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Last Updated On October 4th, 2021

Top 10 Reviews

Best Cabin Luggage in the UK 2021

Luxury Choice

Samsonite S'Cure Spinner Small

4.7/5
Samsonite S'Cure Spinner Small

Editor's choice

American Tourister Bon Air

4.5/5
American Tourister Bon Air

Best Value

Cabin Max Metz Backpack

4.6/5
Cabin Max Metz Backpack

Checking luggage at the airport comes with its own set of hassles such as having to stand in a line at the counter, weight restrictions, having to retrieve your bag after your flight has landed, and in most cases, having to pay additional baggage charges as well. One way to avoid this is by packing light and bringing only cabin luggage, also known as carry-on luggage or hand luggage. To find the best cabin luggage, there are a lot of things to consider like cabin approved size requirements, wheel design, capacity, weight, compartments, colours, and more. In order to make this process easier for you, we researched some of the top hand luggage products available today and put together a concise buyer’s guide explaining what to look for in the best carry-on luggage. Whether you want bright colours, lots of pockets, or a simple durable design, our top 10 best carry-on luggage list has got you covered.

Best Cabin Luggage List

Best Cabin Luggage Reviews – Top 10 Picks

The American Tourister Bon Air is our top Editor’s Choice for the best carry on luggage. This strong and durable hardshell suitcase is easy to manoeuver with smooth-gliding spinner wheels and comes in fun, bright colours.

American Tourister Bon Air

Features

Bon Air carry-on luggage by American Tourister has a 31.5-litre capacity and is lightweight at only 2.5kg. They are made with a strong and durable polypropylene shell and have a spinning 4-wheel design for 360 degrees manoeuvrability which can be useful when getting around the airport. The main compartment has elastic fixation straps and three mesh zipper pockets, two in the top half and one in the bottom half. We like a lot of pockets because it gives you easy access to your belongings without having to unpack entirely.

This cabin luggage also features a TSA combination lock and locking outer zippers for added security. It has a carry handle as well as the standard retractable pull out handle, both located on the top of the suitcase. An integrated address label keeps your information firmly attached and helps ensure that if your luggage gets lost it can find its way back to you. American Tourister luggage is backed by a five-year guarantee.

Bon Air cabin luggage has a slightly smaller capacity than the maximum allowed for carry-on suitcases and does not expand, however, there is still plenty of space for a quick getaway or business trip. The only other con for this cabin luggage is that the zippers may shift if they are not locked in place but fortunately, a lock is integrated into the design.

PROS

CONS

American Tourister Bon Air
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The Samsonite S’Cure Spinner Small is our top luxury choice for the best carry on suitcase. It has a hard outer shell and a secure three-point locking system with a TSA combination lock to keep things safe and give you peace of mind.

Samsonite S'cure Spinner

Features

The Samsonite S’Cure cabin case has a 34-litre capacity and weighs only 2.9kg. Considering the size restrictions that come along with using cabin luggage, this is just about the largest capacity possible. It is constructed using Flowlite material which is lightweight yet durable polypropylene plastic. It features an aluminium tube wheel handle, a telescopic handle on top, and a side carry handle. Another great perk to this carry-on luggage is that when closed up, it establishes a seal that minimizes possible moisture penetration in case of inclement weather or accidental spills.

Manoeuvrability is a cinch with this carry-on luggage due to its four dual wheels which spin in any direction. For storage purposes, the Samsonite S’Cure features a lower compartment with crossed compression straps and a zipped divider on the top half with a slightly padded design. It also has an integrated, covered ID tag to help you identify your luggage and keep it securely in place. S’Cure Small cabin luggage is available in 13 different fun colour options and comes with a five-year warranty backed by Samsonite.

Cons for the Samsonite S’Cure Spinner Small luggage include it coming without lock instructions, featuring minimal compartments and pockets, and it having a lower overall life expectancy due to the ultra-lightweight components used to construct the hard shell.

PROS

CONS

Samsonite S'cure Spinner
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The Cabin Max Backpack is our best value for money choice for a carry on bag. This option is lightweight, water-resistant, and has lots of pockets to help you stay organized while you travel.

Cabin Max Metz Backpack

Features

The Cabin Max Metz cabin bag weighs only 660 grams, has an impressive 44-litre capacity, and is ergonomically designed for both men and women. Since you’ll have to carry this hand luggage, it features padded back and shoulder straps for added comfort. The mesh material on the back also improves comfort by helping to dissipate heat buildup by way of an added airflow channel. Metz hand luggage is made with a water-resistant 600D nylon material that boasts being showerproof. It incorporates two side compression straps to constrict its size as needed and a top carry handle for versatile convenience.

Metz hand luggage is a great choice if you like extra pockets and compartments. It features three main zipper compartments, one of which is a laptop compartment with lots of additional pockets, and two internal zipped compartments to keep all of your stuff right where you want it. Another great perk for this cabin bag is that it can be machine washed for a quick refresher. It comes in various different colour options and comes with a three-year guarantee backed by Cabin Max.

The Cabin Max Metz cabin bag lacks any internal shape so you can expect flimsy sides unless it’s fully packed. Also, the zippers are not the smoothest running, and overall, you should expect lower durability from this hand luggage but it still provides excellent value.

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CONS

Cabin Max Metz Backpack
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The Aerolite 322 is our top choice for the best lightweight cabin luggage. We really like this sturdy and durable hardshell suitcase for anyone that is big on manoeuvrability, divider pockets, and of course, for anyone looking for something super lightweight.

Aerolite 322

Features

The Aerolite 322 has a 34-litre capacity and weighs in at only 2.6kg. It is made with a durable and scratch-resistant ABS plastic hard shell that aims to securely protect and hold luggage during transit. The main compartment features compartmentalized storage space with two elastic shoe pockets, packing straps, a zipped dividing pocket, and a mesh document pocket to help keep your belongings in place while you travel.

This hardshell carry on luggage features a one-metre telescopic handle and a 360 spinning, 4 wheel design to enhance manoeuvrability. It rolls and turns smoothly in any direction so no need to drag it behind you if you don’t want to. This super lightweight carry on luggage comes with a five-year warranty backed by Aerolite and a three-digit combination lock for securing the zippers. It is available in several different fun colour options.

However, the Aerolite 322 does have some areas we think it could improve starting with the zipper which may stick occasionally and could be a bit stiff. Also, the retractable handle has some drawbacks. It is less sturdy than we think is ideal and may wobble when fully extended. Additionally, the handle takes up space inside the cabin luggage detracting more from the already limited size.

PROS

CONS

Aerolite 322
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The Samsonite Base Boost Spinner Small is our favourite choice for the best soft-sided cabin luggage on our list. It is incredibly lightweight and surprisingly durable for a soft-sided case and features a TSA lock for added security.

Samsonite Base Boost Spinner Small

Features

The Samsonite Base Boost Spinner Small cabin luggage has a 36-litre capacity and weighs in at only 2kg total. It is constructed with a high quality polyester material that is strong without being heavy. For storage, this suitcase has an internal zippered mesh pocket, internal elastic cross straps, and a smaller zippered front pocket for easy access to important items like your passport or wallet. The design includes plastic corner protection which is important when it comes to soft-sided luggage cases.

The spinning 4 wheel design of the Base Boost suitcase allows it to rotate in any direction while you make your way through the airport with ease. This luggage also features a TSA approved lock on both front compartments for added security and has a built-in address tag as well. There are an aluminium retractable handle and a thick carry handle on top of this bag and it comes with a five-year guarantee backed by Samsonite.

Of course, the Base Boost Spinner Small carry on luggage is not without its imperfections. The lightweight design of the retractable handle makes it a bit flimsier than ideal, there is only a minimal amount of pockets included in the interior design, and there have been some consumer reports about having issues getting Samsonite to fulfil the five-year warranty without much of a hassle.

PROS

CONS

Samsonite Base Boost Spinner Small
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Next up on our best cabin luggage list is the American Tourister Soundbox. We really like its unique design that has retro-styled the hard shell case to resemble a vinyl record. It is fun, quirky, and also comes in a wide variety of bright colours. This carry on luggage may just make you the envy of the airport.

American Tourister Soundbox

Features

American Tourister Soundbox cabin luggage is easily expandable and has a 35.5-41 litre capacity. This is a huge benefit if you like to buy souvenirs or tend to bring home more things than you left with initially. It is lightweight and weighs only 2.6kg. The polypropylene plastic hardshell case features a selection of pockets and compartments that include a zippered and lined divider, a mesh zip pocket on either side and elastic cross straps to keep you organised while you travel. We also like this cabin luggage for its smooth functioning dual wheels and the sturdy extendable handle paired with a carry handle for easy manoeuvrability.

This stylish piece of cabin luggage also features a recessed three-digit TSA lock to keep your belongings safe while you travel. There are a wide variety of colours to choose from and the Soundbox comes with a three-year global warranty backed by American Tourister.

Even with the guarantee, you can expect slightly lower durability from Soundbox cabin luggage. It may develop scratches on the case with extended use and the brighter colour options may be unable to mask wear and tear as effectively but you can expect this with most travel bags.

PROS

CONS

American Tourister Soundbox
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The AmazonBasics Hardside luggage is next on our best cabin bag list. This cabin luggage is super lightweight and compact in size, in fact, it’s the most lightweight hardshell option on our list, as well as the most compact.

AmazonBasics Hardside

Features

AmazonBasics Hardside hand luggage weighs a measly 3.33kg even though it is built with an extra-thick ABS hard plastic shell. The case has a scratch-resistant finish for increased durability and is expandable by up to 15% if you so choose. It features a 4-wheel design with doubled spinners, a short carry handle, and a retractable handle for ease of motion and so you don’t have to hold luggage the whole time you are travelling. The main compartment of the case has a polyester lining with lots of pockets. It has a divider, elastic cross straps, and three zippered pockets for your convenience.

The Hardside suitcase also made it on our best carry-on luggage UK list because it features strong zippers that function smoothly, comes in five different colours, and is also available in two slightly larger sizes that are still considered cabin approved on most well-known airlines

Although the AmazonBasics travel suitcase is a great choice, it may be too compact for some travellers or for any trip longer than a couple of days. Additionally, you may experience a slight wobble when the telescopic handle is completely extended and there is no known capacity stated within the product specifications.

PROS

CONS

AmazonBasics Hardside
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The Coolife Trolley case is another great carry-on option that made our best cabin luggage list. This carry on luggage has a thick hard shell and a basic design with lots of interior space for those of us who like to bring lots of clothing options along when we travel.

Coolife Trolley

Features

The Coolife Trolley case has a 38-litre capacity and weighs 3.6kg. It is made with a hard anti-scratch ABS plastic case and features four spinner wheels, a top and side handle, and an aluminium telescopic handle. Inside the case, you will find it has a thin foam lining covered with polyester as well as elastic cross straps and one zippered pocket, for improved travel storage.

The Trolley suitcase also comes equipped with a TSA lock to keep your belongings secure either while in transit or in a hotel or hostel room. This cabin luggage option includes a two-year warranty backed by Coolife and comes in 11 fun colour options. It is also available in larger sizes if you wish to buy a complete luggage set, but of course, the other options will not be considered carry-on bags.

If you decide this might be the best luggage for you just keep in mind that it is not expandable and may be too large to be cabin approved with some airline companies. Additionally, it has a single wheel design which means they may not last quite as long as a dual wheel designed case and it has minimal compartments so you will have to mainly rely upon your own personal organisation skills.

PROS

CONS

Coolife Trolley
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The Cabin Max Lyon travel bag also found its way onto our best hand luggage list. This bag makes a great choice for anyone who wants to take their bag into more rugged terrain and needs it to be easy to carry. It offers high versatility and bridges the gap between a backpack bag and hand luggage easily.

Cabin Max Lyon

Features

Lyon hand luggage by Cabin Max has a 44-litre capacity which is the maximum size allowance for carry-on bag travel with most airlines. It is super lightweight at only 1.7kg and is made with strong water-resistant anti-tear material. For compartments, it features both a small and large front pocket with ample dividers to organise smaller items. It also has compression straps on either side to minimize the size of the bag overall when it isn’t completely full.

The most unique part about this travel suitcase is that it has both wheels and hideaway backpack straps. The straps remain covered until you decide to pull down the back zipper panel, at which point you can velcro it over the wheels so debris and dirt can’t rub off onto your clothes. There are several different bag colours to choose from and this hand luggage comes with a one year guarantee for peace of mind.

Cabin Max Lyon hand luggage is not for anyone looking for highly manoeuvrable wheels as there are only two and they are not spinners. It also has a flimsier base that may drag on the ground when you choose to use the wheels if you don’t pack it carefully. Lastly, the single bar design of the retractable handle may be less stable but, considering the dual backpack-suitcase design, we are willing to overlook this.

PROS

CONS

Cabin Max Lyon
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The Eastpak Transverz S is another great choice to make our best hand luggage list. This is a great option for anyone looking to conserve space while it is not in use or anyone looking for hand luggage with a more adjustable size overall.

Eastpak Transverz S

Features

The Eastpak Transverz S hand luggage bag has a 42-litre capacity and weighs 2.41kg total. It is made with a strong 100% nylon material and has smooth zippers. It features smart compartmentalized storage with a front pocket for easy access to important travel documents, a zipper mesh pocket inside the main compartment, dividers to separate and contain the contents of each half, a 13.3 inch laptop sleeve, and an easy zip down front panel. This bag has a side and top handle in addition to the retractable handle.

Transverz S hand luggage bags fold down for easy storage and feature side compression straps on the outside that allows you to easily contract the overall size of the bag when you don’t fill it up. It has two wheels to eliminate the strain of having to constantly carry it and an integrated TSA lock fitted into the design. This bag comes in a wide range of different colours and patterns.

Criticisms for this bag include it possibly having trouble staying upright unless you pack it carefully with the heaviest items on the bottom, the soft-sided walls leaving the contents of the bag more vulnerable if ever you choose to check it during your flight, and the design only featuring two wheels which demands you have to drag it along behind you.

PROS

CONS

Eastpak Transverz S
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Choosing the Best Carry On Bag: A Buyer's Guide

Now that you have reached the end of our top 10 best carry on bags, let us explain how we came to choose the travel bags on our list. This buyer’s guide should help you get a better understanding of how one carry on suitcase compares to another, and also how to choose the absolute best carry on bag for the type of flyer you are and the style of travel you prefer.

What to Look for in the Best Cabin Luggage

Whether you happen to call it cabin luggage, carry on luggage, hand luggage, or even a suitcase, before you decide what the best bag for you will be you must first determine what traits are important to you so you will know when you have found the right bag, right? The following sections include some of the highest priority traits to look for in the best carry on luggage in the UK. It’s possible not all of the traits we explore will be important for you but, at the very least, they will give you a better understanding of how we came to choose our best cabin luggage reviews.

Materials: Hard Shell or Soft-Sided Case?

travel bagsOne of the best places to start when looking for a new piece of cabin luggage is whether you want a hard or soft shell case.

Hard shell cases are known for keeping your items more protected in case other suitcases get piled on top of it during transit and also for doing a better job of keeping your belongings dry in the event your bag gets wet. However, hardshell cases are also more likely to crack and often weigh more than your typical soft-sided bag. Soft-sided cabin bags often have the ability to contract or expand more easily, don’t run the risk of cracking, and also often more front pocket variations.

Materials

The better the building materials, the better durability you can expect from a cabin bag. The best carry-on will be built using durable materials like thick nylon or dense ABS or polypropylene plastic for the main structure, as many of the products on our list are. Zipper and telescopic handle materials will also be durable and of high quality in the best cabin suitcases.

Capacity

Capacity is a big part of choosing the best cabin luggage. Not only are there are specific size requirements for carry-on luggage but you want to make sure you can comfortably fit your travel items in the bag, right? When it comes to carry-on luggage we generally think bigger is better, as long as it doesn’t exceed airline regulations.

Storage Compartments

Smart storage with varied compartments, dividers, and pockets is an important trait to look for when it comes to cabin luggage if you like your suitcase to stay organised. Pockets can not only help you keep track of and find specific items in your suitcase faster and easier, but it can also help you keep things separate if needed, similar to a laundry bag or with items like electronics and toiletries.

The range of pocket sizes and quantities varies greatly from bag to bag so make sure you choose a bag with the right amount of pockets and compartments for you.

Wheels

woman going on a tripWheels are one of the most important traits to look for in the best carry on travel bag because they ultimately determine how easily it can travel and the quality of manoeuvrability you can expect.

Most of the best products on our list have a four-wheel design which is the most common style of cabin bag you will find on the market because they are convenient and less labour-intensive. Almost all newer cabin bags with four wheels also feature spinner wheels which enable 360-degree rotation and make it possible to walk with the bag by your side if you want. However, some carry on bags only feature two wheels or even no wheels at all. Be aware that a bag with only two wheels will likely not have spinner wheels and you will have to drag it behind you as you walk.

We also recommend taking note of whether a prospective bag has single or double wheels. The best cabin luggage often has double wheels to improve manoeuvrability and extend their lifespan.

Weight

Weight in a carry on bag can be important as well. Some airlines have a weight restriction on their carry on luggage, although this is rarely checked or enforced, it often maxes out at 10kg. Most importantly though, you will be responsible for carrying or wheeling it along with you, and the lighter it is the better, particularly if you have connecting flights.

Bag Security

Bag security and a locking mechanism aren’t quite as important with a carry-on bag than with your hold luggage because ideally, it will stay with you while you travel but it could become handy if you are staying in a hostel or simply like to keep your belongings secure in your hotel room. Fortunately, many of the best pieces of luggage come with integrated locks that are often TSA approved to securely protect and hold your luggage, whether it stays with you or not.

Other Important Things to Keep in Mind

The following sections provide a bit more insight into the benefits of using a carry on bag and hopefully answer any possible questions that may be lingering.

Cabin Suitcase Benefits

One of the main benefits of using a carry-on bag is that you can usually avoid checked luggage airline fees, although some budget airlines charge for carry-on bags as well. Another benefit to carrying your bag is it saves you time. Not only do you get to skip the line to check your bag and head straight through security, but you don’t have to wait to pick it up from baggage claim after your flight, either. Lastly, there is less chance of your bag getting misplaced if you don’t have to check it and it is with you the entire time.

Correct Size Regulations

travel bag measurement using measuring tapeThere are very specific size regulations when it comes to carry-on bags and not all airlines have the same size requirements. So, what is the correct size for cabin luggage? Generally speaking, it can’t exceed 55x40x20cm or have more than a 44-litre capacity. However, we strongly recommend double-checking with the airlines you use most and always make sure before you travel to avoid any possible size issues in the future.

How Do I Choose Cabin Luggage?

The best cabin luggage for you depends mostly on your own personal preferences and how you intend to use it in your life. Do you need luggage for a day trip, business trip, backpacking trip? Regardless, by now you probably have a pretty good idea of what you want to look for in your own personal carry-on luggage and there shouldn’t be anything holding you back.

The Best Luggage for You

With all of the options we have presented you, you should be ready to move forward in your search for the best cabin luggage but, before you pull the trigger and make your final decision, let’s quickly review our number one Editor’s Choice one last time so you can look your carry-on best when the time comes to travel again.

American Tourister Bon Air cabin luggage has a 31.5-litre capacity and a lightweight 2.5kg design. It features four wheels with the spinner design for improved manoeuvrability and a strong polypropylene outer shell. With a retractable handle and carry handle located on the top, a built-in TSA combination lock and locking outer zippers to ensure your luggage doesn’t accidentally open up during transit, not only is this option easy to manoeuvre but it is highly secure, too. It even features an integrated address label in case it ever gets lost, and three internal zippered pockets to maximize storage space and enhance the organisation. It is available in 12 bright colour options and is backed by American Tourister’s five-year luggage guarantee.

Is the Bon Air suitcase the right choice for you? Or would one of the other pieces of luggage on our best-of list better suit your travel needs better? Either way, we know you’ll make the best decision for you, happy travelling!

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