The Best Luggage Brands of 2018 – Our 5 Top Choices
Travelling and luggage are big business and, consequently, there are a lot of manufacturers who want to have a piece of the cake. We have looked at 5 of them to help you choose the best luggage brands for you.
Some of them are old in the game and have a long-lasting reputation of maintaining high quality.
Some are quite new but has managed to build a name for themselves through showing they deliver premium quality.
Others have been around for quite some time as well and are frequently bought. Sadly, though, they don’t always live up to the buyer’s expectations when they invest in new luggage for their vacation or business trip.
Let us help you sort them out! You can read this all the way from start to finish, or choose what to read in the table of contents.
So How Do You Know Which Luggage Brand Is The Best, Or At Least Good?
In 2015, Consumer Reports conducted a survey among more than 3,400 of their subscribers. They were asked about their views on and experiences from luggage quality and brands. The outcome was both surprising and interesting.
Many of the respondents owned suitcases and other luggage from well-known manufacturers. Some of those are the ones that often come to mind first when people get asked about luggage brands. But, those same brands fell near the bottom of the list when the participants of the survey were asked to rate them.
We have of course taken part of the survey, and will include the results in our evaluation here. However, we will not base our judgements entirely on it, but also from ratings around the web, and when possible from our own experiences.
So, What Are The Top Luggage Brands?
We start with listing the best brands at the top, and then go on from high to low. When it comes to prices, the general conclusion is that ”you get what you pay for”. But that’s (almost) all we will say about prices, we leave it up to you to decide what is costly and what is not.
We do believe, however, that investing in top quality can prove to be very economical. You’ll see what we mean when you read about the warranties some of the companies employ!
Alright then, let’s do this!
This brand wins it all, almost. Eagle Creek started out in 1975, in the mountains in California. Since then, the company is devoted to manufacturing packing equipment focused on durability, usability and longevity. And they do that very well.
In reviews and ratings everywhere we look, Eagle Creek luggage and accessories, like organizers, typically get top scores. There are, of course, some where a zipper has broken or the suitcase wasn’t what the buyer anticipated, but they are few and far between.
The brand makes, and sells, all kinds of luggage and travel accessories. This includes large duffels, suitcases, travel packs, carry-ons and then all the way down to wallets and eyeshades.
One of their products in particular makes us very happy. Ever started your journey with all your stuff neatly packed and in order in your bag, only to end it with everything in a jumble and your dirties all mixed up with the cleanies? (We think we just invented a new word… 🙂 )
Eagle Creek’s packing cubes and folders will make this problem a distant memory, as well as keeping your shirts and skirts sharp. There are many to choose from, and they hold the same high standard in materials and design as the luggage itself. Whatever kind of luggage you have, there is a packing set that will turn the insides into a wet dream for the most fierce of organisers.
Eagle Creek applies two kinds of warranty, Lifetime and No Matter What. Lifetime covers all defects in workmanship and material for the lifetime of the product. Depending on the problem you will get your bag repaired or replaced.
No Matter What includes that, with the extraordinary addition that the cause of the product failure is of no relevance. No, we’re not joking! It doesn’t apply to all product series though. But all the others are Lifetime Warranty, which tells you that the company themselves have faith in the quality of their products. They claim that their return rate is under 1%.
So, what’s up with the almost then? Well, as durable, usable and totally great this company’s bags are, if your main focus is for stylish and beautiful things, this is not the place to go. That being said, we don’t mean they are badly designed or not good looking, they are just not – handsome.
Apart from that, we are very happy and could not wish for more!
Briggs & Riley
If you think that the warranty of Eagle Creek is marvellous (and we do), this is gonna knock you out:
Briggs & Riley’s warranty is called “simple as that”. They repair or replace your bag if any of its functional properties is lost, like a broken zipper, detached handle, torn corner or broken wheels.
And it doesn’t matter if it happened in transit or due to material defects. And it applies for the lifetime of the bag, for all of their bags. Now that is confidence in their own products like we’ve never seen it!
In many ways, Eagle Creek and Briggs & Riley companies are much alike. They claim to have committed to functionality and trust, and speak to the customer with a serious and reliable tone of voice. As Briggs & Riley put it: Engineered for reality.
However, there are of course differences. B & R do not have any packing sets to help organise your packing. We miss that, a lot.
A feature we totally appreciate however is the so-called CX expansion-compression system, that you find in the Baseline collection. It’s awesome! This is how it works:
Inside the bag is a mechanism that allows you to expand the bag with one simple maneuver. Now the bag’s packing space has increased with about 30%. So? What’s the big deal? There are a lot of expandables on the market. True, but the extra feature of this system is unique: when you’re done packing, and the bag is all zipped up and closed, you just push the top of the bag down again, and it will compress and snap back into the original size. Neat!
As with the reviews for Eagle Creek, we find very few critical ones here. One we did notice and that occurred a few times was about carry-on sizes for the wide-body bags.
As always, our recommendation is to check with the airline your flying with to make sure what size restrictions they currently employ. There is no standard, and the airlines may change their regulations without warning.
Cons? Well, they do have a thing for austere colors. And no patterns in sight. But admittedly, we are perhaps a little too fond of colors and patterns. Briggs & Riley delivers outstanding quality luggage, there is no getting around that.
It has to be said, Tumi’s warranty aren’t anywhere as good as the companies’ above. For the first year after you’ve bought your bag, the warranty covers all kinds of damage to it. They repair or replace it, and it doesn’t matter if it got smashed when handled by the airline personnel or if a wheel fell off because of bad workmanship.
After the first year and up until year five, there is a limited warranty that covers manufactural defects as well as wear and tear. After that, you’re on your own. Feels harsh, when compared with the generous warranties above.
This being said, Tumi has got an excellent reputation for providing quality luggage. Customers are generally very satisfied with their bag in reviews and surveys. On their website, they describe the 30-step testing process they put their products through.
We like the opportunity to have your bag monogrammed or customized with color accents, like ID-tags, zipper pullers and other details on the bag, to make it easier to identify on the belt. Tumi also sells high-quality outerwear, like puffer jackets and blazers. An innovative addition to the puffer jackets is that you can pack it into a bag the shape of neck pillow.
We also like that Tumi has dared to have some color and patterning on their bags. We think it cheers up the gate line or the belt 😉
Our experience is that Tumi luggage is good. But, we’re kind of thrown off by the fact that their warrant only sticks for 5 years. If the products are supposed to be of the high quality they claim they are, why go cheap on the warranty?
Did you know that Travelpro started with the invention of the first Rollaboard back in 1987? The pilot Robert Plath simply turned the bag from horizontal to vertical, put wheels at the bottom and an extension handle at the top, and voila, the wheeled carry-on was born!
The rest is history, but since then the company has grown and gained a worldwide reputation among flight crews and pilots as well as among passengers.
We are somewhat torn when it comes to this brand. They have indeed enjoyed a good reputation among airline personnel for quite some time, but from our experience, that reputation has been somewhat chipped away at in recent years. A pilot we know has actually switched brand because he thinks that Travelpro “are not what they used to be”.
However, the brand has a wide range of products, and among them are most certainly pieces of good quality and durability, especially in their Platinum collection.
Their Basic Warranty is lifetime limited. As usual, this means they will repair or replace your bag if you have a problem with it that is due to defects in material and workmanship, for the lifetime of the bag.
Be aware though that you may have to be persistent in your claims. One reviewer we encountered in our research was told that wheels were not covered by the warranty, even though it had simply broken and fallen off while the bag was being pulled on a smooth surface.
The Platinum collection has a warranty of its own, called Worry Free Warranty. This means they will repair or replace your bag if it is damaged in transit. We think that this also tells something about the quality of that collection.
For quality, we believe that the Platinum collection should be your first choice from this brand. If you’re on a budget, as many of us undoubtedly are, Travelpro has many cheaper alternatives as well. Make sure you pick a bag with many reviews though, so you get as clear a picture as possible of it before you purchase.
If you have kids at home who love their Disney characters, this is the brand for you! American Tourister is the only brand to sell the official luggage of Walt Disney World, resort, and Disneyland.
If this is what your kid desires, go for it. This collection is good value for money, as we see it. The added value of your kid’s happiness and pride going through the airport with his or hers sweet Disney carry-on is hard to beat 🙂
American Tourister has been around for a long time. They started out in 1933, and 60 years later Samsonite acquired the company.
Our main pro for American Tourister is the variety of colors and patterns. We have a soft spot for that! And it makes your bag easily spotted on the belt too.
The warranty is limited and valid for 2 to 5 years, the shortest warranty time ranges among the brands we review here.
As for the quality, we have read more than a few reviews about torn fabric, seems fraying, metal corners protruding out of the fabric and zippers separating from the bag because of frayed fabric. So the fabric, at least of the cheaper bags, seem to be somewhat of a problem.
Again, we think that you get what you pay for. Depending on your needs and your budget, you might find what you search for with this brand.
So Many Brands…
We are well aware that we have only covered a selection of the available luggage brands here. If we had included them all, you would have grown tired of our tirades 🙂 Hopefully, though, we have covered some of the more common and mostly bought ones. The rest of them might be a topic for a future post here at Travel Gear Depot! Thank you for reading 🙂