Make packing for your next trip a breeze and sail through check-in with our top tried-and-tested luggage picks
Whether you’re going on a long-haul flight or just a weekend getaway, picking the right suitcase for your trip will help take the stress out of travelling. Here you’ll find our top-rated recommendations, including a variety of hard-shell and soft-sided suitcases, travel bags and kid-friendly options.
Currently, our top-rated all-round suitcase is the Samsonite S’cure DLX Spinner (From ~£160) and our perfect budget pick is the aptly-named Tripp Chic 4-Wheel Expandable Suitcase (From ~£65). If those don’t quite fit the bill, then you’ll find a wider selection of luggage types reviewed a little further down the page.
If you’re not sure which kind of suitcase and features will work best for your travels, then our buying guide will help you pick the best suitcase for your needs, and our mini-reviews will explain all the pros and cons of our top-rated luggage picks. If you’re in a rush and just want a quick list of buying recommendations, then you’ll discover our top picks in the handy at-a-glance list below.
Best suitcase: At a glance
|Best all round suitcase
|Samsonite S’cure DLX Spinner (From ~£160)
|Check price at Amazon
|Best suitcase with 10-year warranty
|Antler Clifton (From ~£170)
|Check price at Antler
|Best suitcase for summer
|American Tourister Soundbox 4-Spinner (From ~£109)
|Check price at Go Places
|Best no-wheels option
|The North Face Base Camp Duffel (~£130)
|Check price at The North Face
How to choose the best suitcase for you
What size suitcase do I need?
Try to buy a suitcase which is just a little bigger than you need, so you have room for any souvenirs or purchases. Don’t be tempted to buy the biggest you can afford, though, as it will be more awkward to move around.
- If you want to cut down on luggage charges, then double check the carry-on size restrictions for your preferred airline. Being stung for outsized luggage may cost you more than a new suitcase.
Which is better: a hard shell or soft-sided suitcase?
For most people, we’d recommend a hard-shell suitcase. They’re the most durable choice, so should last longer. They offer more protection for your belongings than their soft-sided rivals. If minimal weight is crucial, then modern soft-sided cases remain a good option.
- Hard-shell cases are heavier – but the best modern designs don’t eat up as much of your baggage weight allowance. Thanks to the development of lighter, durable materials, hard-shell suitcases aren’t as heavy as they used to be.
Two-wheel or four-wheel suitcase: which is best?
Four-wheeled suitcases are the easiest type to manoeuvre, but two-wheeled suitcases can be cheaper and tend to be a little lighter and less bulky.
- Four-wheelers stand up more reliably – they are easier to manoeuvre in tight aisles and other tricky spaces. The trade-off is that they’re likely to roll away if they don’t have any kind of braking.
- Two-wheeled suitcases can be hard to manoeuvre when they’re heavily loaded. They can also topple over more easily, and you’ll have to make an effort to stand them up when stopping or starting.
Is a suitcase better than a rucksack?
For most travellers, we’d say that a suitcase is the best all-round option for travel, especially with heavier loads. Rucksacks are great for more active travel, but you’ll need to be very fit and strong to carry 20kg+ in a backpack, whereas anyone can push a four-wheeled suitcase.
- A wheeled suitcase is far easier to move around than a rucksack. Wheeling a suitcase is far less likely to hurt your back than a fully-loaded rucksack.
- Suitcases make it easier to access and organise your belongings – you don’t need to rummage blindly or remove half the items to access the things you need.
- A rucksack makes more sense if you’re travelling long-term or venturing off-road, where uneven ground makes it difficult to wheel a suitcase along. If that’s what you need, check out our roundup of the best backpacks to buy right now.
Does the interior of the suitcase matter?
Interiors can vary greatly from one case to another, so it’s essential to check that your new suitcase has the storage you need.
- Some come with lots of inside pockets, while others can be separated into two or three sections. This is useful if you prefer separating your clothes or possessions – and you won’t need a separate laundry bag while you’re away – but it may not be an efficient use of space.
- If you want to maximise space but still stay organised, consider a set of packing cubes (such as these affordable ones from Amazon).
How we test suitcases
We test all the suitcases we review in real-life situations, which always includes packing them and travelling with them – negotiating train stations, or airports, and loading them into a car boot.
- We put the exterior through its paces to check how sturdy it is – all sorts can happen to luggage while in transit, so we need to see how well the case can withstand biffs and bumps.
- We consider the overall quality of the suitcases’ construction, examining any zips, buckles, joins and seams to check they have been well crafted and neatly appointed.
- We look for helpful compartments, pockets or features such as waterproof pouches, interior straps and flat dividers. We take into account what, if any, options there are to ‘expand’ the capacity and dimensions of the cases, should we need extra room, but we don’t overfill to the point that zips strain.
- We test how easy it is to manoeuvre the full case. We consider the handles and, if the handle is extendable, is the action smooth, or glitchy? Does the case have wheels? If so, how many? And we assess how easy and light it feels to steer.
- Finally, we confirm the weight, dimensions and capacity of the case.
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Samsonite’s four-wheeled ‘spinner’ suitcase strikes a good balance of portability, protection and good looks. A waterproof seal keeps the rain out and a triple-locking system keeps everything else in – even if the numbers on the combination lock are a little fiddly. The S’Cure also comes with more pockets, compartments and dividers than most other suitcases, making it easy to stay organised.
All four sizes of the case feel impressively lightweight and easy to manoeuvre, thanks to the ‘Flowlite’ outer material and aluminium handle tubes. It may be expensive, but Samsonite is a trusted brand name and this case is robust and versatile enough to travel with you for years to come.
Key specs – Wheels: 4; Colours: 8; Sizes: S, M, L, XL; Capacity: 34l, 79l, 102l, 138l; Weight: 2.9kg, 4.2kg, 4.6kg, 5kg
Sunshine comes in luggage form with the Golden Yellow edition of this hard-shell suitcase from industry veteran American Tourister. With its bright hues and bold design, you’ll be sure to spot this handsome piece of luggage as it comes around the baggage carousel. Of course, if you would rather not go for bright yellow, red, green or blue, then it’s also available in the more sombre and sober Midnight Navy and Bass Black.
Made from very durable polypropylene, this unit has a TSA-coded zip lock for extra security, and a handy four-wheel setup for hypermobility as you traverse airport terminals and concourses. The small size is dinky enough to qualify as carry-on luggage, while the large size is capacious enough to accommodate all the sundresses and swimwear you could possibly need, particularly since it’s also expandable.
Key specs – Wheels: 4; Colours: 6; Sizes: S, M, L; Capacity: 41l, 81l, 110l; Weight: 2.6kg, 3.7kg, 4.2kg
3. Antler Clifton: Best suitcase with 10-year warranty
Price when reviewed: From £170 | Check price at Antler
A good suitcase should be a long-term investment – with the money you spend, you rightly expect it to last – unfortunately, not all suitcases can withstand the test of time and some stain all too easily, or their wheels break after only a few years of use, by which time your warranty has long since expired. Fortunately, Antler is a reputed British brand that has been honing its craft for over a century now. All its suitcases are put through rigorous tests and come with a 10-year international warranty. This alone justifies its premium price tag – in comparison, most other suitcases on this list have a limited one- or two-year warranty.
Having used both their Clifton and Camber hard-shell suitcases on a recent week-long getaway, we found it hard to find fault with either of them. Both suitcases were extremely spacious and very rugged, and they barely had any scratches or colour marks on their gorgeous pastels after their trip. Both the Camber and Clifton collections have multiple storage pockets and a handy expanded zip for extra room, and they also come with a secure TSA lock, which is ideal for peace of mind when you’re travelling.
Key specs – Wheels: 4; Colours: 10; Sizes: Cabin, M, L; Capacity: 37l, 75l, 121l; Weight: 2.8kg, 3.9kg, 5kg
4. Tripp Chic Suitcase: Best budget suitcase
Price when reviewed: From £50 | Check price at Amazon
Suitcases can often cost up to £200, but if you want something sturdy for an affordable price, look no further than the Tripp Chic suitcase. This brand is widely trusted by travellers, so you can rest assured it won’t fall apart on you, but it also comes with a 5-year guarantee, just in case.
In terms of features, it’s got four wheels for easy manoeuvring, an integrated TSA lock and it’s expandable. The polypropylene case is durable but also lightweight, so it won’t eat into that precious luggage weight limit. It comes in four colours (black, navy blue, sky blue and rose) and it’s available in three sizes (cabin, medium and large), all of which are absolute bargains. Just be aware that the large isn’t especially roomy – its 102-litre capacity doesn’t really match up to other brands’ large suitcases.
Key specs – Wheels: 4; Colours: 4; Sizes: Cabin, M, L; Capacity: 37l, 67-72l, 102l; Weight: 2.3kg, 3.2kg, 3.5kg
5. it Luggage World’s Lightest: Best lightweight suitcase
Price when reviewed: From £45 | Check price at Argos
If you’re worried about your weight allowance – or just dislike humping heavy luggage around – this could be the suitcase for you. You get a decent amount of room for all your belongings, and it has one of the most comfortable and practical handles thanks to its full-width cushioned design, so you won’t mind pulling it around for any length of time.
As you would expect, being a soft-shell, it isn’t quite as sturdy as weightier hard-shell cases, and you might wonder whether such a lightweight suitcase is durable enough to withstand the wear and tear of travelling. However, you needn’t worry too much as it comes with a very reassuring ten-year warranty.
We tested the 4-wheel version, which came in a lovely blue, but it Luggage offers many more options, combining different sizes, different numbers of wheels and various colours and finishes – even a 3D unicorn pink shell for kids. Given all these potential combinations, it’s a shame Argos doesn’t let you filter the options from the same page, but you can click the Find Similar widget next to the product photo, as a shortcut.
Key specs – Wheels: 4; Colours: Assorted; Sizes: S, M, L; Capacity: 31l, 63l, 90l; Weight: 1.8kg, 2.1kg, 2.5kg
6. Osprey Rolling Transporter: Best rugged suitcase
Price when reviewed: From £155 | Check price at Amazon
Designed as essentially a duffel bag on wheels, Osprey’s Rolling Transporter is one of the most versatile travel bags you can buy and ideal for those who don’t have room to stash a full-sized suitcase when they’re not travelling.
Available in 40, 60, 90, and 120-litre sizes, the Rolling Transporter is all about maximising the amount you can carry. You can still access all your stuff quickly and easily thanks to the large flap that unzips around the top of the whole single-compartment bag, and, with stash pockets at the top and under the flap, it’s surprisingly flexible.
It’s also constructed out of a tough, water-resistant fabric made from recycled materials, but the best bit about the Rolling Transporter is how easy the extending handle and wheels make it to get your stuff from A to B. The rigid base means it will stand up without falling over, and the wide grab handles on the sides and top will give you plenty of purchase when getting it off the luggage belt, as well as in and out of taxis. Overall, it’s a five-star bag for any kind of traveller and is lightweight too.
Key specs – Wheels: 2; Colours: 3; Sizes: 4; Capacity: 40l, 60l, 90l, 120l; Weight: 2.7kg, 2.9kg, 3.4kg, 3.7kg
7. The North Face Base Camp Duffel: Best travel bag
Price when reviewed: From £130 | Check price at The North Face
For anyone who prefers to tote their load, rather than wheel it, this duffel might just be the answer. It can be carried via two padded side handles, it can also be used as a backpack, thanks to detachable, ergonomic shoulder straps.
The Base Camp Duffel is ideal for adventurous types – those who are likely to be exploring far-flung places on foot. It’s made from recycled materials but is still water-resistant, tough and hardy – as you’d want in a case that will be going long haul. We particularly noted the durability of the double stitching.
We love how it opens: the main flap folds right back so you can pack clothes flat, as you would in a traditional suitcase. The bag isn’t huge, but it’s comparable to most medium-sized suitcases and will easily hold a week’s worth of clothes, no problem.
Key specs – Wheels: 0; Colours: 13; Sizes: 1; Capacity: 71l; Weight: 1.6kg
8. Trunki Children’s Ride-On Suitcase: Best suitcase for kids
Price when reviewed: From £37 | Check price at Amazon
Navigating airports and train stations with tots in tow can be a stressful experience. However, this ride-on suitcase from child-friendly brand Trunki offers kids plenty of entertainment and can be pulled along on its wheels by parents – perfect for traversing the bigger terminals not designed with little legs in mind. The bags are compact enough to fit in most cabins – though always check your airline’s policy – and boast four wheels and one surprisingly roomy internal compartment.
Given that it doubles as a vehicular toy, the Trunki Ride-On is surprisingly light, weighing in at just 1.6kg, and it has a detachable shoulder strap so it can be slung across your back if required. The wide range of designs to choose from can give your little ones a chance to express their own budding identities: Frank the Fire Truck makes a good pick for plucky youngsters, and Dudley the Dinosaur is a great shout – what kid doesn’t love dinosaurs? – while the classic Terrence is a distinctive bold blue, and you’ll never lose sight of your child riding on Trixie’s bright pink chassis. For ages 3 to 6.
Key specs – Wheels: 4; Colours: 14; Sizes: 1; Capacity: 18l; Weight: 1.6kg