Best Hardside Luggage with a Front Pocket or Laptop Compartment 2024

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We also earn commissions from other affiliate programs through our links at no extra cost to you.

While hardshell luggage continues to be more and more popular with travelers, that doesn’t mean that all hardsided suitcases boast great design. If you’re looking at functionality, there’s an important feature that’s missing from most hard-shelled cases and that’s an external pocket that you can use to quickly stash your laptop, tablet, last minute items or frequently used items through your journey. Since you wouldn’t want to or cannot open up the entire suitcase right in the middle of the airport or on a train, how do you take out your laptop, charger or even a cardigan when you need it? That’s why we’ve selected the best hardside luggage with a front pocket or laptop compartment so that you won’t have this problem ever again.

While it would be nice if manufacturers would include an exterior front pocket on all sizes of hardside luggage, you’ll find that it is easier to find only hard shell cabin luggage with a front pocket while leaving the bigger pieces in the same luggage collection without an exterior pocket. That’s why we’ll tell you in the following top picks whether this feature is present on multiple pieces in a luggage line or just on the carry on. However, a checked bag that does not have this feature should not be a deal breaker, in our opinion, because this piece won’t be with you most of the time if you’re flying. Anything that you think you’ll need with you throughout your journey should really be packed in your carry on.

Another feature that’s hard to find on most hard shell suitcases is the ability to open and pack it the way you would a soft shell suitcase. The 50-50 split clam shell style that’s most common here makes unpacking it in a small hotel room quite difficult. If you find that that’s a common issue for you, we show you the best 80/20 split hardside luggage collections.



Best Hardside Luggage with a Front Pocket

Best Overall
Arlo Skye The Zipper Carry-On Max with Front Pocket

Arlo Skye The Zipper Carry-On Max with Front Pocket

  • Weight: 8.1 lbs
  • Dimensions: 23.0" H x 15.0" W x 10.3" D
  • Capacity: 47 L
  • 10,050 mAh charger, 18W USB C & A ports (PD plus QC 3.0)
Check Price
Runner up
DELSEY Paris Titanium Hardside Expandable Luggage Carry-On

DELSEY Paris Titanium Hardside Expandable Luggage Carry-On

  • Weight: 7.9 lbs
  • Dimensions: 19.0" H x 13.0" W x 9.75" D
  • Capacity: 41 L
  • Padded sleeve for up to a 15.6-inch laptop
Check Price
Budget pick
LEVEL8 Grace Carry On Luggage

LEVEL8 Grace Carry On Luggage

  • Weight: 8 lbs
  • Dimensions: 21.8" H x 14.5 " W x 9.4" D
  • Capacity: 36 L
  • Sleeve for up to a 15.6-inch laptop
Check Price


Hardside Bags with Hard-sided Front Pocket

When the front pocket is also hard-shelled, the design usually only allows for some wiggle room inwards and towards the main compartment when you pack this pocket full. A well designed piece of hardside luggage with lid opening should not take away too much packing space from the main compartment or you will not be able to pack more than a day or two worth of clothes.


The 19″ Delsey Luggage Helium Aero International Carry-On has been one of the most popular carry on bags for a while and it is easy to see why. While we updated our picks for best hardside luggage overall to include the Delsey Helium Titanium collection, which also has carry on luggage with front laptop compartment, the Aero line’s International cabin suitcase with front pocket is also very good and of great value for money.

Available in a range of stylish colors with a glossy finish, this 100% polycarbonate bag features a main compartment and a front compartment. The front compartment opens with top access via dual zippers that you can lock using your own luggage lock. This compartment’s lid is gusseted with snap-buttoned fabric to prevent it from falling open completely and spilling out the contents. If you want to pack the bag normally, just unbutton the gussets to open the lid fully. This compartment features a padded 15.6″ laptop sleeve with tablet sleeve and two mesh zippered pockets for gadget accessories or toiletries. This space is also good for last minute items and travel documents.

The main compartment is accessible clam-style via dual zippers that lock into an in-built TSA combination lock. It is expandable by 2 inches using the pull around zipper but this bag is extremely roomy even without it expanded. The space inside is neatly divided into two by a zipped fabric divider on one side. Both sides have a pair of cross-wise restraining straps to keep your clothes neat.

The telescopic handle extends and locks into place at two height settings. There is also a top grab handle and a side handle, while the opposite side features 4 pegs for setting the bag on its side. The dual spinner wheels roll smoothly and quietly.

When you take the wheels and top handle into account, this carry on measures 21.25 x 9 x 14 inches overall and weighs 8.2 lbs.


  • Great maneuverability.
  • Measurements of both carry on bags are exactly in accordance with luggage limits.
  • Well made and rugged wheels, handles and zippers.
  • Stylish.

  • The zippers for the front compartment on the 19″ carry on are not ideal for locking.
  • Does show scratches.

    Compared to the Aero collection, Titanium luggage is quite similar. These are also made of 100% pure Polycarbonate, which makes them highly impact-resistant and durable. Its matte finish differs from the metallic finish of Aero luggage and these bags are slightly lighter, but the difference isn’t too big.

    A padded laptop sleeve and a couple of other pockets are included in the outside electronics compartment of the smallest suitcase – the DELSEY Paris Titanium 19″ Carry-On Spinner. Although they don’t have this feature, the 21″ Carry On and the larger suitcases have two fully lined packing compartments with expandable capacity. In the bottom compartment, tie-down compression straps are available as well as a zippered pocket, while in the top compartment there is a full zippered divider with a mesh pocket.

    In addition to double spinner wheels, this front pocket carry on luggage has a lightweight aluminum telescopic wheel handle that locks into position when extended. The pieces also feature padded and soft handles on the top and sides. With these features, you have great maneuverability of your suitcases and can effortlessly move from one place to another with the Titanium pieces. Each of them has a TSA-approved combination lock, which ensures the safety of your belongings in the main compartment, however, the front compartment will need your own luggage lock that can only be used to go through the zipper tab holes.


  • Matte finish hides scratches and scuffs better.
  • Easy to roll even on cobblestones.

  • The telescopic handle may not extend or retract very smoothly.

    Coolife luggage has found a permanent space in the budget luggage department by providing key well-liked features in their affordable lines. The COOLIFE Luggage Carry On Spinner Trolley with Pocket Compartment Weekend Bag is a 20 inch bag that’s part of a 2-piece set but only this one features an outer pocket, while the larger check in 28 inch one does not.

    The outer pocket is top opening via dual zippers and can hold a 15 inch laptop along with a few accessories and documents in various pockets. Side gussets stop the pocket from falling open when the bag is standing up, but you can unsnap the gusset buttons if you want to open it fully. The main compartment opens clam-style with dual zippers and one side of this compartment has elastic cross band restraining straps, while the other side features two large zippered mesh pockets on a zippered divider to keep each side separate.

    Both main and front zippered compartments’ zippers can be locked into the same TSA lock panel – a feature that you rarely find in other hardside luggage with outside pocket.

    The shell of this bag is made of a durable and light ABS-polycarbonate compound with a textured finish to hide scratches better. There’s an adjustable 3-step telescopic handle with an ergonomic grip that locks into place and 4 double spinner wheels that roll silently.

    The overall size of this bag is 21″ x 14″ x 9.5″ and it weighs just 6.7 lbs. While this is not on our list of best lightweight hard shell spinner suitcases, it is almost as light as those selections. The Aero is available in blue, pink and gray.


  • Lightweight.
  • Rolls well even when loaded.
  • Doesn’t scuff easily.
  • You can lock the main compartment as well as the laptop compartment with the in-built TSA lock.

  • The zippers are sticky and need to be handled carefully.
  • The front pocket takes up space from the main compartment if it’s full.
  • No side grab handle.


    The sleek and functional design of this lightweight Arlo Skye The Zipper Carry-On Max with Front Pocket makes it a must-have for frequent flyers. The tone-on-tone, hard-side exterior pocket is a game-changer, providing a dedicated space for a 15″ laptop, a pullover, and other in-flight essentials. With 10% less packing space in the main compartment compared to models without the front pocket, it encourages efficient packing while ensuring you have quick access to your essentials.

    The integrated, airline-compliant charger is a standout feature. Removable with just one click, it boasts blazing-fast USB C and USB A ports with PD technology. Charging your phone to half-way in under 30 minutes becomes a reality, adding a practical edge to this carry-on. The Free-Flex zipper technology, allowing for an inch of extra space, is a thoughtful touch, accommodating those last-minute additions to your luggage seamlessly.

    Crafted with precision, the impact-resistant polycarbonate exterior, tamper-proof double-coil outer zippers, and integrated TSA-approved combination lock guarantee the safety of your belongings. The antimicrobial interior lining, infused with natural silver fibers, neutralizes odor-causing bacteria, preventing germ growth. The 360° spinner wheels, 15% quieter than standard options, ensure a smooth, silent glide through airports. With additional features like a 10,050 mAh charger, leather name tag, shoe bags, and a laundry bag, this carry-on offers unparalleled convenience and style.


  • Available in attractive colors.
  • Ample storage capacity.
  • Thoughtful additions like shoe bags and laundry bags enhance organization and practicality.
  • Durable construction withstands the rigors of travel.
  • Lightweight design and smooth and quiet gliding wheels provide a seamless experience, even on challenging terrains.

  • Packing the front pocket first is recommended, as it becomes harder to fit a laptop into the sleeve when the main compartment is full.
  • The depth of the front pocket compartment might limit overall storage, impacting those who prefer more space for clothes and souvenirs.

    This is one sophisticated looking piece of luggage and is priced accordingly, but the Bric’s Bellagio 2.0 21″ Spinner Trunk evokes a bygone time of retro travel glamor like these other vintage-style luggage sets. The shell of the Bric’s Bellagio is 100% Makrolon polycarbonate and available in a few different colors, and the top handle along with accents are made of Italian leather. It weighs 8.5 lbs and measures 21.7 x 15.4 x 9.4 inches. The 3-stage pullout telescopic handle, rubber Hinomoto dual spinner wheels and water-repellent zips that lock into an in-built 3-dial TSA combination lock complete the exterior features.

    The packing space consists of a front pocket organizer compartment that has a padded sleeve for a medium-size laptop and tablet and a regular sleeve for a magazine or book. The various pockets can accommodate your phone, chargers, pens and other small accessories and there’s a USB charger port so that you can connect your own battery pack inside while you charge your phone at any time by plugging it in on the side.

    The main compartment that opens via dual zippers is divided into two by a zippered fabric panel that holds a zippered mesh pocket on top of it. The other side features a fabric restraining panel that zips to one end and is secured by corner tightening buckles at the other end. This panel holds an opaque zipped pocket on top of it.

    The Bellagio line also has another 21″ spinner that does not come with a front pocket, a 27″ spinner and a 30″ spinner.


  • The 3 step level telescopic handle makes it easy for users of any height to maneuver it.
  • Has a USB charging port to let you safely juice up your devices anywhere.
  • Has water-repellent zippers.
  • Good interior organization with divider panels on both halves.

  • Expensive.

    Briggs & Riley is a well known premium luggage brand and the updated Torq Hardside Spinner Luggage collection is absolutely feature packed, made from 100% virgin makrolon polycarbonate and with an anti-scratch finish. It has 3 sizes of check in sized hardside spinner suitcases, but it’s the two carry on sizes that we’re interested in here. There’s a 21″ international carry on and a 22″ domestic carry on. Both have a patented hard front pocket that’s hinged at the bottom to let you easily access its contents.

    The front pocket can accommodate a laptop, a tablet, and several small items that you would likely need for a business trip. It also has a pocket to carry your own battery pack which connects to an integrated external USB port so that you can charge your phone at any time.

    Another interesting feature is that all the pieces in the collection are split 70/30 in terms of their packing space in the main compartment, which is rare for hardside luggage. This allows for easier packing in tight spaces, which is where soft-sided luggage has another upper hand.

    The main compartment features a flat packing space on the bottom because the telescopic handle is set on the outside of the case. This part features garment cinch flaps to keep your clothes neat. The upper part features a garment suiter with a loop to hang a suit on a hanger from, and a foam roller to fold the garment over. This design keeps creasing to a minimum.

    The dual spinner wheels are Japanese-made and very smooth and durable. The aircraft-grade telescopic handle extends and locks to 3 levels for travelers of different heights.


  • Roomy and easily maneuverable.
  • Has a 70/30 packing configuration, which makes it easier to pack.
  • Has an external USB charging port.
  • Stands up great to abuse from air travel.
  • Has features for minimizing creases in your clothes.

  • No small pockets inside for organizing small personal items.
  • An overstuffed external pocket will take away space from the main compartment.

    Luggex is a relatively unknown California-based luggage brand but they make very good hardside luggage with exterior pocket. It is a game-changer for frequent travelers seeking both convenience and durability. With dimensions of 22 x 14.2 x 9.6 inches and a weight of 7.94 pounds, this compact suitcase proves that good things do come in small packages. The zipper-released expansion mechanism provides an additional 15% space for packing.

    One of the key highlights is the thoughtfully designed front pocket, offering easy access to a 15.6-inch laptop and other essentials. Stay organized on the move without the hassle of rummaging through your luggage. The LuggeX doesn’t just stop at convenience; it also keeps you charged throughout your journey. Equipped with both USB and USB-C charging ports (power bank not included), this 22-inch luggage ensures you stay connected without worrying about a low battery.

    Crafted from premium polycarbonate material, the LuggeX suitcase is both lightweight and durable. It can withstand the test of time and the impact of travel, providing a worry-free experience. Backed by a free 3-year warranty, LuggeX stands by the excellence of its luggage.

    It’s important to note that the shared space between the main and front compartments requires consideration. When the front pocket is full, the main compartment’s space is reduced. However, with mindful packing, this slight limitation is easily overcome for an otherwise outstanding travel companion.


  • Impresses with locks, multiple pockets, and external USB & USB-C ports for convenient charging..
  • Double wheels ensure smooth rolling and easy navigation during travel.
  • Luggex is lauded for its prompt communication, quick issue resolution, and customer satisfaction.

  • Some users find the lack of a solid handle awkward for lifting and overhead storage.
  • Concerns arise about zipper durability, with reports of malfunctions, including a blown-out zipper on initial use.
  • While ideal for 2-3 day trips, the Luggex may sacrifice clothing capacity for IT gear, posing a challenge for longer journeys.

    LEVEL8 Grace Luggage is specifically targeted towards thin laptop users but that does not mean that others can’t travel with them. This LEVEL8 Grace 20″ Hardside Carry on with front pocket has a PC+ABS shell, telescopic handle, four double spinner wheels and a top and side handle. The corners are reinforced to prevent damage when bumped, and the shell is textured to prevent visible scratches. The main compartment’s zippers can be locked into the TSA combination lock panel. There are two versions of this hard carry on luggage with exterior pocket to choose from – the Grace and the Grace – EXT. The former cannot be expanded, while the latter can for additional packing space.

    The vertical opening front compartment features two padded Velcro pockets for a 15.6 inch Macbook and iPad along with a few accessories. However, these pockets are thin so if you want to fit a non-Apple laptop, it will need to be no more than a 15″. Even the pocket for a mouse is only big enough for a Magic Mouse or similar.

    The main compartment features two packing spaces that boast good organization for neatness. One side features a zippered panel, while the other side features a fabric panel with corner restraints to separate the other half. This panel features a zippered pocket too. There are also cross restraining straps on this side so if you don’t want to use the divider, you can unclip the two corners, roll it up and tuck it into the side and out of the way.

    Weighing 8 lbs, the Grace measures 21.8″ x 14.5″ x 9.4″. The Grace EXT expandable carry on weighs 9 lbs, and measures 21.8” x 14.5” x 9.8” with an additional 1.57” width when expanded.

    You should also consider the Level8 Road Runner model, which is a premium and more feature-rich option. Both the front compartment and main compartments can be locked, as both their zipper heads are accommodated in the in-built TSA-approved lock. This models is made of 100% polycarbonate, so it’s more durable. This model weighs a little more at 8 lbs and it measures 21.5″ x 14.6″ x 9.3″.


    Level8 Pro Carry OnFinally, there’s the Level8 Pro Carry On with a Laptop Pocket and a built-in USB port and power bank pocket. This model is a Red Dot award winner and is only available on the Level8 website.


  • Anti-scratch finish.
  • Maneuvers well.
  • Good organization features.
  • The front compartment is designed to hold both a thin laptop as well as an iPad.
  • You get an in-built USB charging port with the Pro Carry On model.
  • Corners are reinforced.
  • The Road Runner has TSA-approved zipper locking for both the main and front compartments.

  • The front pocket will push into the main compartment space if you try to pack a thick laptop.
  • The zipper tabs are a bit weak.
  • Not a light carry on.

    Share on:

    Leave a Comment

    Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.