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 going on a long-haul flight or just a weekend getaway, equipping yourself with the best suitcase can take some of the stress out of travelling. We’ve done the research to bring your our top recommendations, from high-end luggage that will last you for years to come, to lightweight suitcases, travel bags and even kids’ options
As with many things, it’s true that you get what you pay for with luggage. So, unless you simply don’t care whether or not the contents of your suitcase get lost or damaged, it helps to invest in decent baggage. Of course, that doesn’t mean you always need to pay through the nose for a good suitcase, and our roundup aims to cater to a range of budgets.
With that said, read on for our buying guide on how to pick the best suitcase for your needs, followed by our roundup of mini-reviews. Or, if you just want a quick list of recommendations, we’ve put some of our top picks into a 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
Before you start looking for the perfect suitcase, the questions below will help you narrow down your options.
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.
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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.
How we test suitcases
At Expert Reviews, we know that hands-on testing gives us the best and most complete information about a product. So, we personally 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. Then we pack, noting 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 then 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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The best suitcases and checked luggage you can buy in 2023
1. Samsonite S’cure DLX Spinner: Best all-around suitcase
Price when reviewed: From £160 | Check price at 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. American Tourister Soundbox 4-Spinner: Best suitcase for summer
Price when reviewed: From £109 | Check price at Go Places
Sunshine comes in luggage form with this Golden Yellow hard-shell suitcase from industry veteran American Tourister. With its blazing yellow hues and bold design (the exterior sports distinctive concentric circles – inspired by the design of vinyls), you’ll be sure to spot this sunny piece of luggage as it comes careening around the baggage carousel (and avoid those pesky mix-ups too).
Made from durable polypropylene, this unit has a TSA-coded zip lock for extra security, with a handy four-wheel setup for hypermobility as your traverse airport terminals and concourses this summer. It’s a generous size, too: standing at 77cm tall with a 110-litre capacity and weighing in at 4.2kg, it’s definitely not cabin luggage, but will hold all the sun dresses, swimwear and sunnies you could possibly want. If you’re investing in summer holiday-friendly bags for you AND a partner, be sure to check out the Golden Yellow model’s aptly named Poolside Blue counterpart.
Key specs (Large) – Capacity: 110l Weight: 4.2kg Number of wheels: 4
3. Antler Clifton: Best suitcase with 10-year warranty
Price when reviewed: From £170 | Check price at 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 has been perfecting 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, 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 week-long 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
4. Tripp Chic 4-Wheel Expandable Suitcase: The best budget suitcase
Price when reviewed: From £65 | Check price at 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: 37-102l; Weight: 2.3-3.5kg; Number of wheels: 4
5. IT Luggage World’s Lightest: Best lightweight suitcase
Price when reviewed: £50 | 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, 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. Osprey Rolling Transporter 90: Best rugged suitcase
Price when reviewed: From £240 | Check price at 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 will 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
6. Horizn Studios: Best suitcase with a 100-day trial
Price when reviewed: From £320 | Check price at 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 this timeframe and receive 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 means 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 10,000mAh 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
7. The North Face Base Camp Duffel: The best travel bag
Price when reviewed: £125 | Buy now from The North Face
For anyone who prefers to tote their load rather than wheel it, this duffel might just be the answer. While it can be carried via two handles, it can also be used as a backpack thanks to 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 water-resistant recycled material, but is tough and hardy – just as you’d want from a case that will be going long haul. We 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 will easily hold a week’s worth of clothes, no problem.
Key specs – Dimensions: 35.5 x 64.5 x 35.5cm; Weight: 1590g; Capacity: 71l; Number of wheels: 0
8. Osprey Sojourn 60: Most versatile suitcase
Price when reviewed: From £290 | Check price at 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
9. Antler Stamford Medium: The best mid-size suitcase
Price when reviewed: £240 | Check price at AmazonSometimes, you don’t need a case the size of a family fridge – a medium-sized bag will do just fine. But there’s nothing middling about the Antler Stamford, which is available in Black, Putty and Khaki colours. Made of a protective polycarbonate shell casing, its matte finish isn’t only suitably chic, it ensures that scrapes and scratches are much less noticeable, too.
A combination of British design and Japanese invention ensures the mechanics and detail of the Stamford are super-smooth. It boasts four 360-degree Hinomoto spinner wheels and an easily adjustable handle. We found that despite its weighty contents, and only one hand to spare in a packed terminal, the Stamford was a breeze to manoeuvre.
The interior makes organisation effortless. Aside from a pocketed packing divider – perfect for preserving pre-ironed shirts – there are numerous compartments including a plastic, wipe-clean section that will be welcomed by anyone who has been victim to an exploding bottle of sun cream.
We struggle to find a single negative: even when we overpacked, an expansion zip saved our bacon. The Stamford even comes with a 10-year warranty – which only goes to show how much faith Antler has in its newest addition.
Key specs – Dimensions: 68 x 48 x 29.5cm; Weight: 3.9kg; Capacity: 88l; Number of wheels: 4
10. Trunki 4 Wheel Ride-On Suitcase: Best suitcase for kids
Price when reviewed: From £34 | Buy now from Amazon
Navigating airports and train stations with tots in tow can be a stressful experience. This ride-on suitcase from kid-friendly brand Trunki offers kids hours of entertainment and can be pulled along on its wheels by parents: perfect for bigger terminals not designed for little legs. 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 doesn’t weigh a tonne: measuring up at just 1.7kg, it has a detachable shoulder strap so can be slung over your shoulder if required. Tots can even give expression to their own budding identities with a range of designs to choose from: Trunki Frank Firetruck is a great shout for plucky youngsters, while the original Trunki Terrence comes in a distinctive bright blue – and you’ll never lose sight of your child on Trunki Trixie’s magenta chassis with lime green detail. For ages 3+.
Key specs (Small) – Capacity: 18l; Weight: Number of wheels: 4