The 11 Best Hardside Luggage Bags of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

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The Best Hardside Luggage

Travelpro / Amazon

Representing the most modern choice when packing for your next trip, travelers everywhere love hardside luggage for its fashionable aesthetic and easy upkeep. It also provides rigid protection for your valuables—especially today, when the materials and techniques used to produce hardside suitcases are better and more durable than ever. There are many sizes and styles to choose from, from simple, budget-friendly versions to more expensive ones with features ranging from integrated USB ports to optional monogramming. 

To help you narrow your search for the perfect travel companion, our experts have reviewed dozens of the most popular hardside suitcases in the TripSavvy lab. We tested each one for durability, capacity, organization, maneuverability, and value—and compared the results to find a winner (the Samsonite Freeform Carry-On, chosen for its impressive combination of performance and affordability).

We also compiled the following list of the best hardside luggage options on the market. 

Best Overall

Samsonite Freeform Carry-on Spinner

5
Samsonite Freeform Carry-on Spinner

Amazon

What We Like
  • Glides smoothly on two or four wheels 

  • Stood up well to durability tests

  • Beautiful, on-trend color choices

What We Don't Like
  • Relatively few interior pockets 

The Samsonite Freeform Carry-On is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a one-stop hardside suitcase that meets cabin requirements but doesn’t compromise on packing space. We love that although it has relatively few bells and whistles, it fulfills its purpose perfectly with a streamlined polypropylene exterior that survived our durability tests virtually unscathed. It also looks great, with a ridged shell in a choice of colors from functional black to options such as Sky Blue or Amethyst Purple that are guaranteed to stand out on the luggage carousel. 

Samsonite claims that this suitcase offers increased packing space compared to earlier models, and indeed we could fit everything on our prescribed packing list without using the expansion feature. We liked that there was a separate section for shoes and a zippered delicates pocket, but we would have appreciated a section for dirty laundry. The bag has four double spinner wheels for 360-degree maneuverability, and we found that it glided perfectly at a range of different speeds (although it was easier to handle bumps on two wheels than four).

Other highlights include the push-button handle with its wide, comfortable grip and multiple height settings; a recessed, TSA-approved combination lock; and a built-in ID tag. 

Price at time of publish: $180

Dimensions: 21.25 × 15.25 × 10 inches | Weight: 6.5 pounds | Wheels: 4 | Expandable: Yes

Samsonite Freeform Carry-On

TripSavvy / Tamara Staples

Best Carry-On

Travelpro Platinum Elite Carry-on Expandable Hardside Spinner

4.8
Travelpro Platinum Elite Carry-on Expandable Hardside Spinner

Amazon

What We Like
  • Very smooth to maneuver 

  • Comfortable handle with a textured grip

  • Integrated USB charge ports 

What We Don't Like
  • Relatively expensive

  • Not as spacious as some competitors

For those with a little extra room in their budget, the Travelpro Platinum Elite Carry-On is an intelligent option with a polycarbonate shell designed to flex upon impact and a textured finish that hides all scuffs and scratches. Indeed, it didn’t sustain any visible damage during our testing process. Aluminum corner guards, a genuine leather trim, and stylish colors ranging from Metallic Sand to Vintage Grey complete this suitcase’s high-end look. It’s also convenient, with USB A and C fast-charge ports and an external-access power bank pocket.

It opens clamshell-style and features two zippered divider panels and multiple mesh pockets. There’s even a water-resistant pouch for your toiletries. The only downside? We found we needed to use the two-inch expansion to fit all our items in, which made the bag significantly larger and, therefore, harder to fit into the overhead compartment. Still, the smooth roll provided by Travelpro’s exclusive PrecisionGlide System (with self-aligning wheels and a four-stop handle) more than made up for it.

Price at time of publish: $370

Dimensions: 23 × 14.5 × 9.5 inches | Weight: 8.1 pounds | Wheels: 8 | Expandable: Yes

Travelpro Platinum Elite

TripSavvy / Jhett Thompson

Best Checked

Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Luggage with Spinner Wheels

4.8
Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Luggage with Spinner Wheels, Charcoal

Amazon

What We Like
  • Shell bounces back into shape upon impact

  • Interior divider for two-sided packing

  • Wheels roll smoothly over multiple surfaces

What We Don't Like
  • Surprisingly limited color choices 

We love the Samsonite Winfield 2 28-inch spinner for its no-nonsense functionality, fashion-forward aesthetic, and mid-range price. The polycarbonate shell is lightweight yet durable, and we were particularly impressed by the way dented corners popped easily back into shape during our testing process. The brush-stroke coloration should hide potential scuffs and scratches, while color choices range from Nordic Blue to Brushed Anthracite for a smart look that never goes out of style. 

We found the suitcase roomy and liked how it maintained its size and shape even when stuffed to capacity. The compression feature was another bonus: keeping clothes neatly in place—as was the full-zip interior divider, which allowed us to keep clean and dirty items. If you need extra space, there’s a handy expansion feature. Finally, we found that the multi-directional wheels allowed for smooth maneuverability over a range of terrains. We could easily pull the suitcase behind us or push it in front.

Price at time of publish: $310

Dimensions: 31.4 × 20.4 × 13 inches | Weight: 11.13 pounds | Wheels: 4 | Expandable: Yes

Samsonite Winfield 2

TripSavvy / Conor Ralph

Best Budget, Carry On

Amazon Basics 21-Inch Hardside Spinner

5
Amazon Basics 21-Inch Hardside Spinner

Amazon

What We Like
  • Simple, sleek design

  • Intuitive interior organization

  • Easy to maneuver on a range of surfaces


What We Don't Like
  • No TSA-approved lock

The only suitcase on this list with a price tag well under $100, the AmazonBasics 21-Inch Spinner offers excellent value for money with a simple yet sleek aesthetic and an ABS plastic shell that surpassed all expectations during our drop and bat tests. The scratch-resistant finish helps the suitcase to maintain its good looks for longer, while durable zippers protect the fully lined interior.

We could easily fit all of the items on our list without employing the expansion feature (which increases packing space by up to 15 percent). We appreciated the bag’s clever organization features, which include a divider, compression straps, and three zippered pockets. In terms of maneuverability, it has four double-spinner wheels and a sturdy telescoping handle. We were pleasantly surprised by how easily it glided, even on rougher terrain, over bumps, and around sharp turns.

Price at time of publish: $89

Dimensions: 22 × 14.9 × 10 inches | Weight: 6.3 pounds | Wheels: 4 | Expandable: Yes

Amazon Basics 21-Inch Carry-On Spinner

TripSavvy / Tamara Staples

Best Budget, Checked

Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds Hardside Spinner

4.8
Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds Hardside Spinner

 Amazon

What We Like
  • A spacious, well-organized interior

  • Lightweight shell and trolley system

  • Reinforced corners for added impact resistance

What We Don't Like
  • Difficult to wheel over graveled surfaces

With a durable yet lightweight ABS shell, the Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds 28-inch spinner makes the most of your hold luggage weight allowance. It’s also easy on your wallet, coming in cheaper than many carry-ons on this list. It has molded corner guards for increased impact resistance, which we proved with extensive drop and bat tests (from which it emerged with only a few superficial scuffs). The fully lined interior looks compact from the outside but is amazingly roomy.

Our tester estimated that they would be able to fit a month’s worth of clothes plus extras, and also appreciated how well organized the suitcase was with a large zippered pocket, compression straps, and a divider for two-sided packing. The lightweight trolley system—with its multi-directional wheels and push button handle—gives the suitcase excellent maneuverability around tight turns. We found that it rolled smoothly over concrete and carpet and only experienced difficulties on rough gravel. 

Price at time of publish: $100

Dimensions: 29.5 x 20.5 x 11.75 inches | Weight: 9.6 pounds | Wheels: 4 | Expandable: No

Kenneth Cole Reaction Hardside

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

Best Capacity

DELSEY Paris Helium Aero Hardside Spinner Luggage

4.7
DELSEY Paris Helium Aero Hardside Spinner Luggage

 Amazon

What We Like
  • Extra spacious even before expansion

  • Easy to push or pull over uneven ground

  • Eye-catching jewel tones

What We Don't Like
  • Minimal interior organization

Planning an extended trip or a little bit prone to overpacking? The 29-inch Delsey Paris Helium Aero spinner is for you. We loved its chic look, with a metallic polycarbonate shell in a range of rich colors from red to blue. The ridged exterior should protect the bag from rough handling, and it stood up well to our tests, with only minor scuffing visible afterward. Most of all, we loved how spacious the suitcase was, with an expandable clamshell interior that had space to spare once we packed everything on our list. 

The interior structure is minimal, with two pockets, a zippered divider, and a set of compression straps; however, packing cubes can help overcome this potential downside. The suitcase has four double-spinner wheels and a two-stop telescoping handle. We found it capable of navigating bumps and easy to push or pull on concrete and carpet, although gravel proved a little more challenging. Other features include a TSA-approved lock and a limited 10-year warranty. 

Price at time of publish: $254

Dimensions: 31.75 x 20 x 12 inches | Weight: 12.5 pounds | Wheels: 4 | Expandable: Yes

Delsey Paris Helium Aero Checked Luggage

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

Best Organization

Away The Bigger Carry-On Flex

4.8
The Bigger Carry-On Flex

Away

What We Like
  • Trendy, modern aesthetic

  • Smart interior organization

  • Rolls smoothly on two or four wheels

What We Don't Like
  • Relatively expensive

With its textured polycarbonate shell, leather details, and colors ranging from brilliant Green or Navy to quirky Lavender, The Bigger Carry-On Flex from Away is a fashionable choice. It’s also ideal for the super organized, with several different compartments, an internal compression system that makes it easy to pack bulky items, and a hidden laundry bag. Conveniently, the lining is also removable and washable, helping your luggage to look brand new for longer. If you run out of space, the suitcase expands by 2.25 inches. 

It’s also durable, with only a few minor scuffs sustained during our drop tests. We thought it was a nice touch that the suitcase comes with a sponge to remove these marks. Finally, it performed well over various surfaces, gliding smoothly on two or four wheels and turning easily (helpful in navigating crowded airports). Added benefits include an underside grab handle, an integrated TSA-approved lock, and the right to a 100-day free trial to make sure you’re satisfied. 

Price at time of publish: $345

Dimensions: 22.7 x 14.7 x 9.6 inches | Weight: 8.55 pounds | Wheels: 4 | Expandable: Yes

Away The Bigger Carry-On Flex

TripSavvy / Conor Ralph

Best for Business Travel

Beis The Carry-on Roller

4.7
Beis Carry-On Roller

Beis

What We Like
  • Equally attractive and durable design

  • Superb interior organization 

  • Integrated weight indicator

What We Don't Like
  • No bright or jewel tones are available

The Carry-On Roller from BEIS gives the frequent business traveler the perfect combination of style and function. Designed to fit in any overhead compartment, it also expands by 2 inches whenever you need more space. Its stain-resistant virgin polycarbonate shell looks good (whether you opt for Beige, Maple, or Atlas Pink) and emerged from our extensive durability tests with just one minor scratch. The suitcase features an integrated TSA lock and a weight indicator, so you’re never left unpacking in the terminal again. 

We particularly loved the internal organization, which includes two divider panels with multiple zippered pockets. There’s also a separate pouch set for your shoes and dirty laundry. Our tester felt confident that no matter how roughly the bag was handled, their belongings would arrive in the same condition. The cushioned, silicone handle was another highlight (making those airport miles a little less tiring), while the 360-degree spinner wheels handled bumps, tight corners, and carpet well. 

Price at time of publish: $198

Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 9 inches | Weight: 8.36 pounds | Wheels: 4 | Expandable: Yes

Beis The Carry-On Roller

TripSavvy / Jhett Thompson

Best Expandable

Samsonite Outline Pro Carry-on Spinner

4.7
Samsonite Outline Pro Carry-on Spinner

Samsonite 

What We Like
  • Survived all durability tests unscathed

  • Capacious, well-organized interior

  • Integrated USB charge port

What We Don't Like
  • Reduced maneuverability on carpet

Looking for a contemporary carry-on that expands to provide additional capacity when needed? Consider the chic Samsonite Outline Pro, with a lightweight polypropylene shell that survived our testing process without sustaining a single scratch or dent. The Recyclex-lined interior expands at the pull of a zipper—although we found we didn’t need this feature to fit everything on our packing list. We loved how well-organized the suitcase is, with a divider panel that doubles as a compression system and multiple zippered pockets. 

It also has several thoughtful extras, including a USB charge port, a TSA-approved lock, and handles treated with an antimicrobial additive designed to protect you from harmful bacteria. The main trolley handle is also molded for comfort and can be adjusted to suit different heights. The only downside we experienced was testing the suitcase on the carpet, where we felt reduced maneuverability (around corners especially). Overall, the bag performed better on two wheels than on four. 

Price at time of publish: $440

Dimensions: 23 × 15 × 10 inches | Weight: 6.39 pounds | Wheels: 4 | Expandable: Yes

Samsonite Outline Pro

TripSavvy / Jhett Thompson

Best Large

Travelpro Platinum Elite Large Check-In Expandable Hardside Spinner

4.8
Travelpro Platinum Elite Large Check-In Expandable Hardside Spinner

 Amazon

What We Like
  • Organization options to suit every packing style

  • Rolls beautifully even over rough terrain

  • Large enough for multiple people

What We Don't Like
  • Relatively expensive 

About as big as airlines will allow, the Travelpro Platinum Elite Large Check-In Spinner is for extended trips or multiple people. It offers a vast amount of space—so much so that we could easily fit everything on our packing list, even before using the two-inch expansion feature. Despite fitting so much, it was easy to keep everything organized with the help of zippered divider panels, adjustable compression straps, and multiple accessory pockets, including a waterproof one for your toiletries. We also loved how smooth the zippers were.

As befits its large size, the suitcase is also strong, with a 100 percent polycarbonate shell that flexes on impact—and survived our tests without a single dent. Travelpro’s patented PrecisionGlide System takes the strain off your arm and shoulder, using eight self-aligning spinner wheels and a sturdy four-stop handle to deliver flawless maneuverability. We were incredibly impressed with how well it handled, rolling like a dream over bumps, smoothly over carpet, and even handling gravel. 

Price at time of publish: $470

Dimensions: 30 x 18 x 13.5 inches | Weight: 12.3 pounds | Wheels: 8 | Expandable: Yes

Travelpro Platinum Elite

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

Best Durability

Roam The Check-in

4.6
Roam The Check-in

Roam

What We Like
  • Colors are fully customizable

  • Water-repellent zippers 

  • Rolls smoothly, even on gravel

What We Don't Like
  • The most expensive option on this list

The Check-In from Roam is undoubtedly an investment—but its superior durability justifies its higher price tag. Even after repeated drop and bat tests, we couldn’t see any signs of damage on its sturdy polycarbonate shell, while extra-strength, water-repellent zippers make this suitcase truly weatherproof. Every feature meets the same high-quality standards, from the ball-bearing wheels to the aircraft-grade, four-stop aluminum handle. When combined, we found these features made for absolute ease of movement, even on gravel. 

Durability aside, this suitcase also stands out because you can choose the colors of everything from the front and back shell to the zippers, bindings, wheels, and more. We found this option for customization irresistible, but if you prefer to leave the aesthetics to the experts, there are also pre-designed colorways from which to choose. You can also opt to make the bag expandable. Either way, the interior is lined with 100 percent recycled fabric and includes a compression system with multiple dividers, straps, and zippered pockets. 

Price at time of publish: $595

Dimensions: 26 x 17.5 x 10 inches | Weight: 9.3 pounds | Wheels: 4 | Expandable: Optional

Roam The Check-In

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

How We Tested

All of the suitcases considered for this list underwent a stringent testing process in our laboratory. First, we weighed each one. Next, we packed each suitcase with a prescribed list of items intended to replicate what one might take on a seven-day fall sightseeing trip (for checked luggage) or a four-day trip (carry-on luggage). Our experts evaluated the bag’s capacity and organization features during this step. Next, we rolled at varying speeds through an obstacle course of cones and bumps to simulate navigating a busy airport. 

We also rated maneuverability by rolling the suitcases on three different terrains: concrete, carpet, and gravel. We placed carry-on bags into a simulated overhead bin to check the fit and the placement and strength of grab handles. Finally, all bags were subjected to repeated drop and bat tests, targeting potential weak spots each time and noting any exterior or interior damage. Based on these tests, bags were scored from 1 to 5 for capacity, organization, maneuverability, durability, and value. These scores determined our category winners. 

Hardside luggage testing

Tripsavvy / Vicky Wasik

What to Look For

Weight

When choosing a hardside suitcase, it’s important to consider how much the empty bag weighs. Overly heavy luggage puts unnecessary strain on your arms, shoulders, and back when pulling it through the airport or lifting it in and out of your trunk. It also affects how much you can pack before exceeding airline weight allowances. In the past, heavy materials were synonymous with sturdy ones, but today hardside shells made from lightweight polycarbonate, polypropylene, or ABS plastic offer outstanding durability without adding excess pounds to your luggage scale. 

Size

Increasingly, airlines charge for the privilege of checking luggage into the hold. As such, it’s becoming popular to limit oneself to a carry-on for all but the longest trips is becoming popular. Carry-on size restrictions vary from carrier to carrier, but as a general rule, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) suggests that suitcases should not be more than 22 inches long, 18 inches wide, and 10 inches deep. If you’re looking for a checked bag, be aware that the IATA guideline says it should not have a linear length (height + width + length) of more than 62 inches. 

Material

Hardside luggage can feature several different materials, all of which have varying levels of strength and lightness. The most frequently encountered are polycarbonate and ABS plastic, with polycarbonate being the slightly heavier but more durable option. This is because it flexes upon impact and then pops back into place—making it less susceptible to cracks and dents. ABS is generally more affordable, however. Polypropylene is sometimes used in high-end suitcases for its superior lightness (it’s the lightest hardside material out there). 

Features

Hardside suitcases can be pretty basic—a shell with an interior pocket or two, wheels, and a handle. They can also be much more high-tech, with possible features ranging from integrated TSA-approved locks and weight indicators to fast-charge USB ports (the latter are only available for carry-ons due to airline regulations). Which of these are worth spending money on is up to you. However, quality spinner wheels, a handle with a cushioned grip and adjustable height settings, and the option for expansion are all ones we think make traveling considerably easier. 

Hardside Luggage Testing

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Are softside or hardside suitcases better?

    Some people prefer softside cases because they are more flexible and, therefore, more forgiving if you have awkwardly shaped items to pack or tend to overstuff your luggage. They won’t dent or crack and are more durable for adventure travel. However, the construction of hardside cases has improved so much in recent years that they are now the top choice for many travelers. Their rigid shell protects contents from airline damage and potential tampering, they’re easy to wipe clean and typically offer a greater range of colors and styles. 

  • How can you protect hardside luggage?

    Most hardside suitcases cost quite a bit, so it makes sense to take steps to protect them. Choosing a good bag in the first place is essential—quality materials and construction are inevitably best at withstanding rough handling. Be careful not to overpack or pack so that sharp or pointed objects come into direct contact with the shell since this will create weak points. You can also purchase a PVC cover to protect your bag from scratches and spills or have it plastic wrapped at the airport before each flight. Finally, a TSA-approved lock allows airport officials to open your suitcase without damaging it. 

  • How do you care for and clean your luggage?

    You should always check individual manufacturer’s guidelines before cleaning your hardside suitcase, as best practices may differ. Generally speaking, however, you can remove most dirt, stains, and superficial scuffs with a soft cloth or sponge and a little warm, soapy water. If you use soap, be sure to clean it a second time with plain water to avoid leaving any residue behind. Your suitcase should always be completely dry before being packed and stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

Hardside Luggage Test

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

Why Trust TripSavvy

Jessica Macdonald is TripSavvy’s Africa travel expert and regularly contributes articles related to adventure and family travel. From student days spent backpacking around North and Central America to more recent trips around Africa and Europe with small children in tow, she has plenty of experience with what makes a suitcase great—or not so great.

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