With so many different carry-on options out there, it’s difficult to decide on which one is the best. Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size fits all option with these! So for this guide, I’ve gone through and picked out a few common scenarios for specific applications. Below is a brief list of these options.
- TravelPro Maxlite 4 Expandable 21 Inch Suitcase Spinner
- Briggs & Riley Baseline Domestic Carry-on Expandable Upright
- TravelPro Platinum Magna Express Spinner
- Chester Travel Tote
- Delsey Luggage Helium Aero Carry-On Spinner Trolley
Best Carry-on Luggage Overall
For business and casual travelers alike, the TravelPro Maxlite 4 is the best overall carry-on. With a reasonable price and great build, this bag offers enough compartments and is light enough for every traveler.
TravelPro is a very reputable brand when it comes to the design and durability of their products. They are the original inventors of the Rollaboard Wheeled luggage and continue to develop a variety of rolling duffels, totes, backpacks, and more in their Boca Raton headquarters.
Although their warranty is not free compared to Briggs & Riley, they do offer repair services. With roughly a $400 difference in price, it may be worth trying the TravelPro model before shelling out $500 for the Briggs & Riley name.
Best Carry-on for Business Travel and Suits
For the frequent domestic business traveler, the Briggs & Riley Baseline model is undoubtedly the way to go. Although the price is on the higher end, you’re getting a product that is worth every penny. This bag is durable, well-designed, and caters to the business professional that regularly takes 2-5 day domestic trips.
Briggs & Riley has a long history of producing high quality products with an almost unbeatable lifetime warranty. If your bag becomes damaged either by you or the airline, you can rest assured they’ll repair the damage at no cost to you. Their lifetime warranty is actually a lifetime warranty and not just some marketing hype.
Not to discredit the great design of the bag and the business-specific features it touts, the company and its reputation behind the bag is really what makes this a stellar purchase. For someone constantly on the go, having a consistent, reliable bag is a must.
Best Carry-on for Men
TravelPro Platinum Magna Express Spinner
To start off, this model has an upgraded set of spinner wheels. TravelPro’s patented MagnaTrac spinner wheels self-align to move in any direction you push it. Anyone who has ever had to sharply change direction knows how some spinner wheels can get hung up and ‘drag’ or have to be readjusted. The MagnaTra fixes this problem.
For those who prefer more organization, the platinum magna includes several side pockets that allow you to separate dry and wet clothes along with a special area for accessories. Similar to the Maxlite, the platinum magna is designed to provide wrinkle free storage of your more delicate garments.
I had a tough time debating between this one and the TravelPro. They’re both great carry-ons, very well-made, lightweight, etc. etc. The one up the TravelPro has is it’s a soft-sided model. Some people may prefer having the hard-sided model over the soft-sided, but there’s one caveat. You never know who you’ll be next to on a plane or the items they’ll bring.
Most people fly economy, myself included, so eventually you’re going to be towards the end of the line when it comes to loading onto the plane. Not everyone’s luggage is equal and if you’re not able to cram your carry-on in an overhead compartment, then you’ll end up having to check it in, or place it somewhere else.
If you’re unfortunate enough to be unable to load your carry-on, it’s so much more of a hassle to make sure your bag gets to its destination. Because of this, I’ll almost always argue to have a soft-sided piece over a hard-sided piece as a carry-on, all else equal. You can’t cram a hard-sided piece the same way you can a soft-sided piece.
First class flier? Then this will probably be a better option than the TravelPro. The hard-sided offers more protection and looks a little sleeker. Apart from those two factors, these carry-ons are very comparable.
Best For the Casual Traveler
Chester Travel Tote
You may not have heard of this brand, but that’s just because it’s relatively new to the luggage scene. For the sake of transparency, they did send me one of these for free, so I probably have a slight bias since I didn’t have to pay for it.
Regardless, it is a great carry on. It’s about the same weight as the Maxlite 4, has 4 smooth spinner wheels, and a TSA approved lock. I highly recommend reading the full review on my blog, which has a additional pictures and a code for an additional 10% off.
So you have your carry-on, what’s next? Do you plan on staying for longer than a couple days or do you simply pack a bit heavier than most? Some don’t mind checking a bag as long as they’re able to bring a few more necessities. If you’re still trying to figure out what suitcase is best for you, click here to read my luggage buying guide.