10 Best Hardside Luggage | April 2017

10 Best Hardside Luggage | April 2017
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We spent 31 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. When you're embarking on a long trip or are taking valuable or fragile belongings with you, it helps to have something sturdy in which to carry your load. These hardside luggage options will give your stuff some decent protection without forcing you to sacrifice your own personal style. Skip to the best hardside luggage on Amazon.
The Kenneth Cole Out of Bounds was designed with the stylish jet setter in mind. It boasts a heavy duty exterior construction, and features molded corners for added reinforcement against the normal bumps and bruises the case is sure to incur while traveling.
  • low quality plastic wheels
  • large u-shaped pocket on the lid
  • a bit heavier than other models
Brand Kenneth Cole REACTION
Model 5705068
Weight 12.9 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0
The Olympia Blossom is loaded with compartments to keep you organized from one destination to the next. It features built-in dual shoe pockets, a large mesh zippered pocket on the divider and an interior hanging zipper pocket.
  • secure buckle tie-belt
  • holds clothes for more than one
  • inner elastic straps are cheap
Brand Olympia
Model HD-3225
Weight 11 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
The Swiss Gear Travel 20 inch is a great-looking hardside spinner that glides smoothly over any surface thanks its eight spinning wheels. Its shell is made of tough polypropylene resin, and its molded carrying handles make it comfortable to carry when needed.
  • high quality at an affordable price
  • items don't shift around inside
  • available in grey or silver
Brand Swiss Gear
Model HD-3225
Weight 7 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
The Nautica Ahoy is a perfect choice for your everyday travels. It is detailed with a tonal embossed Nautica logo on the front, and includes a fully lined interior with crisscross tie-down straps that hold your garments in place.
  • fashionable two-tone exterior
  • zip-around divider panel
  • handle recesses when collapsed
Brand Nautica
Model 2694C13
Weight 7.4 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0
With a split book design opening that allows you to separate your belongings into two different compartments, the Skyway Nimbus 24 gives you many options to match your packing style. Plus, it comes in at an affordable price point.
  • accommodates many heights
  • self-repairing zippers
  • retractable handles are sturdy
Brand Skyway
Model 438-24-657-4VP
Weight 10.8 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
The Rockland 2 Pc F225 is a sleek, polished option for the modern traveler. It comes in a rainbow of colors to choose from and features an attractive, internal chrome push-button handle that telescopes up and down for easy portability.
  • padded top grip handles
  • includes 2 different sized pieces
  • strong abs exterior
Brand Rockland
Model F225
Weight 20.3 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
The Delsey Helium Aero features a contemporary design and is made with 100 percent polycarbonate, giving it the kind of durability that will last for years to come. Also, it expands up to two inches, allowing for additional packing space if needed.
  • zipper closure with integrated lock
  • elastic straps help secure clothes
  • attractive glossy finish
Brand DELSEY Paris
Model 07647BD
Weight 12.4 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0
The popular Samsonite S Cure Spinner '28 is a lightweight and convenient option for your next getaway. It measures just under the airline carry-on size limit and has textured molds for maximum protection against weather and abuse.
  • tight rubber seal gasket
  • integrated id tag at the back
  • 100 percent polypropylene
Brand Samsonite
Model 49308-1235
Weight 12.3 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0
With multiple patterns ranging from the subtle to the exotic to choose from, the Rockland F151 lets you express your personality, whatever it may be. Its large capacity allows you enough space to pack for an entire weekend, while still avoiding excess weight charges.
  • easy to maneuver around
  • comes with a 3-year warranty
  • bold print is easy to spot
Brand Rockland
Model F151
Weight 7.5 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0
Enjoy effortless 360-degree navigation as you breeze through airplane aisles using the Briggs & Riley Sympatico, which features four double swivel wheels and a polycarbonate case that is guaranteed to keep your belongings safe and protected.
  • complements a soft companion unit
  • easily absorbs any impacts
  • slip through back panel
Brand Briggs & Riley
Model SU121SP-4
Weight 9.2 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

What To Consider When Buying Luggage

Buying a piece of luggage is like buying a pair of shoes. No one piece will be right for every application, but the right one can make a world of difference. A budget traveler who often hoofs it for miles between hotels will have very different needs than a luxury traveler who always has a taxi or hotel car waiting for them at the airport. Careful consideration of your needs will ensure you get luggage best suited for your travels.

Size is one of the first, and most important factors that must be taken into account. For those who prefer carry-on to checking bags, it is vital that a bag's dimensions are checked before purchase to ensure it meets the average airline's carry-on requirements.

The weight of the luggage being considered should be factored into the decision making process. If your luggage will always be rolled from place to place, weight won't matter. For those who will be carrying their luggage for brief periods or loading it into cars, an extra couple of pounds can make things significantly more difficult.

Color can be another important feature. It is not uncommon for people to have trouble recognizing a black suitcase when it is on the luggage carousel sandwiched between a dozen others. Consider choosing a brightly colored or patterned option to overcome this.

Finally consider organization and accessibility. It can be helpful to have one or two exterior pockets to keep certain items where there can be accessed quickly. For those who travel often on business, luggage that has space for a suit or a separate area for shoes or documents can be handy.

Benefits Of Hardside Luggage Over Softside Luggage

Hardside luggage is more effective at protecting your belongings than softsided luggage, which can easily be compressed. If you will be transporting fragile items like electronics, bottles of liquids, or glass and wood souvenirs, hardsided luggage offers you a better chance of getting your items to their destination in one piece. Many of them feature cushioned interiors and have additional pockets for dirty items like shoes or worn cloths. Some may even include an interior garment bag or sleeve, making them more suitable for business travelers who need to arrive with wrinkle-free clothing.

Since hardside luggage is made from synthetic impact and tear-resistant plastics, as opposed to a woven fabric of some kind, they will generally last longer than comparably-priced softside luggage. It is not uncommon for a frequent traveler to use the same set of hardside luggage for nearly a decade of travel, whereas softside luggage can become worn or get ripped within just three or four years.

Hardside luggage also offers a higher level of security than softside luggage. Most come with an integrated TSA-approved lock, which will keep the contents safe, even if accidentally grabbed off the luggage carousel by another traveler. Many people don't bother buying a TSA-approved lock for their softsided luggage, and even if they do, the luggage can easily be cut open by a nefarious person looking to loot your belongings.

Types Of Materials Used In Hardside Luggage

Hardside luggage is most often made out of four types of material: acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), polypropylene, polycarbonate, or Curv.

ABS is an opaque thermoplastic and amorphous polymer that has many qualities beneficial to luggage applications, such as its light weight and reasonable impact-resistance. It also holds its color well, so you won't have to worry about your luggage fading over time. ABS is extremely easy to manufacturer and mold, which makes it a cost-effective material, but it doesn't have the sleek look of some other materials. For this reason, it is often found in luggage where price is more important than style.

Polypropylene is an oil-based plastic that is extremely tough. It has a higher chemical resistance than ABS and is more impact-resistant. It is a good choice for those who will be packing fragile items and are worried about rough handling from airline employees. Polypropylene also deals with drastic temperature changes well and there is very little chance of it cracking. Although somewhat more flexible than ABS, polypropylene is significantly heavier and wouldn't be suitable for those who will be carrying their luggage around often. It is a good choice for those who prefer a classy look and plan on rolling their luggage.

Polycarbonate also has a high impact strength, but unlike polypropylene, its chemical resistance is poor. Polycarbonate hardsided luggage is extremely rigid and lightweight, so it will do a good job of protecting your belongings without compromising portability. Also unlike polypropylene, polycarbonate luggage is not flexible and cannot be compressed to fit into overhead bins or stretched to accommodate large souvenirs. It also scratches easily and will show wear after just a few uses.

Hardsided luggage made from Curv, while generally costing more than other types, has an ideal mix of properties for the average consumer. Curv is a thermoplastic composite that combines the impact-resistance of fiber-reinforced composites with the flexibility of thermoplastic. It is lightweight, highly shock absorbent to protect fragile belongings, resists scratches, and has a fashionable sheen.

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Last updated on April 25 2017 by Chase Brush

Chase is a freelance journalist with experience working in the areas of politics and public policy. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, he is also a hopeless itinerant continually awaiting his next Great Escape.