It’s all in the name: A carry-on bag is a small piece of luggage you take with you on a plane or train. The carry-on bag is typically a hard- or soft-sided bag with a handle and wheels, though there are a wide variety of carry-on bags to meet the unique needs and style preferences of travelers.
For everything from weekend getaways to spring breaks to adventure vacations, finding the right carry-on bag is an essential part of travel planning. There’s a wide variety of carry-on bag options, which can make finding your perfect travel companion a bit overwhelming. To make it easier, U.S. News compiled this list of the top carry-on bags. Selected based on consumer reviews and travel expert insights, these top bags range from affordable to luxury carry-ons, along with rolling bag options and international carry-ons.
Whether you’re planning a romantic weekend trip or a far-flung expedition, read on to find the best carry-on luggage across a variety of categories, as well as what you should consider before investing in a new piece of luggage.
(Note: Prices were accurate at the time this article was updated; they may fluctuate due to supply chain issues or other factors.)
The Top Carry-on Luggage for 2023
- Best Soft-sided Carry-on Luggage: Travelpro Platinum Elite 21-inch Expandable Carry-On Spinner
- Best Hard-sided Carry-on Luggage: Solgaard Carry-On Closet – Large
- Best Lightweight Carry-on Luggage: Samsonite Freeform 21-inch Carry-On Spinner
- Best International Carry-on Luggage: DELSEY PARIS Helium Aero 19-inch Carry-on
- Best Carry-on Luggage for Women: CALPAK Ambeur Carry-On Luggage
- Best Carry-on Luggage for Men: Arlo Skye The Zipper Carry-On Max
- Best Carry-on Luggage for Business Travel: Away The Daily Carry-On with Pocket
- Best Large Carry-on Luggage: Monos Carry-On Plus
- Best Under-the-Seat Carry-on Bag: CALPAK Hue Mini Carry-On Luggage
- Best Luxury Carry-on Luggage: Rimowa Classic Cabin
- Best Affordable Carry-on Luggage: Amazon Basics 21-inch Hardside Spinner
- Best Carry-on Luggage With Charger: Away The Carry-On
- Best Eco-friendly Carry-on Luggage: Paravel Aviator Carry-On
- Best Rolling Carry-on Luggage: Biaggi Curve Wheeled Carry-on + Garment Bag
- Best Carry-on Duffel Bag: Herschel Novel Duffle
- Best Carry-on Duffel Bag With Wheels: The North Face Rolling Thunder – 22″
- Best Carry-on Tote Bag: L.L.Bean Nor’easter Tote Bag, Regular
- Best Carry-on Garment Bag: TUMI Alpha Garment 4 Wheeled Carry-On
Looking for more information on how to select your ideal carry-on luggage? Scroll down to the FAQ section at the bottom of this page.
Best Soft-sided Carry-on Luggage: Travelpro Platinum Elite 21-inch Expandable Carry-On Spinner
(Courtesy of Travelpro)
Dimensions: 23.5 x 14.5 x 9 inches | Weight: 7.8 pounds
What sets this carry-on apart: This 21-inch spinner suitcase has a deluxe tie-down system and a removable fold-out suiter designed to hang clothes and prevent garments from wrinkling. The expandable design offers up to 2 inches of extra packing space (but may exceed some airline carry-on size restrictions), while integrated accessory pockets and a removable TSA-compliant quart-size wet pocket provide easily accessible organization. This top-rated bag is available in multiple color options including black, gray and espresso.
Travelers appreciate: The extension handle and spinner wheels of this bag make it easy to maneuver through airports, and the high-quality construction provides a durable travel companion.
Price: $369.99 or less
Shop now: Travelpro | Amazon | Macy’s
Best Hard-sided Carry-on Luggage: Solgaard Carry-On Closet – Large
(Courtesy of Solgaard)
What sets this carry-on apart: Ideal for the traveler who wants to stay organized and self-contained, this unique design features a patented built-in shelving system. The carry-on also has a built-in TSA lock, integrated USB port, solid polycarbonate shell and aluminum frame. You can choose from a variety of colors, including red and black, as well as limited-edition color options when in stock. This suitcase is available in large for domestic air travel – or medium, which meets most European airline size requirements.
Travelers appreciate: Packers adore the six-shelf system, saying it makes items easy to find and the compression feature maximizes packing space. Sharael Kolberg, a travel contributor at U.S. News, is a big fan of this carry-on. “I love the Solgaard Carry-on Closet Suitcase because I never have to unpack my clothes,” she says. “With the built-in shelving system, it’s easy to keep things neat and organized while on the road.” She also appreciates its USB charger port so she can charge her laptop or phone while on the go.
Price: $295 or less
Shop now: Solgaard
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Best Lightweight Carry-on Luggage: Samsonite Freeform 21-inch Carry-On Spinner
(Courtesy of Samsonite)
Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 10 inches | Weight: 6.5 pounds
What sets this carry-on apart: This modern-looking, hard-sided carry-on has four double spinner wheels and comes in colors such as black or white. This carry-on suitcase is expandable and also includes a TSA-compliant three-dial combination lock, two separate packing compartments and a few interior zippered pockets for storage.
Travelers appreciate: Consumers praise its features for both business and leisure travelers, calling out its light weight, durability and easy-to-roll wheels.
Price: $199.99 or less
Shop now: Samsonite | Amazon
Best International Carry-on Luggage: DELSEY PARIS Helium Aero 19-inch Carry-on
Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 10 inches | Weight: 8.2 pounds
What sets this carry-on apart: This highly rated international carry-on luggage style may be worth considering if you’re traveling to Europe or outside of the U.S. While carry-on bag size requirements vary, many international airlines have smaller size restrictions than domestic airlines. This DELSEY PARIS spinner bag meets carry-on size restrictions for most international airlines at 21 x 14 x 10 inches. The hard-sided style has an easily accessible front laptop compartment, two spacious internal compartments for clothing and travel gear, and a comfort handle. There’s a variety of other international carry-on luggage options at Amazon as well.
Travelers appreciate: Users of this bag say it fits in most overhead compartments, and the case is lightweight and easy to get through airports and train stations. Reviewers also note that despite its smaller size they are able to fit a lot into this rolling suitcase.
Price: $179.99 or less
Shop now: DELSEY PARIS | Amazon
Best Carry-on Luggage for Women: CALPAK Ambeur Carry-On Luggage
(Courtesy of CALPAK)
Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 9 inches | Weight: 6 pounds
What sets this carry-on apart: Blending fashion with function, this chic design comes in colors like rose gold and black. Crafted with polycarbonate and ABS, this lightweight suitcase includes a TSA-approved combination lock. Its four dual spinner wheels and extending handle provide easy maneuverability for every adventure. Inside, there is a divider with two zippered pockets, an interior accessory pocket and compression straps.
Travelers appreciate: Owners of this suitcase say they love the sleek style of the bag, the metallic colors and the durability, adding they appreciate that it’s roomy with an expandable option.
Price: $195 or less
Shop now: CALPAK
Best Carry-on Luggage for Men: Arlo Skye The Zipper Carry-On Max
(Courtesy of Arlo Skye)
Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 9.6 inches | Weight: 7 pounds
What sets this carry-on apart: Crafted from polycarbonate, this lightweight carry-on is available in six color choices, including burgundy and lemon. Inside, there’s an antimicrobial lining, two shoe bags and a laundry bag. The carry-on also features an integrated aircraft-compliant charger that can be removed in just one click, a leather luggage tag and a TSA-approved combination lock.
Travelers appreciate: Users of this bag rave about the quality of it, the styling (many have received multiple compliments on their suitcase) and the smooth wheels.
Price: $375 or less
Shop now: Arlo Skye
Best Carry-on Luggage for Business Travel: Away The Daily Carry-On with Pocket
(Courtesy of Away)
Dimensions: 16.5 x 17 x 9 inches | Weight: 8.1 pounds
What sets this carry-on apart: Featuring a unique and removable accordion packing system, plus a secure 13-inch laptop sleeve, this bag is designed to carry your business travel essentials. Constructed with a navy polycarbonate hard shell, this carry-on size integrates the features of a rolling laptop bag within a spinner suitcase.
Travelers appreciate: Many owners of this case say they love the compression system’s ability to maximize their packing space and the removable laundry bag.
Price: $245 or less
Shop now: Away
Best Large Carry-on Luggage: Monos Carry-On Plus
Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 9.5 inches | Weight: 7.38 pounds
What sets this carry-on apart: Designed to fit into most overhead bins on domestic flights or be gate-checked on smaller planes, this bag is ideal for travelers seeking to maximize the space in their carry-on bag. For those who love details, this bag has a polycarbonate hard shell in 10 colors (including white and olive green), silent run wheels, vegan leather details and a four-height adjustable telescopic handle. Meanwhile, the interior is lined with an antimicrobial fabric and includes a built-in compression pad.
Travelers appreciate: Owners of this bag like its construction, including the quiet and easy-rolling wheels, the durable yet lightweight polycarbonate exterior, and the sturdy ergonomic handle.
Price: $339 or less
Shop now: Monos
Best Under-the-Seat Carry-on Bag: CALPAK Hue Mini Carry-On Luggage
(Courtesy of CALPAK)
Dimensions: 16 x 14 x 8.5 inches | Weight: 6.4 pounds
What sets this carry-on apart: Combining design with practicality, this recently introduced under-seat style from CALPAK debuted in spring 2022 and has quickly become a traveler favorite. The carry-on bag features a durable polycarbonate hard-shell construction in multiple colors including black and pink sand. The interior has compression straps and a divider with zippered compartments, while the exterior has a bottom grab handle, four dual spinner wheels and TSA-accepted lock.
Travelers appreciate: Ideal for business trips or weekend getaways, travelers love the sleek style, the color options and the spacious interior, as well as how easy it is to put under the seat or in the plane’s overhead bins.
Price: $165 or less
Shop now: CALPAK
Best Luxury Carry-on Luggage: Rimowa Classic Cabin
Dimensions: 21.7 x 15.8 x 9.1 inches | Weight: 9.5 pounds
What sets this carry-on apart: Designed and engineered in Germany, this classic style by the iconic luggage brand is recognized around the globe and featured in some of the hottest TV shows, including “Emily in Paris.” The hard-shell suitcase is created in a high-end anodized aluminum alloy in silver or black, and finished with riveted high-gloss aluminum corners and handmade leather handles. On the inside, you’ll find a height-adjustable divider to keep all your outfits and essentials organized. Finally, the telescopic handle and the ball-bearing mounted wheels will help you smoothly glide from one destination to the next like a true jetsetter.
Travelers appreciate: Rimowa carry-on owners value the sturdy construction and the iconic way the bag combines art and function.
Price: $1,475 or less
Shop now: Rimowa
Best Affordable Carry-on Luggage: Amazon Basics 21-inch Hardside Spinner
Dimensions: 21.65 x 14.96 x 10.04 inches | Weight: 7.34 pounds
What sets this carry-on apart: Available in four color choices, including orange and black, this bag has an extra-thick ABS hard shell, four double wheels for maneuverability and a telescoping handle. What’s more, the interior makes it easy to keep everything in order with a divider and an interior organizer that features three zippered pockets.
Travelers appreciate: Users of this bag appreciate the approachable price and the overall look and style of this hard-sided design.
Price: $120 or less
Shop now: Amazon
Best Carry-on Luggage With Charger: Away The Carry-On
(Courtesy of Away)
Dimensions: 21.7 x 13.7 x 9 inches | Weight: 7.1 pounds
What sets this carry-on apart: Sleek and sophisticated, this spinner suitcase comes in a selection of colors and is a top-rated tech-friendly carry-on suitcase. Purchasers can choose from an optional ejectable power source with two USB ports, or no power source (which makes the suitcase about 1 pound lighter). This carry-on bag with spinner wheels and leather details comes with a water-resistant laundry bag, as well as two interior compartments – one designed for clothing and the other for hard objects like shoes or toiletries. What’s more, for security, the bag has two zippers that slide into a TSA-approved combination lock, a feature travelers appreciate.
Travelers appreciate: “I love the convenience of charging my phone on the go (and not having to search for an outlet at the airport),” says Amanda Norcross, travel content and SEO strategist at U.S. News, who owns this carry-on. “Since the charger is removable, I also like that I can use it even when I’m not traveling.”
Price: $295 (with power source) or less
Shop now: Away
Best Eco-friendly Carry-on Luggage: Paravel Aviator Carry-On
(Courtesy of Paravel)
Dimensions: 21.7 x 13.7 x 9 inches | Weight: 8.2 pounds
What sets this carry-on apart: This carbon-neutral suitcase features a durable recycled polycarbonate exterior, vegan leather details and an aircraft-grade recycled aluminum handle. On the inside, the nylon lining is made from 15 upcycled water bottles with a compression board and a removable laundry bag. Ideal for the stylish and eco-conscious traveler, the bag is available in a choice of five colors, including black and navy.
Travelers appreciate: Travelers love the sleek styling of the bag, along with the smooth maneuverability of the wheels and the way it works well with Paravel’s packing cubes.
Price: $395 or less
Shop now: Paravel
Best Rolling Carry-on Luggage: Biaggi Curve – Wheeled Carry-on + Garment Bag
Dimensions: 22 x 12 x 11 inches | Weight: 4 pounds
What sets this carry-on apart: Blending the features of a garment bag with a tote bag on wheels, the Biaggi Curve is an ideal rolling carry-on bag for multitaskers. Start by packing the garment bag with up to two suits or gowns plus two or three lighter items, then zip the garment bag to create a tote for all of your other travel essentials.
Travelers appreciate: Owners of this style rave about the versatility of the bag, saying it’s great for destination weddings and business trips.
Price: $329.99 or less
Shop now: Biaggi
Best Carry-on Duffel Bag: Herschel Novel Duffle
Dimensions: 20.5 x 11.75 x 11 inches | Weight: 4.4 pounds
What sets this carry-on apart: Ideal for travel or daily use, this classic carry-on-size duffel from Herschel has a spacious main compartment with an internal mesh storage sleeve. What’s more, the Novel duffel is available in more than 30 color options, and you can carry this bag using its reinforced handles or removable shoulder strap.
Travelers appreciate: Travelers rave about the bag’s shoe compartment and durable construction.
Price: $100 or less
Shop now: Herschel | Amazon
Best Carry-on Duffel Bag With Wheels: The North Face Rolling Thunder – 22″
Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 8.5 inches | Weight: 7.34 pounds
What sets this carry-on apart: Selected by U.S. News as the best overall rolling duffel bag, this North Face style is designed for adventure. This rolling duffel, constructed with water-resistant nylon, has high-traction wheels and an extendable luggage handle.
Travelers appreciate: They enthuse about the amount of clothing and gear the bag can hold, along with its sleek design and durable construction, which travelers say make it easy to navigate in a variety of travel conditions.
Price: $270 or less
Shop now: The North Face
Best Carry-on Tote Bag: L.L.Bean Nor’easter Tote Bag, Regular
Dimensions: 16 x 15.5 x 6.5 inches | Weight: 2 pounds
What sets this carry-on apart: Classic and water-resistant, the L.L.Bean Nor’easter Tote Bag is made with a heavy-duty cotton canvas. For added durability, the exterior base and interior of the bag have a puddle-proof coating. The bag stands on its own for easy packing and unpacking, and the inside has two stash pockets and a key fob. The zippered top keeps contents secure while in transit, and the adjustable shoulder strap is removable.
Travelers appreciate: The roominess of the bag and the high-quality construction are what travelers like about this style.
Price: $79 or less
Shop now: L.L.Bean
Best Carry-on Garment Bag: TUMI Alpha Garment 4 Wheeled Carry-On
Dimensions: 22 x 14.5 x 9 inches | Weight: 13.1 pounds
What sets this carry-on apart: On the inside, there is a zippered garment compartment for a suit, a hanger bracket, a dual-compartment zippered pocket, compression straps and two removable mesh zippered pouches. The five-stage telescoping handle and four-wheel design make this carry-on garment bag roll down an airplane aisle with ease, and the gusseted front zippered pocket provides an accessible spot for your boarding pass, reading material, reports and paperwork.
Travelers appreciate: Business travelers say this is the perfect suitcase for short business trips, as it easily holds a suit, a few shirts, dress shoes and other necessities; they also report it pairs well with TUMI briefcases that can be attached to the top of the piece.
Price: $950 or less
Shop now: TUMI
Frequently Asked Questions
Aside from traditional carry-on baggage, the following items can be used as carry-on luggage provided they meet carry-on size limitations (which vary by airline) and fit in the overhead bin.
- Duffel bags: You might consider a duffel bag with wheels for ease of transport.
- Garment bags: These are also considered carry-on baggage by most airlines, and many offer pockets for storing additional travel essentials.
- Airline-approved pet carriers: Some airlines consider pet carriers to be carry-on luggage. Check with your chosen airline when preparing for your trip with Fido.
Smaller items such as backpacks, weekender bags, purses, briefcases and camera bags are not considered carry-on bags and are instead labeled as personal items by most airlines. Typically, travelers can bring one carry-on bag (for the overhead bin) and one personal item (for under the seat) on the plane, free of charge.
If you’re traveling with a baby, diaper bags and other baby travel gear generally don’t count toward either allowance – meaning you can bring these items in addition to your carry-on bag and personal item.
When it comes to selecting the best carry-on bag, the decision comes down to four main considerations: personal travel style, your preferred airline(s), your destination, and your preference between hard-sided or soft-sided luggage.
Personal travel style: Wendy Perrin, travel expert and editor of travel planning site WendyPerrin.com, says your carry-on bag should reflect what you need to pack. “It makes a big difference whether you need to take dressy clothing like business suits or it’s just a trip to the beach where it’s a T-shirt and shorts,” she says. For example, if you tend to dress up for work, you may want luggage with a built-in garment bag, whereas if you’re an adventure traveler, a rolling bag may best accommodate your gear.
Your travel style also includes how much you typically pack. If you aim to pack light and avoid paying for checked luggage, you’ll want a carry-on bag that has features such as compression straps, organizational compartments and/or complementary packing cubes you can buy to go with it. You’ll also want to consider any items you might purchase in your travels. “In my most recent trips to Europe, I’ve packed carry-on-sized, wheeled duffel luggage,” says Jeff Wilson, the host of PBS series “Real Rail Adventures.” “I like that, on the way home, I can loosen the compression straps to make room for all of the souvenir chocolate.” He adds that depending on the types of souvenirs you want to purchase, you might need to check your carry-on bag for the return flight.
- Airline: Depending on whether you’re flying domestically within the U.S. or traveling internationally, your carry-on bag size limitations will vary by airline. You may also want to consider which airlines you typically fly and check their policies to help you decide what carry-on is right for you. This will save you time (and perhaps money) during both your luggage search and your packing process.
- Destination: You’ll also want to think about transit within your destination. Will you be traveling around via train? You’ll probably prefer something lightweight. Will you have to navigate cobblestone streets to reach your hotel? You’ll want to make sure you have a carry-on bag with sturdy wheels. Also, if you plan to travel with a carry-on bag only, think about your full itinerary. Can you easily purchase items you may need in your destination? Will you be able to do laundry?
- Hard-sided luggage vs. soft-sided luggage: Deciding whether you’d like a hard- or soft-sided bag is another consideration and largely a personal preference. Travel expert Samantha Brown, host of PBS’ hit series “Samantha Brown’s Places to Love,” says she made the switch to hard-sided bags since they won’t expand beyond airline carry-on size requirements and they provide additional protection. She also advises consumers to consider the wheels. “A lot of times manufacturers, to make it lightweight, will give you lighter-weight features, and the wheels will be tiny,” she explains, suggesting to look for a bag with 2-inch wheels since it needs to carry the weight of all your belongings and navigate everything from escalators to cobblestone streets. A great way to check a bag’s durability is to read what others have to say about it, too. “Reviews are the perfect way to see how a bag measures up,” Brown says.
Why Trust U.S. News Travel
Rachael Hood is a senior travel editor with a luggage obsession. She rarely checks a bag, and has been researching and evaluating luggage for as long as she can remember. To curate this list of the top carry-on luggage, she used her own experience with the CALPAK Hue Mini Carry-On, along with her research expertise and retail merchandising background.
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