The Best Suitcases for Checking

The Best Suitcases for Checking

Our pick

Travelpro Platinum Elite 25-Inch Expandable Spinner Suiter

Travelpro Platinum Elite 25-Inch Expandable Spinner Suiter

The best checked bag for most travelers

The bag provides a luxury feel at a reasonable price, with a capacity, warranty, and reliability that should suit most travelers. The 25-inch model should offer plenty of room for most people without going over airline weight limits.

Buying Options

$370* from Travelpro
$270 $181 from Amazon

You save $89 (33%)

*At the time of publishing, the price was $260.

Travelpro Platinum Elite 29-inch Expandable Spinner Suiter

Travelpro Platinum Elite 29-inch Expandable Spinner Suiter

Same suitcase, but bigger

If you need a checked bag that gives you the maximum space allowable and don’t mind paying an overweight-bag fee, the 29-inch model is the way to go.

Buying Options

$304* from Amazon
$400 from Travelpro

*At the time of publishing, the price was $340.

The Platinum Elite 25-Inch Expandable Spinner Suiter is the larger, checked-luggage version of our top carry-on pick, and everything we like about its little sibling applies again here. It’s made of a hard-wearing nylon that’s both sleek and durable. It looks and feels like a bag that costs a lot more than it actually does. It’s also surprisingly nimble for a checked bag, thanks to a comfortable, height-adjustable handle and magnetically locking MagnaTrac wheels, which make it noticeably easier to maneuver—especially when loaded with 50 pounds of stuff. Internally, the Platinum Elite is well organized across its main and lid compartments. The lid comes with a built-in garment folder for formalwear that includes a removable folding board (similar to the one in our Briggs & Riley upgrade pick). Its large capacity is easy to overpack and exceed the 50-pound (22-kilogram) weight limit that most airlines impose. (A luggage scale comes in handy.) But if you’re willing to pay the fee, the Platinum Elite can withstand the weight. Travelpro tests its bags by filling them with 70-pound loads and passing each handle through 7,500 automated lift tests. The combination of toughness and good value makes this the best checked suitcase we’ve found.

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Upgrade pick

Briggs & Riley Baseline Medium Expandable 25″ Spinner

Briggs & Riley Baseline Medium Expandable 25″ Spinner

Hefty luggage for a heftier price

This bag provides most satisfying packing experience money can buy. It can fit an additional week’s worth of clothes, when compressed, in the same amount of space as the Travelpro Platinum Elite.

Buying Options

$560* from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $660.

Briggs & Riley Baseline Extra Large Expandable 31″ Spinner

Briggs & Riley Baseline Extra Large Expandable 31″ Spinner

The same durable bag, but bigger

This is for anyone who needs all the space! Fully expanded, this bag is the biggest we can find. Fair warning—fill it full of clothes, and you’re all but guaranteed to exceed airline weight limits.

Buying Options

$690* from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $720.

If you identify as a frequent flyer or an overpacker, or if you have a large family and are willing to invest in higher-quality luggage for traveling, we recommend the Briggs & Riley Baseline Medium Expandable 25″ Spinner. Though the Travelpro is nice for the price, the Briggs & Riley is nice, period. This bag provides extra features that frequent travelers or overpackers will appreciate. Every detail—from the zippers to the wheels to a unique compression system that lets you fit an additional week’s worth of clothing into the same volume as the Travelpro—is made to the highest standards of any luggage maker. You won’t get the unique styling that other luxury brands specialize in, but Briggs & Riley’s reputation for reliability and durability is unmatched. The bag also includes a garment folder like the Travelpro does. If things go awry, free user-replaceable parts and a network of repair centers located around the world make quick fixes easy, and the reliable lifetime warranty covers repairs for any kind of damage. We’ve traveled with this durable bag for 3 years now on multiple national and international trips; it’s still in great shape, it’s a dream to pack, and the expanding capability has rescued us more than once when we tried to bring something extra home.

Our pick

Away Medium

Away Medium

The best hard-sided checked bag for most travelers

A great looking and relatively resilient piece of hard-sided luggage that matches our hard-sided carry-on pick, with the same top-of-the-line components—including YKK zippers and wheels that roll as smoothly as any we’ve tested even under heavier weights.

Buying Options

$275 from Away
Away Large

Away Large

A bigger hard-sided checked bag

If you need to maximize your allowed space and aren’t worried about weight limits, the Away Large is, as the name implies, the largest suitcase that the company makes. Apart from the extra capacity, it’s identical to the Medium.

Buying Options

$295 from Away

For anyone who enjoys the look and simplicity of hard-sided luggage—as well as the comfort of knowing you can’t overpack the confines of your bag—The Medium suitcase from Away is an excellent choice with an excellent warranty. Although soft-sided luggage typically has a longer life span than the ABS plastic or polycarbonate used in hard-sided bags and offers such features as exterior pockets (which make it easier to organize your suitcase), the differences in durability and utility between hard- and soft-sided luggage are increasingly marginal, and plenty of people prefer the aesthetic and additional color options of polycarbonate suitcases. Away builds its luggage with high-quality components, such as YKK zippers and wheels that roll well on a variety of surfaces. We tested the Away for three years before making our recommendation, and we are confident in the long-term durability of the luggage and the reputation of Away’s lifetime warranty. (Following reports of poor working conditions and potential OSHA violations at Away, however, some people may prefer not to purchase products from the company; we have more information about this below.) Away also makes a larger model of checked luggage, The Large. However, we’ve found that it can be very easy to overpack suitcases of this size, even those that are hard-sided, so you may risk exceeding airline weight limits.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

Travelpro Platinum Elite 25-Inch Expandable Spinner Suiter

Travelpro Platinum Elite 25-Inch Expandable Spinner Suiter

The best checked bag for most travelers

The bag provides a luxury feel at a reasonable price, with a capacity, warranty, and reliability that should suit most travelers. The 25-inch model should offer plenty of room for most people without going over airline weight limits.

Buying Options

$370* from Travelpro
$270 $181 from Amazon

You save $89 (33%)

*At the time of publishing, the price was $260.

Travelpro Platinum Elite 29-inch Expandable Spinner Suiter

Travelpro Platinum Elite 29-inch Expandable Spinner Suiter

Same suitcase, but bigger

If you need a checked bag that gives you the maximum space allowable and don’t mind paying an overweight-bag fee, the 29-inch model is the way to go.

Buying Options

$304* from Amazon
$400 from Travelpro

*At the time of publishing, the price was $340.

Upgrade pick

Briggs & Riley Baseline Medium Expandable 25″ Spinner

Briggs & Riley Baseline Medium Expandable 25″ Spinner

Hefty luggage for a heftier price

This bag provides most satisfying packing experience money can buy. It can fit an additional week’s worth of clothes, when compressed, in the same amount of space as the Travelpro Platinum Elite.

Buying Options

$560* from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $660.

Briggs & Riley Baseline Extra Large Expandable 31″ Spinner

Briggs & Riley Baseline Extra Large Expandable 31″ Spinner

The same durable bag, but bigger

This is for anyone who needs all the space! Fully expanded, this bag is the biggest we can find. Fair warning—fill it full of clothes, and you’re all but guaranteed to exceed airline weight limits.

Buying Options

$690* from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $720.

Our pick

Away Medium

Away Medium

The best hard-sided checked bag for most travelers

A great looking and relatively resilient piece of hard-sided luggage that matches our hard-sided carry-on pick, with the same top-of-the-line components—including YKK zippers and wheels that roll as smoothly as any we’ve tested even under heavier weights.

Buying Options

$275 from Away
Away Large

Away Large

A bigger hard-sided checked bag

If you need to maximize your allowed space and aren’t worried about weight limits, the Away Large is, as the name implies, the largest suitcase that the company makes. Apart from the extra capacity, it’s identical to the Medium.

Buying Options

$295 from Away

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter

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