What's the best carry-on luggage?
It's a question on every traveler’s mind these days and rightfully so. Nothing will increase your stress and cortisol levels faster than lost luggage or a bag that didn't make your connection.
The easiest way to avoid that stress is to bring your bag and all your belongings on the plane with you. And to do that properly, you need a great carry-on bag.
We get into the details of each bag in this article. However, if you want to just cut to the chase, here are our recommendations for the best carry-on luggage for every type of traveler.
- Best Overall Carry-on: Travelpro “Maxlite 5” 21 inch Expandable Carry-on
- Best Customizable Carry-on: Roam Luggage “The Jaunt” Carry-on
- Best International Carry-on: Tumi “Latitude International” Carry-on
- Best Underseat Carry-on: Travelpro “Maxlite 5 Rolling Underseat” Carry-on Bag
- Best Aluminum Carry-on: Arlo Skye “The Frame” Carry-on, Aluminum Edition
- Best Leather Duffle Carry-on: Hook & Albert Men's Leather Garment “Weekender Bag”
- Best Luxury Carry-on: Rimowa “Classic Cabin” Carry-on
Remember, your carry-on luggage has to fit within the airline’s restrictions or you will have to check it at the gate. Make sure you know the carry-on rules for the airline you’re flying before you get to the airport.
1. Best Overall Carry-on: “Travelpro Maxlite 5”
“Maxlite 5” 21 inch Expandable Carry-on Dimensions:
- Interior: 21 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches
- Exterior: 23 inches x 14.5 inches x 9 inches
- Weight: 5 lbs., 6 oz.
This is my “go to” carry-on for both business and personal trips. It is large enough to handle a 3-4 day business trip and small enough that it will fit on most regional jets when traveling to small market airports.
The bags are made with durable materials and high quality zippers. They have four 360° rotating spinner wheels that glide effortlessly through the airport. I've used this bag every week for two years and it shows no signs of wear whatsoever.
Travelpro was founded by a Northwest Airlines pilot, Bob Plath, and is widely known as the brand most used by pilots and flight attendants. It's a brand you can trust.
Where to buy the Travelpro Maxlite 5 Carry-on:
- The Travelpro Maxlite 5 Carry-on can be bought online at Amazon, eBags and the Travelpro website. Check all three to make sure you are getting the best price.
Check out this product video from Travelpro to learn more:
2. Best Customizable Carry-on: Roam “The Jaunt”
Roam Jaunt Carry-on Dimensions:
- Exterior: 21 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches
- Weight: 6.6 lbs.
Roam allows you to make your own personal travel statement by fully customizing your luggage. They are the only luggage company that let's you design your own suitcase with a bunch of different color combinations.
You start by choosing one of four sizes, then either choose one of their existing designer color choices or create your own color combination and finish it off with a personal monogram.
The color choices are what really sets this luggage apart. You can choose different colors for the front and back shell of the suitcase, the zipper, the binding, the wheels and the handle.
The bags are made with premium materials, integrated TSA locks and they ship within 10 days of ordering. These bags a very cool!
Where to buy the Roam Jaunt Carry-on:
- Roam suitcases and carry-on bags can only be bought online at roamluggage.com.
Check out this product video from Roam to learn more:
3. Best International Carry-on: Tumi “Latitude International”
Tumi “Latitude International” Carry-on Dimensions:
- Exterior: 22 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches
- Weight: 6.29 lbs.
Tumi is widely known as one of the highest quality luggage brands on the market.
The Latitude International is Tumi's most durable and lightweight hard-side bag yet. It's perfect for both international and domestic travel and features a streamlined design and a brand-new wheel system that makes for smooth maneuvering.
You can't go wrong with a Tumi bag!
Where to buy the Tumi Latitude International Carry-on:
- The Tumi Latitude International Carry-on can be bought online at Amazon, ebags and tumi.com. Check all three to make sure you are getting the best price.
4. Best Underseat Carry-on: Travelpro “Maxlite 5” Rolling Underseat Bag
Travelpro “Maxlite 5” Rolling Underseat Carry-on Dimensions:
- Interior: 15 inches x 13 inches x 8 inches
- Exterior: 17.5 inches x 14.5 inches x 8.5 inches
If you want to be 100% certain that you won't have to gate check your carry-on, then an underseat bag will have you covered.
The Travelpro Maxlite 5 Under-seat Carry-on comes with Travelpro’s lifetime warranty and has a water and stain-resistant coating. Specially-designed pockets include a padded laptop/tablet sleeve, removable plastic compartment for cosmetics or accessories, quick-access external pockets and a roomy interior with large zippered opening.
It's perfect for that short trip when you don't need to bring a lot of clothes.
Where to buy the Travelpro Maxlite 5 Rolling Underseat Carry-on:
- The Travelpro Maxlite 5 Underseat Carry-on can be bought online at both Amazon and eBags. Check both to make sure you are getting the best price.
5. Best Aluminum Carry-on: Arlo Skye “The Frame” Carry-on
Arlo Skye “The Frame” Aluminum Edition Carry-on Dimensions:
- Interior: 20 inches x 13.4 inches x 9 inches
- Exterior: 22 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches
- Weight: 9.5 lbs.
If you are looking for a carry-on that will show you are a true road warrior via dents, dings, scuffs and scratches, then an aluminum carry-on may be just what you are looking for.
Founded by former execs from Tumi and Louis Vuitton, Arlo Skye brings luxurious touches to its line of affordably priced bags.
The Arlo Skye aluminum frame has two TSA approved clasp locks instead of a zipper for unmatched security. It also has full-grain leather handles, whisper-quiet wheels, and an anti-microbial interior lining. Plus, you can also charge your phone with the bag's removable charger.
Where to buy the Arlo Skye Aluminum Carry-on:
- Arlo Skye suitcases and carry-on bags can only be bought online at arloskye.com.
6. Best Leather Duffle Carry-on: Hook & Albert “Weekender”
Hook & Albert Weekender Bag Dimensions:
- 22 inches x 13 inches x 9 inches
The Hook & Albert Weekender bag is the perfect choice for traveling professionals who want to exude a bit of style while on the road. This luxury leather bag is made to last a lifetime and includes a hidden garment section that will accommodate a suit and blazer or a couple of dresses. There are even specific spots for shoes and accessories, too.
It's a great option for quick trips when you don't want a bag with wheels…
Where to buy the Hook & Albert Weekender Bag:
- The Hook & Albert Garment Weekender Bag can be bought online at both Amazon and Huckberry. Check both to make sure you are getting the best price.
7. Best Luxury Carry-on: Rimowa “Classic Cabin”
Rimowa “Classic Cabin” Carry-on Dimensions:
- 22 inches x 13 inches x 9 inches
For the past 80 years, German luggage brand Rimowa has been making some of the most iconic hard-sided suitcases on the market. These bags are incredibly durable and have been known to survive everything from plane crashes to war zones.
If budget is not an issue and you want to travel like an “A-list” celebrity, the Rimowa Classic Cabin is the carry-on you have been looking for!
Where to buy the Rimowa “Classic Cabin” Carry-on:
- The Rimowa “Classic Cabin” Carry-on can be bought online at Amazon, Bloomingdales and Rimowa.com. Check both to make sure you are getting the best price.
Here are a few more helpful points to consider when choosing your new carry-on luggage.
Airline Size Restrictions for Carry-on Bags:
Most US airlines, including American, Delta and United, allow carry-on bags that are no more than 22 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches. Southwest accepts a more generous 24 inches x 16 inches x 10 inches. Below is a list of all North American Airline Carry-on size limits
North American Airlines Carry-On Luggage Rules Chart
|Airline||Carry-On Dimensions||Carry-On Weight||Carry-On Fee||Personal Item Dimensions|
|Alaska Airlines||22″ x 14″ x 9″||—||No||Fit under seat|
|Allegiant Airlines||22″ x 14″ x 9″||—||Yes||16″ x 15″ x 7″|
|American Airlines||22″ x 14″ x 9″||—||No||18″ x 14″ x 8″|
|Delta Air Lines||22″ x 14″ x 9″||—||No||Fit under seat|
|Frontier Airlines||24″ x 16″ x 10″||35 lbs||Yes||18″ x 14″ x 8″|
|Hawaiian Airlines||22″ x 14″ x 9″||25 lbs||No||Fit under seat|
|JetBlue Airways||22″ x 14″ x 9″||—||No||17″ x 13″ x 8″|
|Southwest Airlines||24″ x 16″ x 10″||—||No||18.5″ x 8.5″ x 13.5″|
|Spirit Airlines||22″ x “18” x 10″||—||Yes||18″ x 14″ x 8″|
|Sun Country Airlines||24″ x 16″ x 11″||35 lbs||Yes||17″ x 13″ x 9″|
|United Airlines||22″ x 14″ x 9″||—||No||9″ x 10″ x 17″|
|Air Canada||21.5″ x 15.5″ x 9″||—||No||17″ x 13″ x 6|
|Air Transat||20″ x 16″ x 9″||—||No||17″ x 13″ x 6|
|Porter Airlines||22″ x 16″ x 9″||20 lbs||Varies||17″ x 13″ x 6″|
|WestJet||21″ x 15″ x 9″||—||No||16″ x 13″ x 6″|
|AeroMexico||21.5″ x 15.7″ x 10″||22 lbs||No||Fit under seat|
|Interjet||21″ x 15″ x 9″||22 lbs||No||Fit under seat|
|VivaAerobus||21.5″ x 15.5″ x 7.5″||22 lbs||No||Fit under seat|
|Volaris Airline||22.5″ x 15.5″ x 13″||22 lbs||No||Fit under seat|