Whether you're going on a longer trip or someplace with colder weather that requires a lot of bulky winter gear, sometimes there is just no way to get around checking your luggage at the airport. If you're planning on buying a large suitcase, there are several factors you're going to want to consider to ensure you get the best piece of luggage for your needs. First, you want to make sure that its wheels are easily maneuverable and durable, as the bulky size of this suitcase means that it's going to be much more difficult for you to manage if a wheel breaks off or stops spinning on the way to the check-in counter. We've probably all heard stories or seen footage of rough baggage handlers throwing suitcases in the course of their work. While hopefully this won't happen to you, a durable piece of luggage can give you additional peace of mind. In a similar vein, if your suitcase comes with a warranty, so much the better. With checked luggage, you aren't so limited with size which can feel very freeing. At the same time, you don't want to get the biggest suitcase available just because it exists and end up dragging it around the globe with lots of unnecessary empty space.
Think about how much you are planning on packing and what you actually need. We like soft-sided luggage more for durability and flexibility, but some people prefer the hard-shell variety. When picking your suitcase out at baggage claim, it can certainly be a plus if yours comes in a bright color or unique pattern, though of course you could always add a ribbon or bow to your suitcase to make it stand out more. Finally, you need to take budget into consideration. If you're someone who travels often, you may want to splurge more on something high-end but if you rarely take a trip that requires checked luggage, you may choose to save some money on this purchase so that you have more to spend on sight-seeing.
Best Checked Luggage: Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 Expandable Spinner Suiter Suitcase, 25"
This Travelpro suitcase is large enough to fit the needs of most people, measuring 27.5 inches high, 18 inches wide, and 11.25 inches deep. The case size itself is 25 inches high, 18 inches wide, and 11.25 inches deep. It comes with a strong aluminum handle with a patented contour grip. The extension handle has a Contour Grip and can stop at three different heights, so you can adjust it to your individual comfort and preference. This suitcase weighs under 10 pounds prior to packing. If for some reason you believe you'll need a larger size, there is a 29-inch version of this suitcase that could be perfect for you – just beware of going over the weight limit when packing!
Best High End Checked Luggage: Briggs & Riley Baseline Large Expandable Spinner
Our high-end checked luggage of choice is the Briggs & Riley Baseline Large Expandable 28" Spinner. This suitcase is bigger than the others we've reviewed for this piece, measuring at 28 inches high, 20 inches wide, and 11 inches deep. Its case dimension are 25.5 inches high, 20 inches wide, and 10 inches deep. It's a little heavier at 11.9 pounds empty, so keep that in mind while packing so you don't go over weight restrictions and incur an extra airline fee.
Best for Budget: Delsey Helium Aero 25" Expandable Spinner Trolley
The Delsey Helium Aero 25" Expandable Spinner Trolly is a hard-case suitcase that offers expansion capability. We prefer soft-sided luggage due to their increased flexibility, but this could be a good pick for someone who specifically likes hard-case options. This Delsey Helium's overall measurements are 27.5 inches tall, 18 inches wide, and 10.75 inches deep. The measurements of the case itself are 25 inches high, 18 inches wide, and 10.75 inches deep. Its weight is similar to the Travelpro when empty – about 10 pounds.
Another Great Option: Victorinox Werks Traveler 5.0 WT 27 Dual Caster Spinner Suitcase
Another suitcase that we really like is the Victorinox Werks Traveler 5.0 WT 27 Dual Caster Spinner Suitcase. This suitcase, made by the same company that makes your Swiss Army Knife, is designed for multi-functionality. It measures 27 inches high, 20 inches wide, and 12.5 inches deep. It weighs 10.1 pounds empty and has a two-inch expansion capability. The only reason it scores slightly lower than the Delsey is the higher price.
Best Lightweight Checked Suitcase: Travelpro Maxlite4 Expandable Spinner (25")
If you're looking for lightweight luggage so that you'll be more likely to avoid extra weight fees and physical strain, you should definitely consider the Travelpro Maxlite4 Expandable Spinner. This large suitcase weighs just 7.8 pounds empty – lighter even than some carry-ons! It is not as durable overall than our first choice, the TravelPro Platinum Magna 2, and does not have as many pockets or as thorough of a warranty, but if weight is a priority for you then this suitcase is a good pick. Its total size is 28 inches tall, 18.5 inches wide, and 11 inches deep. The case itself is 25 inches high, 18 inches wide, and 11 inches deep.
When traveling for a long period of time or in cold weather where bulky clothes are necessary, you may find that a carry-on simply won't do the trick and you need to check your luggage. Some basic points that you'll want to keep in mind when choosing your luggage include size, expansion-capability, durability, and how easy the suitcase is to maneuver. Budget is also important, and a good warranty never hurts. There are always bonus features as well, such as removable suiters, the ability to attach a bag, and if the suitcase comes with a TSA-approved lock. In the end, what may be best for one person's travel plans might be for another's, but these recommendations should help you make the decision that is best for you. Wishing you safe and pleasant travels!