Best small suitcase


It is estimated that between 0.5-1 percent of all check-in bags fail to meet up with their owners at the arrival airport.

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Which small suitcases are best?

If you do not prefer to check a bag for timing purposes and security reasons, consider packing lightly and purchasing a small suitcase to serve as a carry-on bag. Because your suitcase will be with you the entire trip, it is less likely that it will be lost. If you are able to reduce your items and bring a small suitcase on your next trip, consider the material that the suitcase is made from and add features such as security, handles, and extra compartments and pockets for organization. 

If you are looking for an expandable, durable and eco-friendly small suitcase with added accessories, the Coolife Expandable Suitcase is the top choice.

What to know before you buy a small suitcase 


Suitcases come in a few different styles made from various materials that should be considered depending on where you plan to travel and for how long. 

  • Hard-shell suitcases: Hard-shell suitcases are made from ABS, polycarbonate, or aluminum and will benefit those fragile packing items. These suitcases do not tear and are harder to damage than soft-sided suitcases, making them a go-to option for those looking for a durable alternative. In addition, small hard-shell suitcases are likely to be waterproof regardless of the contents. Therefore, if you are looking to travel lightly, consider a soft-side suitcase. 
  • Soft-side suitcases:  Soft-sided suitcases can be made from canvas or different variants of nylon, such as ballistic and ripstop. These materials are lightweight and durable to keep with your small suitcase. This suitcase can fit into any space but is more likely to rip or be damaged than a hard-shell suitcase. 


Before purchasing a small suitcase, consider how much security it will provide. Typically, smaller bags are not checked, making stolen luggage less of a possibility. Though a small suitcase will remain in an overhead bin or by your side, it is important to consider added security for your items in case of emergency. For example, a small suitcase with a TSA-approved lock will shorten your check-in time and provide peace of mind as you travel with the knowledge that no one can break into your bag or open it if they mistake it for theirs. If you are traveling with your small suitcase on a road trip, consider a suitcase with a lock-in case your car gets broken into. 

What to look for in a quality small suitcase


A quality small suitcase will feature an adjustable handle. If the suitcase has wheels, it will likely feature a retractable locking handle that pulls out to the desired length for maximum convenience. Smaller bags with wheels will feature long handles, while smaller bags without wheels will feature a shoulder strap or a hand-held handle. Most small suitcases will feature multiple handles on each side of the item so that you can choose the most convenient way to carry it. Handles made with gripped material provide a more secure hold of the small suitcase and make it less likely that you will drop your items. 


Wheels are important to consider when purchasing a small suitcase for your next adventure because they make it easier to transport the suitcase from point A to point B. Depending on how small the suitcase is, some models will be so lightweight that they do not need to be wheeled. If a small suitcase is very small, it will feature a strap or small handle with no wheels. However, if the suitcase is meant to carry heavier items, it will feature wheels for stability. Typically, small suitcases will only feature two wheels for easy transportation rather than four. 


A small suitcase can only carry so much, which is why a small suitcase needs to contain compartments to separate items in the interior. The more compartments a suitcase has, the greater sense of organization users will feel. When purchasing a small suitcase, consider how wide and deep the compartments are. The compartments themselves mustn’t take up the space of necessities in the suitcase and make the item too bulky. What’s more, compartments also make it easier for users to find items when traveling.  

How much you can expect to spend on a small suitcase 

Small suitcases can vary in price depending on their material and added features. A less expensive model with fewer features will cost around $50-$65, while a higher-end model with durable material and convenient features will be priced around $120-$200. 

Small suitcase FAQ

How small does a suitcase need to be considered a carry-on? 

A. The specific size and weight that a suitcase needs to be for it to be considered a carry-on depends on the airline being flown. For example, Delta Airlines require a suitcase to be a certain size and dimension to fit in their overhead compartments on the plane. Conversely, Delta’s overhead compartments may be a different size than American Airlines, causing their carry-on size and weight restrictions to differ.  

How do I clean out my suitcase? 

A. How you clean your suitcase will depend on the fabric or material that the item is made of. The safest way to remove dirt from any type of suitcase is to use a non-detergent soap and a damp rag and gently scrub the outside of your small suitcase. Make sure that any product used will not damage the specific material or make your suitcase less durable. 

What are the best small suitcases to buy?

Top small suitcase 

Coolife Expandable Suitcase

Coolife Expandable Suitcase

What you need to know: This suitcase’s packing capacity can expand by up to 15 percent and is ideal for any personal or business trip and has four smooth-gliding wheels for convenient carry.

What you’ll love: It features ABS+PC hard plastic shell, fully lined interior with straps and zippered divider and mesh pockets for superior organization and easy access to your items. Its TSA lock keeps your possessions safe and secure.  

What you should consider: This zipper may fail with continuous use. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top small suitcase for money

Incase EO Travel Roller

Incase EO Travel Roller

What you need to know: This carry-on roller suitcase is weather-resistant and provides an interior pocket for MacBook Pros and IPads.  

What you’ll love: The main compartment of this suitcase extends for a greeted packing capacity. The interior features organizer pockets for chargers, cables, and other essential items. The exterior is weather-resistant, and the material is lightweight. 

What you should consider: The laptop bag takes up too much space from the main compartment and makes the item bulky. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Luggage

Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Luggage

What you need to know: This carry-on meets size restrictions for United, American, Delta, Southwest, and Allegiant airlines. The suitcase comes with a 10-year warranty and features four multi-directional spinner wheels for added mobility. 

What you’ll love: This suitcase is lightweight and features side-mounted TSA locks to ensure that your bag won’t be broken into. The interior features a full-zip and cross straps for increased organization. 

What you should consider: There is no handle in the horizontal position, and the suitcase is only able to be held upright.   

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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

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