Three of the best carry-on suitcases20/11/2019
From the budget to the expensive, here are three of the best.
If CHOICE had a dollar for every time one of their testers said “price isn’t necessarily an indicator of performance,” they’d be printing their magazine on gold leaf. Their recent carry-on luggage test was one such example. All products tested performed well, despite coming in at drastically different price points, with all suitcases scoring between 81% and 89%.
To illustrate these results, they compare three models from the lower, middle and top of the price range: a $49 Kmart case, a $295 Away suitcase with an inbuilt travel charger, and a $625 lightweight Samsonite bag. Have a different price point in mind? Check theirr full luggage reviews to find what you’re after.
– Kmart Anko 45.5cm Soft Lightweight Case
– CHOICE Expert Rating: 81%
– Price: $49
This bargain Kmart marvel scored a perfect 100% in their lift and drop test, which puts it through 300 rounds of being lifted and dropped 90cm onto a concrete floor while packed with 4kg of clothes. Only bags that survive completely unscathed receive a score of 100%. It scored a very respectable 86% for its overall performance score, and 73% for ease of use.
Its performance was less breathtaking in the rain test (where they simulate a 10-minute deluge), puncture test (they drop a heavy, pointy weight on the bag) and stability test (they use a tilt platform to see what will make them fall over), but it still does a pretty good job and their experts recommend it, especially at this price.
“You could buy the Kmart carry-on plus return flights from Sydney to Melbourne and you still wouldn’t have spent as much as the RRP of the Samsonite,” says CHOICE luggage tester Matthew Tung.
The mid-range marvel
– Away The Carry-On
– CHOICE Expert Rating: 84%
– Price: $295
Like the Anko case, this Away carry-on scored 100% in the lift and drop test, but also performed well in the puncture test. It comes with a laundry bag, leather name tag, sponge and storage bag, but most importantly it’s supplied with a power bank with adapter and cable and battery, so you can charge your phone on the go. The power bank hides under the extendable handle.
The only downside is that the power bank makes it heavier than many other carry-on suitcases, but if you’re attached to your phone it might be a trade-off you’re willing to make. Just bear in mind that if you need to check the bag in, you’ll need to remove the battery: you can’t put batteries in checked baggage.
– Samsonite Lite-Shock Sport 55cm
– CHOICE Expert Rating: 87%
– Price: $625
Costing more than some international flights, this suitcase fortunately delivers on performance – although you’d hope so for that price! It scored 100% in the lift and drop test, 95% in the puncture test and 75% in the rain test. Their experts couldn’t find any negative points to comment on, and added it to their recommended list.
A note on pricing
The Choice luggage experts say that, similar to mattresses, you’ll probably never have to pay full price for a top-brand suitcase – they’ll often be heavily discounted or on sale at major retailers.
“The RRP of this Samsonite is $625, but you’ll almost certainly never see it for sale at that price. Our expert buyers were able to pick this one up for $375,” says luggage expert Kim Gilmour. “In fact, virtually all the suitcases we bought for this test were purchased below RRP.”