10 Best Hardside Luggage 2020

There are plenty of reasons to love a hard shell suitcase over a soft shell, which is exactly what we’ll be examining in our luggage guide below.

Here, we’ll compare and contrast the best hardside luggage brands and offer you some useful info and tips that will help you understand the benefits of owning one.

For starters, let’s take a look at what this type of luggage is.

What Is Hard Shell Luggage Made From?

There are two main materials are used to make hard shell luggage: ABS or polycarbonate.

  • ABS. This stands for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene. This is a type of thermoplastic polymer and it’s favored by manufacturers due to its durability and resistance to heat.
  • Polycarbonate. Surprise, surprise! This is another type of thermoplastic polymer. It works well for luggage because it has a high impact resistance level (think of all the times it get thrown onto a cart, conveyer belt or into the belly of an airplane) and low scratch resistance level.

No, we haven’t forgotten aluminum. We’re not referring to the color of the luggage, either. Some luggage is still made with aluminum; however, you will most likely find pieces that are constructed with an aluminum frame as opposed to an aluminum shell.

If you do find an all-aluminum frame suitcase, you can expect to shell out well over $500.

In fact, we won’t be highlighting anything like that for you below because chances are if you’re looking for one, you’d buy it from a specialty luggage store anyways.

Top 10 Best Hard Case Luggage Options Table

[ws_table id=”33″]

What We Like About Hard Shell Luggage

There are plenty of reasons why we love to travel with a hard shell bag, especially for international flights.

  • Waterproof
  • Protect bag contents better
  • Expandable versions are available to provide you with extra packing room

If you’re worried about your bag getting scratched, wrap it in cling film. Many larger airports have stands that offer the service. This is also a great way for you to protect your bag. Forget the lock; just wrap it in cling film to keep the contents safe! If anyone from has opened it between takeoff and landing, you’ll know.

What We Don’t Like About Hard Shell Luggage

If you’re sold on hard shell luggage, that’s great. You know what you want, so go out and get it!

There are, however, a few things you should take into consideration as you shop:

  • Don’t make good carry-ons (hard to fit into overhead bins since they aren’t flexible)
  • No outside pockets
  • Limited packing space

Decide What You Need

What type of luggage are you in need of?

  • Carry-On only
  • Large Bag

Think about the wheels, as well.

Do you prefer two wheels or four? Spinner wheels or fixed wheels?

Must hard shell luggage has four wheels, but if you’re interested in something with just two fixed wheels, check out the Traveler’s Choice Rome Luggage (number 6).

Top 3 Best Hardside Luggage Reviews

1. Inova

  • Weight. 9.46 pounds
  • Material. 100% polycarbonate
  • Size. 28 inches

If you’re looking for a large hard shell suitcase, then look no further than the Samsonite Inova spinner. It is a dependable piece of luggage that will see you through trip after trip.

It features four spinner wheels, carry handles on the top and the side (these also lay flat so they don’t interfere with baggage measurement guidelines) and it has a TSA-approved lock that will protect your belongings throughout the trip.

Once you pack, the interior has two mesh zipper closure flaps that will help you keep the contents secure as you travel, but you don’t have to close them if you have a lot of items to pack.

Overall, this is one of the best hardside luggage pieces out there for a fair price. The only thing it won’t do is expand to fit extra items.

2. Fiero Nested

  • Weight. 7.2 pounds (20”), 8.9 pounds (24”), 10.8 pounds (28”)
  • Material. 100% polycarbonate
  • Size. 20 inches, 24 inches and 28 inches

If you’re looking for a set, Samsonite is, again, another one of our favorites.

All three suitcases have the same features as the previous Samsonite suitcase (four spinner wheels, inside zipper flaps, etc.) but the nice thing about these is that they are all expandable.

If you go on a shopping spree during your travels, chances are that you’ll be able to fit everything in there without having to buy another bag.

This is a pretty good deal for three suitcases of this quality!

3. Helium Aero

  • Weight. 10.2 pounds
  • Material. 100% polycarbonate
  • Size. 25 inches

The next best hard shell luggage on our list is definitely from Delsey. Their Helium Aero is a favorite of travelers thanks to the level of quality you get in this price range.

This also has four spinner wheels, a TSA-friendly lock and it is expandable. It’s a little different than the Samsonites since the lid is the only side with a zip-up compartment. The top of the flap also has an additional zip pouch for smaller accessories.

One nice feature is the self-repairing zipper, which means that if for some reason the zipper track separates, you will easily be able to zip them together again if you pass the head over the open area (zip it down and then zip it back up again, or vice versa).

Pretty nice feature so you don’t have to worry about the whole bag going to waste!