Find the Best Luggage Brands
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Read 127 Reviews
Samsonite is an American luggage manufacturer and retailer. Founded in 1910, it offers hard- and softside luggage, duffels and more. It’s available for purchase at Samsonite stores, online and at authorized retailers.
Read 51 Reviews
American Tourister is a brand of luggage owned by the Samsonite company. Founded in 1933, it’s known for its hard- and softside spinner luggage and large selection of children’s rolling suitcases and backpacks.
|Travelpro||Read 44 Reviews|
Travelpro® is a luggage brand founded in 1987 by a commercial air pilot. It has been recognized as a top choice for flight crews and frequent fliers because its spinner wheel system makes it convenient for use in airports.
Read 52 Reviews
Founded in 1975, TUMI is a luxury luggage brand owned by Samsonite. It offers carry-on and checked luggage as well as everyday bags including satchels, backpacks and totes. Prices range from around $245 to $2,000.
Read 31 Reviews
Bugaboo got its start in 1994 by making luggage and strollers for parents on the move. Their luggage systems include the Boxer ($1,030) and the Jannissima ($349). Each luggage system can come with multiple add-ons.
Read 9 Reviews
Victorinox is a Swiss company founded in 1884. Best known for its Swiss Army Knife, Victorinox now makes other products including duffel bags, rolling carry-on bags, suitcases and other luggage ranging from $150 to about $450.
|BRIC’S||Read Author Review|
BRIC’S is an Italian luggage manufacturer founded in 1952. Its luxury bags are sold at retailers worldwide and online and range from around $100 to $1,000. The soft- and hardside bags are sold in many sizes and types.
|Briggs & Riley||Read Author Review|
Briggs & Riley is a luggage company owned by U.S. Luggage LLC. Since 1993, Briggs & Riley has been a leading name in luxury luggage. It’s known for its lifetime repair guarantee and innovative designs.
|DELSEY||Read Author Review|
DELSEY is a French luggage company. Founded in 1946 in the United States, it’s now headquartered in Trembley-en-France and sells luggage worldwide. Its hard- and softside luggage ranges from around $100 to $600.
|Hartmann||Read Author Review|
Hartmann is a heritage luggage brand. Founded in Milwaukee in 1877, it’s now part of the Samsonite family of brands. It offers a wide variety of bags for travel, business and everyday use from around $120 to $945.
Questions to ask when buying luggage
Can you take it on a plane?
Airlines set their own carry-on luggage requirements, so be sure to read the guidelines before packing or you might get slapped with an unexpected checked bag fee.
- Dimensions: Most luggage sold as “carry-on” is 21 inches or smaller. That’s because most United States airlines require carry-on bags be no more than 22 inches long, 14 inches wide and 9 inches high.
- Storage space: Whether you’re checking other luggage or not, your carry-on bag should hold all your essentials (checked bags may be lost in transit). Your laptop should fit easily, and you’ll also need space for prescription medications, a phone and laptop charger, documents you might need, valuables and a change of clothes.
- Convenience: A small, light carry-on bag is convenient in the hustle and bustle of a busy airport or crowded plane. Since many airlines overbook, there is often no overhead space left for your bag so you may need to stuff it under the seat in front of you. A compact backpack usually fits.
Do you want soft or hard luggage?
You can choose whichever kind you like, but soft- and hardside luggage both have pros and cons.
- Softside: Most people choose softside luggage made of nylon, canvas or leather. It’s flexible, durable and usually cheaper. It’s also easy to squish down to fit in tight spaces like overhead bins on airplanes or storage closets at your house.
- Hardside: Hardside luggage is made of plastic or metal, so it’s rigid instead of flexible. It was common decades ago and is making a comeback since new composite materials make it lightweight and durable. Hardside luggage prevents the contents from being squished.
- Hybrid: Some luggage is constructed with a hard front and back but a soft region around the middle. It can expand to hold more contents, but you can still compress it to fit in tight spaces.
What material is best?
The material your luggage is made of will affect more than just how it looks. It also can make it more or less durable. The luggage’s material affects its cost, durability, appearance and functionality.
- Nylon: Nylon luggage tends to be the cheapest option. It can be quite sturdy, especially ballistic nylon, which was originally created as a wartime material to protect soldiers from shrapnel.
- Canvas: Canvas provides a beautiful and classic look for luggage at a mid-point price. Some companies offer treated canvas coated with proprietary materials to make it waterproof and resistant to cutting and tearing. Coated canvas often looks like pebbled leather.
- Leather: Leather is a beautiful and classic choice, though it does scratch easily and tends to be heavier and more expensive than other softside materials. Many people opt for a canvas bag with nylon trim for a classic but more durable look.
- Plastic: Hardside luggage is often made of treated plastic like polycarbonate or another durable thermoplastic compound.
- Aluminum: Aluminum is a sturdy material for hardside luggage but dents easily. It’s heavier than plastic but more durable long-term.
- Prop 65: In California, anything that is made with or may contain toxic chemicals is marked with a Proposition 65 warning. Critics of this law say it doesn’t really tell you much, since manufacturers may just use the label on anything that hasn’t been tested to avoid fines. To be safe, look for luggage that is eco-friendly and safety tested with no Prop 65 warning.
What size luggage should you choose?
Luggage comes in many sizes. Whether you purchase an individual bag or buy a set, make sure you get what you need.
- Dimensions: Luggage is measured primarily by height. Wheeled or spinner suitcases tend to be between 18 inches for a child’s suitcase or small carry-on to 30 inches for a large checked bag. Most anything over 21 inches has to be checked, so find out if your airline charges checked baggage fees.
- Weight of empty bag: Keep in mind that checked bags have to be under a certain weight (usually 50 pounds) or they incur an oversized bag fee. The lighter the bag is while empty, the more you can pack without going over the limit.
- Length of trip: In general, most people can fit enough clothing and personal items for one or two days in a small carry-on bag of 19 to 21 inches. Larger checked bags of 25 to 27 inches are ideal for five to seven day trips, while the largest bags are 30 to 32 inches and can hold enough for trips over a week. These large bags will usually exceed 50 pounds when fully packed and may result in oversized baggage fees.
- Storage space: Luggage is an investment and will last you for many years. Be sure you have storage space in your home for the luggage you choose. Keep in mind that hardside luggage takes up more space than softside luggage.
Does the luggage have wheels?
If you plan to travel in airports with your new luggage, and if you plan to pack more than a day’s worth of clothes and personal items, wheels are a must. It’s much easier to rush through a crowded airport with luggage on wheels than it is to try to carry your bags in a hurry.
- Rolling bags: Rolling bags tend to have unidirectional wheels and can be a bit more difficult to maneuver. These may not be the best choice if you plan to use them frequently in airports, but they tend to be cheaper than other wheels.
- Spinner wheels: Spinner wheels are on casters that can rotate 360 degrees, making a bag easy to maneuver. You can push or pull a spinner suitcase or duffel bag in any direction and change directions quickly.
- Glider wheels: Several manufacturers have introduced new wheels called gliders. These are also multidirectional but have a lower profile so they appear to glide across the floor. Many of these use steel cartridge bearings for durability.
What warranty does the company offer?
Luggage takes a lot of abuse during travel, so a good warranty can help protect your investment.
- Warranty terms: Find out whether the company will replace or repair damaged luggage and who pays for return shipping.
- Warranty length: Most manufacturers offer limited warranties ranging from two years to lifetime. Find out if “lifetime” refers to the life of the purchaser or the life of the product; in some cases, manufacturers use the term “lifetime” to mean as long as the product is designed to last, which can be as little as two or three years in some cases.
- Airline damage: Most companies do not cover luggage damage that is caused by airlines, but a few luxury brands do. This can come in handy since airports and planes are some of the most common places luggage damage occurs.
What are the different types of luggage?
Carry-on bags can be anything small enough to fit under an airplane seat or in an overhead luggage bin. They are usually no more than 21 inches tall. Most carry-ons sold today are wheeled, but you can also use any small, non-wheeled suitcase or duffel bag.
Bags that are too big to carry on must be checked and stowed in the belly of the plane. It’s a good idea to get a checked bag with a TSA-approved lock. Choose a bag in a bright color or pattern (or adorn it with a ribbon of some kind) to make it easier to spot on the luggage carousel after your flight.
Upright bags are suitcases without wheels and can range from a carry-on size of 19 to 21 inches or a large checked bag up to 32 inches.
Wheeled bags, spinners and gliders
Many types of luggage come with wheels for easier handling during travel. Checked and carry-on suitcases, backpacks and duffel bags can be purchased with wheels and retractable handles for maneuvering.
Duffels and totes
Duffel and tote bags are versatile, convenient choices for overnight trips and everyday use. You can use a small one as a carry-on bag on airplanes.
Some luggage companies make durable garment bags for suits, dresses and other items to keep them wrinkle-free while traveling. These can be made of canvas, leather or other soft materials and fold to the size of a small suitcase.
What’s your luggage persona?
If you fly a lot, invest in durable luggage on spinner or glider wheels. Look for luggage that fits your favorite airline’s carry-on and checked bag size requirements, and consider a bright color for your checked bags so you can find it quickly at the baggage claim.
If you frequently take overnight trips, think about buying duffels and totes to easily transport a few outfits and personal items. Bags with dividers make it easier to organize your belongings on the go.
If your kids will be responsible for their own luggage, be sure the bags are small and light. Multidirectional spinners or gliders make it easier for kids to maneuver through airports or other travel situations. A cute pattern or favorite character can make packing more fun.
If you frequently travel by car, look for softside luggage that can easily fit into a tightly packed car trunk.
- Is hard or soft luggage better?
- The type of luggage that is better varies based on your preferences. For packing flexibility, soft luggage is best. However, hard shell luggage is better for protecting fragile items and keeping contents dry from wet weather. Hard shell luggage often comes with four wheels for easy mobility. The quality of the brand is the best indicator of durability.
- Do airlines prefer hard or soft luggage?
- Ultimately, airlines don’t have a preference. Airlines are more concerned about the weight of the suitcase and, if carried on, ensuring the dimensions let you fit it underneath the seat or in the overhead bin.
- What should I look for when buying a suitcase?
- When buying a suitcase, first consider whether you prefer hard shell or soft luggage. Then take a look at the design of its pockets, built-in compartments and expandable sections. Also, consider the number of wheels and their range of motion. Suitcases with four 360-degree wheels offer the most mobility. Finally, know that lighter colors show dirt and scratches, while black bags tend to look alike and can make it more difficult to identify your luggage. Personalize your bag with a sticker, ribbon or bright luggage tag.
- Is it worth buying an expensive suitcase?
- In the long run, yes. A suitcase from a reputable brand known for quality craftsmanship is a good investment to keep items protected over multiple trips. Cheap luggage is not built to withstand wear and tear and needs to be replaced sooner than you think, perhaps at an inconvenient time when traveling.
- Are aluminum suitcases worth it?
- People tend to choose aluminum suitcases as status symbols more often than for additional functionality. They make a flashy statement, but they’re heavier and more expensive than plastic shell suitcases. They’re more durable than other types of luggage but easily scratched and dented compared to polycarbonate plastic.
- How long does luggage last?
- How long luggage lasts depends on the suitcase brand, its materials and components — including zippers — and the amount of use, especially for air travel. Hard shell luggage tends to last longer because polycarbonate plastic and aluminum are highly durable and won’t rip or wear out like fabric.
- What is the biggest size suitcase you can check?
- Luggage size restrictions vary by airline. Typically, the biggest size suitcase you can check is 62 linear inches for standard bags. If the outside length, width and height total more than 62 inches, the bag is oversized and incurs additional fees. Oversized bags also have limits. For example, Delta does not accept luggage over 80 inches, while American Airlines’ maximum is 126 inches.
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Information in this guide is general in nature and is intended for informational purposes only; it is not legal, health, investment or tax advice. ConsumerAffairs.com makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information provided and assumes no liability for any damages or loss arising from its use.