Best Carry-On Luggage: Roll Through the Airport with Ease

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Running through the airport to catch your flight and one of the wheels on your bag breaks. Or your zipper snags and the luggage won’t stay closed. What a nightmare! That’s why investing in a well-constructed, dependable carry on bag with reliable wheels will prevent you from having to carry your bag (literally).

Article Overview

The Benefit Of Carrying On Your Bag?

Airlines lose 24 million bags a year. What’s worst? Some of those misplaced bags are delayed while others are lost forever. Yikes! For that reason sticking with carry-on bags is the best way to travel.

Best Carry-On Luggage

Here are our top picks for the best carry on bags with pricing and pros and cons for each.

Samsonite Omni Review: PC 20″ Spinner

Samsonite Omni PC 20" Spinner#1

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The Samsonite Omni PC 20″ Spinner rolls comfortably beside you throughout your trip making it our #1 pick for best carry-on suitcase. It has four spinner wheels so you have the option to roll it behind you or next to you.

The exterior is scratch resistant so it will keep its new look for numerous trips. The interior has a divider to keep your belongings on each side of the bag in addition to cross straps. When you pack your belongings in this bag and get to your final destination, all of your items will still be in the same place as where you packed them.

The downside is that the exterior has no pockets, so no quick access to your belongings, and there are no handles on the side or bottom of the case to help you carry it at times where rolling is not an option.

Given the cons, this is still the best Samsonite carry on in our opinion.



  • Scratch-resistant
  • Four multi-directional spinner wheels
  • TSA-approved lock
  • Expandable option
  • 10-year warranty
  • Zip interior divider with cross straps
  • No small pockets to access on the exterior
  • No side handles to help with putting in overhead bins or placing on scanner belt


Tech Specs

  • Weight: 6.8 lbs
  • Dimensions: 19.0″ x 14.5″ x 9.75″

American Tourister Luggage Reviews: Splash 2 Upright 21

American Tourister Splash 2 Upright 21#2

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The second best carry-on bag goes to the American Tourister Splash 2 21″ Upright. It has most of the features you want in a carry-on suitcase.

The interior has cross straps to keep your clothes in place, there’s an expandable option to give you a little more room for your belongings and there are exterior compartments to place things you need quick access to.

The downside is it’s only got two wheels, so if you prefer the flexible spinner style with four wheels this isn’t the suitcase for you.



  • 10-year warranty
  • Expandable option
  • Exterior compartments for quick access to belongings
  • Interior cross straps
  • Handle on side and bottom to help place on scanner belt and in overhead bins
  • Only two wheels
  • No built-in lock


Tech Specs

  • Weight: 7.1 lbs
  • Dimensions: 21″ x 14.5″ x 8″

Travelpro Luggage Review: Maxlite3 22 Inch Expandable Rollaboard

TravelPro Luggage MaxLite3 22" Expandable Rollaboard#3

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The TravelPro Luggage MaxLite3 22″ Expandable Rollaboard is similar to the American Tourist carry-on except it comes at a higher price.

This particular TravelPro suitcase has a List Price of around $120. We can’t justify spending more than $100 on a carry-on when you can get essentially the same thing for much less. However, it’s stain resistant exterior may make it worth snagging.



  • Fabric has water and stain resistant coating
  • Carry handles on side and bottom
  • Expansion capability
  • Exterior pockets
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Only two wheels
  • No built-in lock


Tech Specs

  • Weight: 6.3 lbs
  • Dimensions: 9″ x 14″ x 22″

Other Carry-On Suitcase Reviews To Consider

Although these didn’t make our top 3, you’ll still want to read about them so you can make a more informed buying decision.

Nautica | Rockland

Nautica Luggage Reviews: Ahoy 21 Inch Hardside Spinner

Nautica Ahoy 21" Hardside SpinnerView on Amazon

Similar to the Samsonite above, this Nautica Ahoy 21″ Hardside Spinner case has a familiar look to it.

However, it’s missing some features, which is why it didn’t make our top 3. For example, this bag only has a 5-year warranty, which isn’t terrible but the industry standard seems to be 10 years. There is no expandable option either, which has become an industry standard as well.

But Nautica carry on luggage is overall very durable and a reputable brand.



  • Four multi-directional spinner wheels
  • Cross straps and interior zipper compartment
  • Only 5-year warranty
  • No expandable option
  • No built-in lock
  • No small pockets on exterior
  • No side handle


Tech Specs

  • Weight: 8 lbs
  • Dimensions: 9″ x 21″ x 14″

Check out our Best Travel Website Reviews

Rockland Melbourne Luggage Review: 20-Inch Expandable Abs Carry On

Rockland Melbourne 20" Expandable Abs Carry OnView on Amazon

The Rockland Melbourne 20″ Expandable Abs Carry On Luggage has a hard shell exterior. This means there are no small pockets for easy access to belongings, and no side handle to help you carry the case when rolling it is not an option.

This suitcase also has four spinner wheels so you can roll it comfortably next to you or behind you, and the interior has cross straps to hold your clothes in place.

Overall, if you’re looking for a hard suitcase like this, we suggest you go with the Samsonite above. It’s priced similarly and has a better warranty with more features.



  • Four multi-directional spinner wheels
  • Expandable option
  • Cross straps on the interior
  • Only 3-year warranty
  • No built-in lock
  • No small pockets on the exterior
  • No side handle


Tech Specs

  • Weight: 7.3 lbs
  • Dimensions: 14.4″ x 9.2″ x 22.1″

Best Carry-On Backpack: SwissGear Travel Gear ScanSmart Backpack 1900 Review

SwissGear Travel Gear ScanSmart Backpack 1900View on Amazon

You’ve chosen the best carry-on bag, but now you need the best carry-on backpack (to go under your seat).

Our favorite is the SwissGear Travel Gear ScanSmart Backpack 1900. It has tons of pockets including ones for your water bottle, laptop, tablet, phone, headphones and more. There is plenty of space in this bag for your clothes, books and other travel essentials.

This bag is TSA approved, so when you go through security all you have to do is unzip the back of the bag and lay it out (butterfly style). No more dividing all your electronics into multiple bins.

This is a great bag that makes traveling easy.


Video: SwissGear ScanSmart BackPack

To get a further understanding of all the pockets and features of this bag, checkout this video.

Carry On Luggage vs Checked Bags

Airlines have cracked down on their luggage “laws” and make you pay to carry on a bag. In addition the size has gotten smaller and most airlines (including Delta, American and United) set their maximum dimensions at 22″ x 14″ x 9″. So, while ideal, carrying on isn’t always possible (or cost effective). Especially if you’re going on a long trip and need to pack more than what will fit in a smaller bag.

So check out our best luggage brands article which reviews the the most durable and stylist sets of luggage. And don’t forget to get travel insurance before you go which will cover you if your bags get lost in most cases.

What happened when you lost your luggage?

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Kimberly is always up for an adventure. She’s used to living out of a suitcase and travels consistently. Her first time out of the country was to Thailand, where she spent 4 1/2 months traveling throughout southeast Asia. Kimberly enjoys exploring new places and diving into new cultures. While Kimberly isn’t traveling you can find her trying a new recipe in the kitchen, spending time outside or just lounging at home.

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See Jane Go
Thanks Kimberly, I am traveling throughout Europe this summer solo and want to take as little as possible with me while I’m gone so am looking to invest in a good carry on bag that will be durable, lightweight and also easy to transport from place to place. I recently found out about a bag called AWAY, did you come across that one in your research? I love the design, the fact it has a phone/USB charger built in and it comes with a lifetime warranty. Just curious if you saw/heard anything about it?
Kimberly Alt
I have not heard of AWAY, but I’m sure if you’ve compared it to these and like it, it will be a great choice for you! Have a blast in Europe!