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Best Carry on Luggage Reviews

Updated on November 26, 2017

Let's Help You Find the Best Carry On Luggage for 2016

Looking for the best carry on luggage for spring and summer travel or an upcoming trip? Get our picks for the best carry on bags from the top luggage brands that are durable, stylish, and that meet airline carry on rules.

Choose from rollaboards, hard case luggage, under the seat carry ons and more -- with FREE shipping, closeout deals, and the best prices available. Get reviews of the top luggage brands and find your perfect carry on bag!

Best International Carry on Luggage

Victorinox Avolve Expandable 21-inch Carry On >>

This bag has handles that store completely flat to keep you under the height limit. A 2-inch zipppered expansion creates 17% more room, which is useful if you wanted to use it as a carry-on for your outbound trip (to make sure it gets to your destination with you) but don't mind checking it with your new souvenirs for your return flight.

The 4-wheel spinner design provides weightless maneuvering and gives you 360 degree mobility -- a big help in crowded airports.

It expands an extra 1.2 inches and has a padded laptop pocket that can fit up to a 15.6-inch laptop. Covered by a 10-year warranty!

Weight: 5.62 lbs

Travelpro Luggage Reviews 2017

Best Light Carry On

Travelpro is the brand that many airline pilots and flight attendants use themselves. The Travelpro Maxlite 2 is a great buy for frequent or leisure travelers.

Travelpro Maxlite 20 inch & 22 inch >>

These bags expand an extra 1.5 inches to accommodate last-minute items, or to compensate for returning with more stuff than you left with. They have a full-length lid pocket and inline skate wheels that provide a smooth roll.

The 20-inch bag will have no problem fitting into overhead compartments, domestic or international.

Available in Blue or Black.

One reviewer sums it up nicely, calling it the "Ultimate lightweight rollaboard for frequent baggage-check-avoiding travelers."

I like the tall feet on the rollaboards, which keep them from tipping over when full. Plus, you get a little more packing room in the 2-wheel style than the spinner, as the spinner wheels eat up some of your packing space.

The spinner wheels offer 360-degree mobility, but this feature is not critical in a carry-on since it's not going to be that heavy to pull. However, if you find pulling too strenuous, then a spinner would be better for you. Check out this bag:

Best Checked Luggage

Want to pack one big bag that stays under the 50 lbs. limit and withstands abuse by baggage handlers? Get reviews and recommendations for the best checked luggage you can buy.

Victorinox Werks Traveler 20-inch Spinner

This lightweight, premium bag is worth the price if having worry-free warranty support is important to you.

You get lots of bells and whistles, including ballistic nylon construction (the most durable luggage material), pockets, compartments, add-on straps, and a telescoping handle that stops in 3 different positions to accommodate different heights / arm lengths.

This bag is a trusted domestic carry-on, and also works for most international carriers -- with wheels included in the height.

Weight: 6.4 lbs.

Lipault 4-Wheeled Carry-On

Glide through the airport with stylish, feather-light luggage from Paris.

From a French designer, Lipault luggage is made of rugged nylon twill in attractive styles and colors. It's designed to be lightweight and highly functional, and you can mix and match with any of the softside luggage they make.

Lipault's wheeled duffle was named "Best Soft Wheelie" by O magazine. They even make foldable luggage that folds flat to store under the bed or in the closet if you're short on storage space at home.

Weight: 6 lbs

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Lightweight Carry-On Bags Under 7 Pounds

Hardside carry-on bags are checkpoint friendly. It's obvious at a glance to airport staff that your bag will fit, so you're less likely to be pulled aside and asked to measure your bag. Here are some of the best hard luggage carry-ons.

Hard Sided Carry-on Luggage with Wheels

Oprah's Best Lightweight Carry-On

Rated the "Best Lightweight Carry-On" by O Magazine, the Samsonite Black Label Cosmolite 20-inch Spinner is a sleek suitcase that will spare you from carry-on restriction hassles.

Samsonite Black Label Cosmolite 20" Spinner >>

At 20-inches tall (22" including wheels), it fits the overhead requirement, and at a mere 4.9 pounds, it will keep you under the weight allowance even once you've packed it.

Budget Hardshell International Carry On

Check out this popular, eye-catching hardshell luggage from Samsonite.

Samsonite Winfield 2 20" Spinner >>

This lightweight bag will easily hold a week's full of clothes and supplies. It has a zipper divider that separates the bag into 2 equal compartments for internal organization. The divider itself has 2 small zipper compartments, which come in handy for small items.

The spinner wheels and telescoping handle allows the bag to be rolled completely upright.

Weight: 6.7 lbs.

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The Luggage to Avoid - What Luggage NOT to Buy

Samsonite's lower end lines (L.I.F.T, Aspire, etc.) are made of polyester, which makes them lightweight, but also makes them less durable. If you are forced to check it, it may not survive a trip on the luggage carousel.

In addition, even though this Samsonite L.I.F.T. bag is advertised as being 20.5 inches tall, it's actually 23.5 inches with the wheels included -- and the wheels WILL be included when they measure it at the airport. Since the 20-inch bag is the smallest that they make, I would avoid the L.I.F.T. line altogether.

In general, you should also avoid bags advertised as "wide," as they may not fit in the overhead. When in doubt, check with the carrier.

Underseat Carry on Bag

Under Seat Luggage

Rolling Totes for One Bag Travelers

Looking for luggage that can fit under the seat? Get the top bags that allow for easy in-flight access, and smart carry-ons for one-bag travelers that hold all the clothes you need for your trip.

Get convenient under seat luggage for your next flight. Whether you want access to your bag during the flight, you're traveling on a regional jet, or you're a one-bag traveler who wants to make sure your luggage fits on board -- even when the overheads are full, these carry-ons will make sure your belongings are within reach.

Get a functional, well organized carry on where you can stash supplies that you want to keep close by under the seat.along with all the essentials that you need on board with you. Pack your snacks, a sweater, makeup, magazines, tablet, book, earplugs, sleep mask, prescriptions, water bottle, and more.

This bag is narrow enough to roll down the aisle to your seat, and it fits several days worth of clothes for short trips. For important trips where you need to make sure your belongings can stay with you and be stowed in the overhead, check out this bag from Travelpro. It's the brand that flight attendants use.

Airline Carry on Size

Pay close attention when shopping for a carry-on bag. The typical height restriction for U.S. domestic airline carry-ons is 22 inches (but it's 21.6 on many European airlines). That measurement is from wheels to handle, not just the body of the bag. Sometimes airlines will just eyeball it and let you through, but some carriers are sticklers -- British Airways in particular.

A 20-inch bag allows you a couple extra inches to make sure the wheels and handle stay with the 22-inch max. The rule of thumb is to add 2-inches to the body size to account for the wheels, but sometimes the wheels are taller than that.

Be cautious about "wide body" bags that seem to promise you more room. The major domestic airlines (Delta, American, United, etc.) only allow a maximum width of 14 inches. Wide bags are usually 16 inches wide, which is too big.

In addition, several airlines like KLM, Lufthansa, Air Asia, Air France, Alitalia and Qantas have begun enforcing carry-on weight limits, with many European airlines weighing carry-ons before you're allowed to board with them at the gate. (Limits typically range from 17 -26.5 lbs.) Most U.S. domestic carriers do not impose such a weight limit.

The lighter your empty bag, the more stuff you can pack in it before you hit the weight limit.

Airline Underseat Luggage Carry on Size

The space under the seat varies between airlines (and aircraft), but you will be safe with a bag that measures roughly 17W x 14H x 9D or less, that is, 17 inches wide (width across the bag at the widest part), 14 inches high (top of bag to bottom of bag when upright), 9 inches deep (from front to back of bag.)

International flights have slightly less room. Look for bags with a depth of 7-8 inches maximum.

* The width of the aisle is about 17 inches, which means you’ll need a bag narrower than 17 inches if you want to be able to wheel it down the airplane aisle.

Manufacturers don’t always list the measurements in the same order. For your reference, the biggest dimension listed is always the width, and the smallest is always the depth.


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