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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.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Travelpro Maxlite Expandable 21-Inch Spinner Suitcase
At just 5.9 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 9 x 21 x 14 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.
Read more reviews of the best Traveler's Choice luggage items available to purchase online.
Best Smart Luggage: Travelpro Crew 11 21" Expandable Spinner Suitcase
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.
Best Hardshell: Samsonite Winfield2
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.
Best Value: Samsonite Aspire Xlite Expendable Upright
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.
Take a peek at some of the other best Samsonite luggage items you can buy.
Best Personal Item: Samsonite Wheeled Underseater
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.
Best for Business Travel: Kenneth Cole Reaction Reverb 20" Hardside Spinner
Business travelers who crave a luxury look and feel when it comes to their luggage would do well to invest in the Kenneth Cole Reaction Reverb 8-Wheel Spinner Carry-On. Featuring multi-directional 8-wheel spinners, self-repairing coil zippers, and a retractable handle, this popular luggage item is certainly functional—though its classy style is what makes it truly stand out. From the Reverb’s glossy, rose gold color to its sturdy ABS hard-shell exterior and molded corner guard reinforcements, this lightweight, well-built piece of luggage is both durable and fashion-forward. Plus, thanks to the under lid compartment and expansion zipper, you’ll have no trouble fitting in all your best business-casual clothing for your trip. The Kenneth Cole Reaction Reverb Spinner Carry-On is 10 x 22 x 15 inches, weighs 7.5 pounds, and in addition to rose gold, comes in pretty shades of silver and black.
Best Backpack: Osprey Ozone Convertible 22"/50L Wheeled Luggage
Are you the type of traveler who’d prefer to have an easy-to-carry backpack in lieu of a somewhat clunky carry-on item? The Osprey Ozone Convertible Wheeled Luggage provides the best of both worlds, giving you the freedom to choose between luggage with wheels and a backpack, which can come in handy if you’re in a space where wheels can’t go. Offering near-limitless mobility and high-grade versatility, the Osprey Ozone Convertible Luggage can also easily fit underneath your seat, just in case the overhead bins fill up. In addition to its hidden backpack suspension system, this lightweight bag comes equipped with three handles, easy-access zippered pockets, an internal card-holder (perfect for your travel documents), and a scratch-free exterior slash pocket. Plus, the bag’s lightweight aluminum frame and large wheels with sealed bearings make it super-easy to transport around, even on bumpy ground. The Osprey Ozone Convertible bag comes in black and red, and measures in at 50L/22 inches.
Best Budget: Jetstream Carry on Suitcase
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.
Best Duffel: Olympia Luggage Pocket Rolling Size
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.
Best for Adventurers: Eagle Creek Load Warrior
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.
Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best Eagle Creek luggage items.
Best for Kids: Stephen Joseph Classic Rolling Luggage
With plenty of storage space, special child-friendly features, and a cheery, unique design to boot, the Stephen Joseph Classic Rolling Luggage is a great pick for the traveling kiddos in your life. In fact, we’re betting that your kids will actually be excited to tote their own luggage through the airport when they see this suitcase, which comes in several exciting patterns, colors, and characters that include colorful mermaids, ladybugs, unicorns, rainbows, and more—you can even customize your own. Measuring 14.5” x 18” x 6.5” (the perfect height for pint-sized travelers), this Stephen Joseph suitcase has accessible zipper pockets with glittery accents, an easy-to-lift handle that makes for easy rolling, and several outside compartments that make packing and organizing your child’s clothing simple and relatively stress-free. The Stephen Joseph Classic Rolling Luggage is made of durable polyester and nylon, so you can be sure it’ll withstand wear-and-tear.
Best Collapsible: Biaggi Leggero Foldable Carry-On Spinner
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 — using Biaggi’s patented hinge-lock technology — the Biaggi Leggerro Foldable Spinner can be stored in a drawer, closet, on a shelf or under a bed. The nylon bag, which comes in black, cobalt blue and purple jewel tones, measures 14 x 8 x 22 inches and has two interior zippered pockets to separate undergarments and other items. The carry-on comes with a Biaggi-branded storage bag to keep it free of dust when it’s not in use.
Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best collapsible luggage items.
Products We Tested
How We Tested
Our reviewers spent 21 hours testing one of our readers' favorite carry-on roller suitcase. To really get the full experience, our testers packed up their belongings and took this suitcase on buses, trains, and planes to see how it held up. We asked our reviewers to consider the most important features when using this carry-on, including weight, storage space, and price. We've outlined the major takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in a Carry-On Roller Bag
Weight So many of today’s carry-on bags are lighter than ever. Look for one that offers the features you want, without all of the extra bulk.
Type of trip Consider the sort of trip you’ll typically be taking with this bag. If you’re using it for business, a smart carry-on may give you everything you want. But if you just need more of a weekender bag, maximum storage space is likely a top priority.
Price Cost per use is a critical factor. If you’re on the road for a couple of weeks a month, splurge on something that’s going to make stressful travel days as hassle free as possible. If this is a purchase for a one-off trip, it might be better to save those extra dollars for a splurge while on vacation instead.
Test Results: Travelpro Maxlite International Spinner Suitcase (Best Overall)
What We Like
Good amount of storage space
What We Don't Like
Handle sticks sometimes
Our testers thought that this “bag checked all of the boxes.” Specifically, they loved that it was sturdy, roomy, and “very easy” to maneuver. “I carried it through the streets and could easily switch from rolling on two wheels to all four,” noted one reviewer. Although our testers thought the bag’s handle had a comfortable grip, they thought it stuck a little when they moved it up and down.