The Best Softside 4-Wheeled Uprights that Weigh Very Little
Softsided luggage will always be popular because of the packing features that they offer. But what about the weight of bags when they’re empty? While some pieces can get heavy, especially the ones made of ballistic nylon, there are a few collections with pieces that weigh very little and allow you to pack them full without going over standard baggage weight limits. Petite women don’t have to worry about whether they can lift a carry on into an overhead bin or a suitcase off the carousel. The spinner wheels are popular because they make maneuvering easy and reduce the strain on your arm by a lot.
Our picks of best lightweight spinner luggage of 2016 and 2017 include collections from luggage heavyweights as well as smaller brands that are known for making lightweight luggage. All of them are in this list because they don’t sacrifice durability for weight. Some of these collections are new generations of last year’s wildly popular ones and are predicted to do even better in 2017, while the others made their debut in 2015 and are on track to be some of the best selling this year in the lightweight spinner category.
A few of these collections boast spinner options as well as 2 wheeled rollaboards, not to mentioned smaller pieces that don’t have wheels at all.
If you’d rather take a pick from a wide range of bestselling fabric spinners, here are the carry on spinners from various collections rated 4 stars or more on Amazon.
Travelpro Maxlite 4
The Maxlite 3 line was one of our picks for last year, but the new Maxlite 4 line is the lightest ever by Travelpro and it includes both rollaboards and 4 wheeled luggage along with bags to carry over your shoulder. There are four pieces in the upright spinner group – a 21″ carry on, a 25″, a 29″ and an international 20″ carry on.
Both carry ons weigh under 6 lbs, the 21″ measures 21″ by 14″ by 9″ and the 20″ measures 20″ by 14″ by 8″. The 25″ measures 25″ x 18″ x 11″ and weighs 7 lbs 12 ozs. The 29″ measures 29″ x 20″ x 12″ and weighs 8 lbs 9 ozs.
These bags are available in black, grape purple, grey, red and ocean blue. The look and feel of this luggage would make you think that it would be expensive, but it’s not. The extremely popular Maxlite 3 has been upgraded with some features that would usually be present in more expensive lines.
One notable feature is the way upright luggage instability has been addressed. Light luggage can frequently become top heavy if not packed properly and can therefore tip over. This is especially true of expandable bags. To stabilize the bags while being wheeled around or while stationary, the expandable feature of the Maxlite 4 pieces is tapered. This means that the zipper used to expand the front of the bags lets out more inches at at the bottom of the bags than at the top. This automatically ensures that you pack more of your stuff at the bottom than at the top and the centre of gravity is low, so the bag is stable at all times.
The telescopic handle has the Travelpro patented Contour Grip with rubberized touch points that makes maneuvering the spinner type bag very comfortable. In addition, the same unique feature from the previous line is present here – a bottom tray that aligns the wheels and stabilizes the bags. The handle extends to two different positions so that users of any height can wheel them with minimum effort. There are also two padded carry handles on the top and side, while the bottom handle is a hard one.
There are skid guards, wheel housing crash guards and corner guards to protect the points most vulnerable to damage.
All of the materials used contribute to the light weight of the bags without compromising on durability. The body is made of polyester with a water and stain resistant coating over a honeycomb frame system and EVA foam, and the extending handle is made of aircraft grade aluminium.
The exterior features a full length U-shaped double-zippered pocket in the front, which is perfect for carrying a tablet or laptop. The carry ons feature a smaller zipped pocket behind that for things like magazines or a sweater. The interior is simple but effective in keeping the weight down. There’s a full sized zippered mesh compartment in the lid, a zippered mesh pocket along one length for accessories and two breadth-wise adjustable straps to keep the main compartment’s packing in place. The entire main compartment can expand by up to 2″ if required.
UK shoppers are in luck too as the line is available on Amazon UK.
Samsonite LIFTwo Spinner
Last year’s LIFT2 garment bag was among our picks for carry on garment bags and we’ve reviewed the Liftwo 2 wheeled boarding bag as well, but this LIFT2 or LIFTwo collection also features spinner bags which include a 21″, a 25″, a 29″ and a 3 piece set.
The carry on measures 20.75″ x 15″ x 8″ and weighs 6 lbs and 8 oz. The 25″ measures 25″ x 17.5″ x 7.5″ and weighs 8 lbs and 8 oz. The 29″ measures 29.5″ x 19.5″ x 8.5″ and weighs 10 lbs.
These bags are available in black, blue and red.
Samsonite has always been known for reliability but seemed to be missing the boat with weight concerns until the last 2-3 years. Last year’s 2 wheeled LIFT line finally made a breakthrough in the lightweight category and it was very well received so they have extended that to softsided spinners this year.
The fabric is 400 Denier nylon with AEPE or Air Expanded Poly Ethylene for reduced weight with abrasion and tear resistance and there are rubberized corner guards for extra protection. The multi-directional wheels are housed in ecto-skeletal air flow hubs for a smooth ride. The telescopic handle is a lightweight beveled alloy and there are integrated top and side handles to make lifting easier. There’s a hidden ID pocket on the bottom of the bag. The zipper coils are self mending and the bag can be expanded by a single zipper pull.
There are two exterior zippered pockets on the front – one small and one large. The inside features a full sized zippered compartment on the lid with half of the flap being opaque and the other half being in mesh. The main compartment features large crosswise compression straps.
Since the Lift2 collection there’s another Samsonite line that is even lighter than this one. The MightLight collection debuted at the end of 2014 and has racked up impressive sales numbers. We’ll show you why here.
American Tourister Ilite Max Spinner
For one of the least expensive but reliable options, consider the American Tourister Ilite Max line which includes a 21″, a 25″, a 29″ and a wheeled boarding bag. You get all the basic and necessary features that any spinner should have and at an affordable price point.
Including wheels and handles, the carry on measures 22.0″ x 14.5″ x 8.0″ and weighs 7.2 lbs. The 25″ measures 26.0″ x 18.0″ x 10.75″ and weighs 9.2 lbs. The 29″ measures 29.5″ x 20.0″ x 11.25″ and weighs 10.4 lbs.
These bags are available in black, light blue, purple, raspberry and tangerine and the fabric used is a blend of polyester and nylon.
The multi-directional spinner wheels are house in color matching casings, as is the bevelled grip of the telescopic handle. The top carry handles are integrated into the bags while the side handles sit flush to the case. The bag can be expanded by a zipper pull.
The inside features color matched lining with a zippered pocket in the main compartment and standard compression straps. The inside of the lid features two zippered pockets – one opaque and one mesh. There are two zippered pockets on the front exterior – one small and one large with a hidden zipper.
The only thing missing from this line is an inbuilt combination lock but you can just get yourself your own TSA-approved luggage lock to secure the zippers.
SwissGear Travel Gear Expandable Spinners
The SwissGear Travel Gear collection includes a 20″, a 24″ and a 28″.
The SwissGear Spinner Lite 3 piece set from last year features the Neo Lite pieces that were a hit (and those are even lighter than these), but this newer Travel Gear collection has surpassed those in sales already. A big draw is the lower price point.
The carry on measures 21″ x 14″ x 8.5″ and weighs 7 lbs and 14 oz. The 24″ measures 25.5″ x 16″ x 9.5″ and weighs 9 lbs and 8 oz. The 28″ measures 29.5″ x 18″ x 10.5″ and weighs 11 lbs and 3 oz. All measurements include the wheels.
These bags are available in black, blue and teal, all with black trim. For a more sporty looking piece of luggage, this Travel Gear collection from SwissGear is a good bet. The fabric is a durable polyester that resists tearing and scuffing.
The telescopic handle locks into the fully extended position and the retracted position and the spinner wheels can turn 360 degrees. The top and side feature low profile carry handles. These bags expand up to 1.5 inches via a large zipper pull.
There are two U-shaped zippered bags on the front exterior – one large lower down and a smaller one above that. An ID tag pocket is on the back of the bag. The inside features a roomy main compartment with a detachable zippered toiletry bag and a mesh compartment on the inside of the lid and is accessed via a lengthwise zippered opening on the two larger bags and a breadth-wise opening on the carry on. There are two compression straps that are adjustable.
IT Luggage Amsterdam III 8 Wheel Spinners
IT Luggage is the expert on lightweight luggage so one of their lines invariably lands on a lightweight luggage list. This year our pick is the Amsterdam III 8 Wheel spinner line that includes a 21.5″, a 27.6″, a 31.3″ and a 3 piece set.
The carry on measures 21.5″ x 14″ x 7.9″ and weighs 5 lbs, 6 oz. The checked large bag measures 27.6″ x 17.3″ x 9.8″ and weighs 6 lbs, 10 oz. The checked extra large bag measures 31.3″ x 19.3″ x 11.2″ and weighs 7 lbs, 8 oz. All measurements include the wheels and handle. As you can see, these are some of the lightest softsided spinner bags that you can find anywhere. Not only that, but they are an inexpensive option as long as you don’t expect a lot of fancy features.
These bags are available in four different colors – black, magenta haze, evening blue and magnet, and are made of polyester.
The telescopic handle with push button grip is sturdy. There are integrated padded carry handles on the top and on one side. The spinner wheels are doubled for added manoeuvrability.
The exterior has two compartments. The larger one is designed to be an organizer with a tablet pocket and other smaller pockets for accessories. There is even a key fob in there. The second pocket is a vertical one with a hidden zipper, although this pocket is quite small and tight.
The interior is completely lined and comes with a large zippered mesh pocket and one elastic top opaque pocket in the lid. Twin breadthwise packing straps and two slip pockets in the carry on and three slip pockets in the two checked bags complete the main compartment. This simple design gives you one of the most spacious interiors for packing quite a lot without making any of the spinners too heavy. The interior compartment locks via an in-built TSA-approved combination lock.
London Fog Kensington Spinners
The London Fog Kensington collection includes a 21″, a 25″ and a 29″ along with a two wheeled duffel bag and a shoulder cabin bag.
The 21″ measures 21″ x 14″ x 10″ and weighs 7 lbs. The 25″ measures 25″ x 17″ x 11″ and weighs 8 lbs and 8 oz. The 29″ measures 29″ x 19″ x 12″ and weighs 9 lbs and 8 oz.
These bags are available in two colors of woven jacquard – a blue plaid and a solid bronze. Both feature tan trim accents and the lightness of the pieces come from the honeycomb structure.
The overall design is not the most innovative but the features are reliably practical. That combined with its chic looks make the collection one of the best lightweight spinner luggage options of the year, particularly for the sophisticated woman.
The spinner wheels are low profile so the bags are stable, there are top, side and bottom carry handles for easy lifting if needed, the telescopic handle arms are encased in aluminum channel tubes for extra durability, there are corner and skid guards for protection, and the back panel is reinforced.
Each of the spinners expand by 2″ via a zipper. The interior is fully lined. The interior lid section features a zippered mesh pocket and there are two elastic top pockets to hold a pair of shoes as well. The main compartment features a detachable zippered clear pocket along one short side so that you can easily remove it for inspection when moving through security at the airport. There are two simple restraining straps to hold your clothes in place.
The front exterior features two zippered pockets – one vertical u-shaped and one straight horizontal one.
If you’d like to see more of the best lightweight spinner luggage options, Amazon has the best and largest range.