The Best Checked Luggage – Top Suitcases & the Best Luggage Sets

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Have a flight soon? Unless you plan to go carry-on only, get the best checked luggage or best luggage sets for your travels. We love traveling carry-on only, however, we still need check-in luggage for a lot of our trips. After all, we travel with everything we own, so we all have one checked luggage each. Whether you’re looking for one suitcase or the best luggage sets for an entire family, this post should give you some ideas.

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Choosing the Best Checked Luggage

The best luggage sets and checked luggage for international travel will last a long time and make your journeys easier. We used to be all about our backpacks, and still use them. But as we get older and spend more years on the road, we’ve been considering a big switch in our traveling style. We use a combination of backpacks, carryon luggage and checked suitcases, depending on where we’re going and how long we’ll be there. Yet we always rely on checked suitcases when we move from place to place. For example, when we left Spain after two years and moved to Mexico, we needed large checked luggage to carry everything. Before, a lot of that was in backpacks, but after 20 years of traveling, my back and shoulders want a rest!

Finding the Best Luggage Sets

After rigorous research and listening to other travelers, here are our tips for choosing the best checked luggage and best luggage sets for your upcoming travel needs. We’ll keep updating this post, as checked baggage rules are changing constantly. With many airlines, the checked baggage weight limit is dropping. And it’s not just the check-in baggage weight limit. Now checked luggage sizes and dimensions are likely to change as well.

Choosing the best luggage sets has never been more important. Fortunately, the best suitcase brands are designing lighter, stronger and more versatile suitcase sets to meet the needs of today’s travelers.

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Best Checked Luggage for Travel – Choosing the Best Travel Luggage Sets

Best Checked Luggage for Travel – Choosing the Best Travel Luggage Sets

What’s the Best Checked Luggage for You?

Choosing the best luggage sets has never been more important. Fortunately, luggage brands are designing lighter, stronger and more versatile suitcase sets to meet the needs of today's travelers. Read our tips to find the best checked luggage for your needs, or get a great set of suitcases for family travel. | checked luggage | best luggage sets | checked baggage weight | checked baggage size | best hardside luggage sets | best luggage brands | best luggage reviews | luggage for travel

When it comes to the best luggage for travel, everyone’s needs are different. Are you looking for the best spinner luggage? Do you want to find one of the best hardside suitcases? Or perhaps you need one of the best luggage sets for an entire family? Are you looking for checked luggage for international travel, or will these suitcases sit in the back of a camper van?

Before you go buy a new check-in suitcase or suitcase set, there are a number of factors to think about. We recommend that you must consider checked luggage size, weight, design, and more. First I’ll run through some of these factors. Then we’ll get to our list of the best suitcases for frequent flyers and more.

Compare: Best Checked Luggage, Best Luggage Sets

Best Checked Luggage for Travel: Our List

Below we run through some of the best check-in suitcases and the best checked luggage sets for sale on Amazon today. Look through them to see which one is best for you.

Travelpro Tpro Bold 2 Expandable Rollaboard Rolling Suitcase

Choosing the best luggage sets has never been more important. Fortunately, luggage brands are designing lighter, stronger and more versatile suitcase sets to meet the needs of today's travelers. Read our tips to find the best checked luggage for your needs, or get a great set of suitcases for family travel. | checked luggage | best luggage sets | checked baggage weight | checked baggage size | best hardside luggage sets | best luggage brands | best luggage reviews | luggage for travel

The Travelpro Tpro Bold 2 Expandable Rollaboard makes our list of best checked luggage for its durability and versatility.

The high-density polyester holds up under severe duress and the elements. It also doesn’t collect stains or scratches easily. The two ball-bearing inline skate wheels roll smoothly over rough terrain. The retractable handle reaches 42-inches — important for tall people.

There’s a “hidden” back pocket for easy access to small electronics or other valuables. Other specialized pockets include a wet pocket for swimsuits and dirty clothes, and a mesh pocket in the lid to hold socks, underwear and other smaller items. Limited lifetime warranty included

  • Product Dimensions: 25 x 16 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.2 pounds
  • 2 Wheels

Check Price: Travelpro Travelpro Bold Expandable Rollaboard on Amazon

Travelpro Maxlite 4 Expandable Spinner

Choosing the best luggage sets has never been more important. Fortunately, luggage brands are designing lighter, stronger and more versatile suitcase sets to meet the needs of today's travelers. Read our tips to find the best checked luggage for your needs, or get a great set of suitcases for family travel. | checked luggage | best luggage sets | checked baggage weight | checked baggage size | best hardside luggage sets | best luggage brands | best luggage reviews | luggage for travel

This rugged polyester suitcase is one of the best checked luggage because of its lightweight design. In fact, the Travelpro Maxlite 4 is the lightest suitcase on our list. It’s also stubbornly durable. Its 4-wheel spinners rotate 360º for easy navigation on trains and other crowded spaces.

Like its cousin the Bold 2.0 (mentioned above), it has a retracting handle with extra length for taller travelers. Expect an extra two inches of space when you want to expand the interior, too. You can fit a lot in here and still stay well below the 50-pound limit. Recommended for families sharing a suitcase.

  • Size: 25 x 18 x 11 inches
  • Weight: 7.8 pounds
  • Wheels: 4

Check Price: Travelpro Maxlite 4 Expandable Spinner on Amazon

Travelpro Maxlite 4 Hardside Spinner

Choosing the best luggage sets has never been more important. Fortunately, luggage brands are designing lighter, stronger and more versatile suitcase sets to meet the needs of today's travelers. Read our tips to find the best checked luggage for your needs, or get a great set of suitcases for family travel. | checked luggage | best luggage sets | checked baggage weight | checked baggage size | best hardside luggage sets | best luggage brands | best luggage reviews | luggage for travel

This hardside suitcase makes the best checked luggage list for a number of reasons, most notably its expandability. That’s right: this hardside suitcase can expand like a soft side.

Here you have the security and durability of a hardside with the option to carry more when needed. To be fair, the material of this hard shell suitcase does bend and give a little but is still much sturdier than a soft-sided bag.

Like many of the best hardside luggage, you also get a TSA lock built into the top. This Travelpro Maxlite 4 uses eight-wheel spinners to make rolling to your gate a breeze. Yes, eight wheels. There are two on each corner of the suitcase for a stable roll. An added bonus is the interesting Chromashift colors the bags come in. Seemingly two colors at once, this can make your bag stand out at the carousel.

  • Size: 25 x 16.8 x 11.3 inches
  • Weight: 8.4 pounds
  • Wheels: 4
  • TSA accepted combination lock

Check Price: Travelpro Maxlite 4 Hardside Spinner on Amazon

Ricardo Beverly Hills Mar Vista

Choosing the best luggage sets has never been more important. Fortunately, luggage brands are designing lighter, stronger and more versatile suitcase sets to meet the needs of today's travelers. Read our tips to find the best checked luggage for your needs, or get a great set of suitcases for family travel. | checked luggage | best luggage sets | checked baggage weight | checked baggage size | best hardside luggage sets | best luggage brands | best luggage reviews | luggage for travel

Smooth rollers and sturdy, ergonomically-designed handle are two of the many reasons why this makes our list of best checked luggage for international travel.

This soft-shell suitcase comes with four dual wheels, which are more reliable than just single four wheels. The result: a smooth roll through the concourse. The handles are padded and the retractable handle is reinforced for more confident one-hand navigation.

The Ricardo Beverly Hills Mar Vista can also expand at the pull of a zipper, instantly giving you more room. There are also several external pockets to hold small-but-important items. One of those pockets is designed to block RFID “skimmers,” which can be helpful for holding credit cards with an RFID chip. However, never leave your credit cards unattended or in checked luggage.

  • Size: 24 x 17 x 9 inches
  • Weight: 8.2 pounds
  • Wheels: 4

Check Price: Ricardo Beverly Hills Mar Vista on Amazon

Delsey Helium Aero Spinner Trolley

Choosing the best luggage sets has never been more important. Fortunately, luggage brands are designing lighter, stronger and more versatile suitcase sets to meet the needs of today's travelers. Read our tips to find the best checked luggage for your needs, or get a great set of suitcases for family travel. | checked luggage | best luggage sets | checked baggage weight | checked baggage size | best hardside luggage sets | best luggage brands | best luggage reviews | luggage for travel

Next on our list of the best checked luggage listed is Delsey Helium Aero Spinner Trolley. The polycarbonate material used today keeps the luggage from cracking or breaking. It can still withstand a lot of cruel treatment. With this in mind, remember that it can still get scuff marks.

The Delsey Helium can also expand up to two inches when you need more space. Few of the best hardside bags can do that. On each side of the suitcase, you have lined compartments for specialized storage. Choose from the bright colors for easy identification on the carousel.

  • Size: 25 x 17.5 x 11.5 inches
  • Weight: 10.2 pounds
  • Wheels: 4 (dual wheels)
  • TSA accepted combination lock

Check Price: Delsey Helium Aero Spinner Luggage on Amazon

Delsey Luggage Helium Sky Spinner

Choosing the best luggage sets has never been more important. Fortunately, luggage brands are designing lighter, stronger and more versatile suitcase sets to meet the needs of today's travelers. Read our tips to find the best checked luggage for your needs, or get a great set of suitcases for family travel. | checked luggage | best luggage sets | checked baggage weight | checked baggage size | best hardside luggage sets | best luggage brands | best luggage reviews | luggage for travel

Delsey Luggage Helium Sky Express Spinner is one of our pick for the best checked luggage. This 100% micro-ballistic fabric bag has four spinner wheels and three exterior pockets for those who need access to smaller items while on the move.

One of those pockets has soft-touch lining, which is recommended when storing devices and other electronics. Like several of the other best travel suitcases listed here, the Delsey Luggage Helium Sky Express Spinner can expand its interior capacity by two inches. In addition to the usual 2-zipped pockets in its interior, there is also a wet pocket to store bathroom essentials or damp clothes.

I also like that it has a bottom handle near the wheels for when you need to yank it out of a car trunk or bottom of a bus.

  • Size: 25 x 17 x 10 inches
  • Weight: 8 pounds
  • Wheels 4

Check Price: Delsey Luggage Helium Sky Spinner Suitcase on Amazon 

American Tourister Ilite Max Spinner

Choosing the best luggage sets has never been more important. Fortunately, luggage brands are designing lighter, stronger and more versatile suitcase sets to meet the needs of today's travelers. Read our tips to find the best checked luggage for your needs, or get a great set of suitcases for family travel. | checked luggage | best luggage sets | checked baggage weight | checked baggage size | best hardside luggage sets | best luggage brands | best luggage reviews | luggage for travel

The American Tourister Ilite Max Spinner is a polyester soft-sided suitcase. It makes our list of best checked suitcases because of its pockets, its wheels, and its handle.

You can pack a lot into its 25″ size. Mesh pockets and a plastic-lined storage pouch keep things organized and to keep your wet things separate from everything else.

The retractable handle has a nice ergonomic touch, and the airflow spinner wheels make it easy to roll. A sturdy top and side handles help you move it easily when rolling is not an option.

  • Size: 25 x 18 x 10 inches
  • Weight: 9.2 pounds
  • Wheels: 4

Check Price: American Tourister Ilite Max Softside Spinner on Amazon

Samsonite Winfield2 Fashion

Choosing the best luggage sets has never been more important. Fortunately, luggage brands are designing lighter, stronger and more versatile suitcase sets to meet the needs of today's travelers. Read our tips to find the best checked luggage for your needs, or get a great set of suitcases for family travel. | checked luggage | best luggage sets | checked baggage weight | checked baggage size | best hardside luggage sets | best luggage brands | best luggage reviews | luggage for travel

This is another 100% polycarbonate roller with a four spinner wheel design. Samsonite often makes the best checked luggage lists, and this one is no different.

This Samsonite hard-sided suitcase also has 1.5″ expansion capability. The interior divider has specialized pockets for organizing smaller items, and cross straps to keep everything in place.

There have been reports of scratches to the exterior, so be prepared for those shiny surfaces to take on a few scuffs. Just remember that the contents inside are well protected. Also, this 28-inch travel luggage is a rather large hard-sided suitcase, so beware when packing and don’t go over the weight limit!

  • Size: 28 x 19.8 x 12.5 inches
  • Weight: 11.5 pounds
  • Wheels: 4
  • TSA accepted combination lock

Check Price: Samsonite Winfield2 Hardside Luggage on Amazon

Samsonite Aspire xlite Spinner

Choosing the best luggage sets has never been more important. Fortunately, luggage brands are designing lighter, stronger and more versatile suitcase sets to meet the needs of today's travelers. Read our tips to find the best checked luggage for your needs, or get a great set of suitcases for family travel. | checked luggage | best luggage sets | checked baggage weight | checked baggage size | best hardside luggage sets | best luggage brands | best luggage reviews | luggage for travel

The Samsonite Aspire xlite Spinner is an expandable, polyester soft-sided suitcase with lots of specialized compartments. Mesh pockets and a wetpak compartment give you added organizing ability. The exterior pocket is ideal for tickets, passports and other small items you need quick access to. Just don’t forget to pull out everything you need from the pockets before you check in to your flight.

With multidirectional wheels and a retractable handle, you can glide through the airport easily. This spinner suitcase comes in a multitude of colors so you’ll be able to easily spot your bag when it slides out of the luggage carousel at the airport.

  • Size: 24.5 x 16.3 x  9.0
  • Weight: 9.5 pounds
  • Wheels: 4

Check Price: Samsonite Aspire xLite Expandable Spinner on Amazon

Samsonite Omni PC Spinner

Choosing the best luggage sets has never been more important. Fortunately, luggage brands are designing lighter, stronger and more versatile suitcase sets to meet the needs of today's travelers. Read our tips to find the best checked luggage for your needs, or get a great set of suitcases for family travel. | checked luggage | best luggage sets | checked baggage weight | checked baggage size | best hardside luggage sets | best luggage brands | best luggage reviews | luggage for travel

Another one of the best checked luggage is also from Samsonite. The Samsonite Omni PC Spinner makes our list for its significant volume-to-weight ratio.

This is a large hard-sided suitcase, and you can fit a lot in it. Just be aware that it is very easy to go over 50 pounds with a suitcase this size. Fully multi-directional wheels mean that you won’t have to lift this while on the move — let the wheels carry the weight.

Zipper dividers and straps help you keep all of your stuff organized and secure.

  • Size: 28.5 x 20.5 x 13.5 inches
  • Weight: 10.4 pounds
  • Wheels: 4
  • TSA accepted combination lock

Check Price: Samsonite Omni Pc Hardside Spinner on Amazon

Best Luggage Sets: Best Checked Luggage for Less

If you are looking for both a large checked luggage and a carry-on bag, then buying a 3-piece set can save a lot of money. This can be an economical alternative for parents sharing luggage with children or other family members. It can also help you and/or a friend save buying as a set instead of buying separately.

Some of the best travel luggage mentioned above sells as a set of two or three different sized luggage. We know Keiko needs some new carry on luggage soon and I may soon buy a checked bag replacing the backpack I’ve been using for over a decade.

American Tourister 3-Piece Spinner Luggage Set

Choosing the best luggage sets has never been more important. Fortunately, luggage brands are designing lighter, stronger and more versatile suitcase sets to meet the needs of today's travelers. Read our tips to find the best checked luggage for your needs, or get a great set of suitcases for family travel. | checked luggage | best luggage sets | checked baggage weight | checked baggage size | best hardside luggage sets | best luggage brands | best luggage reviews | luggage for travel

This softside suitcase 3-piece makes our list of best luggage sets thanks to durability, color variety, and versatility. One advantage that softside luggage has over hardside luggage is pockets on the outside of the bag. This American Tourister set has good pockets on the front panel for easy access to often-used items without having to unzip the entire bag. All three bags in this suitcase set have spinner wheels for a smooth glide down sidewalks and terminals.

I also love the bright colors of these suitcase sets. Nevertheless, as I mentioned earlier, brightly-colored softside luggage stains easier and shows dirt more prominently. That said, the colors shown on the Amazon page are actually brighter than they are in real life.

Check Price: American Tourister 3-Piece Spinner Set on Amazon

3-Piece Samsonite Winfield 2 Fashion (20″ 24″ 28″) – Best Luggage Sets

Choosing the best luggage sets has never been more important. Fortunately, luggage brands are designing lighter, stronger and more versatile suitcase sets to meet the needs of today's travelers. Read our tips to find the best checked luggage for your needs, or get a great set of suitcases for family travel. | checked luggage | best luggage sets | checked baggage weight | checked baggage size | best hardside luggage sets | best luggage brands | best luggage reviews | luggage for travel

If you have a family member or a friend who’s considering how to buy the best travel luggage, you may want to consider purchasing a 3-pieces set together. Buying some of the best luggage sets can save more than a few bucks over buying them separately.

For example, you can use the 28″ and 20″ for checked luggage, while your friend, your child or your partner uses the 24″. It saves a lot of money to buy them together instead of buying each one separately.

Check Price: 3-Piece Set Samsonite Winfield Spinner Suitcases

3-Piece Samsonite Omni PC Spinner Luggage Sets

Choosing the best luggage sets has never been more important. Fortunately, luggage brands are designing lighter, stronger and more versatile suitcase sets to meet the needs of today's travelers. Read our tips to find the best checked luggage for your needs, or get a great set of suitcases for family travel. | checked luggage | best luggage sets | checked baggage weight | checked baggage size | best hardside luggage sets | best luggage brands | best luggage reviews | luggage for travel

Samsonite offers another 3-piece set of one of their best travel luggage models: the Omni PC Spinner. This lightweight hard-side luggage set comes with the 20″, the 24″ and the 28″ models. When stored, the smaller ones fit nicely into the larger ones so you can save some space at home.

Check Price: 3-Piece Set Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Spinner Suitcases

HAUPTSTADTKOFFER Hardside Spinner Luggage Set

Choosing the best luggage sets has never been more important. Fortunately, luggage brands are designing lighter, stronger and more versatile suitcase sets to meet the needs of today's travelers. Read our tips to find the best checked luggage for your needs, or get a great set of suitcases for family travel. | checked luggage | best luggage sets | checked baggage weight | checked baggage size | best hardside luggage sets | best luggage brands | best luggage reviews | luggage for travel

This 3-piece spinner luggage set uses a mix of ABS plastic and polycarbonate to make the hardside shell. You get a 21-, a 26-, and a 30-inch suitcase, all with multidirectional wheels. There’s also a built-in TSA lock for security. What makes this one of the best luggage sets is the quality for the price, and the fact that they can also be stored inside each other, which saves space when traveling.

Check Price: HAUPTSADTKOFFER Hardside Spinner Luggage Set on Amazon

Steve Madden 3-Piece Hardside Suitcase Set with Spinner Wheels

Choosing the best luggage sets has never been more important. Fortunately, luggage brands are designing lighter, stronger and more versatile suitcase sets to meet the needs of today's travelers. Read our tips to find the best checked luggage for your needs, or get a great set of suitcases for family travel. | checked luggage | best luggage sets | checked baggage weight | checked baggage size | best hardside luggage sets | best luggage brands | best luggage reviews | luggage for travel

I love the designs of the Steve Madden suitcase brand, but what makes them some of the best luggage sets are the build. The ABS/Polycarbonate hard shell is durable, while the airplane-grade aluminum handle is sturdy yet lightweight. The eight-wheel silent multidirectional spinner wheels give you a smooth roll even over cobblestones. One side of these suitcases is a zippered pocket, which makes it easier to organize or keep dirty clothes in their place.

Check Price: Steve Madden 3-Piece Hardside Spinner Suitcase Set

Lily Bloom Luggage 3-Piece Softside Spinner Suitcase Set Collection

Choosing the best luggage sets has never been more important. Fortunately, luggage brands are designing lighter, stronger and more versatile suitcase sets to meet the needs of today's travelers. Read our tips to find the best checked luggage for your needs, or get a great set of suitcases for family travel. | checked luggage | best luggage sets | checked baggage weight | checked baggage size | best hardside luggage sets | best luggage brands | best luggage reviews | luggage for travel

This fashionable trio makes our list of best luggage sets thanks to lightweight construction and original design. We’ve been a fan of Lily Bloom ever since we saw their designs and learned about how they use recycled plastic bottles as part of their fabric. These softside spinners are light but rugged, with sturdy aluminum handles. The fit inside of each other for easy storage and the carryon fits well on the medium sized spinner for an easier roll through the terminal. Good interior/exterior zippered storage and a pattern that no one will mistake is there’s at baggage claim.

Check Price: Lily Bloom 3 Piece Softside Spinner Luggage Set on Amazon 

Coolife 3 Piece Luggage Set Lightweight Suitcase Spinner Softshell

Choosing the best luggage sets has never been more important. Fortunately, luggage brands are designing lighter, stronger and more versatile suitcase sets to meet the needs of today's travelers. Read our tips to find the best checked luggage for your needs, or get a great set of suitcases for family travel. | checked luggage | best luggage sets | checked baggage weight | checked baggage size | best hardside luggage sets | best luggage brands | best luggage reviews | luggage for travel

This great suitcase set has telescopic handles and silent 360º wheels for a smooth walk even when filled to capacity. This is one of the better luggage sets for the price point thanks to the use of rugged fabrics like 1680D oxford cloth. There are also PVC reinforcements at the corners of the exterior organizational pockets. I also like having a strong top handle — it comes in handy when pulling it off of car racks and crowded bus storage. Can be nested/stored as one.

Check Price: Coolife Lightweight Luggage Sets Softshell Spinner on Amazon 

Features of the Best Luggage Sets & Check-in Suitcases

Both the best checked suitcases and the best luggage sets all share several characteristics in common. All of the best suitcase brands understand that great luggage for international travel must be light, rugged and versatile. It also but be designed in a way that makes airports easy to manage. Let’s run through what makes the best luggage sets special.

Size & Height: Checked Baggage Dimensions

For most US Airlines, checked baggage dimensions are a maximum of 62 inches (157cm). Where does this number come from? That’s where you combine the height, width, and length of your checked luggage. Add these three numbers up and that’s your checked baggage dimensions. If it’s under 62 inches, then your suitcase or luggage set is in the clear with most airplanes and airlines. Of course, these standards are always changing, so make sure to check with your airline about their checked baggage dimensions.

The best checked luggage is able to fit everything you need and still be below the maximum size. Otherwise, you’ll be paying extra fees. Be mindful that airlines measure from the bottom of the wheels. Some of the best luggage sets have great spinner wheels that stick out from the bottom of the suitcase. That counts. If you are a frequent flyer or a business/first class passenger, you may be able to get away with it a little extra luggage space, but be sure to check with your airline first.

Most of the best checked luggage for international travel is between 23 to 32 inches high. Keep in mind that the 28- to 32-inch category is a very large suitcase. In fact, when you get into the 31″ to 32″ size, you can easily go over some checked baggage weight limits if you’re not careful. We usually recommend these if you are a large family or plan to share your suitcase with someone. The largest suitcase in many of the best luggage sets we recommend is at 28″, and you are safer on the checked baggage limit on the 28-29″ side.

Also, consider the 23- to 27-inch height range. That’s our recommended checked luggage size for most people. It’s also why we have only two checked luggage on this list taller than 27 inches. If you buy a checked suitcase over 28 inches high, be careful filling it to the max on flight days. And always, check your checked baggage weight before you head to the airport.

Flying with Kids? Don’t Miss Our 30 Tips on Long-Haul Flights with Kids

Checked Baggage Weight Restrictions

As mentioned above, heavier luggage can mean more money spent, so try to go for the best lightweight luggage whenever possible. The best check-in luggage is sturdy but light, which gives you more freedom to pack what you want. The checked baggage weight limit is different depending on the airline, but at the time of writing, most airlines have a 50-pound (23kg) weight limit, but there is some variation. In general, you want to stay under this checked baggage weight limit or you may have to pay extra baggage fees. Especially if this is luggage for international travel.

It doesn’t matter if one suitcase weighs 30 pounds and the other weighs 52 pounds. There’s still a good chance that you’ll have to pay overweight baggage fees. That is unless you do the dreaded luggage shuffle right there at the check-in counter, adjusting your suitcase contents in front of everyone. Budget airlines are the worst for this, so be careful.

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Two-Wheels or Four-Wheels?

Unless you are a surfer, cyclist, or bass player, your luggage set will probably be the biggest thing you’ll be carrying with you. Some large suitcases are cumbersome and unwieldy. However, the best checked luggage has wheels to make navigating the airport a breeze.

All of the best luggage sets listed below have wheels for you to walk and roll easily. Does the best check-in suitcase for you have two wheels or four? There are benefits to two-wheel suitcases and four-wheel suitcases.

Two-Wheel Suitcases

The best two-wheel suitcases roll smoothly and have wheels built into the suitcase itself. This prevents them from breaking off. They’re also easier to turn at a corner and to roll over bumps and curbs.

That said, two-wheeled suitcases only roll one way: forward. They can be awkward to back out of an elevator or other situations. Believe me, I know this from my own experience.

Four-Wheel Spinner Suitcases

We have both 2-wheel and 4-wheel spinner suitcases. Which do we prefer? There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

Many people like four-wheeled suitcases because they are easier to navigate through crowded spaces. In fact, the best four-wheeled suitcases have spinner wheels with 360º motion. Therefore, you can roll around people or other obstacles with only one hand. This can be invaluable if you’re holding a child.

That said, four-wheeled suitcases have a few drawbacks. For one, those spinner wheels stick out, which means that you have less packing space since those inches count in your checked baggage dimensions. In addition, they are more vulnerable to being broken by careless airport staff.

Another concern with four-wheeled spinner-type suitcases is their very maneuverability. What makes them glide smoothly across a crowded terminal also helps them roll away at the slightest push or incline. For example, never leave them unattended on a hill or any kind of slope. And always hold them when standing on a moving vehicle like a train or subway car.

There are two main types of checked suitcases with wheels on the four corners. Some have one wheel on each corner (total: 4 wheels), while others have two wheels on each corner (total: 8 wheels). In general, the 8-wheel constructions suffer fewer breaks. The best luggage sets all have spinner wheels, usually, and use both kinds.

Need a Carry-On too? Check Our list of The Best Carry-On Luggage

Hard Shell or Soft Shell – Hardside Luggage or Soft?

The best checked luggage and the best luggage sets come in two main forms: hard shell and soft shell. Like the 2-wheel vs 4-wheel debate above, choosing between hard and soft shell is a matter of personal preference. Here are a few of their advantages and disadvantages.

Hard Shell/Hardside Luggage

The best hard shell suitcases are sturdier than the best soft-shell suitcases. They break less and are less prone to theft. Also, they better protect your valuables from the elements, such as dirt, mud, and rain.

Despite these benefits, hard-shell luggage has its drawbacks, as well. They can be slightly heavier than soft side suitcases. Yet the difference of even one or two pounds can change how much you can actually pack. This can mean the difference between paying excess luggage fees or not.

For example, when it comes to size, what you see is what you get. Soft side suitcases can sometimes expand or contract for more versatility. In contrast, many hardside suitcases remain the same size even when you need more or less space. This is changing, however. Some of the best new hard-case luggage can expand up to two inches deeper. Nevertheless, the rigidity of even the best hard-case suitcases makes them more challenging to load into tight spaces.

One final note worth mentioning: most hard-sided suitcases don’t work well with the typical luggage stand. You know the stands I’m talking about? At many hotels, you have a small fold-out stand to place your suitcase on so you can pack and unpack without squatting down. I like these.

Most of the best hard-sided suitcases have equal storage on both sides. This means they open more like a book than like a can with a lid. Because of this design difference, most hardside luggage doesn’t fit well on these suitcase stands. In this case, you can still use the bed to spread out and pack/unpack.

Soft Shell/Soft Side Luggage

In the past, we only had soft shell suitcases because they were more flexible shoving in and pulling out of tight spaces. However, we recognize the challenges they have, as well. What we like about the best soft shell luggage is the versatility that comes with them. Soft shell bags can often expand when you need to pack more, or contract in on themselves to save space.

The challenges should be obvious: soft shell luggage is more prone to damage, theft, and exposure to the elements. In addition, it looks worse over time, too. For example, a good hard-shell suitcase looks great after years of use, where a soft shell bag will likely look grimy and faded. In our case, we actually don’t mind shabby looking luggage. Worn-in luggage usually attracts less unwelcome attention.

Compartments, Compression & Expandability

If you’re carrying a lot of stuff, it’s nice to have specialized pockets and versatility in your suitcase. The best checked luggage and the best luggage sets are designed to give you a place for everything. A place for everything and everything in its place, right?

Before buying a new check-in suitcase or suitcase set, consider what you’re carrying and how you might want to pack it. What will you need to reach quickly? Do you have any small items that need special care? Where will your most important items go?

The interior compartments of the best checked luggage give you options in how you can carry it. Some soft cases also let you expand your space or shrink it depending on your needs. No matter what type of luggage you decide is best for you, we highly recommended getting some packing cubes to make the most of the space you have. Whether you’re a solo traveler with one suitcase of a large family with a 3-piece luggage set, packing cubes can make travel a lot easier.

Related Read: Our Guide to Buying the Best Travel Backpack for Europe and Beyond

Handles

Even the best lightweight luggage becomes cumbersome if there’s no place to hold it. The best checked luggage will have a retractable handle, along with sturdy, well-placed handles on the other sides. That way you can hold and handle your suitcase comfortably, even when managing jet-lagged kids. Sometimes padded, sometimes ergonomically designed, the material is less important than how it feels in your hand. Moreover, if you are tall, you should give the retractable handle special consideration as some of the best checked suitcase handles raise higher than others. If it’s too short for your body, it’s not comfortable.

I personally think that the best luggage sets should have retractable handles that can hold a little weight of their own. Why? So you can use that space to carry stuff as well. For example, I sometimes strap my computer bag to the retracted handle for a more comfortable walk through the airport.

Warranty & Customer Service

The best suitcase brands are confident in their products. Therefore, they often offer a money-back guarantee, a lifetime warranty, or both. However, read through the warranty carefully. Some warranties cover more damage than others. The best luggage sets and other baggage usually has a money-back guarantee with at least a month after purchase. Others have a lifetime guarantee. But it still depends on the type of damage.

Color and/or Identifying Marks

This may not be the most important characteristic of the best checked luggage, but it can be helpful to choose a suitcase with an interesting design or a color other than black. Whatever color or pattern you choose, make sure that your bag has some distinguishing marks on it.

For example, my camera bag looks like your typical black 2-wheel roller. So I put lots of bright, dangly things on the handle and taped my business card near the top. Our girl used a bright orange her check-in luggage and just started using a pinkish luggage set for the rest. Now it’s super easy to spot her stuff on the airport carousel.

No Suitcase is Perfect

No matter how strong your suitcase is, there will be someone who had a problem. Look through the best luggage set reviews and there’s always at least one person who had an issue. Look through enough of the best luggage reviews on the web and you’ll find people who are disappointed with their purchase. Maybe a wheel broke. Maybe the bag tore. Airport staff can be cruel to bags. Sometimes it can be helped, and sometimes not. Keep this in mind when you do your research.

Conclusion: What are the Best Luggage Sets for You?

There are so many factors in choosing the best checked luggage for your trip. I hope that I’ve explained them well. Are there any that I’m missing? What are the best check-in suitcases and the best luggage sets in your opinion?

Which do you prefer: hardside luggage or softside luggage? What luggage features are important for you?

Further Reading

Travel Insurance? Don’t Miss Our Tips for Choosing Travel Insurance

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This costs you nothing. However, when you use our links, we might receive a small commission if you make a purchase or book a room. My opinions are my own and I only recommend places/services that I believe will genuinely help you find the best check-in luggage for travel.

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Comments

  1. thanks for your sharing

  2. This is a very necessary post. In your site, there are many types varieties of luggage for travelers. I have seen your posts regular basis and like it very much.

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