The Best Carry-on Luggage of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

For frequent fliers or light-packing vacationers, these are the best carry-on bags.

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The Best Carry-on Luggage of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

Every frequent flier needs a good carry-on. And even if you travel only occasionally, you'll be glad to have one on hand. But besides allowing you to bypass checked baggage, what makes a high-quality carry-on? If you ask us, it's about capacity, maneuverability, durability, and design.

With this in mind, we tested more than 150 carry-ons, including suitcases, duffels, weekenders, backpacks, and underseat bags to see which models check all the boxes. We packed them up, spun them around, hoisted them overhead, rolled them over various surfaces, and whacked them with a baseball bat to see how they'd hold up in a real-life setting. The results of these tests were considered — along with price, weight, dimensions, materials, and smart features — to narrow down the best carry-ons currently on the market.

Earning perfect scores in all tests, this all-star carry-on has a spacious capacity, a super-durable thermoplastic shell, and smooth-rolling wheels.

There's no designated zippered section for dirty clothes.

We tried lots of excellent suitcases, but the Samsonite Freeform Hardside Spinner was a clear winner. Earning perfect scores in all our tests, it's easy to maneuver on two or four wheels and rolls smoothly on various surfaces, including carpet and hard flooring. We also like that the aluminum telescoping handle extends and locks with the push of a button. This all-star suitcase has various pockets within the main compartment, and it expands a couple of inches when you need extra space. We were able to pack enough clothes for a four-day trip, including two pairs of shoes, multiple jackets, and two toiletry bags — no expansion needed. We wish this carry-on had a zippered section or removable bag for dirty laundry, but it does have a separator to keep your shoes away from your clean clothes.

We loved the sleek, minimalist-modern design of the Freeform, which comes in 12 hues ranging from white to mint to merlot. After hitting it with a baseball bat, the polycarbonate (high-strength thermoplastic) shell remained scuff-free and showed virtually no signs of damage. Even after six months of regularly traveling with this bag, it shows no signs of wear and tear, and any scuffs it has accumulated have been easily buffed out. Considering the reasonable price, durable construction, and spacious capacity, we think it's a great choice for frequent fliers and anyone in need of a high-quality carry-on.

The Details: 21 x 15 x 10 inches | 5.6 pounds | Hardside | Expandable | 4 spinner wheels | 10-year limited warranty

This bag has two access points and a removable garment bag for a suit or dress.

When the front-access section is fully packed, it will eat into the space in the main compartment.

The Tumi International Dual Access carry-on was a close runner-up to the Samsonite Freeform. It moves like a dream on various types of flooring, thanks to the four smooth-gliding dual spinner wheels and comfortable telescoping handle. Even after using the bag for three months, the wheels never got caught on any surfaces, making it easy to run through the airport or navigate a new city. Made of the brand's signature ballistic nylon, it also passed our baseball bat test with flying colors.

We were able to pack everything into the bag’s various compartments and loved the flexibility of a removable suiter for trips with dressier attire. The clamshell design also features several interior pockets and compression straps on one half to easily hold our four-day-trip packing list. The front-access portion can easily fit a sweater or light layer when the main suitcase isn’t stuffed full, or you can use it for tech items or a small makeup bag instead. There are also two pockets on the exterior for smaller items like an umbrella and a built-in USB port you can connect to a power bank (sold separately). Though the price is higher than many other carry-ons, this is an investment in an undoubtedly high-quality carrier that will last for years to come.

The Details: 22 x 14 x 9 inches | 10.7 pounds | Softside | Expandable | 4 dual spinner wheels | 5-year warranty

This carry-on is pretty spacious to begin with, but you can unzip the expander for 2.25 inches of extra space.

It might not meet all carry-on sizing requirements when you fully expand it.

This durable carry-on manages to be compact and portable while still offering a ton of space inside thanks to two large interior compartments and a helpful compression system. You can zip your items in on one side and buckle them in on the other, using the mesh pockets to store smaller items for organization. As all overpackers know, sometimes you just need a few extra inches of space — and The Carry-on Flex features a zipper expander that adds an additional 2.25 inches if you happen to buy one souvenir too many on a trip and need to fit it all in on the way home. However, be wary of your airline’s overhead bin allowances because using the expander may make your carry-on one inch too large, and you may be forced to check it (the expanded dimensions of the bag are 22.7 x 14.7 x 9.6 inches).

Other highlights we loved during testing included the smooth wheels that can roll in any direction; the different height options of the handle; and the notch on the underside of the bag that makes it so much easier to lift out of a car trunk, into an overhead bin, or off of a luggage carousel. The bag also felt very sturdy and tough with no dents and barely a scratch after we threw it off counters and hit it repeatedly with a baseball bat during testing.  

The Details: 21.7 x 13.7 x 9 inches | 8.15 pounds | Hardside | Expandable | 4 spinner wheels | Limited lifetime warranty

We love this trunk for how sleek and stylish it looks while still having useful features like an ejectable power bank and a customizable handle height.

You have to be more intentional about what you pack since the trunk has no expandability.

This stylish carry-on trunk features a clamshell design that opens right down the middle rather than the 30/70 design that many trunks typically have. It feels like a luxury bag thanks to the zipperless clasp closures, ejectable power bank, and multi-stop rubber handle (you can customize the handle to sit at any height you want). We found the trunk super easy to maneuver over different surfaces like carpet and concrete pavers during testing, and it rolled effortlessly on four wheels. When we rolled it on two wheels, it did slow down slightly, but it was still easy to move, and the weight felt evenly distributed through the bag and handle.

We never thought a glossy exterior could be so scuff-proof — the trunk had no scuffs at all even after we pushed it off a counter three times. We did manage to give it a few very small dents after hitting the trunk with a baseball bat, but they were barely noticeable. One thing to note is that this trunk has no give because of its hard shell and clasp closures, so you cannot overstuff it, and you have to be more picky with your packing list.

The Details: 21.5 x 14.75 x 8.75 inches | 8.4 pounds | Limited lifetime warranty | Hardside | 4 spinner wheels

This thoughtfully designed carry-on has a sturdy polycarbonate shell and four self-aligning spinner wheels.

We wish it had a few more zippered pockets within the main compartment.

Travelpro's Platinum Elite Hardside Spinner performed impressively during our tests. Its durable ​​polycarbonate shell stood up well to being hit with a bat and pushed off a table. The adjustable handle feels solid while offering a comfortable grip, and thanks to the self-aligning spinner wheels, the whole thing rolls smoothly — though it takes a little more elbow grease to maneuver on carpeted floors.

We had no issue packing the clothes and shoes on our packing list with the suitcase expanded (which adds two inches). Keep in mind, of course, that this makes it a bit harder to fit into an overhead bin. A few more internal pockets would have been nice as well, but in the end, we think the durable design is worth the investment.

The Details: 23 x 14.5 x 9.5 inches | 8.5 pounds | Hardside | Expandable | 4 spinner wheels | Limited lifetime warranty

It's an attractive, well-made bag that held up admirably during our durability tests.

You'll have to buy a powerbank separately to use the charging capability.

Our favorite softside suitcase is the Travelpro Platinum Elite Spinner. Made of premium fabric with leather corner piping and chrome hardware, it held up well under many hits with a bat — no tears or scuffs in sight. We found it easy to fit everything into the two main compartments and mesh zippered pockets, though we had to expand it, which makes it substantially larger.

The Platinum Elite is a breeze to maneuver on four wheels, gliding smoothly and turning with ease. (Pulling it on two wheels calls for a bit more effort.) This smart carry-on has a USB port with a designated pocket for a powerbank, which you'll have to buy separately. It also comes with a TSA lock. All things considered, we think the price is fair for such a reliable, feature-rich design.

The Details: 23.5 x 14.5 x 9 inches | 8.3 pounds | Softside | Expandable | USB port | 4 spinner wheels | Limited lifetime warranty

This wallet-friendly carry-on has a scratch-resistant shell and a surprisingly spacious capacity.

It only comes in four colors and doesn't have any smart features or a combination lock.

For something more affordable, look no further than Amazon. We found that this affordable hardside suitcase maneuvers really smoothly, even on carpet and over bumps, and handles turn like a champ. Not only that, but the scratch-resistant shell held up surprisingly well through our bat and drop tests. We were able to fit four days worth of clothing, shoes, and toiletries without having to expand the bag, though we're comforted by the fact that there's room to spare. After six months of regularly using the bag, we found it to be the perfect size for weekend trips. The Amazon Basics Hardside Spinner exceeded our expectations in more ways than one. And while it only comes in four colors, we're big fans of the simple, sleek design.

The Details: 22 x 15 x 10 inches | 6.3 pounds | Hardside | Expandable | 4 spinner wheels

At just over five pounds, this hardside suitcase is lightweight and compact while still fitting an impressive amount of clothes.

It sustained minor denting during testing, and the handle is somewhat short and felt a little loose.

The carry-ons we tested ranged in weight from about 13 pounds down to 4.36 pounds. Weighing just over five pounds, the Delsey Clavel was the best lightweight option we tried. This hardside spinner has a polypropylene (thermoplastic) shell that held up pretty well during our tests, though a particularly hard bat swing did dent it slightly. After traveling with the bag for six months, it only has minor scuffs — even after it was checked. While it looks small, it holds a surprising amount of clothes, even without the expander, and should fit into an overhead bin without any issues.

This carry-on maneuvers well over cracks and bumps. However, the handle is somewhat short and feels slightly loose. Still, we think the price is fair and would recommend it to anyone in the market for lightweight, fuss-free baggage for shorter trips.

The Details: 22 x 14 x 10 inches | 5.3 pounds | Hardside | Expandable | 4 spinner wheels | 5-year limited warranty

It's conveniently compact but still spacious enough to hold multiple outfits and maneuvers effortlessly on four spinner wheels.

There's no outer zipper pocket, and it's definitely not as spacious as some others.

Looking for something you can stash underneath the seat in front of you? The 29-liter Hue Mini Carry-On from Calpak might be just the thing. Measuring 16 x 14 x 8 inches, it's conveniently compact but still spacious enough to fit a couple days' worth of outfits. There's also a laptop sleeve, making it a top choice for short business trips. Despite the mini design, the sophisticated color options and modish silhouette will leave no confusion over whether it's for an adult or child. The four spinner wheels offer excellent maneuverability, too, and there's even a TSA-approved lock if you ever decide to check it. If we could change one thing, we'd add an outer pocket for easy access in-flight. But other than that, we think the price is more than fair for the quality, features, and durability.

The Details: 16 x 14 x 8 inches | 6 pounds | Hardside | 4 spinner wheels | 2-year limited warranty

The Chatelet Air 2.0 has a gorgeous vintage appeal, and despite the elevated aesthetics, it doesn't sacrifice functionality or durability.

It's not expandable, so the compact design is best for short trips.

If luggage aesthetic is a top priority, Delsey's Chatelet Air 2.0 might be your best bet. Inspired by traditional Parisian architecture with unique lines, contrast stitching, and a vintage appeal, this suitcase is a sight for sore eyes. Sleek design aside, it's exceptionally functional. There's a fully zippered compartment on one side and compression straps on the other, plus pockets throughout and even a handy USB port.

What's more, the zippers open and close smoothly, and it glides effortlessly with the four spinner wheels on carpet, hard floors, and even stone pavers. It's durable, too, sustaining no visible damage after three months of use including two international flights in which the bag was checked. This bag is a standard carry-on size, and we were able to fit everything on our packing list. However, it’s probably best for short trips as there wasn't really any room to spare when we finished.

The Details: 22 x 15 x 10 inches | 8 pounds | Hardside | USB port | 4 dual spinner wheels | 10-year limited warranty

The shock-absorbing Makrolon polycarbonate stands up to dents and scratches, and the wheels glide with ease over bumps and around corners.

It's expensive, and the expander is located on the inside, which is a little counterintuitive.

The most durable carry-on we tested is Briggs & Riley's Sympatico Domestic Spinner. This compact suitcase is undeniably expensive, but hear us out. The exceedingly robust, shock-absorbing Makrolon polycarbonate shell sustained exactly zero dents or scratches during our bat and drop tests and still looks brand new after six months of frequent travel.

Durability aside, this carry-on was easy to maneuver on hard floors and carpet, around tight corners, and even over bumps. It also has a good amount of packing space with plenty of organizational features. We like how thoughtfully designed its features are, with elements like pockets, dividers, and expanding sides that really help you maximize the space in this smaller carry-on bag. One thing to note is that the expander is on the inside, which isn't the most intuitive. Other than that, we loved the look of the glossy exterior and think it definitely reflects the premium price tag.

The Details: 22 x 14 x 9 inches | 8.8 pounds | Hardside | Expandable | USB-port | 4 spinner wheels | Limited lifetime warranty

A compression board makes it easy to fit everything into the zippered compartments, and there's a removable laundry bag for dirty clothes.

This suitcase isn't expandable, but it's one of the larger carry-ons we tested.

For highly organized travelers, we recommend the Paravel Aviator. After regularly traveling with the bag for six months, we really love the exceptional capacity and organizational features. Even though it's not expandable, the built-in compression board makes it easy to fit everything into the zippered compartments. It also comes with a removable laundry bag for dirty clothes.

Inspired by retro luggage with a modern twist, this classy carry-on is gorgeous. Not only that, but the durable polycarbonate exterior feels sturdy and sustained just a few minor scuffs during our tests. It's super easy to maneuver, too. Although the Paravel Aviator is somewhat steep in price, we think it's a worthwhile investment for those in the market for a high-quality suitcase. While updating your luggage collection, lovers of vintage-inspired design and organization should also consider a train case.

The Details: 23 x 15 x 9.5 inches | 8.5 pounds | Hardside | 4 spinner wheels | USB port | 10-year limited warranty

It's got a generous capacity, various pockets, a laptop sleeve, contoured straps, and a rain cover for protection from the elements.

The price is pretty steep for a backpack, but you can count on quality.

Clocking perfect scores on all our tests, the best carry-on backpack is definitely the Cotopaxi Allpa. Boasting a generous 35-liter capacity, plus various pockets and compartments, it makes packing pretty stress-free. Not only that, but the side zippers allow for easy access, even when it's stuffed full. There's also a padded sleeve for your laptop or a tablet, plus a portable keyboard.

The pack is available in several cheery colorways with a slightly rugged flair, and we loved the design and looks. It's made of high-strength polyester with ballistic nylon paneling and coated with water-repellent thermoplastic, so you can count on it to hold up for years in various weather conditions. It even comes with a rain cover for an extra layer of protection. The contoured straps make it super comfy to wear, while the handles make it easy to lift overhead.

The Details: 20 x 12 x 8 inches | 3.5 pounds | 35 liters | Nylon

The clamshell design has two large zippered compartments, plus various pockets, a laptop sleeve, carrying handles, a shoulder strap, and a locking zipper.

It's nearly the size of a carry-on suitcase, and the shoulder strap is a little finicky.

The Large Everywhere Bag from Away is our favorite weekender to bring as a carry-on. It's designed like a clamshell suitcase, folding out from the center to reveal two zippered mesh compartments. After packing it up, it's undoubtedly big enough for a four-day trip — maybe longer. The nylon exterior feels sturdy, albeit a little boxy, and flaunts a professional, minimalist appeal.

This carrier has two handles and a removable shoulder strap. The strap is comfortably padded, and while it's supposed to be adjustable, we found it a bit finicky. Other notable features include a padded laptop sleeve, a magnetic locking zipper, and a trolley sleeve that slides onto the handle of any suitcase. While the Large Everywhere Bag is nearly the size of a rolling carry-on, it's substantially lighter in weight (at under four pounds). We think this is a solid choice for business travel and short trips, whether you get there by plane, train, or automobile.

The Details: 21 x 12 x 9.5 inches | 3.8 pounds | 38 liters | Nylon and leather | 1-year limited warranty

This garment bag is surprisingly spacious yet lightweight, and it folds into a cabin-size duffel with smooth zippers and a trolley sleeve.

It's pricier than most garment bags and isn't backed by a warranty.

This garment bag-duffel hybrid is surprisingly spacious. We fit one suit, a button-down shirt, dress pants, two dresses, a belt, a pair of loafers, stilettos, a water bottle, and a phone inside with no issues. When open, you can hang it from the upper strap and attach multiple hangers to the sturdy iron hook. Then when you're done packing, it's easy to fold up into the duffel configuration.

Though it doesn't roll like a suitcase, the Commuter 2-in-1 Garment Bag is pretty lightweight, even when packed full. It has two grab handles and a padded shoulder strap, making it easy to lift and carry. There's also a trolley sleeve on the side, allowing you to slide it over your luggage handle so you don't have to carry it on your shoulder. This bag seems well-made and proved durable in our tests — it didn't rip or even scratch when we dragged a stiletto heel across the exterior. The price is steeper than most garment bags, and it's not backed by a warranty. Still, we think it's an excellent choice for frequent business travelers.

The Details: 22 x 10 x 10 inches | Duffel

While we tested plenty of high-scoring carry-on bags, there were many items that almost made our list but didn’t quite make the cut due to several weaknesses with maneuverability, capacity, design, durability, and/or overall value revealed during testing. 

Delsey Paris Cruise 3.0 Carry-on: We appreciated the large capacity and expandability of this bag, allowing us to easily fit everything on our packing list. But the wheels are somewhat large, which makes it hard to fit into an overhead bin.

Tumi Alpha Continental Expandable 4 Wheeled Carry-on: This suitcase is an investment, but it has more of a premium feel than most others we tested and is exceptionally sturdy. It is rather heavy, though, at 11.4 pounds and may be a bit wider than most airlines’ carry-on size requirements.

Samsonite Omni PC Expandable Carry-on Spinner: This is a decent option for a lightweight bag, but ultimately we felt some maneuverability issues were enough to keep it off our list of top picks. It didn't turn as sharply as many others, and rolling it over carpet was a bit of a challenge.

Arlo Skye The Weekender: This weekender has a spacious interior with a separate shoe compartment and a very large side pocket for electronics and other accessories. We wish the padding on the shoulder strap was adjustable so you could align it better with your height.

July Carry On Pro: We found this suitcase to be aesthetically pleasing, plenty spacious, and easy to maneuver. While the feature-rich design is enticing, it was pretty similar to the Away Carry-on, which compressed a little better.

Monos Carry-on Plus: We were fond of this carry-on, noting the ample compartments and spacious capacity. However, it was slightly tricky to turn on four wheels, and the handle wasn't quite up to par with others we tested.

Arlo Skye The Zipper Carry-on Max With Front Pocket: Even though it doesn't expand, this suitcase fit everything on our packing list, did well rolling over bumps, and showed no signs of damage from our bat swings. Plus, like some of the other Arlo Skye luggage pieces, it comes with a removable power bank. While we have few complaints. we were concerned about this bag fitting in the overhead bins.

The Travel + Leisure team performed various luggage tests in our New York City lab to evaluate the capacity, maneuverability, durability, and design of each carry-on. We filled each bag with enough clothing and essentials for a four-day trip, including six shirts, three pairs of pants, five pairs of socks, five pairs of underwear, two jackets, and two pairs of shoes, plus one small and one large toiletry bag. We then analyzed how well the bags handled the cargo.

After packing them up, we rolled the bags around on different surfaces (when possible) to see how well they maneuvered over pavement and carpet, and we maneuvered them through human obstacle courses to see how they can handle sharp turns in tight spaces. We also recreated an airplane set in our lab to lift the bags into real overhead bins and push them underneath seats. We whacked the fully packed bags with a metal baseball bat and pushed them off a table to see how well they held up to wear and tear. After testing these bags in the lab, we sent them home with our T+L editors to travel with the bag for a period of six months to continue evaluating the luggage in the real world. Keeping price, size, adjustability, features, and standout quirks in mind, the carry-ons with the highest scores in all testing categories were ultimately chosen for this roundup.

When buying carry-on luggage, you'll see a range of hardside and softside options. Suitcases with hard shells can be better for protecting things from crushing and are generally easy to wipe clean. However, depending on the color and material, they can be prone to scuffing.

Softside luggage, on the other hand, is typically a lighter weight, more flexible if you tend to be an overpacker, and often just as durable as its hardside counterpart. While a textile shell can be trickier to clean, it may not show as much dirt or scuffs either, and it likely won't dent like a hardside bag can.

Lightweight luggage is crucial when choosing a carry-on. Be sure to note the empty weight of the suitcase or bag before buying it, as heftier designs will make a jam-packed carrier all the more cumbersome. Weight affects not only maneuverability, but also your ability to hoist it into the airplane's overhead bin. The wheeled carry-on suitcases we tested ranged in weight from 4.36 to 12.9 pounds. Anything heavier than that is going to be too heavy for many people.

Some carry-on luggage is relatively basic, with a main compartment and a pocket or two. However, many suitcases, weekenders, and duffel bags have additional organizational features that make packing and accessing your stuff much easier. This may include a laptop sleeve, a shoe separator, a laundry bag, various zippered sections, exterior pockets, and even charging capabilities.

When it comes to choosing the best carry-on bag for you, first consider your traveling style and packing needs. Spinner luggage, which features four wheels that can spin 360 degrees, is easy to maneuver whether you're running to your airport gate or making your way through a new city. Bags with spinner wheels are generally quite easy to roll over various surfaces, making them a great option if you plan to walk for long periods of time with your luggage. Two-wheeled bags, however, may be less sturdy, but they'll give you a few more inches of extra space when packing. Bags with only two wheels also tend to be slightly lighter than their four-wheeled counterparts. Lastly, opting for a weekender or carry-on backpack means you can dash around as needed, and your bag will be more compact, but you will have to manage all the weight on your back or shoulders instead of rolling it.

Rules vary among airlines, but most allow carry-on luggage no larger than 24 inches tall, 16 inches wide, and 10 inches deep. Some are slightly stricter, setting the limit at 22 x 14 x 9 inches. Keep this in mind when using your suitcase's expander, as the additional couple of inches could put you over the size limit. When in doubt, check the airline's website.

Some airlines have a carry-on weight limit of roughly 35 pounds. However, this is often not strictly enforced, and many domestic airlines don't have a limit at all. Bear in mind some international flights may restrict carry-ons over 22 pounds. Either way, make sure you are able to lift your bag on your own, otherwise, it's probably too heavy.

All liquids, including makeup, lotion, and other cosmetics, must be in containers no larger than 3.4 ounces in carry-on luggage. (For checked baggage, you can bring pretty much any size.) Powdered makeup, bar soap, and solid deodorant are usually allowed in larger containers. You'll also want to put all liquid beauty and personal hygiene products in a clear plastic bag before going through airport security. You can review the TSA's official liquids rules here.

AirTags are allowed in both carry-on and checked luggage. These trackers use such low energy Bluetooth that they're safe and TSA-compliant. For other GPS trackers, you should check with your individual airlines to make sure that your device is allowed, especially if they use a higher level of power.

For this article, commerce writer Theresa Holland pored over in-house testing insights for dozens of bags, then cross-checked product descriptions and manuals to compile a comprehensive list of the best carry-on luggage currently on the market. Of the above brands, she owns carriers and on-the-go accessories from Away, Tumi, Paravel, Amazon Basics, Monos, and July.

The Best Carry-on Luggage of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

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