The Best Carry-On Luggage of 2022 for Every Trip

In This Article

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

The Best Carry-On Luggage for Every Trip of 2022

Away

Whether you're an adventure extraordinaire or gearing up for your first big trip, the best carry-on luggage is a travel essential for any destination. Even if you love to travel, getting where you need to go can be a hassle, whether you’re dealing with long lines at airport security or delayed flights. One thing that makes the process just a bit easier is a high-quality bag that you can fill with all your travel must-haves. 

With so many options on the market, we did extensive research to determine the best carry-on luggage, considering factors like dimensions, weight, expandability, cost, and bonus features. We also spoke with Lydia Mansel, founder of Just Packed, to ask her for tips when selecting the perfect carry-on. 

In addition to the convenience of a carry-on bag that can fit in the overhead storage bin, “your shoulders will thank you for not hauling a weekender or duffel around for hours on end,” says Mansel. Also, carry-on suitcases are ultra-versatile, Mansel adds, so you can “use them forever—whether you’re going on a work trip, an extended beach vacation, or a quick city getaway.”

Of all the carry-on bags we researched, our favorite picks are the hardsided Away Carry-On Suitcase and the softsided Travelpro Platinum Elite Expandable Carry-On Spinner, which are stylish, versatile, and majorly spacious.

Keep reading to discover more of our top recommendations for carry-on luggage, in a variety of prices, styles, and sizes.

Best Overall Carry-On Suitcase, Hardsided: Away The Carry-On

Away The Carry-On

Away

Who it’s for: People who want a versatile, durable suitcase with plenty of great features.

Who it isn’t for: People who want a less expensive suitcase.

For a hard-sided carry-on suitcase that will never do you wrong, look no further than this hugely popular option made by Away. This suitcase is lightweight yet ultra-durable thanks to its hard shell, so it can handle a few bumps and mishaps without losing any of its shine. It’s the perfect compact size to fit in an overhead bin or throw in the trunk for a road trip while still being spacious enough to have room for all your essentials. 

This suitcase features 360-degree spinner wheels for easy maneuvering, a compression system to fit more clothes, and a hidden water-resistant laundry bag to separate dirty items. It also includes a TSA-approved combination lock for an extra layer of protection.

This suitcase is also stylish, available in eight core colors ranging from navy to sand as well as a variety of limited edition colorways. It features a black leather luggage tag as a special touch, which you can personalize with your name or initials for an extra fee. You can even add a USB charger as well.

Price at time of publish: $275

Product Details:

  • Dimensions: 21.7 x 13.7 x 9 inches
  • Weight: 7.1 lbs.
  • Expandable: No
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime

Best Overall Carry-On Suitcase, Softsided: Travelpro Platinum Elite 21” Expandable Carry-On Spinner

4.8
Travelpro Platinum Elite 21in Expandable Carry-On Spinner

Travelpro

Who it’s for: People who want a beautiful suitcase that expands for more room.

Who it isn’t for: People who want an inexpensive suitcase with a combination lock.

Hardside luggage not your thing? No worries—there are plenty of great soft-sided carry-on options, such as this bestselling bag from Travelpro. This suitcase has much to offer, from gliding spinner wheels to an expandable interior. It may be a pricier option, but if you can swing the cost, we promise it’s worth it.

This bag also comes with an external USB port and power bank pocket so you can charge your electronics on the go, and eight self-aligning wheels that make maneuvering a breeze. The inside expands by up to two inches and features a tie-down system to keep everything in place, and there are multiple accessory pockets and even a wet pocket for toiletries. Best of all, though, is the drop-in, fold-out suit compartment, where you can hang clothes to prevent them from getting wrinkled as you travel.

You can choose from seven colors, including rich espresso and vintage gray. It’s made from gorgeous leather, has elegant chrome zippers, and has a comfortable and sturdy contour grip handle.

Price at time of publish: $365

Product Details:

  • Dimensions: 23.5 x 14.5 x 9 inches
  • Weight: 7.8 pounds
  • Expandable: Yes
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime

Best Budget Carry-On Suitcase: Travelers Club Chicago Hardside Expandable Carry-On

Who it’s for: People who don’t travel often and want a budget-friendly carry-on bag.

Who it isn’t for: People who want a piece of luggage with tons of features.

For a sleek carry-on suitcase that doesn’t cost a fortune, take a look at the Travelers Club Chicago Hardside Expandable Carry-On. This suitcase comes in a variety of neutral and bright colors, has an expandable interior that creates up to two inches of extra space, and is lightweight and easy to carry. The spinner wheels won’t don't jam or lock, and the top and side handles are comfortable to grip. It doesn’t come with any bells and whistles, and it’s smaller than the average carry-on, but its versatility and ease of use make it a valuable addition to your luggage arsenal.

Price at time of publish: $53

Product Details:

  • Dimensions: 20 x 13.4 x 8 inches
  • Weight: 8.8 pounds
  • Expandable: Yes
  • Warranty: Not listed

Best Splurge Carry-On Suitcase: Briggs & Riley Baseline Essential Carry-On Spinner

Briggs & Riley Baseline Essential Carry-On Spinner

Amazon

Who it’s for: Frequent travelers who want a top-notch carry-on with all the bonus features.

Who it isn’t for: People who want a colorful or hardsided suitcase.

If you’re willing to spend a bit more on your luggage, we highly suggest checking out this fantastic option from Briggs & Riley. While it’s certainly not cheap, it’s worth the price due to the spacious fill, durable materials, and beautiful design. 

This bag is primarily constructed of durable nylon, which should keep it looking pristine for years to come. It features leather detailing (including a monogram, if you choose to add one for no extra cost), and comes in three classic colors (black, navy, and olive green). To give you ample room for packing, the inside expands with just the touch of a button, and there are plenty of pockets and panels to separate each of your items and prevent wrinkling.

The bag also contains a built-in tri-fold garment folder complete with a foam bar, big enough to hold two suits. There are several zippered pockets to store accessories and garment panels with straps to compress clothes. As for the outside, the luggage features a multi-stop handle with a cushioned grip, 360-degree spinner wheels, corner-guard protection, a leather ID tag, multiple pockets, a combination lock, and a strap to attach it to a second bag. 

Price at time of publish: $699

Product Details:

  • Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 9 inches
  • Weight: 10 pounds
  • Expandable: Yes
  • Warranty: Lifetime

Best Large Carry-On Suitcase: BEIS The Carry-On Roller

4.7

Who it’s for: People who want a slightly larger-than-average carry-on that can fit many items.

Who it isn’t for: People who don’t want to take any chances with their carry-on size.

For those in the market for a larger-than-average piece of carry-on luggage, we recommend this substantially sized bag from Beis. Not only is it bigger than most carry-ons, but it’s also expandable on the inside, so you can get an extra two inches of packing room for trips where you need to fit in a few more items. Ultimately, it can fit over 60 pounds of luggage, enough for a multi-day trip.

In addition to its ample size, this bag features 360-degree rolling wheels, a cushioned and comfortable silicone trolley handle, and a safety-ensuring combination look. It also has a weight indicator that lets you know if the bag is over the limit, which can come in handy for the airlines with specified carry-on limits. 

As for its design, this bag is made of stain-resistant and durable polycarbonate with vegan leather trim and a 3D stripe design. It comes in five colors, including atlas pink and navy, with simple yet elegant black wheels.

Price at time of publish: $198

Product Details:

  • Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.8 x 9.9 inches
  • Weight: 8.4 pounds
  • Expandable: Yes
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime

Best Small Carry-On Suitcase: Delsey Helium Aero X-Small Carry-On

Delsey Helium Aero X-Small Carry-On

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want a sleek and compact carry-on.

Who it isn’t for: People who want a carry-on that can fit a week’s worth of clothes.

Prefer a smaller-than-average carry-on suitcase? Then check out the extra-small version of this great bag from Delsey. It’s tiny enough to stow in an airplane overhead bin or in the trunk of a car with plenty of room to spare, but you can still fit a few days' worth of items without issue.

The bag is made from lightweight and durable polycarbonate material, with a cool ridged design that comes in seven sophisticated and sleek colors, from steel gray to metallic blue. The outside has a large front pocket that you can use to store essential items like passports or phone chargers, a laptop sleeve, and two zippered mesh pockets. The expandable interior of this luggage has multiple compartments separated by a lined divider and secure tie-down straps to keep everything in place.

Other notable features of this bag include double spinner wheels, numerous handles, and a combination lock. Price-wise, it’s on the lower end as far as this type of luggage goes, so you don’t have to break the bank to get a compact and valuable piece of luggage.

Price at time of publish: $180

Product Details:

  • Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 10 inches
  • Weight: 8.2 pounds
  • Expandable: Yes
  • Warranty: Limited 10-year

Best Lightweight Carry-On Suitcase: Samsonite Freeform Carry-On Spinner

5
Samsonite Freeform Carry-On Spinner

Samsonite

Who it’s for: People who want a carry-on bag that’s easy to tote around.

Who it isn’t for: People who want a bag that comes in many colors and styles.

This option from Samsonite makes toting your luggage a breeze due to the ultra-thin panel and unique design that increases packing capacity without adding on weight. And despite its light feel, it’s still durable and sturdy, able to keep up trip after trip.

This suitcase features multiple interior pockets to organize your belongings, a convenient cross ribbon, and a divider. It’s expandable too, so you can make even more efficient use of the space, and is easy to carry thanks to its comfortable push-button handle. The bag also comes with a combination lock, a built-in ID tag, and 360-degree double-spinner wheels.

Design-wise, this bag has a stylish modern look and comes in three color choices. It’s also affordable considering its size and quality, so you don’t have to splurge on long-lasting luggage.

Price at time of publish: $190

Product Details:

  • Dimensions: 21.25 x 15.25 x 10 inches
  • Weight: 6.5 pounds
  • Expandable: Yes
  • Warranty: Limited 10-year

Best Stylish Carry-On Suitcase: Paravel Aviator Carry-On

Paravel Aviator Carry-On

Paravel

Who it’s for: People who want a high-quality, gorgeous carry-on suitcase.

Who it isn’t for: People who are more traditional or minimalist.

If aesthetics is one of your top priorities, then you won’t want to miss out on this beautiful piece of luggage from Paravel. This carry-on comes in five elegant colors, including safari green, scout tan, and domino black, and features a gorgeous striped handle and wheels that match the color of the bag. Plus, it’s carbon neutral and constructed with recycled materials like recycled vegan leather trim.

This eye-catching bag is ideal for a few days of travel, with room for a handful of outfits and one or two pairs of shoes. Inside, there’s a helpful internal compression board, a removable accessories pouch, a laundry bag to store dirty clothes, and even a combination lock as an extra safety measure. The wheels have 360-degree rotation and are sturdy enough to use on various terrains. If you love the bag's design but need a larger capacity, you can upgrade to the slightly larger Carry-On Plus or the checked luggage version.

Price at time of publish: $350

Product Details:

  • Dimensions: 21.7 x 13.7 x 9 inches
  • Weight: 7.1 pounds
  • Expandable: No
  • Warranty: 5-year

Best Carry-On Duffel: Monos Metro Duffel

4.8
Monos Metro Duffel

Monos

Who it’s for: People who want an attractive duffel that can attach to luggage.

Who it isn’t for: People who want a bag that can fit several days’ worth of items.

Not every carry-on bag has to be a straight-up suitcase. This excellent duffel option from Monos has a sleek look, ample room, and serious versatility. It comes in either nylon or vegan leather and various colors ranging from oxford blue to saddle tan. It’s roomy enough to fit a laptop, books, umbrella, and a few outfits if needed.

One of the best things about this duffel bag is that you can place it on top of a suitcase for convenient carrying, thanks to its built-in trolley sleeve (which converts into a pocket when not in use) and adjustable, removable shoulder strap. 

There are magnetic snaps underneath the main compartments to help with packing, and it comes with a separate laptop sleeve and several side pockets. The material is water- and scratch-resistant so you don’t have to worry about damage or bad weather. To fit more essentials the bag features a small kit that attaches to the outside, ideal for storing chargers or small toiletries.

Price at time of publish: $210

Product Details:

  • Dimensions: 16.3 x 11.2 x 7.2 inches
  • Weight: 3 pounds (nylon) or 3.6 pounds (vegan leather)
  • Expandable: N/A
  • Warranty: Limited 2-year

Best Carry-On Backpack: Everlane ReNew Transit Backpack

4.3
Everlane ReNew Transit Backpack

Everlane

Who it’s for: People who want a large travel backpack with numerous compartments.

Who it isn’t for: People who prefer a suitcase or duffel.

Another fantastic addition to regular carry-on suitcases, this bestselling backpack from Everlane is bound to be your new closet staple. It’s larger than the average backpack, and is able to fit everything from clothes to shoes to laptops while still adhering to TSA requirements. It comes with a large 15-inch exterior laptop pocket, multiple zippered and slip compartments to store your valuables and other goods, and not one but two water bottle holders for quick access. The backpack also features a magnetic closure to keep your items safe, and a handy pass-through strap that you can use to attach the bag directly to your luggage.

This backpack is an eco-friendly option, made from 100 percent recycled polyester. It comes in five colors, including warm quartz and white sage/green milieu, and despite its heft, it looks super stylish when worn over the shoulders. It’s high-quality enough to last for years without suffering from rips, sagging, or discoloration.

Price at time of publish: $85

Product Details:

  • Dimensions: 12 x 17.5 x 7.25 inches
  • Weight: N/A
  • Expandable: N/A 
  • Warranty: Limited 2-year

Final Verdict

For a top-tier hardsided pick, we suggest the Away Carry-On Suitcase, while fans of the softsided look should opt for Travelpro’s Platinum Elite Expandable Carry-On Spinner instead. Truly, you can’t go wrong with either excellent option.

How to Shop for Carry-On Luggage Like a Pro

Size and Weight

Most pieces of carry-on luggage have enough room to fit several days’ worth of clothing, as well as one or two pairs of shoes and some accessories. If you’re a routine over-packer or often go on week-long trips, you might want to focus on luggage that comes in larger sizes with an expandable interior. If you don’t need much space, look for lightweight, compact luggage you can easily tote around the airport.

Hard vs. Softside 

While hardsided carry-ons tend to be more commonplace, there’s value to both versions. Hardsided luggage is usually more durable and spill-resistant, so it’s great for heavy duty traveling. Softsided luggage “gives” more and can usually be expanded, allowing for more room. Plus, softsided suitcases can adapt easily to tight spaces and usually feel more lightweight.

Features

One key component to consider when shopping for luggage is the number of compartments. “Pockets are super helpful if you’re someone who needs a little help with organization,” notes Mansel. Other important features include compression straps, expandable interiors that maximize your packing space, and handy extras like combination locks and laundry bags.

Questions You Might Ask

What are carry-on size requirements?

Although carry-on size requirements differ by airline, the typical standard size is 22 x 14 x 9 inches. You can probably get away with a few extra centimeters, and many carry-ons come in very slightly “larger” sizes, but it’s best to be safe and stick with the typical standard size.

Is there a weight limit for carry-on luggage? 

“There are no carry-on weight restrictions on most US domestic airlines, but try to stay under 30 pounds,” suggests Mansel. After all, “you want to be able to lift it above your head and into the storage bin.” Some budget airlines have carry-on weight restrictions, so check the airline’s guidance in advance or risk being charged a fee upon arrival.

What’s the best way to pack a carry-on suitcase?

“The best way to pack a carry-on suitcase (or any suitcase really) is to use a set of packing cubes,” says Mansel. “These are great for keeping everything organized, whether you use them to separate your items into categories (shirts, pants, etc.) or into outfits.” To maximize space, she recommends first packing your largest cube into the suitcase and fitting the smaller cubes around it.

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Rachel Simon, a writer for Better Homes & Gardens, Real Simple, The New York Times, and many other publications. She frequently covers travel products and did significant research on carry-on luggage for this story, including speaking with Lydia Mansel, founder of the travel resource site Just Packed.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles