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The best check-in suitcases for your next getaway, tried and tested

Lighten the load with these tried-and-tested travel heroes from Antler, Samsonite and more

Tamara Hinson
Thursday 02 May 2024 16:26 BST
We’ve got every base covered, from lightweight luggage to kids’ suitcases for first-time travellers
We’ve got every base covered, from lightweight luggage to kids’ suitcases for first-time travellers (The Independent)
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Need some new luggage for your travels? We’ve rounded up the best suitcases with clever features that will enable you to pack pretty much everything except the kitchen sink.

With a growing number of airlines imposing increasingly strict regulations when it comes to luggage, the good news is suitcase brands are here to help, with some ingenious designs and features.

For every traveller who wants to test the limits of their luggage allowance, there are others who have mastered the art of packing light and simply want a practical suitcase without any bells and whistles, so, we’ve included a range of different options in our line-up. If you’re a fan of the aforementioned bells and whistles, you won’t be disappointed, either.

There are (slightly) fewer restrictions relating to checked baggage than there are to cabin bags, but bear in mind budget airlines in the UK will almost always charge to check in your suitcase. Easyjet, for example, charges a minimum of £6.99 for a suitcase weighing up to 15kg (the price depends on the flight booked), while Ryanair charges between £11.99 and £29.99 for a checked bag weighing up to 10kg.

Larger airlines are generally less restrictive. The allowance for economy passengers flying with British Airways is one item with a maximum weight of 23kg, while Singapore Airlines’ allowances are famously generous – even if you’re travelling on lite (the cheapest category) you’ll be allowed a suitcase with a weight of up to 25kg.

Whichever airline you’re travelling with, keep reading to discover the best suitcases for your trip.

How we tested the best suitcases

Our tester is a travel writer, so, they had plenty of opportunities to put a wide range of suitcases through their paces, paying particular attention to the elements that are often the first to fail. Extra points were awarded to suitcases with additional reinforcement around the wheels, as this can be the first area to suffer damage as bags are chucked from trolleys to carousels.

As well as taking the suitcases on various trips, our tester spent hours playing around with different features, road-testing everything from compression panels to expansion zips. Long story short, you can rest assured these suitcases are the very best – which means all you need to worry about is enjoying your holiday.

The best suitcases for 2024 are:

  • Best suitcase overall – Antler soft stripe cabin suitcase: £170,
  • Best budget suitcase – Tripp new world ice blue cabin suitcase: £39.50,
  • Best lightweight suitcase – Samsonite C-LITE spinner: £389,
  • Best check-in suitcase – Carl Friedrik the check in: £495,
  • Best suitcase for kids – Micro Scooter suitcase and light-up wheels: £109.95,

Antler soft stripe cabin suitcase

best suitcase Antler soft stripe cabin suitcase
  • Best: Suitcase overall
  • Size: 55cm x 35cm x 20cm
  • Weight: 1.9kg
  • Why we love it
    • Plenty of room
    • Great internal design

This suitcase does it all – it’s got a low weight but still has the added extras that are often skipped by brands trying to create feather-light luggage. There’s a large padded pocket on the front, surprisingly sturdy wheels and thick fabric (bonus points for the use of recycled polyester), which feels as though it can easily survive its fair share of knocks and scrapes.

Inside, there’s just one main compartment, which has cross straps to keep contents in place. Although, a much thinner pocket has been built in to the suitcase’s lid – a zippered mesh cover makes this ideal for documents. We loved how this pocket was accessible from the exterior, too. Meanwhile, the small flap-style pocket on the inside of the main compartment was perfect for smaller items such as keys.

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Tripp new world ice blue cabin suitcase

best suitcase Tripp new world ice blue cabin suitcase
  • Best: Budget suitcase
  • Size: 55cm x 37cm x 21cm
  • Weight: 2.5kg
  • Why we love it
    • Gets the basics right

Tripp’s cheap and cheerful suitcases do what they say on the tin – they come in a range of sizes, have a simple design that makes access easy, and (most importantly) they cost next to nothing. This isn’t the most hi-tech suitcase (although, we were grateful to see the Transportation Security Administration-approved locks) but the lack of bells and whistles – there’s just one handle, for example – is partly what helps keep the weight down, and this is a brand that gets the basics spot-on. The telescopic handle, for example, slides out incredibly smoothly. This particular case has a clamshell opening with a mesh zippered cover on one side and X-shaped compression straps on the other – more than enough to keep all our essentials in order.

  1. £39 from
Prices may vary
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Victorinox Spectra 3.0 expandable large case

best suitcases Victorinox spectra 3.0 expandable global carry on
  • Best: Hard-sided suitcase
  • Size: 75cm x 32cm x 51cm
  • Weight: 6.8kg
  • Why we love it
    • Lightweight
    • Expandable
  • Take note
    • Pricey

We’re constantly flabbergasted by brands that churn out cases that come with sky-high price tags but are basic at best. Victorinox’s offering might be one of the pricier cases (although, trust us, it’s by no means the most expensive) but it’s worth every single penny.

There’s nothing we don’t love about this suitcase’s wonderfully innovative design, whether it’s the lightweight material (something known as sorplas – a recycled polycarbonate), the extendable luggage tag with a built-in pen and SIM card tool, or the way in which the expansion zips are clearly marked as such, which meant no more fumbling around with the wrong zip.

Like a growing number of suitcases, it’s expandable (in this case, by a supersized 20 per cent) but what sets this one apart is the side straps, which help maintain the case’s rigidity when expanded. Oh, and did we mention the raised Victorinox logo on the side contains a hidden pair of tweezers?

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Aerolite large lightweight hard shell luggage suitcase

best suitcases Aerolite large lightweight hard shell luggage suitcase
  • Best: Supersized suitcase
  • Size : 79 x 58 x 31cm
  • Weight : 4.85kg
  • Why we love it
    • It’s supersized

Aerolite is an appropriate name for this brand – its suitcases are surprisingly light and incredibly manoeuvrable. The ease with which the handle slides in and out makes wrestling it onto luggage belts a breeze, and the top handle’s slimline profile means it’s easy to hook backpacks over it, minimising the risk of back ache.

There’s no TSA-approved lock although we’re perfectly happy with the alternative – a three-digital combination lock which secures the zips together (at this point we’ll flag that we’ve never had our luggage searched by the TSA, which is why we’re firm believers that TSA-approved locks aren’t the be all and end all).

  1. £59 from
Prices may vary
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Samsonite C-LITE spinner

best suitcases 2024 review indybest Samsonite C-LITE spinner .png
  • Best: Lightweight suitcase
  • Size: 55cm x 40cm x 20cm
  • Weight: 2.1kg
  • Why we love it
    • Tough and flexible material

This four-wheeled spinner suitcase is incredibly light, thanks to the use of woven polypropylene, which is tough but flexible – as we’re prone to cramming more than we should into our suitcases, we appreciated the extra give. Plus, when expanded, there’s an additional 3cm of space. We also loved the design of the interior – one side has a zippered opaque cover, while the other has elasticated straps. These (like many similar straps) form the shape of a cross, but we loved the buckle-free catch – the straps simply hook around a central plastic disc.

We made full use of the internal power bank pocket, too. All too often, the lightest suitcases are the sparsest, but Samsonite has proved that reducing weight doesn’t have to mean skimping on essentials.

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Kipling spontaneous S

best suitcase Kipling spontaneous S.
  • Best: Suitcase for easy storage
  • Size: 33cm x 53cm x 21cm
  • Weight: 2.8kg
  • Why we love it
    • Plenty of pockets

This might not be the lightest of cabin suitcases but it feels reassuringly sturdy (the main materials are recycled polyamide and polyester) and it has plenty of pockets – we found the large padded one on the interior of the case’s lid particularly suitable for electronics and documents.

On the inside, there are two similarly sized compartments – one covered by compression straps while the other is open-access. The smaller cases in the range are designed to fit inside the largest ones, minimising the amount of space they take up when not in use.

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Katie Loxton Oxford cabin case

best suitcase Katie Loxton Oxford cabin case
  • Best: For seriously sophisticated travellers
  • Size: 53cm x 39cm x 21cm
  • Weight: 2.23kg
  • Why we love it
    • Sophisticated design

There’s a reassuring sturdiness to this vegan-leather suitcase (particularly its sidewalls), which can be personalised – either with a personalised luggage tag or with embroidered initials on the exterior. There’s not an abundance of features but everything feels top quality – even the extendable handle, which has plenty of cushioning, making it a joy to grip.

The suitcase, which is made with animal-friendly PU (polyurethane leather) comprises one main compartment, while the brand’s top-quality approach extends to the X-shaped compression straps – the ones on this particular suitcase have a wonderful stretchiness, which kept our items in place while making the most of the space available.

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Carl Friedrik the check in

best suitcase Cark Friedrik the check in
  • Best: Check-in suitcase
  • Size: 65cm x 44.5cm x 27cm
  • Weight: 4.5kg
  • Why we love it
    • Ultra-smooth spinner wheels
    • Two TSA-approved locks

For a check-in suitcase, we found this surprisingly portable, thanks to smooth-rolling wheels paired with top and side handles, which made it easy to heave on and off luggage belts. Everything about this case feels top-quality, whether it’s the ultra-soft leather handles or the presence of not one but two TSA-approved locks.

The killer combo of lightweight aluminium and polycarbonate made this a breeze to roll across a particularly crowded Heathrow airport (with minimum noise, thanks to the ultra-silent wheels designed by Japanese brand Hinomoto). On the inside, both sides of the case have compression straps – one side has a zippered cover, too. One aspect that sets this case apart is the lack of zips – it seals shut using two lockable clamps, which feel incredibly secure.

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HB personalised suitcase

best suitcase HB personalised suitcase
  • Best: Personalised suitcase
  • Size: 56cm x 36cm x 23cm
  • Weight: 3.4kg
  • Why we love it
    • Great range of designs

There’s a reason the UK’s most popular influencers are regularly spotted wheeling this suitcase through airports. This is thanks to the personalisation options and the range of designs – there are dozens to choose from, spanning everything from on-trend marbleised styles to images of hearts, rainbows and florals. We opted for a small cabin bag with a blue camouflage design bearing our initials in black, and we loved the result.

The range of sizes is also impressive – choose from business (the smallest), kids’ size (slightly larger), small, medium or large. The bag came with all the essentials, including a TSA-approved lock, a two-stage extendable handle and an easily accessible side handle. Studs on the side allowed us to rest it on the ground without worrying about unintentional damage, and there’s extra reinforcement around the wheels, too.

  1. £135 from
Prices may vary
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Marks and Spencer Oslo 4 wheel hard shell large suitcase

best suitcase Marks and Spencer Oslo 4 wheel hard shell large suitcase
  • Best: Large suitcase
  • Size: 77cm x 50cm x 27.5cm
  • Weight: 3.8kg
  • Why we love it
    • Reinforced zip
    • Plenty of pockets on interior dividers

Trust Marks and Spencer to come through with a sturdy, lightweight suitcase that doesn’t disappoint. This suitcase isn’t about extra bells and whistles, it’s about simply doing everything well, whether it’s the tactile top and side handles, the ultra-smooth three-stage extendable handle or raised side studs that offer protection when the case is placed on the ground.

The interior is designed with easy organisation in mind – one half is covered with a zippered panel with a built-in pocket, while the other side has a mesh panel with two built-in pockets. We appreciated the reassurance provided by the reinforced exterior zip, too – who isn’t prone to a bit of overpacking, after all?

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IT Luggage legion extra large

best suitcase IT Luggage legion extra large
  • Best: Large suitcase
  • Size: 85cm x 61cm x 34cm
  • Weight: 5.76kg
  • Why we love it
    • It’s huge
    • Relatively low price tag

This suitcase means business – upon clapping eyes on this, a friend’s first comment was: “It looks large enough to fit a human.” What’s more, its exterior has clearly been designed to cope with the full-capacity weight of this bag – side and top handles make lugging it onto luggage belts a breeze, and we were able to minimise the risk of bumps and scrapes by resting it on the four raised points on one side of the case.

Inside, it’s relatively simple – one half has a zippered mesh cover with three built-in pockets, while the other features cross straps. For seasoned over-packers, this colossus is a dream come true.

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Marvel wavebreaker, 67cm

best suitcase Marvel wavebreaker 67cm
  • Best: Suitcase for teens
  • Size: 67cm x 47cm x 26cm
  • Weight: 3.6kg
  • Why we love it
    • Spiderman theme on interior and exterior

Yes, we’ve described this as being a brilliant suitcase for teens (which it is) but it’s also perfectly suited to grown-up Marvel fans. Spidey doesn’t just adorn the outside of this case – we love the way the interior lining is covered with various Marvel-related images, although a special shout-out has to go to the fabulous zipper pull on the interior cover – it’s in the shape of Spiderman’s head.

The interior is simple but well-designed – one half has an opaque cover, while the other has X-shaped compression straps. A TSA-approved lock and premium spinner wheels ramp up the quality, and the use of ABS (a type of plastic) keeps the weight low.

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The verdict: Suitcases

Antler’s roomy soft stripe cabin suitcase was rugged, spacious and tactile, while Tripp’s suitcase is proof that you don’t need to offload all your cash (which, let’s face it, is better spent on holidays) on a decent suitcase. Finally, most people don’t even know that Victorinox do suitcases, but this legendary brand’s top quality, fantastically innovative offering is proof that its expertise applies to much, much more than Swiss army knives.

Now your suitcase is sorted, our guide to the best packing cubes will help keep your belongings organised

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