I started travelling extensively in university and at that point of time in my life, a carry on luggage was just any cheap luggage I found lying around the house. Now that travelling is actually part of my job, the perfect carry on is an absolutely essential.

A good hardside carry on luggage is useful for both business travel and leisure travel because of the convenience it brings when you need to carry smaller items up the plane. Think travel accessories such as your chargers, emergency toiletry kit, a spare shawl, your laptop, etc. 

TIP: If you have many nitty-gritty small items, a good tip is to make use of packing cubes to categorize and sort them for easy packing.

Also, if you’re on a student travel trip and want to make quick weekend breaks to nearby places, having a sturdy, durable carry on luggage is absolutely necessary!

Best Hardside Carry On Luggage

Luggage DimensionsWeightPriceTSA-ApprovedExpandableComments
Samsonite Freeform Hardside Spinner 21
15 x 10 x 21 inches6.5 lbsFr $102.89
Delsey Paris Turenne Hand Luggage
15.8 x 7.9 x 21.6 inches4.4 lbsFr $152.28X
American Tourister Technum Spinner Hardside 20
15 inches x 9.5 inches x 21.5 inches6.5 lbsFr $87.99
Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds 20"
14.5 x 8.5 x 21.75 inches6.25 lbsFr $59.99XX
TravelCross Chicago 20'' Carry On Lightweight Hardshell Spinner Luggage
TravelCross Chicago 20'' Carry On Lightweight Hardshell Spinner Luggage, Best Hardside Carry On Luggage
14 x 8 x 20 inches5.8 lbsFr $59.90XX
Coolife spinner carry on luggage
15 x 8.5 x 21 inches6.38lbsFr $59.99X
Amazon Basics Expandable
13 x 9 x 20 inchesFr $49.99XLack of the side handle.
Olympia Apache Ii 21" Carry-on Spinner
14 x 9 x 21 inches6.2 lbsFr $42.46Easy access middle pocket
Rockland Luggage Melbourne 20 Inch Expandable Carry On
13 x 9 x 20 inches6 lbsFr $41.97X

Criteria of a Carry On Luggage

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It would be apt to start with what I expect of a carry on luggage.

Carry-on dimensions – If I am a short trip, I would only take a carry on to avoid the checked baggage charges so this means between 19 – 22 inches.

Lightweight – Most flights offer 7-10kg / 15-22lbs of carry on so it is crucial we don’t add to that weight!

Hard shell & water repellent – It must be protected when I’m trudging through snow / rain.

Spinner wheels – A definite must! I have no idea how we lived with just 2 wheeled luggage?!

Top and side handles – You may not realise how useful they are till they aren’t there.

Telescoping Handles – I am referring to the extending and collapsing of the handle. Again, you may not realise how essential this is till they aren’t there.

All the luggage options that I have here do meet all the above criteria. However, there are two that I feel are not as crucial for a carry on.

TSA-approved combination lock – for travel to the States, but the lack of it is not a tiebreaker for me.

Expandable – Not necessary but great to have.

Now that all of us are on board with the various criteria, let’s narrow down my top picks from the popular luggage brands in the market!

Breakdown of the 9 Best Hardside Carry On Luggage

1. Samsonite Freeform Hardside Spinner 21

I myself personally use a Samsonite and I love it. They may be slightly higher on the pricing but I know they are worth the investment because of how sturdy and durable they are. The Samsonite Freeform, of course meets all my criterias, complete with a TSA approved lock and the option to expand. Need I say more?

Prices starting from $102.89.

CHECK THIS LUGGAGE OUT

2. Delsey Paris Turenne Hand Luggage

Delsey is another well-known luggage brand and it definitely doesn’t disappoint, meeting all my expectations. This is the lightest luggage I have on this list, weighing in at only 4.4lbs! That’s pretty incredible. There are not many colours available and it is certainly on the more expensive side, but you can be sure that the will last you for a long time.

Prices starting from $152.95.

CHECK THIS LUGGAGE OUT

3. American Tourister Technum Spinner Hardside 20

At 6.5lbs, this is a great hardcase carry on to have. This expandable spinner comes in several bright colours, making spotting your luggage on the carousel much easier. It is also backed by a 10 year warranty.

Prices starting from $87.95.

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4. Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds 20″

I personally did not know that Kenneth Cole dipped their fingers into luggage. Surprisingly, this carry on met all my expectations and comes in a whopping 11 different colours. At 20 inches and 6.4lbs, I would say the Kenneth Cole Reaction is certainly value for money.

Prices starting from $59.99.

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5. TravelCross Chicago 20” Carry On Lightweight Hardshell Spinner Luggage

TravelCross Chicago 20'' Carry On Lightweight Hardshell Spinner Luggage, Best Hardside Carry On Luggage

TravelCross has several lines of carry on luggage but the Chicago would have to be my pick. It comes in 9 different colours (including rose gold!) and weighs about 5.8lbs. This is the second lightest luggage on this list, but with the lower price tag.

Prices starting from $59.95.

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6. Coolife Luggage Suitcase PC+ABS Spinner Built-in TSA Lock Carry on

It is no wonder why this 21 inch Coolife spinner carry on luggage is a best seller on Amazon. At this price point, it ticks all my boxes and is lightweight for a hard case luggage at just 6.38lbs.

Prices starting from $59.99.

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7. Amazon Basics Expandable

If you are not bothered by branding, the Amazon Basics hardside spinner luggage has numerous great reviews. This luggage is comparable to the Coolife I mentioned above, but for $10 less. My only qualm about it is the lack of the side handle.

Prices starting from $49.99.

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8. Olympia Apache Ii 21″ Carry-on Spinner

Don’t you hate it when you are finally finished squeezing everything into your suitcase, only to find that you had left a sock out, or a charger? What I love about this piece is the extra zipped pocket in the middle, giving easy access without the hassle of opening up your luggage again.

It comes in black with different pop of colours on the zips and wheels – just enough to stand out from the other million black pieces of luggage on the carousel.

Prices starting from $42.26.

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9. Rockland Luggage Melbourne 20″ Expandable Carry On

The cheapest carry on luggage on this list – this carry on does not pale in comparison to its other competitors here. If you are looking for an affordable option that does the job, this could be a good choice. There are over 20 different colours to choose from.

Prices starting from $41.97.

CHECK THIS LUGGAGE OUT

 

So there it is! I hope you guys find this list useful. Do you have a travel item you simple can’t travel without? Let know me down below in the comments!


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Isabel Leong

Isabel Leong

An explorer at heart, the world is Isabel's playground. She enjoys seizing every moment exploring every hideout and doing the unimaginable, like bungee jumping in Phuket and couchsurfing in Europe. If she had wings, she’d definitely be soaring right now. Also a fitness trainer, if she’s not at the gym, you can find her doing yoga or rock climbing! Read more about her on belaroundtheworld.com/about.

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