The 5 Best Carry-On Luggage in 2019

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Our Rating5/5 Rating

#1 Delsey Luggage Helium Aero Carry On Luggage

Delsey’s Helium Aero Hardcase Spinner is one of our favorite carry on luggage. Made of 100% Polycarbonate, it’s scratch resistant and weights 8.4 lbs. Four spinner wheels make it super-easy to handle, and two large compartments keep you organized. 

  • Aesthetics: A polycarbonate shell makes this bag not only lightweight but scratch and crack resistant as well
  • Wheels: With four spinner wheels, this bag pretty much glides on its own
  • Organization: Bag has two large, interior compartments to keep your organized
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#2 Victorinox Spectra 2.0 Global Carry-On

Looking for a great business bag? Victorinox has you covered with its sleek, lightweight carry on luggage. The hardshell is break and scratch resistant and bag features a TSA-approved lock. 

  • Wheels: Duel-caster spinner wheels help this carry on luggage glide
  • Aesthetics: Not only is this a sleek-looking bag, but it claims to be scratch resistant
  • Security: TSA-approved lock
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#3 Samsonite Omni Hardside Spinner

Samsonite’s Omni hardside spinner is hands down our favorite carry on luggage on the market. It’s super easy to maneuver thanks to its spinner wheels, is lightweight, and is available in ten colors. 

  • Spinner wheels: Bag glides across airport floors thanks to its  re-engineered spinner wheels
  • Weight: Bag is just 6.8 lbs 
  • Aesthetics: Bag is hardshell and has a micro diamond, brushed exterior that helps hide nicks and scratches
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#4 Rockland Melbourne Expandable Carry On Luggage

Looking for an affordable, light-weight, durable carry on? Check out Rockland’s Melbourne luggage. A hardside bag constructed of polycarbonate material, this carry on luggage is extremely lightweight and is easy to maneuver thanks to four spinner wheels. 

  • Price: Affordably priced
  • Wheels: Four spinner wheels provide 360-degree spinnability, making this a cinch to maneuver.
  • Organization: Bag has mesh compartments that keep you organized
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#5 Travelpro Maxlite Expandable Rollaboard Suitcase

Oftentimes men and women prefer different types of luggage. If you’re looking for the best luggage for men, take a look at Travelpro’s Maxlite Expandable Roller. It’s a traditional softshell bag, but what makes it unique is its expandable handle, perfect for tall people.

  • Weight: Bag weights just 6.6 lbs
  • Handle: Telescope handle extends up to 42.5 inches
  • Main compartment: Bag features one main compartment
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Whenever possible, we recommend using a carry on bag. Not only can you avoid checked bag fees, but your luggage is guaranteed to make it to your final destination – and in one piece. That’s not always the case with checked luggage (but is why we’re grateful for travel insurance). Plus, with carry-on luggage, there will no longer be a need to stand in line at bag drop off points or at the baggage carousel on arrival. Using carry-on luggage might seem restrictive and difficult to do. You might be thinking ‘how do I fit in all my clothes?’ However, not checking luggage in provides more freedom. When it comes down to it, carry-on luggage makes travel easier, cheaper and faster. Checking luggage in means the flight will be more expensive, not to mention all the added wait time at the airport.

Once you’ve tried traveling with only carry-on luggage it will soon become your preferred way to travel. You will do whatever it takes can to avoid checking in luggage and you won’t look back.

There are many factors to consider when searching for the best carry-on luggage. Hard case or soft case? 2 wheels or 4 wheels? And there are so many options for carry-on luggage out there but how do you choose? That’s why we’re here. Whether you’re looking for the most affordable carry-on luggage, the lightest weight, the best carry-on luggage for men, the best carry on luggage for women, or even the best carry on bag luggage for business travel, we’ve got you covered.

Best Affordable: Rockland Melbourne Expandable Carry-On Luggage

carry on luggage - Rockland Melbourne

Looking for a light-weight, affordable, stylish carry-on luggage? Rockland’s Melbourne has you covered.

Made from polycarbonate material, this carry-on luggage is extremely lightweight, durable and protects the contents of your luggage. Four multi-directional spinner wheels rotate 360 degrees making this suitcase more mobile. This luggage has interior mesh, zip pocket and elastic pocket which allows you to pack more while avoiding the excess weight surcharges imposed by most airlines. And you really can’t beat the price.

Pros

  • Price: This bag proves that price has nothing to do with quality.
  • Spinner wheels: four spinner wheels rotate 360-degrees making this bag oh-so-easy to maneuver.
  • Compartments: Bag has mesh zip pockets and an elastic pocket helping you stay organized.

Cons

  • Exterior shell: Customers have said that the shell cracks easily

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Best for Men: Travelpro Maxlite Expandable Rollaboard Suitcase

Travelpro is our top choice for men

If you’re looking for a softshell, two-wheeled roller suitcase at an affordable price, you can’t go wrong with the Travelpro Maxlite carry-on. It’s lightweight at just 6.6 lbs, has a telescoping handle that adds length and can extend up to 42.5 inches. It’s perfect for those 6-foot plus people. It has one main, deep interior compartment that contains small zippered compartments for extra storage and organization. Plus, there’s a front lid with enough room for a few pressed shirts and pants. It’s perfect for business trips.

Pros

  • Price: Bag is affordably priced
  • Expandable handle: Perfect for tall people
  • Size: Bag has one large compartment and can expand

Cons

  • Wheels: If you’re looking for two wheels this is great; however if you prefer a four-wheeled spinner, keep looking

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Best for Women: Samsonite Omni Hardside Spinner

Samsonite's carry on is our top pick for womenSamsonite’s Omni hardside spinner tops our list of best carry-on luggage for women because it’s easy to maneuver. It’s lightweight, has re-engineered spinner wheels for easy mobility, and comes with a TSA-approved lock. It’s even available in ten colors features a micro diamond, brushed exterior that hides scratches to keep the bag looking as good as new.

Pros

  • Weight: This carry-on luggage is lightweight at 6.8 lbs and easy to handle.
  • Color options: Bag comes in ten different comes. You can go with your basic black, or try the radiant pink if you want to stand out.
  • Spinner wheels: This bag glides across the floor with little force thanks to its four spinner wheels.

Cons

  • Wheel quality: Customers have reported wheels can jam easily.

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Best for Business Travels: Victorinox Spectra 2.0 Global Carry-On

Red Victorinox luggage

If you’re traveling for business, you’ll need nice carry-on luggage. No one wants to be the guy that checks a bag and makes the rest of the team wait or the girl with the beat up luggage. It doesn’t give a good impression. Victorinox is our favorite luggage for business travel. If you’re looking for more of a business backpack, we’ve reviewed those too.

It’s sleek, it’s lightweight, it’s break and scratch resistant, it has a TSA-approved lock, and rests atop four dual-caster spinner wheels which make it seamless to maneuver.

Pros

  • Aesthetics: Not only is this a sleek-looking bag, but it claims to be scratch resistant
  • Organization: Two main compartments make organization a cinch
  • Wheels: Duel-caster spinner wheels make this suitcase glide

Cons

  • Price: This is one of the pricier bags on our list, so is a big investment

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Best Lightweight Carry-On: Delsey Luggage Helium Aero, Carry-On Luggage, Hard Case Spinner Suitcase, Titanium

delsey makes one of our favorite lightweight bags

Looking for a light-weight carry-on bag? Check out Delsey’s Helium Aero Hardcase Spinner. This stylish bag is made of 100% Polycarbonate and weights just 8.4 lbs. The material is also practically crack-proof! It features four spinner wheels for easy handling, two large compartments to keep you organized, and even has a comfortable handle.

Pros

  • Lightweight: A polycarbonate shell makes this bag super lightweight without sacrificing in quality or protection
  • Four spinner wheels: This bag practically moves itself
  • Compartments: Bag features two large, interior compartments to keep your organized

Cons

  • Size: Will not fit into most commuter airline compartments

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Carry-On Luggage Buying Guide

Traveling with a carry-on

There are a lot of different types of carry-on luggage, so when starting your purchasing journey you’ll want to take a few things into consideration.

Size and Weight

The first thing you should think about when looking at carry-on luggage is what its main purpose will be. Do you need it for weekend trips, or will you try and fit a week’s worth of clothes inside? Will you use it more for long-haul domestic flight, commuter flights, or international flights?

If you’ll typically use your carry-on luggage for short trips, you may be able to get away with a smaller sized bag. This will be easier for you to maneuver and easier to fit inside the airline’s compartments. The max size for domestic carry-on luggage is 9 in x 14 in x 22 in (22 cm x 35 cm x 56 cm), and this includes wheels and handle. This is the universally accepted carry-on size in the U.S., but not all commuter flights can handle a bag this big. If you typically fly international or long-haul domestic flights, this will work, but if you tend to frequent commuter flights we recommend you find a small bag so you’re not forced to check it. International carry-on bag regulations vary by airline and region, but a bag this size will work on most international flights.

Weight is also important. As you’ll need to lift the bag up into the airline’s storage compartment, we recommend finding the lightest weight bag that you can. Chances are you’ll be packing it with shoes and other items that can add up in weight, so it’s better to start with the least amount of weight as possible!

Hardside vs. Softside

Once you’ve figured out the size carry-on you need you’ll want to take a look at the material. You may ask yourself, “Hardside vs. Softside: Which is Better?”There are benefits to both, so the truth is it’s ultimately it’s your call. One isn’t necessarily better than the other.

Hardside luggage is more protective of its contents, so if you tend to pack breakable goods, a hardside carry-on could be best. It’s also water resistant, so if you tend to travel during the rainy season it could also be best.

Softside bags are more malleable, so if you’ll be packing for a road trip you may prefer a softside carry-on. It also doesn’t show wear and tear as easily as its hardside counterparts, so if aesthetics are important, perhaps you’ll prefer a softside carry on.

Look at both. See which you prefer. It truly is a personal decision.

Wheels

If you don’t mind carrying your carry-on bag, you could find a cool, vintage duffle bag. However, if you’re like us and would rather wheel your bag we recommend finding something on wheels.

When it comes to luggage, there are two key types of wheels: in-line wheels and spinners. In-line wheels are like rollerblades: they roll in one direction, and are often found on only the backside of luggage. When you pull your bag, the weight goes to the back of the luggage.

Spinners, on the other hand, typically come in fours: there is one at each corner of the suitcase, and the weight rests fully on the bottom of the bag. Spinner bags are typically easier to manage than luggage with in-line wheels as less effort is required from you. The bags are typically easier to control as well.

We recommend testing both spinner bags and in-line luggage. Go to a store and take them both for a spin around the aisles. Just like hardside vs. softside, luggage wheels are a personal, subjective decision.

Inner Compartments

Different types of carry-on luggage have different numbers of compartments. Some just have one large area in which you can store all of your items, while others have two: one zippered compartment along the inside of the lid, and one main compartment.

If you like to stay organized when you travel, we recommend getting a carry-on bag with multiple compartments. We also recommend a softside vs. a hardside carry-on bag, as softside bags tend to have an extra outer zip compartment while hardside luggage does not. Want to stay even more organized? Invest in some packing cubes.

Smart vs. Traditional

If you like to stay up to date with the latest technological trends, you may be interested in smart luggage. What is smart luggage? Smart luggage is typically any type of luggage that has high-tech capabilities. These capabilities can include (but are not limited to):

  • Charging stations
  • GPS tracking
  • Electronic locks
  • Remote app controls
  • Bluetooth capabilities
  • WiFi connectivity
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