Hardshell luggage protects your belongings better while also offering greater durability in a lightweight form. Typically, the best hardshell luggage will have several things in common.
First, it should be constructed from strong, sturdy materials that won't dent or show immediate signs of wear-and-tear. For the most durable suitcases, look for materials such as polycarbonate, ABS, or a blend of the two. As for the handle, look for robust aluminum or other similarly strong materials, as well as a mechanism to lock it in place while in use.
Next, you'll want to consider the wheels. With hardshell luggage, spinner wheels work better than roller wheels, and they offer a full 360 degrees of rotation. This makes movement more fluid, so it'll be easier to navigate crowded airports or train stations. If you're in a hurry (which, let's be honest, is me every time), these will come in extra handy.
Apart from that, other great features to have include organizational compartments, compression straps or cross-straps, zippered mesh sleeves, privacy windows, laundry compartments, and TSA-friendly locks.
To help get your vacation off to the right start, I've created a list of the best hardshell luggage pieces in every size. Check out the selections below to find the best fit for your needs.
1. The Best Carry-On
Genius Pack 21" Aerial Hardside Carry On Luggage Spinner
Dimensions: 21.5 by 14 by 9 inches
What's great about it: Constructed with extra durable polycarbonate and tough, 360-degree spinner wheels, this lightweight piece of carry-on luggage is strong and sturdy with a sleek finish. It has a rubberized push-button handle that's built from aluminum and quick-grab handles on the side for convenience. In addition to the tough material, it's loaded with features like compression straps, an integrated packing list, specially labeled sock and underwear compartments, and a dedicated laundry sleeve.
What fans say: "Love it! Took it on a two-day trip last week! It rolled as smooth as silk as I rushed across the pavement to the terminal, through TSA pre-check, and to my gate. I couldn't be happier with it."
2. The Best Medium-Sized Luggage
American Tourister Sunset Cruise Hardside 24
Material: Scratch-resistant ABS
Dimensions: 24 by 18 by 10 inches
What's great about it: This medium-sized hardshell luggage, which is made from durable, scratch-resistant ABS, features strong 360-degree spinner wheels as well as an easy-grab handle on the top. It has a TSA-friendly lock on one side to protect you from theft and an expanding component that offers an extra 1.5 inches of space when needed. Inside, there's a mesh divider and cross straps. Best of all, it comes in three vibrant colors to help you spot it at the airport.
What fans say: "Couldn't be better for its price, material, construction, and color! I used this luggage on an overseas travel and I was able to spot my luggage on the carousel right away. Inside construction is spacious with expandable room for any extras items that you purchased. Highly recommend."
3. The Best Large Luggage
Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside 28" Luggage
Dimensions: 28 by 19 by 12 inches
What's great about it: With a sleek brushed finish covering sturdy polycarbonate, this lightweight hardshell luggage is not only strong but stylish, too. With more than 1,100 reviews on Amazon, the shell material is engineered to flex under stress so you don't have to worry about your things getting crushed, and it has strong 360-degree spinner wheels underneath. The interior boasts zippered pockets, a curtain divider, and compression cross-straps, while the exterior has a side-mounted TSA lock for extra security.
What fans say: "Absolutely a great bag. Love the feature to lock the bag and still have it be valid for TSA screening. The size is perfect. You can fit a ton of stuff in it. Perfect for traveling internationally. Highly recommended!"
4. The Best Hardshell Luggage Set
COOLIFE Luggage 4-Piece Set
Material: Polycarbonate and ABS
What's great about it: If you'd rather have the whole set, this four-piece hardshell luggage collection from COOLIFE is a fantastic choice that blends quality with affordability. The luggage pieces are all made with a sturdy blend of polycarbonate and ABS, making them tough and durable without being too heavy. The smooth, spinner wheels rotate effortlessly, and the aluminum telescoping handle locks into place securely. The suitcases feature three-digit TSA-friendly locks and convenient cross-straps inside for organization. Also, the smallest piece of this set meets the most common carry-on size restrictions for U.S. airports.
What fans say: "I absolutely love them. They're very sturdy and have been through many flights with very few noticeable scratches. The inside is very open and one side has a zipper making it easy to organize all your belongings."
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