Best checked luggage in 2021


Dealing with rising charges and busy airports, many air vacationers rely on carry-on luggage to get them by each journey. However for those who’re occurring a protracted journey or touring with household, a much bigger checked bag is a should. That can assist you wade by the choices, we examined 9 of the most well-liked checked suitcases for weeks, analyzing sturdiness, capability, maneuverability and extra, to see which one is really the perfect.

We packed and unpacked every suitcase with a typical load, wheeled them round New York Metropolis streets and even dropped them down a flight of stairs to simulate the therapy they could get from baggage handlers, all to seek out the luggage which are actually price taking alongside in your subsequent lengthy journey.

Greatest general checked suitcase

With incredible inside group and compression, a sturdy exterior and cozy handles, the Away Medium suitcase was probably the most well-rounded bag we examined, with an ideal mixture of maneuverability, capability, sturdiness and elegance.

Greatest finances checked suitcase

At about half the worth of our high choose, the Samsonite Freeform Medium Spinner rolls tremendous clean, suits extra because of its expandable zippers and is without doubt one of the lightest baggage we examined; you may sacrifice some fashion and it has much less snug handles.

Away Medium

Kai Burkhardt/CNN

Away Medium

The Away Medium suitcase was undoubtedly probably the most well-rounded piece of baggage we obtained our fingers on, outdoing the opposite baggage in a lot of our most vital assessments. It’s solidly sturdy, with just a few scuffs from its journey down the steps, has an unbelievable inside compression system, is well maneuverable and is even snug to hold for these instances that you must elevate it out and in of the automotive.

One of many greatest causes the Away suitcase claimed our high spot was its incredible inside group and compression system. Whereas a lot of the baggage we examined make the most of the basic X-shaped straps to maintain your garments in place, one aspect of the Away has a panel which you can cinch right down to flatten out its contents. This panel compresses your objects extra evenly than straps, which makes closing the 2 halves and zipping a a lot simpler course of. One other bonus of this panel: Should you unzip your suitcase and by chance open it with this aspect on high, your issues gained’t come tumbling out onto the ground the way in which they will with conventional straps.

The suitcase’s different half has a easy zippered mesh netting, and between the 2 we had been capable of match a surprisingly great amount of garments into the Away Medium. We packed eight button-up shirts (together with a number of cumbersome flannels), six hoodies and sweaters, two bathing fits, one towel, a puffy winter coat, 5 pairs of denims, a toiletry bag and three pairs of sneakers. We stuffed our sneakers into what was in all probability our favourite function of the suitcase — an included zippered bag that you need to use to stash your sneakers or soiled garments whereas touring, however can pack into itself when not in use.

Away Medium

Kai Burkhardt/CNN

Away Medium

Whereas a number of different suitcases had extra capability than the Away, because of expandable zippers or a bigger inside, the Away’s higher group made it by far our favourite to pack. And for those who do need extra room, you possibly can go for Away’s Large suitcase, which is 29 inches tall to the Medium’s 25 inches. Simply watch out to remain underneath the 50-pound airline restrict when packing, as suitcases that massive are simple to overstuff.

Other than its inside options, the Away additionally did nice in our different assessments. It obtained scuffed up after we dropped it down some stairs, but it surely comes with a scuff eraser, which labored surprisingly effectively. It got here out of the drop with solely a few lasting scratches, which is best than lots of the different baggage we examined.

When it comes to maneuverability, it wasn’t the best possible we examined, but it surely was undoubtedly higher than most. The Away Medium is effectively balanced, has clean wheels and infrequently tipped over, even after we rolled it over deep cracks within the sidewalk and avenue exterior our Brooklyn condo. The Rimowa Essential Check-In M and the Paravel Aviator Grand had a greater general efficiency after we wheeled them round, however the Away dealt with effectively sufficient. Nonetheless, we did have one wheel that rattled round a few times throughout testing, and when the bag was totally packed, the deal with was a little bit sticky arising.

On high of all its technical attributes, the Away suitcase is undoubtedly attractive. We ranked it second by way of appears to be like (once more behind the Paravel), and its modern, minimalist design is obtainable in six totally different colours.

So each time your subsequent journey is perhaps, for those who want a dependable checked bag that’s snug to wheel round, simple to pack and may endure by the abuse of any airline, the Away Medium suitcase is the perfect on the market.

Samsonite Freeform Medium Spinner

Kai Burkhardt/CNN

Samsonite Freeform Medium Spinner

The Samsonite Freeform Medium Spinner carried out fairly effectively in our assessments, particularly when taking into consideration that the opposite baggage that carried out as effectively value nearer to $300. The Freeform’s wheels are smoother than those on the Away suitcase, and with an expandable zipper on the skin, it may possibly match greater than our general winner, whereas weighing practically a pound much less.

The Freeform doesn’t have a compression panel just like the Away, however you can see the normal X-shaped straps that do the job on one aspect, whereas a zippered compartment on the opposite aspect options a further skinny pocket to stash any odds and ends. Whereas the group and compression isn’t nearly as good because the Away suitcase, this Samsonite curler makes up for it in dimension. The inner house feels a contact greater than the Away, and if you develop the bag by unzipping the outer zippers you possibly can undoubtedly match greater than our general choose.

Samsonite Freeform Medium Spinner

Kai Burkhardt/CNN

Samsonite Freeform Medium Spinner

However despite the fact that it suits extra, the Freeform weighs lower than the Away, coming in at precisely 9 kilos on our scale (the corporate’s web site lists it at 8.48 kilos). That’s 0.8 kilos lighter than the Away at 9.8 kilos, which suggests carrying the identical load up and down flights of stairs felt a bit higher with the Freeform. Nonetheless, its handles aren’t as snug because the Away’s, since they’re skinny and never tremendous cushioned.

Whereas the Freeform was one of many higher baggage to maneuver round each in our condo constructing and outdoors of it, one draw back was its telescopic deal with. It’s flimsier than a number of the others we examined, which suggests there’s a number of give if you’re attempting to alter instructions, particularly when the bag is packed full. It additionally didn’t come out of the drop take a look at the cleanest, with a stable quantity of scuffs and scratches; nonetheless, there was no actual structural harm like dents or cracks.

The Samsonite Freeform Medium Spinner is lots cheaper than the Away Medium, and it has extra inside capability with out sacrificing on weight. So Should you’re in search of a suitcase that’s mild and simple to roll round, however you don’t want it to be the sturdiest, the Samsonite Freeform is certainly the bag we’d suggest.

We obtained our fingers on 9 check-in sized suitcases and examined them for weeks, being attentive to their packing capabilities, sturdiness, maneuverability and extra. Just like the best carry-on luggage, checked baggage lately are supposed to be wheeled round simply, so all of the suitcases we examined have 4 360-degree wheels and a hardshell exterior. We examined medium-sized baggage each time doable, that are sometimes about 25 inches tall. It is because when you can match way more within the bigger sizes — that are usually round 29 inches tall — it’s simple to overpack and exceed an airline’s weight restrict.

The Paravel Aviator Grand and the Samsonite Maxsum Eco are the one baggage we examined which are bigger than 25 inches, coming in at 28 inches and 29 inches respectively. Lots of the different suitcases we examined do have bigger sizes, so if you need the additional room you possibly can go for these.

Right here’s a breakdown of all of the assessments we ran:


  • Affect: After totally packing every suitcase, we pushed it down a big flight of stairs. We then took notice of how scuffed and scratched it was, and appeared for any dents.


  • Capability take a look at: We packed the Away Medium suitcase to the brim, and set the contents as our normal quantity. We then packed every suitcase to see how effectively it match that normal quantity, taking notice if every thing match, if it was tougher to zip up the suitcase or if there was further room.
  • Basic maneuverability: We wheeled every packed suitcase round our condo constructing and on the sidewalk and streets. We purposely went over cracks and tough terrain to see how simply every suitcase would tilt and tip. We additionally weaved the suitcase round to see how onerous it was to alter instructions.
  • Wheel maneuverability: We paid consideration to any rattling or stiffness we felt within the wheels whereas rolling every suitcase round, and whereas exterior made positive to note if the wheels obtained caught on cracks.
  • Carrying expertise: We carried every packed suitcase up and down a number of flights of stairs to see how snug the handles had been and the way snug every was to hold.
  • Deal with: We took notice of how sturdy the deal with was, how snug it was to carry and pull, what number of peak settings it had and if it was simple to tug out and in, particularly when the bag was totally packed.
  • Zippers: We zipped and unzipped every packed bag a number of instances to see if the zippers would snag. We additionally took notice of how clean every zipper felt.
  • Inside options: We famous every suitcase’s inside group system.
  • Exterior options: We appeared for any exterior options on every suitcase. The one further options on the skin had been expandable zippers that will help you pack extra.
  • Locking functionality: We appeared to see if every suitcase has a lock, and if it’s a TSA-approved lock.

Design and construct high quality

  • Unpacked weight: We weighed every suitcase on a scale.
  • Shade and design choices: We counted the colour and design choices on every model’s web site and famous if the suitcase had a bigger dimension.
  • Guarantee: We took notice of how lengthy every suitcase’s guarantee lasts and what it covers.
  • Design: We examined every suitcase and ranked them so as of which of them we thought appeared the perfect.

Paravel Aviator Grand ($315;

The Paravel Aviator Grand is a incredible suitcase, virtually grabbing a high spot in our testing. It holds a ton, has a brilliant clean roll, is the most sustainable bag we examined and, in our opinion, appears to be like the perfect. Nonetheless, it was the second greatest bag we examined and weighed probably the most. At 12 kilos (the corporate’s web site lists it at 11.8 kilos), it was greater than 2 kilos heavier than the Away and three kilos heavier than the Freeform. Whenever you’re attempting to remain underneath the dreaded 50-pound restrict on the airport, these further ounces really matter. Should you don’t thoughts packing strategically and desire a trendy suitcase that’s surprisingly maneuverable and sturdy, the Paravel Aviator Grand remains to be an ideal choose.

Rimowa Important Test-In M ($850;

The Rimowa was one among our favorites to roll round, with the smoothest wheels, sturdiest deal with and finest general maneuverability of any suitcase we examined. Nonetheless, the deal with obtained extraordinarily onerous to tug out and in when it was packed full, and it didn’t excel in our drop assessments both. Whereas it’s an extremely good piece of baggage, we simply don’t suppose it’s well worth the excessive price ticket.

Delsey Paris Helium Aero 25-Inch (beginning at $114.99, initially $231.84; or $149.99, initially $300;

The Delsey was one other stable contender, with decently clean wheels and a few of the most snug handles we examined, making it simple to hold up and down stairs. It carried out very equally to the Samsonite Freeform, so for those who’re fascinated by that bag however don’t just like the look or desire a totally different colour, the Delsey (when it’s on sale) is a superb choose.

Samsonite Maxsum Eco ($250;

This Samsonite bag was one other stable suitcase, and it carried out fairly effectively in a lot of our assessments. In truth, it got here out of the drop assessments with the least harm of all of the suitcases we examined. It’s additionally very mild for its dimension, coming in at 29 inches tall however solely 9.4 kilos. Nonetheless, the suitcase has a latching system as a substitute of a zipper, which we discovered tougher to open and shut.

Calpak Ambeur Medium ($195;

This suitcase appears to be like nice and has very snug handles and a decently clean roll, making it a severe contender for our finances choose spot. Nonetheless, it’s a bit pricier than the Samsonite Freeform, and since our testing course of has offered out on the Calpak web site. When it’s again in inventory, it’s one other stable possibility together with the Freeform and the Delsey Paris Helium Aero, for those who’re in search of a less expensive suitcase however nonetheless need top-notch efficiency.

Calpak Hue Medium ($245;

The Hue has a pleasant minimalist design, just like the Away, and options an expandable zipper, snug handles and wheels which are clean sufficient for many. Nonetheless, throughout its journey down the steps, it did get a giant dent in one among its corners, the worst harm out of all of the suitcases we examined.

American Tourister Upland Spinner ($89.99;

This suitcase did effectively in our drop assessments, selecting up solely a few scuffs and a small variety of scratches. The place it fell quick, nonetheless, was with its wheels. They had been the smallest wheels we examined and obtained caught on cracks way more simply than practically all the opposite suitcases. And with its middling efficiency in our different assessments, we don’t suppose this suitcase is price it.

Learn extra from CNN Underscored’s hands-on testing: | Greatest checked baggage in 2021

Huynh Nguyen

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