Best Hardside Carry-On Luggage for Your Next Trip & TOP 9 Reviews 2021

Do you worry about what could happen to your carry-on luggage when you’re taking a trip?

Perhaps you cringe every time your luggage gets thrown in the back of a cab or rolls around the luggage compartment of an airplane.

Don’t fear, we’ve got the solution.

The only peace of mind you will find is to ensure you have the best hardside carry-on luggage to keep the contents safe from any damage they might pick up when you’re traveling.

In this article, we’re looking at some of the best options for hardside luggage which is small enough to be taken on most airlines as carry-on.

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Things to Consider When Buying Hardside Carry-On Luggage

Many of us aren’t the most excited about luggage.

It falls into the ‘functional’ category rather than the ‘fun’ category.

However, it is worth spending some time researching what makes good quality carry-on luggage, and which models are the top-rated hardside carry-on luggage.

Deciding on which model is best for you will depend largely on the use you have for luggage.


The size of your carry-on simply has to be considered as it is a regulation for most flights. You can’t just choose whatever luggage you please.

Most airlines consider carry-on to be anything 22 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches or smaller.

You will probably have an image in your head of the little cradles in airports which staff will put your luggage in to check that it is within their limitations.

This is an area to be very careful with.

If you turn up at the airport with larger baggage the chances are you will be charged a hefty fee to take it on the plane.

How can you ensure this doesn’t happen?

Hardside carry-on is one of the best ways to ensure you stick to the restrictions.

Often overlooked, the rigid nature of a hard-shelled case can ensure that your luggage doesn’t bulge or become misshapen as may happen with soft cases. Even a soft case which fits the size restrictions can be rejected if it is overfilled.

hardside carry-on luggage with wheels

To Roll, or Not to Roll?

That is the question.

Well, it is a question. This is an important thing to think about and will vary from person to person.

Do you need wheels on the bottom of your luggage?

To make this choice, you will need to think about where your luggage is most commonly used.

Will you be walking a lot around airports? Do you need to take this luggage around the city with you once you arrive?

There are very few disadvantages to finding the best hardside rolling carry-on luggage, especially if the handle will fold away to keep it neat and tidy.

Hardside Carry-On vs. Backpack

Some people make the choice of hardside carry-on vs a backpack, but you don’t need to choose.

If you need to take a backpack on your travels, you can fit one within your hardside carry-on, along with other items.

If you take just a carry-on backpack, you are stuck with only this while traveling, and once you reach your destination.


The day we pack our bags ready to travel we’re often panicking about weight.

Here’s the deal:

Both carry-on luggage and hold luggage can have weight restrictions. If you’re only taking a few items then you may not have to worry about it.

Most of us have to pay careful attention to the weight we’re taking. It may even be the case that you have chosen to only take carry-on luggage. This can help a great deal with the cost of flying, as luggage can be expensive.

If you’re throwing out books and filling your socks with helium to try and get down to the ideal weight then the last thing you want is an overly heavy case adding to the burden. (Disclaimer: The helium tip does not work).

It may seem like a contradiction, but there are some very sturdy options out there which are also the best lightweight hardside carry-on luggage.

The two are not mutually exclusive and some very clever materials can be used to keep the structure rigid but the weight low. Naturally, some models are better than others for this.


What compartments do you need?

Perhaps you are happy to just put all your stuff in whichever way the luggage allows. This is often fine if you are just taking essentials and clothes.

However, if you have a laptop, tablet or other devices which can be sensitive, you may require specific compartments for them.

Much of the best luggage items we’ve reviewed offer some very clever compartments which may appeal to your own travel needs.

The TOP 9 Best Hardside Carry-On Luggage: Reviewed 2021

Here goes.

Our top nine options, reviewed. They all have their own merits and their own charms, as we’ve dissected in our reviews.

AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Luggage

This model of carry-on luggage is a great value-for-money option which is manufactured by AmazonBasics.

It has got some great features as well as being very sturdy. The spinner wheel design means that it can easily be wheeled in any direction with no need for awkward maneuvers.


  • Polyester organizer within which has three different pockets, great for storing tablets, devices, and other items.
  • The rugged hard shell is made with a thick ABS material which the manufacturer claim is superior to their competition. It is scratch resistant.
  • Comes in different colors to suit your preference and for a touch of individuality.
  • Has both a short handle and a telescopic handle for carrying around comfortably in every scenario.


  • It is expandable, which is not a problem, but it does mean if you overfill it then it may not fit the restrictions for an airline’s carry-on.
  • The handles are not the best quality and become stiff over time.


If you are in search of hardside carry-on which is affordable but also gives you some choices in terms of design, you may well want to consider the AmazonBasics model.

It isn’t the fanciest of all the products, but it gives good value for money and delivers on its promise of covering the basics.

Delsey Luggage Helium Aero Carry-On Luggage

Well, who doesn’t want luggage which looks like it’s going to be taken into space!

Even the name has a sci-fi feel to it, and it is easy to see why when you see the glistening and smooth design of the Helium Aero.

Available in different colors, the product is also offered in either 19-inch or 21-inch, either of which will usually be suitable for taking onto airplanes as your carry-on luggage.


  • 10 different designs to choose from.
  • Lots of compartments and web strapping to ensure all of your items can be safely stowed away in their own part of the case.
  • An easy access pocket at the front which is great for items and documents you may need to quickly access without rooting through your bag.
  • Spinner wheels and lightweight for easy maneuver.


  • The zip is not the most reliable.
  • Slightly on the expensive side.


All-in-all, this is a great piece of luggage whether you want to look like you’re going into space or not!

Durable, and claimed by the manufacturer to last decades if treated right.

The easy access compartments make this arguably the best hardside luggage carry-on for international travel, where you will constantly be needing to dip back in for visa forms, passports, tickets and more.

Goplus ABS Carry-On Luggage

On to another affordable Goplus makes a serious case for being the best cheap hardside carry-on luggage.

It is certainly on the affordable side of the market. But what do people love about the Goplus?


  • Made from ABS with a great balance of sturdiness and being lightweight.
  • Resistant to scratches and scuffs.
  • Available in eight different colors to suit your preference.
  • Telescopic handle so that you can easily roll around the spinner wheels for ease of mobility.
  • Has a lined interior and plenty of straps to keep things in place, as well as extra compartments for laptops and other items.


  • The interior compartments are not especially well padded or protected.
  • The wheels are not the best quality, which will result in struggling to control the four-way spinning nature of them.


For the money paid, this is a great piece of luggage. It may not have amazing compartmentalization, but it will do a good job of keeping your items safe when you are traveling.

It is a wonderful option for people trying to get around on a budget, due to the fact that it is one of the most affordable products in this particular market.

Xiaomi Carry-On Luggage

If there is such thing as a carry-on for a business exec, this is exactly that. The Xiaomi is one of the few models on the market to have some bravery and a different design style, by utilizing a padded front compartment which is totally independent of the interior.

Is it any good, though?

In general, it is a wonderful piece of kit, especially if you’re one of those people who travel for business or likes to carry a lot of gadgets.


  • Padded, easy-access and separate front compartment perfect for laptops, tablets, folios, books, and pens. Almost a mini-suitcase within the carry-on luggage.
  • TSA approved locks on both the mini compartment on the front and the main section of the case.
  • Spinner wheels for easy transportation around airports and beyond.
  • Incredibly hard-wearing polycarbonate shell, manufactured in Germany and put through rigorous compression testing to ensure it is up to the job. Your items are safe in the Xiaomi.


  • On the expensive side.
  • Some of the internal storage space has been taken up by the front compartment, meaning slightly less room.


It is hard to fault this luggage for what it is. If you want to look slick and have loads of compartments for devices, folders and generally being hyper-organized then there aren’t many better options.

However, if you’re just looking for something basic, this could be overkill.

Kenneth Cole Reaction Renegade Hardside Carry-on Luggage

As you can see, spinner carry-on luggage is extremely popular, but few spinning models give quite as much stability and smoothness as the Kenneth Cole Reaction Renegade, with its eight wheels of rolling power!

Is this the best hardside spinner carry-on luggage?

The Reaction Renegade is certainly well made, with a lot of features which keep it sturdy and hard-wearing.


  • Available in eight different designs.
  • Offers an elastic top shoe, has numerous accessory pockets and a mesh zipper pocket for separating items.
  • The ABS exterior shell is backed up with rounded corners which are designed to help with any impact the luggage is subjected to.
  • Can be placed down horizontally or vertically, as it has a handle and protectors on the side panels.


  • Does not come with a lock system included as many of the other models do.
  • The handle sticks after extended use.


The Reaction Renegade certainly offers something a little different. As well as being very durable, the extra wheels definitely help with the feel and ease of rolling this around.

The fact that you can set it down or carry it on its side is another little bonus, and these may be small details which you are specifically looking for in your luggage.

Lily Bloom Hardside Carry-On Luggage

Most of the luggage to make this list is there purely because of its functionality, but there’s room for a bit of fun with the designs too. This gorgeous Lily Bloom luggage is not just a looker though, as it fits the bill in terms of quality, too.

What’s the catch?

Well, you do sacrifice a little bit of quality in terms of the compartments and the inside padding and layering of this case, but it still has plenty to offer.


  • Comfortably designed ergonomic handles which are also reinforced for durability and extended use.
  • Choose from four designs, all of which are stunning in their own right.
  • Made from sturdy ABS material with PC.
  • 360-degree spinning wheel capability.


  • Not a great deal of options in terms of compartments or easy-to-reach pockets for passports etc.
  • Not as simple to fit a lock as some of the other options.


The design may not be for you, and the features are not quite up there with some of the competitors, but in a space where you can’t always show your personality, it is nice to include some designer options for carry-on luggage.

The Lily Bloom collection will certainly get people talking.

Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Spinner

Next up is one of the top-selling items of hardside carry-on luggage out there. It seems to fall really nicely in the middle ground of not being the cheapest, nor the most expensive, but still offering all of the features most consumers are looking for.

Promising, right?

Without having a huge amount of standout features, it does all of the basics very well.


  • The exterior is made out of micro-diamond textured material which is notoriously hard to scratch or damage. Treated well, the Samsonite Omni can look good for years.
  • Available in a choice of five different colors.
  • Extremely lightweight spinning wheels make it easy to maneuver.
  • Has a zipped interior and also comes with straps and dividers within which let you compartmentalize and organize when packing with ease.
  • Comes with a TSA lock which is great for security.


  • The rollers, being very lightweight, can occasionally break.
  • If overstuffed then the airline may not accept it into carry-on luggage.


We’ve only been able to find a couple of real ‘cons’ for this product, and they’re not really going to be a regular issue.

I think this is further proof that this ‘middle-of-the-road’ case is a solid if not overly exciting choice.

Delsey Luggage Chatelet Hard Carry-On

Although this is one of the more expensive options on the market, it is also one of the best. We simply couldn’t leave the Delsey Chatelet out of our list.

“The Rolls Royce of carry-on”.

Not only does this have the look and feel of an expensive, hard-wearing and luxurious luggage item, but it also has the features to back it up.


  • Gorgeous interior lining which is in keeping with our car analogy. It looks like the interior of a luxury vehicle, but it is functional. Lots of zippers and dividers make sure your belongings don’t roll or shift around too much.
  • Faux leather design.
  • Although technically a ‘spinner’ style, the wheels can lock with a button, allowing you to control just the two back wheels, and stopping your luggage from rolling away when stationary.
  • Recessed, TSA approved lock.
  • The wheels are silent. Totally silent, depending on what surface they’re being rolled on.


  • The price.


To stick with our luxury car metaphor, the price is really the only negative. The design, while not for everyone, is certainly classy.

If it weren’t for the financial standpoint, we’d probably all drive sports cars, and the Delsey Chatelet is great for those who don’t mind spending a little more for a rugged yet beautiful design.

Travelers Club Hardside Carry-On Luggage

Moving very rapidly from one end of the market to another!

The Travelers Club luggage is probably one of the cheapest options that we are happy to recommend. If you are looking for the least you can spend to still get a decent product, this is it.

As you may expect from our underwhelming ‘decent’ description, this doesn’t set the world alight, but perhaps we’re being unfair on what is a pretty reliable item, great for occasional travelers and shorter trips.


  • Lined interior and accessory pocket included for devices and other items.
  • Five color choices.
  • Double spinner style wheels allowing easy spinning in any direction.
  • Expands if you need extra packing.


  • Not quite as ruggedly constructed as many of its competitors.
  • The handle is not the best quality.


While there is an element of ‘you get what you pay for’, the travelers club suitcase is a good option for those who aren’t going to use it all the time.

For the price point, it is hard to complain too much about its shortcomings.


As you can see, there is a surprising amount of choice out there when it comes to luggage.

The models we’ve listed are truly the best hardside carry-on luggage items for your next trip, working out your budget and exactly what you need will help finalize your decision.

Feel free to leave a comment with any further thoughts, or if you are looking for more great information about traveling solo, download our ebook, full of excellent tips on staying safe while globetrotting.

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Karlis Kikuts

Karlis Kikuts

Coffee addict. Digital nomad. Solo traveler and blogger. Camping and hammocking enthusiast. Tiny book worm. In other words, the guy behind