirt. An outsider handle guarantees more space and wrinkle-free packing for your clothing. Even if the case is filled to the brim, its hybrid fiberglass frame provides flexibility and durability. At 25 inches high, the large luggage bag is supported by a strong aluminum handle system. Size: 25 x 18 x 11 in. | Weight: 11 lbs. | Type: Softsided | Expandable: Yes Best Hardshell: Delsey Paris Helium Aero Hardside Luggage Courtesy of Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Walmart What We Like Zippered interior divider Expands up to 2 inches Scratch resistant What We Don't Like The TSA lock can be hard to access The Delsey Paris Helium Aero is made of 100 percent polycarbonate, meaning the suitcase is resistant to breaking or falling apart. As one of the most durable luggage pieces on the market, the 25-inch case is still pretty light. It's easy to maneuver as well, with double spinner wheels for seamless mobility and less weight on your arm. The checked luggage bag is equipped with two large compartments with pockets for easy access and organizing. With a deep metallic finish, the hardshell case also comes in vibrant color options including pink, teal, purple, and more. Size: 25 x 17.5 x 11.5 in. | Weight: 12 lbs. | Type: Softsided | Expandable: Yes The 9 Best Delsey Luggage Items Best Backpack: Osprey Farpoint Trek Travel Backpack Buy on Amazon Buy on Osprey.com Buy on REI What We Like Can hold a sleeping bag Internal compression straps Adjustable back panel What We Don't Like Zippers can get stuck Osprey has made its name on backpacks that are durable, comfortable, and come backed with a generous guarantee in case something goes wrong with them—making it a pretty ideal bag to invest in for years of travel. The Farpoint Trek Travel Backpack is a checked-bag version of the original Farpoint. It can fit 55 liters of volume, making it great for long-term travel; has a U-shaped front entry for easy packing and rummaging; and has a waterproof travel case in case you get caught out in some inclement weather. Size: 28.4 x 15.4 x 12.2 in. | Weight: 4.23 lbs. | Type: Softsided | Expandable: No The 15 Best Carry-On Backpacks of 2021 Best Lightweight: Samsonite Omni Hardside Spinner Buy on Amazon Buy on Samsonite.com What We Like Expands up to 2 inches TSA-approved lock Compression straps What We Don't Like No exterior pockets A sturdy and spacious hardshell suitcase with exceptional durability, the Samsonite Omni PC spinner is a great option at an affordable price. The polycarbonate exterior has a micro-diamond texture that is highly scratch-resistant and lightweight, and the interior compartment features a full-zip divider and cross-straps to secure clothing and shoes. Other highlights include sturdy zippers, lightweight spinner wheels, a side-mounted TSA lock for added security, and a retractable handle for easy transport through the airport. The checked luggage bag has the ability to expand an additional 1.5 inches and weighs just under 12 pounds. Choose from 11 different colors in both bold and neutral shades. Size: 30.5 x 21.5 x 13.5 in. | Weight: 11.68 lbs. | Type: Hardsided |Expandable: Yes The 11 Best Lightweight Luggage of 2021 Most Durable: Timbuk2 Copilot Luggage Roller Timbuk2 Buy on Amazon Buy on Timbuk2.com What We Like Laptop compartment 42-liter capacity Removable skateboard wheels What We Don't Like Handle may be short for taller travelers Ideal for frequent travelers, the Timbuk2 Copilot Luggage Roller is lightweight and a breeze to pack with. Its extended handle system and skateboard-style wheels offer a smooth roll, while multiple grab straps make it easy to transport from overhead bins. Inside, the unique, clamshell-designed luggage bag has a large main compartment with a front zip opening, an expandable top compartment for separating shoes and toiletries, and an internal mesh divider for efficient organizing. Better yet, it's crafted from durable nylon and reinforced tarp fabric for waterproof protection—withstanding all the wear-and-tear that comes with constant traveling. Size: 28.7 x 14.6 x 13.8 in. | Weight: 8.82 lbs. | Type: Softsided | Expandable: No Best Style: Rimowa Essential Large Check-In Suitcase Courtesy of Rimowa Buy on Rimowa.com Buy on Saks Fifth Avenue What We Like Side and top handles TSA-approved locks 87-liter capacity What We Don't Like Pricey This luxury label is known for good-looking luggage that’s worth the price tag. It might not chase an Instagram aesthetic like Away, but the bags are icons of sophisticated, good design and come in stylish colorways (matte and gloss) that’ll catch your eye on the carousel. Designed in Germany as the world’s first polycarbonate suitcase, it’ll roll with the punches of even the klutziest baggage handler. Size: 30.6 x 20.5 x 11.1 in. | Weight: 10.6 lbs. | Type: Hardsided | Expandable: No Best for Business Travel: Briggs & Riley Medium Upright Duffle Courtesy of Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Briggs-riley.com What We Like Leather wrapped handles Water-resistant material 84.4-liter capacity What We Don't Like Can tip over when fully packed Expensive Business travelers will love the versatility of the Briggs & Riley Medium Upright Duffle. Unlike some other duffles, this bag has two roller wheels and two feet so it can stand upright when you're waiving down a taxi. It has top handles, too, if you need to carry it and run to catch the last flight out. On the interior, there's a large zippered mesh pocket, a separate flat packing section, and panels to keep clothes in place so they don't wrinkle while you're in transit. Made of durable ballistic nylon, the Medium Upright duffle looks sleek enough for business trips but it can also hold up to the wear and tear of travel. And frequent travelers can purchase this duffle with peace of mind—Briggs and Riley offers a fairly comprehensive lifetime guarantee. Size: 27 x 14 x 16.5 in. | Weight: 9.7 lbs. | Type: Softsided | Expandable: No Final Verdict The Travelpro Maxlite Expandable Spinner (view at Amazon) is our top choice since it's highly durable, spacious, and lightweight. It can expand up to two additional inches and makes the perfect companion for longer trips, due to its stain-resistant material and spacious inside. But if you're in the market for an attractive, trendy suitcase, we recommend the Away The Large Suitcase (view at Away). This chic bag features a TSA-approved lock, lots of storage space, and a flexible polycarbonate shell to keep your belongings safe. What to Look for in Checked Luggage Storage Type Most bags in this category offer lots of storage, but that’s often where the similarities stop. For gear-centric travelers who carry ski boots or other hard goods, look for a bag that offers lots of unrestricted duffel-like storage so you can basically dump all your stuff inside. If you mostly haul apparel, then packs that offer more compartmentalization make it easy to keep everything separate. And if you plan on carrying expensive or fragile items (like electronics or wine), a hard-shell case offers the best protection you can find, though those are often heavier than soft-sided models. Capacity Naturally, those who carry lots of gear will need more space than others, but if you plan on bringing back more than you originally packed, look for bags with storage expansion, and ones that weigh in a bit lighter than other long-haulers. A cache of external pockets are also welcome features to keep quick-grab items like a rain jacket handy. More minimalist? You can opt for bags with a slimmer profile or those that are a bit heavier, like four-wheel models with more robust telescoping handles and reinforced hard plastic at the corners and bottom. Usability Bags used by urban/suburban travelers face a different world than those used for visiting developing countries or snow-choked mountains. Durability is important, but ease of movement matters just as much, which is why most rolling suitcases come with four—or eight—spinner wheels. If you frequent the French Riviera or other high-class locales, leather is always a fashion-forward choice. But if you plan on visiting more rugged environments with variable weather, target packs designed with more durability—semi-hard or hard floors, larger roller-style wheels that can conquer cobblestones and dirt paths. Lots of grab handles also make it easier to toss onto a bus. FAQs What size suitcase is considered oversized? An oversized suitcase is one that’s too large to fit within the bounds of an airline’s stated maximum dimensions. The standard size restrictions for US airlines generally amount to 62 inches (a total of length + width + height). While they can be useful for long stays or for moving internationally, oversized bags usually incur an extra fee at the check-in desk, so it’s not something you want to come with you on every trip. It’s not quite the same as overweight baggage, which is used specifically to refer to the weight of the bag versus its size. Which items are you not allowed to pack in checked luggage? Banned items in checked luggage include alcoholic beverages over 140 proof, electronic lighters, bear spray, CO2 cartridges, and cooking spray, among other items. The TSA has a long and searchable list of prohibited items in both carry-on and checked bags on its website for travelers with specific queries. What are the benefits of smart suitcases? The advantage of smart suitcases is that, generally speaking, they have a built-in holder for a battery pack for charging your phone. The upside of this is you can charge your phone comfortably and handily on your suitcase in the terminal. The downside is that it’s usually more expensive to buy a suitcase with this feature than it is just to buy a battery pack, and you have to remove it for the flight anyway. How much should you spend on a suitcase? It depends on how much you travel. If you’re a frequent flier with business trips every week, spending a little more on a suitcase can make it an investment that will reward you in wheels that stay on and trouble-free zippers. Those who travel less frequently might consider less-expensive suitcases but be careful of less-than-stellar quality. Why Trust TripSavvy TripSavvy writers are experts in their subject areas and remain objective in their assessments. In the course of researching roundups like this, Krystin Arneson spoke with travel experts, sifted through dozens of reviews, analyzed expert blogs, and consider customers’ reported experiences with the product as well. The 10 Best Duffel Bags of 2021 Was this page helpful? Thanks for letting us know! Share Pin Email Tell us why! Submit Continue to 5 of 11 below. Continue to 9 of 11 below.