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Best suitcase 2021: The best suitcases and checked luggage to buy for less this Black Friday

Sarah Matthews
26 Nov 2021

Make packing for your next trip a breeze with our updated picks of the best suitcases and checked luggage you can buy

Whether you're looking for something sturdy to hastily dump your belongings into for a week-long getaway, or something more durable that will last you for years to come, we've done the research to bring you the best suitcases and checked luggage currently available to buy in the UK to save you valuable time and effort.

With UK travel restrictions starting to ease it may finally be time for you to book that long-awaited holiday. And with some offices employing a work from home policy for the foreseeable future, many of you may also be booking longer trips in the hope of working remotely.

A good holiday or staycation always starts with packing and nothing makes that less stressful than having a good suitcase or checked luggage that will accommodate all your belongings and keep them safe for the duration of your trip.

As with most travel gear, you get what you pay for when it comes to luggage. If you don’t invest a little in the right suitcase, you risk lost possessions, broken goods or cumbersome transfers. Sadly, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution; every traveller will have different needs, depending on where you’re going, how long you’re going for and what kind of holiday you’re planning.

Thankfully, there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to buying a suitcase – but the range of styles, sizes and prices can be a little overwhelming if you don’t know what to look for. That’s why we’ve put together a simple buying guide to answer some of the most common questions.

Scroll down further and you’ll also find our pick of the best suitcases to buy right now. We’ve picked out six of our favourite suitcases from brands we trust, so you won’t have to deal with a bad suitcase ruining your holiday before you’ve even arrived.

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Save 20% on EVERYTHING at Antler for Black Friday

Black Friday has landed and there is 20% off on everything on the Antler website to celebrate. Prepare for all your holiday escapades next summer by grabbing a bargain on suitcases and hand luggage today.
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How to choose the best suitcase for you

Before you start looking for the perfect suitcase, the questions below will help you narrow down your options.

When do travel restrictions lift in the UK?

Given the significant progress that the UK has made in accelerating its national vaccination programme, travel restrictions in the UK have been lifting since 17 May 2021. The UK government has highlighted a list of green list countries that are safe to travel to, provided you take the necessary tests and precautions set out in detail by the UK and the country you're visiting.

What size suitcase do I need?

You might be tempted to buy the biggest suitcase you can afford, but this adds weight and will be harder to move around. You’re better off choosing the smallest suitcase that will accommodate everything you need – with a little extra room for souvenirs and holiday purchases. If you do choose a large suitcase, make sure you check restrictions before flying with it, or you could end up paying a hefty oversized baggage fee when you get to the check-in desk.

Which is better: a hard shell or soft-sided suitcase?

Hard-shell cases used to eat into your baggage weight allowance, but thanks to the development of lighter, durable materials that’s not so much of a problem now. Soft-sided suitcases, meanwhile, are stronger than ever – so it really comes down to personal preference. The deciding factor might be where you plan to keep your new suitcase when it’s not needed, as hard-shell cases are less versatile when it comes to storage.

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How many wheels should my suitcase have?

Two-wheeled suitcases are easy to tug behind you when whizzing through the airport, but they can easily topple over, depending on how they’re packed. Four-wheeled suitcases are much sturdier when unsupported and they are generally easier to manoeuvre in tight aisles and other tricky spaces. The trade-off is that they’re apt to roll away if they don’t have any kind of braking.

Is a suitcase better than a rucksack?

A wheeled suitcase is easier to cart around indoors than a rucksack, and it won’t hurt your back. 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, too. 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, a set of packing cubes (such as these affordable ones from Amazon) may be a better option.

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Best suitcases and checked luggage to buy

1. Samsonite S’cure DLX Spinner: Best all-around suitcase

Price: From £172 | Buy now from Amazon

The Samsonite’s S’cure Dlx Spinner suitcase strikes a good balance of portability and protection. A waterproof seal keeps the rain out, and a triple locking system keeps everything else in – even if the combination numbers are a little fiddly at first. The S’cure comes with more pockets, compartments and dividers than most suitcases – more than you’ll probably need – making it easy to stay organised.

At 4.1kg, it’s not the lightest suitcase you can buy, but the Flowlite outer material and aluminium wheel handle tubes mean it’s still impressively light given its size and versatility. If you want a suitcase that can travel anywhere with you for years to come, you can’t really go wrong with the Samsonite S’cure.

Key specs (Medium) – Capacity: 79l; Weight: 4.4kg; Number of wheels: 4

2. Antler Clifton and Camber: Best British suitcase with 10-year warranty

Price: From £149 | Buy now from Antler

Buying a good suitcase is a long-term investment. You spend valuable money and rightly expect it to last for years to come. Unfortunately, not all suitcases stand the test of time. Some stain easily or break their wheels only a few years after using them, by which time your warranty is void. Antler is a reputed British brand that have been perfecting their craft for over a century now. All their suitcases are put through rigorous tests and come with a 10-year international warranty. This alone justifies its premium price tag. In comparison, other suitcases on this list only have a limited one or two-year warranty.

Having used both their Clifton and Camber hard case suitcases on a recent trip, we found it hard to find fault with either of them. Both suitcases were extremely spacious, very rugged and despite their gorgeous pastel colours, they barely had any scratch or colour marks after a weeklong getaway. Both the Camber and Clifton collections also have multiple storage pockets, a handy expanded zip for extra storage room, and they come with a secure TSA-lock, which is ideal for peace of mind when you're travelling.

Key specs (Antler Clifton Medium) – Capacity: 83l; Weight: 3.9kg; Number of wheels: 4

Buy Antler Clifton Buy Antler Camber

3. Horizn Studios: Best suitcase with a 100-day trial

Price: From £285 | Buy now from Horizn Studios

Suitcases today can cost a fortune, but if you're looking for a quality product that will last you for years, then Horizn Studios have got you covered. They're so confident of their offering that they offer a 100-day risk-free trial, meaning that you can send your luggage back within the time frame if you're not satisfied for a no-questions-asked refund. Models include the H6 and H7 suitcases, which are ideal for weeklong trips and longer holidays respectively. Both suitcases come with aerospace-grade polycarbonate hard shells and four 360-degree spinner wheels for additional comfort when travelling.

Apart from that, the inner lining is water-resistant thereby adding extra protection to your valuable belongings. All suitcases come with a TSA-approved combination lock that sits neatly on the side, so you instantly know that no one has tampered with your luggage and don't need to worry about additional locks that can be fiddly. For most people travelling often meaning worrying about charging their devices. One of the best features of the Horizn Studios Smart luggage range is that they have a one-click removable 10,000 mAh charger built into their suitcases, so you can keep your devices charged on the go. All chargers are compliant with international flight regulations.

Key specs - Capacity: 90l; Weight: 4.9kg: Number of wheels: 4

Buy now from Horizn Studios

4. IT Luggage World’s Lightest: Best lightweight suitcase

Price: £45 | Buy now from Amazon

If you’re worried about your weight allowance – or just dislike humping heavy luggage around – this could be the suitcase for you, as it weighs just 2.4kg. At 74cm, you get a lot of room for all your belongings, and it also comes with 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’d expect, it isn’t quite as sturdy as weightier cases, and you might wonder whether such a lightweight suitcase is durable enough to withstand all the wear and tear of travelling. But you needn’t worry too much, as it comes with a reassuring ten-year warranty.

Key specs – Capacity: 71l; Weight: 2.4kg; Number of wheels: 4

5. Tripp Chic 4-Wheel Expandable Suitcase: The best budget suitcase

Price: From £45 | Buy now from Amazon

Suitcases can usually cost up to £200 but if you want something rugged and sturdy for an affordable price, then look no further than the Tripp Chic suitcase. This brand is widely trusted by travellers, so you can be sure this suitcase won’t fall apart; it’s also got a 5-year guarantee just in case.

In terms of features, it’s got four wheels for easy manoeuvring, an integrated TSA lock, and is expandable. The polypropylene case is durable, sturdy and lightweight, so it won’t eat into that precious luggage weight limit. It’s available in three sizes (cabin, medium and large) and colours (black, blue and rose) - all of which are bargains.

Key Specs - Capacity: 37l - 102l; Weight: 2.3kg-3.5kg; Number of wheels: 4

6. Osprey Rolling Transporter 90: Best rugged suitcase

Price: From £126 | Buy now Amazon

Designed as a duffel bag on wheels, Osprey's Rolling Transporter is one of the most versatile travel bags you can buy and ideal for travellers who don't have room to stash a full-sized suitcase when they're not travelling.

Available in three sizes (40, 90 and 120 litres), the Transporter is all about maximising the amount of stuff you can carry with you so there's one big compartment, made easy to access via a large flap that unzips around the whole top of the bag. It's constructed from tough, water-resistant fabric, too, and with stash pockets at the top and under the flap, surprisingly flexible.

The best bit about the Rolling Transporter, though, is how easy its extending handle and wheels make it to get your stuff from A to B. Its rigid base means it'll stand up without falling over and wide grab-handles on the sides and top mean you have plenty of purchase in getting it on and off the luggage belt and in and out of taxis. Overall, it's a five-star bag for any kind of traveller and is light, too.

Key specs – Capacity: 120l; Weight: 3.5kg; Number of wheels: 2

7. Osprey Sojourn 60: Most versatile suitcase

Price: From £162 | Buy now from Amazon

If you can’t decide between a backpack and a suitcase, Osprey’s Sojourn 60 combines the best of both. It looks like a normal suitcase, with two wheels and a pull-up handle, but has cleverly hidden straps so you can throw it on your shoulders as a backpack when the ground’s uneven or difficult.

The downside of the two-in-one design is the weight; the case weighs in at a fairly heavy 4kg, which isn’t ideal if you plan to carry it on your back a lot. The inner lining also looks a little cheap, but don’t be put off – the Sojourn 60 is an attractive bag that feels like it was built to last and make your travels easier, however far or wide you venture with it.

Key specs – Capacity: 80l; Weight: 4kg; Number of wheels: 2