Jul 18, 2023

11 Best Checked Luggage of 2023, Tested & Reviewed

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Smooth and durable spinners, hard-shell bags and softside suitcases for epic trips.

If you're headed on a long trip or you identify as an overpacker, a larger piece of checked luggage is a key accessory for bringing everything you'll need and more to your next vacation destination. Even if your bag technically fits the airline's carry-on specs, another huge perk of checking your bag is that you won't have to deal with lugging it through security, worry about having to gate-check it on a packed flight or hoist it into an overhead bin. (If you're concerned about losing your bag once it's out of your hands, you can always try one of our expert-approved luggage trackers to pinpoint the location of your personal travel gear.)

With so many luggage brands to choose from, once you've decided to opt for a piece of checked luggage, it can be difficult to decide which suitcases are worth it, especially since bigger bags can cost bigger bucks. That's where the Good Housekeeping Institute experts come in.

In recent years, we've evaluated more than 40 suitcases, including carry-on bags, underseat luggage, smart suitcases, duffels and checked luggage. We test them in our Lab, packing and unpacking them, using special equipment that drops them from a three-foot height, measuring their materials' abrasion and scratch resistance and more. We also set up an obstacle course for testers to roll the bags over and through. Along with conducting in-Lab testing, we share the luggage with our consumer testers, who try the bags out on their own trips and provide us with feedback about their experiences.

After our list, keep reading to learn more about how we test luggage and what you should know before you shop. But first, here are our picks for the best checked luggage (all large checked size) that we've put to the test or selected from brands whose products we've previously tested and love.

Best Luggage Brands | Best Carry-On Luggage | Best Underseat Luggage | Best Hardside Luggage | Best Luggage on Amazon | Best Kids' Luggage | Best Duffel Bags | Best Smart Luggage | Best Travel Backpacks

After more than 15 years of evaluating luggage, Samsonite's bags continue to stand out in our Lab tests. This style in particular is one of our favorite models, thanks to its l ightweight design and easy-to-use features. At just 10.5 pounds, it's one of the lightest of our picks, but it's still durable: In our abrasion tests, the polyester material showed no signs of wear.

When we evaluated other models from the SoLyte collection, their wheels received high scores for gliding smoothly through our obstacle course, navigating twists and turns and tackling different surfaces. Our testers who've tried Samsonite luggage have shared that the telescopic handles feel flimsy, but they appreciate that the handles are adjustable and can be locked into place at different heights.

Inside the bag is one large open space to pack your things, and there are plenty of pockets, including mesh and zippered pockets for organization. Easily accessible outer pockets are ideal for storing your travel essentials. For even more room to bring home souvenirs on your vacation, the checked bag can be expanded by almost another inch.

Available at one of the lowest price points of all the luggage we recently evaluated, this hardside suitcase from Open Story at Target doesn't skimp on quality. The carry-on size of this pick received the highest scores in our tests, beating out other well-known, pricier bags. The polycarbonate shell proved durable, impressing us after withstanding repeated drops without major dents or damage, but we did notice some scuffs and wear in our scratch test. You can choose among four trendy colors that our testers said had a "cute, modern" look, and they loved the sleek design.

When testers rolled the smaller size through our obstacle course setup, they gave the bag high scores for being easy to maneuver, sharing that the wheels moved smoothly around cones and over curbs. The interior is spacious and easy to pack, with two primary zippered compartments that have built-in mesh storage pockets, plus compression straps to keep belongings securely in place. Another nice bonus: It comes with a removable zippered laundry bag to store your dirty clothes.

With more than 29,000 five-star reviews on Amazon and an average rating of 4.6 stars, this hardside spinner suitcase from Amazon Basics is solid evidence that you don't need to break the bank to buy a quality piece of luggage.

In addition to impressing tens of thousands of online reviewers, this collection of bags also wowed us and our consumer testers. The suitcase is made with ABS plastic, which isn't as durable as polycarbonate material but helps keep the cost low — less than $130 for a 30-inch bag. Plus, it performed well in our durability assessments, showing some marks in our scratch test but resisting major dents and damage in our drop test.

When our testers rolled the carry-on-size model through our obstacle course setup, they loved the smooth-rolling wheels, with one tester saying the bag was "very easy to move." However, they shared that the telescopic handle felt notably less sturdy than other suitcases they tested. Packing it was a breeze, thanks to its spacious interior with a large zippered compartment, smaller pockets to help with organization and a compression strap to secure your things. You can even expand the bag for extra packing space.

After conducting tests for our Away luggage review, we have to say that the trendy bags are worth investing in.

Its hard-shell polycarbonate material proved to be durable in our tests but is still lighter than even some of the soft fabric suitcases we reviewed. When we repeatedly dropped the carry-on model from our drop tester, there were no dents and no noticeable damage. It even aced our scratch tests with minimal scuffs. The bag unzips into two roomy compartments: One side closes with a zipper, and the other features compression straps that made the packing process simple in our evaluations. Our consumer testers said the telescopic handles could feel sturdier, but they gave the handle high scores for comfort, and they loved the smooth wheels.

What's more, the bag comes with a genuine leather luggage tag to help you identify your suitcase and a removable laundry bag for your dirty clothes. In addition to basic black, there are six popular colors to choose from, including a petal pink and an emerald green, and there's even an option to customize your bag with your initials for an added fee. If committing to purchasing an expensive checked bag makes you nervous, know that Away offers a generous 100-day trial period, so you can test it out and return or exchange it if you need to, even if it's been used.

Travelpro was founded by a pilot who wanted to create luggage for frequent fliers who are rough on their bags, so the brand's suitcases are perfect for regular business travel.

This luxe softside bag comes in six traditional colors, and although some of our testers said the style was a bit old-fashioned, we appreciate the bag's sophisticated design elements, like chrome zippers and genuine leather carrying handles and trim. Other impressive features include a removable garment bag that's ideal for storing a suit or dress, a TSA-compliant toiletry bag and plenty of internal and external pockets for organization, as well as a two-inch zippered expansion that's actually tapered to help prevent your bag from becoming top-heavy and tipping over.

When we evaluated the carry-on model of this suitcase, the nylon fabric proved durable in our abrasion tests, resisting wear. Plus, in other tests, it showed no major signs of damage after being dropped repeatedly, and the zippers were water-resistant, keeping the contents inside the bag nice and dry. During our packing test, we could fit our standard load inside with ease and had plenty of room to spare. Our testers said the cushioned telescopic handle had great grip. Even better, the bag's double spinner wheels are self-aligning to help you roll smoothly through the airport.

Weighing in at just 10.2 pounds, this checked bag from Delsey is the lightest of our picks, but just because the bag is light doesn't mean it isn't durable or spacious.

In our durability tests, the carry-on model of the same bag held up well to repeated dropping without major dents or damages, and the polyester-and-nylon-blend material withstood rubbing from our abrasion machine. During consumer evaluations, our testers said the bag wasn't as easy to maneuver as others they tried, but they gave it good scores overall during use and rated the handle highly for feeling comfortable and sturdy.

The suitcase we evaluated from this collection aced our packing tests, receiving perfect scores for being easy to fill and for holding our standard load. It's important to note that we did have some difficulty opening and closing the zippers while packing the carry-on-size bag, but our testers appreciated all of the zippered compartments for organization, with one enthusing, "I love the pockets." The suitcase unzips into one large opening, complete with compression straps to secure your belongings, a large mesh zippered pocket and a removable bifold toiletry bag.

Plus, there are two outer pockets for easy access to your travel necessities, and the suitcase can be expanded by up to two inches for more room. The inner lining is fully removable, which makes it simple to clean, since you can just take it out and throw it in the washing machine.

Rimowa is a brand that only produces hardside luggage, and it has become a master of its craft. So if you're willing to splurge, the durable suitcases are worth the price.

This traditional ridged suitcase is made of aluminum, and after years of analyzing dozens of suitcase models, we've found aluminum to be the most durable material for hardside luggage. Although we haven't evaluated this particular model, we have put other bags from Rimowa to the test, and they stood out across the board, ranking highly in our maneuverability, durability and packing tests.

Unlike other suitcases we've tested, this one doesn't have a zipper. Instead, there are two secure, easy-open, TSA-approved locks that lift up to reveal two interior storage compartments. Although seemingly simple inside, each compartment contains a divider panel with adjustable straps that can be tightened to compress your things, and the brand says the compression system can help you fit up to 10 days' worth of belongings. As if all those features aren't enough, each compression panel features a large zippered mesh pocket for more organization.

Unfortunately, Rimowa doesn't offer a trial period, so you can return the suitcase only within the 30-day window, and only if it's unused and in its original packaging. If possible, we recommend trying out the bag in a Rimowa store before committing, since the brand's luggage is pricier than other picks on our list.

What sets this bag from Briggs & Riley apart is its innovative design that simplifies packing for longer trips.

When you unzip the bag, it exposes one large, lined compartment to store your belongings and two mesh zippered pockets for smaller items and accessories. Hidden inside the lid of the suitcase is a built-in trifold garment folder with a hook for hangers that's perfect to store your more formal attire. Our testers who tried a smaller model of this bag were impressed by how much they could fit inside, sharing that there was way more space than they expected — ideal for a long trip abroad. Plus, a unique push-button expansion system allows you to easily expand the bag for extra packing space and then compress it down to its standard size once it's been filled.

For a softside bag, it's on the heavier side, weighing in at 15.6 pounds, but it's made with high-quality materials and reinforced at the corners to protect your belongings. When we put the nylon material to the test using our abrasion machine, we were impressed that it showed no signs of wear. And it was the top performer in our most recent round of drop testing; after being loaded into our drop tester and released repeatedly, there were no major dents or damage. Testers said the bag was easy to maneuver through our obstacle course and rated the telescopic handle as sturdy too.

A favorite of our testers, Calpak's Ambeur collection of luggage is the ideal combination of fashion and function. Fittingly, it's available in four trendy metallic shades. This high-quality checked bag is made of polycarbonate and ABS composite material that's lightweight and durable, holding up well during repeated dropping in our tests and avoiding large dents. It did show some signs of wear in our scratch test, but that's common with ABS composites.

When our testers rolled the carry-on model through our obstacle course, they were blown away by its easy-to-use telescopic handle, with one describing it as "the smoothest handle by far" when compared with the other luggage that was being tested. Other testers said the padded handles were comfy to hold and easy to steer with and lift. The interior of the bag is also impressive. Inside, there are two large areas for packing larger belongings, complete with a compression strap and a zippered panel, as well as two additional zippered pockets and a removable toiletry bag. You can even expand the spacious bag by two additional inches to bring souvenirs back with you on your trip home.

Ideal for someone who prefers a sleeker, more minimalist aesthetic, this checked bag from Monos wowed both GH analysts and our consumer testers, making it a winner in Good Housekeeping's 2023 Family Travel Awards.

The durable polycarbonate luggage follows the brand's "less is more" design philosophy but isn't lacking in space or organization. We rated it highly for being easy to pack, with a roomy interior that's divided into two compartments: One is zipper-enclosed, and another has an adjustable compression panel to keep contents secure. Plus, there are three spacious mesh zippered pockets for additional organization.

When testers rolled the suitcase through our obstacle course, they were wowed by how easy it was to maneuver and how smoothly the spinner wheels rolled. "I was pleasantly surprised by how easy this bag was to travel with," shared one tester who took the bag on a trip. "I didn't have to roll it behind me; I could roll it next to me." In our durability assessments, the suitcase managed to hold up to repeated drops without suffering major dents, but the shell did show some marks and scuffs in our scratch test.

Monos also offers a 100-day trial period, which means you can test the bag out and use it for up to 100 days before committing, so you have plenty of time to decide if it's right for you and your travels.

Large checked luggage is meant to hold more of your belongings for longer trips, but as a result, it can take up a significant amount of space in your home when it's not in use. Herschel's new large hardside bag has a narrower design than our other picks, so it's ideal for someone who doesn't have much room for storage. But there's still plenty of room inside the suitcase for packing — the suitcase features an elastic strap to secure your belongings and mesh zippered compartments to store accessories and help you stay organized.

The polycarbonate material performed well in our drop tests without denting, but there were some noticeable scuffs and small scratches. The suitcase's adjustable telescopic handle didn't feel as sturdy as some others as we pulled the bag through our Lab, but we found it to be easy to maneuver around twists and turns and loved the smooth-rolling wheels. Herschel's generous 100-day trial period gives you time to test out the bag for yourself before committing, and if you're a fan of the brand, you can add to your travel gear with its Novel duffel, our pick for best value duffel bag.

In the Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab, we regularly test all kinds of luggage — including larger checked luggage — with our specialized lab equipment and by setting up obstacle courses for testers to navigate. We also share our luggage with consumer testers who are able to try the bags out for themselves. Here's how we evaluate checked bags and other luggage:

✔️ Size and weight : We've found that listed specs for luggage aren't always accurate, so we weigh each piece of luggage while it's empty. Then we measure the luggage to see if it complies with dimension restrictions put in place by most U.S. airlines.

✔️ Ease of use : Along with measuring each suitcase, we rate how easy it is to zip and unzip (as pictured) and consider the accessibility of the packing compartments.

We also evaluate important features like the telescopic handle and the wheels. After packing the bag, we practice rolling it over different surfaces, such as tile, carpet and hardwood, and lift it onto countertops to try out the handles.

✔️ Packing capabilities : We pack each suitcase with a standard load of items, including shoes, clothes and toiletries (as pictured), and score the suitcase based on how much it can hold.

✔️ Abrasion resistance: We cut swatches of fabric from softside luggage and load them into our abrasion machine (as pictured), which rubs the material against an abrasive surface 15,000 times. We then assess the material and grade it for signs of wear.

✔️ Scratch resistance : To determine scratch resistance, we drag a wire over hardside luggage material and then visually assess any scratches, scuffs or marks left behind.

✔️ Drop durability : We fill each suitcase with a standard weight and load it into our drop tester (as pictured). The drop tester releases each piece of luggage from a set height of three feet. We repeat the test in various directions, noting and scoring any damages, dents or imperfections that result.

✔️ Consumer tests: To simulate actual use, we set up a standard course that features a variety of surfaces and obstacles that testers must navigate, such as pulling the suitcase through sharp turns, lifting the bag over curbs, transitioning to different types of flooring (pictured here) and more. To mimic a real travel load, each suitcase is filled with weight before being put to the test. Testers also rate factors like ease of use, comfort and sturdiness of the handles, as well as the performance and smoothness of the wheels and overall maneuverability.

Along with consumer testers trying the luggage in the Lab, we share some pieces with testers who take them on their own trips and provide us with real-user feedback about their experiences.

Here are some things to keep in mind while searching for the best checked luggage for your needs:

✔️ Wheels : In our evaluations, 360º wheels — called "spinner" wheels — have consistently received the best scores for maneuverability. Larger checked luggage should have four wheels, making it easier to roll, push and pull in all directions.

✔️ Telescopic handle : It may not seem like a huge deal, but a solid, sturdy handle can have a big impact on the performance of your luggage. If you get to examine the luggage in person, we recommend testing how easy it is to raise and lower the handle and checking to see if it can be adjusted to different heights. Consider the comfort of the handle as well, and note if it has a good grip or extra padding. Be sure to use the handle with care because jerking or rough use can cause damage over time.

✔️ Top and side handles : Look for luggage that has easy-to-grip top and side handles, which can be helpful when lifting and lowering bags from higher surfaces.

✔️ Compartments: Most larger hardside checked bags unzip and open into two sections, but softside bags tend to have one large open space for packing your belongings. For more organization, opt for a bag with plenty of compartments, whether they're larger mesh storage spaces, small zippered pockets or exterior pockets for easy access while traveling. Many checked bags will also include a built-in garment bag, toiletry bag and/or laundry bag for even more organization.

✔️ Zippers: Try out the zipper by opening and closing the bag a few times to determine if it's easy to use or if you find it to be finicky and difficult to grip. If possible, also try assessing water resistance by placing a small drop of water on the zipper to see if the water seeps through or beads on the surface.

✔️ Weight: Checked luggage can be pretty heavy, even when empty. Most checked bags, hard and soft, weigh between 10 and 13 pounds, but some weigh upwards of 15 pounds. Most airlines have a 50-pound weight limit for checked luggage with belongings inside, so a heavier suitcase can eat up valuable space you'd normally use for your packing load.

✔️ Returns and warranties: Warranties tend to only cover manufacturer defects, which can be difficult to prove. If you're worried about committing to a piece of luggage, instead of focusing on the warranty, check to see if the brand offers an extended trial period and/or an any-reason return policy. This can be especially helpful if you're buying your suitcase online and can't try it out in person first.

Choosing either hardside or softside luggage is really up to your personal preference. Both types of checked luggage have their own advantages and disadvantages, so keep these things in mind while you're making a decision: ✔️ Hardside luggage: Hardside suitcases are growing in popularity because they tend to be durable, stylish and lightweight. Not all hard suitcases are the same, though. These are the most common types of hard material:

✔️ Softside luggage: Fabric-based suitcases are more malleable than hardside bags, so they can be easier to store in tight spaces or stuff full while you're packing. The material is also less susceptible to scratches and dents, but it's subject to abrasion over time. These materials are often used for softside luggage:

Since joining the GH Institute in 2022 as an analyst, Amanda Constantine has tested and written about carry-ons, duffels, travel backpacks and hardside luggage. Amanda also conducted some of the luggage testing for Good Housekeeping's 2023 Family Travel Awards program. For this article, she reviewed former testing data and used her related expertise to make recommendations for the best checked luggage.

Amanda (she/her) researches and reports on products in the Good Housekeeping Institute's Textiles, Paper & Apparel Lab, ranging from clothing and accessories to home furnishings. She holds undergraduate degrees in apparel merchandising and product development and advertising and marketing communications, as well as a master of science degree in consumer sciences from The Ohio State University. Prior to joining Good Housekeeping in 2022, Amanda was a lecturer for the fashion and retail studies program at Ohio State, where she taught fashion and textiles courses.

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Away The Carry-On

Raden A-22 Carry-On

evaluated more than 40 suitcases test them in our Lab, packing and unpacking them, using special equipment that drops them from a three-foot height, measuring their materials' abrasion and scratch resistance Best Luggage Brands Best Carry-On Luggage Best Underseat Luggage Best Hardside Luggage Best Luggage on Amazon Best Kids' Luggage Best Duffel Bags Best Smart Luggage Best Travel Backpacks l ightweight design and easy-to-use features highest scores in our tests, beating out other well-known, pricier bags 29,000 five-star reviews on Amazon and an average rating of 4.6 stars durable in our tests but is still lighter than even some of the soft fabric suitcases we reviewed chrome zippers and genuine leather carrying handles and trim perfect scores for being easy to fill and for holding our standard load the most durable material for hardside luggage innovative design that simplifies packing for longer trips ideal combination of fashion and function "less is more" design philosophy but isn't lacking in space or organization narrower design than our other picks we regularly test all kinds of luggage — including larger checked luggage — with our specialized lab equipment and by setting up obstacle courses for testers to navigate ✔️ Size and weight : ✔️ Ease of use ✔️ Ease of use ✔️ Ease of use ✔️ Ease of use ✔️ Ease of use : ✔️ Packing capabilities : ✔️ Abrasion resistance: ✔️ Scratch resistance : ✔️ Drop durability : ✔️ Consumer tests: ✔️ Wheels ✔️ ✔️ : ✔️ Telescopic handle ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ : ✔️ Top and side handles ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ : ✔️ Compartments: ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ Zippers: ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ Weight: ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ Returns and warranties: ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ Hardside luggage: Polycarbonate : ABS plastic: Polycarbonate/ABS composites : Aluminum: ✔️ Softside luggage: Nylon : Polyester : Amanda Constantine