We updated this article in October 2022 to ensure all recommendations thoroughly vetted by the Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab were in stock and accurately priced.
The Good Housekeeping Institute’s Textiles Lab tests luggage of all kinds, from carry-ons and underseat bags to smart luggage, hardside cases, checked bags and more. We evaluate in them in the Lab by measuring things like abrasion and scratch resistance, water resistance, weight and size, ease of use and durability. We also perform packing tests to compare compartments and see how much each can hold. Then we bring in consumer testers to use the luggage in an obstacle course and give feedback on aspects like handle comfort, wheel performance and maneuverability. In our most recent evaluation, we tested 25 of the hottest new styles and logged over 4,000 data points to find the best cases you can buy.
After combing through the past 10 years of test data with thousands of additional scores, we’ve selected the best luggage brands based on top-performing cases from our review, our expert favorites that we use when we travel, and newer styles with unique features. Here are the best luggage brands to buy in 2022.
Our top picks:
- Best Overall Luggage: Away
- Best Value Luggage: Open Story
- Best Luggage for Frequent Flyers: Hartmann
- Best Under-$100 Luggage: AmazonBasics
- Best Luggage for Families: Thule
- Best Luggage for Long Trips: L.L.Bean
- Best Luggage for Infrequent Flyers: American Tourister
- Best Luggage for Business Travel: Samsonite
- Best Luggage for Adventure Travel: Eagle Creek
- Best Luggage for Flight Crews: TravelPro
- Best Luxury Luggage: Bric’s
- Best Classic Hardside Luggage: Rimowa
- Best Printed Luggage: Heys
- Best Luggage Customer Service: Tumi
Read on after our picks for an in-depth look at how we test luggage, plus more information on what you should consider while shopping for new suitcases.
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Best Overall Luggage: Away Luggage
This direct-to-consumer brand makes suitcase shopping a whole lot easier: Away offers top-quality bags in a variety of sizes and colors. The luggage is made of 100% polycarbonate that proved to be durable yet lightweight in our evaluations — even lighter than some fabric bags we’ve tested. It was also surprisingly spacious and held a full packing load in our review. The company offers a 100-day any-reason return policy, so if you’re at all unhappy, you can send it back for a refund even after you’ve used it.
RELATED: We Tested Away’s Most Popular Carry-On to See If It’s Worth the Hype
Best Value Luggage: Open Story
Open Story is a Target-exclusive luggage brand that offers top-performing hardside suitcases and a lower cost than its competitors. The carry-on size is just $170 and was lightweight and spacious in our review with lots of compartments to stay organized. It even comes with a detachable laundry bag and a USB port in case you want to add a battery to charge on the go. The checked size is $210, and both sizes have polycarbonate shells and come in nine different colors.
Best Luggage for Frequent Flyers: Hartmann Luggage
This luxury brand is on the pricey side but has timeless designs — from hardside to tweed fabric — that never go out of style. In fact, the brand’s marketing and aesthetics are focused heavily on its heritage. It has been a top performer in our tests thanks to its spacious interior that’s easy to pack and its wheels and handles that make it smooth and comfortable to maneuver. It outperformed even pricier styles, so you know you’re getting bang for your buck.
Best Under-$100 Luggage: AmazonBasics Luggage
It’s hard to find luggage for under $100, but Amazon’s brand does not disappoint. There are soft and hardside styles to choose from, plus travel backpacks, duffels and more. We most recently reviewed its hardside carry-on, which our analysts found to be exceptionally easy to pack. Amazon also boasts extensive testing to make sure it’ll hold up and though it might not be the absolute best quality out there, the price can’t be beat.
Best Luggage for Families: Thule Luggage
Thule’s luggage is made of durable materials that you can count on to last, and the Subterra duffel has a unique two-in-one design that lets family members share luggage while still keeping their items separate. The two compartments can be attached and rolled as one suitcase, then when you get to your destination you can take them apart as two separate duffel bags. It comes in three sizes and combines hardside materials on the bottom with softside on top, which aced our Lab’s durability tests.
Best Luggage for Long Trips: L.L.Bean Luggage
If you’re going away for weeks or just have lots to pack, L.L.Bean’s duffels are roomy enough to stuff with everything you need. There are options with or without wheels and lots of sizes to choose from (the extra-large bag is incredibly durable and one of our experts’ go-to picks for vacations with kids). The flexible shape also allows it to store easily under your bed, so it’s perfect for college students or summer camp goers. It’s also made of sturdy, water-resistant nylon fabric to last no matter where your travels take you.
Best Luggage for Infrequent Flyers: American Tourister Luggage
If you don’t use luggage regularly — i.e. it doesn’t need to be the most durable and you don’t need all the bells and whistles —American Tourister offers good value and a good variety to choose from. There are lots of options if you prefer bright colors and fun prints, plus there are cases for the entire family, including a Disney collection. Ideal especially for vacationers, the models are fun and functional between the designs and versatile offerings.
Best Luggage for Business Travel: Samsonite Luggage
Samsonite is another brand that has proven high quality as we’ve tested it over the years, including both hard and soft styles. It has specifically stood out for durability and ease of use: There’s been no struggling to open and close the cases, and packing them has been a breeze thanks to the functional compartments, making them perfect for someone who is constantly on the go.
Best Luggage for Adventure Travel: Eagle Creek Luggage
Whether you’re backpacking through different countries or exploring a national park, Eagle Creek gives you both the convenience and durability you need in a bag. Some have various compartments so you can stay organized (or store dirty laundry separately), and some bags have backpack straps if you need to be hands-free. We especially love the Cargo Hauler Duffel: It’s affordable, spacious, lightweight and folds up into a small pouch for easy storage.
Best Luggage for Flight Crews: TravelPro Luggage
This company was founded by a pilot, and it makes luggage specifically for airline personnel who travel for a living. It’s primarily soft fabric luggage (though it does have some hardside options available). There’s excellent attention to detail that makes frequent flying easier, like cushioning around the handles, self-aligning wheels that let you roll the luggage in any direction and abrasion-resistant nylon fabric. These features help the cases stand out in our consumer tests, earning rave reviews as users pull it through an obstacle course.
Best Luxury Luggage: Bric’s Luggage
If you’re willing to splurge, Bric’s luggage is both high quality and super chic. The Italian brand is best known for its leather, which it even uses as trim on non-leather suitcases. The Bellagio spinner was a top performer in our test: It was lightweight yet held a lot inside and proved to be durable. And if you’re on a budget, check out the brand’s sale section — it has some of its bestselling styles in last season’s colors.
Best Classic Hardside Luggage: Rimowa Luggage
Rimowa has always been at the cutting edge of luggage materials and made the first polycarbonate suitcase in 2000. It only makes hardside luggage but has several different collections ranging from the Essential Lite, which is the lightest and least expensive, to the Original, which is made of durable aluminum and clever packing compartments. It’s expensive — the cheapest case is over $500! – but its polycarbonate spinner was among the best in our test based on its weight, packing space, durability and maneuverability.
Best Printed Luggage: Heys Luggage
This brand increases the fun factor and makes it easier to spot your luggage in a sea of dark, solid colors. It has adorable animal sets for young kids, animal prints for adults and more. There are also options for licensed teams and art, making your suitcase a fun yet functional accessory.
Best Customer Service: Tumi Luggage
Rolling TUMI luggage through the airport is like a status symbol; the brand is highly recognized for its luxury products for both business and leisure travelers. In addition to its luggage, it makes accessories like briefcases and backpacks and has components that make traveling easier, like an anti-slip strap on carrying bags and an extra hook on rolling bags so you can wheel multiple items at once. On top of that, the brand stands out for its unique service offerings, like repairs and luggage registration to help you find lost bags.
Our luggage evaluations are conducted in the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Textiles Lab and combine proprietary test methods using specialized equipment with an obstacle course for consumers testers. Each piece of luggage is reviewed for the following factors:
- Size and weight: The case is weighed while empty (and it doesn’t always match the claimed weight in the online listing!) then we check to make sure it meets measurement restrictions for common airlines.
- Ease of packing: We rate how easy it is to open and close the zippers, along with accessibility and convenience of the packing compartments.
- Packing capacity: Using a standard load — for instance, carry-on luggage gets clothing, accessories and toiletries for a three-day, two-night trip — we score the cases based on how much they are able to hold.
- Extra features: We inspect whether there are any additional components that make the luggage noteworthy, such as handles on the side that make it easy to lower and lift, whether it has built-in locks, if the telescopic handle has multiple height options and more.
- Drop test: Our specialized machine drops luggage from a three-foot height and analysts check for signs of damage. The luggage is filled with a standard weight and repeatedly dropped from different angles to mimic real use.
- Abrasion and scratch tests: To check the durability of the outer surface, we perform scratch tests on hardside luggage and abrasion tests on softside luggage using lab equipment.
- Water resistance: Using blotting paper on the inside of the zipper, we pour on water and measure how much seeps through to the inside.
- Consumer tests: After filling each case with a standard weight and setting up an obstacle course that requires lifting and rolling around cones, in and out of doorways, over different surfaces and more, our reviewers provide feedback on aspects like ease of use, sturdiness, wheel performance and maneuverability. They also share their feedback on appearance and overall satisfaction.
GH Executive Textiles Director Lexie Sachs, checking the inside of a carry-on luggage sample to inspect spaciousness and features during packing tests.
GH Senior Textiles Analyst, Emma Seymour, loading swatches of luggage fabric into an abrasion tester to see how well they’ll hold up to wear and tear.
Sachs reviewing maneuverability features, such as wheel performance and ease of raising and lowering the telescopic handle and.
Is soft or hardside luggage better?
It’s really a matter of personal preference. Both types have done well in our tests, but each has its own set of advantages (and disadvantages) that can help you decide which material is right for you. Here’s what to keep in mind as you shop:
✔️Hardside Luggage: These cases have becoming increasingly popular because they’re often durable, attractive and lightweight. But it’s important to pick out the right type of material, since not all hard shell cases are the same:
- Polycarbonate: It’s lighter than metals (like aluminum) yet more durable than plastic, making it the most common hardside material on the market. Polycarbonate is known for its high impact resistance — i.e. it’s protective against drops — but it has a lower scratch resistance. That being said, sometimes a special coating can be applied to prevent scuff marks.
- ABS Plastic: Most low-cost hardside luggage is made of this material. It’s more affordable and more lightweight than polycarbonate, but not as durable and can be prone to scratches.
- Polycarbonate/ABS Composites: You can find luggage that combines these materials, typically using ABS plastic underneath with a polycarbonate coating on top. The hybrid gives you benefits of both, but still isn’t as strong as 100% polycarbonate.
- Aluminum: The metal is more durable, but it’s heavier and more expensive than polycarbonate and ABS, making it a less popular choice.
✔️Softside Luggage: Because it’s fabric-based, it may be easier to stuff into tight spaces and fill up with more items. The material also doesn’t show scratches or dents, though certain fabrics can abrade more easily over time so you still need to shop with care:
- Nylon: It’s the most common material in soft fabric luggage. A synthetic fiber, it’s highly durable and can withstand abrasion, making it ideal for frequent travelers who are rough on their bags. Nylon is also fairly water-resistant.
- Polyester: This one’s also synthetic, but it’s typically less expensive and more lightweight than nylon. The downside is that it’s also less durable, though we’ve seen some polyester suitcases with good abrasion resistance in our tests.
More luggage shopping tips
Besides the material, factor in your type of travel, length of trip and other individual needs when considering these aspects:
✔️Size: Do you need a carry-on size that can come onto an airplane with you, or a checked case that holds more of your load? Even after choosing between these categories, there may be multiple sizes available in each. While a larger suitcase can fit more inside, it’ll also weigh more and take up more storage space.
✔️Weight: Hardside isn’t always heavier than softside luggage, but added components like wheels and handles can certainly add weight. Besides airline weight limits, a heavier suitcase can also be a burden to carry while traveling.
✔️Wheels: Your options are no wheels, two wheels and four wheels. Four-wheel luggage is the easiest to maneuver because it can be pushed, pulled and moved in all directions, plus you can tip it back and use it like a two-wheeler. Two wheels only roll when you tilt the luggage, and you can only pull it back and forth instead of side to side.
✔️Handles: The telescopic handle should be easy to lift and lower and should be comfortable to hold, especially for larger luggage with a heavy load. Also consider side handles — especially for carry-on luggage — if you’re going to be lifting and lowering the luggage throughout your trip.
✔️Compartments: Consider whether you prefer a large open space that can hold a big load or smaller compartments to keep you organized. Some luggage also has exterior pockets for easy access, but this may take away from packing space on the inside.
Why trust Good Housekeeping?
Lexie Sachs is the Executive Director of the Textiles, Paper & Apparel Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Fiber Science from Cornell University and more than 15 years experience in the textiles industry, including merchandising and product development for home products. Lexie joined Good Housekeeping in 2013 and has extensively tested all types of travel gear —including carry-on suitcases, backpacks, packing cubes and more — using specialized lab equipment and with hundreds of consumer testers.
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