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Best Hardside Luggage 2018: 8 Top Rated Suitcases

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The date is approaching. And now you are looking for new luggage. Hard or soft luggage? That’s one of the first questions they ask you at the shop. If you most likely are going to buy a hardside suitcase, then you have found yourself in the right place. In this article we talk about how to choose the best hardside luggage yourself, plus we compare some of the best hardside suitcases available.

What else – here we also talk about the disadvantages and advantages of hardside suitcases, and about some other things one does need to know when choosing hard shell suitcase. Let’s dive in now, shall we?

RELATED: 12 Best Carry on Suitcases

Bags and Suitcases on Trolley - Best Hardside Luggage

Best Hardside Luggage

Now let’s take a look at the list of the best hardside luggage!

All of the suitcases on this list are available in several sizes and come in different colors. To read more about every one of them scroll down! For more photos, latest price and user reviews check them out on Amazon – just click on the name or image of the suitcase!

To learn more about hardside suitcases and how to choose the one for yourself, scroll down a bit!

NAMEIMAGESIZECATEGORYPRICE ON AMAZON
*** - our favorites
Samsonite Black Label Cosmolite20", 28", 30", 33"

(50.8, 71, 76.2, 84 cm)
Best lightweightCheck the price!
Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds16", 20", 24", 28"

(40.6, 50.8, 61, 71 cm)
Best lightweightCheck the price!
AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner20", 24", 28"

(50.8, 61, 71 cm)
Best budgetCheck the price!
Delsey Luggage Chatelet21", 24", 28"

(53.3, 61, 71 cm)
Best fashionableCheck the price!
Briggs & Riley Sympatico***21", 27", 30"

(53.3, 68.6, 76.2 cm)
Best premierCheck the price!
Samsonite Omni PC***20", 24", 28"

(50.8, 61, 71 cm)
Best overallCheck the price!
Delsey Luggage Helium Aero***19", 21", 25", 29"

(48.3, 53.3, 63.5, 73.7 cm)
Best overallCheck the price!
Samsonite Luggage Inova Spinner20", 28", 30"

(50.8, 71, 76.2 cm)
Best midrangeCheck the price!

Our Favorite: Briggs & Riley Sympatico

Sizes available: 21″, 27″, 30″.

Colors: several options, including black, blue, red.

Material: 100% virgin polycarbonate.

Wheels: double, multi-directional (360°) spinner wheels.

Pros:

  • strong and durable;
  • smartly designed;
  • has CX expansion-compression system and garment compression panels;
  • has a suiter in one of its compartments;
  • has double spinner wheels;
  • retractable telescoping handle which locks into 3 different heights is located on the outside of the case, and is made of aircraft quality aluminium.

Cons:

  • it’s expensive.

Finding the Best Hardside Luggage for Yourself

What to look for in hardside luggage? How to find the best hardside luggage for yourself? What size should you choose? What material is better and sturdier? How heavy hardside luggage is? Answers to all these questions, and not only that, you will find here.

If at the end you will still have some questions about hardside luggage, do not hesitate to contact us!

Hard or Soft Luggage?

Hardside vs softside luggage? We can’t really tell you which luggage is better – softside or hardside, because, in our opinion, there is no one answer. We believe that for many material of the luggage is just a matter of choice. Every type of luggage, just like any other thing, has its own advantages and disadvantages.

In this article we will focus on hardside luggage. Read on to find out what are the advantages and disadvantages of it.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Hardside Luggage

Here is the list of advantages and disadvantages of hardside luggage we have come up with .

Advantages:

  • Absorbs impact better than softside luggage;
  • Material is thicker than that of the softside luggage;
  • More secure since it’s not that easy to cut through fabric and break into a suitcase that easily;
  • More water and weather resistant than softside luggage;
  • Some of the best hardside suitcases are coated with scratch-resistant finish, this means they will look as new even after a few trips;
  • Waaaaaay easier to clean.

Disadvantages of hardside luggage:

  • Take up more space when they are open, and doesn’t collapse for storage;
  • Doesn’t have outer pockets;
  • Unless it’s not coated with scratch-resistant finish it shows wear faster than softside luggage.

Aluminum Suitcase - Best Hardside Luggage

Best Hard Luggage Material

ABS, polypropylene, polycarbonate, aluminum – these are the materials that are most commonly used in the construction of hardside luggage.

Luggage made of ABS material (e.g. AmazonBasics hardside spinner) is lightweight yet as not as durable as the luggage that is made of other materials mentioned above. Luggage made of ABS material is also always cheaper than hardside suitcases made of other material.

Polycarbonate is one of the most popular materials used in the construction of hard case luggage (e.g. Briggs & Riley Sympatico). It is durable and also flexible, hence it is resistant to rough handling. Not only it is durable but also lightweight.

Luggage made of polypropylene (e.g. Samsonite Black Label Cosmolite spinner) is very lightweight but not as durable as luggage made of polycarbonate.

Luggage made of aluminum (e.g. Rimowa Topas) is one of the most expensive hardside luggage on the market. It looks more professional, and is very durable. Also this kind of luggage is more weather resistant. Unfortunately it’s heavier than other types of hardside luggage.

Size and Weight of a Suitcase

When buying luggage check how much does it weight. Do not buy overly heavy luggage as it will use up much of the weight allowance! Especially if you travel with a carry on only!

2 Wheel vs 4 Wheel

2 wheel suitcases have 2 in-line skate wheels that aren’t multidirectional. Which means that the suitcase has to be pulled and tugged, thus it puts strain on your shoulders and arms.

4 wheel suitcases are more stable and easier to roll around. You don’t have to pull and tug a 4 wheel suitcase, unlike the one with 2 in-line skate wheels. 4 wheel luggage can be rolled upright right beside you, so there is no strain on shoulders and arms.

2 wheel suitcases work better on rougher roads (gravel, dirt), especially those with larger wheels.

4 Wheel vs 8 Wheel

8 wheel luggage is spinner luggage that has 4 dual wheels.

This kind of luggage is more stable and less prone to fall into a crack. Also 8 wheel luggage lasts longer as it has more wheels. That means – less load per wheel.

People in Airport - Best Hardside Luggage

Suitcase Handles

Before buying a new suitcase check where the grab handles are located! Is there a handle at the top? At the bottom? On the side? Most checked suitcases have a grab handle at the top and on one of the sides. Carry on luggage sometimes lack a side handle.

Also it’s really cool to have a handle at the bottom of the suitcase. A lot of travelers admit, that it would be easier to pick up a suitcase or take it down from the overhead compartment if it would have a sturdy bottom handle, too!

Checked Baggage vs Carry On?

Well, that depends on your packing skills and / or duration of your trip! There are plenty of people who can travel for several months with a carry on bag, and there are people who go on a vacation with two suitcases! What kind of traveler are you?

Top Rated Luggage Brands

If you travel at least once a year, we recommend you to invest in good quality luggage.

Rather than buying several cheap (and badly built!) suitcases in a row at a discount store get yourself a good suitcase from a reputable and popular brand! These reputable luggage brands are known worldwide, and for a good reason! And often times they aren’t that much more expensive than those cheap discount store bags.

For example a cheap softside suitcase costs as little as $35, but a nice Samsonite spinner case costs starting at $80, and Kenneth Cole spinner costs starting at$60. Not that much of a difference?

Here is a list of some of the most popular luggage brands:

  • Briggs & Riley – quality premier luggage;
  • Samsonite – affordably priced and mid-randge luggage, popular worldwide;
  • Kenneth Cole – affordably priced, good quality lightweight luggage;
  • Delsey – affordably priced and mid-range, quality luggage;
  • Travelpro – good quality, mid-range luggage, used by pilots and flight attendants;
  • American Tourister – good quality at lower prices.

Luggage Sets

If you are thinking of purchasing more than one suitcase we recommend you to check out luggage sets. Buying luggage in sets usually is cheaper than by the piece.

To find out more about luggage sets check out this article.

RELATED: Best Luggage Sets

Top Rated Hardside Luggage: Reviews

Best Lightweight Checked Luggage

1. Samsonite Black Label Cosmolite Spinner Review

At only 6.2 lbs (2.8 kg) the Samsonite Cosmolite is the most lightweight checked luggage (28″) on this list. Even 33″ luggage is super lightweight – mere 8 lbs (3.6 kg).

The Cosmolite is created using Curv® technology which enables Samsonite to create its lightest and most durable suitcases. Curv® is a reinforced material made from woven threads of polypropylene. It is exclusive to Samsonite.

The Cosmolite a sandwich-type suitcases with a zippered divider and interior compression straps. It features 4 durable, multi-directional spinner (360°) wheels that roll smoothly and effortlessly. The case has durable grab handles – one on the top and one on the side.

The Cosmolite also has a built in, TSA-compatible combination lock.

Sizes available: 20″, 28″, 30″, 33″.

Colors: black, grey, blue and red.

2. Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds Review

Not as lightweight as the Samsonite Cosmolite but still slightly lighter than most suitcases on the market.

Thanks to its lightweight construction the Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds 28″ suitcase weights only 9.6 lbs (4.4 kg).

The Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds luggage is elegant and durable. It is made of strong ABS (a common thermoplastic polymer), and has molded corner reinforcement for maximum impact resistance. Suitcases feature 4 durable, multi-directional spinner (360°) wheels that roll smoothly in any direction.

Just like the other suitcases on this list, the Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds suitcases are sandwich-type suitcases with a zippered divider and interior compression straps. There’s also an interior zippered pouch that can be used to store small items such as cables, accessories, etc.

Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds series include also a small, 16″ suitcase that is perfect for short trips and minimalist travelers. It isn’t an underseater, hence it doesn’t fit under a plane seat, but it’s small and lightweight enough (only 5 lbs. / 2.3 kg) to be a perfect bag for a short trip.

Sizes available: 16″, 20″, 24″, 28″.

Colors: several choices, including blue, red and grey.

Best Budget Hardside Luggage

3. AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Luggage Review

AmazonBasics hardside luggage – probably the best inexpensive luggage on the market.

The shell of AmazonBasics luggage is made of thick and durable ABS, a common thermoplastic, and has scratch-resistant finish. This means that luggage will look like new even after a few trips. Even though AmazonBasics luggage is cheap it still features 4 multi-directional spinner wheels.

Inside there is a zippered divider that creates a large zippered compartment on one of the halves of the suitcase. Also there are two zippered mesh pockets for storing small items, and, as usual, interior compression straps.

AmazonBasics hardside suitcases are expandable for up to 15% additional packing capacity.

Sizes available: 20″, 24″, 28″.

Colors: several choices, including black, light blue and navy.

Best Fashionable Hardside Luggage

4. Delsey Chatelet Hard+ Luggage Review

Very beautiful elegant luggage, a perfect choice for female business travelers.

This mid-range suitcase is top rated hard shell luggage. It has silent and smooth-rolling double spinner wheels and unique Stop-and-Go brake system which is activated with a Stop/Go button. It locks the two front wheels of the suitcase, preventing it from rolling away while allowing to roll the suitcase on the two back wheels.

The Delsey Chatelet luggage is sandwich-type. But unlike the other sandwich-type suitcases I have reviewed in this article it has two full, zippered packing compartments on both halves of the suitcase. Also there are 3 zippered pockets for storing small items and electronics.

Delsey Chatelet suitcases have built-in, TSA-accepted luggage lock.

If you plan to buy Delsey Chatelet luggage get yourself a matching Chatelet tote bag, too!

Sizes available: 21″, 24″, 28″.

Colors: champagne and brown.

Best Premier Luggage

5. Briggs & Riley Sympatico Luggage Review

Briggs & Riley offers high quality, smartly designed premier luggage. Briggs & Riley suitcases, both softside and hardside, are among the most durable luggage on the market.

The shell of this Briggs & Riley luggage is made of 100% virgin polycarbonate which is strong and durable.

The Briggs & Riley Sympatico has CX expansion-compression system that increases packing capacity by 22%, then compresses back to original size to keep contents secure. There are garment compression panels on the inside of the suitcase. These prevent garments from shifting and acquiring wrinkles.

On the other half of the suitcase there is a zippered compartment perfect for storing shoes or suits. There is a suiter in this compartment.

Just like the Delsey Chatelet, also this luggage has double spinner wheels. Such luggage is more stable and less prone to fall into a crack.

The retractable telescoping handle of the luggage is made of aircraft quality aluminium and locks in 3 different heights. The good thing is that is located on the outside of the case, hence luggage has more packing space.

The Briggs & Riley Sympatico also features a built-in TSA-compatible luggage lock.

If you want to get yourself also a good quality backpack for your next trip, I have good news – Briggs & Riley Sympatico backpack is available, too!

Sizes available: 21″, 27″, 30″.

Colors: several options, including black, blue, red.

Overall Best Hard Shell Luggage

6. Samsonite Omni PC Luggage Review

Samsonite Omni PC luggage is my favorite Samsonite luggage. It’s durable, it looks good and it’s also affordable.

Micro-diamond texture of the suitcase shell is extremely scratch-resistant. It keeps cases beautiful and scratch-less even after a few trips! The shell of the suitcase itself is durable as it is made of polycarbonate.

Samsonite Omni PC luggage has 4 lightweight spinner wheels and a push-button retractable handle. These suitcases are expandable, and feature integrated, TSA compatible combination locks.

Samsonite Omni suitcases feature organized interior for easy packing – they feature a mesh divider and interior compression straps.

Sizes available: 20″, 24″, 28″.

Colors: several choices, including blue and black.

7. Delsey Helium Aero Luggage Review

Made of 100% polycarbonate, Delsey Helium Aero is among the best hard case luggage on the market.

Delsey suitcases have a retractable handle that locks into two positions. It is made of industrial grade aluminium, and has molded ergonomic comfort grip handle. Luggage also feature 4 dual, multi-directional spinner wheels.

Delsey Helium Aero suitcases expand up to 2″(5 cm) for additional packing space. Inside there are interior compression straps and a zippered divider, as well as a zippered interior pocket perfect for storing cables and other small items.

Delsey Helium Aero luggage also features integrated 3-dial TSA-compatible combination lock.

Sizes available: 19″, 21″, 25″, 29″.

Colors: several choices, including red, blue and black.

Best Midrange Hard Shell Luggage

8. Samsonite Inova Spinner Luggage Review

The Samsonite Inova Spinner is one of the most elegant suitcases I have ever seen! Not without a reason it’s among the best hardside luggage available!

Samsonite Inova suitcases are pricier than other Samsonite suitcases I have reviewed in this and previous articles but it is totally worth the money!

This sleek luggage is made of polycarbonate – material designed for high impact resistance. It has dual multi-directional spinner wheels which are more durable and stable than regular spinner wheels. Samsonite Inova luggage also features flat retractable handle, which stores neatly inside and doesn’t really stick out.

Inside of the luggage there is a flexible mesh fabric divider and cross straps to prevent garments from shifting.

Sizes available: 20, 28, 30

Colors: Metallic silver, Indigo blue.

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Una Baufala

Author: Una Baufala

Una is a traveler and travel blogger from Latvia. Apart from traveling and exploring new places she loves to read books. And she adores cats. Together with Kaspars they have been traveling – volunteering – working abroad since October 2013. WeAreFromLatvia.com is where she shares her travel experiences.

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