Best hard-shell luggage

Luggage

Shakespeare was the first poet to include the word “luggage” in a poem in 1597.

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

Which hard-shell luggage is best?

Hard-shell luggage provides a durable space for your items during travel. It comes in various sizes and matches for organizational purposes. Many prefer hard-shell luggage not only for its durability but also for its stability, scratch, rip, and waterproof features. When purchasing hard-shell luggage, consider the size, security, set style, and added accessories, such as the handle, wheels, and interior compartments for better organization. 

If you are looking for a durable lightweight set that features suitcases of all sizes and color options, the Samsonite Winfield 3 DLX Hardside Expandable Luggage is the top choice.

What to know before you buy hard-shell luggage

Hard-shell luggage is durable and comes in many different colors, sizes, sets and styles.

Size

When purchasing hard-shell luggage, consider how much you are packing. The amount that you pack will determine how big or small the luggage needs to be. Choosing a luggage set that features items of various sizes is always a safe bet. However, you do not have to use all of the items in a luggage set. For example, if you are taking a weekend trip, consider using the smaller suitcase in a luggage set and keeping the larger ones at home. Nevertheless, if you plan to travel a long distance, consider utilizing all sizes of suitcases in a luggage set to fit your needs.  

Security  

Before purchasing a hard-shell luggage set, consider how much security it will provide for your belongings. It is not uncommon for luggage to get stolen or mistaken, even if the set matches. If you are concerned about time restrictions between layovers or your luggage getting stolen, consider purchasing a luggage set with TSA-approved locks. Whether you are flying or driving, it is good to consider added security measures in case of emergency with a little added privacy feature, such as a lock. 

Set 

Hard-shell luggage typically comes in a set. A set of luggage will feature multiple-sized suitcases that match to provide organization and make them easy to find. Each individual suitcase in a set of luggage will contain similar accessories and features but vary in size. When choosing a hard-shell luggage set, consider the size of your family, how much you will be packing, and the specific airline measurements for a carry-on. 

What to look for in quality hard-shell luggage

Handle 

A quality hard-shell luggage set will feature an adjustable handle. When purchasing a luggage set, it is important to consider adjustable handles on each item in accordance with its size. If an item in a set is larger, it should feature an adjustable pull-out handle. Smaller items in a set will likely feature straps on various sides of the luggage for added control and weight leverage. If the suitcase has wheels and can be rolled, it will be important to look for a handle that allows you to comfortably wheel the suitcase on the ground from a standing position at any height. Look for handles that are gripped. These will provide better support when carrying your items. 

Wheels 

Wheels are important to consider when purchasing hard-shell luggage because they make it easier to transport your items from one place to the next. Large suitcases that are a part of luggage sets will feature either two or four wheels for convenient carrying. Luggage sets that feature two wheels are able to be quickly rolled but tip when placed upright without being held. On the other hand, luggage sets that feature four wheels are more stable but can be less convenient to wheel around for long periods of time due to the wheels sticking. 

Compartments

The more compartments in each individual suitcase in a hard-shell luggage set, the greater the sense of organization users will feel while traveling. If you want to keep certain items organized and separated, consider a luggage set that offers various compartments for objects of all sizes. Some suitcases in a luggage set may feature a USB port and small mesh pocket dividers. Suitcases like this are good for storing electronics, while suitcases with fewer compartments and straps are best used to separate clothing and shoes rather than miscellaneous items. This feature makes it easier for users to locate the items they need from their suitcases without having to dig through their belongings.

How much you can expect to spend on a hard-shell luggage

Hard-shell luggage can vary in price depending on its material and features. A less expensive set that lacks accessories will cost around $70-100, while a higher-end model with durable material and convenient features will be priced around $200-$400. 

Hard-shell luggage FAQ

How do I clean my hard-shell luggage after a trip? 

A. To clean your hard-shell luggage after a trip, add mild soap to a damp rag and gently rub the exterior of the suitcase so as not to damage it or cause wear and tear to the item. When you are done cleaning the item, pat it dry with a towel to get it ready for the next adventure. 

Is hard-shell luggage waterproof? 

A. If the luggage is waterproof, it will be listed in the product description on the website. Some luggage is naturally waterproof due to its material, but others are coated to prevent scratches and leaks. 

What’s the best hard-shell luggage to buy?

Top hard-shell luggage

Samsonite Winfield 3 DLX Hardside Expandable Luggage

Samsonite Winfield 3 DLX Hardside Expandable Luggage

What you need to know: This luggage set includes a carry-on and wheel spinners to maximize the power and stability of each suitcase contained in the set. The material of each item is durable yet lightweight. 

What you’ll love: The hard shell is made from a tough polycarbonate that is scratch-resistant. The self-retracting handles on the luggage are able to be locked depending on where you need it to be adjusted, and each item features a four-pocket panel to maximize organization. This luggage set features TSA-approved locks for a quicker check-in and added safety for your belongings. 

What you should consider: This hard-shell luggage set does not roll easily, and the retractable handle is flimsy. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top hard-shell luggage for the money

Merax Expandable Luggage Sets With TSA Locks

Merax Expandable Luggage Sets With TSA Locks 

What you need to know: This hard-shell luggage set is expandable to provide more packing room and features TSA-approved locks for added safety. There is a 5-year warranty on the luggage. 

What you’ll love: There are four spinner wheels for added stability and convenient carrying, while the smaller items in this set feature top and side carrying options.  

What you should consider: This set does not come with adjustable interior straps to keep clothing in place. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Verdi Luggage Set

Verdi Luggage Set 

What you need to know: This luggage set is lightweight and expandable and made of durable ABS materials, making it impact-resistant as well. The bottom of the luggage features grip material for added stability and a USB port so that users can charge their phones on the go. 

 What you’ll love: These items feature spinning wheels for maximum maneuverability and carrying convenience as well as mesh internal organization pockets on the size to keep belongings secure and separated. The luggage set features TSA-approved locks for a quicker and sager traveling experience. 

What you should consider: The inside zippers are not very durable and have been known to break after a few uses if not treated gently. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Logan DeLoye writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.