Your carry-on luggage may be your most important piece of travel gear, so it’s important to get a good one. Roller suitcases are the most durable and convenient option for many people, but it’s hard to sift through all the options to find the best carry-on bag for you.
After traveling around the world (and destroying a few suitcases along the way), I’ve learned a thing or two about rolling luggage. I personally will always choose rolling luggage over spinner luggage for travel, and I’ve found the absolute best options on the market to help you choose.
Before we dive in, it’s important to understand what we mean by rolling carry-on luggage. Rolling luggage specifically refers to two-wheeled luggage that you pull behind you (as opposed to four-wheeled spinner luggage).
On the market today, 2-wheel rollers are only available as softside luggage pieces. Roller wheels are typically more durable than spinner wheels, especially over cobblestone and other rough surfaces.
Read on to see my top choices for rolling carry-on luggage. Different cases will suit different people, so I’ll help you find the best one for you.
It’s no surprise that Travelpro is at the top of the list for rolling carry-on luggage. Their founder invented the two-wheeled rolling suitcase in 1987, and they’ve been a top manufacturer ever since.
Travelpro started by building suitcases specifically for flight crews who need the most durable and functional carry-on bags possible. Today they have a range of products for every traveler, and they’ve kept the same dedication to quality construction and functional design.
In my mind, since roller suitcases are more durable than spinners, the best rolling cary-on suitcase needs to maximize this advantage with a high-quality, durable design that will last for decades of travel. It should also have intelligent design that makes it easy to use and versatile enough for any trip.
The Travelpro Maxlite 22” Carry-On is a straightforward, no-nonsense carry-on suitcase that is well-built and does its job well. There’s nothing too fancy going on here, it just works and is a carry-on you can count on.
The build starts with the two wheels that have sturdy ball-bearing construction. Travelpro has put these through extensive testing, so you can rely on them to stand up to abuse.
You get a large exterior zippered pocket, plenty of packing space in the main compartment, two interior mesh pockets, and a compression system. The organization is pretty simple, and while it works well, I wish there were more pockets and compartments to keep things organized.
This soft-sided luggage is made with a durable polyester fabric that has a water- and stain-resistant treatment. This fabric is durable and does a great job at keeping your stuff dry when you have to hurry through a downpour.
While there is corner reinforcement, it isn’t as burly as some other carry-ons, so you’ll want to be conscious of that when packing fragile items.
The Maxlite Carry-On is also surprisingly affordable. You get a lot of bang for your buck with this carry-on.
Travelpro Maxlite 5 Medium Rollaboard Specs:
|Dimensions||23″ x 14.5″ x 9″|
AmazonBasics is known for selling affordable products from batteries to shirts to outdoor furniture. Luggage from AmazonBasics is meant to do the job while staying
Don’t expect the same high-quality materials and thoughtful features from an AmazonBasics suitcase. These are definitely budget products. That said, they have some of the best carry-on luggage if you are on a tight budget.
In my opinion, two-wheeled rolling luggage is perfect for a budget carry-on. This is because it is simpler and more durable than luggage with four wheels. When you’re trying to save money, you want something that is simple and well-built. You don’t need the fanciest features, but you definitely want something that will last more than a few trips.
The AmazonBasics Softside Carry-On is a simple carry-on suitcase that delivers good functionality and decent quality for a great price. You don’t get high-end components or features, but it is well-built for the price and should serve you well while traveling.
The overall design is pretty standard. You get one external pocket, three on the inside, a wide-opening main compartment, and elastic compression straps to secure the contents.
I really appreciate that there are handles on the top, sides, and bottom of this carry-on. That makes it a lot easier to lift into overhead bins on crowded flights.
You also get a built-in TSA-approved lock for the main zipper. This is something you usually find on more expensive carry-on luggage, so it’s great to see it included here.
Overall, this is a perfect carry-on bag for anyone looking to save money on travel gear.
AmazonBasics Softside Carry-On Specs:
|Dimensions||24″ x 16.7″ x 9.8″|
Yep, this is the second Travelpro Maxlite product on this list—Travelpro just really knows what they’re doing when it comes to luggage with two wheels.
Underseat bags are designed to fit within airline “personal item” size restrictions. If you’re flying on an airline that charges for overhead bin carry-ons, an underseat bag is a great way to get around paying extra (as long as you’re a light packer).
Alternatively, if you just need a bit more space than your main carry-on, an underseat bag is a great way to get it without checking a suitcase.
The Travelpro Maxlite 5 Underseat Carry-On is a compact rolling bag that’s loaded with features to keep all your essentials organized and accessible.
This little bag has three zippered exterior pockets, a padded laptop sleeve, and even a removable plastic holder for toiletries. Since your underseat bag will be with you constantly during travel, it’s nice to have all the pockets to store passports, keys, electronics, and more.
A great benefit of the two-wheel rolling design is that it takes up a lot less space than 360-degree spinner wheels. Even though this bag is small, it has a surprising amount of room. The 26L is enough for this to serve as your only bag for short trips (as long as you pack light).
Travelpro Maxlite 5 Rolling Underseat Bag Specs:
|Dimensions||17.5″ x 14.5″ x 8.5″|
For over 40 years, Eagle Creek has been building packs, luggage, and accessories for travelers. They are dedicated to helping people get out and explore the world, while preserving the places we explore by using recycled materials and sustainable business practice.
Eagle Creek builds luggage that is durable and designed to last. They use burly materials and quality manufacturing. They also have an impressive “No Matter What” warranty that covers repairs or replacements of their gear. I really respect companies that stand behind their products, and it’s great to see such a solid warranty.
Duffel bags are fantastic for their versatility, durability, and ease of packing. A rolling duffel combines these advantages with the convenience of wheeled luggage. The best rolling duffel needs to be durable (yet lightweight) and adaptable to any trip.
The Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler XT is a phenomenal duffel that combines great durability with a function-first design.
The design is very versatile. You can roll it around on its oversized wheels, lift it from multiple grab handles, or even carry it like a backpack with the removable shoulder strap system that stows away when you aren’t using them.
The build quality and durability are also impressive. The main fabrics are 1000-denier and 600-denier polyester, which are tough and water-resistant. Everything about this bag feels bomber.
There are a few downsides to keep in mind though. First, there are a lot of straps and buckles on the outside; I would avoid checking this bag so it doesn’t get tangled and damaged in the airport conveyor system. Second, it isn’t as structured as other luggage, so it doesn’t offer the best protection for fragile items.
While duffel’s aren’t for everyone, this is definitely the best carry-on duffel bag out there.
Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler XT Specs:
|Dimensions||21.5″ x 13.8″ x 7.8″|
Bric’s is an Italian company that started making high-quality travel cases and leather bags in 1952. They are known for their high-quality materials and timeless designs.
Having lightweight luggage can really make travel easier. Whether you’re lifting your carry-on into the overhead bin or dragging it across town, less weight makes everything easier.
That said, you still want it to be well-built and durable. A suitcase that breaks is way more frustrating than one that weighs too much.
The X-Travel Montagne Trolley weighs in at just 5 lbs, meaning it won’t weigh you down on your travels. It doesn’t compromise on quality and features though.
This lightweight rolling carry-on has a stylish design that manages to be both sophisticated and adventurous. Paired with high-quality materials and genuine leather trim pieces, this makes for a bag that feels premium.
There is an external zippered pocket to provide easy access to essentials; the interior organization and compression system work great to keep all your belongings in place.
I like that the cinch straps on the side and expandable design let you shrink or expand the capacity of the bag for different trips.
There are definitely some less expensive carry-on suitcases that offer similar performance and functionality, but the lightweight construction and stylish design make the Montagne Trolley worth considering.
Bric’s X-Travel Montagne Trolley Specs:
|Dimensions||22″ x 13″ x 9″|
Who is the manufacturer? What do they specialize in? For what do they stand? What kind of people do they make products for?
If your travels involve a lot of walking once you arrive at your destination, you don’t always want to be stuck dragging a wheeled suitcase behind you. Especially if you find yourself leaving smooth concrete behind and walking across cobblestones or dirt, a backpack is a much better way to carry your gear.
The Gear Warrior Convertible Carry-On Backpack combines the best of both worlds with a hybrid design that works both as a backpack and a rolling suitcase with two wheels.
This carry-on has comfy padded shoulder straps and a supportive hip belt that let you carry it on your back. When you get to the airport, the straps can stow away behind a zippered panel leaving you with a neat rolling carry-on that you can pull behind you with the telescoping handle.
It’s definitely built for adventurous travelers, and even the wheels show that. They are oversized with grippy rubber tires. These wheels feel like they can handle cobblestones and dirt paths without being worn to shreds.
Another perk is that this bag comes with an integrated daypack that can be attached to the front or removed for day trips. It’s awesome to have a full-sized carry-on and a personal-item-sized bag included together.
Keeping with Eagle Creek’s reputation for quality and durability, this carry-on uses tough materials and burly construction
To be clear, as a hybrid between a travel backpack and a rolling carry-on, this bag isn’t perfect in either situation. It’s not quite as comfortable as a dedicated backpack, and it isn’t as smooth rolling and easy to pack as a dedicated suitcase. If you don’t really need the hybrid capability, it makes more sense to get a bag that is more specialized.
For a lot of travelers, though, the ability to switch between travel backpack and rolling carry-on really makes sense. And this is definitely the best carry-on backpack with wheels for adventurous travelers.
Eagle Creek Gear Warrior Convertible Carry-On Backpack Specs:
|Dimensions||21.8″ x 14″ x 9″||18.3″ x 11″ x 6″|
|Weight||5 lbs||1 lbs|
If you’re specifically looking for luggage you can buy at your local Target store, Skyline is Target’s in-house luggage brand that offers decent bags at incredibly low prices.
The Skyline Rolling 35L Duffel Bag is a straightforward carry-on duffel that offers plenty of space, a decent array of organizational compartments, and a budget-friendly price.
The main compartment is spacious and is accessed through a wide-opening zippered flap, so it’s super easy to pack and unpack.
There are three additional pockets that are easily accessed from the outside of the bag. These are great for keeping electronics, passports, and other essentials within easy reach while traveling.
I love the fact that there are multiple handles on the top, side, and bottom of this duffel bag. It’s great to have different options to lift and carry it.
Don’t expect high-end materials or top-notch construction here, but if you need a basic rolling carry-on, this is a good choice.
Skyline Rolling 35 Duffel Bag Specs:
|Dimensions||20.5″ x 12.8″ x 12.8″|
Briggs & Riley is one of the world’s most respected luggage brands. They build some of the most functional luggage on the planet, and their products are trusted by flight crews and globetrotters alike.
Their products are expensive, and the prices can be a bit shocking when you’re buying carry-on luggage, but you are paying for both a high-quality suitcase and the best lifetime warranty in the business.
If you ever damage your Briggs and Riley suitcase, they will repair or replace it, no questions asked. You don’t need proof of purchase, you don’t have to be the original buyer, and the warranty never expires.
If you’re looking for the best luggage for men and often need to travel with a suit, it makes sense to get a purpose-built garment bag that’s designed to carry suits and other formal clothing while keeping them wrinkle-free.
The Briggs & Riley Baseline Garment Bag is an exceptionally well-designed and well-built carry-on that is ideal for carrying hanging clothing.
This bag is divided into two sections. One half is just a normal packing compartment with plenty of space for shorter trips. The other side features hanging storage for suits, shirts, dress pants, or other formal clothing.
The garment section features a clever fold-out design that keeps your suit securly in place and adds a bit of compression to prevent shifting. It’s super easy to hang your suit and fold it up, and it’s great to know you won’t have to worry about finding it crumpled when you get to your destination.
The garment section also has two corner pouches that work great for holding accessories like ties, socks, and more. It’s great to have the extra organization, and they also
It’s worth noting that this bigger carry-on does lack some versatility. It wouldn’t be very efficient for trips where you aren’t bringing formal hanging clothing.
Not everyone needs a garment bag, but if you frequently need to travel with a suit, this is the best carry-on luggage for the job.
Briggs & Riley Baseline Garment Bag Specs:
|Dimensions||22″ x 14″ x 9″|
Duffel bags aren’t really known for being sleek and stylish, but this one breaks the mold with Bric’s characteristic elegant design.
The X-Bag 21” Rolling Duffel is chic, streamlined, lightweight, and very versatile, making it perfect for any woman who travels frequently.
This bag uses high-end materials, with a fully waterproof polyamide exterior fabric and full-grain leather trim detailing. It looks and feels premium.
While it doesn’t look as bulky as your typical duffel, this lightweight carry-on luggage delivers a massive main compartment that opens wide. It can fit everything you need for many trips, and it’s super easy to throw everything you need into the big main compartment.
You get some decent organization, too, with a large exterior zip pocket and two internal pockets. If you like to have tons of pockets and dividers, this probably isn’t the best carry-on luggage, but it offers enough for most people.
For women looking for a stylish, versatile carry-on, this rolling duffel is a great choice.
Bric’s X-Bag 21″ Rolling Duffel Specs:
|Dimensions||21.7″ x 12.8″ x 10.2″|
One last Travelpro product to put on the list. The Travelpro Platinum Elite range is their lineup of higher-end luggage designed for frequent travelers and flight crews.
Travelpro is known for making some of the best soft luggage on the market, and the Platinum Elite Range really shows their expertise in this niche.
The Platinum Elite 22” Rollaboard is an elegant, durable, and highly functional softside carry-on that is packed with features.
This bigger carry-on has tons of organization and accessibility. You get two big external zippered pockets and an external power bank pocket with a USB port. It makes it easy to keep electronics, passports, and other important items within easy reach while traveling.
As with all Travelpro products, you get a solid limited lifetime warranty with this bag. The Travelpro Platinum Elite line also has an upgraded warranty that covers repair costs for damages caused by airlines and shipping costs for warranty returns and repairs. It’s great to have the peace of mind that they stand behind their product.
The Platinum Elite is definitely more expensive than many of the others on this list, so if you’re on a budget, it’s worth looking at Travelpro’s less expensive Maxlite 5 suitcase.
Travelpro Maxlite 5 Medium Rollaboard Specs:
|Dimensions||23″ x 14.5″ x 9″|
Technically, there isn’t any hardside luggage on the market right now (if you know of one, let us know!), but even though this suitcase has four spinner wheels, it’s worth including on this list for anyone who specifically wants a hardside suitcase.
Briggs & Riley builds some of the best luggage out there, and their hardside luggage is especially impressive and well-built.
The Briggs & Riley Torque 22” is a tough hard shell suitcase that offers great protection for all your belongings.
While 360-degree spinner wheels are typically less durable than fixed roller wheels, Briggs & Riley has done everything they can to make their self-aligning spinner wheels the smoothest and most durable you can find. Plus, if you ever do break them, repairs are covered by their awesome lifetime warranty.
One place where this suitcase outshines other hardside carry-ons is the fact that it has an external hinged pocket. It has a padded sleeve for a laptop and pockets for other essentials you want to get to without opening your whole suitcase.
Briggs & Riley products are very expensive, so it definitely isn’t for everyone, but if you want the most well-built hardside carry-on out there, this one is hard to beat.
Briggs & Riley Torq 22″ Specs:
|Dimensions||28″ x 19″ x 11″|
12. Samsonite Armage II: Best 2-Wheel Rolling Carry-On Luggage
Samsonite is one of the most popular and well-known luggage brands in the world. They’ve been building luggage for over 100 years, so they’ve learned a thing or two, and they offer solid choices at a wide range of price points.
If you are looking for a sturdy, no-nonsense rolling carry-on that is also packed with features, the Samsonite Armage II is a great choice.
This softside suitcase has great build quality and durability. The oversized wheels can handle rougher surfaces, and the YKK Fuzion zippers are some of the best in the business.
Where this bag really shines is in organization and features. You get plenty of external and internal pockets to keep all your belongings neat and accessible.
This case also comes with a removable folding compartment for suits and other hanging clothes, a waterproof bag for toiletries, and a small “TechKit” for keeping your electronics organized. Most carry-ons don’t come with accessories like this, so it’s awesome to have them included.
It doesn’t have the same elegance and style as some of the other bags on this list, but the Samsonite Armage II has features galore for the most organized packers.
Samsonite Armage II Specs:
|Dimensions||22.5″ x 16.3″ x 10″|
How to Choose the Best Rolling Carry-On Luggage
There is a lot to consider when shopping for a new carry-on. It’s essential to get luggage that fits your personal needs and is well-built so you can avoid frustrations while traveling.
Here are some of the top things to keep in mind while you shop:
Not all carry-ons are the same size, and it’s essential to get one that is right for your travels. In general, I’d recommend getting one that is as large as possible while still fitting within the airline size restrictions for where you’re flying. It’s always better to have a little extra room rather than stuffing your suitcase to the max.
Domestic airlines within the US typically restrict carry-ons to 22” max height, while international carry-ons are limited to 21.5”. If you are looking for a carry-on that can fit underseat size restrictions, you’ll want one that’s smaller than 18” x 8” x 14”.
Two or Four Wheels
This article has focused on two-wheeled rolling luggage, but you should consider whether roller or spinner luggage is best for you.
Many people prefer suitcases with 360-degree spinner wheels because they glide smoothly and can roll in any direction. They are great for maneuvering through crowded airports.
Two-wheeled rolling luggage on the other hand is more durable and works much better when you leave the perfectly smooth airport tile behind. I am a huge fan of two-wheel luggage in general after having two spinner suitcases fall apart on the cobblestones in Germany.
While we all are trying to save money, it is never worth buying the cheapest suitcase you can find if it means you’ll have to replace it after a few trips. At TravelFreak, we always recommend finding durable, high-quality products that will last years or decades. Fortunately, you can find affordable luggage that is still durable and high quality.
Here are some of the top elements to look for in a durable suitcase:
- Sturdy wheels: Wheels take a ton of abuse, so you want ones that are well-built and strong. Wheels with stainless steel ball bearings will roll smoother and last longer than cheaper designs.
- High quality zippers: I’ve had enough zippers fail in my life to know to always look for high-quality zippers. YKK is one of the best brands in the business, so when in doubt, I’d look for luggage with YKK-branded zippers.
- Burly materials: Look for suitcases that are built with thick, water-resistant fabrics that can stand up to wear and tear.
Having a neat, organized suitcase can make a huge difference in minimizing the annoying parts of travel. The best suitcases offer features that help keep you more organized and tame the chaos on your trip.
Here are a few things you may want to look for:
- External pockets: I think external pockets are a must-have on carry-on luggage so you can keep electronics, passports, and anything you may need while traveling within easy access.
- Internal pockets: It’s also great to have multiple compartments on the inside for keeping small items organized.
- Laptop sleeve: If you’re traveling with a laptop, it’s worth looking for a suitcase with a padded sleeve.
- Compression straps: Elastic straps inside your suitcase can help compress clothes and keep them from shifting around during travel.
- Removable laundry bag: Some suitcases come with a hidden laundry bag to keep your dirty clothes separate from everything else.
Since luggage is a pretty significant investment, I’d recommend buying something that comes with a decent warranty so you’re covered if there are any problems.
Most good manufacturers offer at least a limited lifetime warranty that will cover most problems with zippers, wheels, and handles. Some high-end companies like Briggs & Riley have a more comprehensive, no-questions-asked warranty that essentially guarantees you repairs or replacements for the rest of your life.
Buying from brands with a better warranty is typically more expensive, so it’s up to you to determine how much coverage you need and what you’re willing to pay for it.
Rolling Carry-On Luggage Accessories
Organization can make a huge difference for your experience of packing for travel. Most luggage just offers a large main compartment with some side pockets, so extra organization is hugely helpful.
These Travelpro Packing Cubes are simple zippered pouches that come in different sizes and stack perfectly inside your luggage. These are a great way to make sure you have a place for everything while you travel.
Everyone needs a toiletry bag while traveling, and this streamlined zippered case from Monos is perfect for keeping all your toiletries neat and organized.
It’s simple, has internal dividers to keep everything neat, and comes in two different sizes so you can get the one that fits everything you need.
When you are living out of a suitcase, you want a way to keep dirty clothes separate from the rest of your items. This REI laundry bag from
I love that it comes with backpack-like shoulder straps to make it easy to carry for trips to the laundromat.
Why Trust TravelFreak?
At TravelFreak, our reputation for giving you solid product recommendations is a foundation piece of our business, so we take it seriously. We pick recommendations because we truly think they are the best at a specific job.
We are avid travelers ourselves, and we’ve learned a thing or two on our trips around the world. From broken wheels to ripped zippers, we’ve had our share of luggage fiascos. We’ve also tested some of the best luggage in the business, so we know what works and what doesn’t.
For this article, I drew on the my own real-world testing and the collective experience of the TravelFreak team to make this curated list of carry-ons that will absolutely serve you well.
Everything on this list is something we personally recommend and would be happy using ourselves. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Best Rolling Carry-On Luggage FAQs
Do airlines prefer hard or soft luggage?
Airlines prefer hard suitcases for checked luggage because it is less likely to snag or rip.
Can a rolling suitcase be a carry-on?
Yes, a rolling suitcase can be a carry-on as long as it fits the size restrictions.
Which suitcases have the best wheels?
Monos suitcases have durable wheels and are tested to ensure they’ll stand up to abuse.
What is the difference between rolling and spinner luggage?
Spinner luggage has four wheels that can swivel in any direction. Roller luggage has two fixed wheels.
What are the disadvantages of hardside luggage?
Hardside luggage is usually heavier, doesn’t have as many options for external pockets, and can crack.