Not only do most women like to travel with luggage that weighs little, but most also like to find practical, roomy and durable pieces. With airlines shrinking allowed dimensions for carry ons and many charging you for checked in bags, it’s no wonder that the luggage industry is taking pains to keep up. When sorting through the choices for best lightweight hardside luggage, we made sure to keep a few criteria in mind before recommending just a few.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is Considered Lightweight Luggage?
- 2 Best Lightweight Hardside Carry On Luggage
- 2.1 Rockland Melbourne Hardside Expandable Spinner Carry On
- 2.2 Away Travel – The Carry On
- 2.3 DELSEY Paris Comete 2.0 Hardside Expandable Carry On
- 2.4 Samsonite Winfield 3 DLX Hardside Expandable Luggage
- 2.5 HAUPTSTADTKOFFER Alex Carry On Hardside Spinner Trolley
- 2.6 Wrangler Smart Luggage with Cup Holder and USB Port
- 3 Best Lightweight Hardside Checked and Luggage Sets
- 3.1 DELSEY Paris Clavel Hardside Expandable Luggage with Spinner Wheels
- 3.2 Samsonite Freeform Hardside Expandable
- 3.3 Travelpro Maxlite 5 Hardside Spinner Wheel Luggage
- 3.4 Tumi Latitude Hardside Spinners
- 3.5 Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds Hard Shell Spinner Luggage
- 3.6 Merax Travelhouse Luggage Set 3 Piece Expandable Lightweight Spinner Suitcase
Tumi Latitude Hardside Spinners
Samsonite Freeform Hardside Expandable
Best budget carry on pick
Merax Travelhouse Luggage Set 3 Piece
What is Considered Lightweight Luggage?
A lightweight bag is one that can be carried easily by hand, without being too heavy for its size. It should also have a good amount of space inside for your belongings. If you find yourself struggling to carry it around, then it’s probably not very lightweight.
Carry on bags for flying have to fit inside an overhead compartment and the passenger has to be able to load it in without anyone else’s help. Therefore, if you’re not strong enough to heft a standard weight carry on into a bin, you’d be struggling at best and gate-checking it at worst.
Typical carry-on bags are 21 – 22 inches long, and to qualify as lightweight, they should weigh no more than 10 pounds (4.5 kg). Ideally, the good but very lightweight ones will weigh between 4.5 – 8 pounds (2.1 – 3.6 kg) only.
Check in bags have a weight restriction of 50 lbs without extra baggage fees but if you pick a heavy suitcase, it can easily cross that if you fill it completely with some heavy items. If that’s a problem you think you’ll have, then we recommend that the largest check in bag that you take with you for flying should be no heavier than 10 lbs when empty. This way you’ll also have no problem lifting it off a luggage carousel at baggage claim or lifting it into a car trunk either.
We ensured that light does not mean less durable. You may want to learn about various hardside luggage materials before you choose based on what each type offers. We also picked those that still have a good number of features that enhance your packing and travel experience. The carry on or suitcase also needs to be roomy and not sacrifice packing space just because the sides don’t expand. And lastly, lightweight hard case luggage has to be easy to travel with. They’re best for city travel, as wheeled spinners aren’t the best over rough terrain.
Bear in mind that in order to keep this luggage as light as possible, you can’t expect the pieces to have a lot of extra features, like a hardside suitcase with an external front pocket.
We have already selected our favorite hardside spinner luggage across categories, but we feel that in these modern travel times, the lightweight hardside category deserves its own space, so read on for the best of the best this year! Oh and btw, we also have our favorite picks for light soft-sided luggage spinner sets of the soft shell variety if you prefer those!
For a carefully curated selection of the best lightweight hardsided luggage – both single carry-on spinners as well as entire hardsided spinner collections, check out the following reviews!
Best Lightweight Hardside Carry On Luggage
Rockland Melbourne Hardside Expandable Spinner Carry On
Airline surcharges are the worst and the best way to avoid them altogether is to keep your luggage light. Rockland’s Melbourne Hardside is just such a suitcase, weighing only 6.85 lbs with measurements of 22″ x 13.5″ x 9″ (including wheels). It is one of the bestselling hardside carry ons anywhere. Not only is it lightweight, but it’s also designed to easily maneuver, with 360° wheels so they are as multidirectional as you are.
This hardshell suitcase is constructed of ABS material, a machined and hard plastic composed of thermoplastic polymers. It can be thrown around, tossed, and can withstand a lot of weight without taking any damage. It’s not abrasion-resistant, however, so be prepared for that, as luggage handlers are notorious for not being too gentle.
Rockland didn’t allow the lightweight nature of the Melbourne Hardside to have a limited carrying capacity either. One of the nice features of the Rockland Melbourne is its expandable storage capacity. The upright gives you additional storage space when you need it. While you won’t be packing your entire ensemble of clothing in it, there’s enough space to carry 3-4 days worth of clothes.
The interior is organized in a standard way for a hardside. It has a zippered fabric divider for the top half and compression straps for the lower. It also comes with mesh-lined, interior pockets for additional stationary-type supplies, makeup, toiletries, etc.
The Rockland Melbourne comes with a telescoping handle, which is pretty standard nowadays but they claim it’s ergonomic. Of course, anything that enables you to drag your luggage around without having to stoop is considered to be ergonomic. The suitcase closes via lockable zippers so you’d need to have your own TSA luggage lock.
One thing Rockland didn’t skimp on is color options. There are currently about 35 different color options. Aside from the positive vibes these carry-on suitcases exude, there are some caveats.
Away Travel – The Carry On
The Away Travel – The Carry On is taking luggage to a whole new level, going well beyond storage mechanics and telescoping handles while embracing the times and embracing some technology.
The polycarbonate shell is designed for rugged durability and long-term reliability. It has a built-in compression system, so adding two inches of expandable storage went out the window in favor of a little innovation.
It also has a hidden laundry bag so there’s no more need to pack dirty and clean clothes together in the same compartment. The TSA-approved combination lock will keep your luggage safe and secure for the long haul and it does all of this without exceeding the requirements for airline carry-on luggage.
It has a solid aesthetic with six colors to choose from, all of which carry over the same design features, only in a different color. All of the standard features are here as well, including the 360° wheels, telescoping handle, and ease of use.
Away guarantees a full, money-back guarantee within the first 100 days of purchase. According to Away, that includes taking it out and using it, so long as the return is completed within 100 days of purchase.
Away also comes with a USB charger built into the hollow where the telescoping handle docks when not extended. The battery inside the Carry-On is ejectable, so you don’t have to use it if you don’t want to but it’s really useful when you have a long wait in airports and your phone or tablet battery is running low. If you like the idea of charging on the go with your luggage, and honestly who doesn’t, it has enough charging capacity to top off a high-end smartphone four times.
Away Carry-On suitcases are also designed to neatly fit within each, larger size, sort of like the Russian Matryoshka dolls. This is a great concept in principle and works wonders in reality, saving you a ton of extra space around the home when you just need them out of the way.
DELSEY Paris Comete 2.0 Hardside Expandable Carry On
The Helium Titanium collection was selected as a part of our best spinner hardcase luggage overall and that collection, including the carry on is also quite light, but the Delsey Paris Comete 2.0 Hardside Expandable Carry On is even lighter and has a few useful features to go with that.
Constructed in ABS, with additional polycarbonate, the DELSEY Paris Comete is a sleek, metallic-looking suitcase that is aesthetically pleasing from every angle, even if it is just a suitcase. It has a twill finish, which gives it that lofty sheen, and also protects it from scratching, scuffing, or just downright falling apart. You can choose from three, metallic variations with anthracite, purple, and steel blue. The wheels are multidirectional and have a neat, high-end look as if they were designed with chrome rims from a 2021 Honda Civic in mind.
DELSEY included an expandable, 2” section so you can get every last scrap of packing stuffed into it. The measurements are at 14.25 x 9.5 x 22.5 inches and the suitcase (empty) weighs roughly 6.3lbs. It also comes with a ten-year warranty, which is good and most welcome for a suitcase, as they are typically subjected to every manner of torture on long trips.
The telescoping handle is welcome if not exactly trendy or innovative. The idea was to design something with elegance and a sense of modernity and innovation. In that respect, DELSEY has succeeded.
Once you open it up, you quickly realize that DELSEY had more in mind than just a pretty appearance. The DELSEY Paris is exceptionally roomy within, with a flexible packing design and a mesh divider for your bathroom supplies or other small trinkets that you want to bring along.
With its expansion feature, you should have no problem packing for a few days of solo travel, while including everything else you may need beyond clothing. Since the bag only weighs 6.3lbs, you have well over 25 pounds of packing freedom before exceeding any flight limit rules.
Samsonite Winfield 3 DLX Hardside Expandable Luggage
For the lightest hard sided luggage option to earn high marks, the 100% polycarbonate Samsonite Winfield 3 DLX Hardside Expandable Luggage collection is the latest iteration of a very popular line from Samsonite for the last few years.
There are several chic colors to choose from and the textured finish on the body cleverly hides scratches and scuff marks that hard-sided luggage naturally collects over time. There are three sizes available – 20, 25 and 28 inches, with the smallest weighing just under 7 lbs. You can buy each separately or as a complete 3 piece set. However, we recommend only the carry on from this collection, as the larger pieces are not the best for checking them in on a flight.
We would also recommend the overall top rated Samsonite Omni PC collection, as those bags weigh about the same and all the pieces can withstand rough baggage handling. Have a much bigger budget and like Samsonite? Have a look at another light option – the Black Label Cosmolite collection.
The pieces of the Winfield 3 DLX collection open clam style and the middle of the spine inside features a unique full divider panel to separate the upper half from the lower half. Both sides of this panel hold two large zippered mesh pockets for storage of accessories or delicates, so you can pack one side, then turn the panel over and pack the other side. The two outer corners can be secured to either the upper or lower lid of the suitcase, while the other side can be secured by the restraining straps that are present on both sides. All the suitcases have a 1.5″ expansion feature.
The push button telescopic handle and self-retracting top and side handles make lifting these suitcases very easy and are all low profile when they’re not in use. The oversized multi-directional spinner wheels let you roll them over both hard and carpeted areas. AL the pieces feature a side-mounted TSA lock for the zippers.
HAUPTSTADTKOFFER Alex Carry On Hardside Spinner Trolley
For something durable from a popular German brand, the Hauptstadtkoffer Alex 20″ trolley also come in a cheerful yellow and with a combination ABS and polycarbonate shell with glossy finish. The measurements including the wheels are: 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.9 inches and 7.1 lbs for the 20″. The piece can be expanded by about 15% for more packing space.
In addition to the multi-step telescopic handle, you also have grab handles on the top and side with 4 feet on the other side to allow you to set it down anywhere. The spinner wheels are dual for extra durability and easy manoeuvering. The corners are reinforced, as they are most vulnerable to damage on impact. The combination lock is TSA-approved.
The inside of the Alex case is divided by a flexible panel that is secured by two side release buckle straps to the lid section to keep that side neat and tidy. The panel holds two zippered mesh pockets. The main compartment features crosswise restraining straps.
The piece comes with a thin plastic film wrap to protect it, which you have to peel off before using to reveal the true color of the piece.
Wrangler Smart Luggage with Cup Holder and USB Port
This 6.9 lb carry-on suitcase is a marvel when it comes to having extra features at a very reasonable price. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad suitcase, however, it’s quite the opposite. It’s not every day you can market a carry-on suitcase as being “smart luggage”.
An ingenious 3-in-1 cup holder, USB port, and phone holder are located in the back of the bag for convenience, although you can use either the cup holder or the phone holder with a charger at any given time. Unlike the Away Travel carry on, a power bank and cable are not provided, but any brand will work and can be packed inside the suitcase in its own space while being plugged into the USB port.
This Wrangler Smart Luggage Carry On was built as a lightweight suitcase with superior practical features. Like the Rockland Melbourne, the Wrangler is constructed with an ABS exterior for that keeps the weight low, and it’s remarkably maneuverable with four, dual 360° wheels.
The retractable, telescoping handle is push-button operated, making your luggage easy to grab and go. There are 4 side feet to lay the luggage on its side and top and side handles for easy transport and carrying.
The bag measures 20″ by 14.5″ by 11″ and it is designed to maximize your luggage-carrying potential with an expansion capability. The interior has a zippered side pocket, a zip-open fabric panel divider for one half, and compression straps for the other half to keep everything in place no matter how much the luggage handlers toss it around.
The suitcase does not have a TSA lock, but its zipper heads are lockable for you to use your own TSA padlock in case you have to check it.
Best Lightweight Hardside Checked and Luggage Sets
DELSEY Paris Clavel Hardside Expandable Luggage with Spinner Wheels
DELSEY makes the list twice because, well, they design, produce, and distribute outstanding suitcases. In this case, DELSEY tried to pull a page out of Apple’s design aesthetic, winning the 2020 Red Dot Design award. They went really light with the Paris Clavel collection as well, checking in at 5.3 lbs for the carry on, 7.7 lbs for the 25″, and 9.8″ for the 28″, and not sacrificing an inch of luggage space. It comes with Securitech as well, a DELSEY patented zipper closing system that is very anti-intrusion.
In addition to the Securitech feature, the DELSEY Paris Clavel comes with a three-digit combination lock, so even if a befuddled thief finally figures out the lock, they’ll have to deal with the Securitech. The zippers are designed to come together at a single locking point, where the combination lock fastens and secures them in place until you’re able to open it up again.
When you open it up, you get the standard two inches of expandable storage space along with two packing compartments. It also comes with tie-down straps and a mesh, zippered compartment for accessories, and smaller belongings.
The telescoping handle and the 360° wheels are standard by now and the Clavel is no exception, but these are very easy to roll just about anywhere. With three additional carrying handles, the Clavel pieces are easy to lift as well.
The suitcase is designed with 100% polypropylene and built to withstand a good deal of duress. It also comes in seven, vivid colors that really stand out, even the darker ones.
If there’s a knock on this particular suitcase it’s that many consumers complain about how well the zippers function. They don’t always open with the ease and fluidity that you would expect. However, that’s a side effect of the Securitech system and you just have to use a little more effort to work them.
Samsonite Freeform Hardside Expandable
The Samsonite Freeform collection is our overall number one pick for best lightweight hardside checked luggage that’s not too expensive. The 21″ spinner is designed to meet carry-on specifications and all the pieces are really durable enough to handle being checked in. With a 10-year warranty against defects in material and workmanship, the Freeform has a pretty high standard of longevity and durability. The shell is made of hard Polypropylene, which is highly impact and moisture-resistant as well as lightweight.
Even the standard telescoping handles and multidirectional spinning wheels look like standout features, as they are very well made and the suitcase glides with ease. All three size models come with a recessed combination lock and with expandable storage capacity. The 21” suitcase weighs just 6.5 lbs. The 24” version weighs 8.5 lbs, and the largest version weighs in at 9.59 lbs.
The telescopic handle is extra wide so that you have a comfortable grip at all times and it extends to multiple levels. To keep things light, it is made of durable aluminum. The top and side carry handles along with the TSA combination lock are all recessed so that they’re protected from being damaged if you accidentally scrape them against something. The 4 dual spinner wheels help you wheel the luggage around without straining your arms.
The packing compartments that come with all three size variations have multiple pockets, dividers, and cross restraining straps to organize your packed belongings. The system is also designed to compress, so you can pack more than it looks that the suitcase will hold. While the Samsonite doesn’t stand out from many other similar suitcase models, it comes in a variety of color options to suit your personality or preference.
All three sizes come with the same features and specifications and Samsonite did a phenomenal job with all three.
Travelpro Maxlite 5 Hardside Spinner Wheel Luggage
The Travelpro Maxlite 5 Luggage Set has a Lifetime warranty that comes with a Trusted Companion Promise. With the Trusted Companion Promise, Travelpro will repair any damages incurred from airline employees, such as the luggage handlers.
The Maxlite 5 collection includes several sizes of cases. There are two 21″ carry-on suitcases available – one with expansion capability and the other without. Both the 21″ carry-on bags measure 23 x 14.75 x 9 inches and weigh 5.4 lbs. They are cabin-sizer tested for most domestic airlines, but if this is too large for your frequently traveled airline, then there’s also a 21.5 x 15 x 8.75 inches carry-on meant for international travel that weighs 5.5 lbs but has a slightly smaller capacity. You also get a medium 25″ case and a large 29″ case.
While the exterior is a 100% Polycarbonate hard shell, there’s still a bit of flexibility to keep it from cracking should something heavy fall on it. While it doesn’t eliminate scuffs and scratches from abrasion, the textured surface keeps them well hidden from view. It also has built-in bumpers on the corner and “high wear” points where the material is more sturdily constructed. The pieces are built with heavy use and durability as a key factor throughout. The luggage has a sleek design and comes in a wide variety of color themes to fit your personality.
There’s an interesting addition of a PowerScope Lite telescopic handle with multiple locking positions for people of different heights. The recessed handle and textured surface offered by the Travelpro are exceptionally durable and long-lasting. The recessed handle even has rubberized touchpoints for both comfort and grip and the 4 spinner wheels offer effortless maneuverability.
The Maxlite 5 also has a three-digit combination locking mechanism that is designed for TSA agents to quickly get in and out of.
There’s plenty to like with the packing options here as well as one thing that’s puzzling. The pieces come with a zipper mesh divider to keep the bottom half of the suitcase neat and tidy and hold-down straps on the upper half. Yes, this design is upside down from most other hard-sided luggage. This forces you to lay the suitcases upside down to prevent your things from falling out when opening the case.
You also get a tapered 2″ expansion if you need it, so you can go a little beyond what you think the suitcase can handle and still get it closed. The zippers for opening and for expansion are high-tensile and ergonomic.
All three sizes are the same in design, functionality, interior, and overall specifications that don’t include weight and size. They also all come with a built-in ID tag.
Tumi Latitude Hardside Spinners
Somewhere along the line, someone confused a zebra with a suitcase and the glossy, wavy-patterned Tumi Latitude Luggage Set was the ultimate result. It’s a stylish look, no doubt, and it’s a fully-featured suitcase that Tumi claims is the most durable lightweight hardside case yet.
Like the TravelPro Maxlite 5 above there are several sizes in the Latitude collection – an International Carry On, both with and without an expansion feature, a Continental Carry On, a Short Trip Check-in size, and an Extended Trip Check-in size. The last one is the largest and weighs just 9 lbs. The Short Trip weighs 8.9 lbs and the carry-ons weigh between 6.2 and 6.9 lbs.
This is a hardside case but it’s not made of the same ABS and polycarbonate materials of the suitcases above. Instead, the Tumi is made of SRPP Ballistic material, which makes it unique amongst all of the others on this list and probably the best hard shell checked luggage. This is a woven material of polypropylene ballistic material. However hard it is, it remains a flexible material that’s extremely lightweight.
The three-stage telescopic handle is always a welcome addition and covers more potential consumers than just your standard variations because not everybody is the same height. It is made of high-quality, aircraft-grade aluminum. Moreover, the dual spinner casters move effortlessly and without noticeable friction even when under a heavy load of its contents. With the suitcase’s design, it won’t drag when you angle it down for transport. The wheels are more than enough to keep it up off of the ground and glide along smoothly.
It also comes with what Tumi calls an Omega Closure System, with the zipper designed to separate from the suitcase if it is ever caught on anything, rather than tearing it. An integrated low-profile TSA lock keeps the zippers from being tampered with. These features make it as attractive as luggage without zipper locking.
All Tumi suitcases come with Tumi Tracer, an individual, 20-digit number that’s held in Tumi’s database and is designed to reunite you with your luggage in the unfortunate case that it is misplaced throughout your travels.
In terms of storage capacity, Tumi doesn’t pull any punches either, with two packing compartments, one separated by a zippered divider that holds a zippered pocket on the outside for your delicates, and the other featuring two adjustable winged restrainers instead of just straps so that everything underneath will stay in place. In addition, there are two zippered pockets along the walls of each compartment and a hanger bracket to hold a formal garment on its own hanger to minimize creases.
Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds Hard Shell Spinner Luggage
If you’re looking for budget but quality pieces, the Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds Luggage collection is our pick. In fact, it made our list of best hardside spinners in years past and the best lightweight carry on bags with wheels.
The spinners are made of a durable ABS exterior and the 4 exterior corners are reinforced by molded corner guards to prevent dents. The 20″ spinner weighs 6.25 lbs and you can also get a 24″ and 28″ piece or a set of three, with the largest piece weighing just 9.6 lbs. The carry on passes most domestic and international airline limits with measurements of 21.75″ x 14.5″ x 8.5″.
All the pieces have side and top handles and a nice addition are the side molded feet to allow you to rest a piece on its side. The 4 360 degree spinner wheels make maneuverability effortless. It has a sturdy push-button retractable handle.
The interior organization is good, with a u-shaped zippered flap that separates the packing space of the clam style lid from the opposite space. There is also a garment restraining divider on the opposite side. A full-length zippered pouch along one side of the bottom space rounds out the organizational features.
Merax Travelhouse Luggage Set 3 Piece Expandable Lightweight Spinner Suitcase
You’ll definitely find a color you love among the wide array from the Merax Lightweight Spinner 3 Piece Luggage Set. You get a 20″, 24″ and a 28″. Taking the wheels into account, the 20 inch measures 22 x 13 x 9 inches and weighs 6 lbs, the 24 inch measures 26 x 16 x 11 inches and weighs 8 lbs, and the 28 inch measures 30 x 19 x 13 inches and weighs 10 lbs.
All are expandable for up to 25% more packing capacity. Each smaller suitcase nests easily in the larger one, making storage easy. All the pieces feature a built-in zipper TSA 3-digit combination lock, which is a nice touch for a budget collection.
The outer shell is made of ABS and the color has a matte finish from PC color master batch with a pattern that hides scratches and scuffs. The 3 step position telescopic handle is made of aluminum and is sturdy. The top and side carry handles feature metal clamps for the handle, thus eliminating the old problem that some customers had with them breaking off. The spinner wheels are smooth, durable, and quiet and can even handle rough ground and carpet. There are 4 feet on the opposite side of the side grab handle so you can set the suitcases down anywhere without fear of getting them dirty or wet.
The interior space is very simply designed so don’t expect lots of organizational features. The lid section is separated from the main section by a full zippered divider panel. The main section has crosswise restraining straps and one zippered pocket.