The 10 Best Wheeled Luggage

Updated November 17, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

10 Best Wheeled Luggage
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 44 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Sure, packing will never be an activity we relish, but hauling your belongings when traveling for business or pleasure is a whole lot easier when you use a piece of easy-to-move wheeled luggage. Our selection was chosen for durability, capacity, and mobility, so you can find the perfect model for your next trip. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best wheeled luggage on Amazon.

10. High Sierra AT7

The High Sierra AT7 can be pulled like a suitcase or worn like a backpack, so it's perfect for multi-leg trips with mixed modes of transportation. It has padded grab handles so it's comfortable to grip even when fully loaded, and opens into three large compartments.
  • reflective piping for visibility
  • internal dividers are removable
  • handle wear not covered by warranty
Brand High Sierra
Model 57020-1041
Weight 10.4 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

9. Samsonite Ripstop Duffel

This Samsonite Ripstop Duffel is made from durable 100% nylon, and features a locking handle and many small zipper compartments. If security is one of your biggest concerns, the zippers on the main compartment have built-in locks.
  • internal nets keep items in place
  • straps can interlock with other bags
  • fairly heavy even when empty
Brand Samsonite
Model 46243
Weight 10.8 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

8. Olympia 8 Pocket

The Olympia 8 Pocket is great for the hyper-organized traveler, as it offers many zippered compartments, packing plenty of versatility into a carry-on sized bag. It has a flat, sturdy back that is rare for a duffle, which keeps your valuables from getting crushed.
  • easy-to-grab zipper pulls
  • convenient id card slot on rear
  • may topple over when standing alone
Brand Olympia
Model srd-22-Black-One Size
Weight 4.8 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

7. Eagle Creek Gear Warrior

The Eagle Creek Gear Warrior is perfect for sports and adventure travelers, since it's a rolling duffle with straps for securing gear to its top. It also features self-repairing, finger-friendly zippers, a bottle opener, and compression straps.
  • narrow enough to fit under most beds
  • myriad grab handles
  • could use some internal dividers
Brand Eagle Creek
Model EC020528010
Weight 12 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

6. Samsonite Underseater

The Samsonite Underseater features durable inline skate wheels, a sturdy retractable handle, and even a convenient water bottle compartment, making it a good choice for those long journeys. Plus, its small size makes it easy to carry and maneuver through airports.
  • built-in compartment for wet items
  • some pouches are removable
  • snap closures are a bit hard to use
Brand Samsonite
Model 55476-1041
Weight 6.3 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

5. Travelon Underseat

The innovative Travelon Underseat is, as its name would suggest, designed to fit underneath most plane seats, but remains a spacious option. Padded sides provide added protection, and the dimensions are slim enough to roll though the aisle comfortably.
  • fits well in overhead bins too
  • comes with an extra folding tote bag
  • doesn't have a laptop compartment
Brand Travelon
Model 6454-Black-One Size
Weight 5.7 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. Osprey Shuttle

The Osprey Shuttle has 6,600 cubic inches of storage space for longer trips. It also features large traction wheels that ensure smooth navigating whether you're in the airport or on the streets, and has TSA-approved lockable zippers for security.
  • effective 3-strap compression system
  • hard bumpers protect frame from wear
  • easy-access top zippered pocket
Brand Osprey
Model 10000097
Weight 9.3 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. Dakine Split Roller

The Dakine Split Roller comes in a variety of colors and patterns to suit business travelers and young globetrotters alike. The split-level design allows for quick access to most areas, and the top duffle compartment is collapsible for when you're traveling light.
  • sturdy ykk zippers
  • replaceable urethane wheels
  • corner caps prevent wear and tear
Brand Dakine
Model 08300150
Weight 15 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

2. Delsey Helium Aero 25"

The Delsey Helium Aero 25" features a hardshell exterior that is as glamorous as it is durable. It's built to get your luggage through security fast, with a side-mounted, TSA-approved lock and four 360-degree swivel wheels.
  • available in six metallic colors
  • glides easily even when full
  • expandable main compartment
Brand DELSEY Paris
Model 07647PL
Weight 12.4 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

1. Travelpro Platinum Magna 2

The Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 sports a rugged Duraguard-coated nylon construction with leather top and side carrying handles for comfort. It's well-balanced, is designed to meet carry-on requirements, and comes with a warranty that covers airline damage.
  • built-in garment bag
  • three-position telescoping handle
  • also available with four wheels
Brand Travelpro
Model 4091522
Weight 10.7 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

A Brief History Of Luggage

While human beings have been carting their possessions around the world since time immemorial, the suitcase as we know it has only existed since the end of the 19th century. Before that time, crates and trunks were the only options, and even the most stylish of those were really just glorified wooden boxes with a leather exterior.

Towards the end of the 19th century, the first of many transportation revolutions was well underway, and steam trunks were simply not well-suited to the many new ways of getting around. While tourism had once been a privilege only available to the upper classes, suddenly many more people could afford to travel. Of course, these newly-minted tourists did not have the luxury of a staff to carry their trunks for them, and so a new class of luggage was needed to suit their needs. The format had to be manageable by one person, which limited its size, and ideally could be carried in one hand, meaning it could not be too heavy. A strap or handle was also necessary for maximum portability.

The first luggage that resembled what we commonly use today came in the form of the suit case — a literal case for suits. It contained multiple compartments to ensure that each article of clothing was kept separated and in pristine condition during travel. Often, these came with matching hat boxes. In time, the format was adapted to accommodate women's clothing as well as other possessions.

The suitcase business was initially an offshoot of the leather goods industry. The products were still bulky by today's standards, often with built-in wood or steel frames, though they were far more manageable than their predecessors. By the end of the first decade of the 20th century, however, big business recognized the potential of hand-carried luggage and began to put major research and development into its suitcase offerings, not to mention a major marketing push.

By the 1920s, automobile travel was becoming increasingly popular and affordable. The market for suitcases grew in step with the new form of transportation, as did the number of offerings that could easily fit inside a car. A few decades later, the introduction of air travel necessitated a full-on luggage revolution. Bags had to be lighter and cheaper in order to sell in an increasingly competitive market.

Airplanes not only had specific size and weight restrictions on baggage, but also required travelers to transport their belongings much greater distances at a time. While you could simply carry a suitcase from your front door to your car, handling your luggage yourself from check-in to your gate of departure and onto the plane itself was another story.

American inventor Bernard Sadow conceived of the idea of adding wheels to luggage when traveling home from a family vacation to Aruba in 1970. He watched as airport workers moved equipment with ease thanks to a skid on wheels, and, regarding his family's own heavy load, realized the same concept could work. He applied for a patent, which was granted in 1972, revolutionizing the luggage industry forever.

From Two Wheels To Four and Back Again

Before wheels actually made it onto the suitcase itself, another invention was used to simplify the act of transporting luggage. Americans were buying two-wheeled carts that could be stacked with baggage and pulled behind them like a hand truck at a rapid clip. The bags were usually secured with elastic or leather straps. The carts could be folded up when not in use, so as to be out of the way once a traveler reached his or her destination.

The first wheeled suitcases, as developed by Bernard Sadow, did not follow the format of the wheeled carts. They relied on four wheels instead of two, and had to be pulled along by a strap in an upright position. This was no easier than using a two-wheeled cart, and, as a result, the initial wheeled bags were not ultimately as popular as they could have been.

In 1987, the Rollaboard suitcase was invented by Northwest Airlines pilot Robert Plath. This was the first model to use two wheels and a long handle that allows baggage to be rolled along at an angle. While Plath initially offered his invention only to fellow crew members, others traveling through airports took notice. Plath took note of the demand and quit flying to start Travelpro, one of the top competitors in the luggage market today. In just a few years, his two-wheeled design became ubiquitous.

Choosing The Right Wheeled Luggage

Luggage shape and size is now largely determined by the aircraft that will ultimately carry most bags. There are strict limits on what constitutes a carry-on bag, and they may vary from one region — or airline — to the next. The first step is to determine whether you want a carry-on bag or if you are willing to accept the hassle and fees that come with checking your baggage. If you simply know that you must travel with too much stuff to fit in a standard carry-on, well then the question is answered for you. If not, a carry-on sized bag will be easier for you to maneuver and will save you time and money in the long run.

Once you've determined what size works best for you, it's time to choose a style. Today, the battle between two- and four-wheeled luggage rages on. Unlike the four-wheeled suitcases initially invented in 1970, which followed the narrow rectangular format of the hand-carried bags that came before them, bags with two pairs of wheels have since caught up.

Today's four-wheeled bags work just like the initial Rollaboards — that is, they can be pulled alongside you by an extended handle at an angle. Their one advantage over their two-wheeled cousins is that then can also be rolled while upright and moved around without the extension of a handle.

Another consideration is whether you want wheels that swivel — often called spinners — or those that stay straight in their forward position. Both options have advantages and disadvantages, so it's a good idea to test out some bags in both styles before you make a decision.


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Last updated on November 17, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.


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