The Best Checked Luggage for 2023: 13 Expert Picks
It’s often ideal to carry on your suitcase when traveling, to avoid having to wait…
It’s often ideal to carry on your suitcase when traveling, to avoid having to wait for it at baggage claim and risk it getting lost (although luggage trackers can help with that). Sometimes what you have to pack won’t fit into a carry-on or your bag may not meet airline carry-on size requirements, so you’ll need a suitcase that can handle the rigor of being tossed around and has the space to accommodate your belongings. If it’s time to purchase new checked luggage, read on to find the best recommendations from travel experts and consumers.
The Best Checked Luggage for 2023
Looking for more information on how to select your ideal carry-on luggage? Consult the FAQ section at the bottom of this page.
(Note: Prices and stock availability were accurate at the time this article was updated; they may fluctuate due to supply chain issues, holiday sales or other factors.)
Best Hard-sided Checked Luggage
RIMOWA Original Check-In L: This high-end anodized aluminum suitcase is iconic with its recognizable grooves. Designed and engineered in Germany, it is robust and lightweight and has been made to withstand the demands of travel. This hard-shell RIMOWA suitcase comes with TSA-approved locks, a height-adjustable Flex Divider for organizing your clothes, a MultiWheel system for stable and effortless steering, and a comfortable telescopic handle. The bag, whose large size holds up to 10 days of belongings, is available in silver, titanium and black. This iconic suitcase includes a lifetime guarantee, though some reviewers have felt the company’s customer service is lacking.
Best Soft-sided Checked Luggage
Travelpro Platinum Elite 25-inch Check-In Expandable Spinner: This 25-inch spinner suitcase is durable and designed to resist stains and abrasions due its high-density nylon fabric with DuraGuard; it also features resilient zipper heads that are engineered to withstand frequent use and abuse without damage. The PrecisionGlide System – complete with eight self-aligning, 360-degree spinner wheels – smooths the way to the check-in counter. Those who don’t want the hassle of ironing clothes upon arrival will love the built-in, fold-out suiter that keeps clothes wrinkle-free during travel. “It provides a luxury feel at a reasonable price while also offering a high capacity that will suit most travelers,” says frequent traveler Larry Snider, vice president of operations at vacation rental company Casago. “The 25-inch model offers plenty of room without going over airline weight limits.”
Best Lightweight Checked Luggage
Db Journey The Strøm 90L Rollerbag: Designed by Norwegian company Db Journey, this lightweight and super sturdy soft-sided roller bag is made with Rib Cage Technology to protect your belongings from the wear and tear of travel. It also features a patented Hook-Up System to attach a Db backpack while evenly distributing the weight over the wheels to make it easy to roll. Travel blogger Will Tang, of GoingAwesomePlaces.com, appreciates the functionality of the Strøm rollerbags, and the amount of clothing and travel gear they hold. “Flipping the book flap open, it’s a cavernous open space,” says Tang. “When combined with packing cubes, it’s very easy to find what you’re looking for and easy to stay organized. Its unique design looks like no other, which makes it easy to find on the luggage carousel.”
Price: $329 or less
Shop now: Db
Best Large Checked Luggage
(Courtesy of LOJEL)
LOJEL Cubo Large: This suitcase has a one-of-a-kind design with a flat-top opening (rather than clamshell-style) that is perfect when you need to get something out of your suitcase somewhere without much space to spread out. The top has convenient built-in pockets for organizing your clothes, shoes and toiletries. Travel blogger Kristen from Omventure.com says, “LOJEL is the only luggage I found that did not smell like chemicals and offered another special feature: LOJEL’s Cubo line can remain standing upright, on all four dual wheels, while fully open.”
Price: $390 or less
Shop now: LOJEL
Best Backpack Checked Luggage
(Courtesy of Osprey)
Osprey Sojourn Wheeled Travel Pack 80L/28-inch: If you’re on the road a lot, having a bag that’s convenient to transport is essential. This bag easily converts from roller bag to backpack and has wheels that can tackle rough roads. Katie Caf, full-time traveler and travel blogger at KatieCafTravel.com, says, “A lot of people just use backpacks for the type of traveling I do, but having the freedom to put your bag down and just roll it is absolutely priceless, especially with bags that are checked-luggage size.” The backpack component features a ventilated tensioned mesh back panel, an adjustable system for multiple torso sizes, padded air mesh in the hip belt and a tensioned mesh lumbar area.
Best Duffel Bag Checked Luggage
BRIC’s X-Bag 28-inch Rolling Duffle Bag: For a stylish yet durable duffel that can withstand years of travel and still look good, this bag is hard to beat. The durable exterior – made from polyamide with PVC coating – features leather handles and zipper pulls. The rolling duffel bag is perfect for long weekends away as it can typically fit enough personal items for a four-day trip. “This Italian-made bag looks chic, the fabric deflects marks and dirt, and is easy to maneuver,” says Jessica Parker, founder of Trip Whisperer. “It’s not hard-shelled so it fits better in rental cars or taxis.”
Best Wardrobe Checked Luggage
(Courtesy of Briggs & Riley)
Briggs & Riley Baseline Deluxe Wardrobe Spinner: To keep your business attire wrinkle-free and accessible, this wardrobe bag with wheels is the way to go. It transports like a suitcase but keeps your hanging clothes, shoes and accessories organized and easy to get to. This checked luggage option allows you to securely hang six to eight garments; it also has multiple door panel pockets, as well as a large zippered pocket in front for hassle-free access to items such as a passport wallet or airline tickets. This suitcase features self-repairing zippers and comes with a lifetime warranty. Amar Hussain, founder of the travel site OnlyWanderlust.com, says the Baseline suitcases from Briggs & Riley are a “must-have checked luggage suitcase.” He adds, “The build quality and design do match its high-end credentials and luxury price tag. Mine has been through airport customs numerous times and has received the standard abuse that comes with air travel, yet it still looks almost brand new. Although it is pricey, I’m glad I made the investment.”
Best Checked Luggage for Adventure Travel
Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled Duffel Bag 100L: With highly weather-resistant fabric in colors such as wax red or black combined with sturdy wheels, a telescope handle and room for 100 liters of gear, this extremely durable bag is perfect for adventure travel. You can also feel good about purchasing this product since it is made from 100% recycled fabric, lining and webbing. Additionally, the company, Patagonia, has built robust environmental and animal welfare responsibility programs and ensures its products are produced under humane working conditions. “As an active traveler, my suitcase needs to be a versatile vessel for whichever adventures are part of the trip, which the Patagonia Black Hole Duffel is designed for,” says Darcie Smith, co-owner/director of Great Expeditions Travel. “It is compressible for safari travel, has wheels to keep me moving, waterproof in case it sits on a rainy tarmac, and has separate compartments to keep the damp and dirty dive gear from contaminating the clean sundresses.”
Best Closet-type Checked Luggage
(Courtesy of Solgaard)
Solgaard Check-In Closet: The award-winning built-in shelving system in this suitcase means you save time unpacking and can keep your things organized, all in one place. It fits 91 liters of belongings, and the self-supporting closet section is removable. This luggage also comes with a built-in laundry bag and has a compression strap to maximize space. The unbreakable polycarbonate shell and aluminum frame (no zippers) make it durable, plus it includes a TSA-compliant lock. What’s more, by purchasing this eco-friendly suitcase, you’re saving 229 plastic bottles from ending up in the ocean, according to Solgaard. Marcia Sherrill, owner of Cool City Guides, swears by this suitcase: “I have two pieces of Solgaard luggage and they have changed my life,” Sherrill says. “From their indestructible shells to the closet compartment that make packing and traveling a breeze, these are hands down the best suitcases I have ever had. I can finally get everything in there and have my wardrobe organized and know my bag will not show up missing a wheel and sporting broken zippers and immovable extended handles.”
Best Checked Luggage for Women
Samsonite & Sarah Jessica Parker: Large Expandable Spinner: For the fashionista traveler, it doesn’t get better than SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker. This large, expandable spinner suitcase means you can pack extras shoes, scarves, hats and coats, no problem. The stylish suitcase’s polycarbonate shell features a unique textured design and metallic film in silver or black. This luggage also has two interior packing compartments with zip-close curtains accentuated with the signature SJP Fawn Wall shoe print plus a removable ID tag with a glitter accent material. To make packing and storage easy, the suitcase comes with two packing cubes that feature an exterior handle and interior mesh pocket – as well as a drawstring bag that doubles as a backpack. SJP fans will be happy to know there’s also a matching carry-on. Travelers love that this suitcase is both stylish and made of quality material.
Best Affordable Checked Luggage
Amazon Basics 26-Inch Hardside Spinner: This affordable 26-inch hard-sided spinner can withstand the demands of travel with a protective, extra-thick ABS shell and a scratch-resistant finish. The four double spinner wheels and sturdy telescoping handle make for smooth navigating. This suitcase expands for up to 15% more packing space; it also has a lined organizer inside with a divider and three zippered pockets. Aimee Howard, quality assessor at Aerospheres, says, “The bag’s interior is completely lined, and a partition inside lets you arrange your items effectively for a more pleasant travel and the robust shell’s scratch-resistant coating is a superb feature that keeps the suitcase’s original appearance even after rough travel.”
Price: $111.25 or less
Shop now: Amazon
Best Luxury Checked Luggage
DELSEY Paris Chatelet Air 2.0 Checked – 28-inch Large: Not only is this suitcase built for maneuverability, comfort, resistance to wear and tear, and security, but it also embodies French elegance and expertise with a chic and modern twist. This DELSEY Paris checked luggage comes with a TSA-approved lock and zipper system to keep your items safe and shock-absorbing corner protectors to keep it looking good. The double spinner wheels provide a smooth ride, and the soft-grip carrying handles on the top and side make for comfortable transportation as well. Inside you’ll find dual compartments with compression cross straps, a divider, mesh zippered pockets, a laundry bag and a shoe bag. The lining is coated with antimicrobial technology to eliminate odor-causing bacteria and provide effective odor control. This eco-friendly bag is made with recycled water bottles and vegan leather trim. It comes in blue, brown, pink or angora. Fans of this luggage can also buy the matching duffel bag, backpack or carry-on bag. Reviewers call this a durable designer bag.
Price: $419.99 or less
Shop now: Amazon
Best Themed Checked Luggage
American Tourister Disney Mickey Mouse 28-inch Hard-side Spinner: Disney fans will go crazy for this hard-shell suitcase inspired by Mickey Mouse. The outside is designed to look like Mickey’s shorts, while the interior lining has the Mickey ears icon. Other features of the hard-sided bag include single-spinner wheels, a push-button retractable handle, split construction, large mesh interior pockets and cross straps inside. Travelers love that this luggage is sturdy and cute with a large capacity. American Tourister has several other Disney-inspired suitcases with characters such as Mickey, Minnie, the princesses, “Frozen” favorites, and Stitch, as well as “Star Wars” designs.
Checked Luggage FAQ
Checked luggage is a suitcase that you want to check in, rather than carry on to the plane or train. It is typically a larger and more durable piece of hard- or soft-sided luggage that features a retractable handle and four spinner wheels; checked luggage can fit a variety of clothing, shoes and toiletries for a multiday trip. Depending on the type of travel you’re embarking on, there are a number of different styles of checked bags to suit the vacation or business trip you have planned. To avoid a checked bag fee, most airlines require that your suitcase weighs less than 50 pounds when checking it.
To select the best checked luggage to fit your travel needs, consider the durability, weight, organizational features and ease of transporting it.
Since your bag will be checked in, it will potentially have to endure being thrown and squished. You’ll choose between a hard-sided bag or a soft-sided one made of a durable (preferably water-repellent and/or stain-resistant) material.
Depending on how you’ll be traveling, weight and ease of transport might be a factor. If you’re backpacking with your gear, you’ll want to pick something light with comfortable backpack straps. For business travelers with multiple suits and shoes, a larger suitcase with four spinner wheels and a wardrobe component might be more ideal. If you’re going on a family vacation, consider an expandable suitcase to fit souvenirs on your return trip.
Why Trust U.S. News
Sharael Kolberg is a U.S. News & World Report contributor with a wealth of knowledge when it comes to checked bags. Rather than having to lug a suitcase around the airport and heave it into the overhead storage, she is more likely to check it in to have her hands free. For adventure travel, she prefers checked luggage that is durable, such as the Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled Duffel Bag 100L. For weekend trips, she loves the idea of the Solgaard Check-in Closet. She has used her experience as a frequent traveler to curate this list of checked bags.