The 12 Best Carry-On Roller Bags to Buy in 2018

Say goodbye to those hefty checked baggage fees

Young Asian couple with luggage down the escalator
••• Prasit photo/Getty Images

These days, as airlines continue to charge for checked baggage, traveling light becomes even more important. Choosing a carry-on bag that fits your needs can be difficult, but the wheeled luggage makes navigating through the airport terminals much easier. The companies that design carry-on baggage anticipate travelers' needs by adding features such as gripped handles, pockets for storing small items, built-in toiletry bags and even charging stations. If you're still not sure which might be best for your travel needs, check out our best carry-on options for roll-aboard baggage.

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

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    If you need a carry-on that is more durable and can stand up to the elements, the Samsonite Winfield2 is a reasonably priced, well-built piece of luggage. If you’re traveling in an area with snow or rain, the luggage can easily wipe off (so no moisture can soak through to your clothes). It also has convenient spinner wheels, cross straps for added space and a long, retractable handle. It also has a TSA-approved combination lock, as well as 10 zippered organizational pockets. It measures 19.8 x 12.5 x 28 inches and weighs 14.3 pounds.

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    At just six pounds, the Travelpro is lightweight – yet sturdy – and makes cruising through the airport terminals a breeze. The 360-degree swiveling wheels make it easy to maneuver, the telescoping handle extends further for taller individuals and the contour rubber grips are comfortable on the hands. The bag measures 20 x 14.5 inches and easily fits into most overhead compartments. A small front pocket is perfect for your passport and boarding pass. An added feature is that the main compartment can expand an extra two inches when needed. The bag is designed to meet current international travel size requirements.

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    If you’re spending your day traveling in taxis and waiting in airports, keeping your cell phone charged can be tricky, but the TravelPro Crew 11 carry on has that covered – as well as some other smart features. In addition to an on-the-go, built-in charging system, the nylon bag uses DuraGuard water-resistant coating, and sturdy SUPRA zippers. The carry-on suitcase has spinner wheels that roll straight (so it doesn’t drift when waiting in line) and an extension handle that has three length settings. Numerous pockets on the front and interior help keep you organized. The TravelPro measures 21 x 14 x 9 inches, weighs 7.2 pounds and is available in black, blue, brown or navy.

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12

     If you’re flying a budget airline, the new trend is to only allow a free “personal item” that must fit under the seat in front of you. Designed with these baggage restrictions in mind, the 13 x 13 x 9-inch Samsonite Wheeled Underseater meets the latest size requirements of personal items for budget airlines to save you cash in the long run. It features easy rolling in-line skate wheels, as well as a retractable push button locking handle. The black poly/nylon bag also has side water bottle pockets, a removable hanging organizer compartment, and even a removable 3-1-1 pouch, so going through security will be a breeze. It's the perfect bag for a weekend trip.

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    Great for a weekend getaway or an extended business trip, the Thule Crossover is a comfortable and versatile design that can be rolled along or used as a backpack. One thoughtful feature is that the backpack straps are attached to the front of the bag, so the wheels and handle are not uncomfortably pressed against the user’s back. The front pouch is padded for a computer or other delicate item, and the exterior fabric is water-resistant. Not to mention, there is a heat-molded crush-proof pouch for glasses, a cell phone, or other important fragile items. And the main compartment easily allows users to separate wet and dry items. The Thule Crossover measures 21.9 x 15 inches and weighs 7.8 pounds.

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

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

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

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  • 09 of 12

    Outdoor enthusiasts and adventure travelers will appreciate the Eagle Creek Load Warrior 20 Inch International Carry-On Luggage. The lightweight bag weighs 6.5 pounds and at 9 x 14 x 20 inches, it meets most international airline standards for carry-on luggage (which are smaller than U.S. requirements). There are four handles to easily grab and go, heavy duty zippers (that stay on the track), a bottle opener, as well as an equipment keeper to strap gear in. The wheels have extra tread and the bag comes with a lifetime warranty.

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    Having fun, yet functional, luggage is important for little jet-setters, and the American Tourister Disney Mickey Mouse bag is both. The black wheeled carry-on is covered in Mickey Mouse designs and has a retractable handle and spinner wheels to make it easy for kids to tote around. The bag measures 21 x 14.8 by inches and has a spacious interior with bright red straps to secure clothing, as well as a large mesh compartment. Although the bag is designed for kids, many Amazon buyers said it works wonderfully for adults and is an overall great value.

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    EO Wheeled Briefcase
    ••• Courtesy of Nordstrom.com

    For a sleek-looking, carry-on bag that’s ideal for a one or two-night business trip, the EO Wheeled Briefcase by Incase designs is a top selection. Made from 90 percent polyester, the bag has a triple-coated, weather-resistant outer layer for protection. The main compartment expands up to 35 percent and has internal mesh pockets to separate clothing and small items. A tech compartment has a padded sleeve that can fit up to a 15-inch MacBook Pro, plus a slip pocket for an iPad or another tablet, as well as plenty of pockets for pens, chargers, cell phones and other small devices. The bag stands upright on its own but does not have spinner wheels. 

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    MareLight Small Trolley Wheeled Foldable Collapsible Handy Carry On Luggage Bag
    ••• Courtesy of Walmart.com

    Luggage can quickly take up valuable space in your home or apartment, so a collapsible carry-on bag can be a game-changing piece of travel gear. When folded, the MareLight Small Wheeled Trolley can be stored in a drawer, closet, on a shelf or under a bed. The burgundy-colored bag measures 14 x 8 x 20 inches and has an interior mesh compartment to separate undergarments or other items (although is not as large as standard carry-on suitcases). The lid of this lightweight luggage has a flap that extends over when closed, and buckles to secure it – giving it a slightly vintage look. One drawback is that there aren’t many pockets, so you’ll need to use packing cubes. 

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