Do you tend to find that your luggage gets a little “beaten up” when going into the hold-all area of a plane?
Has this prompted you to consider buying a new hardside luggage?
Are you somewhat overwhelmed by all the options out there?
If so, then my guide below on the Top 9 Best Hardside Luggage in 2021 could just be what you need to make an informed decision:)
Suitcases and carry-on bags aren’t necessarily something you want to spend a lot of money on, but if you travel frequently or if you’re sick and tired of going through countless, cheap branded luggage, then you need to make the investment now!
You need to take a look at my list and review.
And I should know! I’ve been through my fair share of badly made luggage in the past, but I feel confident enough in my luggage choices now that I can recommend a list of the best hardside luggage to you!
Throughout this guide, you’ll find my best recommendations of high-performing hardshell luggage options based on their weight, warranty, wheels and most importantly; value for money.
But To Save You Some Time:
My personal recommendation is the Away The Bigger Carry On.
It’s incredibly spacious, it’s made of high-quality, durable materials and there’s even a fitted TSA-approved lock for additional security. (You can see/read more about it below in the main text)
And on the flip side:
If there’s one particular brand of hardside luggage that I would advise you against however, it’s the Heys Xcase 2g Spinner.
This is because it’s not at all suitable for check-in as it is susceptible to an extremely high amount of scuffs and deep scratches which is frankly unacceptable for a bag that costs around $200.
I also read some reviews from people online saying that due to the case’s unusual and heavy design, the wheels have come off almost immediately, which of course isn’t ideal for a hardside piece of luggage.
Having said that:
If you’re in the market for a brand new suitcase, particularly a hardside model, hopefully this guide provides you with plenty of information and inspiration on the best hardside luggage in 2021.
In particular, you’ll find a wide variety of hardside luggage options based on their weight, size and durability, all for a vast range of budget options.
I’ve compiled the list based on my basic understanding of the luggage industry, as well as help from my friends and online reviews.
Away The Bigger Carry On – best overall
The ever-Instagrammable Away brand have become a popular hit with travellers all over the world thanks to the rise in their social media presence online.
Whether you pay attention to the world of Instagram hype or not, there’s no denying that the Away The Bigger Carry On suitcase is a strong contender as one of the best hardside luggage options for 2021, and it is in fact my personal recommendation in this list.
The suitcase is almost entirely scratch-proof and dent-resistant so you don’t have to worry about it being damaged
One of the reasons that The Bigger case from Away claims its place as the best hardside luggage overall is due to its incredible polycarbonate shell exterior.
Due to this material, the suitcase is almost entirely scratch-proof and dent-resistant. Polycarbonate plastics that are used in luggage are one of the most flexible materials, without being too bulky or heavy.
They provide great protection against scratches and surface damage, while still allowing you to pack your suitcase to the very brim due to its incredible flexibility features.
However, the shell design certainly doesn’t compromise on style just because it offers excellent protection against damage. It’s sleek and sophisticated too, which makes it the perfect airport companion.
It’s fitted with a TSA-approved combination lock so you can rest-assured your luggage will be kept safe and protected
Another incredible stand-out feature of the Away The Bigger Carry On case is that it’s fitted with a TSA-approved combination lock. If you’ve read our previous luggage guides on Travelccessories.com, you’ll know that we’re firm believers in TSA standardised luggage options.
A TSA lock is one that has been approved by the Transportation Security Administration and can be opened by the TSA with special universal keys in the event that airport security need to break into your luggage.
With the Away luggage already coming equipped with one of these locks, it means that you can rest-assured your luggage will be kept safe and protected, but that it can also be accessed in an emergency or in the event of a security breach by the TSA.
It comes with an ejectable battery that can charge your phone on the go
One great feature about the Away The Bigger Carry On suitcase that sets it apart from its competitors is that it comes with an ejectable battery that can charge your phone on the go. I think this is an incredibly useful feature to have on a suitcase as when you’re travelling for a long time, you want to ensure that your phone is fully charged so that you can make the most of all your Netflix documentaries while you’re on the plane!
I really don’t have very many cons to discuss with regards to The Bigger case from Away, only perhaps that it’s slightly on the heavier side compared to some of its competitors. However, I still fully believe that this suitcase is worth the investment and it’s definitely one of the best hardside luggage options in the market today.
- Durable polycarbonate shell exterior
- TSA-approved combo lock
- 360° spinner wheels
- Relatively heavy
- Weight: 3.8kg
- Dimensions: 57h x 37w x 24d cm
- Wheels: 4 360° spinner wheels
- Material: polycarbonate shell
- Warranty: lifetime
Samsonite Inova Hs Spinner – best scratch-resistant
The Samsonite Inova Hs Spinner suitcase has numerous similarities to the Away The Bigger Carry On case, which is probably why I love it so much and why I’ve included it in this list of the best hardside luggage!
This particular case features a TSA-approved fitted lock, just like the Away case, so you can rest assured that all your belongings are safely secured when they’re in the hold-all compartment of a plane.
Furthermore, I love how lightweight this suitcase is! It weighs less than 3kg when empty, which gives you plenty of space and weight to play around with when packing.
You should always remember to check the luggage weight restrictions with the airline that you’re flying with, so that you don’t overpack and end up getting charged more money for a heavier bag!
The Samsonite Inova Hs Spinner is best known for its remarkable scratch-resistant surface material.
It is made from Makrolon polycarbonate which has an almost-glass like transparency and provides an unparalleled high impact resistant shell which is perfect for hardside luggage.
While the case isn’t completely scratch-proof, the textured, brushed-finish shell reduces the visibility of scratches on the surface of the case.
If you’re looking for a suitcase that will offer you a lightweight, yet incredibly strong and durable travel companion, then I really couldn’t recommend the Samsonite Inova Hs Spinner enough!
- TSA-approved lock
- Interior isn’t as well designed as other models
- Weight: 2.7kg
- Dimensions: 56h x 41w x 21.5d cm
- Wheels: 4 spinner wheels
- Material: Makrolon polycarbonate
- Warranty: lifetime
Rimowa Essential Lite Cabin – best lightweight
If you’re looking for the best lightweight hardside luggage, then look no further than the Rimowa Essential Lite Cabin case.
I’ve heard nothing but great things about this remarkably light suitcase; weighing just 2kg! This makes it the perfect travel companion as you can pack as much as you like inside and you’d likely still struggle to meet any airlines’ weight restrictions!
You can find a useful guide here that explains some of the most popular airlines’ luggage restrictions.
The Essential Lite Cabin is Rimowa’s lightest ever suitcase; a bold feat considering that this brand is renowned for producing consistently lightweight suitcases and luggage options!
One thing that I personally find very endearing about the Essential Lite Cabin is that it’s made from a durable polycarbonate shell exterior, without compromising on its sleek and stylish design and finish. The case comes in three different glossy colours so you can ensure your belongings are well protected inside the case, and you’re also safe in the knowledge that it looks great too!
It’s very durable thanks to its polycarbonate structure, and it’s also remarkably lightweight at the same time. Despite its 2kg weight, this case doesn’t lose any of its stability; the 4 spinner wheels, combined with its multi-stage telescopic handles provide a stable structure for you to wheel around to many destinations all over the world.
Unfortunately, the major downside to the Rimowa Essential Lite Cabin is its price tag; this suitcase is certainly one of the most expensive models on this list, but the real question is: is it worth it?
Personally, I would say that the Essential Lite Cabin is worth the money, especially if you’re looking to invest in a piece of hardside luggage that will last you for many years to come.
- Incredibly lightweight
- TSA locks
- Sleek design in a range of colours
- Very expensive
- Weight: 2kg
- Dimensions: 55h x 40w x 23d cm
- Wheels: 4 spinner wheels
- Material: polycarbonate
- Warranty: 5 years
Olympia Apache Carry On Spinner – best for versatility
I picked the Olympia Apache Carry On Spinner suitcase as the most versatile hardside luggage to feature in this list simply because it has so many useful features and uses.
Fitted with a hidden compartment in the centre interior of the case, the Apache Carry On allows you to neatly tuck away your laptop, headphones and neck pillow while the bag is stood upright!
This provides you with an easy travel experience, where you can reach for your belongings without having to unzip the entire case in front of everyone!
As well as the “hidden” compartment, the Apache Carry On also features two zipped pockets in its lined interior; perfect for stashing even more of your belongings neatly inside!
I’ve also heard many great things about the luggage’s 4 spinner wheels that supposedly make this case an absolute breeze to drag along at the airport or train station when you’re travelling.
While it’s not necessarily the lightest luggage option on this list, it does weigh less than 3kg which still gives you plenty of packing space and available weight.
One slightly negative aspect that I’ve heard about this case is that its warranty is a bit hit and miss and you may sometimes find that there are only certain instances where your claimed will be acknowledged by Olympia. Due to this, make sure you thoroughly check the website’s terms and conditions for their warranty period if you’re a bit worried about committing to the purchase.
Overall, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Olympia Apache Carry On Spinner suitcase. Thanks to its plethora of hidden pockets and compartments, as well as its spinner wheels and sturdy ABS design, the Apache Carry On is without a doubt one of the most versatile and best hardside luggage options for 2021.
- Very versatile
- Strong and durable
- Limited warranty
- Weight: 2.8kg
- Dimensions: 53h x 36w x 28d cm
- Wheels: 4 spinner wheels
- Material: ABS plastic (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene)
- Warranty: limited
Kenneth Cole Reaction Reverb – best for storage
For the best hardside luggage in 2021 that offers ample interior space, a strong, structural design, all for an affordable price, there’s really nothing better than the Kenneth Cole Reaction Reverb 20” Carry On.
I’ve included this case in my line up of the best hardside luggage for 2021 as it came so highly recommended to me due to its amazing storage abilities.
Alongside the standard interior storage space that you can expect from most carry-on cases, Kenneth Cole go one step further with the Reaction Reverb.
The case provides an additional two-winged pouches that are perfect for storing smaller items such as underwear, makeup items and small trinkets that you’ll inevitably bring back from your travels!
Furthermore, you’ll also find a top flap with two pouches that are uniquely designed for neatly stowing shoes and toiletries so that they’re kept somewhat separate from the rest of your belongings.
Due to the suitcase’s remarkable storage capabilities, unfortunately it poses quite a heavy and bulky design in order to accommodate everything inside.
However, from what I’ve discovered online, this “issue” hasn’t proven to be too problematic thankfully, as the 4 spinner wheels provide an easy wheeling feature, so you don’t have to worry about carrying the case too often.
Another great thing about the Kenneth Cole Reaction Reverb Carry On is that it’s remarkably good value for money so you can really make the most out of your holiday budget, without worrying about shelling out tonnes of money for a new suitcase!
- Plenty of storage space
- Easily wheeled thanks to spinner wheels
- Weight: 3.4kg
- Dimensions: 57h x 38.5w x 22d cm
- Wheels: 4 spinner
- Material: ABS plastic
- Warranty: 10 years
Tumi Latitude Short Trip Packing Case – best for durability
If you’ve been involved in the luggage game for quite some time, you’ll probably be aware of Tumi and their luxurious and lavish luggage options. The Tumi Latitude Short Trip Packing Case is no different; equipped with a hefty price tag, this case is definitely the most expensive case on this list.
If you can get passed the extortionate price tag, you’ll find that the Latitude case from Tumi is an excellent option thanks to its strong, sturdy and durable design.
Made from self-reinforced polypropylene Ballistic plastics, the finish that this suitcase has on its exterior is remarkable. You’d be hard pressed to find a better constructed suitcase that is sure to last you for many years to come.
I personally enjoy that this case comes in a range of sleek colours including black, silver or navy. This way, you can enjoy strolling along in the airport with a case that’s long-lasting and durable, as well as beautiful and stylish too!
Inside the bag, you’ll find ample storage space for all your belongings that will easily fit enough clothes and accessories for a one-week trip; if not more!
One of my personal favourite features of the inside of this case is the zipped pockets which allow you to keep things neat and tidy inside your bag. This way, even if your case gets thrown around at the airport, everything will still be kept nice and neat inside your bag!
If you can justify the hefty price tag on the Tumi Latitude Short Trip Packing Case, then I would definitely say that it’s worth the investment.
It’s equipped with plenty of storage for a short holiday or work trip away, and it’s one of the most strong and durable hardside luggage pieces on the market!
- Very durable and sturdy
- Lovely, stylish design
- Great wheel system
- Very expensive
- Weight: 3.7kg
- Dimensions: 69h x 46w x 28d cm
- Wheels: 4 spinner
- Material: Self Reinforced Polypropylene Ballistic
- Warranty: five years
Briggs and Riley Sympatico Domestic Expandable Spinner – best luxury
Briggs and Riley are renowned for offering high quality luggage items and their Domestic Expandable Spinner case is no exception.
It’s the perfect case for people who tend to overpack as the case comes with the ability to expand by up to 22%! You’ll be able to fit everything you need in and more, without worrying about breaking the seams of the case thanks to its quality hardside design.
The ability to fit 22% more inside the case is due to Briggs and Riley’s famous CX Technology which sounds quite overwhelming at first, but is simply the compression and expanding technology that allows you to squeeze as much as you can inside your case.
The Sympatico Domestic Expandable Spinner is made from Makrolon polycarbonate material, so like Samsonite Inova Hs Spinner suitcase, it’s incredibly durable while still maintaining a relatively lightweight frame.
Another thing that makes this case the perfect stylish travel companion is the double spinner wheels which makes carting it through the airport an absolute breeze.
I don’t know about you, but one thing that I always really struggle with when it comes to luggage is the handles. They always either seem to be too hard so that they hurt my hand, or too soft that they don’t provide adequate grip.
The Briggs and Riley Sympatico Domestic case, however, has ultra-comfortable pads on the handles which provide both a good level of cushioning, without compromising on the grip.
Of course, due to Briggs and Riley’s famous name within the luggage industry, the Sympatico Domestic case isn’t the most affordable hardside luggage option on this list, but it’s certainly worth the investment if you’re in the market for a luxury piece of luggage.
- 22% expansion room
- Beautiful design
- Comfortable hand grips
- Quite expensive
- Weight: 3.8kg
- Dimensions: 55h x 35.5w x 23d cm
- Wheels: 4 spinner wheels
- Material: Makrolon polycarbonate material
- Warranty: lifetime
Travelpro Crew 11 Hardside Spinner – best checked luggage
If you want to purchase a new hardside suitcase that’s ideal for check-in luggage, then the Travelpro Crew 11 Hardside Spinner is an ideal contender for you!
One thing in particular that I think is great about this suitcase is that it’s equipped with an external USB port which is ideal for charging your electronic devices as you go. This feature would be perfect for me as I tend to work on the go while I’m travelling.
The interior of the suitcase is incredibly spacious and has ample room for all your belongings thanks to its dividers and numerous zipper pockets. This allows you to separate all your items, so your shoes don’t get your clothes or toiletries dirty, for example.
One slight downside to the Travelpro Crew 11 case is that it’s one of the heaviest models on this list, which makes it quite bulky to carry.
However, this is easily counteracted thanks to the case’s super clever PrecisionGlide™ System wheels. There are eight MagnaTrac wheels that combine to make four super-sleek, dual wheels which are perfect for gliding over multiple surfaces.
Another way that helps to ease the weight when pushing/pulling this case is the sturdy aluminium PowerScope, low grab handles that allow you to adjust the height of them, so they’re better suited to you.
I personally think this suitcase is a great option for a 2021 investment in a new piece of luggage as it’s perfect for checking in at the airport. Its size and dimensions give you plenty of packing room, and it’s also remarkably affordable so you don’t have to splash out too much money to get the luggage item of your dreams!
- Great dual spinner wheels for convenience
- Very spacious
- USB port to charge your devices
- Quite heavy
- Weight: 3.99kg
- Dimensions: 63.5h x 46w x 27d cm
- Wheels: 4 spinner MagnaTrac wheels
- Material: ballistic nylon fabric with Duraguard coating
- Warranty: lifetime
Delsey Paris Chatelet Hardside 28” Spinner – best stylish design
If there’s one brand of suitcase that I could recommend to you thanks to their superior stylish designs, it would be Delsey; in particular the Delsey Paris Chatelet Hardside 28” Spinner.
While it might not be the cheapest option on this list, the Chatelet Hardside certainly packs a punch when it comes to style and sophistication.
Of course, travel accessories aren’t all about being the best looking, but I don’t think it does any harm to invest in a luggage item that offers great features and
looks good too!
The Delsey Paris Chatelet comes fitted with a TSA-approved locking system which, from what we’ve discovered from previous models in this list, is a great feature to look for when investing in a new piece of luggage.
Furthermore, this case also offers a truly unique brake system that locks the front two wheels in place to prevent it from rolling away! I think this is an excellent feature to enjoy, particularly if you’ll be travelling with young children while using this case as it’ll allow you to put the brakes on if you need run after the kids at any point!
Speaking of the wheels; the Delsey Paris Chatelet Hardside case features silent double spinner wheels which provide ample manoeuvrability and a smooth and sleek glide when you walk with the case.
While there might be a pretty hefty price tag attached to this case, if you can justify it, then I wholeheartedly believe that it’s worth the money. Not only is it beautifully designed and utterly stylish, it also has plenty of incredible features to make it an all-round great investment for hardside luggage for 2021.
- Very stylish design
- Unique brake locking system
- TSA-approved lock
- Weight: 5.7kg
- Dimensions: 76h x 53w x 32d cm
- Wheels: 4 spinner wheels
- Material: polycarbonate and faux leather accents
- Warranty: 10 years
Things to Consider When Buying Hardside Luggage
Buying any new piece of luggage means that there will be numerous considerations you have to think about and investing in new hardside luggage is no different. Thanks to my many years of travel, as well as undertaking plenty of research online, I’ve discovered the top things to consider when buying hardside luggage; take a look at them below!
It might seem like common sense, but more often than not, hardside luggage will likely be heavier than soft-side luggage.
However, that doesn’t mean to say that all hardside luggage will weigh you down; just look how lightweight the Rimowa Essential Lite Cabin case is above!
Of course, the lighter the case, the better, as it means you will be able to manoeuvre it through the airport much easier, but that doesn’t mean to say that lighter suitcases are always the better option.
The trick with finding the “perfect” weight of hardside luggage is to find a happy medium between durable and sturdy materials and being able to carry it easily when travelling.
I’ve mentioned it above, but one thing you need to be aware of when investing in a new piece of luggage is its size. Not only will most airlines have weight restrictions in place, they will also have size restrictions, particularly for carry-on luggage.
If you intend on purchasing a new luggage item specifically for an upcoming trip, then make sure you check with the airline you’re flying with if they have any weight or size restrictions in place. Most of the above suitcases are ideal for both carry-on and hold-all, but just remember to double check before you buy!
Handles are an imperative part of any suitcase; they allow you to hold on to your bag and easily transport it from one place to another.
perfect handles above, but when it comes to looking at the handles of your newly intended hardside luggage, make sure you’ve considered the following:
The handles should have a firm and strong grip, without being too hard or too soft.
Too hard; and your hands will likely experience blisters and sores before you know it.
Whereas too soft handles will likely mean you won’t be able to grip the case as well and you may struggle to pull it along!
Wheels are another incredibly important consideration when purchasing hardside luggage
All the luggage items in the detailed guide above have four wheels; some even have eight dual wheels! It ultimately comes down to your own personal preference, but I would always recommend a four-wheeled suitcase as opposed to a two-wheel one. This is because I find suitcases with four wheels much easier to pull along as they usually glide smoothly alongside me. Whereas two-wheeled suitcase have to be dragged along behind me and I find this much more uncomfortable.
Throughout this guide, I have mentioned the importance of TSA-approved locks when it comes to buying hardside luggage and I’m a firm believer that your suitcase should be fitted with one.
If not, you should purchase one that can be easily fitted to your bag so that you have no trouble going through security should your suitcase need to be accessed by a member of the airport security staff.
Last but by no means least when it comes to the things you should look out for when buying hardside luggage is the materials that it’s made from. Of course, you want the suitcase to be made from “hard” materials, but do you know which materials are best? Typically speaking, most hardside luggage is made from either ABS or polycarbonate plastics.
Polycarbonate suitcases tend to be slightly more expensive, but they’re also considered to be stronger, more durable and more flexible. Whereas ABS plastics might be more affordable, but they’re not always quite as up to scratch when it comes to durability as polycarbonate suitcases.
My personal recommendation would be to try and invest in a hardside luggage item that’s made from polycarbonate, but any strong and sturdy plastic will do! As you can see, there are many things you need to think about when purchasing a new suitcase, particularly a hardside one.
If you have any questions about these suitcases or you want to leave your own personal review, leave a comment below.
This article is not sponsored in any way by any company. These products have been independently selected by myself and my team. And the only thing I receive is a small commission from our affiliate program if you buy any of them through the links and buttons on this page. It doesn’t cost you a penny. But it really helps me out as this money goes to paying for maintaining the website, editing software, my time, team and everything else that goes into preparing this post.