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The 12 best hard shell suitcases UK

The 12 best hard shell suitcases UK

Are you in the UK and you’re looking for the best hard shell suitcase for your next trip?

You’ve probably been searching online and found it to be an absolute minefield. When did hard shell suitcases get so expensive and those conflicting reviews are confusing.

I know, I’ve been there!

Thankfully for you, I have a bit of a luggage addiction and I’ve tried so many hard shell suitcases.

I’ve simplified my list of the best hard shell suitcase into the following categories to make it easier for you!

Best large hard shell suitcase

Antler Clifton

ANTLER - Large Suitcase - Clifton Luggage - Size Large, Mineral - 132L, Lightweight Suitcase for...
  • DURABLE ELEGANCE: Our Clifton large suitcase is a hard shell suitcase crafted from robust polycarbonate, ensuring longevity and a stunning appearance. This Antler suitcase is colour-fast, so any...
  • FUNCTIONAL DESIGN: Explore the versatile features of this Antler suitcase, including flexible carry handles, compression straps, 4 interior pockets, a zip closure, & interior compartments. This hard...
  • SECURE TRAVELS: Safeguard your belongings with the integrated TSA-approved locks on this lightweight suitcase. Whether on family holidays or business trips, thanks to the anti-theft feature on this...

The best large, hard shell suitcase is the Clifton case by Antler. These are the ones pictured above. This suitcase ticks all the boxes.

  • It’s lightweight
  • Stylish
  • Durable
  • Has interior pockets and compartments
  • Smooth and durable spinner wheels
  • Expandable zips
  • Nice, easy handles
  • TSA approved locks
  • Comes in a variety of sizes if you want the full set
  • Comes in different colours

To put it simply, this is the best hard shell suitcase.

I’ve got an Antler Luggage Review over here if you’d like to read my full experience of using the Clifton set.

Best premium hard shell suitcase

Level 8

LEVEL8 Checked Luggage 24 inch Suitcase Hand Luggage Lightweight 100% PC Micro-Diamond Textured...
  • MATERIAL -- LIGHTWEIGHT suitcase made of 3-Layer 100% Germany BAYER polycarbonate. High-strength to provides elasticity and resiliency. Micro-diamond textured design minimizes unwanted marks during...
  • High capacity -- LEVEL8 suitcase equipped with two spacious compartments, three interior organizers to store smaller items.No need for compression straps with our fully lined compartments.The ultimate...
  • TSA-APPROVED LOCKS--Allows your cabin luggage case to be unlocked and inspected by security authorities without damage.With built-In TSA lock, you can make sure your valuables are secure and safe.

If you’ve got cash to splash then the gorgeous Globe Trotter suitcases are for you. They are going to set you back a pretty penny but, wow, they are beautiful.

The Centenary XL Trunk has a 100L capacity but it’s going to set you back a hefty £2,295 so you better put this one on your wishlist to Santa!

The James Bond Collection is also rather sexy but I don’t think you’d be turning up to your budget Ryanair flight with one of these.

For something a little more affordable, can I suggest the Level 8 hardshell suitcase which is lovely and considerably more affordable.

Best budget hard shell suitcase

Amazon Basics hard shell luggage

Amazon Basics Hardside Luggage ABS Hard-Shell Spinner / Suitcase with 4 Wheels, 78 cm, Black
  • Amazon Basics Hardside Luggage: 78cm (78cm including wheels and top handle); large suitcase with extra thick ABS hardshell with scratch-resistant finish; with 4 double spinner wheels for optimum...
  • Convenient: Expandable design provides up to 15% extra packing capacity; with strong zippers and telescopic handle for comfortable manoeuvring (extends up to 31.5cm)
  • Organisation: Medium size suitcase with fully lined interior with divider; 150D-polyester interior organiser with 3 zippered pockets

You absolutely can’t beat the Amazon Basics hard shell luggage.

It comes in a variety of colours and currently has almost 35,000 4.5* reviews.

It’s simple, sleek, lightweight, has two compartments and pockets, 4 spinner wheels and a decent handle.

Of course, it a lot cheaper than many other hard shell suitcases so this luggage won’t last forever. But if you’re buying this for one annual holiday a year then you can’t go wrong.

You probably have already noticed that there’s no such thing as ‘cheap hard shell luggage’ and it’s all quite expensive. Surprisingly expensive!

In my honest opinion, I wouldn’t buy a cheap suitcase, especially a large one. It’s false economy and will break fairly quickly. A heavy suitcase needs to be durable and if you invest in a good one it will last for years and years. So, if you can afford it, I’d still recommend going with the Antler luggage.

Best colourful hard shell suitcase

Soundbox Spinner

Sale
American Tourister Soundbox Spinner Hand Luggage 55 cm, 41 L, Yellow (Golden Yellow)
  • Expandable to 55 x 40 x 23 cm, 41 L
  • Fixed three digit recessed TSA Lock
  • Light and resistant thanks to the polypropylene material

American Tourista is, without a doubt, the suitcase brand to go to for bright and colourful luggage.

Their expandable Soundbox Spinner comes in nine colours, including a vibrant yellow, spring green, poolside blue and a coral red which you could never miss on the airport luggage belt!

These suitcases are also a good price and come highly rated on Amazon.

Best lightweight hard shell suitcase

Antler Clifton

ANTLER - Large Suitcase - Clifton Luggage - Size Large, Mineral - 132L, Lightweight Suitcase for...
  • DURABLE ELEGANCE: Our Clifton large suitcase is a hard shell suitcase crafted from robust polycarbonate, ensuring longevity and a stunning appearance. This Antler suitcase is colour-fast, so any...
  • FUNCTIONAL DESIGN: Explore the versatile features of this Antler suitcase, including flexible carry handles, compression straps, 4 interior pockets, a zip closure, & interior compartments. This hard...
  • SECURE TRAVELS: Safeguard your belongings with the integrated TSA-approved locks on this lightweight suitcase. Whether on family holidays or business trips, thanks to the anti-theft feature on this...

In all honesty, if you’re looking for a lightweight suitcase then you’re much better off getting a soft shell case rather than a hard shell. 

If lightweight is what you’re looking for then a wheeled duffel bag will be your best option such as this 96L wheeled duffel bag that weighs just 2kg!

If you could make do with a soft shell suitcase then take a look at the it New York Wide Handle design.

This suitcase claims to be the world’s lightest. It’s massive and weighs just 2.4kg!

But if you’re here for hard shell suitcases only then I’m going to have to be a bore and come back to the Antler Clifton cases.

The largest of the Clifton suitcases expand to accommodate 132 litres and it weighs just 5kg so it’s the largest and lightest I can find. It’s also worth mentioning that a large, lightweight suitcase is going to be expensive – even the cheap ones are quite a lot – so I think it’s worth investing in a good one that will last.

Best kid’s hard shell suitcase

Stokke Bedbox

JetKids by Stokke BedBox, Green Aurora - Kid's Ride-On Suitcase & in-Flight Bed - Help Your Child...
  • FIRST CLASS EXPERIENCE - JetKids by Stokke BedBox is the world's only premium, ride-on suitcase for kids with an in-flight bed or leg-rest feature. Once the seat belt sign is off, transform the...
  • FUN & FUNCTIONAL - This spacious carry-on size suitcase holds all your child’s must-haves, and once packed, can be pulled or ridden by your little one through the airport terminal for hassle-free...
  • TRAVEL ESSENTIALS - JetKids by Stokke BedBox was designed with front swivel wheels for easy manoeuvring, an adjustable strap so you can pull or carry it over your shoulder & a practical top opening...

Is it a suitcase? Is it a seat? Is it a bed?

This nifty little case is both a ride on suitcase and a seat, so when your little ones get tired of standing and walking around the airport they can comfortably have a sit down and you can pull them.

But wait, it gets even better!

This suitcase can also be transformed and it rises to form a footstool/bed for your child throughout the flight. What a genius idea.

The only downside is that you can’t actually store an awful lot inside it but most kids really only want an iPad and some headphones anyway!

Best hard shell suitcase set

Antler Clifton Set

ANTLER - Set of 3 Suitcases - Clifton Luggage - Taupe, Cabin,Medium,Large - Strength Lightweight...
  • CLIFTON LUGGAGE: Our Clifton set of 3 suitcases is everything you could want from a lightweight suitcase. Designed to last with its polycarbonate material, this luggage set is strong, eye catching,...
  • SIZE & MEASUREMENTS: Our luggage set of 3 includes 1 cabin suitcase (20 x 40 x 55cm with a packing capacity of 37 litres), 1 medium suitcase (29 x 45 x 67cm with a packing capacity of 75 litre to 83...
  • SECURE AND SMART: Safeguard your belongings with the integrated TSA-approved locks on this set of lightweight suitcases. Whether on family holidays or business trips, thanks to the anti-theft feature...

Do you want the full matching set? Yes, me too.

OK, I’m going to be boring again and come back to the Antler Clifton set. I still think this is the best set in terms of value, quality, style, durability and a variety of sizes.

Best carry on hard shell suitcase

Antler Clifton Cabin Case with a pocket

ANTLER - Cabin Suitcase with Pocket - Clifton Luggage - Carry On Suitcase, Black - 56x35x23,...
  • CLIFTON LUGGAGE: This small suitcase has all the features of our best-selling Clifton cases, with the added benefit of a front pocket. The extra pocket on this carry on suitcase allows for easy access...
  • FUNCTIONAL DESIGN: This Antler suitcase features flexible carry handles & a zip closure. Inside the bag, you’ll find packing straps, a D-zip pocket, plus a waterproof & mesh pocket. This small...
  • DOUBLE ANTI-THEFT TSA LOCKS: The Clifton cabin suitcase has anti-theft technology with its double TSA-approved locks for added security that separately secures the front pocket & the case itself. This...

I don’t normally like hard shell suitcases for carry on because they don’t normally have any exterior pockets. This means that if you want to quickly get inside the suitcase – maybe to grab your iPad or your snacks or remove your liquids at security – you need to open up the entire thing.

So, if you are going to get a hard shell carry on suitcase I’d recommend looking for one with exterior pockets.

My current favourite is the Antler Clifton Cabin Case with a pocket. Be sure to get the one with the pocket because they also do one without!

Level 8 have a similar carry on case with a front pocket and there’s a slightly cheaper one from Titan.

Best tiny under-the-seat ‘free’ hard shell suitcase

Cabin Max Anode Carry On

Sale
Cabin Max Anode Carry on Suitcase 45x36x20cm Lightweight Hand Luggage Suitable for Easyjet Under...
  • Easyjet sized underseat hand luggage cabin case for hand luggage- Sized at 45x36x20 cm and weighing just 2.2KG your ANODE cabin suitcase complies with the hand luggage limitations of most airlines...
  • Lightweight & Durable - The Anode Small travel suitcase is manufactured from durable and hard-wearing ABS material making the ANODE one of the best suitcases with wheels lightweight available
  • With high quality full 360 degrees, easy glide spinner wheels give you easy control of your carry on luggage.

This might just be the cutest little suitcase on the list! It’s so little! You can’t really tell from the photos but, honestly, it’s so sweet.

This tiny suitcase can slip under the seat when flying with easyJet, or other airlines with similar ‘free’ luggage policies. It’s tiny, it’s robust, it comes in lots of lovely colours and it’s a bargain at under £50!

Best hard shell suitcase for men

Level 8 Aluminium Carry on Case

LEVEL8 Aluminum Luggage Carry on Suitcase 20-Inch Hardside Spinner Luggage, Suitcase Aluminium,Hand...
  • 【100% ALUMINUM-MAGNESIUM ALLOY HARD SHELL】Using 6-series aluminum-magnesium alloy (aviation level). Luggage surface after 1000 degrees high temperature baking. To ensure that paint is not easy to...
  • 【DUAL TSA-APPROVED COMBINATION LOCKS】Allows your luggage to be unlocked and inspected by security authorities without damage.With built-In TSA lock, you can make sure your valuables are secure and...
  • 【ULTRAL-QUIET SPINNER WHEELS】Four multidirectional spinner wheels allow 360 degree upright rolling in multiple directions so there is no weight on your arm.

I got this Level 8 Aluminium Carry on Case for my husband to take away for our honeymoon and he loves it. Actually, I love it too.

It’s sleek and beautiful and just feels like such good quality. It’s zipperless and has these chunky clasps on the side and the quietest spinner wheels you’ve ever heard (or not heard in this case!)

It’s a heavy suitcase and it is expensive but I think it’s worth it.

Best hard shell suitcase for women

Aerolite Retro Vintage hard shell cases

Aerolite Suitcase 55x35x20 Stylish Classic Retro Vintage ABS Hard Shell Carry On Hand Cabin Luggage...
  • RETRO STYLING WITH A MODERN TWIST: This suitcase embraces elements of vintage leather/wooden ‘trunk’ suitcases, complete with riveted mock ‘straps’. However on closer inspection, you’ll find...
  • AMAZING AIRLINE COMPATIBILITY: At Aerolite, we understand that travellers may fly with many different airlines throughout their lifetime. That's why we designed this cabin case so it is accepted on...
  • TAKE THE STRAIN OUT OF TRAVEL: Just getting to and from your final destination can be frustrating enough - your luggage shouldn't add to that stress. This stylish hold case features 4 dual spinner...

The Level 8 aluminium case above would be gorgeous for women but if you’re looking for something stereotypically feminine then I love the Aerolite Retro Vintage hard shell cases.

Thanks to the leather detailing they feel like an old-fashioned trunk suitcase and comes in a lovely cream, blush pink and a rose pink.

They do have all the modern functions you’d want such as spinner wheels, lightweight material, TSA combination lock and interior pockets for easy organisation.

Best unique hard shell suitcase

Unitravel Vintage Luggage Set

Unitravel Luggage Set Vintage Travel 2 pcs Matcha Green
  • 1.Shell Material: resin fiber board, lightweight and anti-compresssion+ high quality PU surface covered with special protective film,so that luggage scratch resistance,oxidation...
  • 2.Megnetic buckle+3 digit combination lock. Safe and convenient, original password is 000, easy to reset it. Large capacity scientific distribution.Lining is made of high quality and safe polyester...
  • 3.Multi-directional 4-Wheels : 360 Spinner wheels , effortless and quiet movement even on rough pavement .Sturdy and durable enough to prevent them from being broken or lost when bearing a heavy...

OK, this might not be the most practical hard shell luggage set but look how pretty it is! That tiny little hand luggage bag is just adorable. With floral details and a vintage feel, this is the ultimate girly hard shell suitcase!