Travelpro Platinum Elite Softside Expandable Spinner Wheel Suitcase, 21-Inch

Last updated date: September 17, 2020

DWYM Score
9.2

Travelpro Platinum Elite Softside Expandable Spinner Wheel Suitcase, 21-Inch

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Overall Take

This hardy piece of luggage can accommodate a surprising amount of gear thanks to the compression straps and expandable zipper sections. Even at maximum capacity, the 360-degree spinner wheels allow it to handle well. Perks like the TSA-compliant battery pack and USB port are a boon on long trips. In our analysis of 93 expert reviews, the Travelpro Travelpro Platinum Spinner Suitcase, 21-Inch placed 10th when we looked at the top 15 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note September 17, 2020:
Checkout The Best Suitcase for a detailed review of all the top suitcases.

Expert Summarized Score
9.8
10 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.1
920 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
For most people, Wirecutter recommends the Travelpro Platinum Elite 21' Expandable Spinner. The Platinum Elite offers the best balance of size, value, reliabiity, and durability, with high-end details. It's also backed by a lifetime warranty.
- New York Times Wirecutter
A genuinely great rollaboard suitcase and is our Editors' Choice award winner once again. Its zippers, wheels, and handles are buttery smooth to use and durable enough for years of consistent travel. It has a large capacity with an expandable zipper section and effective compression straps. We love the available features that provide just the right blend of organization for whatever style of traveler you are. It's sturdy and classy enough for business travel without being too stuffy for a vacation with the kids.
- Outdoor Gear Lab
Wowed me with its looks, and then surprised me even more with its storage. Comes with a built-in USB port that seems to be a standard in most luggage these days, which is great because the past few airports I’ve been in lacked wall outlets (in 2018 mind you). Since the bag is TSA compliant, it’s worth mentioning that the battery pack adheres to FAA regulations so you won’t have to worry about disconnecting or removing the battery — unless you have to check the bag at the gate — in which case, the battery is easy to disconnect and remove.
- Gear Diary
Might be as close to perfect as it gets when it comes to luggage, considering it's one of the top-rated suitcases on Amazon and has received rave reviews from satisfied shoppers. This bag is still easy to maneuver, even as it expands, thanks to 360-degree spinner wheels. The exterior fabric is made from durable, high-density nylon, which has a special coating that resists stains and tears.
- Travel and Leisure
It meets the FAA regulations for both the checked and carry-on baggage. This great little 21” bag offers better- effortless and precise control of the bag as part of the precision glide system, you have the magnatrac spinner wheels that rotate smoothly in all Travelpro Platinum Elite 40918610 Cabin bagdirections, an adjustable and sturdy PowerScope telescoping handle that locks at four points and a patented contour grip and rubberized touch points with an ergonomic design.
- Cold Turkey Now
Fortunately, Travelpro has realized that durability is one of the most valued factors by consumers. They have an in-ground testing facility where every product is hardcore tested before going on sale. All of Travelpro’s suitcases come with either a limited lifetime warranty or a worry-free lifetime warranty. Rarely do luggage manufacturers offer a warranty for longer than five years.
- Clever Journey
I wanted a bag that had a little give for a change (I own the case, it doesn’t own me!), but also because whenever a flight attendant walked by me in the airport, they’d always be rolling a Travelpro. The decision to hit purchase was made even easier when I saw that the suitcase is Wirecutter’s number one pick for checked bags. Plus, it comes with a Lifetime Warranty that covers the cost of repair and the shipping costs if you need it fixed.
- Condé Nast Traveler
This carry-on spinner is part of Platinum Elite, Travelpro's sophisticated new collection of suitcases. Borrowing some features from the brand's carry-ons, this spinner takes it up a notch with a tip-resistant expansion system that offers up to two more inches of packing space, a tie-down system, accessory pockets, and a removable, TSA-approved bag for toiletries.
- Trip Savvy
One of our favorite carry-on bags. TravelPro practically invented the roll-along suitcase, and there’s a reason their products are often spotted being wheeled along by pilots and flight attendants. After testing multiple bags, we picked the Platinum Elite for its packing and organization features, durable materials and maneuverability. Importantly, the TravelPro Platinum Elite is a breeze to pack, fitting up to five days of clothes with room to spare. High, sturdy walls with a slight inward curve at the edges make it easier to load clothes inside without needing to worry about overfilling.
- Lonely Planet
This luggage has a “USB” pocket where you can connect your own power bank. It has an external slot to connect your chargers to, so you can charge your phone on the go. The magnetic alignment system means the wheels “snap” into different positions, to make pushing the luggage very smooth and easy. This can be a little annoying, if you need to make a small (less than 30 degree turn).
- Zero Day Finance
What experts didn't like
However, hard-sided luggage does look great. Polycarbonate can be molded in an endless variety of colors or prints, which soft-sided luggage can’t replicate in thread.
- New York Times Wirecutter
Our only real complaint is that of so many carry-on bags - that you can overstuff the front pockets of this rollaboard to the point that it looks like it's about to explode, and no longer meets airline size regulations.
- Outdoor Gear Lab
Although It’s not a huge issue, we’d like to see something more colorful a larger selection. Their minimalistic and down-to-earth looks are perfect for business travelers and flight crews, but not too exciting for leisure.
- Clever Journey
The toiletry bag, for example, was a nice touch, but the zipper attachment was difficult to secure – an annoying problem when you’re trying to re-pack and get out of the security line. Similarly, the garment bag had some added value, but because it had to fit the length of the 21-inch suitcase, it was a relatively small bag itself. Broad-shouldered suits and jackets will not easily fit, and wrinkling is likely.
- Lonely Planet

From The Manufacturer

Maximize your carry-on with sophisticated style. The Platinum Elite 21" Expandable Carry-on spinner delivers big on form and function with a tip-resistant expansion that offers up to 2" more packing capacity, deluxe tie-down system, integrated accessory pockets and a removable quart-size wet pocket that is TSA compliant and perfect for toiletries. Plus, the drop-in, Fold-out suiter is specifically designed to accommodate hanging clothes and prevent wrinkling. Built-in USB port lets you power up on the go, while a dedicated powerbank pocket for your back-up battery adheres to FAA regulations. Perfect for short to medium-length trips, this carry-on spinner is crafted in style with premium fabrics, genuine leather and chrome zippers. Top-of-the-line mobility features include the precision glide system with eight magnatrac, self-aligning, 360-degree spinner wheels guided by an adjustable PowerScope extension handle with patented Contour grip and rubberized touch points for comfortable, easy maneuvering wherever you go. Backed by our built for a lifetime limited worry free warranty that covers the cost of repair for damage from airline or other common carrier for the life of the bag after registration under the trusted companion promise.

Overall Product Rankings

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An Overview On Suitcases

Even on your most uncomfortable economy flight, take heart in the fact that your luggage is probably having a worse time than you are. From the punishment of the initial packing ritual to the inevitable bumps and bruises administered by the baggage handlers, your suitcase bears it all without a complaint — if it’s made of quality stuff.

So how do you choose the right travel companion for your next trip? First things first: Consider the contents. Is this luggage going to be used for a short, solo trip or long family outings? If it’s the former, go with a compact carry-on bag. For the latter, you’re going to need an actual suitcase, the kind that will likely be checked in and stowed in a separate compartment during your flight.

Don’t fully trust the name given by the manufacturer, either. Many so-called “carry-on” bags may get rejected as such by some airlines, especially when they’re overstuffed. Check the dimensions: The standard size limit for carry-on luggage on most US airlines is 22 by 14 by 9 inches. For checked baggage, the general limit is 62 linear inches (that’s length, width and height added together). Whatever you’re choosing, make sure that it’s a bag you can move by yourself if you have to. Ideally, that includes the ability to lift it overhead at least once to stow it in an overhead compartment.

The next thing you’ll want to consider is structure. Luggage materials fall into two main categories: Hardside or softside. Hardside luggage is made of aluminum or polymers that offer lots of protection, making them the default choice for larger suitcases that will see lots of handling (and might need some extra security). Softside luggage is usually made from high-quality nylon or polyester, possibly with PVC panels or other reinforcing material to protect the inside. It’s more prone to scratches and wear, but offers a bit of flexibility when you need to stretch the capacity. This material is obviously lighter and most common for carry-on luggage.

Whatever the material, the details make a lot of difference. The first thing to check is the zippers. The most common types you’ll see on luggage are coil zippers or chain zippers. Coil zippers are typically made of nylon or plastic, and while they’re flexible and can “heal” if the zipper slips, they’re generally less durable and easier to tamper with. Chain zippers, as the name implies, are made with interlocking metal or plastic teeth. They’re more secure but a bit less flexible, and generally more expensive. Whichever the type, a good perk is a “closed-end” zipper style that can be opened from either end of the suitcase. Not only is this more convenient, but it also ensures that you can still open your luggage if one end breaks.

Just as you might with a used car, you’ll want to check the wheels. Spinner wheels are generally considered to be the best option for frequent travelers. They have a versatile mounting that allows them to rotate 360 degrees, allowing you to maneuver more easily in crowded airports. Just bear in mind that they can also roll off more easily when unattended. For that reason, those who travel in areas with a steep incline might go with a good set of fixed wheels.

Other factors to consider include the handle. In the best-case scenario, it will be retractable and built into the body of the suitcase so it’s harder to break or bend. And of course, you’ll want to consider the layout of the interior: Are there enough pockets for all your smaller items? Is there a separate compartment for dirty clothes? How much can you reasonably pack in?

For some of these questions, you’ll need to ask around, or check the reviews online. Whatever you do, don’t skimp on the details! A good traveling companion is hard to find.

DWYM Fun Fact

Most every year, the TSA puts out their annual list of the strangest things Americans tried to pack inside their suitcases. Needless to say, it’s not a list you want to be on. Some of the most ambitious items people tried to bring aboard their flights in 2018 included an inert mortar round, a live cat (who either was intentionally stuffed in a suitcase or snuck in while her owners were packing) and a live python smuggled inside a hard drive.

The Suitcase Buying Guide

  • One great perk of many modern suitcases is a USB charging port. They’re typically attached to a power bank so that you can juice up your phone on the go. While this can be a lifesaver on long layovers, make sure you can get a suitcase that allows you to easily remove the battery. Lithium-ion batteries can pose a fire hazard, and many airlines may require you to carry the power bank separately for that reason.
  • Want a little extra peace of mind? Luggage tracking tags are another high-tech innovation that travelers can take advantage of. They’re tiny tags that you can insert into your suitcase and track by way of an app. The batteries on these tags are usually much smaller but double-check with your airline to make sure they’re compliant with all current regulations.