Best Heavy-duty Cabin Suitcases

The cabin suitcase has become the essential equipment for all travellers. However, there are several models and choosing the right carry on luggage can be quite complicated, especially if you don’t know much about it. In this article, you will find everything you need to know to buy your future cabin luggage.

The best cabin luggage

What is the best cabin suitcase?

Despite how poorly we have spent it, buying a good suitcase for your carry-on luggage is not as tricky as many years of bad luck have made us believe. It is quite simple. I assure you that if you follow the steps that I have followed and that I will detail to you next, you will be able to find that dreamy suitcase that has not only good resistance and is light but also is economical. Of course, I’ve also made a comparative list where you can go straight to those handbags that have made a great impression on me.

Well, the first thing is to verify the size. The point is that airlines are strict with the size of luggage to travel in the cabin, so you have to make sure you buy one that meets those standards. For example, many companies accept suitcases of 55 x 40 x 20 cm. Then you have to check the wheels and here I recommend it to be 4 because they are easier to carry and they will not tire you that much.

Another key point is whether they are soft or hard. The first ones are expandable and lighter but they resist fewer impacts and cracks, and they can get wet. The second ones are much more resistant due to their materials such as polycarbonate, but they are heavier, they can not adapt to smaller spaces, and they do not expand either.

The handles should also be comfortable and retractable, with a height that suits you well. Remember that you do not want to suffer while carrying your suitcase throughout the airport. Finally, among other general considerations, I recommend checking the weight of the empty suitcase, which should not exceed 3.4 kg; choose the colour that you like the most; with compartments that allow you to organise well; waterproof and with good quality and durability locks.

Samsonite Cosmolite Spinner Hand Luggage

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Samsonite Cosmolite Spinner Hand Luggage 55 cm, 36 L, Black
475 Reviews
Samsonite Cosmolite Spinner Hand Luggage 55 cm, 36 L, Black
  • Made with revolutionary...
  • Limited 10 year global...
  • Fixed combination TSA...

Samsonite never ceases to dazzle travellers with its high-end suitcases. Cosmolite cabin luggage, which is now one of its flagship products, is currently the equipment to acquire. You will not go unnoticed by wearing this adorable companion with an iconic modern and elegant silhouette.

It is very manoeuvrable thanks to its 4 multidirectional wheels and its one-tube telescopic handle. It is also an extremely resistant and incredibly light cabin suitcase designed in a curve. Not to mention its 55 x 40 x 20 cm offering a large interior space of 36 L with TSA lock to store and secure your various belongings.

Horizn Studios cabin suitcase

Phenomenal

HORIZN STUDIOS M5 Cabin Luggage (33 L) with an Integrated, Removable...
146 Reviews
HORIZN STUDIOS M5 Cabin Luggage (33 L) with an Integrated, Removable...
  • Includes removable...
  • Never run out of power:...
  • Strong and built to last:...

There are several things that I love about this suitcase. Its exterior design is spectacular, plus it includes a USB charger with 10000mAh battery and bags to organise dirty clothes and other belongings. It also comes with 4 heavy-duty wheels of Japanese quality and is water-resistant.

Cabin suitcase Tranverz S from Eastpak

Very convenient

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Eastpak Tranverz S Suitcase, 51 cm, 42 L, Black
873 Reviews
Eastpak Tranverz S Suitcase, 51 cm, 42 L, Black
  • Main compartment with...
  • Height: 44 cm, Width:...
  • 100 Percent polyester...

I choose soft suitcases like this one when I know I will not carry so much luggage and I prefer one that can be compressed a little in case they get fussy when checking me out at the airline counter. Recommended for light travellers for its 2.5 kg, two wheels and several colours.

Aerolite cabin suitcase

Practicality

Aerolite Lightweight 55cm 4 Wheel Travel Carry On Hand Cabin Luggage...
794 Reviews
Aerolite Lightweight 55cm 4 Wheel Travel Carry On Hand Cabin Luggage...
  • AMAZING AIRLINE...
  • TAKE THE STRAIN OUT OF...
  • A WEIGHT OFF YOUR MIND:...

It is one of the best trolleys I have used for the cabin, and I can tell you that its excellent capacity of 42 litres is phenomenal. I also love that it has the exact dimensions for several of the most popular airlines and it is made of sturdy polyester with 1 meter high handles.

Cabin suitcase Spree from Hauptstadtkoffer

Protect and organize your belongings

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HAUPTSTADTKOFFER Spree - Hartschalen-Koffer Koffer Trolley Rollkoffer...
1,300 Reviews
HAUPTSTADTKOFFER Spree - Hartschalen-Koffer Koffer Trolley Rollkoffer...
  • For short holidays:...
  • Extremely stable:...
  • Comfortable transport:...

When I know that I have a rough flight, I take this luggage to travel with a hard exterior, made of ABS and high German quality. It is available in different colours, has four wheels, TSA lock and amazing capacity of 49 L with several compartments.

Cabin luggage Bon Air Spinner S Strict by American Tourister

One of my favourites

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American Tourister Bon Air Spinner Hand Luggage 55 cm, 32 L, Black
3,576 Reviews
American Tourister Bon Air Spinner Hand Luggage 55 cm, 32 L, Black
  • Fixed 3-digit TSA Lock...
  • Extremely strong 100%...
  • 360° Spinner wheels for...

American Tourister is one of the most popular brands in the market, and I could see why when I bought this model of excellent design. It has internal separators with quality closures, TSA padlock, wheels that rotate 360º, weigh 2.5kg and load 30 L.

Aerolite 55cm ABS Cabin Hand Luggage x 2

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Set of 2 Aerolite 21”/55cm ABS Cabin Hand Luggage Hardshell Travel...
1,545 Reviews
Set of 2 Aerolite 21”/55cm ABS Cabin Hand Luggage Hardshell Travel...
  • AMAZING AIRLINE...
  • TAKE THE STRAIN OUT OF...
  • BECAUSE YOUR LUGGAGE IS...
carry on luggage

Cabin luggage buying guide

Wanting to buy a carry on luggage is good, but some advice is necessary so that you make the right choice in your purchase. Indeed, the purchase of a cabin suitcase is an inexpensive investment that will accompany you during all your travels, so it is important not to choose any model!

We offer you a list of important points to check on cabin bags in order to help you in your choice of the best cabin luggage. From robustness to lightness, including the number of wheels, the closure system, but also the brand. all these elements will allow you to be unbeatable on cabin luggage but above all, to make the right choice:

  • the robustness: to be sure to be accompanied everywhere, all the time, no surprises!
  • the lightness: to take care of your back and yourself at the same time, for maximum manoeuvrability!
  • the number of wheels: because you are looking for absolute comfort during your travels!
  • the closing system: to keep your belongings in your luggage safely and avoid unpleasant surprises on arrival!
  • the ability: because you always afraid of forgetting something on vacation!
  • the brands: because today there are exceptions models not to miss!

The capacity and dimensions of the cabin suitcase

The capacity of the cabin suitcase depends on its dimensions. If you want to travel with your suitcase in the passenger areas of your means of transport, whether by plane, train or boat, you will need to bring carry-on baggage.

This means that the dimensions of your suitcase must be less than the standard proposed by IATA: 56 x 45x 25 cm. To be sure not to have any unpleasant surprises with your company, we offer a page dedicated to dimensions by the airline.

In terms of interior capacity, cabin suitcases can vary from 30 to 45 litres. Which is totally enough to take all your belongings on vacation!

In addition, the weight of the luggage is important because it varies from one company to another. It is all the more important if you choose a low-cost company that will charge you extra if you add checked baggage. In this case, we advise you to choose a cabin suitcase whose capacity is relatively large to contain all your necessary. Also pay attention to the empty weight of the luggage that you are going to buy, because the more you go to a suitcase with a higher empty weight, the less you can integrate into it!
Info: The authorized weight of your cabin suitcase can vary from 10 to 18 kg depending on the airlines.

Two brands are particularly distinguished by the quality of manufacture of their cabin suitcases. These are the famous luggage brand Samsonite as well as the American Tourister. The alloy that makes up their shell and their design are 2 essential points that will ensure you take a maximum of business and clothing while enjoying a great lightness and extreme ease of daily use.

cabin luggage on board

Which material to choose?

The question of robustness and lightness is paramount because, when you want to acquire a suitcase it is so that it accompanies you as long as possible.

So you have to choose between a rigid cabin suitcase, soft cabin luggage or a hybrid bag, here is a summary of the different materials that you will find on the market:


Polyester, nylon, or fabric suitcases: these are so-called soft suitcases. This luggage is generally not expensive to buy and will accompany you on all your occasional trips, that is to say, 2 to 3 trips per year. Its composition is light, which is why flexible suitcases in fabric or nylon very often weigh less than the average. The brands specializing in soft suitcases are Delsey and Eastpak.

ABS cabin suitcases are rigid luggage. ABS is a very resistant polymer, in particular, to impact, which provides great robustness. Its only drawback is that these bags are heavier when empty than normal. With this type of abs luggage, you can use it intensively, which corresponds to around 10 trips per year. The brands specializing in ABS luggage design are David Jones and Hauptstadtkoffer.

Polycarbonate luggage are also rigid suitcases whose composition ensures perfect impact resistance and a lightness of your empty luggage. It is also perfect for regular use, i.e. around 10 trips per year. Utopia and Delsey are the flagship brands of this rigid luggage.

Cabin cases with Curv® technology, invented and patented by the Samsonite brand, are extremely impact resistant and ultra-light. Thanks to this Samsonite family of suitcases, you can enjoy your luggage for many years, even with heavy use. The only downside to this type of cabin suitcase is that it requires a greater investment than its competitors.

Hybrid suitcases combine plastic and fabrics, to provide rigidity and solidity, with an outdoor storage space accessible everywhere! This luggage is very light and useful: perfect for intensive use. The B Lite models from Samsonite and Delsey Discrete or Tuileries are very efficient in this area.

The most important thing when buying a suitcase is to check the robustness of its frame. This will assure you of many peaceful trips, without unpleasant surprises or material damage.

The rigid suitcases, by their name, allow you to withstand shocks more. However, their price is higher and you will not be able to benefit from additional pockets outside.

Textile suitcases are just as important on the market because they are expandable and offer you plenty of storage space, especially outside the suitcase. These exterior storage spaces will prove very useful for storing your passports and other travel tickets at the time of boarding. Hybrid models are an intermediate solution that has proven itself with recognized brands on the market such as Samsonite or Delsey and at their low cost.

Functionality

A suitcase is primarily used to store all the things you will need during your vacation. Who says storage also says space, because you will need space so that everything can fit, especially if you travel in a low-cost company!

On the market, there are 2 types of storage depending on the model and brand you are going to buy: the 50/50 separation and the plumber separation. You can also find cabin suitcase sets accompanied by a matching vanity, which constitutes additional storage for your trip.

50/50 separation: this is luggage that opens in two parts with a central opening. These two compartments are of equal capacity, allowing you to store a maximum of things on one side and the other of your bag. You can find on each part a zipper which will allow you to separate the two zones once the suitcase is closed.

Plumber separation: this is baggage which also opens in two parts: one on the top and one on the bottom, respectively at 20% and 80% of the suitcase. The smaller part can contain easily accessible items since it is located on top of the suitcase. The other part provides more space to store the rest of your belongings.

cabin luggage 4 wheels

Number of wheels

The number of a wheel on the cabin luggage is a detail that can be of great importance. In fact, you will have to move around in the boarding, control, waiting for areas and, among other things, in the passenger areas of the airport. This is the reason why the handling of your suitcase will be important for your comfort.

If you choose a  piece of luggage without a wheel, you should be careful not to load it too much so that your back and shoulders do not suffer during your travels at airports or other waiting places. Suitcases without wheels are less and less used as cabin suitcases, but continue to be in great demand as a travel bag.

Rolling suitcases can have 2 wheels or 4 wheels depending on the model.

 Two-wheel cabin suitcase: they have two wheels on the side of the handles of your suitcase. You then have to tilt the suitcase slightly to move around with complete peace of mind. The 2 wheel suitcases provide you with the necessary comfort and are nevertheless less expensive than the 4 wheel suitcases.

Four-wheel cabin suitcase: innovation and technology is well done, because today the brands offer models of 4 wheel suitcase fully manoeuvrable at 360 ° C, without the need to tilt the suitcase. This hand luggage will be perfect to accompany you effortlessly!

cabin suitcase zipper

Zipper and locking system

There are also several types of closure for a cabin suitcase. The most common is the zipper! It is an ultra-practical zip to open and close your suitcase. But voila, the quality of the zipper is very often neglected. You must be particularly vigilant about the quality of the zipper!

Why? Quite simply, because you open, close, re-open, constantly close your suitcase several times a day during your trip. Whether to prepare it, collect your papers, or even put away your things or take out your travel toiletry bag during the trip, you can not imagine how often you need to open and close your cabin suitcases. 


All the models offered in our comparison are tested so as to select the best quality cabin suitcases so that you will not have any unpleasant surprises once your suitcase is purchased! Robustness therefore also depends on the quality of the closure of your suitcase.

Clip suitcase: the advantage of this system is that it is very difficult to access the contents of your suitcase by a third party.

It is a rigid metal frame which hermetically closes your luggage when it is activated. Sounds the only downside is that this is an element that weighs down your baggage. This solution is possible when you are travelling with valuables and you need to be reassured when it is stored.

Many suitcase models offer padlocks (TSA or not) integrated into the suitcases so that we do not have access to the contents of your suitcase. This is highly recommended to prevent theft, whether for a small carry-on bag or for a rigid suitcase or a travel bag. There are different types of locks: code locks (also called combination), or keys!

Code locks are preferred because you do not need to carry a key “next to”. This, therefore, avoids the risk of loss. However, do not forget your code, especially if you are not used to travelling.

 Key locks are very useful because they are very easy to use. You will have several sets of keys to reduce the risk of loss. Remember to hide it in a safe place, where you can easily remember it.

 TSA padlocks: This closure is essential when you travel to America because American and Canadian customs have the possibility of opening your luggage to control it. The TSA system allows you to access the contents of your suitcase using a “passkey” held only by customs officials.

These TSA padlocks are more and more widespread because they provide great security wherever you travel!

The presence of a lock is important to guarantee you maximum security during your trip. Whatever the type of lock, you must check that it works properly and that it is solid to avoid any inconvenience.