The Best Reviewed Hardside Luggage - Buyers Guide 2017

Finding a good hardside luggage isn't easy. To help you choose the very best luggage, we have checked hundreds of reviews (674 reviews so far!) Based on the many reviews, the top 0 list below shows you exactly what hardside luggage that are the best choices here in 2017.


Best reviewed hardside luggage 2017


Travelpro Crew
Travelpro Crew
2 models available. 10 and 11
Size 53 L (3234 CI)
4.3
674 reviews

Choosing luggage, particularly pieces that you have to take on an airplane can be quite tricky. There is just so much that you have to take into account to find the right option. Hardside luggage, especially, requires you to consider quite a lot before you make a purchase. After all, you are trying to make an investment.

If you don’t want to end up with a white elephant case on your hands, you need to be able to understand how to choose a piece of hardside luggage. To make this process a little easier for you, we have decided to create an article that shows you everything that you need to do. Here is all of the information that you should be aware of.

Hardside Luggage: What You Need to Know About the Buying Process (Buyers Guide)

Hardside luggage is a relatively new type of suitcase and isn’t as prominent among travelers. So, when it actually comes time to make a decision, you may not find that you have all that much information to go on. This can make it difficult to know whether you are choosing the right piece of luggage for yourself. Well, if you want a little bit more help in this department, you have come to the right place. Here is what you need to know:

Hard vs. Soft Luggage

When it comes to luggage, the first decision that you will have to make is between hard shell luggage and soft shell cases. As the name suggests, hardside luggage comes with a tough shell while soft shell suitcases are often made from fabric. Now, these two types of luggage have their own set of advantages and disadvantages so let’s take a look at what each of them has to offer:

Soft Shell Luggage

You are probably quite familiar with soft shell luggage as they still tend to be one of the more commonly used options. The reason that people tend to go for this type of luggage is because it is easier to pack more items into it. Since there is less rigidity to the exterior, you can also stuff in a few extra things. This flexibility also means that it is easier to fit the smaller versions of these cases into the overhead compartments in planes. The downside, of course, is that neither the case nor the things inside are afforded all that much protection. Also, the higher quality soft shell bags tend to be quite heavy as well.

Hard Shell Luggage

The main benefit of hard shell cases is that the outer part of the luggage is incredibly strong. It is meant to be able to withstand being dropped and mishandled. The materials ensure that the suitcase stays intact and that the items inside are also well protected. Surprisingly enough, hard shell cases are actually quite light due to the way that they are built. So, although they may not look like it, they can actually rival soft cases when it comes to weight.

Which One is Better?

It actually isn’t a case of which one is better but rather, which one is right for you. One of the reasons that hardside luggage is becoming more popular is because of its durability and longer lifespan. Also, with weight restrictions becoming stricter and more expensive with airlines, these type of suitcases actually help you to stay in check when packing.

What Is Hardside Luggage Made Of?

Hardside luggage is actually made of several materials. The materials that are used depend on the manufacturer as well as what the main purpose of the bag is. For instance, a case that is meant to be durable may be made from a different material than one that needs to be lightweight.

The most commonly used materials are hi-tech plastics. These include polycarbonate, ABS plastic, and polypropylene. If your main goal is to minimize the amount of weight of the luggage, then you should opt for ABS which is the lightest of all of these options. Of course, while it is strong it may also not afford you the same level of protection as the other materials.

Polycarbonate is a bit heavier than hardside luggage made from ABS plastic. The upside to this is that polycarbonate is also stronger. So, you can expect your suitcase to be able to take a bit more battering around and still be virtually unscathed.

If you want a suitcase that is tough yet flexible, you should look for ones that are made from polypropylene. Cases made from this type of material are quite hardy and much more capable of protecting the items inside your suitcase. Despite this, these suitcases are actually quite light.

Now, a hard shell material that it isn’t mentioned too often is aluminum. Luggage that is made from aluminum tends to be quite pricey, not to mention rather heavy as well. The payoff to these downsides is that these cases are practically indestructible – well at the hands of impatient airport baggage handlers, at least. They also happen to be nearly impossible to break into due to the special lock system on such suitcases.

Sizes of Hardside Luggage

There is quite a bit of variation associated with hardside luggage sizes and capacities so you should be able to find one that is best suited to you. Here is a guide:

Carry-on Luggage

This refers to hardside cases that you can take aboard an aircraft and store in the overhead compartment above your seat. For these type of bags, you have to be careful about the size as well as the weight that you are carrying. As a rule of thumb, a bag that has dimensions greater than 22 x 15 x 9 cannot be considered as carry-on luggage.

Checked Luggage

With checked luggage, you have a little bit more freedom when it comes to size and weight. This does, of course, differ from airline to airline. It is typical to find that any bag that exceeds linear inches (length x width x height altogether) 62 inches will be considered excess luggage. For cases that are bigger than this, you may be expected to pay an additional fee.

Taking Weight Into Consideration

Along with the size, you will also need to think about how much each piece of hardside luggage weighs. As mentioned, airlines will restrict how much you can carry onboard as well as check in as baggage. The more that your hardside case weighs, the less that you will be able to pack into it due to these limitations.

Internal Storage Organization Features

Hardside cases don’t have exterior pockets or compartments of any kind. So, you have to rely on the internal capacity of the case to store all items. This is why you should look for as many organization features as you can. This can usually be divided into mesh pockets, small pouches, straps, and even dividers.

The main purpose of such features is to help you to separate various items from one another so that it is easier to locate when the case is opened. Of course, they can serve another purpose too. There may be instances in when you do not fill up the luggage to full capacity. In this case, you will need to ensure that all of the items are secured so that they don’t move around during the journey.

Expansion Feature

In many cases, hardside luggage is built to allow only a certain amount of items and will can’t fit any more than that. However, there are certain designs that do give you the chance to expand your luggage so that it can carry even more items. This is often managed by additional length of fabric with a separate zipper attached. The average hardside suitcase can expand anywhere from an inch to almost five inches. As you can imagine, making use of this feature does mean that you will be carrying more weight as well.

The Wheeling Options

These days, you will be hard-pressed to find hardside luggage that doesn’t come with wheels attached at the bottom. These fixtures certainly make it easier for you to transport your luggage from one place to another. While you may not think that the wheels on your suitcase are all that important, you should pay closer attention to them.

The first thing you will need to do is to figure out if you want a suitcase that has only two wheels at the bottom or four. It is now becoming more common to see hardside cases with four wheels as these do make it simpler for you to maneuver through tight spots. The four wheels – also known as spinners – can move in a 360° direction which makes it easier for you to turn the suitcase and pull it in this manner.

Still, two wheels can still come in quite handy. There are often good on more uneven surfaces and are better equipped to handle a variety of environments. At the same time, since you need to bear some of the weight of the luggage, it can be a bit tiresome to keep handling this type of luggage.

In most instances, the wheels on hardside luggage tend to be more exposed and don’t have the protection of the luggage frame. This is why it is quite important to check that the wheels are durable and will not break easily. This doesn’t mean that the wheels should be made from a harder material, though. A more flexible material will work better as it is less likely to crack against rocks or other hard obstacles. On a similar note, you should stick with larger wheels as well. These are less likely to get stuck in ruts or small spaces and will handle more smoothly.

More Food for Thought – Square vs. Round Edges

Hardside luggage will either have square edges on its frame or round edges. While this may seem like a stylistic feature, it is actually a functional one. The round edges on a suitcases means that it is less like to get scratched or become damage and withstands wear and tear quite well. On the other hand, the square edged suitcases have the benefit of allowing you more internal storage space. So, it is up to you to decide whether you want durability or space when examining the corners of a suitcase.

This is what you need to be aware of when choosing any and all types of hardside luggage.


Last updated on November 28, 2017

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