Best Carry-on Luggage iMore 2020
If you're a frequent traveler or are simply looking for a way around checking a bag, then the right carry-on luggage is important. You want to get as close to the airline's carry-on size limits without going over, so you can maximize packing space. Each airline has its own requirements, so be sure to check the airline you're flying before you pack. Additionally, carry-on limits can be different for international flights versus domestic flights. These suitcases are your best options when it comes to bringing your stuff on board.
- Our pick: Samsonite Omni hardside case
- Upgrade pick: Travelpro Platinum Elite
- Maximum protection: Pelican Elite
- Unbeatable warranty: Briggs & Riley Baseline
- Perfect business case: Incase EO Travel Roller
- Thoughtful design: The Carry-On by Away
This 20-inch case from Samsonite features a hard PC plastic shell, which protects all of your wares in a compact and easy-to-manage package. There's an inner zippered mesh compartment for loose goods, as well as a smaller zipper pocket for toiletries. Its wheels are lightweight, and sizing conforms to most airline standards.
This 21-inch case has expandable compartments so that you can store more than the average carry-on, and its durable wheels snap into place via magnets when you start to pull it along. There are multiple inner zippered compartments, and the outside is made of durable nylon. There's also a USB extension for use with your own battery packs.
I can personally vouch for the durability of Pelican's Elite carry-on. It has saved me many times when I traveled with fragile electronics and other items that require extra protection. These cases are puncture-proof, watertight, dustproof, and it has an excellent combination lock system with button latches.
I can also personally vouch for the awesomeness that is Briggs & Riley. Its cases may be expensive, but its lifetime warranty is unparalleled: If anything breaks, Briggs will fix it for free, no questions asked. The Baseline has a fiberglass frame, nylon outer fabric, and an expandable compartment. If you're looking for a carry-on for life, this is the one.
This carry-on case combines a traditional roller case with a briefcase, thanks to its excellent side handle and sort of sideways design. You can pack a lot into this case, and there's even a tech compartment that can hold a laptop up to 17 inches in size. Perfect for anyone looking for a modern design.
Away's "The Carry-On" is a hard-shell roller that comes in 10 great colors and features an ejectable battery, so you can keep your devices charged up wherever your travels take you. It also features a TSA-approved combo lock, 360-degree wheels, an inner laundry bag, and its shell is made of hard PC plastic. There's a slightly larger size for a little more.
Which one should you choose?
The iMore team covers tech for a living, which means we rack up the air miles going to tech shows, press briefings, etc. in cities around the World. So we know luggage. It doesn't matter if you travel weekly or twice a year — a great carry-on can save you in baggage fees and protect your stuff while you travel.
If you're looking for the best all-around option, the Samsonite Omni is excellent. Its inside dimensions or packing space measure 19-by-14.5-by-9.5 inches. The outer dimension are 22-by-15-by-9.5 inches. The suitcase weighs 6.81 pounds on its own. Side-mounted TSA locks ensure that only you and the TSA agent have access to your luggage. A ten-year limited warranty means you're covered for a lot of trips. Having used carry-on luggage with both spinning wheels and non-spinning wheels, I can tell you that spinning wheels make a world of difference when it comes to ease of movement. The Samsonite Omni comes in so many gorgeous colors; you'll be sure to find one that suits you.
For a bit of an upgrade, definitely check out the Travelpro Platinum Elite. It's a little bit larger, and it comes with a USB extension. Put your own power bank (it's not included) in the designated pocket, and you have a charging suitcase. Fold-out suiter packs clothes without letting them get wrinkled. A four-stop adjustable handle and magnatrac spinner wheels give you maximum control and convenience. The overall dimensions are 23.5-by-14.5-by-9 inches, and the weight is 7.8 pounds. A lifetime warranty sets your mind at ease. Choose from four colors.
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