The 3 Best Carry On Luggage Bags on a Budget This Year

Carry On Luggage

The 3 Best Carry On Luggage Bags on a Budget This Year

The best carry on luggage is something constant travelers are always interested in. The unfortunate fact is that, enjoyable though traveling can sometimes be, it takes a toll on your belongings as well as yourself. You’ll have to make provisions for safeguarding your person against the ravages of journeying but only truly great luggage can do that for your things.

If you don’t know where to start, you can try the following three bags we’ve rounded up from the current pack on the market. All of them are great cheap options that shouldn’t run you more than $120 each at most sellers. Which one suits you most is your call, of course, but you can read about their details and our opinions of them here.

Samsonite Luggage Fiero HS Spinner 20

Samsonite’s Fiero is one of the brand’s most popular hard-case bags. Measuring a compact 19.5 by 14.5 by 9 inches, this bag meets most airlines’ carry-on requirements whether in or out of the US. A scratch-resistant 100% polycarbonate shell gives your possessions tough protection without requiring you to compromise on portability, with the whole item weighing in at just a little over 8lbs. It has zippered closures, TSA-approved locks, and 4 360-degree spinner wheels for easy steering. It also comes in at least 5 colors: blue, black, purple (closer to fuchsia), grey, and teal.


  • Surprisingly lightweight for a hardside bag
  • Easily expandable
  • Great, rugged build that really does resist scratches well


  • Could use slightly bigger dials on the locks, for easier use
  • Middle-positioned zipper-lock can be a little awkward at times

Samsonite makes some of the most popular spinners on the market and the Fiero HS is a good specimen of them. This hard-shelled bag boasts classic spinner mobility and superb shell durability thanks to its lightweight polycarbonate make.

Does it show when you use it? Definitely: it’s very rollable and impressively scratch-resistant. It doesn’t look too bad either, but that’s really a subjective judgment, so your opinion there may differ.

We liked its lightness and astonishingly high storage capacity very well, but we do think the placement of the zipper makes some situations a bit awkward—you can’t just open it a teensy bit to dig in for something, after all. Still, it’s a great option for a low cost.

Rockland Melbourne 20-inch Luggage

The Melbourne is a bag made of 100% ABS for combined lightness and strength. It measures 20 by 13 by 9 inches and weighs in at a paltry 7.3lbs for easy maneuverability. Spinner wheels at the base give it 360-degree mobility and a wide range of colors and textural patterns help it define your personal style.


  • Sturdy shell
  • A lot of style options
  • Very cheap


  • Handle feels a little wobbly
  • The spinner wheels feel less durable than the shell

This is another expandable hard-shell case, and it’s rather a cheap one too at just half the cost of the Samsonite we talked about before it. Like most expendables, it might not meet airline regulations for carry-ons any longer once you do expand it.

That said, it’s a great bargain option, especially with the wide range of colors and texture patterns available. Keep in mind, however, that the interior fabric lining of this bag is generally a matching polka-dot cloth of a lighter shade of the outer color—that means that if you get the red shell, the interior will be something like polka-dotted pink. That may or may not be an issue for some buyers.

It’s altogether a nice-handling unit, with just a little bit of wobble to the handle (that’s where manufacturers usually scrimp, so no surprise), and slightly less hardy-looking wheels than the ones on the Samsonite earlier. Fortunately, the price, looks, and toughness of the shell make up for it.

Samsonite Luggage Winfield 2 Spinner

This 20 by 13.5 by 9 inch hard-shell carry-on is made of pure polycarbonate for toughness without the heft. Details are molded into the hard shell, which is capable of flexing under impact before bouncing back into shape. Added style is supplied by a stunning brushed pattern on the surface. The interior has a fabric lining, pockets, and a zippered divider. There is also a TSA-approved lock mounted on the side.


  • Nice, spacious compartments inside it
  • Rather light (just around 8.4lbs) but tough
  • Smooth, sturdy wheels


  • Zipper area for the exterior isn’t waterproof
  • Not expandable

This is a nice-looking bag that actually looks smaller than it really is. Lightweight, fairly sturdy, and mounted on Samsonite’s famous spinner wheels, it’s easy to use and move around with minimal stress. The handle isn’t bad—still not great, though, as that’s the price of getting bargain bags—but one does wish it came with a handle on the side too.

The fabric backing for the closure is also bad at keeping out water, in case that’s something that matters to you. Finally, it’s not expandable. Even with all of that, it’s rather a nice bag to get for your money, especially given its overall practicality and looks.


The Rockland bag in our lineup is actually the best-looking one in most people’s opinions, but that’s also partly a result of it having the most color and pattern possibilities. Still, people rarely consider looks as important as practicality when it comes to carry on luggage. The Rockland is nicely sized and has a great shell, but also falls behind the two Samsonites when it comes to ease of maneuvering. Furthermore, it has a bigger tendency to go over airline regulations when its expandability is acted on.

If we had to choose between the two Samsonites, we would select the Fiero. Compact and scratch-resistant, it’s surprisingly light as well as equipped with fantastic wheels. It’s not necessarily a looker—people will argue about that—but we found it the most capable of all three when it came to actually putting it through hard travelling. Overall, it just seems the best buy for your money.

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