CALPAK carry-on

The Best Carry-On Luggage to Buy in 2020

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What is the best carry-on luggage? is a question on every traveler’s mind these days. For me, there is nothing quite like a chic retro-inspired suitcase to induce that sense of wanderlust. For you, it could be a striking designer piece, a professionally looking hardside spinner packed with all technical conveniences, or the best carry-on backpack to take on your next flight. In the end, there is no right or wrong answer to this question, but rather different needs and preferences.

Luckily for all of us, with high demand comes even higher competition, and that means innovation, creativity, and choice. Luggage brands around the world are building better and better carry-on bags each year in order to satisfy every traveler’s taste and budget.

Whether you prefer your cabin companion stylish and classic, chic and feminine, or exceptionally practical and equipped with a bevy of tech features, we’re pretty sure you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for in the list below.

Here you have them, our handpicked recommendations for the best carry-on luggage in 2020 for every type of traveler. Bon voyage!

Best Carry-On Luggage Overall: M5 Cabin Luggage

Best carry on luggage in 2020

Loaded with tech features and enhanced with a personal travel assistant, you’d be hard-pressed to find a smarter luggage piece for short trips than this tough, beautiful carry-on bag from Horizn Studios.

Designed especially for frequent flyers, the M5 Cabin Luggage is crafted with premium aerospace-grade polycarbonate and features an easy-access front pocket made from Italian leather and waterproof nylon – perfect for holding a 15” laptop and other journey essentials.

Each case comes with upscale Japanese 360° spinner wheels and offers one-year access to Horizn GO – your dedicated travel agent. Tech-savvy travelers will also love the built-in/removable smart charger, which is compliant with all international flight regulations.

The M5 is our choice for the best overall carry-on luggage in 2020 because it has it all – smart design, innovative features, and killer looks.

Best Carry-On Luggage in 2019: Away The Bigger Carry-On

Best Carry On Luggage in 2019

Refined, unbreakable, and packed with lots of smart features, this iconic suitcase was, hands down, the best carry-on luggage in 2019, and still remains a strong contender this year. The removable laundry bag and interior compression system which allows you to make the most of the space inside are among its most popular characteristics. There’s also a built-in battery for charging your USB devices, as well as TSA-approved lock, and premium 360° wheels for a smooth, easy roll.

The Bigger Carry-On’s chic and durable polycarbonate shell ensures both your suitcase and contents stay intact during the trip, while also keeping the weight down. In a nutshell, this minimalist luggage from Away is sleek, sturdy, and excellent value for money – a must-have for any fashionista who likes to travel with extra outfits! We wouldn’t expect less from a company that makes some of the best travel luggage out there.

Best Affordable Carry-On: CHESTER Minima

Affordable Carry-On

Impact resistance and lightness are among Minima’s strongest features, enhanced by a sleek, contemporary design and a host of modern conveniences.

Fabricated from 100% polycarbonate, Chester’s 22″ carry-on luggage is one of the lightest and best value pieces in its category. However, this doesn’t mean it compromises on quality and convenience. On the contrary, with two spacious compartments, three interior organizers, and a removable nylon laundry bag, you have the room you need to neatly store your belongings when traveling.

Furthermore, its 4 silent spinner wheels along with the telescoping ergonomic handle ensure 360-degree mobility through the terminal, while the TSA-compliant size and lock make your journey as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Best Carry-On with Laptop Compartment: NOMATIC Carry-On Pro

Nomatic Carry-On Pro

Smartly styled and sturdily constructed, the NOMATIC Carry-On Pro answers the needs of connected, style-conscious travelers with an instant access tech compartment and a padded, pocket-filled tech case that doubles as shoulder bag for your laptop and gadgets once you arrive at your destination.

The outer shell is made of 100% Makrolon polycarbonate and comes accompanied by smooth-rolling Hinomoto wheels and strong three-stage aluminum handle. The interior is just as neat, with novelties like space-savvy compression cubes, custom magnetic compression straps, and a folding panel that can be adjusted to fit your needs.

Best Softside Carry-On Luggage: Away The Expandable Carry-On

Best Softside Carry-On Luggage

Part of Away’s first ever softside luggage collection, The Expandable Carry-On shares many of the same virtutes as its hardside counterpart, yet it’s strikingly different.

The exterior is made from durable, water-resistant nylon and features an easy-access front pocket suitable for a 15″ laptop. Also here, a built-in zipper increases the bag’s capacity up to 4.5 cm., making it perfect for those who can’t resist shopping when on vacation. Apart from that, Away’s interior compression system and removable laundry bag are still there, along with the TSA-approved combination lock and 360-degree spinner wheels.

Best Hardside Carry-On Luggage: Lexicon Hardside Frequent Flyer Carry-On

Best carry on hard case luggage

With a special integrated multi-tool – containing pen, sim card replacement tool, ID tag, and USB port, the Lexicon Hardside Frequent Flyer Carry-On will impress even the most tech-savvy globetrotter.

This futuristic cabin size trolley case from Victorinox (the maker of the Swiss Army Knife) is constructed from durable 100% virgin polycarbonate with a scratch-resistant matte finish and comes with ultra-recessed wheels to maximize both maneuverability and packing capacity.

Best Carry-On Garment Bag: Hook & Albert Garment Luggage Carry-On

Best carry-on luggage for suits

If you are on a lookout for the best carry-on luggage for suits, then your quest can stop at Hook & Albert. Pairing function with style, their handsome Garment Luggage Carry-On keeps packed items in perfect condition thanks to its integrated extended-length garment bag and innovative compression system with height adjustability.

Crafted from durable ballistic nylon and detailed with elegant leather accents, premium Durable Hursen wheels, and strong handles, this is one of the best designed garment bags for traveling professionals.

Best Lightweight Carry-On Luggage: Samsonite Freeform

Best Lightweight Carry-On Luggage

Freeform, one of Samsonite’s coolest carry-on suitcases, combines strength and maneuverability with a unique futuristic design. Appointed with multiple pockets as well as interior cross-ribbon and divider, the 21″ hardshell spinner makes for easy, effective packing and organizing.

Needless to say, this sleek rolling luggage piece is extremely lightweight and made from strong, high-quality materials to provide long-lasting durability. Further characteristics include four multi-directional double spinner wheels, telescopic handle, expandable capacity, TSA Lock, and built-in ID tag.

Best for Organization: The Carry-On Closet

The Carry-On Closet

Taking proper care of your precious clothes when on the road is no easy job. But, what about a valise that doubles as a portable closet?

Aptly named The Carry-On Closet, this creative, cabin-approved hardshell spinner luggage designed by Solgaard has built-in retractable shelves to keep your garments nicely separated and wrinkle-free wherever the day may take you.

Most Stylish Carry-On Bag: Bellagio 21″ Pocket Spinner Trunk

Stylish Carry-On Bag

The perfect marriage of fine Italian craftsmanship and contemporary features, the Bellagio 21″ Pocket Spinner Trunk from Italian manufacturer BRIC’s will add a touch of class to any holiday or business trip.

Crafted of durable, lightweight polycarbonate, the vintage-styled suitcase is trimmed with luxurious vegetable-tanned Tuscan leather while featuring modern conveniences like a large front pocket for easy access to laptop and documents.

A 360-degree four-wheel system allows for easy maneuverability through busy airports and crowded city streets, and its generous satin-lined interior is divided into two double-decker compartments with intuitive zip pockets for organizing your essentials. It also includes a TSA-approved combination lock and an ergonomic telescoping handle.

Best Carry-On Luggage for Women: Delsey Chatelet Hard

Best Carry-On Luggage for Women

No fashionista’s summer essentials list would be complete without a chic suitcase that really gets her in holiday mood. With the feminine, vintage-inspired Delsey Chatelet Hard, you will be the envy of all ladies around the baggage carousel!

This nostalgic French beauty brings to mind glamorous Parisian breaks and sunny French Riviera getaways, while also providing functionality and durability. Aside from 4 quiet, easy-running double wheels and an inbuilt TSA lock, the cabin trolley case has a patented integrated brake that locks your wheels, preventing it from rolling away on the steep, cobbled streets of Montmartre.

Best Carry-On Luggage for Men: 21″ Hartmann Century Hardside Carry-On Expandable Spinner

Best Carry-On Luggage for Men

Lightweight, contemporary, and perfectly organized, the 21″ Hartmann Century Hardside Carry-On Expandable Spinner is the perfect accessory for the stylish jetsetter. With its polished and durable polycarbonate shell, smooth rolling wheels, and removable trifold suiter designed for wrinkle-free storage, this beautiful piece of luggage oozes cool urbane sophistication, making a fantastic addition to any man’s travel essentials collection.

Best Carry-On Luggage for Kids: Jetkids by Stokke Bedbox

Best Carry-On Luggage for Kids

Thanks to its ingenious design, with a foot ledge, extendable lid, and a mattress, this 19″ ride-on suitcase from Stokke Bedbox converts into a leg rest or in-flight bed for children during flight.

One of the best carry-on bags for boys and girls on the go, the Jetkids can be pulled, pushed, or ridden, and comes with shock-absorbing swivel wheels for easy maneuverability through the airport. The interior provides plenty of space for your child’s must-haves and there’s also an adjustable strap for parents to carry it over their shoulders.

Compact, lightweight, and decidedly fashionable, this hardside kids’ carry-on luggage adds a bit of fun and comfort to any family travel plans.

Best Carry-On Luggage for International Travel: Briggs & Riley International Carry-On Expandable Spinner

Best Luggage for International Travel

From wandering millennials to stylish global jetsetters, everyone will find something to love about this shimmering rolling suitcase from Briggs and Riley.

Constructed from three-layer Makrolon polycarbonate, the International Carry-On Expandable Spinner is sleek, lightweight, and impact resistant. It rolls effortlessly on four double-spinner wheels and features the brand’s signature CX technology, which allows you to expand the bag up to 34 percent, pack everything you need for the road inside, and then compress it back down to carry-on size.

For the ultimate travel ensemble, pair it with a soft companion piece from the same Sympatico luggage collection.

Most Durable Carry-On Luggage: Zero Halliburton Pursuit International Carry-On Case

Most Durable Carry-On Luggage

Zero Halliburton’s original suitcases were used to carry rocks back from the moon during the Apollo 11 mission, so to say their International Carry-On Case is sturdy and well made would be an understatement.

Part of the new Pursuit collection, this badass travel case is crafted from premium anodized aluminum, with a matte finish that minimizes scratch marks, as well as premium ball-bearing controlled wheels and draw-bolt latches with two TSA-approved combination locks. As a novelty, the valise allows the customization of virtually every component and is enhanced by patent-pending ZH Concave Edging™ architecture for added strength and durability.

Most Customizable Carry-On Luggage: The Jaunt by ROAM

Most Customizable Luggage

Meet the world’s first fully customizable luggage! Made of 100% virgin Polycarbonate with a trademarked nano-coating finish, The Jaunt by ROAM steals the show with its sleek, sturdy design, unparalleled lightness, and personalized looks.

Thanks to a bevy of configurable components, you’ll be able to design your own dream suitcase from scratch online and have it delivered right at your door. You can basically personalize everything, from outer shell colors to wheel caps, stitching, zipper/zipper pulls, binding, carry-handle, and telescoping handle rods. You can even choose a shade for the patch from 11 options available and then add a monogram with your initials.

Bespoke aesthetics aside, this wheeled carry-on roller suitcase sports a soft mesh interior with two zip pockets, and comes appointed with TSA-approved lock, ergonomically designed handles, and top-grade Hinomoto wheels.

Best Carry-On Backpack: Standard’s 35L Carry-on Backpack

Best Carry-On Backpack

A 3-in-1 travel backpack, this versatile luggage piece converts into a suitcase or shoulder bag in no time, all while fitting 5-7 outfits into a carry-on size. Equipped with padded back ventilation, hide-away straps, detachable hipbelt, and a roll-aboard strap that attaches to rolling luggage, it offers the ultimate in carrying comfort on the road.

Able to expand to 45L, Standard’s 35L Carry-on Backpack is part of a novel travel system sold alongside transforming accessories for the urban travel market. It’s tough, stylish, and gloriously functional, which makes it an ideal companion for digital nomads, business travelers, weekend warriors, and pretty much anyone consistently on the move.

The 1680D ballistic nylon exterior is durable and water-resistant, while the interior is smartly organized, with a dedicated laptop sleeve and all sorts of pockets for gear and accessories. A full-perimeter zip enables a wide opening for easy packing and access to contents, lockable zips on main pocket & laptop pocket provide extra security, and a raincover helps keep the bag dry in wet weather conditions.

Its convertible design, expandable capacity, and thoughtful features place it amongst the best travel backpacks on the market. It comes in two colors and is backed by a lifetime warranty. Pair that with the fact that Standard is the only online travel backpack retailer offering free worldwide shipping and you can see why we love this hybrid cabin bag so much.

Best Value Aluminum Carry-On: TREK Aluminum Suitcase Black

Best Value Aluminum Carry-On

If you haven’t heard of MVST Select, you should. The brand specializes in premium quality luggage at affordable prices. Their Trek Aluminium Suitcase, for instance, is not only remarkably durable and well designed but also seriously stylish. It sports an unbreakable aluminum-magnesium alloy shell complemented by reinforced corners, TSA-approved combo locks, and water-resistant rubber sealing, as well as ultra-smooth spinner wheels that make maneuvering a breeze. An aluminum telescoping handle provides ergonomic comfort, while the interior compression system keeps your belongings organized and secured.

This classy cabin-size suitcase is for frequent travelers who don’t mind making a statement, but MVST Select offers carry-on luggage for every taste, including aluminum, carbon fiber, and polycarbonate collections.

Best Two-Wheel Carry-On Luggage: Timbuk2 Copilot Luggage Roller

Timbuk2 Copilot Luggage Roller

Modern road warriors will fall in love with the Timbuk2 Copilot Luggage Roller, an ultra-lightweight softside carry-on spinner with a unique clamshell design and various easy-access compartments for shoes, dirty clothes, and cosmetics. Not only that, but this cool 2-wheeled luggage roller sports removable skateboard wheels and a bike-inspired handle system; comes in two carry-on sizes; and is backed by lifetime warranty.

Best Luxury Carry-On Luggage: RIMOWA Essential Cabin

RIMOWA Essential Cabin

RIMOWA is synonymous with high-end, innovative hard case luggage, and this glossy black carry-on bag is no exception.

As the world’s first polycarbonate suitcase, the RIMOWA Essential Cabin has all the makings of the perfect wheeled carry-on: a high-end multiwheel system, stageless telescopic handle, and TSA-approved locks. Moreover, its high-tech polycarbonate shell is engineered with extreme precision to offer you the ideal balance of lightweight and sturdiness, while the patented Flex-Divider system keeps contents organized during transit.

Best Underseat Carry-On Bag: Murphie Under-Seat Carry-On

Best Underseat Carry-On Bag

Compact, efficient, and decidedly chic, the Murphie Under-Seat Carry-On is the perfect choice for travelers craving comfort and convenience during their flight. Not only does it fit perfectly under the seat, but it also has a roomy, fully-lined main compartment, as well as multiple interior/exterior pockets for keeping small items organized.

Made from durable polyester, this Calpak soft-sided underseater features smooth-rolling wheels and a push-button telescoping handle system for hassle-free mobility. The pass-through sleeve on the back is a nice touch too, as it lets you attach it to the handle of larger sized luggage and converts into a zippered pocket when not in use.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you’re after drop-dead gorgeous carry-on luggage under 100$, look no further than the Murphie!

Best Carry-On Luggage for Frequent Travelers: Travelpro Crew 11 21″ Expandable Spinner Suiter

Best Carry-On Luggage for Frequent Travelers

Designed with pro travelers in mind, the Crew 11 21″ Expandable Spinner Suiter from Travelpro is the epitome of practicality. Equipped with a removable 2-fold garment bag and a variety of pockets for fitting in all your essentials, it helps you pack like a flight attendant and stay organized while on the road.

This versatile, high-quality travel bag in patriot blue comes with a variety of smart features too: think patented 360-degree dual spinner wheels, a dedicated power bank pocket, and an external USB port to power up your devices on the go.

Add a rugged water, stain, and abrasion resistant ballistic nylon exterior, plus premium leather top & side carry handles and a PowerScope extension handle that adjusts to multiple heights, and you have one of the best in-flight cases for frequent travelers.

Best Carry-On Spinner: Samsonite Winfield 2 Fashion 20″

Best Carry-On Spinner

There is a lot to love about this glossy hardside carry-on from Samsonite: it’s highly impact resistant; comes packed with modern features; and the design is both functional and eye-catching.

Made of 100% polycarbonate, the Winfield 2 Fashion 20″ Spinner makes travel effortless thanks to its retractable handles and smooth multi-directional wheels. The case comes in 4 striking metallic colors and its interior is fully lined and well laid out for efficient organization. Busy travelers will also appreciate the mounted TSA combination lock and the 10-year warranty.

Best Carry-On Luggage for Standing Out at Baggage Claim: Oh Joy! Carry-On Luggage

CALPAK carry-on

Complement your summer outfit with a trendy 20-inch hardshell spinner in the colors of the sunset. Oh Joy! is a light and durable CALPAK luggage created in collaboration with designer & blogger Joy Cho. Its two separate packing compartments will fit all your party outfits, while the additional pockets are perfect for securing small personals and accessories.

If you want a well-designed suitcase that’s both sturdy and stylish, this is it!

Best Carry-On Luggage for Business Travel: Vocier F38

Best Carry-On Luggage for Business Travel

Perfect for business travelers with a sense of style, this classy Tuscan leather carry-on trolley fits two suits and keeps them free of wrinkles until your next meeting, wherever in the world that may be.

Designed by German manufacturer Vocier, F38 Luggage uses an original Zero-Crease System to keep your outfits intact in a special compartment that gently curves around the cotton-lined interior. Once you arrive at the destination, just open the main zipper and hang the bag in the closet.

Also, a unique storage area hidden beneath the handle allows easy access to your passport, phone, and flight tickets for getting through security fast. The best cabin luggage for business travel, hands down!

Best Aluminum Carry-on Luggage: The Frame Carry-On (Aluminum Edition) by Arlo Skye

Best Aluminum Carry-on Luggage

Travel the world in style with the beautiful Frame Carry-On (Aluminum Edition) from Arlo Skye. Envisioned by former employees of Tumi and Louis Vuitton, this sleek, unbreakable piece of luggage features an innovative zipper-less design with TSA-approved clasp locks, elegant hand-stitched leather handles, and whisper-quiet Silent Run Lisof wheels.

Complementing its splendid, monochrome aluminum-alloy shell is an antimicrobial interior lining, as well as a built-in removable charger for juicing up your devices on the go.

Best New Entry: Topo Designs 35L Travel Bag Roller

New carry on luggage

Topo Designs’ iconic travel bag just got a pair of wheels, transforming itself into the perfect softshell carry-on.

The newly introduced Travel Bag Roller 35L has stowable backpack straps, a telescopic handle, and grab handles on three sides so you can carry it whatever way feels comfortable.

With front zippered slip pockets, spacious internal compartments, and mesh pockets for small gear, this versatile roller will fulfill all your organization needs. Designed to make one bag travel as easy as possible, it also features heavy-duty, crush-proof wheels, a rugged molded back, and PackFast bag attachment clips.

  1. Thank you SO MUCH for this article! I have been searching endlessly for luggage that is functional AND stylish. I have been inundated with either kitschy, futuristic or plain boring luggage in all of my searches. You provided me with many options I had not previously found and while quite a few were out of my price range, I did go with the Delsey model you listed. Excited to take her for a spin!

    1. Hi Nicole,

      I’m really happy you found the article useful. The Desley luggage is one of my favorites, too.

  2. Hello Miruna, I, too, have found this article very useful, especially given that I’m in search of regulated size cabin luggage with lots of room for transatlantic travel. Good stuff. Some were out of my price range, but I’ve definitely found a few that are within my price range AND functional AND funky!

  3. The article was well written, however, I feel you left out the 2 most important pieces of information. The weight of each piece and cost. I’m sure you had that info, why not include it?

    1. Hi Maria,

      We decided it would be better for the reader to follow the link to the website where the product is sold and find out more information there. Some of the companies only list the case dimensions, without wheels and handles. We don’t include the prices because these vary greatly from one website to another, plus the companies come with different deals/discounts each day, making an exact price difficult to mention. We suggest you follow the link to the product you like for more information and prices. We always update our links to get you the best deals available.

  4. Your article is certainly à rare pearl and the most fresh one. However, any idea if I’m looking for business function (frequent international traveler) yet outdoor quality (since I’m kinda amazed by the sensation of pulling the handle of my friend’s North Face ?


    1. Hi Aimée,

      In this case, I would recommend the Victorinox carry-on (see above). Or maybe something from Rimowa or Zero Halliburton.

  5. Avatar karen kauder says:

    You need to update the dimensions listed for these products to provide the TOTAL external dimensions including wheels and handles. I purchased the Delsey you have listed and the dimensions you have are for the case only. The actual total dimensions place this outside of the allowable carry on by about an inch or more each direction. It may be fine much of the time, but SOME airline staff are super diligent and will not let even an extra inch on board the plane. That can be a disaster.
    I need to know which will be allowed for sure! Only total dimensions will ensure this.
    Please be sure readers know these are not total dimensions.

    1. Hi Karen,

      After some careful consideration, we decided it would be better if we remove the Size & Weight from each product entirely. You are correct, some luggage companies only list the case dimensions. To avoid further confusions, we think it would be better for each person interested in buying a piece of luggage from above to follow the link to the product’s page and find out more details there.

  6. Avatar Frederick says:

    Does anyone know what are the carry-on luggage size requirements for United and Delta?

    1. Hi Frederick,

      For United:
      The maximum dimensions for a carry-on bag are 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches (22 cm x 35 cm x 56 cm), including handles and wheels.

      For Delta:
      – Baggage may not exceed 45 linear inches (or 114 cm) in combined length, width and height, including any handles and wheels, with the exception of small musical instruments that fit in the overhead compartment space or under-seat space available at the time of boarding.
      – Baggage must meet carry on size limits (approximately 22″ x 14″ x 9″ or 56 x 35 x 23 cm).


      Regardless of the company you choose to fly with, we encourage you (and all our readers) to always double check their carry-on luggage rules/size requirements as these are not only different from one another, but also subject to change without notice.

  7. Avatar Brent Tito says:

    Love your attention to detail on these luggages. However I prefer leather duffle bags both carry on and check in. Any recommendations? looking for organisation , style, waterproof etc. thanks

  8. Love some of these suitcases but many airlines do not allow those with built in charges due to fire hazards.

    1. Hi Juliet! All smart suitcases featured in this article have removable batteries.

  9. Avatar Kerry M Costigan says:

    Heres a warning on carry on, check your airline for allotted dimensions, Aer lingus max carry on is 21.5 x14.5 x 9.5 max which includes wheels and handle, so you basically need an 18in carry on, and if you purchase online as I have noticed they do not give the overall dimension (wheels and handles), so you could end up checking your bag and paying an xtra fee because your 2 inches over due to handles or wheels.

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