So you need two or more suitcases for your travels. Buying a matching luggage set is a great way to get a good deal (and stay color-coordinated, of course), but I know how hard it is to sift through all the products out there to find one that really works for you.
I’ve flown hundreds of thousands of miles around the world, and I’ve put a lot of luggage to the test. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that it’s worth investing in high-quality suitcases. My first suitcase set fell to pieces pretty quickly, so now I always look for hardshell cases that have the durability to last for years of travel.
Hard shell luggage sets will give you a carry-on and checked bag (or two) that function well on their own or together. The best hard shell luggage sets should be durable, lightweight, and functional.
I’ve compiled a list of the top hardside luggage sets from the best brands in the business, and I’ll dive into the details of each to help you decide which is the best for you. Here are my top 10:
1. Monos Luggage Set: Best Hardside Luggage Set Overall
Monos is a Canadian travel brand that specializes in minimalist, durable, and highly functional polycarbonate hardside luggage. Their suitcases look good and have smart features, but most importantly, they are built tough. Monos puts its designs through insane quality testing to ensure they will stand up to the abuse of travel.
That’s great for us because hardside luggage is meant to be tough and protective. Good hard luggage sets should capitalize on those strengths with great durability and quality.
In my experience, Monos strikes a great balance between functionality, simplicity, durability, and cost. You get bomber construction and luxury-level design without the jacked-up price of premium brands.
It all starts with Monos’ signature polycarbonate hard shell. Polycarbonate is the gold standard material for hardside luggage because it is both lightweight and impact-resistant. I’ve never seen Monos hardside luggage crack, so you can count on this luggage to offer the best protection and durability for years to come.
Every detail of these suitcases, from the handle to the wheels has been designed for functionality and durability.
Monos does things a little differently with luggage sets than some other brands. Rather than offering specific predefined packages you can buy, they let you mix and match, choosing any combination of suitcases you want and automatically giving you a discount for buying them as a set. Select any suitcase in their lineup and you’ll see the option to “Save with a Set.”
Better yet, their suitcases nest perfectly inside each other so they don’t take up precious space when you’re home.
Monos Luggage Set Specs:
|Carry-on||Carry-on Plus||Carry-on Pro||Carry-on Pro Plus||Check-in Medium||Check-in Large|
|Dimensions||22″ x 14″ x 9″||23″ x 15″ x 9.5″||22″ x 14″ x 9″||23″ x 15″ x 9.5″||26.5″ x 18.5″ x 10.5″||30″ x 21″ x 11″|
|Weight||7 lbs||7.4 lbs||7.8 lbs||8.4 lbs||9.6 lbs||10.6 lbs|
If you’re on a tight budget and looking to save some cash on your luggage, COOLIFE is an up-and-coming travel brand that aims to deliver functional, durable luggage at affordable prices. The brand was started by the owners of a top-tier luggage factory that has worked with some of the best brands in the business, and they’ve carried all that expertise over into their products.
When I look for affordable luggage, I definitely don’t just want to find the cheapest thing out there. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is, and uber-cheap luggage often breaks after just a few trips. I think it’s always worth investing just a little bit more to get suitcases that will last. Fortunately, you don’t have to break the bank to do that.
The COOLIFE 2-Piece Luggage Set isn’t the least expensive option, but it’s still way less than most of the options on this list. It delivers really good value for your money, and I believe you’ll save more in the long run by not needing to replace it after a few trips.
In this hardshell luggage set you get a big 28-inch checked bag and a compact carry-on bag (it’s small enough to fit in the overhead compartment on most flights around the world.
These suitcases are made with an ABS+PC material. COOLIFE doesn’t specify exactly what that means, but it’s safe to say you’ll get performance a bit better than standard ABS cases, but not as good as full polycarbonate. I haven’t seen any issues with durability, but it definitely doesn’t feel quite as tough as a full polycarbonate shell.
My favorite feature of this set is that the carry-on has a zippered external pocket. Most hardshell carry-on bags don’t have any external pockets (it’s more difficult to design and manufacture), but it’s a super convenient feature. I love being able to keep essentials within easy access. It even has a padded laptop sleeve!
COOLIFE 2-Piece Luggage Set Specs:
|Dimensions||21” x 14” x 9.5”||28.6″ x 20.2″ x 13.8″|
|Weight||6.7 lbs||10.5 lbs|
July is an Australian travel brand that started in 2018 with the mission of fixing the broken luggage industry. It’s true that there is a lot of cheaply-built and over-priced luggage out there, so if a brand promises real high-quality construction, I’m all ears.
Spinner luggage is definitely the most popular option these days. Go through the airport and you’ll primarily see suitcases with four 360-degree spinner wheels. And for good reason: spinner wheels make luggage super easy to maneuver through the airport.
I’ve had some bad experiences with broken spinner wheels in the past, though, so now I’m always pretty wary of them. If I’m going to buy spinner luggage, I want to be sure it’s not going to break.
July started their design process by analyzing thousands of suitcase reviews to find the most common problems. Because they couldn’t find available wheels that met their high expectations, they designed their own self-aligning spinner wheels from the ground up. Their double spinner wheels are bigger than average and use high-quality stainless steel bearings for the best performance and durability. These are some of the only spinner wheels I would trust on the cobblestone streets of Europe.
The July Family Luggage Set gives you three fantastic spinner suitcases: their Carry-On, Checked, and Checked Plus. These cases are packed with organization features, and each comes with a removable laundry bag to keep dirty clothes separate from the rest of your stuff.
In addition to the durable spinner wheels, these suitcases feature reinforced aluminum corner bumpers and a durable polycarbonate shell. If you want a hardside suitcase set that can take all the abuse you throw at it, this is it.
July Family Luggage Set Specs:
|Dimensions||21.5″ x 15″ x 8.5″||26″ x 18.75″ x 11″||30.25″ x 19.75″ x 12.5″|
|Weight||7.4 lbs||8.3 lbs||10.5 lbs|
Travelpro is one of the most respected luggage brands in the business. Founded in 1987 by a professional airline pilot, Travelpro initially focused on highly durable and functional luggage for flight crews. They’ve expanded their range to include awesome products for all travelers, but they still keep the same high quality standards demanded by professionals and frequent travelers.
Cutting weight in your luggage is always a good idea (as long as it doesn’t sacrifice durability). It makes it easier to stay within weight restrictions and easier to lift your carry-on into the overhead bin.
The Travelpro Maxlite Air 3-Piece Set is designed specifically to be lighter than the competition without sacrificing quality and function. You get a carry-on, a medium checked case, and a large checked case. These suitcases are built with a sturdy yet light polycarbonate shell, and they nest perfectly inside each other for storage.
The interior organization is awesome. You get two zippered mesh dividers and multiple interior pockets. It’s super easy to keep everything neat and in place inside the case.
The double spinner wheels are smooth-rolling, and they make this suitcase easy to maneuver. They are a bit lighter-duty than some other options though, so I’d probably pick something else if you know you’ll be dragging you luggage over rougher terrain like cobblestones.
Each suitcase also comes with integrated TSA-approved locks that make it easy to keep your belongings secure.
Weighing just 6.3 lbs for the carry-on, 8.5 lbs for the medium checked bag, and 10.1 lbs for the large checked bag, this is one of the best luggage sets for anyone looking to cut out some weight.
Travelpro Maxlite Air 3-Piece Set Specs:
|Dimensions||21.5″ x 15″ x 8.5″||26″ x 18.75″ x 11″||30.25″ x 19.75″ x 12.5″|
|Weight||7.4 lbs||8.3 lbs||10.5 lbs|
Samsonite is probably the most recognizable luggage brand in the world. Samsonite luggage is well-built overall, and there is a massive range of luggage sets, from budget bags to luxury cases.
The Samsonite Omni PC 3-Piece Set includes a 22” carry-on and two big checked luggage cases. With a 100% polyester shell and a scratch-resistant diamond texture, these three suitcases are designed to keep looking good even after years of travel.
The Samsonite Omni PC set gives you all the same features you expect from good hardshell luggage: smooth-rolling wheels, a sturdy handle, an integrated TSA-approved lock, and padded grab handles for easy lifting. It’s nothing out of the ordinary, but it gets the job done.
I think the biggest shortcoming with this luggage set is the organization. Inside you get one zippered divider, one smaller pocket, and some flimsy compression straps. I really want to see more options for pockets and organization, so that’s a bit of a downer.
Overall though, the Samsonite Omni PC Set is a solid choice, especially if you can find it on sale at a local shop. There are also tons of other Samsonite luggage options to choose from.
Samsonite Omni PC 3-Piece Set Specs:
|Dimensions||22″ x 15″ x 9.8″||26.5″ x 18.5″ x 11.5″||30.5″ x 21.5″ x 13.5″|
|Weight||7 lbs||9 lbs||11.7 lbs|
6. Level8 Voyageur 2-Piece Set: Best Hardside Luggage Set for International Travel
Level8 is all about streamlining the travel experience by providing minimalist, functional gear that gives you what you need and nothing more. Their carry-on luggage is particularly good, but they also sell some of the best hardside luggage sets.
The Level8 Voyageur 2-Piece Set includes a carry-on that is specifically designed to work for virtually any flight, anywhere in the world. These suitcases are also very well-built, so you can count on them not to fall apart when you’re far from home.
These cases are built with Bayer Macrolon (which is a brand name for a type of polycarbonate). This material is tough, and scratch-resistant, and will look good after years of travel.
The double spinner wheels have stainless steel ball bearings, making them super smooth. It’s easy to maneuver these cases through the airport.
On the inside, the organization is outstanding. You get a big zippered divider on either side and three zippered pockets (including a transparent waterproof pocket for liquids or toiletries). I personally have never loved compression straps in suitcases, and I think just having two dividers is a much better solution.
The most distinctive design feature of the Voyageur suitcases is the full-width handle. Not only does it give a bold, unique aesthetic that stands out from standard suitcase handles, but it also maximizes your packing space on the inside. Because the vertical rods of the handle are placed all the way in the corners, they don’t take up valuable space in the middle of the case and don’t create the awkward bulge you normally have to pack around.
I also have to mention that I absolutely love the yellow/black colorway. It is bold while still looking refined and professional. I enjoy having a case with a bit of flair and that is easy to find at the luggage carousel.
LEVEL8 Voyageur 2-Piece Set Specs:
|Dimensions||21.3″ x 15.1″ x 9.8″||291″ x 16.6″ x 13.3″|
|Weight||8.1 lbs||12.4 lbs|
CALPAK builds super sleek and stylish luggage sets that are perfect for women on the go. They’ve been building travel gear since 1989, and they’ve had plenty of time to refine their timeless style and simple functionality.
The CALPAK Ambeur Luggage Set gives you one carry-on and one large check-in case.
One feature that really comes in handy for longer trips is that all their bags expand up to 2”. This makes these bags even more versatile, giving you extra packing space when you need it.
The inside of the case is packed with extra features like compression straps, mesh pockets, and a removable zippered pouch. I am a bit of an organization freak, so I love having all the interior pockets I can get.
The TSA-approved locks let you secure the main zipper so no one can get inside and mess with your stuff. Built-in TSA locks are becoming more of a standard feature on mid- to high-end luggage, and it’s great to see them included here.
CALPAK says their suitcases are made from polycarbonate and abs plastic, but don’t specify how much of each is used. That’s a bit disappointing, as I’d prefer to see a full polycarbonate build, but their luggage sets are quite affordable, so I can’t complain too much.
CALPAK Ambeur Luggage Set Specs:
|Dimensions||21″ x 14″ x 9″||29.5″ x 19″ x 12.5″|
|Weight||6 lbs||10.3 lbs|
If you’re looking for good men’s luggage sets, the ruggedly refined styling and function-first design of Carl Friedrik suitcases is hard to beat. This London-based brand puts emphasis on intelligent design, quality craftsmanship, and understated confidence. In my opinion, they make some of the best luggage for men, and they also have some of the best hardside luggage sets.
The Carl Friedrik Luggage Set gives you a pair of dialed-in professional-looking cases that are built to last a lifetime. In addition to a large checked bag, you can choose between either their standard carry-on or their Carry-On Pro, which has an external laptop pocket. The Carry-On Pro is one of the best carry-on luggage for men out there, it’s stylish, durable, and extremely functional.
Carl Friedrik uses only the best materials. Their suitcases are built with tough German polycarbonate, Hinomoto Silent Run 360-degree spinner wheels, and YKK-branded zippers.
The downside? This set isn’t cheap; it costs double many of the other luggage sets on this list. You get what you pay for though, and this is some of the best luggage out there.
Carl Friedrik Luggage Set Specs:
|The Carry-on||The Check-in|
|Dimensions||21.6” x 14.6” x 9.5”||25.6″ x 17.5″ x 10.6″|
|Weight||8.6 lbs||9.9 lbs|
Delsey Paris was started in 1949 in… you guessed it… Paris, France. They aim to be the most popular French luggage brand in the world, and they pride themselves on having the best quality-to-price ratio on the market (in their words).
The Delsey Paris Helium Aero 2-Piece Set is perfect for travelers looking for a clean, stylish set of suitcases. They offer a lot of flexibility in the size combinations for your set. You can choose to have a small or extra small carry-on, a medium or large checked bag, or a 3-piece set.
Like other high-quality luggage, the Delsey Paris Helium Aero suitcases are built with a durable and lightweight polycarbonate hard shell. These hardshell suitcases are also very lightweight. The carry-on weighs in at just 6 lbs, which is pretty impressive for a hardside suitcase.
You get a TSA-approved lock, which, combined with the durable hardshell, keeps your belongings very secure.
One thing I don’t love about the Delsey Paris Helium Aero is the lack of good organization options on the inside. You basically get one zipped divider and then some flimsy elastic straps. I would much rather have multiple pockets to keep things organized during travel.
Delsey Paris Helium Aero 2-Piece Set Specs:
|19″ Carry-on||29″ Checked|
|Dimensions||21″ x 14″ x 10||31″ x 20″ x 12″|
|Weight||8.2 lbs||12.5 lbs|
Maybe you’ve got some extra cash to spend, and you’re looking to get the absolute best luggage set money can buy. If you aren’t satisfied blending in with the crowd, TUMI is an ultra-luxury luggage brand that offers a wide range of striking statement pieces.
The TUMI 19-Degree Aluminum Collection is a stunning range of all-aluminum suitcases with artfully-formed contours set at exactly 19 degrees. I’m not sure why 19 degrees is so special, but they want to be sure you know the angle is precise.
The aerospace-grade aluminum used in these suitcases is exceptionally strong and resistant to damage, especially with the added rigidity of the ribbed design. These are definitely cases you’ll be passing down to your grandchildren. The downside? They’re heavy. The carry-on alone weighs 11 lbs. But maybe you have a valet to carry it for you, so that’s not a big deal.
The interior of these suitcases has awesome organization, with two dividers, multiple zippered pockets, and hanging storage for clothing. The hanging storage is perfect if you need to travel with a suit or dress.
Although their suitcases aren’t sold specifically in sets, it’s easy to bundle them together when you make a purchase. Unfortunately, you won’t get any discount for doing so (but if you’re buying these cases, that probably isn’t a problem for you).
TUMI 19-Degree Aluminium Collection Specs:
|International Carry-on||Extended Trip Packing Case|
|Dimensions||22″ x 14″ x 9″||30.5″ x 20.5″ x 11″|
|Weight||11 lbs||16.1 lbs|
How to Choose the Best Hardside Luggage Set
This is the section for a full buyers guide. Break down all the considerations for choosing this product (i.e. materials, style, warranty, weight, organization, etc.)
Materials are one of the most important considerations when choosing hardside luggage sets. Both the carry-on and checked bag can take a lot of abuse from travel, and the material used is the main factor determining how long they will last.
The typical materials used in hardside luggage sets are ABS, polypropylene, polycarbonate, and aluminum.
As far as the plastics go, polycarbonate is definitely a more durable material than ABS and polypropylene. It’s a bit more flexible, meaning it can take impacts without cracking, and it will withstand much more abuse. You’ll typically see ABS or polypropylene in budget suitcases.
High-end hardside luggage sometimes uses aerospace grade aluminum. This metal is very strong and lightweight, but it still will be significantly heavier than polycarbonate. I would say that there’s not much reason to buy an aluminum suitcase unless you really just like the aesthetic.
The little details can make all the difference. That’s true in life and in luggage. When shopping for luggage, pay attention to all the features included in different products to see which offers the most functionality.
Here are some of the top things to look for in a hardshell suitcase:
- External pockets are a huge bonus in a carry-on to keep essentials within easy access.
- TSA-approved locks can give a lot of peace of mind while you travel. A TSA lock can easily be opened by airport security, but keeps anyone else’s prying hands out of your stuff.
- Adjustable compression straps can help keep all your belongings in place during travel.
- Expandable designs add a lot of flexibility for hardside suitcases.
- A USB port battery pack can make it easy to keep your phone charged without relying on impossible-to-find airport outlets.
- A hidden laundry bag can be a nice feature to keep dirty clothes separate.
The best hardshell luggage sets may not have all of these features, but you’ll want to consider which ones are most important to you.
Is Softside Luggage Better?
The last question to ask yourself is whether you really need or want hardshell luggage. I know that it’s fast becoming the most popular option, but there are some instances where softside luggage may be better.
For example, softside luggage usually has much better external pockets, just because it’s easier to design and manufacture (most hardside luggage has no external pockets. This is especially a benefit with carry-on suitcases.
Softside luggage is also often lighter weight, and won’t break from impacts or drops.
But, if you want the most protective option for your belongings, hardside is the way to go.
Soft suitcases are also the only ones available with just two wheels. There are many advantages and disadvantages to choosing two or four wheels, but two-wheeled luggage is typically more durable.
Best Luggage Set Accessories
You’ll need more than just luggage to be fully outfitted for travel. Here are some of my favorite accessories you can get along with your luggage set to be ready for any trip:
Most airlines allow you one full-size carry-on to fit in the overhead compartment and one smaller personal item to fit under your seat. If you want to take full advantage of the allowed carry-ons, it makes sense to bring a bag for your personal item to keep all your travel essentials close at hand.
This compact bag slides over the telescopic handle of your main suitcase. This means you still only have one cumbersome wheeled object to maneuver through the airport.
While compact, the Maxlite 5 Soft Tote has a surprising amount of room. You’ll have no problem fitting all your electronics, books, snacks, and anything else you may need during your flight.
I hate packing a suitcase. No matter what I do, it always seems like it just becomes a jumbled mess in the main compartment. I’ve found that packing cubes can work wonders for organizing a chaotic mess in a suitcase.
These zippered packing cubes come in an array of sizes to fit different items. They also have a transparent mesh front panel so it’s easy to see what’s inside.
This small zippered bag works well for keeping all your toiletries organized and in one place.
One external zippered pocket and a transparent internal divider make it easy to see and access all your toiletries. Though it’s definitely compact, you’ll be surprised at how much fits in this little bag.
The small size is perfect for light packers, but if you need a bit extra packing space, you can check out Away’s Large Toiletry Bag.
Why Trust TravelFreak?
Talk about your expertise in the field and the combined expertise of the team at TravelFreak. Why should a reader trust anything in this article?
Focus on real-world experience rather than research. We’ve lived the life, are gear junkies at heart, believe in investing in quality gear that will last a lifetime, and we only recommend products that we actually like.
Hardside Luggage Set FAQs
What is the most durable hard suitcase?
The Briggs & Riley Torq is the most durable hard suitcase, and will last for decades of travel.
What are the disadvantages of hardside luggage?
Hardside luggage is less flexible for packing, and usually doesn’t have external pockets.
What is the most reliable check luggage?
Samsonite makes some of the best check-in luggage that’s spacious, functional, and durable.
Do airlines prefer hard or soft luggage?
Airlines prefer hard luggage for checked bags because they’re less likely to snag on machinery.
Which is better for luggage polycarbonate or ABS?
Polycarbonate is much stronger and more impact-resistant than ABS, which cracks easier.