Every time your traveling in your suitcase with delicate items, whether you’re handing it over to an airline or a cab driver or dropping it into your car, you want the security you get from your hardside luggage. Some travelers actually choose hardside luggage because of its streamlined appearance or setup for packing. Most hard luggage has a “clamshell” configuration, where the bag opens flat like a book, and two identical packaging zones, either with tie-downs or zippered mesh layers.
The carry on luggage you use for your annual holiday, a weekend away or longer faraway journeys are just as important as the things you carry with you. Whether you check your baggage or bring it in the cabin, flying with a hardside luggage has a number of advantages. If you’re planning to take with your valuables such as your laptop, camera, or other electronics, a hardside or hardshell suitcase provides the best protection against transportation damage. Also, a good quality case will help keep your most precious possessions dry under wet or humid conditions. Aluminum luggage is also an ideal option for hard side luggage users.
In a Hurry? The test winners after 12 hrs of research
It can be difficult to upgrade your hardside baggage because there are so many different carry-on bags available in the market. But you can’t go wrong with a hardside. Also through tumultuous travel, a hardside luggage will secure your valuables while staying below this often exhausting airport weight limit. Regardless of whether you choose a trendy, modern, sleek, or extremely functional and fitted with a variety of tech features, we are sure you’ll love one of our 10 best hardside carry-on luggage.
Lightweight, slim, and durable, the Travelpro Maxlite 5-Hardside Spinner Wheel Luggage is designed to meet carry-on size restrictions for most domestic airlines. The ultra-lightweight polycarbonate shell provides ultimate durability, absorbing impact with flex to protect contents and resist cracking. Plus, the shell’s textured surface helps reduce visible scratching or scuff marks, while molded corner guards serve as built-in bumpers on high-wear points.
The integrated lock allows TSA authorities to safely unlock and lock the suitcase for inspection when needed (default lock code is 0-0-0 to open). Great for shorter trips, this bag’s split case construction and interior divider panel provide separate packing compartments, and elastic hold-down straps keep everything in its place. Roll through airports and city streets with ease on four 360 degree spinner wheels guided by the lightweight, height-adjustable PowerScope lite handle with comfortable Contour grip.
100% polycarbonate hard shell
Contour grip has rubberized touchpoints
Built-in TSA lock
Dimensions: 23″ H x 14.5″ W x 9″ D
Weight: 5.94 lbs
It’s very lightweight, handle goes up and down smoothly
Easy to manuever
This is the smallest “international” size carry-on, specifically designed to meet the requirements most airlines
The zippered pouch side is on the side with the bumps for the handle
The handle – it’s plastic and can be a little tight to grab if you have larger hands
Quality and convenience in a sleek design, this DELSEY Paris Helium Aero Hardside Expandable Luggage is constructed of 100% Polycarbonate and is made to resist impact. A lightweight and durable collection that features a unique top lid opening, Dual-Density, Silent-Core double spinner wheels for superior mobility, and expands for the maximum capacity.
Features MaxPack unique top-lid opening, which allows you to pack in one large main compartment like a traditional soft-side case. Top, side, and bottom carry handles which make it easier to lift a fully packed case. Ergonomic, rubberized, non-slip grip on trolley handle for maximum comfort. Dual Density, Silent-Core Double spinner wheels on uprights provide a durable, silent, and smooth-rolling ride.
Four twin spinner wheels
Recessed “one-button” locking handle system
Fully lined interior with two compartments
Integrated 3-dial TSA-accepted combination lock
Brand: DELSEY Paris
Dimensions: 25″ H x 17.5″ W x 11.5″ D
Weight: 10.2 lbs
The lock works great on the side and the inside zipper compartment and straps all work great
Wheels function smoothly – the wheels and the mounts holding them to the luggage are robust
All handles are intact and functioning as expected
Zippers are very sturdy
Not much padding on the inside so you have to use your clothes as padding
Transport your travel essentials effortlessly and stylishly. This extremely lightweight and durable Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Expandable Luggage features 100 percentage polycarbonate construction with sharp molded details. Made to absorb impact by flexing while under stress then popping back to its original shape, eliminating dents and dings while protecting its contents. An elegant brushed pattern hides any potential scratches or scuffs from your journeys.
The fully-lined interior has cross-straps, a privacy curtain with its own zippered organizational pockets. TSA approved combination lock for security and peace of mind. Beautiful brush-stroke coloration which is great for hiding any potential scratches or scuffs from your journeys.
Side-mounted TSA locks
Full-zip interior divider
Locking telescopic handle
Dimensions: 20″ H x 13.5″ W x 9.5″ D
Weight: 6.7 lbs
Shockingly spacious inside given the outside measurements
Extremely convenient four-wheel design
The side handles are comfy and have a spring action
There is a divider inside allowing you two separate your belongings
The Rockland Melbourne Hardside Expandable Spinner Wheel Luggage is made of ABS. This material is extremely lightweight, durable, and protects the contents of your luggage. Multi-directional double spinner wheels rotate 360 degrees for easy maneuverability. This luggage allows you to pack more while avoiding the excess weight surcharges imposed by most airlines.
The telescoping handle stows away conveniently and allows for easy maneuvering when extended. Double spinner wheels allow for durable 360-degree maneuverability wherever your travels take you. The upright expands an extra 2 inches in depth to maximize your packing capacity. Our handy guide to the best spinner luggage features more great products like this.
Lightweight yet extremely durable ABS material
Multi-directional double spinner wheels
Sturdy ergonomic chrome telescoping handle
Dimensions: 22″ H x 13″ W x 9″ D, 28″ H x 17″ W x 12″ D
Weight: 10 lbs
The outer shell is rugged
You can cram a lot into the two compartments, esp. if you use packing cubes
Expandable in the middle for when you’re flying back with too many souvenirs
The wheel design is very convenient for walking along with more than one piece of luggage
Pack all your travel essentials with ease in this Kenneth Cole Reaction Renegade 28″ ABS Expandable Luggage. This dependable, 28-inch checked size suitcase is loaded with amazing features, including a spacious, fully-lined, tear-resistant interior, multiple interior zipper pockets and mesh pockets, a garment restraint panel to hold your clothes in place, and two elastic shoe pockets.
The luggage even expands an additional 2-inches for extra carrying capacity when needed. The exterior features four molded corner guard reinforcements that provide maximum impact resistance, protecting your bag from excessive wear-and-tear. Self-repairing coil zippers meant for long-lasting use glide effortlessly around the bag to keep your belongings safe and secure. The luggage boasts a lightweight construction to help you adhere to airline weight restrictions and avoid unwanted airport fees.
Expands an additional 2-inches
Molded corner guard reinforcements
8-wheel spinners for 360-degree movement
Garment restraint strap
Top and side handles
Retractable telescopic trolley handle
Brand: Kenneth Cole REACTION
Dimensions: 30″ H x 15″ W x 22.5″ D
Weight: 11 lbs
The organizational pockets are great
The wheels are rubber and roll very, very easily
The inside of the suitcase is well planned. Both sides are able to be tightly secured
A great choice for international travel, this AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner, Carry-On, Expandable Suitcase Luggage measures 21.6 inches–a size that’s accepted as a carry-on for most international flights. The luggage also works well for weekend getaways or one- to two-day business trips, offering enough packing space to hold a few changes of clothes, toiletries, and a pair of shoes.
The AmazonBasics luggage features a protective hard shell for strength and peace of mind when it comes to knowing stored items won’t be crushed en route. The hard shell’s durable scratch-resistant finish offers added strength, helping to keep the luggage looking like new even after rough and tumble travel conditions. For added convenience, the AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner luggage comes equipped with a user-friendly telescoping handle that locks into place. Love luggage? Check out our review of the best zipperless luggage for our top picks.
Fully lined 150D-polyester interior with divider and 3 zippered pockets
Expandable up to 15%
Solid, strong zippers
Securely mounted short handle
4 double spinner wheels
Dimensions: 21.6″ H x 14.9″ W x 10″ D
Weight: 7.34 lbs
3 zippepred pockets inside
Rolls very well
There are feet on the side as well for side standing the bag on the ground
Could use a handle on the bottom and back side of the luggage
Introducing a line built to take the harshest travel elements! The American Tourister Moonlight Hardside Expandable Luggage combines colorful prints with the lightest ABS/PC construction, ensuring your luggage looks as great on the 100th trip as it does on the first. Extremely light and visually impactful, this collection takes travel design to the next level.
Wider pull handle combines to provide an exceptionally comfortable grip. Integrated, multi-stage aluminum pull handle for extra lightness. Retracting top and side carry-handles remain protected when checking baggage. Cases expand for added packing capacity. Large front panel interior pocket for added packing organization. Deep main compartment with mesh modesty pocket for personal items. Compression straps keep clothing neatly packed while traveling.
10 Year Limited Warranty
Book opening case with mesh divider
Four, multi-directional oversized spinner wheels
Push Button locking handles
Brand: American Tourister
Dimensions: 24″ H x 16″ W x 11″ D
Weight: 9.5 lbs
Easy to pull
The 360 wheels are everything
Design is beautiful inside and out
The mesh side made it easier for organization
The side with the handle is shallower than the opposite side because of the bars for the pull handle
CHESTER Hardside Minima Carry-On Luggage is brilliance in simplicity. Perfect for a short flight or a long-haul vacation. The signature polycarbonate shell is engineered to be lightweight, ultra-durable, and water-resistant while being flexible enough to expand and absorb external pressure, eliminating dents and dings.
Inside features two spacious compartments — an interior organizer to store smaller items, and a nylon laundry bag to separate clean and dirty clothes. TSA size as a carry on bag and built-in combination lock offers you peace of mind whether you’re bringing your luggage on the plane or opting to check it in. A TSA lock with adjustable code is particularly important for travel to the USA or worldwide expeditions. Find more great products like this by checking out our guide to the best lightweight carry-on luggage.
2 spacious compartments
TSA size and lock
Premium multi-directional spinner wheels
Telescoping ergonomic handle
Dimensions: 20″ H x 13.5″ W x 8.5″ D
Weight: 7 lbs
The wheels roll like a dream, and so very quiet
The interior lining is very stylish and fits like a glove
The handle is made well and is also very sturdy
The polycarbonate shell is super attractive, and doesn’t show dirt or dings, and it easily wipes clean with a damp cloth
Each half of the clamshell suitcase is closed with a large zipper (rather than one side having a compression pad and straps)
Sleek and super-durable, the Travelpro Crew 11-Hardside Luggage is designed for performance with a lightweight yet ultra-durable polycarbonate shell that is flexible enough to absorb impact while reducing the chances of cracking or breaking, keeping contents protected and secure. Created for carry-on convenience, the slim, 21” profile is angled at the top of the bag to easily fit into overhead bins on most major airlines.
There is also a FAA compliant USB port with dedicated powerbank pocket for charging electronics on the go. Inside, organization is built in with two large divider panels and several zippered pockets, including a wet pocket for toiletries. The PrecisionGlide System gives you precise control and effortless roll on eight MagnaTrac spinner wheels guided by a patented PowerScope handle with Contour Grip.
Lightweight, 100% polycarbonate
Integrated TSA lock
Two large divider panels
Dimensions: 21.5″ H x 14″ W x 9″ D
Weight: 8.7 lbs
The compartments are handy for stuffing bits and pieces in
Made of rugged ABS material for durability, the Olympia Apache Ii 21″ Carry-on Spinner Luggage, makes a perfect travel companion. Each suitcase features four 360 degree spinner wheels, conveniently allowing zero weight movement in all directions. The expandable feature will allow an additional 20% of packing capacity.
The lightweight aluminum push-button locking handle system lined interior and mesh zip pocket keep your luggage safe and protected. An elastic tie-belts keep your clothes in place and help keep them organized. Each suitcase expands for extra packing capacity within your luggage. The ‘Hidden compartment within the expandable section’ is Olympia USA’s worldwide patented feature
High-quality aluminum locking handle system
4 wheel spinner design
Internal divider with additional interior zip mesh pocket and buckle tie-downs help secure your clothes.
Elegantly imprinted fully padded interior lining, with a hidden compartment inside the expandable area on carry-on size only
Dimensions: 21″ H x 14″ W x 9″ D
Weight: 6.6 lbs
Secret laptop compartment very useful
Zippers don’t get hung up
Telescopic handle moves freely even when bag is packed tightly
There is a widespread myth that all hardside suitcases are far heavier than soft-sided suitcases of a comparable scale. The fact is that the weight of the 2 is typically just a very slight disparity at the most. Hardside cases weigh 2-5 pounds higher on average than soft-sided equivalents. It can also be remembered that the new iterations of hardside cases are in reality extremely lightweight, yet being supremely robust. Luggages manufactured from ABS fabrics are typically thinner than those produced with more polycarbonate but the disparity is minuscule and the latter is harder to use.
2 Wheel Vs. 4 Wheel
The 2-wheeled cases can easily be pulled along behind you, as you gently tip the case towards you as you roll. These are easy to use and smooth to maneuver. If you really want to wheel with ease though, a 4-wheeled spinning case gives you the ultimate experience in smooth rolling capabilities. You can keep the case close to your side on your journey through the concourse. You can even push 1 case while you pull another if you need to, and 4-wheeled spinning wheels are much easy to maneuver in tight spaces and crowded airports.
The right carry-on is preferably fitted with a short top handle, a side handle for lifting, and an especially strong telescopic handle that can comfortably move and pull the luggage. The best telescopic handles are long enough to enable you to pull your luggage at a convenient arms length when contracting halfway through.
1 Compartment or Clamshell
You now have 2 options to carry on your luggage interiors. One type has an exterior flap with a deep compartment. The second type is called a clamshell construction where the suitcase is divided into 2 equal halves. Clamshell luggage helps you to remain more organized. However, for the original, 1 compartment suitcase, most luggage racks built in the hotel room are not large enough to accommodate all halves, and that will contribute to a messier travel experience.
Your luggage zipper should be well built and equipped to function over many uses. Once shut off, it should always be placed back into the body of the bag, and sturdy enough to survive any effort to be cut or opened in motion by would-be robbers. Some of the hardside cases of the new generations don’t even have zippers, implying they shut down securely by clipping down by using a lock.
Frequently Ask Questions
Are hardside or softside luggage better?
Hardside luggage has both advantages and disadvantages. The downside to hardside luggage is generally that they’re more costly than softside cases because there’s little giving in them since the sides are hard which can be tough for those who are susceptible to overpacking. The reason why hardside luggage is so popular is its reliability and protection. Hardside luggage can protect its contents from travel bumps and rigors and cutting into a hardside case is much more difficult than a softside one.
What is the best material for hardside luggage?
Hardside luggage is typically either made of aluminum, polycarbonate, or ABS. Aluminum is the most costly but toughest cases on the market. ABS cases are typically the cheapest but the other types lack the toughness. Polycarbonate is the middle ground with a price point similar to luxury but the reliability and quality features that make it easier to fly.
Does hardside luggage crack?
Hardside luggage is made of material of high impact resistance and should be able to survive some bumps. However, cases made of ABS appear to lack most cases’ toughness and many of those cheaper cases end up cracking. Try to look for a polycarbonate case where your budget allows.
What is a good brand for hardside luggage?
Samsonite is one of the best brands for hardside luggage. With a multitude of options for every traveler, you can be sure to find a luggage that fits your needs.
We hope this guide was helpful for finding the best hardside carry-on luggage as well as our guide on features to look for in a hardside carry-on luggage. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this guide, feel free to let us know in the comments section.