Unless you’re travelling for a short business trip, you’ll likely need a full-sized check-in bag – one that’s easy to push around, holds all your possessions comfortably, and is sturdy enough to handle the demands of air travel. But with so many different kinds of luggage in the market, where do you start?
Softside or hardshell - which is better?
Fazal Imam, founder of Dubai Repairs, has seen a lot of suitcases come and go in his experience of servicing and repairing luggage. According to Imam, softside suitcases are far more resilient and durable than hardshell ones. He said: “Hardshell bags are easier to move around, but their exterior can damage easily with minor shocks or mishandling. Common problems we see are broken bodies, missing wheels and broken handles.”
He suggests buying either softside or semi-hardshell suitcases – both are easily available. Another thing to look out for, when buying check-in luggage, is a brand that provides a good warranty. Imam said: “Nearly every popular brand offers at least a five-year warranty, and after that period, if there is any damage, then companies like ours help repair any type of damage.”
Which suitcase is best for me?
In terms of brands, a few stand out for Imam. He recommends Samsonite, Delsey, American Tourister and Para John, because they usually rack up minimal damage over the years. He added: “If you have a higher budget, go for Briggs & Riley, Rimowa, Tumi and Victorinox.” These brands are well-known for their exceptionally high-quality build, design, and durability.
Before buying, cross-check the weight and dimensions with your carrier, so that the bag is in accordance with their checked baggage regulations. For example, according to the Dubai-based airline Emirates, the length, width and height of a check-in bag shouldn't exceed 300cm in total.
We did some research for you and curated the best check-in luggage you can buy for your next trip. If you're looking for cabin bags, check out our best picks; and if you've planned a short staycation, these travel backpacks might be a smarter choice. Purchase your favourite item through Amazon Prime and get free and fast delivery!
1. Best Overall: American Tourister Jamaica
- Packs up to a weight of 25 to 28kgs
- Expandable - packs 25 per cent more
- Three-digit TSA (Transportation Security Administration) combination lock
- Three-year international warranty
- Heavy for a softside suitcase (4.1kg)
If you’re looking for a bag that’s big enough to comfortably fit your business or vacation clothing, spacious enough for your shoes, sturdy and safe, look no further than the American Tourister Jamaica. This softside piece of baggage is already large, at 80cm, but can be expanded to fit all your possessions (a couple of reviewers even packed their computer monitors in this bag). There’s plenty of extra space in the multiple front pockets, too. Made with high-density polyester, the bag won’t wear out easily, even on long-haul flights. As for wheel durability, some travellers mention rough use over flights of steps and streets, with the bag sustaining no damage.
Warranty: The manufacturer offers a global warranty for three years.
2. Best Hardshell: Samsonite Omni PC Hardside
- Scratch-resistant shell
- Expandable dimensions
- Side-mounted TSA locks
- 10-year limited warranty
With an injection-moulded, micro diamond polycarbonate shell, this 24-inch Samsonite suitcase is tough as nails, and perfect for long-haul flights. It doesn’t hurt that the bag looks great too. Known for being scratch-resistant, this Samsonite suitcase has four spinner wheels for easy movement, comes with an integrated TSA lock, and can be expanded if you need the space. Choose from two colours – black and teal – and enjoy the durable stylishness of this hardshell suitcase. Travellers return to leave reviews after five years, mentioning how well this suitcase has held up, even through the cobbled streets of Prague. They also add that it's lightweight for a hardshell, at 3.7kgs.
Warranty: The manufacturer offers a 10-year limited warranty.
3. Best Expandable: Briggs & Riley 4-Wheel Expandable Spinner Suitcase
- Double swivel wheels
- One-button compression-expansion system increases packing capacity
- Lockable double zipper pulls for extra security
- Ensures wrinkle-free flat packing for suits and dresses
- Lifetime guarantee by manufacturer
Upgrade your luggage to Briggs & Riley’s premium Baseline bag for benefits that you will enjoy for years. Made with ballistic nylon, the outer fabric resists moisture, dirt, and wear and tear. It has a lot of thoughtful touches, like the fact that its pull-out handle provides a flat interior surface, so that your clothes remain wrinkle-free. There's a built-in tri-fold garment folder fixed with foam roll bars that hold up to two ironed suits. The suitcase includes a hideaway ID tag, so your information is not on display for all to see; mesh panels within the suitcase ensure your items and clothes don’t shift much during travel, and its compression-expansion system helps increase packing capacity. All you have to do is press the CX buttons inside, zip the bag and push down to compress to fit more. Enjoy the effortless elegance of this piece of luggage – it’s well worth it! Reviewers find the medium size (66cm) a better option, as the large is too bulky to manoeuvre.
Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh184.95 for 12 months with select banks.
Warranty: The manufacturer offers a lifetime guarantee.
4. Best Design: Delsey Paris Chatelet Hardside Luggage
- Stylish faux leather accents
- Comes with a brake system to prevent roll away
- Three-dial TSA approved combination lock
- Includes a removable hanger and laundry and shoe bags
- Reviewers say the bag gets scuffed easily
Who says you have to choose between durability and style? Delsey’s Chatelet luggage series is known for embodying affordable luxury, and is inspired by France – particularly Parisian architecture. Its vintage design – with faux leather accents – is both modern and chic, so you’re always looking great while on the move. The check-in bag comes with other great features too. Its double spinner wheels mean excellent manoeuvrability, and its SecuriTech 2 zip system means it's three times more resistant to intrusion than conventional zippers. The deluxe interior compartments even feature a removable hanger, laundry and shoe bags! We picked the 28-inch (71cm) model with a brake system that locks the two front wheels so that your bag stays put on inclined surfaces. Reviews say the surface does sustain stains, but it cleans up easily. Some advise investing in luggage covers, as the bags are too beautiful to pass up, even receiving compliments at the airport.
5. Best Budget: Amazon Basics Navy Blue Softsided Check-in Trolley
- Three interior pockets, all zippered
- 360-degree spinner wheels
- Passed several durability tests
- No TSA lock
- Seems smaller than other 29-inch bags
If you’d prefer a suitcase that does the job – carries your items safely to your destination with minimal wear and tear, at a good price – this Amazon Basics check-in trolley will serve you well. It’s a softside piece of luggage, so it’s lightweight and will allow you to pack all your items comfortably. While there are no frills, like double spinner wheels (this one has single wheels), or double zippers, the suitcase does have an expandable design to create extra space when you need it. The wheels easily navigate 360 degrees, as you’d expect with today’s trolley bags, and even though it doesn’t come with an in-built TSA lock, its great price means you’ll have plenty left over to buy one for this handy suitcase. It'd be best to treat this luggage as a 24-inch bag, since reviewers find the dimensions to be narrower than similarly sized bags.
6. Best Value for Hardshell: Eminent Checked Luggage
- Tough polypropylene shell
- Divided interior with mesh pocket and straps
- 360-degree double spinner wheels
- Built-in TSA lock
- Protected corners
- Not expandable
Taiwanese manufacturer Eminent dishes up an irresistible deal for the frequent traveller. Their large 28-inch hardshell bag is made from premium polypropylene, doesn't scratch easily and has impact protection on all four corners. Pack on both sides, keeping laundry and toiletries inside the mesh divider, while the tie-down straps in the main compartment keep your clothes from tumbling inside. At this price, you can expect 360-degree, ultra-quiet, double spinner wheels and a three-dial TSA lock. It's the perfect bag for extended holidays, as it packs up to 30kg, however, do note that there's no expandable feature. Buyers call it value for money. You can also find other sizes, available in three different colours, starting from 20 inches.
Warranty: The manufacturer offers a three-year warranty.
7. Best Luggage Set: Showkoo Luggage Set, 3-Piece
- Value for money - three bags in one set
- Water- and stain-resistant material
- TSA lock
- Expandable zip
- 360-degree double spinner wheels
- Smallest suitcase is not expandable
Invest in a luggage set for the entire family, like the Showkoo 20-, 24- and 28-inch softside bags. Despite the soft shell, its dense oxford fabric is coated with a water- and stain-resistant material to last you years of use. Its two check-in sizes expand up to 20 per cent of their original capacity, though the 20-inch carry-on comes without this option. The set features top and side carry handles, TSA locks, 360-degree double spinner wheels and two large external pockets for storing last-minute items. More practical additions include a multi-position telescopic handle to suit users of different heights. Users are surprised at the sturdiness and durability of this value set. They mention receiving their checked luggage back at the airport in great shape, and then going on to test the bags over train tracks, stairs and curbs. So, go ahead and pick from seven colours.
Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh59.58 for 12 months with select banks.
Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.