Skip To Content

    17 Of The Best Hard Shell Luggage Pieces That Are Travel (and TSA) Tough

    Challenge: scroll through this post without immediately Googling flight prices.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Some may have been sent as samples, but all opinions and reviews are our own. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    1. An expandable hard-side carry-on suitcase clocking in less than 20 inches tall, meaning you can either check this or stow it away as a carry-on, and either way it'll accommodate your over-packing tendencies and come out the other side unscathed.

    the pink suitcase
    the suitcase with clothes in it
    Target

    Promising review: "This suitcase is hands down worth it. Using packing cubes, I packed for 19 days in Europe (without extending) and it was the perfect carry-on size. I was able to fit a few gifts in there on the way back as well. It has endured miles of airports and cobblestone streets and is still in top shape. I will use this suitcase for every trip!" —Meg E

    Get it from Target for $89.99 (available in five colors).

    Check this out on our list of luggage essentials from Target.

    2. A Samsonite expandable hard shell suitcase equipped with an extra 1.5 inches of expandability all around, in addition to a self-retracting handle and a shiny exterior that'll suit you for many adventures to come.

    reviewer posing with black hard shell suitcase
    Reviewer's photo of the spinner, open and packed, in the color Silver

    Promising review: “Durable, easy to use. I travel a lot for work and load up my suitcases quite a bit. I've gone through multiple brands and they all fall apart after a few trips. Been using this one a few months and it still works like new. I wasn't sure if I wanted a hard or soft case but I'm glad now that I went with the hard case. Holds a lot of stuff and is still very easy to roll around. Great suitcase!” —Nick G

    Get it from Amazon for $103.53+ (available in 20 inches, 25 inches, 28 inches, eight colors, and individual and set options).

    3. Or this heavy-duty hard-side spinner from Samsonite resembling a Transformer, but is actually super lightweight so you can sprint to your gate or hoist it up on the luggage scale with ease.

    The suitcase in multiple sizes in the color Caribbean Blue
    reviewer photo of the navy blue hardside spinner

    Promising review: “I was looking for a carry-on sized suitcase to use when I travel for work. This one definitely did the job. I've never been questioned about the size of the bag when boarding the plane. I've only had one seat that it wouldn't fit under, and it's fit in every overhead compartment that I've come across. I like that it's super lightweight (well, depending on what I put in it. I don't waste weight on the suitcase itself). It's held up through several trips over the years and the few times I've checked the bag, it's still been sturdy enough to hang with the larger/heavier bags. I like the fact that it has a zippered side, and elastic restraints on the other side; makes organization easy. The TSA lock that is affixed to the outside ensure that I am not scurrying around looking for my individual locks once it's time to go." —Danielle R

    Get it from Amazon for $145.99+ (available in 20 inches, 24 inches, and 28 inches, 10 colors, and individual and set options).

    4. A three-piece hard shell luggage set including 20-inch, 24-inch, and 28-inch pieces which you might as well just nab now if you're planning a big family trip — these guys are easy to spot as your zoom through the airport, and they also nest inside each other for optimal storage.

    person standing next to three yellow suitcases in different sizes
    the green luggage set

    Promising review: "I waited to take a few trips with multiple sizes to write a fair review. I travel weekly for work, so I wanted a sturdy set without having to spend a fortune (even the high price big names get bad reviews for breaking easily). I read the reviews for these and decided to give them a shot, I’m SO HAPPY I did. These are AWESOME and worth every penny. Easy to identify at the baggage claim. Easy to maneuver (the handles fold out to the same size so I can roll two with one hand with ease)-Easy to use the built-in lock. The outer shell is pretty sturdy considering these bags have been through major hubs multiple times now and are still in great shape. If you’re on the fence, BUY THEM! I would 100% buy these again." —Megan Contino

    Get the set of three suitcases from Amazon for $189.99+ (available in four-piece sets and 16 colors).

    5. A super sleek piece of hard shell luggage from Monos that's elevated in every way, from the super quiet wheels, smooth telescoping handle, TSA-approved lock, aerospace-grade polycarbonate exterior, and vegan leather detailing.

    Models carrying Monos Carry-On suitcases Olive Green and White
    product image of green and terracotta suitcases
    Monos / Via www.instagram.com, Monos / Via www.instagram.com

    Check out this glowing testimony from BuzzFeed contributor Lucia Peters: "I own not one, but two Monos spinners – that’s how much I like them: The original Carry-On, and the Hybrid Carry-On Plus. These are actually the first hard-side suitcases I’ve ever owned, and I… honestly do not think I will ever need to get another one. These are just so durable, so functional, and so pretty that I don't see myself needing to replace them anytime soon. Or possibly ever. Have these two suitcases ruined me for all other suitcases? Probably. Am I mad about it? Not in the slightest."

    Promising review: “Just took this bag on its first trip and it exceeded all expectations. It fit easily in the tight overhead compartment on a commuter jet while others had to gate check their bags. I was easily able to pack for a 4-day trip with Polo shirts for each day and a spare and a dress shirt, undergarments, dress shoes, a lined sweatshirt, a pair of chinos, a toiletries bag, and had room to spare. It was definitely overpacked and the compression pad was a huge help. Some have said that the handle is hard to expend when packed full but I had no issues. All of the materials are high grade quality and it rolls like a dream. There are so many choices out there and I am certain that I made the right choice." —Raymond A.

    Get it from Monos for $245+ (originally $272+; available in four carry-on sizes and two checked sizes, and 10 colors).

    Check out the full list of luggage reviewers who travel a lot swear by!

    6. A gorgeous hardside suitcase available in a bunch of fun patterns, including holographic ones (!!!), meaning you'll have absolutely no trouble spotting your precious cargo at the baggage carousel.

    reviewer photo of pink and white floral exterior of suitcase
    reviewer photo of suitcase interior pockets
    reviewer photo of suitcase in overhead compartment on plane

    Promising review: “I took this suitcase to Europe and it was perfect! I fit everything in and with the expandable zipper I had no trouble expanding to add stuff I picked up on my way. The suitcase easily rolled over even the cobblestoned streets as I walked from trains to hotels. The sturdy outer case allowed me to pack some breakable items without worrying about them being damaged when tossed around. The handle when extended was the only part that didn't feel as sturdy as I would have liked but it held up just fine. I love the color/pattern which made my suitcase instantly identifiable against all of the navy and black cases. I stored extra cash in the small zippered pocket inside and separated dirty from clean clothes with the zippered lining. All in all I was very happy with this suitcase and will be buying two more for future travel with the family." —Karmen Paterson

    Get it from Amazon for $75.33+ (available in 21 inches, 24 inches, 28 inches, six colors, and individual and set options).

    7. A super affordable colorful hard shell suitcase made of a lightweight, but durable ABS material ideal for the hardcore carry-on fan who needs something that will get the job done — and do it well. 

    reviewer photo of bright turquoise suitcase in the airport
    reviewer photo of the suitcase exterior, front view

    This suitcase is available in over 20 colors and designs; to see them all, check out the Rockland storefront.

    Promising review: “This thing is literally like a TARDIS! I have never been able to fit so much into a carry-on. It fits beautifully in the cabin. I have gone on a week-long trip to Alaska in winter with it where I needed thick ski pants and thick sweaters — with the vacuum bags, everything fit with room for hiking boots and room to spare. On a milder trip it fit everything plus extra shoes as well without vacuum bags!! I finally came back to report how in awe I am after packing for me and my two kids for an extended weekend trip without vacuum bags AND each of us a pair of tennis shoes and it zipped no problem with the expansion out. The wheels are designed to go in any direction which is very convenient and maneuvers well. It’s super lightweight and does not add bulk while being very hard on the outside so if you had to check it, it would be just fine!!" —Brittany S.

    Get it from Amazon for $52.

    8. A vintage-y hardside suitcase decked out with features that a cultured connoisseur of the skies such as yourself requires, like faux leather accents that are absolutely to die for, a three-digit lock, and compartments galore. It also comes with laundry and shoe bags, as well as a hanger.

    The suitcase in the color Champagne White
    reviewer photo of faux

    Promising review: "Been on three trips with this bag so far: Eight flights and being checked, I'm in love! Best suitcase I've ever had (and I've had several in the past few years). The inside is lined with very soft fabric and it works great with my packing cubes plus both sides have zip up compartments which you never see, everything stays exactly where I put it, when I get to my hotel I can open it up and nothing has shifted at all! I check my bags most of the time but this is a carry-on size so you can carry it on most domestic aircrafts. I got the chocolate color because I don't like white very much. There are a few minor scuffs now but you can only see them if you look very closely. It doesn't tip over or forward, it's very well-balanced and you can fit a backpack on top. Rolls very well." –Jessica

    Get it from Amazon for $259.99+ (available in 19 inches, 21 inches, 24 inches, and 28 inches, and four colors).

    9. A carry-on-friendly hard-side spinner available in bold animal prints, because if you're going on vacation, you might as well go all out and make a statement while you're at it.

    Promising review: "I get stopped for compliments on this set regularly! I have used two pieces from this set a number of times each, and so far, I find them to be quite roomy and durable. ... The wheels are smooth, and having four of them is so convenient. The handles are nice and long. There's plenty of room for me to balance another bag on top which makes it easier to walk comfortably around the airport. On the smaller suitcase, it appeared the handle didn't go as tall as I wanted, but I gave it a good tug and it extended way further. Once it came out further, it was the perfect height for me. The small size is just perfect for a short trip carry-on and the large size is terrific for a longer trip check-in bag. I just took the largest one on a 28-day trip to Europe. It was perfect! I am currently on a three-day trip to DC and it's just the right size!" —Aria Anaïs Electra

    Get it from Amazon for $59.99+ (available in nine colors and in a three-piece set).

    10. A geometric-design expandable piece of hard shell luggage that will be your trusted companion throughout the years, whether you're hopping from one redeye to the next or racking up Amtrak points like it's your job.

    The suitcase in the color Cream, pulled by reviewer
    reviewer photo of smaller and larger pink hardshell suitcases

    Promising review: “The perfect carry-on. This was the perfect size, super-lightweight, easy to maneuver (I loved rolling it right next to or in front of me), the perfect height for me, and super roomy. This never flipped while rolling it around even though I had another heavy bag on top of it. I used it for a five-day, four-night trip and still had room for extra clothes. That said, the trip was in Florida, so no bulky coats, but still I think for most warm places I could use this carry-on with a bag for a full week's worth of clothing. Also, this is random but the handles to lift it up are wicked comfy! I look forward to using this for years to come!” —Marisa

    Get it from Amazon for $96.22+ (available in 21.7 inches, 27.2 inches, 31.3 inches, five colors, and individual and set options).

    11. An expandable hardside carry-on with a handy fold-out front panel for your laptops and tablets, because lugging your stuff onto an airplane is stressful enough without having to unzip and dig through a hovel of your own creation. There's simply no time for that.

    The suitcase in the color Graphite
    The suitcase, open, in the color Graphite
    Amazon

    Promising review: “Holding up nicely. I've taken this little bag to Europe and on several domestic trips. It's holding up very nicely. The wheels are good quality and the handle is durable. I am using this as a personal travel bag, but I am a flight attendant in my professional life. I wish I could use this bag for work (I have specific luggage that I must use), because I really like this bag. I do consider myself a luggage expert as I have basically been living out of suitcases and hotels for 28 years, so, please trust me when I tell you that Delsey makes a great bag. If you're considering purchasing, go ahead. You won't be disappointed.” —Wawa

    Get it from Amazon for $149.99+ (available in 19 inches, 21 inches, 25 inches, 29 inches, nine colors, and individual and set options).

    12. A Fibertech hard-side suitcase for your next checked-luggage trip with over 23,000 5-star ratings on Walmart, double wheel action, and a spacious interior chock full of compartments.

    model posing with rose gold hardside suitcase
    closeup product image of the suitcase
    Walmart

    Promising review: "I absolutely love this bag!! I can't wait to get all of the matching pieces. This bag is so durable, sustaining knocks and scrapes. The one I bought was the perfect size to fit in the overhead bins of the plane cabin and to be stored under my bed at home when not in use. And it's super cute!! I felt like the queen of style walking through the airport! I was confident in its durability to be able to handle all of my luggage, snugly fit inside, and even carry it with my purse on top. The wheels are made of good quality and spin easily with no kinks or hang ups. The zipper glided effortlessly and it was all around easy to use. I would recommend the iFly brand and this line of luggage, in particular the Fibertech, to any of my travelistas!!" —AuthenticallyU

    Get it from Walmart for $99.

    Check out more stylish luggage from Walmart for your next trip.

    13. An Away carry-on suitcase that's the last piece of luggage you'll likely ever need: it comes with a specially designed mesh compartment for your toiletries and shoes, a hidden water-resistant laundry bag, a compression pad to squeeze everything in there, and genuine leather details including a luggage tag.

    Instagram photo of black Away suitcase near a scooter
    interior of the Away suitcase
    Away / Via www.instagram.com, Away

    You also have the option to add a built-in USB charger for $20.

    My editor Ciera Velarde loves this suitcase: "I have had my Away carry-on suitcase for about a year now and absolutely love it! I've been able to fit everything I need for a weeklong trip into this with room to spare. It has two main compartments: one side with an interior compression system so you can pack all your soft clothes, and then a zippered side for all of your loose items. It also comes with a laundry bag for you to store all your dirty clothes as you travel. I like how durable it is — I've definitely knocked it against the wall or a bench a few times and I haven't gotten a scratch or a dent on it. And even if I do end up damaging it, Away has a limited lifetime warranty on their suitcases that covers any functional damage to the shell, wheels, handles, zippers, or anything else that impairs your use of the luggage. This is definitely a splurge-worthy purchase I feel like I got my money's worth out of (and then some!)."

    Get it from Away for $275+ (available in four carry-on sizes, including expandable ones, and 10 colors).

    Check out more splurge-worthy products reviewers swear by for traveling!

    14. A Beis roller suitcase which is expandable with a cushioned grip, eight 360-degree rotatable wheels, and the coolest luggage feature I've yet to see anywhere else: a built-in weight indicator that turns red if you try to lift it when it's above 50 pounds. 

    model posing with beige suitcase
    interior of the suitcase
    Beis

    Promising review: "I love everything about this luggage! The color is a beautiful soft beige. It has lots of zippered compartments, the two on the 'divider' are made of a very thick material making them very sturdy. The handle has a comfort cushion grip, and it glides up and down with ease. The wheels are plastic with rubber on the middle so they grip, and it rolls with no effort. There are two pouches for dirty clothes, shoes, etc. This case has it all. The customer service is excellent. I am thinking of getting the larger size as well. I will gladly check my bag knowing how much I can fit in it. It also can expand a few inches if needed." —Mary A.

    Get it from Beis for $198 (available in 21 inches, 26 inches, and 29 inches, and six colors).

    15. A gorgeous ombre 28-inch hard-side spinner that's not only expandable, but water-resistant, with a removable wet pocket, integrated wet pocket, shoe pockets, and a compression pad.

    collage of exterior and interior of purple ombre hardshell luggage suitcase
    Nordstrom

    Promising review: "I love all the different compartments inside the suitcase. Makes packing a lil' more fun and it puts your mind as ease to know liquids won't be spilled all over your clothes." —Denise C

    Get it from Nordstrom for $120 (originally $200).

    16. A 21-inch expandable suitcase featuring a 100% recycled interior zippered lining, eight spinner wheels, and a stylish polycarbonate exterior that's impossible to miss while you're running late from a layover.

    reviewer photo of pink suitcase
    reviewer photo of gray suitcase on baggage claim carousel

    Promising review: "I bought two of these bags for a recent overseas trip and found them to be amazing. We hauled these through airports, in/out of overhead bins, trains, station platforms, escalators, elevators and bumpy city streets. We even used them in tandem to transport a bike inside a box with relative ease through busy London Paddington Station and London Heathrow Airport. The expandable 2” zipper was a lifesaver as we accumulated more stuff along the way than we departed with (which also meant that they had to be checked baggage for the flight home). I’ve had lots of bags over the past 30+ years, including soft-sided travel pro cases, as I traveled extensively for work and leisure to 80+ countries. This is hands down the best performing, most versatile, durable, well-designed and affordable bag yet. Outstanding value for money. TravelPro had knocked it out of the park with this bag!" —Boomer

    Get it from Amazon for $135.99+ (available in 20 inches, 21 inches, 25 inches, and 29 inches, eight colors, and individual and set options).

    17. A completely carbon-neutral carry-on suitcase made with recycled polycarb, aluminum, nylon, and vegan leather to form the travel accessory of your dreams that you'll want to show off to everyone in your gate.

    white and brown suitcase
    interior of the suitcase
    Paravel

    Promising review: "I put my new Carry-on Plus to the test recently when I took a two week vacation to Greece. We moved from island to island, requiring me to pack, and repack every few days. The suitcase was a dream. The zippers were secure and the wheels were wonderful. It felt great to have the security of such a well-made bag with me. Thank you Paravel! You definitely get a five star review from me!" —Jeannie W.

    Get it from Paravel for $281 (originally $375; available two carry-on sizes and one checked sizes, and five colors).

    You, already planning your next adventure: