Which lightweight luggage sets are best?
What’s the worst thing about traveling? For most, it’s probably loading your car with luggage or racing through an airport with heavy bags. Thankfully, you can now find lightweight bags that make travel far less stressful.
Luggage manufacturers have innovative new ways of making luggage that maintains their quality while improving their portability. As with any luggage set, you need to consider how many pieces and how much space you will need.
If you think you want a new lightweight luggage set, then read on. We’ve created the following useful buying guide to help you with your decision. We even included reviews of a few of our favorite sets. Our number one pick, the Samsonite Omni Three-Piece Luggage Set, features a top-of-the-line design from a trusted brand.
What to know before you buy a lightweight luggage set
The makeup of your lightweight luggage set has a lot to do with your travel style.
Most sets have between two and eight pieces, and each of those pieces might be of a different size or design. Some may have wheels, while others might incorporate a shoulder strap. Most sets include one or two carry-on bags. Think about what your personal travel needs are before choosing the set you want.
Most lightweight luggage sets weigh between 15 and 30 pounds when empty. Wheels, built-in locks, and handles can all add weight to the set. Therefore, think about what features you absolutely need if you’re particularly concerned about keeping the weight of your luggage set to a minimum.
Hard shell vs. soft shell
Hard-shell lightweight luggage sets are usually made from either Polycarbonate, ABS, or aluminum. ABS is the lightest of the three, while polycarbonate is in the middle, and aluminum is the “heaviest” lightweight material. Hard-shell luggage is rugged and water-resistant, and it protects breakables quite well. Soft-shell luggage, however, expands for greater capacity and has more storage options. Unfortunately, it’s not as durable as hard-shell models. Soft-shell luggage is made from different types of nylon, with Cordura nylon offering the best protection for your belongings.
While most luggage sets include handles on their bags, some come with shoulder straps instead of a standard handle. Many include a telescoping handle, making them easy to stow when not being rolled. As with most other features on lightweight luggage sets, think about your travel habits and routine when choosing specific features on your bags.
While hard-shell cases tend to be more durable than soft-shell cases, this is not necessarily a universal rule. Material, construction quality, and how well you care for your bags all impact how long a lightweight luggage set may last. Water-resistance is one of the most important factors that can impact longevity. Look for well-constructed, water-resistant luggage, and you should be able to enjoy it for years to come.
As mentioned above, soft-shell lightweight luggage sets tend to have the most interior and exterior organization pockets. However, hard-shell cases usually have some sort of organization pouches or zippers as well. The more pockets you have, the easier it will likely be to pack.
What to look for in quality lightweight luggage sets
- Spinner wheels move around in 360º as you push or pull the bag. Many people find this the most convenient style of wheel because it gives you the most free range of motion. Spinner wheels on luggage usually come in fours. One disadvantage of this wheel style is that the bag may not be very stable when not being steadied.
- Inline wheels are two fixed wheels that are aligned perpendicular to the bag itself. You pull the bag behind you by leaning it toward your body and rolling it on the inline wheels. Many people like this wheel style, because it allows you to stand the bag up straight without worrying that it will roll away.
Some lightweight luggage sets come withTSA luggage locks. These locks are more common on expensive luggage sets. They can be opened at any time by the TSA, with the use of a TSA master key. Even if your lightweight luggage set does not include these locks, you can certainly purchase them separately.
Smart features are technology-based features that offer increased security and convenience for your bags. They include things such as GPS locators, USB ports, solar-powered batteries to maintain the charge of your mobile devices, and a remote lock system via mobile app.
How much you can expect to spend on lightweight luggage sets
Most lightweight luggage sets cost between $100 and $300. A $100 lightweight luggage set is usually a soft-shell set of two to three pieces. For $200, you can find hard-shell and soft-shell sets that are water resistant and include built-in locks. If you spend closer to $300, you’ll find lightweight luggage sets that include five or six pieces and often have premium features like GPS locators and USB ports.
Lightweight luggage set FAQ
Can I replace broken luggage wheels?
A. That depends on your specific luggage. Many sets offer replaceable wheels that can be changed out with a screwdriver. However, if the manufacturer doesn’t offer replacement wheels, then you’ll probably just need to buy new luggage when facing a broken wheel.
Does every lightweight luggage set include one regulation carry-on bag?
A. Not every set does, but most do. Keep in mind, though, that every airline has its own requirements for carry-on bags. Measure yours and double-check with whatever airline you plan to use before heading to the airport.
What are the best lightweight luggage sets to buy?
Top lightweight luggage set
Our take: You can hardly ever go wrong with Samsonite luggage. This set is no exception.
What we like: Made of 100% polycarbonate, making it lightweight and durable. 360º spinner wheels. Side lock is TSA approved. Five color options.
What we dislike: Expensive, but worth the extra cost.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top lightweight luggage set for the money
Our take: Surprising quality for a reasonable price.
What we like: Lined interior is roomy and well organized. Comfortable handle grip. Bags nest inside one another for easy storage.
What we dislike: Some users complained about the quality of zippers and wheels.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Our take: A durable option using environmentally-friendly materials.
What we like: P.E.T. eco-friendly plastic resin construction. Zip-pocket divider. Eight color options. Endures high temperatures without warping.
What we dislike: Locks are not TSA approved.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Adam Reeder writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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