The best suitcase – for every kind of holiday and trip

Whether you’re a frequent flier or always take a big two-week trip each year, chances are you need a good, sturdy but lightweight luggage for your holidays and you're here because you want to know which is the best suitcase for you.

And with travel becoming evermore popular, and regular trips more affordable, you might just find your current case is looking a little tired and it's time to invest in something new. Enter our expert guide to the best suitcase for you.

Thankfully, there are a range of excellent suitcases on the market, from brilliant carry-on luggage to lightweight hold suitcases, each with their own unique features that make carrying your belongings that much simpler and smoother. We’ve tried and tested all manner of them, including hand luggage, hold luggage, hard shell suitcases and the lightest luggage out there, to establish which is the best suitcase on the market.

How did we test the best suitcases?

We started by assigning a very fitting expert to the task of finding the best suitcase: Lottie Gross, womandhome.com’s travel editor. With 37 countries and well over 130 cities visited in her time as a travel writer, our rigorous tester, Lottie, knows exactly what travellers need in a suitcase. Her scrutiny involved thorough use of the zips to ensure smooth open and closing action, vigourous testing of special mechanisms like the expansion technology and retractable handles, and wheeling full, heavy cases on uneven ground to check reliability of the wheels. We’ve also taken into account the practicality of the luggage, such as its number of pockets, the material its made from and the weight of the empty bag, in order to find the best suitcase.

The testing was conducted over several months and many many trips.We also know that people on the hunt for the best suitcase take into consideration the warranty length too, so Lottie factored that into her considerations when trialling them too, and we provided this info in our best suitcase reviews below. Overall, she considered hundreds of suitcases, tested dozens and whittled them down to the ten best suitcases on the market.

Best suitcase reviews

Best carry-on suitcase for short haul fun: The Travel Hack’s Pro Cabin Case, £69, Amazon.co.uk

best suitcaseThis carry-on luggage deserves the title of best suitcase overall, as well as best carry-on suitcase. Designed by professional travel blogger Monica Stott, this case is truly one of the most practical on the market. It’s a very attractive carry-on suitcase with black soft-shell material, faux-leather inserts and rose gold zips.

But it really comes into its own inside: there’s a 28-litre main compartment with straps to help you separate your clothes and slim pockets for documents on the inner front panel. On top of this is the handbag section – a revolutionary part of the suitcase that allows you to keep your own handbag and a few loose belongings in the top so you don’t fall foul of any ‘extra bag’ charges. A padded laptop pocket on the back makes it ideal for business trips, too, and a zip-out water bottle holder on the side offers easy access to hydration.

It’s perfect for short-haul weekend trips, and even longer holidays if you’re going somewhere warm that doesn’t require reams of bulky clothing. It’s also incredibly affordable at £60, so compared with many of the pricier suitcases on this list, it’s exceptional value for money.

Rating out of 5: 5

Suitcase weight: 2.7kg

Suitcase capacity: 28 litres plus handbag section

Number of wheels: 2

Warranty: 3 years

SHOP NOW: The Travel Hack’s Pro Cabin Case, £69, Amazon.co.uk

Best 4 wheel suitcase for easy spinning: Samsonite Cosmolite Spinner, £235, Amazon.co.uk

best suitcase

By far the suitcase with the smoothest glide, the Samsonite Cosmolite wins in two categories in this test – as well as the best suitcase on four wheels, it’s also the lightest. This four-wheeled case is incredibly easy to transport and it takes to uneven ground well. Thanks to its weight, it’s easy to pull or push up hills, and the loosely turning wheels means you won’t be battling to get it around corners. Inside it’s got a pocket, straps and one side is zipped off should you want to separate it.

The only downside is the retractable handle, which is smooth to pull out but isn’t comfortable for everyone to hold due to its T-shaped nature.

Rating out of 5: 5

Suitcase weight: 1.7–3.5kg

Suitcase capacity: 36–144 litres

Number of wheels: 4

Warranty: 10 years

SHOP NOW: Samsonite Cosmolite Spinner, £235, Amazon.co.uk

Best hard shell suitcase: American Tourister’s Alumo metal suitcase, £319, Amazon.co.uk

best suitcase

Hard shell suitcases are the best suitcase type for keeping your precious belongings intact, and no case does it better than the aluminium American Tourister. It’s not cheap, but if you’re transporting valuable, fragile items this should be your go-to hard shell suitcase. The exterior is made entirely from aluminium and comes in matte black or metallic pink or silver. Uniquely, this case doesn’t close with a zip function and instead has two easy-to-operate, lockable clasps, making packing it down even easier. We think that is feature also makes it the best suitcase for people that have health issues that effect their hands and find zips fiddly.

Inside, we love that the section separators have plenty of pockets, and there’s ample space for all your belongings for a two-week trip.

Rating out of 5: 4

Suitcase weight: 4.3–5.3kg

Suitcase capacity: 34–64 litres

Number of wheels: 4

Warranty: 3 years

SHOP NOW: American Tourister’s Alumo metal suitcase, £319, Amazon.co.uk

Best soft shell suitcase: Lipault Plume Avenue, £195, houseoffraser.co.uk

This stylish little carry on is bigger than it seems and you can easily pack in plenty for a week-long trip. The soft shell means it’s versatile if you’re packing awkwardly shaped items like heels, and the pockets on the front are perfect for storing travel documents and accessories, and even a laptop. With four wheels it’s a breeze to roll around the airport and it handles uneven ground well. Inside there are straps and a pocket on the interior of the door. The only downside we found is that it opens up to just one compartment, where as many cases open down the middle to reveal two sides for packing. This means it’s not totally ideal for if you’re moving from hotel to hotel, as you’ll have to unpack and repack from scratch each time, but for a week in one or two locations this carry-on suitcase is by far the best suitcase. Plus, the 55cm model is an ideal carry-on for most airlines. It comes in other colours if you don’t like pink, which is the model we tested.

Rating out of 5: 4

Suitcase weight: 5.3kg

Suitcase capacity: 45.2 litres

Number of wheels: 4

Warranty: 3 years

SHOP NOW: Lipault Plume Avenue, £195, houseoffraser.co.uk

Best lightweight suitcase: Samsonite Cosmolite Spinner, £235, Amazon.co.uk

best suitcaseThis four-wheel, lightweight suitcase wins in two categories in our test. Not only is it the smoothest glide on four wheels, but it’s also the lightest of the all the cases we tested. At just 1.7kg for the carry-on and 2.4kg for the smallest hold luggage option, it’s an excellent choice if you’re worried about your luggage weight allowance. Even the largest model – 86cm – is only 3.5kg, leaving plenty of room for bringing back goodies. We love the shell-like design on the outside, and the unusual texture on its hard shell (it was basically made for bringing back bottles of wine, right?). Inside there are straps for keeping everything in, and the exterior has a TSA-approved lock, making it the best suitcase choice for those that are security conscious.

Rating out of 5: 5

Suitcase weight: 1.7–3.5kg

Suitcase capacity: 36–144 litres

Number of wheels: 4

Warranty: 10 years

SHOP NOW: Samsonite Cosmolite Spinner, £235, Amazon.co.uk

Best travel holdall: Lipault Plume Avenue Duffle, £175, Amazon.co.uk

best suitcase

The major issue we have with travel holdalls is the frequent lack of wheels, but this isn’t a problem on the Lipault Plume Avenue Duffle. This brilliant bag looks small and stylish – the leather elements are a nice touch – but has well-hidden wheels to make transporting it as simple as possible. This excellent holdall ultralight, too, so a great option if you’re concerned about weight restrictions, and is much roomier than it initially looks. There’s an outside pocket perfect for keys, passports and purses, and inside there are a few zipped and non-zipped pockets for storing small items. It’s below the usual limit for carry-on luggage, so this really is the ultimate long-weekend travel holdall and worthy of inclusion in our best suitcase edit.

Rating out of 5: 5

Suitcase weight: 2kg

Suitcase capacity: 41.6 litres

Number of wheels: 2

Warranty: 3 years

SHOP NOW: Lipault Plume Avenue Duffle, £175, Amazon.co.uk

Best wheeled laptop bag: Targus CityGear 15.6″ Laptop Vertical Roller, £92.99, Amazon.co.uk

best suitcase

If you’re taking a business trip, a wheeled laptop bag is an essential – you don’t want to turn up to those meetings with a bad back. The Targus is a cost-effective, no-nonsense bag with plenty of pockets for gadgets and a padded space for laptops up to 15.6 inches. The main compartment has enough space for clothes if you’re going away for a couple of nights, and the two wheels are sturdy and quiet when rolling on the ground. It expands too, so can be used for longer trips or is handy for bringing back paperwork or even souvenirs.

Rating out of 5: 4

Suitcase weight: 3kg

Suitcase capacity: N/A

Number of wheels: 2

Warranty: lifetime

SHOP NOW: Targus CityGear 15.6″ Laptop Vertical Roller, £92.99, Amazon.co.uk

Best cheap suitcase that doesn’t skimp on quality: Tripp’s Holiday 6 suitcase, £45, Amazon.co.uk

best suitcase

Simple but effective is the key here. Tripp suitcases are incredibly affordable, going for as little as £25 for a soft-shell carry-on case, and up to £80 for large hard-shells. The Holiday range is an excellent, reliable choice for hard-shell four-wheel suitcases, retailing at less than £60, and it comes in a range of eye-catching, celebratory colours (we love the Flamingo Pink and Cool Mint – stylish and easy to spot at baggage reclaim!). It has a TSA-approved lock on the side, inside straps and a mesh separator on one side. The retractable handle feels sturdy and doesn’t tend to stick too much, and top and side grab handles make it easy for retrieving from the luggage belt in the airport. This is by far the best cheap suitcase on the market, and it comes in three sizes for all your needs (including cabin size). As a result, this suitcase wins our savvy buy award too in our best suitcase round-up, because it’s fabulous value.

Rating out of 5: 5

Suitcase weight: 2.7–3.9kg

Suitcase capacity: 37–102 litres

Number of wheels: 4

Warranty: 5 years

SHOP NOW: Tripp’s Holiday 6 suitcase, £45, Amazon.co.uk

Best kids suitcase: JetKids Bedbox by Stokke, £144, Amazon.co.uk

best suitcase

When a suitcase can double up as a vehicle and a bed, you know you’re onto a winner. This clever little kids suitcase is rideable, meaning they’ll love carting it about rather than drag it begrudgingly behind them, and it converts easily into a bed (with a mattress!) for when you’re on the plane. The four wheels roll smoothly and the two at the front rotate 360-degrees for maximum steering control. There’s a handle on the top for the kids to grab onto as they ride, or to drag the case behind them when walking. While it’s perhaps a little on the heavy side for a kids case, it is sturdy and high quality (we’d expect nothing less from Stokke, after all). Plus, it comes with stickers for some much needed downtime on the plane. The mattress part does take up a fair bit of space, though, so it’s not ideal for long trips (you can, of course, leave the mattress at home if you don’t need it), but we felt it was more versatile than the leading competitor, which we also tested, that you often see dragged about in airports. It’s worthy of the title best suitcase for kids.

Rating out of 5: 4

Suitcase weight: 3.3kg

Suitcase capacity: 23 litres

Number of wheels: 4

Warranty: none

SHOP NOW: JetKids Bedbox by Stokke, £144, Amazon.co.uk

Best expanadable suitcase: Briggs & Riley Sympatico, £449, Amazon.co.uk

best suitcase

Unusual as it is to see a hard-shell expandable suitcase, don’t be put off by it. The Briggs & Riley Sympatico is the best suitcase for those wishing to bring back a few too many souvenirs. Its hard shell will keep your belongings safe and secure, while the unique expand and contract mechanism ensures a quick, fuss-free process. You simply have to pull out the lever and lift the edge of the case on the top and bottom to expand it, and contracting couldn’t be simpler: just push the sides of the case down. One of the best things about this expandable case is the Briggs & Riley unconditional lifetime guarantee – if something goes wrong, they’ll fix it at no cost, no questions asked.

Rating out of 5: 4

Suitcase weight: 3.6kg

Suitcase capacity: 39.2–47.9 litres

Number of wheels: 4

Warranty: unconditional lifetime guarantee

SHOP NOW: Briggs & Riley Sympatico, £449, Amazon.co.uk

Overall best suitcase: w&h’s verdict

W&H’s best suitcase recommendation: The Travel Hack’s Pro Cabin Case

This carry-on luggage deserves the title of best suitcase overall, as well as best carry-on suitcase. Our travel editor RAVED about it and after all the testing this is the one she went out to purchase.

 best suitcase

SHOP NOW: The Travel Hack’s Pro Cabin Case, £69, Amazon.co.uk

W&H’s savvy buy suitcase recommendation: Tripp’s Holiday 6 suitcase

If you are looking for good value, then the Tripp is the best suitcase for you. We’ve named this model woman&home’s savvy buy. It’s under £60 and has a host of premium features and is sturdy enough to survive lots of knocks by baggage handlers.

best suitcase

SHOP NOW: Tripp’s Holiday 6 suitcase, £45, Amazon.co.uk

Need more information before you can decide which is the best suitcase for you? Read the answers to frequently asked questions about luggage.

What are the best luggage brands?

There are hundreds of luggage brands out there, but which are the best suitcase brands? The short answer is that each brand is best for a specific type of suitcase. There are a few household brands we all know – Samsonite do high quality but often expensive cases and Tripp are well-known for producing reliable, cheap suitcases. If style is what you’re looking for, Lipault have a beautiful range of high-end, fashionable suitcases and duffel bags that will make any traveller look worthy of that free upgrade, and Osprey are well known for their highly practical, adventure-focused backpacks and wheeled duffel bags. Ultimately, it all depends on your needs and budget, so read through our guide to the best suitcases above to get an idea of which is the best suitcase for you and your trip.

Is cabin luggage hand luggage?

Carry-on baggage, hand luggage and cabin baggage are all the same thing. However, don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security – the terminology might be the same, but the sizing of cabin luggage varies from airline to airline, meaning you’ll need to make sure that whatever you buy will be accepted by the carriers you frequently travel with. Generally, most airlines accept hand luggage up to 56x45x25cm, though low-cost carriers like Ryanair and Flybe have different rules. It’s always best to check before you book.

Is a laptop bag considered hand luggage?

There is no simple answer to this question – laptop bags of varying shapes and sizes are sometimes considered your only allowable hand luggage item, although on certain airlines it may be considered a ‘personal item’ and be an extra to your carry-on suitcase. As a general rule of thumb, if it fits under the seat in front it probably counts as your personal item, but if you need to store it in the overhead bins, it’ll have to be counted as your hand luggage. It’s always best to check with your airline before flying.

Should I use the luggage wrap service at the airport?

The luggage wrap service at the airport is an optional extra and by no means a mandatory part of flying. It can, however, be helpful if you’re worried about damage to your case, especially if you spent big on one of the best suitcases. For soft shell suitcases, it’s useful in case it rains as the baggage handlers are moving your cases from plane to airport, and for hard shell it will protect against scrapes and scratches. It may also discourage any potential thieves from exploring your belongings, though in the US the TSA reserve the right to enter your luggage without you being present, so if there’s a security concern you might find the wrap removed before it arrives back with you.