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Defend Your Luggage With The Best Hard Shell Suitcase

Last updated on March 15, 2024

Our Review Process

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Our Picks For The Top Hard Shell Suitcases

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Top Pick

SHOWKOO Multidirectional Adjustable Hard Shell Suitcase Set, 3-Piece

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Multidirectional Adjustable Hard Shell Suitcase Set, 3-Piece

A small, medium and large suitcase are included in this high-quality, yet affordable luggage set. The outer hard shell protects your belongings during travel, while the built-in TSA lock provides security against theft. You can even get the suitcase set in one of 26 different colors!

Overall Take

Telescoping HandleThe telescoping handle and 360-degree caster wheels on this affordable luggage make it easy to maneuver.

 Runner Up

AmazonBasics Carry-On Hard Shell Suitcase, 21-Inch


Carry-On Hard Shell Suitcase, 21-Inch

This durable hard shell suitcase prevents crushing and is scratch-resistant. The interior is fully lined with three zippered pockets, making organization a breeze. The spinner wheels glide smoothly and make it easy to travel with.

Overall Take

Economical OptionThis hard shell suitcase is a budget-friendly option with many desirable features.

 We Also Like

DELSEY Paris Helium Aero TSA-Accepted Hard Shell Suitcase, 19-Inch


Paris Helium Aero TSA-Accepted Hard Shell Suitcase, 19-Inch

Thanks to the eight multi-directional caster wheels and the telescoping handle, you won't have any trouble pulling this hard shell suitcase across an airport. The case is constructed from 100% polycarbonate and available in 10 fun colors. What you'll love most, of course, are the spacious main compartments and many built-in pockets, as they help yo...

Overall Take

Easy to Maneuver This hard shell suitcase has an expander that adds 2-inches of extra packing space.

 Strong Contender

kensie Alma Wheeled Hard Shell Suitcase, 20-Inch


Alma Wheeled Hard Shell Suitcase, 20-Inch

This hard shell suitcase includes a recessed TSA lock system that provides secure travel. It's also expandable for extra packing capacity.

Overall Take

Expandable and TSA-FriendlyThis hard shell suitcase includes a recessed TSA lock system that provides secure travel.

Buying Guide

Hardshell suitcases can be durable and lightweight. They are frequently available in standard sizes for carry-on bags or checked luggage, making them a practical choice for traveling by plane or cruise ship. Learning about features to consider and look for will help you select the best hard-sided luggage for your needs.

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Consider the type of material used in a hardshell suitcase you are considering. Many are made from high-tech plastic. ABS is the most lightweight, although it is not as sturdy as polycarbonate, which is a bit heavier. Luggage made with an aluminum shell will stand up to the most wear and tear, but it is also the heaviest material used to make hard-sided suitcases.

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Many hardshell suitcases open much like a clamshell, with two distinct, equal sides in which to pack. While this can be helpful to keep items separate, it also requires more room when unpacking as you must spread it open entirely. Others have a “lid” that opens more like a traditional suitcase, so if you will use it in a small space, consider this option.

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Hard-sided luggage can be more challenging to store than soft-sided luggage is. You will need ample space, as squeezing a suitcase into a tight area might result in scratches or damage. Some hardshell suitcase sets come in graduated sizes that fit inside one another, making storage less difficult.

What to Look For

  • To clean your hard-sided luggage, dip a soft cloth or sponge in warm, soapy water and wipe it gently. Follow up by rinsing it with a clean, damp cloth. Dry the suitcase completely before storing it.
  • The easiest way to remove sand, dirt, dust or crumbs from the inside of your suitcase is to vacuum it. If there is any sticky or caked-on grime, remove it with a damp cloth and then allow the interior to dry completely before putting it in storage. You will be grateful for clean, fresh luggage when planning your next trip.
  • As hardshell luggage is prone to scratches, dents or dings, consider purchasing luggage covers for extra protection when not in use.
  • Check the wheels on your suitcase before and after you travel. Removing gravel, dirt or other particles in the wheels will keep them moving smoothly for years to come.

More to Explore

By the late 1800s, travelers had essentially two choices for carrying their clothing and other items. Massive waterproof trunks were most often used for lengthy trips, such as those by steamship, train or stagecoach. On the other end of the spectrum were carpet bags, which were small, top-opening travel bags made from carpeting material, such as oriental rugs.

Suitcases were in use by the 1900s, but they were merely cases to hold suits, much as the name suggests. As travel changed, trunks went out of fashion and suitcases evolved into the handled luggage used today.

In 1970, an inventor dreamed up the idea of putting wheels on suitcases after traveling with his wife and kids. And the rest is history.

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