Best carry-on luggage 2022: from premium business cabin luggage to cheap lightweight cases

The best carry-on luggage will help you breeze through the airport and make your journey quick and easy

Two people holding two of the best carry-on luggage cases in the air, one case is baby blue and one is white
(Image credit: Antler)

Looking for the best carry-on luggage? You've come to the right place; our guide has all the information you need to make an informed purchase.

We're long-time proponents of travelling light and think if you’re going on a short or a long trip there's little reason you need to check-in luggage – all you need to do is pack carefully. 

However, good intentions go nowhere unless you have the best carry-on luggage.

With a small cabin-sized suitcase, you can keep everything you need with you, bypassing both the bag drop queue and the luggage carousel at your destination... and get to the taxi rank before everyone else on your flight.

Looking for something larger? Check out the best suitcases or, if you're looking to travel even lighter then we suggest the best backpacks and best travel bags.

If you're travelling with a baby or toddler then we recommend travelling with the best travel stroller.

How to choose the best carry-on luggage

Most airlines these days have the same rules and regulations about carry-on luggage. Common airlines at British airports, such as EasyJet and British Airways, allow you to bring on board a cabin bag with dimensions up to 56x45x25cm. 

However, be sure to check with the specific airline you are travelling with, as they may vary. 

Read T3's guide to the most popular airline's baggage allowance: luggage limits, excess charges, and how to avoid them.

It is also important to be aware that the budget airlines including EasyJet, Ryanair and Flybe sometimes operate a one-bag policy, which means you cannot have your carry-on luggage and your handbag, as this would count as two pieces (although you can always just shove it inside your case while boarding and take it out again once seated like everyone else). 

So what’s the best carry-on luggage? That depends on what kind of traveller you are, but know that they come with 2 wheels, 4 wheels or even 8 wheels, so you barely have to make any effort to carry your bag at all. So if you struggle to pack light, at least you won’t struggle through the airport. However, a carry-on size backpack can also be a great option.

If you do plan on cramming in as much stuff as possible, opt for feather-light luggage. They can weigh as little as 2kg and will make your life a whole lot easier when you’re lifting your bag into the overhead compartment. What determines their weight is what they’re made of, but bags made of light fabrics do tend to have more built-in pockets.

We’ve picked out some of the best carry-on luggage for all types of travel, styles and budgets. So take a look at our list and get booking that next flight!

The best carry-on luggage you can buy today

Best carry-on luggage: Samsonite Cosmolite 55cm Spinner Cabin CaseT3 Best Buy Award

1. Samsonite Cosmolite 55cm Spinner Cabin Case

A smart and lightweight cabin bag ideal for frequent flyers

Specifications

Model: Spinner (4 wheels)
Material: Polypropylene
Lock: TSA approved
Expandable: No
Dimensions: 55x40x20cm
Volume: 36 L
Weight: 1.7kg

Reasons to buy

+
Looks smart
+
4 wheels for easy manoeuvrability 

Reasons to avoid

-
Handle feels a little flimsy

If you’re a frequent flyer, whether it is for business or please, you need to have a Samsonite. Customers who use this Samsonite are impressed with the amount of space inside, and say they are definitely worth the cost as they are built to last. Some think the handle feels a little flimsy, but with this cabin case being super lightweight, the 4 wheels make it really easy to get around the airport with no fuss. 

It also has a TSA lock which is perfect for those who travel to the states, and the hard casing means you’ll have peace of mind if you’re ever asked to put your bag in the hold. A highly recommended choice for anyone who travels on a regular basis. 

Tumi Tegra-Lite Max Continental Expandable Carry-onT3 Approved Award

(Image credit: Tumi)

2. Tumi Tegra-Lite Max Continental Expandable Carry-on

High quality carry-on case for luxury travel

Specifications

Model: Spinner (4 wheels)
Material: Polypropylen
Lock: TSA Compatible
Expandable: Yes
Dimensions: 56 x 40.5 x 23cm
Volume: 37L
Weight: 4.99kg

Reasons to buy

+
Tough
+
Telescopic aluminium handle
+
Premium brand

Reasons to avoid

-
On the heavy side

Available in a sleek Graphite grey, the Tumi Tegra-Lite Max is the perfect carry-on case for a short trip away. It comes with four double wheels for stability, a telescopic aluminium handle, and is made from tough polycarbonate so should be able to clock up as many air miles as you do. 

The Tumi contains three zipped compartments for safely stowing all your belongings, as well as straps for keeping clothes in place. The case is secured with a zip fastening too, with TSA-compatible combination locks for security.

Unfortunately, this carry-on case isn’t perfect — it's heavier than the other carry-on suitcases on this list, weighing in at 4.99kg. That's by no means uncomfortable to carry around, but it's not quite as impressive as the featherlight cases we've also reviewed.

Antler Juno 56cm Cabin SuitcaseT3 Approved Award

3. Antler Juno 56cm Cabin Suitcase

Lightweight cabin case with distinctive design

Specifications

Model: Spinner (4 wheels)
Material: Polypropylene
Lock: TSA Compatible
Expandable: No
Dimensions: 56 x 35.5 x 23cm
Volume: 40L
Weight: 2.5kg

Reasons to buy

+
Cabin-sized case
+
4-wheeled spinner
+
Distinctive design
+
Light weight

Reasons to avoid

-
Not suited to all airlines

This compact hard shell case from British company, Antler, has been designed to be both lightweight and cabin-friendly, weighing in at 2.5kg (empty, obviously) and measuring 56 x 35.5 x 23cm. This means you can board on 27 different airlines and stow the bag in an overhead locker or under your seat — making it ideal for quick getaways at the airport or short stays away.

Although it’s compact and lightweight, the Antler Juro 56cm comes with four bottom-mounted wheels and a telescopic handle for easy manoeuvrability. It also comes with 3-digit combi lock which is TSA ready for when you travel to the States.

The Antler Juro 56cm should stand out on the baggage carousel thanks to its unique ridged design. Best of all, it comes with a generous 10 year guarantee. 

Aerolite 55cm Hard Shell Cabin LuggageT3 Approved Award

4. Aerolite 55cm Hard Shell Cabin Luggage

This affordable suitcase is durable as heck

Specifications

Model: Spinner (4-wheels)
Material: ABS
Lock: TSA Compatible
Expandable: No
Dimensions: 55 x 40 x 20cm
Volume: 40L
Weight: 2.8kg

Reasons to buy

+
Durable, scratch resistant case
+
Wheels are solid
+
Includes a lock

Reasons to avoid

-
Boring colour

This case from Aerolite is extremely light, and extremely affordable, two things we think are very important. It features four robust wheels and a double-tube retractable trolley grip handle, which make it simple to glide around the airport in any direction. It all feels very well made, despite its affordable price.

The outer casing is made from durable but lightweight anti-scratch ABS hard shell plastic to protect against the rigours of travelling, with chunky zippers on the main body. The interior features packing straps and an internal zipped divider with elasticated pockets (perfect for shoes), to keep the contents in place during transit.

The case includes a free three-digit combination barrel padlock for extra security, plus a five year guarantee for ultimate peace of mind.

This suitcase fits exactly to the maximum possible allowance for Ryanair (one of Europe’s most of the UK’s most popular airlines with the strictest ), as well as fitting within the maximum restrictions for Easyjet, and British Airways, etc.

Samsonite Flux Spinner Hand Luggage 55cmT3 Approved Award

(Image credit: Samsonite)

5. Samsonite Flux Spinner Hand Luggage 55cm

An excellent, low cost carry-on case from Samsonite

Specifications

Model: Spinner (4-wheels)
Material: Polypropylene
Lock: TSA Compatible
Expandable: Yes
Dimensions: 55 x 40 x 20cm
Volume: 44L
Weight: 2.6kg

Reasons to buy

+
Trusted brand
+
Lightweight
+
Large capacity
+
Expandible

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the most stylish

We love Samsonite's entry-level 'Flux' carry-on suitcase, it combines the brand's expert material knowledge with a secure and flexible double zipper closure. Flux was the very first Samsonite hard-side range offering (hidden) expandability on all sizes, assuring even greater packing volume in times of extra packing needs.

Its cutting edge design gives a new blast of boldness, with every detail sculptured into the perfect travel companion to ensure maximum practicality. This collection was designed to make travel easier thanks to its smooth rolling double wheels, double tube wheel handle and fully lined practical interior to arrange your belongings.

Eastpak Tranzshell 54cm Hand LuggageT3 Approved Award

(Image credit: Eastpak)

6. Eastpak Tranzshell 54cm Hand Luggage

Stylish hard case which should fit in most overheads

Specifications

Model: Spinner (4 wheels)
Material: Canvas foam
Lock: TSA compatible
Expandable: No
Dimensions: 54 x 39 x 20cm
Volume: 32L
Weight: 2.9kg

Reasons to buy

+
30-year warranty
+
Stands out
+
Two zipped compartments

Reasons to avoid

-
Could be too small for longer trips

Eastpak is one of the most recognisable luggage brands, and this distinctive spinner case from America’s most famous luggage label is the result of years of innovation. For one thing, the Eastpak Tranzshell is available in seven different colours to suit your style. Our favourite is this distinctive Camo print (which is now sold out). It also comes in three different sizes Small, Medium and Large, although we’ve chosen the smallest model here.

The Eastpak Tranzshell also promises to be tough and long-lasting with innovative foam and hybrid fabric, impressive 30-year warranty, and smooth-running wheels on its base. It also comes with a comfortable padded handle so it's easy to move around. 

Inside it's just as smart, with two zipped pockets to keep your belongings in place during your travels.

This case is reasonably light at 2.9kg, so for a short holiday or business trip away it’s ideal, especially given the large 32-litre capacity.

It also includes a locking zip system with is TSA compatible.

Ted Baker AlbanyT3 Approved Award

7. Ted Baker Albany 2-Wheel Business Bag

Effortlessly elegant, yet practical

Specifications

Model: Puller (2-wheels)
Material: Polyester
Lock: TSA compatible lock included
Expandable: No
Dimensions: 41 x 35 x 26cm
Volume: 33L
Weight: 2.8kg

Reasons to buy

+
Elegant design
+
Handbag-like handle
+
Interior pattern

Reasons to avoid

-
Rose gold will divide opinion

Available in black with a bright `Blue Butterfly`pattern interior, Ted Baker's stylish carry-on suitcase is a real designer piece with a distinctive, elegant look. Made from lustrous 900 denier twill material with rose gold highlights, the Albany also includes two smooth-rolling wheels in its base, plus large handbag-like handles. 

Inside the classy looks continue with a bright pattern, and plenty of room for your essentials.

Other goodies include a 3-digit combination lock with TSA, and contrasting saffiano envelope style front pocket. The Albany case is also available in range of other sizes – so whether you want a carry-on bag, or something larger for an extended trip away, Ted Baker has you covered. 

Aerolite Premium Hard Shell Carry OnT3 Approved Award

8. Aerolite Premium Hard Shell Carry On

And attractive case which will stand out on the luggage carousel

Specifications

Model: Spinner (4-wheels)
Material: ABS
Lock: TSA Compatible
Expandable: No
Dimensions: 55 x 35 x 20cm
Volume: 35L
Weight: 2.5kg

Reasons to buy

+
Stand out design
+
Rose gold fixtures
+
Attractive interior

Reasons to avoid

-
Gloss surface could scratch

Featuring an elegant pink floral design you'll have no problem spotting this on the luggage carousel. The affordable case is made from ultra-lightweight ABS, which is  strong and flexible enough to stand up to the rigours of modern travel, although, we could see the glossy finish getting scratched quite easily. 

The interior features packing straps and an internal zipped divider with elasticated pockets (perfect for shoes), to keep the contents in place during transit. The case is finished with rose-gold zippers and fixtures.

Victorinox Lexicon 2.0 Dual-Caster Wide-Body Carry-OnT3 Approved Award

(Image credit: Victorinox)

9. Victorinox Lexicon 2.0 Dual-Caster Wide-Body Carry-On

Great for long-haul flights with plenty of luggage allowance

Specifications

Model: Spinner (4 Wheels)
Material: Nylon
Lock: No
Expandable: Yes
Dimensions: 25 x 44 x 56cm
Volume: 42L
Weight: 3.9kg

Reasons to buy

+
Expandable
+
Laptop sleeve on outside

Reasons to avoid

-
Too big for UK/Europe short-haul airlines

Here’s a carry-on with global importance. Although it’s technically within the 56x45x25cm limit, in practice this carry-on is – when packed (and definitely when expanded) – too wide for short-haul flights in the UK and Europe. However, long-haul routes tend to have far less restrictions (though always check before you travel). Able to take 42 litres in an expandable main section, this hybrid case/carry-on has double-spinner wheels for maximum mobility, an adjustable handle with three different heights, and vertical X-shaped compression straps for squeezing even more inside. It’s for those that want to travel far, and travel light… ish.

Tumi Alpha 2 Continental Carry onT3 Approved Award

10. Tumi Alpha 2 Continental Carry on

A smart bag for both short and long haul flights

Specifications

Model: Spinner (4 Wheels)
Material: Ballistic Nylon
Lock: No
Expandable: Yes
Dimensions: 55.9 x 40.6 x 22.9cm
Volume: 35 L
Weight: 5kg

Reasons to buy

+
Four wheels 
+
Expandable compartment

Reasons to avoid

-
 Some prefer hard cases 

If you want something that’s built to last, you may not think a soft case is the best option. However, this carry on bag from Tumi is said to be incredibly well built and has protection on the corners which means this case can take a beating during transit. Those who travel frequently found this bag to really hold up well, and fit neatly into an overhead cabin without feeling like you’re compromising on packing space. 

It has an expandable section which makes it ideal for when you end up coming back with what seems like twice as much as you went with, but no matter what you can always expect this bag to be within airline guidelines. Four wheels make it easier to get around, as this bag does come in as one of the heaviest on our list, but it is almost one of the smartest. 

Globe-Trotter Leather Trimmed Trolley CaseT3 Approved Award

11. Globe-Trotter Carry On

A small but sturdy and spacious case for smart packing

Specifications

Model: Spinner (4 Wheel)
Material: Vulcanised fibreboard wth leather accents
Lock: Yes
Expandable: No
Dimensions: 40 x 55 x 21cm
Volume: 34L
Weight: 4.2kg

Reasons to buy

+
Looks professional 
+
Handcrafted detailing

Reasons to avoid

-
 Heavy 
-
Not vegan

For those who want to look the part when travelling, then a Globe-Trotter bag is what you must have. this leather trimmed trolley case looks vintage and professional and has been handmade with polished detailing that really finishes off the look. It’s downside is it’s almost ten times heavier compared to other suitcases, but it also looks ten times cooler. 

It looks like an old-fashioned suitcase, but is surprisingly spacious inside, and has two handles and wheels for easy maneuverability through the airport. To make it all the more unique, if not a little fiddly, it fastens with push locks that have individual keys. 

Victorinox Spectra Expandable Cabin SuitcaseT3 Approved Award

12. Victorinox Spectra Expandable Cabin Suitcase

An expandable hard case which looks slick

Specifications

Model: Spinner (4 wheels)
Material: Polycarbonate
Lock: Yes
Expandable: Yes
Dimensions: 55 x 38cm x 20 / 23cm
Volume: 29 / 35 litres
Weight: 3.07kg

Reasons to buy

+
Expandable
+
Hard shell

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the most roomy

Those who prefer hard shell cases will love this expandable carry on luggage bag from Victorinox. It’s super compact and is said to be durable for those who fly or travel frequently. 

Some say it is a little smaller than they expected, but the case features dividers and pockets which really help maximise packing space inside. It comes with a lifetime guarantee should anything happen to your case in transit, but users have noted how well this case withstands travel, both in the cabin and in the hold. Probably not the best choice for those who have a tendency to overpack, but for short business trips, you can expect this case to serve you well. 

Samsonite Base Boost Upright Hand LuggageT3 Approved Award

13. Samsonite Base Boost Upright Hand Luggage

Give your luggage collection a boost with our number one suitcase

Specifications

Model: 2-wheels
Material: Polyester
Lock: TSA-approved
Expandable: No
Dimensions: 55 x 40 x 20cm
Volume: 41L
Weight: 2.1kg

Reasons to buy

+
High quality
+
TSA Lock

Reasons to avoid

-
Only two wheels

This Samsonite suitcase is our best cheap lightweight suitcase. Why? Simply put, it offers unrivalled quality and reassurance, realistically everything you want from a suitcase. 

With a TSA lock for stressless security fly-throughs and peace of mind at your destination, an expandable front pocket for stuffing with Duty Free Toblerones, and, according to reviewers, a light but incredibly strong construction, it looks to be a reliable and spacious option. The only thing keeping it from perfection is the two-wheeled design.
 

Samsonite Guard It Rolling ToteT3 Approved Award

14. Samsonite Guard It Rolling Tote

A designated laptop carry-on for business travellers

Specifications

Model: 2-wheels
Material: Polyester
Lock: No
Expandable: No
Dimensions: 46 x 36.5 x 22cm
Volume: 26.5L
Weight: 2.7kg

Reasons to buy

+
Padded laptop compartment (17.3inches)
+
Lockable zippersAffordable

Reasons to avoid

-
Only 2 wheels
-
Small capacity

When travelling for business on a regular basis, carrying a laptop can be a real pain. However, this Samsonite laptop carry-on is the best way to ensure your device is protected on your flight. It offers a generous padded compartment which can accommodate laptops up to 17.3 inches, and you get an additional tablet pocket, for screens up to 10.1 inches. 

This carry-on luggage only has 2 wheels for rolling, but it certainly takes the stress out of carrying an additional laptop bag on your shoulder as well as a cabin bag. You’ll still have ample space to fit in your clothing for a short trip. 

Berluti Formula 1004 leather carry onT3 Approved Award

15. Berluti Formula 1004 leather carry on

The smartest when it comes to looks

Specifications

Model: Spinner (4-wheels)
Material: Leather
Lock: No
Expandable: No
Dimensions: 22 x 55 x 35cm
Volume: TBC
Weight: 4.8 Kg

Reasons to buy

+
Luxurious leather exterior
+
So smart it will probably get you an upgrade

Reasons to avoid

-
It's rather expensive
-
Not vegan

Berluti’s carry-on case may not come with a removable charger, but it’s definitely the smartest when it comes to looks and may even bag you an upgrade if you’re spotted carrying it. The ‘Formula 1004’ case is crafted from black polished Venezia leather (so you won’t want to put it in the hold for fear of scratches) and has a handy front zipped pocket for stashing your passport. 

The interior is designed for easy organisation with multiple compartments and flexible straps to keep everything neat and tidy. It has wheels, but that’s where the extras stop as this case is all about its beauty. The big drawback? The case is a staggering price, making it more an heirloom than luggage.

Thule Crossover Carry-onT3 Approved Award

16. Thule Crossover Carry-on

Hybrid roller-backpack with a built-in glasses case

Specifications

Model: 2-wheels
Material: Nylon
Lock: No
Expandable: No
Dimensions: 38.5 x 21 x 56cm
Volume: 38L
Weight: 3.5kg

Reasons to buy

+
Built-in glasses case
+
Backpack straps

Reasons to avoid

-
Too big for budget airlines

Though many travellers try to travel light on short-haul flights to save money, most people check-in their luggage on a long-haul flight when they’re given 20kg of check-in luggage. Consequently, there are very few bags that meet the more generous carry-on criteria of long-haul flights for those who don’t want to hang about at carousels.

Thule’s Crossover Rolling is just that bag; it takes a lot of luggage, and is extra tough thanks to a hard-sided design and two wheels that can take it over all kinds of terrain. The telescopic handle is also tougher than on most. Inside it’s a pretty standard design – complete with waterproof pocket – but it has two strokes of genius. 

The first is a hard-sided pocket on the outside of the bag for storing sunglasses, and the second is two straps that unfurl from the top to make the Crossover Rolling wearable as a backpack. It’s also got a pouch for a 15-inch laptop. It takes 38 litres of stuff.

Eastpak Tranverz Cabin CaseT3 Approved Award

17. Eastpak Tranverz Extra Small

Though it be but little, it is fierce

Specifications

Model: Soft cases 2-wheels
Material: Nylon
Lock: No
Expandable: No
Dimensions: 48 x 32 x 20cm
Volume: 28.5L
Weight: 2.23kg

Reasons to buy

+
Can take a bashing
+
Double-decker design

Reasons to avoid

-
Very small capacity
-
No protection

If you’re in the habit of slinging your bags around all over the place, you’ll need a suitcase that can stand up to a bit of tough love – or, more realistically, to unrelenting punishment. 

That suitcase looks to be the Eastpak Tranverz: small enough to act as a carry-on case, but by no means dainty. Some have found its 28L capacity a little unforgiving, but for a long weekend it seems to be ample, with reviewers particularly commending the split-level design for separating sundries, and of course, that robust construction. If you find yourself on and off trains a lot and don’t want something that you’ll have to be too precious about, this is a solid choice.

Now, if you're Looking for something a little bigger, these are the best suitcases.

Spencer Hart
Style and Travel Editor

As the Style and Travel Editor at T3, Spencer covers everything from clothes to cars and watches to hotels. Everything that's cool, stylish, and interesting, basically. He's been a part of T3 for over seven years, and in that time covered every industry event known to man, from CES and MWC to the Geneva Motorshow and Baselworld. When he's driving up and down the country in search of the greatest driving roads, he can be found messing around on an electric scooter, playing with luxury watches, or testing the latest fragrances.