Last updated: 16/10/2022

Welcome to our large hand luggage suitcase test 2022. Here we present all the hand luggage suitcases that we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web. We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best hand luggage suitcase for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to when buying a hand luggage suitcase.




Summary

  • Hand luggage suitcases offer a practical way to protect one’s personal belongings when travelling by air.
  • Basically, hand luggage suitcases are distinguished by the shell and the number of wheels. Various models are available in all combinations and sizes.
  • Trolleys with 2 wheels and a hard shell are particularly robust and durable. Suitcases with 4 wheels offer mobility and effortless movement. The advantage of suitcases with soft shells is their low tare weight.

The Best Hand Luggage Suitcase: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a hand luggage suitcase

What sizes of hand luggage suitcases are allowed?

Unfortunately, there is no general answer to this question, as the airlines can set the maximum size of hand luggage themselves.

A hand luggage suitcase with 2 wheels has the advantage that it does not roll away but can stand on its own. (Image source: unsplash.com / jeshoots.com)

Many airlines use maximum dimensions of 55x40x20 cm, but some also have stricter or less strict regulations. The allowed size of hand luggage also often depends on the destination, departure point or the fare type booked. Generally speaking, more expensive tickets offer more benefits.

Before you fly, it’s best to check with your airline to find out what size hand luggage is allowed.

Hand luggage suitcase or bag/backpack?

Unfortunately, there is no general answer to this question, as both types of luggage offer advantages and disadvantages. This decision will depend above all on the destination.

When travelling to exotic countries or islands, you should consider travelling with a backpack or a bag, because the ground is often uneven and it is difficult to roll a suitcase. For city trips, on the other hand, it is certainly more comfortable to drag a small suitcase behind you than a heavy backpack.

A clear advantage of the bag or the backpack is, of course, that it weighs less than a hand luggage suitcase and you can therefore pack more things. On the other hand, a hand luggage suitcase is a relief for the body and can be carried much more easily on flat ground. So you should first think about your destination and the contents of your luggage and then decide which piece of luggage is more suitable.

Decision: What types of carry-on suitcases are there and which one is right for you?

If you want to buy a hand luggage suitcase, you can choose between a model with 2 wheels or with 4 wheels. You can also choose between a trolley with a hard or soft shell.

The different trolleys also have different advantages and disadvantages. We have listed these below to help you find the right model for you.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a hand luggage suitcase with 4 wheels?

The biggest advantage of a hand luggage suitcase with 4 wheels compared to a model with 2 wheels is the comfort. The 4 wheel trolley offers above all mobility. Thanks to the spinner wheels, which can be turned 360°, you can pull the suitcase behind you as well as roll it beside or in front of you. This allows you to easily meander through narrow aisles on the plane or through the chaos at the airport with your suitcase.

In addition, it takes much less effort to roll the suitcase next to you than to pull the weight behind you. However, the easy handling ensured by the 4 spinner wheels also has the disadvantage that the suitcase could roll away in the train or on the train and must therefore be safely stowed or held.

Advantages
  • Easy handling
  • Comfortable
  • Fashionable and elegant look
  • Low effort
Disadvantages
  • Prone to damage to castors
  • Provides less stability
  • May roll away

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a carry-on suitcase with 2 wheels?

A carry-on suitcase with 2 wheels, on the other hand, has the advantage of stability. The fixed inline skate wheels appear more robust when pulling, which is why the trolley with 2 wheels is better suited for pulling on uneven surfaces than a model with 4 wheels.

Another advantage of the cabin trolley with 2 wheels is that it can stand by itself without rolling away. Therefore, this suitcase does not necessarily have to be held down on the bus, train or tram. The disadvantage is that the hand luggage suitcase with 2 wheels is more cumbersome and requires more effort to get it from A to B. The trolley can also be used as a luggage carrier.

Advantages
  • Stability
  • Better suited for uneven surfaces
  • Cannot roll away on its own
Disadvantages
  • Unhandy
  • No flexibility
  • Requires more effort to pull

What are the advantages of a hand luggage suitcase with a hard or soft shell?

A hand luggage suitcase should not only be comfortable to transport, but above all it should also bring its contents to their destination undamaged. With inflight trolleys, you can choose between models with a hard shell and models with a soft shell.

Which suitcase is best for you depends mainly on the contents you want to transport. A hand luggage suitcase with a hard shell has the advantage that it is particularly robust and insensitive to impacts. The hard shell is also break-resistant and therefore more difficult to break open.

In addition, the hard shell suitcase will certainly accompany you on many trips, as the material is particularly durable. The big advantage of a soft-sided hand luggage suitcase, however, is that it usually has a lower tare weight and you therefore have more weight available for your personal belongings. As a rule, hand luggage suitcases with soft shells are also cheaper than models with hard shells.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate hand luggage suitcases

Now we would like to show you which factors you can use to evaluate the different hand luggage suitcases and thus make your purchase decision easier. The aspects that can be used to compare hand luggage cases are as follows:

  • Dead weight
  • Volume and size
  • Material
  • Water resistance
  • Expandability
  • Integrated compartments: laptop compartment or suit compartment

In the following paragraphs we will explain what you should look for in the individual criteria:

Dead weight

The weight of a hand luggage suitcase naturally plays a decisive role in the purchase decision. As already mentioned, hand luggage suitcases with a soft shell usually weigh less than hand luggage suitcases with a hard shell. Ideally, a hand luggage suitcase should have the lowest possible tare weight and the largest possible capacity.

If you want the contents of your suitcase to be particularly well protected, we advise you to choose a hard-shell suitcase despite its greater weight. If, on the other hand, your main focus is on being able to carry as many things as possible or particularly heavy items, a hand luggage suitcase with a soft shell would be more advisable.

The tare weight of hand luggage suitcases with hard shells is usually between 2.5-3.5 kg. The boarding trolleys with soft outer shells are a little lighter at 1.5-2.5 kg. You can read about the different advantages and disadvantages of hand luggage cases with hard or soft shells above.

Size and volume

Other criteria you can use to compare hand luggage are the capacity and size of the suitcase. As mentioned above, a suitcase should ideally have as large a capacity as possible, but still have a low tare weight. Most boarding trolleys have a volume of about 30-50 litres.

The hand luggage suitcase with 4 wheels ensures a smooth process at the airport, as you can move it flexibly and roll it effortlessly next to you (Image source: unsplash.com / Michal Parzuchowski)

The size of the hand luggage suitcase is of course significant for the available volume. The larger the dimensions of the suitcase, the more capacity it has. As mentioned above, you should find out which dimensions are permitted for your chosen airline. Below you will find a list of the permissible dimensions for some airlines.

When measuring the suitcase, it is important to note that the wheels and all handles also count towards the size.

Material

Depending on what you want to use the hand luggage suitcase for, either a hard-shell or soft-shell suitcase is better suited. The board trolleys with hard shells are usually made of polypropylene or ABS. These high-quality materials make the hard-shell suitcase break-resistant and insensitive to impacts.

Hand luggage cases with soft shells are also usually made of very resistant material and can withstand a lot. However, you should make sure that the suitcase is reinforced, especially at the corners and the back, so that it does not deform.

Water resistance

Rain is a big challenge for most cabin trolleys. Especially cases with fabric covers cannot withstand bad weather as well as hard shell cases. But even buying a hard-shell case is no guarantee that the contents will stay dry.

The zips in particular are often permeable to water. Therefore, when buying a suitcase, make sure that it is made of waterproof material and that the zip is waterproof. Alternatively, you can simply buy a rain cover for your suitcase.

Expandability

If you want your carry-on suitcase to be convertible and suitable for a longer stay, you may want to consider an expandable suitcase. These can usually be enlarged by a few centimetres in width and thus offer more capacity. You should make sure that the dimensions still meet the airline’s specifications or expect to have to check the suitcase.

Integrated compartments: laptop compartment or suit compartment

Another crucial aspect is the size of the compartments and gadgets integrated into the suitcase. Some carry-on suitcase models, for example, offer separate compartments for laptops and electronic devices. Suitcases with integrated suit compartments are also available on the market and could be particularly interesting for business travellers.

But gadgets such as an integrated power bank or a Bluetooth tracker are not uncommon either. So before buying your hand luggage suitcase, think carefully about which features are important to you. For example, if you need a compartment that is also accessible from the outside, we advise you to look at soft-sided suitcases, as these usually offer several outside compartments.

Facts worth knowing about hand luggage suitcases

Can I take a bag in addition to my hand luggage?

Most airlines allow Economy passengers to carry a personal item in addition to their carry-on bag, for example a small handbag. However, this does not apply to all airlines, so you should find out before you travel whether or not you are allowed to carry a personal item. If you have booked a Business Class ticket, you are usually allowed two pieces of hand luggage anyway.

What can I take with me in my hand luggage?

In principle, it is forbidden to carry things in hand luggage that are also forbidden in checked luggage. However, there are a few additional restrictions and prohibitions for hand luggage. No sports or leisure items (e.g. skateboards, ice skates, walking sticks, etc.) may be carried in hand luggage. A maximum of 1 litre of liquid may be carried in hand luggage in a maximum of 10 containers of 100ml each.

In hand luggage, liquids may only be carried in a transparent, resealable bag with a maximum capacity of 1 litre. In addition, the individual containers may not contain more than 100ml of liquid. (Image source: unsplash.com / Arnel Hasanovic)

In hand luggage, containers with liquid contents (by the way, creams and toothpaste are also considered liquid) may hold a maximum of 100ml. In addition, all liquids must be in a resealable, transparent plastic bag, which may not hold more than 1 litre. Medicines or baby food that are needed during the flight are an exception here and can usually be carried in addition.

Of course, these restrictions no longer apply to products purchased in a duty-free shop after the security check.

What options do I have if the hand luggage suitcase is too big or too heavy?

If it turns out at the airport that your hand luggage is larger than the maximum size allowed by the airline, you still have the option of checking in your suitcase, usually for an additional charge.

If your hand luggage exceeds the weight limit, you can either unpack it and leave it at the airport or pay a surcharge to take the overweight suitcase with you.

What sizes of carry-on suitcases are allowed on which airlines?

To make it easier for you to find the right maximum dimensions for your airline, we have listed the maximum values for some well-known airlines below.

airline dimensions additional piece of luggage maximum weight
Air France 55x35x25 30x40x15 12kg
Air Canada 55x40x23 33x43x16 no restriction
Air China 55x40x20 none 5kg
Austrian Airlines 55x40x23 40x30x10 8kg
British Airways 56x45x23 40x30x15 23kg
Condor 55x40x20 no restriction 6kg
Easy Jet 56x45x25 none no restriction
KLM 55x35x25 40x30x15 12kg
Lufthansa 55x40x23 57x54x15 8kg
Qatar Airways 50x37x25 none 7kg
Swiss 55x40x23 57x54x15 8kg
Tui Fly 55x40x25 no restriction 10kg
Wizz Air 40x30x20 none 10kg

Image source: pexels.com / Oleksandr Pidvalnyi

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