Here at the Strategist UK, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing ones. (You can learn more about our rating system and how we pick each item here.)
And while we’ve written about suitcases and travel accessories on our US website before — including the best hardside luggage and the best travel backpacks — here, we’ve rounded up the best carry-on suitcases as praised by the most enthusiastic reviewers on Amazon.co.uk.
Best-rated overall carry-on suitcase
The best-rated carry-on suitcase on Amazon also happens to be a favourite of Strategist UK editor Ailbhe Malone. “I’ve owned this super-light suitcase for almost five years, and have taken it around the world with me: from Tokyo to Tasmania to Toulouse,” she says. “I’ve never failed to get this through as cabin luggage, and I can easily fit a week’s worth of clothing in it.”
The case has 1,753 reviews in total, 77 percent of which are five stars. Over 100 reviews praise the value for money — at £28.99, it happens to be the best value on our list. But the hard shell also gets mentioned, which helps protect that duty-free booze you’re bringing home with you, while reviewers also say it’s easy to maneuver through the airport. It comes in a variety of colours such as graphite, rose gold, and wine, although some are cheaper than others, so there’s a saving to be made if you’re not fussy about the colour.
Best-rated lightweight carry-on suitcase
In total, 87 percent of the 749 reviews of this case were five stars. One delighted parent said that her family of four managed to fit everything they needed in two of these cases — and it remained light enough that she could carry it through the terminal while a 6-year-old was sat on the back of it. Another parent said that when her 9-year-old requested his own suitcase she picked this one — and he had no problem steering it around the airport by himself. The zipped compartments also got a lot of positive reviews for helping keep things organised, and the built-in combination lock also got praise from fifteen reviewers. It also comes with a separate padlock, for even more security.
Best-rated soft-shell carry-on suitcase
While hard cases are more popular for their increased durability, they’re not as helpful when it comes to cramming as much into your case as possible. Enter the soft case, which has the benefit of extra pockets and expandable interiors for when you really bought more than you should have on holiday. This Aerolite case is made from an ultra-strong 600 Denier polyester, which makes it light but extra flexible. One five-star reviewer says the first thing they did was push the case to its limits — and successfully got two pairs of jeans, a pair of chunky sandals, five T-shirts, a cardigan, five days’ worth of underwear, a makeup bag, and pyjamas in there. Another said her husband can get all his awkwardly-shaped camera equipment inside with no problem. Nine reviewers said it was the perfect bag for a long weekend away.
Best-rated carry-on suitcase for kids
Or should that be ride-on? Parents and kids are really into Trunki, the colourful suitcases that were first featured on Dragon’s Den in 2006. Nearly all the 217 reviews on Amazon praise how much kids love playing with theirs — even when they’re not going on holiday. One parent said it was great for taking to sleepovers, while another said her son loved using it to pack his toys whenever they went away. Parents described it as sturdy and durable considering how much wear and tear it goes through, and it’s been recommended for kids as young as 10 months to as big as 6 years. And several even said the fun design helped quell any potential meltdowns from tired ones — especially during travel delays.
Best-rated multipack carry-on suitcase
Aerolite do a two-pack which comes recommended by many couples. One jet-setting pair used them on a holiday that saw them flying with four different airlines and reported them as fitting perfectly in numerous overhead compartments. You can order a set of two different colours, with 22 different combinations in total. Reviewers said they were best for long weekends and the durability was one of the key plus points — as well as the organisational pouches inside, which include shoe storage, passport and document sections, and straps for securing loose items.
Best-rated eight-wheel carry-on suitcase
Ten percent of all the reviews of Antler’s suitcase praise how easily it wheels. That’s due in part to the eight wheels — in actuality four sets of two double wheels — that give it better maneuverability. After four flights, one reviewer said there are barely any marks on the wheels at all, while another claimed they could carry two of these cases in one hand. The bright orange colour stands out on busy carousels, says one man who travels 300 days a year — and he swears by this suitcase to get the job done.
The Strategist UK is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Read about who we are and what we do here. Our editors update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.