Our evaluations and opinions are not influenced by our advertising relationships, but we may earn a commission from our partners’ links. This content is created independently from TIME’s editorial staff. Learn more.
There’s nothing quite as enticing as the bite of the travel bug. Whether it’s soaking up the sun on white-sand beaches, checking off another country on your bucket list or adventuring through a new city, wanderlust inspires millions of jetsetters each year.
Though traveling is a thrill, it can also be stressful. You can't control every aspect of your trip, from flight delays and jet lag to language barriers. However, you can remove some of the anxiety of packing by choosing a piece of luggage that’s dependable, adaptable — and will last you for many miles to come.
Here, we tested various luggage brands to identify the top contenders.
What to consider when buying luggage
Unless you frequently travel for work or you lead a digital nomad lifestyle, you probably only purchase new luggage every five or so years. Suitcases with wheels, duffels and even backpacks experience normal wear-and-tear over time, but generally speaking they should be able to keep up.
When we tested top picks from leading luggage brands, we considered a variety of factors:
- Types of Travel
- Size and Measurements
- Budget and Warranty
- User Reviews
Talk to any traveler, and they’ll have a specific opinion on hard-sided vs. soft-sided suitcases. While some prefer the extra layer of protection that hard-sided luggage provides, others value the ability to pack just a little more in a soft-sided option. Soft-sided luggage may withstand baggage piled on top (like under a plane), but it could get soaked in a sudden downfall on a tarmac. Hard-sided luggage isn’t always pliable to fit in overhead compartments in an aircraft, but it won’t soak up water. Both have pros and cons, so consider your travel habits when purchasing a product.
Types of travel
There are many ways to see the country — or the planet. Some folks are fans of flying the friendly skies, while others would prefer to drive or take a train. Others like to explore via cruise, whether through the Caribbean, the Alaskan frontier or the Everglades. When you choose the luggage, it needs to be something that can move how you do: suitcases that meet the size requirements on airplanes, duffels that are easier to pack in the trunk, and so on.
Size and measurements
These days, nearly all luggage brands will ensure their carry-ons are small enough to fit in overhead compartments. However, you may still run into issues if you take a quick jaunt between two cities like New York and Boston and the overhead bin is way too small. If you are someone who wants to avoid checking a bag in all scenarios, opt for the smallest carry-on size you can find. If you take longer trips or you’re a parent who needs to pack more gear, consider a checked-bag option that gives you more room.
Budget and warranty
Since luggage is an investment you only make every few years, you may be willing to spend a bit more. However, some people may be unable to shell out the cash for a suitcase. When reviewing luggage, we kept various price points in mind — and we considered the warranty. Accidents and damage happen, so a solid warranty can give a traveler peace of mind.
The best way to understand the value of a product is to hear from other people. While our reviewer personally tested each product, they are only a sample of one. When deciding on our final selections, we scoured the internet for verified reviews to help guide our process. All prices are current as of this writing, but you should check for deals!
The top 5 luggage brands of 2023
Best for carry-on luggage: Monos Hybrid Carry-On Luggage
For the modern traveler, you can’t go wrong with this highly-coveted luggage brand, Monos. With a landslide of rave reviews online, we vote this hard-sided suitcase as the best fit for travelers who typically make long weekend trips.
It’s not only beautifully designed with elegant colors, including champagne, obsidian and silver, but the inside compartments create an excellent organization while still being flexible. It has two TSA-approved reliable locks for valuables when you’re traveling somewhere unfamiliar. The aerospace-grade polycarbonate shell is different from most hard-sided suitcases made with aluminum, so you can expect fewer dings.
The only downside we could find was from some reviewers who said their carry-on was slightly damaged when they were forced to check it instead of carrying it on. However, in our testing, it was very durable, easy to roll and lightweight — all qualities essential to a wanderlust.
- Sleek design and durability
- Flexible organization
- Reliable lock and safety
- Increased wear and tear if checked
- Price: $395
- Material: Aerospace-grade, water-resistant German polycarbonate hard shell, anodized aluminum frame and corner guards, 350D antimicrobial interior fabric and ultra-microfibre vegan leather details
- Warranty: They offer a 100-day trial on all our luggage. After 100 days, if any part of your Hybrid Carry-On suitcase breaks, they will fix or replace it – guaranteed.
- Colors: Champagne, obsidian and silver.
Best for road trips: Filson Rugged Twill Rolling 4-Wheel Carry-On Bag
Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, Filson is a fan favorite for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Though they do fall on the pricier side for luggage brands, it’s a worthwhile investment, especially since they offer a lifetime warranty. They use the highest-quality materials, and this four-wheel carry-on bag is crafted with abrasion-resistant twill and bridle leather straps.
Its soft design makes it a no-brainer for a car ride, and its size is compatible with most airline carry-on restrictions, so you can easily take it on a plane, too. The only drawbacks are the lack of color variety, the high price points, and the heavy materials. Even without anything in this bag, it’s hefty.
- Expert craftsmanship
- Sturdy and durable
- Beautifully designed
- Heavy materials
- Only two color options
- Price: $650
- Material: Rugged twill and leather
- Size/Measurements: 22”H X 14”W X 9”D
- Warranty: Lifetime
- Colors: Tan and Otter Green
Best for business travelers: Victorinox Spectra 3.0 Frequent Flyer Carry-On
This is our top pick for business travelers. From the Swiss Army brand, this Victorinox carry-on is ideal for frequent fliers (hence the name) who don’t need much to get up and go. Its super-compact size makes it easy to fit in nearly all overhead compartments, and the sleek design makes it appropriate to bring into the office if you need to.
Fans of this brand tend to be the ones who pack light, fly frequently and don’t want much fuss with their luggage. Some online reviewers complain about the size for leisure travel since it doesn’t allow much space for frequent outfit changes or packing for various climates. Others noted the zipper and the handle could be wonky after a while, but most were happy with the quality of their purchase.
It’s important to note the warranty for this brand, too: the first year your suitcase is covered by The Total Protection Program, which includes repair expenses, shipping costs to and from the repair center and/or a replacement of identical or equivalent value. However, from years 2 to 11, the luggage is protected by the Victorinox Quality Warranty Program, which only covers the repair expenses or a replacement product (identical or equivalent value) if your product is beyond repair. It also covers the shipping cost from the repair center (but not to it).
- Durable and long-lasting
- Sleek design
- Too small for a weekend trip
- Wonky zipper and handle
- Price: $520
- Material: Main Body: Made with SORPLAS™, a high-performance recycled polycarbonate by Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation
- Size/Measurements: Exterior (without handle or wheels): 9.1 x 13.8 x 21.7 in
- Warranty: See here
- Colors: Black and red
Best for long trips: Ricardo Beverly Hills Malibu Bay 3.0 Check-In Suitcase
For those who save up their PTO for one (or two) long trips a year, you need a checked bag that can go the distance — and offer some wiggle room for packing. If this sounds like you, you’ll love the line of checked bags in various sizes from Ricardo Beverly Hills. Made of durable materials with an anti-abrasion treatment, these suitcases are not only functional but long-lasting. We appreciate the simple yet modern design and the lightweight nature that makes it easy to roll. Most reviewers were satisfied with their purchase, with only a few who noted a wobbly wheel or two. Overall though, it’s an affordable investment for your upcoming getaways.
- Potential wobbly wheel
- Price: $179
- Material: Main Body: Weather- and abrasion-resistant heathered polyester with a coating applied to wear areas for exceptional performance
- Size/Measurements: Exterior (without handle or wheels): 27.25 H x 18.5 W x 10.25 D
- Warranty: 10-year limited warranty. It covers defects due to faulty material or workmanship, subject to normal conditions of use. Specifically, warranty coverage includes defects resulting in: cracked hardside shells, broken wheels, handles or telescoping handles that are no longer usable, zippers that no longer open or close, and seams that become unsewn and render the luggage unusable, non-functional TSA locks.
- Colors: Stellar gray and astral blue
Best for kids: State Bags Logan Suitcase
We can’t forget about kiddos in our review! If you’re looking for the first suitcase for your six-year-old that will last until they’re old enough for an adult bag, State Bags is the best option. It comes in a wide variety of color schemes and designs — so you can fulfill the wish of a little princess or pirate — and it’s also made of high-quality, recycled materials. The main body is made of cotton, and the inside is created with 100 percent recycled polyester.
Verified reviewers rave about the wheels, which are easy for young children to roll through airports without assistance. And since kids are notoriously messy (and so is traveling), many reviewers appreciate the ability to easily wipe this suitcase clean before storing it for the next trip. Psst: if you have a toddler, they also have a Mini Logan, ideal for jet setters starting at age three.
The only downside of this suitcase is the warranty, which is only valid for one year, beginning from the date of purchase — and only from authorized retailers. If the product is purchased from an unauthorized or off-price retailer, this will automatically void the warranty.
- Wide variety of designs and colors
- Easy to clean
- Easy to roll for small children
- Limited warranty
- Price: $220
- Material: Main Body: 100% Cotton; Interior Lining: 100% Recycled Polyester
- Size/Measurements: Exterior (without handle or wheels): H: 18.7" W: 13.4" D: 9.45"; Exterior (with wheels + fully extended handle): H: 37.4" W: 13.4" D: 9.45"
- Warranty: STATE offers a 1-year warranty on its bags and accessories. This warranty is valid for one year, beginning on the date of purchase from State or one of our authorized retailers. Kindly note, if the product is purchased from an unauthorized or off-price retailer, this will automatically void the warranty.
- Colors: Camo, Pink/Silver, Rainbow Tie Dye, Navy/Neon, Indigo Patchwork, Painterly Animal, Pink Checkerboard, Blue Checkerboard, LoveShackFancy Collab
How we found the best luggage brands of 2023
There’s a variety of carry-on luggage on the market—and a lot of it can look the same. That’s why we conducted our own research to find the best luggage brands that stood out from the rest, comparing average prices, features, materials used, customer service, and reviews. In addition, we consulted with frequent travelers for their recommendations in our initial research, and tested bags in person for durability, to find the best luggage brands for each category.
The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.