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. But as we’re only focusing on 4-wheeled fabric spinners, read on!
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.
Samsonite Mightlight 2 Spinners
The MightLight collection debuted at the end of 2014 and has racked up impressive sales numbers. You can see why from our review, but since then, the collection has been updated to MightLight 2 and it’s doing just as well with customers. It has one two-wheeled boarding bag, but the the spinners include a 19″, 21″, a 25″, a 30″ and a 3 piece and 2 piece set.
The 19″ spinner’s overall dimensions are 21.5″ x 15.5″ x 9.0″ and weighs 5.8 lbs. The 21″ carry on measures 23.0″ x 15.0″ x 9.0″ overall and weighs 6 lbs. The 25″ measures 25.5″ x 18.0″ x 9.5″ overall and weighs 8 lbs. The 30″ measures 33.5″ x 20.25″ x 12.5″ overall and weighs 9.3 lbs. These bags are available in black, blue, purple and red.
The Mightlight 2 collection is lightweight but does not compromise on luggage features that travelers usually love. Its cavernous interior is divided into the lid section and the main section. The lid section is further divided into two zippered pockets – one is a waterproof pocket for damp clothes or toiletries and the other is a mesh one for accessories. The main section features crosswise restraining straps and elastic top mesh pockets along the long sides for underwear and socks.
On the exterior of the bag you have more organizational features. The front features two horizontal zippered pockets and behind those is a full sized u-shaped zippered compartment where you can store a small laptop or a toiletry bag or large accessories. On the checked size suitcases, there is a vertical zippered pocket with gusset on one side to hold a water bottle or travel umbrella.
There are four multidirectional spherical spinner wheels and a beveled alloy pull handle that locks into place in the extended and stored positions. For easy lifting, there are integrated low profile grab handles on the top, side and bottom.
All the pieces are expandable to give you an additional 2 inches of depth but be careful not to overpack the larger pieces, as they could become too heavy and go over the allowed checked weight or put too much strain on the seams and handles.
Ricardo Beverly Hills Mar Vista Spinners
There are no complaints of note from customers of the Ricardo Beverly Hills Mar Vista Spinners and you have the added benefit of choosing from two lovely prints in addition to graphite grey, iris purple or grape purple.
We selected the 17″ wheeled tote as one of the best spinner totes for carry on, but the collection also includes a 20 inch spinner measuring 22.5″ x 15.5″ x 9″ and weighing 7.2 LBS, a 24 inch spinner measuring 26.5″ x 18.5″ x 9″ and weighing 8.2 LBS, and a 28 inch spinner measuring 30.5″ x 20.5″ x 11″ and weighing 10.2 LBS. All these measurements include the wheels and handles. The 20 inch bag will go in wheels first into most plane overhead bins but not in small commuter planes, so if you usually fly on those flights, get the 17″ spinner tote.
All the three smaller spinners are made of abrasion-resistant Terylene Polyester, while the 28″ spinner is made of micro ballistic nylon for that extra durability needed in a fully packed large checked bag. The four dual spinner wheels ensure smooth 360 degree maneuverability and can withstand rough treatment even on cobblestone streets and pavement. The Thermoplastic Rubber Handle Grip is ergonomically designed for comfortable movement of the case and the telescopic handle is adjustable for height in multiple positions. The top and side grab handles are well cushioned and the 28 inch bag also has a bottom grab handle.
All the 3 larger uprights feature a zippered mesh panel on the inside of the lid with a suiter hook and an anti-wrinkle securing strap to keep a suit or other formal garment neat. The main compartment features a full length zippered mesh pocket along one side for underwear and socks. A pair of wing panel restraining straps keep the clothes in this section from moving about during transit. The front exterior features two zippered pockets – one small and one large. The 17 inch bag has a laptop pocket and two mesh pockets in place of the suiter section.
Customers love the pretty prints available and how the pieces are so light but durable. Every single piece is very affordable as well.
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.
Lipault spinners are a favorite among female travelers because of their ultralight weight, easy to handle construction and eye catching colors in black , duck blue, ruby and purple. There are 3 pieces in the collection – a 20″ measuring 21.6″ x 14.9″ x 9.4″ and weighing 4.9 lbs, a 24″ measuring 25.6″ x 17″ x 11″ and weighing 5.8 lbs and a 26″ measuring 28.3″ x 19.7″ x 11.0″ and weighing 6.6 lbs. They’re named by their sizes – Lipault Spinner 55/20, Lipault Spinner 65/24 and Lipault Spinner 72/26. The first number being the height of the spinner in centimeters. We previously reviewed an earlier version of the carry on, which is still available, but it has been updated to this version and paired with two checked sizes now.
These 100% nylon bags are completely softsided with the walls being padded and the bottom has a scrape guard for extra protection when pulling the bags over curbs and stairs. In addition to padded grab handles on the top and side, the telescopic handle features two stop heights for comfort. It recedes into its own zippered pocket so that it’s out of the way during transit. In addition to setting the bags down upright they can be set on their side too, as there are four feet there to keep them from getting dirty or wet.
The fully lined interior features one long zippered pocket and restraining straps in the main compartment, while the inside of the lid features one large zippered pocket. The front exterior has one large zippered pocket too.
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.
While these are some of the best lightweight spinner luggage options, if you don’t see your top pick, let us know in the comments.