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13 Best Carry-on Luggage Pieces of 2024, Tested & Reviewed


Things aren’t always as they seem – especially when it comes to luggage. In our quest to find the best carry-on bags, we discovered that some suitcases may look good but they don’t always hold up well to the demands of travel. Some designs have attractive features that add bulk but not additional functionality, while others don’t quite live up to the hype.

Navigating the endless array of carry-on luggage options can be daunting, so our editors did the work for you. We tested 26 bags on countless trips to find the best options for every journey. Read on to find the best carry-on luggage, tested and reviewed by our team of experts.

(Note: Prices were accurate at the time this article was published; they may fluctuate due to demand or other factors. Original photos were taken by our editors during luggage testing. Studio images have been provided by respective luggage companies.)

Rachael Hood|U.S. News

Dimensions: 22 x 14.25 x 9.75 inches | Weight: 8.3 pounds
Packing capacity: 4-7 days; 37 liters | Color options: Custom color combinations include red, black, lilac and slate
Hard- or soft-sided: Hard-sided | Warranty: Limited lifetime with a 100-day trial

This fully customizable suitcase allows travelers to create a one-of-a-kind carry-on bag. From the front and back of the bag to the handles, zippers and wheels, you choose the color combination you love.

However, it’s not all about the aesthetics: This hard-shell suitcase has 360-degree ball bearing wheels that roll easily over multiple surfaces, including brick sidewalks and moving walkways. The telescoping handle is sturdy and adjustable, which makes the bag glide with you, and the front-access pocket has a key fob and room for a laptop, phone, glasses and small travel essentials. There’s also a built-in TSA lock. The back of the suitcase has an inset with a monogrammable leather tag to keep your personal information discreet while traveling.

I was extremely impressed from the moment I opened the box. It was nicely packaged in a blue ROAM-branded dust bag and the carry-on is beautifully constructed. It’s made of high-quality materials, and I found the compression panels with mesh zippered compartments to be extremely useful for both maximizing space and keeping items in place while traveling. But what really sets this bag apart is how easy it is to maneuver when fully packed for a weeklong trip. It glides effortlessly over all types of terrain, even inlaid brick sidewalks! The customized color scheme (which is really easy to do) takes this carry-on to a new level. Plus, you can create a coordinating tote or backpack to match. – Rachael Hood, Senior Editor

The Travelpro Platinum Elite Carry-On Hardside Spinner in cream on a pathway outside.

Leilani Osmundson|U.S. News

Dimensions: 23 x 14.5 x 9.5 inches | Weight: 8.1 pounds
Packing capacity: Up to 10 days; 45 liters | Color options: White, red, blue, green or gray
Hard- or soft-sided: Hard-sided | Warranty: Limited lifetime

The Travelpro Platinum Elite Carry-On Hardside Spinner is a truly well-rounded carry-on with a plethora of unique features. USB A & C ports on the outside of the bag give easy access to charging. (A power bank is not included, though the bag does have a pocket for one inside the expansion zipper.) Self-aligning magnetic wheels – a reviewer-favorite feature – allow painless travel through the airport as well as on roads, sidewalks, uneven surfaces and more. A built-in TSA zipper lock offers ultimate protection for your possessions.

Even without the features listed above, this Travelpro spinner is, at its core, a high-quality piece. The hard outer shell is ultra-strong and 100% polycarbonate; aluminum corner guards further protect your belongings. The clamshell-style suitcase has two large interior compartments along with three extra pockets, one of which is water-resistant, and the expansion zipper allows for an extra 2 inches of packing room. Plus, this carry-on is made with genuine leather trim, so you can travel in style as well as comfort.

There are some amazing features on this carry-on, but my favorite is the wheels – as someone who typically prefers hands-free travel (primarily backpacks), I found that the way this suitcase easily glides around everywhere absolutely changed my mind about wheeled luggage. Just know that since this is one of the larger bags on this list, I would still check your airline’s carry-on size requirements before traveling (though it’s been tested for most major domestic airlines, and it fit perfectly on Delta). – Leilani Osmundson, Digital Producer

Away The Carry-On in green in a brick alley.

Amanda Norcross|U.S. News

Dimensions: 21.7 x 14.4 x 9 inches | Weight: 7.5 pounds
Packing capacity: Up to 5 days; 39.8 liters | Color options: Black, navy, blue gray or olive, plus 2 glossy options
Hard- or soft-sided: Hard-sided | Warranty: Limited

When it comes to hard-sided carry-on luggage, nothing beats The Carry-On by Away. The bag is lightweight yet indestructible thanks to a 100% polycarbonate exterior. Plus, you can easily wipe away most scratches with a magic eraser.

In late 2023, Away launched a new iteration of The Carry-On that somehow made it even more efficient. The most notable new features are an additional underside grab handle, three extra interior compartments, and an enhanced compression system that upholds the bag’s ability to accommodate nearly a week’s worth of clothing. The bag’s 360-degree wheels are also slimmer than those of its predecessor for improved maneuverability. While Away has long been known for its neutral colored matte options, glossy options of this bag are now available.

The Away Carry-On is my ride or die. I’ve taken it on so many trips over the past five-plus years and it’s still in perfect shape. I know I’ll have it with me for many years to come. – Amanda Norcross, Content and SEO Strategist

Samsonite SoLyte DLX Carry-On Spinner in blue in an alley.

Catriona Kendall|U.S. News

Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 9.5 inches | Weight: 7.1 pounds
Packing capacity: Up to 7 days; 32 liters | Color options: Black, gray, green, aqua blue or royal blue
Hard- or soft-sided: Soft-sided | Warranty: 10-year limited

This classic soft-sided option from Samsonite offers everything you need for a smooth trip. There are three spacious pockets and a trolley strap on the outside so you can stack it on top of another rolling suitcase, as well as a USB port for charging your phone (though you’ll have to purchase a battery separately).

Inside the suitcase, three more zippered pockets – including one for wet items – help you stay organized, while buckles keep the main compartment’s tie-down straps out of your way while packing. This spinner can conveniently expand by 0.75 inches, but keep in mind if you’re flying that overpacking may put it over your carry-on size allowance.

I’ve used other spinner suitcases in the past, but none of them glide as smoothly as this bag, with its 360-degree dual-spinner wheels. I also love the high-quality, lightweight material, but my favorite part is its organizational features – especially the WetPak pocket. I’d highly recommend the Samsonite SoLyte DLX for anyone who needs a trusty soft-sided carry-on for a flight; it definitely fits more than I thought it would. – Catriona Kendall, Associate Editor

 July Carry On Light in black against a sunny window.

Rachael Hood|U.S. News

Dimensions: 21.25 x 14.17 x 7.5 inches | Weight: 3.9 pounds
Packing capacity: Up to 7 days; 32 liters | Color options: Beige, light green, dark green, lilac, charcoal or 3 others
Hard- or soft-sided: Hard | Warranty: Lifetime with 100-day returns

Weighing just under 4 pounds, this bag is the lightest hard-sided carry-on we found on the market. It’s constructed with an extremely durable German polycarbonate shell, and the interior has two mesh zippered compartments to keep your belongings from shifting. The inner nylon lining is also resistant to water and stains. To make the suitcase easy to maneuver, there’s a top carry handle, a telescoping handle and dual-spinner wheels.

I was absolutely shocked by how light this suitcase is. While some lightweight designs can be extremely flimsy, this July carry-on is very durable and holds a good amount of clothing. With compression packing cubes I was able to pack enough clothing for a week. It was extremely easy to put in the plane’s overhead compartment, and the wheels rolled very smoothly for my entire journey. The only thing I noticed is that since the bag is so lightweight, the trolley bag I had was making it want to topple. Next time, I’d use a smaller tote or a north-south design to avoid that issue. – Rachael Hood

Interior of DELSEY PARIS Helium Aero International Carry-On - Expandable Spinner.

Erin Evans|U.S. News

Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 10 inches | Weight: 8.16 pounds
Packing capacity: 5-7 days; 41 liters | Color options: Black, blue, red or gray
Hard- or soft-sided: Hard-sided | Warranty: 10-year limited

This DELSEY PARIS carry-on is a well-built piece of hard-sided luggage. It meets carry-on suitcase size restrictions for most international airlines and offers an easily accessible front compartment – ideal for a laptop up to 15.6 inches or other items you want to be able to grab quickly. The suitcase has a TSA lock and two spacious internal compartments for clothing, shoes and travel gear. The double-spinner wheels glide smoothly across all types of surfaces, and the handle pulls out and retracts with ease.

I was incredibly impressed by this little workhorse of a carry-on bag. There are so many different pockets and compartments within it for organization, and it fits a surprising amount of clothes, shoes and accessories. The handle and wheels make it easy to maneuver, and the glossy exterior makes it look sleek and chic. – Erin Evans, Managing Editor

Textured exterior of Amazon Basics 20-Inch Hardside Spinner.

Erin Evans|U.S. News

Dimensions: 21.46 x 14.76 x 9.45 inches | Weight: 7.34 pounds
Packing capacity: Up to 7 days; 23 liters | Color options: Black, navy blue, orange or light blue
Hard- or soft-sided: Hard-sided | Warranty: 1-year

The Amazon Basics 20-inch Hardside Spinner is similar to many other hard-sided luggage products on the market, but it’s available at a fraction of the price. The ABS shell is textured, so even if you – or luggage handlers – bang it around a bit, it does not show scuffs or scratches easily. The double-spinner wheels (a must, honestly, in today’s luggage landscape) make the bag effortless to maneuver.

Inside, one side of the bag features a compression strap, while the other has a large fabric zippered closure, complete with a few organizer pockets for smaller items. Thanks to its availability on Amazon Prime, the carry-on luggage ships quickly, so it’s also a great option if you need new luggage in a crunch.

This carry-on bag is a superb selection for the budget-conscious traveler. I appreciated how much I was able to get into this bag (it doesn’t look huge, but it fit quite a lot), and the textured exterior really ups the durability factor. The compression straps and the interior organizer even helped me squeeze in a bit more. – Erin Evans

Briggs & Riley Essential 22" Carry-on Expandable Spinner in blue against stone wall.

Amanda Norcross|U.S. News

Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 9 (up to 11.5) inches | Weight: 10 pounds
Packing capacity: Up to 7 days; 37-48 liters | Color options: Black, navy or olive
Hard- or soft-sided: Soft-sided | Warranty: Lifetime

The Briggs & Riley Essential 22″ Carry-on Expandable Spinner has a standout feature that other bags on this list don’t: one-touch CX expansion. Exclusive to Briggs & Riley, this technology allows your bag to expand and compress in one swift motion. Simply press and pull up on the red levers found at opposite ends of the bag, and it will grow 2.5 inches. Once you’ve packed your belongings, push down on the buttons to compress the bag before zipping it up.

This bag also features a garment folder to reduce wrinkles in a suit or dress, as well as cinch-down garment panels to secure the clothing in place. Other convenient features include interior mesh compartments for organization, an exterior pocket for airport essentials (or even your laptop) and a signature PowerPocket where you can charge your smartphone.

While the bag is undoubtedly an investment at $700, its “simple as that” guarantee (free repairs forever, no questions asked) – plus sturdy features like impact-resistant corner guards and self-repairing zippers – means you’ll have it for life.

When it comes to quality, this is the best luggage I’ve ever used – period. The compression/expansion system is just the icing on the cake. – Amanda Norcross

And open and packed CALPAK Luka Soft-Sided Mini Carry-On Luggage.

Rachael Hood|U.S. News

Dimensions: 16 x 14.5 x 9 inches | Weight: 5.1 pounds
Packing capacity: 2-4 days; 34 liters | Color options: Chocolate, oatmeal or rose quartz
Hard- or soft-sided: Soft-sided | Warranty: 2-year limited

Compact and filled with useful features, this CALPAK underseater has a water-resistant exterior, a TSA-approved lock, and side and top handles for easy lifting into the overhead or pushing under the seat. There’s a telescoping handle, a luggage trolley sleeve and two exterior pockets for stowing small items like your passport, boarding pass and earbuds.

On the inside, there’s a padded laptop sleeve, multiple interior pockets and compression straps. For added convenience, the main panel can be secured via built-in snaps to get your laptop out while traveling (and keep your other belongings from spilling out), or you can unsnap it while packing to maximize the interior storage space.

When I’m traveling on a quick trip with my laptop, this is my go-to bag. Its compact size glides easily under the seat, and it’s also compact and light enough to fit into the overhead bin even on the smallest regional planes. I love the laptop sleeve and the zippered exterior pocket for my book, earbuds and wipes. To maximize the interior space, I use compression cubes from Lug, and I’m able to squeeze in four to five outfits, a pair of shoes and daily necessities. – Rachael Hood

Interior of Amazon Basics Expandable Softside Carry-On Spinner – 20.4 Inch.

Erin Evans|U.S. News

Dimensions: 20.4 x 14.9 x 8.2 inches | Weight: 6.35 pounds
Packing capacity: 2-3 days; 26 liters | Color options: Black, olive, gray, red, blue or purple
Hard- or soft-sided: Hard-sided | Warranty: 1-year

This simple but sturdy carry-on piece from Amazon is a great option for business travelers, thanks to its front pocket for easy laptop access, smooth double-spinner wheels and TSA lock. This Amazon Basics soft-sided carry-on also features a handle on the bottom between the wheels, which makes it easy to put the bag up into and pull it out of the overhead bin. On some airplanes, it may even be small enough to fit under the seat.

The interior of the bag features one large compartment with two compression straps, plus two zippered pockets on the opposite site. The 20.4-inch option is ideal for shorter trips, but this style is available in larger sizes as well. Another bonus: It’s available on Amazon Prime, so it ships quickly.

This Amazon Basics option is on the smaller side for a carry-on, but that’s what makes it a solid choice for business travelers going on short trips who only need to pack a few things. The laptop pocket is easily accessible, and the handle on the bottom of the bag is super useful for hauling it out of an overhead bin. The black color is professional, and the price can’t be beat. – Erin Evans

Carl Friedrik The Carry-on Pro in black against chair.

Rachael Hood|U.S. News

Dimensions: 21.7 x 15 x 9.6 inches | Weight: 9.5 pounds
Packing capacity: 5-7 days; 43 liters | Color options: Gray/cognac, gray/chocolate, gray/black or black
Hard- or soft-sided: Hard-sided | Warranty: Lifetime with a 100-day trial

Constructed with premium materials, this luxury carry-on has Italian leather accents, Japanese spinner wheels and a polycarbonate exterior with an aluminum metal frame for stability. It closes via two secure latches with combination locks (rather than a zipper). There’s a front laptop compartment with a smaller pocket and pen slots to keep business essentials or travel documents easy to access.

The interior has leather details, compression straps and a removable compression pad with a pocket – ideal for small items like ties, fashion jewelry or silk scarves. Travelers can also purchase an additional compression pad to have a pad on each side of the interior compartment.

This suitcase exudes luxury with its Italian leather trim and understated elegance. The design of it looks very sleek, the interior is spacious, the handle is very sturdy and the wheels glide with ease. I especially liked that the top of the suitcase is very flat, which gave my trolley bag a secure base so it wasn’t moving around while I was at the airport, and the front compartment was ideal for accessing my laptop on the go. It feels very sturdy, but the only downside is it weighs more than a typical carry-on. – Rachael Hood

The North Face Rolling Thunder – 22" in black on rooftop.

Catriona Kendall|U.S. News

Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 8.5 inches | Weight: 7.34 pounds
Packing capacity: Up to 5 days; 40 liters | Color options: Black
Hard- or soft-sided: Soft-sided | Warranty: Limited lifetime

The North Face’s 22-inch Rolling Thunder duffel doesn’t have the bells and whistles of other carry-on options, but it’s a sturdy and reliable option for those who want a duffel style on wheels. The duffel has a hard-sided back panel, two wheels that can withstand various terrain and plastic bumpers for abrasion resistance. The soft-sided top of the bag is made of water-resistant Base Camp material and nylon for extra durability. There are two zippered pockets on the outside to stash small items and a mesh pocket inside for some added organization.

I brought this duffel on a trip to New Zealand, and it held up very well. The Rolling Thunder had no issues after being checked on six different flights, and the flexibility of the style allowed me to easily store it out of the way in my campervan once I had unpacked. It’s definitely a simpler style, but it does its job well. Be aware, though, that this wheeled style doesn’t have straps that would allow you to carry it like a duffel; it can only be rolled. – Catriona Kendall

An open Cotopaxi Allpa 35L with Cotopaxi packing cubes inside.

Leilani Osmundson|U.S. News

Dimensions: 22 x 12 x 10 inches | Weight: 3.5 pounds
Packing capacity: 5-10 days; 35 liters | Color options: Multiple options but color availability changes frequently
Hard- or soft-sided: Soft-sided | Warranty: Lifetime

When it comes to hands-free and adventure travel, the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L can’t be beat. This lightweight carry-on backpack comes with a sternum strap, a removable waist belt and a weight-distributing harness system, all to make for a comfortable carry (since sore shoulders can be a concern when it comes to carrying backpacks through time-consuming airport experiences).

Organization is a breeze with a top zippered pocket – perfect for storing travel documents or a Cotopaxi hip pack – and a padded laptop sleeve on the outside. Internally, you’ll find two mesh compartments, one large and one subdivided, that work great with Cotopaxi packing cubes. The backpack’s straps can be tucked away for more streamlined travel, and the bag even comes with a rain cover (though the Allpa is already TPU-coated to be water-resistant).

Furthermore, Cotopaxi is dedicated to sustainability: 94% of Cotopaxi products contain repurposed, recycled or responsible materials. The vibrant, one-of-a-kind Del Dia Allpa backpacks, for example, use remnant fabric.

I’ve taken my Cotopaxi Allpa on countless adventures and it’s survived everything – wind, rain, being shoved into tiny rental cars, you name it. Besides being incredibly durable, I love how much this backpack can fit; my longest trip so far with only the Allpa 35L as my luggage has been a comfortable nine days, and that included packing bulky cold-weather gear. I just wish it had a water bottle pocket like the Allpa 42L does! – Leilani Osmundson

Also Recommended

Solgaard Carry-on Closet – Large: This bag packs a built-in organizer component along with a durable exterior. The Solgaard Carry-on Closet is worth considering if you like to avoid packing and unpacking.

Solo New York Re:Serve Carry-On Spinner: While the Solo New York Re:Serve Carry-On Spinner is a solid (and sustainable) carry-on bag for less than $200, it doesn’t offer quite enough space – especially for someone who may be traveling for longer.

Away The Aluminum Carry-On Bag: This is a well-built carry-on bag. The only downfall is that it’s on the heavier side, weighing nearly 11 pounds. Away’s Aluminum Carry-On is also more than twice the cost of the standard carry-on by Away, which works just as well.

Lipault Plume Cabin Size Spinner: This is a great soft-sided option if you’re looking for a lightweight suitcase. Featuring a sleek nylon construction, a large front exterior pocket and internal zippered pockets, the Lipault Plume Cabin Size Spinner works well but isn’t as lightweight as the July Carry-on Light.

Monos Carry-on Plus: It’s a high-quality suitcase with a lot of internal details, but given its larger size this bag doesn’t fit in the overhead compartment on multiple planes (especially regional jets). That said, if you’re traveling domestically on larger planes, the Monos Carry-on Plus could be an option to consider. Or, the smaller standard Monos Carry-on could be a good option as well.

How We Tested

Our team tested 26 carry-on bags across several price points and on a variety of trips spanning overseas flights, weekend getaways, overnight trips and more. We traveled by car, plane, train and cruise and packed for a variety of climates and activities, from shore excursions in Mexico to rainy road trips around Iceland. For bags with wheels, we tested their maneuverability on multiple surfaces, including gravel, pavement, grass, moving walkways, cobblestone and carpet. After four months of testing, we deem these carry-on bags the best of the best for 2024.

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

The following editors personally tested the luggage recommended in this article:

Erin Evans, Managing Editor: Evans loves a durable bag and also can’t say no to a good deal. Considering how banged up luggage can get, her picks on this list are both well-made and affordable.

Rachael Hood, Senior Editor: Hood rarely checks a bag, yet she loves to pack a lot and pick up some new finds along her journey. She looks for a combination of durability, functionality, interior space and overall appearance.

Catriona Kendall, Associate Editor: Kendall opts for convenient and versatile carry-ons that can work well for weekend and weekslong trips alike.

Amanda Norcross, Content & SEO Strategist: Norcross has mastered the art of traveling with a carry-on bag only, but believes this is only possible with the right luggage.

Leilani Osmundson, Digital Producer: Osmundson prefers lightweight, streamlined luggage that’s ideal for adventure travel.

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