These days, airlines have come up with many guidelines that define your carry on luggage size. These rules differ from one airline to the other and if you’re flying locally or internationally.
If you are traveling within the United States, the standard carry on luggage size is 22″ x 14″ x 9″, while many international airlines may require slightly smaller bags that are between 21″ and 22″. You really can’t go wrong with a 21″ suitcase but it’s always good to check the website of the airline you’re flying with to be sure.
In this post, we’ll be discussing the best carry on luggage on the market at the moment. To make this decision we had to factor many things like the design, storage space, wheels, handles, and even warranty cover. We also picked bags that are within the size limits of most local and international airlines.
We’ll start by listing the top products, thereafter, we’ll discuss each of our shortlisted luggage in more detail, exploring their pros, cons, and what other users had to say about them.
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The Top Carry On Luggage For 2021
These make up our list of the top products you can buy. Let’s go into more detail about each of these carry-ons.
Our #1 Choice - Overall Best
This is an awesome carry-on and our overall best for many reasons. It has a smart design that is available in so many colors like black, orange, blue, teal, navy, and purple. It’s a hard-side suitcase made from polycarbonate- a durable material. Polycarbonate suitcases are usually more durable than those made from ABS. The texture on its surface is scratch-resistant, so your luggage will still look good after extended use.
It is also 20-inches, so it is usable as a carry-on for both local and international airlines. It comes with a TSA-lock that secures your items while giving access to airport security officials when necessary.
Despite its small dimensions, it is able to take in a decent amount of clothes and toiletries. There is a mesh zippered compartment that can contain smaller items while the main storage area has cross straps to keep your clothes in place.
It comes with 4 spinner wheels and a comfortable top handle, so rolling it around isn’t difficult. There’s no need to tilt the luggage to get it to roll. You can also lift it up from its side-handle when you need to carry it into a car or the overhead bin of a plane.
Many users were very pleased with the quality of the suitcase, they praised its lightweight and polycarbonate material. However, there were few complaints about it being a bit difficult to control when rolling.
Our #2 Pick - The Best Budget Choice
If you are on a budget and not looking to spend a lot of money on a carry-on, then this is your best bet. It gives you a lot of value for money. Its hard-sided frame is made of a thick ABS plastic that is durable, the surface is scratch-resistant to ensure your luggage looks good after years of use.
It is 21″ inches in length, you can use it as a carry-on even on international flights.
The interior is fully lined, it has three zippered compartments and a divider for organizing your items for your trip. There are cross straps for securing your clothes in place so that they don’t get scattered when you get to your destination. With the extra zips, you can expand its storage by 15%.
The telescoping handle is well-built while the four wheels are double spinners, they can roll in 360 degrees. This means that the luggage is easy to move around with.
Apart from a few complaints about its durability, many people had no problems with the suitcase. They were impressed with its affordability and quality.
Our #3 Pick - Most Durable Carry On
Coolife has become a popular name among luggage brands because of one major reason- they make solid and durable suitcases, and this product is no different. This particular product has made it on our other lists of most durable luggage, best luggage sets, and best hard side luggage.
It is a well-built suitcase made from both ABS and Polycarbonate. As earlier established, polycarbonate is the highest grade of material used commercially for hard side suitcases, however, a suitcase made of this material isn’t so affordable. So, Coolife added ABS (which is also a fairly good material but cheaper) and Polycarbonate to make its suitcases and the results have been amazing. Awesome products at affordable prices.
This suitcase comes in the correct carry-on size for both local and international flights, it is also available in multiple colors to match your style.
The inner section is fairly spacious, fully-lined and well organized, there is a divider, mesh pockets, and straps to keep your clothes together.
The wheels are spinners and the top handle is extendable up to three levels, so you don’t have to worry about it feeling right for your height, you can simply adjust it to suit your convenience.
Most of the feedback we got about this product was very positive. There were very few complaints relative to the praises it got for its craftsmanship.
Our #4 Pick - Most Fashionable
If you are looking for something really stylish to take with you on a plane, this suitcase should do. It comes in awesome colors and patterns like rose gold, marble, and palm trees. The hard shell is also made of a combination of ABS and Polycarbonate, so you can expect it to be durable and lightweight.
The external length is 22″, so this means that it will fit most American carriers but might be above the carry-on size limit of some international airlines.
The inner storage capacity is comparatively larger than some similar luggage, it is also well organized and expandable. The extra zips on the outside allow you to adjust the storage space to accommodate more items. There are dividers, a pocket, and straps to keep your things in place.
Rolling it also very easy, it comes with telescoping handles and spinner wheels.
This highly-rated carry-on impressed many customers, however, there were some concerns about maintaining its awesome design when traveling often.
Our #5 Pick - Best Lightweight
One major advantage of soft-sided luggage is that they are relatively lighter than many hard-case ones. So, if you are one to prefer a soft-sided carry-on, then this is a good product to consider. It is really lightweight and durable.
It is a nicely-built suitcase that is available in different colors like black, azure blue, dusty rose, and slate green. The polyester fabric used to make it is water-repellent and stain-resistant, so your bag won’t be difficult to maintain.
When it comes to storage, soft-sided suitcases usually have more space to keep your items. This particular product is expandable, has a roomy interior, and external pockets. So, you can keep last-minute items in the external pockets without having to open up the entire bag. There are also straps for keeping your clothes in place.
The wheels are non-spinner but still roll well. The main handle is telescoping while it has other handles for lifting it up.
This is a great product that many users gave an overwhelmingly positive review about.
What To Consider Before Choosing A Carry-On Luggage
Here are some factors to put in mind before choosing a carry-on suitcase:
Airlines usually give a guideline that governs what size of luggage you’re allowed to board a plane with and what size should be checked-in. American carriers generally allow suitcase of no more than 22″ on board while many international airlines accept within the 21″-22″ range. If you primarily travel within the United States, you can pick a 22″ carry-on. However, if you plan to travel internationally, it’s best to get a 21″ suitcase.
Also, some companies are a little deceptive about the actual size of the suitcase. Ensure you aren’t looking at the interior dimensions but the exterior one because that is what airlines might measure.
2. Hard or Soft Shell
There are many reasons why you might want to go for either a hard-shell or soft-shell suitcase.
The advantages of the hard-side type are that they are resistant to the elements and can be cleaned easily. They are also great-looking and thieves can’t easily cut open to steal your stuff.
The soft-side ones are better when it comes to managing space. They are more flexible and can cope better with over-packing. They are also better able to withstand the rigors of baggage handling by airport officials. They don’t get dented or broken easily because of their flexibility.
I don’t think you need to spend hundreds of dollars to get a good carry-on. Many good ones are available even if you’re on a budget. Even very expensive suitcases are still prone to having their zippers go bad or their handle coming off.
Instead of focusing on the price alone, try to look for a product that gives you good value for your money. You can check out the customer review section to see potential flaws in the product and what people loved about it.
4. Storage Capacity
This matters a lot. A carry-on bag should be able to accommodate a decent number of items without looking overstuffed. Generally, soft-sided ones do better in this aspect than the hard-sided ones. The former is flexible and can accommodate the strain of overpacking. Also, they have external pockets that can contain items like chargers, books, and mobile devices.
Locks are also important. Nowadays, many suitcases come with TSA-locks. These locks allow security agents to inspect your luggage when they have to without breaking it. This can be an added advantage.
One of the most vulnerable parts of any mobile suitcase is the wheels. The design of a suitcase will not matter anymore if the wheels come off, in fact, it is quite unusable.
Also, wheels that wobble or are difficult to control can make your travel experience uncomfortable. This is why you should always put a lot of effort into deciphering how durable the wheels of any suitcase is.
Spinner wheels are easier to use, you won’t need to tilt your luggage when moving it, pushing it is sufficient to move it around.
Over To You
Now that we have explored the best carry-on luggage, and our choice is the Samsonite Omni suitcase. it’s time to hear from you. Have you used any of these products before? Or do you know any other similar suitcase that should be on this list? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
Thanks for reading.
Last update on 2021-07-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API