The Best Checked Luggage of 2022, According to T+L Tests

Our testers raved about Samsonite's stylish Winfield 2 Hardside Luggage.

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Three wheeled suitcases in a living room setting

Travel & Leisure / Jhett Thompson

A checked suitcase is a staple for all travelers, whether you're a regular heavy-duty packer or a carry-on stalwart who occasionally needs a little more room. In either case, there's no need to buy too many checked bags — invest in a single quality piece, and it should last you quite some time. Of course, narrowing down to a single pick isn't necessarily the easiest process. That's why we had our team of travel experts test 27 pieces of checked luggage to help find the best of the best.

The process had us examine suitcases for capacity, maneuverability, and durability through rigorous testing that included navigating an obstacle course and hitting bags with baseball bats. We also weighed other characteristics, such as aesthetic appeal and value for money. Our top pick for the best checked luggage is the 28-inch Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Luggage, a stylish, durable, and spacious suitcase that checks all the boxes for an essential piece of your travel kit.

Here is the best checked luggage we tested:

Best Overall: Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Luggage with Spinner Wheels

4.8
Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Luggage with Spinner Wheels, Charcoal

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Capacity
    5/5
  • Design
    5/5
  • Maneuverability
    4.5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5

Why We Love It: It's lightweight, durable, spacious, and stylish — what more could you ask for of a checked bag?

What to Consider: The shell scuffs pretty easily, though major damage is rare.

Our testers rated this hardside spinner suitcase an impressive 4.9 out of five, making it the top checked bag on our list. Working our way from the outside in, the bag has a sleek polycarbonate exterior that comes in a variety of colors. It's exceptionally durable and breezed through our strenuous testing with hardly a scratch — the polycarbonate is designed to flex slightly to absorb impacts before popping back to its original form. Our testers noted that while the bag sustained no major damage like dents or gashes, it did scuff up slightly, which was their only critique. Testers also praised the suitcase for its smooth maneuverability over a variety of surfaces, including carpet and gravel.

Regarding the bag's interior, our testers praised its expandable storage system, which includes one side with a zippered mesh barrier and one side with compression straps. "The expansion and the divider are SO incredible. I use it to separate my clean clothes from worn ones as the trip goes on," wrote one of our testers.

And finally, this bag falls on the lower side of the mid-market price range, making it a reasonably affordable investment. Overall, the Samsonite Winfield hit all the marks for an exceptional checked suitcase for all kinds of travelers.

Price at time of publish: $310

Weight: 11.5 pounds | Dimensions: 28 x 19.75 x 12.5 inches | Expandable: Yes | Smart: No

Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Luggage, 28-inch

Travel & Leisure / Vicky Wasik

Best Budget: Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds 28-inch Hardside Suitcase

4.8
Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds 28-Inch Hardside Suitcase

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Capacity
    5/5
  • Design
    5/5
  • Maneuverability
    4/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5

Why We Love It: It's very lightweight for a budget pick.

What to Consider: Its wheels don't handle gravel well.

Coming in at a price point that would even be considered affordable for a carry-on bag, this suitcase gives you the best bang for your buck. Pricing aside, the bag serves its purpose well. Our testers found the Kenneth Cole checked suitcase more than roomy enough for a week's worth of clothing — one tester even suggested this bag could be used for a one- or two-month trip. On top of that, the handle, wheels, and exterior are all well-made and durable, though one tester noted that the roller struggled a bit on gravel.

Aesthetically speaking, this is a streamlined, contemporary suitcase, though you can punch up the look by choosing a bold color like kelly green or magenta — there will be no missing your suitcase at the baggage claim. Best of all, this bag comes with a limited 10-year warranty, which is impressive for a budget pick (typically it's the more expensive bags that come with such a long period of protection).

Price at time of publish: $116

Weight: 9.6 pounds | Dimensions: 29.8 x 20.5 x 11.75 inches | Expandable: No | Smart: No

Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds 28-inch Hardshell

Travel & Leisure / Jhett Thompson

Best Hardside: Travelpro Platinum Elite Large Check-In Expandable Hardside Spinner

4.8
Travelpro Platinum Elite Large Check-In Expandable Hardside Spinner

Travelpro

Why We Love It: It's the most easily maneuverable suitcase that we tested.

What to Consider: It ties for the second heaviest bag on this list.

The first thing that caught our eye about this suitcase was its striking exterior. Though it's made of polycarbonate, the shell almost looks like expensive aluminum. The trompe l'oeil is forgivable, though, since polycarbonate is one of the most durable materials out there for hardside suitcases. In fact, our testers noted no damage save for a few superficial scuffs. But perhaps more impressively, this bag is a dream to handle, with our testers rating its maneuverability a five out of five. Its hardware can tackle anything from direction changes on a dime to the textures of all sorts of surfaces.

The only downside of this bag is that it's on the heavier side at just over 12 pounds. Still, our testers didn't find the bag to feel too burdensome, though potential purchasers should note that heftier bags mean you'll be able to fit fewer things inside when it comes to the weight limit.

Price at time of publish: $470

Weight: 12.1 pounds | Dimensions: 30 x 18 x 13.5 inches | Expandable: Yes | Smart: No

Travelpro 28-Inch Platinum Elite Hardside Expandable Spinner Wheel Luggage

Travel & Leisure / Vicky Wasik

Best Softside: SwissTech Executive 29-inch Softside Luggage

4.8
SwissTech Executive 29" 8-Wheel Softside Luggage, Black

Walmart

Our Ratings
  • Capacity
    5/5
  • Design
    4.5/5
  • Maneuverability
    5/5
  • Durability
    4.5/5
  • Value
    5/5

Why We Love It: The bag is highly affordable.

What to Consider: It lacks aesthetic flair.

No, this bag might not dazzle with its design, but what it lacks in aesthetic value it makes up for in pretty much every other category. For starters, its low price point is extremely attractive, particularly when you consider how effective the bag is. Our testers reported that this SwissTech roller is quite spacious, with plenty of room for trips longer than one week. Between the expander and the fact that it's soft-sided, you can really fit a lot in there. Plus, it has a number of pockets both inside and outside that make organization effortless.

The suitcase also performed well on durability and maneuverability tests, only sustaining a slight dent from the impact of a baseball bat and handling the obstacle course like a champ. "This was my favorite bag that I tested today. I feel that it is way better than some of the very expensive ones," wrote one tester.

Price at time of publish: $129

Weight: 10.9 pounds | Dimensions: 29 x 19 x 10.5 inches | Expandable: Yes | Smart: No

SwissTech Executive 29" 8-Wheel Softside Luggage, Black

Travel & Leisure / Vicky Wasik

Best Lightweight: July 26-inch Checked Bag

4.3
July 26-Inch Checked Bag, Charcoal

July

Our Ratings
  • Capacity
    5/5
  • Design
    5/5
  • Maneuverability
    4/5
  • Durability
    3.5/5
  • Value
    4/5

Why We Love It: Its wheels are extremely quiet.

What to Consider: Light colors scuff easily.

At 8.3 pounds, this bag is, impressively, lighter than some carry-ons. And less suitcase weight means more item weight, making this one perfect for overpackers. That said, it's more of a medium-size bag than a large one — fortunately, it has compression straps to help you squish everything inside.

One of its standout features is its extra-quiet wheels, which were designed in-house. But our testers did note that they performed better on hard surfaces than carpet or gravel. We also love that you can add personalized text (and emojis!) to the top, side, or back of your bag, with 10 fonts and 19 colors to choose from. However, customization does void the 100-day return policy. Still, the July Checked has a lifetime warranty for manufacturing faults, which we appreciate for a product in the mid-tier price range.

The one big weak spot for this suitcase is that the lighter colors show scuff marks and minor damage far more quickly than the darker colors. Our testers strongly suggest purchasing a deep hue, unless you don't mind that "been through the ringer" kind of look. But overall, this bag is pretty durable, in part due to its anodized aluminum bumpers.

Price at time of publish: $325

Weight: 8.3 pounds | Dimensions: 26 x 18.75 x 11 inches | Expandable: No | Smart: No

July 26-Inch Checked Bag

Travel & Leisure / Vicky Wasik

Best Style: Paravel Aviator Grand

4.3
Paravel Aviator Grand

Paravel

Our Ratings
  • Capacity
    5/5
  • Design
    4.7/5
  • Maneuverability
    4/5
  • Durability
    4/5
  • Value
    4/5

Why We Love It: Leather detailing adds a luxe quality to the hardside bag.

What to Consider: It dings and scratches easily.

It's hard for hardside suitcases to stand out unless you purchase one in an unusual color. But this bag immediately draws the eye, thanks to the narrow-set ribbing between two leather stripes. Our testers couldn't get enough of its classic look.

Unfortunately, this suitcase does have a bit more style than substance. "It doesn't perform particularly better than the other suitcases on this list," wrote one tester. We noticed that while it moved fairly well on hard flooring and carpet, it gets off-balance quickly in gravel. The Aviator Grand was also quick to show minor damage after our durability tests, which definitely changes its polished aesthetic. But if you don't mind your bag showing a little wear and tear, you really can't beat this suitcase when it comes to style.

The Aviator Grand also has another major perk that might make it worthwhile for some purchasers: it's carbon neutral, thanks to offsets purchased by Paravel. The company also purchases offsets for the first trip you take using your suitcase.

Price at time of publish: $425

Weight: 11.8 pounds | Dimensions: 28 x 18.25 x 11 inches | Expandable: No | Smart: No

 Paravel Aviator Grand Checked

Travel & Leisure / Vicky Wasik

Best for Staying Organized: Beis The 29-inch Large Check-in Roller

4.4
Beis The 29" Large Check-In Roller

Beis

Our Ratings
  • Capacity
    5/5
  • Design
    4.5/5
  • Maneuverability
    4/5
  • Durability
    4/5
  • Value
    4.5/5

Why We Love It: Its exterior is very chic.

What to Consider: It's easier to roll the bag on four wheels rather than two when it's full.

This suitcase has a minimalist exterior that uses the texture of ombre-style ribbing to create a unique look. And while the outside is eye-catching, the interior is what shines about this bag. Our testers found its storage system to be particularly helpful for staying organized. The Beis roller opens like a clam shell: on one side, a zippered divider with two pockets keeps items tucked away neatly, while the other has a compression flap with one pocket. The bag also comes with two detachable zip pouches that can be used for smaller items or dirty laundry. Oh, and it comes with a weight limit indicator, so you don't need a separate scale to figure out how heavy your bag is.

Our testers did find that the bag was slightly off-balance when full, which makes it easier to maneuver in the upright rather than tilted position (i.e., on four wheels rather than two). We also noted that the lighter bag colors show more scuffing than the darker options.

Price at time of publish: $298

Weight: 11.84 pounds | Dimensions: 30.5 x  8.75 x 12 inches | Expandable: Yes | Smart: No

Beis The 29" Large Check-In Roller

Travel & Leisure / Vicky Wasik

Best Expandability: Briggs & Riley 27-inch Sympatico Hardside Luggage

4.4
Briggs & Riley 27-Inch Sympatico Hardside Luggage

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Capacity
    5/5
  • Design
    4/5
  • Maneuverability
    4/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    4/5

Why We Love It: It has an effective organization system.

What to Consider: The handle doesn't feel that sturdy.

On its own, this bag is great for packing a week's worth of clothing, shoes, and toiletries. But its expander provides an extra two inches all around the bag, which equates to a 25 percent increase in total interior space. (Though very useful, the expander is a little confusing to operate, according to our testers.) We also love that within all this space, the storage system provides a dedicated spot for every essential. There are several zipped pockets on the interior, in addition to compression straps to keep clothing packed flat.

Our testers did note, however, that the handle did not feel all that sturdy, though they were still able to maneuver the bag effectively on all surfaces except gravel, which required a little dragging action on two wheels. They also commented on the zipper pulls — since they're designed to lock the suitcase, they're a little cumbersome to use. If you enjoy the security of a locked bag, the slight uncomfortability of the zippers may be worth it.

Price at time of publish: $699

Weight: 13.5 pounds | Dimensions: 30 x 20 x 12 inches | Expandable: Yes | Smart: No

Briggs & Riley 27-Inch Sympatico Hardside Luggage

Travel & Leisure / Vicky Wasik

Most Durable: Roam The Check-in

4.6
Roam The Check-in

Roam

Our Ratings
  • Capacity
    4/5
  • Design
    5/5
  • Maneuverability
    5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    4/5

Why We Love It: You can customize the colors across different pieces of the suitcase.

What to Consider: This is a smaller checked bag with somewhat limited capacity.

"No scuffs, no nicks, no destruction! So sturdy and no damage on the edges," wrote one of our testers after putting the bag through a beating. The solidity is especially nice given that our favorite thing about the bag is its exterior design. Customers are able to customize this suitcase to their specific color preferences, choosing the hues for everything from the two shells (front and back), the binding, and the wheels for no extra charge. You can also decide whether or not to add an expander to the bag, but that adds $55 to the total cost. Our testers also gave this Roam design a perfect score for maneuverability — they reported that it was very easy to move the bag around in all conditions.

The bag comes with a 100-day return policy, even when customized, as well as a lifetime warranty for non-cosmetic damage: if something becomes nonfunctional, Roam will replace the part.

Price at time of publish: $595

Weight: 9.3 pounds | Dimensions: 26 x 17.5 x 10 inches | Expandable: Yes | Smart: No

Roam The Check-in

Travel & Leisure / Vicky Wasik

Best Splurge: Tumi Alpha 3 Short Trip Expandable Packing Case

4.6
Tumi Alpha 3 Short Trip Expandable Packing Case

Tumi

Our Ratings
  • Capacity
    5/5
  • Design
    5/5
  • Maneuverability
    4.5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    3.5/5

Why We Love It: It comes with Tumi Tracer, which can help recover lost or stolen bags.

What to Consider: It's the heaviest bag on this list.

Overall, our testers thought this bag would be best for frequent travelers who would get the most mileage out of it, which is crucial given the expensive price (it costs three times as much as average mid-tier suitcases). But our testers believe that it's worth the splurge due to the high-quality construction. Despite being the heaviest bag on this list, we found the Alpha 3 to be very easy to maneuver in all conditions. We also thought all the small details, from the zipper pulls to the bottom and side grab handles, were well-designed and comfortable to use.

We also applaud this bag's storage system, which includes a series of internal and external pockets. The detachable garment bag, which is great for business travelers or travelers heading to a formal event, particularly impressed us. And we adore Tumi Tracer, a program that helps customers recover lost or stolen bags, which is included with this suitcase.

Price at time of publish: $1,095

Weight: 15.4 pounds | Dimensions: 26 x 19 x 13 inches | Expandable: Yes | Smart: No

Tumi Alpha 3 Short Trip Expandable Packing Case

Travel & Leisure / Vicky Wasik

Best Wheeled Duffel: Briggs & Riley ZDX Upright Rolling Duffel Bag

4.7
Briggs & Riley ZDX Upright Rolling Duffel Bag

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Capacity
    5/5
  • Design
    4/5
  • Maneuverability
    5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    4.5/5

Why We Love It: It's the lightest bag on this list.

What to Consider: There aren't very many color options.

If you're headed for a remote destination that requires a flight on a bush plane as part of the journey, you'll likely need to pack your goods in a soft bag, or at least a bag that's soft on three sides. That's where a bag like this comes in handy. This spacious duffel, which has a capacity of 96 liters, includes convenient straps like a normal duffel, but also a wheeled mechanism for easy transport. Just note that the bag only has two wheels, not four, so it must be pulled at an angle while maneuvering. Our testers did note that this bag is optimal for rugged terrain — it even handled gravel well.

Our testers also appreciated the multiple pockets throughout the bag, including a PVC-lined one that's perfect for keeping dirty clothes or gear separate from the clean stuff. And they appreciated the durability of the 800D ballistic nylon from which the bag is made.

Price at time of publish: $499

Weight: 8.6 pounds | Dimensions: 27 x 15 x 15 inches | Expandable: No | Smart: No

Briggs and Riley Duffel Test
TRAVEL & LEISURE / VICKY WASIK.

Vicky Wasik

Our Testing Process

Our testers adhered to a detailed process that analyzed each bag's capacity, organization, maneuverability, durability, and value. The first step was weighing the empty suitcase and taking note of whether or not they felt lightweight while handling. Then, our testers packed the luggage with standard items for a seven-day trip, including a full wardrobe, shoes, and toiletries. They examined the bags' storage capacity, organization systems, and zipper functionality.

Roam The Check-In Luggage

Travel & Leisure / Vicky Wasik

Next up was maneuverability. Once the checked bag was fully loaded, our testers rolled it through an obstacle course that involved multiple surfaces, including carpet and simulated gravel. They rated each piece of luggage’s wheels, handles, and overall balance.

Finally, our testers subjected each bag to harsh durability tests. Each one was shoved off a countertop multiple times, then struck with a baseball bat repeatedly. Testers then checked each suitcase for scuffs, dents, tears, and other types of damage. They also re-tested maneuverability to see how wheels and handles fared in the beating.

Delsey Paris Helium Aero Hardside Expandable Luggage

Travel & Leisure / Vicky Wasik

Other Checked Luggage We Tested

Five of the bags we tested did not make our list of recommendations yet still stood out from the pack. They all had positive attributes, but a few things held them back.

Delsey Paris Helium Aero Hardside Expandable Luggage, 29-inch (hardside, 12.5 pounds): Our testers loved the aesthetic of this bag, and the price is reasonable. However, we’d have liked to see some more interior organization features and better performance rolling over gravel.

Travelpro Platinum Elite 29-inch Expandable Spinner (softside, 11.5 pounds): This spacious bag was deemed ideal for those traveling on extended trips — or for chronic overpackers. But the bag's style leaves something to be desired.

Arlo Skye the Zipper Check-in Large (hardside, 10.5 pounds): Our testers applauded the amount of space inside this bag, as well as its chic look, but they felt the bag is too expensive for a piece of luggage that is not extremely durable.

Briggs & Riley Baseline Expandable Spinner 26-inch (softside): Despite its boxy shape, which was an aesthetic no-no for some of our testers, we found this high-quality bag to be quite easy to maneuver. However, our testers were stymied by a confusing storage compartment that didn't seem to have a distinct purpose.

Samsonite Eco Advance Large Spinner (softside, 11.75 pounds): This suitcase’s deep, almost cavernous interior impressed our testers, who also appreciated the organization system. But the bag didn't win any style points, with some testers feeling that the design feels dated.

Tips for Buying Checked Luggage

Choose a size that’s right for your travels

Checked bags aren't subject to such strict restrictions as carry-on bags, but airlines usually cap measurements at 62 total linear inches (that is, the sum of the height, width, and depth of the luggage). Weight is a more important measurement: most airlines cap checked bags at 50 pounds for most passengers, and occasionally at 70 pounds for frequent flyers with elite status. Please check baggage restrictions with your airline before your flight.

Softside luggage can be just as durable as hardside luggage

You might think that hardside luggage is more durable than softside luggage, but both can be extremely hardy. Softside luggage is more prone to tearing than hardside luggage, of course, but it all depends on the material. You'll want to look for softside bags made from a high-quality, high-density material that is tear-resistant for the best durability. Hardside luggage, on the other hand, might not tear, but it can be prone to cracking and denting, depending on the material.

Think about your organization preferences

Checked bags provide quite a bit of interior space, and while that means you can pack more items inside them, you'll need to come up with a packing strategy so that your suitcase isn't a mess. Some bags are essentially just empty shells, which is prime for packers who love to use packing cubes. Others provide interior organization systems within the suitcase itself via pockets or zipped sections. If you're not a cube user, this is the kind of bag you might want to check out.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What items are not allowed in checked luggage?

    You are not allowed to check certain dangerous items — dangerous meaning potentially harmful to the aircraft. That includes lithium batteries, electronic lighters, explosives, fuels, and liquor higher than 140 proof. You can see the full list of what is permitted and forbidden to check in your luggage here, per the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

  • Is there a size limit for checked luggage?

    Most airlines limit checked luggage to 62 linear inches (the sum of the height, width, and depth of the bag) and a weight of 50 pounds. Check with your specific airline for its specific policies.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Travel + Leisure writers are shopping and product experts who use personal experience and expert recommendations to choose the best items for shoppers. For this article, Stefanie Waldek analyzed feedback from T+L's team, who rigorously tested each product.

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