Best Checked Luggage for Travel – Choosing the Best Suitcases

This post may contain affiliate links. Please visit our Disclosure page for details.

Have a flight soon? Unless you plan to go carry-on only, get the best checked luggage 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.

The Best Checked Luggage for Travel – Choosing the Best Suitcases

The best check-in suitcases will help you travel better, and will last a long time. We’re considering a big switch in our traveling style. We use a combination of backpacks, carryon packs and checked suitcases, but I’d like to go all checked suitcases soon. After 20 years of traveling, my back and shoulders want a rest!

After rigorous research and talking listening to other travelers, here are our tips for choosing the best checked luggage for your upcoming travel needs.

What’s the Best Checked Luggage for You?

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 hard sided suitcases? Perhaps, you need a 3-piece set of suitcases for an entire family?

Before you go buy a new suitcase, there are a number of factors to consider, such as 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.

Booked the flight yet? Check the Cheapest Price on Skyscanner

** Save & Share with Pinterest! **

The Best Checked Luggage for Travel - Choosing the Best Suitcases PIN 2

Best Checked Luggage for Travel: Comparison

Size & Height

For most US Airlines, you get a maximum of 62 inches (158cm) of space. Where does the number 62 come from? That’s where you combine the height, width, and length of your checked luggage. Add these three numbers up. If it’s under 62 inches, then you’re in the clear with most airplanes and airlines. Of course, these standards are always changing, so make sure to check with your airline.

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. If the wheels of your suitcase stick out, that counts. If you are a frequent flyer or a business/first class passenger, you may be able to get away with it, 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. The 28- to 32-inch category is a very large suitcase. In fact, this size can easily go over some airlines’ weight limitations if you’re not careful. We only recommend these if you are a large family or plan to share your checked luggage with several family members.

Instead, consider the 23- to 27-inch height range. That’s why we have only two on our list of the best checked luggages that are taller than 27 inches. Always check the weight before you head to the airport.

Flying with Kids? Don’t Miss Our 30 Tips on Flying with Kids

Weight

The best check-in luggage is sturdy but lightweight, which gives you more freedom to pack what you want.

At the time of writing, most airlines have a 50-pound (23kg) weight limit. You want to stay under this limit or you may have to pay extra baggage fees. It doesn’t matter if one suitcase weights 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. Budget airlines are the worst for this, so be careful.

** PIN THIS! **

The Best Checked Luggage for Travel - Choosing the Best Suitcases PIN 1

Two-Wheel or Four-Wheel

Unless you are a surfer, cyclist, or bass player, your suitcase will probably be the biggest piece of travel luggage you have with you. Some suitcases are cumbersome and unwieldy. However, the best checked luggage has wheels to make navigating the airport a breeze.

All of the best suitcases 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. Let’s talk about them.

Two-Wheel Suitcases

The best two-wheel suitcases roll smoothly and have wheels built into the suitcase itself. They prevent 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 Suitcases

We have both 2-wheel and 4-wheel 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 addition, they are more vulnerable to being broken by careless airport staff.

Another concern with four-wheeled suitcases is their very maneuverability. What makes them glide smoothly across a crowded terminal also helps them roll away at the slightest incline. Never leave them unattended on a hill or any kind of slope. And never 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.

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

Hard Shell or Soft Shell

The best checked luggage comes 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

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 cases. 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 cases can sometimes expand or contract. In contrast, many hard cases 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. That said, 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 hard case 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

We tend to gravitate toward soft shell suitcases. 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. Dirty luggage 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 for travel is 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, 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. Packing cubes can make travel a lot easier.

Prefer Backpacks? We have a List of The Best Travel Backpacks too!

Handle

The best checked luggage will have a retractable handle. 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 this special consideration as some of the best checked suitcase handles raise higher than others.

I personally think that the best check-in suitcase handles should be able to hold a little weight of their own. I sometimes strap my computer bag to the retracted handle for a more comfortable walk through the airport.

Warranty / Customer Service

The best checked luggage providers 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.

Color and/or Identifying Marks

No, this isn’t the most important characteristic of the best checked luggage, but it can be helpful to have a different color suitcase, or have a some pattern on it. 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 a lots of bright, dangly things on the handle and taped my business card near the top. Our girl uses a bright orange suitcase as her check-in luggage, and it is super easy to spot on the airport carousel.

No Suitcase is Perfect

No matter how strong your suitcase is, there will be someone who reports a damaged one. Look through enough 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.

The Best Checked Luggage for Travel: Our List

 

Travelpro Tpro Bold 2 Expandable Rollaboard

The Best Checked 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 the price of Travelpro Tpro Bold 2 Expandable Rollaboard

Travelpro Maxlite 4 Expandable Spinner

The Best Checked 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 the price of Travelpro Maxlite 4 Expandable Spinner

Travelpro Maxlite 4 Hardside Spinner

Best Checked Luggage for Travel

This hardside suitcase makes the best checked luggage list for a number of reasons, most notably it 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 the price of Travelpro Maxlite 4 Hardside Spinner

Ricardo Beverly Hills Mar Vista

Best Checked 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 the price of Ricardo Beverly Hills Mar Vista

Delsey Helium Aero Spinner Trolley

Best Checked 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 the price of Delsey Helium Aero Spinner Trolley

Delsey Luggage Helium Sky Spinner

Best Checked 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 the price of Delsey Luggage Helium Sky Spinner

American Tourister Ilite Max Spinner

Best Checked 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 the price of American Tourister Ilite Max Spinner

Samsonite Winfield2 Fashion

Best Checked 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 the price of Samsonite Winfield2 Fashion Spinner

Samsonite Aspire Xlite Spinner

Best Checked 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 the price of Samsonite Aspire Xlite Spinner

Samsonite Omni PC Spinner

Best Checked 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 the price of Samsonite Omni PC Spinner

Best Travel Luggage Set: Save Your Money

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 set of two or three different sized luggages. 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.

3 Piece Set: Samsonite Winfield 2 Fashion (20″ 24″ 28″)

Best Checked Luggage for Travel

If you have a family member or a friend who’s considering to how to buy the best travel luggage, you may want to consider purchasing a 3-pieces set together.

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 the price of 3 Piece Set of Samsonite Winfield (20″ 24″ 28″)

3 Piece Set: Samsonite Omni PC Spinner (20″ 24″ 28″)

Best Checked 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 the price of 3 Piece Set of Samsonite Omni PC Spinner (20″ 24″ 28″)

Conclusion: What’s The Best Check-in Suitcase 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?

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

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

** PIN THIS! **

The Best Checked Luggage for Travel - Choosing the Best Suitcases PIN 3

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.

Image credits: #1

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.

Speak Your Mind

*

css.php

Like this post? Please spread the word! Thanks :)