12 Best Checked Luggage Options in 2017
If you reside in the States, you know the dreaded “inches” rule when it comes to flying. If it’s too large to carry on, that means you’ll have to check it. Depending on your airline of choice, that can be a pleasant experience or an absolute nightmare.
When it comes to finding the best checked luggage for travel, things are not quite as simple as they seem. You can’t just buy any bag you’d like due to size restrictions, and you have security to think about as well. Not to mention getting the suitcase to the airport – this can be a job unto itself with a large bag. With that in mind, here are our top choices broken down by size and security measures.
Table of Contents
- Top 12 Checked Luggage Options Comparison Table
- Baggage Buying Guide
- Hardside or Softshell
- Top 5 Best Checked Luggage Reviews
Top 12 Checked Luggage Options Comparison Table
|Design||Name||Additional Security||Size||Rating (1-5)|
|1. Dakine Split Roller Bag Backpack||Lockable Zippers||110 liters||4.8|
|2. AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Luggage||No||28-inch||4.7|
|3. Delsey Luggage Helium Aero Expandable Spinner Trolley||Integrated TSA||29-inch||4.4|
|4. Samsonite Winfield2 Fashion 28- Inch Luggage||TSA lock||28-inch||4.3|
|5. Travelers Choice Travel Select Amsterdam 25-Inch Expandable Rolling Upright||No||28-inch||4.3|
|6. Samsonite Cruisair DLX Hardside Spinner 26||TSA Combination||26-inch||4.3|
|7. Samsonite Omni PC 28-Inch Spinner||TSA Lock||28-inch||4.3|
|8. Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds 28 Inch 4-Wheel Upright Luggage||No||28-inch||4.2|
|9. High Sierra AT7 Wheeled Duffel with Backpack Straps||No||26-inch||4.2|
|10. Samsonite Aspire Xlite Expandable Spinner 29||No||29-inch||4.2|
|11. Olympia Luggage 29″ 8 Pocket Rolling Duffel Bag||No||29-inch||4.0|
|12. Samsonite Luggage 30 Inch Ripstop Wheeled Duffel||No||30-inch||3.8|
Baggage Buying Guide
Looking for the right luggage to take on a trip can be just as stressful as the trip itself. These tips will help lighten your mood and may also lighten your load.
If you have to check your beloved belongings, you will want to consider the size of the luggage first and foremost. The size of checked bags varies from airline to airline, and from one country to the next. That means it’s impossible for us to cover them all, unfortunately. Anything over 22” x 14” x 9” in the United States is considered a check-in bag.
When looking for the best checked luggage for travel, take a look at your airline’s website to find out how many bags are allowed and the sizes permitted. If you go overboard with excess baggage or massive suitcases, you could end up paying extra at the airport.
Hardside or Softshell
Are you going global or just for a quick business trip a few states away? The length of your trip will definitely affect your choice of luggage as you may not need to check a bag at all. If you do, you will want to consider a Hardside or Soft Shell suitcase. Soft Shell bags are generally light, more affordable and are by far the most popular choice these days.
Hardside – or hard shell luggage – is slowly gaining ground again and is a perfect fit for globetrotters. If you are going to hit multiple spots, there’s more of a chance for your bags to get beat up. Having a hard outer layer offers a bit of additional protection, but can significantly increase weight depending on the size. If weight is an issue, make sure it has a great set of wheels.
Security is always on your mind when traveling, and if you have the proper type of bag, it can make things easier if things go awry. Locking your bag is a given, but not all bags will have a proper built-in lock. That means you may need to buy a lock for your luggage. In the U.S. your bags can get checked on a whim, and you do not have to be standing there when it happens.
- TSA Locks – If you have TSA approve lock with the Red symbol, they can access it with a Master Key to prevent damage to your bag. Some show when they’ve been opened as well, which is great if you want to know if someone has been rifling through your things. These can be cut by crooks, but some are tougher than others.
- Luggage Lock – Luggage locks can come in many shapes and sizes depending on the type of bag. From padlocks to number locks, there are many ways you can go. That said, choose the lock with the smallest shank for your bag. The less gap, the more difficult it is to cut quickly.
Top 5 Best Checked Luggage Reviews
Suitcases or luggage can come in dozens of shapes and sizes. While bags have to meet certain standards to be checked at the airport, they still need to be manageable and hold enough gear for your journey. The Dakine Split Roller is a hybrid piece of luggage as it’s a backpack bag with rollers, so you won’t strain yourself trying to make it to the baggage check-in.
While you definitely would not want to strap the Dakine to your back, it has more handles than most bags so you can carry it in several different positions. Do not let the “Split” fool you though as the wheels are not split, the inside is. The split level design of the case allows for easy organization, and you will have loads of room considering the bag is 110 liters and measures 32” x 17” x 13” which is definitely beyond the range of carry-on bags.
The Dakine Roller doesn’t come with TSA locks but does have sturdy #10 YKK main zippers which can be locked. It’s tougher than most soft bags on our list as well due to 600D Polyester Ripstop fabric. If you need a large bag that’s more than a typical suitcase, we feel you won’t go wrong with this one. The Dakine Split Roller Bag is available in one size and 12 different colors including patterns and solids.
When you are a company as big as Amazon, you tend to do more than just deliver products. The company makes more than Kindles as well including luggage like the Amazon Basics Hardside Spinner. As the name implies, this case comes with an extra measure of protection with a “hard” shell that’s said to be scratch resistant and keeps your belongings be crushed.
Having a tough exterior is never a bad thing, but it does add weight, and some materials are far tougher than others. Unfortunately, we found that the shell is made from ABS plastic in this case, which is tough, but not nearly as durable as Polycarbonate. That is really the only downside to this suitcase however as those spinner wheels make transportation a breeze and it’s expandable up to 15% if you are in need if additional storage.
The large 28-inch version of the Basics Spinner is rated to handle about a weeks’ worth of gear with multiple pockets and pouches on the inside. It’s currently available in Black and is a solid all-around bag that won’t break the bank.
When you get to a certain point with luggage, it all comes down to extras and additional features. If you appreciate those extra bells & whistles, you will want to take notice of the Delsey Helium Aero Expandable Trolley. At 29 inches, it’s one of the larger bags on our best checked luggage list and its hardside nature makes it extremely tough as well.
The Helium Aero is made has a shell made from 100% Polycarbonate so that it can take damage more than your typical bag. It is easy on the eyes and has a massive carrying capacity that can be further expanded 2-inches if needed. Despite its size, it will be easy to maneuver thanks to four twin spinner wheels. As for the weight, this one clocks in at around 12.5 pounds empty, something to keep in mind if you are packing heavy.
Another perk of this particular bag is the fact that it is TSA-friendly. There is an integrated lock mounted on the side, so TSA won’t have to bust open your bag or ruin a lock during an inspection. This tough suitcase is available in a variety of colors as well with Cobalt Blue, Purple, Emerald Green, Brick Red, Teal, and Titanium.
No luggage list is official without something from Samsonite showing up. Their first entry is the Winfield2 Fashion, which is a 28-inch suitcase with a tough Polycarbonate exterior. It will keep your belongings safe from clumsy baggage handlers, and your treasures inside will be safe as well.
The Winfield2 has a TS lock on the side which allows you to lock down the main zippers to keep the crooks out. While it won’t keep TSA away, it is a nice perk and saves you from having to buy a lock down the line. It’s of average weight for its size at 11.5 lbs. unpacked and measures 30” x 20” x 12.5” overall. The inside is quite spacious as well with dual compartments featuring cross straps and a privacy curtain with zippered pockets to help you keep organized.
Now for a negative. As slick as the Winfield2 looks, it is prone to scratches. That’s not uncommon for a bag of this nature, but we felt this one did not quite hold up as well as similar hardside bags. It’s not a deal-breaker by any means, but something to keep in mind if you expect your suitcase to be handled roughly.
Rounding out our Top 5 is a rolling wonder from Travelers Choice. This one is dubbed the “Amsterdam, ” and it’s certainly stylish enough to fit right in on a trip to Europe. It is of average size for a checked bag at 25” x 9” x 9” and sports three separate handles including the retractable one up top.
This is what we would refer to as a “basic” bag meaning you aren’t going to get any cool extras. There are no integrated TSA locks, and if you want split spinner wheels, you will need to look elsewhere. It can hold a load however although you only get one compartment to go along with a sectioned panel for organization. The wheels are of the skate variety as well, so they only roll one way and are not multi-directional.
If you are in the market for a suitcase that simply gets the job done and need something that won’t be a pain to drag around, the Travelers Choice Amsterdam is a solid option. It may not be the flashiest or most feature-packed bag, but it is a workhorse that can get you through countless trips with ease.