Travel

Best Lightweight Luggage in 2021


If you travel frequently, then you will appreciate the value of a lightweight luggage. The weight factor is even more critical if you are going on a long trip and need to carry a lot of your stuff. The maximum weight for checked luggage is 50 pounds, while an empty large checked suitcase can weigh as much as 17 pounds.

The best lightweight suitcase of the same size can weigh as little as 10 pounds, depending on its construction material. It allows you to pack more stuff while remaining within the check-in weight limit.

In this article, I review some of the best options for lightweight checked luggage for you to consider for your next trip.

What’s the Best Lightweight Luggage?

I have gone through various suitcases in the market, and even got some to try myself, to come up with this list of the best lightweight luggage. I have considered the factors highlighted in the buying guide you’ll find in this article as well as user reviews and experiences to generate this list. I hope these reviews will help you pick the most suitable lightweight suitcase for your needs.

1. Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Suitcase with Spinner Wheels 28-Inch

Specs
Price: πŸ’²πŸ’²πŸ’² (fewer πŸ’² = cheaper)
Weight: 11.5 Pounds (5.2 kg)
Size: 28 x 19.8 x 12.5 Inches (71.1 x 50.2 x 31.8 cm)
Pieces in the Set 1
Material Polycarbonate (Hardshell)
Warranty 10 Years

The Samsonite Winfield 2 features a lightweight and flexible polycarbonate construction with an attractive brushed pattern that hides scruffs and comes with a soft cover for extra protection. The stylish design makes it ideal for business or personal travel, and you can choose between six eye-catching colors that make the luggage easily recognizable on the baggage carousel. However, what makes it my first choice is its generous interior compartment that is expandable for more packing space.

I also like the interior divider that divides up the compartment in two, and it features organization pockets for notebooks and other documents. The interior also features compression straps to keep your clothes organized. However, it does not come with compartments for small garments like socks, underwear, or toiletries. The Winfield 2 is available in three sizes, with the 28-inch capacity weighing in at 11.5 pounds.

Other great features include the heavy-duty 360-degree spinner wheels and the side-mounted, TSA-approved combination lock that ensures your luggage is safe. Some users have noted that the zippers break easily, while others have had the wheels or the telescopic handle break. However, many users are happy with the overall build quality of the luggage, the generous interior spaces, and lightweight construction.

Pros

  • High quality and lightweight construction,
  • Generous interior with organization features,
  • Features TSA approved lock for security,
  • Elegant design with attractive colors

Cons

  • Poor quality zippers,
  • No compartment for toiletries

2. DELSEY Paris Helium Aero Hardside Expandable Luggage Large 29 Inch

DELSEY Paris Helium Aero Hardside Expandable Luggage Large 29 Inch
Specs
Price: πŸ’²πŸ’² (fewer πŸ’² = cheaper)
Weight: 12.5 Pounds (5.7 kg)
Size: 29 x 19.5 x 12.5 Inches (73.7 x 49.5 x 31.8 cm)
Pieces in the Set 1
Material Polycarbonate (Hardshell)
Warranty 10 Years

Delsey is a French brand that manufactures high-quality travel luggage and accessories. The Helium Aero is slightly larger at 29 inches and heavier at 12.9 pounds against the Samsonite Winfield 2. It also gives you more luggage space with an expandable capacity of 2 inches compared to 1.5 inches of the Winfield 2. However, the two suitcases are similar in build quality with a polycarbonate hard side exterior, telescopic handle, and a TSA-approved combination lock. Here are the features in a little more detail.

The hard side comes in various colors with a deep metallic finish that is glossy and sleek but may show scrapes easily. The lined interior compartment is generous and packs a lot, and it also comes with a liner divider panel to separate your stuff and compression straps to keep everything secure. Its advantage over the Winfield 2 is that it features a sleeve on one side and a zippered pocket on the other for small garments and toiletries.

The Helium Aero is also cheaper than the Winfield 2. However, its polycarbonate exterior is not as flexible, and it may crack with rough handling. It comes with a 10-year warranty which only covers the manufacturer defects. The luggage comes with multi-directional spinner wheels that many users have lauded how easy they are to roll when the suitcase is fully packed. Another notable feature is the telescopic handle that allows you to lock it at a certain height for convenience.

Pros

  • Generous and expandable volume for long travels,
  • Features accessory pockets for toiletries,
  • Good quality zippers and spinner wheels,
  • Adjustable height telescopic handle

Cons

  • Hard side scrapes and cracks easily,
  • Glossy finish may fade over time

3. Eminent Vertica Hard Shell Luggage

Eminent Vertica Hard Shell Luggage
Specs
Price: πŸ’²πŸ’²πŸ’² (fewer πŸ’² = cheaper)
Capacity: 118 Liters
Weight: 11.9 Pounds (5.4 kg)
Size: 29.9 x 20 x 12.2 Inches (75.9 x 50.8 x 31 cm)
Pieces in the Set 1
Material Premium Polypropylene (Hardshell)
Warranty 5 Years

Eminent Luggage Company is a global Taiwanese brand for high-quality luggage. The 30-inch is the largest in the Vertica line and weighs 11.9 pounds which is one pound less than the Helium Aero. However, it is not expandable like the previous two suitcases. The telescopic handle features several stops for adjustable height, and it comes with 360-degree silent rubber wheels that are flexible for uneven surfaces.

The Vertica suitcase comes with a scratch-resistant polypropylene shell that is lighter and more flexible than polycarbonate. On the downside, it only comes in gray or blue color. Overall, it is a high-quality piece of luggage with a classy and minimalist aesthetic and a generous interior compartment with compression straps. It also features a large pocket mesh divider panel and a side mesh pocket for small items.

Pros

  • Adjustable height telescopic handle,
  • Polypropylene hardshell allows more space for less weight,
  • Size compliant with the 158cm-rule,
  • Flexible spinning wheels for uneven surfaces

Cons

  • Capacity is not expandable

4. Lojel Cubo Large Suitcase

Lojel Cubo Large Suitcase
Specs
Price: πŸ’²πŸ’²πŸ’²πŸ’²πŸ’² (fewer πŸ’² = cheaper)
Capacity: 120 Liters
Weight: 11.4 Pounds (5.2 kg)
Size: 30.5 x 21.7 x 13.4 Inches (77.5 x 55.1 x 34 cm)
Pieces in the Set 1
Material Polycarbonate (Hardshell)
Warranty 10 Years

LOJEL is a global Japanese brand whose design inspiration derives from constant interaction with their product users. Unlike other luggage manufacturers, LOJEL believes in making sustainable products that are modular and standardized. It enables the users to repair their broken luggage hassle-free instead of buying new luggage.

The Cubo is a minimalist suitcase that caters to the modern traveler. Unlike other products on this list, it features a flat top opening compared to the clamshell opening where the luggage opens like a book. This design utilizes the interior space better because it creates one compartment, whereas the clamshell design splits it in two. Also, it ensures your stuff stays intact when you open the suitcase because the opening flap does not have the other half of your clothes. However, it does come with multiple interior pockets for small items, and it is also lightweight at 11.4 pounds.

On the other hand, the bottom clothes are not as quickly accessible because you would have to unpack the top first. Another drawback is that the Cubo is significantly more expensive in comparison to the other products here. However, it is a premium quality suitcase with textured polycarbonate construction, high-quality zippers with TSA compliant lock, and a robust 360-degree dual wheel system. The luggage is available in a choice of seven colors and different sizes.

Pros

  • Premium quality and lightweight construction,
  • Scratch-resistant polycarbonate hard side,
  • Flat top opening allows more interior space,
  • Features multiple interior pockets

5. Horizn Studios H7 Check-In Luggage

Horizn Studios H7 Check-In Luggage
Specs
Price: πŸ’²πŸ’²πŸ’²πŸ’²πŸ’² (fewer πŸ’² = cheaper)
Capacity: 90 Liters
Weight: 10.8 Pounds (4.9 kg)
Size: 30.3 x 20.5 x 11 Inches (77 x 52.1 x 27.9 cm)
Pieces in the Set 1
Material Aerospace-Grade German Polycarbonate (Hardshell)

Horizn Studios is an innovative European travel brand that designs smart luggage that helps people travel with ease. Like the Cubo suitcase, the H7 is a premium quality check-in luggage that is also significantly more expensive. The luggage has a smaller capacity compared to the other pieces reviewed here and is also lighter at 10.1 pounds.

The most outstanding feature of the H-Series is the 10,000 mAh power bank. However, this feature is not available on the H7 model, which would have been of great value for digital nomads. On the other hand, it includes thoughtful features such as a water-resistant laundry bag that allows you to separate the clean from the soiled clothes and a compression pad with straps that keep your stuff in place neatly.

The H7 suitcase features an aircraft-grade polycarbonate hard shell that comes in a choice of eight colors with shock-resistant 360-degree Japanese spinner wheels that feature a self-lubricating mechanism. The interior compartment features a water-resistant polyester lining and a mesh compartment for toiletries. The compression pad also features a mesh sleeve to keep your shirts wrinkle-free.

Pros

  • Aircraft-grade polycarbonate hardshell,
  • Includes a laundry bag to keep soiled clothes separate,
  • Features a water-resistant interior lining,
  • Includes a compression pad to keep clothes wrinkle-free,
  • Vegan-friendly product

Cons

  • Expensive,
  • It does not come with the power bank

6. Kenneth Cole Reaction Renegade 28” Lightweight Hardside Suitcase

Kenneth Cole Reaction Renegade 28” Lightweight Hardside Suitcase
Specs
Price: πŸ’² (fewer πŸ’² = cheaper)
Weight: 11 Pounds (5 kg)
Size: 30 x 21.5 x 13 Inches (76.2 x 54.6 x 33 cm)
Pieces in the Set 1
Material ABS (Hardshell)
Warranty 10 Years

Kenneth Cole Productions is an American apparel company, and luggage is one of the approaches they have taken to diversify their product offering. The Reaction series of luggage is a high-quality product offering that features bold colors and an elegant style that appeals to the modern traveler.

The 28-inch Renegade suitcase is the largest in this series, and it weighs 11 pounds. It features an ABS thermoplastic polymer hard side that is lighter than polycarbonate but not as robust. However, it is reinforced with molded corner guard reinforcements to prevent damage and is available in 11 bold and attractive colors.

The luggage also features a retractable telescoping handle with 360-degree spinning wheels and self-repairing zippers that are more durable for frequent use. However, the Renegade suitcase does not come with a TSA combination lock, and you would have to buy it separately.

The interior spaces can expand further by an extra 2 inches, and it features a water-resistant liner. It also features several zippered pockets and an elastic shoe compartment for organization and includes a divider panel.

Pros

  • Lightweight construction with ABS hard shell,
  • Water-resistant interior lining,
  • Features multiple pockets for organization,
  • Expandable interior space

Cons

  • Does not include TSA approved locks

7. Rock Sunwave Hard Shell Large Luggage

Rock Sunwave Hard Shell Large Luggage
Specs
Price: πŸ’² (fewer πŸ’² = cheaper)
Weight: 11.2 Pounds (5.1 kg)
Size: 31.1 x 20.9 x 13.4 Inches (79 x 53 x 34 cm)
Pieces in the Set 1
Material Ultra-Strong Polypropylene (Hardshell)
Warranty 15 Years

The Rock Sunwave luggage is a product of Rock Luggage, a manufacturer and distributor of luggage and travel accessories based in the United Kingdom. Notably, all their products come with a 15-year warranty against manufacturer defects against the 10-year warranties of other brands.

The Sunwave suitcase features a polypropylene construction which makes the luggage lightweight and moderately flexible to resist impact or rough handling. It also comes with dual spinning wheels and a push-button telescopic handle. The interior space is fully lined and comes with a divider that features a large pocket and compression straps to keep your stuff in place.

Pros

  • Expandable interior compartment,
  • Lightweight polypropylene hard shell,
  • Includes a TSA approved lock,
  • Affordable

8. Samsonite Freeform Hardside Expandable Large 28-Inch

Samsonite Freeform Hardside Expandable Large 28-Inch
Specs
Price: πŸ’²πŸ’²πŸ’²πŸ’² (fewer πŸ’² = cheaper)
Weight: 9.5 Pounds (4.3 kg)
Size: 27.6 x 20 x 13 Inches (70.1 x 50.8 x 33 cm)
Pieces in the Set 1
Material Polypropylene (Hardshell)
Warranty 10 Years

The Samsonite Freeform 28-inch luggage is the final product on my list, and it is the lightest suitcase that I have reviewed here. Like the Eminent Vertica and the Sunwave luggage, the Freeform also features a polypropylene hard shell which users have noted that scratches badly and deforms easily. However, it is lightweight at 9.5 pounds when you compare it to the Winfield 2, which is the same size but weighs in at 11.2 pounds.

It has a stylish and futuristic design that may appeal to the modern traveler, and it includes a TSA combination lock, dual 360-degree spinner wheels, and a telescopic handle. The luggage interior is expandable and features multiple organization pockets. It is also lined and comes with a compartment divider and compression straps to keep everything in place. Many users have noted that the stitching and zippers are of very bad quality. Overall, it may not be a good value for money.

Pros

  • Stylish and modern design,
  • An expandable capacity that includes multiple pockets,
  • Double spinner wheels improve maneuverability,
  • Available in bright colors

Cons

  • Hard shell scratches easily

When it comes to lightweight suitcases, the construction material significantly determines its weight. Although ABS plastic and polypropylene are lighter materials compared to polycarbonate, they are less durable. If you go through the reviews, you will note that they crack, scratch, or deform much faster.

Therefore, you will need to balance weight versus durability and interior space organization. When I consider these factors, the Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Suitcase is, for me, the clear choice. The suitcase features a robust polycarbonate construction with a generous interior compartment at a decent weight of 11.5 pounds. The only drawback is that it does not have many pockets, but I can get by just with the divider panel pocket.

What You Should Know Before Buying Lightweight Luggages

Although weight is the main consideration when buying lightweight suitcases, other factors are equally important and are highlighted below.

Luggage Sizes

Besides weight, every airline has its own requirements for luggage dimensions, which you will need to confirm to avoid paying extra fees for oversized luggage. The regulations also apply for carry-on luggage, and while the measurements may vary from airline to airline, the standard size for carry-on bags should be 21 inches linear or less.

Most airlines use the 158cm (62 inches linear) rule for checked luggage which is the sum of height + width + depth of the suitcase. The dimensions include handles and the wheels, measured on the longest and widest points of the luggage. While some airlines may overlook charging you extra if the suitcase goes 2 inches above the size limit, it is always advisable to stay below.

Hard Side Vs Soft Side

The choice of hard-side versus soft-sided suitcases depends on preference. Softside luggage may include backpacks and duffel bags in addition to suitcases. They are ideal for short domestic flights where luggage space is a consideration. They are also lighter than hard-sided luggage, flexible to pack more because the suitcase enclosure can expand, and are easier to carry around. It makes them ideal as carry-on luggage because they squeeze inside compact spaces, and they come with external pockets for quick access items. However, they are prone to get torn if not handled well.

Hard-side luggage is more suitable for international travel and offers better security for your contents because they are not easy to slash open with a knife like a soft-side case. They also limit the amount of stuff you can park inside to keep you within the weight limit. On the downside, hard-sides are heavier than soft-sides, and most hard-side suitcases feature a clamshell-style opening and may be cumbersome to access your contents on the fly.

Hard Side Materials

Hard side materials include polycarbonate, polypropylene, and ABS thermoplastic polymer. Polycarbonate is the best option because it is a robust and flexible material that handles impacts better than ABS and polypropylene. Although polycarbonate is a lightweight option, it is heavier than the other two. It is scratch and chemical resistant, which makes it retain its aesthetic and color for long periods.

Polypropylene is the lightest plastic available and has most of the features of polycarbonate. Although it is lightweight, it is not as durable, and it cracks easily. ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene) is a thermoplastic polymer commonly used to make budget luggage pieces. Although it is lighter than polycarbonate, it is not as durable and scratches easily.

Soft Side Materials

Soft-side materials include leather, ballistic nylon, Cordura, and canvas. Cordura and ballistic nylon materials are the top options. They are high-quality fabrics that are abrasion-resistant, durable, and easy to clean. However, ballistic nylon is not available in bright colors, and it can be hard to pick out your luggage at the baggage collection. Cordura has a lower rip-resistance but is available in various colors.

When considering the material choice for a soft-sided suitcase, the denier count is key in determining durability. A high denier count means that the fabric is thicker and heavier, and 2000D is a good value for heavy-duty luggage.

Suitcase Weight

Weight requirements for carry-on luggage vary more between airlines than for checked suitcases. For carry-on bags, the size matters more than because it has to fit in the overhead compartment. However, for small domestic airlines, the weight of carry-on luggage matters more due to safety regulations. The typical carry-on luggage size is 22 x 14 x 9 inches, while the international weight limit is 25 pounds.

Although your checked luggage is likely to be measured in most US airports, most airlines prioritize the weight limit, typically at 50 pounds. You can measure the weight of your luggage at home using your typical body weighing scale, or you can purchase a luggage weighing scale for around $20.

The weight of your empty suitcase is equally important as it determines how much you can pack in before you exceed the weight limit. The average weight of carry-on luggage is 8 pounds, while medium-sized 25-inch luggage is 9 pounds. Large 28-inch suitcases that you would use for long trips weigh 12 pounds on average. The best lightweight luggage in this review range between 9.2 pounds to 12.9 pounds.

Wheels

There are two types of luggage wheels, which are in-line skate wheels and spinner wheels. In-line skate wheels are recessed and are set on one side of the suitcase, while the other side features plastic stoppers that allow it to stand upright. They are durable because they are recessed and feature a flexible polyurethane construction. However, they are harder to maneuver, and luggage with this type of wheel is unstable and frequently tips.

The spinner wheels are attached externally to the four corners of the luggage. The advantage is that you can move the suitcase in any direction and drag it easily. It is ideal for frequent travelers as they can move their luggage around with minimal effort. On the downside, they are more prone to damage because they extend out of the suitcase and are more expensive.

Wheels are some of the parts covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, and so it is important to check their condition immediately you get the suitcase. Some of the things to look out for include how smoothly they roll and the construction material. Rubber is a better material as it absorbs impact better and is easier to roll on uneven surfaces more than hard plastic.

Warranty

Warranty is necessary because it allows you to return your luggage if it has any defects. While most luggage warranties are for five years, they only cover manufacturing defects on the structure of the suitcase. It includes the zippers, wheels, locks, handles, and shell. However, cosmetic damage, cracks, and breakages due to poor handling in transit are not covered.

Questions and Answers About Lightweight Luggages

How To Test Suitcases?

Testing the suitcase quality before you buy it may be a little challenging, especially if you are buying online. However, here are a few tricks you can use to help you determine whether the suitcase is worth buying. One of the easiest methods is to read the user reviews on the product page, which often highlight user experience, the durability, and the value of the warranty when you get a defective suitcase.
Another method is to check features against a checklist such as the one provided in the buying section above. This helps you make an informed decision about the product, which you can back up with what others say about it in the reviews section.


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