Zipper Vs Zipperless Luggage
Do you know that a zippered suitcase is vulnerable to thieves with a ball point pen? It doesn’t matter if the zipper pulls are locked. All they have to do is insert the point of the pen between the teeth of the zipper and pull against them to open. Once the thief is done stealing or the smuggler is done stashing some contraband inside, he can cover his tracks by pulling the locked zipper over the open section to close it! Even if the zipper heads are the kind that can be locked into a fixed place, a sharp object will still penetrate through the zipper teeth. It’s just that the opening can’t be zipped closed again, so you will know immediately if your bag has been tampered with.
To prevent this stealthy tactic, hardside luggage with latches instead of zippers is a better bet. The best hardside luggage without zipper locking usually feature one or two latch locks for the main compartment instead. Most can be used with a TSA agent’s key but a key is not needed for the owner because they come with a combination code that you set in the beginning.
Most of the hard shell luggage with latches are also weather resistant because they seal tightly around the circumference and don’t let water in even if they stand out in the rain on the tarmac, whereas most zippers do let water in.
If you’re not ready to let go of your existing zipper luggage yet, then at least learn how to tamper proof your luggage so that you deter baggage riflers at a minimum.
The one advantage you get with zipper suitcases is that an expandable zip feature can be added to it for extra packing space. Luggage with no zippers cannot be expanded at all so the only way to pack lots of souvenirs on your return trip is to buy a suitcase with some sort of inner compression system.
Until last year, very few luggage manufacturers made zipperless luggage so we could only recommend a few good collections. This year, more luggage manufacturers have been getting on the band wagon so we have a few of the most secure zipperless hardside luggage for you.
If you’re looking for hardside spinners that close with zippers, we can recommend these this year.
- 1 Zipper Vs Zipperless Luggage
- 2 How Does Zipperless Luggage Work?
- 3 Best Zipperless Luggage – Molded Polypropylene Luggage with Integrated Lock
- 4 Best Zipperless Aluminum Frame Luggage
- 5 Best All Aluminum Zipperless Luggage
- 6 Best Zipperless PVC Luggage with TSA Key Lock
- 7 See How Easy it is to Break Into Your Luggage
How Does Zipperless Luggage Work?
No zipper luggage features one or more latches that click shut, some with panels for a 3-dial combination lock and TSA agent keyhole, is provided. If there are two latch locks, each one can be set with its own security code. Many check in size suitcases come with additional non-locking latches so as to keep all edges shut tight. These latches are either integrated into the shell of the bag or they are fixed into a groove.
To shut and seal hard shell luggage without zippers, one side’s rim will have a tongue or rubber gasket that fits right into the groove of the other side’s rim. The seal is tight and usually waterproof, so your belongings won’t get wet if the luggage is left to stand out in the rain. Zippers, on the other hand will allow at least some water in.
Best Zipperless Luggage – Molded Polypropylene Luggage with Integrated Lock
These are a type of hard plastic where the shells are molded using an injection of a thin layer of polypropylene. This is the lightest type of zipperless hard shell luggage you can buy and also the most affordable. These are the easiest bags to manouever because they’re so light and if keeping within weight limits is a concern then these types of suitcases will allow you to pack heavier items even in a compact space. The luggage locks are integrated into the shell so they’re unlikely to break off and the opening around the compartment is usually sealed by a waterproof rubber gasket.
While the light weight and cost are major advantages, the disadvantages are that scratches are bound to appear on the shell and they’re not easily hidden and the shell can crack under high pressure. There is also no give if you overpack, which in a way is actually an advantage because it forces you to be a good packer while eliminating a bulge and the tendency to go over any airline weight limit.
Samsonite S’Cure Hardside Luggage with Spinner Wheels
If you’re a diehard fan of Samsonite luggage and you’re looking for a zipperless option from the brand, the Samsonite S’Cure Hardside Luggage with Spinners is what you want to look at. Available in a few vivid colors, the S’Cure collection is made of a special polypropylene mix called Flowlite to reduce the overall weight of each piece. The molded polyproplyene shells give these pieces extra durability even though they’re so light. This collection is made in Europe.
The sizes available are a cabin size, a medium, a large, and an extra large. The cabin spinner suitcase measures 21.6″ x 15.7″ x 7.9″ and weighs 6.4 lbs. The medium check in bag measures 27″ x 19.3″ x 11.4″ and weighs 9.3 lbs. The large check in suitcase measures 29.5 x 20.5 x 12.2 inches and weighs 10 lbs, while the latter measures 31.9 x 21.6 x 13.7 inches and weighs 11 lbs.
The suitcases close via a 3-point locking system with a water-tight rubber gasket seal. The TSA-approved combination lock can also be opened with a key. The other two that are present on the short sides don’t lock but remain shut with latches.
These bags have a smooth multistage aluminum telescopic pull handle as well as top and side handles for lifting. You can easily roll them alongside you on the 4 multi-directional dual spinner wheels.
The interior is unlined and has simple features, like a flexible divider panel with full size zippered mesh pocket for the top shell, and one long zippered pocket on the other along with cross restraining straps for the bottom shell. Since there’s not much organization here you could use a set of packing cubes to help with that.
DELSEY Paris Belfort DLX
Similar to the S’Cure above, the
DELSEY Paris Belfort DLX carry on and 26″ and 30″ spinners are also made of thin injection molded polypropylene plastic for the shell with integrated TSA approved combination locks and waterproof rubber gasket seal around the opening.
There are three locking points – one near the side grab handle that is combination lockable, one on top near the pull handle and one on the bottom that are only for snapping shut via a tongue and groove closure. The telescopic pull handle can lock into two positions for steering the bags either on 2 or all 4 dual spinner wheels.
The major difference between these and the S’Cures is that they’re completely polyester lined inside. The organizational features of this split book style luggage are great with a removable tri-fold organizer for toiletries, a zippered panel divider on one side with two elastic top pouches for shoes and a large zippered mesh pocket, and cross restraining straps on the other side.
Including the wheels, the carry on’s dimensions are 23.5″ x 16″ x 9.25″, the 26 inch bag is 18.5″ x 10.5″ x 27.5″, and the 30 inch bag is 21″ x 12.5″ x 32.2″.
Best Zipperless Aluminum Frame Luggage
If you want something a little more durable and stronger than plastic but still want lightweight luggage, polycarbonate shells with an aluminum frame is the way to go. Polycarbonate in general is the most popular material used for hardsided luggage but most pieces come with zippers for securing them. If you want zipperless locking on these, the luggage locks need to be set into a strong aluminum frame, as they cannot be integrated into the polycarbonate shell.
The aluminum frame and polycarbonate shell makes for very durable luggage without significantly increasing the overall weight. The shell is still is slightly flexible so it won’t crack under pressure or impact and depending on the exterior finish, can hide scratches and scuff marks a bit.
Andiamo Elegante Luggage Aluminum Frame Zipperless Suitcases
The Andiamo Elegante Luggage line features three pieces – a 20″, a 24″ and a 28″, and they are available in three elegant alloy metalline finishes of muted black pearl, gold, lavender and mauve quartz. These measurements do not include the dual spinner wheels, however, so you have to add a couple inches for the overall dimensions.
These pieces come with 100% polycarbonate shells and aluminum frames. They close via two integrated TSA combination snap locks on either side of the side carry handle. In addition to the telescopic dual-pole handle on top, you have another carry handle here.
The inside features a signature jacquard print lining and decent organization. Both the main section and lid section have adjustable crosswise restraining straps, while the upper lid section has an additional flexible partition that is fixed on one end to the inside spine and secures to the other edge via hook style clasps. This partition holds two zippered mesh pockets to keep small items in place.
While the dual spinner wheels are quite large, they work great on almost any surface, including carpet. They are coated with TPE rubber so they roll smoothly and silently on hard surfaces.
While these pieces are not the lightest of all zipperless hardside spinners, they are very robust.
Coolife Luggage Aluminium Frame Suitcases
The Coolife Aluminium Frame hard sided luggage with latches is a 100% German Bayer Polycarbonate line of spinners that come in three sizes – 20 inch (22.5″ x 9″ x 15″), 24 inch (26.5″ x 10.6″ x 17.7″) and 28 inch (31″ x 12″ x 20.5″), and are available in silver, blue, wine red or black. They are waterproof with an aluminum frame that’s resistant to bending. Reinforced bumper corners protect the most vulnerable spots. These pieces are extra glossy due to the brushed finish given to them. Each of these are available individually, but you can also buy the full set of 3 for a discounted price. They can be nested into one another to save storage space at home.
The trolley handle with push button on the grip allows you to adjust it to different heights. The top and side carry handles let you lift the suitcases more easily into an overhead bin or car boot. The dual spinner wheels are quiet and sturdy to allow you to transport a heavy load effortlessly. They are provided with a bidirectional deep frame and TSA latch combination lock for complete security. The TSA locks can be unlocked by TSA keys if necessary.
Inside each of the Coolife spinners is a simple but practical packing space, with the bottom shell boasting restraining straps and the top shell featuring a zippered divider panel for separation from the bottom with two in-built zippered pockets – one mesh and one opaque. Everything you pack will stay in place throughout the trip.
Enkloze X1 Weight Watcher Zipperless Self Weighing Suitcases
Enkloze X1 Weight Watcher Zipperless Self Weighing Suitcases are probably the best checked zipperless hardside luggage on the market made of PC with aluminum frames. There are two pieces – the 25 inch bag measures 27.5 x 18.5 x 11.4 inches and the 28 inch bag measures 29.9 x 20.0 x 11.4 inches including the wheels.
The extra feature here that none of the other options on this page has is the attached self weighing scale that’s placed in the middle of the long edge of the bags and alongside the side grab handle. It utilizes a small watch battery that can be removed just before you check in. Now you know the weight of your luggage will be within airline limits before you check it in.
They are made of 100% Polycarbonate in black with a rose gold Aluminum Frame and handle details. The four ultra quiet Hinomoto (Japan) wheels and shock absorbers work well on any terrain. The multistage height adjustable pull rod is made of strong aluminum.
Unlike the other options here, the dual TSA-approved latch locks are only key-enabled and there is no combination lock.
The interior of the cases feature two panel dividers that are secured to two corners on each side. Both dividers feature a variety of zippered pockets for organization.
While the Weight Watcher line has great checked luggage pieces, it’s missing a carry on. However, the brand does have a separate hardside carry on to fit the bill and this one even boasts a front pocket, which is rare on hardside luggage in general. Mind you, the Enkloze X1 Carbon carry on’s front pocket does have dual zippers to close, but the main compartment is TSA-approved latch locked. We have already reviewed it as one of the best hardside luggage with a pocket on the front so take a look at it there via the link.
Best All Aluminum Zipperless Luggage
Aluminum is strong and looks beautiful so it’s widely considered to be a luxurious material for luggage use. When the entire suitcase is made of aluminum alloy, scratches and scuff marks only age the suitcase nicely instead of making it look ugly. Those who can afford it, this type of luggage is considered the best zipperless hardside luggage and will get envious looks wherever they go.
However, in addition to its high cost, all-aluminum luggage is much heavier than plastic and polycarbonate, so you have to be aware of this when packing within luggage limits. Unlike polycarbonate, the shell will not rebound if it gets dented even though it is stronger. It does mean, however, that any valuable or breakable items inside will stay safe.
Away Aluminum Edition
Away Travel is Instagram’s favorite brand for luggage and is a favorite in many celebrity circles too. The Away Aluminum Edition Carry On, Bigger Carry On, Medium and Large Spinners are recent additions to their stable and have the potential to challenge the original all-aluminum luggage maker – Rimowa, for best zipperless luggage.
The two carry ons (regular and large) come in silver, black, gold and rose gold. The larger carry on measures 22.7″ x 14.5″ x 9.5″ and will fit into overhead bins of most larger airplanes, while the smaller carry on is good for small aircraft with small overhead bins and it measures 21.5″ x 13.6″ x 9″. Both these come in two variations – a standard or with battery. The latter has an ejectable battery that can charge your phone up to 4 times. It complies with airline policies and is TSA-approved. If you decide to check the bag in, it is easy to remove the battery first.
All the 4 aluminum spinners feature dual TSA-approved combination locks, smooth and silent 360° dual spinner wheels, slow-release handles for quiet handling and leather details like handle trims and a luggage tag. The inside features an interior compression system, a clip-in zipper pockets divider panel and a hidden laundry bag.
Rimowa Classic and Original Wheeled Suitcases
Rimowa’s iconic anodized aluminum hardsided suitcases are popular among frequent flyers who can afford them. They may be pricey but they will last for years without parts needing to be replaced and the design is timeless.
The ultra-luxury all-aluminum Topas line has been rebranded and retooled and is now Rimowa Original Collection. There are 5 pieces in the collection and you can get them in black, silver, or titanium. The shells are made of aluminum and tailored to each size.
Choose from 2 carry on sizes and 3 checked sizes. The small carry on measures 15.8″W x 21.7″H x 7.9″D and is thinner in profile, while the standard carry on measures 15.8″W x 21.7″H x 9.1″D and is deeper. The medium-sized check in measures 17.8″W x 26.4″H x 9.5″D, while the large-size measures 20.1″W x 31.2″H x 10.7″D. The Trunk is smaller in height and breadth but much deeper than the other two checked bags and measures 14.8″W x 28.8″H x 17″D.
All the bags feature a strong telescopic handle and top and side grab handles. Two TSA combination locks on either side of the side grab handle can be opened by a TSA agent’s key for inspection. The 4 dual spinner wheels roll silently on all surfaces. The interiors are fully lined and each side features a removable flex divider panel with zippered pockets for organization. Restraining straps are also present on both sides.
Other than Rimowa’s Original cases, the Rimowa Classic Cabin Case is considered by some to be the first best zipperless carry on luggage made entirely of aluminum. This standalone piece is only available in silver and its more boxy form may suit certain tastes more.
The interior of this trolley bag without zipper is almost similar to the above cabin bags.
The difference between the Rimowa Original cases and the Classic, is that the Classic’s shell is made of a single sheet of aluminum and the lock is integrated into the shell and opens with a noticeable click. The Original’s shells are tailored for each model in the collection and the lock slots into a groove and opens more quietly. The grips on the grab handles on the Classic are made of leather, while those of the Originals are tone-on-tone plastic that blend in. The corners of the Classic are riveted high-gloss aluminium, while the Original corners are matte, like the rest of body, and more contemporary looking.
TravelKing All Aluminum HardShell Luggage
The TravelKing All Aluminum HardShell Luggage collection has 3 pieces – a 20″ (height with wheels is 21.6″), 24″ (height with wheels is 25.4″) and 28″ (height with wheels is 29.1″). They have all aluminum frames and shells, unlike many others that have only aluminum frames, so this collection is a good substitute for the extremely expensive Rimowa or Zero Halliburton all-aluminum collections. The aluminum-magnesium alloy bumper corners here provide extra protection to those vulnerable points. The colors available are grey and silver.
The dual spinner wheels are rubberised for silent rolling, the telescopic handle extends to 3 different steps and the top and side grab handles make the cases easy to lift and feature dampening on the rebound so that they fall back silently when left. There are two TSA 3-dial combination locks on either side of the long edge grab handle for extra security.
The interior organization here is great. You get a separate travel organizer that you can pack flat over your clothes on one side of the bag before securing it with the restraining straps. This organizer has several zippered mesh and clear plastic pockets to hold all your underwear and accessories. There is a hinged partition panel for the lid half of the space and it features a large zippered mesh pocket.
These pieces are waterproof and each comes with its own waterproof cover for storage and protection during transit if checked in.
Sindermore Aluminum-magnesium alloy hard shell luggage
Another less expensive alternative for aluminum spinner luggage is the Sindermore Aluminum-magnesium alloy hard shell luggage collection. It consists of three pieces – a 20″ for carry on (external dimensions – 15.5″ x 8.8″ x 22.8″) and a 25″ (external dimensions – 17.5″ x 9.7″ x 26.8″) and 29″ (external dimensions – 21.2″ x 11.2″ x 30.7″) which can both be checked if you’re flying. They are available in glossy black, silver, dark grey and light grey. The aero-space grade aluminum-magnesium alloy used is durable, firm and rupture-free. Even the reinforced corners are made of aluminum.
The cases feature two TSA latch locks that can be opened by TSA key or a 3-dial combination. The 29″ suitcase has an extra normal lock as well. The aluminum hinges are riveted in place. The dual spinner wheels are silent and offer easy maneuverability in all directions. The aluminium telescopic handle extends to different heights and retracts with the handle flush against the top of the case. There is also a top and side grab handle and both auto-rebound silently back into place.
The interior is divided in half with the top shell featuring a removable panel divider featuring a mesh zippered pocket and an opaque velcro pocket. The bottom shell features cross restraining straps and a removable folding bag with two zippered compartments that can be used separately as a toiletry bag.
There’s a 3 year warranty provided.
Sindermore luggage resembles Rimowa luggage but at almost a fifth of the cost, and customers say that they stand up well to several trips and rough baggage handling.
Cloud 9 – All Aluminum Luxury Hard Case
The last option for all aluminum luggage without zippers are the Cloud 9 – All Aluminum Luxury Hard Case pieces. These are also made with 100% Aviation Grade Aluminum-Magnesium Alloy and are designed to provide lasting durability without them being too heavy. The corners are also aluminum-magnesium reinforced.
The dimensions of the carry on bag are 21.5″(H) x 15″(L) x 10.3″(W). Next comes the 24 inch check in bag with dimensions 27″ (H) x 16″(L) x 10″(W). Finally, the 28 inch bag’s dimensions are 36.5″ (H) x 19″(L) x 10″(W). You can get any of these in a variety of glossy and sophisticated colors.
All the bags feature dual 3-dial TSA approved combo locks, a telescopic handle and 4 dual spinner wheels. The interior is fully lined. One side features a panel divider with two zippered pockets. This divider can be secured by its two corner clips. The other side features a removable panel divider with several zippered pockets. This divider is secured at all 4 corners by clips when needed.
Best Zipperless PVC Luggage with TSA Key Lock
MOIERG Vintage Trolley Luggage
If you pine for the yesteryear when travel had a touch of glamor, a vintage looking suitcase with a few modern upgrades can be a good buy. The Japanese designed MOIERG Vintage Trolley Luggage line features a small, medium and large size with the shell made of strong PVC and covered with either waterproof polyurethane material or a type of cotton blend. You can optionally buy an accompanying cover to protect your case against scuff marks if you want to check the bag in.
The small size measures 12.2″ x 20.5″ x 7.5″ and weighs 8.8 lb, which is the perfect size for European carry on specs. The medium is a good carry on size for US domestic flights, since it measures 13″ x 22.4″ x 7.5″ and weighs 9.2 lb. If you need a checked size spinner, the only option is the large, which at 14.2″ x 26.4″ x 9″ and 10.6 lb is good for short trips and disciplined packers. All of these measurements include the spinner wheels so don’t expect a lot of packing space.
This collection comes in a variety of colors, both subtle and vibrant. All are accented by gold toned hardware and a pair of brown or black faux leather straps that run parallel all the way around the breadth of each suitcase. The handles on the top and one side are also of faux leather and gold toned hardware, and the four corners feature faux leather patches as well. We also chose this line as one of the best retro-style luggage to buy.
Instead of zippers, each bag has a pair of clasp locks on either side of the side handle and both can be locked by the inbuilt TSA-approved key lock. The bags open vintage trunk-style with the lid acting as just that – a lid. All of the packing space is on the bottom side. When you lay them down flat, the lid stays open by a pair of gussets on the side. There are two pockets in each bag – one large slip pocket with elastic top on the inside of the lid, and one very large zippered pocket on the outside of the flexible divider panel that clips to the side to keep you clothes in place. You can pack a jacket and one or two other items on top of the panel once it’s closed.
Once you pack these zipperless luggage bags and then close and lock them, the pair of straps are actually functional and can be buckled tight using one of three holes on each strap. These help keep the pressure off the locks in case you’ve overstuffed the bags.
See How Easy it is to Break Into Your Luggage