The Ultimate Guide to Buying The Best Carry On Luggage

Best Carry On Luggage Buying Guide

Finding the best carry on luggage can be very challenging.

With numerous luggage companies, differing airline carry on luggage size allowable, hard shell luggage, soft luggage bags, carry on luggage with wheels or without, the buying process can be overwhelming.

One thing is for sure, you want your hand luggage, or cabin luggage, to be lightweight carry on luggage.

Keep reading to find The Best Soft Luggage bags and The Best Hardcase suitcases.

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What Is The Best Carry On Luggage On The Market?

The Dakine DLX Carry On Bag

Wondering what is the best carry on luggage? I think the Dakine DLX Carry On Bag is one of the best carry on cabin bag on the market.

The size of this small luggage bag makes it ideal for travel on all airlines.

As all the sizes allowable for carry on varies, this expandable carry on luggage is also the best suitcase for international travel.

The suitcase bag is also one of the lightest carry on bags available on the market, which also makes it the best carry on travel bag.


  • It will fit on all airlines as carry on
  • Has several organizational pockets
  • iPad sleeve lined with fleece


  • Price

I am also a fan of the Dakine DLX Boot bag.

Top 10 Carry On Luggage And Suitcases

The Dakine DLX is just one of the best carry on bag options, but it may not be exactly what you are looking for.

Below you will find our carry on luggage reviews of the rest of the top ten carry on cabin bags that you can buy right now. These are all top rated hand luggage bags.

SWISSGEAR Getaway Weekend Rolling Carry-On

The SWISSGEAR Getaway Weekend Rolling Carry-On has inline wheels which give more interior space due to airlines measure the overall size of carry on luggage.

The bottom handle aids in easy lifting into and out of the overhead bins on the airplane.

Additionally, the side and front pockets allow for easy access and storage of travel essentials. Weighing only 5.7 lbs. you can pack a lot of items in this suitcase without having to worry about airline baggage weight restrictions.


  • Three handles for lifting (top, side, and bottom)
  • Inline wheels do not take up extra space
  • Padded table storage area
  • Lightweight


  • Lack of interior zipper pockets
  • Not waterproof
  • Only available in dark grey

it Luggage 

The it Luggage Softside Carry-on is a lightweight and expandable carry on suitcase. This soft-sided luggage has strong wheels, making the maneuverability superior.

It is at the larger end of the allowable carry on size for most airlines. It is still very light at only 5.29 lbs. The interior is completely lined and has two tie-down straps on one side and a large mesh zipper pocket on the other side.  


  • Lightweight
  • Thin durable material
  • 8 Wheels for superior control


  • Semi- expander system (only the bottom expands)
  • No protective pocket for tablet or laptop

Samsonite Freeform Hardside Expandable with Double Spinner Wheels, Carry-On

The Samsonite Freeform Hardside Expandable Carry-On is a hard side carry on suitcase.

This stylish luggage has an exterior designed pull handle allows for maximum interior space. It also has multi-directional double spinner wheels to allow 360 degree upright rolling.


  • Contains zipper sections/separate compartments inside the suitcase
  • 8 wheels provide easy movement
  • Removable hanging organizer for toiletries


  • Does not expand
  • Locks can be easily broken
  • No exterior pockets

Steve Madden Luggage

The Steve Madden Luggage is a lightweight suitcase with directional spinner wheels.

The ergonomically constructed handle provides good control of the suitcase with the multiple direction spinner wheels. However, the handle tends to get wobbly and does not lock in place.

The lightweight suitcase is made with a durable composite polycarbonate shell.


  • Multiple direction Spinner wheels.
  • Ergonomically designed handle grips
  • Cute luggage with unique designs


  • No pocket or zipper spaces inside the suitcase. May need to buy organizers.
  • The handle is wobbly and does not lock in place

Kensie Women’s 3D Gemstone TSA Lock Hardside Spinner Luggage

The Kensie Gemstone Carry-On contains a locking handle with the push of a button. The suitcase is easily controlled with 8-wheel spinners. It can also be easily lifted or carried with the top and side handles.

The interior contains a zippered mesh side and dual straps to keep items in place.


  • Lightweight and durable
  • Expandable luggage


  • On the maximum-end size limits for carrying on with airlines
  • Light colors show marks and dirt easily

Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds 

The Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds carry on suitcase comprises 360° degree directional movement on 4-wheel spinners.

The handle is a push-button extending and retractable handle with dual locking positions creating supreme control and maneuverability. Top and side handles allow for convenient lifting and carrying.

This lightweight and durable suitcase is also water resistant. The two interior compartments contain either garment straps or a zippered organizer.


  • One side with zipper cover other with X-styled garment straps
  • Strong and durable hard shell
  • Multiple colors, sizes, and sets available


  • The handle is wobbly and weak
  • Not expandable
  • No separate or individual pockets

DELSEY Paris Luggage Carry-On 

The DELSEY Paris Luggage is a durable suitcase made from 100% polycarbonate. The two interior compartments boast multiple pockets for item organization.

Additionally, the zippered divider and garment straps keep items securely in place and reduce wrinkles in clothes.

This DELSEY Luggage has a large front compartment with zippered pockets and a padded sleeve is integrated into this suitcase.


  • 2-inch expandable space
  • Front zipper compartment
  • Double spinner wheels
  • Multiple colors available


  • Might be too big for some European airlines
  • Scratches easily
  • Heavy for empty carry on

Briggs & Riley Luggage Baseline Spinner

The Briggs & Riley Luggage Baseline Spinner is designed with an outside handle. This allows for more interior space and flat packing. The handle also has three locking points at various heights for users.

The double-swivel wheels allow for ultimate control and maneuverability. There is a large and a small front zippered pocket for easy access to items.


  • Outside handle for flat inside packing
  • Scuff and marking resistant


  • Price
  • Heavy for an empty bag

Best Carry On Luggage Buying Guide

Trying to figure out which is the best carry on luggage for you to buy? Read on for our carry on luggage buying guide.

Carry On Luggage Sizes

Unfortunately, carry on luggage size and weight varies between all the airlines, even when dealing with international carry on luggage.

Some small carry on luggage limits can be as little as 19 inches, with most airlines averaging a 21-inch carry on luggage bag.

The largest carry on luggage with an airline is a 22-inch carry on luggage bag.

You must keep in mind that a carry on suitcase size includes the luggage wheels of your rolling luggage or spinner luggage.

For these reasons, your carry on travel suitcase needs to be the best lightweight luggage available.

Once you understand the different types of travel luggage you can then decide which is best for you. Then check out our luggage reviews of the best suitcase brands that suit your needs.

There are many suitcase brands available on the market. The following table displays top rated luggage for the best carry on suitcase.

Types of Carry On Luggage

There are three different types of carry on luggage, each of which has its pros and cons.

Most times it just comes down to personal preference when choosing a type of carry on luggage. You can always use luggage organizers with all your luggage and suitcases.

Small carry on bag or hand luggage

This type of hand luggage is very versatile. Not only can you use it as your cabin luggage, but you can also use it for daily use.

They are made for a variety of materials including leather, polyester, microfiber, cotton, or other machine washable fabrics.


  • Lightweight
  • Multipurpose use (daily and flights)
  • Various handles and shoulder straps
  • Contain organization compartments and pockets


  • No wheel so you always must carry it
  • Material usually not water resistant
  • Soft sided, little protection for items inside

Here is one great hand luggage bag that did not make our top 10. The only reason why it didn’t is that it does not have wheels.

Soft sided carry on luggage with wheels


The best luggage brands make all types and styles of soft sided carry on luggage. These will vary in design and materials.


  • Give flexibility with oddly shaped items you may need to pack
  • Easy to place into smaller or irregular spaces
  • Has pockets in the front of the case


  • Materials may be cut, torn, or wear out
  • Is not waterproof so inside items could get wet if raining or spilled on
  • Materials could stain

Hardside luggage or hard case luggage with wheels


Several top luggage brands make hard case luggage with wheels. These ridged suitcases are divided into two halves and open in the middle like a clam.


  • Offers the best protection for your items
  • Suitcases are waterproof: great in wet and snowy weather
  • Easy to keep items separated into two sides


  • Have no flexibility
  • Can Crack
  • Can’t fit into smaller / different shaped spaces

Carry On Luggage Buying Guide

When selecting what type of carry on luggage to buy, there are a few questions you should ask yourself to decide which type of luggage is best for you before you start reading the best carry on luggage reviews.

1. How often do you travel?

This answer will help you determine the best travel suitcase for you to purchase. The are several good luggage brands and there are just as many cheap luggage brands.

If you travel a lot, you are going to want to get top rated carry on luggage. The most durable luggage will last longer than cheap carry on luggage.

If you travel a few times a year you may not require the best-rated luggage. However, your probably not going to want cheap suitcases either.

You still want your lightweight suitcases and luggage bags to be good quality. I travel a lot, so I look for the best lightweight carry on luggage.

2. What is the carry on allowance?

What is the carry on luggage size you are allowed to bring on the airline you fly with?

Airlines have very strict size and weight restrictions for all carry on bags. Rolling carry on luggage or spinner carry on luggage must be smaller than 22 inches. Some airlines restrict small luggage to under 19 inches. This size includes the wheels and handles of the suitcase.

Due to weight restrictions, you also want the lightest carry on luggage possible. Ultra lightweight luggage allows you to pack more items into your small suitcase without going over the weight restrictions.

Thus, not leaving you to have to check your bag, or worse, throw things in it in the garbage. Due to my extensive travel, I look for the best lightweight luggage for international travel.

3. What do you need in your carry on?

Depending on how much stuff you pack into your carry on will help you decided which is the best travel bags for you.

If you fly domestically you may want a small light suitcase or carry on roller bag. I look for the lightest luggage for my travel carry on bags. I travel a lot internationally, so I want the best international carry on luggage.

4. Are the things in your carry on delicate?

This will determine if you want soft-sided luggage or hard carry on luggage. If you travel with items that are delicate, then the best carry on suitcase for you may be hardside carry on luggage.

Hard luggage will protect your items better than material travel bag luggage.

5. Does design matter to you?

Are you specifically looking for the best carry on luggage for men or best carry on bag for a woman? Do you want your carry on luggage to match your large luggage? If so, do you prefer designer luggage sets or cute luggage sets? 

Both Kathy Van Zeeland luggage and Steve Madden have a great 4- piece suitcase set. Floto has designed a masculine Venezia Garment Bag made from Italian polished calf-skin leather.

6. What is your budget?

Now you need to determine your budget. You want to buy the best affordable luggage for you.

When it comes to carry on luggage, there is a large range of prices. At the inexpensive end of the spectrum, you could pay less than $100, on the other, you could spend over well over $500 for one piece! How much you need to spend really depends on how much the name brand and quality of the luggage matters to you. 

Do you want inexpensive luggage, high-end luggage, luxury luggage brands, fashion luggage, or designer carry on luggage? Designer Kenneth Cole has a hard-side, lightweight 3-Piece Luggage Set. Luxury brand Briggs & Riley have a ‘Baseline Collection’ made from ballistic nylon.  

You may also want to consider how many pockets and compartments within the bag you would like to have.

Discount luggage or cheap luggage sets may save you money at first, but if they don’t last long you will soon be spending more money.

Now that you have answered these questions you should have a pretty good idea of what type of suitcase is the best carry on travel bag for you. Now let’s read the best carry on luggage reviews below.


Best Carry On Luggage Buying Guide – Conclusion

There is not one perfect carry on suitcase or hand luggage for everyone. Each person has their own preferences, likes, and budget when it some to luggage. Being forced to check your carry on bag is not only an added expense it is also very inconvenient.

You must remove all electronics (laptop, tablets, camera, etc), medications, and valuables. These things must be carried onto the plane without your bag. Regulations for carry-on luggage vary between airlines.

They also may differ from international carry on luggage, so it is best to check with the airlines you are flying with to make sure you bag is within their allowance.

I have found that the best soft-sided carry on travel bag is the Dakine DLX Carry On Bag.

Due to its ultra-lightweight, you are able to pack more into it without going over your baggage allowance.

It is the smallest back on the list, however, you will never have to worry about the size restrictions and will not be forced to check it.

If your preference is a hard-sided suitcase, then you should buy the Samsonite Freeform Hardside Expandable Carry-On luggage. It is the largest suitcase you are allowed to bring on as carry-on luggage.

This allows you to pack more or larger things into the case. These things will be more protected.

However, the weight of this case is about double the Danine DXL bag, so ultimately, you can not pack as much (weight wise) into it.

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One Comment

  1. Great Post. Very informative. There are so many different types of luggage these day that making the decision to purchase is made a lot easier with informative articles like this.

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