Tested and Reviewed: The Best Checked Luggage of 2022

Can your luggage withstand being thrown from a ladder? These bags can

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TripSavvy checked luggage testing at The Lab

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

A high-quality checked bag is a necessity in any frequent traveler’s luggage supply. With so many brands out there at varying price points, it can be hard to identify a bag that will meet your needs. Some travelers consider weight as an important factor to ensure they can get the most out of (or really, get the most into) the 50-pound limit. Others value smart pockets and compartments to keep things organized. Maneuverability is also key for transporting your bag from place to place. And one attribute that’s a priority for most people is a bag’s durability—how can you truly tell whether a bag will protect your belongings and last long-term, with its function and appearance intact, simply from looking at it at a store or online?

We considered all of these factors—and more—to find the best checked luggage on the market. We weighed, measured, packed, and maneuvered all the bags, and then we tested their durability via ladder drops and baseball bats. (And yes, it was really fun. Read more about how we tested the suitcases below.) Most held up pretty well and merited a place on our list, but each offered varying advantages and disadvantages. 

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. 

Best Overall, Softside: TravelPro Platinum Elite Softside Expandable Spinner 25-Inch

5
TravelPro Platinum Elite Softside Spinner

TravelPro

Our Ratings
  • Maneuverability
    5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5
What We Like
  • Several smart storage features

  • Includes TSA-friendly 3-1-1 bag

  • Can register bag to activate warranty

What We Don't Like
  • Heavier than listed

This suitcase received high scores across the board from all of our testers. At first glance, we loved the simple design of the black bag, and upon opening it up, we appreciated the many organization features, such as the diversity and quantity of pockets to keep things organized, a built-in suiter, a TSA-friendly 3-1-1 bag for liquids, and compression straps. Once packed, it also maneuvered really well, practically gliding along smooth and rougher surfaces, even handling cobblestone quite well on two or four wheels. 

The company states that TravelPro bags are “ready to handle anything you want to put it through.” Getting bashed with baseball bats probably wasn't part of their rigorous durability testing, but the bag held up well to our swings—in addition to the drops from a 5-foot ledge and 8-foot ladder. Under all that strain, the bag showed practically no damage. At most, it got a bit dirty during its time outside, but the dirt was easily brushed off.  

In addition to its success in our testing, we also appreciate a few TravelPro guarantees. Included with this bag is a lifetime limited warranty that covers defects to wheels, zippers, and handles. And when you register the suitcase within 120 days of purchase, the company will enhance that warranty to cover costs needed to repair it if damaged by an airline and any shipping costs to and from TravelPro facilities. Plus, you get a 100-day free trial; if you’re not happy with it in that timeframe (which we doubt), you can return for a full refund. 

The only con we could find was that it weighed 1 pound heavier than claimed. TravelPro has it at 9.8 pounds, and our test revealed a weight of 10.8 pounds.

Weight: 10.8 pounds | Dimensions: ​​28 x 18.75 x 11 inches | Wheels: 4 | Expandable: Yes

TravelPro Platinum Elite Softside 25-Inch

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

Best Overall, Hardshell: Arlo Skye The Zipper Check-In

4.6
Arlo Skye The Zipper Check-In Lemon

Arlo Skye

Our Ratings
  • Maneuverability
    4.5/5
  • Durability
    4/5
  • Value
    5/5
What We Like
  • Includes three storage bags and a luggage tag

  • Visually appealing

  • Easy to maneuver

What We Don't Like
  • Handle release button is a little sticky

  • Scratched easily in testing

What first caught our eye about this piece was the design. We purchased it in the Lemon color (a bright-but-not-obnoxious yellow), and the interior was a colorful confetti-style pattern—a fun diversion from the sea of black and neutral suitcases that ride around baggage carousels. But the design is just one nice perk of this well-made suitcase. 

Our testers noted that the bag was able to fit a lot. We were able to fit at least a week’s worth of outfits inside, plus a couple books and trip souvenirs (mug and wine bottle). The bag also comes with two shoe bags and a laundry bag to keep your things clean and organized; it also features a stylish luggage tag. 

Our maneuverability tests showed that the bag was easy to transport, gliding well over smooth and rough surfaces. The telescopic handle has three handle heights, which we liked, but the release button could be sticky when adjusting. Durability-wise, it held up very well against our tough treatment. The outside of the case did reveal some slight scratching, but otherwise, structural damage was minimal; only one minor dent surfaced after the ledge and ladder drops, and the wheels survived perfectly despite being the point of impact during one ladder fall. 

The bag was about 2 linear inches smaller (length and width) than stated on the company website and 0.6 pounds heavier.  

Weight: 9.6 | Dimensions: 26 x 16.5 x 11 inches | Wheels: 4 | Expandable: No

Arlo Skye The Zipper Check-In

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

Best Budget: Amazon Basics Hardside Spinner Luggage 26-Inch

4.2
Amazon Basics Hardside Spinner Luggage 26-Inch

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Maneuverability
    4/5
  • Durability
    4/5
  • Value
    4.7/5
What We Like
  • Smooth to maneuver

  • Spacious interior

What We Don't Like
  • Scratched easily in testing

At the time of testing, this suitcase had more than 25,000 reviews averaging 4.7 stars—impressive ratings for a bag costing only $95. Seeing as it made our list, we also were obviously quite impressed with this budget-friendly bag. 

We easily fit more than a week’s worth of clothing inside (specifically seven shirts, seven pairs of pants, five dresses, a few sweaters, a couple purses, three pairs of shoes, and our souvenirs), likely due to the fact that the wheel casing and the telescopic handle took up minimal interior space. It also has an expander that adds 2 inches to the depth. Maneuvering the bag was easy, better on four wheels than two; it did occasionally sway a bit as it was rolled around. This bag showed more damage than the others during our durability tests, but even so, it wasn’t significant. Black scratches from the ledge and ladder drops were very visible, and the fabric suffered a minor tear. Our weight and dimension measurements revealed it’s slightly smaller and lighter than advertised.

Perhaps expected, budget-friendly in this case also means pretty basic—no special bells and whistles to speak of, but it gets the job done at a great price. 

Weight: 9 pounds | Dimensions: 26.7 x 18.3 x 11.4 inches | Wheels: 4 | Expandable: Yes

Amazon Basics Hardside 26-Inch

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

Most Durable: Samsonite Eco Advance Medium Spinner

4.9
Samsonite Eco Advance Medium Spinner

Samsonite

Our Ratings
  • Maneuverability
    4.5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5
What We Like
  • Good storage features

  • Lightweight

  • Handle is adjustable in 1-inch increments

What We Don't Like
  • Sways a bit while rolling

Considering our brutal testing of these suitcases, choosing one to emerge as the most durable is a true testament to that bag’s endurance. After falling from the ledge and ladder multiple times, and landing on both its wheels and sides, this one didn’t show a single point of damage; even the dirt from the outside ledge test was minimal and easily brushed off. When we reached the stage of hitting it with a baseball bat, it continued to hold up. In the end, it only showed small, welt-like scuffs in places where the bat made contact. Pretty impressive if you ask us; we know baggage handlers aren’t taking a bat to your bags, but knowing it surpasses extra stress testing puts our minds at ease for the longevity of this bag. 

We also loved the storage features this one offered. A small top pocket allows easy access to items you might need quickly, and you'll find a few more interior and exterior pockets. Another perk: This one was the lightest bag we tested, coming in at 8.1 pounds, about a half-pound lighter than the manufacturer-listed weight. It gives you just a little more room to stay under the 50-pound weight limit, even when you use the expander that adds a couple inches of depth.

Weight: 8.1 pounds | Dimensions: 26.25 x 17.5 x 11.5 | Wheels: 4 | Expandable: Yes

Samsonite Eco Advance Medium Spinner

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

Best Two-Wheeled: Timbuk2 CoPilot Luggage Roller XL

4.5
Timbuk2 CoPilot Luggage Roller XL

Timbuk2

Our Ratings
  • Maneuverability
    4.5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    4.5/5
What We Like
  • Maneuvers well

  • Useful pockets

  • Multiple handles for carrying

What We Don't Like
  • One telescopic handle height option

  • Gets dirty fairly easily

Four-wheeled bags are increasing in popularity due to the fact that they’re generally easier to maneuver than two-wheeled options. However, if you prefer the latter, this one’s a great choice; in fact, the wheels themselves were one of our favorite parts about this bag. The Timbuk2 Copilot uses skateboard wheels that roll smoothly and silently over any surface, and they are efficient for rolling over lips and ledges. 

This softside is also unique in design. While most softsides have one main compartment with a lid, this one is a clamshell style (similar to hardshells), offering two equal-sized compartments for packing. Each one has a mesh lining and a few zippered pockets to keep things compact and organized. There’s also a pocket at the top to separate shoes or toiletries, and you can access the front half of the bag with an outside zipper to avoid having to open it up (though, you’ll still want to lay the bag down first to keep items from toppling out). Reviewers also praise Timbuk2’s warranty and product repair process. Our weight and measurement tests found the bag to be smaller and lighter than the manufacturer listing.

Weight: 9.3 pounds | Dimensions: 27 x 15.25 x 12.25 inches | Wheels: 2 | Expandable: No

Timbuk2 Copilot XL

TripSavvy / Wasik

Best Organization Features: DELSEY Paris Hyperglide Expandable Spinner 25-Inch

4.8
DELSEY Paris Hyperglide Expandable Spinner 25-Inch Luggage

Walmart

Our Ratings
  • Maneuverability
    5/5
  • Durability
    4/5
  • Value
    5/5
What We Like
  • Includes hanging tri-fold organizer

  • Maneuvers well

  • Has an overweight indicator

What We Don't Like
  • Scuffs easily

If you prefer a well-organized suitcase with pockets and compartments for everything, this Delsey bag is for you. The best packing feature is the removable, hanging tri-fold organizer for placing toiletries, jewelry, or other small items for easy and organized storage when you arrive at your destination. What's more, there are two interior pockets and two exterior pockets. 

This suitcase even has a built-in overweight indicator that shines red when the bag weighs more than 48.5 pounds. We tested that a few times with the bag weighing more than that limit, and it worked; (though it’s such a subtle red that it was difficult to determine whether it was triggered). Another plus: This bag maneuvers really well, gliding over smooth and rough surfaces with no issues. We scored it equally well in that test as our two overall picks.

Weight: 9.3 pounds | Dimensions: 27.5 x 17.5 x 11.5 inches | Wheels: 4 | Expandable: Yes

overweight indicator

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

Best Style: July Checked Bag

4.1
July Checked

July

Our Ratings
  • Maneuverability
    4.5/5
  • Durability
    3.5/5
  • Value
    4.3/5
What We Like
  • Laundry bag included

  • Easy to maneuver

What We Don't Like
  • Less durable than other bags tested

This sleek hardshell bag is ideal for those who like to travel in style. It’s similar in appearance to other popular, design-forward brands such as Away and Arlo Skye, but at a lower price point. This particular suitcase comes in 12 color options, including pastels and jewel tones as well as neutral hues. We ordered the rose quartz, which was a light-medium pink, a little lighter than the photos on the July website. 

Besides its appealing aesthetic, it also earned high scores for its maneuverability. The handle raises and lowers easily (no sticking points), and the bag glided freely over smooth surfaces and carpet; it performed well over cobblestone, too (better on two wheels than four).

While it was still functional after our durability tests, this bag was more vulnerable to our ledge and ladder tests than the rest. During one ladder test, the bag landed directly on one of the wheels, causing it to invert inside the bag. To the bag’s credit, we were able to pop it back out and continue to use it; however, despite multiple bags landing on their wheels, this was the only one that showed significant effects.

Weight: 9.6 pounds | Dimensions: 26 x 17.75 x 11 inches | Wheels: 4 | Expandable: No

July Checked, Rose Quartz

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

Other Suitcases We Tested

Samsonite Freeform (view at Amazon): This one didn’t make our list of the top picks primarily due to a lack of storage and organizational features, even for a hardshell (which tend to have fewer pockets in general than softsides). Our testers also noted that it felt a little more unwieldy to maneuver when rolling on four wheels. However, there were some things we liked about this suitcase. Out of the ones we tested, this was one of the most spacious—it has minimal wheel casings, allowing for more to be packed inside, and a 360-degree expander that adds about 2 inches. It also held up fairly well in our durability tests, showing minor damage. Overall, this bag performed comparably to the Amazon Basics suitcase—however, when taking into account value, the Amazon Basics one made our list due to its budget-friendly price. 

Final Verdict

The TravelPro Platinum Elite Softside (view at Amazon) earned perfect scores across the board from our testers. Its classic look, impressive features and durability, and customer-first approach made it our top pick for softside luggage. If you prefer a hardshell bag, we loved The Zipper Check-In from Arlo Skye (view at Arlo Skye) for its unique design, durability, and thoughtful features.

testing maneuverability of suitcases

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

Product Selection

When narrowing down which bags to test, we looked at several different factors. First, we sought to test a variety of brands—we chose popular and trusted ones like TravelPro and Samsonite and also a few newer names in the luggage space, like Arlo Skye and July. We also wanted to compare hardshell and softside suitcases. 

Every bag we chose had stellar customer reviews online, all rated 4.5 and above (several up to 4.9), with comments praising various attributes such as design, storage, and durability. We also chose bags that fell along a range of price points. At time of purchase and lab testing, our least expensive bag on the list (Amazon Basics) was $99 (view at Amazon), and the most expensive bag was $395 (Arlo Skye’s The Zipper Check-In).

Arlo Skye bag falling off ledge

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

packing the suitcases

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

Baseball bat testing

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

measuring the suitcases

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

How We Tested

We began the day of testing by weighing and measuring each bag to determine its true size. We found that the specs provided by the manufacturer aren’t always accurate; they might not account for a wheel, expandability, or handles, which can potentially lead to more hassle or fees for you. Most airlines charge additional fees for oversized luggage (bags that are more than 62 linear inches, which is the sum of the length, width, and height) or overweight luggage (bags more than 50 pounds). We found that the dimensions of each bag were usually the same as or very close to the manufacturer specs. Our weight test showed more discrepancies, with half the bags testing heavier than stated. (For reference, we used this Etekcity luggage scale.)

Then, we tested three main attributes of the bags: organization features, maneuverability, and durability. For organization, we packed the bags with travel essentials (such as clothing, shoes, and toiletries), as well as breakables like mugs and bottles of wine, taking advantage of the various pockets or other features. We then rolled the packed bags over the smooth, polished concrete floor of The Lab; a high-pile rug at The Lab; a sidewalk outside; and a cobblestone street. 

Our final test was durability—and trust us, we put these bags to the test. First, we rolled each bag off a ledge that hovers 5 feet over the cobblestone street below. Then, we threw it off of an 8-foot ladder three times in The Lab, attempting to land it on a different side each time. And finally, we took a baseball bat to it to see how each held up to pinpointed and targeted strain. (Yes, this portion of the testing was fun.) Throughout each test, we took copious notes and scored each bag on a rubric of one to five.

Delsey Paris Hyperglide Softside

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

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.

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. 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-wheeled models with more robust telescoping handles and reinforced hard plastic at the corners and bottom.

Maneuverability

Bags used for urban/suburban travel face a different world than those used for visiting developing countries or snow-covered mountains. Ease of movement matters just as much, which is why most rolling suitcases come with four spinner wheels. Lots of grab handles also make it easier to toss onto a bus, and larger wheels can conquer cobblestones and dirt paths.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • 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

Jamie Hergenrader is the editorial director at TripSavvy, overseeing the travel product and gear content for the site. She travels frequently and has tested hundreds of travel products (including luggage) along the way. Jamie was at The Lab during the testing, taking part in every step, from the weighing and measuring to packing, maneuvering, and throwing them off the ladder.

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