13 Suitcases That Will Make You Love Hardside Luggage
When you’re traveling with fragile items in your suitcase, whether you’re handing it over to an airline or a taxi driver or tossing it into your trunk, you want the protection you get with hard case luggage. Some travelers simply prefer hardside luggage for its sleek look or packing configuration.
Most hard luggage has a “clamshell” setup, where the bag opens flat, like a book, and there are two similar packing areas, usually with tie-downs or zippered mesh layers. They are easier to clean than fabric bags, and they often come in bright colors or even decorative prints. Travelers who tend to overfill soft-side bags to the point where they won’t fit into an overhead bin might do better with a hardside that keeps its shape.
The terms “hardside,” “hard-case,” and “hard-shell” are used interchangeably, so we’ll use the terminology of the various manufacturers. Shop our selection of medium check-in and carry-on size suitcases below, and (if you're not already) be prepared to fall in love with hardside luggage.
Bric’s Capri 21-inch Carry-on Spinner
This streamlined polycarbonate bag comes in olive, gray, and blue with Tuscan leather trim. At only 6.4 pounds, it’s lightweight as well as durable. Spacious inner compartments feature elastic straps and zippered sections to keep contents neat and organized, while easy-glide wheels and a telescopic handle allow for effortless movement.
Rimowa Salsa Air Cabin Multiwheel
As one of our recommended luggage picks from this year’s Ultimate Travel Essentials, this durable bag is a smart buy. The 22-inch bag is made of Rimowa’s lightweight polycarbonate shell and comes in glossy red, navy, and violet with smooth rolling spinner wheels. Its multi-stage telescopic handle adjusts to any height for comfortable maneuvering with padded top and side carry grips, too. And the flex-divider system keeps contents organized and makes packing simple.
eBags Fortis 22-inch Hardside Carry-on Spinner
With a mirror finish and raised rib design, this 100 percent polycarbonate bag comes in black, purple, and red. For convenience and flexibility in packing, its interior has one full mesh-zip section and one open area with tie downs. It expands an inch and a half when more space is needed. Top and side grips, double wheel casters, and a recessed telescoping handle make zipping through the airport easy.
Travelers Club Luna 20-inch Hardside Carry-on Spinner
Its attractive, brushed finish comes in blue, charcoal, or gold, making this bag expensive-looking, despite the afforable price tag. Composed of ABS plastic with an aluminum frame, it is designed to absorb impact and flex back into shape. Unlike most hardside bags with zipper closures, this bag uses stylish levers and sturdy hinges. The fully-lined interior has a mesh zippered pocket.
Bluesmart 22-inch Smart Carry-on Spinner
Made of polycarbonate, aluminum, and polyester, this unique bag is incredibly high-tech. It has a built-in digital scale, and it can be locked via your smartphone. The GPS system provides real-time trip data including miles traveled, airports visited, and time spent in each location. If lost, the Bluesmart network will locate the bag. Its two USB chargers can be used simultaneously, with one convenient external charger and one internal to charge your electronics on-the-go. Its main compartment is a roomy hard case, and a secondary section has organizers for laptops, tablets, and accessories.
Samsonite Winfield 2 Fashion Carry-on Hardside Spinner
At 20 inches, this bag should fit easily into most overhead bins while providing a spacious interior with full zippered dividers. It’s currently Amazon’s bestselling piece of carry-on luggage, and it is available in nine colors with a brushed-look finish. Made of 100 percent polycarbonate, it’s incredibly lightweight — and its four spinner wheels move it along easily.
Away The Bigger Carry-on
This start-up luggage brand may be a newcomer to the industry, but it’s quickly becoming a cult favorite among frequent fliers. Away makes unbreakable hardside luggage in three sizes, and The Bigger Carry-on is a roomy 23-inch case that is sized for most major domestic airlines. It’s equipped with a built-in battery and a TSA-approved combination lock, and alongside the brand’s seven core colors, there are always fun, seasonal collaborations.
Tumi Tegra-max Medium Trip Expandable Packing Case
This attractive 26-inch check-in size bag comes in three colors: black graphite, crimson, and silver. Its hardside polypropylene thermoplastic construction is durable and lightweight. Especially attractive is its spacious, front U-zip pocket—a feature not usually available on hardside bags. Four double spinner wheels make it easy to handle, and two packing compartments with a removable garment section provide packing flexibility.
Briggs & Riley Sympatico CX Medium Expandable Hardside Spinner
This 27-inch bag—made of resilient virgin polycarbonate—is available in black, burgundy, blue, and onyx. Its “outsider” external-mount handle provides a smooth packing area, and its 70/30 compartment configuration is more akin to packing in a traditional suitcase. Double spinner wheels and comfortable, soft touch carry grips make handling easy.
Victorinox Spectra 2.0 Medium Expandable Spinner
This attractive 27-inch polycarbonate bag is expandable, providing an additional 4.3-inches of packing space when needed. It comes in black, navy, and red with corner guards and zipper bumpers for protection. There’s a zippered door on the front side for top-load packing or easy access to contents and interior pockets for organization. With the company’s bag tracking system, you can be reunited with lost bags easily at no cost.
Delsey Chatelet Hard + Four-wheel Spinner
This elegant 27-inch bag comes in brown or champagne with a tan leather trim. Made of virgin polycarbonate, its curved corners add to its good looks, and high-quality spinner wheels make handling easy. Its unique Stop & Go brake system keeps the bag from drifting on slanted surfaces, while two wheels remain free to roll along. The luxurious red interior has tie-downs and zippered dividers.
Travelpro Crew 11 Hardside 25-inch Spinner
This medium sized check-in bag is offered in navy and silver, with a sleek exterior design. With a 100 percent polycarbonate construction, the piece is durable—and inside zippered sections and smaller accessory pockets make it easy to pack. Low profile top and side handles and self-aligning magnetic spinner wheels provide for ease in handling.
Hartmann 7R Medium Spinner
This shiny, modern suitcase is engineered with both design as well as durability in mind. It comes in six eye-catching colors, while leather detailing lends a timeless touch. And it’s built to endure years of travel, with its impact-resistant material and resilient aluminum pull handle. It weighs in at just short of seven pounds, which is super-lightweight for a 28-inch checked bag.