Your vacation is coming up and it’s time to think about packing your bags. If you need new luggage, you might feel overwhelmed by all the choices. What size bag do you need? Should you get hardside or softside? Does the number of wheels matter? In this article we will explore your options to help you find the best luggage sets.
(Spoiler alert: Our favorite is the Samsonite Omni.)

Our top picks for 2020:

Why Choose a Luggage Set?

When it’s time to buy luggage, you should first consider how much space you need. Will a single suitcase be enough, or do you need several? Even if you’re a solo traveler, you might want size options depending on the length of your trip. You can buy bags individually or in a set. Here are several reasons that you might want to buy a luggage set.

Value and Ease

One of the simplest reasons that you should consider a luggage set is that it saves time. You can get all the bags you need for your travels at once. Less time shopping and more time planning your vacation!

Usually you get a better value by buying a set. Although the total cost may seem high, you will usually spend less per piece.

Compatibility

Almost all luggage sets nest together for storage, saving space in your closet.

Some luggage sets enable you to stack a smaller bag on top of a larger one. This makes maneuvering your bags easier.

Style and Identification

If you buy a set, all your pieces will coordinate. Perfect for those who want to travel in style!

woman with pink jacket and belt and high heels walking with pink inline suitcase

A matching luggage set not only looks great, but it will also help you identify your luggage. Pick an uncommon color, and you’ll quickly spot your luggage at the baggage claim. 

What are My Options?

Ok, you’ve decided that you want to go with a luggage set. Now the question is, which set best meets your needs? One size does not fit all, so decide which features are important to you. Here are several options you will need to consider.

Softside vs. Hardside

Luggage comes in either softside or hardside materials. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, so you’ll need to make a judgement call.

Softside luggage has a fabric outer. Softside bags naturally expand for slightly more packing capacity. Their non-rigid frames are also easier to squeeze into overhead bins. But one potential downside is that they may not be as durable as hardside suitcases. If you are not checking your bags, the durability of a softside suitcase shouldn’t be a concern.

Hardside luggage is more durable than softside, especially for protecting fragile items. Hardside luggage may be a better bet if you are checking your bags. But the material matters. Rough handling may cause an inferior hardside suitcase to crack or dent. Hardside luggage is made from one of several different types of material, including polycarbonate, ABS, or aluminum. Polycarbonate is stronger than ABS, and aluminum is hardest of all. Some hardside suitcases have the ability to expand for more capacity. One challenge hardside luggage faces is that the rigid material can make the bag heavy. You’ll need to be aware of your airline’s weight limit and might want to weigh your bag with a luggage scale.

Spinner wheels vs. Inline wheels

Luggage wheels come in two options: spinner (four wheels) or inline (two wheels).

Spinner wheels allow your suitcase to move in any direction. They let you easily maneuver your bag with one hand, which is ideal if your bag is heavy or if you have a lot to carry. One possible downside is that your bag may move so freely that it could roll away on an incline!

Inline wheels roll backwards and forwards. They make moving your bag more challenging than spinner wheels, since you need to pull the bag behind you. On a positive note, the recessed wheels roll well on uneven surfaces and curbs.

Luggage size and number of pieces

You can get luggage sets with two, three, or more pieces in various sizes to suit your needs. If you plan to travel by air, you might want a bag small enough to carry on and a larger one for checking.

Most airlines are specific about the size they let you carry on. It is wise to check what size your airline allows to avoid a surprise fee at the gate. When it comes to checked bags, a bigger bag will hold more, but also will make it easy to surpass the weight limit.

Quality and Features

When it comes to luggage, you usually get what you pay for. Are you a frequent traveler? You might want to invest in a higher quality set. Will you check your bags or carry them on? Checked bags may be handled roughly, so a more durable bag might be worth it. Consider a luggage set that comes with a warranty in case a defective bag breaks on the first trip. If you decide to go with a budget set, find out if there are weak spots so you can protect your bag. For example, you may need to take extra care when using the zippers.

Check the quality of the handles on your bag. Is the telescoping handle sturdy? Extra handles on the bottom or side will help you lift your bag into a car or luggage rack.

Decide whether a TSA compatible lock is important to you. Look at the bag’s organizational features, such as dividers, zippered compartments, and pockets.

This video demonstrates a few things to consider when choosing luggage.

 

Which is the best luggage set?

 

Best softside spinner set: Coolife Softshell Spinner

The Coolife 3 Piece Softshell Spinner set includes a softside suitcase in three sizes: 20 inches, 24 inches, and 28 inches.

The bags are made of 1680D Oxford cloth and lined with polyester, and are available in several colors. They are easy to maneuver with their spinner wheels and telescoping handle. Unlike some softside bags, they do not have an expanding feature. There are no locks on these bags, so you will need to supply your own locks if desired.

These bags are basic, but reviewers claim they are good quality for the price. One common complaint is that the 28 inch falls apart on the first use. Users claim that this is a manufacturing defect and that customer service will quickly send a replacement. The manufacturer offers a two year limited warranty.

Pros:

  • Good quality for the price
  • Lightweight
  • Spinner wheels roll smoothly
  • Sturdy ergonomic telescoping handle and side carry handle
  • Two Year Limited Warranty
  • Durable for standard use
  • Mesh inner pocket and several outer zippered pockets

Cons:

  • No handle on the bottom for lifting
  • Colors shown online slightly inaccurate to actual product
  • Zippers stiff, especially around corners
  • Common manufacturing defect in large bag causes tears
  • Do not have expanding feature
  • No built-in locks
  • Hard to nest; easier to nest if the wheels face the handle
  Height (inc. wheels) Width Depth Weight
20 inch 23″ 15″ 9.5″ 6.9 lbs.
24 inch 28″ 17″ 11″ 8.25 lbs.
28 inch 31.5″ 19″ 14″ 9.62 lbs.

——— Check the price on Amazon ———

Best budget softside luggage set: American Tourister Fieldbrook II  

The American Tourister Fieldbrook II luggage set comes with three softside bags: a boarding bag, a 21 inch upright bag, and a 25 inch upright bag.

The softside bags are made of polyester with a fabric lining. They have two inline wheels. They do not have an expanding feature. These bags do not have built in locks.

In general, these bags are good for light travel or carrying on. Several reviewers claim damage from baggage handlers. Some users say that the zippers break with time, and that the fabric tears easily if snagged.

Pros:

  • Great value
  • Lightweight
  • Reinforced corners
  • Durable inline wheels
  • Push button locking handle stores inside the bag
  • Pockets both inside and out for organization

Cons

  • Easily damaged with rough handling (zippers, fabric, baggage handlers)
  • Do not have expanding feature
  • No built-in locks
  Height Width Depth
Boarding bag 10″ 15″ 8″
21 inch upright 21″ 14″ 7″
25 inch upright 24.5″ 16″ 8″

——— Check the price on Amazon ———

Best Softside Inline Luggage Set: U.S. Traveler New Yorker

The U.S. Traveler New Yorker 4-piece set includes three softside suitcases in 21 inches, 25 inches, and 29 inches, and an additional tote.

The bags are made of durable, tear-resistant fabric and have EVA foam padding in the front. They are available in several different colors. but easily pick up stains. Reviewers mention that these bags easily stain and recommend getting a dark color or treating the fabric. Each suitcase has two recessed inline wheels (the tote does not have wheels). The suitcases expand for 25% more storage. They come with standard (non-TSA) locks and keys to secure your items.

Reviewers claim that this luggage set is good quality for the price. Some users report that they have lasted over five years with regular traveling. As with most softside luggage, carry on is recommended, although some users have checked these bags with no issues.

Pros:

  • Good value
  • Durable, with quality zippers
  • Internal push-button handle, top and side carry handles, and bottom grip for lifting
  • Tote has add-a-bag strap to attach to other luggage
  • Lined interior allows organization with mesh zippered pocket, two shoe pockets, and strap
  • Expand for additional storage
  • ID window on back panel

Cons:

  • 21 inch bag may tip if over-filled while expanded
  • Strong smell when new – needs airing out
  • Locks are not TSA-compliant
  Height Width Depth Expanded Depth Weight
21 inch 21″ 13.5″ 8″ 10″ 7.7 lbs.
25 inch 25″ 15″ 9.5″ 11.5″ 9 lbs.
29 inch 29″ 17″ 10.5″ 12.5″ 11.8 lbs.
Tote 10″ 15″ 7″ n/a 2 lbs.

——— Check the price on Amazon ———

Best hardside spinner set: Samsonite Omni

The Samsonite Omni 3-piece set includes three hardside spinner suitcases in 20 inches, 24 inches, and 28 inches. Each expands for additional storage.

The bags are made of micro-diamond polycarbonate, which is scratch resistant. There are multiple colors to choose from. The four oversized spinner wheels and a push-button retracting handle make transportation easy. They have side-mounted TSA compatible locks for security.

Frequent travelers say they love these bags. They are well-made and durable. Although on the expensive side, they perform well enough to satisfy the cost. One of the few cons is that the large 28 inch bag easily exceeds an airline’s weight limit when full. If you travel with the 28 inch bag, you should weigh the bag before heading to the airport. The set is also available in a two-piece set without the largest bag.

Pros:

  • Well-made and durable
  • Lightweight
  • Spinner wheels allow for smooth transportation
  • Push-button retracting handle
  • Interior zipping divider and cross-straps for packing organization
  • Expand for additional storage
  • 10-year limited warranty

Cons:

  • No latch as a backup to zipper closure (luggage strap recommended)
  • No side or bottom handle for lifting
  • 28 inch bag easily exceeds weight limited if overpacked
  Height Width Depth Weight
20 inch 19″ 14.5″ 9.75″ 6.81 lbs.
24 inch 24″ 17.5″ 11.5″ 8.34 lbs.
28 inch 28.5″ 20.5″ 13.5″ 10.35 lbs.

——— Check the price on Amazon ———

Best budget hardside set: Merax Travelhouse

The Merax Travelhouse 3-piece set comes with three hardside spinner suitcases in 20 inches, 24 inches, and 28 inches. The two larger bags zip open to expand, but the 20 inch bag does not.

The suitcases are made of lightweight, durable ABS material, which scratches easily but rarely breaks. Some reviewers say that the protective film on the outside of the suitcase was challenging to remove. The set is available in multiple colors. Each bag has quiet spinner wheels and a detachable shoulder strap. There are TSA compatible locks on each bag.

Most users claim that these bags are a good value. They hold up better than some other brands of luggage in the same price range. As with most budget luggage, they tend towards manufacturing defects. With their five year warranty, they might still be a good choice if you are willing to risk a defective bag and contacting the manufacturer. 

Pros:

  • Good value
  • Sturdy, travels well in checked luggage
  • Lightweight
  • Quiet spinner wheels
  • Durable handle has its own storage spot on outside of suitcase, saving room inside
  • Zip divider and strap inside for storage
  • TSA compatible locks
  • Detachable shoulder strap for each bag
  • 5-year warranty with great customer service

Cons:

  • Material scratches easily
  • Protective film difficult to remove
  • Carry on does not expand
  • Manufacturing issue means bag occasionally breaks upon first use
  Height, inc. wheels Width Depth Weight
20 inch 22″ 13″ 9″ 6 lbs.
24 inch 26″ 16″ 11″ 8 lbs.
28 inch 30″ 19″ 13″ 10 lbs.

——— Check the price on Amazon ———

Our Choice

After reviewing the best luggage sets available, we would choose the Samsonite Omni luggage set. The three suitcase sizes leave you with plenty of choices for your trip. Compared to the other options, the Samsonite Omni appears to be the most well-made. Its durable polycarbonate material should hold up to rough handling. With its reliable wheels and sturdy handle, it should last through years of travel. With its expanding capability, it provides versatility in storage capacity. It comes with built-in TSA locks for security.

One of the reasons that this luggage set comes out on top is that it is reliable right out of the box. While budget luggage is prone to manufacturing defects, Samsonite Omni users rarely claim to have a problem. Even the casual traveler probably doesn’t want to have to replace a bag. And the 5 year warranty gives extra peace of mind.

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