Best Hardside Luggage 

 January 28, 2022

By  Jacqui

When it comes to traveling, the most crucial component aside from your itinerary and transportation is your luggage. The ability to safely and convenient transport our belongings from one location to another is always essential, and obviously the luggage you use plays a key part in the process. 

Luggage is one of those items that many of us rarely have to shop for, so when it comes time to find the best products, it can sometimes be a little difficult to navigate the many choices out there — especially in regards to purchasing the best hardside luggage. 

If you’re in the market for a new set of hardside luggage, you’re in luck! Below, we’ll show you all the most important aspects and specifications to be mindful of when choosing your new luggage, and also include a number of our favorite picks for the best hard shell luggage currently available. 

So, whether you’re new to this type of luggage, or simply looking for some advice on what to get, we’ve got you covered. Let’s get things started by first explaining what hardside luggage actually is. 

Top 5 Best Hardside Luggage On The Market

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What is the Best Hardside Luggage? Keep reading to find out!

1. Amazon Basics Premium Hardside Spinner Luggage - best hardside luggage

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This luggage from AmazonBasics is an upgrade from their base-level version, combining high-end material and smart features to create an excellent value for the money. This particular model is 24 inches, and has the ability to expand up to 15% bigger than its original size. 

Rather than the usual ABS plastic, this luggage is made from polycarbonate material, which gives it better flexibility and shock absorption. Buyers can choose from six total colors, all of which have sleek, quality look to them.

A telescoping handle conveniently compacts back down into the luggage when not in use, providing you with an easy way to push or pull the bag around as needed.

On the inside, you’ll find a fully-lined interior that keeps your belongings safe, and plenty of organizers, compression pads, and dividers to keep things nice and neat. There’s also three zippered pockets so you can store smaller items that you need quick access to, saving you from digging around.

On the bottom, the luggage utilizes four sets of double wheels for better stability, and each set of wheels can fully rotate to ensure ideal maneuverability around tight corners and turns. As for security, the luggage includes TSA locks for the zippers, with a three-digit code you can set to your own preference. 

Overall, this hardside luggage from AmazonBasics offers an incredible value for the money, and you also have the option of purchasing the entire 3-piece set for around [amazon fields="B07C3W55CG" value="price"].

2. AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Luggage - best hard luggage

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AmazonBasics makes the list again, this time with a 28-inch luggage option that gives buyers an easy and affordable way to obtain a full-size hardside luggage for an unbeatable price. This luggage may not be very flashy, but it offers all of the core basics even the most demanding of travelers requires from their baggage.

Although the luggage is a full 28 inches, it still offers the ability to expand up to 15% in case you need to accommodate some extra items you may not have initially accounted for. The luggage showcases a simple, refined style, and comes in a choice of four distinct color options. 

The outer shell is made from ABS plastic, which still manages to offer a bit of give and flex, while remaining sturdy, lightweight, and rugged. A telescoping handle provides easy pushing and pulling, and the handle quickly compacts back down when not in use. 

The interior of the luggage comes fully lined, and includes a number of dividers, compression straps, and zippered pockets for organized storage and safekeeping. 

The wheel assembly consists of four double sets of spinner wheels that are incredibly rugged and durable, and manage to keep the noise to a minimum despite being made of plastic. 

The AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Luggage makes full-sized luggage accessible to those with lower budgets, without sacrificing on quality and craftsmanship. If you’re looking for an inexpensive option for a large checked bag, this is definitely the way to go.

3. Coolife Luggage 3-Piece Hardshell Suitcase Set - best hard shell luggage

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Some buyers tend to shy away from the thought of purchasing a full set of hardside luggage due to the assumption of a very expensive price. This is a valid assumption most of the time, along with the other assumption that cheaper luggage sets may be low in quality. This set from Coolife is the rebuttal to both. 

This luggage sets offers one of the best values you can find with any type of luggage, providing 20, 24, and 28-inch options for well around [amazon fields="B01GNMMQBY" value="price"]. Not only is this an inexpensive way to purchase a multi-piece luggage set, each piece looks amazing, and performs just as well. 

The set is made from ABS plastic, but still provides a sturdy, lightweight feel with a small amount of flex to absorb impact. You also get 13 total colors to choose from, ranging from pink (champagne), to black, white, purple, apple green, and red.

The inside of each piece provides a spacious interior with full liner, and a few mesh pockets included for good measure as well. The center pocket is also a divider, and one side of the luggage has straps to secure larger items like jackets and blazers. 

The handles extend for convenient handling, and compact back into the luggage body when not in use. Each piece comes with rubber spinner wheels that ensure smoother rolling on any surface, while effectively minimizing any noise too. This is a feature you don’t typically see on lower-priced luggage pieces. 

Each piece of the luggage set is also equipped with TSA locks, which fully secures the two zippers, and allows TSA to inspect your bag’s contents without having to break or remove the lock.

Overall, if you’re looking for one of the most affordable and high-quality hardside luggage sets on the market, with an expansive selection of colors as an added bonus, you simply can’t go wrong with this set from Coolife.

4. Coolife 20” Hardshell Carry On - best hardside carry on

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If you think shopping for hardside carry-on luggage means choosing between high-quality and affordability, this luggage from Coolife will change your mind. This 20-inch hardshell carry-on crams a lot of functionality, style, and craftsmanship into a well-designed product with an incredibly low price point.

The Coolife 20” Hardshell Carry-On has a unique and appealing look to it, and comes in a variety of colors. The luggage weighs just 6.7 lbs when empty, making it one of the lighter hardside carry-ons you’ll come across. The luggage is made from a mixture of ABS plastic and polycarbonate, which reduces the weight while giving the outer shell flexibility and increased impact resistance. 

The interior of the luggage is equipped with a full liner, and offers mesh pockets and dividers as well. The luggage can be pushed or pulled with a telescoping handle, which includes a soft, ergonomic grip. The handle also has three different adjustments on the length so you can get the perfect angle. 

Even though the bag is a carry-on, it comes with a TSA lock for added security, or if you still want to use it as checked baggage from time to time. 

The bottom of the luggage houses a set of four rubber spinner wheels that rotate in any direction, which gives it a greater sense of mobility for tight handling. The rubber wheels are a very nice touch, ensuring a smoother, quieter rolling motion regardless of the surface you’re on. 

This luggage from Coolife is easily our favorite in its category, offering a cool style, the functionality of a larger set of luggage, and at one of the best prices on the market.

Hardside Luggage, Explained

In the luggage world, you basically have two options: softside and hardside. Both names are pretty self-explanatory, but allow us to dig a little deeper and provide a better description as to what hardside luggage actually entails. 

As you probably guessed, hardside luggage is a type of luggage that has a hard outer body. This is the opposite of softside luggage, which has a softer exterior instead. 

Hardside luggage typically uses plastic or metal for the outside, creating a sort of shell that encapsulates the contents inside. The hard exterior is similar to what you’d find on a road case for instruments and other types of gear. 

The concept is simple: Hardside luggage provides a durable layer of protection for your belongings, while still offering all the functions you’d expect from luggage. That means it has plenty of storage space inside, with compartments to help you organize clothing and personal items. It also means that the luggage will have some type of wheelset to allow for easy transport, along with a handle to push or pull around. 

The end result is a mobile, durable, and convenient way to transport your luggage during travel that can also offer enhanced protection to your belongings. 

Anatomy of Hardside Luggage


This refers to the outer portion of the luggage, which is what gives hardside luggage its name. The shell can be made from a number of different materials, including:

  • Aluminum
  • Polycarbonate
  • Polypropylene
  • ABS Plastic

Aluminum is the original material used on the earliest hardside luggage products, and is still often used today. Polypropylene is the least prevalent material, while polycarbonate is often reserved for the most expensive products due to its additional level of durability and flexibility. 

ABS plastic is the most popular plastic used in hardside luggage, mainly due to its affordability. This is the least durable of all the materials, but can still withstand a high level of punishment.


The handle is what’s used to push or pull the luggage across the ground. Handles are usually able to extend up from the luggage’s body, making it more convenient to move or steer the luggage while you walk (or run, if you’re late for your departure). 


The wheels on hardside luggage allow it to move across the ground, rather than be carried during transport. Most hardside luggage has a set of four wheels instead of two, which enables the luggage to sit upright while moving. 


The zipper and/or seams are where the luggage opens up in order to access the inside. The majority of hardside luggage uses zippers to open and close the seam, which is found in the middle of the luggage’s body, splitting it into equal halves when opened. 


The interior of the luggage is where you keep all of your belongings. The setup of the interior will vary among different models, but the overall layout is typically the same, with equal room on each side for storage, and a number of pockets, sleeves, and straps to organize the items and keep them in place. 

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Should I Buy Softside or Hardside Luggage?

The luggage-buying process always begins with first deciding which type of luggage you’re going to go with. 

Although some of the factors involved with the choice can depend on some personal preferences and travel situations, we think hardshell luggage is the better choice between the two for a number of reasons. That being said, there are some situations where it can provide even more advantages as well. 

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when trying to choose what type of luggage you’ll need. 

How often do I travel?

Hardside luggage can benefit any traveler, but this is even more true for those who travel even somewhat frequently. Durability is a major part of hardside luggage, as it’s designed to withstand tons of punishment that comes from the baggage process on airplanes, trains, busses, and so on.

The harder exterior ensures greater longevity for the luggage, as opposed to softside luggage that is prone to ripping and tearing as time goes on. If you’re a frequent traveler using softside luggage, you may find yourself replacing the luggage on a regular basis.

Do I need to protect valuables in my luggage?

Aside from the protection of the luggage itself, hardside luggage is also much better at securing your belongings inside.

With softside luggage, you have a low amount of protection from things like moisture and impact. If you’re carrying valuables or fragile items inside, there’s a good chance that those items will sustain damage, especially if you’re flying. 

For those whose may not know yet, our baggage typically gets handled roughly during flights, getting tossed, dropped, and smashed into small space before making it back to the baggage claim. The outer shell on hardside luggage offers a much better level of protection from the rough handling.

Is available space an issue?

One of the only real advantages with softside luggage is the ability to alter the shape and space profile when you have a small amount of room, such as in an overhead bin, or if you’re trying to fit a large amount of luggage into your car for a trip. Hardside luggage obviously can’t be crammed or shoved into a smaller space. 

Aspects to Consider Before Buying Hardside Luggage

Are you ready to start looking for a new piece of hardside luggage? Here are the most important things to go over beforehand. 


The actual size needed for your luggage is the most important place to start. Most hardside luggage comes in size options anywhere from 16 inches to 28 inches, with anything over 20 inches being considered checked baggage — depending on the airline. 

Size is about more than just meeting airline regulations, however. You should also keep in mind how much you plan on packing on a regular basis. If you’re still unsure about sizing, it may be best to just opt for a 2 or 3-piece luggage set instead. 


The weight of your baggage has an effect on multiple things, mainly how easy it is to haul around, and potential charges from airlines that charge for checked baggage based on weight. 

Most hardside luggage options these days are fairly low weight, but you should still double-check, and consider the overall weight of your items you plan on keeping inside. If you have to carry your luggage for extended periods, or use it as a carry on, you’ll definitely want a lower weight model. 

Storage Space and Organization

One aspect you definitely don’t want to overlook is the interior setup of the luggage, which will determine the various options for packing and organizing your belongings not only in a convenient manner, but in a way that protects your items as well. 

The more pockets, sleeves, and dividers, the better. The same is true with compression straps, which help keep your items in place when your bag is being moved around. These features all help keep your clothing and personal items nice and neat, and also prevents them from damaging each other, or getting damaged from impact when being handled. 

Wheel Design

The wheels are one of the most underrated parts of the luggage, since they’re basically responsible for how mobile the luggage is when your transporting it. Always look for hardside luggage that has four wheels instead of two, so the luggage can sit upright while it’s being rolled. 

The wheel material makes a big difference as well. Smaller plastic wheels can often be a little noisy, and have a hard time rolling over small pieces of debris and even cracks or small divots on the ground. Rubber wheels are the preferred materials, since they make hardly any sound at all, and create a smoother rolling motion. 

The final aspect of luggage wheels involves their turning ability. Luggage equipped with rotating wheels is referred to as “spinner” luggage, which refers to the wheel’s ability to spin and turn. This gives you an ideal level of maneuverability that will come in handy on a regular basis. 


Hardside luggage is prized for its superior level of security that comes not just from having a hard outer shell that’s immune to being cut or ripped open by any potential thieves, but also the prevalence of zipper locks that prevent the luggage from being opened at the seam.

Look for luggage that comes equipped with what’s known as TSA locks, which are locks that TSA employees can open with a master key when they examine your bag. Using a non-TSA lock will often result in the lock being cut off or discarded by the time you get it back.

Extras Features

Hardside luggage has the potential for a number of useful extra features as well. This can include features such as expandability, which lets you increase the overall size of the luggage by 15% in a matter of seconds. Other models may have Bluetooth technology that lets you open and close the lock from the push of a button on your smartphone.

Other added features can include things like built-in phone chargers, removable laundry bags, built-in shaving kits, special compartments for shoes, and even hidden compartments. 


Hardside luggage is the superior option if you want to get the most out of your travel. We hope you have some better insight now as to what you should be looking for when shopping, and also which features to prioritize first. We highly recommend any of the products listed above, as each pick provides unbeatable value, a high level of quality, and even some sleek styling and added durability as well.

Regardless of which product you go with, you’ll be well-equipped for your future travels, wherever they may take you. Safe journeys, and thanks for reading!


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