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Have you decided on buying a new hardside suitcase, but don’t know which one to choose? Well, congratulations, my friend, you’ve come to the right place! Haven’t we promised to always find the best and most durable luggage for you?
Indeed we have! We have searched the market and picked the ones we believe to be the best hardside luggage out there in 2020.
Hardsided, Softsided, Carry-On, or Checked Luggage?
One of the major and unavoidable decisions you have to make when looking for a new piece of luggage is whether you should buy a hardside or a softside.
What the best choice depends on your personal preferences and what qualities you are looking for in a bag. Since you’re here reading this article, we assume you have already made that decision!
We have picked both hard case carry-on luggage, as well as the best hard suitcases. Most of the items we review are part of a line or collection and can be bought in more that one size.
This means that if you find a carry on that you like, the chances are that you can also find a piece of checked luggage in the same collection.
Read all the way or use the table of contents above to go directly to the most interesting heading!
Quick Comparison Table Best Hardside Luggage
|Bag (Click on name for price and availability on Amazon)||Size||Weight||Warranty|
|Aleon 19" International Carry-On||19.4" x 14.1" x 7.3"||9.3 lbs.||Limited 10 Year|
|Delsey Paris Chatelet Hard+ Carry-on||20.25" x 14.25" x 9.5"||9.3 lbs.||Limited 10 Year International|
|Enkloze X1 Carbon Fiber Carry-On 21"||21.3" x 14.6" x 9.5"||8.2 lbs.||5 Year Limited|
|AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Luggage 21"||14.9" x 10" x 21.6"||7.34 lbs.||3 Year Limited|
|Kenneth Cole Reaction Scott's Corner 20"||22” x 14” x 9”||7.05 lbs.||10 Year Limited|
|Delsey Paris Helium Aero Hardside 21"||21" x 14" x 10"||8.2 lbs.||Worldwide Limited 10 Year|
|Samsonite S'Cure Spinner 28"||29.75" x 20.0" x 12.0"||11.2 lbs.||Limited 10 Year Global|
|Briggs & Riley Sympatico Expandable CX 30"||30″ x 20″ x 12″||13.5 lbs.||“Simple As That” Lifetime|
|American Tourister Moonlight Expandable Hardside||30” x 19.5”x 12.5”||11.5 lbs.||10 Year Limited|
|COOLIFE Luggage Expandable 28"||30.3" x 20.1" x 11.8"||10.8 lbs.||Limited 2 Year Global|
Buying Guide for Hardside Luggage
Choosing a piece of hardside luggage from the hundreds of options available can feel overwhelming. The easiest way to go about this is to narrow down on the specific features of each bag. Here are the main factors you should focus on:
Hardside Luggage Material
Many hardshell suitcases last longer than their softside counterparts. But even then, some materials offer a little more durability than others.
Aluminum suitcases are as durable as they are lightweight, which is one of the reasons why they’re so darn expensive.
This explains why only a few manufacturers use this material to make their suitcases. Often, this is only used by luggage brands like Away and Rimowa, which make luxury suitcases for the high-end consumer.
Are you willing to splurge on a piece of quality luggage that can weather all the wear and tear in a rather beautiful way? Then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t invest in an aluminum suitcase.
For the budget consumer, a more economical option is luggage made of polycarbonate. Such a suitcase is constructed using a lightweight thermoplastic polymer.
While this material offers slightly less durability than aluminum, it’s also lighter. This makes it an excellent choice for travelers who don’t want to haul too much weight.
Polycarbonate hardside luggage also offers more colors and patterns to pick from compared to aluminum.
Another perk of choosing polycarbonate is that it’s highly resistant to impact. If your suitcase gets bumped against something, this material will simply flex to absorb the impact, then go back to its original shape.
Also known as polypropene, this is another type of thermoplastic polymer. The key difference between this and polycarbonate is that polypropylene is lighter. This makes it a great option for travelers who want to keep the weight of their bags to a minimum.
Like polycarbonate, it’s also resilient, meaning it has some resistance to impact. However, it’s not as durable as polycarbonate, and hence not that common in luggage.
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene or ABS is another popular thermoplastic that’s used to make hardside suitcases.
It’s lighter than polycarbonate, but it’s also less durable. This is why suitcases made of ABS are often cheaper than those from polycarbonate.
However, not all ABS luggage is inferior; there are a few luggage brands that use thick ABS to boost the durability of their products. A good example is the AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Luggage.
Sometimes a combination of ABS and polycarbonate is used. This makes for luggage that is lighter and cheaper than polycarbonate but more durable than ABS.
Two Wheels vs. Four Wheels
Once you’ve decided on the material you want for your luggage, the next step is choosing between two- and four-wheel units.
Most hardside cases today are designed with four wheels to offer more maneuverability. That is not to mean that there aren’t any benefits to using two-wheeled luggage.
Frankly, inline skate wheels (two wheels) are the most durable and reliable wheel option. They are usually well protected in the corners of the bag, and thus not as prone to being knocked off in transit.
Personally, though, I prefer a hardside luggage with four double spinner wheels. It’s much easier to navigate, which is very important when you’re walking through crowds of people or down a narrow airplane aisle.
A spinner also boasts a better distribution of weight- a factor that keeps weight off your arms and shoulders.
If you decide to go for 4-wheel luggage, look for one that has double spinner wheels. These are more reliable on all kinds of surfaces since they don’t get stuck in crevices as easily as single wheels. They’re also more stable.
If you’re going on a holiday, you’ll want to spend most of your time unwinding and relaxing, not worrying about your belongings in your suitcase. So, for reassurance, look for luggage with additional security features.
Some bags are equipped with tamper-proof zippers. This means that a potential thief cannot pry the zipper open with some kind of sharp object. This is actually quite easy if you have an old bag you’re about to throw away, try it and see for yourself!
Bags with more than one compartment may have multi-pocket TSA-approved locks. This means every compartment (if there is more than one) has its individual lock, and this makes it harder for thieves to access your bag’s contents.
You could also opt for a clip lock system, which simply means that the bag has a zipless locking mechanism. Then there is no zipper that someone can jam open with a knife or even a pen.
If the hardside case you’re considering doesn’t have integrated locks, make sure it’s possible to attach a padlock to the zipper pulls.
You may also want to check out our article on anti-theft backpacks.
If you’re going to spend perhaps hundreds of dollars buying some nice hard case luggage, then it’s vital that you make the right investment. One of the factors that you should look for is the warranty.
Now, while suitcases with a lifetime warranty will be a little pricier, they’re worth every penny. The manufacturer guarantees to cater for any defects that may be the direct result of poor workmanship on their part for the life span of the bag.
Note that this only applies as long as the one who purchased it stills owns it.
There are actually some warranties that cover any kind of damage to the bag, no matter if it’s due to poor workmanship or exterior forces. One good example is Briggs & Riley’s Simple As That® Guarantee.
Anyhow, don’t settle for less than a 5-year limited warranty.
This feature shouldn’t miss in the luggage you’re planning to buy. It prevents you from having to support the entire weight of the bag on your hands and shoulders. You also avoid the bag hurting your heels while pulling it behind you.
When looking for a telescopic handle, pay attention to its extendable feature. Can it be configured to different heights? Are you able to lock it into its different positions?
The material is also important. An extendable aluminum handle (also called trolley handle or pull handle) is certainly more durable than a plastic one.
Have you ever noticed that your belongings tend to increase when you’re coming back from a trip? When you were packing to go for the trip, everything seemed to fit snugly. But now that you’re packing for your return trip, nothing seems to fit.
If you’ve experienced this a couple of times, you might want to invest in an expandable hardside luggage. This gives you a space allowance where you can pack a few more items.
However, keep in mind that filling your expandable carry-on suitcase to the brim might mean it won’t fit in the overhead bin or underneath the plane seat anymore.
Compartments And Pockets
If you like keeping your items neat and organized, look for a suitcase that has pockets, compartments, and dividers. An external compartment might also come in handy if you want to be able to access some of your items with ease.
Regardless of how much effort you put into taking care of your luggage, if it was poorly built from the beginning, it’s not going to last. To confirm that your luggage is durable, here are the aspects you should focus on:
The handles are among the first elements to break on luggage, so you should check their quality before making any purchases.
If you have collapsible handles, they should extend and collapse with ease without getting jammed. Any side handles and shoulder straps present should be equally durable.
Try lifting the bag using the carry handle. Does it feel smooth and comfortable? Cheap and less durable handles are often edgy and uncomfortable. Also, check that the handle is firmly attached to the case and that any seems to appear robust.
Another vital component that you ought to check is the zipper. After all, your suitcase won’t be of any use if the zipper isn’t working. Poorly-made zippers might break within the first few days, and if they break in the middle of your trip, they’ll cause massive inconvenience.
Follow these tips to select quality zippers for your luggage:
Larger zippers are preferred for luggage bags
Bigger zippers simply hold up better than slim ones. Some manufacturers state the size of the zippers, a #10 zipper is a good choice for luggage.
For the handle, make sure the seams attaching the zipper look robust, and there are no loose ends.
Opt for water-resistant zippers
Even though a hardside luggage is good at protecting delicate items, it’s advisable to go for waterproof zipper systems. This way, you’re guaranteed that no water or moisture will accidentally get into your bag and damage your belongings.
Best Hardside Luggage – Carry-Ons!
Aleon 19″ International Carry-On and 21″ Classic Carry-On
- Exterior measurements: 19.4″ x 14.1″ x 7.3″ (for 19″) or 20.9″ x 15.7″ x 9.0″ (for 21″)
- Interior measurements: 15.7″ x 12.3″ x 6.7″ (for 19″) or 17.6″ x 13.7″ x 6.7″ (for 21″)
- Weight: 9.3 lbs. or 10.6 lbs.
- Warranty: Limited 10 Year Warranty
Read our detailed review on the Aleon Hardside Carry-On Aluminum Luggage. We present the International 19″ as well as the Classic 21″ carry-on.
Hardside Carry-On Aluminum Luggage
Delsey Paris Chatelet Hard+ Hardside Carry-on Spinner Suitcase 21″
- Case size: 20.25″ x 14.25″ x 9.5″
- Weight: 9.3 lbs.
- Warranty: Limited 10 Year International Warranty
- Lightweight and durable 100% polycarbonate shell that is extremely resilient to cracking or breaking; designed with stylish faux leather accents
- Four spinner wheels assuring a stable base with multi-directional rolling with zero weight on your hand for easy travel
- Recessed 3-dial TSA approved combination lock for security; unique brake system locks two front wheels to prevent bag from rolling away
- Deluxe interior featuring removable hanger and laundry and shoe bags; two large lined compartments with web straps to keep items secure and wrinkle free
- Recessed "one-button" locking handle system for great maneuverability; 21 inch carry on size is perfect for weekend getaways and short business trips
In a hurry? Click here to go directly to Amazon for the current price and availability!
Looking for a classy and robust carry-on that will fit most overhead bins on international flights? Then look no further my friend, this vintage-looking piece is all you can ask for!
We have to admit, this is on the heavier side, but we forgive it for that because it’s so lovely in other respects. It does not come in bright colors, but even we with our soft spot for colors think the black, brown, and champagne are just right for this bag.
This Delsey hardside carry-on luggage is built from Makrolon® Polycarbonate. This is a sturdy type of plastic that is impact resistant and tolerates extreme temperatures. It’s equipped with Japanese Hinomoto® spinner wheels, providing a smooth and pleasant rolling experience.
And you know what? You can actually put a brake on the front wheels to prevent it from rolling away from you! And it’s really clever too because you can still roll it along on the back wheels like an inliner. We’re in awe…
Ok, then, back to business. There is a dual-trolley handle with non-slip coating, a recessed integrated TSA lock, and top and side carry handles.
On the back is an identification code, unique for every bag. You register your bag via the Delsey site, and then you and your bag can connect again if it gets lost. It doesn’t matter if your luggage tag has been ripped off.
The interior of the bag gives quite a luxurious feeling. It is fully lined, of course, with two separate compartments, one with a zippered divider and the other with tie-down straps.
Now this sounds average, right? But you also get two interior bags for your smaller stuff and a travel garment hanger.
Actually, we have nothing bad to say about this Delsey Chatelet carry-on. It is not ultra-light, so if that is your top priority, this is perhaps not your best choice. But we have no doubts that this is a top-quality piece of the best hardside luggage.
Enkloze X1 Carbon Fiber Carry-On 21″ – 4 Wheel Spinner
- Overall size: 21.3″ x 14.6″ x 9.5″
- Weight: 8.2 lbs.
- Warranty: 5 Year Limited Warranty