Life is all about the comings and goings, which is why it's important to have some high-quality luggage to take you from coast to coast. More specifically, a durable and functional carry-on. However, finding such is always easier said than done.
That's why we took it upon ourselves to truly figure out the best carry-ons, relying on things like user reviews, social popularity, and recommendations from travel publications to give us a more objectified comparison and product breakdown. The results from our research are compiled below in our Top 10 carry-on luggage guide.
Generally speaking, it’s a pain to pack small, but these 10 best suitcases certainly lessen the burden. Supremely stylish and made to navigate through streets and crowds easily, these carry-on suitcases will set you apart from the sea of other travelers’ gear. We’ve got a wide variety of styles to choose from, so any jet setter's style will be represented wherever they go.
What To Look For In A Carry-On
When shopping for your next carry-on suitcase, there are a few things to keep in mind that will help ensure you find the right one for your travels.
First, there’s the exterior, which typically comes in either a hard or soft option. A hard exterior has a solid outer shell and is more protective if you’re traveling with fragile goods. A soft exterior typically comes with more compartments than a hard one and offers more flexibility when it comes to packing. We always seem to come back from trips with more than we came with, right? If that sounds like you, we suggest opting for a soft expandable option. Don’t forget about the interior of the suitcase, either. Make sure it offers plenty of space or compartments that can accommodate all of your clothing and belongings.
Next, take a look at the wheels. If you like a more traditional appeal, you may want to opt for a two-wheeled suitcase. If you’re looking for something that offers more rolling ease, then a four-wheeled suitcase might be the one for you. A four-wheeled carry-on, or spinners, as they’re called, comes with wheels that can spin 360 degrees. This means that you aren’t limited to pulling your suitcase while navigating airports, planes, or other crowded areas. With spinner luggage, you can push or pull your suitcase, have it right by your side or even quickly spin it in any direction.
Size is also an important factor to consider, especially when it comes to carry-ons. Each airline has its own specific size requirements for their overhead compartments, but a good size to aim for is 22 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches, as these are the required dimensions for a few of the major airlines. Keep in mind that this includes the wheels, exterior compartments, and retracted handle. In addition to size, airlines may also judge the weight. Travel experts recommend that carry-on luggage should also be no more than 7.5 pounds in order to accommodate belongings and still be within the size limit.
How To Choose The Right Carry-On
The first thing to consider when shopping for carry-on luggage is what kind of traveler you are. In other words, how often will you be using this suitcase and for what purpose? Are you a frequent traveler? Do you travel for business or for pleasure? Domestic or international? From the amount of space to the convenience and accessibility, determining what works best for you is based on what kind of needs you have for your carry-on. If you’re looking for carry-on luggage for business trips, you might need a suitcase that’s more functional than stylish—one that offers a lot of space, compartments, a quality handle, and additional features for packing convenience. On the other hand, if you’re just looking for a small carry-on bag to bring with you on your next vacation, a sleek and minimal one with just the right amount of space would do the trick.
Why People Love These Carry-Ons
Both frequent travelers and occasional vacationers alike can find a good carry-on that will suit their needs on the list ahead. Whether you’re looking for a small suitcase to tuck into an overhead bin easily, a lightweight suitcase to haul around, or a carry-on with spinners to glide with you through the airport with ease, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for in the carry-on luggage on this list. Customers just like you have rated, reviewed, and loved the following bags—and from that data, we’ve found the 10 best carry-on bags for you to shop from. From tried and true to reliable and accessible, there’s a suitcase on this list for everyone, no matter your travel style.
To find the best carry-ons for you to shop from, we turned to our data-driven algorithm. Our algorithm looks at rave reviews, best-seller lists, social media buzz, and editorial mentions to curate and rank the best products the web has to offer. Whether you’re prepping for an upcoming trip or treating yourself to some new luggage, we've done the heavy lifting for you and found the best carry-ons for your 2022 travels. Keep scrolling to find your new favorite travel companion.
Next up, check out the 10 Best Weekender Bags.
Top 10 Lists serve as unbiased shopping guides to the most trusted product recommendations on the internet. Products are scored and ranked using an algorithm backed by data consumers find most valuable when making a purchase. We are reader-supported and may earn a commission when you shop through our links.
Rimowa Essential Cabin Carry-on
WHO IT'S FOR: If you're looking to make an investment buy, you can't go wrong with Rimowa. The brand's Essential Cabin Carry-On is made with lightweight but incredibly high-quality materials, including a patented Flex-Divider system to keep you extra organized while you travel.
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO KNOW: This suitcase also comes with TSA-approved locks and Rimowa's high-end Multiwheel System.
Samsonite Freeform Hardside Expandable With Double Spinner Wheels
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: With a hard shell, durable exterior, and double spinner wheels, this suitcase makes quick trips a breeze. It's also expandable, meaning you'll have some extra room should you do a little shopping while you're away.
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO KNOW: This carry-on suitcase is designed with cross ribbons and a divider to make organized packing simple. And thanks to the multiple pockets, your belongings will always stay right where you want them.
July Carry On
WHY PEOPLE LOVE IT: Aside from the super lightweight design, there are so many reasons to love this gorgeous carry-on. To name a few, it can charge both your phone and laptop, comes with 60-degree spinner wheels, and it's customizable.
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO KNOW: The personalization options are endless here—you can choose from tons of different fonts and colors.
Away The Bigger Carry-On
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: This best-selling, perfectly sized bag is the ideal choice no matter where you're traveling.
USER REVIEW: "I absolutely love this piece. It’s lightweight, fits perfectly in the overhead compartment of an airplane, and especially the battery charger! What a game-changer it is to not need to search for electrical outlets at an airport."
Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage
WHAT IT DOES: Calpack's sleek carry-on has a zippered divider that creates two separate packing compartments, plus an expansion sleeve that unzips to increase the packing capacity. It's also fitted with a set of four multidirectional spinner wheels, which makes navigating the airport a breeze.
USER REVIEW: "I LOVE my Calpak. I traveled to four different countries in Europe with this carry-on for two weeks and overpacked, and I still had some room to stuff my souvenirs."
WHY PEOPLE LOVE IT: Don't expect this baby to fail you—it's made with an unbreakable polycarbonate shell and an ultra-sturdy telescopic handle, plus a TSA-approved lock and whisper-quiet wheels. Even better? The gorgeous colors it comes in (think olive green, rose quartz, and blue haze).
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO KNOW: When you’re not traveling, this carry-on suitcase nests inside any of the brand's check-in sizes for easy storage.
Paravel Aviator Carry-On
WHY PEOPLE LOVE IT: This eco-friendly carry-on is engineered for a smooth ride on any terrain. Thanks to 360-degree rotating wheels and an advanced dual design, you won't run into any hiccups with this bag.
USER REVIEW: "This is a perfect size and designed so well. I love that it's made using sustainable materials and still looks and feels so so good! Happy traveler right here!"
Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds Hardside Carry-On Luggage
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: Designed with a lightweight, water-resistant shell, this carry-on will keep your belongings safe and sound wherever you go. It also rings up under $100, which is impressive considering how high-quality it is.
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO KNOW: This hard-sided petite carry-on is ideal for short trips. Although it's small, it will still fit all of the essentials.
AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Suitcase
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: This carry-on may look small, but it is mighty—it expands to offer up to 15% more packing capacity. Bonus: it's the most affordable option on the list at under $80.
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO KNOW: This carry-on is durable enough to be checked but small enough for the overhead compartment. Thank us later.
Away The Carry-On
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: This built-to-last carry-on boasts two compartments—one for clothes and one for harder items like shoes and toiletries—and comes with a hidden, water-resistant laundry bag to store dirty clothes. If you aren't typically a carry-on traveler, this bag might just make you one.
ABOUT THE BRAND: Away is the Warby Parker of suitcases—the direct-to-consumer model means better suitcases for less and a lifetime warranty, too.