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Last updated: 30 January 2018

Suitcases need to withstand different weather conditions and bumps along all sorts of surfaces. We test and review carry-on luggage for water resistance, durability, stability and more. Our how we test page explains our rigour, while our buying guide reveals what to look for. 

Did you know CHOICE tests more than just travel products? Check out our top 50 reviews.

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Our test covers suitcases designed as carry-on or cabin luggage, although you'll need to check individual requirements with your airline. We test soft and hard suitcases in both 2- and 4-wheel configurations.

Our expert testers give every suitcase a thorough workout to find the models that:

  • survive our tough lift-and-drop test
  • get through our rolling rig test unscathed
  • are the most water resistant and durable
  • are easiest to wheel around different surfaces.

Our interactive comparison tool helps you navigate our results and find out which brands are lightest and small enough to meet your carry-on needs. Our recommended list will help you see quickly which models came out on top in performance and ease of use.

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Brand

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List of brands we tested in this review.

Price

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We list the recommended retail price where possible for each suitcase as of January 2018. Shop around: in many cases, we found suitcases that were significantly cheaper than the recommended retail price.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 20 and 579

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Performance score

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Our testers conduct several technical tests to assess each suitcase's performance. The performance score is made up of the lift and drop test (60%), stability test (20%), rain test (10%) and puncture test (10%).

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 28 and 91

Hard or soft body

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Height (cm)

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Depth (cm)

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Width (cm)

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Test results

Stability test

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Our testers pack the cases with 4kg of clothing and place them on a tilting platform. The suitcases are tilted until they tip. We then record the angle the cases were at when they tipped over; anything over 15 degrees is very good.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 60 and 80

Ease of use score

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Ease of use is assessed by three triallists (including our expert tester). They score each suitcase on aspects like balance and manouverability. They also wheel the cases with a 5kg load over a range of surfaces including grass, carpet, stairs, asphalt and footpaths.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 75 and 85

Lift and drop test

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We subject our suitcases to 300 rounds of our lift and drop test, then grade the damage. Suitcases with no damage receive 100%. Those with substantial damage (for example, are missing wheels) score 0%.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 0 and 100

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  • Recommended
  • Overall score
  • Stability test
  • Puncture test
  • Rain test
  • Lift and drop test
  • Wheel durability
  • Performance score
  • Ease of use score
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  • Extended handle length (cm)
  • Number of wheels
  • Hard or soft body
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  • Expandable compartment
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