The Best Hardside Luggage for Travel in 2022

I’ve tested hardside bags for years, struggled through technical specs, crappy warranties, and my fair share of broken zippers—so you don’t have to. This is some of the best hardside luggage on the market today!
Best Hardisde Luggage

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If you’re in the market for hardside luggage, you’ve probably found yourself a little bit confused by the sheer number of options (and wondered what actually makes all these plastic cubes different from one another). In the end, you’re probably looking for a balance between style and functionality, but also one that won’t show up at the baggage claim cracked or dented.

There are so many great luggage brands making hard sided luggage these days, but not every bag is perfect for every person. Depending on whether you prefer having more packing space, style, organization or even technological features, you might end up choosing a different hard shell suitcase than the person next you.

After more than a decade of travel, I’ve tested (and beaten up) dozens upon dozens of hardside suitcases. You could say I’ve had my fair share of experience with hard shell luggage—yep, both good and bad.

While every bag essentially serves the same purpose (getting your stuff from point A to point B), the finer details are what will make or break it. At the end of the day, the best hardside luggage for you is the one you feel the most confident and comfortable with.

These are my top 15 picks for the best hardside luggage on the market today!

1. Monos Check-In Medium: Best Hardside Luggage Overall

Monos Check-In Medium

The fairly new Canadian luggage brand Monos makes my favorite hardside bag: The Monos Check-In Medium.

This bag has much to offer, with its sleek design and high-quality materials, heavily influenced by the Japanese culture of quality and simplicity. The luggage is furnished with Hinomoto Lisof Silent Run wheels, the gold standard manufactured only in Japan. The bag’s telescopic handle is made from high-grade aluminum, which is sturdy and prevents buckling.

With an outer shell made from German Makrolon polycarbonate, an aerospace-grade material, this hardside bag is ultralight and extraordinarily resilient.

The medium size makes it perfect for those needing a little more room than a carry-on bag can offer, without the bulkiness of a massive checked bag! Before the Monos Medium Check-In Bag I often found myself either stuffing a carry-on so full of stuff I had to sit on top just to close it, or filling a large checked bag two-thirds of the way (neither of which were ideal or efficient).

This is truly the best hardside luggage out there, and a bag that I’d recommend to everyone, due to its universal design and ease of use. It travels like a champ due to its intentional construction and high-quality materials, all the way from the zippers to the spinner wheels and internal pockets. It does all the basic things perfectly right, embodying quality in simplicity.

Monos Check-In Medium Specs:

Dimensions26.5″ × 18.5″ × 10.5″
Capacity70L
Weight9.59 lbs
WarrantyLimited Lifetime Warranty

2. eBags Fortis Pro: Best Budget Hard Shell Suitcase

eBags Fortis Pro

The Fortis Pro 22″ USB Carry-On Spinner has a good deal of features and organization for a great value. This is the best hardside luggage for those wanting a more affordable price on some high-quality luggage.

This bag provides travelers with a spacious interior that’s extremely well organized, unlike many other budget bags that simply have 2 large compartments.

Its movable dividers allow for different compartment sizes, and its multiple pockets help keep things tidy. The expansion zipper system provides you with the option of increasing its maximum capacity by an inch and a half, perfect for those slightly longer trips.

Although budget suitcases often skimp on high-quality materials, this bag does a great job of sourcing pieces such as their precision-made Hinomoto smooth-rolling spinner wheels, which are manufactured in Japan and are sworn by frequent fliers to be the standard when it comes to quality.

It even has a telescopic handle that makes rolling your bag over both smooth and rough surfaces so much more comfortable.

It also has a USB port to charge small electronics like your phone, which is impressive for the price point.

eBags Fortis Pro:

Dimensions22″ × 14″ × 9″ in
CapacityN/A
Weight8.58 lbs
WarrantyLimited Lifetime Warranty

3. July Carry On Light: Best Lightweight Hardside Carry-On

July Carry-On Light

Trying to stay under weight restrictions is a huge headache while traveling. I’ve often found myself repacking belongings at the airport, shifting things between bags or throwing on another layer to keep within the weight limit.

Weighing in at only 3.9 lbs, The July Carry On Light is the lightest double-wheel hard shell suitcase on the market, making it one of the best lightweight suitcases in every category.

The bag is made out of an extremely lightweight German polycarbonate shell, making it lighter than most of the luggage on the market. This material is both ultra lightweight and durable.

A scratch-resistant coating gives these carry-ons a glossy finish that prevents marks that you so often see with matte finishes.

With a super lightweight frame, packing within the weight limit is a breeze. Approximately five days’ worth of clothing and essentials can easily fit into its surprisingly spacious interior, courtesy of its thin frame.

July Carry On Light Specs:

Dimensions21.25” x 14.25” x 7.5” in
Capacity32L
Weight3.9 lbs
WarrantyLimited Lifetime Warranty

4. Away The Bigger Carry-On: Best Carry-On Hardshell Luggage

Away The Bigger Carry-On

My Away carry-on is my go-to piece of luggage. If I can skip the checked luggage lines and lighten my load for a trip, I consider it a win.

I have owned two of Away’s The Bigger Carry-Ons, and I use mine frequently!

A common issue with carry-ons is the lack of space compared to a checked bag, but I’ve found that Away’s Bigger Carry-On has been the perfect middle-ground for me! It’s slightly larger than a typical carry-on while still meeting airline size requirements and fitting in overhead bins.

These bags have become a fashion statement due to their social media popularity (guilty of being #influenced). I argue these bags are worth the hype—not just in style but in functionality too!

The luggage has an innovative interior compression system that incorporates a semi-rigid panel that functions much like tie down straps would, but it also provides extra zipper pocket storage for things like intimates, swimsuits, or last minute items.

One of my favorite aspects of this bag is the TSA-approved, removable battery pack that keeps your phone and other electronics charged while at the airport and during your flight! Now I don’t have to worry about my phone or AirPods dying mid-flight!

Away has an incredible customer service team, and their limited lifetime warranty is really comprehensive. I shipped my luggage in the mail during a move to NYC last summer, and thanks to FedEx’s rough handling of the bag, the exterior sustained some damage. I emailed Away and they immediately sent me a new one at no charge!

If you’re looking for a new staple carry-on, I highly recommend Away’s The Bigger Carry-On.

Away The Bigger Carry-On Specs:

Dimensions22.7″ x 14.7″ x 9.6″ in
Capacity47.9L
Weight8.4 lbs
WarrantyLimited Lifetime Warranty

5. Travelpro Roundtrip Check-In: Best Hardside Checked Luggage

Travelpro Roundtrip Check-In

Warranties are an important consideration when it comes to choosing a hardshell suitcase. Although all of the luggage on this list is high-quality and durable, you never know what life (aka airport security and airlines) will throw at you (and your bag).

Knowing that any defects or damage would be covered gives you peace of mind while traveling.

All of Travelpro’s products are backed by a lifetime warranty, and they are one of few hardside luggage brands to do so. This means that even if you’ve had your luggage for 10 years and eventually a wheel breaks or zipper malfunctions, they will send you a replacement.

However, typical limited warranties only do so much. Damages caused by airlines are not covered.

This is where the “worry-free warranty” comes into play. Available for selected products, such as the Roundtrip® Medium Check-in Expandable Spinner, this warranty covers damage ‌by airlines as well.

All of their products go through rigorous testing to ensure longevity in areas such as wheels, zippers, and handles. The Roundtrip, just like most of their hardsided luggage collections, is equipped with molded aluminum corner guards to provide extra protection. The stylish exterior finish is also scratch-resistant and reduces scuffs.

This hardside spinner has two sides with divider panels and zippered pockets for organization. It also has a TSA-approved lock to keep your belongings safe.

Travelpro Roundtrip Check-In Specs:

Dimensions27.25” x 17.75” x 11″ in
Capacity89L
Weight9.5 lbs
WarrantyLimited Lifetime Warranty

6. Level 8 Pro Carry-On With Laptop Pocket: Best Laptop Hard Shell Suitcase

LEVEL8 Pro Carry On

Have you ever settled down on the plane, ready to work, then realized your laptop is stuffed in your carry-on? Unlike a duffle bag or soft-sided luggage, hard-sided luggage often lacks easily accessible compartments. You have to keep items such as laptops, passports, and chargers in a separate bag to provide easier access. 

With the Level 8 Pro Carry-On With Laptop Pocket 20’’, there is no need for additional bags! This wheeled luggage carry-on is furnished with a laptop pocket, accessible from the exterior, providing easy access wherever and whenever.

The pocket is zipperless, so you simply push it in the right position and it will pop open, saving you the trouble of having to zip things up. Inside, it has multiple packing compartments and mesh pockets.

Made from a lightweight and robust space-grade polycarbonate, this carry-on is as durable as they come. The front pocket is also padded, providing additional protection for your valuables—perfect for when you’re plopping it into the overhead compartment!

Level 8 Pro Carry-On With Laptop Pocket Specs:

Dimensions21.6” x 14.5″ x 9.3″ in
Capacity35L
Weight9.3 lbs
WarrantyLimited Lifetime Warranty

7. Briggs & Riley TORQ: Best Large Hardside Suitcase

If you’re an over-packer like me and gravitate toward checked bags when possible, the Briggs & Riley TORQ is a great option for you. Hardside suitcases don’t offer nearly as much give compared to their soft-sided counterparts, but the Briggs & Riley Large Sided Spinner offers a really spacious interior to make up for the lack of flexibility.

The TORQ Large Hard Sided Spinner comes with a 70/30 lid that acts like a traditional suitcase that fits luggage racks. Perfect for business travelers, this luggage comes with a foam roller bar that can be adjusted so you can pack your suits and shirts without worrying about them wrinkling during transit. 

Additionally, the TORQ Large Spinner comes equipped with YKK RC zippers, double spinner wheels, and a telescopic handle that has three different stop heights. Made out of Makrolon polycarbonate, this luggage is made to last and is also incredibly lightweight.

With a capacity of 112.7 liters, packing for a week on holiday or even month-long international trips is simple and organized. This piece of baggage is certainly the perfect option for those of you looking to bring along plenty of items!

Briggs & Riley TORQ Specs:

Dimensions30.5” x 20″ x 12.5″ in
Capacity112.7L
Weight10.5 lbs
WarrantyLimited Lifetime Warranty

8. Samsonite Omni PC: Most Durable Hardshell Luggage

Samsonite luggage remains some of the best and most well-known in the world.

The Omni PC Medium Spinner is one of their all-time best-sellers. Robust and backed by a ten-year warranty, the Omni PC Medium Spinner is a top pick in durability.

This expandable suitcase boasts all the features you’d expect of a piece of quality luggage. This hardshell suitcase is made from a polycarbonate that is flexible yet crack-resistant, ensuring it remains in the best condition in the long run. 

Its micro diamond texture finish is scratch-resistant and provides additional resilience. This luggage was meant to withstand all sorts of hits and blows, a common occurrence when suitcases are forcefully loaded atop one another at the airport, or during turbulence.

The ten-year warranty, backed by Samsonite’s responsive and efficient customer service ensures peace of mind.

It is important to note that this luggage is not entirely indestructible. Plastic will crack under a certain amount of pressure, and if you’re searching for nearly indestructible bags, the only solution would be to get luggage with an aluminum shell. However, note that aluminum hardshell suitcases go for above $500.

If you are on a budget, the Omni PC Medium Spinner is the one to invest in—made from quality materials, its durability is unmatched among polycarbonate luggage.​​

Samsonite Omni PC Specs:

Dimensions26.5″ × 18.5″ × 11.5″ in
CapacityN/A
Weight9.04 lbs
WarrantyLimited 10 Year Global Warranty

9. Samsonite S’Cure: Most Secure Hardside Luggage

When it comes to traveling, safety is a top priority—not just for yourself, but for your belongings as well.

Most people have luggage tags on their bags with their contact information, but it turns out there’s an even more secure way to do it.

The most secure luggage on the market is the S’Cure Large Spinner by Samsonite. Its built-in 3-point lock system, coupled with a TSA-approved lock provides ample security and gives you peace of mind.

This bag exterior features a zipper-less closure, protecting you from zipper punctures and creating the most secure lock system out there. I also love this feature because you don’t have to worry about breaking a zipper or struggling to close your case!

The S’Cure Large Spinner is also equipped with double spinner wheels, providing movement in any direction as well as stability with the smooth spinning.

Samsonite S’Cure Large Spinner Specs:

Dimensions29.75″ × 20″ × 12″ in
CapacityN/A
Weight11.2 lbs
WarrantyLimited 10 Year Global Warranty

10. Béis Check-In Roller: Best Hardside Spinner

Founded by actress Shay Mitchell in 2018, Béis is a newer luggage brand that brings style and fashion to the forefront of the travel industry.

Shay’s ultimate goal with her luggage was to create luggage that was well-designed and good-looking while also being expandable and ultra-functional.

The 26” Check-In Roller was created first and foremost with the chic, stylish traveler in mind. You’ve likely seen this beauty pop up on your social media feeds a time or two due to its aesthetic!

Internal compression straps and divider pockets create packing ease, and a built-in laundry bag keeps things clean (I also sometimes use these extra bags as shoe bags)!

A really cool and unique feature of this bag is its weight limit indicator! This feature lets you know if your bag needs to lose a few pounds in order to comply with airline weight restrictions.

Béis 26” Check-In Roller Specs:

Dimensions28.25″ x 16″ x 11″ in
Capacity81L
Weight10.2 lbs
WarrantyLimited Lifetime Warranty

11. RIMOWA Essential Lite Cabin: Best Luxury Lightweight Hardside Luggage

120 years in the making, RIMOWA luggage has evolved throughout the years. In the past decade, they have positioned themselves as a top leader in the luxury hardside luggage industry.

Their new monogram evokes the twin spires of Cologne Cathedral, an iconic and classic gothic cathedral in Germany.

The Essential Lite Cabin is their lightest bag yet, weighing 30% less than their Essential suitcases, while still maintaining its luxurious look and feel. This carry-on provides ideal portability without compromising on durability with its polycarbonate outer shell.

A TSA-approved combination lock, mesh dividers, multi-directional spinner wheels, and a telescopic handle give this hardside spinner all the essentials needed for a weekend trip.

RIMOWA Essential Lite Cabin Specs:

Dimensions21.7” x 15.8” x 9.1″ in
Capacity38.2L
Weight4.9 lbs
WarrantyLimited 5 Year Warranty

12. DELSEY Chatelet : Most Stylish Hardside Luggage

Delsey Chatalet

Located in Paris, DELSEY is one of the world’s premier luggage brands, offering high-quality products that are as well-made as they are beautifully designed.

The Chatelet is named after one of the most popular districts in Paris—a fitting name for such an eloquent design. This particular product comes in three colorways: Champagne, Chocolate, and All Black.

The Chatelet Hardside Luggage with Spinner Wheels is very durable, being made out of 100 percent polycarbonate, resulting in a frame that is both lightweight and durable.

The interior is just as intricately designed and well-made as the exterior. This luggage does a phenomenal job of offering plenty of space and numerous compartments to easily store and organize your belongings.

For those who appreciate an aesthetically pleasing and well-made piece, the DELSEY Paris Chatelet Hardside Luggage with Spinner Wheels might just be the perfect luggage for you!

DELSEY Chatelet Hard+ 28” Specs:

Dimensions30.25” x 21.25” x 12.5” in
Capacity112.46L
Weight12.6 lbs
WarrantyLimited Lifetime Warranty

13. Paravel Aviator Grand: Most Eco-Friendly Hardside Luggage

Paravel Aviator Grand

Sustainability has become an important aspect of consumerism culture in recent years. Some luggage brands have taken steps to ensure that sustainability is at the core of their production and message.

Paravel is a stand out brand in the hardside suitcase industry because of its commitment to eco-friendly production. A product can rarely call itself 100 percent carbon-neutral, but Paravel has managed to pull it off with the Aviator Grand luggage

This eco-friendly traveling companion is made out of recyclable materials that offset the carbon emissions generated from its production and shipping. Paravel also claims that the bag neutralizes the average carbon emissions from one flight.

The Paravel Aviator Grand also boasts a timeless look with its six different colorways and a classic design, reminiscent of vintage luggage collections. 

Equipped with carbon steel bearing spinner wheels and a spacious interior, the Paravel Aviator Grand is the perfect companion for those who wish to be more environmentally conscious in their travels.

Paravel Aviator Grand Specs:

Dimensions28” x 18.25″ x 11″ in
Capacity105.9L
Weight11.8 lbs
WarrantyLimited 5 Year Warranty

14. Roam Check-In: Best Customizable Hardside Luggage

Roam is looking to leave the vast sea of boring black wheelies behind! It is the only luggage brand offering full-color customization, allowing you to create your very own unique piece.

Besides allowing you to showcase a little bit of your personality on your luggage, the option to customize the colors serves a functional purpose as well.

Have you ever stood restlessly at the conveyor belt full of luggage that all look the same, trying to spot your own? Sure, tags and stickers might work, but what better than a piece of truly unique luggage that would stand out from the rest.

Easily identifiable and uniquely stylish, The Check-In is great in situations such as this! 

Besides being fully color customizable, they are also built with quality in mind. This doesn’t come as a surprise, given that Roam was founded by one of the founders of Tumi, another high-quality and well-known luggage brand.

The Check-In is fairly spacious, with a 60L capacity (expandable to 86L), while remaining light thanks to its lightweight but durable virgin polycarbonate material. Equipped with Hinomoto spinner wheels and aircraft-grade aluminum telescopic handles, this luggage certainly provides a breath of fresh air for those who want to stand out from the crowd! 

Roam Check-In Specs:

Dimensions26” x 17.5” x 10.5-12.5” in
Capacity60-86L
Weight9.3 lbs
WarrantyLimited Lifetime Warranty

15. Tumi Tegra Lite: Best Traceable Hardside Suitcase

Tumi Tegra Lite

The Tumi Tegra Lite Expandable 4 Wheeled Carry-On is the best hard shell suitcase for those who want that extra peace of mind while traveling.

This bag has a metal plate with a unique 20-digit serial number that can be traced back to you in case of lost luggage. This number can be registered to your contact information upon purchase, providing a way for lost baggage to be returned to its rightful owners.

With the Tegra collection, Tumi has managed to obtain exclusive rights to the material known as Tegris. Made from interwoven polypropylene yarn, Tegris is a thermoplastic composite used by NFL pads as well as Nascar body panels. Needless to say, these bags are really durable.

Another great feature of this bag is the front exterior laptop pocket which has a zipper lock and ample space for your electronics and other items you made need to access quickly.

When you invest in a bag like this one, it’s important to know you’re covered, and their warranty as well as tracking plates do just that.

Tumi Tegra Lite Expandable 4 Wheeled Carry-On Specs:

Dimensions26” x 17.5” x 10.5-12.5” in
Capacity60-86L
Weight9.3 lbs
WarrantyLimited 5 Year Warranty

What To Look For In Hardside Luggage

There are some intricacies to look out for when it comes to picking hardshell luggage, but, once you understand the various details that make a piece of luggage high-quality, picking one for yourself becomes a lot easier.

There are a few main aspects to look out for. 

Size and Capacity

There are two categories of luggage: carry-on luggage, and check-ins. Carry-ons usually stand between 18 and 22 inches in size while checked luggage can range anywhere between 24 and 30 inches. 

Since hardshells provide little to no flexibility and stretch compared to soft shells, it’s important to choose the right size for you. Nobody wants to end up having to exclude their favorite items because they lack space.

Nowadays, some hardshell luggage options come with an expandable option, allowing you to increase its capacity when needed. Also be sure to note that airlines have different dimension standards for carry-ons, so it’s important to get a carry-on that fits most airlines!

Materials

With luggage being thrown around at the airport, material plays an important role in ensuring that your bag can endure the typical wear and tear of air travel.

Hardside suitcases come in various materials. 100 percent virgin polycarbonate is my go-to pick. It provides durability while remaining affordable and lightweight—there is a reason why it remains the industry standard. 

Even the thickness of the material used plays an important role. Thicker cases offer more durability, but at the cost of weight.

Functionality

This is often overlooked, but you must test the movable parts of your luggage—namely, the handle, wheels, and zippers. Being non-stationary parts, they are subjected to wear and tear the most. 

Ensure that the wheels are durable as well as quiet. I recommend looking for brands that utilize double spinner wheels by manufacturer Hinomoto—they are considered to be the industry standard when it comes to quality.

Zippers that aren’t smooth and frequently get stuck are annoying to use. Checking for quality zippers that are smooth as well as secure is important. There are a plethora of quality zipper types out there, with different advantages. Some provide expandability while others may be completely waterproof or even puncture-proof. 

The telescopic handles are an important area to take note of as well. Material makes or breaks a handle—low-quality materials will quite literally cause broken handles somewhere down the line, while materials such as aluminum offer more durability and sturdiness. Even the design plays a part, with some companies offering innovative differences that provide more stability and comfort.

How to Choose a Hard Shell Suitcase

When it comes to luggage, there is no better way to find out what would best suit your preferences than to have hands-on experience. If you are shopping in-store there are plenty of things to look out for.

Test out the handles and wheels 

Comfort is often an overlooked aspect when it comes to purchasing luggage. Over long distances, the pains of a handle that is too hard, or four spinner wheels that don’t roll smoothly become much more prominent.

Feeling first-hand what is right for you is an important step in picking the wheels and handle.

Check the interior 

Despite luggage usually coming in standard sizes, the interior of each bag may differ a lot. Luggage of the same size may vary in interior capacity due to differences in material thickness and other design features.

A good rule of thumb is to check the packing capacity of a bag, like we listed in L in our charts!

Some stand-out features to look for inside of a bag are built in packing cubes, interior pockets, elastic straps, and hidden compartment or bag for laundry.

Read reviews

While it’s not always possible to have a hands-on experience with a bag before making the purchase, checking for reviews may help in your decision-making process. Reading other users’ honest opinions about a product can help you decide what bag is best for your needs.

Videos are another great way to see the full functionality of a bag. They can help you to take a closer look at the intricacies of a piece of luggage when it is in use.

Budget

Last but not least, take into account how much you are willing to spend. Without a set budget, picking the right piece of luggage will only get harder!

As you discover more and more features, your expectations will only get higher, leading to a saturated range of products with varying price points. Staying within your budget will help you zero in on features that you really can’t do without, keeping your selection pool as small as possible.

Hardside Luggage FAQs

What is the most durable hardshell luggage?

The Samsonite Omni PC is the most durable hardshell luggage, in my experience. It’s made from a polycarbonate that is flexible yet crack-resistant and has a micro diamond texture finish that is scratch-resistant.

Is softshell or hardside luggage better?

Hardside luggage offers more advantages in durability and longevity; however, softshell options do have their merits too! Ultimately, it all boils down to personal preference.

Which luggage brand is best?

Some of the best luggage brands are Samsonite, Monos and Delsey.

Jeremy Scott Foster
Jeremy Scott Foster
Jeremy Scott Foster is an adventure-junkie, gear expert and travel photographer based in Southern California. Previously nomadic, he’s been to ~50 countries and loves spending time outdoors. You can usually find him on the trail, on the road, jumping from bridges or hustling on his laptop working to produce the best travel and outdoors content today.

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