WE’VE rounded up some of the best suitcases around, whether you’re looking for something small for weekends away, or a high end model that will last you for years.
Read on for our picks and find out how to choose the best suitcase for you.
Where to buy suitcases
Suitcases are widely available online, where you might be able to find better deals than in stores.
High street brands like Argos and Sports Direct have a good range of budget-friendly options on their websites.
Premium brands like Away and Tumi also have their own online shops where you can find their full collection and even get your luggage customised.
In terms of the price, it all depends on how often you travel: If you only go away once or twice a year, a budget-friendly option costing less than £50 would be more than adequate.
But if you fly a few times a year, you’ll need a more durable, lightweight option – you should be prepared to pay upwards of £80 for these.
We’ve rounded up some of the most popular brands around.
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We tested: Antler Clifton Medium
- Antler Clifton Medium Suitcase, £179 – buy here
The Clifton range is Antler’s collection of hard-shell luggage, and rather fetching it is, too: it has a ridged, understated design, and comes in a selection of colours that are intriguing without being outlandish, including Taupe, Mint and Blush.
Our personal favourites are Cornflower, which is a spirit-lifting azure that will make you excited to see the sea months before your jet leaves the runway, and a crisp shade of Sage that reminds us of late summer.
The bag measures 29x45x67cm, which Antler says is ideal for solo trips of around two weeks, or shorter trips if you’re sharing suitcase space with someone. In practice we thought this seemed like a fair analysis – on a weeklong holiday, we found it offered ample space for us to overpack, as well as store some other people’s nicnacs.
And when moving house recently, we found that the Clifton could store almost the full contents of a small wardrobe.
Being made from a polycarbonate material, the suitcase is extremely lightweight, and portability is further amped up by four 360 degree rotating wheels – just make sure you don’t let go of it on a steep hill.
Despite being lightweight, it’s also secure; the Clifton is fitted with a TSA lock, which is easy to set up thanks to a booklet included with the suitcase.
Overall, we couldn’t be happier with the Clifton: it’s secure, spacious and stylish. Our only complaint is that the outer shall is easily marked by scrapes and knocks. Weirdly, though, we don’t mind this: it gives the impression that you’ve spent a month trekking through the Andes, rather than a week languishing by a pool in Mykonos.
We tested: Briggs & Riley ZDX expandable medium spinner
Credit: Briggs and Riley
- Briggs & Riley ZDX expandable suitcase, £499 from John Lewis – buy here
The expandable medium spinner is a new addition to Briggs & Riley’s ZDX range, a collection that’s designed for both business and leisure travel.
While it looks and feels small and compact, there’s actually quite a bit of space inside. That’s thanks to the patented Outsider handle – it sits on the exterior of the suitcase rather than inside like on most other bags.
The medium spinner has one main storage compartment, with a garment panel that can also double as a compression system to secure all your stuff into place.
There are also two pockets on the inside and outside of the opening flap that are ideal for storing smaller items.
Because of the layout of the suitcase, we think it would be best suited to those who are very organised, although having some packing cubes can help streamline the process.
One thing we loved was the extra handle on the bottom of the suitcase, which comes in handy when you want to lift it onto the luggage belt at the airport – or anywhere, really.
For longer journeys, you might want to invest in a separate lock though, as the suitcase doesn’t come with an integrated TSA lock like other suitcases.
The price is obviously quite a bit more than most brands out there but it does come with Briggs and Riley's no quibbles lifetime guarantee, which is the best one around.
We tested: Crash Baggage Stripe Large Trolley
- Stripe Large, £308.67 from Crash Baggage – buy here
Quirky handle-with-no-care brand Crash Baggage has some of the best suitcase styles with their beaten up cases.
Featuring “grill marks” all over, this stylish case is a lot more lightweight than we expected which is a massive plus for us over-packers.
The bright yellow monogram interior has multiple zipped compartments to ensure your stuff is secure and stable on your trip.
But our favourite part is definitely how easily the 360° wheels twist and turn as you walk, which makes for really smooth manoeuvring.
If all of that wasn't enough, it's also got an in-built TSA lock, too. For £360, it's a luxury case without the ultra-premium price tag. We love it.
- Shop Crash Baggage on Farfetch – click here
We tested: Away The Medium suitcase
- Away The Medium suitcase, £265, Away – buy here
Away’s The Medium measures 66cm x 47cm x 28cm, and is a decent size for most trips.
We loved that the different compartments made it super easy to pack, and there’s also a waterproof laundry bag included so you can enjoy a last minute dip in the pool before a flight out without worrying about all your stuff getting wet.
The £265 price tag is hefty but that’s because the suitcase is covered by a limited lifetime warranty – if anything goes wrong, they will just fix it or replace it.
For those who aren’t sure about splashing out, Away offers a 100-day trial on any unpersonalised suitcases so you can see whether it’s a good fit for you and return it if it’s not.
Tripp Holiday 6 medium four-wheel suitcase
Credit: via amazon
- Tripp Holiday 6 medium suitcase, £45, Amazon – buy here
Coming in at 26cm x 45cm x 66cm, the Tripp Holiday 6 medium suitcase is great for short to medium haul holidays.
The four-wheel design makes it easy to move around and the polypropylene shell is strong and lightweight.
To keep the contents safe, the suitcase is secured with a TSA-approved combination lock.
American Tourister Bon Air medium spinner
Credit: via Amazon
- American Tourister Bon Air medium spinner, £59.99, Amazon – buy here
American Tourister’s Bon Air suitcases are available in a few different sizes and colours.
The medium measures 55cm x 66cm x 75cm and features a lightweight polypropylene exterior.
Thanks to its four wheels, it’s easy to move around and all your stuff will be kept safe with the TSA-approved combination lock.
IT Luggage Sorrento Hard Suitcase
- IT Luggage Sorrento Hard Suitcase, £40 from Matalan – buy here
Still not sure on a soft fabric outer, but like all that IT has to offer? Opt for its hard shell bevelled option, available at Matalan, instead.
For £40, you can get a tough, ABS embossed shell cabin-sized case from IT in pale blue – with a sturdy trolley system, and up to 25% more packing room.
Though small, at 55.5cm x 37.2cm x 23cm, its capacity is a whopping 45L – plus it boasts a secret 6.4cm expander for those trips when you just can't leave any souvenirs behind.
IT Luggage World's Lightest 2-wheel cabin suitcase
Credit: via Argos
- IT Luggage World's Lightest 2-wheel cabin suitcase, £24, Argos – buy here
For something seriously budget-friendly, look no further than this soft shell cabin bag from IT Luggage.
Weighing just 1.58kg, the 55cm x 39.5cm x 19cm case will fit the carry-on restrictions for most airlines.
The two-wheel design might not suit everyone but given its size, you’re unlikely to be packing anything too heavy anyway.
Antler Rochester hard suitcase
Credit: via Sports Direct
- Antler Rochester hard suitcase, £55, Sports Direct – buy here
The Rochester design from Antler comes in three different sizes and two colours – black and purple.
This one, the carry-on luggage, measures 55cm x 40cm x 22cm, and is suitable for most airline cabins.
The four 360° wheels make this case easy to move around and the TSA-approved combination lock will keep all your contents safe.
The bigger versions of this design are also expandable, which is great if you know you’re going to bring back souvenirs.
How to choose the best suitcase
When it comes to choosing the best suitcase for you, there are a few things to think about.
The first is the size, and this will depend on how you travel and who you travel with.
You can also choose between whether it’s a two-wheel or a four-wheel suitcase, and whether it’s a soft shell or hard shell.
What size suitcase do I need?
Budget airlines like Ryanair have stricter size requirements for carry-on luggage, which means a suitcase that’s suitable for other airline cabins might be too big for Ryanair.
At the moment, Ryanair will let you take on a suitcase measuring up to 55cm x 40cm x 20cm if you pay for their “Priority & 2 Cabin Bags” upgrade.
Otherwise you can only take a bag measuring up to 40cm x 20cm x 25cm, which must be stowed underneath the seat in front of you.
Similarly, easyJet will let you take a bag measuring up to 45cm x 36cm x 20cm on board for free.
If you’ve booked an Up front or Extra legroom seat, you can also bring on board a case that measures 56cm x 45cm x 25cm.
For premium airlines, most standard carry-on suitcases will be fine.
Depending on your ticket and fare class, British Airways will let you take on a suitcase that measures up to 56cm x 45cm x 25cm as well as a personal bag of up to 40cm x 30cm x 15cm.
If you’re always checking your luggage into the hold, then you can be really flexible with sizes.
A medium-sized suitcase that’s around 65cm high would be more than big enough for most holidays.
But if you pack heavy, or tend to travel long haul for longer periods of time, there are also suitcases that go up to 81cm.
Two-wheel vs four-wheel suitcases
If you have a choice, always go four wheels rather than two for bigger cases as these are much easier to move around. This is most helpful when there isn’t much room and you can’t pull the suitcase along in the usual way.
The one benefit that two-wheeled suitcases have is that they won’t roll away when the ground isn’t level, or when you’re on a moving bus or train.
Are hard shell suitcases good?
Hard shell suitcases will offer your belongings more protection, especially if you want to bring back a bottle or two from abroad.
Newer materials, such as polycarbonate, are also lightweight and flexible enough that they’re less likely to shatter on impact.
Plus, they have the added benefit of being more weather resistant, so are more likely to keep your stuff dry if it rains.
Soft shell suitcases can be cheaper, and they are generally made from tough, scratch resistant fabric.
These tend to feature expandable designs, which is perfect for those who want to buy souvenirs to take home – though you should avoid anything breakable.
Some soft shell designs also compress down when empty, which can be handy for storage.
Enjoyed our roundup of the best suitcases? Check out our guide to the best carry on luggage for every airline.
For those who like to travel light, we’ve picked out the best lightweight suitcases.
And if you’re not quite ready to splash out yet, we’ve put together a round up of the best cheap suitcases.Internet Explorer Channel Network