Best Carry-On Luggage 2024, Tested By Our Editors

Best Carry-On Luggage 2024, Tested By Our Editors

Checking a bag isn’t for everyone—many travelers try to avoid it at all costs. The best carry-on luggage makes efficient use of space, meaning you won’t need to hand off your bag at the check-in desk. We researched the best carry-on luggage and asked our jetsetting remote editors—including senior travel editor Astrid Taran, who is staunchly “carry-on only”—to test a variety of top-rated options. After months of travel, we determined that the Monos Carry-On Pro is the best carry-on overall. Away’s The Carry-On won as the best hardside choice, while Briggs & Riley’s Baseline Essential 22-inch Carry-On is our top softside recommendation.

The best carry-on luggage makes efficient use of space, meaning you won’t need to stress about … [+] handing your bag off to the check-in desk.

Illustration: Forbes / Images: Retailer

Meant to never leave your side, the best carry-on luggage can be easily maneuvered around the airport, tucked into a plane’s overhead compartment, and in some cases, slid underneath the seat in front of you. Our selections below check all of those boxes and come in different styles, materials and price ranges. For more luggage options, we also put together our Best Luggage guide, which includes our picks for the best checked luggage, the best luggage sets, the best underseat luggage and more.

Dimensions: 22 × 14 × 9 inches | Weight: 7.8 pounds | TSA-approved lock: Yes | Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty

Best for:

  • Smart organization and built-in compression
  • Travelers who want a wide variety of color options
  • Laptop users seeking a padded front pocket

Skip if:

  • You tend to overpack

The versatility, durability and sharp aesthetics of Monos’ Carry-On Pro make it an all-around excellent hardside luggage option—and our top carry-on recommendation overall. It’s designed with 360-degree spinner wheels that are easy to maneuver and an internal pad to compress your clothing as well as a front padded compartment for extra storage and protection. This polycarbonate exterior is outfitted with an ultra-sturdy telescopic handle, TSA-approved lock and vegan leather details. This pick also comes in a Carry-On Pro Plus size, which offers more packing space—but may be too big for some international flights.

“Unlike other hardside bags I’ve traveled with, this suitcase’s front laptop pocket actually has enough room for both my laptop and other travel essentials,” says Forbes Vetted updates writer Fran Sales, who has used the Monos Carry-On Pro on multiple trips. “I’ve put this bag through the wringer and it continues to feel hefty, sturdy and secure.” Senior updates editor Karen Tietjen has also traveled with this bag and adds, “It’s worth noting how cute it looks—the fun colors make it easy to identify in a busy airport or baggage claim.”

Expert tip: Sales notes that the suitcase’s telescoping handles can get stuck at certain heights if the suitcase is packed too tightly, so while the internal compression pad is a nice feature, this bag may not be the best choice for chronic overpackers.

The 2024 Forbes Vetted Best Product Awards are here: Explore our 150 top-recommended items across categories after extensive research and testing.

Dimensions: 21.7 x 13.7 x 9 inches | Weight: 7.1 pounds | TSA-approved lock: Yes | Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty

Best for:

  • Travelers seeking a durable, long-lasting hardside carry-on
  • A thoughtful interior compression system
  • A comfortable underside grab handle

Skip if:

  • You prefer a suitcase with a front pocket

You’ve likely seen Away’s lightweight suitcases all over airports—the brand’s popularity is far from surprising. With a spectrum of Instagram-worthy colors, upgrades like suitcase or luggage tag monogramming and convenient details such as smooth swiveling wheels, an underside grab handle, a TSA-approved lock and a hidden laundry bag, these suitcases don’t skimp on features. At just over seven pounds, the brand’s Carry-On is able to hold nearly 40 liters, and its polycarbonate shell is both durable and flexible. This suitcase also comes in a slightly larger Bigger Carry-On size as well as an expandable Flex version, which made our list of the best luggage for international travel. “This is my favorite piece of luggage of all time,” says Forbes Vetted’s managing editor Emmy Favilla, who became an immediate fan of this suitcase after traveling with it on several trips. “It’s very lightweight, and I appreciate the interior mesh pocket and compression buckles to help fit more items. The handle is the perfect height and has two settings.”

Expert tip: If you’re still on the fence, Away allows returns within the first 100 days of purchase. Monogrammed items cannot be returned; however, all items are covered under the company’s limited lifetime warranty.


Samsonite Freeform Carry-On Spinner

Dimensions: 21.25 × 15.25 × 10 inches | Weight: 6.5 pounds | TSA-approved lock: Yes | Warranty: Limited 10-year global warranty

Best for:

  • Travelers who only take a few trips each year
  • Those who prefer an expandable bag (this one expands up to one inch)
  • Those seeking a wide range of colors

Skip if:

  • You need a more impact-resistant bag

The Samsonite Freeform Spinner is compact but expandable when you want extra packing room. It also has interior pockets and a divider to keep everything in its place. Four wheels make it easy to tote and a push-button handle pulls out and retracts as needed. Other notable features include a recessed TSA-approved lock, a built-in ID tag and a modern color palette that includes navy, mint green and white with gray accents.

“I have used this bag on dozens of trips now and it’s still in great shape,” says Forbes Vetted senior deals editor Kara Cuzzone. “It’s come in handy on both weekend trips and longer flights. The expandable panel is so convenient for squeezing extra clothes in without having to opt for a larger suitcase and the durable exterior ensures that my more delicate belongings stay protected.”

Expert tip: This suitcase’s polypropylene shell is not as impact-resistant as polycarbonate or aluminum. That’s perfectly fine for a carry-on bag, but risky as a checked bag that might get tossed around on an airport carousel.


Briggs & Riley

Briggs & Riley Baseline Essential 22-inch Carry-On

Dimensions: 22 × 14 × 9 inches | Weight: 9.7 pounds | TSA-approved lock: Yes | Warranty: Lifetime warranty

Best for:

  • Travelers who prefer flexible softside luggage
  • An elegant look made with durable material
  • Generous warranty that covers any damage

Skip if:

  • You’re on a budget

Briggs & Riley is a luxury luggage brand trusted for its durability and excellent lifetime warranty. Forbes Vetted’s branded content editor Luke Fater used the brand’s Baseline Essential 22-inch Carry-On for “multiple trips, including on a plane, train and bus.” After extensive testing, Fater is a fan. “The spinner rolled like butter,” he says. “It has no signs of fraying in the stitching or zippers, either. The ballistic nylon material seems super-resistant to wear and tear. Overall, the bag is very cleverly made.” This bag was also tested by Forbes Vetted contributor Neha Tandon, who notes that its sophisticated style has garnered many compliments at the airport. “Two strangers came up to me and asked about it on my last trip,” she says.

The suitcase features a spring-loaded handle, flat interior and built-in compartment configuration. Briggs & Riley suitcases don’t come cheap, but its high-end features like a built-in garment folder, compressive technology and shock-absorbent wheels make it a worthy investment.

Expert tip: The brand is known for its extremely forgiving warranty, covering repairs for any sort of damage free of charge for as long as you own the bag.


Travelpro Maxlite 5

Dimensions: 22 × 14 × 9 inches | Weight: 5.4 pounds | TSA-approved lock: Yes Warranty: 5-year limited warranty; covers cost of repair for damage by an airline if registered within first 120 days of purchase

Best for:

  • Travelers seeking a lightweight and expandable bag
  • Those who don’t want to spend more than $200
  • Minimal wheel noise

Skip if:

  • You need a more spacious exterior pocket

Travelpro’s Maxlite 5 impressed our editors for being a lightweight bag that offers significant capacity (46 liters, to be exact). At under $200, it’s not only a solid affordable carry-on, but a great suitcase overall, which is why we named it one of our best softside luggage options. Designed with 360-degree rollers that make it smooth to maneuver around any airport, it features a rubber grip with contoured finishings for extra comfort. Its exterior is coated with the brand’s signature water and stain-resistant technology, meaning no matter how many rainstorms you drag it through, it still looks fresh. For overpackers, it also expands a generous two inches.

“This suitcase is exceedingly light and easy to maneuver,” says deputy editor Rose Gordon Sala, who traveled with the bag on a family trip to Jamaica over spring break. “I never got tripped up navigating tight aisles or security lines with it. One of my favorite features is the padded handle on the side, which makes it extra easy to grab and hoist as needed.”

Expert tip: While this bag comes with a handy exterior pocket, Gordon Sala notes that it won’t accommodate bulkier items. “The pocket could be wider,” she says.


Rimowa Original Cabin Plus

Dimensions: 21.7 × 15.8 × 9.1 inches | Weight: 9.5 pounds | TSA-approved lock: Yes | Warranty: Lifetime warranty

Best for:

  • Those looking for a long-term investment piece
  • Smooth and quiet wheels
  • Lifetime warranty

Skip if:

  • You’re on a budget
  • You plan to toss this bag around, since aluminum is prone to denting

Investing in a solid carry-on suitcase can fulfill your travel needs for years to come, and if you’re looking to make a purchase that truly lasts, Rimowa is an excellent choice. Durable and lightweight, the beloved German brand’s bags are known globally for their craftsmanship, and its classic Original Cabin is stylishly recognizable in any airport. It has a well-made aluminum exterior and a lifetime guarantee that covers any damage.

Forbes Vetted’s executive director of business development and partnerships, Alexis Caldwell, has used Rimowa’s Original Cabin Plus on both long and short trips. “This carry-on has come with me on three-week trips to various destinations, and I never felt like I needed more space,” she says. Caldwell specifically called out the bag’s built-in compression system, which “allows me to squeeze so much into it.”

Expert tip: While they are a badge of honor for some frequent flyers, an aluminum suitcase is probably not the best choice if you don’t want to see occasional dents on your bag.


Travelpro Platinum Elite Carry-On Spinner

Dimensions: 21 × 14 × 9 inches | Weight: 7.8 pounds TSA-approved lock: Yes Warranty: 5-year limited warranty; covers cost of repair for damage by an airline if registered within first 120 days of purchase

Best for:

  • Fitting into international airline overhead cabins
  • Durable material and sturdy zippers
  • Two large exterior pockets

Skip if:

  • You prefer a modern aesthetic

Travelpro’s carry-on spinner is the correct size for international airline cabins, meaning you’ll never need to worry about your bag being snagged for a gate check. The softside suitcase is smartly outfitted with compression straps, accessory pockets, a water-resistant toiletry bag and a removable suiter system. There are eight self-aligning spinner wheels along with chrome zippers. As for the handle, a rubber contour grip, four adjustable heights and airline-grade aluminum guarantee comfort as well as resilience. 

Forbes Vetted’s senior travel editor, Astrid Taran, tested this bag on a recent trip and surprised at how well it performed. “I usually prefer hardside luggage, but this bag’s exterior felt so sturdy that I almost forgot it was softside,” she says. (It’s worth noting that this bag also comes in a hardside version). “I was particularly impressed by how durable the zippers are,” she adds. “I tend to use every inch of every pocket space and the zippers felt completely secure throughout all of my tugging.” Forbes Vetted’s editorial director, Brinda Ayer, also tested this bag and appreciates its sturdiness. “I haven’t had any tearing or scuffing yet, even after a few trips, and the handle has a comfortable grip,” she says.

Expert tip: “This bag is not super sleek or minimalist like other trendy luggage brands out there,” says Ayer, nothing that if you’re seeking the aesthetic of Monos or Away, this bag can look underwhelming at first glance. Regardless, it still scores high marks for its many versatile features.

Carl Friedrik

Carl Friedrik The Carry-On

Dimensions: 21.6 × 14.5 × 9 inches | Weight: 8.6 pounds | TSA-approved lock: Yes | Warranty: Lifetime warranty

Best for:

  • Travelers who like the security of a snap locking system
  • Business trips that call for sophisticated design
  • Quiet spinner wheels

Skip if:

  • You prefer a traditional zip-around suitcase

For the traveler who wants an alternative to zippered carry-on luggage, Carl Friedrik’s The Carry-On is more than just good looks. This pick offers high-end craftsmanship (that chic trimming is Italian leather) as well as 360-degree spinner wheels that are silent as a whisper. While its stylish exterior makes it an excellent gift for the business traveler in your life, it’s a fit for any type of excursion, as it is sized to fit in the overhead bin of domestic and European cabins. For overpackers, it comes with durable compression straps as well as a pad that helps maximize packing space.

Taran has used this suitcase on several recent trips and found its lock easy to use. “I usually only use zippered bags, because I’m terrified of accidentally getting locked out of my things,” she says. “But this lock felt both super secure and very easy to open when it was time to unpack.”

Expert tip: Carl Friedrik suitcases do not come with zippers, so this is a great choice for the traveler who prefers a snap lock on their luggage.


Paravel Aviator Carry-On Plus

Dimensions: 22.7 x 14.7 x 9.6 inches | Weight: 8.5 pounds | TSA-approved lock: Yes | Warranty: 10-year limited warranty

Best for:

  • Sustainability lovers
  • Those looking for a bag that is both stylish and durable
  • Smooth wheels and a comfortable handle grip

Skip if:

  • You need a lot of built-in interior pockets

Paravel’s carbon-neutral suitcases not only do good, they look good, too. The brand has gained a loyal following of eco-conscious travelers thanks to its commitment to using post-consumer recycled materials to make its bags. The Aviator Carry-On Plus is chic, sturdy and comes with a compression board and a laundry bag for dirty clothing. It’s also completely made with recycled aluminum and recycled polycarbonate.

Taran traveled with the Paravel Aviator Carry-On Plus on a recent trip and was won over by its style and maneuverability. “This is a great looking bag,” she says. “There’s a lot of fashion brands out there leaning into design-forward luggage, but this carry-on actually feels very sturdy and well-made. The wheels never get snagged in airport carpets, which is a major pet peeve of mine.”

Expert tip: While this suitcase does not come with a cushioned handle, its handle features a vegan leather wrap that provides a comfortable grip.


Calpak Hue Mini Carry-On Luggage

Dimensions: 16 x 14 x 8.5 inches | Weight: 6.4 pounds | TSA-approved lock: Yes | Warranty: 5-year limited warranty

Best for:

  • Travelers seeking an alternative to heavy backpacks
  • Sliding under a plane or train seat
  • Budget flights where only a personal item is allowed

Skip if:

  • You need more than two days’ worth of clothes

Sometimes a bulky backpack just won’t do—that’s where an underseat carry-on comes in. These smaller bags can easily slide under an airplane or train seat, making them a great choice for weekend trips where you don’t want to sling a heavy duffel over your shoulder. They can also be used as a personal item on budget airlines that tend to charge hefty fees for carry-on suitcases.

The Calpak Hue Mini Carry-On, one of our top underseat luggage picks, is just the right size to slide under most airline and train seats (but make sure to check your airline’s cabin dimensions beforehand). It comes with wheels and a top-mounted handle that make it easy to maneuver around at the airport or train station, and its hardshell exterior means it won’t snag on an aircraft or train’s carpet as you’re sliding it. Taran, who used this bag on a recent Amtrak train trip, says it’s an ideal bag for a trip that doesn’t require many items. “This bag easily slid under the seat in front of me on my train trip,” she says. “I used it for an overnight and packed it with a few shirts and two pairs of pants and still had space.”

Expert tip: When you’re not using it for short trips, this bag can easily be used as a piece of children’s luggage, making it a versatile investment for parents.

Why Trust Forbes Vetted

  • All of the picks on this list have been tested by Forbes Vetted editors and staffers, including senior updates editor Karen Tietjen, senior deals editor Kara Cuzzone, managing editor Emmy Favilla, deputy editor Rose Gordon Sala, editorial director Brinda Ayer and more.
  • This story was written by senior travel editor Astrid Taran, who has visited over 35 countries throughout the course of her career and always tries her best to never check a bag—meaning she knows her way around a carry-on suitcase.
  • To keep you up-to-date on the best selections (and prices) available, we refresh this roundup regularly. In its latest May 2024 update, Taran asked Forbes Vetted’s editors to weigh in on the bags they’ve been traveling with recently, adding in pros, cons, likes and dislikes about each one.

How We Chose The Best Carry-On Luggage

  • To narrow down the best carry-on luggage, we relied on expert advice, independent reviews, research and personal experience to make all of our recommendations. For this tested story, we asked Forbes Vetted editors and staffers to test multiple suitcases, then give us their opinions on the pieces of luggage they felt truly stood apart from the pack.

The Monos Carry-On Pro features a spacious laptop pocket that can hold both a laptop and other … [+] travel essentials.

Fran Sales For Forbes Vetted

  • We took into consideration the factors that separate one piece of carry-on luggage from the rest. This includes not only common variables such as size, weight, build quality and features, but also how you intend to use the luggage, what kind of trip you have booked and what you’ll be carrying.
  • We prioritized brands with excellent warranties, so you can feel confident in your luggage purchase in the long run.
  • We sought out carry-on luggage pieces that have garnered a substantial amount of positive reviews; each of our picks has an average rating of at least 4 out of 5 stars.

Travelpro’s Platinum Elite Carry-On is the correct size for international airline cabins, meaning … [+] you’ll never need to worry about your bag being snagged for a gate check.

Astrid Taran For Forbes Vetted

What To Consider When Buying Carry-On Luggage

The best carry-on luggage for you depends on your trip and travel style. Here are the top things to consider.


The most important quality of carry-on luggage is its dimensions—you want to ensure it meets airline requirements so you won’t get slapped with extra fees to check your bag at the gate. Some luggage is designed to be expandable, so you can increase the amount of storage space when needed.

Durability And Warranty

Quality luggage can be pricey, but a carry-on you can depend on is worth the investment. If you’re an avid traveler and plan on investing in expensive luggage, make sure it comes with a good warranty. Further, if you plan on purchasing from a third-party retailer like Amazon, double-check with the brand directly to make sure the warranty still applies.

Extra Features

You also want to consider maneuverability and features like interior pockets and dedicated laptop sleeves. For extra security, look for a carry-on with a built-in TSA-approved combination lock, which TSA agents can open with a master key so they don’t have to damage your luggage if it must be inspected. Finally, overpackers will appreciate a carry-on that comes with built-in compression, whether that be straps or pads. Multiple options on our list, like the Monos Carry-On Pro and Carl Friedrik’s The Carry-On, offer some form of this.


While a bright color will make your bag pop, keep in mind that lighter shades are more likely to show scuffs and spots. If black feels too generic, opt for another dark shade.

Briggs & Riley’s Baseline Essential 22-inch Carry-On offers high-end features like a built-in … [+] garment folder, compressive technology and shock-absorbent wheels.

Luke Fater For Forbes Vetted

Is Hard Or Soft Luggage Better For A Carry-On?

Both hardside and softside luggage both have their advantages, but based on our testing experiences, hardside suitcases make better carry-ons. Hardside luggage is stronger and can protect any delicate items you’re packing. Hardside carry-on suitcases also hold their shape in overhead bins next to your fellow passengers’ bags and can stay strong against the unceremonious shoving they might endure up there. However, softside luggage can compress and fit into smaller spaces than hardside luggage. And while they might not be as durable as hardside versions, softside carry-ons don’t scuff or scratch. Because they’re made of fabric, they are prone to ripping, though—so we recommend shopping from a brand with an extensive warranty, such as Briggs & Riley.

What Size Is A TSA-Approved Carry-On?

The specific size allowance for carry-on luggage varies from one airline to the next, but the general rule is that a carry-on bag should be no bigger than 22 x 14 x 9 inches. We recommend always checking your preferred airline’s size restrictions online before heading to the airport, as these rules are subject to change. For more international-sized luggage options, read our guide to the Best Luggage For International Travel.

What Is The Best Bag To Use As A Carry-On?

After extensively researching the best luggage brands on the market, we determined that the Monos Carry-On Pro is the best carry-on luggage out there. It has so much to offer in terms of overall design, durability and added features, making it a great choice for trips that warrant a carry-on suitcase. However, if you’re looking for a more basic option that won’t break the bank, we recommend the Samsonite Freeform Carry-On Spinner. While it may not be as durable as our top choice, it’s great for occasional fliers who’d rather put their money into another aspect of their travel budget.

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