The 5 Best Checked Luggage for Travels in 2019
#1 Paris Delsey Luggage
Looking for a lightweight, affordable, hardshell, spinner piece of checked luggage? Look no further than Delsey’s Paris collection.
- Material: 100% Polycarbonate, a crack-resistant, durable material.
- Four double-spinning wheels: This bag practically rolls itself!
- Size: 19.5 x 12.5 x 29 inches; it even expands an additional 2-inches if need be!
#2 Samsonite Winfield
Looking for a set of luggage that won’t break the bank? Check out Samsonite’s Winfield collection. This set contains a 20″, 24″ and 28″ bag and comes in five color options.
- Material: 100% Polycarbonate. This material is scratch-resistant and dent-resistant
- Multiple-compartments: Bag features an interior divider with pockets
- Price: Set of three costs less than what you’d pay for one piece with competitors
#3 Tumi's Extended Trip Packing Case
If you’re on the hunt for the best checked luggage and have your heart set on hardshell, you can’t go wrong with Tumi’s Extended Trip Packing Case. This extra-large piece of luggage measures 30″ x 20.5″ x 11.75″ and features four spinning wheels plus a TSA-approved lock.
- Material: Constructed of Tumi’s most durable and lightweight material
- Organization: Luggage has two packing compartments, plus a hanger basket
- Security: Luggage comes with TSA-approved lock
#4 AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner
If having the best spinner luggage is top of your list, you’ll love this AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Luggage. It’s not only affordable but comes in a variety of sizes and color. We recommend the 28″.
- Four Spinner Wheels: Roll through airports with ease
- Material: Exterior is a protective hard shell, made of extra-thick ABS. It’s even scratch resistant!
- Expandable: Neex extra space? An expandable zipper will give you 15% more packing capacity!
#5 Travelpro's Luggage Maxlite 5 Lightweight Expandable Suitcase
Looking for a lightweight bag you check? Take a look at TravelPro’s Luggage Maxlite. Weighing just shy of 10lbs, it’s softshell and lighter than all of the other checked bags on our list.
- Size: This bag is large but light, and weigh 9 x 20.2 x 12 inches
- Material: Bag is comprised of polyester fabric with a stain resistant coating
- Warranty: Travelpro offers a limited lifetime warranty
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When it comes to travel, the first question you need to ask yourself is carry-on or checked luggage: which is the best luggage for your trip?
When it comes to packing, there are several types of people: there are the minimalists, who pack sparingly and try to cram everything into a carryon suitcase (no matter how long the trip) and there are the over-indulgers, who don’t mind paying excess baggage fees if it means they’ll have everything they need (and more) for their weekend getaway. And then there are the in-betweeners: those that use a carry-on when possible but realize sometimes a 9″x 14″ x 22″ carry-on just won’t cut it.
Unless you’re a hardcore “no checked luggage” kind of traveler, chances are you’ll need to a large, checkable suitcase at least once in your life. If you’re in the market – or know someone who is – here’s everything you should know about the best checked luggage on the market before making your purchase decision (starting with our top checked luggage picks).
Best Affordable Luggage: Delsey
If you’re in the market for affordable, hardside, checked luggage, check out the Paris Delsey Luggage Helium Aero Large Checked Luggage Hard Case Spinner Suitcase Titanium. It’s not only affordable, but it’s lightweight, features double spinner wheels, and even expands an extra two inches for added storage.
- Material: Bag is made of 100% Polycarbonate, a hard and durable material that can withstand even the roughest of baggage handlers. It’s practically crack resistant!
- Easy to roll: Bag has four double-spinning wheels making it easy to roll with practically no weight on your hands or arms.
- Size: Bag is large and measures19.5 x 12.5 x 29 inches. Plus, it can expand an additional 2-inches!
- Handles: Bag has comfort handles
- Compartments: Bag has two lined compartments with multiple pockets, as well as web straps and a zippered divider.
- Color options: Bag comes in multiple colors; it’s not just your basic black!
- Weight: Bag weighs 12.5 lbs
Best Luggage Set: Samsonite Winfield
If you’re looking to invest in a set of luggage, we cannot recommend the Samsonite Winfield 2 Fashion 3 Piece Spinner Set enough. This set of three features a 20″, 24″, and 28″ spinner, all made of 100% Polycarbonate. Bags come with a TSA-approved lock, too for added security.
- Three-piece set: Set includes a 20″, 24″ and 28″ bag.
- Material: Bags are made of 100% Polycarbonate, which is scratch and dent-resistant
- Organizational pockets: bag features an interior divider with pockets
- Color options: Bags come in five color options
- Price: Samsonite is more expensive than competing luggage sets (but they do go on sale!)
Best Hardside Luggage: Tumi
If you’re looking to invest in a piece of hardside luggage, we can’t recommend Tumi’s Extended Trip Packing Case enough. Measuring 30×20.5×11.75, this checked luggage features four spinning wheels, a TSA-lock, and two main packing compartments.
- Material: Bags are made of Tumi’s most durable and lightweight material. bag weights just 9lbs.
- Organization: Bag features two packing compartments, as well as a hanger backet
- Color options: Bags come in four color options
- Security: Bag has TSA-approved lock
- Price: Tumi luggage is more expensive than some competitors
Best Lightweight Luggage: Travelpro
If you’re looking for the lightest, checkable luggage you can find, make sure to check out Travelpro’s Luggage Maxlite 5 Lightweight Expandable Suitcase. Weighing just shy of 10lbs, this 4-wheeled spinner bag measures 9 x 20.2 x 12 inches. Need more space? It can even expand an additional 2-inches.
- Material: Bag is made of polyester fabric and has a stain resistant coating
- Organization: Bag features main compartment, as well as a mesh compartment in the lid.
- Color options: Bags come in three color options
- Warranty: Travelpro offers a limited lifetime warranty
- Price: Bag is competitively priced
- Wheel wear: Customers have complained that the wheels wear down quickly
Best Spinner Luggage: AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Pros
Are you looking for a four-wheeled, spinner luggage? If so, check out this AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Luggage. It’s not only affordable but hardsided and comes in a variety of sizes. We recommend the 28″.
- Four Spinner Wheels: These wheels making rolling (or running) through airports a cinch
- Material: Bag contains a protective hard shell, made of extra-thick ABS. Plus – it’s scratch resistant!
- Multiple compartments: Interior features three zippered pockets for extra organization
- Expandable: An expandable zipper allows for an extra 15% packing capacity
- Handles: Customers have given feedback that the handle comes loose or breaks
Types of Checked Luggage Bags
If you’re in the market for new, checked luggage, you have a lot to consider. Price is obviously a contender, so first establish your budget. We must warn you though: luggage isn’t cheap, so be prepared. Don’t forget to look for sales, too. Retailers such as Macys and Bloomingdales have great luggage sales, particularly around holiday weekends such as Labor Day, Columbus Day, Memorial Day, and more. The best checked luggage doesn’t necessarily mean the most expensive, so make sure you do your research before purchasing.
Once you have an idea of how much you’re willing to spend, it’s time to figure out what you want. When looking to invest in luggage, we recommend taking into account the following considerations:
Do you need more than one piece of luggage? If you need a carry-on bag in addition to a checked bag, consider looking at luggage set. Often times sets are cheaper than buying individual pieces of luggage, and chances are you’ll use the individual pieces (or someone in your family will).
Plus, if you like to be coordinated, you’ll enjoy having a matching set as opposed to piecemeal pieces. If you are interested in a luggage set, check to see if they have a matching toiletry bag, too.
Hardside vs. Softside
There has long been a debate over suitcase material: which is better, hardside or softside luggage? The truth is, it’s subjective. Some people like hardside luggage because they think it’s prettier, or because it’s water-resistant and better at protecting their valuables. Some hate it because it shows wear and tear more easily than soft luggage, or because it’s not as flexible.
Softside luggage, on the other hand, is preferred by many because of its flexibility: it’s easier to expand and squeeze a few extra items into a softside piece of luggage than it is into a hardside. Some think it’s prettier, and others think it makes for the best checked luggage because it has outside pockets that they can throw last minute items into.
Again – it’s subjective. Think through the pros and cons and figure out what the best checked luggage type is for you.
Inline vs. Spinner Wheels
Once you have a budget in mind and have decided whether you prefer hardside luggage or softside luggage, it’s time to think about wheels. There was a time when not all luggage came with wheels, but thankfully those days are over!
When thinking about wheel-options, figure out if you prefer a bag with four wheels or if two back wheels will suffice. Luggage with two back wheels is often referred to as inline wheel luggage. These wheels roll in one direction and utilize the same technology as in-line skates (or roller blades). The weight of the bag sits entirely towards the back of the suitcase.
Luggage that has four wheels is often called spinner wheel luggage. With spinner wheels, the weight of the luggage rests entirely on the bottom of the bag as opposed to the back, and less effort is required from you in order to move it. Spinner wheels are generally easier to control – you simply push the bag alongside you as you walk.
We prefer spinner wheels, as we think they’re easier to maneuver (unless you’re going downhill), but others think two wheels will suffice. Once again, this is subjective and there is no right or wrong answer. If you haven’t tried both wheel options, go into your nearest retailer and check them out. Take them for a quick spin around the store and see what type of wheels are easiest for you to lug through the store.
Checked Luggage Buying Guide
Now that you know a bit more about the different types of checked luggage you can buy, it’s time to get more granular and look at what further differentiates one type of luggage from another.
Type of Travel
Are you an adventure traveler who loves to ski? If so we hope you invest in some good travel insurance (did you know travel insurance will cover your gear rentals if the airline loses your skis, bag, or more?!) … But we also hope you invest in some good luggage that can withstand whatever weather you may encounter. If you tend to frequent cities with snowy, slushy, wintery conditions, it sounds like hard luggage might be the best checked luggage for you.
If, however, you’re the type that likes to visit desert cities and stay as far away as possible from Seattle and other cities with inclement weather, a soft shell might be sufficient.
Size and Capacity
When it comes to luggage, size matters, but bigger isn’t always better. The most common size for checked luggage is 27″ x 21″ x 14,” but bags can get larger.
According to USA Today, “the size allowance for checked bags in coach are uniform across the airlines: Each bag can measure up to 62 linear inches and weigh up to 50 pounds. To calculate linear inches, add up the height, width and length of your suitcase. For example, if the suitcase measures 28 inches by 20 inches by 12 inches, that works out to 28 + 20 + 12 = 60 linear inches.”
The bigger the suitcase, the more you can pack, but that also means more weight. When people get extra-large suitcases, they’re often tempted into stuffing them to the brim and bags can weigh in excess of 50lbs. So, what size checked luggage do you need? It depends on your travel needs. If you tend to take one to two-week trips, the common 27″ x 21″ x 14 should suffice. However, if you tend to need a lot of gear or attire, or stay longer, you may want to invest in a larger bag. Just make sure not to overpack or you may face excess weight fees!
Speaking of weight… different types of luggage weigh different amounts based on their material.
We recently looked at an aluminum suitcase that weighed 8lbs, and a similar Polycarbonate suitcase that weighed 9lbs! While these suitcases were high-quality, nice looking, and from reputable brands, we prefer the lighter suitcases – it means you can pack more!
Durability and Materials
Suitcases need to be tough. Have you seen baggage handlers? They’re not exactly delicate with how they handle luggage. Nor is the luggage turnstyle. It’s normal for luggage to become scuffed and marked after a trip or two, but what’s not normal is for it to tear or break.
When researching luggage, make sure you read reviews on the durability. If you’re looking at softside bags, see if people comment on the material tearing or ripping. Stains are okay and often unavoidable, but rips and tears are not.
If you’re looking at hardside luggage, it needs to withstand a few bumps and bruises without cracking. Again, marks are common and will certainly happen after a few flights. However, you don’t want the luggage to crack or chip in the corners.
If you like to stay organized when you travel, we highly recommend packing cubes. Don’t know what they are? Imagine putting your dresser directly into your suitcase, with your undergarments in one drawer, your tops in the second, and your pants and skirts in the third. These are packing cubes.
Packing cubes keep you organized, much like suitcase pockets. Some suitcases come with one main interior pocket for your socks and underwear, while others come with more. Softside luggage tends to have outer pockets as well, while hardside doesn’t.
Zippers are an integral part of luggage. If the zipper breaks, the luggage is completely out of commission until the zipper can be fixed.
The most important aspect of a luggage zipper is that it be high quality – especially if you’re the type that likes to stuff your luggage to the brim! There are two common types of luggage zipper: coil zippers and chain zipper.
Coil zippers are the most common type of luggage zipper. They have two coils stitched atop zipper tape, which is often made of polyester or nylon. They are flexible, and easy to correct if they get off track.
Chain zippers are the second type of luggage zippers. They are more expensive than coil zippers, but are also more durable. They are typically made of metal or molded plastic. Chain zippers have interlocking teeth that are fused directly into zipper tape. In addition to being more durable, they are also more secure.
You can’t always wheel your luggage, as many New Yorkers in elevator-free buildings know firsthand (especially those on 6th-floor walkups). If you’re traveling across grass, or need to get your bag up (or down) a few flights of stairs, you’ll need to rely on luggage handles.
Most suitcases these days have handles, but not all of them can withstand the duress of travel. Make sure to look at the hardware on the handles to make sure it’s up to the task of supporting the full weight of your luggage for the times you need to carry it.
Is security a priority when you travel? If you tend to travel with expensive clothing and accessories (or if you check your electronics, which we highly recommend against) you’ll want to ensure your goods are secure. This is where luggage locks come in. Some luggage comes with built-in locks, while others have removable locks you can place on your suitcase’s zipper when need be. Just make sure the lock you choose is TSA-approved, as the TSA checks every bag coming in or out of the U.S. and has the right to inspect the bag if they so desire. If TSA is unable to open the lock, they will (and have permission to do so) break the lock.
We highly recommend you use a business backpack as a carry-on so your laptop and electronics are as secure as possible, but if that’s not an option, make sure you can padlock your checked luggage.
We love warranties. Warranties mean a company stands behind its products, which means the company believes in the quality of materials and craftsmanship of the products.
Some companies, like REI, offer or used to or currently offer a 100% lifetime satisfaction guaranteed warranty on their products (REI amended its lifetime satisfaction policy to 1-year in 2017 due to an increase in fraud).
This warranty means that should you any point become dissatisfied with your purchase, you can return it or exchange it, no questions asked. If a product breaks, you can exchange it. If you purchased a red bag and decide you’d prefer blue, you can exchange it.
While most luggage companies don’t offer lifetime warranties, they do offer partial warranties against manufacturer defects. Most do not protect against normal wear and tear, or damage inflicted by the airlines. In these cases, you are advised to file a complaint with the airline.
Warranties from major luggage companies include:
- Limited 10 Year Global Warranty: Per Samsonite, “This warranty covers only manufacturing defects and does not cover any damage caused by misuse (such as transportation of unusual items), neglect, accidents, abrasion, exposure to extreme temperatures, solvents, acids, water, normal wear and tear or transport damage (by airlines for example). While non-warranty maintenance or repairs on your Product can be performed by any company, Samsonite requires that you use only an approved Samsonite service center (“Service Center”) for warranty repairs. Improper or incorrectly performed maintenance or repairs void this warranty.”
- Limited 3 Year Global Warranty: Per Samsonite, “This warranty covers only manufacturing defects and does not cover any damage caused by misuse (such as transportation of unusual items), neglect, accidents, abrasion, exposure to extreme temperatures, solvents, acids, water, normal wear and tear or transport damage (by airlines for example). While non-warranty maintenance or repairs on your Product can be performed by any company, Samsonite requires that you use only an approved Samsonite service center (“Service Center”) for warranty repairs. Improper or incorrectly performed maintenance or repairs void this warranty.”
Tumi: Tumi has three different warranties
- First Year of Ownership: Per Tumi, “With limited exceptions, if your TUMI product is damaged during the first twelve (12) months you own it– including damage caused by normal wear and tear, airline handling, or other transit damage–TUMI will cover all repair expenses, including shipping costs to and from our repair facility.
- Years Two through Five: [O]n travel bags, business cases, cross body bags, totes, backpacks and handbags and second year for wallets, accessories and outerwear: You are covered for manufacturing defects and normal wear and tear.
- From the second through the fifth year: TUMI will repair any item that is damaged due to normal wear and tear, or defective in materials or workmanship, including any structural defects (such as defective handles, zippers, or locks). For years two through five, we do not cover damage caused by airlines or other transit damage.”
We hope this article taught you more what to look for when researching the best checked luggage. Keep it mind luggage, like most purchases, is subjective, so what one person prefers may not be the best checked luggage for you. We recommend looking at a few different pieces and rolling them through the stores, before making your final decision.
If you’re in the market for a new carry-on suitcase, check out our reviews on best carry-on luggage. If you’re in the market for the best checked luggage, keep reading.Read More