The Best Softside 4-Wheeled Upright Checked Size Bags 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. These days many airlines charge customers for checking in baggage and the fee goes up after the first bag. Therefore, you want to ensure that all your belongings will fit into just one checked bag that comes just under the weight limit if you can’t travel with just a carry on. Petite people and those with weaker arms shouldn’t have to worry about whether they can haul the suitcase off the luggage carousel and on to a baggage cart. getting them in and out of a car boot is even harder! If you like suitcases with 4 wheels that can be rolled upright, it needs to be able to handle the weight, which is not something you see with all large spinner bags. Our picks for best lightweight softside spinner checked luggage fulfill as these criteria and do it well. They are a minimum of 24″ in height but can go up to 31″ as well.
Most airlines limit your check in allowance to 50 lbs per person for economy class and 70 lbs for business class. If you’re unsure, here’s a handy resource with links to most airlines’ baggage limits information pages.
What to Keep an Eye on When Buying Softsided Spinner Luggage
Our picks for best lightweight softside spinner checked luggage of 2018 and 2019 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 2021, while the others made their debut in 2018 and are on track to be some of the best selling this year in the lightweight spinner category.
A few of these collections boast very good light carry on spinners as well as 2 wheeled rollaboards, not to mention smaller pieces that don’t have wheels at all. But as we’re only focusing on 4-wheeled fabric spinners that are over the 22″ height limit, read on!
If you specifically want only softsided carry on bags with 2 or 4 wheels, we have a separate list for those.
And if you prefer light but hard shell luggage, we have our top picks for that as well.
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 two checked size pieces in the upright spinner group – a 25″ and a 29″. 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, purple, grey, merlot red, slate green, mocha brown 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 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 older MightLight collection debuted at the end of 2014 and 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. The checked size spinners include a 25″, a 30″ and a 2 piece set. Buy each individually or as a set.
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 and purple.
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. 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 them, 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 2.0 Spinners
There are no real 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 black, moroccan blue and wine red.
We selected the 17″ wheeled tote as one of the best spinner totes for carry on, but if you only want the large spinner bags, then the collection also includes a 25 inch spinner measuring 28.25″ H x 18.6″ W x 11.6″ D and weighs 8.9 LBS, a 28 inch spinner measuring 32″ H x 20.25″ W x 11″ D overall and weighs 10.6 LBS. All these measurements include the wheels and handles and both cases expand by 2″ for extra packing space.
Now it may seem that these pieces aren’t all that light, but that is because it also has a suiter section for a formal dress or suit, so if you’re looking for good quality luggage that can keep your clothes neat and organized as well, then these pieces are a good buy.
What contributes to the durable but light weight of these suitcases is the internal frame with light and flexible polycarbonate tubes that are fully integrated into injection-molded polypropylene trays. The shells are made of abrasion-resistant 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. They feature a locking system to ensure the bags stay put even on smooth sloping ground. The 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 there’s even a bottom grab handle although that one is not padded.
Both the uprights feature a unique double section packing system to increase organization of your belongings. The inside of the lid section features a suiter hook and an adjustable anti-wrinkle securing strap to keep a suit or other formal garment neat. The main compartment is separated from the lid compartment by a floating panel with its own restraining strap that secures the bottom of the garment that you pack in the lid’s suiter section. The other side of this panel features a full length zippered pocket for accessories. The panel zips up to the lid and can be kept closed if you only want access to the main section.
The main section features two full length zippered mesh pockets along the sides for underwear and socks. A pair of wing panel restraining straps keep the clothes in this section from moving about during transit. A removable TSA_friendly toiletry pouch snaps on and off one short side of the case.
There is one large external front-pocket with a u-shaped zipper opening and two smaller pockets over that with horizontal zipper openings.
Customers love the pretty prints and sophisticated colors available and how the pieces are so light but durable and with so many organizational features. 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 25″ and a 29″ spinner. You get all the basic and necessary features that any spinner should have and at an affordable price point.
Including wheels and handles, the 25″ measures 26.0″ x 18.0″ x 10.75″ and weighs 9.2 lbs. The 29″ measures 32.5″ x 23.0″ x 14.25″ and weighs 10.4 lbs.
These bags are available in black, light blue, purple, raspberry and tangerine for plain colors and in two prints of blue checks and pink and purple stripes. 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.
London Fog Kensington Spinners
The London Fog Kensington collection includes a 25″ and a 29″ . 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 comes 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 and the interior is fully lined. You can pack a pair of shoes in the two elastic top slip pockets on the interior of the lid and some accessories in the zippered mesh pocket above those. The main compartment features a detachable zippered clear pocket along one short side so that you can use it for toiletries and 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.
it Luggage the Lite Intrepid Spinners
The it Luggage the Lite Intrepid collection is their newest and includes a 27″ and a 31.9″. The 27″ measures 27″ x 18.9 x 9.8″, weighs 7.16 lbs and can be expanded by 2.8 inches. The 31.9″ measures 31.9″ x 20.7″ x 10.8″, weighs 8.49 lbs and also expands by 2.8 inches.
These bags are available in four colors of polyester – a black, dark grey, dark red and dark blue. Both of them feature an expansion feature but they don’t expand outwards uniformly top to bottom. Instead, the bottom pops out completely while the top of the expanding section expands very little. This design helps to keep the spinners stable and not overly front heavy, which is the reason why many expandable wheeled bags tip over. The base is also strengthened further. However, it is still recommended that you don’t overly stuff these bags when using the expansion zipper, as the light weight still makes them slightly unstable when you do.
The overall interior design is good with lots of room to pack. The wheels and telescopic handle do not intrude on the inside space, so if you pack your clothes flat, there will be fewer creases, if you roll you don’t have to do it around protruding parts, and if you use packing cubes, they’ll fill the space without wastage.
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 section does not have any pockets There are two parallel restraining straps here to hold your clothes in place but they won’t keep small items in place.
The front exterior features two zippered pockets – one small one on top and one larger one below.
The 8 spinner wheels are unique to the brand and are also lightweight although not the most silent. They roll very smoothly in all directions and the bags can be wheeled upright or tipped bag and pulled on just a pair. The telescopic features a comfortable grip and extends nicely even for tall people so as not to hit you on the heel if you pull the bags behind you. There are grab handles on the top and side as well.
While there are other lighter it luggage collections, these Lite Intrepid pieces are better suited if you’re flying and going to check them in, as they have a more durable shell and frame for that.
While these are some of the best lightweight spinner checked size luggage options, if you don’t see your top pick, let us know in the comments.